Thursday 29 May 2014

Releasing Expectations

When I discovered that conceiving a baby with my husband was going to be neither easy, nor conventional, I learned a hard lesson....we don't always get what we want. There was deep grief, a sense of loss, and lack of acceptance. Until this point I had always believed that whatever you desire is achievable if you work hard for it. Overnight I had lost my naive sense of misplaced entitlement and it came as a shock.

Fast forward almost 12 years (and two children later); I feel well. I Am well. I'm doing everything in my realm of sustainable effort to survive cancer, but that experience dulled my belief that you can strive for, and achieve, whatever you want. For a long time I retained a little place in my heart for the possibility that I may not be able to reverse disease. Sometimes I used this as a disclaimer, and I understood how dangerous that was. I'm well aware that many people do not survive cancer, regardless of which healing modality they use. Only recently have I come to fully embrace the fact that the choices I've made have contributed to a perversely magnificent existence, and a quality of life that I have never previously experienced.

When we strip away expectation and entitlement we become fully present to what is ACTUALLY happening, and life becomes an amazing series of moments, lived fully, enjoyed wildly, appreciated entirely. The key is to be conscious that every experience can serve as a positive lesson if we're willing to observe and be open.

I don't feel sad about that little place in my heart. I see it as a space of recognition, a place where I'm aware that I no longer hold on to old ideals. Everything IS possible, and that in itself is a miracle.

Tuesday 27 May 2014


I've recently read 'Radical Remission' by Dr Kelly Turner. This book focuses on what was once called 'spontaneous remission', a phrase which Dr Turner recognises as a misnomer. Most people who are living healthily after a cancer diagnosis have not 'spontaneously' recovered, rather they have put time and energy into healing. Dr Turner found, whilst researching over 1000 cases, that although there were more than 75 alternative healing protocols, nine key elements were employed by every survivor. This piqued my interest. What were they? As well as the expected dietary changes, intuition featured strongly. 

What is intuition? The dictionary defines it as "the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning". Animals exist intuitively - it's a survival mechanism. Humans, despite having lost touch with much of our innate instinctive behaviour, ARE aware of 'gut feelings', we just need to learn how to listen to, trust, and be guided by them.

In those early post-diagnosis days I had a strong intuition that chemotherapy was wrong for me, that in my weakened state it would kill me. As vehemently as I tried to reject this feeling, I couldn't dismiss it. Saying 'no' (to my oncologist) was alien and uncomfortable to me then, but it was a lesson I had to learn in order to honour my intuition. 

Meditation, conscious breathing and staying present help to focus attention so that we may become more open to our intuition. I've received direction and information so many times this way. Many books on spirituality ('Conversations with God' springs to mind) discuss this re-membering, this re-connecting, not only with self but with something bigger. Never underestimate how beautifully we can be guided in times of extreme need if we are open. Trusting this inner voice can bring great peace, which is fundamental to healing.

Thursday 8 May 2014

The cost of cancer

The average cost of cancer treatment in the UK (surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy) costs around £30,000 per person. When I first discovered this fact I was shocked. It wasn't that I put a price on my life, rather I felt undeserving that such a large sum of money be spent on a treatment plan which offered a statistically low chance of long-term survival, when MANY other lives, at risk purely for want of food and clean water could be saved for that price. And so I quickly realised that cancer is big business. In the UK we are fortunate to have the NHS, and I don't subscribe to the conspiracy theory that doctors want us ill to line their pockets. What I DO believe is that big pharma makes a killing (literally) from it's drug profits. This poses certain problems. Pharmaceutical companies spend millions of pounds developing drugs and getting them approved. They need to charge extortionate fees to cover their costs before patents expire. However, this also means that companies are reluctant to investigate natural substances which cannot be patented. If we only believe what the European Medicines Agency (EMA) sells us, then we are in big trouble.

It's expensive to go it alone in treating cancer, to pay for private doctors, to buy equipment, and even to eat well. I've been incredibly lucky to have been supported financially, emotionally and mentally by my husband, family and friends. I understand that for many this level of financial commitment is difficult if not impossible. 

However, in the face of regularly being told "I can't afford to eat well/heal naturally" I would say that there are many things we can each do that cost very little. Emotional health is at the heart of most disease. Meditation costs nothing, and prolonged practice has been proven to reverse disease. Borrowing books from the library is free. I would recommend 'You Can Heal Your Life' by Louise Hay as a good place to start in releasing blocked emotions. Many towns in the UK have cancer care centres where you can have free healing. I was grateful to receive (free) Reiki, Aromatherapy and counselling at The Nightingale Centre when I lived in London. Yes2Life is a fantastic charity which offers guidance in locating support centres. They have a scheme to help cancer patients fund their treatment, and I was fortunate to receive a grant towards buying a FAR infrared sauna. Macmillan also offer one off grants of up to £289 to help cancer patients during treatment. (You can get application forms from your breast nurse). You don't need to join a gym to exercise. Walking is free and gentle on your body, whilst being in nature is grounding and energising. Organic food is expensive it's true, but when cooking from scratch and removing meat, alcohol, sweets and processed food from the trolley, you can expect to actually reduce your grocery bills. Buying in bulk from companies like Goodness Direct saves money, and growing-your-own is also an option for many. We've recently joined an organic allotment project. We devote our time to helping with the plot, and in return get fresh, organic produce for a small donation. Water filtration systems (as described in this post) can be prohibitively expensive, yet are an important aspect of healing. Until you can afford the best, make do with a colloidal silver jug filter for all cooking and drinking needs. 

My point is that you can make changes if you choose to, but you have to WANT to take responsibility for your own health. Many of us have given away our power and feel helpless and stuck (in a stressful job or an unhappy marriage), but we've made choices to get into these situations, and can make choices to change them. For many people, reducing stress, and getting happy are fundamental to healing.