When you are on a healing journey, there is a lot to think about. Whether you have just been diagnosed with Breast Cancer, have been on the journey for a while, or want to up your health game in general and prevent cancer, it is easy to get overwhelmed with all the information and decisions you have to make.
As caring human beings, most of us are quick to lend a helping hand or a word of gentle advice to others who may be going through a rough time. But how often do we ourselves reach out and accept the support of others when we need it? Learn how coaching and community are an important part of your breast health journey.
Loneliness doesn’t feel good, plain and simple. If you have ever experienced it, then you know that it is not a feeling that you can easily “sweep under the rug.” Even if can “just ignore it” for a little while, eventually it will come creeping up alongside you again before too long.
The fact is that ongoing feelings of loneliness can seriously affect both your mental and physical health. Dr. Alan Teo is a psychiatrist who studies loneliness amongst veterans with the VA Portland Health Care System. He led a VA-sponsored study that appeared in the April 2018 edition of the Journal of Affective Disorders. The study looked at different facets of both social connectedness and isolation based on five different categories of “social connectedness.” These included:
-trust in others
-contact between young people and their parents
-participation in family activities and regular contact with family/friends, and
-telephone and internet access in the home.
Among all of these categories, an ongoing feeling of loneliness was connected the most to depression and thoughts of suicide.
“Being cut off from others is like not being connected to your battery,” said Dr. Teo in an interview. “You lose an important source of energy. Unfortunately, that loss of energy often results in less motivation to engage with others and to seek help. So the isolation and loneliness worsen, and a vicious cycle is created, whereby loneliness leads to depression, which leads to more loneliness, and so on. Breaking that cycle is difficult but important.”
Social Isolation, Loneliness, and Breast Cancer
Believe it or not, ongoing feelings of isolation and loneliness can actually worsen Breast Cancer outcomes and may even lead to cancer itself.
A case in point is a University of California, San Francisco study of 3,000 nurses with Breast Cancer. The study found that the women who had felt “socially isolated” before they were diagnosed had twice the risk of mortality than those who felt they had a good support system around them prior. Close friendships were found to be the biggest common denominator amongst women who successfully overcame cancer.
Different kinds of loneliness may affect women recovering from Breast Cancer (as well as people who have gone through other kinds of cancer). An insightful 2009 study conducted at New York University was one of the first to take a look at “survivor loneliness” amongst Breast Cancer survivors.
As anyone who has ever gone through the cancer journey will tell you, the journey towards healing from Breast Cancer changes your life in many ways. I know this from personal experience as well. Amidst the obvious gratitude one feels for having gone through the experience and “come out the other side,” social isolation can set in as others close to you may not share your changed perspective.
“[The women] described how they felt alone in the awareness of mortality and were invalidated in the experience of ongoing symptom burden, a changed sense of identity and connection, and an altered threshold for the distress that pervaded their long-term experiences,” wrote the research authors. “As they sought ways to lead more authentic lives, [they] sometimes withheld truth or projected images they perceived as inauthentic, contributing to their loneliness.”
The researchers also noted that “as survivors perceived connections with others as more fragile, they also felt a strengthened vitality of connection, particularly with their children, and a deepened sense of empathy and connectedness to the suffering of others.”
These beautiful and succinct words aptly describe the mixed bag of emotions that many Breast Cancer warriors and Healing Divas feel as they move forward in their lives during and after Breast Cancer. If you can relate, you are not alone!
The Cure for Loneliness and Isolation is Connection
As the New York University study highlights, whatever stage of the health journey you are on, it is really important that the connections you make along the way be with others who can relate to and appreciate the joys, sorrows, ups, downs, and most importantly, the changed perspective that you now have. Forming a supportive network of others who have “been there” whom you can draw inspiration from is really important for every step of the Breast Cancer journey!
Another powerful 11 year study conducted on women with Breast Cancer, found that if they:
- Had community support
- Learned to manage their stress, they had a 75% decrease risk of dying from Breast Cancer and and 79% decrease risk of dying from any other causes.
That is one of the reasons why I have put together so many opportunities to make connections and gain insight not only from me but from trained Breast Cancer Conqueror coaches and other “Healing Divas” as well!
Besides this blog and website, joining our Facebook page is a great first step for finding out what we are all about, meeting other Healing Divas online, and keeping abreast of new posts, events, and more. We also post videos and inspirational memes pretty much daily.
As a follower of the page, you will be informed of when I do LIVE Facebook events, Q and As, and more. You can access the Breast Cancer Conqueror Facebook page HERE.
Get the Support You Need with the Breast Cancer Conqueror Coaching Program
The other way to get the support as well as the information you need for a cancer-free life is to take advantage of our individual coaching programs.
As Breast Cancer Conqueror coach De’Ann explains,“we cover the 7 Essentials System® week by week for 10 weeks. There is interaction, weekly challenges, videos, sample tests, EFT tapping sessions, and an opportunity to introduce yourself and become familiar with the other women on the call. At the end of each call, there is always an open question & answer session.”
One-on-one coaching is great for those who want individualized attention and support. On these calls, you and your coach will go over the details of your particular health situation. You also have an opportunity to share lab results and develop a personalized plan for going forward.
“I was diagnosed with stage 4 recurrence of breast cancer and was told there was NO HOPE…,” says one-on-one coaching participant Lisa from North Carolina. “Dr. V’s program has truly changed my life and health. I have seen great improvement in all my tests and scans with mets to the bone no longer there since following this program!”
For more information about one-on-one coaching, CLICK HERE. You can also call (888) 852-2596 for more information.