Today, we commemorate individuals who have received a cancer diagnosis and honour their experiences. A cancer diagnosis, no matter the type has life-altering affects and the journey though is certainly not an easy one to take.
From diagnosis, testing, surgeries and then the road of recovery every person has to fight for their health. They fight to regain some sort of normalcy for the life they once had. For many, this life now looks different and that is not necessarily a bad thing.
We spoke with three cancer survivors and this is what they had to say about their journey with cancer.
Charlotte Crowl - Lymphoblastic Lymphoma
Charlotte Crowl says that the hardest part of her journey was losing everything that she knew to be her. Although she notes that the person she now is, has so many better qualities, it is still an adjustment and does still hurt.
On what was the biggest support for her mental health during this time she says, “A concoction of routines and a consistent lifestyle, so I didn’t fall into a rabbit hole of overthinking. Jamaica, music, love of family and friends, and getting outside even when I wanted to hide in my bubble.”
Melanie Bastien - Breast Cancer
Melanie Bastien tells us that her outlook on life has changed drastically since being diagnosed with breast cancer. She says, “My outlook on life has changed massively. Not only do I enjoy life more now than ever, but I also feel like I have a purpose.” She goes on to say, “Helping to spread awareness and supporting other breast cancer survivors is what pushes me. I also started a baking business which I never thought I'd ever do, and I love it.”
Melanie also says that finding support in Black Women Rising played a big factor in supporting her mental health. “I had just had my mastectomy and was in a dark place and was feeling low. Finding Leanne and the other women who had been through it and could relate to everything I was experiencing made a massive difference to my life,” she says.
Norma Augustin - Breast Cancer
Norma remembers the devastating feeling she had when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. “I felt as though it was a death sentence and that I had to get my affairs in order for my family,” says Norma. “I also doubted my faith, wondering why I was having to go through all of this.”
On her outlook on life now, Norma says that she is gradually coming to terms with her new life. “Taking my hormone therapy each day is a reminder that the cancer could come back, but I have a stronger faith outlook and show gratitude for each day with or without pain.”
For those who are currently going through treatment Norma says, “It may be a rocky road but if you can be open. Share what you are feeling with a group, and accept that life will be different but also great.”