After watching the Trolls movie with my daughter, for the first time, I am officially and unashamedly a new fan.
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,isgratefuland acknowledges it is blessed with the ability to beat!
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 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?
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.
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.
Okay, maybe I should rephrase that, as I cannot possibly speak for everyone who has cancer. It should read: ‘How to Act Around Becky Knowing She has Cancer’
Dealing with other people’s reactions to my cancer diagnosis, has been one of the most surreal experiences of my life. Once I made the announcement that I had been diagnosed with breast cancer, people started doing some really strange things and I found them remarkably interesting, yet confusing.
Many friends have said to me, that they just did not know what to say to me, and I get it. I have been around people who have had terminal cancer and I spluttered to say ‘I don’t know what to say.‘ I honestly didn’t! These people were dying and in my mind, I couldn’t possibly say anything that would add any value to their precious remaining days.
However, I do not have terminal cancer. I am not dying from the disease. I have/hopefully had (still awaiting results) early stage breast cancer. Yet people still find it difficult to know what to say or how to act. I have been around some of the most wise and confident people who have turned into meek mice upon seeing me.
Therefore, I felt it necessary to try to help people who just cannot find the right words or just do not know how to act when they see me. I have created a list of dos and don’ts. They are based upon the support I need (and have received) as well as some of the responses I have already experienced:
If you are a good friend of mine or a relative, please do not rely on what I put on social media as a way of finding out how I really am. As much as it might look like it, I don’t share all the details of my wellbeing on Facebook. When you do not contact me, as much as my logic might tell me otherwise, it often feels as though you don’t care.
Please do not tell me about your friend who had breast cancer and died. Without seeing my medical notes, you do not know exactly what type of breast cancer I have. Telling me about your friend dying really does not fill me with any encouragement. What I need more than anything is hope and encouragement.
If you are not a good friend, please do not ask me intrusive questions about my treatment. If I wanted to share that information, I would. Please respect my personal boundaries.
Please do not assume that all cancers are the same or have the same result. There are lots of cancers, some a lot more detrimental than others. They do not all result in death.
Everyone who knows me, knows that I had breast cancer, so please do not stare at my chest area when you see me. I post pictures on social media; you are welcome to look at those at your leisure. It’s uncomfortable for both you and I when I catch your eye.
Send me a text or a card to say you are thinking of me every now and again.
Send me flowers with just your name. It tells me that I am in your thoughts.
If you are a good friend, I invite you to ask me about my condition. I actually want to talk about it, it’s therapeutic.
If you are someone I only know through social media, it is fine to post a heart, a kiss or a comment such as ‘I hope you are doing well.’
If you see me out and about, it is perfectly fine just to ask “How are you?”and upon receiving my short reply, “I am not too bad thank you,” you are welcome to talk about something else that makes you feel much more comfortable.
Please feel free to engage me in conversations that have nothing to do with cancer. I am much more than this disease and would like to talk about other topics. I am a whole person with many different interests.
Please do crack jokes and have fun around me. My natural default is to laugh; it’s great for my mental and spiritual wellbeing.
Please, please please, become cancer conscious for yourself and your family. Understand some of the tell-tale signs and be brave enough to go the doctor to get it checked out. Applying this knowledge could save your life. It saved mine.
With all that being said, I know that 99% of people who I interact with only have good intentions and act according to those intentions. Therefore, if you have done or said any of the above ‘don’ts’ or anything else I may have found uncomfortable, do not worry. I have not been offended; I have had to learn that the fear of cancer makes most people a little wobbly – understandably.
Thank you very much to everyone that has reached out in love. I appreciate it very much and it really has helped me to feel positive and hopeful for the future.
I 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.
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.
So the deed has been done. I have had my op to rid my body of breast cancer. It happened last Wednesday. All is well; recovery will be lengthy. Please respect my wishes by not asking intrusive questions as all is still new and I share what I feel comfortable to share. But just so you know I have had a bilateral mastectomy with a diep flap with immediate reconstruction (feel free to Google).
My beautiful daughter can’t show me enough love ❤❤❤
I share all this to say: Don’t ignore the signs of any potential cancer. If something isn’t right, get it checked out. Don’t let fear, a busy schedule, ignorance or whatever stop you from potentially saving your life.
I’ve just finished my 3rd post surgery walk. I am feeling so accomplished as 3 days after surgery I was only able to venture 5 metres before breaking down in a fit of tears as my mind was so sure my body could walk much further. The nurses had quickly wheeled me back to my bed and that was all the walking I was able to do that day. I hadn’t anticipated how much surgery would dissipate my lung capacity.
Well today (just 8 days later) I just walked over 100 metres! The body is so amazing! I look forward to the day when I can return to the gym 😊. I can’t believe this dramatic series of events has become my life.