This simple statement I recently read, really resonated with me.
The truth is, I HAVE lost the life I had.
Cancer changes you. Facing your own mortality changes you and life can never be the same as it was before.
This sounds pretty sad, doesn’t it? But, for me personally, I now realise that losing the life I had is nothing I shall grieve for. Although I wish not to have received this diagnosis, the truth is, Cholangiocarcinoma has proven to be a huge wake-up call, and boy, did I need that…. although I don’t think I truly appreciated it until a few months ago. I didn’t know it at the time, but when I was diagnosed back in August of 2020, I was about to embark on a life-changing journey.
Cancer patients are told to “kick cancers arse”, “you can beat this beast” and “f**k cancer”. Of course, this is always said with love and good intention and because of that, I’d never correct someone for saying that to me even though fighting is not how I’m dealing with this.
Truth is, I’m tired of fighting. I’ve fought for years now and it has made me sick, I imagine for a long time. But you know how it is…..we all lead busy lives, so you just carry on, making our way through the everyday tasks, chores, and manage the best we can.
This really hasn’t worked well for me. I’ve ignored many illnesses, suppressed many emotions, and never really, properly dealt with anything that I found painful! I don’t think I even had the tools to know how to.
I’m great at the practical, everyday stuff
No thanks! Let’s stick the kettle on, open a bottle of wine or find some unnecessary chore to busy ourselves with.
Oh, how things have changed……and about bloody time too.
I don’t need to fight. I need to heal.
I was never going to be the type of patient who goes in for treatment, rests up, and hopes for the best, but I also knew that if I wanted to have any chance of making the best out of this, I would have to put a LOT of work into this part of my life. So I researched anything and everything, making up a rough plan of the various areas of my life I wanted, and needed, to work on:
- Nutrition – nailed it! (*when I have an appetite)
- Exercise – nailed it! (*ok, maybe not quite nailed it but I’m trying)
- Complementary Therapies – Currently have Oxygen Therapy, Acupuncture, EFT, Reiki, Infrared Saunas. Still need to book IV-C!
- Sleep – Yup, a good 7 hours of solid, restful shut-eye. At last!!! Insomnia and a mind that refuses to switch off lost me so many hours.
- Meditation/Emotional Healing – errrrm……hang on, I did I put that washing on??
See, that last one just got me every time, and was absolutely the last thing I was ready, or wanted, to explore. Because, quite frankly, it was uncomfortable and damn well painful.
The thing is, speaking from only a few months into this, it has been the most enlightening experience of my life. What started as using meditation to wind down each night and increase my sleep (which worked) had a surprising effect on me and sparked a curiosity to further explore the murky mind.
What started as no more than a way to relax, soon developed into an exploration into how the mind works, how we internalize trauma and pain and how this impacts us as physical beings. I began listening to talks and interviews by the likes of Gabor Maté, Dr Joe Dispenza and Dolores Cannon, learning how to understand and work through these emotions and I’m really not being dramatic when I tell you it has changed my life. I’ve been able to deal with past trauma that has dogged my life and given me the tools and confidence to finally move forward. I watched the documentary, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne and was able to visualise a new, exciting future ahead of me. I seriously encourage anyone to look into all those I have just mentioned there if you haven’t already!
So, I guess what I am saying is that I can’t mourn for the life I had pre-C. It made me ill and cancer is, for me, my “get your s**t together” final warning.
Cancer is not just a physical illness, I’ve not been invaded by some evil monster. I was (am) really sick, partly because of all that I had neglected and suppressed. I believe that this wrecked my immune system, leaving my body unable to do it’s job effectively and keep me well.
But now, here I am, almost 11 months on in this chapter of my life and I’m finally starting the healing process that was previously, so impossible to address. I’m undoing the hurt, the pain, the anger, bitterness, guilt and resentment that resulted in my life being “stuck”.
Bile duct cancer may well get me eventually, I’m not completely deluded, and if it does, then so be it, I have absolutely zero fear of death (thank you, Dolores Cannon, you remarkable woman) and will be at peace when the time comes. I read somewhere, that death is the one certain thing in everyone’s life and so is not the issue. The issue, therefore, is in life and the challenges it brings. How true, but do any of us, think that way?
If you haven’t considered looking into how the mind and spirit can effect the physical body, you really should try. Find something and someone who really speaks to you. It’s empowering. There are many articles, books and YouTube videos on how the mind can help towards healing your body. Radical Remission by Dr Kelly A. Turner, is an incredible read for any cancer patient and delves into this topic at length with some really inspiring stories of those who healed from cancer.
This new life I’m living right now, learning and experiencing, has changed me for the rest of my life…however long – or short – that may be.
It has been the making of me…..and I am finding my new life.
Much love and strength,