Coping with the shock!

I have found different things shock different people and most are shocked when they are diagnosed with cancer. I wasn’t. Why? Because I knew I could beat it. Why was that? My mother had and I got it early. I thought my body had lost it’s equilibrium and that if I healed my immune system, I would heal my body and be cancer free for the long term.

I started talking to women who had had breast cancer and discovered no two cases are the same. There may be similar cancers in similar places in the body. How each body responds to treatment is often very different. So I could not get any advice on how to approach my situation. I realised I would need to chart my own course.

I got a very strong sense that my body, mind and spirit were out of balance. I read several books, in particular, Anatomy of the Spirit by Carolyn Myss and looked at whether there was an area of my life that I was angry or upset about and whether there was any person or situation I could forgive. There was, and so I set about doing the “forgiveness” exercises in Carolyn’s book. I forgave everyone including myself and felt an enormous lightness in my soul.

What shocked me was not the diagnosis, but the prescribed treatment after I was advised by the surgeon that he had taken a clear margin and there was no cancer in my lymph nodes. What was prescribed was six sessions of chemotherapy, six weeks of radiotherapy and five years of hormone therapy. I felt in that moment that I was going to lose myself and no longer be in the driver’s seat of my life or my well-being.

I immediately set on a path to discover how I could best look after myself and ensure that I stayed cancer free.

I had a CTC (circulating tumour cell) test done which was sent to Germany. The result was a recommendation that I did need chemotherapy and what chemotherapy would be best for the type of cancer I had. This confirmed the treatment prescribed by my oncologist. So I proceeded with it, even though in my heart I didn’t want it. I didn’t know enough at the time to make a choice about it. At each chemotherapy session I had, I thought of the drugs as a ‘love potion’ healing my body. Unfortunately I didn’t feel loved afterwards. I felt very unwell and started to find there was a disconnect between my mind and body. There were a number of practices I took on, in particular meditation, which helped me keep my mind and body as strong as I could during the process.

I went to a nutritionist, looked at my diet and how and where I could change it to aid my recovery. I also went back to my integrated GP to discuss how he could possibly support me. He prescribed me a range of supplements to assist with supporting my immune system and maintaining my physical strength. The important thing for me was not to lose my body strength and muscle tone whilst on chemotherapy.

This was the beginning of me establishing an amazing team of people around me. They provided great care and support.

What’s Intuitive Living?

For me it’s listening to my inner voice. All my life my intuition (inner voice) has been talking to me and for a lot of the time I have ignored it. Why? Because I lost faith and trust in myself when I was young. I was taught other people, particularly people of authority – doctors, clergy, teachers and people older than me – were more important and knew more than I could ever know.

My intuition has been knocking very loudly since my mid teens and, up until last year, I didn’t heed it many times. When I have listened to it during my life, my life has hummed and great opportunities and experiences have come my way. I realise there is a cost not listening.

My wake up call was getting early breast cancer. My approach to my treatment was to listen and rely on my intuition. I decided if I was going to live the life I had always wanted to live – in a state of good health, fit, vibrant and at peace – then I needed to start listening to my inner self and heeding it. This is exactly what I did. I had a quick learning curve to find out what I really wanted in the way of health treatment.

It is almost 12 months since I first found the lump. I know I have returned to good health. I feel in balance. I look well and my energy has returned. Last week I did the Great Ocean Walk in Victoria with a girlfriend. We walked 97km is 6 days with 7kg backpacks. It was beautiful, peaceful, exhilarating and I felt a great sense of achievement as I reached Gibson Steps and the first two apostles.

In a week I will have a mammogram and ultrasound followed by an appointment with my surgeon. This will be the moment of truth. Will all the work I have done on creating peace and wellness come together and present a well woman to him? I believe so!