Taking personal responsibility…

I think this is a year of self-responsibility.

We have been facing things that are putting us in a very uncomfortable seat and we don’t know how to deal with any of it.

We started the year having to face that we as a whole are scared to leave our houses because of something we don’t know much about even though we have made “so many advancements in medicine”.

As a civilisation we took pride of being so much more advanced than our ancestors yet something is threatening to kill us now at a scary rate, potentially the same rate as 100 years ago when we faced the Spanish flu.

As a society we have an alarming number of people who are living with pre-existing diseases that put them at a very high risk in getting seriously ill or dying with this epidemic.

100 years ago black people were being attacked by white people across the country in America:

https://www.google.com.au/…/red-summer-1919-raci…/index.html

But yet we pride ourselves for being more acceptant, for living in a society that is more inclusive while companies talk about gender equality, unconscious bias and everything that doesn’t necessarily represent the realities of our societies.

I believe strongly the only thing we can do is to take responsibility of everything that is happening around us and think about what we can do as an individual to create a better reality than we are living right now.

Because no, we haven’t got healthier in the last 100 years and no our world hasn’t got less racist either.🙁

Is it really possible to have less stress?

It is a powerful exercise to observe what things/people/situations trigger us to become stressed, to feel stressed.

For me I noticed that “worry” was a big part of my stress…

Before cancer, I worried about what would happen at work if I had a meeting with someone who I didn’t shared many common interests with…I would worry about having or not having enough for my children’s future…I would worry about people who I loved and cared…when they were going through issues…

But during treatment, I learned in the hard way I must admit that I couldn’t control anything except the present moment.

One minute I was at home with my family, the next I was at the emergency department going through tests to see what was wrong with me…it was really tough. It happened more than once!!!

I had quite a few delays at the beginning of my treatment too before I understood all I could control was what was happening exactly at the present moment.

As cliché as this will sound…I must admit this was one of the most valuable lessons I learned.

I try very hard not to plan too many things in advance in my life these days….there is so much freedom that comes with that.

When I catch myself worrying about what is going to happen with a situation I can’t control, I take deep breathes and remind myself where I have been.

I have got to say that during my treatment was refreshing to only think about the now…

what will I eat today…

what exercise will I do today…

what book will I read today…

what meditation will I listen to…

What should I do with the kids when they get home from school…

It was so refreshing to have only one focus: SURVIVING….

I didn’t worry about what clothes I should wear as I spent most of my time on my pijamas…

no worries about work as I didn’t go to work….

no worries about anybody else because I had to focus on myself only…

no worries about money because there was nothing I could do about earning more money…

there was nothing I wanted to buy…

things like renovating our house became irrelevant….

It sounds crazy right? Maybe it sounds selfish too as I know we can’t live exactly like that..I was in a very particular situation.

But having cancer and fighting for my life, it showed me that all the “white noise” we create in our heads takes ALL OUR ENERGY AWAY…

We tend to focus a LOT on ALL OF THE WRONG THINGS

We mostly worry about things that WILL NEVER HAPPEN or that WE CAN’T CONTROL…

So if you took all your worries away…how would you feel?

This is your exercise for today…imagine a life without any of the worries you have created in your head every day.

How would that make you feel?

How do we change our own behaviours?

Leading to my cancer diagnosis – when I say leading I mean a whole year previous to my cancer treatment, I was:
👎Exhausted beyond I had ever been – even when I was breastfeeding my kids, I wasn’t as exhausted
👎My hair was falling like crazy and it was very thin
👎Iron deficient
👎Not present with my family as I would like to be (irritable, short tempered etc)
👎For the first time in my life I had irregular bowel movements
👎Taking vitamins hoping to get my energy back
👎Having terrible sleep
👎Stressed out to the bone at work and about life in general
👎Questioning why wasn’t my body able to operate like when I was younger – by the way I was only 38 years so not that old right?😁
👎Getting constant coughs and cold
👎Getting recurrent cold sores

But instead of listening to these signs (and many more), I was sitting on Number 1. No, not me

As I thought to myself…
🤔I think I might have IBS – easy way out right, something that it didn’t sound very serious….
🤦‍♀️I will NEVER have anything serious, especially CANCER – no joke I never allowed myself to google cancer symptoms because I never thought I would be a candidate for it
🤷‍♀️I have always had great health (this is a complete lie I somehow told myself:
o As a kid, I was extremely allergic to dust, mould, etc and I spent most of my childhood sneezing…I took conventional medication and homeopathy medication but it never worked,
o As a young adult, I developed asthma and couldn’t go to anybody’s house who had a cat as I would stop breathing within 1 hour,
o I had an ectopic pregnancy before my first child and almost died in the process. Ended up loosing a fallopian tube,
o I had gestation diabetes with my second child.

So good health huh??? Not so sure about it…

So I kept pushing myself, my body until my body said STOP….ENOUGH IS ENOUGH…

I had an emergency surgery that removed my tumour in the bowel and one month later, I had to start chemotherapy. I had to have 12 cycles…

The chemotherapy I had is called 5FU….the people who believe in natural healing etc called this chemotherapy
“5 feet under”….
needless to say I was in for one hell of a ride….

I went from sitting at…

NUMBER 1. NO, NOT ME…. to

NUMBER 2. WELL MAYBE?…..to

NUMBER 3. SO OK, WHAT DO I DO NOW?

In a matter of 2 weeks….as the harsh reality of having between 70-90% survival hit me on the face….

Jumping from

NUMBER 3. SO, OK, WHAT DO I DO NOW?….to

NUMBER 4. OK, LET’S DO THIS!

Happened in another 2 weeks then I started my journey to changing everything about my life….

I became obsessed about health, about creating a health body and mind, about surviving…

I read books, listened to everything I could find on body, mind, body and mind connection and slowly I would apply things to my daily routine.

ONE TINY SHIFT AT A TIME

These tiny shifts compounded into MASSIVE IMPACT on my health today…

and I am now sitting at

NUMBER 5. IT’S POSSIBLE!

Deep inside, I have this dream that I can empower people to change their habits:

✅before that daring diagnosis
✅before they get really sick
✅before they become dependant on medication and doctors
✅before they loose what they are taking for granted.

As I spoke to my GP about my dream (I love my GP by the way), she explained to me the 5 stages of behaviour changes that she learned at med school.

She told me when people are at NUMBER 1, there is no point in talking to them about it as they don’t want to listen.

Think about last time you told someone that stop smoking was a good idea huh?

It turns out that until we are ready to do something about it, we don’t do anything about it.

As simple as that…

So I started thinking about what could I have said to myself in that year before my diagnosis that could have helped me to change…

What could I have said to myself that it would have made me wake up?

And this is what I came up with:

😮It is not normal to feel exhausted all the time….
🙄Something else must be going on for you to have a continuous iron deficiency even though you are taking iron supplements and eating red meat 3 times per week…
🙄It is not ok for you to be stressed all the time about work and life…
🙁Sleep is really important for our overall health and if you are not sleeping well, you need to find out why…
😩It is not normal to be catching every cough and cold and getting recurrent cold sores…
🙄Vitamins are not magic pills unless you work on your finding out the root cause, they are not going to solve your problems…
😏If your bowel is not working properly, you need to find out why as your bowel is your second brain…

This is my message to you today….

if you are feeling something is not right and you have to make changes but don’t know where to start…

If you have tried making changes but couldn’t…

I am not going to say, your story will end up like mine…

What I will say is…

YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR STORY FROM NOW ON…

ONE TINY SHIFT AT A TIME….

that will compound into MASSIVE IMPACT.

How much stress do you put yourself under each day?

I am not sure if you have ever really asked this question to yourself but truth is we all accept that living a stressful life is just what we do these days….and it is normal…

Reality is we accept this new normal without thinking what it actually means to us day to day…what it means to our bodies and our emotional state…the real effects on our physical and emotional body.

We even take pride in saying my job is stressful or I have a stressful life at times…

When I got cancer, I knew stress was one of the causes of my cancer. Nobody needed to tell me stress was one of the causes…I just knew it.

Growing back in Brazil I saw people living in constant flight or fight mode. Whether you are well off, constantly scared of being mugged/robbed or you are living in poverty fighting to meet your daily needs, it is fair to say it is a very stressful way of living.

So I guess my default mode has always been flight or fight…this is what I knew and how I dealt with day to day situations.

It is ok to have some situations in life where you need to activate your fight or flight mode but I think we all know by now that living in constant flight or fight is extremely harmful to our health.

It is like living running away from a tiger in a jungle…constantly….no human being can do that…not physically…not mentally…

When the body is continuously placed in the state of flight or fight we create the conditions of poor health.

And this is what I did…

I never stop to be grateful, truly grateful for being alive, for who I was, who I had become on my own since I left Brazil at 21, what I had accomplished after living in 7 countries, the friends I had made, how lucky I was to have the best husband in the world and to have two amazing perfectly healthy kids…

I allowed myself to get stressed about small things, when things didn’t go my way at work…I allowed myself to get super stressed about things that I thought were important…I gave too much of me…of my energy…

I knew I needed to find techniques to help me to deal with stressful situations but more important than that I needed to rewire my brain to look at life differently.

Every single bit of it…

And it all started when I noticed in my body the effects of being stressed…

I had a discussion with my family the day before chemo…I had an even bigger discussion with them sitting at the chemo chair…and when I got home…my body was a wreck…

I could not only feel the negative effects of the chemotherapy all over my body….this time I felt a much stronger level of toxicity and once more I was hanging on to my life by a thread….

Looking back my body suffered a lot more from the effects of feeling stressed about the discussion I had with my family than the physical effects of the chemotherapy.

I noticed it took me about 4 days to shake off that feeling too.

The recover from that chemotherapy cycle was harder.

I exercised…I meditated…I prayed….I wanted to get that poison out of my body and each day I felt everything I did, it wasn’t working…

I kept trying until 4 days later…I started feeling my body again….I started feeling balanced again…even when my body was full of chemotherapy, I felt balanced when the stress was out of my body…it was a noticeable difference.

So I started reading and researching about stress and how I could deal with stress differently.

I knew life without stress didn’t exist, I needed to create my own way to deal with stress differently, my own stress free life…

Stress is directly related to so many serious illness. If we do not manage or remove stress from our lives altogether, stress can cause a negative impact on the immune system, hindering the body natural defences against disease.

And that was enough to catch my attention….

I needed to look after my stress levels because I needed my immune system functioning at a 100% capacity.

I did and still do everything I can to help my immune system…

I believe if I cultivate a strong immune system, I can get rid of any disease…

So today I invite you to ask yourself this question:

How much stress do you put yourself under each day? At work? At the traffic jam? When together with your kids? When your husband, wife, partner doesn’t do what you expect them to? When people in general don’t do what you expect them to? When things don’t go your way? When you are facing an adversity or challenge?

And when it happens, how do you respond to it?

I found for myself that the first step into change is to observe and acknowledge…

Once I opened myself up to observe and acknowledge what was happening, I started my journey to change….

I am dedicating the month of May to talk about stress….so story to be continued….

It doesn’t take much to observe and acknowledge when something happens to you on the inside….try looking at it as a friend outside of the situation…try observing what happens to you as if you were someone else…sometimes it helps you to observe yourself without any self judgement.

I hope this is a constructive exercise…I hope this is an exercise that helps you to connect to your innerself….


Are you being adaptable?

I grew up with my dad always saying: human beings can adapt to anything, any conditions, any situation.

Being an immigrant who arrived in Brazil when he was 5 years old, I guess he had experienced himself the need to adapt to a different country, reality, climate, food etc.

As I started my cancer treatment, I knew I had 12 cycles to survive. Yes that right, if you have ever faced cancer surviving chemotherapy becomes your main aim.

After my first cycle, I felt I was so out of it. It felt like I was in a movie when you watch the actors taking a hit of some sort of drug. It wasn’t pretty….

I had had 48 hours of chemotherapy going through my body and when I got disconnected, I felt I was hanging on to my life by a thread.

I was in bed for 5 days.

I remember on day 3 when my husband wanted to take me for a car ride. It took all my strength to get myself in the car and I didn’t say a word for the whole car ride. If you know me, you would know that doesn’t come natural to me.

As cycle 2 came along, my body knew what to expect and I am not going to say it was easy but somehow it was much easier than the first time.

As I changed my diet, introduced exercise, meditation and did a load of work on my own emotional healing, my body got stronger after each chemotherapy session.

I spent less days in bed…more days feeling strong enough to exercise, prepare my own meals and play with my children.

I couldn’t believe how my body dealt with session after session for 12 cycles…

I acknowledge there was a correlation between how hard I work on my own healing and how I felt after each session but I also believe there was an element of my body and mind getting used to the new reality at that time too.

As we all adapt into our new realities…I believe we are all slowly making peace with it or at least finding it easier.

We are sure going to have good days and bad days but I guess that is part of life isn’t it?

So I guess what matters is what we are doing each day to adapt into this new reality. And if I ask you…what would you say?

How can we let go our old ways of living?

I mean let go of our lives before COVID-19, because let’s face it, life won’t be the same, will it?

But when I say that, I don’t mean life will be better or worst…life will be different.

Maybe people will be more inclined to work from home more often so they don’t have to commute to work for hours…some kids might prefer to be homeschooled and might ask their parents if they can actually do that, people might not return to their previous roles because they may realise that their hearts are not in it anymore and they might get the courage to change careers…

People might just hold on to the simplicity of life, to things that really matter, to what really make them happy as they allowed themselves to stop…

I am now home schooling my kids, I mean since last Thursday and I have been feeling a happy sense of peace with being just a mum. I have never felt happy for just being a mum. I have always worked because being independent has always been really important to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still trying to work on my business like writing this email right now…but I have been happy for the first time for being a mum, just a mum as my main priority has shifted to look after my kids 24/7.

I have been feeling grateful for the kids I have as they are amazing kids…I have been feeling grateful to cook for them and look after them for the whole day…secretively enjoying being their teacher too.

I feel as if the world has stopped around me, all the pressure to do more, to achieve more, to being more has stooped because now rich or poor, successful or unsuccessful people, young or old…we are all confined into our own homes trying to do our best to juggle everything.

So my initial question was “how can we let go of life before COVID-19?”

I remembered when a friend asked me after my cancer treatment: “so now that your treatment is finished, do you feel you are back to normal?”

I said to her: “It is not that simple. I can’t forget what I have been through”

So she then asked me: “Is it kind of part of you now?”

Then I said: ” It is like having a child. You can’t live life in the same way after you have a child, can you?”

She then said: “Do you mean it is part of you?”

I said “Yes it is part of me.”

For me, cancer was a positive and transformative experience that changed me for the better physically, mentally and spiritually. I took cancer as an opportunity I guess… to change.

And big part of my healing process was acceptance, not fighting cancer.

I feel we are in a similar cross road now. By accepting our new normal, we allow ourselves to focus on what we can control which is today and now. Easily said than done I know but we are all facing these challenge together and I feel the quicker we let go of our lives before COVID-19, the quicker we can get on with our new normal by adapting and adjusting what we need to in our personal and professional lives from now on. 

I hope you are staying safe and well.

Don’t forget to keep looking after yourselves by eating healthily, exercising daily and meditating if you can. I suppose if not now, when? 

PS: I have recorded a new podcast: “How can we let go of control?” and I would love you to listen to. – https://apple.co/2UWIrU1

Have you accepted your new normal?

Even though I don’t watch the news and I don’t allow myself to surf on social media for hours but to get myself informed, I have noticed that people are finding challenging to find and accept their new normal. 

One thing is to read positive quotes and ideas on how to deal with this challenging time but it is a different story when we are tested to put it all into practice.

Let’s face it…the COVID-19 has interrupted our lives big time…we have never experienced anything like this in the history of a world where we feel totally in charge at all times.

So being confined home with our kids, or parents, or friends and spending more time with our loved ones is not something we are accustomed too. Not going to the gym, to grab a coffee when we want, to go for a run when we want feels like our freedom has been taken away from us.

I remember when I was told I had cancer…I thought to myself is this real? 4 days ago, I came in to hospital feeling unwell and 4 days later I have Stage 3 Bowel cancer and I am about to have a life threating surgery?

I spend quite a few days after that waking up and thinking: is this real or am I dreaming?

Some days I would hang on to that thought for a little longer so I could feel in myself that there was a possibility that I didn’t have cancer.

I would just sit there and think it was a bad dream.

But slowly I learned to accept my new reality…I had 12 cycles of chemotherapy ahead of me so I had a long way to go so I needed to accept my new reality fast because the alternative was to be paralysed by the fear of having cancer and all the “what ifs” that goes into your head.

Accepting my new reality was an enormous part of my healing journey because as soon as I accepted that, I felt empowered to act and do something about my new normal.

So I guess we are living through this exact same thing right now, aren’t we? 

Do we accept our new reality and put a new plan in place for what it is happening or do we keep thinking about the “what ifs” and “why me” and “why now” and focus on what we can’t control?

For me the quicker I accepted my new reality, my new normal, not only the diagnosis but feeling unwell 24/7, giving up my work ( I kept sending emails to my boss for a good couple of months after my diagnosis), feeling weak, vulnerable, accepting I couldn’t be or do what I used to before cancer…the more in peace I felt with my new reality, with my new body, with my new “me” really.

So I invite you to instead of fighting what is happening outside of us and everything that we can’t control, accept things as they are, work towards a plan that can help you deal with whatever situation you are in, help your family, loved ones around you to accept this new challenge with you.

As soon as you accept what it is going on, you will feel that life will become easier, the plans that you will be working towards won’t be as challenging, you will be able to come up with different solutions and before you know, your new normal is what you will know.

We human beings are incredibly adaptable and we can adapt to any situation if we set our minds to.

May this unknown time make us grow and learn whatever lessons we need to learn. May this unknow time make us be more compassionate to ourselves and others as we are all in this together.

How often do you ask for help?

Just after I finished my 12 sessions of chemotherapy, I had one of the hardest weeks since my diagnosis.

I didn’t understand why…after all I had survived 12 sessions of chemotherapy right?

One of the nurses who had looked after me during my treatment told me on my last day – “Angelica, in 8 years of working in an oncology department, I have seen 4 people finishing this treatment. You have done really well!”

So that was something to be proud of right?

But I was lost…I wanted to shout to the world: do you realize what I have just gone through? 

But the world was going around like any other day…people were still busy living their own lives in the same way as they did before my cancer diagnosis…I was the one who needed to get back to normal but how could I?

A friend of mine who had had a good friend of hers going through the same cancer as I had texted me: “hey, this is probably going to be the hardest time in your journey. My friend really found hard to get back to normal, so focus on your husband and kids as my friend didn’t even have a family. You can do this! Take each day as it comes.”

I thought to myself – Shit – I need to get help.

I booked an appointment with a psychologist and I thought to myself, I have to reach out for help. I can’t do this alone anymore.

I had my first session and slowly my psychologist helped me to work through my pain, my wounds, my traumas…not in one session..in many sessions…in fact I still see her, not as often but I see her and it is soooo helpful.

I faced my worst fears…things that I thought I would never be able to face…things I didn’t want to face….but remember I kept saying to myself I wanted to survive and I was going to do whatever it took to get back to feeling healthy, happy and healed.

I believe you can’t heal your body without healing your emotions, healing your heart. I have spoken to so many people who has gone through cancer treatment and they are left broken on the inside after it. They struggle through life after cancer because they didn’t look after their emotions, their inner healing.

If you have gone through something like cancer or any other wake up call, life interruption – whatever you want to call it, have you healed emotionally from it?

Have you stopped and acknowledged what you have gone through mentally or have you just gone back to normal life with a brave face?

I have actually made a video about emotional healing as I am super passionate about this:
https://youtu.be/w-1LkRHEy2Q

If you know anyone who need to watch this video, forward this email to them…or the video link.

I feel we collect many “paper cuts” size wounds throughout life, at some point our bodies are full of them and we are in so much pain that we can’t take any more “paper cuts”. This is where I got and from where I healed….if I did it, you can do it too.

Stay safe! Stay healthy!


Have you seen any positive news since COVID-19?

You know I haven’t watched the news in years but now that I am on social media (I only joined Facebook and Instagram last year, believe it or not?) is pretty hard to stay away from the coronavirus news and its effect on people, the economy, the whole world really.

But I have started seeing some courageous people out there that are stopping to feed the fear, the sadness, the unknown that the coronavirus are bringing into our lives.

I guess it is hard to see the positives when there is so much negativity around us. But truth is there is always a positive in every situation and we should practice looking at life and each situation a little more with positive eyes.

I thought instead of feeding you with the continuation of my emotional healing story which by the way is not finished yet, I was going to highlight to you the positives I have read about this whole situation:

Emissions are dropping faster than countless years of climate negotiations

People are working together as a community more than ever. They are respecting the government directions to stop the spread of the virus. People are offering to shop for the elderly. People are offering to share their food with their neighbours. At a global level, we are actually pulling together.

In Venice, in Italy the epicenter of the coronavirus, the canals are empty of its usual boat traffic, photos on social media are showing clear waters and the return of wildlife. People have spotted dolphins in the canals. If you have been to Venice, you would know how impossible that sounds.

So maybe we should go back to our practice to look for positives in every situation…we all know that where focus goes energy flows so let’s try practicing to feed more into what we want to and desire to happen with this whole thing.

Hope this gets you thinking about creative ways to make this world a better place. Sometimes we need a reset and it feels like the earth is getting one, we are getting one…and yes sometimes it is inconvenient and we didn’t ask for it but once more we need to stick to it and trust the process.

What cancer taught me about uncertainty…

We are living through some uncertain times…we are living through what we never thought we would have to experience….

In a world where we feel we are in control at a touch of our fingers…we are loosing control each day…we are waiting for the government to tell us what to do next, we are not sure how our financial situation will be affected, we are not sure if our local supermarket will have enough food for us to buy…we are lost and all we want is to feel safe again…like before the coronavirus.

But the coronavirus is not going to go away overnight…

This situation brings me back to when the rug got pulled from under my feet.

At 38 years, I was told, I had between 70-90% chance of survival.

As I write this, it pains my heart just thinking about these numbers…all of a sudden I had not only lost my sense of security…

But I was scared, fearful and powerless…

Then I had to face the world…and tell people I had Stage 3 Bowel cancer and that I was going to have 12 sessions of chemotherapy.

Most people’s faces gave me even less hope than the actual prognosis given to me.

My GP then told me that I needed to avoid crowds… I needed to stay at home and away from people as much as possible as my immune system was going to be down.

I had a slim hope my immune system was going to be stronger than most as I was young, righht?

Little I knew that as soon as I started chemotherapy, that became my new reality…my immune system became very weak.

I had many delays during treatment because my immune system wasn’t recovering…

Until one day I ended up in emergency with 0.01 neutrophils (these are the white cells that fight any infection/bacteria/virus you may have)…

Well I had none…

Two bags of blood and one bag of iron later, my body slowly started to recover and one week later I was able to go home.

I was then left by myself at home to pick up the pieces of what was left of me…

I knew I needed to focus on building up myself again…my physical and mental health if I wanted to survive.

I needed to accept my new reality, adapt and change to survive.

Slowly I switched my focus to changing my diet, doing exercise, meditation and listening to anything I could to feed my mind with positive things, with knowledge that was going to help me.

I stopped thinking about tomorrow because I had learned that I couldn’t predict my tomorrow…things could change quite quickly and all I could do was to focus on the NOW.

I feel the world is now at a similar place…we have all lost our sense of security and we are finding difficult to navigate through this new reality.

We are listening to some informative news but we are getting bombarded with a lot of negativity too.

It is challenging to move away from it…

I would like to invite you to think about the things you can control right now…focus on what you can control…tap into your inner strength (we all have one, trust me)…

You could focus on something as simple as reducing the time you spend watching the news…or increasing the time you meditate…or take up on reading again.

Little things can make a big difference in how we live, in who we are, in who we become through this…

I have also learned that nothing is permanent…I had some pretty shitty days but they too passed and the coronavirus shall pass too…

Stay safe and healthy,