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Dani Binnington

Dani, 43, was plunged into early menopause in her late 30s after having a double mastectomy and hysterectomy to fight breast cancer and reduce her chance of developing ovarian cancer, a disease which had ravaged the female side of her family. After struggling to get the support she needed, she now uses her experience to work individually with women going through early menopause as well as generally shining a light on this under-reported condition and has helped develop the the UK’s first menopause program for young women going through cancer in collaboration with Trekstock, a charity supporting young adults in their 20's and 30's affected by cancer. She lives in Surrey with her husband Tim and their three young daughters.

1. The best thing about the menopause is…

…the amazing community that comes with it. We have seen incredible things happen over the last two years, women from all walks of life coming together and fighting for better menopause experiences each in their own way. This community spirit has been wonderful and I’m excited to be part of it.

 

2. The hardest thing about the menopause is….

…being reminded weekly of how undereducated and unsupported women are. As someone who has ended up in early menopause after a breast cancer diagnosis, I know this is especially true for cancer patients who feel like they have little or no support, no options, and feel very alone and isolated in what they describe as the ‘cold turkey menopause’.

 

3.  My lightbulb moment…

…happened in the weeks following my surgery. One minute I wasn’t in menopause, the next minute I was – it was so much to process.  I was very informed about what was happening to me but from speaking to other women who had gone into medically induced menopause, I realised that most of them had no idea what was happening and had not been given much help and advice from the healthcare professionals.

So I’ve set out to bridge the gap. If you expect it, you know what’s going to come and that’s half the battle. I tell them that treating the menopause is like managing a part-time job. My other philosophy is to be difficult, ask more questions. If you are just being given a blanket NO this is not available to you by your doctor, I think we should exactly know why! Weighing up our individual risks vs benefits is key, and we deserve the answers so that we can make informed decisions.

4. My selfcare superheroes are…

…connection and community. Connecting to others who have had a similar experience, and finding a community that resonates with you are, I believe, the foundations of a positive menopause experience. It is pointless to compare yourself to other women whose experiences have been very different. For example, if you are in menopause after a cancer diagnosis you will know this is a very different ballgame.

So find your community, make connections and share your stories. You will not only feel less alone but a community can be a great place for resources too.

 

5. I couldn’t live without…

… my regular yoga practice. Not only is it the best thing for my mental health as it helps me with anxiety, but it is also a steady reassurance of how I am doing in my physical body. It allows me to connect to myself, become aware of how I am feeling, and it connects me to a greater community which I just adore.

 

For more information about Dani’s campaign work and her yoga classes, head to www.healthywholeme.com or find her on Instagram @healthywholeme

You can read more about premature ovarian insufficiency (POI – menopause under the age of 40) here, and this article ‘Understanding Menopause’ contains information about medical and surgical menopause. 

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