Most people know at least someone who has cancer or have had it. It can bring you down in spirit. When I met cancer survivor Cathy Hamilton, I was struck by her positive attitude about getting through a cancer diagnosis. Cathy is a happiness coach and founder of Happy Tappy Girl. I asked her to share some of her story and what she teaches her clients about staying happy when you have cancer. If you know anyone who has it, please share this article! Cathy is a true inspiration.
Strengthening Your Spirit with Happiness After a Cancer Diagnosis
By Cathy Hamilton
If you or someone you love has ever had an experience with cancer you know how life altering it can be. With it comes a host of emotions and a certain degree of chaos that throws everybody into a tailspin and can become a complete source of stress.
The tricky thing with cancer is that it seems to have a life of its own. So when you hear those words “You have cancer” you not only have your own experience to deal with because you also have the cancer experience of everyone else in the world that you seem to inherit. The weight of this is so heavy and powerful it can completely blindside you.
Thankfully, it does not have to stay this way. I am an expert at connecting people to their Inner Super Hero. My passion is to inspire powerful people who have an experience with cancer to be their Champion for Happiness. I show them how to transform their lives by reclaiming their personal power, renewing their energy and confidence and reigniting their inner spark so they feel the freedom and excitement of living their life authentically for them.
Over the past 20 years I have worked at an international corporation where I became their Finance Director. It wasn’t until I became a breast cancer survivor or “Life Enthusiast” as I prefer to think of myself, that I felt called to do this work. Getting a cancer diagnosis is like getting hit by a freight train.
You can feel completely frozen in fear, shock and overwhelm as you get thrown into a new world of tests, doctor visits and hearing words like chemo, radiation or surgery could be in your future. When you are a strong person it can shatter your self-esteem and you might even feel guilty and ashamed for having it as well as knowing that your family and friends will have to support you thru the experience.
It can also be intimidating to have to make big decisions in a short period of time because you are unsure of what the “right” thing to do is. Joy can seem to get sucked out of your life and you can find yourself wondering if you are ever going to feel “normal” again and those feelings of impending doom can wash over you no matter what you are doing.
Not only did I feel all of those things but I also didn’t want my experience with cancer to define me. At 40 years old, I had just started to feel like I was getting my life together and was finally feeling free to be the real me when I got the diagnosis. It was like being put back in a cage. I felt like my freedom was being taken away.
Then I made a choice. I decided that I was going to be my own SUPER HERO and my experience with breast cancer was going to be a positive one. This was my wake-up call and an opportunity for me to change my life. In that moment, I stopped fighting “against” the cancer and started FIGHTING FOR MYSELF.
I know “fighting for yourself” is not the usual message you hear or think of when someone talks about cancer. I have always had a strong sense of the mind/body and spirit connection deeply entrenched in the teachings of Louise Hay. I believe that dis-ease of any kind is a manifestation of something that is going wrong in our life – something that does not align with the “real” soul based you and it shows up in our lives to help get us back on track. Cancer is no different. We just need to listen to what it is trying to tell us so that we have a unique experience that supports us, taking from it what we need to in order to become a stronger, better, more authentic you.
I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t scary at times and believe me I had my moments but I knew I was worth the fight and that my true happiness depended on it. With the tools and resources that I knew were the most effective and the fastest along with the help of my dear friend and mentor I got to work – this Super Hero was on a mission. The FIGHT FOR ME began and my process was born.The first thing I did was begin to be more gentle with myself and learn that it was OK to put myself first. Then I created an environment for healing and inner peace. Finally, I created a solid foundation for my future.
By doing those three things I hit the RESET button on my life. I was able to take back my personal power and I had more energy and confidence. I was able to let go of thinking there was a “right” or “wrong” way to go thru my experience with cancer and trusted myself that when I made a decision, it was the best thing for me. I felt good about myself again. I learned to love me for “me” and discovered more joy in my life. My inner spark was shining bright.
Between the time I first got diagnosed to the time I was done being treated by the medical profession I felt like I was a different person and I knew that I wanted to help others not only get thru their experience with cancer but also feel the freedom and excitement of living authentically for them that I was feeling. So many people stop living their lives when they get a cancer diagnosis and feel like they have to put themselves on hold. It can be so difficult to break out of this and not stay stuck in those feelings of fear, shame and guilt as well as that sense that there isn’t any joy in your life.
There is something about an experience with cancer that is isolating. No matter how supportive your friends and family are you may not want to burden them with how you are actually feeling at times or worry that they might not understand. Fighting for yourself requires you to be honest about everything and that is why it so helpful to work with a coach or mentor. In the work that I do with my clients I give them the opportunity to speak freely with the comfort of knowing that I bring them a wealth of knowledge, experience and caring because I have been thru it and they are not alone.
Cancer might be big but I know that they are BIGGER. There is a Super Hero inside of you and you can become more powerful and confident with their inner spark shining bright. The real you will come shining through. You are your Champion for Happiness. Be you, be powerful and live happy!
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