Becks in the City

Sing with me :"From yu wake up dis marnin, you's a winner!"

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Zumbathon for Breast Cancer Care

“I’m a bit sensitive and don’t want to be a blubbering mess. Is it okay to come back to you by Tuesday with a reply?”

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About 2 weeks ago a long-standing Zumba colleague, Andrea Edwards, told me she and her Zumba partner Helen Challis, were having a Zumbathon in Tipton for Breast Cancer Care. This is just one of the charities that took great care of me whilst I was going through my cancer ordeal. Andrea had asked me to speak for a few minutes about my experience and to create awareness of the disease.

Though I have happily shouted from the roof tops on social media about my experience, being faced with a hall full of ladies, telling them about my experience and having my breasts stared at (because people do look – it’s natural I guess), unnerved me. I am still wrapping my head around what has happened and sometimes I do get tearful. I didn’t want that to happen in front of an audience.

However, my fear of breaking down was not realised. I did my 5 minute speech where I warned women to:

  1. Watch out for signs of breast cancer: dimpled skin, dry skin, inverted nipple, nipple discharge as well as the notorious lump
  2. Insist on getting genetically tested for BC if your mum, sister or auntie had breast cancer.
  3. Act quickly if they do find anything untoward as early detection saves lives.

 

p1020868.jpgThe event was full of joyful vibes, it was visually poppin’ and so well organised. The atmosphere was buzzing! About 200 people came adorned in their pink, reppin’ for Breast Cancer Awareness

Though I still can’t bounce due to my scars (they hurt like hell when aggravated), I did what I could. I remembered why I fell in love with Zumba in the first place. My heart nearly exploded with joy when I led my routine to Mr Vegas’ ‘I am Blessed’.

Thank you so much to Andrea and Helen for inviting me to your much needed event. You are fab instructors who clearly mean a lot to your local community, this is evidenced by the great turn out. 

In my hospital bed, about 4 days after surgery, I said to myself “I want to speak to other women about breast cancer so that this disease kills less people.”

I guess I have now started on that journey and…

…it feels right. 

 

Blowing Darkness a Goodbye Kiss

Thailand 2007

Bangkok 2007

I am my own angel but never knew it! I wrote this poem back in 2007. Ten years ago! I wonder if I had followed my own advice to the letter, if I would have still been diagnosed with breast cancer? Perhaps I felt I was too radical at the time and was just being a conspiracy theorist.

I don’t support everything I wrote back then. For instance, I no longer eat meat and I am very respectful of medical professionals in general. Their knowledge, skills and understanding around cancer, saved my life. However, I know there is a lot of truth to the research I did. What I am saying is, that when profit-making is connected to our health and well-being, there has to be adequate levels of supply and demand. We just need to be informed so that we remain healthy individuals and not merely bodies from which our illness make corporations billions of pounds yearly. 

Read it, and take away what you need.

Blowing Darkness a Goodbye Kiss

by Rebbecca Hemmings 2007 (c) 

Recently I made a decision

If you let it, the system will kill you

And I’m not ready to go, so

I’m on a natural tip

No more cows’ milk; its Soya all the way

The taste is an acquired one

But preferable to decay

 

The caffeine that used to get me hyper

Has now all but disappeared

Recent reports say it causes stunted growth

Now I’m not the tallest person in the world so

I guess the damage has been done

But bun that cos I’m more informed now

We’re eating goat, we’re savouring  lamb,

Yamming foul, consuming ham

Cancer causing carcinogens

Make your blood cark, it’s dark!

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Now I’m not preaching

I suppose I’m just teaching

Blowing darkness a goodbye kiss

Breaking news; ignorance is not bliss

 

I’d be lying if I said I don’t eat meat, Chicken is the one!

Giving that up ain’t no easy feat

I have to work on them one by one

But the levels of consumption

Have seriously depleted,

One more step to getting the pharmaceuticals defeated

 

Cos you understand that don’t you?

It’s important you understand

If we all lead a natural lifestyle

We’d be taking money from the man

You understand?

They make billions from the tablets, and the medicines we digest

They don’t want you to get better

“Take these pills and get plenty of bed rest”

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Now I’m not preaching

I suppose I’m just teaching

Blowing darkness a goodbye kiss

Breaking news; ignorance is not bliss

 

Yeah I did it, I got a colonic

My system needed to purge

I was turning bionic

Cos what had happened was

My system had overloaded

With the chemicals that had invaded my flesh

I started to imagine me eroded

The monosodium glutamate and the starchy Acrylamide

The mercury and the arsenic

Not forgetting the sulphur dioxide,

Box-side!

If the chemicals were black they’d be up for attempted murder

But their in their nice bright pretty container

Buying them seems to be a no brainer

 

Now I’m not preaching

I suppose I’m just teaching

Blowing darkness a goodbye kiss

Breaking news; ignorance is not bliss

 

So I’ve taken my body back from the powers that be

Giving her what she deserves

To be treated nicely

She likes it, so in return she pays me back

With energy, sprite and immaculate health

And a body to be proud of

I’m telling you boy, I love my new self.

Can’t say I don’t miss certain things

Coco bread and pattie

I have to put them to rest

But at least I know the black stuff

Will find it harder to reach my breast

 

We wonder why we’re all getting fat

Well we all know who has a hand in that.

Just stop the wheel, and get the hell off!

You and your children are in danger

Don’t  tell me seh me never warn you

When your body becomes a stranger

Treat your body right and look after your own

They rely on you not knowing

How do you think the Stock Exchange has grown?

 

Don’t take my word for it, do your research

But I’m telling you

You will find, if you search

Well time for me to go now,

Go drink some herbal tea, its criss

But before I go, please acknowledge this

                                                                                   

I really wasn’t preaching

I suppose I was just teaching

Blowing darkness a goodbye kiss

Breaking news; ignorance is not bliss

 

You can see me perform this on Youtube here

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thrive Urban Food Festival

21230912_10155830679126564_3784113278662208686_nGiven that I am now on a mission to prevent the return of my breast cancer and ensure disease never reaches the body of my daughter (and anyone else that will listen), I was more than happy to accept my friend Petra Foster’s invitation to The Thrive Urban Food Festival. The event took place at The Bond which is a canal side, hip and trendy events venue in Birmingham, UK on 3rd September 2017.

The event’s copy promised: a courtyard streetfood market, a market hall, fitness sessions, wellness classes, high profile speakers and panel sessions throughout the day. It certainly delivered upon it’s promise and the fact that it was family friendly was a major selling feature for me.

Personal highlights include: the live cookery demonstration from blogger Niki from Rebel Recipes. She made a Cauliflower and Peas Stew with a  coconut chutney. Of course, we got the opportunity to taste the results of her labour; it was very flavoursome -especially the coconut chutney. It’s the type of dish I would make on a cold autumn evening. Vegan comfort food.

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Mindfulness for Children was a session run by Meraki Workshops. On arrival younger children were encouraged to colour in sheets which encouraged mindfulness and self- awareness. At age 4, my daughter was a little too young to understand the concept of the brain and its functions (although they were beautifully described). However, I loved watching how engrossed the other children were as they created their glitter jars, shook them and watched the particles settle like the thoughts in their mind when they indulge in moments of stillness. 

By far my favourite aspect of the day were the talks. Particularly that of Nutritional Therapist & Health Concierge Daniela Lawler. She led a session on children and nutrition. It was packed full of information that could serve people of all ages such as: The fact that many people in this country (and especially those with darker skins), lack Vitamin D. This prevents the body from absorbing calcium. Without it, we are susceptible to a wide range of health difficulties including: diseases, cognitive impairment and asthma. It got me thinking about it being a possible cause of my cancer.

Also, Potassium Sorbate, Anthocyanins, citric acid, acesulfame and sucralose are all on the label of the popular children’s drink: Fruit Shoot and they are also E numbers. She stated that manufacturers have gotten around the loophole of having the list any E numbers by calling them by their other chemical names. Shocking! 

She packed so much information into the session that there wasn’t time remaining at the end for questions (though she spoke to individuals outside afterwards). I honestly did not mind though, as I thought the knowledge she shared was  valuable and eye-opening. If I wanted to know more, I could do as she suggested and the research documents she would send for being a new member of her mailing list. 

Other smaller (but just as significant) features of the day were: being convinced that I could eat and like pecan nuts by the charming gentleman of True North. I tasted the Almond Pecan Crunch and consequently brought a pack. 

Cakes & Ish sold a mouth-drooling mushroom curried pattie. I had to track them down on Facebook to find out where I could buy more.

The £10 (worth £20) goody bag sold by Thrive was well worth money. It was a great way to try a load of new and exciting P1020832snacks, teas and other nutritionally kind products without having to rob the bank to do so. As, I have to be frank and say that I found some of the prices in the market hall substantially higher than I felt necessary. The Salted Caramel Coconut Peaks by Inspirational and the Maple and Cinnamon Roll protein balls by DC Wholefoods were delectable and very energising! I will be buying more! 

So well done Thrive Festival, you have found yourself a repeat customer. I look forward to the next event! 

 

It Ain’t Over ‘til I Say it’s Over!

I have started to speak with a cancer psychologist about my thoughts with regards to having had cancer. In my first session, she explained that it is only now after the cancer has gone that I am beginning to experience the shock of the entire experience from diagnosis to surgery. In order to process it healthily, she has advised I face what I am feeling instead of masking it. In this blog, I am attempting to do just that. So, I apologise now for it not being one of my most positive reads.

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Chemtrails

It’s been a month since I was told that I am cancer-free. I can’t stress enough how much of a relief that is. It’s amazing! But there is a caveat. I know this because I keep hearing Cancer’s voice creeping into my thoughts: “It ain’t over ‘til I say it’s over” she warns menacingly. The worst thing is, I know she speaks the truth.

I know exactly what she means, because I have already seen the evidence. What she means by ‘it’, is the horror and terror that reigns at the mere mentioning of her name. I may have gotten a green pass for now but being a new member of the Cancer Community, I am seeing online friends from all over the world still doing their utmost best to oust her from their lives. I watch the updates praying for a great outcome for them but with each tale of metastasis, further chemo treatment and trips to Mexico to find a cure, I get extremely fearful. I am terrified at the thought that cancer is surreptitiously steaming through their cells like a submarine carrying a ballistic missile. The damage she can do is uncontrollable. She takes away lives, loved-ones, hopes, dreams, aspirations, new families, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters. I could go on.

…and I feel all of this.

Every time I see the TV adverts begging for help to find a cure, every time I hear someone new gets a diagnosis, every time I feel a twinge in the place she was removed, every time I see someone living an extremely unhealthy lifestyle, every time a person feels awkward around me because (I assume) they can’t deal with the notion of me having had cancer, every time I crave sugar and indulge but then wonder if I am feeding some undetected cancer, every time I see a chemtrail, every time I see my daughter frown at the vegan meal I made for her because she would prefer chicken, every time I hear of someone’s cancer returning

I feel it.

She makes me feel it!

Every time.

So I guess, until I find some other evidence to counteract the narrative, she is right: it ain’t over ’til she says it is.

Bangin’ Joints & Cancer

I remember about 2 weeks before my mastectomy surgery, I was getting ready for a party. It’s was my friend Petra’s 20170520_220419 40th birthday so it was a big deal. I was looking forward to celebrating with her. I knew there would great people, tasty food and some bangin’ joints (just to be clear that means ‘extra good music’, not any other kind of joint). I hadn’t been out for a few months prior to this night and I was particularly keen to release some tension on the dance floor (I love to dance) as the last few weeks had been considerably taxing mentally.

I had put on my favourite white shorts playsuit, pulled my hair up into a curly bun and was applying my make up in the mirror. I had DJ Milktray playing in the background. He is a motivational DJ from London who knows how to hype up the airwaves. I was swaying whilst applying the finishing touches to my mascara. My mood was that of excitement and ready to par-tay! “You look good” I thought to myself and I admired the image staring back at my entire being.

Then it was if someone had yanked out the plug from my mp3 player, switched the bedroom light off and a shone a harsh spotlight under my chin. You know the kind of lighting that shows up every bump, lump and blemish? For the first time, I looked at myself seriously as all those wonderful feelings fell to the floor like a broken vase and were replaced by a hunk of dead mass in my insides oozing with the pains of my current situation. “…but you have cancer”. For the first time in 4 weeks, it had finally hit home. I had cancer; it was very real. It whacked me like a mallet to the head.

Officially Cancer-Free

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Posted on Facebook on 23.7.17

It has taken a while to post this as I have been getting my head around the news. Of course I am happy, relieved and grateful but I am also very conscious of how lucky I am. I don’t know why I have survived and others have not. Also, as I can never be classed as ‘cured’ I cannot act as if things go back to normal. I can never go back to my pre-cancer utopia.

What I do is understand that I have been blessed and that my creator clearly has other plans for me. Equally, I will be doing my best to become cancer-educated and share those lessons with those who wish to listen.

I have been given an opportunity to review my life and where I’m heading. Having been faced with my own mortality, I am so much more aware of the need to embrace my life fully. Not to do so would be disrespectful of those who wish they have the opportunity I do. So, there it is, I am cancer-free. I just wish all those affected by it, were/are able to say these words. Thank you to everyone that has sent their thoughts, cards, flowers and have prayed. I continue to recover physically and emotionally but for the first time in 3 months, I can start seriously planning for the future again.

I am blessed.

Thank you God! ❤️❤️❤️

Becky’s Cancer Diagnosis – The Movie

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INTERIOR – hospital waiting room with mum. The doctor has just told Becky that her condition is likely to be non-cancerous.

ACTION!

NARRATOR (who is really Becky):  I shared with my mum what had been happening. She told me that she had had one of these appointments and it turned out that she had intraductal papilloma which was removed and she went on her merry way.

(Becky exhales)

Yet another signal that I am okay. Most of these conditions are hereditary right? My mum had the benign condition, I was likely to have that. I’d already consoled myself with the fact that no members of my family had ever had breast cancer, I was fit and generally very healthy. Of course I didn’t have cancer. Why was I tripping?

I heard my name called again, I knew this was to go and see a different radiographer that would scan my breast. I expected that because younger women have denser breast and that made it sometimes difficult for mammograms to get a true picture. The room had a bed to my right and a couple of screens to my left on which held my mammograms images. The Radiographer got straight to the point:

RADIOGRAPHER: On your right breast all is as we would expect. However, on your left breast you have what we call microcalcifications. What we will need to do is perform a biopsy. We will place two titanium clips inside you so we know where we went in. This will make it easier to find the spot.

BECKY: Titanium clips?

CUT!

NARRATOR (who is really Becky): Now, I’ll pause the action there because it was a lot of information right? Yes, it was. Consciously my brain wanted to tackle the notion of these titanium clips in my breasts that apparently wouldn’t go off at airports. However, I was stepping over the injured woman in the road to get the bus driver who was trying to help her. Cognitive dissonance.

“In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values.” Wikipedia

‘I don’t have cancer’ vs ‘this woman just told me she saw microcalcifications in my breast.’

…and ACTION!

BECKY: So do I have a choice as to whether I have these titanium clips?

NARRATOR (who is really Becky): If this woman was a non-clinical traditional Jamaican grandmother, she might have kissed her teeth and tell me that I would be lucky to have a titty in a few weeks, never mind a couple metal clips. But as luck would have it she wasn’t. Although she displayed a little annoyance at the ignorance of my question.

RADIOGRAPHER: No, you don’t have a choice.

NARRATOR (who is really Becky): I managed to find the words to ask about the microcalcifications. I read just a few days ago that microcalcifications in the breast are sometimes cancer. I remember the word because I thought it was weird that calcium was connected to cancer. Wasn’t calcium the good guy? You know the one we all told we must drink more milk in order to get enough of? I later learned that calcium is the wonderful stuff we all need to make our bones and teeth harder. However, when it is in soft tissue, it hardens and therefore becomes deemed as abnormal. I now know that if my immune system was strong enough it would have fought this abnormality and the cells would most likely not have not reproduced to become cancerous.

I asked “ I know that calcification can sometimes means cancer, so if it’s not cancer, what is it?”

Radiographer: Well, if it wasn’t cancer these white spots we see on your image would be clumped together. Your cells are not clumped together.

FLATLINE (SFX)

CUT!

My 3 Month Cancer Whirlwind

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This was taken as I was making my 2nd cancer diagnosis video for Youtube in early May 17. 

The last 3 months have been a whirlwind of stress, upheaval, lessons in controlling my mind, my diet and my environment. They have given me time to focus on what is truly important in my life – my daughter and family are everything! 

I have been enlightened greatly and have had much time to reflect on what I have learned and experienced as a result of my breast cancer diagnosis on 28th April 2017. 

  • I have learnt how important it is to keep only positive people in my circle.
  • I have shared my most private and most detrimental moments with the world (with no regret – it’s for the greater good). I know that already it has prompted people to go to the doctors and get things checked out. Yay!
  • I have experienced the true love of a family that is intensified when crap happens.
  • I have learned to stay calm when minutes before your surgery, you are being told “You have a 50/50 chance of making it through the operation as we have just rediscovered your heart murmur and your heart may not be strong enough to deal with the pressure”.
  • I have learned that not everyone can deal with your cancer diagnosis. Whilst others become selfless in their pursuit of making you comfortable and cancer-educated. Unfortunately I have had the displeasure of discovering those who get excited at the thought you could die (always check who you are sending texts to).
  • I have felt the power of healing through my body as my recovery is amazing even the doctors.
  • I am learning how to make my body nutrient abundant and thus a hostile environment for a recurrence.
  • I discovered this week that I will not have to have chemo (as it came back on the cards).
  • I have experienced the full force of my creator who clearly has other plans for me and I cannot find enough words to show my gratitude. Trust me, I will not let you down. 
  • I know that my perspective, my need to help others and belief that I have much more work to do, has helped me to deal with this whole situation emotionally and spiritually. 
  • I have learned that cancer is on the rise – nearly 1 in 2 people will now get some form of cancer in their lifetime. 1 in 8 will get breast cancer. I now know that causes are closely linked to our diet and environment, yet we are being told more about finding cures over promotion of prevention. 

I am now 5 weeks post surgery and almost 3 months post diagnosis – the enlightenment continues…

Reppin’ for the Trolls!

After watching the Trolls movie with my daughter, for the first time,  I am officially and unashamedly a new fan.

“Why”?

Well, apart from being a well made, aesthetically pleasing, feel-good, and a thoroughly enjoyable movie, I realise that I am a troll! I have always been a troll. I just didn’t know it until now. 

Many real-life Bergens, (the pitiful creatures in the movie, who don’t know how to be happy) never understood where my happiness and joy came from. Just like those in the movie, they believed they had to destroy a troll in order to feel the joy. I used to sometimes hide my troll-like nature as it was too much for some others. If I lived by their rules, I was supposed to wallow in misery, thrive in anger and walk around under a rain cloud of doom.

But nah, never that! That’s not in my nature. 

I am a Troll whose hearts sings, dances, laughs, appreciates, is grateful and acknowledges it is blessed with the ability to beat! 

I’m a troll for life! 

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The Selfie

Today she put on one of her favourite dresses, did her make up and hair, then took this selfie. A million thoughts dash through her mind hourly on what could have been, what still could be, who she was and who she is now. She has no answers. Instead she smiles and presses the button.

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