As Maya Angelou said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
The healing power of sharing my cancer story compelled me to found WhereWeGoNow. It also motivated me to become a speaker, a support volunteer with the Cancer Hope Network, a member of the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center Oncology Community Advisory Board, and a patient educator with Pathways Women’s Cancer Teaching Project. I write about cancer survivorship here at WhereWeGoNow and at CURE, Positively Positive, and the Huffington Post. You can find my two books on the subject here: How To Build an Amazing Life After Treatment and You Can Thrive After Treatment.
I’m also a wife and mother, and a former very stressed out lawyer.
Right now, though, I’m just really glad that you’re here!
If you’re like me, you remember the moment you went from blissful ignorance, to concentrating your entire being on beating cancer. You faced the diagnostic process, involving scary, painful testing. You pushed through to treatment, terrified to submit to surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation, but courageously faced what needed to be done.
Now, after that crazy time of tests, doctors, treatments, hospitalizations, chemo sessions, etc., we stand on the other side and ask ourselves – Where do we go now?
Welcome to that place. At WhereWeGoNow you’re never alone as you work through difficult emotions (survivor’s guilt, anger, grief, loneliness, stress, etc., etc.) and explore your new life beyond cancer.
Together we encourage, motivate and celebrate each other as we create inspired healing, wellness and live out loud joy!
So, where do you start?
The first thing you should do is sign up for the WhereWeGoNow newsletter. Get insider info, special offers and free downloads here.
Next, start reading and exploring:
Running on Empty – Coping with Cancer Stress
Cancer Survivor’s Guilt & Its Ugly Cousin
10 Little Things to Do With Mindful Awareness
Why Mindfulness is Vital to Sexual Health
The Secret to Making Your Way on Your Cancer Journey
How Have Your Scars Made You Who You Are?
Six Truths I’ve Learned About Resilience
5 Decorator Tricks to Bring Cheer and Healing into Your Nest
Are You Still Struggling With the Loneliness of Life After Cancer?
That should get you started! If I you want to contact me, you’ll find that information here.
Once again, welcome and I’m so glad you’re here!
Survival > Existence,
Image credit: My daughter Emma
Great site! Just read about your site in the Daily Record. I am 3 years out from my Stage 1 BC, lumpectomy, chemo and radiation – all done at Morristown Hospital. Many sites deal with cancer support DURING your illness, but the ball drops after that regardless of the fact that survivors still have issues to deal with (as I sit here fanning another hot flash courtesy of my Tamoxifen and chemo induced menopause – yay).
It’s almost like we are supposed to box up the experience and put it in the attic – it’s over now, just move on. But,as we do indeed move on, we are now a different person. We have a new “normal”. The 6 month check ups, the worry each time that the cancer could come back. I read your gift and loss list and mine is very similar, right down to the Pilates failure!
Thanks for creating a support place for us!
Finding the Road back after Cancer
For me ( @DarrellSmithsr )it was a horrendous battle, given only a few hours left to live. The finality of my doctor saying it was time to call in my family and watching my doctor simply walk out of the room for the last time, I fought even harder than when I was first told I had cancer. And by a miracle, I survived. Only to find how much society had changed in my absence. Finding the road back for me, meant finding a new road untraveled. Searching for something positive, I wrote a book currently being published at West Bow press. “After the Cancer, what Now”? All survivors need to share their story to give hope to others. You cannot hide, 1 in 4 Americans will get cancer and the “boogie man” is standing in your street today, looking for the next home to enter. Please take the time to have cancer screening now.
New to your site
Just found your site and am finding my way through it – lots of good information! I completed my bilateral mastectomy on February 14th, 2011 (yes, it was Valentine’s Day, that’s how anxious I was to get the expanders out)! I’m trying to figure out how to get involved after my year and a half of this awful, yet profound and life changing process of breast cancer. How did you get involved? I’d like to do something to support other women going through this, but not sure what’s available in NJ. If you have any suggestions, I’d be most appreciative. Best, Claudia http://www.claudiaspost.blogspot.com
sometimes there is no “after”
I thought I was done after my stage 2b/3a bc was “cured” a few years ago. But no. I now have early bone mets (have for a year now) and am feeling fine, it’s under control with estrogen blockers (Faslodex) for now. What I’m learning now is how willing the Pink Ribbon machine is to throw those of us who aren’t expected to survive under the bus. 30% of people with breast cancer will die from mets. Yet we get 1 day in October and 2% of Komen’s funds for research FOR A CURE. If any of you survivors want to do something meaningful…HELP US! You could be one of us before your life is done. 1 in 3 chance ladies. Not fun to look at that but there is so much to be done if we really are to find a cure. We need to push for trials of less toxic drugs that will keep us alive with some measure of quality of life too. And so much more. Don’t leave us behind as you move forward and try to put this in your past. You do so at your own peril.
Pay it forward
I have completed one year of treatment with lumpectomy, chemo, radiation & Herceptin. Now continuing with Femara for a total of five years. I have residual peripheral neuropathy in my feet & legs, but otherwise feel great.
I love your site, & admire your strength. Cancer is not for sissies! I blogged for one year about my health challenges at CaringBridge (shaynadanasg). Now that I am doing well, I do not write much, as thankfully, I have a less eventful life today. It is important for me to pay it forward, & help guide women (or men, of course) who are going through treatment or struggling with diagnosis, recurrence or recovery.
We need to be our own best friends, and support each other.
Experiencing “What Now”
For the last 6 months I have been completely frustrated with myself. I’ve been anxious and fearful and very negative. I am 13 months post double mastectomy and 10 months post radiation therapy for Stage 3 breast cancer. I just recently have sought help to cope with my emotional issues and have been quite relieved to discover that this is “normal”. Just read the article in CURE and have signed on to this site. Thank you.
Thyroid Cancer 2 times in six months
Hi i was kinda wondering if their is a site for THYROID CANCER. I am a Cancer Survivor, but this one hit me like a football!!! I just went for my 6 month checkup and i was amazed at the result…. I have no one in this cancerous world but tears and unhappiness. It’s a miracle to have found your site but I am angry and don’t understand a lot so i said o.k. live or die and my little doggie said mommy i need you!! So last night we both cried and tomm is the second biopsy on my LYMPH NODES that appeared in my results.. So can u give me words of advice. Last Sept. 2011 i was getting a divorce when i found out i had to CANCER.
I love your blog! I’m a 2-time breast cancer survivor and am moving on with my life. During and after I finished chemo (last March) I have relied heavily on www.beyondtheshock.com. It’s sponsored by the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Many women in all stages of diagnosis and treatment helping each other. I highly recommend it!
after surviving stage III breast cancer and leukemia, along with two bone marrow transplants at 32 years old when my life went from carefree, fun, traveling, working, raising and loving my daughter to a complete nightmare as all the odds stacked against me. after 2 years, i am in remission but continue to fight the side effects of the cancers and the transplants. i have a clot in my jugular vein, i have severe osteoporosis and arthritis and having difficulty walking, i am grateful to be alive but i cannot snap out of the fear and trauma that i have gone through. to me there is still no new normal. i struggle through every day. I miss my job, i miss traveling and as often as i still end up in the hospital with infections, graft vs host etc, i feel stuck in the city that i need a break from. i’m alive but my life ended at 32 when i heard the words ‘you have breast cancer’ and three weeks later when i heard ‘you also have leukemia’. I am not a weak person and i cannot forgive myself for being stuck, for being so sad and scared and depressed. can anyone relate? has everyone moved on?
i am sorry..
I was referred to your facebook page (clicked the link to your web page)from one of my best friends that just lost her little boy (3 years old) to a long 2 year battle of brain cancer. In that time I was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Im only 38. What the heck? Well i am proud to say that my nephrectomy was one year ago today and so far physically i am doing good. Emotionally it is a battle everyday. Every ache and pain i wonder and worry. My family just found out that my uncle was also diagnosed with kidney cancer as well. I also lost my dad to pancreatic cancer. While i am so happy that i am cancer free i feel guilty in a way. People I love are now dealing with the fact that they too have cancer and I understand exactly how they feel. But there is just this guilty feeling i have. Is this a normal feeling? Dont get me wrong I am so relieved and so blessed to be cancer free. I was diagnosed and had surgery within 3 weeks. My mind did even have time to process everything. It wasn’t until after my surgery that i really had time to sit back and think what just happened? I had wonderful support but really not from anyone that has been through it….Your website is a wonderful resource for people that are looking for support. Thank you!
Fear of reoccurrence
Just found this site. I have been struggling alone with post breast cancer fear that has me frozen in life. When its time for my 6 mo. appointments I can do nothing except sit in fear that it is back. Even though my diagnosis was good. Lumpectomy with radiation and low reoccurrence probability I still fell so alone at times. I didn’t join a group because I was afraid to see so many people worse off and the fear would grow. I need a group I can feel at home with.
New to this Newsletter
I had double mastectomy March 22, 2013 – went back to work on April 8, 2013 – just had my 6-month check up October 22, 2013 – so far, so good. Just found out two months ago that my sister has breast cancer and she just had her 4th chemo treatment October 24, she doesn’t know if she’ll have to have surgery later. My prayers and good thoughts go out to all of you.
I have been so moved by all of the above posts that I decided to write something of my own thoughts and experiences.
Boy is cancer a challenge. Some days I am so grateful for the whole experience and filled with inspiration to get out there and do something really positive and other days I just feel so exhausted by it all….but those days are getting less and the joy is increasing!
I was diagnosed June 2009 grade 3 invasive breast cancer. Mastectomy with delayed reconstruction, Chemo, radio, herceptin and approaching 5 years with 5 to go of Tamoxifen. The reconstruction failed and I have just had my second mastectomy. this final operation in March marks the end of this ordeal. I can finally get back on with my life and look forward, plan a future and have dreams again.
Today I am grateful that I have the time to process this experience, to rest and to heal. It is wonderful to be able to share the experience with others who have experiences of cancer, for even health professional struggle to understand the very deep effects of this experience. It is about moving on, moving on in our own unique ways. This site is a wonderful part of that experience…it is great to read and to relate to so much that’s been shared here.
Cancer has given me opportunities to do things that I would not have done otherwise. My values have changed. And I now take loving care of what I put into my body. My ability to love and to know love is something that I am more grateful than I can express. Living without breasts doesn’t mater, living life to the full does!
It has felt good to rant a little….thank you Debbie for this opportunity and great site. My best wishes to all of you, on your paths to holistic wellness.
4th time’s a charm
Wow, a great site. I once thought years ago “Where do I go now?” Then came several episodes of “Just when you thought it was over!” After the 4th episode of cancer (3 breast and 1 fallopian tube), I am back to the “Where do I go now?” stage and am relishing it. Reconstruction is complete and everything looks better than I could have ever imagined thanks to the work of one fantastic plastic surgeon in Baltimore. I have not blogged about the experience until now and it has been nine years since the ordeal began, but I really like this site. Thank you for the great stories. I love the one today regarding ruining the color pink for survivors.