When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, the first thing my then 8 year old daughter asked me was “Will we still get to go on our trip and have Christmas?” Knowing that our family vacation to Destin, Florida was just a week away, I had wondered about that too. I asked my cancer surgeon her thoughts. She immediately responded with “We always encourage our cancer patients to take the trip.” Relief flowed over me.
I was excited to reassure my daughter that yes, we would do both! Traditions and travel are often things we look forward to most, because they are a break from the day-to-day but also they are connectors. They are big relationship builders and memory makers. Maybe even a lifeline at times like this, when we are faced with unanswerable questions and deep worry.
I am happy to report that we took that trip and it was actually perfect timing, just what the doctor ordered (literally)! We came home ready to face surgery and chemo head on.
I realize it’s not always that simple. Sometimes the timing is not right. Advanced stages of cancer may need immediate attention, finances may be tight or other concerns could prevent travel. If that is the case, I’m sorry. That’s tough. I hope you have a chance to take the trip at a later date or find a way to make some time to connect in another meaningful way, “away from it all.” We need to give ourselves space to reconnect with peace.
What has been your experience? Have you taken a vacation after being diagnosed with cancer? Maybe it was a short break in the middle of chemo or a celebratory trip at the end of active treatment. I want to hear about ways you (and your family) were able to find solid ground and make happy memories during times of uncertainty.