A beautiful blond water scientist married a handsome entrepreneur a day shy of Valentine’s Day, last spring. The wedding was held in South Africa near the Vrede en Lust Wine Estate – a retreat for body, mind and spirit. Three weeks later she found a lump on her right breast. Although it was small a voice inside of her told her to check it out.
She was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer.
Georgina Bradfield, age 31, had a lumpectomy in Hong Kong where she lived at the time. Six weeks after their wedding, the couple relocated to San Francisco. Shortly after the move, radiation therapy (20 sessions) and chemotherapy(4 sessions) ensued. “I was very active prior to surgery. I was so happy to be married. Then everything changed in our world. I would fall into a heap. I felt sadness, anger and in a way, a sense of isolation. How did I get breast cancer at such a young age?” she asks.
“One of my most stark memories is sitting in a waiting room for my biopsy and being at least 15 years younger than every other woman in the room.”
Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.
Simple Things Can Heal
She found solace in her dog, “Gracie”. She snuggled into a comfortable couch. She wore a beaded bracelet that was blessed by a monk. She lit candles and her salt lamp. She trusted her husband’s input (he joined her at every appointment). She walked around the block every day, to get some fresh air. “Being in nature and enjoying fresh air grounded me even on my worst days,” Georgina adds.
She also met with a psychologist to help her process her feelings. “I wanted a rational perspective. I needed to deal with my emotions,” she says. Her mother visited her twice – from New Zealand. Her mother-in-law visited her once – from England. She was surrounded by love, but needed space to reflect, to share and to learn with an expert.
It’s About Creating
“I also read the book Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue (by Neale Donald Walsch). It helped me to be a little less afraid of death. It helped me to change my internal dialogue. It reminded me that I am in charge of creating my own destiny. That I can choose joy.”
At the end of September she went back to work.
The deepest secret is that life is not a process of discovery, but a process of creation. You are not discovering yourself, but creating yourself anew. Seek not to find out who you are, see to determine who you want to be.
Neale Donald Walsch
- If you find a lump, have it checked. Know what you are dealing with.
- It’s easier to be kind than to be mad.
- Do not fall into the no-win trap of being a people pleaser.
- Honor your partner, because you’re both dealing with cancer in different ways.
- Find joy in just being with someone you love.
- Let people who zap your energy to go gently, out of your life.
- Focus on comfort.
- Thick caldendula creams help with radiated skin.
- Clothes made out of natural fibers are best (bamboo, cotton).
- Fatigue is non-negotiable. You must accept it and respect your body.
- Asking for help is a life saver.
Grab onto Life
Georgina has changed, for sure and of course. “I have more empathy for people who are sick or who live with chronic pain,” she says.
She plans to have a baby. To get a double mastectomy with reconstruction. To regain her busy lifestyle with the man of her dreams. And yet…“This is really hard. I have no business being in a waiting room with women who are at least 15 years older than me. I don’t know what to say or how to feel.”
I have no words right now. Only hopes. That this strong, smart and sensitive woman gets to make her mark in ways that matter to her. You go, Georgina. The world needs you!