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Near perfect

I’ve reached a point now where I can lift my head occasionally and see something truly beautiful, perhaps even laugh a little. Here I sit at the close of a truly wonderful weekend with new, very precious memories to start filling the next chapter of my life…

On Friday, I packed my carrot juice – in retrospect, a really bad move, as it leaked all over my bag, coat and gloves – we loaded up the car and headed out to Freshfield forest following the advice of a good friend. On my trip back to Hemel Hempstead, I had something of a revelation. I realised that the one thing I was missing was my time in the woods. I needed to recharge. I love this place where hills, forest and beach meet and are within easy reach!

I saw my first ever red squirrel!! Sadly, my camera didn’t meet expectations, so I just have a blur that blended with the background, but it was there and terribly cute! Apparently they’re shy critters, but you’d never have guessed from watching this one. I suspect he was too busy taunting the crow to be bothered by our presence.

Freshfield 1

‘Dogs on leads’ is, of course, optional… It was pure doggy paradise!

freshfield 2

Cure for melancholy prescribed by an old friend… Go take a walk in the woods!

freshfield 3

This camera isn’t the best, but for capturing the day, it suffices. I loved the gnarled, weather-beaten woods.

freshfield 4

Windy grasses. It was a glorious day!

freshfield 5

… with random asparagus. Apparently these lands used to be asparagus farms. Ideal soil for it.

freshfield 6

Beautiful wood carvings were to be seen at regular intervals

freshfield 7

Where forest meets beach

freshfield 8

Three guesses as to which way the wind blows

freshfield 9

freshfield 91

Even the snails were huddled together to keep warm. The sun may have been shining, but it was very chilly!

freshfield 92

We ended at a lovely pub for dinner. Thank you to Ste and Tat for making a day with very special memories for me :)

 Yesterday, I took myself off for a treat and had a hour long reiki session, something I’ve promised myself for years. It was pleasant. If it did nothing else, it gave me an hour of much needed nothingness, a time out of the inside of my head.

Today was a day of relaxing and just doing whatever my whim leads me to, which included a box of coloured pencils, a very special and rather spectacular colouring in book, enjoying a feast cooked by the amazing Ste and cooking up a traditional Tomatie Bredie for the kids to enjoy tomorrow.

I have a lot of very important and life-altering decisions to make in the next couple of weeks. I’m grateful for the gift of this weekend.

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2015 in life, Nature

 

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I believe

reincarnation - sara broski
Art by Sara Broski. I loved her work! Very whimsical.
Do click on the image to see more.

 

This is a repost of one of my earlier blogs. I have been going through my old data on my hard drive and this post struck me as pertinent to the changes in my life right now.

Reincarnation is a belief that seems to fly in the face of creation, but then, according to many, so does the whole evolution and dinosaurs belief. There are so many varying beliefs founded on man’s desire to know why, when and how. Does it really matter? This blog isn’t on religious belief, though it is a topic I enjoy discussing on occasion. Note that I said ‘discussing’, not ranting, postulating, temper-tantruming or throwing rotten eggs over. What my beliefs are, are not the point here, though I’m inclined to say, "Who really knows?" In short, I believe it is all possible. Yes, every single last bit of it and I think that the sooner people look at each other with a desire to understand the beliefs of others, we’ll find that to be true.

But… this is about reincarnation and possibly a little evolution, possibly a dinosaur or two… and yes, creation. I’m not sure why I chose these words beyond that they seem to be appropriate to my thoughts.

As I see it, we’ve all been reincarnated in one form or another. We’re all evolving, ever-changing, growing. We came into this life as a lump of (rather cute) clay, each one of us with unique moulding properties, ready to be formed or moulded. Those who’ve worked with clay will know there are some clays which mould far easier than others, some which are prone to cracking and others which hold up rather well under adverse conditions.

As we go through life, we all encounter change. Usually, it’s an evolution or growth period. Circumstances force us to adapt and adapt we do. The human spirit is remarkably strong, usually far stronger than we think it is while going through those rough times.

Ah… then there are times when life simply whips the carpet out of under our feet and we crash. A phoenix-like rebirth is the only option open. We scrape together the ashes and pieces of our soul and drag ourselves up again – some times better than others.

There are also times we choose to reincarnate ourselves. This is what I was thinking about today. For myself, I’m at a point where I’m once again evaluating where I am and what I can do to better myself. There are so many things I want to change that it’s more of a reincarnation, rather than an evolution. I like the fact that a reincarnation seems quicker than an evolution too.

So… reincarnate, I will, assuming I can persuade the dinosaurs of my old belief systems, experiences and perceptions not to stomp all over my attempts.

 

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Posted by on January 2, 2015 in spiritual, thought

 

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The End

we3 Not the best photo, but the last of the three of us

2014 is drawing to a close. I sit alone and cast my thoughts, those that allow themselves to be cast – distraction has become my theme song – back over the year. In July, I cried. The job I loved and, with it, the security I had crumbled into a little heap of angst. “Not fair!” I cried. It wasn’t too hard to pick up out of that with the help of a new job and some truly great colleagues and friends. For a while there, I thought life could turn out to be ok.

It wasn’t to last though. A visit to the doctor, tests and a diagnosis later – life wasn’t done with me. Of course, I knew something was wrong, but being flung into a vortex of surgeons, scans, new foods, pills, tears, sleepy days and sleepless nights left my head spinning. I took comfort in my friends and family and had the rock-solid support of my husband.

The rock crumbled. Jurgis was the one who would coax me daily to take my pills and drink my juices. When I felt I couldn’t, he would do it for me, pushing me all along. It was never me. It was ‘we’. I remember sitting at the table with him. “We’ll nail this thing together. You’re not alone. I’m fighting with you.” He never let me give up! Not fair! Not fair! He was too young to die. He was meant to live to 112. We were meant to grow old together. We talked about it… joked about it. We had dreams, some realistic, some destined to remain in dream world. I first started dating him back in ‘81. We got married in April ‘86. That’s a fair time to get to know someone, though, after living in each other’s pockets for so long, I was still learning new things about him. He was very predictable in so many ways, but still managed to surprise me regularly. Ah yes, life is going to be different now.

Having said all that, I was thinking as I wrote this that, while the year has been a tough one on many levels, it’s also been an incredibly wonderful year. This is the year that I realised my dream of moving to live near Tatiana in England. We’ve climbed mountains and weathered many storms on that journey! I also had a job I truly loved. Not many experience that in a lifetime. I made new friends and renewed old friendships, both of which I treasure beyond measure.

I want to close this year trying, though finding the right words without ending up sounding gushy isn’t easy, to express the gratitude I feel.

I’m grateful for the 30 years I had with a wonderful man that I miss so much. I’m grateful that he was able to bring me this far. I’m grateful for the times he bullied me into taking care of myself, often to his own detriment. I’m grateful for the strength he gave me to carry on when the world appeared to be crumbling around me.

I’m grateful to my amazing daughter and her man. Tat has stepped in and taken over from her father in being my rock and my strength (and my bully). She and Ste have taken me in and made sure I had a home, so I wouldn’t be alone. What was meant to be a visit while we looked for a place of our own has become a longer-term haven where I can lick my wounds and heal.

I’m grateful for my friends. Oh how grateful! You, my friends, are what has carried us through all the drama and trauma of the past few months. I walk covered by a mantle of love and carried along by the collective caring I experience daily. My friends may be all over the world, but your presence here with me is very real. Then there are the friends who made sure that Christmas wouldn’t be a lonely tear-fest. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to the whole Williams family!! I had reason to thank them even before that for making Jurgis’ farewell a spectacular one where we cried and laughed and toasted and burnt up the night sky. I believe he enjoyed that evening too. The only frustrating part for him was not being able to drink his own toast and it wasn’t for lack of trying. I’m also grateful to all those who helped us celebrate his life, people who didn’t even know me, but came to show support and those who travelled far to be with us. Thank you!

I also want to remember the people who form the network of healing for me… my old GP who would call to see how I was and my old breast cancer nurse who still checks up on me. All the staff at the Southport hospital for caring for Jurgis and ourselves with gentle dignity (and for not being too shocked at our outbursts of either laughter or tears) and later for the way they’ve cared for me through my own treatments. When I arrive at the hospital only to find it’s the wrong hospital, they’d take it in their stride, contacting the other hospital to explain and seeing if they could fit me in at the one I’d walked into. The patience of my surgeons is just one more gratitude to add. I’m grateful, not so much for their faith in me, but for allowing me to be me and to believe in myself.

I’m off to join Tat at the club now. It’ll be odd. I’ve never done this alone before – see what you get for going straight into a long-term relationship right out of school. I can do this. Bring it on, 2015!

happy

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2014 in family, friends, gratitude, jorge, new-year

 

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Admitting to an alternative way

JOHN HOPKINS UNIVERSITY

AFTER YEARS OF TELLING PEOPLE CHEMOTHERAPY IS THE ONLY WAY TO TRY (‘TRY’, BEING THE KEY WORD) TO ELIMINATE CANCER, JOHNS HOPKINS IS FINALLY STARTING TO TELL YOU THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE WAY .

1. Every person has cancer cells in the body. These cancer cells do not show up in the standard tests until they have multiplied to a few billion. When doctors tell cancer patients that there are no more cancer cells in their bodies after treatment, it just means the tests are unable to detect the cancer cells because they have not reached the detectable size.
2. Cancer cells occur between 6 to more than 10 times in a person’s lifetime.
3 When the person’s immune system is strong the cancer cells will be destroyed and prevented from multiplying and forming tumors.
4. When a person has cancer it indicates the person has multiple nutritional deficiencies. These could be due to genetic, environmental, food and lifestyle factors..
5. To overcome the multiple nutritional deficiencies, changing diet and including supplements will strengthen the immune system.
6. Chemotherapy involves poisoning the rapidly-growing cancer cells and also destroys rapidly-growing healthy cells in the bone marrow, gastrointestinal tract etc, and can cause organ damage, like liver, kidneys, heart, lungs etc.
7. Radiation while destroying cancer cells also burns, scars and damages healthy cells, tissues and organs.
8. Initial treatment with chemotherapy and radiation will often reduce tumor size. However prolonged use of chemotherapy and radiation do not result in more tumor destruction.
9. When the body has too much toxic burden from chemotherapy and radiation the immune system is either compromised or destroyed, hence the person can succumb to various kinds of infections and complications.
10. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause cancer cells to mutate and become resistant and difficult to destroy. Surgery can also cause cancer cells to spread to other sites.
11. An effective way to battle cancer is to starve the cancer cells by not feeding it with the foods it needs to multiply.

CANCER CELLS FEED ON:

a. Sugar is a cancer-feeder. By cutting off sugar it cuts off one important food supply to the cancer cells. Sugar substitutes like NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc are made with Aspartame and it is harmful. A better natural substitute would be Manuka honey or molasses but only in very small amounts. Table salt has a chemical added to make it white in color. Better alternative is Bragg’s aminos or sea salt.
b. Milk causes the body to produce mucus, especially in the gastro-intestinal tract. Cancer feeds on mucus. By cutting off milk and substituting with unsweetened soy milk cancer cells are being starved.
c. Cancer cells thrive in an acid environment. A meat-based diet is acidic and it is best to eat fish, and a little chicken rather than beef or pork. Meat also contains livestock antibiotics, growth hormones and parasites, which are all harmful, especially to people with cancer.
d. A diet made of 80% fresh vegetables and juice, whole grains, seeds, nuts and a little fruits help put the body into an alkaline environment. About 20% can be from cooked food including beans. Fresh vegetable juices provide live enzymes that are easily absorbed and reach down to cellular levels within 15 minutes to nourish and enhance growth of healthy cells. To obtain live enzymes for building healthy cells try and drink fresh vegetable juice (most vegetables including bean sprouts) and eat some raw vegetables 2 or 3 times a day. Enzymes are destroyed at temperatures of 104 degrees F (40 degrees C).
e. Avoid coffee, tea, and chocolate, which have high caffeine. Green tea is a better alternative and has cancer fighting properties. Water-best to drink purified water, or filtered, to avoid known toxins and heavy metals in tap water.. Distilled water is acidic, avoid it.
12. Meat protein is difficult to digest and requires a lot of digestive enzymes. Undigested meat remaining in the intestines becomes putrefied and leads to more toxic buildup.
13. Cancer cell walls have a tough protein covering. By refraining from or eating less meat it frees more enzymes to attack the protein walls of cancer cells and allows the body’s killer cells to destroy the cancer cells.
14. Some supplements build up the immune system (IP6, Flor-ssence, Essiac, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, EFAs etc.) to enable the bodies own killer cells to destroy cancer cells. Other supplements like vitamin E are known to cause apoptosis, or programmed cell death, the body’s normal method of disposing of damaged, unwanted, or unneeded cells.
15. Cancer is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit. A proactive and positive spirit will help the cancer warrior be a survivor. Anger, un-forgiveness and bitterness put the body into a stressful and acidic environment. Learn to have a loving and forgiving spirit. Learn to relax and enjoy life.
16. Cancer cells cannot thrive in an oxygenated environment. Exercising daily, and deep breathing help to get more oxygen down to the cellular level. Oxygen therapy is another means employed to destroy cancer cells.
1. No plastic containers in micro.
2. No water bottles in freezer.
3. No plastic wrap in microwave.
Johns Hopkins has recently sent this out in its newsletters. This information is being circulated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center as well. Dioxin chemicals cause cancer, especially breast cancer. Dioxins are highly poisonous to the cells of our bodies.
Don’t freeze your plastic bottles with water in them as this releases dioxins from the plastic.. Recently, Dr. Edward Fujimoto, Wellness Program Manager at Cast le Hospital, was on a TV program to explain this health hazard. He talked about dioxins and how bad they are for us. He said that we should not be heating our food in the microwave using plastic containers. This especially applies to foods that contain fat. He said that the combination of fat, high heat, and plastics releases dioxin into the food and ultimately into the cells of the body.
Instead, he recommends using glass, such as Corning Ware, Pyrex or ceramic containers for heating food You get the same results, only without the dioxin. So such things as TV dinners, instant ramen and soups, etc., should be removed from the container and heated in something else.
Paper isn’t bad but you don’t know what is in the paper. It’s just safer to use tempered glass, Corning Ware, etc. He reminded us that a while ago some of the fast food restaurants moved away from the foam containers to paper. The dioxin problem is one of the reasons.
Also, he pointed out that plastic wrap, such as Saran, is just as dangerous when placed over foods to be cooked in the microwave. As the food is nuked, the high heat causes poisonous toxins to actually melt out of the plastic wrap and drip into the food. Cover food with a paper towel instead.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2014 in cancer, healing

 

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Traitorous actions

I feel like a traitor…. to myself and all I believe in. While I’m not comfortable with my latest actions, I’ve made my peace with them – for now. On Friday, two days after my visit to a very persuasive surgeon, I caved and took my first Tamoxifen. I was not struck by lightning. Neither did I break out in hives.

tamoxifen

I do, however, feel as though I’ve crossed to ‘the dark side’.

Mr C, my surgeon, spent a lot of impassioned time telling me that I was taking grave risks with my health. He said that if I were to agree, he’d have me on the cutting table by the next morning. He wanted to know if I was seeing some other practitioner. I knew what he meant by ‘practitioner’ and that he was imagining voodoo just by the way he said it. I came very close to telling him I was seeing a witch doctor just to see his reaction. Two things here… first, I’m not in the care of a witch doctor (I just know someone’s going to assume that not knowing my warped sense of humour) and second, I’ve learnt that surgeons don’t have a funny bone, so I quietly snickered to myself and kept my peace. The only way he was going to let me walk out of that hospital with my records was if I agreed to take Tamoxifen.

Tamoxifen is a drug that blocks oestrogen. Oestrogen is the hormone that feeds my cancer. You can read more about it here. I’m not a fan, not even slightly. It is, however, the least ghastly of my ‘conventional’ choices. If Tamoxifen works the way the surgeon wants it to, the cancer will, at the very least, stop growing – something I believe it’s done anyway. The side effects scare me, not the menopause one, but the others. There’s the risk of a blood clot and the risk of the cancer going ‘yippee’ and making the Tamoxifen create the very oestrogen problem it’s trying to resolve, which will mean an even more aggressive cancer. Then there’s the risk of a very aggressive cancer of the uterus in 5 years, which is directly caused by Tamoxifen. This information, by the way, doesn’t come from an ‘alternative’ website, but from the Tamoxifen itself.

So while I’m not happy taking Tamoxifen, I’m only giving it a tiny corner of my life. The rest is dedicated to health-building, nourishing and healing foods, drinks and supplements. I have more supplements now than I care to count, but we’re hitting this thing with All we’ve got. Perhaps, with my will to be healthy, Tamoxifen will only do good and maybe, just maybe, it will do what it’s meant to do and fix at least one part of the complexity that is this cancer.

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Posted by on September 28, 2014 in cancer, healing

 

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I love you

great love

I saw an article on Twitter on loving your cancer: http://omtimes.com/2014/08/loving-cancer-good-health/ My knee-jerk reaction was, “Are you crazy??” Love… I mean… Love something that has the potential to kill me or at the very least cause me a whole lot of misery? Love? Ok, so I read the article and it was good. More thoughts on that later.

My nightly research, wandering, link-hopping led me on a further path that had this love theme coming up regularly. My dear friend, Michelle, gave me the link to some music, which took me to Youtube and, being the compulsive link-clicker I am, I was soon going on to other related music. One link led to another and I found myself revisiting Ho’oponopono. Ho’oponopono is a Hawaiian practice of forgiveness and love. There is a lot to it, but, in short, it is a prayer you recite with healing intention:

I’m sorry
I love you
Please forgive me
Thank you

This prayer can be directed at any one or any thing. At no time does it mean you condone the ‘wrong’ that’s been done. This is also no pat, meaningless apology, just heartfelt love and a letting go of all negative emotions relating to the person, event, thing – or yourself. Yes, you could say it to yourself or parts of yourself.

I’ve used this prayer before, though very rarely. To be honest, I usually forget it exists. Once, I had a confrontation with a colleague at work. The next day, I dreaded going to work fully expecting a continuation of the confrontation – I don’t do confrontation very well – as the situation hadn’t been resolved the day before. In my flurry of tension over the situation, I decided to do some Ho’oponopono. I, rather dramatically, held my hand over my heart, focussed on the colleague and recited the prayer a few times. Arriving at work, the colleague couldn’t have been nicer. She apologised! She also explained why she’d acted the way she had. Now I don’t know if what happened was a result of the Ho’oponopono or just co-incidence. I’m going to choose to believe my little forgiveness ritual had its desired effect. I’ve used it since on other situations and had good effect. It may well just be because of my own mental state being altered. That’s also good.

Going through my mailbox a little later, a sentence jumped out at me, “What’s wrong with you?” It’s what we’re asked when something’s out of place. Or simply a “What’s wrong?” There’s so much negativity and fear in those words. It’s something that’s been brought home to me over and over with this cancer deal. Fear. Negativity. The doctor’s tone dropped to indicate severity. It was all over his voice and body language long before he got the words out, which were also negative, “I’m afraid I have to give you the news…” Why afraid? Why all the fear around cancer? Oh I can understand the fear! I can understand the anger, nay, the rage. I can understand the upset. But that’s the whole problem with sickness in our society. It’s wrapped up in fear because we aren’t in control of our bodies. We’ve handed that control over to the medical institutions and the supermarkets.

Today, I choose to take back control. I choose to love this thing that’s teaching me so much – ok, I’ll at least try. I choose to forgive my body for betraying me and this tumour for turning my life upside down. I choose to love my body and give it what it needs, treating it well. I choose to make mindful choices with what I put into my body. It’s my home, after all, and the vessel I will live in for many years to come. In moving into a home, I like to paint it a bright colour and make it beautiful, choosing my furnishings carefully. Why not with my body?

So, to this cancer I say…

I’m sorry
I love you
Please forgive me
Thank you

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2014 in cancer, healing, thought

 

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A moment of weakness

struggleI really need to take some photos instead of using random bits from the web.

I’m tired. Truly tired. I’ve just realised why I love working so much. It takes me out of myself and gives me a break from the incessant thoughts that are running havoc through my mind. I’m so tired of looking at it and trying to decide if it looks better or worse than yesterday. I’m tired of the constant research, looking for the next ‘magic pill’ or having to decide whether x is good for me or bad for me or only good under certain circumstances or measured quantities.

Heading to the kitchen for another lunch of sweet potato and broccoli – thank goodness I love eating those – I broke down. It’s moments like these when I almost want to go to the doctors and just let them do their thing. At least all the decision-making and responsibility will be taken out of my hands. I know that is why people do it. It’s just so much easier to let someone take over. Oh to have someone who can do that… a bit like the motherly neighbour who bustles in with a “Never mind love, let me do it.”  The trouble with that is that I’d then feel guilty and, you know, guilt is another sick-creator. Positive is healing. Negative is a downward spiral that ends in hospital wards.

Not to worry. I’ll be over this soon, the mood, that is. The rest? I don’t know.

“The more you ask how far you have to go, the longer your journey seems”

which reminds me of a blog I wrote a time ago and a lesson learnt on a hot walk in Mossel Bay. I can’t find the blog now and more’s the pity. I could do with that lesson. In a nutshell, I was carrying a number of bags on a long walk and the woman with me (who was carrying far more) said that the faster we walk, the quicker we’d get there and be able to rest. It was far more profound and memorable than the way I’ve managed to put it here, but you get the idea.

I did, however, while hunting for the blog I was after, find this…

"We’re a quarter of the way through the year. I’m pretty much half-way through my life. In terms of my dreams and goals, the clock is ticking – very loudly. My life so far has been one of revving engines, tyres spinning in mud, occasionally moving a few inches ahead, even more occasionally moving ahead by a couple of feet – very often just sinking further into the mire.

My tendency to find humour in life has been a survival tactic. If I don’t, the misery and, yes, bitterness may just swallow me up. Like many take a pill against what ails them, I take smiles, laughter and positive snippets daily, sometimes hourly. It’s my ‘silver bullet’ against melancholy."

It seems, though my life has changed beyond recognition… there are some things that never change :)

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2014 in cancer, rant

 

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