Becks in the City

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Tag: cancer awareness

Strategic Objective: Stay Alive! When Positive Thinking is not Enough

Always look on the bright side of life.”

“Wake up and smell the roses.”

“See the glass as half full instead of half empty.”

These popular sayings are designed to help us to get out of our ‘funky’ states, to awaken the go-getter within us and help us live peaceful happy lives. Believing in such sayings and adopting a positive mindset can and does help people through life’s small challenges as usually, those who think positively have a problem-solving outlook on life. This is a wonderfully useful trait to possess, but positive thinking alone has its limitations.

Looking back now, it was a pretty green way of looking at things but thinking positively was my default way of dealing with life in most instances. I often chose to see the good, hardly ever focusing on the negative and took a very optimistic approach to life. This was how I wired, I believed in this even before I started reading the Anthony Robbins, Dr Phill and Jack Canfield self-development books. Being this way, served its purpose on many an occasion. I still do lean towards a more favourable outcome in most instances, but now I am wiser.

Positive thinking can do the very opposite of what you want. You see, if you always believe only good can happen, you then become blind to (or choose not to see) the not so great stuff that takes place. I am hesitant to use the word ‘bad’ because the word conjures up something that is negative and has no use. I believe that uncomfortable or painful (more useful words) situations are there to teach us something.

I am talking about problems that cause deep angst, extreme pain, worry and hurt, such as: dealing with the loss of a business, becoming bankrupt, losing a baby, coping with the end of a relationship, struggling with ill-health, facing severe self-hate, facing a cancer diagnosis etc… You know what your pain is. Whatever that pain is, it is there to tell you something, if you will just listen.

It was clear to me from very early on after my cancer diagnosis, that I needed to take control of my thoughts and go beyond believing that as long as I adopted good thoughts, everything would be okay. This was too damn important to switch off and become blind to my predicament.

My business mind clicked into place as soon as I knew what I was dealing with. I kept at the forefront, the vision: I want a future with me in it. I then had to (with the help of the surgeons) create an effective strategy that was robust and had a high chance of success. I did my due diligence in between hospital appointments and researched the hell out of DCIS and invasive ductal carcinoma, with and without metastasis, with and without chemotherapy, with and without radiation.

It was important for me to do the risk assessment, know what the possible hazards are and have plans put in place to tackle any unfortunate outcome. I created a business plan for my life and my possible untimely death.

I believe people create their own luck by great preparation and good strategy.

Jack Canfield

This was strategic thinking working its ass off! I had kicked its predecessor ‘positive thinking’ to the kerb. I needed a method that was realistic in its assessment of the moment, forward thinking and laser focused on the goal.

My leadership skills faced their ultimate challenge. Keep Rebbecca alive!

Did Stress Give Me Cancer?

                           My state of mind prior to my diagnosis


I had cancer, right? The question I had to ask myself is: why was I able to get cancer? What was it about the conditions in my body that enabled this disease to take hold of my healthy cells and ultimately lead to me losing a part of my body? So, I embarked on a journey of research. I wanted to know how to prevent recurrences in the future.

Back in prehistoric times, stress was an essential part of human biology. We were vulnerable against the elements, which could cause natural disasters and we were also at risk from being taken down by predators. The body has an inbuilt system that helps us to avoid being eaten, attacked or destroyed. When in danger, the body has physiological responses such as pumping more blood to the heart and/or the muscles. These responses then help us to either run for our lives or stay and fight. The body can even enhance the immune system to help prepare wounds quickly. It’s the well-known fight or flight response. However, our bodies were not designed to endure long periods of stress. Consequently, what happens when the body experiences long-term stress, it takes its toll on our immune system.

This is the scientific bit now. Stay with me as this is important!

Corticosteroids are hormones which are made in the adrenal cortex.  What does that mean? 

Essentially, steroids (naturally produced in the body) reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system. You may have heard of synthetic steroids being used for a variety of reasons such as reducing pain for people with arthritis and lupus. They can also help with hay fever and eczema. The fact that they help to reduce inflammation, makes synthetic steroids useful for the body (these steroids are not to be confused with  anabolic steroids which are often used by body builders to gain muscle mass).

However, as I said, corticosteroids also lower the immune system. The immune system, when working correctly, is our friend. No scrap that, it is our life-saver. It fights infections on our body’s behalf by using leukocytes (also known as white blood cells). There are different types of white blood cells such as T Cells, and B Cells. T Cells can also be referred to as killer cells as they destroy antigens (foreign substances that invade our tissues and subsequently lower our immune systems).

When experiencing chronic stress (stress over a long period of time), corticosteroids are released into the blood stream. This in turn, lowers our immune system and we are prone to contracting diseases that our cells struggle to eliminate. With cancer specifically, T cells are usually our soldiers that go out and destroy the rogue cells.


T cells have the important role of assessing whether cells are healthy or potentially harmful; if a harmful antigen is detected, T cells spring into action and trigger an immune response, activating other immune cells to immediately target and kill the pathogens. This also leads to the development of antibodies, which recognise pathogens with the same antigens if they are encountered again in the future, meaning they can be rapidly targeted.”

This begs the question, what the hell happens to T-cells when cancer rears its ugly head? Why do they not kill the cancer cells like they are supposed to? From what I can see, there is a lot of debate around this area but one thing most clinical professionals seem to agree on, is that it is because cancer cells are clever. If the cancer cells sense danger, they can change the way they look or even become invisible to the t-cells so they cannot be spotted and consequently destroyed. If cancer wasn’t such an evil, destructive beast, I might hold it in admiration and marvel at its genius.

In my quest to identify why I got cancer, finding out of these facts concerning the immune system’s response to stress, makes a lot of sense to me. I had let stress become a part of my family. It took up residence in my body, made itself at home and wreaked havoc and I let it. I let it because I didn’t think it was much of an issue. Everyone gets stressed, right? I thrive off tight deadlines and pressured environments, that how I get stuff done. Maybe if these occurrences were occasional, that would have been fine. There’s nothing wrong with having a little stress occasionally to help you get stuff done. But to have it show up daily, from the moment you wake up ‘til when you go to bed, it’s a problem.

It is scientifically proven that it can harm you physically. I’ve only spoken about how stress affects the immune system in detail, but like I say it can detrimental implications to the rest of your body too. Why do many of us not take this seriously enough? 

So, did stress give me cancer? I can’t prove it – no one can but I strongly suspect it had a significant role to play in me contracting the disease. 


This blog is an excerpt from my forthcoming book: The Gifts that Cancer Gave Me

The 10 Changes I’ve Made Since Becoming Cancer Free

20643275_10159506323540221_103051546048746514_oIn two days, it will be exactly 6 months since I had my breast cancer surgery – a bilateral mastectomy to be precise. It has been one big ole crazy journey and I guess one that will not end anytime soon. The reason doctors generally don’t say, ‘You’ve been cured’ and prefer the term ‘cancer-free’ is because once you’ve had the disease, you are at greater risk from getting a recurrence (though the likelihood does lessen as time goes on).

This little piece of knowledge could really depress me if I let it. I could constantly be on edge, checking myself daily for any changes, getting paranoid from the tiniest niggle or ache but I choose not to. Instead, I am seeing the opportunities to live a healthier, fuller and more fulfilling life. I am embracing the gifts cancer gave me.

My life has already changed dramatically since 28th April 17 when I was officially charged with DCIS and invasive breast cancer. As I lean into the changes that I know I need, I vindicate my spirit and choose to live life on my terms.

I am now…


  1. F25158435_10160085984140221_8269649721085243961_nollowing a plant-based lifestyle. Most people who know me, see that I now follow a plant-based diet. This means different things to different people but what it means for me is that I no longer eat meat or dairy but instead, my diet is filled with natural produce from the earth and fish for my essential fatty acids & vitamin B12 (although I am working on weening fish out in 2018).


  1. Minimising social chatter. Those who know me on Facebook or Instagram, may have noticed that I am not as present as I used to be, that’s because I have deleted these apps from my phone. Oh my gosh! This has been a Godsend! My clarity of thought has improved, I do not get anxious as easily, I am much more focused and I get more done! After all, did we not have rich and fulfilled lives before the existence of these mediums?
  1. Avoiding toxic people. You can just smell them before they enter the room. They stare at you, beckoning you into their poisonous atmosphere. I am having none of it! If I suspect you are carrying bad vibes in your aura, I’m gone to tomorrow. There is not much worse than allowing a soul vampire to suck your positive energy dry.
  1. Indulging in music therapy. My soul has been soothed with some serious vocal and musical delights this year. I have attended quite a few of ‘Reed Bass Presents’ events this autumn. I cannot tell you how cathartic these sessions have been. I have sat there, sometimes with tears flowing down my face as the melodies and the golden voices of vocalists such as Nat Chards, Ola Brown and Sapphire Sings reached my core and coerced me to feel emotions again and released the numbness I used for protection.
  1. Being mindful of my thoughts. I am not going to sit here and pretend that everything is ‘cook & curry’ (as many Jamaicans would say. Meaning ‘everything is okay’); it’s not. I have had some really dark days (and still do), when I allow my mind to think about the dire possibilities i.e. the cancer returning, having to have another operation or worse still, leaving my daughter without a mum. Or sometimes, I try and reconcile what has happened to me. Some days I still find it difficult to believe that I had cancer. It’s weird. But lately I have had to remind myself of the energies that I am attracting when I think about these things. I believe that you attract the energy you focus on the most. I want to live a life that is full of fun experiences, magical moments and lots of happiness. Therefore, I actively choose to think about the endless positive experiences coming my way, in order to think the right elements into existence.

workout-1931107_12806. Partaking in Pilates classes. I used to think holistic classes such as Yoga and Pilates were boring. As a former Zumba instructor, I was used to loud music, high impact jumping and pumping. That certainly has its place, however what has been so lovely about Pilates is that I have been able to show kindness to my body whilst still challenging it. It’s going to be a while before I can bounce (I’m still healing from the operation), so Pilates offers me a way of staying toned in a way that will not interfere with my healing. Plus, the relaxing environment and serenity leave me feeling renewed and chilled out.

  1. Not caring so much about what people think about me. I have just gone through the most traumatic experience of my life and for the most part, I was very public about it (as it helped me to deal with the enormity of it all). Compared to this, most previously little stressful events, now feel like an ant scratching a giant’s foot. They just aren’t relevant.

25182113_10160077279240221_5819973162538717592_o8. Being completely present when playing with my daughter. Prior to my diagnosis, I was guilty of utilising a double consciousness when spending so called ‘quality time’ with my daughter. Half my mind was in the activity in which we were engaged and the other half was in: work, my list of chores, who I needed to email next, etc… It wasn’t fair on her. Now, I put down my phone, turn off the TV, I actively listen to all the important words coming out of her mouth and I dedicate chunks of time when I am completely hers. What played in my mind many times when I first found out I had cancer was ‘I can’t leave her.’ So why would I choose to be here and not be present in her life now?


  1. Meditating. I am very conscious of the fact that stress can lower the immune system and that when it is lowered, you are at greater risk from getting a disease. So, meditation offers a great way to de-stress. When all is quiet, I sit on my sofa or bed, switch off the lights and either listen to some meditation music, or sit in silence. This leaves me feeling clear of the brain fog and much more relaxed. I have on occasion, woken up with very stiff crossed legs.
  1. Following my dreams. When I was at my mum’s house recovering for weeks on end, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I really wanted to do. For a few months after that, I dismissed those things as pipe dreams but now that I have started to seriously focus on that which I truly desire, I’m already starting to reach for those dreams. I am not saying much now but I will say: You’d better keep watching this space. 😊 


***If you want to keep up with my continued journey to stay cancer-free, subscribe to this blog below. ***

My 3 Month Cancer Whirlwind


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…

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.


Today I Met the New Becky

Kiss ass networking

Paula (3rd from the left) with fellow Kick Ass Business women Leila, Shanta and Wendy (L to R).

Today, I met the new Becky as she publicly and in-person told a group of people about her cancer diagnosis and how this is changing her life for the better. This happened at my sister, Paula’s Kick Ass business networking event.


It is week 3 post operation. I went with my mum and daughter to break up the monotony of staying at home. It was the first time since my surgery I had attended any sort of social event. More than anything, I was looking forward to lunch at Bearwood’s Kings Head Pub. I didn’t expect to meet her but when my sister asked me to speak for 60 seconds (like everyone else), to my surprise the new Becky made an appearance.

She was scared, I could tell. Her heart rate had doubled and she was wringing her fingers. She was definitely uneasy because she is no longer the old familiar Becky with the pre-diagnosis confidence. But she is this new, unexplored, uncharted Becky who has gone through an enormous shell shock not only mentally and physically but also spiritually.

Unlike the old Becky, she could not rely on old thought patterns to work her way through a conversation. Every second a trillion thoughts passes through her mind, could I trust the new Becky would pick the right words when responding to friends and strangers alike?19657157_10159341521030221_432370244410654052_n

Unlike the old Becky, she could not rely upon the old body confidence she had, because back then she knew every inch of her perfections and flaws. Would she crack when people tried to sneak a peak at her new frame?

Unlike the old Becky, she could not rely on her previous perspective of the world


This one is completely new and is formulating the whole time. Could this version of Becky express her thoughts as eloquently as her predecessor?

This new Becky is way ahead of me and my limiting beliefs. Although she was scared, unsure of her new body and working through her new way of seeing things, she spoke with a level of strength, self-assurance and wisdom I have never witnessed.

Yes, she was uneasy but she shared anyway, and with each word yielded, she grew that little bit taller. Almost as if her new self was being rewarded with new layers of clay reinforcements for every shared expression. 

new becky

The new Becky


Okay, so she was still getting used to her new body but actually she remembered: it is new and improved. She is nipped and tucked and learning to understand the benefits of this. She knows in time she will be completely ready to show the world what she is working with.

The fact her perspective has changed, is actually a bonus! Her new eyes had been unwrapped, put in place and glistened with the excitement of fresh possibilities. She began to see where she would fit into this unseen world and where she would place herself to not only serve others but finally serve herself (this was a big issue of the old Becky).

The new Becky is gangster! She is a wise new lady. She is the woman I never imagined I could ever be. What a gift! I am honoured and privileged to step into her being. I do not take this position for granted. I step into her greatness fully acknowledging the blessing that has been bestowed upon me, knowing many have not been afforded this opportunity.

Thank you xxx


The Gifts Cancer Gave Me

14990943_10153839119141809_216730187256305489_oI am not angry that I got cancer; I am not upset. This is not to say that I am joyous and happy. Instead I am grateful for the gifts it has given me.

My attitude is similar to that of Sophie Sabbages’, author of The Cancer Whisperer and a stage 4 cancer patient. She believes that cancer comes into your life to tell you something about how you have been living and if you listen to that you can live an extraordinary rich life. I believe that I have been given an opportunity to reflect on my life and change it for the better.

First and foremost, it is important for me to say that I realise how fortunate I am to be in my position. I have been diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. Although anything could happen in the future, the prognosis for someone in my situation is very good. I am likely to go on to lead a long life (provided I don’t die of something else). I can’t express how much this knowledge truly humbles me as it could has so easily have been a very different story for me. I can only thank God for my situation and try my best to live the greatest possible life, as I imagine most other cancer patients blessed with the same opportunity would.

Things were very different pre-diagnosis. I was stressed, very stressed. I was earning a decent income (for once) from my arts education company but you know how it goes: with more money, comes more problems. Those problems included: taking on more and more work (to ensure I never go back to a life of poverty), managing people, running my Zumba class, balancing my work and personal life, being a single mother and everything that comes with that, blah, blah, blah. It was a lot! Every day I woke up feeling an immense amount of mental pressure. My only outlets were being around my daughter and family and working out… and boy did I work out!

Now that I am being forced to reflect on everything, it is a chance for me to rid my mind and body of toxicity, to pursue the dreams I have always had, to be happy, to spend more time with my daughter, family and close friends.

It is prompting me to eliminate the fear of a lack of abundance, other people’s negative motives, phobias, failure and so much more.

It offers the opportunity to nourish my body with the best live natural foods, to calm down on the exercise and treat it with less intense yet enjoyable physical activities.

It presents the pleasure of spa days, detoxifying saunas, music therapy, singing and dancing for joy, days in the park with my daughter, therapeutic Vitamin D in fabulous sunny climates. 



Zumba Convention 2011 with Ollie and Natallia in Orlando, Florida. One of the best rips of my life!


It promotes more time to read, learn, teach, inspire, motivate and share my learning to those who need it most.

Therefore, I do not regret the fact that I contracted cancer. Rather, I am grateful for the gift that this dis-ease has given me. It has awoken me from my slumber and is allowing me to start again with a full appreciation of the richness life has to offer me, with the horse powered motivation to pursue it.

Thank you cancer.

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