Wellness often gets overlooked as an important piece of the puzzle before, during and after treatment for people living with or having overcome breast cancer.
With the ability to make a big difference across physical, emotional, social and occupational changes that come from a cancer journey, wellness brings a holistic approach to the healthcare journey.
Mater Occupational Therapist Merilyn Tefay sees people who have gone through breast cancer on a regular basis and advocates for the value of wellness therapies as an added part of their treatment and support plans.
"Wellness during cancer treatment is about responding with self-compassion and wisdom to the physical, emotional, social and occupational changes patients are going through," Merilyn explained.
"Mindfulness offers us skills for understanding and managing unwanted thoughts, emotions and physical discomfort or pain, as well as nurturing an attitude of acceptance, self-compassion and letting go."
"It teaches us how to be fully present and how to appreciate the little things in life that add quality and joy."
Merilyn shared that in the role of fighting against breast cancer, the role of wellness can make a difference.
"Being mindful teaches acceptance skills, which allows the opportunity to focus on things that deliver quality of life experience in the face of enormous unwanted life challenges, like undergoing cancer treatment," she explained.
"In my experience, patients find this approach far more empowering, allowing them to get back in control of their own choices and decisions each day."
Merilyn added that when transitioning back into life post-treatment for breast cancer, having healthy lifestyle habits and taking a mindful approach to managing lingering psychological and physical issues associated with the cancer experience can be very important.
"There are various lifestyle choices that someone with cancer can adopt to promote recovery including exercise, eating healthily, prioritizing pleasurable and meaningful activities or experiences, and learning mindfulness skills."
Merliyn shared that Occupational Therapy and other Allied Health services can provide a lot of support to people after their cancer journey for improved wellness including physiotherapy, exercise programs, psychology, social work and dietetics services.
By supporting Mater Chicks in Pink you can make an immediate impact on the lives of women with breast cancer and their families today, as well as contribute to promising research which will benefit the women who walk through our doors tomorrow and well into the future.
This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, make an impact and support Mater Chicks in Pink.