The Beacon December FY22


Jodie Lydeker

J odie Lydeker was 40 years old when she was diagnosed with early breast cancer and started her blog, She. Me, part-way through treatment, as an outlet for her to write about her experience and allow herself time to breathe, connect and reflect. The Beacon asked Jodie, who is a BCNA Consumer Representative, to share an excerpt of one of her posts and how writing has helped with her recovery and beyond. My blog is like a mirror image of me—a beautifully-imperfect-work-in- progress. It reflects the vulnerability that cancer has created in my life and my hard-nosed pragmatism. Over time, my ability to honour how I was feeling became more important in my longer-term recovery than focusing on what I thought I should be thinking or doing. While I had previously considered my emotions a weakness, I now know that my greatest strength comes from owning them. What I’ve also discovered over the last four years is that there is no such thing as ‘ normal ’. Most of my posts are emotional reflections about how I have felt at different times, so they’re a mishmash of raw, honest thoughts in the context of acceptance, awareness, grief and compassion. I’ve also included some practical learnings to help others carve out a sense of agency, courage and self-management. My hope is that, through connection to my stories, someone else may feel less alone or can use my words as an in-between until they find their own. Below is an excerpt of one of my blog posts that speaks about

helpful tips to help you manage the time that follows a breast cancer diagnosis. How to project manage the chaos of a cancer diagnosis. The first few weeks of a cancer diagnosis can resemble a tsunami of hospital admissions, tests, scans, specialist appointments, and forms. As a career project manager, I knew that planning was the key antidote to chaos. Here are a few tips and tricks about how I project managed my way through. Create your own project management tools—the first thing I bought (other than a cold-press juicer!) was a zip-up A4-size folder in my favourite colour that I covered in cat stickers. Keeping hard copies of all your bits and pieces in the one place is handy to access as you move between appointments, such as doctors’ business cards, pathology reports, and referral letters. A shared calendar can also help you and others keep track of where and when comes with some big challenges, especially terminology and bills. Whether you are a private or public patient, you have choices. BCNA’s Managing the financial impacts of breast cancer factsheet has some great tips and outlines a range of benefits, subsidies and services that may help you. Information overload will happen at some point (because there’s only so much data our brains can take in crisis-mode). You might delegate permission to someone in your family or a close friend to speak about your financial or medical issues on your behalf or have someone send group update you need to be somewhere. Navigating the health system

emails or texts to others about how you’re going. Above all else, nourish and nurture your body and your mind—these are things you can control. This is about getting comfortable with asking for what you need and accepting that sometimes it will make others uncomfortable. For example, say ‘ Yes ’ to people when they ask if they can help, like picking up groceries, running errands or taking you for a drive to the beach. I asked a friend to give me a buzz cut the week before my hair was due to fall out from chemo because it was one part of the timeline that could happen on my terms. On the flipside, be ok with saying ‘ No ’ to people when you need to rest and don’t feel up to having visitors. There were times when I just needed to binge watch ‘Selling Houses Australia’ rather than listen to one more [well intentioned] person say, ‘ Everything will be ok ’. There is no right way to feel—you need to find what works for you that helps you to process what you’re feeling—talk to someone, read, write, or meditate. If you don’t have access to the support you need, outsource it, like calling BCNA’s Helpline (1800 500 258), getting a referral to a psychologist or connecting with online forums like BCNA’s online network . Even with many voices of support and hands to hold, this time in your life can feel like the loneliest path to walk. But if your mind is strong, your body will follow its lead. Read this blog post and many more via Jodie’s blog, She.Me

Issue 93 | December 2022


Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online