Gary photographed with his wife, Ashley, and two children Ryan and Lucy.

Gary photographed with his wife, Ashley, and two children Ryan and Lucy.

Last year, I was diagnosed with small lymphocytic lymphoma and I attended a 12 week Mindfulness course to try to help me come to terms with my diagnosis.

What led to my diagnosis was my wife, Ashley, noticing a small lump on the right side of my neck. At first, the doctor wasn’t concerned and a year later I had the lump removed.

After a few weeks, I was called back to meet the consultant. I was fully expecting to be told I had nothing to worry about and I was in total shock and disbelief when I was told I had cancer. I walked around Edinburgh in a daze as I felt sick and couldn’t drive. My life was over as I knew it.

Due to the nature of my diagnosis, I am on the watch and wait treatment programme. I go to the Edinburgh Cancer Centre every three months to see if the cancer has progressed or not.

So far so good, in that I don’t need any treatment. However, the watch and wait programme is very hard to understand. All you hear about cancer survival rates is the quicker you are diagnosed and treated the better chance you have of beating cancer. In my situation, this was not the case and I was very confused.

Mindfulness helps you focus on today, reduces anxiety and increases your ability to manage difficult situations and is the therapy that has benefitted me most. I hope Cancer Support Scotland can provide more Mindfulness drop-in classes as they can play a massive part in your wellbeing and mental health.

Although it is impossible to stay positive all the time, my message to others affected by cancer is to live for today and embrace what you have. It is important to remember that “yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.”

Attending Mindfulness allows you to live for today and embrace what you have. Ashley has been my inspiration to fight this cancer with a positive attitude.

Cancer Support Scotland provides emotional and practical support to anybody who has been affected by cancer. If you or a loved one would benefit from attending one of our Mindfulness courses, or if you would like more information about our counselling, complementary therapies and stress management please click here to see our contact details.

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