Talk on January 18, 2018 – Cancer and The Art Of Living with Leah Bracknell (London)

https://www.facebook.com/events/156871985066151/

What would you do if you were diagnosed with a terminal disease?

In September 2016, after surviving a sudden life-threatening illness, actress Leah Bracknell heard the shocking words we all dread.

“Sorry. You have stage 4 cancer”

With no option of surgery, ‘palliative’ chemotherapy was all that was offered to her.

Based on her blog somethingbeginningwithc.com – Leah shares her remarkable and inspiring story of learning to live with a terminal illness. Drawing upon her experience as an actor, yoga teacher and shamanic healer, she shines a light on the human spirit’s power and capacity to be extraordinary, even in the darkest of circumstances. Discovering transformation, wonder, hope, joy, possibility, positivity, and beauty along the way.

“I chose to cultivate a relationship with my disease. To ask it: why are you here? And what have you to teach me? I discovered that when I ceased regarding cancer as my enemy and looked beyond the fear, it gave me the opportunity to embark on a profound personal healing journey, emotionally and spiritually that has transformed my whole outlook on life. 

Having cancer has restored a deep appreciation and gratitude for my life. It has been an awakening. Cancer has been my greatest challenge, but also my greatest teacher, one that has rekindled my passion for life. It has taught me that a life well lived is the best medicine, that we can all be the alchemists of our own “healing”, whatever the outcome, and that life is not merely about existing or surviving, but thriving with a capitol T.
Cancer has given me back my life.”

This is an experiential event and you will be able participate in some of the healing practices: meditations, visualisations etc that Leah uses on her journey to assist you with your own.

“Having cancer or any serious illness can be a dark, frightening and lonely road. So, let’s walk it together, standing tall, side by side, hand in hand.”

Leah Bracknell, mother of two, actress, yoga instructor, shamanic healer was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in September 2016, after suffering a near fatal pericardial effusion. 

She has worked in TV and theatre for forty years, from Shakespeare to panto and is best remembered for her role as Zoe Tate in Emmerdale. A yoga instructor for over a decade, she has taught workshops around the country and at the Yoga Show, MBS, Wilderness Festival, and Mind Body Soul Exhibitions and written for Om Yoga Magazine, Yoga Magazine, Spectrum, her teaching has been widely featured in the press, including This Morning, Lorraine, BBC Radio. She has released 2 DVDs Yoga & You and Yoga for Life. In 2010 she underwent an intensive Shamanic practitioner training.

You can read more of Leah’s work on her blog Somethingbeginningwithc.com
Tickets £19 and £14.50 concessions
Booking: Cecil Sharp House
https://uk.patronbase.com/_CecilSharpHouse/Productions/8F/Performances

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“It’s not the end, it’s just the beginning …”

Caption:  Peter Trayhurn and his famous Lost-At-Sea experience.  Video: courtesy of Marcus O’Brien

I first met Peter Trayhurn at the Hallwang clinic in Germany.

I was sitting in the dining room at the clinic, when in strode this incredibly tall man who commandeered himself a place at the table and started chatting confidently to everyone and criticising some cancer treatments he’d been researching.

I asked him who he was, and his reply was:  “Pete … Peter Trayhurn.”

He obviously expected some form of recognition from me, and when I looked blankly at him, he added (with that characteristic confidence that I would come to recognise as one of his traits) before he made a dramatic exit: “read my blog.”

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Please pray for my friend, Peter Trayhurn

Now more than ever, my friend, Peter Trayhurn, needs your prayers.

I first met Peter (an Australian) at Hallwang, the German oncology clinic, in 2013.  He went there with Stage 4 Colo-rectal cancer, having been given six months to live by his oncologist in Australia.  His cancer vanished within six weeks’ of treatment, only to rear its head again when he returned to Australia.

Since then, he’s been playing a painful game of whack-a-mole with the cancer.

What’s remarkable is that Peter has outlived most of his doctors’ worse predictions.  He’s outlived most of his friends on cancer forums.  And he’s done so with a very good quality of life.  He’s driven himself all over Germany, flown all over the world in the search for cures, gone scuba diving, lived on an ashram and done yoga.  And been a father and husband.

He’s also the author of a blog:  http://petertrayhurn.blogspot.co.uk/.  It’s a step-by-step account of his cancer journey.  It’s full of infuriating typos and spellos, but it is also full of the latest treatments.  It’s full of his zest of life.  And I can vouch for the fact that the positivity and optimism in his posts is real and authentic, and not a mask.  I think he’s the closest I’ve come to a genuine cancer saint.

A few weeks ago, his condition worsened when he was in Australia.  He was throwing up non-stop and wasn’t absorbing nutrients. I managed to persuade him to Skype me when he was in hospital.  I saw how bad he was.  He was in agony throughout the call despite morphine.

I whispered nervously to him:  “Is this the end?”

He looked into the screen and a small smile lit up his face.

“No, I think it’s just the beginning,” he said.

Please pray for my friend Peter.  Now more than ever, he needs your prayers.  And please also pray for his family.  For his children, who cry every night in their beds.  For his wife.  For his doctors to make the right decisions.  Pray that he pulls through the surgery to help him eat, that his guts heal, that the pain lessens, that he manages to eat, that the cancer vanishes.

Please pray.  Because the world needs more people like Peter to show us how to remain human despite the inhuman trials.   Who can pull smiles out of pain.

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http://petertrayhurn.blogspot.co.uk/

Blogs I follow

These are the blogs I currently follow:

http://www.cancertreatmentsresearch.com/ – amazing site set up by a scientist with a PhD in Physics – his wife and mother got cancer.  Well-researched, current and traditional “cures” and well-written, de-mystifying scientific jargon into plain English.  Good for information on Salinomycin [the new wonder cure].

http://www.triplenegative.co.uk/blog/ – I like Claire’s blog because she’s open about her life, her treatments, her strength, her optimism.  Good, clear explanations about the use of immunotherapies and cutting-edge treatments for breast cancer.  Triple-negative breast cancer is one of the toughest to treat. Claire is proof it is treatable.  Update 24/9/2017:  Claire Grant passed away in September 2017.

http://petertrayhurn.blogspot.co.uk/ – Peter Trayhurn is a friend of mine – I met him at Hallwang Clinic.  Peter was diagnosed with Stage 4 colo-rectal cancer about 4 years ago.  Well, he’s still alive and enjoying a good quality of life.  His blog isn’t the easiest to read or follow.  It tends to be a description of what he’s doing, but his optimism, faith and positiveness are infectious.  Give this man a huge round of applause for his intelligence and courage to follow his own wisdom and heart!  Update 2017:  Peter Trayhurn passed away early 2017.

http://thinskin.org/ – This is not a cancer blog.  Nora Logan is a liver transplant recipient. She hopes that this blog might provide others with some solace in their darkest moments and the knowledge that they’re really not alone and there will be light at the end of the tunnel.  I like her blog for her honesty and humour and great writing.

https://adventuresinlivingterminallyoptimistic.com/ – another Stage 4 colo-rectal patient.  Written by an oncology researcher (oh, the irony of it all!) who was diagnosed with Stage 4 CRC.  Good explanations of immunotherapies for colo-rectal cancer which are applicable to other types of cancer.  Good if you want systematic explanations and research and studies.

Humbled by other first-person breast cancer blogs and some brilliant writing

I am humbled.

I came across a cancer blog, Journeying Beyond Cancer, which contained a weekly round-up of other cancer blogs.

I was overwhelmed by how honest and authentic the writers were, how they bared their souls for the whole world.  Some very personal and painful experiences shared.

So sad that such brilliant, poignant, articulate writing has to come out of the suffering that is cancer.  Compared to a lot of the bloggers, my experiences have been less painful and grim – it really puts life into perspective.  I am grateful for their efforts, and awed by their talent – thank you to all those who blog about cancer.

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I loved these blogs especially:

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