The summer solstice always marks my anniversary since chemotherapy ended…!
Why am I sharing this? Because I can!
It’s been three years and yet it’s only in the last months I finally have stopped seeing ‘chemo girl’ in the mirror. Yet I never read articles about people ‘surviving’ cancer – why? Well because once it’s over we’re expected to get back to normal. No one told me the side-affects could last so long and we only ever hear about the ‘survivors’ when the cancer returns or they may be famous.
Yet I am going to share because life is here to be experienced authentically and I believe the healing after chemotherapy is vital to keep cancer at bay, to start to feel alive again and to understand why you got cancer in the first place. Grasping your own understanding of the illness can be a great healer and you’re the only one who needs to relate to the conclusion you create – it’s YOUR LIFE.
I did not give myself permission to process and heal after chemotherapy ended. As many people do and as I’ve written about before, when you finish chemo you just want to be normal again. Yet you’re more likely to feel well, powerful and happy again if you allow yourself the time you need to rejuvenate.
I felt resentful at 26 when I finished the treatment because I felt lost. Who am I now when I’m over weight, losing hair, no confidence, jobless and still feeling depressed?! How do I relate to the world again after all this change? How do I relate to my boyfriend? To my body?
Why was I not blessed with an epiphany so I could finally come to my senses and be happy? I had just faced death, sat with sick and ill people every week and met some of the hardest working people in the NHS. There was nothing wrong, everything should be fabulous and I should be grateful yet I was harboring sadness and anger. I felt guilty about how I felt and it’s as if someone turned up the pressure. Emotions ran wild! I even feared the cancer would return to teach me the lessons I ‘should’ have learned. This was all classic self-hate, depression attitude. It’s what happens when you don’t know how to cope being you.
If only I had got some counseling or help. I am sad I did not choose to process those 6 months of chemotherapy and diagnosis because the proceeding 2 years became a nightmare. Hope began to bleed out of me, my boyfriend suffered as my libido was gone, I lost my friends and confidence which all led to me ‘fleeing’ my life in London. I didn’t dare face what had happened or give myself the right to acknowledge how hard it was.
Anyway enough of all that moaning! What I’m trying to share is – please please acknowledge how brave you are if you go through any illness. Thank your body no matter what happens. Thank those that have supported you. Stop making yourself wrong if you feel guilt, despair or anger. Emotions arise for you to experience and the stronger you become or the more self awareness you develop, the more likely it is that you can be with whatever comes up without attachment.
I am also led by my curiosity and instead of caving into my emotions or the psychiatrist telling me I should be on anti-depressants for life, I always want to know what has led to my suffering. I want to know what makes life, life.
Who wants to be with regret, guilt, anger, resentment, self-hate? Not many people! Yet these emotions are normally from powerful decisions you made as a child or in early adulthood and their doing their job when they appear in certain situations. They are reacting out of habit and I now love them because every time an unwanted emotion arises, it’s a chance to be with it and finally let it go. I tell the emotion: Thank you for being with me for so many years, for protecting me, warning me and guiding me but your job is done. It’s time to experience happiness, support and love.
It won’t immediately disappear but you will find the charge behind it begins to lessen. I even had a dream where I was being guided by a ghost type character. They told me to look the people I killed in the eye. So I did and there were lots of them. I asked them for forgiveness and to let me go. When I woke up I was in tears recounting the dream (to my now ex boyfriend) because I felt a genuine release. Since this dream I have not felt any guilt. I used to suffer horrendously with guilt, always wanting to please people, never feeling good enough. It used to cripple me and yet it took this dream, no matter the context, to let it go. It’s proof to me that emotions need to be looked at, you need to ‘feel’ them and let them pass. They do not own you, as I felt during depression, but they must be acknowledged for existing.
My ex who went through chemo with me and we were together three years recently cheated on me. The last thing I want to feel towards him is love. Yet I do and I have to be okay with that. I’ve often felt love when I’ve been deeply hurt and anger too yet the love bit is confusing. Why do I love someone who cheated on me? Because I know them to their core and their heart doesn’t cheat, their ‘other parts’ do…Forgiveness comes in time and I know how much he went through with me. Emotions are there to be processed or else you will harbor them for life or take them out on the next person. So in this case it’s okay to love him yet it’s also okay to process what happened and see it for what it really is.
Even if this triggers anger in some readers, cancer for me was the result of my severe self-rejection. I hated myself for so long, I had anxiety that crippled me and I suffered so much loss, heart break and failure – I honestly believe the Hodgkin’s Lymphoma was a result of me not processing years of built up emotions. This is MY OPINION and one I can relate to. It was also a big lesson, even if it takes me a while to let it sink in. I also believe the cancer built up because I couldn’t accept myself or my life, it’s as if the cancer was trying to wake me up to the roots of my suffering.
I used to fantasise that I would be the kind of person who could sit in front of the doctor and say thank you for the news but I don’t need chemo. I wanted to be one of those amazing people who walk out the door of the hospital and heal themselves through diet and laughing. Yet again, this was my path, my lesson, my choice and it’s only now I can forgive myself and be my friend no matter how much suffering I may have experienced. What could be worse that rejecting your own humanity? I believe it’s for this reason this world is in so much conflict. Who are we at the root? Who are we without our man-made identities and masks? We are human! We have beating hearts, incredible brains and a body made of miracles. We are alive, we are a ball of energy and apparently star dust! Yet when we reject our unity through being human, when we turn our backs on the truth – the World never feels safe.
I’m grateful I’m physically well three years later. You can be too if you take on board just how important your journey is. I am a stand for awareness, transformation and expansion. I know in my heart that the human being is incredible and right now our masks block the inner ability to shine fiercely in the name of…You decide!
So here’s a massive congratulations to those who are on the journey to self-empowerment, love and to those opening their eyes to their original existence. Well done you! You are waking up! My biggest lesson has been that you must stay open minded, don’t cling to any one method of healing and realise that you are the only one who has the magic wand of freedom. The more you realise that you hold this power, the faster you will develop an inner voice of wisdom, acceptance and awareness. You will develop an inner compass, picking up the messages you need when you need them, meeting people you need to meet and you will gain a beautiful trust with yourself. YOU WILL!
Pick up the tools you need, meet the people who offer great messages but even if this is a painful or even annoying message: you are the one who is going to come to your own conclusions, create your own healings and be in charge of letting go! No one can do it for you, all they can do is offer guidance…
My life is far from perfect, but I’m writing this from my heart and from a drive to share.
Love from Barcelona x
Read my other articles on chemotherapy if you click here x