Caring for Cancer: 6 things I learnt

My husband was diagnosed with Cancer about a year ago. We had just moved into our first house and just had our second child. Our world was turned on it’s head and it was our worst nightmare. Here are 6 things things I learnt while Caring for Cancer:

  1. Health is our most valuable asset: We all know this really, but if we tend to take it for granted. When you are faced with the mortality of a loved one, the only thing that matters is that health is reinstated. I pushed myself beyond what I thought were my limits to so this. I booked hospital appointments, I drove to and from hospitals, I sat in waiting rooms, I packed up the house, I tried to be super Mummy – the list goes on. I was trying to “fix” him, to make everything right. Slowly I realised that my own health was suffering, and with that realisation came another – that if my health goes then the whole house of cards falls. People were depending upon me, I had to prioritise my health.
  2. Complacency kills: If we hadn’t pushed for a diagnosis, my husband would probably be dead by now. We fought and insisted and went back again and again. I am immensely proud of the NHS and am constantly amazed at the kindness and dedication doctors and nurses who make-up the NHS have. But, you are the expert of your own body – do not be complacent about your health.
  3. I want to help people be their best: I’ve invested a lot of my life into caring for the natural world and wanting to protect our planet. I am pleased that I have done this and I will continue to do so. However, we are making the natural world sick and ourselves at the same time. How can we hope to “save the planet” if we can’t make healthy choices for ourselves? I want to be the catalyst for positive change in people – empowering them – and I hope the world will be a little bit happier and a little bit healthier as a result.
  4. We are all capable of change: I have always been able to adapt to new situations reasonably well. I’ve lived in several countries and explored different cultures. But, the change I am talking about is a deep, fundamental change. I have always been a planner, a goal setter. I have always known the path ahead and found comfort in that. This year that was all taken away. I couldn’t plan, I didn’t know what was around the corner or what the next day would bring, let alone the next month, three months, year… I changed. I lost my tenacity for planning and living in the future. I relaxed and smelled the roses.
  5. Mindfulness and “accidental” meditation: I learned to be in the moment. To observe it, enjoy it and accept it. I learned to be non-judgemental and compassionate. I learned to let go of anger and embrace happiness despite the bigger picture. In doing so, I realised that I have been meditating accidentally for a long time! Many people over the years have suggested I meditate – that it would be good for my state of mind, help me relax and sleep more easily. This year I actively began to meditate. I realised that I did it through both of my child labours, that I did it on every dive – I would enter a different zone, I would be calm, but focused.
  6. All you need is love: Ok, so the Beatles were right. This year we, as a family, have been stripped back to nothing – nothing else mattered, just us.  When you really don’t know what tomorrow will bring, all that matters is that you are there and that you love and you show love. In reality, none of us know what tomorrow will bring. Show compassion. Declare your love. Be kind. To yourself and others.

Have you “cared for Cancer”?  What did you learn? 

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