Smack bang in the middle of lockdown and I have to say, I’m seriously considering forcing myself into one every 6 months! I’m refreshed, renewed, distressed, detoxed, enjoying my family’s company, walking the dog, yoga with hubby, Olympics and jigsaws. What more could you ask for. While I appreciate not everyone is coping as well as I, most have to admit it’s nice to slow down with no FOMO, and at the very least get some jobs done around the house.
Mind you my boys have been so bored they are plotting a new gym room and moving Foster’s bedroom into my formal lounge….
On the health front it turns out my first endocrinologist appointment is set for November. It’s a good thing I once again advocated to my oncologist, which in turn has booked a nuclear scan and ultrasound for my parathyroid and follow up appointment with my surgeon, within the next two weeks. Chances are I’ll have this thing resolved before I even meet with endocrinologist. This is why I have private health insurance. I ain’t got time for dat. (Waiting for the public system that is)
It’s confirmed it is major surgery but we’ll cross that bridge when come to it.
Meanwhile my Dryish Julyish challange is going well, still on track and have even picked up a few hitch hikers on the way to join the cause. Ha ha (thanks Lol and Mel)
Oh I’m being summoned for a family walk…..catch ya on the flip side….
Specialist is thinking MACROCYTOSIS (enlarged red blood cells) is caused by my parathyroid. This is different to the thyroid and sits in the neck, and regulates hormones as part of the endocrine system. The good news is my lymphocytes and monocytes (immature blood cells) are back in normal range, so therefore, although he is not 100% ruling MDS out yet (a type of blood cancer mostly caused by anti cancer treatment), he is cautiously optimistic and referring me back to my endocrinologist from 20 years ago.
I have had calcium in my blood results for decades and during my recent chemo, my surgeon tested further and did a nuclear parathyroid scan, discovering a problem and wanting me to undergo surgery to partially remove some of it. At that stage my oncologist and me jointly decided to leave it and watch. And as over the last 20 years, the blood results continued to swing between normal and high calcium in the blood. I am having trouble remembering what removing a parathyroid results in or how it will effect me, but this time I refuse to google. What I do remember, is it being complex and concerning, which was why I opted out. But it’s not as concerning as cancer.
So bottom line is, he is going to keep reviewing me until parathyroid issue is resolved, as that, he is hoping, will be the answer to solving the blood issue. OR if it proves not to be that, then and only then will he order a bone marrow biopsy to confirm MDS.
In the meantime he said reduce my alcohol and drink more!😳 The alcohol reduction is because macrocytosis can be caused by alcoholism, so I guess he wants to rule that out, but I don’t think I’m an excessive drinker, although I know I can cut down, and as it turns out I have been trying more recently. I have also been trying to drink 2 litres of water daily, so now I will just need to increase that. I’ve been researching an Ayuveda Retreat, so attendance there will definitely help me abide by doctors directions. I asked said Dr what is an acceptable reduction and don’t say ‘zero’ and he replied ‘three’. I nearly choked and questioned ‘three a week?’ I said can they at least be big glasses, and he said ‘no’. I asked him how much water was ‘more water?’ and he said ‘3 litres’. So when he said to me ‘don’t worry too much’ I was not game to ask him ‘how much was too much?’ as I hadn’t liked the first 3 answers very much.
I know I am in perfect hands. He is thorough, fully invested in my outcomes and a perfectly lovely man. He said he’d hit the books and look into the parathyroid before my next appointment. He told me Professor Hughes has been asking about me and I’m so grateful that Professor referred me to the MDS SPECIALIST, and I’m pretty sure he’s doing Hughes a favour by keeping me in his reviews clinic. I’m so lucky. If I had not advocated for myself and contacted my heomotologist, I believe it could’ve taken over a year to diagnose something like this with its complexity.
So starting Saturday 10th July, I am beginning the Deb’s Dryish JulyishChallenge and my sister in law (Mimi) and my husband, have kindly offered to do it with me. For 4 weeks – 3 glasses of alcohol per week and 3 litres of water a day, stopping on Saturday 7th August (Mimi’s birthday). Anyone wanting to join me on my challenge, we just FB Messenger every night, our water and our alcohol consumption. Saturday to Saturday is the cycle.
It’s been a roller coaster ride for the last 3 weeks and tonight we are coming down off an adrenalin fueled flight or fight response our bodies plunged into. But on reflection I have to admit I’ve been in this chemical mode most of my life. Such a damaging space to live.
For once, I’m going to restrain from sharing the dirty details. Its complicated, its scary and its just not that important. Except I will say my professor from my original bone marrow transplant 1997 is truly a remarkable human being. I am still in the process to rule out MDS (google if you want, but I intend to give it no energy & personally confident it won’t be that) but felt very VIP when my professor referred me on to his PHD prodigy who squeezed me in within 5 days notice to see me on a non clinic day. And I have to say going to the new RAH was a much more pleasant experience, complete with live grand piano, pianist!, compared to the old drab rabbit burrow of a building I spent close to a decade visiting with many long haul stays.
A friend said to me yesterday ‘try letting go of your attachment to the outcome’ and it was fucking genius, because a 26 year weight was lifted off my shoulders from this moment, before even seeing my heomotologist today.
I am no longer going to place blame on my self for my dis-ease or put pressure on my self to heal. I am just going to be.
So thanks Eminem for a magnificent song and I’d like to welcome you all to an average day in my life, my DILO. Once you are diagnosed with cancer it never leaves you. The fear, the trauma, the questions the search for answers, it is a lifelong struggle, as is any chronic illness, tragic death, betrayal or most life experiences. I get this, and appreciate every human life and experience has its own story and struggle. My DILO = Every bump, new lump, new pain, new symptom, new drug, new blood test or scan or check up, is a cause for mild panic and catastrophising.
Ahhh, but I take a sigh of relief as I share my new learning. It’s not in finding the answers. The key is learning to find a way to live, never having the answers. Learning to live a fulfilled life, detached from the outcome! I guess that is ultimately the power of the mind. Controlling the ability to not try and control the outcome. Philosophical I know, perhaps best left for another post, some other day.
So exactly 3 years and 3 days after finding my lump, today, I got some more news.
Wait for it, the bone pain, or more accurately described, as I put it to her, tenderness, is ……………………. a broken rib 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🙄 All that fuss over nothing, how embarrassing.
Radioactive for nothing. I could have had an xray!!
Hilarious over reaction but gratefully a completely thorough oncologist 🙄. I have an old break in my back rib too apparently. My theory is the surgeons are doing it 😂😅.
Truth was, I wasn’t too worried about the bone scan. Infact it was an off the cuff remark I told my oncologist about my tender ribs, when she started enthusiasticly ordering multiple tests! I was more pissed about my bone density going to crap. But figure my choice is to swap drugs risking uterine cancer, which can be prevented with a hysterectomy rather than remain on the current hormone blocker therapy that will cause osteoporosis but can only be saved, possibly, with yet another drug, is sound. I’m also seriously thankful, she saved my bones in time before they hit rock bottom and are still in normal range. As Dr Dan said, lucky I had a buffer.
They did however find cervical polyps in the ultrasound, which will need to be removed. They did the ultrasound to establish a baseline before starting the new hormone blocker. The ultrasound radiograher did mention my organs were situated ‘quite a lot higher than usual’ . Another thing I’m going to hold the surgeons accountable for 🤣🤣 The lining was good. I’m in discussions with Doc about a hysterectomy but she insists I start tomoxifon for at least a month prior, to ensure I tolerate the drug (or will need to take 2nd option anyway). At that point I will get a referral for a surgeon to remove the whole kit and kaboodle, polyps included!
As for my bloods the BCR-ABL PCR takes weeks to process as it is a complicated test. The rest of the results were unremarkable; Cholesterol, thyroid, liver & kidney function. As suspected my calcium and vitamin D were great and not the cause of the bone decline. Infact the new drug may even help improve the density.
So I hit the gym tonight and now ready for my oncology breast surgeon appointment tomorrow! 💪
In the meantime thank you so much everybody for your thoughts, prayers and well wishes. A problem shared is indeed a problem halved.
I’m sitting once again in a nuclear medicine department while waiting for the nuclear dye to work its way through my body before…yet another…bone scan (the 3rd I’ve had in my life). Anyone who has been sent for a bone scan knows they’re looking for serious sinister shit.
My week started pretty good. I had to see my oncologist on Monday morning for my 6 month review and results from my bone density scan. All my life I’ve had above average density, despite all my medical trauma. Hormone imbalances, fried ovaries, never given birth or breastfed, copious long standing steroids, chemo, radiotherapy, all of which should have rendered me osteoporosis material, well in the negs, over a decade ago. I guess it makes my above average density some what of a mystical miracle.
So I shouldn’t have been that surprised when my luck changed with yesterday’s result, being told I still maintain a now just average density, compared to the common folk (which I fondly attribute to my cheese and milk with chocolate and appetite for the sun, providing me with much needed vitamin D to absorb the calcium), it has dropped by half since being on my hormone blocker. A side affect I was made aware of before starting the protocol of 5 years letrozle followed by 10 years of tomoxifon.
Two options, continue letrozle and combine with infusions of phosphorus, born with its own side effects and risk osteoporosis OR start tomoxifon which can lead to blood clots and possible uterine cancer. Rock and a hard place.
Doc sent me for emergency bloods, ultrasound and bone scan (because I complained about tender ribs – could be metastases she thinks but is not stupid or insensitive enough to voice). I’ve always said I’ll have Hysterectomy when I start tomoxifon I was just not expecting it to be so soon.
I had my blood taken at the hospital and the lovely chatty nurse has to check what a BCR-ABL is before starting (it checks for the Philadelphia abnormal chromosome cancer marker – a test I get biannually to keep tabs on my leukaemia). She then continues to remove the vacuum syringe before she has filled all the vials….bahaha she says, “no one has this many vials, I just forgot”
I then head to my uterine ultrasound in the afternoon, not realising it was an external AND internal ultrasound (I would definitely have lubed up if I’d known, given my lack of hormone production). Oh well grin and bear it. I think to myself. Picture this, an ultrasound stick up me and someone knocks on the door. My radiographer, discreetly peeps her head out, calmly comes back to me and says “there is an emergency evacuation taking place. There’s a fire”… of course there is :). Lucky we were pretty much done.
This morning was the bone scan. Nuclear and radioactive again. An 8.15am start then back at 11am for a 45 to 60 minute scan. RESULTS are in tomorrow.
I’ve been meditating and visualising on and off now, for the best part of 30 years. It occurs to me, when I am consistent and dedicated, things turn out for the best for me.
But its only really the last 2 years I have noticed other benefits. Since my new cancer, the 2nd time round, I have been paying much more attention to consistency and becoming conscious of the unconscious thought. Now when this happens and the thought is doubt or fear or worry, rather than like in the past when I would stop it and reverse it to positivity, I give myself time to acknowledge it, accept it, embrace it – in other words “meditate” it.
This process helps me get to the deeper reason of why , I might be having the thought and instinctly separate myself from it. The thought does not define me. It is merely a thought.
Now don’t get me wrong. I still believe there is no comfort in the luxury of negative thinking. But there is certainly room to be curious and explore the deeper reasons for why, particularly pessimistic, habitual, negative, self talk that occurs ie ‘I’m hopeless with remembering names’ ‘I have a head like seive’ ‘Of course that would happen’. I’m sure you have your own long standing, negative, self beliefs. You think it so often, you are probably unaware that you think it. What is that thought for you?
Meditation for me takes many forms and I try to do it daily. On my days off it might be a 20 minute guided Deepak Chopra Meditation or a 10 minute Calm app Meditation. On the weekends it’s putting my head phones in on the beach and walking the dog, only thinking about every lyric as I listen to my favourite tunes. And on work days it might be simply 5 deep breaths on the way to and from work or even at the gym focussing only on the activity at hand. Some may call this mindfulness. The label doesn’t matter, it’s simply about taking a break from the mindchatter. You may even take your own breaks from mine chatter and not be aware you do it.
My point being, in the last six months I have achieved things which I never thought possible and in my reflection, I’m largely attributing this to my mindfulness and attention, helped along with meditation my way.
I’ve drastically reduced my coffee, so much easier than I ever thought possible, reduced my alcohol, started a new and rewarding job, returned to the gym, maintained a reasonably healthy weight range (still a work in progress), authenticity love the skin I’m in and most recently beaten a head cold in 4 days which traditionally would take me 3 weeks. Of course its a ripple affect isn’t it?. Less toxins, better diet, more activity is going to knock a cold on it’s head but could I have done the physical work without the mental preparedness?
However, in the last few days doubt has burdened me again. Doubt I will ever make a career out of my passion. Doubt I’m a good friend, wife daughter, person (there a no doubts in my mind I’m a good mother – as its the one area in my life I don’t use comparison to measure myself – weird hey?). So with that, back to the meditation hard core I go, and low and behold it occurs to me, I’m measuring my worth on external influences and perceived expectations, rather than my newly formed habits, and retrained brain’s, internal beliefs.
There is no danger in learning ‘The Art Of Not Giving A Fuck’ and letting go of the uncontrollables as author Mark Manson painstakingly writes about how. (This is a must read). It is what it is certainly works in those circumstances. About others and about uncontrollable circumstances. But I refuse to believe I am what I am today, will be the same as I am tomorrow. I can change. As Mark alludes to, put your energy into shit you do give a fuck about. I give a fuck about myself and what legacy I will leave and therefore every day is a new possibility for growth and improvement, a new challenge, a new way to prove to myself, I am worthy.
So early in the week I was considering engaging some more personal life coaching, but decided to take to it myself. Doing my potential business an injustice here, but that’s the thing. We are all capable to listen, challenge, and ask ourselves the hard questions. All we need to do is still the mind. Give our selves permission to have an authentic chat about the things we give a fuck about, and really listen.
Murray is searching for his ball. I am searching for inner peace, life long health, purpose, vitality, thriving existence, joy, abundance, compassion, love, wellness – Health and wellness is therefore obviously more for me than simply free of disease and pain. And with the results coming out last night of Fulham residence living an average of 87 years, I have a good chance to achieve this in the next 40 years. So it’s a lot, but I have faith in the divine power of the universal energy and it’s ultimate wisdom and infinite possibilities it offers. Murray on the other hand, buried his own ball as I ponder and meditate about this on the beach. Both a common occurrence. In order to achieve this I therefore must have a very strong and powerful belief that we are what we think, mind over matter, let our mind be our master, and instead of living by cause and effect we can personally cause an effect. Don’t wait – create. My faith in this has only strengthened over the last 30 years or so, even after being diagnosed with multiple comorbid diagnoses over this time including a second cancer. So I know what you must be thinking without meaning to be presumptuous – what the hell is she doing wrong? Well as it turns out, we can only control our conscious thoughts, unfortunately for all those habitual limiting beliefs, negative self talk and harmful put downs that enter our mind minute by minute, on a daily basis (formed and cemented by the time we are 35) cannot be controlled unless we are paying attention to them. So through all my informal study, personal interest and research a few things have become abundantly clear and all theories concur on: The body inherently knows how to heal itself To allow the body to take care of itself we have to nourish it with clear and conscious thought in addition to food, water, rest, movement, sunlight, and healthy environments including nature, friends, like minds and shared purpose To allow for the mind to become conscious you must be free of habitual thought, becoming noone, no where, nobody, in no time. To become free of busy thought, you must be able to practice the art of ‘free of thought’ better known as meditation. The practice of gratitude, compassion and love, are also highly recommended in all literature I have read. Finally living your life as if you have already achieved what you are wanting is the final piece to the puzzle for perfect health, which happens to be my by line for this website “The key to having it all is believing you already do” Like a jigsaw though, if a piece is missing the picture is incomplete. There will be roadblocks. Wishful thinking alone, behaving like you have everything but not intrinsically believing it, not slowing the mind, living in stress, not surrounding yourself with nourishment, you will find the journey, difficult – two steps forward and one step back so to speak. Jumping hurdles, detouring, changing direction the entire way. They say the body can heal if we don’t let our unconscious negative thought get in the way. Layer this with meditation, awareness and becoming conscious of the unconscious thought is where my affirmation from Louise Hay came ” you cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought”, 20 years on I believe this to mean, if you are aware of any limiting thought, stop it, rethink it, create your own reality, change your habit. This is also what I mean when I talk of positive thinking. It is not meaning denial, or allowing your feelings to be suppressed, but making a choice about how you want those feelings to affect you. No convinced yet? – that’s ok, the beauty of my faith is that it doesn’t matter what you think, what you think won’t affect my health and wellness, only your health and wellness – and only what I think will affect mine. But in keeping with the fence sitters or non believers, let me share with you how and why and where I get my beliefs from. Although my lived experience is a huge motivation to practice and continuously prove this theory (a recent I will share with you shortly), I also base my faith on science, traditional medicinal practices from 5000 years ago and psycho and meta physical practices. Let me explain. Twenty six years ago I happened across a book called You can heal your life by Louise Hay. She healed herself of terminal stomach cancer. Her teachings were based on metaphysical beliefs that certain ailments and dis-ease were generic to the thought patterns people held. Not unlike the Ayurveda traditional Indian practices that also believe you can diagnose disease based on thoughts and body types (doshas) and again not unlike the more recent proven theories of Dr Joe Dispenza a neuroscientist who also cured himself from para plesia after a being run over by a truck on a cycling race. He has proven without a doubt the heart (emotion) talks to the mind (thought) which talks to the body in the form of chemical reactions to emotions and thoughts, creating good or bad physical health. Although I believe Louise Hay was a pioneer of her time in the 70/80’s in her teachings, she lacked the scientific evidence to prove it. Long before Hay, along comes Einstein who started to investigate the theory of relativity and debunk or expand on some of Newton’s theories about quantum elements (waves) behaving the same as particles. E = mc2 was born, being the beginning of the understanding that energy and mass (matter) are interchangable, which led to the quantum theory. The funny thing is, as I have read, Einstein found his evidence so shocking, that secretly he just could not believe in what he was discovering, despite his Noble prize for arguably, the most well known, scientific calculation in history and the basis for most physics in the modern world today. Years later as magnification enhances, scientific experiments become more sophisticated and advances in today’s technology, quantum physicists are able to undeniably prove the theory of quantum mechanics, observation, entanglement and tunnelling plus more. This is so fascinating because observation theory directly correlates with what you see and observe is entirely at the mercy of your perception, and what meaning you take from your perception, in addition to the energy fields being in constant waves of infinite possibility until of course you focus your attention on it, which then forces it to become matter and particles. Energy flows where attention goes, as they say. Before I lose you completely down the rabbit hole (I know Todd has already stopped reading….ha ha ), I just wanted to explore with you where my science comes from and how it all connects to my beliefs around neuropsychoimmunology (the power to spontaneously heal), and epigenetics (rewiring the brain to bypass harmful genes) etc. BTW on a segway did you know microbiome scientists (who study gut health) are now discovering, if memory serves me correctly only about 7% of our gene pool sits in our cells and the rest sit in our microbium healthy gut bacteria, which are constantly being replaced with what we feed it. And it’s believed it’s our brain’s habitual thinking that keeps the genetics reforming rather than the memory of the cell it’s itself. I know, just ponder that for as long as you can. It’s no wonder they get the name mad scientist having to wrestle with these discoveries day by day! So with all that being said, I have come to terms with my Feminine Power course (only one module away from completion), being my catalyst to harness every aspect of perfect health, my Psycho Spiritual therapist and life coach being my guide and me being the driver, now, before and forever. While also reconciling, one cannot (although I tried for 20 years) make monumental change on their own. It takes a community .The energy of the world and others, feeds energy – it’s not like a record in the retail store, when someone buys it there’s one less, it’s like the tune on spotify, when someone invests it, there is one more of that tune in the universe. It take energy to make energy. It also takes going beyond what we know, if we want to create something we don’t yet have or have yet to experience. And as Dispenza says, no need to worry about the unknown, create the known. So I re-joined my beloved Viva Fitness gym yesterday after being in hiatus for three years and have done three classes this week, taking it easy but being very surprised with my muscle memory, ability to keep up and recovering quite well after each session, while keeping my promise to Murray and not reducing his beach walks. Cause lets be honest, I love them too. That’s the known. Here’s the unknown and I respect there will be a lot of skeptics out there when I tell my next story but here goes. I went to SPARC yesterday after a much agonised decision to get a cortisone injection in each heal of my feet for the pain I have endured for the past 12 months due to plantar fasciitis. The first one fucking hurt and so the second one I was prepared for and took some deep breaths and pictured rainbows and butterflies and imagined it felt like a massage. Hurt much less, but that is not my story. While waiting for it to settle before I could stand, I asked the Doc about my tennis elbow I have been dealing with since Boxing Day 2020, and have had dry needling on it for the past 5 weeks by my physio (normally three weeks would fix it). He said to start the exercises that my physio had insisted I delay until some substantial improvement in movement. So last night I decided to practice what I believe in and lay awake most of the night visualising myself doing the exercises. Now before I go on I want to explain I’ve watched most of the Body Hack’s three series hosted by Todd Sampson . In one episode they did an experiment with one group of people meditating for 6 weeks one hour each day on their weight program and the other group actually physically doing the weight program for 6 weeks, an hour each day. Shockingly the results for both groups were similar (some in the physical group were even nursing injuries in the end). Armed with this added information, I was committed all night. This morning was the first day at the beach I could throw the ball for Murray with my injured arm and pick up my water bottle after the gym while driving home, free of pain. In addition I have not had to ice or take panadol for my feet as predicted by the nurse and am now concentrating on ensuring the cortisone does it’s job and in three days, I’ll be a new walking women. By Friday I’m starting work on my AVN knee and by the end of the year, I will lose my belly, have a healthy gut, be on my way to 52 kilos and hopefully a book launch. I am woman hear me roar (lol)! (Quantum physics by the way works on a different time zone than Classical or Newtonian Laws of Physics, QP can bring the future to you – the whole E=MC2 phenomenon – so watch this space). So today and forever more, I’m setting my intention for my search to be fulfilled, creating my own future and using my mantra first thought in the morning, last thought at night and every conscious free thought in every day: I am the undeniable existence for perfect health Happy days xx
Recently we were away with the WAMS and families for New Years. Half of us had vans and half of us were in cabins in the Tanunda Tourist Park. One early morning Todd and I were lying in our caravan bed. I was having a grateful moment enjoying our unique early wake up calls from the birds, thinking about how lucky we were to be able to get away during Covid with all our beloved friends, the country we live in, our very Aussie Unique wild life and our life in general when Todd rolls over and says “fucking kookaburras”.
I have spent the better part of this year so far researching Ayurvedic medicine (where have you been all my life) and gut health. I have since learnt I am at the highest risk for an unhealthy gut: long term antibiotics, hypertension medication, surgeries and analgesics and anti cancer treatments. As the scientific evidence is mounting in favour of poor gut health being the culprit for most western chronic illness, explaining mine including; inflammation, poor joints and pain, lack of blood supply causing a myriad of other symptoms which our doctors try to treat as opposed to why I have poor blood supply, inflammation or joint pain and so on and so forth. I am on the hunt for an holistic approach with the plan to live a life of enduring vitality health and wellness. Of course finding a practitioner in the western world of this description is hard, which is why I have taken the research into my own hands. If you want it done right do it yourself as they say. Obviously the place to start is my gut, but if we are talking holistic we need to be mindful and actively participating in movement, healthy diet choices and a kind, compassionate, relaxed stress free healthy mindset and positive self talk.
During my quest I have had several mental mind shifts, which are in and by themselves, liberating, freeing and filled with infinite possibility. Surrounding myself with similar like minded strong women and others is also an intuitive move that is taking place in my life with little to no effort, except for maybe how I am showing up. One change as the Buddhists say, create ripples of change beyond your own knowing.
My mental shifts have come about through my feminine power course and my amazing pyschospiritual life coach who is an advocate for inner child trauma work, has revealed to me my old beliefs have been a feeling of lack and shame (not enough and too much) and I can now move towards I am enough, I have enough, there is enough. What has made me has shaped me, and rather than conquering cancer like it’s a battle I have waged with myself since the age of 20, I am now embracing my cancers with loving open arms and thanking them for shaping me into the powerful, insightful, strong, compassionate women I am today. I have also finally learnt to thank my younger self for getting me through the best way she could, with all that she knew back then and finally am walking forward into the future with her, holding her hand, and no longer berating her for not being enough. This has been powerful, overwhelming, emotional work for me, but I feel I have stretched and grown once more. If nothing else, my life has been a journey of constant, growing, stretching, learning, evolving, reinventing, changing. I may not be flexible in body but I am in mind and spirit.
I came across an analogy during meditation the other day which really resonated with me. Its poke of a garden needing tender loving care, nutrition, weeding, water for it to thrive. If this balance is right it will reward you with delightful odors, bright colours, and bring butterflies, birds, bees and the very best nature has to offer. In other words, it will present the way it is nurtured. And it occurred to me I dislike trainers that do not encourage with positive reinforcement, so why would my inner critic think that my body and spirit and mind would respond to constant negative talk. I have started to practice what I preach with a sense of utter belief in the process and genuine self love and care. Praising my body for getting up everyday, knowing our cells are rejuvenating constantly so what is a problem yesterday does not have to a be a problem tomorrow. What a magnificent miracle my physical body is, navigating and enduring challenge after challenge to be here right now as my vehicle to experience my spiritual existence here on earth. As I said to my boys the other day ‘I have gone through most of my life like it was nothing, but it was something’.
Still on the garden theme it occurred to me, while I was in what I thought the fight of my life during my bone marrow transplant, my mental guided visualizations coincided with my treatment. While receiving high dose chemo and full body irradiation, I visualised, Roundup on my garden killing everything in sight (before we knew Roundup literally does kill), during my daily blood transfusions and marrow transplant I pictured planting seeds, watering, feeding and caring for my healthy patch of dirt. As my blood counts were written on the white board every day I pictured, my seedlings popping through the soil, growing taller and brighter until eventually I had the most magnificent garden. I did this for a few years and then as I got back to normal life I forgot to tend to my mental garden. Weeds infiltrated until finally I was back where I started, with another period in my life, knowing I didn’t feel right, being extraordinarily stressed and with cancer. I have made a promise to DEB that I will never forget to tend and nourish my garden again.
And so as I have been pondering what activity I can participate in (already back to yoga and giving Tai Chi a go) I notice my old gym and the best freestyle step instructor AKA Jade Lisa McCorquodale posts she has her class back (after not having one until recently, on the gym timetable, removed – right after my knee pain stopped me from being able to join in). I started at the gym 16 years ago with the Dennis O’Donnell taking the amazing Thursday class of old style aerobics and then started his freestyle step, fell in love with gym life, became a gym junky and the rest is history. Finally doing Jade’s step every Saturday morning after Foster’s school football and hitting the gym up to 6 times a week for over 2 hours a day. The universe was giving me sign the class was back and I listened and hit the gym (with my knee brace and no expectations) for the first time in 3 years, doing step for first time in a decade. I was made to feel so welcome, and I surprised myself I didn’t collapse from exhaustion, my swimming obviously maintaining a little of my cardio fitness, although my feet and shins were on fire having done little weight bearing for years. Today I am still able to lower myself to the toilet, pain free, however I know I am a sucker for the second day soreness ( I have therefore spent the morning walking in the ocean for rehab and last night, iced my knee, stretched and used the hammer gun on every muscle I can reach). I’m just praying my knee pulls up so I can continue this feel good for body mind and soul class (plus potentially a few other old favourites like pump, body balance and pilates). Ooha ooha
Meanwhile Todd and I watched a short you tube video this week on ‘what makes marriages work’ and the difference between masters and disasters in marriage. It has been like a window opened and let in a breath of fresh air. We are strong, committed and supportive of each other. It has bought an extra level of intimacy to our relationship. On that note, he straddled me the other night in bed, got a cramp in his hamstring and screamed ‘what’s the point of living?’ as he jumped off and grabbed it writhing in pain and I nearly wet my pants laughing. I think I have answered that question already.
On my quest for self actualization, inner peace, reaching my higher purpose and authentic bliss – this is what I know.
Meditation is my medication – I have recently been researching what has made me the way I am today and while I believe in the feeling before the healing (I’ll touch on this later) I am also abundantly aware of what my body has physically endured to survive, but never quite been able to put a finger on the science behind the long term affects of my treatments.
Let’s go back to the beginning. I was sitting here with a guided meditation by Deepak Chopra this morning, in the backyard of my dreams and in his wisdom he spoke of the following: mind, body, spirit, environment, relationships and how you deal with all these, existing within an intricate interwoven process. By every thought and feeling you have you are literally affecting your levels of dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and other hormone levels. While breath and heart rate indicate stress levels (in-acting the flight or flight hormone cortisol) we can learn to regulate by experiencing inner silence, which equals homeostasis (base line status) which is when the body can self repair. What it’s designed to do. All through finding peace in stillness! So his message is, by influencing just one thought, feeling, emotion about your body, your environment or your relationships etc, you can influence your entire process – Influence everything in your life! Just by changing ONE thought, belief or emotion from a limiting past experience.
I must have you know I’ve been studying Deepak for an entire year now (just recently received my certificate in Reinventing the body, Resurrecting the soul) and received many light bulb moments, but are all easily forgotten in a hectic busy lifestyle (unless you remember to take time out daily to remember them, marinate in them, reflect on them). But a jigsaw piece was still missing – that last annoying one that just doesn’t fit where the space is! And today while being guided through the reminder of cortisol I started some informal research of the medical form hydrocortisone. I was on this oral steroid for over fourteen months, on 120 milligrams (just to put this in perspective, if you’ve ever been on it for more than a week, your dose is commonly on average no more than 2 mg). The immediate effects were obvious. I had an insatiable hunger for food, sex and action. I gained 20 kilos within weeks in fluid retention and held that for the entire duration. I didn’t sleep, I didn’t work, in fact I experienced Covid lock down without the bonus of financial support as my immune system was so suppressed, I was not to be in public.
25 years on am also personally aware and experiencing the long term potential side affects the doctors spoke of – cataracts (tick), high blood pressure (tick), avascular necrosis (tick) – but what didn’t they tell me?
They didn’t tell me that cortisol / prescribed cortisone (and I suspect in my case I had a double whammy of personally induced stress steroid hormone plus additional high level synthetic steroids) affects the way the body metabolizes carbohydrates. Nor did they tell me that it affects the way my body produces insulin. And guess what my nutritionist told me last year (without asking about my medical back ground) ‘eat less carbs as it spikes my insulin’. Don’t get me started on all these specialists working in silos without taking in the whole picture – it never ceases to amaze me how they NEVER ask. Just keep taking my money for dead end solutions. I mean seriously – NO SHIT SHERLOCK – eat less carbs – genius! While this worked for awhile at some point my medical history came back to bite me on the arse (or my case my stomach) and just too much water under the bridge to shift than swollen, inflamed belly.
Add to my steroid induced stomach, a lazy 20 years on prophylactic antibiotics (to protect me from all the shit that the steroids stopped my immune system from protecting) and you got yourself an unhealthy gut full of bad bacteria and a well practiced FIGHT response in protection from possible further attack for the better part of my life! Isn’t it no wonder I have an overactive parathyroid which dumps calcium into my blood stream? (treatment for that = cortisol ha ha ha) and a distended stomach. I’m not fat – I’m just permanently bloated.
BOTTOM LINE – not enough attention is paid to long term cancer treatment affects (I’m sure the research is there, but why advertise that when the medical profession and drug companies can profit on the ‘fixing’).
SMALL PRINT T & C’s – I wasn’t supposed to live this long
CONCLUSION – You can heal yourself, since the dawn of time this has been possible. Even Dr Strange knows this now.
I REPEAT – CHALLENGE ACCEPTED
So this blog has taken me to unexpected territory however one thing is clear. I have just had a complete new frame of reference about my body and image and future. I have achieved an amazing accomplishment – so insanely amazing I have taken it for granted and so too have my family, my friends and every medical professional that has ever come into contact with me. They don’t ask because it’s not heard of.
My measure of health is not by the circumference of my tummy as this is a false representation based on my history. My unique measure is my vibrant skin, my dynamic personality, my resilience, my ability to continue to swim, SUP, participate in yoga and dance like no-one is watching, my strength, my love of life, my desire to do better, live better, be better every single day for the rest of my life. That’s my measure
I was reminded of re framing by a friend who sent a quote last night
“When a photographer can’t change a scene, he changes his angles and lens to capture the best of that scene. Similarly, when you cant change a situation in your life, change your perspective to get the best of that situation. Try to be a filter, not a sponge”
Every day I feel closer to realising my authentic self and destiny. I am leaning into letting go of planning to control but rather trusting inner wisdom – my intuition, to guide me to my next step (with the help of some very powerful psycho social one on one [life] coaching sessions and …. yep …. another personal development course, this one is in Feminine Power).
I have discovered while doing the course the true meaning of feel to heal – and it hurts and it’s painful and it’s exhausting and it’s WORTH IT. Connecting with my past trauma has begun a shift in me like even I couldn’t have believed possible. Suddenly everything seems possible again. More so than ever before. Its another reason why I know I have put off writing my book and another reason why I am closer to that dream. Choking on reality has put me a step closer to ‘tuning’ into a full-filled well-being.
And with that it’s time to reveal my business name:
Tune into your Full Filling Well Being
So while I should be studying today to bring this reality closer, my instinct told me to blog instead. It also told me to tell you my counsel as a coach, mentor and practitioner is different than anything you have experienced as my friend. It is also, surprisingly is telling me, to join a dance studio!
And if you are curious to my qualifications in regards to health, I recently had an experience that just may well enlighten you to my extra-ordinary knowledge. Since Christmas I made my self a mini challenge to drink more water, no less that two litres a day. While I haven’t found this as difficult as I have in the past, drinking easily over this quantity each day, I have been suffering from this constant headache. Avoiding the nagging temptation to think ‘brain tumor’ I did start to believe I was over hydrating. After weeks of trying to work out what I was doing differently to cause the headache, apart from the water consumption I figured it out. To fit more water in, I was drinking less coffee!!!
Caffeine withdrawals – who knew. And with that my qualification is self explanatory 🤣🤣🤣
Today I did my first successful yoga class in 3 years. I’ve been doing yoga all my adult life but only dabbled in the last few years due to illness and surgery, never really feeling the benefits I was accustomed to pre breast cancer. Today I feel I have come full circle, having started my yoga journey back in the 90s in a community centre, gold coin donation kind if thing, during leukaemia treatment – I fell in love with it. Mind you I also fell asleep everytime during relaxation. Today a yoga class has started down my street in the Fulham community cente, so in walking distance, affordable and perfect for what I’ve been searching for.
In saying this I don’t believe I would have been motivated or had enough energy or flexible movement to have appreciated the benefits as much as I have today, if it wasn’t for my Ayurvedic massage I had on Thursday (more a poke, prod & torture than a massagae) but healing none the less. From everywhere from my neck, shoulders, stomach, hips, lower back, knee down to my heel pain, I feel better. Yes I had chronic pain all over my body and felt 100 years old.
So with Russell’s help (he calls himself a masseur, I call him a healer and wise life coach) and my yoga yoday, I feel the age I should feel….47….I’m hoping by 50 I’ll feel 30 again.
Celebrate your bodies people. All they want to do is let your soul live the life it deserves. Dont be trapped by it. Let your mind be the master not the slave. Be kind to your body physically, emotionally, mentally & spiritually and it will reward you with freedom of movement, health and vitality. #healthyhappywhole