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Shit scared and not afraid to admit it!!

I remember so vividly walking down the corridor to the chemo unit back in 2016 with my husband Mark.

To say I was terrified is an understatement. The thought of chemo was almost paralysing, well it was back then, and whilst I was putting a brave face on it for Mark, I was proper shit scared and I don’t mind sharing that!

When I walked into the unit I immediately had to take myself off to the loo for a little cry, I kid you not I allowed myself a wee weep and then I pulled myself together and had a word with myself. I looked in the mirror and said “Come on lady you’ve got this! Go smash it!” and there began my first chemo journey.

Now the sessions themselves aren’t horrible, if anything they were quite enjoyable. I got to spend 4-5 hours with Mark, we took snacks, magazines, cross-words and all sorts to pass the time and we did have fun; we made the nurses laugh and I even ran a mini book club with them!

But the in between bits were anything but enjoyable; physical, emotional and mental strain that drains every bit of energy out of you. This picture is on a particularly crappy day when as you can see from the look on my face I just didn't want to play 😳 😂. On top of everything I insisted on working between sessions so travelling 80 miles round trip every day and working 6 hours; probably not the best thing for me physically but mentally I felt it was the right thing to do. The thought of spending so much time at home on my own with my thoughts was not something that inspired me, the distraction of work was the better choice for me.

The cancer journey in 2016 taught me a lot about myself, my resilience and my determination, since then I’ve been through a lot more ‘trauma’ both physically and emotionally and what this has taught me is that the attitude of ‘just get on with it and everything will be fine’ is not sustainable.

Putting all of my emotions and experiences in a box and closing the lid can only work for so long and then the lid springs open and oh my god what a shit show that can create.

So, I chose to try and work on my mind, understanding more about how my thoughts control me and how to be more mindful, more in control and more calm. I got obsessed and I mean obsessed with Mindfulness, so much so that I have a whole bookcase full on the subject. This obsession began with a course to actually help me “Mindfulness for Stress & Anxiety” which taught me so much and I think was what started to evolve my mind and thinking and really inspired me to learn more.

Then I did a Diploma in Mindfulness, studying again at the age of 50 was difficult, but this course inspired me then to learn how to teach others Mindfulness, I wanted to share the joy this had brought to me with others. I’m now a qualified Mindfulness teacher and have run 8-week programmes to help others understand more about how this can really help ease the craziness of the mind and help to find more peace and calm. The transformations from this programme can be remarkable.

The most surprising thing I’ve discovered is that I actually have a previously well-hidden introvert self; Nicola can be on her own, she can enjoy her own company and she can even sit in complete silence with her thoughts and enjoy this time. I’ve learnt and embraced so much change in my life and know that this is part of what is getting me through the journey of widowhood and the changes that brings to your life as well as getting me vibrantly through my current little soiree with breast cancer.

These journeys and experiences are what created Badasscancerthriver and what inspired me to start this business.

My mission is to support, uplift and inspire women with breast cancer to feel more confident, more in control and less anxious during this journey. Sharing some of my own experiences, learnings, tools and techniques from Mindfulness as well as Life Coaching to help them thrive through the journey; I know this is do-able.

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