Change: An Uncomfortable Yet Vital Part of Recovery

You Can!

Winter finally feels like it is coming to an end, and with this change of season comes an opportunity to think critically about change itself. As we confront life’s challenges, change is not always comfortable, but it is often necessary. This is particularly true when confronted with a breast cancer diagnosis or a risk-increasing gene mutation.

I recently came across a few resonant words on change from Austrian Holocaust survivor, neurologist, psychiatrist, philosopher, and author Dr. Viktor Frankl.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Dr. Frankl truly understood the need for change and adaptation for survival. His words offer a way of transcending suffering and finding substance and meaning in the art of living. I see this outlook reflected in my patients every day.

A breast cancer diagnosis or genetic mutation is life-altering. Change is an essential component of the journey through treatment as you reconcile its dramatic impact on your life. It can be extremely overwhelming. It is a situation you cannot change. However, as Dr. Frankl points out, it also affords an opportunity to change your life in broader, positive ways. 

Many of the incredible women and men with whom I have had the privilege of working take advantage of that opportunity. These patients use their diagnosis and the changes it forces to reassess how they led their lives before diagnosis and consider how they might alter their behavior to create better lives for themselves moving forward. They choose to find power, growth, and freedom through the difficulties they face. They free themselves to grow alongside the fear that change brings, affirming their ability to adapt even under duress. They choose to evolve, and I strongly believe that continued evolution is at the core of our existence.

Stay tuned for my next post on how to manage that evolution and the ripple of changes it brings to your life and your relationships with the people around you.

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