April 1st 2020. The day I completed my cancer treatment and the day I finally rang that bell I had, oh so desperately, wanted to ring.
Filled with an array of emotions, I couldn't believe I had finally made it. My treatment was complete. No more frequent visits to the hospital, I could finally relax and start my healing process.
The healing process isn't as straight forward as you'd expect it to be. There are a few bumps in the road. You have been in survival mode throughout your treatment and putting up a pretty big fight, the fight of your life. Literally. So once it is all over, you are like a tired and injured soldier that has just survived the war. Nethertheless, you have just survived cancer. There isn't really any words to describe how that feels. It is an amazing feeling.
I feel so lucky and blessed to have survived such a horrible and scary disease, that claims so many lives each year.
Before my diagnosis in August 2019, I was just coasting through life actually feeling quite lost. Being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32 soon changed that.
I realised instantly how important and valuable my life was. Nothing quite shakes you to the core more than the possibility that you may loose your life.
From that instant my whole perception on life changed. You soon begin to realise what is important and what is not. You no longer sweat the small stuff. Your appreciation for life grows, you are just filled with so much gratitude, positivity and love. I felt so blessed and special all the way through my journey. They say that positivity is 80 percent of the battle and that really is the truth. I honeslty believe that positivity and the correct mind set saved my life.
Accepting what was happening to me, and making a decision in that instant, that I would beat this cancer is what ultimately set me up for my fight. As I have read about and experienced, fear, stress and worry all break down and weaken the immune system. Whenever we are faced with these battles in our lives, remaining positive is very important and a key player in how we deal with these battles. During cancer, you are often told by others that you should "remain positive", but this is unhelpful, meaningless information, until you start to adopt this attitude yourself.
There is a part of me that is grateful for my diagnosis. I am grateful for what it has done for me as a person. How it has changed my perspective on life and how I chose to live it. I am now focused and determined to live the best life possible. It has made me appreciate and value my relationships alot more.
I have learnt so much about myself during these past 18 months. I've grown so much as a person and I spend a lot of time working on my weaknesses so that I can be the best version of myself possible.
Grabbing life by the horns and living life to its fullest is my moto moving forward. I have a lot more confidence and self believe in myself than I did before. All the things I've thought about doing, I set out to do. I do not procrastinate over things like I used to. I seek fun and adventure.
In life, we tend to neglect ourselves and focus on others or other things. This has taught me to look deeply within and work on certain things about myself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I've been working hard on the way I think and the quality of my thoughts. I am learning to reprogram my subconscious mind and really change and improve my way of thinking.
The difference in my life due to this has been really magical. It goes to show the effects a positive mind set and attitude can have on somebody's life and wellbeing. With so much fear and uncertainty going on in the world right now, taking care of your wellbeing is so important.
Coming out of a battle with cancer and straight in to a national lockdown wasn't easy. My life had been put on hold for almost a year due to my treatment and just as I was about to get my life back and go out socialising with my friends, covid struck. This was frustrating, but it gave me chance to work on my wellbeing and recovery.
These are the things that have helped:
- Listening to Motivational speakers
- Learning new skills
- Creating feng shui within my home.
- Going for walks around nature.
I very rarely watch tv or listen to the news. I find that it has a negative effect on how I am feeling so, I make a point of not watching it. I focus on all the positives in my life and minimise all negative thoughts.
I learnt to become aware of my thoughts. If you find yourself thinking negatively, change this process and try to actively switch your thoughts to positive ones, even if you can think of just one. This simple exercise will help your mind to shift. Over time, your mind will then automatically start shifting without you realising, because you have programmed it to do so. Time really is a healer.
The difference of having a positive mind set , where your mind instantly detects the positives over the negatives will change your life forever.
EVER HEARD OF THE EXPRESSION, IS YOUR GLASS HALF FULL OR HALF EMPTY? I'm sure you have.
This is a phrase that has always stuck in my mind growing up.
As I go through life and am faced with uncertainty, I remember that it is my choice to see the glass as half full. This has helped me to deal with my problems quite well. A positive mind set really goes a long way, and has helped me to conquer the toughest mountains in life.
Whenever you're faced with difficulties, just remember......
Your glass is half full.
Before cancer I was lost and without direction, but now I have finally started to feel a lot better in myself. I feel and look better than I ever have in my life, even after everything I have been through. It really is the best feeling.
I feel like me again, and not Leah the cancer patient. Only a year has passed and it already feels like such a distant memory. Not one to dwell on the past, I am pushing forward and leading the life I have always wanted to live. I finally feel happy and love the person I have become due to my diagnosis.
I hope to carry on inspiring and helping others on the same journey. Showing others that you can stay positive, even at the worst times of our lives.
The products which helped Leah through the appearance-related side effects of treatment:
Leah tried out some of the Defiant Beauty Collection, formulated for those living with or beyond cancer.
Which Defiant Beauty products did you choose?
Which product was your favourite?
What do you think would have benefited you most during your treatment?
I think the Intensive Serum would have benefited me the most during treatment because my skin would become so dry. It feels intensely moisturised and hydrated when I apply this and it is very long lasting too.
You may also have heard of Leah from her previous blog post Preventing Hair Loss During Cancer Treatment: My Experience Using The Cold Cap, where she describes her experience of hair loss and why she would recommend the cold cap. She has also written about The Loneliness of Cancer and about trying out the Luxury Face Collection.