HI, Im Clare, I am a trainer, coach and speaker and also a survivor of cancer and head and neck radiotherapy. I didn’t really understand what that meant either when I first saw it.

I have put these greetings into 3 sections, the question, the answer, and the reality.

I havent seen you for ages, how are you?   Im fine thanks.  Except my body is trying to kill me.

You look well.  Oh thanks.  I feel awful and cannot get my head round this at all

I bet your relieved that’s over.  Yes I am.  It’s never over, I’m on the rollercoaster now, which never really goes away. 

Im here if you need me.  Thats nice thanks.  I just want to curl up into a ball and cry into my pillow, as I cant put this into words.

I bet your family are worried.  Yes they are being really supportive.  i dont want to burden them with my reality, as i need to tell them im ok.

Wow, living life doing our thing then suddenly the rug is pulled, I head those words, you have cancer.  Its true everything after that just sounds mumbled and i couldn’t really work out what was being said,

After the treatment, which was quite nasty, losing my voice (an issue for a someone who speaks for a living, and a singer, Im no longer able to sing) not being able to eat or drink I started to rebuild myself and my family. One counselling session, the counsellor said to me, most people are positive about surviving cancer!! Mmmmm, she obviously hadn’t ever had cancer thank goodness, as anyone that really knows, understands there are many levels of physical and emotional levels of recovery and the rollercoaster of emotions, like “is that pain something, is that lump cancer, has it come back” can be a nightmare to deal with.

Then life starts to get into some different type of normal, with meditation, healthy eating, exercise, complementary therapy and a promise to look after my body, at least listen to it. Then the next check comes up, I would like to say this is a positive experience, but the few weeks before are tough, stress and anger starts to build up without realising it. Start snapping at loved ones, as they don’t understand! Equally I know they are dealing with their own stuff.

Then 3.5 years later life gets back into some normality, I do everything in my power to make sure people experiencing this get the support they so desperately need through our Cancer Wellness Support Group. I start to find me again and at long last can smile again. My taste buds will never be the same, but they are coming back and my voice – I have to be careful of, but at least it is back.

My message to anyone going through a cancer diagnosis is to talk, find someone you trust, join a group, speak to someone you can talk to honestly, if its your thing research and understand your cancer and be ready to be vulnerable in a safe place. Ask questions if you don’t understand and find your way to support yourself, either through learning meditation, complimentary therapy with Finding Me, some sort of release, sleep lots and rest, don’t assume your body will continue it its usual way for a bit. Allow space for you and give yourself time to heal.