Living with Cancer
The end of treatment is a period of transition and has its own specific challenges…
Many patients report an increase in anxiety as frequent hospital visits, support and opportunities to discuss their concerns are replaced by infrequent out-patient clinic visits. Some say they feel ‘abandoned’. Many say they feel ‘at a loss’, not knowing what to do with their time or how to return to normal activities. Some patients remain depressed, withdrawn or anxious despite resolving physical effects.
“The period of recovery, when the effects of treatment are largely resolved and when normal life is returning, is one where new psychological techniques to enhance wellbeing; to prevent recurrent depression; and to enable people to cope with future problems can be particularly helpful. Mindfulness-based courses certainly have a role”.
Trish Bartley – Cancer Patient and Author of the 8 Week Mindfulness for Cancer Course.
What does Mindfulness for Cancer offer?
To experience being with your cancer in your life, in a different way.
Your prognosis and situation are unique. As the 8 week course unfolds, what can sometimes seem fixed or incessant can begin to become fluid, more open and new possibilities may emerge. It can build a compassionate way to ‘be with’ the difficult, the challenging and expose the moments of joy in day to day life.
An 8-week Mindfulness programme designed and refined by a cancer patient.
Trish Bartley (Bangor University) has been teaching and developing this programme since 2001. She constantly listens to all those who attend the course and updates and refines it to the global audience of Mindfulness teachers she trains annually. Her own experience with cancer in 2011 has very much informed this ongoing process.
A sharing of experience - the 'here and now' as opposed to personal stories.
The learning comes through personal experience of the practices. Participants share the ‘here and now’ experiences they have, as much or as little as they want to, in a group setting where confidentiality is respected. The learning from others’ experiences, similar, different or the opposite is palpable. No judgement, no fixing, just being heard.
Carers and supporter's courses
Carers and supporters can also benefit from attending the course. It allows a new light to be shone on life, exposing thought patterns, actions, habits, roles and routines that once served us well, but no longer do. This can be very valuable at a time when we are supporting others, making sure we are also looking after ourselves.
In this clip, participants discuss what brought them to Mindfulness. They discuss their experiences, their challenges and how Mindfulness helps them live with and beyond cancer.
Thank you to the University of Vermont Cancer Center for sharing this clip on YouTube for all to watch.
There is no fixing or diagnosing, you are the expert in your experience. My role is that of a guide, knowing the territory, but not your personal map.
As we progress through the 8 week course, the learning unfolds in your ‘here and now’ experience. This happens in the classes we share and also in the 6 days in between.
I will gently guide you in terms of what you notice appearing in your attention. Often this may have always been there, but now you see it in a different light, or it could be something you were unaware of. The meaning derived from this is personal to you. Mindfulness can shine a light on unhelpful habits and reactive ways of thinking. Mindfulness can allow you to experience aspects of life in a new way.
Sharing this experiential learning in a group setting can be immensely powerful and liberating – but you only ever share what you feel comfortable with, if at all. Simply coming to the sessions and listening is still being part of the group.