It is a while since my last posting. Not an IT fan, and now seeing the stretch of hurdles, very grateful for the support posting in the past!!
I am flying solo now and free as a bird and so happy to say, enjoying the unfolding of a perfect path for teaching me all that needed to be addressed. I look back on the whole cancer journey with awe. It was intense, painful and liberating. I survived physical and emotional challenges that could have taken my breath away!! It took my personal breathwork practice deeper and wider, so far reaching, and in the process allowed the clearing of trauma as I faced old and new.
The experience cracked wide open the fissures of my marriage. Now divorced, I see that path was rich with growth. It showed me my tribe of support in family and friends who came to the fore and taught me how held and loved I am.
My experience of mastectomy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy sharpened the tool of breathwork. It has given me an even stronger passion and deeper devotion; creating support for anyone who needs to learn the power of the breath, choosing life, healing, personal empowerment and a desire to use the really shitty stuff to compost down and manure it up! Big growth opportunities and letting go of pain in all its forms.
I have an amazing tattoo!! I love it. I chose not to have reconstruction; instead ‘creating’ on the blank canvass of my chest, a strong image of phoenix from the ashes.
I am just about to give a demonstration and run a workshop at the Trew Fields Festival. The UK’s first Holistic Heath and Cancer Awareness Festival. It is this weekend, 7th and 8th July 2018. SO it is a great time to tie up the loose end having stopped my posting here abruptly … and finish my story. A good one for me!
I’ve added a photo of me and my tattoo with the lovely Daisy Ellison who is soon to be an Inspirational Breathing Practitioner! I’m so happy breathwork is growing and spreading out into the world, giving people a choice.
I feel really happy and invincible as I wonder at the tenacity I feel. In the face of such challenge I have found more of myself. I feel stronger; more robust. I feel an intense willingness to be alive, as if I have thrown all of my chips onto the ‘I choose this life’ square. In the past I have had intense feelings of injustice, both in the micro and macro! In the latter, the way the world is run: the ridiculous imbalance of wealth and power, and the apparent inability of politicians to think long term and protect and/nurture our planet. I do not watch television or follow the news. It is too disturbing. I save my energy for what I can affect.
After a bit of an up and down week last week, my symptoms worsened significantly on Monday.
Week 9 in summary
This week was probably the most dramatic of my chemotherapy treatment.
It came on quickly and hit really hard, the cold symptoms turning into a barking cough and a tightening chest, which left me able to take only increasingly shallow breaths. It resulted in a trip to A&E and, as blood tests showed I was neutropenic, three days in isolation in hospital until my white blood cell count was up. I wasn’t aware that one in three people going through chemotherapy experience this! For this reason, I have tried to give you a detailed account. I was very resistant to the idea of going into hospital. But the medical staff were outstanding, and there are strict protocols for Chemotherapy patients. Even though A&E was jam packed with people, I was seen immediately and given a room to myself, before ending up in isolation.
This is a roller coaster week! Starting with the invincible happy Nicola and ending it one very sick bunny!
Week 8 in summary
Spending so much time on the sofa with a camber on it has taken its toll on my back, and at the beginning of the week I visit the osteopath to straighten me out.
Food has been a bit easier this week, although the concrete gut feeling has been hovering about. I’ve really been craving strong vinegary flavours this week so more tomato ketchup!
I managed a few trips out, which were wonderful, particularly the escapes down to the sea! But I’ve had a few real dips (unfortunately not in the sea!) and it feels as if the mid-cycle chemo dip is here earlier this week. It seemed like a brief respite of feeling well before the shivers and a streaming cold. It came on quickly and hit really hard, turning into a tightening of my chest and a cough appearing by the end of the week.
This week has been the most challenging week of the cycle. I spent most of the first 3 days in the foetal position, childs pose or, for the most part, sitting with my legs and back propped up, cocooned in electric blankets. It was a lesson in doing nothing but accepting the situation … for hours at a time just listening to the rhythm of my breath slipping in and out of a dream state.
Painting by Nicola Price, Cancer art therapy class, The Onca Gallery, Brighton
February 10th–16th February
This, the last week of the chemotherapy cycle, is generally the best. I am clear of the mid-cycle dip and in the last cycle it was a week of wellness. I am really coming to appreciate this phase where physically I feel more myself again, which is a great relief.
On Day 21 I talk about the reality of how it is sexually going through Chemotherapy. A heads up for you to skip that bit if you want to!
As promised earlier, here is my free Inspirational Breathing meditation audio.
Nicola Price – produced by Rob Jenkins
Navigation through chemotherapy
I’m half way through! This week I have reached the half way mark for this chemotherapy/clearing treatment! It is both easier and more difficult than I ever imagined! How odd to say that. But when the side effects subside, it is such a relief, with a sense of physical and emotional freedom surging into a lust for life, everything is brighter, richer, easier. When the side effects take their toll, it can be all encompassing, with no memory of any other state, just the present moment clinging on … and on. The in-between times seem to be oddly minimal. I wake up and the mists have cleared.
The first week after this clearing treatment is a whole lot better. It is as if my body knows what to expect – a bit like pregnancy after the first time.
In this, my fourth week of chemotherapy, I was ready for the level of dehydration which made a huge difference; a mild headache this time, rather than the head-clanger after the first. More like an occasional table rather than sofa on head. (Compared to Week 2) Perhaps it was also my ability to really take it easy for the first 4 days.