My Story - Life and Lessons After Cancer
On the 19th December 2016, my world fell apart. Today marks 2 years since the day I was told I have blood cancer. D-Day. There have been a lot of emotions over the last couple of weeks as the date approaches. It is etched in my mind and it always will be.
In the months leading up to D-Day in 2016, I had most of the symptoms of Lymphoma but about 4 doctors brushed it off as being run down, allergies and many other things. On the 19th December 2016 I was finally diagnosed with Stage II Hodgkins Lymphoma after taking myself to Emergency where they found a 10cm mass over my heart. Listening to your intuition and your own body helps, if there is one piece of advice I would give to others it would be to trust your gut and listen to your body, you know your own body better than anyone. I started immediate chemotherapy in the hospital. I had 4 cycles of BEACOPP after being in complete remission after two. I then had 4 cycles of ABVD and then 15 days of Radiation to my chest and neck. While in hospital I endured two blood transfusions and weeks were spent inside those dreaded four walls. It was like time had stood still and everyone around me was still carrying on with their lives around me. It was like I watching a real life movie (or nightmare).
I praise the nurses and my doctors who treated me with such amazing care and dedication. I owe these souls my life. Especially my Oncologist/Haematologist, Professor Ian Kerridge. This man is reason I am still here. I trust him with my life and I cannot thank him enough for everything he did for me and still does do to this day. What Doctor these days gives their mobile number to ALL of their patients? Professor Kerridge does! He works around the clock and dedicates his life to save lives. What a man.
I don’t know how to describe cancer. It’s weird, but it’s also enlightening. It was in this time that I found the most clarity. I opened up so much more and began living my truth. Living an authentic life is so important, otherwise you are just existing. Being present in the moment is one of the biggest lessons I learnt and I try to practice mindfulness every day. Would I change my diagnosis if I got to go back and choose? No. It cracked me open. And taught me the lessons I needed to learn.
LESSONS I LEARNED:
When you’re diagnosed with cancer, people you haven’t heard from in forever pop up. Or, they disappear. Post chemotherapy, a lot of people disappear. Most of the time, it doesn’t have anything to do with us. It’s just life. It’s just growth. People enter and exit our lives for a reason, we just have to dig deeper to actually find out what that reason is. I am a big believer in quality over quantity and I adore those who are in my close knit circle. The love is endless.
You don’t have to be friends with everyone. Seriously. I realised this through treatment, but most importantly after treatment. Not everyone is your friend.
People come into your life for a reason, season or a lifetime. Some people come into your life because you are actually helping them with theirs. Also, vibes don’t lie. Trust the energy you get. Friendship is a two way street, and if someone isn’t putting the same amount of effort into a relationship, then let it go. Their effort is a direct reflection of how they feel about you, take notes, but don’t take it to heart.
Stop putting yourself down. Stop comparing yourself to other people. Life is tough, and you’re probably doing the best that you can.
If you make negative comments about yourself all of the time, that negativity is going to build up, and guess what? You’re going to end up in a big pile of negativity and feeling sorry for yourself.
Money doesn’t matter. Is it nice to have money? Sure. Does it make you a better person? Absolutely not.
At the end of the day, our tombstones will all be in the same place, and when you’re attached to a pole of chemotherapy fighting for your life, all of the money that you were once so concerned about, will do absolutely nothing to help you. Nothing. It will mean nothing.
Looks fade. Your identity can be easily taken from you at any given time. Be a good effing person and have something else to offer.
I lost my entire physical identity through treatment. I gained a scary amount of weight, lost my hair, my eyebrows, my eyelashes. I have marks & scars all over my body from treatment. Don’t get me wrong, I love being fashionable and looking nice. But at the end of the day, what really matters is what kind of person you are, and how big your heart is. At the end of the day, your legacy is all that you will leave behind. What exactly is it that you’ll be leaving?
A lot of people often think that when a person is in remission that they are automatically all better and should go back to the person that we were pre-cancer. No. This isn't the case. Not only are we enlightened and have evolved both emotionally and spiritually we still have anxiety about relapse and still suffer physical side effects from the all the burning and poisoning our bodies went through. I still suffer chronic fatigue, PTSD, anxiety. I have lung damage. Hormones of an old lady which have caused a 20kg weight gain (yet to rectified), back pain and the list goes on. Also, when I have too many things on, or to do, I become very overwhelmed and then shut down. Each person is different but its really important to listen to your mind and body and do what's best for you.
In hindsight, I was given the greatest gift of all. The gift of knowing what life is all about and how to live it to fullest. I would not change that for anything. I can't imagine going back to the girl who was so pre-occupied with things that don't matter.
Tell your family and friends you love them and tell them every single day.
Remember, we are all spiritual beings have a physical experience. Make sure your physical experience is fulfilling you on a soul level, and that it's one to remember.
All my love and light always
Amanda Jane xoxoxoxo