Today’s blog is deeply personal and I’m sharing because it’s ovarian awareness month and today is Teal Ribbon Day – a day to support Australians living with ovarian cancer. And I want to use my experience and my mums to help.
My mum died on 23 December 2009. Her body gave up after being riddled with secondary cancer in her stomach. This cancer had started in her ovaries.
My mum was only 53. Not old at all. Now several things contributed to my mum’s death and this is where I am going to share with you how important your perception is, as well as your integrity of self and willingness to change.
For three years prior to her ovarian cancer diagnosis, mum had complained about back pain, of constant urine infection and was even sectioned, at one point, for having a psychotic episode. Why am I sharing this with you? To give you a deep understanding of how our parent’s thought patterns, beliefs and perception impacts us.
I had been a very sick kid and I had gone through the pattern constantly of not be believed or heard. And I was left for years with no diagnosis and almost died before anything was done. Unfortunately, for my mum this pattern led to her death.
Now as I mentioned that this is a pattern. I was not within the integrity of myself. Nor was my mum. We both knew with absolute certainty there was something deeper than what was been diagnosed. However, we let the medical world make decisions regarding our health. This is not accepting responsibility – although it’s not that simple, as we had been taught to hand over all responsibility to the health professionals.
Now I want to deconstruct and share with you the three major components to be healthy.
You must have the integrity of self. You must stand by your truth, no matter what. If you think there is something deeper, then you have to dig and not allow anyone to sway your decision. If it doesn’t feel right, then it isn’t. This is not always easy, but it’s simple. Ask yourself “am I letting this go, backing down for an easy life? “ Then ask yourself “Is there a part of me deep down that if I don’t stand my ground it will have ramifications later down the line that will make this situation worse?”
For example, if my mum had said “I know this is serious and all this is connected. I think you need to look into that, as a whole, to work out what causes all these symptoms!” Boom! They would have known that each of these symptoms are signs of ovarian cancer. My mum said, “I think I have cancer”. She knew and I think deep within us we all know when there is something really not right with us. Her GP told my mum, “I think your overacting”. So, she let it go and she never ever mentioned it again. This was six months of symptoms.
Perception is fundamental and changing your perspective will be needed, or at least the ability to see other perspectives. Now this one is difficult for me to share but I am because I want for you to learn from the tragedy of my mums’ death.
My mum had always shared with me for as long as I can remember, “I am going to die young, I can’t see being here for old age”. My mum had made a decision in her 20’s she would die young. So when she was given the opportunity she did everything to back up her belief, she sabotaged any treatment – from refusing to go to medical appointments to taking medication. She had decided as soon as she was diagnosed to give up. Because she had created a belief she was going to die young and she had created a strong neural community (connection of neural connections) in her brain to make that happen. What destroyed my dad is that she just allowed cancer to win.
However, I always took a very different perspective on it. I said she has the choice. We can’t be selfish and force her to do something to satisfy us. It’s not fair to guilt someone who wants to not live, live. (Now, I’m aware that some of you will be thinking “is that not just cold-hearted?” But I invite you to really think about this. We have freedom of choice, and when we say to someone “I don’t want you to die. I want you to go through the treatment and I know you don’t want to. But do it for me”. What you are actually saying is, “I can’t handle the hurt of you dying so I want you to go through the gruelling treatment”. See? That’s another perspective. There are many different perspectives. Ask yourself which perspective is the selfish one?
My mum suffered undiagnosed Bi-Polar. I recognised her behaviour was not of a stable mum. Her actions, her reactions and her temperament pointed to an imbalance. If my mum had the help in this area, then maybe she would have had a different life and would still be alive. Or maybe not.
The last thing I want to dig into is a willingness to change. My mum was not willing to change and if you are stuck in a mindset which is fixed, nothing will change. I can’t change it nor do I desire to change it. You will, unfortunately, live a restrictive life and will find it difficult to be free from the shackles of pain and suffering.
What do I mean by a fixed mindset? For example, no matter what, my mum said “I can’t change it” to her dying young. She said “I can’t change. It is what it is”. Another example, she stopped working when she was pregnant with me and never returned to the workforce. She made every excuse about why she couldn’t work and was not open to trying. Her fixed mindset had her locked in that she couldn’t work. As such, she would find every excuse at every opportunity as to why that job would not work for her. A person with a growth mindset would have skilled up to a job they wanted and achieved. It’s not about judging a person because of their mindset. It’s about understanding yourself and knowing if you have a fixed mindset. It will be impossible to change your situation. What other people do is none of our business as we have no idea what has led them to be the way they are.
Pain is not the enemy. It’s your perception of it. That is it, and that can be changed. You need to know that your perception of pain is not your fault – it is what we have all been taught to have. So no blame, please! We are all victims of it and it’s shit, I get it! But you have to draw a line in the sand at what is non-negotiable, and say “my life moving forward is my responsibility”.
Last thought – would my mum be still alive? I deeply believe not, if she hadn’t changed her perception. She had hardwired her brain for death and probably never knew it. It’s sad. However, my mum’s life is not in vain. Her last words to me, before slipping into a coma, were “the only things in life I regret are the things I haven’t done!” These words have rung through me ever since on different levels. And after my accident and deep suffering, I live by them and now I’m helping thousands of people to break the cycle.
Thank you mum.