Let Go!! It’s not in your control

This is a subject I feel deeply connected to and would love to admit that I’ve mastered. I’ve had a rollercoaster ride, as we all have had, and on that rollercoaster, I sometimes squeel with delight as I reach a peak and realise I am unafraid and could go round for another circle of jerks, dips and tumbles, feeling my stomach drop with my eyes wide shut so as to avoid the reality that I cannot get off until the ride has come to a standstill. Still the adrenaline is pumping and I’m smiling and giggling nervously, but I know that in a few more minutes, I’ll get off with a sigh of relief and say, “I’ll never do THAT again”.

It’s often the case that we enter into the day with an idea of how things may take shape. Our will is strong and our intentions are set and our minds focused on the outcome.

Well, my day began with an early morning walk to the medical centre down the road from where I live. The air was crisp and it felt good to be up with the school run. I passed two school girls who were playing music and dancing on the sidewalk. I commented on their moves, we all laughed and I carried on walking up the hill. I was booked in for a round of blood tests to check various things, but mostly to do a liver function test. It had been suggested by a close friend of mine, Aurelie, to arrange for some IV Vitamin C drips to boost my immune system. We all know that chemo can be extremely unkind and deplete the body in various ways.  In order to have the treatment, you would need a blood test and a prescription. Once that is in order …you’re good to go.

Well, it’s not as simple as it sounds and there are all kinds of protocols that are put in place, all for a good reason, but not something I was willing to submit to. I had it fixated in my mind that unless I had at least 3 treatments before chemo starts, I wouldn’t cope. The doors were shutting in my face, not in an unfriendly way, but simply because it just isn’t the norm for a request such as this.

Frustrated, I sent Aurelie a voice note explaining my annoyance. Aurelie has had her own journey with cancer and has been such a solid source of strength, advice and support. My story is overshadowed by what she had to go through. Such a strong woman and fellow Scorpio sister. She broke it down for me, told me to embrace how I was feeling and the overall message that I received was to let go. She reminded me that everything I need in order to handle the chemo, I already have. The will, strength and most importantly my meditation and faith and that all of those things will get me through..not a Vitamin C drip. Those were exactly her words to me.

One of the areas that I’ve been so committed to is my diet. I changed to a vegan, mostly raw food diet as soon as I was diagnosed and cut out sugar, wheat, dairy and caffeine. I fasted once a week while I was on tour and have been taking every supplement that I researched was good for my condition. I am probably the healthiest I have ever been. A little on the thin side, but I’m feeling strong and vibrant. Aurelie’s advice kept coming and this is what she said…” Eat, my love …when does a woman ever get the free, clear moment to eat as much as they want! Get some delicious stuff in your body”. In other words….let go!!  Thank you my friend!

I got out the house, hopped on the bus to get to an appointment and because I was early I took a little wander. I came across a health food store called Nirvana Health and went inside. I asked for some advice, specifically relating to boosting my immune system before chemo and was led to a product I had never seen before. It’s called the LifeMel Range –  A range of unique food supplements from the beehive, made by bees fed with a mixture of specially prepared herbs. That’s the description in their advertising.

So my day began with a few rounds of blood tests, doors shutting in my face, some lovely counselling from my dear friend Aurelie and it ended in Nirvana:)  And now I have three little bottles of LifeMel which it says, “will enhance my immune system and alleviate side effects induced by chemotherapy”. How incredible is that???

I’m so glad I let go!!!

World Cancer Day – A New Meaning

Who would have thought that I would be writing and sharing stories about my life that included cancer. I have always had the deepest respect for those close to me who have had their lives unhinged by a cancer diagnosis or the loss of a loved one. Some have undergone long, unending suffering and some have literally taken my breath away with how suddenly it has taken them. My perspective has of course shifted and if I ever showed a slightly nonchalant attitude towards someone’s story about cancer, believe me when I say, I will never be the same again.

I have so much to say and my stories will probably jump around a lot and may seem confusing, but for today, I will write about …today!

Walking in the rain is one of my favourite things to do and it just so happened that I had a day planned with one of my favourite people.

I will tell you briefly about how I came to meet the incredible Sophie Matthew and if I run out of space in this blog, I will share a special story of hers in another. I met her at an audition for Nine To Five which she was helping cast…multi-talented is our Sophie. I remember her being so lovely and friendly and calming. I met her again at an auditon for Bananaman and she read opposite me and was again….just lovely!! One day, many months later, I walked into the rehearsal room for the UK tour of Summer Holiday and there before me was Sophie. We didn’t join the dots till later, but we both acknowledged that we seemed familiar to one another. I joked that we probably knew one another in a past life…which I am now convinced is true 🙂 I thank Racky Plews, our director, for casting me as Sophie’s horrendous mother Stella. Red bus……yes!!!!! Private joke, sorry..

So for the next 6 months we would tour all around the UK, share a dressing room (mostly), tell stories..and also tell stories, laugh and the best of all – I got to shout at her and push her around the stage. That makes for incredibly good bonding and a life long friendship. Hopefully you have a lovely picture in your head because she is a perfect picture to me.

And now I need to quickly shift the focus a little and back track for those who know me and have followed a little of my journey on facebook. I posted about my first surgery in October which was relativley straight forward and successful – to a point. I then had a second surgery in December which was a single mastectomy with immediate reconstruction which I am happy to say, I am in my 8th week of recovery and it is all healing beautifully. I will write about these at some point, but what led to our outing today is the next unfoldment of my journey which involves chemotherapy and I have a lot to write about that particular subject, but not today.

So now, back to the day. Sophie and I met and walked in the rain arm in arm to a place that was recommended for wigs. While I’m on chemo I will be using something called a cold cap which has been successful for many women so you can hold on to your hair. It’s incredible to me that this option even exists! As I’m an actress and extremely passionate about my career, I’ve chosen this option so that hopefully I can jump back in after my treatment and carry on as before. It’s not a pleasant experience I’m told, but worth a try and in case, for some reason it doesn’t work, Sophie and I have chosen two rather spunky wigs..one is particularly on the spunky side.

So, on World Cancer Day, I share this story with you and I salute every person that has been touched by cancer. One thing I know is that cancer brings people closer together. I am thankful for my lovely “daughter” Sophie, who has been supportive since I was diagnosed on the Summer Holiday tour. Thank you sweetheart for sharing your precious time with me today to make sure that my head is covered and if you ever need me Sophie….I’ve got your back!!  X

My Very First Blog – Yay!!

Some have said I am inspiring…I prefer to say that I am inspired. What inspires me you may ask? I have a multitude of answers to that question and will find moments to write about them all.

I’m inspired by people, travel – especially long train rides, rainy days, the innocence and delight of children – children with special needs in particular, deep and loving friendships, loyalty, honesty, walks in the park, animals, hugging trees, solitude, chocolate (only dark now without the sugar), healthy living, walking through London, visits to Cathedrals, the sound of birds singing,  watching families hanging out together, compassion, strength and humility, hospitals (who would have thought, but I have many a tale now that I practically live at one). I love deep conversations, chats with Uber drivers, the generosity of friends, loved ones and sometimes strangers, the magic of theatre, honest communication. I’m inspired by the unconditional love I have always felt from God since I was a little girl and if I was uncertain He was there, which I never am, that’s been taken care of. I am deeply inspired by the love, guidance and protection of my Guru (yes, I have a Guru and if that puts you off, it’s nothing I’m willing to change). I’m inspired by love, my family and perhaps, finally…stories. And I may just have lots of those to tell.

Some you may like and some you may find silly and annoying, but I’m comfortable with that as they are my stories and I’m more than willing to share.

I promise to be honest and open in my telling and to not be reserved in my approach, even though some situations may seem very personal, I will do all I can to protect those who have affected my life both positively and negatively. Sometimes the relationships which have been the most challenging can show you darker aspects of yourself that shouldn’t be hidden, perhaps a little tweaking may be necessary, but they should never be hidden away.

I chose to call this Blog Safe Spaces because in amongst all the chaos that is life, I have always managed to find myself, or create for myself a safe space in which to handle life and to grow.  A very dear friend of mine who I call “my lion” spoke of having a safe space in a conversation we were having about his life, and I have never forgotten it, so with his permission there it is. Thank you my lion.

I have often felt a little awkward with the idea of writing as I don’t fancy myself to be particularly strong in grammar and constructing interesting sentences that capture people’s imaginations, but what I can offer is simple, honest and heartfelt ways of sharing what is my reality and experience. I was a bit of a class clown in school, so I wasn’t really paying attention to composition.

I thank you in advance if you decide to spend a little of your precious time reading over my musings and wish you the most magical experiences in your own life and in everything that touches it.

Here’s to magic and creating!!