I believe that cancer is as much a mental battle as it is a physical illness. The shock of my diagnosis plunged me into the depths of despair and, whilst I'm relieved that I've moved on from that point, I've come to learn that my mental state is so tightly entwined with the progression of my illness and the severity of my symptoms.
"Stay positive" they say - well, that's easy when things are going your way, but I challenge anyone to stay positive when their hair is falling out, they feel achy all over and they're unsure whether the treatment causing all the problems is going to make a jot of difference.
Shortly after my diagnosis, I discovered Mindfulness through listening to a book called "The Power of Now" by Eckhert Tolle on my daily walks (I've discovered since that this is the "go to" book for Mindfulness). Tolle's soporific and soothing words explain how harmful dwelling on the past or posturing the future can be. He encourages us to be present in order to experience the wonder of life.
Since listening to this book, I've fully embraced Mindfulness. It has been transformational for me. Among other things, it's considerably reduced my anxiety about the future and allowed me to truly enjoy time spent with my friends and family.
Every day I have a choice about how I approach my day. Sometimes, when the sun is shining and I'm feeling full of energy, it's easy to feel amazing. Other times it's hard, as maybe I have a scan looming or I'm suffering from the side effects of treatment. These are the times when I need to make more of a conscious effort to get into the right state and to live in the present rather than succumbing to the temptation of thoughts about the past and the future.
It's not always easy to free yourself from the worries of cancer, but with practice and a conscious mind, I've found that the majority of my life is not tainted by thoughts of cancer. This page contains some of the resources that help me and content from mindfulness experts that I hope will help free you to live your life in the Now.