Image of Dr Amanda coming home after surgery.
What happens when you are told really bad news?
You have choices when you are told the news you have cancer. It may not feel like that, but you do and knowing what those choices are becomes gold, life changing gold.
It may not be you who is given the news. It may be a loved one, a close colleague or your beautiful spouse, either way, you still have choices. I know first hand and learnt the hard way.
I had just cycled the length of the UK and climbed the highest three peaks on the land ironically for charities that cure this disease. I was at the top of my game and yet here I was sitting opposite a specialist telling me that I had cancer and that my kidney needed to come out as soon as possible.
"He must be wrong, this can't be happening" and yet he was not and it was. I had only been in hospital to visit others so this was all very new and scary. My instinct was to go into a panic, an OMG I've got cancer and start googling everything. Yet I knew I had to take action that would help me and not hinder me.
I had a choice - be a cancer patient or a person being healed.
I started to tell people that I was on an adventure, that became my stock standard answer.
"Oh yes, I'm on an adventure, one that I had not chosen to go on, but I while I am on it I will learn heaps along the way and enjoy the ride."
I only read two papers about the cancer online that my other half found for me, I only wanted good news. I read them and never looked at them again. I trusted my team and they were the ones who were going to help me, not some paper online so why risk being given a negative thoughts.
I approached my surgery as though I was training for an event. I got strong and fit and ate well, and I listened to hypnosis audios around healing. When I arrived in hospital I told the team I wanted to see the theatre as I had only ever seen them on TV. I was able to be completely relaxed and laughed with the team at how Star Wars-ish it was!
I felt good, I felt safe, I felt saved.
I set myself a goal to run a marathon three months after the surgery, and I did. I used the time off to read and grow, I surrounded myself with positivity. I looked at my life and re-assessed it, as I hear most people do when hit with a cancer curve ball, I made plans. And then life took over again. If someone had whispered into my ear when I came out of recovery that in a year and a day my husband would die of the same disease I would never have believed them, they've got it wrong again.
No, they've got it right, again.
We went through the whole thing and we still chose to be on an adventure. We focused on what we were grateful for each morning. Never once did we panic or start to read endless papers filled with negative stories. We chose our focus and that was on health, happiness, love and using our time well.
We travelled, we laughed, we shared and finally we lost.
What I am the proudest of is that through all this, we chose to focus on the adventure and not the fear. Courage is doing what you need to do, to feel the fear, and do it anyway. By choosing your focus, you have options, where your attention goes has power as this changes your reality. Fill your attention with possibility, future, faith and love.
And in the end, it may not come to fruition but the time from now until then will be so much richer, trust me.