Does Your Breast Cancer Experience Make You Want to Take More Vacations?

Beth Brophy Health Guide
  • Maybe it’s a result of being self-employed, maybe it’s a result of growing up on Long Island, and living within 20 minutes of a great beaches, but there’s something about the summer that makes me want to slack off and slow down, and go to the beach as often as possible. As the closest beach to where I now live is a good two and a half hour drive, and not among my favorite places, it takes some planning to get my beach time. This summer, as usual, I’m planning my entire work schedule around the beach--a few days at the Jersey shore last week, Martha’s Vineyard next week, topped off by a family trip to Greece later this month. Even for me, that’s a lot of beach.
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    In fact, some people, myself included, might be questioning my work ethic right about now. So whenever I start to feel guilty that I’m being a little self-indulgent, here’s how I rationalize it. I think back to the summer of hell 10 years ago. I finished breast cancer treatment in July, my hair was just starting to grow back a tiny bit but not enough so that I could abandon my itchy wig, and I was so emotionally fragile that just looking at the ocean, just about my favorite sight in the entire world, was enough to bring me to tears.

    I’ve come a long way since then, in terms of my health and my emotional outlook. And at the risk of sounding self-absorbed or selfish, here’s what I’ve learned: Our days on earth are limited, whether you’ve had cancer or not. So whenever you have the opportunity to stare at the blue ocean, or walk in the white sand, or skip work to head for the beach, take it. Life is uncertain, and who knows what can happen by next summer. Sure, other people may not agree with your choices. They may even judge you for being a slacker. Ignore them and head to the beach.

    Does your breast cancer experience make you want to take more vacations? Share your thoughts in the message boards.

Published On: July 12, 2006