“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004.

I’d been acutely tired for a while, and I suspected something was wrong. But I didn’t know the warning signs (a dimple and increased breast size) and I hadn’t been taught how to examine my breasts, so I didn’t find the lump early.

One morning I felt an ache in my right breast, which led me to discover a hard mass deep inside. My husband could also feel it and asked me to see the doctor without delay. Because the lump was quite sore, my GP believed it was just a cyst. Luckily, as a precaution, he referred me urgently.

The diagnosis was shocking, but, somehow, I knew everything was going to be OK. Mercifully, my sense of humour spared me the fate of a mastectomy. “My breast and I are very attached to each other” I explained to the Macmillan nurse, who offered me the chance to save it with chemotherapy to shrink the lump to an operable size, radiotherapy afterwards, and five years of hormonal treatment to prevent recurrence.

It was my consultant who first told me about Breast Cancer Haven, and the support I received there during and after treatment was amazing. People were astounded by my resulting positive mindset and high energy levels, and I found practicing meditation really helpful.

Returning to work wasn’t easy, and it rapidly became clear that I wasn’t the same person as I’d been before. You can feel institutionalised by long term treatment, and it is difficult to control the fear of a recurrence after discharge. I certainly had my wobbly days, and Breast Cancer Haven was there when needed.

About six months after treatment I was accepted onto their Mindfulness Stress Reduction Programme, which helped me come to terms with everything I had been through, and gave me strategies to combat anxiety.  Again, when facing a scare that the cancer had spread, I received complementary therapy and had life coaching.

After five years in the clear, I was at a crossroad in my life, and once more Breast Cancer Haven enabled me to move forward and get on with my life.  I took part in the Living Well, Moving On Course, and something just clicked for me. I decided it was time to leave my teaching job and retrained as a Reiki Practitioner. I now have a job I love; I’m helping others, and enjoying life to the full.

Everything Breast Cancer Haven does is wonderful; they helped me to find my inner strength.”

This October how will you use your extra hour to support women like Sharon? 

“The power of people pulling together is extraordinary. Go for it, you can make a difference. It’s fun and rewarding.”

Make your hour count.


Click here to join the My Power Hour challenge

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