Know Your Body

How well do you know your body?

Are you in tune with it, or is it just a vehicle to get you through life?

For those of you who know me well know that my body is not a temple, more a home. Don't get me wrong I do like to look after it, I'm not a smoker, rarely drink (I can't really take it these days), I eat a reasonably balanced diet (despite my penchant for cake and chocolate), but I really don't exercise as much as I ought.

You may be wondering what I am wittering on about (I have a tendency to witter when I'm thinking out loud)...I'd like to take you back to April 14th, 2014, the day I was signed off by the oncologist, signalling being cancer-free, the end of chemotherapy and the start of the rest of my life. The point where life could finally return to normal. Restart my business, get back to my former fitness levels and look forward to the return of my hair - I was looking a little too much like my brother, minus the beard of course!

Kyle Martin  Adrienne Potterjpg

I soon discovered that there was no returning to normal, I had to find a new one (apologies if you're sick of hearing about 'new norms'). Before my diagnosis in October 2013 I had worked as a Sports Therapist, a role I absolutely loved, I spent years building a business where I met some amazing people, we laughed together, shed the odd tear and put the world to rights, all while I offered a safe space while they confided in me and offloaded stresses and strains whilst I eased their aches and pains.

In 2015 I reluctantly took early retirement from my Sports Therapy business, the chemotherapy had caused too much damage to my body and I could no longer work to what I thought was an acceptable level. This broke me, more than I realised at the time, I look back now and see that I went through a grieving process, I held so much anger and contempt for a disease that had turned, my life upside down.

I'm going to fast forward to 2018 (the middle years are pretty irrelevant at this point, so I'll not bore you) where I discovered the wonders of Hypnotherapy, a therapy I had been intrigued by for many years, but never in a position to pursue. At the time of my training, I was so eager to get my new business up and running that I undervalued and underestimated the power of hypnosis.
Now, I know there will be a few out there who are somewhat sceptical about the hypnotic process and have a very clear image of the stage hypnotists as seen on television. Whilst I take my hat off to these guys, you may be relieved to know that this is most definitely not my niche!

This is the part where I go slightly woo woo on you. Once I got to grips with how hypnosis works and the fact that there is no trickery involved, I started to use the tools on myself, I got to work on my own subconscious mind, lifted barriers, cleared out some ghosts and changed my way of thinking, my outlook and my attitude to many things.

Most of you will know me as Little Miss Positive, the eternal optimist (I'm not all rainbows and unicorns, I promise) and I think I have always had a pretty bright outlook on life, but mostly, I have been winging it in hope that everything would turn out okay. Turns out that just winging it doesn't always work out for the best, but when you start to learn about who you are, the things you do and their triggers, then you begin to realise just how powerful the subconscious mind is. The subconscious mind is the part of the mind responsible for habits, be they good or bad, it's the part of the mind that stores and retrieves data - it's your own personal library and archive, your unquestioning servant.

Through the use of self-hypnosis, I learnt to change my mindset, the way I viewed things, I stopped behaving like the victim and asking "why does this always happen to me" and 'What did I do to deserve this?" because the reality of the matter is, it doesn't always happen to me and I did nothing to deserve it. The upshot is that I no longer grieve the loss of my Sports Therapy business, instead, I have gratitude for what it taught me and the people I met along the way. Had I not retired, I wouldn't be where I am today - helping more people both emotionally and physically, still offering that safe space to offload and unwind. My mind stronger, clearer and even more determined than ever before, and I'm generally able to put a positive spin on a situation, no matter how bleak it may appear.

This is the point where I backtrack to my initial question, how well do you know your body?  

I think I've always had a pretty good sense of my body, knowing when things are out of kilter, whether I have always paid attention or not is a different kettle of fish.

Moving swiftly on, do you remember, back at the start of this blog where I celebrated being cancer-free having been signed off by the oncologist? Well, the truth of the matter is that none of us is cancer-free, we all having it living in our body, it all depends on whether the cells become active or not.
Just a few weeks ago in September, I noticed a change in my body, something wasn't right with my throat and neck, so, knowing that it wasn't going to be easy to get an appointment with the GP I monitored it for a couple of weeks. I could feel a slightly enlarged lymph node in my neck, with my history I felt that it needed to be checked out, so having had a call with my GP I was sent for blood tests, this then turned in to ultrasound and biopsy, followed by MRI, CT and PET scan - you'd think by now that I'd have sussed that there was an issue, but no, the forever optimist still thinks that everything is ticketyboo...I don't need to tell you the outcome do I?

The long and short of it was they had discovered a 'rogue cell' (the 'c' word is banned), they're not sure how long it's been there or what has woken it up, but it is not welcome in my space and has to go.
Adrienne Potter Rogue CellpngNow, I could go down the route of a complete change of diet and lifestyle and cure myself, but if you were paying attention at the start of this blog you'd have noticed that I have a penchant for cake and chocolate.

For me, life is about balance and doing what is right for the individual, it is about quality of life, this is why I will, despite the possibility of turning in to my brother again, be going down the clinical route of immunosuppressant therapy and not be turning vegan, I failed at becoming vegetarian, so veganism just isn't going to happen.

My mindset has already changed though, despite this being classed as a secondary, I found it early, and acted immediately, I have done visualisation work and named it the rogue, you see it doesn't deserve either oxygen or energy and as such has been put in an airtight box where it cannot escape and cause further damage - 7 years ago I wasn't able to do that, now I can because it is me who controls my subconscious mind, not the other way round.

I am aware that there will be an element of disruption to life and business, but only as much as I allow it to. I am not ill, I am not in a place of despair, just one of frustration, but that is as far as it goes. You see, I am lucky, I did get to know my body, and when I recognise there is an imbalance I question it, and like a dog with a bone, I won't let go.

At this point, I feel it fair to give the NHS a shoutout, like the first time around their attention to detail and care have been second to none. Dr Riley at Aylmer Lodge, Worcester Breast Unit Haven, Worcester Hospital, Redditch Hospital & The Millbrook Suite they have all been phenomenal, I cannot fault them in the way they have looked after me. I am one of the lucky ones, there are too many less fortunate, so my message to you is to look after your body, get to know it, understand it, this connection could save your life.

This Is Not Your Space
I am not a warrior,
In to battle I will not go,
I choose not to fight,
This you see, is not my plight.
Instead I choose strategy,
a plan that serves me well.
I choose calm over battle,
Laughter over tears,
Love over anger
And strength over fears.

You are not welcome here,
This is not your space,
I do not give you oxygen,
Will not let you breathe,
You are not welcome here,
This is not your space.

I will not go into battle,
I choose not to fight,
Instead, I will kill you with kindness,
That you see, is my plight.

First published November 2020