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D.A.R.E. to choose you

Warning! This blog will challenge the status quo and your beliefs!

As I knelt by my bed with my hands desperately pressed together hoping the intensity and pressure amplified my prayer….

“Dear God, I’m not ready for you to take my sister”

Only a few hours prior my precious sister, my best friend, called me with the devastating news “Vanessa I have breast cancer. A 10 centimetre tumour in my right boob that needs chemotherapy right away”

Back to my desperate prayer and exclaiming “Please don’t take my sister. Show me how can I best support her”

It was the height of lockdown due to COVID-19 plus she lived a hundred miles away.

My pounding heart calmed as I received the answer “Look after yourself. Keep yourself in optimum health to best support your sister and all those who love her who are equally in a state of flux with this shocking news”

The reason this made perfect sense to me was because I believe we are all connected by the same power that turns the world, grows the grass and beats all of our hearts, so it stands to reason that if I look after myself I can hold a loving and inspiring space for my sister, Abbie, in which to heal.

As an emotional health coach, I tapped into all the tools to keep me well and invited Abbie and our community on Facebook to join in to support themselves as lockdown was taking its toll on all of our well-being.

I hosted live meditations at 6:00 AM each morning for us to come together and to begin our mornings renewed, refreshed and ready to rock.

What has all this got to do with breast cancer awareness month?

Everything! As this is where I asked Abbie do you “D.A.R.E. to choose you?”

D is for denial, diagnosis and death.

Abbie spent most of 2020 in denial as she was reassured there was ‘nothing to worry about’ from a mammogram earlier on in the year after finding a lump in her right breast. Most of that year was spent in lockdown separated from each other and asked to avoid GP’s and hospitals at all costs.

Abbie’s diagnosis knocked her sideways and took her to the place of facing leaving her five year old son without a mother. For two weeks Abbie wrestled with the tug of war between ‘why me, why now at such a young age?’ and ‘I have to face the possibility of death.’

A is for acknowledge, accept and allow.

In the depths of despair while getting together her ‘what if I die’ personal effects folder the wise words of Deepak Chopra stopped Abbie in her tracks.

“When you’re feeling brave and invincible your body is making neuropeptides similar to interleukin 2, which is one of the most powerful chemicals to fight cancer cells” Deepak Chopra ~ Quantum Healing

In that moment Abbie became aware she had a choice. She wasn’t going to give cancer permission to take her down.

She acknowledged the pain she was in and the severity of her situation and understood that to begin healing it was essential for her to accept where she was and that cancer was living in her body and the journey cancer was going to take her on.

The necessary part of true healing was to accept that a higher power greater than her physical self was going to lead the way, however Abbie had to agree to surrendering and letting go of her past ways of living and be open to a new way of being. This meant being open and receptive to the power of her loving higher self and allow herself to be guided to feel free and to be healed.

R is for realisation, rituals and results.

The realisation set in for Abbie that changes had to be made in all areas over life. This began with creating new rituals that would keep her on track and provide the encouragement needed as she took each step along the new and uncertain pathway.

Abbie first of all set up a whatsapp group ‘Abbie’s boob army’ with her nearest and dearest all in one space for love and support which soon became her lifeline.

The 17 of us in the boob army created a ‘Love book’ full of photos and funnies and all the inspiration she’d need to keep her vibe high, especially while her body was invaded with chemotherapy.

Another firm ritual for Abbie was an affirmation she created and repeated to herself many times throughout the day confirming her focus was complete healing inside and out.

“I DEFY THE ODDS and FEEL AMAZING!!!

MY BOOB CELLS ARE HEALTHY AND MY BODY IS HEALED!”

Along with other tools, the results Abbie experienced throughout her ordeal with cancer meant she felt mainly energised, strong and calm and the capacity and resilience to deal with whatever came her way.

So much so that this was recognised by many and the phrase I want to #belikeabbie was born.

E is for embrace, express and evangelise.

A little way into her journey the effects of this devastating disease began to take its toll. Abbie’s hair started falling out and fast, her finger nails started peeling off, her mouth filled with ulcers, constipation one minute and the other the next, sickness and lethargy to name a few.

All this, on the whole, didn’t dampen her spirits. She chose to embrace all that came with cancer as she knew taking full responsibility for it all was the only way to heal completely. The alternative was to allow the cancer to take control and for Abbie that was NOT an option.

Determined to give it all she had and in her commitment to evolving into someone new it was necessary for Abbie to ‘die away’ from the person she had become. Just like a caterpillar dies away to become a butterfly. Cancer had come as the wake up call she needed to live her best life. One could argue cancer saved her life!

Abbie soon realised the process of releasing all her harboured pain stored within meant she felt so much more at peace and that to express herself through meditation, journaling, emotional coaching and other simple yet powerfully effective tools that apart from sporting, in her words, the head of a cannellini bean, you would never know the struggle she was overcoming and reframed it as thriving with love.

Needless to say the doctors were super impressed and amazed with her results and after chemotherapy, mastectomy, reconstruction surgery and radiotherapy, Abbie is clear of any cancer cells in her body and she is able to evangelise, sharing the good news of her new life living in recovery. And because she chose to see the silver lining around the dark cloud hanging over her life her little boy gets to keep his mummy.

Abbie continues to be the shining example of, when you have the courage to face your fears, choose the love in your heart over the b*llsh*t in your head, peace is the overriding feeling dressed up with a smile 😊

This is a whistlestop tour of a tumultuous period of time which in no way suggests it was easy, however because Abbie looked in the mirror and proclaimed I ‘D.A.R.E to choose You’ she felt at peace knowing whether she lived or died, cancer saves lives.