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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

Comfort Zone

Well hello there,

Thank you for allowing me space to get through my busy life. Wow, where is the time going? Not only did I not get to my blog in July but August came and went in a flash.

Each and every day I am learning and growing so much. Either through making an effort to learn but sometimes in the strangest places like during my yoga class when the instructor has messages that speak to my heart and soul.

I have been thinking so much about comfort zones and what kind of space that holds for us. They say there is no growth there but I also think that sometimes we just need to be there for a while. It allows us space to recoup, take note of what we have learned through our growth period and assess our “new” current state.

I have also noticed that we don’t stop and unpack a situation we find ourselves in that is uncomfortable or challenging. Each person has their own go too: retreating, lashing out, blaming.

Through my self-directed learning, I was shown a very powerful exercise about recognizing our patterns. Do you know how you usually react or respond?

Ok so I know some of my go too’s but do I really understand why I do what I do?

Here’s a little video of Shrek and Donkey having a conversation about onions

It’s not only Ogars that have layers but humans have layers too. How do I understand my reactions/responses and my feelings? The only way is to give yourself time and space to unpack it all.

This exercise is about onions and their layers. It is so incredibly powerful and creates some great insight.

Here is my onion:

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My pattern is: I lash out when I feel anxious

Why don’t you give it a try:

  1. Write down a pattern you are aware of. Put a circle around it
  2. Because of my pattern I respond as………. Put a circle around the next layer
  3. Because of my response above, I………. put another circle around the next layer

Continue with this exercise until you feel you have created some great insight.

The next part is really important:

Ask yourself – what is the one insight you gained from doing this exercise & what steps will you take with this new insight?

Thank you Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence (www.sixseconds.org) for showing me this exercise, it has been powerful for me and I am so happy I can share this with you all.

Comfort Zones are for times like these, exploring, creating self-awareness so you become more aware of you.

Till next time beautiful people.

Thank you for your precious time today

 

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

inside out
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.