Positively Pink Oxford
"Sometimes we hate what we can not change – but if together we can learn to embrace it as gently as we would a friend’s heart, it will become a healing step in our life’s dance."
Jean founded Positively Pink Oxford, in order to provide a safe, warm and relaxed space in which fellow breast cancer survivors could build friendships, explore ways in which to grow again in confidence and to simply enjoy living. A place in which it will be perfectly fine to share with others that we may be feeling mouldy or low in mood. She knows that sometimes the side effects of treatment on our bodies and emotions can put us in danger of becoming very isolated. Perhaps we may not have wanted to ‘bother’ friends and family with the stark reality of the physical and emotional challenges we were going through - we probably did not want to upset or worry them. It is so easy to avoid sharing those things and to be tempted to give people we really love and care about a wide berth.
During times when our immune systems' defences are lowered because of chemo and other drugs, it can be important to avoid crowed places and the heightened risk of infection. We may often hear ourselves asking friends and even total strangers alike – if they have a bug – a cough, cold or the like… so that we might steer clear of them.
To try and keep ourselves safe from infection, we have also had to be super careful in the choice and preparation of food… possibly avoiding eating out or accepting invitations to friends for meals. Unfortunately, isolation can seem to creep in from every direction.
A huge danger in all this for everyone with cancer is, of course, that we can begin to turn in on ourselves… to define ourselves by our cancer… we women with breast cancer can fall into the trap of feeling that our femininity is significantly defined by our once perfect breasts… now changed… we can forget that we are so much more than our breasts… so much more than our cancer.