The Boat…..

A ‘Body Stories’ workshop was recently held at the Centre, to support women in coping with the changes to their bodies that cancer and its’ treatment bring. The following story was used to illustrate some of the difficulties we face after cancer, using an analogy of a boat in a storm to represent what can happen to our body.

It was taken from:

The Cancer Survivor’s Companion: Practical ways to cope with your feelings after cancer  by Lucy Atkins,‎ Dr Frances Goodhart

‘For most of the time you sail along in your boat (body) weathering both the expected and unanticipated storms that occur in every life.  Then, all of a sudden and without warning, the most horrendous storm blows up – much worse than any you have experienced before and completely unexpectedly. Your boat (body) is tossed all over the place, you are lashed by rain and wind, the waves crash about you, their size obliterating the horizon and restricting your vision to the immediate surroundings. You fear for your life and desperately hope you won’t sink. 

 But, like treatment, the turmoil subsides and there is the beginning of the calm after the storm. You look around at your boat, battered and damaged though it is, and it is still afloat. There is a need to repair and mend those bits that have been broken or damaged. Some items may be lost, washed overboard and you will have to find ways of proceeding in spite of these losses.

 Once you have looked over the boat, you gingerly look out to sea. But instead of a clear blue ocean and cloudless sky you see little but mist and fog. Your sea charts have been lost in the storm. You are not really sure of your position, whether you are in the same place as before, pointing in the same direction. You may also wonder whether you want to go on along the same path as before. The sea, though calmer, is still unsettled and your world feels unstable under your feet. Thoughts of where to go, what next, how to get help assault you and add to your worry and uncertainty. You are not sure whether your boat is up to the task of keeping you going’.

This may be what it feels like for you after treatment and your body is altered. It can be upsetting, depressing, frustrating or irritating that your boat (body) now works or feels differently and looks changed. Still reeling from the physical, emotional and practical demands of treatment, you are left contemplating an uncertain and possibly frightening future. Dealing with a changed body can make the way forward seem all the more difficult.



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