I am Alive, I am Here
In August 2021, a doctor told me I could have only a year to live, but he didn’t know me. They poked, prodded, scanned and diagnosed. They saw flesh and bones, tumours and blood markers, they didn’t see me.
They showed compassion and sympathised but they resigned me to their diagnosis. In their eyes the limitations were set, I could be lucky and buy a little more time but that was it. To them my clock was counting down fast, how long I could outrun it was very bleak. To them I was incurable, it was terminal and all they could offer was palliative. But they didn’t know me.
To them I was advanced stage 4 breast cancer with a very large primary tumour, tumours in both lungs and one on my sternum meaning even worse it had spread to my bones. To them I should have been there sooner and now had no hope. They still didn’t know me.
Why did I get cancer?
Now this is a complex question. I don’t feel cancer is the enemy, I don’t think it’s a battle that is won or lost. To me cancer was a symptom, a glaringly loud neon sign pointing to an imbalance in my body. Why was this imbalance there? Why when I was young, fit and healthy had my body allowed cancer to thrive? There are so many layers to this, layers of ancestral trauma, layers of energetic issues, layers of physical weak points from old injuries to amalgam fillings and so many more layers. No one thing caused it and so no one thing would heal it either.
For me it was never just about why I got it, it was always more about what I could and can do now!
They say it’s terminal, I say watch me heal
Healing for me has included three distinct phases – transformation, death and rebirth. There is a time period to them all but healing is not linear and some layers have meant a dip back into a different phase.
From the beginning I took this as a turning point, I made a choice to live. They told me I was dying but really my soul was fighting to be heard. It was time to take action, time to take back the power, to dive into shadows and find who I was underneath. For years I didn’t listen to my body, but I couldn’t do that anymore.
To the doctors I was just another patient but I wasn’t handing them all my power. The holistic world was always one I was part of so I dove into any book, podcast, case study or documentary I could find on healing. I was the one who had this ‘disease’’ so I was going to become an expert in my own case. This phase was like a whirlwind, so much happened, so much to take in, so much to process and explore. It was a bit like waking up in a dream strapped into a rollercoaster that you had no intention of getting on but now you were locked in for all the highs and lows, not knowing when it would end. But I didn’t do it alone, along with the support of my friends and family, I worked with numerous integrative healers. Every layer that shed away let my soul sing louder.
To mark this period I got a beautiful shadow butterfly Tattoo by Phoebe (www.awensoul.ie) on Lá le Bríd. I hadn’t planned on getting a tattoo, especially while I was in the midst of my treatment but a few signs from the universe told me to do it. I had so many needles injected into me for my treatments but intentionally marking my body with a needle was so cathartically healing.
You can’t have transformation without some deaths along the way. I had ignored some inner needs for years, ignored the nudges, quietened my intuition and disconnected. I had retreated and settled for less than was aligned. Instead of hearing my own needs I intuited those of others around me. I advised friends on the importance of boundaries and not settling for less than they deserved all while letting myself stay caught in a cycle of toxic unhealthy relationships.
I let myself get lost, I made myself and my needs smaller. I dimmed my light to let others shine.
For the death piece, I said goodbye to some relationships and with others just the roles I played within them. Some went dark for a while, some people understood the changes I was making and others resisted the changes. This was one of the hardest pieces, as a Libra rising, I am a born people pleaser and here I was actively putting my needs first. But if this cancer journey was trying to tell me anything it was telling me to orient to myself first, to love myself first. The more aligned I am, the more I love myself, respect and advocate for my needs the more I can encourage others to do the same. As they always say on an aeroplane you need to put on your oxygen mask first! I’m not quite there yet and even writing this makes me feel vulnerable about being selfish but I know it makes me uncomfortable as there is so much truth in it. If we could all learn to love ourselves a little more, the world would be a much better place.
Again I found myself marking this phase with a powerful Moth Tattoo by Phoebe.
The phase I’ve resisted, the piece that makes me most uncomfortable. The rising up. I want to rewrite the codes so my body doesn’t allow cancer to flourish again.
There is so much locked in me, that is begging to see the light of day. I’m tired of knocking it back, postponing any release. I’m tired of self sabotage and staying small. I’m tired of only creating for others and staying behind the scenes. I’m not quite there, it’s not a fake it until you make it but it’s more a feeling and knowing that I can’t get there until I put myself out there.
It’s time for the next phase of the healing
It’s time to stand in my truth and power
It’s time to share my story, it’s time to evolve and grow.
I’m deep down to the emotional layer of the healing, every choice and step I make is the difference between a layer of scar tissue loosening or hardening. Most days I marvel at my body and how far it has come but somedays the scars feel louder, sometimes physically but mostly emotionally.
On January 6th on the wolf full moon, Phoebe transformed my blue radiation dot tattoo from my treatment to this majestic dragonfly. I had never intended on getting a sternum tattoo but the moment the radiographer placed the permanent blue dot there I knew I would have to cover it someday.
How to help you or Someone you love
It is integral that the desire to heal comes from deep within the person, not their family or friends or even the person but just for others. It may seem cruel to suggest that someone might not want to heal but unconsciously or consciously they may not want to, they may be so lost in it all or they may be too tired to truly reclaim themselves. Life wears us down and society has also taught us to put all the power in doctors hands and we often don’t know how to take that back.
My own journey has been very complex but ultimately I have taken control of it from the original diagnosis which was integral to how well I am doing. Everyone’s journey is different and something I have really struggled with is the ‘conventional cancer world’, the narrative that is out there and the options.
Soon I will work closely with others and coach them on their healing journeys. Aside from my own lived experiences I have also trained as both an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and a Life Coach. Right now I am studying Iridology to add another modality of healing support I can offer. I’m done hiding, I’m done playing small, I’m done dimming my light. Now I want to let my inner light shine brightly and in doing so inspire others that they can do the same.
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One of the lessons I am learning is about the importance of receiving as well as giving. In ‘Radical Remission by Kelly Turner’ one of the steps to healing is ‘embracing social support’. This was the first cancer healing book I read and the one I eagerly shared screenshoots of to friends and family showing them that I could do it too, that I could heal. I have been blessed by all of the support I have received and continue to receive.
If you have you would like to support me then please do. I am open to it all, book recommendations, supplement/treatment recommendations ( I will get it checked and tested and won’t just take it), prayers/energy healing and of course any monetary help is greatly appreciated.
My consultant once asked me if my alternative treatments were expensive, I said ‘of course they are’ but what I wish I had added was that all the hospital treatments were even more expensive but they are government funded. Just because a treatment fits the government or hospitals criteria doesn’t make it anymore superior, if it works for me, it works for me. I knew what my body needed, I was privileged to receive support from family but healing is expensive, at one point my supplements bill per month was almost €800 alone, that is before any appointments or other treatments. I wouldn’t change any of it, I am alive, I am well and I am thriving.
I took the risks and made the decisions, I choose to travel to Jordan last year and to Mexico now instead of settle and work in Ireland. I choose to go because for me traveling and exploring is one most transformative healing pieces. I have felt my body come back to life every step and everyday while abroad, the life has been breathed back into my body and I want to help and show others they can do the same. I’d also like to be clear I am not saying you need to travel to heal, travel for me always fed my soul, I came home to Ireland to heal not to settle.
I’m heading home to Ireland from Mexico at the end of March, I’m going home for my cousin’s wedding and my next CT scan. After this I hope to get back to Mexico, I’m not quite sure how yet but if it’s meant to happen it will.
I’m 29 and was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer in 2021. I’m not done. This is not my way out. I have a whole purpose and lifetime ahead of me. I’m not going anywhere. I will have to fight for myself, that I’m sure of but I’m also sure that this journey will end with me being cancer free and off medication not dead. This is something I’ve felt from the beginning, something I’ve always been confident in and in part why I have remained so calm throughout.
I’m not reacting to it the way they expect me to but I am reacting to it the way that is right for me. All things considering, I’m doing really great, I think my cancer is/was a healing crisis, the big push I needed to transform my life and who I was being. I’m learning to look after myself first, letting others support me and learning to love myself.