Very slowly and deliberately the nurse spoke down the phone ’is someone with you?’
My whole body went cold. My life drained down through my legs, cold and filled with anguish.
I’d just spent the better part of an hour trying to get the nurse on the end of the phone to tell me why I needed to go back for ‘more tests’.
I knew why.
Not because she’d told me but because I just knew.
And when she finally buckled under my persistence and said ‘is someone with you’ my fears were confirmed.
I was 34, Matilda was 4, Henry was 5 and … she told me …. ‘I had cancer’ ….
I just wanted to run.
To just somehow, I don’t know … run.
Run and run and run and run.
Just escape it, get away.
And no matter what you’re facing; I really think that if you stick with me then well … you can be too …
Even when you hit rock bottom.
Just 3 months after that fateful telephone conversation with the nurse, I was in hospital, on my hands and knees … most of my hair had fallen out …. pale as a sheet …. no eyebrows, my nose literally pressed against the disinfected floor … I was in pain. I’d had to leave my hospital bed to go to the toilet but I didn’t have the strength and I fell to the floor … I ended up crawling, trying to get the attention of a ward nurse to help me. I felt so ill I really thought I was on my way out ….
You see, one of the strangely ‘beautiful’ twists of chemotherapy is that it not only can strip you of your hair, eyebrows and leave you looking pale as a pot of emulsion but it can literally wipe out your immune system.
That means any slight exposure to ‘bugs’ and whammy you are DOWN!
And that’s what happened to me. Chemotherapy administered, sent home, immune system wipe out, back in hospital for days …
And that episode I think was rock bottom.
Crawling, face in floor, weak and desperate … I must of looked like some kind of poorly gowned ghostly Gollum from Lord of the Rings.
Yet, even then I felt like the luckiest lady alive.
I can’t pretend I was smiling while my nose pressed into the floor but I still knew how lucky I was …
And I still am and the luckiest lady alive.
Perhaps, because I just want a few things …
- A: I want to be happy.
- B: I want every day to be smooth and stress free.
- C: I want to do things that help make other people feel better about themselves. Why? Well, it’s selfish really … I want to do that because it makes ME feel good …
It’s not much really.
And it’s WAY different than what I thought I wanted when I was in my twenties. Maybe that happens. You know, as you get older, you start to see things more simply.
Or maybe it’s because of the journey I’ve had so far. Not that there’s anything really special about it, there are millions of people having a harder time than me in this country right this second and as I write that I once again remember ‘I am the luckiest lady alive.’
But it doesn’t really matter.
Let me share with you the three things I do that keep me in ‘shape’.
That help stop the worry.
End the stress.
And help give me the ‘space’ and ‘power’ to push forward and create, do new things, expand myself, look after Henry (junior and senior), Matilda and turn HighBorn into something that really helps people feel good about themselves.
And I have a sneaky little suspicion that if you accept my challenge and do the same then perhaps, just perhaps they’ll help you join my smiley club of the ‘luckiest ladies alive’ :-)…
Physical. In my teens and early twenties I could eat whatever I wanted, do hardly any exercise and still remain look ok. I was lucky then too! I remember back in early 2002 Henry (senior) suggested we do some running. It felt like I’d never run in my life and I wasn’t about to start. I hated it!
But now I know better. You can’t be happy if you’re not healthy. If you don’t do some form of exercise.
You don’t need to go mad and run a 10km every other day. Just get your heart rate up for 10 minutes or so a day.
So whatever suits you … walking, running, swimming, cycling … as long as it gets your heart rate up …
Emotional. If someone is dragging me down; I 'get rid' of them.
Not in a horrid way; but I just slowly spend less time associating with them.
Because energy leaks out, is sucked out of you if someone drains you. And you can’t get that energy back.
And I don’t do anything I don’t want to do (as far as possible). What’s the point in that anyway? Doing things we don’t want to do? What a waste of life. None of us are here for long whatever way you cut it so spend deliberate time planning how to do more of things you enjoy and less of those you don't ... and watch how good you feel.
Mental. Our minds are like a muscle and if we don’t use them then well they get all spongey and weak. So I do something everyday to fire the old synapsis.
Read something different.
Learn something new.
Write down ideas. For HighBorn, for these articles, for where to go on holiday, for what I can do to help others have a nicer time.
Just something every day. You’ll be amazed how quickly those little things add up to a big change in how quick your mind beats stress, how quickly it comes up with solutions to problems.
And that’s it …
My recipe for being the luckiest lady alive … no matter what …
It works for me, I'm not sure it'll work for you but perhaps give those three little things a try and just see … you never know … they might just be the start of something amazing …
And even if they’e not … don’t forget … you are amazing anyway xxx
"It's about Beauty. It's about Class. It's about YOU"