Breast Cancer and Me!
As I slowly slip towards 40 (February 2017 to be precise) there is little nagging sensation that I can feel at the back of my head….I am not sure what it is really but for now I am going to label it fear. The fear certainly isn’t about being 40 (I am actually really looking forward to the whole year of celebrations that I have planned…although sssh…don’t tell my husband...he thinks I only have *one* trip away with the girls!) but more because I have a date looming in my diary for my first mammogram. If truth be told I am scared of what the outcome might be.
My history with breast cancer is actually one of the things that drew me to do what I do today with Haelan Therapy. It has been in my life for a very long time – and no not because I have ever been diagnosed – because my mum has lived with it since I was 17. You can read my story in full here but in short, breast cancer has always been a given in our family. Mum has had it three times over the last 23 years and although is currently in remission, it is a word that hangs around and always rumbles along in the background as a possibility, regardless.
However, as I sit here and type I know that I do not want it to determine my life. Instead I feel a great sense of gratitude that I have been forewarned (I had genetic counselling a few years ago and was advised that when I turned 40 I needed to organise a mammogram). I can choose not to let my life experiences, feelings and thoughts (which I believe can also influence your physical, mental and emotional health) of cancer define me. I am not mum, I am me. Although we share the same blood, we do not have to share the same emotional make-up. Instead I know I am lucky to be keenly aware of breast cancer and how I can actively prevent it. I have a choice here to step up and take my wellbeing seriously and although it scares me, actually I should be thankful for my first mammogram. So maybe that feeling isn’t fear after all. Maybe I have been too quick to label it fear because my history with cancer has taught me to be fearful of an outcome that I have always assumed might be - just because mum has had breast cancer, I will too. As I sit here and connect with it, I realise that the feeling in the back of my head is just the unknown. Right now I have no idea what the outcome of my mammogram will be, and I am ok with that. As it could go either way, couldn't it?
But not everyone is aware of the disease and the steps they can take to prevent it. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual international health campaign to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. It also offers information and support to those affected by breast cancer. Please take the time to share this post with friends and family to help them be breast aware and organise they check up soon. You never know, it might help someone be less fearful too.