It is that time of year when people look back at their year, review what has been and then look forward to making the next year better. There are many ways you can look at your year, you could focus on all the great things, or focus on the negatives. I suppose it depends on your outlook on life. Some people have highlighted that I perhaps cannot wait for 2016 to be over with. My first response, was ‘God, yeah’, but the more I have thought about it, the more this exaggerated response has disappeared.
2016 has been filled with it challenges, however, that is life. Life is a bumpy road. I have learnt a huge amount from the different obstacles I have faced this year, and there have been situations where I have gained wealth of knowledge, experience and understanding.
Looking back, and just focusing on one of the obstacles, I have come to feel grateful. Some may think this is an odd thing to say having had major surgery only a matter of months ago, that has come with all its ups, downs, pains and complications. However, I am grateful that I had this choice. No, it was not a walk in the park and I was not jumping for joy about the whole experience but I was fortunate enough to gain the knowledge of my risk and do something about it. I had the opportunity to stand up to cancer before it hit. This is not an opportunity many people have and something that I think about regularly. It is for this reason that I feel grateful.
This gratitude is also extended to the response and support I have had. A rocky road was so much easier to go down with the support from friends and family. It is not the material aspect of it, however the endless supply of chocolates and treats were a plus point! It was the messages, the phone calls and the care that people showed. They asked questions, they did not make me feel pathetic or vulnerable. I am grateful for the laughter that was shared and the evenings of DVD marathons because leaving the house was not on the cards that day. The extra mile people would go to; it has made me feel lucky to have such people in my life.
Another positive is how my mastectomy has uncovered Mastect Expect and my strong desire to help others in relation to the mastectomy journey. Being a teacher, I do have an innate drive to educate and help others (along with being bossy and slightly controlling). This experience has helped me channel this drive in to raising awareness about mastectomies and helping others in similar situations; joining the fight against breast cancer. I am touched at how much interest Mastect Expect has had and the support that I have had from people around the world and it has truly inspired me to explore how I can take Mastect Expect further. It has been an honour to have started working with others that do such fantastic work to help those who have breast cancer in their lives. This has ranged from the women themselves and loved ones. In addition, the response from many of my ex-students regarding the information it has given them about their parent’s experience has been overwhelming. I am so pleased that I have been able to help educate and raise awareness about mastectomies to such a wide audience.
So, am I pleased to see the back of 2016?
I will wave it goodbye whilst remaining positive and grateful for all it has taught me. It has been a year of change. Ok, so my bra size and nippleless firm oranges are the obvious changes, but the others are the lessons learnt and new doors opened. Obviously, I probably shouldn’t have a whole blog post about evets of 2016 and not mention my engagement- clearly that made 2016 a very good year indeed! Wouldn’t want to think that I had forgotten that- impossible to forget with the home office filled top to toe in centre pieces!
2017, bring it on. For all of you who have had challenges this year, or face challenges next year… life is a bumpy road but it is how you choose to tackle these bumps that matters or can make the difference (there is a terrible joke there somewhere about choosing to chop my bumps off, but that would be terribly distasteful!! I can already sense my Mum reading this and raising her eyebrow and exclaiming ‘Oh Sarah’)