I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2020. I found a lump on my breast in the shower. I’m not sure why I checked myself that day because I don’t normally. I just got lucky, I guess. Or somebody’s watching over me.
I almost didn’t want to bother the doctor’s surgery about it, with everything else going on. But I did, and things moved quickly from there with the follow up appointments and scans.
I broke down into tears when they gave me the results. They told me it was a ‘good’ cancer, as much as cancer can be good. It was stage one and HER2 negative. Despite all the reassurance, I couldn’t help but think the worst.
Going to hospital alone
My surgery was scheduled for 9 June. Because of the pandemic, I had to go to the hospital on my own, which I actually didn’t mind. It meant I didn’t need to worry about anyone else.
Self-isolating from friends and family when I needed them most
I live in a very rural community in Wales. We don’t even have a shop! It’s isolated at the best of times and with the pandemic, even more so. I couldn’t see my friends or my family in person at a time when I needed them most. I had to completely isolate myself before my operation, which was hard even though my kids and partner handled it brilliantly. My mum dropped food parcels off, so we didn’t have to go out for food, but I missed having friends around me.
Breast Cancer Haven’s online support has been a lifesaver
That’s when Breast Cancer Haven came in. While everything else was going on, I was scouring the internet and social media and I found this amazing charity. Honestly, Breast Cancer Haven is the most fantastic thing. The online programmes have been such a lifesaver for me. I don’t need to leave the house and I have access to this amazing support.
Reducing worry with mindfulness and EFT
I started with the guided meditation. My mind had been going into overdrive and the cancer was the only thing I could think about. There was no escape from it; no distraction. But for that one hour of meditation, I’m free from it. It really keeps me going.
The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) classes have been just as good. It helps reduce my anxiety and I can use what I’ve learnt when I’m out and about and things get too much. I even used it while I was waiting for my scan results.
Online group workshops helped me feel less alone
No one I know is going through breast cancer right now. I did receive messages of support from people who had gone through breast cancer some time ago, there was no one I could speak to that really understood what it was like to face a pandemic at the same time. The group workshops are perfect for this; being able to meet and talk to people from all over the UK going through the same thing has been amazing. Even though the pandemic has been very isolating, Breast Cancer Haven has brought people together. It’s like a little community of people that I can lean on and learn from. It’s like a therapy in itself for me. I’ve made friends with the regulars and everyone just gets it.