Keeping a Positive Mindset in the Dark Hours of Cancer

Pastry chef Lucy Thompson was horrified to discover the return on her breast cancer last summer. She had every reason to believe that her first brush with the disease was over and she was in remission. However, a lump in the same area became a huge worry that the whole saga was to begin again. Before she knew it she had had to find the positive mindset that enabled her to overcome everything the first time round.

“It was very frightening,” she told The Chefs’ Forum. “I thought I was free but then I had to deal with it again. I was lucky that I had remained in contact with the MacMillan nurse from the hospital and she got me back into hospital to get checked out. I was on chemo a month later and now, six months in, I am almost through it.

“My second experience has been very different. The first time round the chemo was not as harsh and I was able to keep working at Ashridge House near Berkhamstead where I am a pastry chef. Being able to create and be with my colleagues really helped me to keep my spirits up. It enabled me to not let the cancer take me over and dominate my life.

“I knew this time that I could draw on that experience and one way I know I can help others to cope is by passing on this advice: don’t let the cancer own you. This time the chemo I have had has been much stronger and I haven’t been able to work. My work have been incredibly supportive both times and that has meant a lot to me. So, now, even if I don’t feel like it I will put on make-up and a nice outfit because it makes me feel better.

“I am hoping to be back at work soon doing the chocolate work I so enjoy and would like to help as many people in the profession and beyond to cope with the adversity that serious illnesses heap upon you when you least expect it. I am almost through the chemo and all that remains will be a small amount of surgery to remove any remaining cancer cells. I feel very lucky.”

Having just launched a Chefs’ Forum Academy at Central Bedfordshire College, we have invited Lucy to teach students pastry once she recovers and she is very much looking forward to sharing her fantastic knowledge and skills.

Here is some of Lucy’s work:

The Chefs’ Forum is here to support chefs in any element of their professional lives and encourage anyone who may be worried about anything to get in touch as were always here to listen, talk and help.