Yoga and my Journey through Breast Cancer

Introduction…..

….As I am writing this, I finally feel that I can really create some good for others from the experiences I have had following a cancer diagnosis 7 years ago at the ripe old age of 34. At the time, I really needed a young, positive and physically active role model to answer my  questions. I had questions about the operations and  experiences. I wanted to see successes, achievements, and more importantly to see someone surviving,thriving and living well.  I couldn’t find one, so I had to take  important decisions, based on my gut instinct which luckily worked out well.  For example, before my double mastectomy with reconstruction, (I lost some function of my abdominals due to them sourcing a blood supply). I was put in touch with lovely ladies to hear about their experiences. However, I wanted answers as a yoga teacher and practitioner…will I be able to do a sit up? Will I be able to hold plank, or downdog, handstand, shoulderstand. Everyone is different and to me these questions were so important.

Through the blogs, I want to detail my coping tools. Whether you have a life threatening illness, whether you are a yoga teacher to a student with cancer or other illnesses, you might be a friend or family member that wants to help more practically or understand deeper. Its often easier sometimes going through it all as a patient, than watching someone you love suffer.

I will also be sharing yoga routines to build up physical strength before operations, recovery tips for after, and what you will need to make recovery easier. I will also be looking at techniques to cope and release trauma. I have documented a lot of what I did and also what knowledge I could have benefitted from. As  life is busy this will come in blogs, which I hope you will share with others.

I had a rough few years, my friends and family were so supportive, I am blessed to have amazing people around me. I am also very lucky to have found yoga, my yoga practise, my yoga teacher training, me teaching yoga to beautiful students, my yoga teachers and the yoga community that I am lucky to be part of added a greater level of support.

My blogs are going to be very honest and I believe helpful, and will have a high content of Yoga postures, breath work, relaxation techniques and in some blogs yoga philosophy.

This one will be the history blog, I will get it all out the way, just to set the scene, so you know which direction my journey started in! A brief history of my brush with breast cancer.

  • 2009 diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, stage 2 grade 3, no lymph node involvement or vascular invasion. I had a 6 month old little boy and 4 year old daughter, I was 34.
  • Treatment, lumpectomy, radiotherapy, tamoxifen, zoladex. (I declined chemo, I didn’t want to put my body through that for what if’s)
  • 2012 lump investigated – was scar tissue
  • 2013 recalled following mammogram, was okay in the end, calcifications
  • 2013 suspected lesions in liver, was okay in the end, no lesions
  • 2014 suspected breast cancer in same breast
  • 2014 double mastectomy, immediate reconstruction DIEP
  • 2015 last scare a new lump which was just fatty tissue scarring.
  • 2016 land of NED (No evidence of disease)

I am slowly just starting to really recover mentally from all the trauma. Every scan, every waiting in a room to hear whether I had terminal cancer chipped away at me inside, despite my appearance to everyone that I was a warrior! I had to be strong and get on with it, but I have been softer on myself this year by  allowing the emotional feelings and scars to release. Only now do I feel that I am coming out the other end. I also want to acknowledge that I am extremely grateful of my experience, and very humbly aware that I know many amazing women that I have met through this journey who are living with terminal breast cancer, they are inspirational and they are LIVING life to the max, I have also met on this journey many beautiful souls who have now gained their wings.

So that sets the scene. Bit by bit, I will hopefully spread  hope and knowledge that will help.

Here is my  number one tip, double the exhale! When times are hard, when you feel your emotions taking over and you need to focus, you need to be calmer so that you can think, or get through what you need to, slow down the breath. Count your inhale and exhale for twice as long. This doesn’t have to be in seconds, if you breathe in for 3 counts, breathe out for 6. So useful. Paying attention to our breath helps us. If we lose control of the breath, we lose control of the mind. Control the breath, control the mind. So give it a go, even if you feel happy, feel the effects it has on the body, the mind, the emotions and let me know in the comments how it feels for you. Any questions are very welcome.

Please follow me on my bold on the link below…

https://yoginisjourney.com

Take care everyone.

Namaste (The good and light in me, sees and bows down to the good in you) xxx