The wonderful news is that the biopsy results on the lymph nodes and tissue taken away during my Anterior Resection of the bowel (the surgery which took half of my colon away and stapled it back together), show clear. No cancer cells were found. In terms of living with cancer this is a victory. What is means is that there are no visible tumours in my body, and the tissue around the tumour which was taken away is also healthy. I’m really pleased, and enormously grateful that, for now, it looks as though I don’t need chemotherapy. But there’s a but, you can feel it coming… What it doesn’t show is that this body is capable of creating cancer. This body already turned on itself. For some reason, despite relatively good health, fitness and a healthy diet, the ‘C’ bomb trigger was pulled. Whilst the disease itself may be gone, I hope never to return, there’s no getting away from the fact that this happened. that it was even possible.
So while my supporters get back to work, and life around me resumes as normal, I’m left with the thought that, if life pre-cancer caused my cancer, will picking my life back up again also trigger its return? How do I pick up the wholesome, nourishing elements of my life, the life affirming, life giving elements and leave behind the destruction. Am I attuned enough to my own body, mind and soul to walk that path? I feel like one of those rats in Cambodia which sniffs out landmines. Their training and sensory awareness means they can navigate through minefields safely, it seems like an impossible task. I’ve heard people say ‘cancer is random’, ‘its not your fault’, but I don’t entirely believe it. If that was the case, statistics wouldn’t have changed so dramatically over generations. My belief, based on my own experience, is that this is a disease of lifestyle, with many factors contributing to it. And by lifestyle I don’t just mean, what you eat and how much you exercise. I mean how stressed you are day to day, how enriched, or more likely how stretched thin you feel day to day. I think our emotional wellbeing and unresolved traumas can be a trigger, our psychology and our work life balance. How well supported we feel and how well we love, our ability to absorb love, as well as our food choices, and physical condition.
Given that almost half of us will be affected by Cancer (and it turns out there are a whole lot more people around you right now who have survived than you are probably aware of), this is a disease that we are all living with to a greater or lesser extent. I don’t think we’ve all woken up to the reality of it actually. I know the friends around me have felt the impact, the shock that the diagnosis brings. Some of them may even be making lifestyle changes based on that. Whether it’s a deeper sense of gratitude for life, or its the reason for a new health kick. Or maybe it’s taken them to the Dr’s to check out those ‘niggles’ that have been there for a while now and are ‘probably nothing’. Whatever it does needs to wake us up in the wider sense, to our overall well-being, body, mind and soul.
Identifying those patterns which nourish us and those which work against us can be easier said than done, but here’s my view:
So moving forward with my life there are some fundamental changes I need to pick up and run with.
- Stress Management: Rest is as important to productivity as work – this is fundamental and rest needs to be scheduled.
- Sleep is Sacred: Make it comfortable, sensory experience that looks, feels and smells as enticing as a good meal. The bed is my new church. I worship good sleep, and the time leading in to and out of it needs to be blessed with calm.
- Food is my fuel: Every cell of my body is fuelled with what I eat and drink. That fuel needs to resonate with the organic structure that I am… i.e. it needs to be natural, not processed. My water needs to be filtered, either mineral from glass bottles, or filtered and free from chlorine.
- Sugar is a drug and I say no to drugs.
- Check in with what’s going through my mind. The Headspace app is a great place to start.
- Notice when self talk is productive and enriching, and when it holds me back and talks me down. Make choices about which inner voice to act upon.
- Talk about all those inner demons, they’re really ugly sometimes, and can also be shocking, alarming and plain twisted. Share them with friends, or share them with a therapist, get them out though!
- Instinct knows best. It’s a built in guidance system. LISTEN UP.
- Express all that is bubbling away on the inside. Live your truth!
- Self – Love and appreciation. This takes in all of the above. The reality that life is precious, that I value being alive and I want to remain alive, means that I have to honour my life choices, and notice every one of them as either life enriching, neutral or life depleting.
Finally! Turmeric Lattes are here to stay…!! You’ve probably heard that turmeric is anti-inflammatory and has anti-oxidant properties. It’s also been shown to actually disrupt the development of cancer. And since this recipe tastes good and feels heart warming, It’s now a daily staple for me.
Turmeric Latte (SIBO friendly)
200mls Almond or coconut milk
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp pure organic clear honey
Crack of black pepper
sprinkle of nutmeg to serve.
- Bring all the ingredients to the boil in a pan on the hob.
- Turn down the heat and whisk for a couple of minutes.
- Pour and serve with a sprinkle of nutmeg.
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