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Acceptance: I am OK

Hello beautiful world,

Finding yourself in a place of acceptance is one of the most powerful places to be. A reminder that acceptance is not about being OK with how things planned out but acceptance is about acknowledging you have gone through it.

We have so much insight and growth when we start taking responsibility for ourselves and this includes our emotions and experiences.Acceptance

Once you have gone through something and popped out the other side; reflection is so important too.

The journey may be scary, full of darkness, not sure whether you are going to be swallowed up or make it to the other side.

If you are in a state of acceptance and acknowledgement you are more inclined to learn and grow from your experience rather than place blame on people or situations.

What I learnt from my cancer trauma was I was trying to fit into that old Candice box and it was not working. It took me a few times of being swallowed up to realize that I was my new me.

Finding yourself again can be exciting but also painful. Self-work is mostly avoided because it can cause pain. As humans we try avoid pain at all costs.

So what did I do? I started learning, discovering and developing my new self. By all this learning I found out stuff about myself I never knew.

Trying to find my purpose again was tough. I felt I had lost my identity. What did help me was helping or mentoring woman who were either going through treatment for Cancer or had just finished their treatment. It gave me great joy to be of service and help. By helping I was healing myself and my experience. I was opening myself up to acceptance and acknowledgment.

What can you do today to help yourself heal? Healing really does happen in all fields of ourselves:

Physical

Our scars, wounds, hair growth, loose/put on weight, acceptance of missing parts, loving of missing parts, loving of self just the way you are now in this current moment.

Emotional

Feelings of fear, vulnerability, sadness, physical emotional pain, mourning our old selves, our old bodies, our old lives, bringing our focus back into the now and our future.

Mental

Dealing with what we have learnt through our trauma, how this affects our life now, sharing our knowledge with others, being vulnerable sharing your story, using your knowledge to help you heal and what more we can learn about ourselves.

Spiritual

Through any trauma we turn to God/Universe/Buddha/Christ/Allah, whoever your spiritual person is, as our faith is tested, developing the spiritual connection, faith and belief.

In my next blog I will talk more about these each individually and how you can focus your energy on healing in these areas.

I hope I have created some insight and healing for you in my blog today. This process is healing for me too as it allows me to reflect on how far I have come and the growth and lessons I have learnt.

Look after your beautiful self

Until next time

Candice

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Inside Out (cue Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear & Disgust)

Hello beautiful world,

I often ask myself what my lesson in all of the trauma I experienced was. It’s taken a few years to become aware of this. It has taught me to be brave (I am your biggest scardy cat), it taught me to pull up those big girl pants and walk through the valley of the shadow of death (hell yes there is no going around anything just straight through it), it has taught me to not sweat the small stuff (no seriously there are bigger things in life).

It taught me to live in the now, to show up as authentically as possible, to live in my truth and follow my heart. It has taught me to take note and be aware of people, situations and things in life and learn as much as I can from them. It has been a journey of self-awareness. Don’t get me wrong I am not this perfect being I can easily slip back into old ways and old habits but I am aware of them.

Like I mentioned in my previous blog acceptance is a big giant leap towards healing. Not only accepting that I had cancer and I shall live with that my whole life but all sorts of unfavorable childhood stuff has surfaced over the last couple of years. And believe me when I say I am a master of shoving things away that feel too uncomfortable to feel. Yet I have learnt that the only way up is through.

So once you have found it in your space to accept what happened and remember acceptance does not mean you are ok with what happened, it merely means that you have agreed that it’s happened and it was a terrible awful and this is where you are at.

What now? Where to from here? The only way up is through. This is a tough step as you revisit thoughts, feelings and your experience. So be gentle on yourself. Treat yourself as you would your best friend going through a similar situation. Allow yourself to sit with your emotions as you go through the trauma. And if it becomes overwhelming then stop, give yourself a reward for even venturing down the path and when you feel strong and confident again, go back there.

In these moments allow yourself to feel, acknowledge the emotions that show up. Speak them out loud, shout them out loud, scream them into your pillow if you need too. But acknowledge them. Emotions will keep showing up until you acknowledge them. By saying “In this present moment I feel …….. About ……….” Your brain automatically calms down. It dampens down the emotion and gives you space to think more clearly and process what it is you are going through.

Allow yourself space to cry or get angry as these emotions will allow you to shift. And it’s okay. Be gentle with yourself, give yourself unconditional love and know how brave you are for doing this.

Wooooooooh how powerful. Remember to feel is to heal. Think about journaling this process. It really is cathartic and you may even have some incredible insight to your experience.

I’m proud of you for taking these first few steps. Keep your chin up and trust yourself and the process.

Look after your beautiful self.

Until next time

Candice

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Meet Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear & Disgust

Know Yourself – Acceptance

Oh my word I survived, now what?????? Seems pretty simple right! You are good to go, healed up and ready to pick up the piece of your broken world and continue………………

Why did I find this part so hard? I think as one goes through this cancer journey you have the utmost support from each and every person in your life, from people you have never met but have heard your story, from the car guards in parking lots, to your daughters optometrist. Just amazing and ever so grateful for all the support received from all over.

But then there you are left standing with your own thoughts, feelings and WTF now………………………..

Yes we return to work, to being a mother, sister, brother, child, wife, husband, friend etc. etc. and try to fit back into our world.

First step to this newmal is acceptance. What is acceptance? Write it down, what does this word mean to you?

Do we need to like what we accept? Do we need to be happy with our acceptance?

Finding acceptance in who we are now and what we experience is about embracing all facets of self and of the trauma/experience. This does not mean just the positive parts but we recognize the weaknesses, limitations and shadow parts too. Through this self-acceptance we become more aware and begin to know ourselves better.

The more we resist the acceptance it is like being stuck in the mud and the more you struggle the deeper the hurt and pain will be. Acceptance is the key for self-awareness and before we are able to change. And Action can only take place through acceptance.

To help you process this self-acceptance here are some questions to ask and possibly even journal about:

  • What are 10 things you are grateful for having experienced your trauma?
  • What are 10 things you accept about yourself now and why?
  • What has this experience taught you? List 10 things
  • What do you now accept about where you currently are after you made it to the other side? List 10 things

One thing that trauma has taught me is there is no way to go around it. We have to go through it and this is where the healing begins. I know it is hard opening up the wounds you have sealed shut however to feel is to heal.

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold. Kin literally meaning golden and tsugi meaning repair. How does this relate to you? Your trauma has broken you, shattered your life but you made it to the other side and its now time to repair your pieces with gold. The acceptance of your beauty in the imperfection of what has happened to you is what Kintsugi speaks of. Accepting the decay, death and rebirth of your self is an important step of self-discovery, however slow it is.

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Let’s celebrates the beauty of the cracks, crevices and other marks as it reminds us that we are powerful beings.

Till next time

Love who you are and be all that you are

Candice

The Phoenix

Well Hello There Beautiful world,

Yes I have been gone for a couple of years. I needed to go deep inside my cave and recoup after experiencing quite a hectic time during and after treatment. I thought once I was done with all my treatment and was given the thumbs up by my oncologist I would be done and dusted with everything cancer, right??? Nop not the case.

Nobody really talks about the afterwards. Once you come out the other side. Not for 1 minute I am not saying I am not blessed to have seen the other side, what I am saying is there a whole new world that’s unfamiliar. A very good friend of mine called it the newmal. The new normal, the new me.

Why was I so different, what had changed, why couldn’t I fit into my Candice box. Nothing worked as it used to. I felt like a lost sheep for a good couple of months. I now know that this is a normal experience for most survivors. I think there may be 2 schools of thought. The survivors that shut it away in a box and bury it away never to be seen again and others that open that box up and dive deep inside to see what it was all about. I believe that all trauma is the same, this doesn’t only pertain to cancer survivors but anyone that has endured some form of trauma. It changes us, it alters our being and sometimes it’s tough to find your place again in your world.

I was the dive deep inside type. I wanted to unpack everything, all of it even if it meant revisiting all those traumatic experiences. The thing I realized was I was not alone in this. Why do we not speak up, why do we not help each other forward. This journey is one of connection and I want all those who are on the other end to know you are OK, what you are going through is OK and an important healing process in the trauma. I am here for a coffee or chat when you think you are ready to dive into that box of tricks.

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So I have toyed with the idea of starting up this blog again. My train of thought was well I am done with treatment I can be done with the blog but actually I want to share my experiences, my learning and what I have found over the last couple of years. I want to share my experiences as I feel if I can help one person to overcome whatever it is they are going through, I truly have done my service to the world.

So here’s to the start of my new journey. The start of my new life and hells bells am I excited.

Watch this space

365 Days

Today marks the 1 year anniversary of my journey with Cancer. 1st December 2014 is the day I heard the shocking news that would change my life forever. Life would never be the same from that day going forward.

Almost to the day a year later I was given the all clear. My CT scan was all clear, my tumour markers were within the correct range and I had a good feel up by the doctor and he was happy with those results.

You don’t realize the weight of something you have been carrying until that weight has been lifted. To know that the treatment had worked and I kicked cancers butt.

Sitting here and remembering, going back to each step and remembering the feelings and emotions that consumed us at that time. It’s hard not to look back at this time last year and think OMW life changed forever never to go back to the way things were. Life will be different. Different from what it was and different from the rest of my family and friends.

Yes this whole year has made me think long and hard about my future, about life and about people. This journey has humbled me and made me realize how precious life is but really realize. When you are staring a disease like cancer in the face whole heaps of beliefs and thought patterns shift in such a dramatic way. Not only has this changed for me but has impacted my husband, children, family and friends. I think everyone connected to me has had a shift in some way.

Music has been something that has kept me strong. From the morning after I found out I had cancer to yesterday there are a few songs that have been my anthems. Either being played loud in our home or loud in my car. It was something that help us through it all. So I would like to share these songs with you:

Christmas this year is going to be wonderful and I really couldn’t have asked for such a blessed time. Last year was the first Christmas without my mom and I had had my first round of chemo by Christmas day. I get to truly celebrate this special day this year and so will my family.

I am eternally grateful to so many people of this journey of mine. My husband Vince who never for one moment let his fears show. For being my absolute rock through each and every step of the way. My children Keira and Maria for being the bravest little girls and just giving me unconditional love. My incredible sister Carly who not only was morning my mother but the fear she too carried that something would happen to her sister. Carly has been an unwavering pillar of strength. My family and their love and support throughout the whole year.

Alison my bestest friend for not running a mile but for being there for me even when I was at my lowest moments, for being my voice of reason and even though she were going through her own stuff she was at my side. Paulini my other bestest friend and we sometimes call her liiiiiiìiiiiiiiiiver just the love and support each and every day.

And all my friends who have given me all the encouragement through this most difficult journey.

I have had amazing doctors and nurses and I have come out on top.

What I want to say to anyone staring down the barrel of cancer treatment is yes it’s not an easy road and you are challenged on so many levels but you can get through it. With a positive mind, love, and support it can be done. Put your head down and take 1 obstacle at a time and you will conquer it.

My challenge moving forward what I have realized is to make sure I allow myself to feel the pain, sadness, and fear but not let all these emotions consume me. To live life to its absolutely fullest and love everyone unconditionally.

So on that note I have decided to end this blog on this 1 year anniversary.

It’s been one hell of a year but I have done it. I kicked cancers butt. Need to make sure I continue on my meds and that I have my regular check ups and I know I will live a healthy life.

Here’s to life and here’s to unconditional love.

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And Life Continues…….

The morning of the 5th Annual Breast Cancer Fundraiser arrived and my nerves were through the roof. I had no idea when I walked through the door that I would be talking to so many ladies. 220 of them to be exact.

I was flanked by my husband and 2 of my very good friends Ali and Pauline. It was such a beautiful setting and the room was done up beautifully too. The lady that ran the event told me I would be speaking first and I was quite relieved about that.

When my name was called I felt my heart skip a beat. I stood at the podium and began to talk. I lost my place a few times but once I was over that things seems to flow a little better. I am not one to just stand up and talk on a whim so I had a speech prepared. I was relieved that my little jokes I made were laughed at and when it was all done I was happy that I had taken the leap of faith and done something like this. Completely out of my comfort zone.

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I was happy to share my story with as many people as possible and even if it impacts 1 person I will be happy. Creating awareness is so important to me now. If I had been a little more vigilant, if I had done the self breast examinations or insisted on the ultrasound I wanted when I was 30 perhaps things could have been a little different.

I suppose as cancer survivors there’s always those IF moments. Stages where we question if we had done things differently or found it earlier or or or the list can go on.

Just before I did my talk my Brave and beautiful photo’s were put up on the Pink Phoenix Cancer Foundation’s website and facebook:  http://www.pinkphoenix.co.za/pages/11953/candice-king

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Now that my main treatment is behind me there are days that I don’t think about the BIG C which is always nice for a change. But then I have an injection I have to have every month and the reality of the situation comes crashing down again.

I have had 2 zoladex injections so far not as bad as I was told but I did lather my stomach with loads of emla cream (this is a cream that numbs the skin). First time in my life I am happy about having a flabby stomach because on both occasions the onco nurse has said that its good I have a fat stomach. Nothing like a little honesty 🙂

Ive been on my tamoxifen for 2 months as well and so far I seem to be doing ok. I get the most awful hot flushes and can’t seem to keep myself out of the fridge which I suppose it not all that bad just got to keep exercising.

We leave for our overseas holiday in a months time. 3 weeks in Europe and I cannot wait. It has been something we booked in January and its been that something that I have kept my eye on while going through all the horrible treatment. The light at the end of the tunnel. I do believe you need something like that.

Life has pretty much picked up where it was left off and so its great to have that normality back and great to have days where I’m not consumed by the Cancer thing. I do hope that one day I will have more non thinking cancer days than thinking ones. I have my first 3 month check up at the end of November which I am a little anxious for. I am also having a CT scan so I can be 100% sure that I am all good. Given the thumbs up. All of this is nerve wrecking but I know in my heart I am healed.

Dedicated to my Mom

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9th November 2014 is when the woman who meant so much to me took her last breath. So I have dedicated this blog to her. This amazing woman I got to call my mother.

My mother was one of a kind. She was bold, loud and boy when she walked into a room she commanded it and drew attention like nobody else I knew.

It was my mom and I from when I was very young a whole 18 months. We lived with my grandparents.

My mom was a rep for Matchbox toys and so when it came time for road trips I was taken along. Her and I roadtripping. She would sneak me into her hotel room and we would order room service. I don’t remember much of this time as I was young but she often told me about these times. There is a picture of me with curlers in my hair having a wee on the side of the road next to her blue car. Its such a cute picture.

My mom was the adventurous type and so decided that she needed a change and moved down to Amanzimtoti in Durban with my Aunt Nadine. So it was just the 3 of us jolling in Durban for a year or so. I’m sure that must have been such an adventure.

My mom met my step dad and I instantly fell in love with this man. He was a gentle giant and took me right under his wing like I was his own. The 3 of us spent a whole heap of time together and eventually moved into a flat in Winsor Park Johannesburg. I remember over running the bath and all the water flowing down the stairs in our flat and my mom not making a big fuss over it just laughed and we had to soak up the water with towels. We did so many things, saw so many things together. People couldn’t believe I wasn’t my step fathers child because he treated me so well.

We finally moved to a small holding in Midrand where I spent most of my childhood. It’s where my mom and dad got married, it’s where my baby sister was born, its were I learnt so much from my mom.

Not only was she an incredible mother but she was a free spirit. She really did live life to the fullest. She taught me about spirituality, I was taken to meditation circles, healing circles, church, Buddhist retreat centers, spiritual fairs where I had my aura drawn. We used to draw animal cards and angel cards.

We would have parties at our home and the music and dancing would go on till 3am the following morning. Who would be the last one dancing it would be my party animal mother.

Christmas time was a for everyone. We had both sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, cousins. It was a day of being spoilt and a day that started early and finished off late with music and dancing.

My mother was the most giving person I know. She would do anything for anybody. She had the greatest compassion and greatest understanding of all things great and godly.

Not only did she have a big spirit she was the most beautiful woman I know. She had the thickest blonde hair, striking blue eyes and the biggest friendliest smile I have seen. She was always beautifully dressed.

The 4 of us moved to Durban and life turned and became a struggle financially. She did her very best to keep us a float and she did a great job. Yes even in those difficult years the brightness that my mother walked around with never dulled no matter how tough things were. She was one incredible person.

My sister and I yet again exposed to all different walks of life going to Hindu temples, mosques, healing and meditation circles.  We really learnt so much.

Life was not kind to my mom despite all the effort she put in. She had a laugh that would make someone else laugh. And she still managed to keep her sense of humour and if she found something funny oh boy she would giggle for hours over it. I remember watching Hangover with her and we laughed till our bellies ached and the tears rolled down our cheeks. And I think I laughed more at her laughing than at the movie.

The year before my mom got sick she would often complain that there felt like a truck was sitting on her chest. She got chest infection after chest infect towards the end of the year. My sister and I forced her to have a chest x-ray and that is when life took an unexpected turn.

Not for one moment did I ever think that I would lose my mom. In some sort of denial you believe that people will live forever. That they will never die. I wasn’t ready for my mom to go. I needed her more than ever this year. I had to do this year which was the hardest for me without the one person I so needed the most my mommy.

In true style when she shared her health news after having her biopsy she called a big family meeting and told everyone she had stage 3 lung cancer. My family almost recoiled into themselves. Some expressing their disbelief by asking how true the results were, some running out the room. I just sat there feeling numb. I had a feeling, I knew something wasn’t right before she even told us. I kicked into survival mode not allowing myself to fully absorb the severity of what we just heard.

the 7 months that followed were so difficult and she fought with all she had in her.

She certainly chose a day to leave this earth. Sunday during the day. She had my whole family with her when she passed on a beautiful summers day. I was holding her hand when she took her last breath. It was a beautiful passing. She looked so beautiful, calm and serene.

Today my heart aches just as much maybe even more than it did the day she left us. I long for our coffee dates, long chats even our arguments, I long for her Facebook message of “Hi Apple, love you, let’s do coffee”, I long for just 1 more hug, just 1 more moment with her just to tell her I love her.

Miss you mother dearest darling. You were my best friend, you were my everything.

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