My cancer diagnosis began a whirlwind struggle. Word came in March, I had surgery in August, and I got the “all clear” from my doctor in September.
To keep my eye on the future during this time I began designing products for a company I wanted to create, which I was able to launch the same month I was deemed cancer-free. The whole process was a form of healing.
My daughter—the amazing, funny one-and-a-half-year-old that calls me Mumum—has been a constant motivator. It had always been my dream to work for myself, and I knew I wanted to show my daughter that dreams are more than wishes. I wanted to show her that with hard work you can make a dream a reality. I also knew I wanted to spend as much of my time with her as possible. My business, The Green Coconut, has allowed me to do that.
After the birth of my daughter, I had struggled through postpartum depression, which was inflamed by my cancer diagnosis and ensuing treatment. I had a small lump removed from my arm and was told it was nothing to worry about. Turns out, it was a malignant tumor. Imagine my shock as I sat with my two-month-old daughter at what I thought would be a routine lab result appointment.
Next came appointments with a plastic surgeon and an oncologist, and then I waited for surgery to remove the abscessed mastitis. With this waiting came late nights, so instead of staying in bed wide awake, I decided to turn to design. I needed a creative outlet to keep me (mostly) sane. It changed my focus. It allowed me to concentrate on developing products and starting a business. It enabled me to look forward to something.
Since that time, I had surgery, struggled with scars—which spawned a great new product idea—and received a clean bill of health from my oncologist.
The Green Coconut has been my way to heal, as well as a fun and challenging way to be at home with my daughter.
A Note from Dr. Shosh
— Health problems, especially potentially serious ones like cancer, are major stressors and automatically make us higher risk for postpartum depression and anxiety.
— Kara found a wonderful and creative outlet to help her through this period. It was a solution for spending more time with her daughter and tremendously therapeutic.
— This author has also found comfort in being creative. A few days after signing a book contract with New Harbinger to write Children of the Depressed, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The book was a welcome distraction and an escape from the reality of my medical condition. Similarly, decades ago, upon learning the intricacies of PPD, I launched support groups and focused on my new mission. This contributed greatly to my healing. You, too, may find an unexpected twist in your storyline to help you in the same way.
Photo by Anne Worner CC BY 2.0