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Finding Peace and Alone Time

“Anything that costs you your peace is too expensive. Learn to let go.”

For me, surrendering to find peace means to breathe through the unknown, the uncertainty.  It means being ok with no plans. It’s being at ease with not knowing what’s next. The kind of breathing required for surrender is beyond the shallow depths of the ‘norm’, it’s stopping, sitting and slowing right down so you can be conscious of your own being:

Where you are,

What you can see,

Feel,

Touch,

Hear.

Deepening your breath, you open and expand through your heart chakra, you expand your belly making it protrude and full, and it’s breathing out with a sigh.

For me to be at the core of peace (via surrendering)… I need alone time to renew this way of being. I can only maintain this peace through the chaos of ‘normal’ life for so long. I am always required to return to myself in order to find harmony and through that, the ability to hear my true voice (the rational voice, not the frantic, chaotic or stressed out voice). I need time and space to be without any noise or movement of others. It’s with gratitude and creating this (alone) time over and over again that brings me peace, the peace and calm I need to survive the outer experience called ‘life’.

It’s during this alone time that I can fully tune into what I need to hear, and what I need to do to remain balanced, capable, calm and content. It’s via this peace and alone practice that I know what kind of adjustments I need to make.

How do I get this alone time as a mum?

  • Once a month on a new moon – see HERE.
  • I sneak off for a bath.
  • I get up earlier than the rest of my family.
  • I get everyone into bed early and instead of watching TV I give that alone time to myself before bed.
  • Bedtime ritual (I will have to write a blog on this).
  • Ask for it… whether you have a husband/partner, or family/friends that can help you out. You need to ask, you need to tell them that you require some time out to reconnect. If you don’t ask then you shall not receive. Often we get kids looked after so that we can attend an event but NOT for peace and calm. Why don’t you schedule some alone time?

My surrendering mantra:

I am at peace with exactly where I am. I trust and believe in the beautiful and unravelling process of life.

I know with the right belief systems and attitude, I choose how I experience any given experience that comes into my world.

I lovingly accept myself, all of me and I believe in my unending power and ability to share my light and be lead to what is meant to be.

I trust.

I surrender; and

I gift myself alone time to always find my peace to rebalance.

REFLECTION AND ACTION:

Well it wouldn’t be a genuine blog post if I wasn’t prepared to take my own advice now would it?? So in surrendering to my intuition after struggling to find peace in recent days. I was guided by what my heart and mind are speaking based on this very diary entry… I need to adjust my sails in order to keep peace and balance within.

I’m taking Blogtober 2.0 down a notch… I may have successfully completed Blogtober two years ago (2016) and it was wonderful. Yet, life evolves and changes day by day, month by month, year by year… Not only we grow and change as individuals, but our outer life experiences change also. For example, if you are a parent, our children grow into different stages, requiring different styles of parenting, time and involvement. In addition, my husband now works away during the week, so I’m flying solo during the week – and solo parenting is quite demanding and taxing without someone to bounce off (a partner in crime).

Over the past days, my stress has risen when trying to load a blog has encroached on my family time. Not only via physical time required, but also my energy and willingness to give calmly and lovingly to my children has been compromised. Blogging daily is stretching me and whilst raising awareness for breast cancer, particularly in October is so incredibly important and dear to my heart, I also can acknowledge and appreciate my own Blog ‘One Life’s’ message (all we have is now) and I wouldn’t be honouring that if I didn’t take the pressure down in order to get back to presence (where the magic of life is).

I’m not setting down a new structure, the only thing I’ll say is that I won’t be posting on weekends, and as for the rest of October, I have a few more ‘close to my heart’ items and important things that I want to share. When will they be posted? I guess when they are ready, when I am ready and when I have pure and real time, not time that has me stretched and pulled in a million directions at the same time.

So on that note, I am taking a huge breath in, filling my lungs and belly with renewed air and breathing it out on a sigh, with relief and peace that I have chosen what allows me the power of presence and what matters most to me – my family and my own health.

Living the ‘one life’ I have been gifted I have promised myself since getting cancer the first time that I need to quickly identify stress in my life and most importantly I need to VERY QUICKLY dismantle that stress. This is what I have just done for myself in honouring this life I am so lucky to be living – I have reduced my stress.

I know each and every one of you will understand and appreciate this post as open and honest in surrendering and not fulfilling all thirty-one days of Blogtober 2.0. I also hope that it acts as an example of all I speak and write about when it comes to knowing your own limits and how we humans need to recalibrate from time to time, checking in with ourselves and ensuring that we are on the right path, a path that feels right in all facets, in our mind, our heart, our gut – everything.

I’m already feeling more like the chilled out Mumma that I prefer to be (just by dismantling my own stress).

Much love….

Bec x

For more Blogtober posts, you can find them in the BLOGTOBER INDEX – HERE.

© Copyright 2018 becbraid

Hair Loss: To Wig or not to Wig

Hair loss is such a big topic when it comes to breast cancer or any cancer that has this devastating side effect.  There are so many facets I could cover relating to emotions alone, however, this post will focus on the wigs that I chose and what I found to be the best regarding real vs synthetic hair (I knew nothing until I had both and could draw a real comparison from my experience) – I wish this blog was available to me when I had to choose, so I hope this helps you or someone you may know facing hair loss and baldness.

I’m splitting this blog into three parts…

PART A

This section is short and sweet (or not so sweet actually) – these images are when my hair started to fall out profusely… In the shower, on my pillow, in the bathroom – EVERYWHERE!  Pulling clumps out of my hair still gives me a lump in my throat and choosing to shave it when the shedding started, was the most empowering thing I did.  It was the only form of control I had in an out of control situation – F**K cancer!

 

PART B

This is a video which I filmed two years ago (2016).  This takes you through the three wigs that I purchased and the differences in each.  I also talked about the crazy need to find my wigs BEFORE I lost my hair and the surprising fact that once I did lose my hair and had already spent a pretty penny on each of my three wigs – I actually hardly ever wore them.  However, I know this information is hard to find, so if you are currently experiencing or about to experience hair loss (or know someone who is), this is a great video for you to learn the differences in what is available to you.  It is then followed by some images of me wearing my various wigs.

 

 

 

PART C

This is slideshow of images to highlight that bald is beautiful and being yourself and feeling comfortable is the most important thing when going through a cancer battle. It was my daughter (twelve at the time) who encouraged me to just be myself hair or no hair, my children admired me not for having or not having hair, but because it was me, I was still their mum and they didn’t need glamour.  My family knew how uncomfortably hot they would make me, as I had early onset menopause as soon as my chemo started (was hot flushing like a crazy woman) – so I really didn’t enjoy the wigs.  Also as mentioned in my video… they just didn’t feel like me.  Even though looking back on the above photos, I think the wigs looked pretty good/natural etc, but when you are wearing them yourself, you feel ANYTHING BUT yourself.  So here is a photos series of my alternative choice… scarves, bandanas and BALD!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

WELL…… WOWEEEEEE – that was sure a trip down memory lane!

Love Bec x

For more Blogtober posts, you can find them in the BLOGTOBER INDEX – HERE.

 

© Copyright 2018 becbraid

 

Weekly Wrap and Ramble

Hi there I hope you’ve all had a beautiful soulful Sunday.  On Friday night I recorded this video diary so that my blogging wouldn’t impose on Family time.

It was meant to be a weekly wrap alone, but it ended up being a bit of a random open discussion about a few things, finally finishing with a weekly wrap and some thoughts or highlights about the blogs that were posted this past week.

 

I hope your week ahead is filled with loads of great things.

Love Bec x

For more Blogtober posts, you can find them in the BLOGTOBER INDEX – HERE.

 

© Copyright 2018 becbraid

 

 

The Power of Acceptance and Surrender

Acceptance and an ability to surrender has been my powerhouse to coming through some relentlessly difficult life events.  It’s with these words (and the actions/attitude that follows) that I developed a mindset that took my strength to a new level when life asked me to fight breast cancer for a second time.

The word acceptance to me doesn’t mean to just blandly and bitterly accept what is – period.  Not at all, acceptance isn’t the way we see it all too commonly in our everyday interactions, such as a sighed phase of defeat, “It is what it is” and throw our hands in the air at the same time. Sure, IT IS WHAT IT IS… Life throws curve balls, speed bumps and death traps all the time to ALL humans, zero discrimination.  So in actual fact, “It IS what it is” – yet we do have a choice on how we make that statement, do you speak those words in negative defeat or in optimistic acceptance?

Negatively speaking would be to ‘accept’ something the way it is because what’s the point in seeing any ‘good’ in a terrible situation, for example, some may make this kind of statement “My life is always shit, shit keeps happening and why would I expect it to be any other way?”  And so surrendering to that shitlife with such a defeated train of thought will always breed negativity. Hence that’s the way one would feel – constantly defeated, constantly losing in life.  That kind of attitude and those forfeiting words are like a looming dark cloud, forever hovering and forever raining and propagating pessimism. And to be frank… it’s very much what I call a ‘victim mentality’.  [I can personally say that this kind of attitude stinks – It’s unproductive, unhelpful and uninspiring.  I’ve been there before].

If this concept of ‘Accept and Surrender’ is still a little hazy in explanation, because let’s face it, a lot of words in our English language can have a vast array of meanings, let me break it down…

 

Affirmative acceptance and surrender:

The kind that comes with peace in accepting what is and surrendering positively to what is required of us in any adverse situation.  Accepting and surrendering with hopeful grace so that we can make room for light, giving space to the natural increase of ‘good’ as you progress or rise through darkness.  Creating scope for choice and freedom in how we experience.

Affirmative acceptance and surrender = Power

[Power of choice through how we experience).

 

Defeated/Negative acceptance and surrender:

The kind that comes with ‘rolling over’ and submissively allowing life to railroad you into the black hole of ‘life mess’ and torturous pain.  Accepting without fight for the enjoyment of life, albeit through challenges/adversity. Surrendering or succumbing to constant ‘shit’ because you don’t see the point in rising or still experiencing enjoyment.  You don’t seek your silver lining.  You do not believe that light can shine in or after darkness.  It’s allowing life to feel dreadful all the time – it has a compounding affect.

Defeated/negative acceptance and surrender = Lack of power.

[Lack of power because you gave it away).

 

The statement, “It is what it is” to me, is actually quite beautiful.  And that’s because I’m only accepting the aspects of life in which I have no direct control (I accept that I cannot change the fact that cancer has invaded my body twice, I accept that I had to lose my breasts the second time, I accept that cancer as a whole brings a level of uncertainty).  Where the power truly sits as explained above, is all in the experience – how we can CHOOSE to experience any given situation, or something that is irreversible.

It’s incredibly important that we don’t throw our hands in the air at all facets of life in difficult form.  As easy as it is to feel beaten down, deflated and saddened by what we did not choose… We can still accept and surrender in the most beautiful way.  There are lessons in all facets of life, sometimes though we must endure a little (or a lot of) pain to truly appreciate what it’s like to be pain free. There is no need to sell your soul to misfortune… for it is a downward spiral and it is awfully unpleasant.  I’ve been down that hole and I’ve had to lovingly find my soul once more; nurture it, allow recovery and through daily practice have managed to keep my soul healthy, vibrant and positively empowered and intact ever since.

So there you have it – why Acceptance and Surrendering are so incredibly important to my life and what I have been through.  I’m not just talking about cancer either, so don’t feel like you should have to encounter a life threatening illness to relate.  Life is full of knocks, bumps, twists and turns.  My adult life started so very young when I fell pregnant at seventeen… adversity comes in all forms and look at what you can create when a twist in the road has an opportunity to become one of the most beautiful life experiences you could ever have hoped for.  Even before cancer, I have made many active decisions in how I chose to experience various life encounters.  These choices have been produced via a positive outlook and as a result have created nothing but magic and beauty for which I am grateful.

Look around and keep your eyes open, for life is most definitely filled with undulating terrain – just stop yourself for a moment before you see challenges as a set back or misfortune. Or before you can say or think, “Poor me” – for sometimes that pot of gold is just out the other side of your greatest suffering! If you choose a rainbow attitude with an affirmative acceptance and surrender mentality, you will be rewarded with peace, gratitude and light.

Love Bec x

For more Blogtober posts, you can find them in the BLOGTOBER INDEX – HERE.

 

© Copyright 2018 becbraid

The Shower + Mammogram That Saved My Life

The most common questions I am asked, is:

“How did you know?”

“What were the signs?”

“Did you find it yourself?”

This was back in 2014 (first breast cancer). For anyone with babies or toddlers in their house, know that time is in short supply to have uninterrupted adult conversation. My hubby and I often had our quality conversations in the shower at the end of the day when the kids were asleep.

“In June 2014 this shower turned from quality conversation to life saving.”

On this particular night, we were in our teeny-tiny shower and obviously because space was limited I was at a different angle (to showering alone) when it came to washing under my arms… I swept my soapy hand across my breast and into my armpit… “What was that”? I said, it STOPPED me in my tracks.

I said to my husband, “Oh my goodness, feel this.” (Just in case I was imagining it)… Nope, I was certain I just felt a big ass lump in my right boob. He felt it too… I was pretty calm; he on the other hand was quite directive, saying, “Right, you need to see Carl (our GP) tomorrow.” I said ok and didn’t think much of it. When we jumped into bed, he asked if I was worried, I wasn’t. I’d previously had swollen sweat glands/infection in my armpit on the same side so I just thought it would be a cyst or something. Even though this time it wasn’t in my arm pit, it was in my breast.

My husband’s mum sadly passed from Breast Cancer when he was seventeen years old, he was concerned more than I was. It was a decent size lump, once I had found it and knew it was there; there was no missing it. My mum, when I showed her, gasped, “Bec, that’s really big,” she said (she was worried).

So that is how I found my lump, it was random, it was by chance and thank God I found it… it was aggressive, had already infiltrated into my lymph nodes and if left any longer could have easily metastised elsewhere in my body. If that were the case, instead of having the opportunity to fight, I may have been handed my death sentence…

FEEL YOUR BOOBS

GET TO KNOW YOUR BOOBS (what’s normal for you – what’s not)?

DO A SELF EXAMINATION ONCE A MONTH…

 

It’s time girls… DO IT – tonight in the shower and then in front of the mirror.

its-time

Here’s a guide to self-examination. If you’re not sure, next time you’re at the GP just ask how to perform your own exam.

self-breast-exam

I’m being deadly serious… when we are young we are not offered routine testing. That’s ok – only if you are on top of things. And for woman who are old enough to have their mammograms… don’t put it off, do it, book that appointment. And let’s be realistic… they’re not that bad, I’ve had eight now and it hurts a little on my scar tissue, however, like most unpleasant things, one or two deep breaths and it’s done – PLUS if that’s not enough to convince you, my second breast cancer was found on Mammogram (and it was found super early).

As mentioned above, my second breast cancer was found differently to the first, I did not find a lump, because it was actually too small to be felt – even when my doctor knew there was cancer there (confirmed by biopsy) she could not (by physical exam) find it.  Fortunately for me, somehow by miracle, my annual scans (mammogram and ultrasound) couldn’t have been timed more perfectly.  Had my scans been earlier in the year, my new tumour would not have existed and I would currently be sitting here as a ticking time bomb.

I’ve had plenty of scares and biopsies at various times since diagnosis.  I’ve had lumps found myself, suspicious areas found on MRI but not on Mammogram, and this time my abnormality was found on Mammogram and not Ultrasound.  So let me say this… you will constantly hear conversations between woman about cancers being missed on certain tests and often people have an opinion on which test/scan is better than the other.  I am case in point that all of the screening tests are effective and necessary to detect different types of abnormalities.  For me, second time around, mine appeared as a calcification which can be completely normal in a lot of women, however, not in a thirty-four year old with a history of aggressive breast cancer and prior radiotherapy (which can also cause these calcifications).  There was still a good chance that it may not be cancerous – though unfortunately, it was.

My point is this… being both breast aware and knowing your body by doing regular self exams as well as routine screening for those women old enough or have a prior or family history is equally important.  AND if you are young and you find something suspicious, don’t allow yourself to be dismissed because you are ‘too young’ – there is no such thing as too young, if your intuition tells you that something is not right, don’t stop until you get peace of mind.   Early detection saves lives – mine included.

Another note I might just add is this… Beyond the scans, you need a highly skilled Doctor to review the results.  I am SOOOOOOOOOO fortunate for the radiologist that read my mammogram report on the 15th June 2018.  The abnormality looked so small (albeit still a grade three tumour)… someone could easily have looked past this.  There are women in one of my Australian online support groups that are now terminally ill because their cancer showed on their mammogram, yet the radiologist at the time did not see it, only for these women to be back at the Doctor, a year or two later to be told that not only do they have breast cancer but it’s also too late and they are diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer – this makes my heart sink.

Two years ago I started Blogtober with this post, this year I have eased in more gently, but nonetheless this serious and ‘take action’ provoking blog is absolutely necessary and it wouldn’t be Blogtober for Breast Cancer Awareness without it.

Feel those beautiful breasts of yours – do it for me, do it for your family, your children, your loved ones, your friends.

Bec x

For more Blogtober posts, you can find them in the BLOGTOBER INDEX – HERE.

© Copyright 2018 becbraid

SaveSave

It’s NOT a Boob Job

Day 10 of Blogtober is a video diary.  It’s a drive home with me from my surgeon’s office where I give a bit of an update on where I am up to since I had a bilateral mastectomy back in July this year.  I also express how I feel when it is ever deemed that I’m ‘lucky’ to be getting a ‘boob job’ [seriously… eye roll] and the differences between augmentation and reconstruction.

**Please note that the images in this blog cover photo (above) are NOT my breasts… it is the bruising and blood blistering down the sides of my body as a result of invasive surgery and two drains on each side.  It highlights that reconstruction following mastectomy, is NOT pretty.  It’s painful, it’s emotional, it’s challenging and it’s a LONG process with multiple surgeries.  However, I’m incredibly grateful that we as breast cancer fighters, survivors etc now have an opportunity to reconstruct post mastectomy, sure, it’s not easy but I’m mindful that it’s just one ‘piece’ or ‘part’ of my life and I know I’ll come through the other side  (just like chemo, radiotherapy etc four years ago).

About four weeks ago, a complication began which was really disheartening as things were going very smoothly and I was healing very well.  If you’d like to know more about the complication, you can catch up HERE.

Please excuse the terrible angle of my video diary… not flattering, but it’s not about a polished recording, it’s all about the words I speak…

 

Thank you for watching and here’s some information to finish on:

Augmentation/

The action or process of making or becoming greater in size or amount.

Reconstruction/

The action or process of reconstructing or being reconstructed – a thing that has been rebuilt after being damaged or destroyed.

Thank you for your support so far during Blogtober 2.0 – It truly means so much to me.

Love Bec x

P.S. Here is the Blogtober Index a central hub for all blogs this month.

© Copyright 2018 becbraid

Index – Blogtober 2.0

Welcome to the hub of Blogtober… A central place to find what you are looking for or simply keep up to date [in case you don’t have time each day and would prefer to binge read].  At the completion of October 2018 it will be a full index of information.  Practical, emotional, spiritual, scary, triumphant – all of it!!!

DAY 1 – WELCOME TO BLOGTOBER

DAY 2 – HARD TRUTHS – PART 1 (LESSONS LEARNT FIGHTING A LIFE THREATENING DISEASE)

DAY 3 – HARD TRUTHS – PART 2 (I’M SUPER PASSIONATE ABOUT THESE HARD TRUTHS)

DAY 4 – HARD TRUTHS – PART 3 (I HONESTLY BELIEVE THESE TRUTHS CAN SET YOU FREE)

DAY 5 – FAREWELL BREASTS (A DIARY ENTRY – WHAT I WILL MISS WHEN MY BREASTS ARE GONE)

DAY 6 – RELEASE – A DIARY ENTRY (VULNERABILITY)

DAY 7 – SLOW DOWN SUNDAY (A DAY FOR WANTS NOT NEEDS)

DAY 8 – A NEW MOON (PRACTICALITY MEETS SPIRITUALITY – INTENTION SETTING)

DAY 9 – THE PERFECT GIFT (WHEN A LOVED ONE IS DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER)

DAY 10 – IT’S NOT A BOOB JOB (RECONSTRUCTION POST BILATERAL MASTECTOMY REALITY)

DAY 11 – THE SHOWER + MAMMOGRAM THAT SAVED MY LIFE (KNOW YOUR BREASTS!)

DAY 12 – THE POWER OF ACCEPTANCE + SURRENDER (POWERLESS OR POWERFUL)

DAY 14 – WEEKLY WRAP + RAMBLE (VIDEO DIARY)

DAY 15 – TO WIG OR NOT TO WIG (BALD IS BEAUTIFUL)

DAY 16 – FINDING PEACE AND ALONE TIME (REDUCING STRESS)

I hope you enjoy the content.  Writing a blog every day for 31 days sure comes with a lot of pressure.  I know there’s a lot of bloggers that do this day in and day out and I take my hat off to them.  I’m more of a blogger when I have something to share and that for me comes in peaks and troughs. My content is highly emotional and raw in terms of what it requires of me to remember or re-tell and as a consequence, I re-live my cancer x2 experience – so at times there are tears as I write the words for Blogtober. I both love it and loathe it at times, like anything in life, the things we strive for are often the most challenging and trying and ask the most from us.  I quite like the juggling act and the purpose to provide and continue to deliver my message:

“It is my ultimate goal to provide a healthy perspective on life, empower gratitude, raise awareness for young breast cancer and provoke thoughts of positive change.”

Enjoy!

Love Bec x

© Copyright 2018 becbraid

The Perfect Gift

I wrote this blog two years ago and it has been my most shared blog when other people come to me and say, “What can I buy my friend/mother/sister etc – what did you want/need” when they are sadly diagnosed with breast cancer (or any cancer) – I always send the link to this blog.  So I have re-published, with a few additions.  It’s also been published HERE.

_________________________

You get the news… a friend or family member has just been diagnosed. You are in shock, you cry and you want to see them.

Then… you wonder what you can do for them. Flowers? Chocolates? What do you even buy someone who’s just received this awful news?

Their life has just turned crazy, they’re having more tests and scans, they’re having surgery, they’re organising their life so they can function with their kids through the coming months of chemo and radiotherapy… what can I do? What can I buy? What do I say?

I have worked together with the amazing gals in my young breast cancer support group, to ensure that you know what to do if something like this affects a loved one.

1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer in their lifetime… chances are that you will know someone, even if you don’t just yet.

8 women die each day from Breast Cancer.

[Source: nbcf.org.au]

Let’s get started… I’ve broken them down into different categories.

IN THE BEGINNING – IT’S EARLY DAYS…

A beautiful shoulder bag.

Why? To carry their drains and tubes after breast surgery – it’s a great way to disguise them so you can get out and about.

Drain Bags

Me, my drain bags that were kindly given to me post bilateral mastectomy [and a snap chat filter 🙂 ]

Host a lunch/dinner with close friends before the first chemo or surgery.

It’s such a great feeling to see everyone before you begin treatment. Knowing they’re all in your corner cheering you on is really encouraging.

catch-up-before-chemo

 

Cards and Flowers

These are beautiful gestures in the beginning because you are so busy with appointments, tests, scans and surgeries, it’s not always possible for you to be able to see them. This tells them that you’re thinking of them and it’s also a great gesture if you’re not really close friends, yet you want to show your support and good wishes as they take on their battle.

AS TIME GOES BY…

Thoughtful and personalised hampers

I think I received about four beautiful hamper style gifts. They were tailored and meant the world to me. They included things like magazines for both hubby and myself. Herbal teas, candles and different items with tags attached, explaining what the purpose for the item was for.   I had kind friends that knew exactly what to do (and tug on the heart strings… I was so incredibly moved by the generosity and genuine thought and effort that went into these gifts). To me it said “I’m thinking of you, I’m here for you and I just wish I could take it all away, but I can’t” I felt both the pain of my friends and the warmth and love through their gifts.

 

Movie Night (in PJ’s)

My girlfriends dropped around a pair of beautiful silk PJ’s during the day before we all got together that night, it was such a special surprise.

pjs-from-girls

 

A beautiful blanket

Can be taken to chemo or used at home on the lounge.

Natural Beauty Products

Lip balms, Hand Cream, Nourishing body creams, essential oils – perhaps even a bath kit (steer clear of any nasty chemicals as the skin becomes very sensitive during treatment).

A gorgeous Head Scarf

Whilst an emotional gift to give, it will be truly appreciated.

 headscarf

 

A written card

Don’t underestimate the old-fashioned ‘hand written’ card – it honestly means the world.  This time round I’ve had a special friend of mine send a card and a little meaningful gift every few weeks.  She’s still doing it and it’s 2.5 months post surgery and that is the most beautiful thing because she understands that whilst the heightened stress dims down, the emotional rollercoaster continues – her act of friendship on a regular basis really reaches out and says that she loves and cares for me and I value her so much for this.

cards

I kept every single card I received.

 

A beautiful notepad – Where they can document side effects and questions to take to each medical appointment.  I know The Grace Files do beautiful journals.

A nice basket – To store medication at easy reach (trust me – there will be a lot of drugs – anti-nausea, steroids, pain killers, sleeping tablets, dry mouth sprays, sick bags, mints etc etc)

Cotton gloves and rich moisturiser – your hands dry out A LOT particularly because you wash your hands so much for the fear of catching germs and getting sick during chemo.

Books – I’d suggest fiction so they can escape reality.

(Beware: there are plenty of books about cancer… what to eat, how to treat, alternative medical opinions etc – unless you know your friend really REALLY well. Be careful… she may not be ready for any kind of self help book or a book that says she can cure her cancer by changing her diet). I know personally, when I was diagnosed, I was soooooo angry about it. I didn’t seek complimentary information until much later down the track, so be careful with book choices as you may unintentionally offend.

Comfortable ‘trackies’ (house pants), Fuzzy socks, New PJ’s (button up for after surgery)

All these ‘comforts’ are truly appreciated and might be just the thing to put a smile on their face.

SENTIMENTAL/SPIRITUAL

Rosary beads/Guardian Angel/Angel of Protection/Prayer books etc

(Caution: some people stray from religion when diagnosed with a life threatening illness so a Religious gift may be offensive. Not everyone turns to religion in difficult times).

THE PRACTICAL

Food – Freezer friendly or call ahead to let them know you are dropping something off. Perhaps between friends you can organise a roster so there isn’t an inundation of food and then nothing when they need it the most. It was soooooo helpful to have meals dropped off – even if I didn’t have an appetite, I knew my family was being looked after (since I’m the cook of the family). It also offers them an opportunity to eat well when they simply can’t be bothered (energy is certainly not running high during treatment).

Online Roster – This time round, diagnosis two, four years later a beautiful friend of mine organised a food roster with the other kindy mums.  They did it through this site Take Them a Meal and it worked brilliantly.  Initially I had family staying post surgery so we didn’t require any meals, yet after that I was on my own with a husband who travels for work.  I opted to have two meals a week delivered just to help me out.  The flexibility of this website allows you to tailor which days you would like meals.  The other huge benefit of an online roster, is that people can nominate what they would like to cook for you, and then everyone can see what is being made – i.e. you don’t end up with ten lasagnes.  I was so appreciative of the support I received from my son’s kindergarten community (particularly only having lived in our new city for six months – what a beautiful community we have moved to).

Groceries – Drop off some fresh fruit and veg – this is an incredible gift to receive, particularly if your loved one has a children or many mouths to feed.

Aloe Vera Plant – This was one of the most thoughtful gifts from a fellow cancer fighter and friend. I used the Aloe Vera on my radiotherapy burns – it was a Godsend.

radiotherapy-burns

My mum rubbing aloe vera into my radiotherapy burns.

Offer to be a note taker

Offer to attend medical appointments even if they have their husband or partner or parent etc. I remember the week I was diagnosed, we were in Sydney and in JUST one day, I saw my breast surgeon, had to get another urgent biopsy, saw a fertility specialist, an oncologist, back to the fertility specialist and back again to the breast surgeon (yep one crazy, emotionally charged day, my head was spinning). My hubby and I had my sister in law come to some of the appointments just to be an extra set of ears. We had so many decisions to make with regard to IVF and the type of breast surgery I was going to have… I was distracted and my head was not clear – I was too busy being shocked and afraid that I might die and not see my children grow.   Having my sister in law with us meant that she could recall the information that we’d forgotten.

Offer to start a private FB Group

By having a One Stop ‘update’ shop so to speak is a great way to lessen the burden of replying to 20 texts and 10 phone calls when you are exhausted. I didn’t do this, but I think it’s a great idea.

DON’T FORGET THE KIDS AND HUBBY/SUPPORT PERSON…

Sadly, cancer creates a ‘big arse’ mess and it changes everything. All of a sudden ‘home life’ is not as it was and things are stressful, sad and tense at times. Kids and partners feel the pain too. They need a break just as much as ‘mum’.

Boys weekend for hubby or partner

Offer to take the kids out for the day for some fun (so they can still be kids).

MOST IMPORTANT – (FOR THE CLOSE FRIENDS AND FAMILY)

  • Educate yourself (my blog is a great place to start). Anything in Blogtober (2016) or my current Blogtober (2018) will give you an insight into feelings, treatments etc. You can also check out Cancer Council Australia and National Breast Cancer Foundation Australia.
  • Listen – REALLY listen – if they’ve chosen you to talk to then they value your friendship (or they wouldn’t bother). It’s really exhausting to talk, so they’ve picked you for a reason. We face really big decisions throughout treatment, sometimes we will want to talk about the same thing over and over again – are you right for the job?
  • Create laughter – lots of it.
  • Don’t wait for them to reach out – you need to reach in (a quote from my hubby – he said this to my friends right from the start “Bec won’t reach out you need to be there and you need to reach in” he said).
  • Offer open-ended invitations – maybe it’s a no to coffee this week, but perhaps a yes next week when they’re feeling better and need company.

NO STRINGS ATTACHED

Ensure all presents and offers of support are with no strings attached. Don’t expect a written thank you or for them to write a text to the ten people who dropped food off this week (whilst we try as hard as we can – the very thought of sitting with your phone to write 15 messages or call 10 people is utterly exhausting). When I felt good, I wanted to embrace my family and try as hard as I could to show them that their mum and wife still existed.

Trust in the fact that no matter how great or small the gesture, your thoughts, actions of good will, love and prayers mean the absolute world to anyone fighting cancer.

Love Bec x

P.S. Don’t forget them after treatment – Post treatment is one of the most difficult and isolating stages to overcome. A lot of woman suffer from shock and delayed realisation of what they’ve been through in the past months. They need your support and friendship more than ever when they’ve ticked that last treatment box.

P.P.S. If you’d like to keep up-to-date with Blogtober, you can do so HERE.

© Copyright 2018 becbraid

A New Moon…

New Moon definition/

A new moon happens every 29.5 days – when the side of the moon facing the earth is in total darkness.  In astronomy, a new moon marks the first lunar phase.  The original meaning of the term is the first visible crescent of the moon, which is briefly visible when it’s low above the western horizon just after the sun has gone down.  As a new moon represents the start of a new lunar cycle, it symbolises new beginnings.

Why I love a new moon?

… After darkness comes light, yet, before I am ready for the light, I need time to stop, take check, reflect and figure out what my new intentions are.

A new moon gives an opportunity of re-setting, reflecting and intention setting every 29.5 days – so there’s ample opportunity to jump on board – it’s not about ‘new years resolutions’ it’s not about goal setting once a year and potentially failing, only having to wait another entire year to start over…

Our purpose and intent for life is something that is ever evolving.  It changes; we change!  We change through the growth of experiences that have touched us.  Constant growth and evolution is exactly why there is no use getting too ahead of ourselves.  Our true power and ability is in the now – present tense (forget the 5 year plan).  If we get ahead of ourselves with too much forward planning, scheduling or goal setting – we can lose sight of ourselves in the process.

The art of living on purpose, is being able to hear our heart’s desires, be proficient in connecting with the power of our mind, our spiritual magic, our intuition, our inner guidance of knowing – and being able to connect with that regularly.

The New Moon is an opportunity to gently review my position, reflect on the past month and see how I sit with my purpose and intention.  It’s a beautiful opening to re-align, and attune to what no longer serves me, to course correct and be lead by my intuition – only we truly know what is best for ourselves – yet we can only hear this knowing if we allow and create space to hear it.

We can sometimes lose our sense of intuition and true path of life when we don’t turn down the volume of life, when we don’t take time out.  When we don’t stop to take check!

The new moon excites me, I allow myself the opportunity to have a spiritual ritual and create a relaxing and soothing environment.  It’s a time where I purposefully and lovingly create space (it’s ‘you’ time – what’s not to love about that). I allow myself to fully immerse and engage in the beautiful gift of darkness, silence and stillness offered perfectly by the new moon. It’s like having access to a reset button, and we all can agree that from time to time a reset button can be pure gold – a chance to restore to ‘factory settings’ aka ‘our true selves’.

My rituals depend on how I’m feeling, how much time and effort I have at that particular point in time. I take a no pressure approach and simply do what I feel like – I am working on an easy ‘how-to’ guide and an enticing ‘menu’ of beautiful options, so that you too can implement a new moon ritual or practice into your routine.  So keep a look out or even send me an email or a comment if you’ve never done this before and wish to give it a go (I’ll even be hosting some new moon intention setting sessions for those that live close by).

Spirituality aside – ACTUALLY, I may rephrase that… Spirituality combined– I’m an incredibly practical person! I understand family life, the demands and practicalities of everyday life.  I understand life with illness and most of all, I understand the brute strength of life when it tries to break you.  I’m not an ‘airy fairy’ person I’m not aloof and I’m not in a dream world where I dismiss reality, quite the contrary, I am firmly grounded and rooted in the chaos and difficulty of everyday life.

This blog ‘One Life’ is all about balance and integration AND YES you CAN be spiritual AND practical and this is exactly what I’ve always been about.  Meeting life challenges with presence, trust and belief – taking the time to go inwards so that I can survive the outer world – the outer experience. I would not have emotionally and psychologically survived the onset and ongoing stress of a child with a chronic illness and on top of that the two times I have faced breast cancer and the continuum of what a person who has had cancer continues to live with.

I am incredibly in touch with the inner me, and through years and years of practice, I’ve been able to peacefully accept and still smile through traumatic and scary life events. I’ve learnt how to live in peace despite fear and learnt to live a life of choosing not driven by thatfear – it has taken a very long time and I have worked incredibly hard.

I never stop working on the power of my mind.  To live congruently with my ideas, values and spiritual practice, it involves ongoing maintenance.  It’s discipline, ongoing education, self-development and patience.  It has required me to completely, openly and lovingly surrender to the path of my life – whatever comes my way.  It’s acceptance, peace, grace and love for whatever is– the good, the bad and the ugly – and how I chooseto experience (and I sure as hell have seen a lot of ‘ugly’).

So to sum up my opening question, ‘Why do I love the new moon?’ – it’s simply because various stages of the moon cycle act as a natural timekeeper to checking in with myself – ensuring that I allow myself time to naturally evolve and progress.  It is a gift I give to myself every new moon (29.5 days) – it excites me, it fills my cup.

Is this something you might like to try?  Are you wanting to stay on track or at least give yourself some space to figure out what you want and how you want to feel?  Do you want an opportunity to self-reflect?  Are you caught up in the daily grind and every day is the same? Day’s turn into weeks, weeks turn into months and before you know it years and years go by and you wonder what you’ve done with your life!  You may sit scratching your head wondering why you haven’t achieved any of your hopes or dreams or perhaps you’re living without something truly meaningful  – without something that lights you up and sets your heart on fire?

Maybe a simple full moon practice might bring some sparkle to your life or at least provide some time and space to hear yourself – hear your own thoughts and heart dreams.

[Just be mindful – intention setting is very different to goal setting.  Intentions are about how something makes you feel, it’s about wholehearted fulfilment.  Goal setting is outcome driven and sometimes lacks soul, goal setting can be too ego driven. Don’t get me wrong; I set practical goals also (not always, but certainly when I need accountability in my life), yet usually my goals are an extension of my intentions to ensure that I’m staying true to myself].

I give thanks to finding a new moon practice and I get excited each time it roles around.

Bec x

P.S. I will continue to talk more about this topic, spirituality and mindset post Blogtober – And probably via email form as well as my blog, so feel free to subscribe HERE so you don’t miss out on anything.

P.S. If you’d like to keep up-to-date with Blogtober, you can do so HERE.

© Copyright 2018 becbraid

Slow Down Sunday

Today’s blog is exactly as the title suggests…

Sundays for me (and as a family) is a day to take the pressure down, move slowly and remove all expectations that often sit on our shoulders more heavily from Monday to Friday.  We like to choose what we would like to do as a family and then I personally like to choose what I would like to do (a few little things that individually make me happy).

Sunday is a day to reset, rebalance and recharge, and so the saying goes:

“A Sunday well spent brings a week of content.”

My Sunday so far…

  • I got up at 6am and spent some time outside with our new puppy ‘Pepper’ (we are toilet training, so I got extremely excited when she did a little wee outside, yay, progress).  When I’m outside with her, I just take it all in, I look at the trees swaying above and the green grass beneath my feet – I listen to all the happy birds singing and chirping.  We are just settling into a new house and being in the back yard makes me happy, I slow down and simply take it all in, I could sit out there all day.
  • Put my diffuser on with an elevating blend of Cedarwood, Ylang Ylang and Peppermint (smells amazing).
  • Made my son some breakfast.
  • Made a cup of Tumeric tea and sat out on my front balcony… when I do this I just sit and ponder, I appreciate the sun shining in and listen to my heart in terms of what I want to do for the day.  On weekdays I allow my mind to hold a little more weight in speaking to me about what I need to do on any given day.  Though, on Sundays I allow my heart to speak in terms of wants instead of needs or have to’s – Sunday is a little more about my heart’s desires and eliminating pressure.
  • Sitting here writing this blog.

 

Slow Sunday - image

 

So what will my Sunday bring?  What is my ‘Slow Sunday’ wish list?

  • Well I’m normally a pancake Sunday girl and I mix up a super tall pancake stack for my family, though today a new cafe is calling me.  So we will venture out and try something new.
  • I will top up and mix up some new aromatherapy oil blends, I’m thinking a headache blend, something for focus and energy, a new perfume and a happiness blend.  Most of mine are all very calming based, so today I’m focusing on a bit more zest.
  • We are heading to IKEA so we can set up my daughters study room.  She’s currently in year 10 and going into her senior years so we are creating a space for her to feel organised and calm.  I’m thinking some plants, a white board, perhaps a corner desk and an extra diffuser, she is obsessed with Lavender.
  • Meal planning/grocery order – I’m exploring lots of new recipes at the moment, my new kitchen has given me back my cooking mojo and all of you know how much I love to cook (cooking was my therapy during chemotherapy), so there’s lots of new healthy fresh foods for my family being added to our rotation.
  • An afternoon timeout which will include: meditation, reading my book and a Nanna Nap.  Rest for me is still imperative post surgery.  If you watched THIS video diary, you will know that I’m dealing with a complication on my radiated breast (all of my remaining fills have been put on hold).  I have a wound which is really struggling to heal.  It’s definitely improving, yet, it’s incredibly slow going.  Radiated skin does not heal easily.  This has required so much patience and trust, it’s disheartening, but looking after myself is the best thing I can do to ensure that my body can overcome this hiccup.  So back to this point; REST and some alone time to achieve this, is an absolute MUST.
  • I will catch up on The Bachelor… life has been so incredibly busy and I’ve been too tired to watch tv (this is about the only TV I actually watch) – Somehow I have avoided seeing the result of the finale on social media etc SO PLEASE DON’T TELL ME!!!!
  • Bounce – I will jump on the trampoline with my son.  I’ve been doing this for exercise and it’s very much needed for my lymphatic system (since I have no lymph nodes in my right axilla) I find this SO MUCH FUN and it’s exercise ticked off all at the same time – winning!
  • Sheet Sunday – We wash all our sheets on Sundays (I don’t do any other laundry on Sunday just sheets).  It’s nice to start the week fresh.

Sheet Sunday Image

  • I will have a long hot bath this evening before hopping into bed.
  • Finally – the most important thing to me is being present and enjoying the company of my family as our day unfolds.
  • I LOVE SUNDAYS!

I hope you too can take the time to do what you enjoy, take some time out, take the pressure down and eliminate some of the day to day stress that creeps up on us.

Good health to me is all about balance and reducing stress.

Happy Slow Sunday.

Love Bec x

P.S. If you’d like to keep up-to-date with Blogtober, you can do so HERE.

 

© Copyright 2018 becbraid