Congratulations! You have Cancer

by Eva-Maria Anja Daniela Förtsch, M.Sc.Klin.Psych., Psychologist, Neuropsychologist, Psychotherapist, University Lecturer, Bochum, Germany

Hello. My name is Eva-Maria. Lovely that you choose to read these lines. If you read this because you have cancer, your life might not be easy right now. Perhaps you are worried, in anxiety, angry, sad or even in desperation. If yes, I am totally with you because I have also gone through that. But also if you don’t have cancer and you are just interested, I would like to invite you to read on and feel into what it might offer to you. In the following I want to share with you my experiences with cancer and how it changed my life and my relationship with my body through a big clearing and healing process.

The Diagnosis

I was diagnosed with a very dangerous form of skin cancer (melanoma) when I was 28 years old. This diagnosis came all of a sudden, after the removal of a birthmark on my upper back in between my shoulder blades. When I heard the word “cancer”, I was shocked. Panic arose in me and countless thoughts flooded my mind – and not a single one of them helped me to cope with the situation; all of them were full of anxiety. I was frightened of what would happen next, of the cancer spreading in my whole body, of chemotherapy and of dying. I already saw myself in hospital, thin, pale and with no hair, believing that I would not have much time left. The emotions coming up were overwhelming. I had already spent so much time in hospitals and had had so many surgeries in my life. Hospitals were horrifying to me and reminded me of much pain, anxiety, sadness and helplessness. ‘Why again me?’ ‘This was not fair!’ ‘Why can´t I have a healthy body like others at my age?’ These thoughts did not stop and my anxiety grew.

Although I am a successful psychotherapist and well-trained at supporting others in dealing with their difficulties, I had no idea how to cope with this situation. Continue reading “Congratulations! You have Cancer”

Conversations with my body – Part 2 – Learning to use my left hand

By Dianne Trussell, BSc Hons, Goonellabah, NSW

It is possible to tune in to a particular part of the body to find out what is going on there and what is needed. Science confirms that all the cells of our body communicate with each other in various ways, and we can consciously access those messages.

I had a most striking experience of this while preparing for shoulder surgery late last year. I knew this would render my right (dominant) arm unusable in a sling for a couple of months and relatively useless for a couple more. Thus two weeks before the surgery I began training my left hand to clean my teeth, so that at least there would be something I could do for my own hygiene while in a sling. At first it was like trying to poke holes in my own face, as you can imagine! But it did improve and in 2 weeks I could do a fair job of tooth cleaning with my left hand. This is all very normal and expected – that one can, with time and repetition, train a part of the brain to co-ordinate an activity and muscles to carry it out when they are not used to doing it. Continue reading “Conversations with my body – Part 2 – Learning to use my left hand”

Conversations with my body – Part 1- the cure for hiccups

By Dianne Trussell, BSc Hons, Goonellabah, NSW

As a child I suffered from hiccups. And when I say ‘suffered’, I mean SUFFERED! Once they started, they’d go on and on, every 5 to 6 seconds, 24/7, for days and days. I’d be sleepless, frustrated, irritated, driven crazy by them. I was in despair. I tried every remedy suggested: held my breath, breathed into a paper bag, put sugar under my tongue, drank water upside-down, fasted, ate…. all to no avail. By the time the hiccups would subside (by themselves) I’d be exhausted and very sore in my throat and chest. And in dread of the next bout. It’s one of the reasons I became such a slow eater – to help avoid the ‘hell’ of hiccups!

Continue reading “Conversations with my body – Part 1- the cure for hiccups”

The Family Doctor

By Lee Green, Business Owner, Melbourne, Vic

The picture of the traditional family doctor is well known to us all – a General Practitioner that has a history of the family and is well versed in the ailments of all generations. This role is often depicted in period dramas, especially in well to do families of old – the visiting practitioner being the authority figure that knows ’health,’ or seemingly so, as is portrayed.

Interestingly, as illness and disease climb through the roof, the pressure on our worldwide medical systems is such that they veer closer to collapse – in effect a breakdown of a system that has been essentially supporting us to get on and function – the same system as portrayed by the family GP of old that we have given our power away to and expect to fix us and ready us for the next thing to do.

We have essentially made the role of the GP the first line of support – we take along our ailing bodies and ask for help. The appointments are often short, there is often a wait, and the GP may or may not be having a good or bad day; how they look after themselves in their important role of looking after other people is a key component to this particular element.

Another one being how we walk into the surgery ourselves.

Continue reading “The Family Doctor”

I’m Ready for a Baby Now … It Should be Easy, Right? …

by Anon, Social Worker, Queensland, Australia

I am a mother of three adult children and I work in the area of child health, particularly focusing on infant and perinatal mental health. Every day I have the great fortune and privilege to share the lives and stories of many women who are having or have had a baby. From a young age women are subtly taught that it is natural that one day they will want to have a baby of their own and it is kind of an unspoken law that until they do, they haven’t quite reached the same status as their peers who have had a baby. At times the pressure can be enormous – someone gets married and the next thing that happens is that people are asking them when they are planning to have children; someone has a birthday and people start to make remarks about the biological clock ticking … you get the picture. The socially accepted norm that motherhood is a taken for granted goal, instinctive and fulfilling for females shows no regard for individual choice or circumstance.

I certainly took on these beliefs when I was growing up in a family with five siblings and parents with strong Catholic beliefs around women and their roles. Once I became a mother, I loved that it seemed to bring me closer to my mother. It was like I had gained her approval by having a baby and we now had something in common to chat about.

Continue reading “I’m Ready for a Baby Now … It Should be Easy, Right? …”