Meditation programs are popping up across Canada – and for good reason. This centuries-old practice, also known as mindfulness, is one of the best tools for our health, well-being, and happiness. Research shows a daily meditation practice reduces stress, depression, and inflammation while improving sleep, fatigue, and menopausal symptoms in women who have a breast cancer diagnosis. Additionally, studies connect meditation and an enhanced immune function. These are all important considerations when you’ve had a breast cancer diagnosis.
For Jenn Abbott, finishing treatment for breast cancer is like a flying trapeze. Having received her “NED” (no evidence of disease), she is in mid-air, no longer holding on to the bar that represents the medical team that saved her life, while at the same time, not yet catching the second bar that represents the rest of her life after cancer. She is in limbo, facing post-traumatic stress disorder brought on by her cancer treatment which included five surgeries and a severe adverse reaction to chemotherapy that meant she had to stay in the hospital for two weeks. She feels PTSD after cancer treatment is real.
My journey began on New Year’s Eve 2015, when I noticed a red mark on my right breast. It wasn’t long before my stomach dropped and I felt my face flush while my throat did that swallowing action reserved for moments just like this.
If you’re a breast cancer patient who’s experiencing significant depression or anxiety, you’re not alone. Roughly one-quarter of breast cancer patients get help for anxiety or depression during their treatment. There are many reasons a person may feel anxious or depressed because of their cancer diagnosis.
When I was suddenly diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year, I really did go into shock the first few weeks. I think it's wrong to say that the diagnosis is the start of your journey. It is by no way a journey. It's a bad trip as far as I'm concerned.