A woman peacefully lies in a hammock in a serene nature setting while reading a book

Getting Back To Myself... Or Am I?

When I was diagnosed with dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP) in February 2021, it changed my life completely, particularly my perspective on life.

DFSP surgery and how my life changed

For one, after my initial biopsy, I was told I could not exercise for 2 weeks. Once I had my first surgery, I could not exercise for 2 more weeks until the sutures were removed. After my second surgery, I was not cleared to exercise for an additional 3 weeks after my staples were removed. Once I was finally able to exercise again, I had no desire to exercise, mostly because I did not have the energy or motivation. I also did not want to because I knew I could not immediately jump back into the level of activity I did prior to my surgery, and I figured it would not be worth it if I could not do that.

Finally back in the swing of it

For the past few weeks, I finally got back into a realistic exercising routine, but it's definitely not at the level that I used to be at when I was exercising two hours daily, five days each week. I decided that it is perfectly fine to take it easy on myself.

It's all about the goal

If my goal is to reduce my risk of developing preventable diseases and to physically keep up with my children, the exercise that I do is more than enough. I had to stop comparing myself to other people who had much more time than I had, fewer responsibilities, and were chasing the desire to “look good”. I looked good to myself, and that should have been all that mattered. I had to learn how to lower my expectations of myself.

A new outlook

Since I have gone through the journey of my DFSP diagnosis, two DFSP surgical treatments, and my recovery, I now have a new outlook on life, and I no longer need to “get back to myself” or “go hard”. I do not feel like my former self, and I have finally allowed myself the freedom to not have to return to her.

Saying goodbye to expectations

Besides letting go of unrealistic fitness goals, I give myself fewer tasks to do on a daily basis. I also give myself grace if I do not accomplish everything on my to-do lists, and I force myself to sit down and take a nap when I am cranky (if I have the time, of course). In other words, I don’t take life so seriously.

Giving myself some wiggle room

My entire childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood, I took life so seriously by creating goals, sticking to plans, and never allowing myself to make mistakes. I can honestly say I did not enjoy life because it was so hard to live! After having DFSP, which is such a rare cancer, I have decided that life is about living, thriving, and enjoying. I plan to enjoy every minute of it for the rest of my life. I plan to treat each day as an adventure, and I plan to make sure I do something that makes me happy each day!

How do your goals and expectations affect your mood and outlook on life? Share with us in the comments!

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