How my lifestyle helped me through my Cancer diagnosis…

Your results are back and it’s Melanoma – skin cancer.

My world stopped for a second in the Dr’s office.

Wait, what?

4 months ago I was diagnosed with skin cancer.

Paul held my hand really tight and tears just rolled down my eyes. I didn’t hear anything else the Dr said. I just heard the word Cancer.

I don’t remember anymore from that day.

I didn’t expect these results. But here we are….

Last 4 months have been really challenging on my mental and emotional health. Due to all the surgeries, I haven’t been able to move much and do what I love, what helps me recharge and helps me release the stress to make me feel better.

I had some very dark moments. But that’s not what I want to talk about. 

I want to tell you, what helped me every single day and what has helped me get through the morning to the evening.

When I started my weight-loss journey, I made certain habits my non-negotiables. That means they get done and it’s my responsibility to make time for them.  Practicing these habits every day has helped me create a routine that makes me feel great and I feel my best. Yes, keeping body fat low for health is still important to me but what this journey gave to me is that my wellness and happiness is my responsibility. Nobody else can do that for me.

Every Dr I saw in the last 4 months, they all said ‘you are fit and healthy’. I heard it so many times. It made me so grateful that I keep my body fit so when I have to undergo each surgery my body is in its best position to deal with it and recover.

In the past if I couldn’t exercise, I’d just quit all together because what’s the point…..that’s the mentality I moved away from. It didn’t happen over night and it’s still a work in progress.

I knew how important my routine is for me. To show up for my family, my daughter, my husband and my clients the best I can despite facing medical challenges.

With all the different phone calls, hospital appointments, letters and tests I was emotionally and mentally exhausted. And I couldn’t do what usually helps me – exercise.

So here is what I’ve been doing last 5 years that helped me get through this part of my life….

Make time to do what makes me happy. Normally this would be exercise. But exercise wasn’t an option. I still wanted to make sure I do something mindful to fill that time. Paul suggested colouring and it turns out I love it. Every day without a fail I coloured. And I still do now. It makes me calm and present. I am not an artist but I really like it.

Morning routine. As and when I could between the surgeries, and after I recovered I was back to my morning routine. This includes a glass of water, outdoors walks or workout, gratitude & breath work. While I couldn’t walk much I still went outdoors to get some day light & did some light yoga read a book or colour.

Apart from few binge eating episodes I kept my nutrition in check. I knew I need a good energy to help my body to get through this. Food is the energy. What we put in our body directly impacts the mood and leads into different behaviours. After I had my binge eating episode I left it in the past. I knew it was short term comfort. And right then I needed it. I didn’t feel guilty as it didn’t repeat after. And I knew I don’t want it to carry on. I just needed short term comfort at that time. However,  I made sure I deal with my emotions differently every day to make sure I don’t have this urge too often. 

Once the anaesthetics  worn off I would return to my bed time routine to sleep min 7 hour per night. Prioritising sleep is important as it has a knock on affect on the behaviours and moods the days after. I allowed rest. I rested even more throughout the day as my body needed it. I became very good at listening to my body to give it what it needs. And if I was tired, I rested. Yes, I have piles of laundry around the house but that can wait. My body can’t.

Manage my feelings. Now this was hard. Impossible at times. I didn’t know how to handle certain situations and until I had my last results I didn’t really know how much weight I was carrying on my shoulders. Mindfulness is a huge part of my life now (has been for a few years now), practicing gratitude daily, spending time doing things mindfully and present. Allowing myself to feel the discomfort, anger, pain, stress that came with my feelings is not easy, but it’s necessary. If I bottled my feelings, it would come out in and out burst like it used to in the past. And that’s not an option.

Taking it day by day. One thing at a time. This was the only way I could get through every day. I plan every day to every minute (not as literally) to allow me to live every day the best I can. This is what I tell me clients. Take one day at a time. Win today and then take on tomorrow. So I fully embraced it even more.

While my emotions were strong and I let them be, I did things that I knew would bring me smile and joy, so I don’t stay in the dark places too long. Me and Alica love dancing in the kitchen or singing her favourite tunes in the car. Paul said it’s a good job I’m a good coach and PT because my singing sucks, but I carried on haha.

Last week I had my results from the last surgery and it’s all gone now. I was happy for a short period of time and then I cried. I cried and I couldn’t stop. This is when I realised how much weight I really carried. While I had the support, help and network of people who helped me every day it was still hard.

My journey to lose weight started with me wanting to lose weight and look better. Very soon I realised I’d be gaining way more than I’m losing (body fat). The mindset change, the resilience and the ability to carry on with my habits through these hard time are the biggest gains for me that nobody can take away from me.

I have good and bad moments.

But every day is a good day.

Mindset over matter.

I’m grateful. 

I’m grateful for today.

I’m grateful for every day I have.

I’m grateful for the people who were and are there for me.

Nothing is changing. My routine stays the same. I will slowly start exercising too. And I can’t wait to lift weights again.

I wrote this blog to tell you that life isn’t always easy. Life will throw challenges at us. It will be hard at times.

I also wanted to move forward and I this has helped me to do that.

Thank for taking time to read this, I really appreciate it.

Sending you a lots of love