Five Small Ways To Look After Your Mental Health Every Day —

If you’re looking for ways to support your mental health but you don’t know where to begin then don’t worry, not alone. Although it can be overwhelming, you need to be sure you’re doing all that you can to look after yourself, including your mental health. Luckily, there are lots of ways in which you […]

Five Small Ways To Look After Your Mental Health Every Day —

Turmoil and confusion

Yesterday morning my sister received her results and they positive for cancer in the breast, she petrified and we were both filled with sadness as we spoke the possibilities through. ..today she sees oncology and Friday they operate. ..
It’s hard to hear that a loved one is battling it tore me apart, as we spoke of my mom’s journey with breast cancer to and last night she had her 3rd operation on her femur and hip replacement too our brothers tell us mom’s one eye is swollen shut ?not sure yet why …
Last night I kept busy I slept little and then communicated back and forth to south Africa with my brother’s around mom’s progress my mental illness feels agrivates by this change at present my sister isn’t telling any family other than me maybe next week she says I worry but hear to her concerns mom’s not well and dad’s away. ..

The feeling she been through enough in life why more I do not know but god sure had lots thrown at him last night from me:'(

Adopting After Cancer: A Love Story

Sharon’s beautiful story of strength and love in her heart.

Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

Sharon, Carter, and Kayla Greene‏ Sharon, Carter, and Kayla Greene‏

I was first diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer at age 29, way back in 1988. The protocol at that time was to tell women to wait 5 years before getting pregnant or, as my breast surgeon so crudely put it, “Baby might not have a Mama”. Nothing like the subtle approach to shut down any further questions on that subject!

5 years passed, and I went to my “cure” date mammogram confident that all was well. It wasn’t. The cancer had returned to the same breast and as I had radiation the first time, the only option left was a mastectomy and 9 months of chemotherapy.
I again heard the “Baby and Mama” speech. I was told that chemo could possibly put me permanently into early menopause but as I was still only 34, there was a good chance the menopause symptoms would only…

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Is There A Hypochondriac In The House?

4 Times and Counting

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Ask almost any cancer survivor about whether they have become a bit of a hypochondriac, and the answer is usually a resounding yes. I have a confession to make. I swing from extreme hypochondria to total denial of any symptoms I may have. When you have a disease that can travel to your lungs, bones, liver, and brain (and sometimes skin, pancreas, ovaries, and uterus, particularly if you have a BRCA mutation), that pretty much covers most of the human body.

Most of us didn’t start off as hypochondriacs. It almost seems to be a standard side effect of the disease. It doesn’t help to be living in a time where medical symptoms and their potential causes are a mere Google search away.

We are not stupid people. We know that we can get non-cancer related illnesses like the flu, arthritis, and broken bones due to trauma. But still the…

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Having Breast Cancer 4 Times

4 Times and Counting

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Some people skip my posts as they don’t want to know that breast cancer can strike more than once. They believe that my story must be a real downer as who wouldn’t be depressed to have their cancer come back again and again and again? Others look to find differences in their stories from mine to reassure themselves that this will not have to them. I don’t know how many people have asked me if this whole mess couldn’t have been avoided if I just had a double mastectomy with my first breast cancer at 29? Hindsight is usually 20/20 but even my oncologists aren’t convinced that would have stopped the cancer from coming back. I had new primaries, not recurrences, and it is very possible they still would have grown in my mastectomy scars. I would like to assure you my story is not all doom and gloom and…

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Finding My New Normal After Losing My Old Normal

4 Times and Counting

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I was first diagnosed with breast cancer at 29. February,2015 will be 27 years from the time of my first diagnosis. I have spent almost half my life battling breast cancer.

“Finding your new normal” is one of those popular buzz phrases spoken by oncologists, counsellors, and other cancer survivors. I’ve always felt that this word was like a password to a secret clubhouse that everyone in Cancerland belongs to except for me. Although I know this password, I am obviously missing something that would allow me to gain entry. Maybe a special knock or a secret handshake is also required. While I can spout the phrase “new normal” without difficulty, I’ve never quite understood how those words applied to my life.

If we uttered the phrase “changes to your life” due to cancer, I could easily relate to that. I could draw up a long list of the…

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A Letter To My 29 Year Old Self

4 Times and Counting

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Dear Sharon,

I am here with you on this February morning of 1988, watching you sleep. I am taken aback not just by your youthful appearance but by a look on your face I haven’t seen in years. Even in sleep, your face shows a look of optimism and blind faith that everything in your life will turn out alright.  You still innocently believe that the universe is a fair and orderly place where good people are rewarded and bad people are punished. I wonder if this is the last time you will ever look like this or if it takes a few more days or weeks for that innocence to disappear forever.                                                   

You think you are going through a rough patch right now due to recent personal losses. By the time this day is over, the break-up with your boyfriend and the lay-off from your job will be the…

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Parenting With Breast Cancer

This was first published at 4 Times And Counting.

4 Times and Counting

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When you are a parent, you want to protect your children from all the bad things in life as you love them so fiercely. You feel like this lioness with her cub, trying to shelter them from all impending harm. But when you are diagnosed with cancer, you are the one that sends your children’s world into a chaotic tailspin. Between the shock of diagnosis, the demands of treatment, and the uncertainty of what the future holds for you and your family, your children can’t help but be threatened by this disease that has invaded their lives.

Although I have had breast cancer 4 times, I only had children during the last bout in 2011. At that time, they were 9 and 11, old enough to understand what was going on but young enough that they still needed a parent who could be there for them 24/7. As a single…

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Making Themes Not Resolutions For 2015

Reblogged from 4 Times And Counting

4 Times and Counting

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Having made and promptly broken every resolution made for New Years in the  past, I’m trying something different this year. I have decided to pick 2 keywords as my themes for the year which will hopefully guide my actions in the 12 months ahead.

The words I have chosen for 2015 are “create” and “giving”.  I want to build up and not tear down. I would like to make something new, whether it is a new blog post, an article written out of my comfort zone, an e-book, or building a sense of community in my online and virtual worlds. I want to share my experiences more transparently and honestly in the hopes that even one reader will say to herself, “hey, I’m not alone feeling this way”. As I wrote in an earlier post, The Winning Ticket, I want to give back to my community, not keep…

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Wishing You All A Very Merry Christmas!

To all my readers, to the talented writers at this blog, and to all my pink sisters, both the survivors and the fallen, and those that love them, have a very Merry Christmas! http://www.4timesandcounting.wordpress.com

Sharon Greene

4 Times and Counting

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Merry Christmas to all the Cancer survivors and the ones that love them and a special prayer for all our fallen sisters and their families!

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Breast Cancer: It Is Going To Be A Bumpy Ride

My newest blog post is on the psychological effects of a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Much of the content would apply to any other significant trauma as it covers anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

4 Times and Counting

A breast cancer diagnosis is a life altering event, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Surprisingly, little attention has been devoted to conducting scientific studies that measure anxiety, depression, and PTSD rates in first time breast cancer patients. Even less scientific attention has been paid to these psychological effects in patients who have experienced a recurrence or a metastasis of their cancer. The statistics available are all over the map but it can safely be said that almost all breast cancer patients will suffer from depression and high anxiety levels sometime on their journey from diagnosis to post-treatment.  

These feelings may be short-term for many, disappearing within a few months after treatment ends. A significant percentage of first time breast cancer survivors (US studies say 25% while European and Australian studies say at least 50%) will go on to develop long term post-traumatic stress disorder. There is very little statistical evidence pinpointing…

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