Thursday 9 March 2017

Weekly Discussion Summary ~ To Plan or Not to Plan, That is the Question

This week, the topic for our discussion was 'Planning for the Future.'

Naz introduced this week's topic by explaining the cognitive processes involved in planning for the future - making predictions, being insightful, calculating the possibilities and probabilities of outcomes and managing reasonable goals within the time-frame we have in mind. Following a trauma such as cancer, these processes can be impaired as uncertainty dominates, making us apprehensive. 

Some of us described a reluctance to plan, often due to fatigue leading to a fear that plans will be cancelled, as we don't like letting others down. Fear and uncertainty about our health in the future leads many to look only to the short term, with many planning in small chunks around check-ups. We feel frustration that we can't do as much as we used to, but conversely many have stopped putting things off and are packing lots in to every day whilst also scheduling holidays, concerts, days out and family time. A few have embraced living in the now and retired, planned big holidays, moved house. Others feel life is passing them by. 

Some of us have always been planners, others more 'go with the flow'. All of us described feeling differently about our future after our diagnosis of breast cancer, although whether we have a primary or secondary breast cancer had significant implications. We wondered whether the key to future planning is to live for each day but look to tomorrow as well, to ensure that it is planned to an extent that provides us with the activities and lifestyle we really want. As one lady put it 'I have very little power over the future and all there is now.' 

But, Naz explained that while being in the ‘now’ is good, we are evolved to be goal oriented and to hope for a bright future, to have hopes, dreams, desires and objectives. Our tough challenge is to hold on to and strive towards our dreams whilst accepting that we have little control over the outcome, and, it is this acceptance that is so very hard for us all. 

If you are a woman living in the UK with a diagnosis of breast cancer and would like to join our private group please leave your name in the comments and we will message you with details.


A big thank you to Viv for generously allowing us to use this beautiful photo.

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