When life stops you in your tracks

It’s been a while since I last sent a blog post, I have missed connecting with everyone who reads the blog, and it’s lovely to be back again today.

I wanted to share why there has been a bit of a gap, and before you read on I’d like to name that it might be triggering for some people as it’s about illness. Do take care of yourself if you’re not in a place to read about that kind of thing. 

Back in mid June, I’d just got back from a lovely trip away in Devon, and I got the news that unfortunately, I had primary breast cancer. I had found it myself, and was sure it was nothing to worry about, I even delayed the follow up appointment so I could still go away for my planned holiday. However, there I was, on 14th June, being told by the doctor that I had cancer.

Being given this information of course sends you on an absolute rollercoaster. I felt convinced it had travelled throughout my body. I felt a terror I have never felt in my whole life. 

But alongside that I also felt an enormous outpouring of love from those around me and I felt fully taken care of by the doctors and nurses. I felt lucky to get surgery incredibly quickly and am now recovering well.

I do however, have several more steps of treatment to come so the journey isn’t over. The blogs may continue to be quite sporadic, but today I felt it important to share why it’s been a bit quiet, and also to begin to name some of the learnings I’ve experienced through this journey so far. 

Learning number one 
Humans are incredibly loving, caring and want to help. Pre cancer I didn’t realise just how much it’s in our nature as humans to want to support each other. If people ask if they can help, let them (as long as it doesn’t encroach on your boundaries). 

Learning number two
I’ve realised what’s important. Which in turn has made it easier to implement more boundaries. What is so important to me is to feel peaceful, grounded, present and joyful. Since getting my diagnosis I am acutely aware of when I don’t feel peaceful, grounded, present and joyful, and am finding it easier to say no to the things that take me away from those feelings. My self-care and inner peace is an absolute priority. 

Learning number three
Life is in the present moment. None of us know how long we’ve got, but we do know that we are here right now. And there is so much beauty around us. Life is a miraculous gift. Love is everywhere and in everything. You just have to slow down and look at the leaves or the bees or the waves crashing against the beach to know that life and being alive is beautiful.

Learning number four
The NHS is fantastic.

Learning number five
Resilience building techniques work! I’ve been utilising therapy, meditation, journaling, massage, yoga Nidra, cold water dipping, grounding techniques, self-compassion, gratitude and gremlin taming so far. And they’ve all been incredibly useful tools to bring me back to a sense of safety. I’ve also been allowing myself to feel all the feelings as they come up, to let them move through me and be released rather than get stored in my body. 

And finally, learning number six
Poetry is a wonderful reminder of common humanity. However you are feeling, someone else out there will be feeling the same. None of us are ever alone. Here’s a snippet of an incredible poet’s work that I’ve come across recently:

‘If we never deny
the inevitable end
of the story, 
we will write it
more beautiful
while we’re alive.’

– Andrea Gibson

I hope you have a beautiful, peaceful, present weekend. 

With love as always, Hannah and Team Bird

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

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