In August 2021, a doctor told me I had 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 and how long I could outrun it was very bleak. To them I was incurable, 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. But they still didn’t know me.
They sat me down, they thought I was too calm, that I clearly didn’t understand the gravity of the situation. After I asked too many questions, the head of the department decided to tell me that if I didn’t do their treatment I wouldn’t live a year.
But he didn’t know me. To me the world hadn’t stopped when I received the diagnosis, the ground hadn’t fallen from below me. It didn’t all start and end that fateful Friday 13th. I had been home from Spain for a month by then and in reality the ball had been rolling from even before I booked my flight.
In reality I was waking back up, I was choosing to live and their limiting beliefs were not my worry at all. I was calm because I knew deep in my soul that I would heal this. This was a call for deep transformation not a call for conceding to defeat.
To me this was a boulder from the universe to stop me in my tracks. This was a turning point, permission to dismantle and transform the path I was on. A call for my death and rebirth. I had ignored the pebbles and the rocks thrown in my path but this boulder was too great. Stopped, standing and waking back up I had chosen to live and had asked for help.
The hospital helped but I also took all of their advice with a pinch of salt. They are confined to a rigid system and couldn’t see me. I wasn’t going to fit into their world, I wasn’t handing over the power and I wasn’t bowing into their fear. My body was my kingdom and I wasn’t handing it over. My body had the dis-ease and I knew I could find all the keys to unlock it. The hospital was one key but they were not the whole bunch. For me this was a clear knowing from the beginning. The world of holistic and alternative healing was one I grew up in, I was resourced in that world and it was natural for me to embrace all sides of healing.
My approach has always been different, I’m resourced, supported and privileged to be able to forge my own path but really the reason my journey is different is down to me. I am open to the wisdom the world has to offer, I have read countless books, listened to podcasts and even took two courses within the first year, one on dying and one on regenerating your health.
What I am aiming for is often referred to as radical remission. Someone experiences radical remission when they outlive their prognosis by a considerable amount. For me this wasn’t a foreign idea, it wasn’t just a miracle that happened to the lucky chosen ones, it was a friend of my uncles called Courtney, who healed her stage 3 cancer without any conventional treatment when I was about 12. A story that had stuck with me but I had no idea how important it would be to me. I didn’t follow the protocol she did but the knowledge I had of her experience empowered me from the beginning to look for more options, to create my own protocol instead of following one that wasn’t really tailored to me. In ways as crazy as it may seem the dire prognosis was also a blessing, I feel that if the hospital had said follow our plan and we’ll get you through this then it would have been harder to forge my own path and take control. Instead their focus was on palliative care and if I stuck with their plan I had a less than 15% chance of being alive in 5 years. What I am very grateful for is how at the beginning they didn’t recommend surgery or chemotherapy. Instead I was started on hormonal suppression treatment and three weeks of intensive radiotherapy followed by immunotherapy. While I had been rushed through the hospital system at the first sign of the seriousness of the diagnosis, this still took time and it was almost a month on from my first hospital appointment when my treatment with them started.
Behind all of this I was busy, my network was resourced, my list of supplements grew, and I started on so many different alternative modalities. I had biofeedback which uses your body’s innate wisdom to uncover issues, areas of concern as well as identify tailored modalities that could help. I had my mercury amalgam fillings removed, something I had wanted gone for years, in particular the one on the left which happened to be on the breast line meridian in Chinese medicine. Meridians are energy pathways that run through our body connecting all the systems within us. When something blocks a meridian it is a bit like standing on a pipe, no or little water can get past where your foot is and the pressure builds up above where the foot is placed. This wasn’t the only blockage in my body, I had other weak points from past injuries but these were only some of the layers. I don’t credit any of them with why I got cancer, I think that is much too complex and ultimately not the point. For me it was never just about why I got it, it was always more about what I can do now!
Healing for me has been physical, emotional, spiritual, ancestral and energetic. I’ve woven in pieces from all sides and dove deep into my own trauma as well as ancestral trauma. I’ve looked at the ways I was living and how unsustainable it was for me, simply I didn’t value and prioritise myself enough. Before I asked for help I was simply ‘choosing not to live’, I didn’t know this at the time but I knew the difference when I started ‘choosing to live’, from that moment I knew that I would get through this. I trusted my intuition and listened to what my body needed.
I’m not done. This is not my way out. I have a whole purpose and lifetime ahead of me yet that I haven’t entered. I’m not going anywhere, it has been a challenge and I’m sure there are more challenges to come but I’m also sure that this will end with me being cancer free not dead. This is something I’ve felt from the beginning, something I’ve always been quietly 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. Maybe I’m throwing money at things that won’t help, maybe I’m doing too many things but if I do a dozen things and only one of them worked does that really matter? No, because then I’ll still be here. I’ve been throwing and will continue to throw the kitchen sink at this because no this is not my contract, not my way to die, it is just the doorway to a whole new purpose. I’ve already baffled the doctors by how healthy I am and I intend on continuing to baffle them.
At the height of all of this I was taking 34 different supplements a day as well as hormonal treatment and immunotherapy. I don’t recommend that for anyone, it worked for me, it was tested for me and was what my body needed but for most it would be too many. I didn’t do any of this lightly, I listened to my intuition and double checked everything. I was also lucky to have had all of them cross referenced for any contraindications by a group of medical students in America. I wasn’t always open with the hospital about what I was doing, they didn’t provide the space or environment to do this and while some may deem this irresponsible in reality I was taking full responsibility for my treatment plan. Most of my supplements at this point were to mitigate the side effects from their medication anyways. In September 2021 I was started on Tamoxifen tablets as well as Zoladex injections into my abdomen. This was combined with 3 weeks of intensive radiotherapy at the end of September and then in November I started on the immunotherapy Kisqali and switched from Tamoxifen to Anastrozole. By December I had already reduced my dose of Kisqali from 600mg to 400mg, the higher dose had knocked me out but my blood markers were good so the hospital wouldn’t have recommended reducing. Again in March 2022 when my body gave me the signs the dose was too high I reduced my dose of this from 400mg to 200mg. But it wasn’t just the immunotherapy that was having an impact and by June 2022 my body ached constantly, my eyes were painfully fatigued and were increasingly sensitive to light and screens and my frustration with my body was increasing. I knew it was time for me to say goodbye to conventional medication, it had done me all the good it could and was now causing too much harm. The hospital tried to fight me on this but my CT scan in July proved how well I was doing, with very little cancer showing, mainly just the scarring on my sternum, radiation damage and dense scar tissue in my left breast and lung.
My next CT scan wasn’t until November and the few months before this were some of the hardest, I knew I was on the right path and had layers of healing still to do but I also felt like I was in limbo, I didn’t quite have my life back, I didn’t have my independence but I wasn’t ‘sick’ now either. I knew where I wanted to go but I didn’t know how to get there. I felt like I was standing still or even slowly going backwards. Just before the scan at the end of October I decided enough was enough, I had come so far and I hadn’t done that just to settle. I decided it was time to leap and that meant time to leave. My healing had been and continued to be expensive and I didn’t have the money to leap but I didn’t let that stop me. I could ‘stay and die’ or ‘leap and fly’. That may seem dramatic but really it’s not. Ireland was where I needed to be for the healing that has taken place.
Now it was time for the next chapter, my body told me it was time to leave and now I listen. First up I was dog sitting in London for my godmother, this gave me some space and time to figure out the next step. Before all of this began I had trained as both an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and a Life Coach. But I had continuously put off following that career path and instead supported others in their businesses. Now it was clear I had to be done hiding, done playing small, done dimming my light. Now it was time to let my inner light shine brightly and in doing so inspire others that they can do the same. It’s time for me to follow and pursue my own dreams and desires. During my healing journey I had also found another modality called Iridology that fascinated me, this was another string I wanted to add to my bow. While in London I researched and committed to a course in Iridology training but I also decided before I dove into too much work and study it was time for an adventure. I needed a solo adventure, a trip out into the world to show myself I could still do it and to celebrate how far I had come. Jordan was calling but I had to go home first.
Within a day of landing back from London it was time for my next CT scan and this one wasn’t quite as good as July. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t what I wanted. This scan showed a small increase of activity, there were nodules in my left lung and the sternum was unchanged. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear but it was also confirmation that I needed to leap. The lungs are where stagnation and grief gathers and being in limbo hadn’t helped. What I also found interesting was that the left lung had endured a lot of the radiotherapy the year before, this had cleared the original tumours here but had left a lot of damage. This was also the only place in my body where the original cancer had been fully cleared solely by conventional treatment, others had been assisted by the conventional but I had also gotten to the root cause of the issues and my immune system had kicked in to clear the cancer. While I didn’t want to see cancer there, it made sense to me that whatever lesson and learning lay in my left lung had popped back up, it was time for me to clear it myself.
At this stage my consultant understood me much more, he saw me and wished me well in Jordan and said he would see me back in March. The activity on the scan was only minimal and he never tried to push me back onto active treatment. Leaping now was even easier, if I stayed I felt I would have continued to tread water, I might not have gotten worse but I wouldn’t have gotten better either. In 6 months or a year’s time if I finally decided to leave or try something different it would have taken more resources and energy to clear the cancer that is left. But I wasn’t waiting for that, I’m going out into the world, seeing what is around the next corner and where it leads me. I will clear the last little pieces in my left lung and sternum.
Jordan was incredibly healing, I went with a one way ticket, I explored, I healed, I swam and floated. Everyday I felt the strength and life come back into my body, it was different to other trips, I was different and I took more cafe breaks then ever before but I was back, I was out there in the world adventuring. When I left Ireland I thought I would go from Jordan to Egypt, the pyramids were calling me but while away I realised instead I wanted to settle somewhere even if just for a few months instead of just travelling. I had thought I would go back to Spain or maybe Portugal as these were easy but neither excited me, they made logical sense but that was it. Mexico had been on my radar for awhile, it was a land full of alternative healing and I could improve and use my very minimal spanish there too. Mexico excited me and I decided to go home for Christmas and head there in January instead of using up all my resources on Egypt. As my coach pointed out there are pyramids in Mexico too so maybe they were the ones calling me!
I borrowed more money and in January 2023 I booked return flights to Mexico. Not only did I want to explore this country first to see where I would settle, I also have to go home in March for my next CT scan and my cousin’s wedding. I have been over a month and it has been magical and at this point I feel confident that my CT scan will come back stable. My body feels good, the niggle in my chest feels clear, my lungs feel healthy and layers of scarring are shedding away. I’m flying home on March 16th and I hope to come back in early April, financially I don’t know how that will happen but I’m not worrying about that and I am trusting that what needs to happen will. Right now I am just embracing all the healing that is happening.
I am very resourced, I have so many supporters and support behind me and I understand I come from a privileged position to have this outlook. For me tackling this and not attaching to the ‘incurable’ label is not only easy but the natural step. It’s not that I don’t respect the doctors, I do but I also think they are too concentrated on one part and I need to look at the whole picture in order to heal 💜
I wish other’s s journeys could be like mine and my hope is one day soon to help support people on their journeys.