Wednesday, 19 March 2014

From 'Why me?' to 'What more do I want from life?'.

Today's post is written by Claire Timmerman who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when she was 24 years old. She has very kindly shared her story with us in the hope that it will inspire others to remain positive when facing a cancer diagnosis, and in life after treatment.

Claire and her husband hold Simply Sumptuous retreats in Orgiva, Southern Spain. One of the retreats - 'Women and Cancer' (7th - 14th June 2014) - is dedicated to women who have experienced cancer.

When I was 24, I was out having drinks with friends one night.  It was Friday 13th and all of a sudden I found myself doubled over in pain.  Not one to normally leave a bar early - well I was only 24 - I went home.  The weekend was spent with sporadic bursts of a similar abdominal pain until finally on Monday, I went to the doctor, who sent me to hospital that night. The next morning I found myself having emergency surgery for the removal of a large ovarian cyst – the size of a cantaloupe melon!  I never imagined that a few days later they would tell me that the cyst was part malignant – I had ovarian cancer.  It was a surreal feeling.  Even afterwards, when friends and relatives would be in touch and they would be in tears, it just felt odd. 
I underwent a rigorous regime of chemotherapy (although I delayed it so I could complete my ski holiday!).  After the treatment I was given the all clear.  I was lucky: I had youth and an early stage diagnosis on my side.  But it was afterwards that I found the real healing started.  I started asking myself ‘why me?’. It's not that I felt a sense of ‘poor me, how could this happen?’, but I had a real curiosity: ‘what is it that makes cancer show up in one person but not the next? Surely it couldn’t just be a random 'sprinkling'... could it?’
I found myself on a path of discovery, and I tried all sorts!  I started going to cancer groups, to laughter workshops, I tried singing and dancing the chakras, I did goddess workshops, I learnt NLP and Emotional Freedom Techniques, I became a certified teacher of the Power of Sound, I tried detoxes, yoga, meditation, I trained as an hypnotherapist, and I also became an Accredited Journey Practitioner … So you could say it was a ‘spiritual search into me’. 
I can honestly tell you that the whole experience changed my life, and for the better, much better than I could have ever planned for myself!  And yes, I believe that the question ‘why me’ got answered too.

I find that I am now more at peace with myself, with who I am.   Of course I am older and wiser now too and that counts, but I found a good foundation for growth, and it is on going, this discovery of self & celebration of life.  In those 16 years since my diagnosis, I’ve revelled in a job I felt hugely passionate about, I’ve travelled the world with work, I’ve met & married my soul partner, and by some grace we had a daughter.  We’ve relocated to another country and we now enjoy offering retreats for people who are in transition or change in their life.

 When I look back I can honestly say I’ve had the best 16 years I could’ve hoped for.  I now find myself always checking: 'Am I happy?  Am I okay?  What more do I want from this life?' And then I go for it because what have I got to lose? It feels like a real luxury to now be able to ask myself these questions and live life this way, and I enjoy offering women the same sumptuous experience.

Or you can contact Claire directly by Email:

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