On Monday I started chemotherapy, 2 days of 4 different drugs. It’s Thursday now and I am finally able to lift my head off the pillow. It’s taken me a while to sort through my feelings: the layers of fear and disbelief, the desire to ignore reality (I am best known for this).
In the last couple of weeks I have finally admitted to myself, and I am able to say out loud that I have stage 3 bladder cancer knowing that whatever happens I’ve had to welcome this DIS-ease into my body and figure out how to beat it before it beats me. Cancer is selfish/aggressive and by nature will kill you first unwilling and unknowing it too kills itself!
All the signs were there, telling me my health was unraveling, but it took a medical emergency before I was ready to listen. This I don’t recommend and this is why I want to share my experience will anyone who will listen.
Last year was the best year I’ve ever had. I experienced some big personal awakenings, my career was on the rise, and my love life was finally worth talking about, the schedule was full, and the lessons I was learning along the way were inspiring me in all the right directions.
Exactly this time last year I was prepping to attend the Grammys, for a big showcase and for my album. We filmed a mini series, and during that hectic time, I started to notice blood in my urine. I thought I had some sort of infection.
Eager to stay on schedule and keep up with the recording, I resorted in doing the whole “mind over matter” bit, taking advice from health experts and finally seeing my local doctor. Without even touching me or doing any tests, he gave me antibiotics for what he supposed was a urinary tract infection. I repeated this scenario 3 times even though I had no symptoms and no pain.
At that point I was exercising daily, eating what I thought was clean food, and drinking little or no alcohol. I’ve never smoked and never taken any drugs, and I was meditating often and would have said I was feeling very little stress. I even did a seven day water fast to renew my kidneys, thinking it may be a stone.
By December, my symptoms worsened, and while I was on a trip in Sydney, I sought medical help again. Jessica, an Australian doctor I visited for more antibiotics, required me to have an ultrasound instead. That led to another specialist, which led to a CT scan, which led to my laying on the operating table in Sydney. December 8th will be a date I won’t forget as they removed a large tumour from by bladder not really knowing the full extent or nature of how the cancer had spread.
My head was silenced by the amazing, beautiful people around me who made the last 6 weeks as calm as possible, they stepped in whether it meant travelling the other side of the world to be with me, A daily check in, Getting and paying for the best people in holistic medicine to talk me through and educate me so I can be informed and empowered and not be doubtful or fearful and finally learn to respect the decisions I make for my own life-force. To my earth angels you know who you are and with tears in my eyes I say “Thank you”
My sister flew in to be with me, and a few days after my surgery, I flew back to Ireland with her. I completed a one-month health intensive at Hippocrates, to get my brain and body as healthy as possible before I started my pharmaceutical medical treatments.
I’ve experienced every different type of emotion possible over the last six weeks, from “WHY ME,” to “I got this,” to “I’m ok,” to “This sucks balls.”
People keep asking me how I am, as they normally would, and up to this point, I’ve maintained my usual positive attitude.
Everything I’ve submerged myself in the last 5 years from my music, to my relationships, and even any business pursuits has been rooted in honesty and awareness of self.
And that’s why this letter, too, is about honesty and awareness, and me being okay with not being okay.
Sometimes Ive cried, got angry, lost the run of myself I also watched other peoples stories and taken strength in the fact I’m still here to tell the tale and in some weird twist of faith this too will shape the future of the human I’m supposed to become . Sometimes I think about what I would want my family to have if I died. And sometimes I feel like I’ll live forever, and start writing lyrics, pulling the beautiful diamonds out of this dark space I’m in. Sometimes I wake up grateful, excited to see the other people on this journey with me. Sometimes I go for a long, sunshine filled walk, and plan a trip or two to the beach, once I get back to my adopted home in Malibu, California.
I never thought I’d be here, especially in my early 30’s. But, here I am. And I’m not glad about the circumstances—yes, it’s hard—but I am grateful for the lessons I’m learning. I’ve had to stop, breathe, listen to my body, and make very calculated, healthful decisions.
I’m not broken. I am supported. I am strong. I am full of health and light. I am also full of emotion, and I’m learning that it might feel scary at times, but emotions are good indicators of our mental and physical and spiritual health, and I need to take the time to listen to them and process them, the way I would listen to my stomach growl and give it nutrition. I’m learning to respond to my rich inner world, damp it down less, and how to process it in a healthy way with the right people by my side. I’m learning to stop and breathe more often.
And I wouldn’t have given myself a month long retreat to focus on my physical being if it hadn’t been for this massive road block.
Don’t do what I did. Listen to your body, the subtle things. Pay attention. I know I will now. I’ve only got one, and it’s precious to me, more than it’s ever been. I’m grateful for my body now. Now, I know how powerful it is, and how beautiful it makes me, and I will treat it with the respect it deserves, Flaws and all! I will honour my earthly home, my flesh, and I have learned how to treat it well in the last few weeks.
Take 2018 and assess your health—mental, physical, spiritual. Take the self-kindness steps to improve it, to treat yourself with the same respect you’d give others, I look forward to open lines of communication and spreading this message
Love and light,