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Looking Back, Looking Forward & Thinking “Small”

I promise this will be my last New Year’s themed post! It seems there’s always a few things a blogger, well this one anyway, feels the need to say as we usher in the New Year. It’s like wiping the old year blogging slate clean so I can move forward with a new slate. I admit even I’m getting tired of reading New Year’s this and New Year’s that, so I hope you’re feeling up to reading one more piece. 

Looking back…

2014 was mostly a decent year for me, though, of course it had challenges too. What year (especially post-cancer diagnosis) doesn’t, right? I’ve written about some of the challenges and will undoubtedly be writing more about some of them in 2015 because cancer’s collateral damage never is really over. However, any year remaining NED (no evidence of disease) is a very decent year indeed and I am soooo grateful.

On the writing side of things, a satisfying accomplishment for me was getting my book, Getting Past the Fear, into print and therefore more widely available to chemo newbies. I am beyond pleased to have it featured on and to have it for sale at reputable sites such as Cure Diva and Someone With. I fervently believe it belongs in every cancer center library, so many thanks to those of you have helped with this since day one. I was also thrilled to have had the opportunity to be a guest panel speaker at the Living Beyond Breast Cancer 2014 annual fall conference. I am grateful and honored to have been invited. Those were definitely two highlights of 2014 for me.

As far as blog posts go, one of my most read posts in 2014 was, Please Stop Calling Cancer a Gift. I decided this ‘cancer is a gift’ thing just might be my number one cancer language pet peeve, so having this post well received was gratifying. I’m sharing this with you because I feel so strongly about it, I am actually thinking about using it as part of my memoir title. But we’ll see…

Enough of looking back for now…

Looking forward…

2015 will be a ‘big’ year for me. Right off the bat a bit later this month, I have my six-month oncology check up ‘cuz who doesn’t like to start the New Year out with a visit with her oncologist? There’s also a bone density test scheduled again, because of that collateral damage I mentioned. But the ‘big’ stuff will include my five-year cancerversary, so you know there’s going to be stuff I need to say about that, although exactly what I have no idea. I keep waiting for that epiphany moment. There’s a major birthday on the horizon, I have solid intentions of finishing my memoir and I will be involved in a bloggers mentoring project, to name a few things. I will be sharing more about all of these things in the coming months and as always, will be looking for your input.

As you know by now, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions; but of course I have goals for 2015. I much prefer the idea of goal setting over resolution making and I also prefer to think of each day, not just each year, as a fresh start. Perhaps I have an accountability issue or something… But I’ll take my clean slate each and every morning.

Thinking small…

My advice regarding resolutions goals is to forget about thinking ‘big’; instead try thinking ‘small’.

Often times we get over ambitious in wanting to bring about sweeping change(s) to our lives and we forget small steps or small changes matter, too, and are generally way more manageable anyway. So try thinking ‘small’ instead. And be patient with yourself too. Making changes can be hard and making them happen or stick doesn’t magically occur over night for most of us. (A magic wand would be oh so nice though wouldn’t it?)

So instead of thinking big, try thinking small and being patient with yourself this year and see if you don’t have better success with accomplishing your goals. I’m going to give both a try. Really, I am.

What about you?

What tips do you have for making achievable goals?

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Beth L. Gainer

Friday 16th of January 2015

Hi Nancy,

I'm very proud of you for all your accomplishments, including your being on a panel at a conference and publishing/distributing your excellent book. I am looking forward to another great year of posts. You definitely have big things happening to you this year. Yes, the visit to the oncologist; what a way to begin a new year!

I like the "Stop Calling Cancer a Gift" as a possible title for a memoir! Yes, that's one of my many, many pet peeves.


Friday 16th of January 2015

Beth,'re sweet and such a wonderful supporter. Thank you very much. Onward into another year for us both...


Thursday 15th of January 2015

Dear nancy and fellow breast cancer survivors, This new year of 2015 is going by so fast again...we are at the halfway point already of January. How am I supporting my own health am I drinking enough water? Am I getting enough sleep? Am I eating quality well balanced meals? Am I getting enough physical exercise? Am I reducing the amount of stress that I am under? Having breast cancer two years ago is still impacting me greatly. 2013 and 2014 just flew by. I am living in bc and ac...before cancer and after cancer. I am trying to encourage myself and my loved ones. I am starting to think in terms of decades now what will the year 2020 bring. The end to breast cancer..... I hope. Do you remember all the hype about the year 2000? I can barely remember the year 2010. So we are halfway there again it now being 2015. What small changes can I make today to improve myself, my marriage, my families life, my health and my career? I want to have a sense of purpose that is fulfilling and motivating. Thank you as always for the reminder to be intentioned and conscientious. I enjoy participating on your blog.


Thursday 15th of January 2015

Diana, I do remember all that hype about 2000! You ask questions that we are probably all asking ourselves. And yes, living bc and ac , totally relate to that... Small changes do matter and I am going to keep reminding myself of that, too, this year. Thank you for sharing and I'm glad you are here participating. Best to you in 2015.

karen sutherland

Thursday 15th of January 2015

dear Nancy,

thank you for sharing your looking back on 2014. an honest and sincere desire to see what has or has not been accomplished is good fuel to spark intentions and be able to move forward in the direction we want to aim for. when I engaged in my own looking back, I was pretty down-hearted - 1) because I couldn't even remember my three words I thought I'd chosen to be guide posts and inspiration and 2) because as I read back through my journals and found the 3 words they hadn't proven to be what I needed, and just fell to the wayside. BLECH. those realizations put me in a pretty dark place for awhile, and they tugged at my brain and kept demanding to answer the "why" of it. now I know that I was in such pain, and when I chose those words I thought if I could truly live them they would help me move away from the pain and the darkness. but now I can see the truth of it, and I can forgive myself. not a bad lesson to learn to be more aware of how a spiral process of healing and trying to move forward can really mess up our minds; I now know that spiral often made me feel imprisoned in darkness, in isolation, and essentially wishing my "before" life could somehow be restored. I am astonished to have discovered how desperately faulty my feeling and thinking were at times, and led me not much beyond nowheresville. but here's the thing I noticed as I read each entry - I was able to find other words, other thoughts, other feelings to help adjust and do a little fine tuning, even without realizing it. and I could see the slow but sure blossoming of a much deeper desire to go on living, to embrace the darkness and see it as a returning to the womb, to be able to start fresh, and use isolation and loneliness as places to curl up into, places that allowed me to quiet my mind, nurture my entire being, to live in it, to own it, to name it. I wasn't failing as I thought I was, I was creating and establishing my own sanctuary, my soft place to land, my impetus to begin new segments in my journal called, "writing for my life" that capture the cruel and confusing demands grief imposes that challenge me to give voice to those lurking triggers I simply cannot name unless I write it all out. and I am proud of myself for not giving up, writing sometimes for hours, still not finding answers, then just giving it all time to bubble and brew and finally, finally finding all had been revealed.

words matter. I chose my words because they seemed noble, because I thought they could give me a "pass" from the anguish and confusion. now I know the sheer fool heartiness of my thinking and have been led to know how important it is to resist skirting the words that simply do not matter, to ones that are maybe not as glamorous, but ones that now are a lot more relevant to the truths of this path I am on. I'm so glad for what you have written in this post, and I hope others will also find it helpful and even a bit more comforting.

much love,

Karen OXO


Thursday 15th of January 2015

Karen, I am proud of you, too, for not giving up and continuing to write it all out. Thank goodness you have your journals. It is important to resist skirting the words (among other things) that are not as you said, glamorous. Truth telling, it always comes back to that. As usual, your insights are remarkable and so honest. Thank you for doing some reflecting and sharing some of your thoughts here with us on this post.

Rethink Street

Tuesday 13th of January 2015

I think that people get too disheatrened when they 'break' a new year's resolution. It doesn't matter. What matters is going through the process of thinking about the year just gone, the year ahead, and generally taking stock of one's life. It's good to make a plan for change, but all good plans bend and change, according to circumstances and other influences. Whatever the result of our new year's resolutions, something good usually comes of going through the process.


Wednesday 14th of January 2015

Rethink Street, Thank you for your very wise words. Everything is a process I guess. Setting goals and then reflecting, revising and even abandoning them - that's all part of it. And I agree, usually something good comes from going through it.

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