It’s been a long road since that pivotal moment, and Caz recalls “my whole world came crashing down.”
“The uncertainty of a cancer diagnosis flips your life on its head, and fractures everything into tiny little pieces” she adds.
Caz sought advice and called Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 Information and Support line to help her manage her mental health while navigating cancer – something Caz noticed was difficult to find.
Caz says, “mental health is so important for cancer patients, because fear is completely debilitating, it stops you from doing anything, stops everything in its tracks.”
A simple technique that Caz has adopted involves, “joyful pursuits, like walking with friends in nature, I’ve joined a choir, I’ve started to learn to play a musical instrument.”
For Caz, it’s important “being very mindful as to what stresses me out and staying away from it, or dealing with it in a gentle way”.
Finding support through hosting a morning tea
In early 2023, Caz hosted an Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea that meant a lot to her, inviting more than 40 family members and friends.
In Caz’s words, “every person who attended had been personally touched by cancer in some shape or form.”
Above all else, Caz explains her experience of hosting an Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea as something that provided another form of support.
“It has been part of my acceptance of living with cancer, it symbolises me being well enough to hold an event, especially after recognising that when you get cancer, you can’t do it all, so you need to let people help; and being a very independent person, this was a big thing for me to come to terms with”, says Caz.
She adds, “by hosting the Biggest Morning Tea, I was able to show people I’m doing well, and thank everyone. It was a beautiful occasion.”
Caz’s five tips for staying healthy* during cancer treatment
Eat a mainly plant based diet and engage in gentle exercise most days.
Engage in what I call joyful pursuits, like walking with friends in nature – I’ve recently joined a choir and picked up a new musical instrument!
Be very mindful as to what stresses you out and stay away from it or deal with it in a gentle way.
Stay as positive as possible.
Listen to your body.
*Please discuss the best eating plan for you with your doctors, nurses and dietitians.