So maybe seeing the two words #cancer and blessing in the same sentence is quite strange for you, it isn’t for me.
Rewind back to over a year ago when I was officially diagnosed with breast cancer, DCSI (Ductal Carcinoma InSitu) localised cancer which was non-invasive. It was also covered all over in calcium so radio or chemo therapy would not be able to reduce its size.
Of all the breast cancers to have DCSI is the most beatable- first blessing. Second blessing- calcium encrusted tumour, not having to endure radio or chemo therapy.
I took the news as no real surprise as the lump was not small, I had been in denial for quite some time. I have to mention, that 10 years earlier I had watched my own mother die of advanced breast cancer. So for me, cancer was not a total unknown. And my upbringing had taught me to look at cancer with less fear than perhaps some others. I believe cancer is the body’s way of saying, that you need to change your way of living, it’s a red flag to change your way of dealing with things, I tended to not show my true feelings, and bottled some in- not all of them. I was also known to be a bit of a “stress head” to my close friends.
The largest blessing for me was the connection and commitment I made to myself. Knowing I had cancer shifted my perspective to look inwards towards myself and what I needed to change within me. Growing up believing that disease is created through stresses on your body, environmental, emotional, physical, I wanted to review my lifestyle and choices I had been making. I cut out sugar, coffee and alcohol for a whole 8 months before surgery. I increased my exercise regime from nothing to 2x a week of 6km walk and 2hr yoga weekly. I began some mindfulness practices on a more regular basis. And I changed my attitude towards myself, I began to soften and love and nurture myself more. Being a mother and a wife, I tended to put the needs of my family before myself.
I have since become less push push through things and more allowing the ease of living. Not to get caught up in time pressures, instead, relaxing into what the day brings and produces.
I started dance class and joined a choir, all things that I was passionate about- expressing myself creatively. And I felt amazing and healthier than ever before, ironically still with cancer in my body.
I ended up having a #mastectomy and another blessing was, that my breast size isn’t that large and so adjusting to the new look was not such a big deal. My husband actually had a great deal to do with me accepting my scar, as he dressed my wound for up to 7 weeks after, I had a slight wound implication. The final blessing, is, it brought my husband closer together. We already had a close bond and yet the whole cancer healing journey brought us to another level of intimacy.
Having cancer, showed me the importance of mindset and how your attitude infiltrates your whole life and how you live it. I was actually ashamed of being another one of those “cancer” people and had difficulty in telling people in the beginning. Once I realised I had some shame attached to it, I opened up and told my story to friends and acquaintances. I shared my experience in the hopes to help other people.
If you are reading this, and are on a similar journey, I wish for you to be able to see some of the blessings in your diagnosis. And hope that you can overcome any health challenges no matter how big or small they may seem to you.
With love and blessings