Thursday, 27 October 2016

Day 27 #pathways2resilience ~ Jenny

Special Feature Edition: Pathways to Resilience: Embracing our Vulnerability, Celebrating our Resilience

If you like stunning jewellery you've come to the right place

The adversity that breast cancer brings with it, is not a gift. But like Jenny, what we can do is to grow gifts from it. Here, Jenny, our wonderful ambassador shows how she turns the pain that she has endured to being creative about making stunning jewellery that she enjoys immensely. These gifts, she gives away generously. In fact, in one of our London meetups over lunch, her earrings, necklace, bracelets and rings, she happily gave everyone. We are proud of Jenny, and the enthusiasm she brings to the group is as stunning as her jewellery. 


So Pinktober is upon us again. Personally I prefer to keep my head down because my experience of breast cancer, like just about everyone I know who has also gone through it, is anything but pink. 

I've always had a bit of a 'give it a go' attitude, I suppose that comes from having been a single parent, so when I was diagnosed with primary breast cancer in December 2010 at the age of 48, the only thing I could do, once I'd picked myself up off the floor, was get stuck into the treatment and give it a go.

Lumpectomy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, Herceptin and hormone therapy was a massive shock to the system, but with the help and support of friends who stepped in and just did stuff, like the parents of my daughters' friends who had my two girls forward sleepovers on chemo day, and my lovely boyfriend who let me stay at his and just brought me drinks in between sleeps, I got through.

But after active treatment has finished, you're still left with the emotional wreckage, and when others just expect you to be back to normal, only people who've been through similar experiences can truly understand. 

Fortunately, my diagnosis is slipping further into my past so the trauma of diagnosis and treatment becomes less “front and centre” in my daily life, but when recently diagnosed I was in contact with other women who had been through, and were going through, the same as me. One of those lovely ladies (Thank you Kim!) wanted to share an activity that she found relaxing and rewarding, so I and three others were taught the basics of making jewellery. It may not be for everybody (the other three enjoyed the morning but didn’t carry on) but after that first taste, I was totally hooked. I admit I was more surprised than anyone as I’d never seen myself as creative and didn’t really wear much jewellery, but I now really enjoy twiddling with beads, wire and semi-precious stones to make something pretty – which I usually give away because I can’t be bothered with the hassle of online selling as my photographic skills aren’t up to much. 

This is a picture of that very first piece that I made (goodness, is it really three years ago?) which I later gave as a present to my son’s girlfriend.

I have found that having an absorbing hobby that I have to concentrate on has provided very welcome stress relief, as it takes my mind off underlying worries and intrusive thoughts. Earrings, anyone?

#pathways2resilience #panningforgold
#breastcancerawareness #bcresiliencecentre

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