I was alone when I got the biopsy results. Afterwards I remember walking past my husband and mum and their faces glaring at me, waiting for a response. I calmly got dressed and told them very rationally that I had breast cancer and it was at a fairly late stage.
Looking back at that time now I remember being so numb and shocked. I felt so sorry for my body. I remember looking myself in the eye as I was getting dressed and feeling it so vividly. I joked around with the staff as my biopsy was taken, they told me I was a ‘tough cookie.’
I told my family I was under no circumstances having chemotherapy or radiotherapy but they thought I should pursue both natural and conventional medicine. I had heard the positive stories of Kylie Minogue and Olivia Newton-John from my mum (bless her) but deep inside I had already made my decisions.
I had a lumpectomy in May 2014, then a mastectomy at the beginning of August.
My lumpectomy was a breeze. I recovered very quickly and went home the same day, not even needing to stay over-night. The mastectomy however was harsh. I also had my silicone implants removed.
After the surgery, I had multiple seromas and my wound and bleeding seemed to last for weeks on end. I had a bad reaction to the anaesthetic second time around and had drug-induced hepatitis. I was hospitalised again and they were so worried at how ill and jaundiced I had become that they thought the cancer had spread to my liver. Scary times and endless blood tests, but I am so much better now.
I chose not to have a reconstruction, I was honestly no longer concerned at how I looked physically. I’ve always been quite small busted so I don’t look too lopsided! I also chose not to have chemotherapy, radiotherapy or Tamoxifen, preferring to look at natural ways of healing my body.
The subsequent year has been the most challenging experiences of my life, and I say experiences as there have been so many of them.
I pursue many complementary approaches including eating a natural organic diet with little grains (as much as I can), re-bounding daily for 20 minutes at a time, using an infra-red blanket, taking coffee enemas, juicing daily, using castor oil packing, doing oil pulling, yoga, meditation, using NAET, homeopathy, EFT, intravenous vitamin c, taking supplements and I am also about to embark on a complete dental clean-up of mercury and root canal removal with a holistic clinic.
The cost of all these different approaches really does add up and just as I needed some extra support I found out about Yes to Life. I called the helpline and had a telephone conversation with one of their trained volunteers about how to apply for funding.
I now apply to Yes to Life for funding each month and the payments have literally been a complete life-saver to me. The financial support helps so much towards affording my supplements and the other healing modalities I’ve chosen to embrace as part of my healing programme.
I’ve only now really come to realise the huge impact and fear the whole experience has had and still has on my family. At the time I was working through the grief periods of my own life that were hanging in the air.
We are all at a much different stage now. Yes, of course we’ve experienced the screaming, crying and raging (oh and a near divorce) But now we have more tolerance and compassion for each other, and I believe beyond all doubt that I have changed the most.
If I could sum up my experience of cancer I would call it a ‘metamorphosis’ resembling the caterpillar (me) going through the most painful journey of re-birth only to become the most beautiful free butterfly gaining wings and taking on the world.
My regime has become part of my life-style now and I’ve tailored it to fit around being a busy mum to my nine year old little girl as well as working for myself and building a business.
In November 2014 I attended Yes to Life’s ‘Cooks and Cancer’ wellbeing workshop with Jenny Phillips. As well as learning a lot, it also gave me the inspiration to start running my own workshops.
I now run workshops from the comfort of my home on how to live the healthiest life possible. I regularly meet up with others who have gone through or are going through similar experiences and have also started a cancer support group called ‘Chrysalis’ which can be accessed online via Facebook. I have met some amazing people along the way who have become good friends.
To me, Yes to Life means literally saying ‘Yes I want to Live’! Yes I want to embrace all that life offers and throws at me.
I whole-heartedly believe this charity is a life-line to many people. The wealth of information and support it offers is beyond measure. The more people Yes to Life reaches, the more informed our society will become, leading the way for others to step out of the ‘victim’ role, take charge and feel empowered in the knowledge that they do have choices.
Everyone’s cancer journey is their own. Having a charity to turn to that supports each individual’s ethos and choice is great.
Amanda posts regular blogs and recipes on her website and offers support through her group, Chrysalis
With awareness rising and demand for our services at an all-time high we need your backing more than ever. Donate to our campaign ‘Support greater choice for people with cancer’ today and help us support more people like Amanda