10 months ago I was in the emergency room for back pain and a bloated abdomen.

After a routine CT and blood work I received the news.

“You have cancer.”

“What! How can this be? I do everything right. I eat clean. I exercise. I meditate. Why me?”

As the doctor left and the nurse entered, keeping her distance from me, repeating “I am so sorry, I am so sorry.” I could feel her disbelief.

My first thought: “My children are going to grow up without a mother. The ultimate human fear was placed on a platter in front of me.”

It was tempting to take a bite from that platter. To hold on to it for dear life.

This is when it all shifted for me.

As my husband and I walked out of the ER that night, it was dark and raining.

I stopped in the middle of the parking lot. Tilted my head up and felt the rain wash away my tears. I enjoyed the rain for the first time. I really felt it. I listened softly.



I let go.

I let go of my need to know the end result.

I focused my attention on what I could control.

You see there is a space within all of us that has great wisdom.

It’s beyond the fear. Beyond the daily tasks. It’s a space of love and forgiveness.

It’s there, we’ve just forgotten about it. We’ve busied ourselves to unconsciously avoid it.

Cancer stretched me beyond what I never thought was possible for myself.

It brought me back to my breath.

The breath that allowed me to cleanse my body.

You have control.

Over the actions you take.

The education you fill your mind with.

The people you surround yourself with.

The love you give yourself.

The love you give your children.

You have control.

That night 10 months ago, I chose to feel the rain. To surrender to the bigger picture. Something beyond myself. To feel what was rushing through my body.

You have control.

With every conscious breath you take, you are saying, “I choose to live” so why not live with love in your heart. A smile on your face and adventurous memories in your back pocket.

Taking control can feel impossible when life slaps you with an unexpected turn, but in those moments of resistance and struggle there are a few things you can do to help you bounce back and clear some of the fog.

Breathe: Meditation has kept me sane for many years. Taking conscious inhales and exhales can drastically change how you feel within seconds. Daily meditation will allow you to get focused and use the energy you have wisely.

Create your day around how you want to feel: I wanted to feel healthy, alive and happy so I made sure that every activity I did revolved around my core desired feelings.

  1. Eating healthy foods that made me feel clean and alive.
  2. Smiling and saying hello to everyone I came in contact with at the Cancer clinic.
  3. Walking in nature.
  4. Getting dressed everyday and out of the house (if possible).

Stay connected: It’s so easy to want to hide. Climb into bed and shut down. Staying connected is so important to maintaining a sense of purpose and allows you to keep your head above water.

Some examples of staying connected are:

  1. Call a good friend each day (or that one friend you can depend on).
  2. Get out of the house daily (even if it’s a 10 minute walk).
  3. Listen to music that moves you.
  4. Free flow writing. Put your thoughts on paper, it helps.

Cancer has left but this journey is not over. It’s just begun and wherever it leads, I will stop, breath and listen.

Feel the rain and let it wash away the fear. You are in control. @heatherchauvin (Click to Tweet!)

Much love,

Heather Chauvin

Heather ChauvinHeather Chauvin BSW is a children’s mental health advocate. Helping women, drop the guilt and reconnect with their children through conscious living. Say hello on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Image courtesy of martinak15.

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  • Jeanne Amadon says:

    I read your story with tears in my eyes I could have written it and have lived it. As a social worker we are the caregivers and sometimes resent the need for the reciprocity of help. My chemo ended August 31st. I never once thought i would die from this disease and always remained happily grateful that this was found in time. The side effects of this journey presented themselves at the end of the cycle. I smile and remain positive and walk each day knowing that these remains of the process will leave. My support system has been incredible and loving throughout.

  • RW Sieber says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, there is so much wisdom in your words. It all applies to Grieving, too. I lost my husband of 25 years to cancer 4 years ago. We went on a cancer journey together, then he passed. My life changed completely. There was the temptation to feel like a ‘victim’ but that seemed like a ‘surrender’ to cancer and I fought to not be taken down by grief. My favorite quote from your article is “Cancer stretched me beyond what I never thought was possible for myself.” Bless you for staying on your journey ‘wherever it leads’. You inspire me!

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