Fear, uncertainty, relief, reprieve and human resilience – these are all part of going through a health scare. And regardless of the outcome, such scares can become personal milestones, we want to mark and celebrate. But how?
“That deserves a very special treat!” my friend said, after my tests came back clear. It had been a very frightening time.
If you have ever experienced a health scare
You may know that awful feeling of being between reality and fear. Reality and all the horrible possibilities which can throw our life into new and unchartered territory. Nothing may be the same ever again.
A health scare can stand between life and death.
Treats to mark and celebrate when a health scare has turned out to be “nothing to worry about” or something that can be “fixed” are an opportunity not to be missed.
It feels good when
- something goes well, against the odds;
- you can step up and go the extra mile;
- luck or chance are on your side.
It feels special and you want to mark that achievement or moment in your life by ‘treating’ yourself. And why not?
But not everyone agrees with the idea of treats, for themselves or for others. Some may regard it as frivolous.
A treat can be anything
From the every day to the not so every day.
A treat can be an excuse to have a bit of something, which we know may not be good for us.
Mostly we treat ourselves with something special and something rare.
My last health scare got me thinking
I had noticed a change in my body and I was scared. Thankfully, the tests showed something minor, that can be fixed. It was not the recurrence of my cancer that I had feared (and continue to think about every day).
It was one of those moments in my life, a big relief, a big reprieve which was screaming out for a treat.
Just like I had marked other health milestones:
- A rescue dog after my cancer diagnosis: I needed hope, and I think we have rescued each other.
- A pair of earrings after my first chemo: The colour matching the headscarf I wore after I had my hair shaven off.
- A dress for the first anniversary of my diagnosis: A style I had loved in my teens.
These treats stood for attitude; they fulfilled an emotional need; they gave me strength and fueled my self-belief and dignity.
It is what we need to be able to live in peace.
This time around when I reached deep into my heart
What treat is appropriate? What do I really need? The answer was different.
What I needed was not something I can buy, but something that is generated from within me. The closest I can describe it as, is a treat that is soul-ful and inspirational.
The treat was to give myself permission for transition and change. No purchase can ever match that feeling.
Going through the tests, feeling the fear, allowing it and coping with it – that felt like a new stage of personal growth. And I am grateful for that.
Looking back, I had connected with that transition well before I was given the ‘good news’ by the medics, and before the final test had even taken place.
I remember the moment on the hospital trolley waiting to be rolled into theatre.
I had felt then that I had changed and moved on, whatever the outcome. And I felt calm.
After that health scare the treat for me was to start making changes in my life now and not to delay. Who knows when the next health scare is around the corner.
Acting on the knowledge that something had shifted inside became a necessity. It was non-negotiable. It was organic and it felt right.
My treat to myself was the acceptance of an emerging desire, that I want more in life, while I have the life, and I am well enough to make it happen.
A health scare can be an important moment of transition.
Giving ourself permission to grow and change, that is a unique and priceless opportunity, we need to value and treasure.
Remember: Nobody will come knocking on your door or my door with an invitation to ‘think big … aim high … move on’.
Change brings uncertainty – yes, it does. And change can be frightening.
A little treat like earrings or an outfit doesn’t change the world we are used to.
A soulful treat may lead us to make new choices. It may lead to uncomfortable moments, which can be part of change. Who knows.
Needless to say, you do not need to go through a major health scare to deserve a treat and to make change happen, now.
You can start a new piece of your future now. The time will be right, when you feel ready.
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Need some advice? Submit your question to my #DearKarin advice column here. Karin Sieger BA (Hons), MA (PsychCouns), Reg. MBACP (Accred) is a therapist and writer. All rights reserved © Karin Sieger. Neither articles nor videos substitute medical advice or therapy.