Bouncing forward - can we do this?

There is this expectation that after treatment, we will bounce back and be our old selves again.  Of course, anyone who has been affected by cancer or knows someone who has been affected, realises it's not that easy.  There is a lot of emphasis on learning to accept the "new me". 

Tiffiny Hall, personal trainer, ex-Biggest Loser trainer, has come up with this concept of bouncing forward.  She has related it to pregnancy and accepting that her body after childbirth will never be the same.  So instead of pressuring herself to "bounce back" and have the same body she did before pregnancy, she advocates bouncing forward and accepting her new body and becoming the best "new me" that she can.  Obviously, she was super fit before pregnancy and will always look 100 times better than the average person. 

However, I was wondering if it was an idea we could adopt or adapt to cancer survivors?  Can we bounce forward and move into the space of acceptance of our new way of living?  Can we find a similar phrase to "bounce forward" that has more meaning to survivors?

Let's get creative :)


  • Keeping_positive1
    Keeping_positive1 Member Posts: 554
    I am all ears :)

  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,328
    It’s worth considering that we only live forward, not backwards. We can’t genuinely put ourselves back in time about anything. We may talk about feeling ‘just like we used to’ but time has passed, our hair is a little longer or greyer, we have learned a little more maybe, there is still change. For those who have really difficult side effects, or recurrence, or utterly changed life expectations, the wish to be back as you were is totally understandable. But for those with a renewed hope of a future, walking briskly, even plodding, to a new sense of who we are may be more realistic than ‘bouncing’. Either way, as one who has found my life post cancer (which just might never have happened) to be fulfilling and full of new and quite spectacularly good things, it may be worth the journey. 
  • Cath62
    Cath62 Member Posts: 1,241
    Hi @KarynJ , I totally get you suggesting something other than accepting the new normal. I dislike that expression as it sounds like defeat to me, giving up to some lesser something.

    Some people do recover to a fit and healthy state but I doubt it's the norm. The fact is much of the treatment does impact us in so many ways. For me I do exercise etc but I battle fatigue alot. That may be my 'new normal' but I perfer to think of my survival as an awakening and an opportunity for growth. I am what I consider a very spiritual person and breast cancer did give me some new learnings and new life which I am eternally grateful for. I am not bouncing but I am happy, fulfilled and sometimes pushing to get to the end of the day. 

    To me there is no normal. What is normal, it is different for everyone and maybe we just need to say life may be different post breast cancer without suggesting there's a 'new normal'. 
  • FLClover
    FLClover Member Posts: 1,513
    I love Tiffany Hall. Have been following her for a few years now. I’m not fit and healthy like her, but I love her whole attitude and how realistic she is. I like this idea of yours. I don’t have any suggestions right now and have to read the message again when I’m less tired 😆, but I like what I skimmed through 😊. 
  • KarynJ
    KarynJ Member Posts: 193
    Thanks everyone for your thoughtful comments.  I started thinking about this after the webinar on managing cognitive changes.  A few people were commenting that they get remarks from people (colleagues, friends, acquaintances) like, "oh you look well, you must be back to normal now" or "you don't look sick" or "looks like you're no longer worried about stuff".

    I guess I wanted to be able to find something to say to these kinds of well-meaning comments.  "Thanks for your compliment.  Yes, I feel I have been resilient and I am now <insert phrase here> in a life that is different and still has some challenges.  Although I look better, I still have difficulties with xyz."

    I suppose the word bouncing does have positive connotations but have you ever dropped a bowling ball and seen that bounce compared to a little ping pong ball zinging around? There's quite a difference.

    Like @Cath62 said, some people feel the phrase "new normal" is like resignation to something that is unchangeable and you just have to put up with it.  I guess I wanted people to feel like maybe there is one little positive to think about. 

    If you've ever looked into Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), there's a lot of focus on radical acceptance and what that does and doesn't mean.  Radical acceptance is accepting your situation right now.  You don't have to like it, you can hate it, be frustrated by it, but you understand it is what it is.  But it's not resignation, it's not defeatism and saying, well that's it.  Nothing I can do about it now, just resign myself to my fate.  And once you accept your situation, you can then look at what can be done to change it.  Maybe I'll go for a 5 minute walk today?  And tomorrow, your radical acceptance will be of a life that consisted of a 5 minute walk that wasn't there 2 days ago.  Anyway, that's too complicated for me to explain properly.  If anyone is interested, a book called The Happiness Trap by Russell Harris is an easy to read overview of ACT.

    Everyone is different after diagnosis and treatment.  And yes, it's a hard slog for most people with awful life changes and terrible side effects and consequences.  And then there are people like @Afraser who bulldoze their way through the process and don't let anything stop them.

    I had the luxury of being able to take time off work and use income protection insurance to help with covering daily expenses.  I used AIs for about 18 months and had to give them up because I just couldn't handle the side effects.  I wasn't strong enough to battle through for 10 years  like most people on this board.  And now my life is a lot like it was before bc - wake up, go to work, come home, watch TV, go to bed.  I just have a couple more scars to add to my existing collection and radiation tattoos as decoration.  I feel like my body is a Snakes and Ladders board :smile:  Find a scar, go back 3 places.

    So if the phrase bouncing forward isn't right and some people don't like the new normal, is there something else we can say?
  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,328
    Good heavens, I feel a bit like Scott Morrison - a bulldozer! I don’t think I did bulldoze my way through but your comments on accepting what is ring very true for me. My experience was a great deal better than others - my side effects were physical not emotional
    and also manageable. It makes a difference. I could accept I had cancer and lost a breast - maybe not an arm or a leg. I did as asked by my medicos but am happy that I’ll pack in Femara in almost exactly 356 days (count them down)! For me, the critical thing was a much better acceptance of mortality. And with it, a heightened appreciation of being alive. It’s stood me in good stead during Covid. 
  • Keeping_positive1
    Keeping_positive1 Member Posts: 554
    Waltzing along?   :smile::smile::smile:   Plodding along?

    I know people want to hear "I am on top of the world", but for many of us that may not be the case.  After I got diagnosed and whilst still having active treatment I had to have my gallbladder removed, then came a diagnosis of hypothyroidism, then painful knee joints revealed severe osteoarthritis and awaiting knee replacements, then a month before we went into lockdown I had shingles. On top of that, blood test results last week revealed I have very low iron levels, and about to have more investigative tests for that this coming week!  Wish me luck!  

    There is no bouncing nor jumping going on for me at the moment.  Acceptance is a good attitude to have and I have that in bucket loads, but my body certainly hasn't bounced back.  I can't even use a skipping rope these days as it puts a strain on my bladder!!!! :blush:

  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,328

    Keeping almost anything under that onslaught is pretty miraculous! Very best of luck for your tests, hope there is no more and that you see and feel improvements as soon as possible! 
  • June1952
    June1952 Member Posts: 1,808
    Let a young personal trainer have cancer instead of a baby and see if she can really 'bounce forward' - what a load of crap !  🤣🤣🤣
  • Keeping_positive1
    Keeping_positive1 Member Posts: 554
    A baby isn't a tumor either! 
    So much money is parted by women these days to give to the personal trainers, the manicurist, and the pedicurists, the house cleaners and the list goes on and on.  Dare I say, my personal training consisted of giving my child piggy back rides, pushing swings, going down slides, whizzy spins, aeroplanes, skipping alongside my child, playing sticks, rounders, riding a bicycle, hide and seek, pushing a heavy vacuum cleaner, hand washing floors, washing the car, and the list goes on.  I still to this day clean my own house, and that is my "gym workout" :)

    @Afraser thank you, and I hope to get this sorted soon, so I can "trot forward"

    @KarynJ it would be good if we could find our own phrase I agree.  
  • Keeping_positive1
    Keeping_positive1 Member Posts: 554
    @June1952 apples and oranges! I agree.
  • KarynJ
    KarynJ Member Posts: 193
    OK, let me be very clear here.  Tiffiny Hall did NOT ever compare cancer to pregnancy.  She NEVER said anything of the sort so do not make assumptions and put words in her mouth.  Her idea of bouncing forward was only ever in relation to HER pregnancy, HER circumstances and HER life.  She NOT ONCE mentioned cancer.  Alright??

    The reason I mentioned her in the first post was because it was on her Instagram that I saw her speaking about this concept of not being able to go backwards and instead embracing moving forwards into a new way of life post PREGNANCY!!

    I wanted to be fair and give credit for where I saw this phrase "bouncing forward".  I did not want to claim it as my idea.  All I was trying to do was create some conversation about how people could think about life post diagnosis and post treatment.  I never said it wasn't hard, or awful or there was a huge amount of suffering.

    I wasn't trying to be facetious in using the term "bouncing".  I was hoping to have some ideas around a new phrase that some of us could get behind if we didn't like the phrase "new normal".  Bouncing was just the best I could come up with at the time.

    Maybe eking along would suit you better???

    And @Afraser - my apologies!  In no way did I ever want to compare you to ScoMo!! God forbid!  It just to me seems like you were able to take everything in your stride, head down, bum up and push through all the bad and get to finding some good.  I think that's truly admirable.
  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,328
    Absolutely no offence taken! I actually rather like eking along!