“Turning Down the Volume”

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There are two types of advice.  There’s the bad advice I should NEVER have listened to like when the artist at the MAC counter highly suggested penciling in my eyebrows for dramatic effect.  In all honesty, I’ve seen clowns and drag queens with better faux brows, not to mention the makeover made my 4-year old daughter grimace with understandable fear in her eyes. It was not a good look ladies!  When the realization sets in I’ve succumbed to bad advice, “Cookie Fierce”, my cancer fighting alter ego wants to fire back with a snarky ‘If I want your advice, I’ll give it to you!’.

The second type of advice is good advice.   Five years ago I was fortunate to meet a wise woman who imparted some sage wisdom upon me when it came to ordering the important things in life.  She gave me a list that read: “GOD, Health, Family, Vacation, Work and in that order.”    Over the years I’ve grown to appreciate this list and realize anything outside of it cannot be made a priority. For me, GOD is not confined within 4 walls on Sundays.  If I neglect my health, my family will be the ones who ultimately suffer.  There are two types of family-the ones we are born into and the friends we love deeply who become our family. A “staycation” is just as relaxing as a vacation so long as the margaritas are always flowing.  And finally, work at what I love.

As I travel this survivorship road, what I’m discovering is that the roots of bad advice originate from another person’s experiences, limitations, deepest desires, fears or possibly even jealousy.  Rather than setting “Cookie Fierce” loose, to seperate the good from the bad, I’ve learned to “turn the volume down” and turn my inner guiding voice up.  I am fortunate to have a close set of trusty personal advisers, so I must remember not to turn my own inner volume up so loud that I drown out valuable good advice.   For some people the “inner voice” is an internal sensing that danger is near or something (or someone) isn’t good for us.  For me, it’s a whisper that tells me what to do at just the right moment directing my steps.  I’m so glad for the inner voice speaking to me in 2012, when a specialists gave me the option of taking a 6-month wait & see approach about the 3 lumps in my breast.  In this moment it was time to “turn down the volume” to  hear the still small whisper telling me to choose an immediate breast biopsy.  I chose the immediate biopsy and let’s just say… the rest of the story went down in breast cancer history.  Discovering my own inner voice is empowering me with courage to walk this survivorship journey on my own terms; to freely live a life wide open without regret.  So moving forward if I decline bad advice it’s purely because I’m turning the outside volume to mute for my own well-being and self-preservation.

So tell me what types of advice did you receive and what were some of the lessons from your inner voice as you walk through your breast cancer journey?  Feel free to leave me a comment below.

With Love,

Tonya

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6 thoughts on ““Turning Down the Volume”

  1. Tonya, an excellent message. You succeeded in simplifying what can be a complicated message for many. My favorite passage: “Discovering my own inner voice is empowering me with courage to walk this survivorship journey on my own terms to freely live a life wide open and without regret.”

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  2. Some good advice that my therapist gave me that I’ve really adopted is there is no should only I choose. For example I felt a lot of pressure and anxiety about not doing all our normal family stuff when I was treatment and even now. Instead of telling myself ‘I should be doing _____.’ Instead I tell myself ‘I choose to ____’.
    I also knew something was wrong when I found my lump even though I was breastfeeding. We had just moved and I didn’t even have a doctor. I called the local hospital and talked to the lactation consultant and she told me to go to the ER because an urgent care wouldn’t have an ultrasound to look at it. Luckily I didn’t brush it off even though it seemed overkill to go to the ER. The rest is cancer history like you said.

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    1. Cali, thank you so much for sharing. I too discovered the lump while breastfeeding. So many doctors were willing to dismiss it as lactation related. I am so glad to hear that you followed your “inner voice” to make a decision that you felt comfortable with above all else. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Hi Tonya. I listened to my inner voice. Or Discerning spirit. I am a true beliver in God. On one Sunday, as I was getting ready to march up the Isle with my choir, I told one of the older church woman that I discovered a lump in my breast. She responded with” Stop all that negative talk.” It’s nothing. You better stop talking like that! Well. I know God don’t want us to be ignorant. He gave the knowledge to Dr’s to help us here. Well I went to the Dr regarding the lump, and the rest is triple negative cancer stage history… Thank God that was a year and 6 months ago. I’m just finishing treatment in September.

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    1. All too often the practical applications of spiritual life are lost in translation. Your comment is an excellent way of explaining how to apply the foundation of spiritual principles in our every day life. I love how you said “God don’t want us to be ignorant…” and you quickly cast down the outside volume to hear your inner discerning spirit speaking quite clearly. I am so glad that you did and congratulations on completing treatment.

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