It hardly feels like it was exactly one (1) year ago to the day, that I shared some pretty exciting news publicly with you; news that would change the landscape of my journey with melanoma and news that would give me permission to invest in a year of allowing me… to well, REALLY explore who ‘me’ is.
It was one (1) year ago that N.E.D (no evidence of disease) came to town! You can read the very popular blog post here.
Although I joked that I was happy for N.E.D to take up residence in our household, I promise it was only a metaphorical invitation, but in all honesty it would have been hilarious to set a place at the dining table and see what my husband Anthony’s reaction would be. No doubt he would just roll his eyes and joke that “I am crazy”. Partially true, I am sure! Come to think of it, why have I never set Winston, our French Bulldog a place at the table? [Side note… there may have been one occasion just recently… hush!]
Of course being N.E.D. has been the biggest blessing our family could have hoped for. The relief is exponential; the weight that has been lifted off these shoulders is indescribable, but truthfully it hasn’t left altogether. No, there is an underlying anxiety that will forever, (I assume) reside.
As with most cancer patients, I expect, the possibility of relapse weighs heavy on the mind; knowledge that the elation that one feels in the moment when wonderful news is gifted, battles with the reality that the same gift could just as easily be taken away. Having experienced this personally when my cancer re-emerged after being dormant for seven (7) years, I confess that this is a big thing I have been working on this last year with my amazing team.
If only there was a wand that could banish fear completely! I would patent that idea!
This last year I have taken a noticeable step back from physically writing about the in’s and out’s of my journey with cancer; I experienced an emotional toll that comes with sharing a story so personally. Amongst the elation, there was also what many refer to as ‘survivor guilt’ and soon the ‘protection bubble’ emerged when I granted the natural ‘empath’ in me too much time in this space. There were a lot of events in this last year, personally, that contributed to me feeling unbelievably tired and reliving some of the scars that cancer has hindered in our lives. While I know that my story was and is continually benefiting many, I became aware that I was also providing a platform for comparisons. And while I know this is often hard to avoid, as a patient searching for answers, I chose instead, as I have always done to focus purely on joy. I invested myself physically in this place, while continuing to do the things that lit me up, and lit our family up! Anyone that follows me on social media would be witness to this journey.
So what has the last year taught me?
My lesson has been self-awareness, and more than anything honouring the person that I am.
While I had been investing so much time, heart and energy in self-care, I think I lost my reigns on being self-aware!
I learnt quickly that I had become quite the ‘professional’ in saying “yes” for so long, that the very notion of saying “no” seemed foreign. Finding the marriage between the two has definitely been a focus this year and I feel so much better for it!
So to give you a little insight, here are my five (5) tips to being self-aware:
- Own you own experience. Please do not expect that others are going to dictate your path, be the commander of your own life.
- Leave comparisons and judgements at the door. Find comfort in yourself.
- It’s okay to say “no”. If it’s not a “hell yes”, honour that feeling and trust your gut.
- Create space for what lights you up, and say hello to joy!
- Honour the love you have for yourself as it will naturally allow you to honour those beautiful souls around you. From love, comes love.
At the end of next month another PET scan looms on the horizon and while I know I have now been off drug treatment for almost six months… I finally feel at peace with moving on from the past.
Earlier this month, I alluded to ‘light bulb moments’ and for me it was a great realization that I can now take a bow to all that I have personally achieved in the last three years and open up this space to celebrate it’s true potential. I have always been a ‘closet-creative’ who thrives on empowering others and this is where my heart lies. I was reminded to dig deep and discover where joy resided, not just on the outside and in material items, but truly within.
Celebrating the milestone of one year N.E.D. has opened a space for me to discover my potential. It’s made me realize that the only limitations are the ones that we place on ourselves, and the only judges are the ones we give voice too.
N.E.D. has not only gifted me time extension, N.E.D. has gifted me insight into who I am and what I want to be. But N.E.D has also gifted me what I can share with you and I am truly excited!
A milestone to be celebrated!
With love, light and bundles of gratitude xx