A dear friend I have known for many years gave me a call on his way home from the hospital on one Saturday night. His wife just had breast cancer surgery. He was uplifting as always and happy to talk, sharing news about her and what they had to do in the following months. We talked about our faith and how our lives have gone through some detours.
As I listened to him, I paused … I was reliving some of the moments of the past year. It has been almost a year since my first appointment with my breast cancer surgeon, Dr. Pat Whitworth. I can still smell the cool October air.
On October 16, 2019, my life drastically changed, and I had to embrace a completely new journey. The past 11 months have brought many transformations with a lot of sweet “aha” moments and pure tears of joy. It has been a year of deep forgiveness and healing. It was my personal journey to find my anchors and evaluate many priorities in my life, let go of the things that did not matter anymore and say yes to the happy me.
Looking back at the past year, my quest was to embrace the change and find love tucked in my heart that I somehow lost a few years ago following my divorce. As I write this, the sunshine that peeks through the curtains reminds me of the good days ahead … Sometimes you might ask yourself, “Why do I go through all these challenges and trials.”
Then I realized, I was providing support to a dear friend and his wife who too had breast cancer. At the end of the call, my friend asked what I did differently that brought me out of the fear zone and into the warrior mode.
There was a pause then I answered, “It was my choice to either let life happen to me or pray for God’s wisdom to make the right decisions and be proactive in my healing journey.”
We have a blind faith and maybe it is important to be faithful, but the truth is that healing does not happen by doing nothing. It takes bold faith and action. It requires discovering who you are and finding your way.
You can choose to find your calm and your anchor. You can choose to stay positive. You can also surround yourself with women who have been in your shoes and could give you solid advice.
There is an amazing level of inner strength that you feel coming from these warriors. They might be fragile and petite, but they are strong.
Every day is a battle. But we have a choice to make things happen every day. We can look at our life as an opportunity to grow even when it hurts, or we can give up and not care.
So, let’s highlight some things you must become to get through any life challenge, especially breast cancer.
Being a strong woman is more than being a female version of a Roman Gladiator. There is nothing that can be compared to the strength you find when cancer attacks your body and you learn to love yourself even more. Being strong is the only choice you have and first you will cry, break down, fall apart and then you will gradually put yourself back together. Every day I would affirm I choose life. Because tomorrow is not guaranteed. You give the best to yourself first.
Speak your desires into existence. Speak healing and love into your life. That is where your strength is hidden. It is the power of your words that changes your mindset, changes your energy, and changes your life. Those words can bring peace or cause stress.
The first time I came to Dr. Whitworth’s office, there was a poster on the wall about managing stress. The Whitworth “stressometer” was an amazing way to identify where you were on your healing journey.
Gratitude has led me to experience more love and the hardest thing I had to do was to learn to accept love as well. Many strong women often do not know how to love themselves fully and they have a hard time accepting love and care from others. Often it is a cultural thing or a family thing. In my Russian culture, women were taught to never complain and take care of their lives. We were taught to survive and get through times of crisis with a smile.
When you learn to accept love, you will feel worthy. And when you feel worthy of being loved and appreciated for who you are, your life will change. Your transformation will happen fast when you learn to accept love and love yourself. Because everything you will do in your life will come from the place of love for who you are, including your healing, your relationships, your career, and your business. Everything will change.
Allowing others to help you and accepting care and love is something I had to learn in the past few years. You want to be Wonder Woman, ready to take on any challenge. When you agree with the idea that having help is totally cool, you finally realize once you accept love you can give more love back into the world. Your heart is finally healing and everything else falls in place. You are more motivated to do things you have delayed for a long time and you are motivated to change your lifestyle.
Good support system and solid medical team
I have been very blessed to have an amazing surgeon. He is an incredible doctor who has been a big blessing in my life and has encouraged me to practice mindfulness and work on reducing stress.
I am grateful for my friends that provided an amazing holistic health education.
I am grateful for my church friends who supported me in so many ways. I am so grateful for my dear friends who reminded me how strong I was and who prayed for me and my healing.
I am grateful for my book agent Julie who inspired me to write and share real life experiences.
I am grateful to my sons who are my rock and joy. They are my miracles. They are my true loves.
I am grateful to my parents from whom I have managed to hide the truth about the breast cancer diagnoses for many months and finally gave in and revealed the news. I am grateful they stayed calm.
I am grateful for this journey and for my life.
Are you grateful for your inner circle? Make sure to tell them today.
When you truly embrace your strength, find gratitude and self-love and surround yourself with loving and positive people, magic things can happen.
Tatyana Gann is a publicity strategist, mindset coach, writer, lifestyle advocate and breast cancer thriver. Her aim is to inspire women to tell their story to heal their mind and body. Tatyana resides in Nashville with her two sons. You can follow her on Instagram here.