So a little over 2 weeks away and it seems as if I’ve missed the start of Christmas! The shops are filled with presents and decorations, even the Christmas jumpers and pajamas are out (I I just love new Pajamas don’t you)?
Anyway I’m back from the most wonderful holiday in Australia where it’s coming in to summer there and not a Christmas tree in sight just beautiful pastel Spring trees-such a contrast from the orange hues in London but equally beautiful in its own right. It was so surreal being on the other side of the world-I never quite believed I was actually there! I managed to see and do so much which is quite extrodinary considering how crap I felt just 2 months back. It’s been nearly 3 months since my second lot of chemo finished and I feel better than ever.
As I have secondary cancer, I now believe that I’ve always had the cancer only it was too microscopic to see on the scans. I don’t know for sure but this seems the most likely explanation. That means I’ve had cancer for 3 years 8 months according to the medics, but that was only when it was discovered, it’s probably a lot longer. Nevertheless I’m still alive. I don’t know about you but it seems like a lifetime I’ve had breast cancer, and it’s less than a tenth of my life. My cancer shrunk and is stable, which means that I live with cancer and I’m permanently on treatment which luckily doesn’t interfere with my life too much (barring chemo of course which is a fucker). My cancer treatment now revolves around my busy life not the other way around. I think that’s key to being happy and staying relatively healthy. Never make something that’s so destructive your priority or your all. It doesn’t deserve it. It took me so long to realise this- making everything about cancer made me unhappy. So I changed the pattern.
Anyway I thought I’d share with you-whether you have primary or secondary cancer or even if you are perfectly healthy-my coping mechanisms, what I believe is extending my life,enriching it and how I’m living the best life I believe I’ve ever lived. Naturally the drugs I’m on are keeping me alive but I think you can do more for yourself-particularly being happy and content,and not being stressed and worried too much about the future. Stress upsets our bodies and causes all sorts of problems. I for one have IBS eczema and hot flushes when I’m stressed out. My sleep suffers too. I now minimise stress wherever I can, and I feel much better for it.
Eating well: I eat very well. I tried being a vegan which was too difficult and although I’m mostly vegetarian, I do eat chicken and fish because I feel that my body craves it. I eat lots of fruit and vegetables and drink lots and lots of water. In the beginning I was very strict and didn’t even drink alcohol but now I’ve relaxed. If I want to drink I will, but I inevitably know when I’ve had enough. I also like pizza and Indian takeaways and chocolate I just limit those foods to once in a while. I don’t believe in taking vitamins as I believe you should get all your goodness from foods.
Moving more: I haven’t been active this year until recently, due to my spine operation and the chemo but now I’ve been feeling much better I’m moving more than ever. Power walks with my dog, exploring on holiday, swimming,nothing too heavy I don’t love exercise but I definitely feel better when I move more and sit on my arse less!
Sunlight: I’m lucky that I’ve had a lot of holidays this year. It’s not so easy to get sunshine in the UK but sunshine gets a bad rep-it’s really good for us, lots of vitamin D, and great for our moods. I just feel much happier in the sun. I used factor 50 in Australia as the sun was so strong but early in the morning and late afternoon were perfect times to bask in the sun.
Music: I’ve always loved music since I was about 2, singing and dancing to Top of the pops. I have an eclectic taste, I love most genres. I think it’s really important to listen to music which best suits your mood! I might wake up needing some energy so I’ll put on some Arctic monkeys or Kasabian, or I’ll put on some chill out tunes at night when I’m soaking in the bath. I recently got some Sonos speakers all over the house so music is on 24/7!
Pampering: I pamper myself a lot. I have facials, and foot massages. I also love Lush cosmetics and find their products really great for my skin. I love nothing more than a bath bomb and a good book lying in the bath for an hour.
Treating myself: I love to treat myself. I think we are a little brainwashed in to feeling guilty if we splurge on ourselves but if you work hard or you’ve been through a hard time, don’t you deserve a reward? In Australia I decided to hell with it-I was going to spoil myself. I went in to the Louis Vuitton store and bought myself a beautiful black leather handbag. It was expensive, but I’d always wanted a real one. Plus it’s something that can be passed down-an investment. It doesn’t need to be a bag though, it can be something small, something you’ve always wanted. Life’s short. You deserve it.
Don’t sweat the small stuff: I’ve definitely changed a lot this year. I’m naturally a passionate fiery person but these days I let most things go. It’s rarely worth a confrontation or an argument. If someone thinks they’ve got the better of me, so what. Sometimes a dignified silence is far better than having that last word. I feel much calmer and more zen. That said I’m not a wallflower and I do bite back sometimes. In Sydney this woman told me that I made her feel sick and put her off her lunch because my knickers were showing on the beach in my beach dress blowing in the wind. I was like what the hell? This woman was twice the size of me but I told her in no uncertain times to go fuck herself. I hate unnecessary mean people. I’m not scared of anyone either, adrenalin just takes over!
Perfume: I love perfume and smelling nice, it makes me feel good. I really love Jo Malone fragrances, they are all so nice! I can never smell it on myself so I keep spraying more and more, people always compliment me on smelling good which is a good thing!
So that’s my list. But keeping busy and not thinking too much about my disease helps too as does believing I will be here for years yet-having a strong will and desire to stay alive-being determined and focused. After all. What do I have to lose? X