We would love to share with you today a truly inspirational blog by Madeleine McCoole, our wonderful student on the Advanced Diploma in Personal, Leadership and Executive Coaching Course. Madeleine has been diagnosed with breast cancer and decided to share her journey on her blog Beauty & the Cancer Beast, to give this experience a purpose and help others cope with their diagnosis.

The What & Why of My Blog

by Madeleine McCoole

When I found out I had cancer I wanted to do something to give this crap experience a purpose.

I felt positive from the outset that I was going to learn a lot about myself from the experience (hopefully good things!), but I had a strong urge to try and help others as well – I just didn’t know how.  This blog is my attempt to do that.  I know nothing about blogging and have no idea how this will go but my hope is that through sharing my experience and any information I gather along the way that I will make the journey easier for at least one other person.  If I can do that it will have been worth it.

If all else fails, I’m hoping my blog will at least motivate me through the tough days – I can’t help others by lying around feeling sorry for myself! (although some of that is definitely allowed). Cancer and chemotherapy are horrible enough but what makes them worse is the physical changes we have to endure in our fight to kick its ass.

Makeup has always been important to me – it just makes me feel better.  I am a believer in if you look good you feel good – nothing affects my mood more than when I’m feeling crappy on the outside (fun times ahead eh?!!).  So I’m hoping to do what I can to help myself look and feel as much like me as I can.  It might seem very superficial but there is so much of this I can’t control, I want to take back as much of that control as I can.

I’m hoping through this blog to be able to share any hints and tips I get to help other women do the same.  I’m new to this and I’m not an expert in any it – I’m just figuring things out as I go along so this is all just based on my experience but I will be as honest and open as I can in sharing my experience with you.

I would love if other women who are further along in this journey comment and share anything they have learned along the way.

The Start of my Cancer Journey

My cancer journey began in March 2018 when I randomly found a lump in my right breast while in the shower (Hands up – I have to admit I wasn’t examining myself but ladies please do, I was so lucky I found mine so early – If I had the big boobs I always wanted I might not have found it so easily!). But big boobs or small boobs please check yourselves!

I was a busy full time working mum, I kept planning to make an appointment with my doctor but work and life in general just got in the way and I didn’t prioritise it.  It was coming up to our 1 year wedding anniversary and Adrian and I had a well-deserved weekend away planned and I didn’t want anything to put a dampener on it (as if ignoring it was going to make it go away).  In the end, about 3 weeks after finding the lump, it had become more prominent and I knew I couldn’t ignore it any longer so while at the doctors with my son I mentioned it.  My doctor examined me and referred me to St. Vincents hospital for a mammogram.  I got my appointment about 2 weeks later for April 19th.

At the appointment, they did a mammogram and ultrasound and decided I needed a biopsy which was done straight away.  The one thing that played on my mind from that appointment was the consultants comment after examining me “we obviously don’t know anything until we get the results but I am concerned about it” That set off alarm bells – she was an expert – if she was concerned that couldn’t be good.

I remember walking outside, it was a lovely sunny day so I sat in the sun for a little and listened to The Red Hot Chilli Peppers – “Otherside” (it’s a song that transports me back to driving around Australian beaches with one of my best friends – the windows down, music blaring and sun in our faces).  I thought about what could happen and had a little cry.  That was the one and only time I cried over the cancer (so far!).  I headed to college that evening which was a good distraction and then it was just a matter of waiting for the results which were due one week later on April 27th.  I spent the next week torn between thinking positively to get the outcome I wanted and preparing myself in case the outcome wasn’t what I hoped for.