How Alexa's colon cancer recovery impacted her mental health

Contributed by Alexa Morell

It seems like yesterday that we were living the dream. 

I felt so lucky to have a beautiful family and home, a successful career, and felt and looked so healthy. And then it all came crashing down when we found out that not only did I have cancer, but that I was considered stage IV. 

I am typically a pretty optimistic person and always try to push forward. Even throughout my traumatic colon cancer journey, it wasn’t until a year later that my depression and anxiety hit me like a ton of bricks. When you’re going from treatment to treatment, there isn’t really time to focus on your mental health. I was so laser-focused on sticking to the plan and trying to stay positive throughout the whole thing. 

I didn't really fall apart until after I went into remission. Oddly enough, I found comfort in active treatments and frequent checkups. When I didn’t have those anymore, I was just constantly worried about the cancer coming back. It’s like a delayed reaction. Once things started to settle down into more of a waiting game, all the thoughts from the past, however long it's been, came to the surface. That is when I knew I needed to do more for myself.

Between my anxiety medication, yoga, meditation, and various types of therapy, I am now feeling more like myself again. I speak to a therapist biweekly, I attend a young adult cancer support group, go to music therapy, and just started a mindfulness meditation series. My sessions are virtual right now, and though I wish it were in-person, you can still get excellent treatments and talk therapies over a video call.

I’ve also found many friendly online Facebook communities, like Blue Hope Nation and Colontown. The support found in these groups makes me feel so much less lonely. They’re always cheering me on! 

But it’s just as important to focus on your physical health as your mental health.  

I got my Peloton last year, and it has been so therapeutic for me both physically and mentally. There are so many different types of low-impact workouts that are perfect for recovery after treatments. The great thing is that you can do whatever you feel comfortable with. I usually do the 20-30 minute classes. Another great aspect is the Peloton Facebook community called Peloton Cancer Warriors that is full of those impacted by cancer and wants support during the Peloton classes. If you are interested in riding with me, my leaderboard is “MamaMorell.”

I truly believe that staying positive, having a strong faith, and keeping some sense of normalcy have saved me. I’ve documented my entire battle on Instagram and Facebook in hopes that my words can help even just a few people who are going through something similar. I am forever inspired by all of the CRC fighters I continue to meet along the way. Please know that I pray for all of us battling this horrible disease. I hope we can see a cure in our lifetimes!

Alexa Morell is a 30-year-old wife, toddler mom, saleswoman, and stage IV young-onset CRC fighter/advocate. You can follow her on Instagram here



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