Happy birthday to me!
A time to celebrate.
I hope this finds you well. It's a very special week for me this week because I will be celebrating my 60th birthday. As a cancer survivor it's always a special birthday, especially one that ends in zero. So I've got lots of treats planned, intending to celebrate my birthday, and celebrate still being here, still enjoying a healthy and happy life. I love celebrating birthdays, I had a fabulous a party, spending time with friends and family, who I am very blessed to have around me. And it's also a time for me of reflection.
A time to reflect.
So you know, my podcast is about confidence after cancer and the journey that I've been on, since my cancer treatment, and also the journey that I know many other people are going through as well. And only today I've been speaking to a neighbour who is in the middle of chemotherapy treatment. And I know for her, seeing me 15 years on, with no evidence of disease and 15 years cancer free, that was giving her hope. Hope for the future.
And that's what I'm here to do always to share my story. Some of it may resonate with you some of it may be very different to your story, because I know we're all on our own journey, no two journeys are the same. But that's all part of the wonder of life, isn't it? So for me, it's the time to reflect. Think about how far I've come. And not looking back with any regrets or wishing that I've done things differently. I think there's also always learning when you look back and reflect and things that I want to learn from and mistakes that I won't make again.
But I am looking back and reflecting on how lucky I am to still be here. How lucky I am to be able to talk to you today. And it really means the world to me that you are reading this or listening or watching my YouTube channel, and connecting with me everybody that's reaching out to me, it helps me to help other people. And that's what I'm here for. So please don't hesitate, if you want to reach out to me,and share something with me. You know, what they say ‘a trouble shared is a trouble halved’. And it's always the case, you know that you can't shock me, and anything can be said in confidence. So I'm always here for you. That's what Confidence After Cancer is about. It's about rebuilding your life. But I think when I was a young girl, 60 was considered quite old. I don't consider myself an old lady.
Midlife Crisis? Not for me
I do consider myself somebody who's in midlife. And I know a lot of midlife women are reaching out to me whether they've had a cancer diagnosis or not, because a lot of the issues we face are the same. Sam Palmer, who was on one of my recent podcasts, said something that really hit home to me, she said, ‘this is the time of life where we throw everything up, and we see what lands and see what we want to keep and what we don't want to keep’.
And isn't that wonderful? I certainly feel I have a lot more confidence to do that, much more so than when I was younger. Back then I was always striving to be as good as everybody else or striving to be a good mother, a good wife, in my job in my corporate life, I was always striving to fit in or striving for people to like me. And it's not that I have become uncaring, I just don't care about that so much. I'm more concerned about who I like, and loving the people that I care about. I’ve realised that not everybody's going to like me. And that's OK, I've come to accept that now. And it's not my job to make people like me. It's my job to make me like me. And it's taken me many years to be able to say that, that I do like me, I'm proud of myself. Not in an arrogant way, but I am proud of how far I've come from a very difficult childhood. And some of you know, my story, including being homeless and teenage pregnancy, these are things that I could talk about now. But my life has not always been easy. It's not always been a bed of roses, but I don't think many people come from a life like that. Everyone's got their challenges no matter where you come from. And to me it's not about you know where you've come from, it’s is how you dealing with that, what you've learned from it.
It's not where you’ve been that matters, it’s where you are going to
I now feel like I'm in a very good place where I can support other people through confidence after cancer. I've got one to one coaching, which I love doing connecting with people. I also got my online courses which people can just download and work through at their own pace. But if they need to, they can reach out to me as well. I love doing that. And that is something I'm very blessed to be able to do.
It’s not the event, it’s what you make it mean
So for me, 16th of January was the date of my diagnosis day. It's also the birthday of somebody that I love very dearly. And as the years have gone on, that date now means more about that person's birthday than it does about my diagnosis. When you get a cancer diagnosis, that's the day that everything changes. That's the day you know, your life will never be the same again, I'll be quite honest, I didn't know how different my life was going to be after cancer, I thought I would have cancer, deal with it, get back to my old life. And that would be that. And it's not for me, it's changed me forever.
And it’s not that I dwell on it. It's just the fact I'm not the same person that walked into that diagnosis, I am very different, some things are not as good. I've got some health challenges. But some things are so much better. I accept myself, I've learned to love myself, I’ve learned how to manage stress and set boundaries. I've learned how to do a podcast, and a blog there's so many things that I've learned. I've learned how to set up a web site, I've learned how to create online coaching. So I've learned so much because of the cancer journey that I've been on.
I’m blessed with the lessons I have learned
I'm not particularly grateful for the cancer itself. But I am grateful for the lessons that I've learned, and the journey that I've been on. And that for me is me making peace with the journey that I've been on and making peace with my cancer diagnosis. It's not something I would have chosen. It's not something I would wish on anybody to go through, it was a truly awful time in my life. But I've been through it, and I survived.
And I'm quite proud of the way I've survived and the things that I've learned. Everything that I've learned about well being that can share that with other people. So many people need to know this information about what you can do to keep yourself well, how you can sleep better, how you can look after your body better, how you can tap into nutritional healing so that your body is replenishing itself and being the glorious wonderful body that it's meant to be. So many things that I can share with people,I just love to share that. And that's a real blessing. So I am grateful for the lessons that I've learned.
Live Love Laugh
Just before my birthday the postman brought me a lovely present. And equally as lovely was a card where my friend had written in it with lovely memories of a holiday, ‘where I have never laughed so much’. And I think that's one of the main lessons that I've learned from my cancer treatment. And I know it's so cheesy, and some people don’t like the expression. Live, love, laugh.
It's something that I try to live every day, if we're not living if we're not enjoying life, then what is the point? And that's on us, we can make choices, we can make good choices to be around people who uplift us, we can choose how we spend our time. So always remember to live laugh and love every day. Because if you don't what's the point? So yes, I'm very grateful to my friend for sending me a lovely gift. But even more so the card really touched me. I thought Yes, we had a great holiday. It's few years ago now. But we did laugh every day. And why don't we laugh more? And if we're not laughing more in our day to day life, what can we change to make that better?
Don’t sweat the small stuff – and most of it is small stuff
The other lesson that I've learned, none of us are getting out alive. So, we all go through this journey that we're on. Right? It's all going to end for us one day, and so bear that in mind and 'don't sweat the small stuff' we all do it, I do it as well. I can get wound up about things that don't really matter. But now I catch myself doing that. And I think whatever it is, whoever's upsetting me, will it really matter in five years time? If I’m blessed enough to be here then. So I choose to let it go.
What matters is how we feel today, because that's all any of us are guaranteed - today. So remember how lucky we are. And also, being a cancer survivor. I am well aware of the privilege that I've got to be 60 years old, because not everybody gets that privilege. Unfortunately, so many people will die before their time so many people will not recover from their cancer. And so I try remember that and to be grateful for the NHS, the wonderful National Health Service we have in the UK, who saved my life and for all the teachers and mentors and coaches that I've worked with since my 15 years of diagnosis, and all the wonderful things that they've taught me, I am truly blessed and truly grateful. So thank you.
Making peace with my journey
Although I had a difficult childhood, I think about that less and less, and I’ve let go of it making me bitter. It's something I've made peace with. I've accepted and I understand now my thinking process, I understand why in the past I’ve done things, because of my inner child, that little girl who just looked for approval and love and who wanted somebody to nurture her, she didn't always get that when she was small. And so I found that in other ways now. I'm very lucky to be married to a wonderful man, I have two sons I’m so proud of , I've got gorgeous grandchildren. I'm not saying we're all perfect. Like any family, we have our ups and downs. But I am surrounded by love. And equally important, I have learned to love myself. I know I am as good as anybody else, it took me many years to learn that.
And so if you've got an inner child that needs to feel that love, that needs to feel that care that maybe you didn't get as a child, maybe the understanding that you should have had was not there for you, I’m sending you love. But you do know now that you're an adult, you too can make some choices. And you can put that right. If you're struggling with that, reach out to somebody who can help you, I can certainly help you with that, get in touch, if I can help you in any way.
There's information on my website, I have online courses on there, and videos you can watch. You can also if you want to reach out to me if you want to have one to one sessions with me, I’m happy to do that. That is my privilege. I'd love to speak to you. But if you just have a quick question then ping me a message, I'd love to hear from you.
Thank you for reading my love and I hope whatever you're doing in your life, you're having a wonderful, blessed day. It's very warm here in Manchester today. And I hope the sun is shining down on you too.