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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