In 2004, Sue was working full time as a Health Care Professional in supportive and palliative care, when she began to experience overwhelming and constant pain in her left leg, which was worse at night.

As a busy working mother, Sue’s habitual reaction was to ‘keep going’, so she put on a support bandage and did just that.

However, the pain worsened and Sue was eventually diagnosed with Paget’s disease – a progressive, incurable though manageable disease, where the normal cycle of bone renewal and repair is disrupted, causing bones to become weakened and deformed. Bone pain is Paget’s most common symptom.

Sue tried very hard to stay positive and looked hard for solutions, trying anything and everything from homeopathy to prescription pain killers – but nothing made any difference. Sue was overwhelmed with constant pain and her life was becoming just about survival.

However, in 1998, a friend of Sue’s happened to pick up a Breathworks leaflet and put it in her hands; “My life was changed from that moment on.” Says Sue, “I had absolutely no knowledge of meditation or mindfulness up until then, but I began a Breathworks course straight away.

“Immediately, I knew I was in safe hands. I was met with such kindness and a total acceptance that my pain is real. I was able to trust my trainer, Vidyamala, implicitly, because she knows exactly what it’s like to live everyday, with pain.

“The Breathworks programme has taught me how to be mindfully aware and how to respond with kindness to the mental stress and anxiety that goes with living with physical pain. Now, I practice mindfulness daily and I am aware that pain ebbs and flows, it has different sensations, and it isn’t a solid block that I used to habitually tense around, creating more unnecessary stress and pain for myself.

“The pain hasn’t disappeared; but I’ve learned to respond differently. Now, I lean into and breathe gently with the pain, and I watch how the different sensations change and subside. I still walk with a stick, but rather than just surviving, I am experiencing the full beauty of life again and I am no longer harsh, or judgmental with myself for having this disease.

“Also, something amazing has come out of this - I am able to help other people who live with pain, as I am now a fully trained Breathworks teacher. I even do body scan meditations with my 82 year old mother! Breathworks helped me turn my life around when I thought it was over.”

Learn more about the Mindfulness for Health course here.