The Emotional Trauma of Breast Cancer: Can Anyone Hear Me? “
“It’s been almost three weeks since my diagnosis and I’m still rebounding in denial. I feel good, I look good. I don’t feel like I have cancer. Maybe they got it wrong. Maybe I don’t really have cancer.
Ever since I heard those words “you have cancer” I feel like my world has come to a halt and everyone around me has continued at a very rapid pace. I feel like I am screaming in a crowd of people, but no one can hear me.
I feel left out.
These are words taken from my book “Beautiful Lady”, which chronicles my personal journey through breast cancer where I learned that cancer consists of two equally important paths: one being the obvious medical path. and the other being the emotional path. Healing the emotional wounds of a cancer diagnosis is as important as healing the physical wounds so that we can weather this terrible storm “fully healed,” with body, mind and spirit in sync.
When I was diagnosed, I was surprised and disappointed at how quickly my confidence and self-esteem were shattered. I had gone from being a strong, confident and successful business executive to someone who was suddenly afraid of almost everything. My confidence had been shattered and it took a long time for me to regain my courage and my self-confidence.
A cancer diagnosis creates a storm of strong emotions, and it forces us to assess our lives and our mortality. In seconds, life is changed forever, and through my own experience, I have learned that women often do not have the tools to emotionally heal from this traumatic event. Some cancer treatment centers offer both medical and emotional support, but many do not. Often, women are left on their own to heal and overcome emotional trauma.
In addition to what our body is medically going through, our minds experience extreme trauma that does not end magically when medical treatments do. It’s only just getting started, which is why many women describe feelings of panic, devastation, and fear after returning home from surgery and / or cancer treatment.
I have spoken to many Cancer Warriors who have confirmed that the people around them say things like, “It’s over now, you have to get on with your life” or “You don’t have cancer anymore, why are you. you still angry? “
Please never say these things to a cancer warrior. This is not helpful.
The trauma is real and so are the resulting physical effects. Cancer is a tough journey, and we shouldn’t have to live with lingering trauma or be afraid to seek help to heal our emotions.
The stress and hormones activated in the brain by the traumatic event get stuck in survival mode and sometimes do not return to normal levels. When your brain is in constant stress mode, it reverberates and normalizes throughout the physical body. If the brain does not reset, survivors can develop PTSD.
According to statistics, nearly 80% of women develop symptoms of PTSD after a cancer diagnosis. That’s a staggering number of women, if you consider statistics from the World Health Organization which cite 2.3 million women diagnosed with breast cancer worldwide in 2020. Do the math, and that means that in just one year 1.8 million women are struggling with some level of PTSD. It’s just a year away.
The medical industry must do better.
They must recognize that Cancer Warriors need help medically and emotionally. We cannot just heal the physical body; we must also heal our mind and our spirit.
This is a very important step.
As a result of my own struggles, I made it my mission to help women heal their emotional wounds so they can realign their thoughts, strengthen their courage, and rediscover our happiness.
We need to give ourselves time to go through the stages of healing at our own pace, without internal or external pressure to “go faster”. We must work to identify the harsh feelings of fear, anger, sadness and depression so that we can release them to become “fully healed”.
Speaking from personal experience, if you take these steps you will quickly realize that you can look to the future with hope and enthusiasm, with renewed confidence and courage, knowing that you are now a mighty warrior, so long as you are inside and out. Cancer may have taken our old life and ravaged our bodies, but it can’t (and shouldn’t) take away our future.
Carpe Diem. You can do it!
You can contact Geri by email at [email protected] For more information on her book “Beautiful Lady” and other online resources, visit her website. https://bebigandbrave.com. Join Geri on Instagram and / or Facebook @ gerimaroney.author.
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