Cancer survivors think cares away

Leonie Moore demonstrates the technique taught by Cancer Council Queensland’s Joanne Bell.
Leonie Moore demonstrates the technique taught by Cancer Council Queensland’s Joanne Bell. Sharyn Oneill

LEONIE Moore closes her eyes and thinks her cares away.

And she believes fellow cancer survivors should learn how to do the same.

"Meditation has shown me I can still live a very busy, goal-oriented life, but I know when to slow down and how to slow down," she says.

"I'm still on medication but I feel remarkably well and I'm sure that my new outlook is partly responsible for that. It has helped me to find peace and the techniques to deal with stress.

Leonie, from Gracemere, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, aged 50. She had several operations and radiation therapy to treat the disease and thought her battle was over.

But in December, 2010, she found she had secondary breast cancer. After further surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy she's still receiving treatment. But although she acknowledges that cancer has changed her priorities, she insists it has enhanced her life.

"I'm still a very busy person, but now I'm mindful of what I'm doing and able to enjoy every moment."

Leonie is enthusiastic about the Living Mindfully meditation program and says anyone who has been touched by the disease, either as a patient, carer or relative, will find it beneficial.

Joanne Bell, the psychologist who runs the course, says emotional distress associated with cancer can be as overwhelming as the diagnosis and treatment.

"More than 30% of cancer patients experience continuing psychological challenges, such as anxiety and distress," she said.

"But people of all ages, both sexes, patients and family members can be helped to cope and conquer the stress if they are open to the idea of learning a new way of living."

Joanne will run a new eight-week course for up to 12, starting on May 9.

Sessions will be held at the Cancer Council Queensland education centre in Allenstown and anyone interested in registering, or finding out more, should call 13 11 20.

Topics:  cancer health rockhampton survivors

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