“Life is not having and getting, but being and becoming” – Myrna Loy
My name is Cath Koutna (it’s a funny sounding Czech surname pronounced “Do you want to wear your COAT, NAH you don’t”)
I was diagnosed in February 2018 with Grade 2 Lobular invasive breast cancer, and by the time I had been diagnosed it had spread to one lymph node.
My treatment plan began in earnest in March 2018 during which I had six months of chemotherapy (and very successfully used the cold cap so I didn’t lose my hair), followed by a mastectomy and radiotherapy. I have successfully finished my treatment and I am now on a concoction of meds to prevent recurrence that has thrown me into a clinically induced Menopause. This really is the gift that keeps on giving!
Now that’s got the boring stuff out of the way, let me introduce you to Cath, the person.
I am a 42- year old mum of 3 and I live in Lincoln.
In my previous life I worked for many years in a large public sector organisation as a DC (for the detectives amongst you!). I left this in 2017 to follow my passion for Interior Design, and I set up a local Interior Design Business. Then, cancer got in the way and de-railed me.
I am a very ploddy runner – if you saw me, you’d realise I’m not built for speed. But I can go the distance until my knees give way!
My new body has led me to create new habits. It’s led me into the path of daily Pilates which has helped me to tune in to myself and tune out of others for an hour a day. And I now try to be more conscious of what I put inside of me. That said, I still laugh a lot (I have a wicked sense of humour), and I still do everything I did before – just with a different perspective.
My friends will say I am one of life’s doers.
So, here I am, doing what I do best. Talking (a lot) and hoping to inspire and encourage others.
Now, something that has smacked me in the face like a wet kipper throughout my treatment is that there is not one single support group in Lincolnshire for women living with and beyond ANY form of Cancer. Nothing, nowt, zero support outside of the medical rollercoaster.
So, I have created Be and Become.
My vision for Be and Become is to offer women living with or beyond Cancer a place to come together and ‘BE’. It’s quite simple. Be you, not Cancer. I also want it to be a place for women to BECOME – to become someone’s new friend, to become someone with a new skill, or full of new excitement and experiences. We will create a place between us and cancer to connect, support, inspire and grow.
We would meet twice a month at the fantastic Ashlin Farm Barns in Dunholme, just north of Lincoln (link and directions on the events page). The barns are beautifully decorated (I should know – I designed them!), very large holiday lets that offer all the facilities we could possibly need – including a hot tub! There is free parking and the space is off the beaten track with some lovely walks on the front door. It really couldn’t be a better place to meet.
Meetings would be on the first and third Thursday of every month for a couple of hours (ish!). Once for coffee and a catch up and a walk if we fancy. The other would be an opportunity for a guest speaker to come along or an activity.
The first session would be free, and after that it would be £5 per session to cover refreshments.
I have other plans whirling round my head for Be and Become – there is a much bigger picture. But I’ll try not to run before I can walk!
If you are interested in attending Be and Become, please email me, and take a look at the events page where you will find more details of the first session.
bold, let’s be brave, and let’s create what I know a lot of women need – a
place to be and become.