In 2017 I was diagnosed with breast cancer for the 2nd time, I had previously been through a breast cancer diagnosis 6 years before and struggled emotionally through that time. I did not want this time to be the same. My mum passed away at the young age of 48 from breast cancer and I had many beliefs about breast cancer which did not help me stay in the positive mindset about this diagnosis.
Having been here before I recognised that my first step was to survive the immediate time, which was making decisions about the surgery, a double mastectomy, I had in front of me, then too figure out the rest.
When we receive a diagnosis of breast cancer our lives are immediately thrown into turmoil.
Feeling anxious & frightened as we are bombarded with Information and decisions to be made about our health and treatment.
We are scared about our future, we are concerned how to tell our families
Everything feels so foreign to us as we are thrown into a world, we may know nothing or not much about.
I realised there was no way to not have these feelings as they are very normal at a time such as this, but I did want to be more in control of myself during this time so I made an appointment with my GP for a mental health plan and booked in with a psychologist, doing this prior to any treatments was life changing for me and something I would highly recommend to women at the time of diagnosis.
The first time I thought I could handle everything.
This time I knew I needed all the help I could throw at myself.
Seeing the psychologist helped me find ways to ground myself. I learnt that Grounding myself helped me be more in the present moment, this slowed down my mind from rushing off to the unknown scary future.
Find a short grounding technique here. https://youtu.be/v6vsh7M_pTE
I had practised meditation on and off for more than a decade and when she suggested a grounding technique it reminded me of my occasional meditation practice that I had used over the past decade or so. My mind and body always felt better when I had meditated but it was definitely not on my regular agenda of things to do.
I was passionate about finding ways to make this 2nd breast cancer journey different to the 1st one. So, to give me something else to focus on I set about researching meditations for stress and calm.
Research has come a long way over recent years in relation to its benefits during the treatment of breast cancer and the availability online of meditation apps, etc.
I quickly learnt that using meditation could not only help my stress levels, but it could improve my immune levels. This was of great importance to me as following my double mastectomy I had contracted an infection in one of my implants which would not heal. At this stage I had no idea of the links between stress and our immune system.
What followed for me was a period of 14 surgeries, I used meditation during each one, I would ground myself when I felt my heart pounding and racing, I would visualise beautiful places when I was being wheeled in for surgeries, I would breathe deeply when I had Dr appointments or dressings done to my operations sites.
Practicing meditation daily, sometimes twice a day during the following year of treatment and healing showed me I had the power to change my thoughts, that I had the power to change my life. I understood that my negative thoughts did not need to dictate the course of my life and that if I sat, even just for 5 minutes and meditated, I could practice being kind to myself and just be present with my life. My thoughts weren’t so scary and all consuming
When I stopped the worry and ruminating, I began to move through my breast cancer journey and began to heal both emotionally and physically.
By creating a meditation practice and committing to just 5, 10 or 15 minutes a day I developed a habit which has now become a passion for me and something I love to teach and share with others.
Times I used meditation during my journey where:
Prior to appointments
Before treatments – scans, surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation.
To help with sleep
When I felt my heart pounding or racing.
When my thoughts would take me to worrying about my cancer returning.
When I had pain.
Find a free meditation technique here. https://youtu.be/v6vsh7M_pTE
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of meditation during your breast cancer journey please visit my webisite at https://www.zenceameditation.com/