Milestones are usually reserved to mark achievements: a significant birthday, a particular anniversary, something you’ve accomplished at work…

But a milestone in cancer treatment is HUGE! Much bigger than people give them credit for. I would set events or activities I knew I wanted to do at the end of my treatments. When I got through a particular treatment, I would treat myself to something: a symphony, a massage, a camping trip…

It’s my opinion that milestones can actually help you get through treatment in a number of significant ways:

1. Milestones give you something to look forward to.

Cancer treatments are rough! They take your time, your energy, sometimes your hope. Having something exciting in your life gives you something to look forward to. It encourages your spirit. For example, after my chemo was done I was planning on going camping. Knowing that trip was coming up didn’t make the treatments any better, but it made my resolve to get through them steadfast. I looked forward to going, so I wasn’t going to let anything stand in my way. Find something that encourages your fighting spirit to rise up!

2. Milestones are mini celebrations of your victories!

You’re fighting cancer for crying out loud! Each time you get through a portion of your treatment, CELEBRATE!!! You made it through! And it feels good to celebrate something when you’re surrounded by not-so-good circumstances. It makes you happy, it makes you feel good, it’s downright encouraging!

3. Milestones give you HOPE for the future.

Not everyone going through treatment, or even caregivers helping those going through treatment, can stay positive all the time. Sometimes, the reality of your situation hits you hard, and you feel like you can’t breathe. That’s when it becomes more important than ever to focus on the future!

Allow yourself to plan for the future, to hope for things in the future. I heard a quote recently from a movie about a boy with lymphoma. He wanted to marry his high-school sweetheart, but didn’t know if he should because he didn’t know how much time he had left to give her. Another cancer patient finally told him, “Until you die, you LIVE.” It greatly impacted me, and I’ve kept telling myself that during my cancer treatments. Cancer takes enough from you; don’t give it any more power! Fight for those things you love to do; those things you WANT to do.

With that, here are some ideas for mini celebrations:

  • camping trip
  • hike
  • marathon (if you’re into that kind of thing, power to you!)
  • visit family
  • vacation
  • road trip
  • spa day (yes please!)
  • a class in something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t
  • a new wardrobe
  • a stupid expensive purchase, “just because”
  • any kind of activity or event that makes you smile

What are some other ways you’ve thought of to celebrate the end of cancer treatments?

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