My journey to health
A cancer diagnosis is never easy. For me it was an unexpected phone call soon after I had just completed a magical 120km pilgrimage on the Santiago de Compostela (Spain). I had been so proud of my 59 year old body managing the challenges of the walk. Little did I know that my real journey would begin on my return home, and that I would continue rehearsing the phrase; “one step at a time”. It was during the middle of an ordinary working day when I received the phone call from the doctor. Ductal Breast Cancer. Malignant tumour.
I remember each word so clearly of that first difficult conversation.
After the initial shock, I recalled Ty Bollinger’s words in his documentary, The truth about Cancer:
“Take your time to research your options carefully, find “healers” that you resonate with. Take responsibility for your own health”.
My greatest challenge was to find reliable information. I avoided consulting “Dr Google”, or listening to the opinions of friends and family, but how was I to discern reliable info when there were so many contradictory approaches relating to the cure of cancer, all backed up by supposedly “reliable research’? I was faced with the most challenging decision of my life! Was I to follow the biomedical or complementary route, or could I do both? Where was the “directory of healers” I so badly needed to consult in order to find the people that resonated with me?
My family was willing to support whatever decision I made. A week later I found myself sitting in an oncologist’s office listening to a year-long treatment plan. Reality set in, especially when it was suggested that I should close my psychological practice for the year. That evening, I woke up shivering from the delayed shock.
Although the medical aid only took a week to approve the treatment plan, I delayed treatment for a month due to various personal and work commitments. This also gave me the time to adjust my negative mind set regarding chemo-therapy. By the time I started my first Red Devil Chemo treatment, on the 7 June 2016, I was able to bless and feel gratitude towards the substance.
At the same time, I worked hard to assist my body to release the toxins, by walking regularly, doing yoga, having regular reflexology and reiki treatments, and paying attention to my diet. I believe that the body has its own consciousness; and that the gut, the heart and the head have their own “intelligence”, an idea which is increasingly supported as neuroscience develops. The encouraging letters I wrote to my body became a way of life!
Throughout this challenging journey, I relied on mindfulness and meditation, and explored the mind-body connection in more depth than I thought possible. I recalled a quote from Dr Frank Lipman;
“When a plant’s leaves are turning brown, you don’t paint the leaves green. You look at the cause of the problem. If only we treated our bodies the same way”.
With that in mind, I attended psycho-therapy regularly, giving me the safe space to fully experience my emotions. I needed to understand the message my body was communicating, the purpose of this journey. The daily positive visualisation and tapping became a way of life. The monthly weekends away in nature, helped me to feel spiritually connected and supported, whilst I was blessed with constant messages of love and care from family and friends.
The surgery was followed by 6 weeks of radiation, ending on 17 March 2017 – the ending of one chapter, and the beginning of another! Conversations in the chemo and radiation rooms highlighted the fears, losses, challenges and needs of my “fellow travellers”. From the deepest place within, came clarity and the “knowing” that I was to share my story and the tools that eased my way.
I was to facilitate a practical and loving therapeutic programme to achieve this! And so: the Conscious Care Circle was borne.