Posted on Leave a comment

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

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

Posted on 1 Comment

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,

Posted on Leave a comment

Emotional healing – Part 4

I am not sure if you have read the previous “Emotional healing” blogs but on the last blog, I talked about how breathing and yoga helped me on my path of healing, self discovery, self love, physical and mental well being.

Ya know after establishing yoga as one of my daily habits during chemotherapy, I knew I needed to take a step forward…

I had used meditation to help me to sleep at the beginning of my cancer treatment especially during the day when I was so tired but couldn’t physically get to sleep as I was on so many steroids as part of my anti nauseous medication.

I had also experienced a little bit of meditation while doing yoga and focussing on my breathing…

But I realized pretty quickly that I needed to learn how to sit quietly, by myself and this is how I started meditating daily as part of my daily routine too.

I tried a few free meditations on Youtube, on Apple podcast app but one day I came across a powerful meditation while listening to a Cancer Symposium online organized by Kris Carr (a cancer survivor and thriver who has been living with Stage 4 cancer for the last 16 years).

There were many integrative doctors, health professionals, motivational speakers, healers and survivors speaking at that Symposium.

The meditation was done by Iyanla Vanzant, a spiritual teacher and life coach – an amazing human being as I later found out.

It was a beautiful meditation and I felt so connected to my body, to my cancer while doing it….

In the middle of the meditation she asked me to put my hands on my cancer/or wherever the tumour was.

Then she asked me to ask the question to it, to my cancer “why are you here?”

“My cancer” answered loud and clear…it was almost as if it had shouted at me: “Anger”

I was so shocked…ashamed…sad…but I knew that listening to that answer, acknowledging was going to be an important part of my healing.

I had been so angry…angry with my family…with their family…with my life, the life and challenges I had been given…the life that I felt to that point it had been a lonely one because I had never felt supported by my family.

I had put all my happiness and fulfilment on external factors and people as supposed to look for it within myself.

I had blamed external things and people for so many things that didn’t go right in my life and I forgot to take responsibility, to accept my reality, to accept the life I was giving…which from where I am sitting now…is full of blessings.

Incorporating meditation in my daily routine allowed me to uncover my wounds, my pain that was buried inside my soul and so ingrain in it…

There was no more running away from myself….I knew the work to pull it all out was going to be a process….and once more I was up for the challenge.

I was finally open to trust the process and to do whatever it took to do the work to uncover it all.

I knew that the anger inside me was a fundamental part of my cancer…an important cause that contributed for the growth of disease in my body…I knew that in order to be healthy I needed to work on healing my inner self.

This is how meditation helped me and still does…

If you have never meditated, I would love you to give it a go…

My biggest advice on meditation is don’t set any expectations before you do it, meditation is simply a time for you to sit quietly with yourself…some days you will be able to free your mind more than others…the most important thing is to let go of any expectations and to keep doing the work daily…trust the process.

Let me know how you get on….I would love to hear…

If you want to try a meditation, click on the link below as I have recorded a couple of meditations for you:

Meditation 1 – to connect to your inner body in times of uncertainty

Meditation 2 – to cultivate self love


Posted on 1 Comment

Emotional healing – Part 1

I can’t believe it is already March – I thought I would celebrate this month by talking about my emotional healing journey…🔥

Ya know….when I speak to cancer patients at my volunteer job at the hospital, and in all the books I have read about cancer patient stories…I see a lot of suffering…not only physical but mental and spiritual too.

I have met quite a few people at the hospital that when I introduce myself and start talking to them, they tell me..

I am fine actually…I don’t need a chat…😕

I respect their wishes obviously but I leave their rooms thinking

“What the heck??You have cancer, don’t tell me you are alright? This is hard core stuff….” and this comes from someone who have been there.

We live in a world where we have to be strong all the time….being vulnerable is challenging…and I am talking about being vulnerable for real…right when you are in the middle of the mess.

When I was told I had Stage 3 Bowel cancer, I was in a bed after my 5 hours emergency surgery…

I had woken up from the surgery and was still groggy.

My husband was next to me…thanks God…I remember it was already dark outside…

The doctor who performed my surgery came in and said:

“Hey, the surgery went well. I took the tumour out. I had a good look around your internal organs and they all look good.”

So I asked him: “Any chance the tumour could be benign?”

He then said: “I am sorry…it is not…it is cancer and it is probably Stage 3 and you will need 12 sessions of chemotherapy”

I then remembering saying: “But I have 2 kids”….

The rest is a blur…

After that….I remember thinking “God, is this your way to shake me? I understand now you want my attention, you want me to listen..but are you serious?…Cancer?”

I came home for 4 weeks to recover before I was supposed to start chemotherapy.

I spent 2 weeks in a really dark place…

I planned my funeral every night…I held my tears every night before saying good night to my kids. I wailed and howled before bed in my husband arms saying: “I really want to see my kids grow up”😭

I begged God to let me live one more year, 2 more years, 3 more years…and I played videos in my mind about what it would happen with my kids at different ages if I died.😢

I know right? Horrendous….

I just couldn’t see past that…cancer meant death to me…I didn’t know anyone close enough that had been through it…

My husband’s aunty was here from the UK which was a blessing.

In the previous year, she had met her partner who was diagnosed with throat cancer shortly after they met, so she knew the beast…she kept saying to me…

”It will be ok. You will be ok”

One day my husband took the kids to the beach with his aunty and I stayed at home by myself.

I remembered feeling deeply sad not only because I had cancer…

but because I had been holding on to so much anger in my life…

I had run my body to the ground…

I didn’t look after myself….

I jeopardised my own health for my constant seeking to being a high achiever…

I had let stress take over my life…

I took my health for granted…

.I didn’t let my guard down…

I had always expected of myself to be strong…

I didn’t spend enough time appreciating life…

I hadn’t laugh enough…

I hadn’t lived enough and now I was scared…and I was hanging to my life by a thread….🤦🏼‍♀️

So I put some sad music on…and I cried….

I felt I was letting all the sadness go….

I felt I was opening up my heart…letting the guard down…

I felt it was the start of my healing….

After this episode, it was if I was ready to face whatever was in front of me….

my deep desire to survive kicked in big time…I wanted more out of this life….

I wanted to be a mum to my kids…and the most beautiful thing happened…all of sudden I wanted to survive for me…for Angelica… for myself..

.I acknowledge my inner self again….and that was just the beginning….

I write this from the bottom of my heart as I feel we keep so much hurt inside us…

We all have our own stories but ya know what I have learned is true healing starts on our hearts, on our souls.

We need to acknowledge and accept the call to heal ourselves….

Wherever you are in your life, take the time today to think…

What pain do you hold on to inside my heart?

Who are you angry with?

Why?

Can you face a past issue?

Who has hurt you?

Can you forgive them? 

The list goes on…and all I am doing is invite you to acknowledge what you have been holding on to…

you don’t have to forgive and forget and make friends with everyone that hurt in the past.

Today is about acknowledging…nothing else.

If you want to know more, follow my blog…sign up to my newsletter… because I would love to share with you what happened next…

[To be contd.]

Posted on Leave a comment

ARE YOU LETTING YOUR HEALTH SLIDE?

How well are you taking care of yourself these days? 

I could say I have had a full life so far…born and breed in Brazil…I left when I was 21…first one of a huge extended family to leave without a plan… 

Unless you can call having a Spanish passport and €1000 a plan? 🤦🏼‍♀️ 

Looking back my plan was very simple…I had a deep desire to prove to everyone you could create a life on my own terms…even though I was a woman…👩‍🎤 

Coming from a chauvinistic culture, that was a big statement at the time… 

I went to Spain first, then I lived 3 years in Belgium, 4 years in England…went traveling with my boyfriend at the time, husband now through Central and South America…ended up in New Zealand…had 2 kids and 3 years ago, we moved to Brisbane.😅 

We moved to Brisbane for my daughter’s health, she had asthma in New Zealand. She was cured when we moved to Brisbane but then I got cancer…

Bowel cancer Stage 3 to be more precise😔 

My KPIS for the day went very quickly from how many placements I could make in my recruitment role to

what I was going to eat to heal my body…

what I was going to listen to help my mind…

and what I was going to do to help my soul…

all of this wasn’t actually too hard for me…. 

BUT what it was hard to learn was… 

~to be vulnerable 

~to ask for help  

~to be dependant on my husband  

~to count on family and friends to help us… 

I had to learn to climb up from the deepest hole I could have ever dug myself into… 

Somewhere along my life, I thought to myself I was invincible…

it turned out…I wasn’t…and I am not… 

And ya know, it wasn’t easy…

I had to work hard…

I had to acknowledge my mistakes…

I had to accept responsibility and learn how to get to know myself…

and face my worst fears… 

I had to learn how to forgive not only others but myself too.😊 

Now life looks very different…

2 years after my diagnosis, I feel the healthiest and happiest I have ever been… 

I am continuously working on my physical, mental and spiritual health…I swore I would never take my health for granted anymore…

I am living up to that promise with every breath I breathe, E V E R Y   S I N G L E   D A Y 

Recently I left my 10 years recruitment career to focus on my business –

I am now a Wellness and Lifestyle coach.

I help cancer patients to regain control of their health physically, mentally and spiritually by making small changes that compound into a massive impact on their lives.

I believe we can learn from scientific research and we can learn from experiences, our own and the experience of others too… 

I have read countless books….I have listened to podcasts, YouTube videos, Ted Talks, anything body, mind and health related…anything that could help me to heal, create a new body, a new mind and a new life after my cancer diagnosis.  

I knew that whatever I did up to the moment of my cancer diagnosis was killing me and I needed some drastic changes… 

The internal work is where it all begins….I mean not only physically but mentally too – health is a ‘360-degree’ gig…you need to look at all aspects of your life…one by one… 

And through my understanding we are experiencing a health crisis… 

~most people are not fit and healthy 

~chronic diseases numbers including cancer are on the rise in every country in the world 

~heart and lung diseases, cancer and diabetes are the world’s largest killers, with an estimated 38 millions deaths annually  

~the major risk factors are tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and the harmful use of alcohol

ALL THINGS WE CAN CONTROL right? 

And this is what we are doing about it…. 

~we are still being bombarded and falling for foods that create disease 

~we live a lifestyle that doesn’t promote a healthy body and mind 

~we feel powerless because we think being healthy is really hard work 

~we don’t want to invest on our health because when it comes to health , everything seems expensive right?

If you want to know how you can turn your health around….you need to take action…and your first action could be get in touch with me.

I know right, scary…and it takes courage but if I changed my health around, I believe you can do it too. 

undefined undefined

Posted on Leave a comment

Can you commit to one change per week?

Today I experienced some of the benefits I have gained since I started my health journey 1.5 years ago after my cancer diagnosis.

After my bowel cancer diagnosis, I committed myself to changing everything in my life, physically and mentally.

I thought that whatever I did to the point of my cancer diagnosis didn’t serve me as otherwise I wouldn’t end up with Stage 3 Bowel cancer.

I had a CT this morning and during treatment I read a lot about how anxious people get before their checks after treatment is finished. It is called scanaxiety.

I made a commitment to myself that I wasn’t going to let anxiety take over my life before every check as I knew I would have to go through a lot of them.

This morning I woke up at 5:30 am and went for a nice swim.

I came home and did a meditation (it is more like a priming exercise to prepare yourself for a successful day – you should check it out – look for “Tony Robbins’s priming exercise” on Youtube or click on: https://youtu.be/oig47qPc3y0

Then I took the kids to school.

On the way to hospital, I listened to some more Tony Robbins.

Yes I can’t get enough of Tony Robbins…but part of my health plan is to constantly feed my mind with goodness and positivity. And his message is just perfect for that every day of the week.

Throughout the whole morning, I had focussed on drinking lots of water as I knew I had to have a cannula put in…so the nurse started the procedure but she couldn’t get the cannula in and had to try my other arm…

I felt the anxiety coming towards me like a tsunami so I exercise some of the habits I have been establishing in the last 1.5 years…

I focussed on my breathing and I started thinking about what I am grateful for.

I thought I was grateful to be in Australia, in a first world country where I get access to an amazing health system.

I thought how grateful I was to be here, alive, breathing….

Before I knew, the procedure was done so I walked out of the hospital.

I grab a nice coffee and a healthy snack (it was coconut yoghurt with cacao and chia seeds).

Then I realised that I have been doing meditation for 1.5 years now (I normally use the app Headspace)…I have been practicing gratitude for the same amount of time.

Part of me feels am I getting any benefits by practicing gratitude or meditation?

But today I truly felt the benefits. I was able to overcome my fear…I was able to stop my thoughts from going crazy…I was able to control my mind.

You know changes are challenging and we all avoid them because it is either too hard or we tell ourselves a story to justify why we can make changes…

On top of that, results don’t come overnight and that in itself put people off from making changes in the first place.

But today I felt that every little meditation I did in the last 1.5 years, every time I sat down and thought what I was grateful for….it was all worth…worth my time…my learning…the changes and the person I am slowly becoming.

If you know deep down, you need to make changes on your life, don’t wait any longer because you are scared to fail…or because you feel it is too hard.

Put a plan in place…work on one thing at a time…set small goals that are achievable.

Don’t expect results overnight…enjoy the ride.

It is all part of the journey, the learning itself is what shapes you…the person you want to become.

So…what is the change you are going to commit to today? This week? This month?

Posted on Leave a comment

Self care during cancer treatment? Are you serious?

I have spent an amazing week listening to a “Global Cancer Symposium” this week organised by Nathan Crane. You can still get access to it if you look it up, I think…

There were 4-5 speakers daily talking about all things related to cancer, cancer treatment, conventional and integrative medicine, diet, mental healing and the list goes on.

It made me reflect on my own cancer journey of how I learned how to look after myself, how I started from not knowing anything and most importantly not doing anything to help my body, mind and soul to heal.

I made so many changes during bowel cancer treatment and it all started with the diet as it was a physical change and probably one that we would think to change first given I had a physical disease.

I then changed how I look at exercise and I introduced exercise as a must into my daily routine. All of a sudden exercise became a priority in my life and that is when the mind set started shifting.

Lastly I started looking into what was happening inside my mind, inside my soul.

I noticed that in one of my chemotherapy sessions after having a massive argument with my family, I felt my body was full of toxins, not from the chemotherapy but from the stress I had put my body through it. I then started asking myself ” what can I do to deal with stress differently?”, “How can I stop the stress affect my physical body?”, “Was my cancer caused by stress?”

I embarked on a deep healing journey where I had to face my biggest fears while opening up wounds that had been buried for a long time inside me.

Little by little I started feeling more connected to what it was happening inside me, I started feeling lighter, less angry, more free. I felt there was more space inside me for more happiness, for more laughter, for more positive thinking, for goodness.

I focused very hard on making little changes daily (and still do) so I can free myself from everything that didn’t serve me anymore, things that were making me feel sick.

This lead me to being here. I feel it is now my mission to share what I learned with people who are going through cancer treatment. I feel cancer could empower people to make changes in their life and in their family lives to build a better future, one with less disease physically with stronger connections with ourselves, our loved ones and the humanity.

I embraced cancer as an opportunity to grow as a human being. I took cancer as an opportunity to change everything in my life, to show up to myself, to honour my own journey and I came out of it feeling healthier and happier than I have ever been.

I believe strongly anyone can build a healthier and happier life despite their circumstances. When we tap into our will to live and to become a higher version of ourselves, we can do and become amazing human beings.