What Stage 4 Breast Cancer Has Taught Me

chronic illness mindset teisha rose Jan 30, 2023
Chronic Illness Mindset

The moment my life changed forever

It was a Friday night. I was really tired. But thought I’d have a shower before bed. I remember taking my bra off thinking my breast was a bit sore. The wire had left a mark under my armpit.

Then in the shower, I felt a lump. I kept feeling it. Put more shower gel on my hand. Had another feel. What’s going on? I couldn’t work out what it was. I’d never felt anything like it before.

My heart was racing. I quickly threw a towel around me. I ran down the hallway.

Stop. I need to be authentic. I wanted to jump out of the shower and run. But living with multiple sclerosis it was more of a ‘hands on the wall’, ‘waddle as quickly as I can’ scenario!

I woke Andrew (my partner) up. I needed him to tell me that he couldn’t feel anything abnormal. But he looked confused. “Where’s that come from?” Now we were both confused. My stomach was telling me something wasn’t right. But I had no idea that from this moment my life would never be the same.


Dealing with a life-changing diagnosis

For the first 6 weeks, I felt lost.

Cancer was a world I never thought I’d be a part of. There was no family history of breast cancer. Or any cancer.

I truly believed that I had my life-changing disease for this lifetime. MS. Over the years, I’d listened to stories of women dealing with breast cancer. But never once did I worry that would be part of my story.

The GP didn’t like the feel of the lump and referred me for a scan. Waiting for 10 days was nearly as excruciating as having the mammogram, ultrasound, and biopsy.

Although thank goodness I did. Results were met with “I’m so sorry it’s breast cancer”.

Still, it didn’t seem real.

Next appointment was with the surgeon. Brochures to read. Decisions to be made. But things weren’t looking good for my breast. An MRI showed the tumour to be bigger than first thought. A mastectomy was booked in.

The MRI also showed a couple of spots on my sternum and liver. Probably nothing to worry about, but a PET scan was scheduled to be thorough.

Now it was time to go home and start saying goodbye to my boob.

Still, it didn’t seem real.

My little red suitcase was packed. New button through PJs were needed for post-surgery care. Although organic cotton was needed so I felt nice with one boob gone.

Then the phone rang. “I’m so sorry but the spots on your liver and sternum, the PET scan showed them to be cancerous”.

I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t know what to say. I tried so hard to listen to what my surgeon was saying but all I could hear was “surgery cancelled”, “there is no point”, and “cancer spread”.

I was so confused. Having been diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer a couple of weeks before, learning that it was now considered terminal, literally took my breath away.

In 3 days’ time, I’d be seeing an oncologist that would “help me with a treatment plan to manage my cancer”.



Living with a chronic illness. I know how to do that!

Although I’d tried to stay off the internet. I needed to gain some understanding of metastasised (Stage 4) breast cancer. It wasn’t good. The 5-year survival rate is terrifying.

I’d never felt more scared going to an appointment.

I was still in shock. It would be a few more weeks before the gravity of what I was facing would sink in.

But for that moment, we discussed my treatment plan over the coming weeks and months.

Fortunately, my tumours were hormone receptor. The plan was to start with hormone therapy. Stop the hormones in my body. Bring on menopause and starve those tumours.

Having MS added a new dimension. It would impact treatment decisions.

But the best thing my oncologist said to me was “This is another chronic illness for you to manage”.

“Oh. I get it now. That’s the language I understand”.

Both MS and Stage 4 breast cancer have no cure. Not great. Actually, pretty terrifying.

But the positive is. In living with MS for 25 years I have been through some harrowing experiences. From lying paralysed in bed for weeks to sitting in wheelchairs and having to learn how to walk again. Even the challenge of not being able to use my hands.

I have learned to get through these moments. To make significant life changes and have an impact on my experience. To live well with chronic illness.

The insights I’ve gained I’ve shared in my book, Life Interrupted. The week I was diagnosed I was about to launch an online course, sharing how you can use your mindset to have an impact on your experience with MS.

I knew the insights shared would help with other conditions. I didn’t expect the Universe to provide an opportunity to apply these lessons to another chronic illness myself.

But it has. And I have done just that.


What Stage 4 breast cancer has taught me?

You can have an impact on your experience with chronic illness. Any chronic illness. Every step of the way.

Mindset is EVERYTHING!

MS and breast cancer are two completely different diseases. Yet they have one thing in common. Me. I spent 25 years learning how to use my mindset to live well with MS.

I now know the insights gained work for any life-changing illness. Stage 4 breast cancer has taught me that.

However, I don’t want to just help myself. I want to share these insights with you!

You’ll read about how chronic illness impacts your mental health. Your emotional well-being. Your physical health. All is true.

But it is time to change this dynamic. Let’s give you the power to discover how you really can have an impact on your experience with chronic illness.


Dealing with the stress of chronic illness

To start with, I want to share this quick reference guide (below). These insights were born in relation to MS. I’m now relying on this to deal with the stress of another chronic illness. Breast cancer.

The “insider tips” will help you to protect your emotional wellbeing if dealing with a new diagnosis. But also any other stressful moments chronic illness creates in your life.

Access your guide here >> Dealing with the STRESS of ILLNESS

I’ll also send you a video sharing how I’ve been relying on these insights over the past 12 months.


In living with chronic illness there is hope!

Back to the lump on my breast. One year on I can no longer feel it. And I make Andrew double-check all the time!  No surgery. No chemo. Instead, hormone therapy has been used to starve my tumour. Plus I’ve leant into my support network of energy healers. And applied my healing mindset every step of the way.

Before Christmas, the PET scan showed no cancerous cells in my breast. Liver. Or sternum. Amazing!!! Yes, there could be pre-cancerous ones there. That’s the reality of living with Stage 4 breast cancer. Once it’s broken free. Spread to other organs, it can’t be cured.

But Shhhh! I’m not going to give voice to my concerns. I say let the tumours stay asleep, hopefully for years to come. And I will continue to apply all the insights I’ve gained to live well with MS and Stage 4 breast cancer. I hope you do as well xo


Are You Ready to Reclaim Your Life?

If you are living with a health challenge or supporting a loved one who is the good news is...

You can start your own Hurde2Hope® journey today by accessing this FREE on-demand MindsetMasterclass.

In it, you'll discover the exact three mindset shifts that have empowered me in my life with MS and now stage 4 breast cancer.

I'm so excited to share these insights with you! ❤️🧡💚