I’m back and dare I say, with the utmost honesty- better than I have truly been in years. I say that, while I have two super bizarre tubes just hanging out of my chest, with a big grin on my face. I feel good. I got my Central Venous Catheter in this morning, and it was a little painful and aches a bit but overall the procedure went very well and I felt really good about it. These days I kind of just feel really good about everything.
The last month flew by, and I just want to thank everyone for being patient and letting me have this space. I know a lot of you have messaged me and I haven’t replied, I’ve gotten a lot of messages through my family, and so many cards as well which has been such a wonderful lift to my spirits. I just wanted you to know that hope I haven’t made anyone feel like their care or support was unwelcome due to not responding, it absolutely was. I have received and felt so much love, and it’s truly been life changing.
While cancer has given me a wonderful gift- You; my family and friends that are probably reading this, have helped to give me one even greater. You sparked what for the last month, has been a deep journey to find and love my true self. You gave me the gift of being able to see the truth of myself, through your loving eyes, disconnected from decades of untruthful stories about myself. I’m admittedly talented at viewing myself through the most untruthful of lenses. At both support events, I felt eternally wrapped in love, but something about it felt, uncomfortable. Like, receiving that much love and support made me feel a bit of low key guilt and shame. It nearly drove me to my knees with an overwhelming sense of gratitude and appreciation, while also making me want to run away. It made me deeply confused.
At the second support event on March 17th I was struggling hard. We had already delayed my transplant, and I didn’t know it yet but I was having a crazy allergic reaction to a medication I was on. For the few days leading up to it my body felt like it was shutting down. I seemed as though it was trying to use any signal it could to get my attention, and I wasn’t listening at all. Not only was I wasn’t not listening, I was denying it. Just like I was still denying pretty much everything in my life. The fear. The dark pit I felt trapped in. The fact that any of this was even happening to me at all. I tried my best to tune it out, but that night it felt like it was all screaming at me.
When we got home that night and realized I was covered in a rash, it felt like everything was unravelling. I thought back to earlier in the week when we ended up in emergency because I couldn’t stop throwing up and how scared and weak and out of control I felt. I had felt like I could barely make it through the next few hours, and it made me realize how woefully unprepared I was for the next few months of feeling like that, or much worse. It scared the shit out of me. How was I going to get through this?
I’ve always believed that the universe works in mysterious ways, but while I felt like everything around me was unravelling that weekend, a friend suggested I watch the movie ‘Heal’ on Netflix. I was feeling crappy anyways so I layed down and gave it a go. I was so damn happy I did! The movie touches on quantum healing, radical remissions, and different views on healing chronic illness (it’s worth the watch for all, just for an interesting perspective on mind/body health). After I watched the movie I tried hard to turn inwards and connect with my body, to listen to what it was asking me for. It truly triggered the downfall of my denial and the beginning of a transformation I’m truly proud of.
At first I didn’t realize it was talking to me, my body. But once I picked up on it, It was like I couldn’t un-hear that voice. The first thing I heard It telling me loudly, was that something was wrong. That the rash was a bigger deal than just a side effect of my usual drugs. My appetite had disappeared completely as though my body was refusing to create any need for food until I addressed what was going on. I called my doctor and we were able to confirm within the next couple of days that I was suffering from an allergic reaction to a common antibiotic that I had even taken before. But this time was different, and my body was telling me.
After we stopped the drugs and the reaction began to resolve, my body started to feel like it was revving back to life, and suddenly it was shouting at me. It was like I felt this deep understanding that my transplant had been delayed for a reason, and I just needed to honour myself to find out what that reason was. So when my body yelled, I listened.
First, It wanted space. It wanted me to have time only for myself, because I had limited time to get my shit together. It wanted me to be alone, so I could no longer use caring for other people as an excuse not to care for myself. We had already rented the condo in Toronto for my earlier transplant date, so I decided to move into the condo alone, while we counted down towards my new date- April 18th.
Second, It wanted to be centered. It wanted me to have a calm and inviting place within myself, that I could always access, and find comfort and encouragement to overcome. I had always sucked at meditating, (because I had a disillusioned idea of what meditation truly was) and I had foolishly given up yoga which had been a huge part of my spiritual practice after I was diagnosed. So for an entire year of trying to manage the stress and now ever growing fear of my cancer, I had no real practice in place to ground myself, and it had led to a lot of feelings that felt like ‘organized chaos’. I kept telling everyone I was fine, and ‘I’ve got this,’ but in my gut it really didn’t feel that way. I needed to find a way to feel that way. I started meditating multiple times a day, trying to create a practice of removing fear, stories, feelings, and ego, and building a safety net in my mind that I could fall into when the journey felt impossible
Third, It wanted my truth. It wanted me to stop telling myself stories about who I am, who I was, what I’m worth and whether I’m enough. It wanted me to pay attention to the things I was saying to myself, and whether those were loving thoughts. It wanted me to question whether they were even accurate thoughts- and whether my truth, and my vibration was being rooted in those negative ‘truths’. I started working through all kinds of old stories and feelings, and I let myself confront them all. I let myself feel the sadness, the fear, the hurt. I wrote it all down, then said it out loud. I let the tears stream down my face, while I felt all of it as deeply as I could. I felt the fear, the hurt, the rejection, the abandonment, the bullshit, and most definitely the ego. I confronted my truths and then tried to deconstruct and replace them with better, more truthful stories. I reached out to the people I loved and told them my stories, and asked for them to tell me if they were accurate (spoiler alert they almost never are). I practiced affirmations many times a day to increase the positive voices in my enviriontment. I named my negative voice, the ‘person’ who creates these ‘horror stories’ Becky, and then I broke the fuck up with Becky. We’re not friends anymore. Bye Becky! Only good thoughts allowed here.
Fourth- It wanted me to feed my body and mind better. I started fasting during the day to increase stem cell production and immune response. I had organic fruit smoothies in the late afternoon, and swapped out the fast, convenient food I typically reach for with less meat, less dairy, and way more fruits, rice and veggies. I drank way more water, and was vigilant about my nutrient supplements. I was able to eliminate the need for any supplements to help relieve my constipation, which is a side effect of the TKI’s, which I’ve been relying on since last year. It was amazing. Then I started going for lots of walks. Enjoying the sunshine. Listening to great music. Getting lots of sleep. I stopped watching Crime shows and depressing documentaries and I only let myself watch TV for one hour a night, and I only watched stand up comedy. I reduced my time spent with social media and distractedly scrolling on line, and tried to only do productive things that proud me joy.
I read books, I wrote music, I wrote letters to the people I love to open on Day Zero, I finished all my paperwork like my will and POA for the transplant, and I even spent some time researching a drug still in trial for transplant use (Lupron), that I was able to successfully urge my doctor to let me access prior to my transplant, that may give me a glimmer of hope in saving my fertility. It may seem like a small success to some, but to me it represented a lot of things. Not just that I had maybe found a way to save some part of myself through this process where you really do, become someone else. But also that I had finally discovered, and embraced the fact that I’m still in the drivers seat! I choose the role I want to play in my care, and I can choose to be in the driver’s Seat, so get outta my way everyone else haha.
Tomorrow I check in around 2pm, and I believe I start chemo right away. My transplant is scheduled for April 18th, and that will be my new Birthday! While I know that not every day will be easy, and some will even seem impossible, I am truly ready now for the journey ahead, and I can say that with the utmost certainty. I have found a place where I can be calm, where I can go when I need to feel peace in a the storm, and I was able to successfully go there this morning when they put my line in (You’re awake the whole time, and it’s a bit disconcerting.) I felt powerful. I felt confident. I felt like I CAN beat cancer, and I will.
Thanks for being patient with me- I’m back to share the journey ahead with you now. The next couple weeks could be challenging so I may not do a full blog post every day, but I will try to post on instagram if I can whenever I’m able, so make sure you check there if you don’t see a post on here in a couple days and you’re worried 😉
Much love to you all