A Blissful Return To An Old Friend In New Times

A Blissful Return To An Old Friend In New Times

My first post COVID massage

My body has been tired lately. I have been working it hard in preparation for an upcoming surgery. I desperately needed to iron out the kinks, so I was delighted to receive notification from my massage therapist of a cancellation.


Before COVID to ensure my body performed well, I had a regular fortnightly massage. I work my best when my body is relaxed. My clarity is at its peak when I am limber.

I pretty much stand in a static position when I work. This can be taxing on my postural spinal muscles and places undue stress on my neck and shoulders. 

A massage literally rubs all my cares away. It shifts the kinks. It is one of my zen zones. But it is so much more.

As a massage therapist myself, I can attest to the fact that my regular clients don’t just come for a rub. They share more than parts of their naked skin. 

You see there seems to be an unwritten thing when you are partially naked and allowing someone to touch you. Undressing is like providing consent to that vulnerable part of you to let go of anything emotional that has been brewing. You lie down on the table covering yourself with a towel and instantly begin to chill out.



Today that’s what I did. I have been setting my intention to surrender to ordinary thinking. With that intention comes significant unpacking of old, unwanted and heavy emotions which had grown stale, and no longer serving my higher purpose.

 In true letting go style, I felt hot tears dripping down my cheeks as I drove to my appointment. This was the first normal routine appointment that I used to do before I was diagnosed with cancer. 

Every single appointment I’ve had since November 19, other than the hairdresser washing my hair after surgery because I couldn’t do it myself, has been oncology related. I’ve exposed my body in a whole new way, and one I still can’t get used to. Get a ‘cat’ scan here, go for an MRI over there. Consult two surgeons. Visit the oncologist and physiotherapists.

So the thought of visiting my massage therapist to rub out the kinks was bloody fantastic. It felt cathartic and strangely different all at once. My body wasn’t the same anymore and I’m still getting used to that, let alone getting myself into a headspace to allow others to touch me.

I’ve known my own massage therapist for nearly two decades. When you find a good one who makes you feel like putty you never change or seek another.

We go way back. So I felt comfortable discussing and showing her my scars. We discussed the technical aspects of what I needed in this session. We chatted therapist to therapist and talked shop for a bit.

I warned her there would be tears. We both knew they were coming. She was ok with that, smiled that familiar smile and I felt the relaxation begin.

I was in a safe place and I could trust this person. This hasn’t always been the case in this cancer chapter.

My therapist is beautiful and she began with slow strokes and hot rocks. I melted into the table. I felt my defences lower immediately. 

It was then my story flowed, as did the tears. I can’t begin to describe how a simple massage reinstated my ability to trust. Firstly that I could trust someone to touch me without causing trauma. Secondly, I can trust that life will resume some sense of normalcy after experiencing cancer. Thirdly, that I can trust that I am moving forward bit by bit, meaningful life will, I won’t be trapped in this trauma vortex forever.

PTSD is no walk in the park. The flashbacks and anxiety are now are getting easier to manage because I understand them better. I’m learning to embrace and accept myself more and what the patterns are. The surrender to the release gets easier and easier.

I told her about my shitty experience. As I found my words she simply held a silent space and continued with the therapeutic strokes. The more words I found and expressed, and the longer she stroked, I felt lighter and more relaxed.

Our rhythm had returned. The tension held in my body subsided and it was delightful to have some normal back in my life. Up until that point, I hadn’t realised how much I had been craving normal. Thanks to COVID, many of the things before cancer had been taken for granted and I’ve been either housebound or attending oncology appointments for months.

We barely spoke of the cancer chapter, because she knows I am so much more than that. We talked about my evolution what I do with my days. Mostly we laughed about boobs. It was a delightful way to spend an hour nurturing both my physical body and my heart space.



What I learnt from this experience is this … there are some things that will change drastically after COVID, much like the extensive cleaning process my therapist now has to do between each patient.

Some things blissfully don’t change, like the services continuing to be offered within our local communities. They continue to be genuinely heartfelt and sincerely and best of all nurturing to our spirit. Use each and every one of them. Grab a cuppa to go. Click and collect locally. 


Do what it takes to support your local business and possible future employer of your teenage kids.


I am excited about the opportunity for life to return to a new normal. One whereby nurturing ourselves with amazing practitioners is our highest priority.

I am excited to return to a world filled with positivity. Whilst the external world may be filled with worry and doubt, I can assure you mine is filled with hope and a wish list. Once the restrictions are lifted don’t get in my way, I’ve got shit to do! I have love to give and laughter to share and there’s an evolving list of recipients who have put up their hand to partake!

I am finally excited to feel hope towards the possibility of one day returning to my own clinic. There was a time recently I felt too broken at just the thought. I look forward to when I am strong enough to hold space for another once again. 

For now, I focus on practising holding space for myself. Once I get better at that I’ll share it cautiously with the world!

My Therapist Says There Is No Justice In This World, Only Lessons

My Therapist Says There Is No Justice In This World, Only Lessons

How to Reframe a shitty experience into Resilience Superpowers


This is a challenging story for me to share with you. One of which I am still working through. But on the suggestion by my therapist, I’m breaking down the various anger aspects where I feel stuck.

By minimising each aspect of the larger problem faced, I am increasing my opportunity to reframe and find solutions. Reframing enables me to feel like I can take back my control and power and return to being resilient once again.

After I finish sharing my perception of this experience you may just agree it was pretty ‘sh*tty’. But here’s the thing, I can choose to remain stuck in the sh*t, or I can choose to reframe various aspects to enable my healing.

If I hadn’t I may have ended up a dribbling mess huddled in the corner of the room, sucking on my thumb — you might call this a hot mess.

The Sh*it That Hits


You would think a breast cancer diagnosis would be traumatic. And it is, believe me. I likened the diagnosis phase to the ‘’ and you didn’t see it coming. It’s much like when you’ve been travelling and get Bali belly.

Your guts grumble with stress, in terms of digesting the fact you have cancer. Your body goes into flight or fight, and to be able to run away from the perceived sabre-toothed tiger, your body wants to eliminate all of the faecal matter inside you. This means that every time you even think about sneezing, it could result in something far worse. So you’re on tenterhooks the entire time.

, I reframed using breath meditation. I journaled out all the fear-based emotions. I researched a lot and asked a tonne of questions with my medical teams. I empowered myself with what the diagnosis meant, and then drafted a treatment plan moving forward.

But in my cancer chapter that wasn’t the worst or shittiest part.

The ‘Shit a Brick’


If you think a mastectomy would be shitty you would be spot on. I liken this to the .

You know it’s coming. It’s building up over time and there’s nothing you can do to avoid what’s coming. It’s painful and difficult to pass. It requires slow deep breathing and concentration. And takes time to recover. Afterwards, you feel like there’s a piece of you missing.

and prepare for surgery, I reframed by visualising all the negative emotions I was experiencing into the breast tissue to be removed.

I held a ceremony for myself and thanked my breast for all its gifts I had received until now. I celebrated that I fed my child. I celebrated my big Boosie had lived a magnificent (and larger than life) experience and now it was time for retirement and downsizing to a motorboat worthy booby.

But it still wasn’t the shittiest part of the experience.

The Shitty Splinter


The shittiest part of the experience I likened to the splinter in the arse. It’s completely unexpected and pokes you hard. Just like using an old toilet and remembering how uncomfortable it used to be, having a shitty experience like this digs up all your old trauma — that you thought you’d dealt with.

Any experience that you liken to so to speak, means that there is no buffer from the odour of the shit. This means the emotions are right there in your face, much like flashbacks, panic attacks and anxiety which can’t be avoided. Neither can the smell of shit.

You see when I had my ‘routine’ mammogram, the biopsy driver machine malfunctioned, with the needle still inside my breast — and I was trapped for more than 45 minutes.

My immediate issue was that my shit couldn’t be repaired with a simple reboot of my hard drive like the machine.

I’ve needed to clean the toilet bowl, bathroom and frankly take stock of the entire house and rid it of the stench left behind.

Let me go vomit as my PTSD relives that all over again, and gift you time to let that ‘’ sink in. Trapped inside any machine, laying in a single static position with a body part sandwiched ready for imaging is what I would define a shitty experience. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s right up there with the shittiest.

The leftover shit from this entrapment experience is painful and often runs deep like a festering wound. It often requires external assistance to remove the splinter and deal with the festering mess left behind (pardon the pun).

Removing the shitty splinter has been confrontational, and something that I am working through with my therapist, my doctor and loving support from my friends.

Therefore  I sought help when I wasn’t coping. I reach out and ask for support when I’m having a bad day so that I don’t spiral down any further. I allow others to nurture me. I allow myself to be vulnerable so that I can continue to heal.

The ‘Shit Sandwich’


I was told the biopsy ‘could’ be uncomfortable. I wasn’t told it would be sadistically excruciating. That was a  to swallow.

The procedure commenced with the administration of the first local anaesthetic. The breast was clamped and the biopsy needle commenced its repeated penetration.



I jumped from the pain and moved positions. The machine was halted and the staff re-administered more local. They expressed their frustration at having to disrupt their testing process.

The additional and unwanted mouthful of the shit sandwich arrived when desperate staff repeatedly administered local anaesthetic on more than five occasions to manage my pain and stop me squirming.

The reflection with my therapist, of this procedure, identified I had disassociated from my body and gone into survival mode with this shit, especially when the machine continued to jam with me still confined within.

Believe me when I say that when I was finally able to roll over and sit up, on the procedure table, I told the staff in no uncertain terms what I thought of their briefing before we had started. That was after I had stopped shaking and crying hysterically.

There was no one in the room who hadn’t taken a bite of that shitty sandwich and enjoyed that experience. None. We were all traumatised.

I was and still am infuriated. So there’s more shit to work through. I’ve had to break it down bit by bit, just to get to this point.

I continue to utilise a visualisation technique when I meditate. I grant permission to my subconscious to get creative and show me where I’ve stored the unwanted frustration, anger and rage. I allow myself to experience what this emotion feels like and I then visualise flushing that shit down the toilet.

 So I’ve banged a foam bat onto a pillow and screamed as I tapped into and released some of that rage. I nearly threw my back out a couple of times, but the release was so worth it.

The Simple Shitty Shit


Prior to undergoing the follow-up invasive testing, I expressed my concerns about excess mammogram screening and my preference for manual biopsy. That was dismissed, and twelve radiation images later they still couldn’t get the film they wanted. So they switched machines to enable the biopsy to be taken. We know how that shit went down.

Lying on your side with your breast compressed as flat as the machine can take it (which equates to bloody painful) and your free arm draped over your chest is probably the most uncomfortable position I have ever laid.

It’s taken more than 4 months of PTSD flashbacks just to be able to lie on my left side again without perceiving that trapped sensation. Ultimate shit.

To deal with flashbacks, I attempt to visualise flushing that shit by acknowledging the vision isn’t real right now. I remind myself it is just a connection to a point in time. I use breathing exercises to calm myself which often leads to reiki induced meditation. There’s always crying after one of these episodes so I’m usually purging out emotions into a tissue or my journal or a combination of the two!

The Stinky Shit


Prior to commencing this experience, I had reiterated to each staff member that I had issues with being naked in front of strangers. You see I wasn’t covered with even a gown or blanket when I was in the cold metallic machine. I’ve talked with my therapist about how I felt vulnerable and exposed, not to mention cold!

It stank that since this incident, I’ve had issues being touched, or even people being in my personal space without experiencing panic and anxiety.

Since this shitty incident, I’ve had multiple surgeries for breast cancer and have commenced treatment. Needless to say, I had a lot of shit to deal with. Working with my medical teams and support network, my resilience is returning. It’s a slow process and one that is forcing me to re-evaluate everything in my life.

As a former law enforcement officer and hospital recertification auditor, I’ve confronted organisation in question in writing, which probably for them will be the shittiest complaint they’ve ever had to deal with. I am pleased to report that they are making some significant changes to their statewide systems and staff training.

It took me more than a month to deal with my emotions enough to write that piece. I had to confront and address my emotions bit by bit. On the other side of lodging that complaint, I see that working through my emotions was an absolute gift for healing, on so many levels.

This piece has formulated just a snippet of my therapist’s homework for me to deal with what I’m calling a shitty experience. My hope and wish for you are that you can take away some of the tools I’ve used to overcome the challenges I have experienced.

Remember we all have shit occur in our lives. How we migrate our healing journey is a choice you too can make to take ownership of your outcomes. You can choose to change and bloom from within.

How To Be Brave And Ask For The Lemons

How To Be Brave And Ask For The Lemons

Allow Social Distancing to Gift you Back Your Voice

The precancer and lockdown version Karen was very independent. Some might say stubborn as a mule. Ok, I admit it, I am fierce when it comes to proving to the world I can do it. But lockdown has gifted me something very unexpected — a whole new reality that revolves around me.

Why don’t we ask for help when we need it?


I’ve paused and pondered why we don’t ask for help when we need it and my thoughts are often taken back to movies of power women in the eighties with their puffy-sleeved outfits and huge teased and lacquered hairdo’s who did everything for themselves! Oh dear god, now I”m humming that Pointer Sister’s song “Sisteeeeeerrrs are doing IT for themSELVES!” (hahaha if you’re singing along too- I’m a giver like that!).

I blame society and social media and this false and externally perceived expectation that you need to be IT. What the fuck is ‘IT’ anyway? Who gets to define what ‘IT’ is?

It is literally not possible to be and do everything, so why do we think we can be ‘IT’?

Getting back to asking for help.

If we perceive that there’s an expectation to be everything, then there will be an unconscious stress, block, red flag (call it whatever you want) when you hit a crossroad space. I like to think of this as a ‘choice point’.

Reaching the destination of the choice point means that you have reached a space in time, whereby you don’t have all the answers. And that’s ok by the way.

Your brain, when it reaches this space, will naturally and unconsciously dig for the answers. The stress only arises when you perceive you don’t know how to solve the challenge at hand. This is the point where your brain can take you in one of two directions. You can reach outwards or remain inside yourself.

I’m a child of the 80s and grew up on British Britannica Encyclopedias. My mother had a 14-inch think dictionary for shit’s sake! There was no limit to accessing documented scientific facts by simply picking up a book.

If you didn’t know the answer, I didn’t bother my busy working mum, I looked the answer up myself! She would have told me to do that anyway. I would find the solution myself, and would often store that context in my cortex for another fact riveting period of time.

Nowadays the younger fluff of society simply says “I’ll google it”. And if a quick google search doesn’t render the answer you’re looking for, you phone a friend. They go external to seek the solution and share the load. Problem solved. But is it?

Either problem-solving option is perfectly reasonable. Both have their limitations and benefits.

For the option whereby you go external to seek solutions from others, are you ever responsible for doing it yourself? Or do you rely on others to prop you up?

If however, you’re an internal processor you run the risk of putting on Negative Nancy pants. When you can’t find the answer and don’t feel comfortable asking for help you can then generate dialogue that runs laps inside your head.

And here ladies and gentlemen is where the overthinking begins. Unless you reign that shit in, it’s like a formula one race to the shit city and you end up at subliminal fear town.

Do I deserve this? Am I good enough? Will I look pathetic if I ask when I should be able to do it myself? I’d rather go without than have someone see me as weak.

Does this dialogue sound familiar to you?


Let me give you the tip, at one point in time we’ve all experienced this type of shit inner monologue.

It would be safe to say, the aha I have gained is that my ‘boss girl’ would have perceived that if I asked for help it would diminish my power in some way.

I considered this small act of seeking support would make me weak.

The new and upgraded version of myself calls bullshit on the boss girl. Frankly, instead of giving her a talking to, I have learned to simply surrender to her and gift her with an internal hug. This reassures her (that part of my psyche where the boss girl resides) that as long as we are grounded and anchored to our intuition we’re gonna be ok.

The lesson here is to be kind to yourself – always.


More importantly by loving all over myself on a conscious level with meditation and reiki, gifts me a Kintsugi like healing experience, whereby I get to meld together all my broken pieces and still shine my light brightly.

Kintsugi is a Japanese art form in which breaks and repairs are treated as part of the object’s ceramic history, are carefully mended by artisans with a lacquer resin mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum. The repairs are visible — yet somehow beautiful. Kintsugi means “golden joinery” in Japanese.”  — Source Mother Nature Network.

So with my boss girl receiving a hug, I put a call out for anyone in my local social media circle have an abundant lemon tree and could spare a bag. Part of my chemotherapy recovery as well as boosting the immune system involves daily lemon squeezes – just like a liquid hug!!! See the reference, more liquid gold!

I am sharing this simple story of asking for help because these are unprecedented times. We have stepped away from the art of sticking our head over the neighbour’s fence and saying “hey mate is everything ok?

So if you’re not travelling ok emotionally with lockdown (and believe me after 4.5 months I get it) I want to remind you that it is ok to struggle with your choice point moments. In these moments reach out to see support in finding your solutions, even if only lemons.

Allow the abundance gifts to flow towards you rather than pushing them away. Remain open to the possibilities that the universe can gift you. This can be as simple as being mindful of whether your inner dialogue is positive. If it’s a little on the negative scale, choose to reframe the phrase immediately.

No punishment of self in this process is required. Just be gentle with yourself as you have this gorgeous quiet time to explore the self.

Don’t sit around the house with your frown upside down. Your home is your sacred space and you have to de-clutter the negativity in order to feel more comfortable. These interesting times are calling upon us to sort out the feelings of our internal bossy mean girls selves and learn to give them a voice, rather than bringing them out when feeling cranky.
So do what it takes today to seek your bag of lemons to nurture you!!