Mindset is key

Mindset is everything. Like the eye of a storm – find the sunshine and calm within you, even if there is chaos outside of you.

Brittany Burgunder

My breast cancer journey began in August 2020 and the active treatment concluded on the 20th October 2021.  Ironically the timing meant that this was during Breast Cancer Awareness month. 

I have spoken often around my journey and feel that by sharing my story it also raises awareness of the importance of screening, both knowing your own breasts and speaking to a health professional for further testing.  It is also important to remember that breast screenings are available for women over 40 and this should be taken advantage of – as early detection is advantageous.  But it is also a story of mindset and how having a positive lens can assist in adversity.

When I finally realised that my left breast was a little odd and made the appointment for a face-to-face session (we were in the middle of COVID19).  She ordered a mammogram and ultrasound to be completed – she actually rang the clinic herself and the appointment was made for two days later as we couldn’t get both done at the same time until then.

Roll onto Friday and I went for the imaging, the mammogram was first and then the ultrasound.  The second technician took it upon himself to inform me that I needed to make an appointment for a biopsy on the Monday and go to the medical clinic today to get another referral!  Then he left the room!  I had just had my unofficial diagnosis from a stranger!

My General Practitioner rang me very soon after this encounter on her day off.  Yes, the diagnosis was confronting and upsetting on the day.  I rang my husband to let him know about the condition, asked him to stay at work and then took myself home to grieve for a short time. Roll forward a day and I then rang each of my sons to let them know and that I would let them know the treatment plan as it progressed.  Surgeon and Oncologist were on standby, and appointments made for later in the month once the biopsy results were in.

This story is the back story in regard to mindset.  Yes – the news was confronting, and I needed to let some key people in my life know, which at first was difficult to tell whilst I was adjusting to the news. I never thought “why me”, my thoughts were about starting the treatment planning and moving on towards what needed to happen in order to move forward in my life. 

Having worked in social work and mental health for many years, I have developed my mindset to looking at the positives rather than negatives of life.  The glass half full rather than it being empty!  I often spoke with a past client that I was Pollyanna and she Negative Nancy!  It is how you choose to view the world in which you live.

Yes, the treatment at times was difficult – but it was also necessary, if I wanted to continue living my life.  Facing each hurdle as it happened and then moving forward. 

Mindset is about choosing the way in which you go forward.  It doesn’t mean to deny what is happening or suppressing the emotions.  Taking the time and space to allow the news and emotions to settle is very important and necessary.