Bill Walton – Time for Self

Mar 19, 2024 | Warrior Testimonials | 0 comments

Once you have been diagnosed and treated for a cancer, any cancer, you do not forget it. Your life changes. Your priorities change. And, the lives of your family and friends change.

I am an eight-year male breast cancer survivor, and although I am now 85, I am aware of having had the cancer and the possibility of a recurrence. Fortunately for me, I had and have a very strong support group – The Warriors of Hope Breast Cancer Survivors Dragon Boat Racing Team. I did not pick them, they recruited me, not because of my past association with the team – my wife was also a BCS, one of the original Warriors – but because they saw me as a survivor.

One of the things we Warriors often find when trying to recruit a recent BCS to the paddling team is the comment that the person does not have time to attend practices and festivals – precious time needed for their family, especially a family with young children. One of our suggestions is that you must also make time for yourself. If you are going to be around, mentally and physically, for your family, especially the children, you must be strong enough to be there, supporting and loving them.

Joining a support group for a couple of hours a week can recharge your internal batteries, foster the feeling that you are not alone or unique in having a cancer, but that you are unique to your family and loved ones, and you are determined to be there for them.

Warriors on Dragonboat

A support group may be specific to a type of cancer, like the Warriors of Hope, or it can be a more general group, like a church or social club. It can be part of your life practices such as attending fundraisers like the Terry Fox run, the Run for the Cure, The Relay, Hospital runs, or events held in memory of people who have fought the fight against a cancer. The important thing is that you are committing yourself to improving not only the lives of others, but giving meaning to your own life.

Certainly, use the medical assistance your health professional recommends (they are your supporters too), but make time for yourself. Your loved ones need you as much as you need them. Use that precious time to recover and carry on, both physically and mentally. When the Warriors are paddling, we say ‘Sit up. Paddles up. Take it away!’ which gets the boat underway, but it can also be us talking about our approach to the encounter with cancer as we take an hour for ourselves – and our supporters.

If you are a cancer survivor, please make time for your own health and well-being. And, feel free to share the Warriors of Hope’s four big Cs: Camaraderie, Commitment, Courage, and Compassion – they are wonderful companions!

Bill Walton