Breast cancer patients and survivors, describing how it feels at being diagnosed with breast cancer, use words like: devastating, horrific, numb, hopeless, helpless, out of control, terrifying, impossible, brutally unfair. What is vitally important to remember is that each person’s heart experiences their own unique emotions — and this uniqueness needs to be respected and honoured, by the patient and survivor themselves, as well as those around them who find themselves affected by the diagnosis and the disease’s ramifications. Our patients – as South African citizens – also need to be respected and actively provided for by an effective breast health policy by our government which, essentially, should be acting as guardians of our nation’s health.
Many BC survivors speak about their cancer as having been a blessing – or even a gift. They also use the metaphor of a ‘journey’ to help them understand and proactively cope with their disease. Talking about it as a ‘journey’ is an incredibly effective way for survivors to help their friends and family process and empathically understand what they’re living through.
Breast Cancer. The potentially destructive power that just two words can hold – and yet, these very same people stand tall and stand together in defiance of this disease, expressing the resilience of the human spirit. And this, again, is where the idea of BC as a journey comes into play again: the darkest valley can be terrifyingly lonely for what feels like forever, but then the path suddenly leads up and out of the darkness into an endless, sweetly beautiful meadow where joy and a sense of peace wrap you in their embrace. Visualisation and journalling are two of the most effective tools which can be used to cope with both the physical and emotional trauma surrounding the initial diagnosis and ongoing treatment and recovery. Check out our next blog post for tips on how using creative visualisation can give you back a sense of your own power to manage your emotions, thoughts and new lifestyle!
“Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think you’ve lost time. There is no short-cutting to life. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time.”