Finding a balance…

I was reading my last few blogs and thinking wow, how miserable. They aren’t a true reflection of how I’m feeling or behaving all the time and I realized that I use this to write stuff I don’t want anyone else to see or necessarily comment on. My public face is Facebook and there I share all the good news stories, which clearly outnumber the bad. It’s not such a bad idea, keeping the two areas separate and at least this is an accurate record of the bad days or worries that emerge. 

Last week has been full on and incredibly variable …where shall I start …Oh the great white hype would be the best place ! On Tuesday I went to visit a self proclaimed ‘miracle healer’ not just any healer, I’ll have you know. No this guy took pride in announcing he could cure cancer and was in the top 5 UK miracle healers….did I know this before ? No. Would I have gone if I did ? No. Why did I seemingly waste 7 hours of precious time, energy and money on this outing, well to learn a lesson clearly. 

Is it  always retrospectively that we learn or actually awaken to the meaning behind the event or actions, is that just how life is meant to be ? Was my real motivation to see a fake faith healer because somewhere deeper inside me is a fear of my reality, that I wanted a miracle even though I’ve survived extensive chemical bombing, but I wanted to be really cancer free ? There must be some logical reason, as I’ve not got out of my way to see anyone before and now that I have and felt the anger of how some people exploit other vulnerable people, I won’t again. 

So say the experience tainted my good energy for two days would be an understatement, it rocked me and knocked me, made me question my motives, his motives, the referrers motives, it made me appreciate how desperate we are to stay alive and how others can play upon that with bullying, manipulative persuasion or false promises. It made me appreciate my gut instincts on meeting someone who did not have my best interests at heart. It also highlighted to me that no matter how resilient I am, I am also still vulnerable. So maybe a lesson I needed to learn and share with others. 

We launched Adventures Beyond Cancer this week, alongside the work we are doing to support Annabel’s Angels. Now that felt good, that we are able to explore activities that anyone affected by cancer can undertake, and hey, we get to try some amazing experiences ourselves. So we are at the stage of collating information and approaching companies for discounts, we need to spread out into the wider cancer community and hope to find like minded people, up for adventures. 

Yesterday was exhilarating – We joined 15 crew members in a long dragon boat in the snow & icy waters by City Airport. Wave Walkers is the first cancer ‘survivor’ dragon boat project in London and is supported by The Racing Dragons, who are an experienced dragon boat racing team.

I was scared at first, stepping into the boat, in case we capsized and tumbled into the freezing water !! I soon realised that was all about team work & trust. The team needs to breathe and move together and it keeps the boat still, if you panic then you put the rest of the team in danger. It’s strangely meditative moving in unison and keeping the stroke count and you lose all other thoughts or worries concentrating on timing.

It was extremely comforting too, to see a team work well in an emergency, on our maiden voyage an experienced and ‘healthy’ rower collapsed and an ambulance was called, she was struck down with hypothermia ! Yes, really. Man it was cold yesterday though !! For us chemo chicks it was a validation that really anything can happen to anyone at any time, and not just us in recovery, we also felt in very safe and capable hands. So that’s my new hobby, the group are planning to meet every 2 weeks and in the summer enter a Charity Dragon Boat Race in Exeter 🙂 Good times, I love real sports and teams, the feeling you get is like nothing else.

It’s awakened my appetite to try more adrenaline fuelled sports and activities too. You really do have one life, live it fully and take some risks and make your heart pump. We so easily put off things, thinking we can go back to it at a later point, but life is precious and we are all, whether we acknowledge it or not growing older, some of us wiser and some more reckless !! Next on my list ? an indoor sky dive and base jump – there is a place in Bedford that runs all sorts of activities : -) I’m also booking surfing in Cornwall.

At the patient support meeting I help run on Friday, I met a woman, who 3 years on, still wasn’t exercising or kicking like she used to before, she told me I can’t do what I used to, I said sure, but who says ? She said we can’t do press ups anymore, I thought about this and  then thought, but I did pull ups the other day and my scar hasn’t split, I’m not in pain and I feel just fine. Sure my breast tissue has been collected and thrown away, but my muscles remain, albeit in my case still with some scattered sprinkles of cancer, that I’m pretty sure that chemo and rads have destroyed, and sure these muscles will have atrophied and so has our confidence with them, but no one has actually said ..No more press ups young (eek) lady. So watch this space…I haven’t time to waste on waiting for a full recovery, or for a miracle and I can’t hope to be where I was before with my fitness….but I can be better !! Who says I can’t ? Well I can only but try !! So sticking up the deuces to the Lymph-oedema nurse who has the longest list of you can’t do’s…and thumbs up to living my life ..heyyyy no telling where it will get you !! I gave the woman my number and said if you want to kick, call me, let’s get moving. Brainwave of kicking for cancer sprang to mind !! 

I’ve 5 weeks before I return to work, how scary is that ? In one hand it’s a great thing, getting on with life and propelling yourself forward. In another it’s the weirdest thing ever, like I’ve gone through all of the months of surgery, treatments and it’s all a bit, did that really happen ? And there is also this feeling of, oh mannnn I want to continue to go to the gym, do lunches, work on these exciting projects  and live life, work feels a reminder of pressure – so am going to challenge my perception of it and embrace it in a way to maintain the balance that eerily cancer has brought about. Let’s try considering work as a way of  funding my new hobbies and lifestyle and leave the pressures alone, who wants to bitch about lack of resources and poor performance …I don’t !! But we all know how passionate I am about things, so not giving myself 100% to work will be a challenge. Here’s to new opportunities, really living life and reminding yourself the only limits in life are self imposed



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