Before diagnosis in January 2016, I was busy, juggling a full-time Sales Manager role and being a mum to an active, vibrant 20-month-old boy.
When I found out I had breast cancer – life stopped in its tracks and became a relentless schedule of hospital appointments including surgery, chemo and radiotherapy, and managing their side effects. Until the May of that year, I juggled work, a busy home life and weekly chemotherapy. Life was pretty overwhelming.
A friend of a friend mentioned the fantastic free courses at Penny Brohn UK, so I visited the website and booked on the first available Living Well course. The course was truly enlightening – it gave me a chance to pause and reflect on how I needed to prioritise myself more. Within days, I eased off my job, began working with a nutritionist, made time for daily walks, regular acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, attended the local support group, sought counselling services and practised mindfulness and meditation.
Cancer forced me to confront many issues, such as loss of fertility, body image, reduced energy and cognitive ability, and managing low income, yet Penny Brohn provided the learning and plan of action to help me cope with, and even overcome, many of these.
At the end of my treatment in October, I went on the Approach course. It was a chance to reassess my goals and get wonderful, tailored advice from nutrition and emotional therapy experts, and a GP. It gave me time to build a realistic action plan for the future and returning to work. I wanted to create a new ‘normal’, where I could balance health and wellbeing with work and home.
Embracing Penny Brohn’s Bristol Whole Life Approach has been transformational. Before, life was mostly on autopilot – now it’s a slower pace. I’m more mindful and feel better connected to nature, myself and others, and I continue to make time to nourish all aspects of my wellbeing.
Once my strength improved, I volunteered as a Health Walk Leader in my area, to encourage and enable people to have access to regular exercise. I also joined a Nordic walking class. Daily, moderate exercise is now my biggest priority.
I’m incredibly thankful to Penny Brohn. Their approach is inspirational and I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart. The next goal for myself and family is to plan some fundraisers to support Penny Brohn, as a small way of showing my heartfelt gratitude.