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Becoming the Badasscancer Thriver

Six years ago I was a healthy, very happily married woman with a very successful corporate marketing career.

I loved my job, adored my husband and had a pretty fantastic life; great friends, fun social life and wonderful exotic holidays. And then, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I was just starting a new role in corporate world on a 6-month contract when cancer struck; I was actually diagnosed on day 2 of this new job.

It’s true to say that the new job was as much a worry for me as the cancer, I apologised the next day when I went into the office and told them I had been diagnosed, I APOLOGISED for having cancer. Yep, they thought I was crazy, full on certifiable. And they were probably right too. I knew I didn’t have long before surgery so I threw myself into the job.

Back to the diagnosis and I’m sitting in the consultant room with my husband receiving this news that we dreaded and thinking “Ok, this is OK, it’s just cancer”. My tumour size and type meant that I had to have a mastectomy and a reduction on the healthy boob!

I’d always had massive boobs and had to wear what I called Russian shot putters bras (apologies to any Russian shot putters reading this!), so one of my first thoughts was “Wow, I’ll be able to wear pretty bras!!!”.

Breaking the news to those closest to me was probably the hardest thing. Surgery, recovery and chemo followed for the next 12 months; as you would expect all pretty horrific but I just saw it as something that had got to be done.

April 14th I was sat in the garden, a beautiful sunny morning sat on the patio with my hubbie and a cuppa, two weeks since my first chemo and I notice Mark keeps messing with his mouth. Turned out my hair was coming out and blowing into his mouth….he was sitting downwind of me!

We quickly made the decision and the hair clippers came out and the hair came off! Some would say brave, but I saw it as taking control, getting a little ownership over this disease and what was happening to me. Looking back, I think this was really hard for Mark and while he put a brave face on it and we had a laugh when I look at the photos of that day, I can actually see the pain in his eyes!

I got through cancer with positivity, resilience, some said courage and humour. I let myself laugh, cry, battle on and focus on the job in hand but never felt sorry for myself, never said “Why me?”, because “Why not me?”. I can honestly say that I never worried about it spreading or getting worse, I never saw it as a big deal to be fair, which probably sounds weird.

But as I started to finish treatment and started to come out of chemo fog a little and move into the next phase of recovery Mark started to get really anxious about my cancer coming back. It’s fair to say he was consumed with worry and concern and nothing anyone said could calm these thoughts.

2017 - 2018 were dark years as we saw Mark get worse and worse, anxiety turned into depression, depression became intolerable and he turned to alcohol for the answer. We all know there is no answer at the bottom of any bottle. Life was pretty crappy for us both during this period. He was in such a dark, dark place and I just didn’t understand or know how to help him. And selfishly I was feeling a bit swindled out of the post cancer years which I’d hoped would be lighter and filled with some joy. At times I felt really broken myself, worse than when I had cancer and I felt that I should be having fun and enjoying life.

Cancer had taught me so much about embracing life and making the most of what you have, It’d given me a second chance, an opportunity to learn so much more about myself and how I could handle hard things and I thought Mark would be with me on this journey of self-discovery. I would never have dreamed that this would be how our lives panned out.

Alcohol is an evil, evil thing that changes a person so drastically that you just don’t recognise them, not just physically but emotionally. Mark changed so much and I felt as though I had lost him way before I actually lost him and then towards the end, in his last few weeks when he was sober and in hospital, he started to be more Mark again. But it was too late, the damage had been done to his body and could not be undone.

I watched the love of my life destroy himself and ultimately die from the effects of alcoholism. He was only 53 years old, he had so much more to do, to give, to be; we had so much more we wanted to do. I lost my next 20-30 years on May 30th 2019.

Six months of trying to battle

my way through the grief, the pain of loss, sadness, confusion and despair. It was tough, at times I would appear to be coping and then WALLOP a big smack in the face of grief.

Watching Mark destroy himself and die could easily have sent me down a similar path of despair and hopelessness. But I chose not to feel sorry for myself. Instead, I chose to channel my feelings instead of living a life of fear hurt and regret. I chose to channel all these emotions into something meaningful and purpose driven. I’m very spiritual and have become more so over the last few years, I actually believe that the book ‘The Universe has your back’ by Gabrielle Bernstein was instrumental in my survival. My beliefs and faith in the Universe were something that I talked about a lot, some people admittedly thought I was a little bit mad and people like my mum just didn’t get it, and still don’t.

But I do believe that the Universe, Spirit, God whatever you want to call it, is real and that it’s what was giving me the push to do something purpose driven and help others. I have had so many moments when I KNOW that something is with me, directing me and pushing me towards this new direction. Some would say that these things were just coincidences but as Oprah Winfrey says in her book “What I know for sure” there are no such things as coincidences, they are all little miracles.

What else came out of all of this for me was that all of these experiences, pain and challenges had taught me a lot about myself, my tenacity, my natural high vibe positive energy and my ability, often without realising it to help and inspire others.

The next couple of years were all about recovery, repair and retraining. I’d already qualified a couple of years earlier as an NLP Practitioner and Time Line Therapist. On top of this I studi

ed Mindfulness and then developed this further with a programme to enable me to teach others the mastery of Mindfulness.

All of this inspired an interest in the power of the mind and through research lead me to the amazing Marissa Peer and her incredible Rapid Transformational Therapy, a therapy that combines much of what I had already studied through NLP, Mindfulness, CBT and integrated this with the power of hypnotherapy to enable clients to have incredible transformations.

And then, just as I was starting to pull myself back together and formulate a plan, cancer struck again in 2021. I discovered a Grade 3 tumour in the same site as my mastectomy, a smaller surgery this time for sure with ‘just’ a lumpectomy and then a further tweak to remove all the cancer margins.

This time round was very different, for one thing; no Mark as my constant support and the second biggie to deal with was the obvious Covid implications.

I felt fortunate this time round as I had the knowledge and experience of 2016, on top of all that the Mindfulness and training I have undertaken in the last few years, enabling me to build on my own resilience.

This chemo itself has been physically tougher in many ways, a different chemo regime so the ‘side effects’ were harsher; thank god for all of my training and learnings that have got me through it with mainly calm, peace and even a bit of joy.

My journey of repairing myself is ongoing and I now have the tools, the understanding, the empathy, the time, the space and the opportunity to make something good out of something so bad.

My offering is like the best ice cream selection you’ve ever seen, I have so many flavours of support and help to offer; mindfulness, neuro-linguistic programming, numerous modalities, Law of Attraction, psychology, spirituality, hypnotherapy and Rapid Transformational Therapy.

There are many great Coaches and therapists out there but there are none like me, I am a one off. I bring with me real life hard experiences, a natural high vibe personality, as well as knowledge and good old-fashioned training.

Thrive through breast cancer TM is my 30 day signature programme helping you move from those moments of waking up in the night panicking, middle of the night googling and trying to push down the fearful, all-consuming thoughts to feeling calm, prepared and with all the tools and techniques to manage everything chemo has to throw at you.

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