Anna was diagnosed with breast cancer, aged 37, and attended one of our first Living Well courses in Hull.
"I was delighted to find an organisation who were offering this potentially life-saving and certainly life-enhancing information, free of charge, and I remain determined to do what I can to help the charity to flourish in the North."
I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 37, with no family history and no recognised risk factors. I was a busy working mother with two young children who were just 4 and 6 at the time.
Because my case was slightly unusual (small grade lump but multicentric, so there were lots of them), I wasn’t convinced that the standardised treatment I was being offered, would give me the best chance of, not only survival but also of living a reasonable quality of life after the treatment .
Initially I had surgery (mastectomy) and lymph node removal, but I opted out of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and endocrine therapy, preferring instead to focus on boosting my immune system through a combination of detoxification, good nutrition and supplementation and regular exercise and meditation. Unfortunately this wasn’t enough to prevent a small recurrence less than a year later, at which point I had radiotherapy and went onto tamoxifen.
At the time of my diagnosis Penny Brohn UK were not offering their services in the North of England, so I had to find people who I could trust to help me with a sensible nutrition plan and advice on detoxification and techniques to help de-stress my mind and body.
I was fortunate to be able to find some great advice, however, this came at a considerable cost and I felt at the time that this kind of life saving information should be readily available at no cost, to all who might benefit from it.
After I had finished my treatment and started to feel like I had a bit more energy, I decided I wanted to try to do something about the lack of provision for these services in the North, and that is when I came across Penny Brohn UK. I was fortunate to be able to attend their Living Well course in Hull, and found the course to be very informative, with great information about how to support the mind, body, spirit and emotions throughout the cancer treatment and beyond.
The dietary information was simple and easy to follow, but based around sensible evidence based research that highlights the benefits we can get from supporting our bodies with good nutrition and I found it helped me to simplify what I was already doing and enjoy preparing and cooking delicious and nutritious food again. I’m sure this sensible approach to eating has also helped me to cope with some of the ups and downs of being on tamoxifen, preventing some of the more unpleasant side effects and minimising the hormone induced mood swings.
I also found the information on the importance of the immune system extremely helpful. The various techniques we were introduced to, such as meditation and visualisation that can help us to manage our stress responses more effectively and therefore help boost the immune system were a godsend for me, and really helped me to stay calm and more centred in situations that would have left me spinning previously.
All in all, I was delighted to find an organisation who were offering this potentially life-saving and certainly life-enhancing information, free of charge, and I remain determined to do what I can to help the charity to flourish in the North.