Jakk Hodson is a patient at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse who speaks candidly about her sometimes challenging experience and how Mindfulness Meditation helps her find some inner peace.
Jakk was 45 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, found only by screening carried out by the NSW breast screening van. It turned her life upside down and sent her on an emotional roller coaster.
Even though she was given a good prognosis, she felt fragile and couldn’t understand what was going on. Jakk had never suffered from depression, but as a result of her diagnosis and side effects from the hormonal treatment Tamoxifen, Jakk was left feeling down.
Her doctors took her through a list of possible side effects. However, Jakk wasn’t sure what she was going to go through personally. This left her feeling a range of emotions that she didn’t feel like she could cope with on her own.
“That’s where my hard journey started. I hit menopause right away which I wasn’t expecting! I just couldn’t understand what was going on.”
It became clear to Jakk what she needed to do, so she reached out to a friend of hers, also a patient at Lifehouse, who told her about the services available to help patients. After calling The LivingRoom and attending some therapy sessions, she found that Mindfulness Meditation was the most beneficial for her.
Mindfulness Meditation is a way of developing the skills to consciously bring awareness to body and mind, here and now. Research has shown that regular practice of mindfulness can reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and depression, improve resilience and alleviate pain.
Jakk felt like she needed to be around people going through similar experiences so that there was a shared level of understanding. An extremely important part of Jakk’s recovery was finding support networks that she could lean on, and she found that being in a room with other women going through treatment made her feel less alone.
Due to Jakk’s medication, she began to experience pain in her legs, however, throughout the six-week Mindfulness Meditation course, Jakk was able sit down and transfer her leg pain by observing what was happening in her body and taking a step back to just being.
“Going through cancer diagnosis, treatment and the stress of surgery, everything felt rushed and I went into autopilot. I didn’t have time to reflect.”
Now that Jakk’s had time to take it all in, including a double mastectomy and surviving cancer, she realises the challenges she’s overcome.
Mindfulness Meditation played an incredible role throughout her journey. Jakk is able to feel at ease in the class and is able to focus her efforts and energy on being able to physically move again.
“There’s a bit of a mind/ body split sometimes. I was so focused on my body healing that I forgot to focus on looking after myself mentally… I can now go into a room for 15 minutes and put Mindfulness Meditation into practice and come out feeling much calmer.”
Knowing the benefits of Mindfulness Meditation, Jakk says that she will continue practicing each day to ensure that she continues to cope with the journey ahead of her.
For information on complementary therapies for patients with cancer, visit The LivingRoom.