THE BLOG

There Is Life After Cancer

17/06/2014 15:07 BST | Updated 16/08/2014 10:59 BST

Recovering from breast cancer treatment isn't just about the medication and the affects it had on your body; it's also about healing your mental state and grasping that new outlook on life. Post cancer, I now think of my life in 2 parts; my 'old' life and my 'new' life and in the latter, I take more time in making my decisions whilst also seeking new experiences.

Turn Fears into Challenges

If you're scared of heights, spiders or anything else that stops you living your life to the full, now is the time to make those changes! I used to be scared of both; spiders would send me screaming out of the front door whilst heights would stop me from visiting beautiful sights and missing out on adventures. When you think about them, you realise how trivial they really are and compared to a breast cancer diagnosis, how minor they are. So don't let fears restrict your enjoyments of activities, my fear of heights once stopped me eating in a revolving restaurant and I only managed to sit in my chair for 5 minutes before running for the lift. A few days later I decided to go back as I wouldn't let it beat me and I sat in the bar, 1000ft off the ground and enjoyed a drink with fabulous views! Fears are a nuisance by not letting you live the life you want, so face those fears and go have fun!

Take 'That' Trip!

Obsessed with New York as a child, it was always the first place I'd think of when I was planning a holiday, yet I'd never taken the time to go. Always 'too expensive' and 'too far away' were my excuses but once I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I knew that I had to get there and achieve my dream. A month after completing my treatment, my friend and I were on a plane for a fun filled sightseeing trip to Manhattan and although I'd regretted not going sooner, the timing was right as I truly appreciated every moment.

Friends and Family

Do you ever find that you've not had time to catch up with old friends even though you've been thinking that it's been such a whilst since you saw them. Or if you have planned to see them, you then have to cancel due to other appointments? I used to always be so busy with work that I never had quality time with my family and friends. After seeing them all unite in helping with my breast cancer recovery and how they were there for me every step of the way, I now make sure that they are my top priority over all other appointments as they are what is most important to me. So now I keep a calendar on my fridge and make sure that I pre-plan my arrangements, even if its months ahead. It's also great to have a routine with friends that you enjoy things in common i.e. going to a weekly fitness class together or the cinema once a month. A friend of mine started a book club with her closest friends so she got to see them all together every week.

Go on an Adventure

When my husband suggested we go travelling around Europe by train with rucksacks I couldn't contain my shock. A city break for me meant taking a flight with an overnight bag and spending my time sipping coffee and enjoying the surrounding culture, not sightseeing with a heavy load on my back and washing my clothes in the hotel sink. But I wanted my new post-cancer life to be filled with opportunities that were out of the ordinary so off we went with 3 weeks worth of underwear and washing power in our backpacks. We hadn't planned our route and just followed our noses finding small towns and villages and absorbing their culture of food and entertainment. We travelled through Poland, Hungary, Austria and Italy and we had the best views of these countries whilst on the train and taking in the wonderful scenery as we passed through.

Nurture a Plant

If I ever needed to use herbs in cooking I'd take the simple option and buy a bunch from the supermarket. After diagnosis a cancer nurse recommended that I took up gardening as a form of light exercise so I decided to build a herb garden, even thought I'd never actually grown anything before. I stared with 3 pots, basil, parsley and coriander and found it quite satisfying to plant seeds, nurture them and watch them grow. My herb garden has since grown to over 10 different herbs and whilst I'm saving money, I'm also doing something that I never had time to do before and best of all I can eat them!

Try Something New... You Might Enjoy it!

We're usually quick dismiss anything new to our routines that we 'think' we wouldn't enjoy however I urge you to give everything a go even if it's just once, as you may surprise yourself. So if you think that classical music isn't your thing, then think again as it's proven to relax the body and mind. Why not tune into any classical music radio station, lie down on your bed or sofa, close your eyes and take time to really listen to the music? I use this technic when I have a lot on my mind and I need to sleep, so I listen to classical music in bed and it really works!

Health & Nutrition

Fear of recurrence is very common in cancer survivors however with time, these fears will fade though they may never fully go away. To make sure that I'm doing my bit to keep cancer at bay, I eat a diet with foods that strengthen the immune system and are filled with antioxidants, which protect your cells and lower your risk of cancers. Plus eating foods that are high in vitamins and nutrients will not only keep you feeling entergised and healthy but will also help you feel that you're taking control and fuelling your body with goodness.

We've all had things that we'd not had enough time to 'get around to doing' but when you're given a diagnosis for a life threatening illness like breast cancer, reality bites and you wish you'd spent more time doing those things. So whether you've been affected by cancer or not, why not make list of everything you wish you'd had time for before and make it happen because that old saying is very true, 'Life is Short!'.