I haven’t written a blog for some time now, but today I wanted to write all about an event I am involved with Loughborough University,
Loughborough University partners with cancer charities for event that encourages people to ‘check their lumps for bumps’
Loughborough University, Loughborough Students’ Union, CoppaFeel! and Ballboys are joining forces this March for an all-day event that looks to improve early detection rates of breast and testicular cancers by encouraging people to learn how to self-check.
Why I am getting involved
I was contacted from the guys at loughborough uni through mutual friends, the fact that I had studied at this university 10 Years previous holds a special place in my heart. Going back to when I was a student I had zero idea about breast cancer, in fact I had zero idea about the difference in cancers, the signs, the symptoms and certainly wouldn’t have given a thought to checking my breasts, breast cancer to me was something you may get when you were older in you 50’s onwards, certainly not something in your 20’s or 30’s. But here I am now, 18 months after my own diagnoses for breast cancer at the age of 33, 7 months of chemo, 3 surgeries and 5 weeks of radiotherapy completed, I know too well the importance of being well informed.
Life is crazy, and at uni life is study study study and social gatherings, trying to keep up with this pace of life gives you little time for yourself, and when you aren’t in Uni mode, you are trying to spend time with family and friends at home, the juggle is tough never let anyone tell you uni is a breeze, oh and I forgot to mention the anxiety you feel about what next …. what will I do after uni. The pressure of trying to succeed at this time of your life is immense, ok students get a bad wrap for living wild, partying but really this is all part of the journey, party, work hard and enjoy being young and free with so many opportunities ahead. With all this going on, you really have little time for yourself, I am so happy to see a huge shift in mindfulness acceptance and the fact we are now talking about our feelings so much more, even to when I was at uni, but there is still a lot to be done with self care.
The lumps and bumps event is a fantastic way of showing the importance of checking yourself for any changes, but it is more that information and checking for lumps and bumps to me, it’s taking a step back from the hustle and bustle of this thing we call life and taking time out for yourself. It’s talking to your friend, partners and family and spreading the word for self care, it is being open to shouting from the roof top, I check in with myself because I want to take the best care of my body that I possibly can.
Self examination really does save lives, for me checking my breasts was a total fluke, it had only been because my dog had jumped on an area of my breast did I notice this large hard lump, how I didn’t notice it before I will never know, you could physically see the lump when I moved my breast to one side. My cancer was grade 3, aggressive, it grew fast, and without my quick reactions (thanks to my dog) it would have continued to grow fast. I was diagnosed within 5 days of finding the lump … FIVE DAYS! I caught it early, it hadn’t spread, one thing to be aware of here with breast cancer is that it can spread to the lymph nodes under the arms and for me I was lucky to catch it when I did.
I use the word lucky because I was, I never self examined, I didn’t even think I needed to, I left my examination down to luck that night my dog jumped on me, and this is why I do what I can now to spread the word, to teach people not just to self examine, but to self care, mind body and soul, it all works together, and when you get a sense for what your body needs and doesn’t, you have a sense for changes in your body because you are aware of you physical self, you have far more control than leaving your health down to luck.
We control so much of our lives, our studies, our jobs, we make conscious efforts of the clothes we put on our body daily, so why not take the same effort and put it into taking control of that body of yours, getting to know and love it as much as you can and making that the part of your daily routine just as much as you do for everything else.
Life is manic at times, but a little time out for yourself each day, self examination each month, will take so little of your time but what you get from this is so huge, it’s a sense of achievement , today I took care of myself, and honestly if the past year has taught me anything it is that exact sense of achievement is the greatest feeling you will ever experience.
Looking forward to seeing everything on the 20th March