When I was first diagnosed, I had so much support. I had so many friends, family members, and doctors and nurses around me. Making sure I was okay. Sneaking me popsicles on the sly. And just being an ear when I needed to talk until I couldn’t because it was hard.
After the first month of treatment was over and I was officially in remission (well, partial remission but enough to go home) that support cut by half. Even though I had eight more months of intensive treatment before hitting maintenance, most of that initial support crew had determined I was fine and didn’t need any “go-get-’em” speeches. Which, for the record, was wrong. I could’ve used a lot of speeches, Netflix friend-dates, and visits in the hospital.
When I reached maintenance, I had about a third of that support crew left. A few close relatives, my immediate family members, my best friends, my boyfriend, my main nurses, my oncologist, and my social worker. To be honest, at that time, that was all I needed. Just my close group of people who could occasionally come with me to an appointment, be there if I had a scare, and understand if I just needed to cry because I had been through a lot.
Then I finished treatment. I was healthy. I didn’t need pills or biopsies, and I didn’t have to pass any tests to prove it. I was done. I was so happy. I thought that I would go back to normal and pick up where I had left off. I thought my medical team would continue to support me through it. That wasn’t the case.
I was thrown into a world that I was barely familiar with without a safety net. I came from a place where germs were everywhere, and cancer was just a blood test away. I came from talking daily about death and procedures to conversations revolving around the latest songs and TV shows. I didn’t know how to regain my old self – or, to be honest, if I wanted to.
Cancer forced me to take a time out. It forced me to take a few steps back and focus on me, rather than what was going on outside. Too often we don’t listen to our bodies, we don’t give ourselves the love we deserve, and we look to receive it from other people. Cancer made me focus on that. Unfortunately, the rest of the world kept moving forward without me paying full attention.
So there I was, ready to join the rest of the world, but a couple of years behind – and then we moved. And I was really lost. I wanted to start moving forward, I wanted to achieve the goals that I kept telling everyone I was aiming for – but I was stuck. It didn’t help that my goal-setting skills are pretty basic.
Luckily, Forward! found me. Shortly after starting this blog I was contacted by them to work together and help spread awareness and hope for moving forward.
Forward! is a company that works with cancer survivors, and they work step by step to help survivors achieve goals to get them back on track. Their program takes about 12 weeks and is all web-based (and very texting friendly!).
Forward! has you choose a fitness goal and a life goal. For me, my fitness goal was to be strong again. I lost a lot of muscle through the process and wanted to regain that physical strength again. My life goal was writing a book – or at least getting it started. I’ve been talking about this book for about a year, but it’s cancer-related and difficult to re-live a lot of the things I’m writing about. But the team at Forward! has been able to break it down in a manageable and less scary way.
One of the reasons I was really interested in working with them was because they acknowledge that everyone is different, that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all way.
“Through the process of beating cancer, each person is affected in different ways. None are the same as before their diagnosis. Some may wish to finish school, others wish to strengthen their occupation, others may wish to completely change direction and start a new path.” – Forward!
I’m currently about six weeks in, and I have to say, they are amazing. Not only are they great at helping you learn to set goals, but they are so supportive. I can now hold a plank for one minute and forty-five seconds, complete 10 burpees in a minute, and do ten (real) push-ups – not to mention how much my stamina has grown! And while that might not seem like a lot to the fitness buffs out there – this is huge for me! And on the book side, I’m actually following through, I’m writing chapters, I’m breaking them down. I’m being accountable for the pieces. I’m reminded every week and encouraged to keep going, to keep pushing through.
This team has so much heart, and they truly care about you. The goals they create are so personalized and really made for you to achieve. Don’t get me wrong, they push you, but it’s all to make you better. Their goal is to help survivors regain their life, take it back from months/years of treatment and hospital stays. They want you to live your life to the fullest and their hope is that these 12 weeks will get you on the right track.
And though I’m only halfway through, I have no doubt it will!
(P.S. Interested in learning more about the program? Be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss the interview with the team!)