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"
Sylvia Sidwell on June 11 2020 at 03:02PM
wow! so sad but inspirational. my story so similar but slightly different. I had glandular fever and ended up not seeing, could not talk or understand what people were saying. could not sit up or walk – yes face on floor crawling go bathroom. took me four years to function. so it all you amazing ladies hold hands
alexandra adamson on June 11 2020 at 03:05PM
6 years ago I lost my best friend my mum to cancer. she had breast cancer ,she need chemo and also radio therapy, the radiotherapy damaged her heart. she was very weak lost a lot of work .like you she never gave up she said she was lucky as she had the best daughters and grandchildren she could ever ask for . she always told me to always look on the bright side , to never be negative smile and everything will be better,mum did a lot for other people,raising money for different charities . it’s what she was right up to the end even when she was really poorly she never stop smiling , all the things my mum taught me I have passed to my children and now passing on to my granddaughters, I feel like the luckiest person to have the children I do always thinking of someone else even though they have there own health problems . I loved your story very inspirational. you look a very happy lady god bless you and your family keep going.
Vera on April 22 2020 at 02:48PM
Very inspiring story keep going well Done
Hannah Mahrouche on April 16 2020 at 10:10AM
Loving your story on how you founded your business and put it into action , the packaging looks amazing !!
A really inspirational story ❤️
Steph Milsom on April 04 2020 at 06:22PM
Hi. Yes very inspirational lady
I think through Illness we find a protective code we find inner strength to keep us going. And no one or nothing will knock us down But then I see some that over use this and push partners away. We have to be also aware of others as it’s not easy to understand. Talk talk and talk more as much as u don’t wAnt yo go to your depths of your soul incase they run a mile.
I’ve had a whole life of pain except my first 13 yrs
I am 52 now.
I’m a pro at self isolation with this virus dooming the world we will get through this. But in the meantime
You need to get healthy I’ve had High quart amputation
So I’m doing Phisio at home. Lots of yoga u don’t have to go crazy. Legs over head etc. Just nice and calm
Take up painting or any hobby.
Takin care of your inner wellbeing plenty of sleep and water. Will help complection. Why not spend time on your facial muscles too. I’m going to pamper myself with facial creams too. Stay safe and aware
Olga Danes-Volkov on February 24 2019 at 03:54PM
Your story is indeed inspirational and has actually lifted me from a terrible slough of despond. After leaving my darling husband of over 30 yrs because he’d become an awful alcoholic, I went to live with someone who’d always been the love of my life. I was 70, gave up every part of my life, animals, job, everything to join him abroad. 3 lovely years and a month ago he told me he didn’t want me any more and this week he said he’d been living with me “with great difficulty”. We were so happy, honestly or more accurately, I was. He obviously wasn’t as happy as he appeared. Well, your story made me appreciate what I do have at 73, half a house, all my limbs tho’ rather broken and a husband who doesn’t drink any more though he does drive me potty! I will rise again from the ashes, thank you so very much
Yvonne McQueen on May 17 2017 at 10:57AM
Inspirational story, and one with which I can identify. I was diagnosed with metastatic cancer in 1981 – a Hydatidiform Mole pregnancy. Extremely rare but very treatable, thank goodness. 6 months of very hard chemo in Charing Cross Hospital, and I got better. Sadly never had children, just a lot of miscarriages, then the Mole. Chemo was beyond disgusting then (it’s probably improved now), but I got better, and that’s what counts. Lost my hair, eyebrows, eyelashes – well, all my hair. But that changed my outlook on life – an outlook that prevails today. About 12 years later, I had a brain haemorrhage, with two lots of brain surgery. All very nasty, but again I got better. Not a walk in the park though. And so my “let’s do it” attitude continued (within financial constraints). It was our 25th wedding anniversary in 1997 and we decided to go to Barbados to celebrate it. Unbeknown to my husband, I saved very hard (was self-employed by then!) and we flew on Concorde one way. It was a total surprise to him when he found out at Heathrow. Grossly extravagant, I know, and I worked my butt off to do it. Someone said to me that they thought it was silly, too much money etc (yes), and my reply was typically flippant – “you’re a long time dead”. And my lovely, gorgeous, intelligent, sexy husband was dead 18 months later of lung cancer. He was diagnosed in the April of 1998 and died 6 months later. We had NO idea he was ill (he seemed really well) when we were away in 1997, but as it turned out, that was our last holiday together. So if ever there’s a reason for “doing it if you want to, and can” then that was it. I am fortunate enough to travel a lot, and I believe none of us is owed a tomorrow (bit gloomy I know). Never put off doing things – whatever they are. This isn’t about flying supersonic anywhere (you can’t now anyway), it really is just about not putting things off. I admire what you are doing Tracey, as (having endured chemo), it can’t be easy. Live your life to the full, your products are really wonderful (I am awaiting more as I type!), and just enjoy life. As Claire Turner has written on your website “Onwards and Upwards”. And can I add, “and it will all be wonderful”. Stay well, stay safe and stay positive! xx
patricia on April 24 2017 at 11:19AM
Tracy, i just love your creams and the eye gel is truly wonderful. You certainly are an inspirational lady, i too have cancer after being told my bladder was clear of cancer it has turned up,in my lungs and pelvis . Reading you ladies writings feel as i willm try your creams to make I am in a friendly club .
Louise Monk on March 17 2017 at 03:40PM
This is like you have wrote a little story about me, when I was ill with cancer and what my outlook on life is now. I do things now because I want to and to help people and it makes me so happy. I try and not stress too much about housework or the irrelevant things and try to focus on a happy family environment.
Thankyou for this blog. It has made me realise that I am one of the luckiest girls too. ❤️
Lindsay Dawson on February 20 2017 at 04:58PM
An inspiring blog! Your advice is spot on – most especially showing the negativity (and people who have a negative influence on us) the door! Life is too short for additional stresses. Keep on doing what you’re doing and touching people and inspiring people with your story xxx
Maureen on February 07 2017 at 06:07AM
What an inspiration you are I’m 74 years old yea that’s old I like to. Dress nice wear make up I use your lovely products,I have a few more wrinkles than I would like,I have rhumatoid arthritis and my ammunition system is 50% less because I self inject .we also have a 46 year old son who has heart failure he lives with us ,not easy but I am also one of the luckiest women alive ihave a lovey daughter and son in. Law 2 amazing grandchildren boy and girl who bring so much love into our lives , so lm one off the luckiest people alive ,we try and keep as active as we can .we have a caravan and used to walk 8to10miles every weekend I now can only do 5 but at least I try so once again I’m the luckiest women alive Thankyou for your inspiration lovely lady x
Claire Turner on February 04 2017 at 05:20PM
Tracey you are truly inspirational!
Having gone through everything you have ( apart from floor incident) I truly agree with everything you have said!
Everyday is a blessing and like wise negativity is banished and move on!
Onwards and Upwards is my motto!
I am stronger than before and I won’t allow anyone to take that away from me!
If people don’t like the new me then ta
Chemo never owned me! I wouldn’t allow it to!
You are doing great! Keep up the good work!
Suzy Hurst on February 04 2017 at 02:26PM
Tracey, you are incredible. I just love your out look on life. Im talking your golden rules by the scruff of the neck & make my life even better.
Sending you so much love
Caran Stone on February 04 2017 at 01:57PM
Amazing! What a great outlook on life and very inspirational. Can’t begin to know what you went through but obviously your positivity has helped you through xx