How One Survivor Used Meditation and Support to Find a Brighter Future

breast cancer survivorWe’re superexcited to share Part II of our guest interview with Debbie Woodbury on our blog, today!

For those of you who missed Part I of this interview, click here.

See below for Part II of our guest interview, where Debbie shares more of her inspirational story, including a look into her Meditation Mondays:

1. Our team at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction loves how you started a Meditation Mondays blog series! Tell us what inspired you to begin meditating and what benefits it provides to you.

Thank you, I love that series too! I was inspired to begin meditation by simple necessity. My cancer diagnosis completely blindsided me. Up until that point, I thought of myself as a healthy person, who looked and felt fine. However, as testing and treatment chipped away at my body, I slowly sunk into sickness. My mastectomy cured my noninvasive cancer, but healing was a whole different matter.

Physically, I had lots of guidance and healed with rest and good care. Emotionally, I was on my own. Luckily, I discovered guided imagery just a few weeks before my mastectomy and used it to calm my anxiety about the impending surgery and loss of my breast. I continued searching for emotional healing and discovered meditation.

Meditation provides me with many, many benefits. As a cancer survivor, it is so easy to drive yourself crazy, worrying about doctors’ appointments, tests, and every ache and pain. Through meditation, I became aware of the voice in my head whose job is to worry. Meditation brings me back to the present moment, where the only thing that exists is what is happening right now.

The funny thing is that I actually had an easier time meditating during my disability, when there was lots of time to sit still. Now that the stresses of family, home, work, and survivorship fill my day, finding time to meditate takes a bigger commitment. It is well worth it, however, and can be done in just minutes a day. Meditation is one of the many gifts cancer brought me and I am so grateful for the “Peace and Joy, Love and Light” it brought into my life.

2. What one piece of advice would you give to women who are struggling with breast cancer and are finding it difficult to look toward a brighter future?

When I was actually going through the diagnostic and treatment phases, I kept going by sheer force of will. I just needed to get through it, especially for my husband and children. After my mastectomy, however, the emotional fallout was overwhelming. Luckily, my cancer center offered free oncology therapy, which I committed to on a weekly basis for approximately a year. I don’t know how I could have processed it all without the help of my wonderful therapists. Without their help dealing with cancer’s losses, I never could have eventually recognized cancer’s gifts.

My one piece of advice would be to get all the support you need, from family and friends, but also from professionals. No one can walk this road alone and no one person can be your only source of support. Ask for and find the help you need to create your brighter future beyond cancer.

Debbie WoodburyAbout Debbie Woodbury:

Debbie Woodbury is a cancer survivor, blogger, speaker, and advocate. She entered the diagnostic and treatment phases of breast cancer in 2008. When she completed treatment in 2009, she was left to deal with cancer’s emotional impact. With the support of family, friends, and wonderful oncology therapists, she was able to create her Gifts and Losses List and eventually realize that “Survival > Existence.” The Gifts and Losses List became the heart of WhereWeGoNow.com, a community of survivors sharing the gifts and losses of lives lived beyond cancer.

Connect with Debbie on Twitter and Facebook. And be sure to visit her blog, Where We Go Now; it’s one of our favorites!

Comments

  1. Thanks, Gail and The Reconstruction Network for this great interview. What an uplifting post! Wonderful tools and so appreciated the story of how Debbie applied them during her challenges and her challenges applying them now that she’s got the energy again for juggling a lot of balls.

    Debbie, your confirmation of the value of doing emotional work to address issues that naturally can arise out of the challenge of cancer touching our lives is so moving to hear. Being coached through my grief recovery was, for me, the resource that most helped me to turn my life around so love hearing your success story.

    • Tambre, wasn’t her post wonderful! She is truly an inspiration to all women, no matter if they are struggling with health issues or not. We were so delighted to interview her and we hope to interview her again at the end of the year, so stay tuned!

    • Thanks Gail and Tambre. I attribute so much oh my emotional healing to “doing the work” with my incredible oncology therapists. I will be forever grateful to Overlook Hospital in Summit, NJ, for giving me the gift of support. No one can do this alone. Thanks again to The Reconstruction Network for giving me this opportunity to encourage all survivors to reach out for the help they need.

      • Thank YOU, Debbie! It was a pleasure to feature you and we are so delighted to hear the responses from our readers 🙂

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