I know what it’s like to feel stuck. I know what it’s like to be doing a job that doesn’t feel quite right and to long for the freedom of living a life on your own terms. I also know what it’s taken me to claim this freedom and I’d like to share that story with your today.
Freedom has always been a huge value of mine, which is why I started working as an English as a Second Language teacher after university. I was free to travel when I wanted and was not tied down by a contract. I sought adventures overseas and was forever saving up for my next trip.
I married and moved to Switzerland and got a nice job at a hotel school. The pay was good and the staff and students were lovely. We could afford a beautiful apartment in the center of town and trips away several times a year. I was more financially abundant than I’d ever been. But I was not free.
I was not free because I was not living my true purpose. I’d drowned out my dreams with the voice of reason and ended up overloaded with work I didn’t feel passionate about.
By the time I quit it was already too late – I had manifested a cancerous lump in my breast (3.4cm, stage 2B, OR & PR positive, HER2 negative). I was 34 and had no history of it in my family. Of course there are many reasons for it that I’ve explored and researched....
The Physical :
▪ That I was 34 and hadn’t yet had kids but my ovulation had slowed and so my progesterone & oestrogen were out of balance.
▪ A lack of vitamin D. Weeks went by without seeing saw the sun in Switzerland.
▪ A genetic defect.
▪ That I ate dairy and the bovine hormones stimulated my own.
▪ My digestive system had weakened my immune system.
And the emotional :
▪ Because I had denied my true desire and taken a full-time job that meant I was unable to continue with the novel I’d been writing.
▪ My homesickness : the downer I was on & the indecision.
▪ The feeling of powerlessness in my job & life.
▪ The lack of social support as an expat (& my job took up all my time & energy I felt).
I had felt rather sorry for myself…
Not so when I was diagnosed. There was no time to mess around. I sprang into action!
I’d been studying the power oft he mind casually for 10 years & I knew what I could do to help myself straightaway. These are two of the ways I empowered myself as a patient, as well as getting treatment.
1. WE CAN CONSCIOUSLY CREATE OUR REALITY (or at least try!)
In the space of the week between the ultrasound and operation, the 3.4cm lump had already decreased by 1cm.
First, I went the health route – chugging green juice and getting as alkaline as can be, but I also knew that I was pretty healthy before and many of the recommendations, like wearing deodorant without aluminum, I was already doing.
What helped the most though I believe was saying affirmations while walking at the beach, like ‘my whole body is healthy’, ‘my lymph nodes are clear’and ‘the lump is reducing’. And I’d really feel happy as I repeated these words over and over to the rhythm of my feet.
So often we are unconscious of the story we are playing in our mind, but meanwhile it is creating our future. Choosing my thoughts and being at the beach was a spiritual practice that made me feel connected, aligned and in the state of knowing that good would come. No one can tell you what you can or can’t believe. It’s your choice. I chose to believe I was healthy.
There’s a lot more that I did and that you can do for yourself too. Get whatever treatment you can commit to happily but also do what you can with your mind.
2. WE CAN MAKE AUTHENTIC DECISIONS
My recovery has been quite the journey in trusting my inner voice and emotions. It is not easy when a doctor insists you need chemotherapy. And then the next three doctors try to convince you of the same and hand you the same print out of your statistics. What I learnt is that doctors are human and I am not a statistic.
I felt that chemotherapy wasn’t right for me and nor did I want to put my body through what would be necessary to maintain my fertility. I made peace with the fact that I would rather die than do that and focused my attention on getting healthy via the alternative route.
Through digging deeper, however, I was able to meet with one of the experts in the field, a highly-respected specialist, who quoted research demonstrating that for my age and type of cancer chemotherapy had not been found to be that effective and that even though the print out bore my age, the statistics reflected the sample group, who were much older than me.
I was ecstatic. I’d listened to my inner guide and been greatly rewarded. I’d taken the time to make my own decisions and withstood the pressure of what everyone else wanted for me, not out of fear but from what felt right, given what I suspected and then what I knew. I am proud of who I am because of it today and felt great about having radiotherapy and going on tamoxifen several months after my operation.
Today I have my own coaching business, where I am helping others transform their fears to faith and ACTIVELY heal as a complement to whatever other treatment they had. I’m focused on healing on an emotional level and implementing any changes that need to made in order for true healing to take place. Cancer is a wake up call, right?
I just want to pass on the message to do all you can to be healthy and to never stop believing that you are. Be empowered. Be inspiring. Be radiant. Be joyful. Be free.
We really need such positive stories! I definitely agree that our minds can be the strongest weapon in the battle with cancer. I survived lymphoma when I was younger - I simply rejected the possibility that I would not recover. Now, after 15 years, I was diagnosed with lung cancer and refuse to give up, even if the statistics are very bad. I've already gone through 5 cycles of chemo and feel better now then before the diagnosis. My nurse said that I was her fittest lung cancer patient, the doctor was thrilled with the results of the treatment.
I'm sure that the next scan will show that the tumor is no longer there. In December I'm going to Bali with my husband to recuperate and will start attending yoga classes and meditating.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.