49: “I Have Cancer But Cancer Doesn’t Have Me” (with Sophie Sabbage)
Sophie Sabbage shares her story of receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis, working through the grief and then making the choice to allow cancer to transform her life. Learn how Sophie copes with the fear of cancer, how she feels healthier than ever, and what she's doing to help others with a cancer diagnosis. Sophie is an inspirational writer, speaker, and facilitator who has worked in the field of human development, emotional intelligence, mindset change, and corporate culture change for more than twenty years. The Cancer Whisperer was a UK bestseller and was release in the U.S. in 2017.
Nuggets of Wisdom from Sophie:
“The last of the human freedoms is to choose your own attitude in any given situation.” ~Victor Frankl
“I have cancer. Cancer does not have me.”
“I realized in that moment that I valued my lucidity and clarity of mind more than my life. And it was threatening my cognitive abilities, my ability to speak, my ability to see, my ability to understand, so it was terrifying for me, the idea that I going to lose my mind having worked for 30 years on gaining my right mind if that make sense.”
“I used to think people prayed on their knees as a sign of reverence and an act of humility but now I know that sometimes we are just bought to our knees by the events of our lives. And I was brought to my knees that day. I literally just dropped to my knees by the log fire at home. And I prayed. I do not often pray. I wept and I prayed. ”
“I think the grief and the surrender really empowered me paradoxically. I never thought of surrendering that way.”
“I want to just say it is okay to be vulnerable and it is okay to be terrified. And also, to teach people what to do with their terror. ”
“If you do not take hold of your fear and push through it, it will make your decisions for you as a cancer patient.”
“It puts you on war with your own body when you need to make peace with your body. I had been at war with my body my whole life. That is partly why I got cancer.”
“I knew I needed to make peace with my body and listen to it instead of fighting it. And I want to get rid of my disease. But I think I've got a better shot at doing that if I am listening to it than if I am in a state of anger and defiance and rebellion which just causes stress.”
“What if cancer is a teacher, not an enemy?”
“I am more grateful to my cancer than I am scared of it. I am grateful for it. It transformed my life. I have let it transform my life. We need to be proactive to do that, but it has gifted me in many ways.”
“The most important thing is to get some support because it is a very arduous thing to do on your own. But mostly, it is about noticing what is running through your head and what you are believing. I call it mind talk. The mind would just make things up and terrify you with what is going to happen and you need to get that stuff out of your head and start verifying it and telling the truth about it.”
“Cancer is loaded with meanings. It is like a gun that gets shot at you, and you think the worst. Hair loss, control loss, pain, agony, misery. It all just runs through your head, instantly and in lightning speed. And you need to get that stuff out of your head, and you need to look at it in the cold light of day. And you need to get very accurate with what you are dealing with and get as much information from your doctor as you can. A lot of patients do not want to know everything because they are so scared. But the more you know, the more power you have. So, it is about getting hold of reality – the reality of what you are dealing with – even if it is more tumors in your brain than they can count.”
Some of Sophie‘s Favorite Things:
Personal habit: “Breathing helps. Breathing brings us be present when we breathe consciously. And also, verifying my mind talk. I do it every day.”
Easy meal: “Avocado and feta salad.”
Possession: “My husband. And my kettle.”
Sophie's Favorite Books: “Thirst: Poems by Mary Oliver” A Box Full of Darkness: “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too was a gift.”
Best advice received: “The warrior's way: Seven times down. Eight times up. Then repeat.” ~ Dr. Brad Brown
“Do not become a patient, Mrs. Sabbage. Live your life.”
Sophie's Happiness Formula:
“I am happiest when I am loving, when I am forgiving, when I am self-accepting and when I am thankful.”
A Challenge from Sophie:
“I want to challenge listeners to write down three regrets that they have been harboring and then make a choice about each of those regrets. So, you can either let them go, and I mean really deeply let them go. Write on a piece of paper. Throw it in a fire, burn it, whatever it takes. Or choose an action to change the regret. ”
Sophie Sabbage, The Cancer Whisperer
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Jen Riday is a mom of 6 and life coach who loves to help women experience massive happiness as they let go of stress, sadness or other chronic emotions of negativity.
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