What Happens Once I Finish Breast Cancer Treatment?

Uploaded by drjayharness on 31.10.2012

Jay K. Harness, MD: Often I tell patients ‘your treatment is going to be like running
a marathon’ and then when you are done with running a marathon, you kind of look around
and say ‘what’s next’.  Jean, you want to comment?
Jean Campbell:  Yes, I think that the hardest…I shouldn’t say the hardest but probably the
second hardest part after my first cancer was ‘where do I go from here’ because
it’s a life changing experience.  You have faced a life-threatening illness and so therefore
you are looking at the time following your breast cancer as a time to maybe do things
that have been left undone, dreams that you wanted to fulfill, a new job, college, a new
career, writing – whatever, and it’s all tied to giving yourself permission.
Permission now, to do something you’ve always wanted to do.  This is not a dress rehearsal
and this is what you are learning and so for me, I had this conversation with my son and
he said, “Well what are you going to do when you are new beginning?”  And I sort
of talked about some routine things and he said, “Mom”, he said, “You are not on
borrowed time; you are getting bonus time”, and he said, “Bonus time is time you do
not spend like regular time”, and that was like really it hit home and I…
Jay K. Harness, MD:  Very powerful. Jean Campbell:  And I thought okay, what
do I want to do with bonus time?  Well, I have written all my life but never for publication
so I am going to try and put myself out there and see if I can get published, and so I did,
okay?  And that was wonderful but I do think that transitioning is really a three-stage
process – it’s planning, it’s giving yourself permission and then it’s making
it happen. And the focus of my non-profit is to basically
help women get through…and men because there are men who get breast cancer, help them to
take that journey to use the time that they are sitting in chemo, the time that they are
feeling miserable, too miserable to go anywhere and think about what they are going to do
when it’s over.  Where are they going to go, and then to work on that permission piece
which is the hardest piece of all.  It’s giving yourself permission to reinvent yourself.
Mia Curtiss:  Well Jean, wouldn’t you agree that when you give yourself permission you
are going to…some people won’t be pleased with what you are doing along the way, and
I need you to, maybe you could Jean elaborate on that how these women, how we can empower
ourselves inspite of the others around us that are not supporting us or in agreement
with us. Todd Hartley:  It’s a great question.
Jay K. Harness, MD:  Yeah. Jean Campbell:  Well I think that everybody
wants the status quo.  Everybody wants it to go back to the way it was and you have
to be the person who realizes because you are the one who has gone through hell, okay,
that nothing will ever be just the way it was.  It can’t be, and that you are spinning
your wheels if you try to do that, and I think that you know, I sat down and I spoke to people
that were close to me and said, “Look this is…” and people thought I was crazy because
I had a really good career and I said, “This is an unfulfilled dream.  I’ve got to do
this”, and so I did it, but not everybody is going to be happy for you and not everybody
is going to be a cheerleader.  People want it the way it was because it was good for
them the way it was. Todd Hartley:  Right.
Jean Campbell:  And now you have to make it good for you.