A Letter From Tracy – Survive and Thrive

I was diagnosed with Invasive Lobular Breast cancer on 17th of February 2020. My world as I knew it stopped and the shell-shocked new me emerged.  When my Mastectomy took place in March I was so in shock that I don’t think I even realized the enormous trauma of having a breast removed. Then I became an overwhelmed and scared human that had fear living within. Chemotherapy and Covid were my enemies and I was lost. Only for my good friend ‘ Barbara’, I feel I would not have come through those dark days. She carried me in the dark and I will never forget her strength to get me through. It must have been so difficult for her when I look back on it now. She is an amazing woman and I will be beheld to her for my lifetime.

I got in touch with a lady who was setting up a new group ‘ Lobular Ireland’ , her name is Siobhan Freeney and she helped me one day when I was in need of support and information. She was setting up a social media site and this is the place where I found out about Survive and Thrive course which the Marie Keating foundation was hosting over a six-week period, every Tuesday. At first, I was apprehensive but the next day I just applied online. After a phone call from Fiona, I was accepted. On the first Tuesday night, I was emotional and nervous but I should not have been as Helen and Paul put the group at ease straight away. Helen has such a calming tone ‘ I could listen to her all night’ and Paul has the banter which between the two works a treat.

The group itself was of women who had all been through a journey of cancer treatment. We could all identify with something that one of us had gone through. The course looks at many things self-management of pain, decision making, sleep, problem-solving, healthy eating, exercise, communication skills, weight management and positive thinking are some of the many items on the program.

One of the items on the program which we did every week was an Action plan. I found this so beneficial as it gave me the motivation and drive to get up and do it not just think about it. Also, I had questions about returning to work and the Pro’s and Con’s section really helped me with that decision.

The course is also about the individuals you meet and I met some really lovely people who have experienced a life-changing event that has changed us all. We have learned, laughed, and cried together. I hope we will stay in contact and become firm supports for each other as we move forward. At all times Helen and Paul steered the ‘ship’ in the right direction with care and humility. Helen said it is a gift to give to others and I really believe she Paul and Fiona are truly an amazing gift and I for one will be forever in their gratitude. A massive thank you to the trio and all the team at the Marie Keating Foundation.

Yours Truly

Tracy Bennett