Saturday, 26 January 2013


Today marks 3 years since the day that I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I have no idea what that really means. It's not that I've survived for 3 years, and it's certainly not 3 years since I developed disease. It's merely 3 years since someone put a name to the systemic, chronic toxicity that I was studiously ignoring.

And how those 3 years have changed me. I've learned things that have altered the way that I live on the most fundamental level - how I eat, think and even breathe! 

Last week's minimal residual disease test, physical exam and blood test all show No Evidence of Disease.

I feel amazing. 

I have un-learned so much that everything is new. I feel like I am 3 years old. So maybe this date simply marks the celebration of my re-birth? In which case, happy birthday to me :) 

Monday, 14 January 2013

Letting go

I had a very powerful dream last week which involved me hanging from a cliff top. Bystanders watched, then walked away. I hung on until my arms ached, wondering if anyone had gone to get help. And then I woke up. The relief that I was not going to die was intense. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that maybe the message is simply that it's OK to let go. Maybe it's more painful and exhausting to hang on.

I have a habit of holding on to things. Emotionally. And physically. A dentist had to intervene to remove my baby teeth. During childbirth I needed to have my waters broken. In hindsight I would go so far as to say that my tumour was a manifestation of holding on, of contraction, of fear. Holding on is damaging to the body, it blocks energy. Our entire system works on the basis of cellular communication - we are energetic beings. Stagnation, particularly in the organs of elimination, causes toxic build-up. Long term inability to eliminate the body's rubbish leads to diseases, like cancer. 

So I am practicing 'letting go'. It's harder than it sounds, but the rewards are worth the effort. When we let go, we relax, we become more present, we stop worrying about what is coming, and what has been. We stop judging - situations, others, ourselves. We stop needing to know how and why and what. Most importantly, we stop fighting, and we begin to TRUST - we remember how to BE. 

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Love vs Fear

With cancer came fear. Fear causes the body to produce adrenaline, putting us in 'fight or flight' mode. Initially this was useful (as the body intends it to be). It propelled me into action. I had unbelievable drive and energy for researching and decision making. But over long periods of time stress is incredibly damaging for the body. It eventually leads to adrenal fatigue, resulting in mental and physical exhaustion. Chronic stress also stimulates cortisol production. Long-term damage from this hormone can compromise digestion and absorption, and lower immune system function.

The body will not work against itself. In the perceived instance of a threat, stress hormones will be produced at the expense of happy hormones. Oxytocin, dopamine, seratonin and melatonin are responsible for feelings of wellbeing, calmness, love and happiness. Guess when we heal best? When we are in a state of bliss, when each cell is bathed in these hormones. Studies have shown that wounds heal faster when oxytocin is present.

Drawing by Jesse Corcoran. Aged 6

If fear stimulates cortisol and adrenaline, then love stimulates our happy hormones. There are many ways to increase our natural production of these: meditate, practice yoga, breathe deeply, laugh, have a massage or a hug, engage in simple pleasures without guilt. For an easy exercise, try repeating the words "I am calm". See how your shoulders drop, your breathing slows and deepens. In this relaxed state your world becomes rose tinted and healing becomes possible.