A number of years back (circa 2010), we received an order for our Beginning Belly Dance DVD series. The customer, whose name is Jane lived in the UK. I always pick up the phone to call (regardless of where they live) just to express gratitude and appreciation.
Typically, I’ll ask questions like how long have you been dancing? What’s your biggest dance challenges and alike.
I was astounded when Jane told me that she was a beginning dancer and that she was bed ridden with cancer.
I was really surprised because there was no “woh as me” tone in her voice at all. In fact she was rather upbeat, positive and energetic.
She told me that she had cancer and after getting the standard run around from the medical guru’s she decided to take things in her own hands. Meaning she was going to make learning how to Belly Dance part of her path to healing.
Her laughter was infectious and I just sat there on the phone kind of stunned and amazed. Especially when she told me how she was planning on practicing her arm work from her bed after her surgery.
It would be an understatement to say that I found my conversation with Jane inspiring.
I hadn’t spoken to Jane since our initial conversation and had assumed that her surgeries had all be successful. I would occasionally wonder how she was doing but figured that no news was good news.
Then in August 2012, I sent out a message to our email subscribers about a new DVD series we had released and was pleasantly surprised to see an order confirmation from Jane.
How marvelous I thought to myself.
I immediately fired off an email to her expecting to get some great news about her health and her dancing.
Well, she told me that she had been through a number of surgeries since we last spoke but was still mostly bed ridden.
Now this woman is totally amazing because she went on to tell me how she is determined to do everything she can do in her power to heal herself and that was why she bought the new set of DVDs.
Jane and I email every week or so.
I send as much good energy as I can her way and in a recent message I asked her to share in greater detail her story so that I could post it and invite the wonderful and supportive community of Belly Dancers to wish her well.
So in her words with her permission
My story starts from early childhood. I believe some of us have cancer in our genes and that it can either lie dormant, or be triggered by emotional events.
My father moved us from England to Kuwait, then Tasmania and Australia [where I spent most of my junior and senior schooling] so I was unable to make bonds or to feel secure until that final longer spell in Australia.
However, in my late teens, our family home was sold, both my brothers were sent to England and my father went to work in India, where he informed me I had to live.
However, I wanted to complete a very good secretarial diploma college which I was attending and at the grand age of 16, refused to join my parents until I had completed it! I cannot reflect on the devastation I felt, when our home was gone, and our family dispersed. However, I was elected ‘President’ of my College and passed my exams and am so very glad I had the courage to do that!
I once again lost my home and my childhood friends when we later moved from India to Lebanon so once again I lost my circle of friends.
Some 10 years later, I married and my husband almost immediately displayed a personality change and became mentally cruel. He died not many years later from an undiagnosed brain tumour. You may be able to imagine how this impacted on a young widow.
(I believe that such a background of emotional stress and loss can ‘awaken’ cancer genes)
In my late 30’s and now living in England, Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma was diagnosed. The treatment was 6 weeks total body radiation [you cannot imagine how it feels to sit alone & naked on a stool in the embryo position, day after day, as that machine zaps your body and your soul, killing all that is good as well as bad!] Just to lift the mood a little, as Doctors came to my bedside and read my file – it usually led to gales of laughter! My file read: ‘Has complained of total exhaustion for the last 2 years … has just completed the London Marathon! [Well, I was trying to ‘overcome’ … but collapsed after completing it and was thus admitted to hospital – so that was a very good thing, wasn’t it!] Radiation was followed by a year’s chemotherapy: that was difficult, I ended up spending quite a lot of time lying on the floor by the toilet so that I could avoid the necessity of cleaning a sick bin!
I was left with a premature menopause, and was sterilised by the total body radiation. However, at the age of 40 what had been considered as a further ‘growth’ transpired to be a 6 month pregnancy! I was advised to have a caesarean abortion because the child would be a monster, and also because I would be an unsuitable mother due to low energy levels and because my life-span has only been extended to 4 years after the initial treatment. However, my partner and I felt that abortion was not a viable concept. As the baby was 6 months old, any such process would actually be ‘murder’ because at that age, it was a viable life. So, I was advised that I was too frail to give birth and that I would have to have a caesarean birth. [I did not like that idea at all because I believed my baby would be less traumatised by a natural birth. So, I started to swim gently to build up strength, I sent the baby ‘positive vibes’, I concentrated on relaxation and on all that was good … and at the appropriate time, my baby presented himself within 20 minutes … before any steps could be taken to operate! I gave birth naturally without any intervention whatsoever, so he was not even traumatised by pain killers. He came into the world calm and at peace without struggle, and lay quietly on my belly and rested. He was perfect in every way … a miracle … if not, something remarkably special I think? That little thing is now over 6 foot tall and holds a Degree in Mechanical Engineering & Management. [As my son grew up, I offered him two versions of ‘discipline’: When he was naughty, I said: ‘I don’t know what your father was doing that weekend, but you are nothing to do with me, I’m sterile!’ … followed with great laughter! When he was good, I said: ‘I am sterile and you are my gift, you simply ‘chose’ to be with us, and I am very grateful.’ … followed with a hug!
8 years later, I developed breast cancer and had mutilating surgery followed by further radiation treatment and drugs. That was bad, because I had to support my very young son through his fear of losing his mother. I established how long I would be in hospital, and bought a pack of mini machines for each day. His personally dreaded visits to me became a joy as he received his little wrapped gift each day – which he was not allowed to open until he left me!
Because I have had more radiation treatment that is usual, I am now followed by a research team in England who annually contact my GP to see if I am still alive!
Throughout cancer treatments, I had always taken exercise, which I believe to be very important. Even when in a hospital ward and basically unable to stand, I would force myself to get up and walk – whilst at the same time attempting to motivate others – because ‘giving’ is the greatest healer! This created much laughter on the ward as we tottered about at differing levels of [dis]ability, which in itself helped us all so much!
15 years later, I had a further lymphatic cancer diagnosed, but as I can have no further radiation I decided to handle the situation in my own special way. I was taken through the airport and onto the plane in a wheelchair so that I could go to India and place myself in the care of an Ayurvedic doctor. I took a simple room in a little village and lived completely alone – apart from visits to the doctor and his masseur. I took his herbal remedies, meditated, practiced self-healing techniques and visualisation, read spiritually guiding books [on my Kindle], went for walks and ‘communicated’ with the trees, flowers, birds, animals, the sky, the sea, the earth – all of nature – and accepted its healing. In fact, I created my own ‘retreat’. At a social level, it was lonely, it was sparse and uncomfortable with minimal and simple food, but it was also very rewarding – I was dedicated to opening myself to ‘healing’ and so placed myself on another plane. When I returned to England 3 months later, my cancer specialists gave me my last scan [no more radiation permitted] and declared me clear of cancer!
For the past 3 years, I have undergone 8 surgical procedures. I have this unsteady feeling that it is my own ‘fault’, because I accepted the offer of breast reconstruction. Tissue and living nerves were taken from my abdomen, but because of so much radiation, the flesh has not reacted as expected. The major transplant simply died, then the abdomen herniated … and so the ‘repair’ works continue to this day. Another operation is due next year, after sufficient recovery time from my latest operation in October 2013. This unfortunate series of surgery has left me without core stability and I have today received confirmation from my surgeon that having inserted a pig skin lining, then gauze lining over that, no further action can be taken to repair the abdominal wall. I have responded by saying I do not accept ‘failure’ and that if I am referred to a well-trained physiotherapist, we can work together to turn this into a ‘success’. My surgeon has agreed, so I have something positive ahead!
Unfortunately, as I focus on this positive, there is another ‘negative’ which I have to face. It is suspected I have a 4th unconnected cancer, so I am returning to the cancer specialists in a week’s time. They are such lovely people, but I had hoped never to see them again!!
I leave you with that final note of laughter, because along with exercise and the power of positive thought, it really is the best medicine!
A hug to you all – [Oh yes! Hugs are excellent healers too!] – Jane
Please leave a comment below and send Jane your positive thoughts and best wishes in her healing and of course her Belly Dancing