Midway is such a terrible word. It has no inspiration attached to it whatsoever. Finish has far more allure, and even Start can inspire feelings of hope and excitement. But midway? Nobody likes midway. Starting and finishing something is relatively easy in comparison to continuing steadfastly. This is where we run out of steam, out of motivation, out of strength to ‘just keep swimming’. It’s the hard slog, the pushing crap uphill with no foreseeable end in sight. It’s especially hard for people who need to see the end in order to find the will to keep going. In relation to cancer, well obviously the start isn’t exactly easy either, but it’s always the midway point of your journey that’s the hardest. Not to be confused with boring and uneventful, because this journey was neither.
If we were looking at a really big mountain, the death zone would geographically be somewhere in the middle of your journey, so already it’s not easy by any psychological stretch. Midway is where it begins and it continues all the way to the top. Sorry to break that to you. The beginning of this journey is where the rubber hits the road in terms of learning how to continue steadfastly, which is where the skill of acclimatisation really comes in handy.
Acclimatisation isn’t like a switch that you can just flick on. It’s a process of learning, and you have to work at it continuously. There is no way you can survive in the death zone, let alone keep climbing to the top without learning how to adjust and maintain performance in that environment. That is the very definition of acclimatisation and it is further defined in this context, by a supernatural partnership between your body, mind and spirit. And here’s the thing; you have to learn how to acclimatise even before you hit the death zone as your body is physically incapable of adjusting further once in that end zone. But I’m jumping ahead! My personal recipe for acclimatising during hard times is this;
Understand that this is a battle on all sides. Once you understand that your body, mind and spirit will be stretched to their limits, you can prepare for battle much more effectively. Asking for help is at the top of the list, and my first ask was to my Father God. I then had to learn how to ask for help from the people around me. Pride has no place here. Kick it to the curb!
Choose your travel buddies wisely. These people will keep you steady and moving forward during those moments when the going gets too tough. My first choice of travel buddy was Jesus, followed by my superhero husband, family, and some good friends who didn’t run a mile when I was first diagnosed.
Keep your truth goggles handy. When the snow storm is trying to blow you off the mountain, it's natural to lock your head down and focus on one step at a time. This in itself is not a bad thing, in fact sometimes it's all we can do to just move forward one step at a time. But there is a better view and a greater truth that you need to see every now and then just to keep your bearings. The top of the mountain cannot be seen unless you lift up your eyes.
Be prepared to grind. There’s no getting around it, there is often a point where we just have to keep grinding to get through the mud and mire. The thing to remember is that respite is always just around the corner, and the grind will end altogether depending on whether you do the next thing….
Change your perspective. Remember what I said about perspective in a previous chapter? “Your reality can change in a heartbeat depending on how you choose to look and respond to what you’ve been dished up with at any given moment. Your circumstances may not change, but your ability to handle those circumstances in a way that benefits you and others is entirely possible. It is absolutely within our power to shape the final outcome, whether emotionally or physically, but this all hinges on our perspective”. Get the right perspective - that’s the key.
Give it to God. Throughout your journey there will be many times where you believe you just can’t do it anymore. The longer you travel through the death zone the more this is likely. Giving it all over to God and allowing Him to do His thing is the only way through. When your body surpasses the point where it can no longer acclimatise, God will get you through the final leg. It’s what He does.
This is just the shortened version, or summary of how to acclimatise in my opinion. But back to the story...
MURDERED FROM THE INSIDE OUT
The death zone was looming right up ahead and part of me was beginning to wonder if my body could withstand the pressure. It had already been through so much, I just couldn’t imagine it taking on any more. Physical limitation in the human body will always be a factor, but even under the incredible stress this high altitude may inflict on our bodies, they are capable of doing amazing things. For example, the higher we go, the harder we breathe which inevitably increases our heart rates. This in turn produces more red blood cells which provide us with more oxygen in our blood. It’s our body’s natural way of adjusting to higher altitudes. It’s totally in us to do that with lots of training, patience and lesson learning. We have been created in the most extraordinary way. We are adaptable, resilient, determined, and full of untapped capacity. Don’t forget that about yourself!
I remember the experience of my first Chemo dose like yesterday. This was the kind of stuff nightmares were made of without the blood, guts and Halloween makeup. I literally felt like I was being murdered from the inside out. I swear I could feel my individual cells dying in a screaming fit of despair. Ok obviously that’s a little exaggerated, and one might think right now that I’m being a tad dramatic, but let me assure you….there was no feeling comparable. I also remember coming out of that fiery pit thinking ‘There is NO WAY I can go through that again. My body just won’t take it.’ Of course I had many more of those experiences scheduled in my calendar so there was nothing to be done about it. Except do it. And I did, and guess what?? - my body handled it. Against all perceived odds, my body rose to the occasion and did what it was created to do.
When we face challenges, trials and the odd mountain placed in our pathway that requires us to put our climbing boots on, our bodies are often on the frontline. Just when you thought your poor old body couldn’t take it anymore, the battle worn trooper pulls through against all odds. You spend so much time thinking it’s never going to happen, that your body just can’t take it anymore, but then it just…..does.
FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE
We have been fearfully and wonderfully made, and our bodies have been created to withstand much despite the mental limitations we sometimes impose and indulge. That’s why it’s so important to align and look after our body, mind and spirit because this life we are a part of is indeed challenging. The terrain is harsh, the environment toxic, the air we breathe, the food we eat, the things we do to our bodies - they all add up. But as we know all too well, disease can strike regardless of these things. You just have to look at the babies and children battling cancer to know this truth, yet even they fight with a resilience and tenacity that defies all odds. Maybe it’s because they believe...have hope....are untainted by a lifetime of disappointment and fear. They trust in goodness, whether it’s through their family, the doctors, and what they’ve been raised to believe. I think on some level their bodies are somewhat submitted to the purity of their minds and spirits. Simplicity and innocence has its precious place here. Our minds, bodies, and spirits are incredible, especially when they work together. Acclimatising to the death zone is a powerful testament to this truth.
Two days after my first Chemo injection I ended up in the emergency department at hospital. Much to our horror, it appeared as though I had an infection throughout my reconstruction site. I wasn’t sure how long it had been there for as my nerves were well and truly shot after both surgeries, and consequently I couldn’t feel anything on that breast or under/around my right arm. I called my good friend (and part time guardian angel) Nettie who had been through the same chemo treatment as myself and asked if I should be taking it seriously. She came and picked me up right away. No mucking around when you're having chemo that’s for sure! They even give you a yellow card you can flash at the ER front desk, so you don’t have to wait for hours on end. Flash this yellow card and you get instant access immediately and even your own isolated room where the coffee is held. Nice. (One of the perks of doing chemo I guess….got to appreciate what we can get!!)
Assuming it was an infection they admitted me into the ward, pumped me full of antibiotics and painkillers and told me I may have to have further surgery to remove the implant. NOOO! I really could not handle the thought of more surgery at this point. I can tell you now there was an awful lot of praying happening around this time, and I was definitely struggling to work out that acclimatisation partnership between my mind, body and spirit! I stayed in hospital for four (hideous) days before they decided the antibiotics were doing their job and I could go home. Can you stop to imagine just for a minute how agonisingly frustrating that was, and incidentally, what that did to my family? One week out of hospital and we consoled ourselves with the fact that this little detour was just a freak occurrence, as even my surgeon was a little surprised by the whole thing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more calm and peaceful doctor in my life, I mean this guy just oozed calm, but even he looked a little rattled by the situation. Thinking the whole ordeal was behind us, we geared up for the next Chemo dose and what do you know?! The exact same thing happened again, exactly two days after my chemo! So I packed up my bags and dragged my sorry behind back to the hospital where we went through all the same motions. Third time lucky? Nope. Same thing happened, except this time they (my team of specialists) all decided that it couldn’t possibly be an infection as infections don’t behave so predictably and look exactly the same - every single time. As it turns out, I was ALLERGIC to the chemotherapy, and there wasn’t anything I/we could do about it except suck it up and hope there was no lasting damage done to the reconstruction site. They figured this out after my third hospital ordeal of course. Yikes.
WHERE THE RUBBER HITS THE ROAD
Could I have done with that information minus all the injections, hard core antibiotics, poking, prodding, dozens of trainee doctors eyes, further stripping of my already scantily clad dignity, sleepless nights, bad (don’t touch with a 10 foot pole) food, shared rooms that required ear plugs, shared toilets that were dodgy at the best of times, the lottery when it came to grumpy vs nice nurses etc etc etc??? And let’s not forget being away from my very stressed out family - the biggest heartache in all of this. You see, cancer and cancer treatment doesn’t just affect the person who has it. It is a greedy disease and takes over every part of your life and the lives of all those around you. Both my husband and daughter were fighting their own battles thanks to this greedy disease, some of them just downright nasty, but that’s their testimony so I’ll leave it for them share one day.
Could I have done without all of this? In a politely restrained word - Yes! But what was done was done and I was nearing the end of chemo anyway so the only thing left to do was keep plodding along through that deathzone. This was the middle part of my journey up that mountain and boy was it agonisingly slow and unbearable at times. This was where the real rubber hit the road in terms of acclimatisation. Knowing you have to do it - and actually doing it, are two totally different things. You can’t turn back when times get hard, you have to push through and grind it out. You just have to.
I know I made that sound really (REALLY) depressing, not to mention pointless, but the truth was after the first hospital visit and all those days of sitting around staring at the white walls, I decided that I was still the master of my own attitude, and time could be used wisely even in that place. This is where relief can be found and the grind can be alleviated - purely through changing your perspective. Mind over matter, doused in a whole lot of truth only the spirit can provide. I determined within myself that I would try and be a blessing to whoever crossed my path regardless of how disgustingly sick I was with that disgusting chemo. At least I wasn’t beyond hope and struggling with undiagnosed illnesses like some of my room buddies. I had high hopes of living well even in that place, and maybe (God willing) I would be a light to other people who were suffering in my own small way. Well, maybe my hopes were a bit too lofty as I’m not entirely sure I succeeded given the state I was in. I probably resembled a grimacing dragon more than anything HA! Who knows, but the point is - at least I tried.
Here’s the truth; if we all just tried to turn our eyes from the inwards to the outwards, our issues and challenges may not feel so big and terrible. I think that’s called a reality check! This process isn’t entirely unselfish, and not as holy as it sounds, because the truth is something happens TO YOU and FOR YOU when you’re able to take the blinders off. You’re problems don’t always feel so insurmountable, especially in comparison to others who may be doing it tougher. Try it out next time, put it in your how to handle catastrophes in life toolbox, and make it your default mode of choice. It’s a skill worth having, and one I’m sure you’ll never regret!
There is a point where acclimatisation is no longer possible from a physical point of view (mid death zone) but although our bodies may be physically incapable; our spirits are not, especially when in partnership with the Holy Spirit who as we know is quite capable of producing that which defies our physical realities. Aka miracles. Your spirit, partnered with the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit can defy all physiological and even spiritual odds. This is where the God factor kicks in. This is where Christ IN you outshines even the deadliest death zones. I wouldn’t have been able to walk through my death zone without these essential factors making a way forward for me. We may have been created tough, but impossibility will eventually rear its ugly head and once again we are found in that corner curled up in a foetal position, with only snot and tears to keep us company. Is that the truth or what?
What I’ve discovered throughout this and every other journey I’ve been on, is that God is the God of the impossible. Not us, as wonderful as we are - but Him. But we have to learn how to let Him do it for us, and this is the essence of acclimatising spiritually. In all my research travels (ok ok, in all my google searches), when I have searched up acclimatisation, I have only come across references to climbing from a physiological perspective. But we do not just climb physically do we? Our minds are developed, our emotional intelligence is increased (hopefully), and our spirits are built and renewed with every step we take forward. In other words, this tough terrain we navigate is there to benefit our spiritual development also. The hard part is giving it over to God. Who would’ve ever thought the hard part of this terrible journey would be handing it over to someone who can help. It’s ridiculous in theory, but anyone who has their head down and locked on survival knows what I’m talking about. Let me make this explanation of acclimatisation simple:
YOU have to adjust, so that HE can maintain your performance!! Give it to Him now so you can walk right through that death zone and onto the summit!
Special Blog Post Discount
THE PATHWAY FORWARD
The Death Zone (in mountain-speak) is when you reach altitudes in excess of 26,000 feet. At this height many things can happen, including severe temperature drops, high winds, low oxygen levels, and frozen terrain that can cause slips and falls. In the wise words of Wikipedia, when you’re in the Death Zone you “face significant challenges to survival”. Many people don’t make it down alive, and with good reason. I knew I needed to make that journey through the death zone – it was simply unavoidable. But I didn’t know just how deadly the experience would be.
In the very same breath that I was told my results from the lymph node surgery, I was also told by my team of specialists that I still needed to undergo aggressive treatment in the form of chemotherapy, radiation and hormone blockers for 5-10 years. Their reasons were simple enough to understand from a medical perspective: Because I was so young, and had so much more life to live, they wanted to make sure I had the best chance to put this cancer to bed once and for all. Because the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes, there was a chance that the cancer cells had traveled through those nodes around my lymphatic system, and were just hiding out waiting to impose themselves on other organs (metastatic cancer).
We all know cancer is a nasty little bugger and it takes just one little rogue cell to stage a comeback and start a war. This treatment package was supposed to help mop up any rogue cells, and reduce the chance of local recurrence. It wasn’t guaranteed, but if the cancer came back at least I could say I did everything possible and in my power to prevent that from happening. The alternative was not a nice thought.
DESIGNED TO KILL
Chemotherapy is a very scary prospect for many reasons. There are many raging arguments for and against Chemo, but I’m not even going to attempt to open that particular can of worms. That would take an entire chapter!! Basically, chemo is the standard treatment our mainstream medical profession uses to fight cancer. In their eyes there is no alternative, you either do it – or sign your own death certificate. Of course I still had the choice, but I only had to take one look at my kids to know that I would do anything and everything to fight this disease, even if it ended up killing me. Because the truth is, chemo can kill you. This cocktail of drugs is literally designed to KILL, and it has no personal preference. The job description for chemo is to kill cells – good cells and bad cells – it doesn’t distinguish. Obviously the experts are relying on good healthy cells to grow back by themselves, and the cancer cells to stay dead. That’s the theory anyway, and they would argue that most of the time it works according to ‘said theory’.
But there are other dangers with chemo, including heart problems, allergic reactions, and of course the thing that can really get you – your non-existent immune system. When your immune system is that low, or doesn’t exist at all, anything can be the death of you. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
THE ART OF WAR
I have to say for the most part I remained fierce in my approach as I scaled that ugly mongrel of a mountain and pressed on in my quest to reach the top. I was a soldier in a war that was much greater than breast cancer and I knew it. It was my duty, not just to my family and friends, but to myself and most importantly to my God, to fight with everything that was placed within me. I had to advance at all costs and claim each patch of grass or rock like it was gold. One of my most favourite blogs entitled “The Art of War by Rebecca Tereu” talks about how by its very definition, 'WAR' does not consist of one big battle and then BAM it’s all over. If that were the case it would just be called a fight. No….. WAR involves the big picture, countless scenarios, and many battlefields. And while there may be a feature fight where most of the damage is done and victory or defeat is declared, it never ends on that one battlefield. Even after the main event there are still skirmishes as the victors work to claim or reclaim their territory.
This is the way I saw cancer, in fact this is the way I saw life in general. As hard as all this sounds, and as dire as it may look, I saw it like this through the lens of hope. I was able to shape this hope-infused perspective through my belief and faith. It really is the only thing you can do! Sun Tzu summed it up nicely in his legendary version of The Art of War;
“The great warriors of old not only won victories, but won them with ease. Because their victories were achieved without apparent difficulty, they did not bring them great fame for their wisdom, or respect for their courage. Being prepared for all circumstances is what ensures certain victory, for it means you are fighting an enemy that is already beaten”.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not for one second trying to convince you my battle was “easy”, but there was a special kind of ease involved in just knowing that the enemy had already been beaten and all I had to do was be a good soldier.
You see, I’ve come to learn that if you give your life to Christ then you can be assured the War is over – because your life has already been won. It doesn’t mean you won’t fight other battles while you’re living, but you can rest easy knowing the General has already declared victory and now we just have to deal with the skirmishes. As soldiers on the battlefield, we already know the skirmishes aren’t easy…but at least we are assured of ultimate victory.
I was on the high paths now, and looming right up ahead was the death zone and I have to admit - I was freaking out more than a little! In fact I spent an awful amount of time trying to fight off and deflect the poisonous arrows of fear that were coming at me hard and fast. The battlefield was getting bloody, and the worst of it hadn’t even begun. Chemotherapy would ensure many of the soldiers in this war would be severely injured, if not killed. This particular skirmish wouldn’t go away for some time, and would likely drag on until exhaustion became the deciding factor. Six months of pure grind loomed ahead and I was not looking forward to it one little bit.
Because of my dodgy heart, I was given the option of choosing between two drug cocktails. The first would take 6 months of my life and there was evidence that this chemo may adversely affect the heart. The second option would only take 3 months, and was said not to affect the heart. However this chemo was also the harder drug and it was, in essence, the equivalent of taking a double dose of chemo (half the time, double the dose). The choice was clear for me – do it hard for three months and hope it didn’t kill me in the process. I liked the idea of being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel sooner. It gave me something to focus on and hope for. I didn’t like the list of symptoms given to me to study up on, in fact most of what I read was pretty unbelievable. But there was no going back now. I had committed my army to this location and we couldn’t, or should I say wouldn’t tuck tail and run!
THE ANTIDOTE OF LAUGHTER
One way our family likes to deal with life is to laugh at every opportunity. Suffice to say there are lots of jokes and mocking in our household! Admittedly we can be quite inappropriate with our humour but it never hurts anyone, so no harm done. The night before my first chemo we all sat on my bed as I endeavoured to prepare my family for what I was about to go through. I didn’t want this part of the journey to side swipe and shock them, especially my daughter, so I decided full transparency was the best strategy. I began by reading out the symptoms and side effects which were horrendous really, until we came to the part that talked about “bed linen that is soiled with bowel motions should be handled with disposable gloves”. My husband looked at me in horror and said “so what they’re saying is that you could crap yourself in bed - while I’m sleeping next to you? You realise I could roll into that aye? My hand could literally touch it” at which point we all cracked up laughing and started crying hysterically as we attempted to role play the scenario. Honestly we must have rolled around on that bed in tears for a good half an hour. It was hilarious! Yes, laughter - even in the face of terrifying revelation - is sometimes the best antidote. Ahhh but back to the serious stuff….
The hard truth is, those three months were literally hell on earth. Actually it was more like 4 months as it took several weeks of recovering from my last dose. Bit like pregnancy when they say it's 9 months and by the time you’re ready to pull that baby out yourself, you realise it’s actually 10 months and the system set you up big time. Part of me wants to bust out the positivity right now and assure you that it wasn’t all bad – that there were many lessons, blessings, and miracles bestowed upon me and my army during these hard times, and while this may be true – I respectfully refuse to dismiss the other side of this picture so easily. To do so would be dishonouring and insensitive to the brave women who have gone before me and suffered beyond words. The truth is it felt like I was going to die. And the fear!!….creeping at first, then roaring in my ear drums until I couldn’t make out anything else. This was something I wrote in my blog which attempts to explain the feeling;
“It begins by pinching your emotions, like those nasty little fish with the sharp teeth that dart in and come and take a nibble out of your flesh, before swarming in on you once they get a taste. You're stripped to the bone, and nerve screeching raw before you even know what the hell hit you. The stark realisation that you are at the mercy of a deadly poison quickly becomes all consuming. By the time you finish the chemo session it's literally flowing through every single one of your veins and invading every single one of your cells for the foreseeable future. It’s in there now, and it’s unstoppable, and even though you bought the fare and climbed aboard - you can't stop the train and ask to be let off. It's a one way ticket so you have only one choice. Hang on for dear life and cling to every ounce of hope and faith you possess. This is real. This is as real as it gets. It's a hard...nail destroying, finger-tip bruising, knuckle aching grip. You spend most of the time desperately clinging to faith when your body is screaming questions at you”.
Yes, the battlefield was truly traumatising with more than a little blood spilled. I lost myself many times over whilst in those trenches. I became nothing, reduced to begging for my life on a daily basis. Not even the life I had, just the right to live without pain and death banging on my door! My desire was simple enough, but mostly unavailable to me as I travelled through the death zone. Such truth brought a level of perspective that I suppose would never have been bestowed if I didn’t have to climb this part of the mountain. This is going to sound crazy to some of you, but I can’t even bring myself to regret this entire journey for that reason alone.
There’s something about pain and suffering that opens your eyes a little bit wider and forces the doors of your heart to open uncomfortably. You don’t think too much about it at the time because you're so desperate, and desperation trumps comfort. It’s in this place of vulnerability that many people find God; at rock bottom, with no place else to go and nowhere else to turn. It’s a sad reality, but at least we have this opportunity. When we feel that level of pain something a little bit special happens. Our eyes open and we are able to connect with something that eludes us when our lives are on cruise control. What that something is - is unique to you and your journey, however, one thing I can tell you that happens to many people walking through their respective valley’s and up their mountains is they become desperate for help. We are more likely to reach out and ask for help when we are struggling and in pain, than we are when we are sitting on top of the world (or mountain) feeling all independent and self-sufficient. God meets us faithfully in those dark locations and often this discovery alone is worth the pain. A hard truth to admit, but easy when you experience it for yourself. It’s in that place that intimacy and authentic relationship is formed with your Daddy God. A priceless result that eclipses all other results, and ultimately worth every step.
For this I am truly thankful. Thankful that there is a way for human pride, hurt, stubbornness, bitterness, resentment, hate, unforgiveness and so on to be conquered outside of our own strength and will. Thankful that there is a way for all these things that separate us from hope, to lose their flavour and grip once we hit rock bottom. They lose their power over you because in that moment you realise none of it matters. All that matters is there is someone to save you. That someone could actually save you is a miracle and worth reaching out to as you thrash around and drown in misery. That this someone is the only one that can save you, and whatsmore, restore and reform you. No, I don’t regret this process and this opportunity. It gave me access to a whole new level of life - a miracle worth talking about and sharing with you to be sure!
There was one particular campsite that I came across which was difficult to see and even more difficult to comprehend. While the most difficulty lay in the incomprehension factor, the biggest issue became the unspeakable factor. Even now it’s difficult to speak about. While removing part of your womanhood is an obvious consequence to breast cancer, and by my own definition - does not define you and is not the end of the world - it's the dangerous unseen effect on our souls that drills deep over time and has the ability to perpetuate until the issue of depression or PTSD raises its ugly head. Removing that part of your womanhood is one thing, but being left with an ugly reminder, or replacing it with something that hardly resembles your original self (an implant) are two difficult pills to swallow in one go. And if that wasn’t bad enough, losing your dignity in the process is like someone twisting the knife in for good measure.
When I look back upon this journey of shame, I can honestly say I’ve lost count of how many people have seen me exposed and vulnerable. Dozens of Doctors and their eager beaver trainees, Nurses, CT scanners, MRI scanners, Oncologists, Surgeons, District nurses, Radiologists and everyone in between. So many people have seen me laid bare and vulnerable – it's almost inconceivable. To be continuously vulnerable is a dangerous thing, and so many women, including myself, find it much easier to disconnect or disassociate themselves from that part of their body. Especially when that part is no longer completely you. Disassociation is the mind's way of coping with something it's not ready to deal with. Although you may be mentally and emotionally disconnected from the actual situation, the symptoms can be self-disgust, resentment, self-hate, and low self-esteem. Not loving or even caring about yourself is a common aftereffect which can lead to depression. All these things happen in the dark corners of your own mind and therefore may be hidden from anyone who even cares enough to look twice. It’s a sneaky insidious companion that leads a blindfolded you to an obscure campsite. This campsite, or at least the stench of this campsite, can follow you like a bad smell that sticks to your clothing as you continue on your journey.
WORDS AND WATER
One thing I’ve learnt in the process of dealing with that campsite is this; while our thoughts may constantly be under attack, our words don’t have to submit to those fiery darts. Words are powerful and hold a key to either life or death. Just because a horrible thought enters your mind doesn’t mean you have to speak that horrible thought over your life (or others). So for example, just because I may think I look disgusting, doesn’t automatically mean I should say so. You can try to change your thoughts, and I would encourage you to do so, but the opposite can also be true and just as effective. If you speak words of life over yourself, your thoughts will eventually catch up. Those words will replace the ugly thoughts eventually, until your thoughts learn this new habit and a beautiful life giving cycle begins. This is not an airy fairy new age thing. You can find its roots in the bible; Proverbs 18:21 “Words kill, Words give life. They are either poison or fruit – you choose”.
It’s not easy to break the cycle of thinking negatively about yourself, let alone speaking negatively - but it is possible and completely vital to freeing your body from the toxic flow and influence in your life. There is scientific evidence proving that words can have an effect on you at a cellular level. Remember what I said about epigenetics and how cells have memory? Well that’s just one consideration. Then there’s the fact that our bodies are made up of 70% water, and if you head over to YouTube and search up: Dr. Masaru Emoto, and you will have your mind blown regarding the effect spoken words and music has on water molecules. Emoto believed that emotional "energies" and "vibrations" could change the physical structure of water. He provides evidence of this in his New York Times bestseller book “The hidden messages in water”.
What I’ve been thinking about (without reading this book but just watching his findings on YouTube, reading the reviews and using common sense) is that if our bodies are made up of 70% water, then imagine the good or bad we are doing to it just by speaking negativity over our lives! Once again it’s not some airy fairy freaky deaky conspiracy theory, it's scientifically proven. Consider these things next time you decide to listen to death metal or speak words of suffering over yourself. Even submitting to the thought(s) that your body is going to fail you is detrimental to the healing process. Something I’ve had to really challenge myself with!
When people talk about chemotherapy, the first thing that comes to mind is hair loss. This subject seems to be the one most talked about and feared. But I can tell you right now, losing your hair – no matter how beautifully long and lush it may be – is NOTHING in the grand painful scheme of things. I know us ladies think our hair along with our breasts and ovaries are the epicentre of womanhood, and it’s no wonder we think this way considering the world we live in and all its expectations and judgements, but the big bottom line question will always remain; are you still YOU without your hair? Or does your hairstyle define who you are in this world? Same with your breasts and anything else you think represents your womanhood. The obvious answer is of course not. Not by all means an easy answer, just the obvious one. Nevertheless, the issue of hair loss is a sensitive one for us women, and most women are genuinely affected and scarred by the process. It’s really not nice and that’s putting it mildly.
Personally, I had two issues with losing my hair. Firstly, I promised my mother that I would never cut my hair. Not because I am a hair person and can’t stand to lose it, but because that was one of the last promises I made to her and I have honoured that my whole adult life. I took that promise seriously, especially in the wake of her death because I knew that it meant something to her. Subsequently I have had super long hair my whole life and I couldn’t even imagine what I would look like without it. Many women who face hair loss by way of chemo decide to take matters into their own hands and chop it off themselves. This is one way of feeling like you have control of the situation. I decided to take that control myself and with the help of my hubby, platted up my tresses and took to them with a pair of kitchen scissors. It was one of those bittersweet cry-laugh moments that we won’t likely forget ever.
Secondly, it was just a daily reminder that I was walking through the valley of the shadow of death – AND climbing a ginormous mountain at the same time. It was a daily reminder that I had cancer and cancer was trying to claim my life. That’s all. And it was ugly…let's not forget that. But that was the least of my problems! Just getting through each day, especially the chemo days was all I could really focus on.
Want to read more? There are 11 more chapters in this book!! Go and get them right now!
Rebecca Tereu, otherwise known as 'Bex', has been passionate about writing and reading for as long as she can remember. Married to husband NIkolai, and mother to sixteen year old Faith and six year old Kohen, Rebecca also runs a business consulting firm as well as writes every chance she can get.
Purpose Driven is a deeply personal account of my journey facing cancer and the multitude of challenges that accompanied it.
Click here for more detail.
You can buy the e-book now for just $4.95
Or get a copy for your Kindle right here!
OR you can buy a paperback edition right here
Where it all started
The Purpose Driven book didn't just come out of no-where....it all started with my BLOG that was being read by thousands of people every week. This is the beginning!
L & I Shop
Check out our new Life and Insights Shop which now stocks our new DRIVEN brand
Shields of Strength
Check out this beautiful inspiring jewelry that we found on our internet travels. Soooo good!!
Favorite Blog Titles
The Art of War
Atreyu, Angels & Pills
Rest in heaven Joey
Chunking the elephant
How thankfulness can save your life
From the bottom to the top
The case against 2017