One Step Back, Two Steps Forward: Getting back to work after a Double Mastectomy

Cancer changes us. How we are each impacted, and our journeys, are as different as we are individuals. As we return to our lives, it is not surprising that things are different than they were before cancer. Work and career are no exception.

In 2016, my life was turned upside down. At just 34 years old I found out I had breast cancer. I can honestly say it was the hardest time of my life, and I didn’t believe I’d make it to 40. 

But thanks to the care of so many amazing doctors and nurses, here I am now telling my story.

Stepping up Stronger

I truly believe in the phrase “life begins at 40” because after surviving so much in a rollercoaster of a journey, I’m finally in a position where I can confidently tell my story and support others.

When cancer struck, I had two options. Give up, or step up. As an entrepreneur at heart, it has never come naturally to me to give up and take the easy way out. 

I was ready to take on the fight and hoped I’d come out stronger the other side. Life was for living and it was time to grab the bull by the horns.

My double mastectomy reconstruction in 2016 was both life saving and life changing. It made me realise that being strong is the only forward in this life, and I threw all of this energy into my business.

For me, work was my coping method, it was also my income and future so I had no option but to keep my business going and hopefully make it successful in the long term.

My Support Circle

If there’s one thing this difficult time made me sure of, it’s how lucky I am to have such a brilliant support circle. From family, to friends, the Pure Perfection family and clients too I am extremely blessed.

I’ll be forever thankful for the support they all gave me, in my recovery but in helping to run the business and alleviate some of the stress that comes with running a successful business.

Opening Up

This is the perhaps the most challenging decision cancer survivors must make; how are we going to talk about our cancer or should we at all?

5 years on, I made the choice to be transparent about my cancer and how it has strived me on as a business woman.

Finding out you have cancer makes you see life in a whole new light. It’s irreplaceable and you only get one shot. Once this comes so close to being taken away from you, there’s nothing left to do but throw everything you have at making the very best life you can.

Breast cancer or not, I was not willing to sacrifice all I had achieved and all the things that helped give my working life meaning. What I was ready to do was achieve more!

Embracing a New Challenge

Work became different for me. Little things didn’t matter anymore.

The everyday achievements were no longer enough, life had to have more purpose and I was ready to take on new challenges.

Now, I’m not just the owner of Pure Perfection clinic but the owner of Clinic Success by Sara, an aesthetic coaching business. During the COVID-pandemic I received countless calls from other business owners looking for advice on how to ensure their businesses survived the pandemic. 

With that new found energy and motivation post-cancer, I was ready to help these people on a formal and professional level – and so was born Clinic Success.

Outside of that, now that I am in a place where I can talk about what I’ve been through I am so pleased to say that I have also been approached to be part of a brand-new local charity. They specialise in providing starter boxes to support patients with all they need to make it through their chemo journeys.

Everything happens for a reason in this life and I truly believe without my double mastectomy journey I wouldn’t be where I am professionally today.  

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