12/04/2012 12:19 EST | Updated 02/03/2013 05:12 EST

Inside the Mind of a Cancer Survivor

In this Monday, Oct. 10, 2011 photo, the box for a Sephora Collection Pink Eyelash Curler is displayed in Philadelphia. Advocates are asking whether breast cancer awareness has lost its focus, and become more about marketing than women’s health. Pinkwashing, a word coined by activists, is a practice being described as when a company or organization does a pink breast cancer promotion, but at the same time sells and profits from pink-theme products. But pink ribbon groups say such sales help to fund millions of dollars of research to find cures for the disease. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

When you are a cancer survivor, you are forever embracing uncertainty and, at times, strong emotions. This is quite normal, although, when alone with yourself, you may be doubting them. In fact, the longer you are a survivor, the more you may question these troubling thoughts. Your rational mind says you should be over thinking in that way by now.

But your heart says something different. Just because you are a five-year survivor, or a 10-year survivor for that matter, doesn't mean your mind is back to its old self. I don't want to scare you, but, it never will be. In most cases, it will be better.

So while going through treatment, or perhaps many years later, there are times we have many questions, and there are times we are afraid. We don't always want to burden our loved ones with this, as we sometimes think, whether with reason or being a slight bit paranoid, that they will get tired of hearing us talk about it. "Isn't it about time you started to put this behind you?," are the words we imagine they are thinking to themselves.

There are a multitude of resources available on the Internet. I have come across a variety of sites that encourage cancer survivors to open up and express their fears. There are also a number of blogs, such as mine, where survivors can put themselves in another's shoes and feel solace there.

Since I have had my double mastectomy, there have also been a number of community-based organizations that have opened and that cater to cancer patients, survivors and their families. The resources available now compared to five years ago is astonishing. One example is the Maplesoft Centre in Ottawa. I had the opportunity to meet Linda Eagen, President, and to visit this beautiful facility prior to my operation, and while I was still in Ottawa for work.

As soon as you walk in the door, you are wrapped in a blanket of peacefulness and tranquillity. They are warm and welcoming, really making you feel like you are a priority to them. I met with Heather, a cancer coach, who told me about the centre and the programs available for cancer patients and their families. Everything from Meditation classes, to laughing yoga. They have state of the art studios and kitchen to offer classes on healthy eating, rooms for massage and reiki, as well as an infra-red sauna.

As cancer patients and survivors, we are very fortunate to have such dedicated people working for us in such beautiful facilities. Never before have we been able to reveal our innermost feelings to a cancer coach who listens and helps us develop the cancer care that meets our personal needs. There are more people like Linda Eagen, who work tirelessly in order to better our lives and raise the funds necessary to keep these vibrant centres afloat, and to have more information and resources to lengthen our survivorship and quality of life.

And there are more and more of these centres opening across North America. Centres that better a community and brighten the worlds of those who live with cancer. We no longer have to worry about those feelings we have. There is so much out there that can be just what we need. Reach out to them. You will be so glad that you did.

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