How a cancer diagnosis challenged my beliefs

 

Brits Bus Photo“Some of us think holding on makes us strong: But sometimes it’s letting go” ~ Herme Hese

 

Do you consider yourself to be a woman of your word? The one who always keeps promises to herself and especially to everyone else?

 

I’d have said that was an apt description of me before long held thoughts, beliefs, and promises evaporated in an instant. At a time when I was confronted with choices and decisions that challenged every fiber of my being.

 

Things change …

 

I wonder if you have ever noticed how we can hold our beliefs so dear, share them freely because they feel totally authentic, and then wham … Life throws us a curved ball and what we envisaged as iron clad suddenly becomes as fragile as gossamer.

 

 

In December 2014 an oncologist looked me straight in the eye and delivered news that challenged my beliefs in ways I had never before experienced. I had advanced ovarian cancer stage 3C. Surgery wasn’t an option. And although it wouldn’t change the outcome the only hope of extending my life expectancy in any way was to receive six chemotherapy treatments.

 

Beliefs … what beliefs?

 

Belief no.1

 

“My daily mantra of “I’m fit and healthy ‘til I’m at least 90 years old” shattered into a million tiny pieces on the floor right in front of me.

 

 

Belief no.2

 

“If something doesn’t feel right don’t do it” … which translated into something like – “I’ll never personally have chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery ”

 

I had always considered this to be a certainty for myself but what I hadn’t counted on was the deep and desperate love of being a mum. I had no idea I would change my mind on account of an overwhelmed and devastated daughter who could hear or see not further than “This is the only way”.

 

 

Belief no.3

 

“It’s all an inside job” – Oh, I needed a knife and fork to help swallow that one!

Given the option of 3 noxious cocktails two of which held only a 3% chance of improved results and one where I wouldn’t lose my hair and eyelashes the decision was made in a heartbeat. With all my heart I wanted to be able to look in the mirror and recognize who I am. If I was to receive a regime against all my better judgment I certainly wasn’t going to endure any further unnecessary emotional suffering.

And you know what? It had nothing at all to do with vanity and everything to do with identity.

I realize it was fortuitous that I had the option; many don’t, because three months later I was to discover treatment hadn’t worked anyway. The tumours hadn’t decreased in any way!

 

 

Always remember, you have the power to change your life because you have the power to change your mind ~ unknown author

 

 

So what next?

 

Long story short – Radical surgery was muted and eventually grudgingly accepted. To be fair I had been doing my own thing with weird and wonderful supplements and complementary therapies since day one and knew instinctively I was strong enough to withstand going under the knife. The end result though was dreadful – the disease markers doubled after the procedure and every fear I held came true when I went into chemo, totally against my better judgement, two weeks later (Why? When we/they knew it hadn’t worked before).

 

 

Belief no.4

 

“I will do Anything for my kids”

I’ve flown to Australia and back within five days to see my son and a million other crazy things only a mother would consider but I reconsidered the “I’d do anything” when it challenged what my instincts were telling me.

 

“No” I said, “No more”. No more treatment. No more negative opinions. No more indulging a system that only expects the worst. No more doing it for anyone else’s worries and concerns. I’ve done my bit and what comes next is for me.

 

Sorry, not sorry – this is my one and only life so far as I know, and however much I love my children being poisoned to death because it’s the accepted norm is not on my agenda. I did my bit and now I’m allowed to change my mind, no matter how scary that may be for anyone else.

 

I poured all my passion and newly found knowledge into getting well, into utilising each and every resource I held to be true. Two months later sans prescribed toxic potions blood tests revealed a remarkable reduction in the disease marker, and at four months the CA125 had descended to 18.7 – an unbelievably low level the medics didn’t quite know how to respond to, nor did they ask how it was possible – “This is a level we haven’t seen here before”. “Shall we discharge you?” “What would you like to do?”

 

I’ll carry on as I am thank you very much, no more checks, no nothing. Unless I change me mind of course which I am at complete liberty to do.

 

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be” ~  Lao Tzo

 

 

And that’s how it remains today

 

It’s taken a while. Even with a health and radical self care regimen that suits me down to the ground it has taken months for my emotions and physical body to regain equilibrium.

 

And the changes keep on coming

 

There have been other changes of heart and mind too. Many of which I’m hugely grateful for … I feel so authentically ME … You can read my recent blog where I tell it like it is. Can’t tell you how good it felt to get that one out into the stratosphere.

 

A change of mind doesn’t make you a bad person who stepped out of integrity, or mean you become unenlightened or emotionally insecure. Standing in your personal power, having the courage to speak your truth even if that means doing a full 180degree about turn is totally okay. It’s your life.

 

 

So what is a belief really?

 

A belief is only a thought we keep thinking. Often if we delve deep enough we find they don’t even belong to us, they’re hand me downs from previous generations. Beliefs are words written on our internal walls. The good news is they are not in indelible ink as we may have thought – they’re only scribbled in chalk … and you know what that means? They can be rubbed out and we can start again.

 

It’s the rediscovering and remembering who You are, and what holds true for you, throughout the trials and tribulations of life, that gives you strength to own your “This is who I am”

 

 

How do you feel about changing your mind?

Is it an okay thing for you to do?

Have there been times when changing your mind changed your life for the better?

 

An edited version of this article was previously published on www.sixtyandme.com

 

 

 

Start a conversation

Leave a Comment