Sharing What’s Inspired Me!

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What inspires me to blog is a desire to express myself and share with others what I’ve learnt and am learning. It’s also a desire to assist and support others. The sharing of information, experiences and ideas connects us.

Often I think I need to know exactly what I’m going to say before I write. This has been stopping me from blogging for the past few months. Now I know what I want to write about, but I don’t know what I want to say, so I’m letting my pen and the excellent books I’ve read lately do the talking. They’re:

Embracing the Warrior, An Essential Guide for Women by Dr Karen Coates and Vincent Perry;

Beat Cancer, The 10-step plan to help you overcome and prevent cancer (also subtitled How to Regain Control of Your Health and Your Llife) written by leading cancer experts, Prof. Mustafa Djamgoz and Prof. Jane Plant; and

Feminine Lost, Why Most Women are Male by Jennifer Granger, an intuitive transformational coach and author.

All of the books are about getting to know – with different approaches – what makes us well, whole and fulfilled human beings.

I met Karen Coates at Gwingana Lifestyle Retreat earlier this year at a Women’s Discovery programme, which I did with my cousin, who has also had breast cancer. I was inspired by Karen and concerned by what she had to say about how the amount of stress we experience daily and weekly over an extended period, without relief or release, can build the levels of cortisol and adrenalin to a point where we can become sick. What we eat each day and the products we use on our bodies, our clothes and in our homes can also affect our health.

embracingthewarrior1Embracing the Warrior gives a simple and exact instruction on managing the health challenges of the modern world… without resorting to pharmaceutical drugs. Part of the book concentrates on some of the major health issues confronting people today: dealing with stress, managing and preventing osteoporosis, understanding depression and lowering cholesterol. The chapter, Pharmaceutical Dominoes – The Compounding Effect of Drugs, is particularly enlightening. Karen also talks about ‘gut’ health and how important this is to remaining well.

Beat CancerBeat Cancer provides guidance to help you beat cancer. The authors cutting-edge plan covers every aspect, including:

  • The latest essential information about cancer – what it is, what causes it and how to prevent it
  • A thorough review of all the conventional complementary treatments available
  • The lifestyle changes you can make to defend your body.

My best friend, who was a little concerned when I took an integrated approach to my health, bought me the book after hearing Jane Plant interviewed. Jane has lived nearly half her adult life with breast cancer. She now is convinced that an approach that integrates the best of conventional medicine with a good diet and lifestyle is essential to beating cancer. (p11-12)

I believe my friend now understands the approach I have taken to my health. She has introduced some dietary changes into her own life after a period of feeling unwell. These have significantly improved her vitality and feeling of wellbeing.

Feminine LostFeminine Lost explores the premise that all human beings are constructed of two energies, one masculine and one feminine. With the rise of the feminist movement, she says many women have migrated to their masculine side, some to the extent of losing access to their feminine side altogether. Could this be contributing to the increase in breast cancer, I ask?

It’s now 2 years since I concluded chemotherapy treatment. I feel as though the ‘chemo brain’ has finally left and I am fully restored to my former passionate fit self, however with a great deal more wisdom, love and care for myself and others.

I’m ready to return to work and my life as an entrepreneur.

Healthy CookingI’ve teamed with Naturopathic Nutritionist and Chef, Emma Ellice-Flint, to start a new business, The Vital You, as a result of my health travels. It’s designed to relax and revitalize with a weekend of workshops where participants learn how to source, cook and enjoy easy, fresh, delicious, healthy, nourishing food. They’ll also experience some de-stressing techniques with mindfulness, meditation and yoga. We’ll be providing a practical ‘recipe for good health’.

The experiential workshops are designed to provide you with vitality every day and a lifelong, healthy mind and body. If you’d like to find out more about our programme and the November weekend visit www.thevitalyou.com.au.

Leaving the Waiting Room

patienceI’ve realised over the past month that I’ve been spending a lot of my time waiting. Waiting for what? Waiting to be told I was well. Waiting for my lymphoedema to heal. Waiting to get the inspiration to start a new business. Waiting for my husband to agree with my aspirations, whatever they may be. Waiting to lose weight.

I wasn’t aware of it until I felt a kick start happen a month ago. What caused it?

I went to have my annual mammogram and ultrasound at The Mater at 7.00am on a Monday morning. There were few cars on the road, only one person in the waiting room and the radiology staff still not there when I arrived. I was feeling anxious, particularly after having to walk by the ward where I recovered from surgery and seeing Chemo Cottage through the Waiting Room window. The last two years came flashing back.

I felt great in myself – fit and well. I still had the odd twinge occurring in my breast, side, shoulder and arm. There was a small doubt. “Would I be clear?” I was called, changed down and went straight in for the mammogram. It was quick and painless. “I’ll just check there’s nothing more”, said the radiographer. I then stood topless, waiting to hear whether I was clear to go on for the ultrasound. “Yes!” “Hooray”, I quietly cheered.

I then put on a gown and waited in a cubicle for the sonographer to be ready. The early hour meant it was a short wait. Next thing I was having warm gel spread on my chest and the ultrasound gun run over my breast and up under my arm pit. “It all looks good”, I heard. “I’ll just check with the Doctor”. I had a contemplative five minutes on the bed whilst I cleaned up and waited for the news. “All clear, you can get dressed and go.” I walked out elated, feeling proud.

IMG_1225I drove home, met up with my husband and then hit the road with him to drive to Mooloolaba, towing our sports boat behind ‘the ute’. We were competing in the National Sports Boats Regatta. How my ability has shifted in the last 18 months – from where I found it difficult to get my balance on the boat post chemo to being an integral part of the crew handling any role I needed to take on during the regatta. It’s the third regatta I’ve competed in in the last 12 months.

I returned to meet with my surgeon. It was the two-year check up. “You’ve heard the good news”, he said. “Any concerns?” “Just my lymphoedema.” He offered the suggestion of considering a lymph node transplant. It’s not that bad and I’m aiming for it to clear naturally with the daytime compression sleeve and night-time Caresia sleeve. So I declined to explore this option. “See you in 12 months.” We shared holiday stories and I left.

The good news didn’t stop there. My integrated doctor had recommended I have another CTC (circulating tumour cell) test mid year. When I went to get the results from him, the reading was down a whole 100 points from 250 to 150. We were both so thrilled he shook my hand. He offered to step up the supplement treatment with some Chinese herbs. I declined, “I want to keep doing what I’m doing. I believe it’s working”. He took me off the liver healing supplements and kept me on the bone density and hormone related supplements. I felt I’d had another win. “Two years down, three to go,” he said – a salient reminder that I can’t be complaisant.

I bounced out of the surgery and greeted my husband with a smile from ear to ear.

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Pilates Reformer

I resolved to keep up my regime of daily meditation, a brisk morning walk interspersed with yoga and pilates, daily juicing, organic food, no dairy, home cooking, healthy eating and plenty of sleep.

Amongst the rounds of appointments I still need to have, I had a six-week check up with my lymphoedema physiotherapist. “What’s the LDX (fluid) reading?” “11.4”, she said, “you’re down 3 points.” A miracle! The sleeves and weekly lymphatic drainage massage were working.

My prescription of PATIENCE during chemo looks like it’s paying off. I could feel the weight of being constantly concerned about my health and healing lifting. I felt I could ‘Leave the Waiting Room’ and start living my life more fully. I felt inspired to start working and contributing to others.

So that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few weeks. I’ve been working on a Wellness Project, facilitating workshops which teach people how to eat and live well. The first one will be in November this year.

All this good news gave me the impetus to talk with my husband about some other business ideas we have. We’ve started to progress them. I’m really excited about my life and am relieved that I’ve STOPPED WAITING!