“I Wanted To Drop To My Knees And Crawl Into A Ball.” Cancer Survivor Shares 5 Tips For Weathering Life’s Storms, Urges, “We Can Persevere.”

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This article originally appeared on iMOM.com and reflects their mission and beliefs.

I wanted to drop to my knees and crawl into a ball. The radiologist had seen suspicious masses, and after a biopsy, I awaited the results. I received the call while driving and pulled into the closest parking lot to answer. I stepped out of my vehicle to hear the results. The only words I remember from that conversation are “you have breast cancer.” I had my four kids strapped into their car seats and needed to process this information and get back to mom duty. The store could wait. I called my husband, cried hysterically as I reported the news, and then pulled myself together to drive home. This would be one of many events I would experience in surviving the storms of life.

I spent the next year as an uncertain but hopeful 39-year-old breast cancer patient. While I underwent chemotherapy, we moved into a new home and faced the beginning of the COVID crisis. I also went through breast surgery and radiation, and due to COVID mandates, I attended most of my appointments alone. But I survived—and I learned no matter the storm any of us may face, we can persevere with these 5 principles.

1. Find your strength.

Whether you have strong faith or a strong family, draw from it the strength you need to endure the storm. Endurance builds our strength of character and character strengthens our confidence and hope. Hope will give us the power we did not realize we had. Having faith and hope allowed me to persevere. Having my husband’s help and knowing my church community prayed for me also strengthened my resilience, since few could help in person because of the pandemic.

2. Be the still waters amidst the raging currents.

You can be in the storm, but don’t be the storm. When we lose control of our emotions, our circumstances will control us. For example, if you’re going through a marriage trial, you can choose to stand firm with dignity, grace, and love instead of trashing your husband to your friends. A few things that helped me keep my cool through the chaos were breathing exercises, meditating on scripture, and staying connected with friends who kept me grounded. If I needed to break down, I would let myself have those moments and then find my center again. Here are some other keys to managing life’s crises.

3. Keep it real with the kids.

I’m a firm believer in being honest with my children. By not sugar coating the situation, I discovered that my kids are more resilient and supportive than most credit them. My kids knew I had cancer, and that I had to “get medicine” to get better. They watched me go from a full head of long, thick hair to shiny-headed bald. I didn’t hide what I was going through. As I recovered from chemo treatments, I reassured them that everything would be OK and offered other tips to help them process. We all grew stronger because of the support we gave one another.

4. Ask kids to help.

At the time of my diagnosis, my children were seven, three, and 18-month-old twins. I asked my oldest to step up with some household responsibilities and her big sister duties. Even my three youngest helped simply by handing me a pillow, covering me up with a blanket, or picking items up off the floor. Older children could help with dishes, cooking light meals, or laundry. If you’re surviving the storms of life, your kids might be eager to step up and help where they can, too.

5. Seek shelter.

When we go through trials, we can feel overwhelmed by our circumstances. Whether you’re struggling financially, your child is being bullied, or you’re the primary caregiver for aging parents, it can seem like every moment of the day is spent trying to resolve the problem. But we all need respite. You can seek refuge in your faith, your family, your home, or even somewhere as specific as your bedroom. You might also find comfort through a hobby like meditation or reading. Your shelter is your sanctuary. Go to the person, place, or thing that brings you comfort and rest there when you can. Eventually, the storm will pass, and soon enough, the sun will shine again.

What has helped you get through the storms of life?

This article originally appeared on iMOM.com and reflects their mission and beliefs.

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