I realised the other day that I now have in my life some very amazing women, and our paths have crossed only because of Cancer..
Whilst I couldn’t possibly list them in a ranking order, as they are all so special, unique and where they fit into my life, so below I have listed them in more of a chronological order of how they entered my world.
All of these ladies, in one way or another have become my self care tool kit, each one teaching me valuable skills and lifestyle changes that enable me to be healthy in body and mind to endure the journey ahead.
Gill Clarke – Breast Care Nurse Specialist. Kings Mill Hospital
This lady has been by my side from the day I was told I had breast cancer. I don’t think words can do her justice, I simply worship her. When she walks in the room my fear walks out, she is the first phone number I dial for advice, perspective and a human interpretation of what is going on, she has gone the extra mile for me on so many occasions, my husband calls her the worker Bee, she has her finger on the pulse at all times, and knows exactly what is reality, she has years of experience and common sense, when a consultant speaks I look at Gill for the translation!
Jackie Buxton – Author of Tea & Chemo the book that saved my sanity.
I feel very blessed to now call this lady a friend, she kindly answered my twitter message when I thanked her for writing such a life saving book. To me no matter how many books are written on breast cancer, T&C will always be the trailblazer that made breast cancer truly real to all. She has held my hand from afar over these past few months following my new diagnosis, she responds to my SOS messages with nothing but sheer empathy, which may bring me to tears but bolsters my drive to stay on this planet, she proves that with our diagnosis we can live pretty normal, active lives, sadly she too has secondary breast cancer, and like me bone metastasis, whilst a little further down the line in regards of time, she has helped me translate so many of the scary oncologist visits, being told your simply a statistic with an expected 5-10 year survival rate, can really only be relatable from one bone mets lady to another.
Lesley Batten – Lymphatic Drainage Therapy
I found Lesley quite by chance whilst trawling google for a massage therapist, recently diagnosed and awaiting my breast cancer surgery, stressed to hell and craving some aromatherapy, I reached out to her as she was quite local to me, little did I realise how lucky I was that she squeezed me in to her already full schedule, and would later come to rely on her skill set for manual lymphatic drainage massage, following total lymph node removal in my left arm, she has to be the most unselfish person I have ever met, kind, caring, considerate to the point she makes her working day way busier to accommodate us all and our health scares, she listens with both ears and for that hour each month I am with her, all my worries and pain melt away.
Eva Humphries – BANT registered nutritionist
Whilst sat waiting at the city hospital for an oncology appointment, I came across an article in Nottingham Today, a two page spread on Eva, the Whole food Warrior.
Sat feeling pretty poorly, low blood count, no hair, my confidence, self esteem and self care pretty lacking, I vowed once I got out of this air and windowless building, to find wifi and make contact with this lady.
A year later, my diet and ability to look after me knows no bounds, she has taught me so much on how to eat properly and why, her mind and what it retains and conveys to you is truly inspiring, always factual and relayed in easy chunks on why science supports what she is asking you to do. Her recipes and instagram feed provide unlimited motivation, I preach to anyone I come into contact with who moans about self care and diet….. Contact Eva..
Suzy Reading – Chartered Psychologist, Yoga teacher
I don’t think I could have entered a darker place when I was told I had incurable cancer, yes I put my game face on, I still laughed with friends and joined in the banter at work, but inside I was breaking, and to top it all off people in my immediate circle were struggling, making demands I just couldn’t meet, I found it hard to imagine a life past next year, would I see certain events, I wasn’t ready to die yet, sounds extreme I know but cancer does that to you, its one big mind f***
I bought a book… ‘the self-care revolution’ written by Suzy Reading as advertised in my monthly subscription of Psychologies magazine…
After reading it from cover to cover, investing in rituals which have taught me how to cultivate a calmer, healthier state of mind. I am now all about me, and I don’t feel guilty to say it, scented Neom Candles, complete with essential oil diffuser, I do yoga twice a day, I tune out listening to talking books via Audible, my whole way of life has changed to what I once used to think of as ‘Indulgence’ when the self care phrase was mentioned.
But still feeling broken, I booked an appointment with Suzy, I had to provide an introduction via email as to why and what I was looking for out of our sessions, I relayed my thoughts and asked if she felt I needed some help? she rang me for a 15 minute taster, see if we could get on with each other, and I don’t know how I didn’t cry the whole time (pretty awkward when you are on the phone to a stranger for the first time) her voice so soothing without being condescending, she made me feel human and entitled to feel how I felt, funny how you need a third person who is distant from your situation to enable you, in allowing yourself off the hook of being perfect and everything to everyone.
I could talk to her all day every day, just for a daily fix of wisdom and empathy, so much she has helped me with, relationships that were causing me anxiety I can now cope with in simple stages, and with clarity and calmness, she helps me see so much from many angles that it all then makes total sense. I feel (in my mind anyway) calmer, kinder, with a confidence I never had before, way more tolerant and in essence a better version of me, and I do thank Suzy for this inner peace I have now found.
I remember a scene from the Film Notting Hill, whereby Hugh Grant brings Julia Roberts to his family home, his sister takes a shine to Julia and even follows her into the toilet, telling her bother she thinks they will be best friends….
In the nicest possible way, not crazy or anything, Suzy is the kind of person you could stalk and beg to be your friend.