The Menopause Cold Water Swimming Surviving Breast Cancer ... thoughts by Jane McCourt
In September 2015, I treated myself to a 10-day yoga juice fast up in the crystal hills in the Algarve.
I remember thinking to myself that life was amazing, health was good, yoga practice coming on well and life was looking exciting. Life was high octane and vibrant.
Fast forward to May 2016, a major collapse with a burst appendix, one month in hospital, 3 days intensive care – prognosis not good. Fast forward again to November 2017, triple positive breast cancer diagnosis.
How quickly life can flip with no warning. Life became a huge test, no energy, no motivation, fear and anxiety levels off the Richter scale. Disappointment with my physical and emotional body for letting me down in such monumental fashion! And to cap it all, I entered full menopause status following the decision to halt all HRT medication. The HRT, oestrogen-based Estradiol, 2mg/day, began in my late 30’s after a hysterectomy at age 34.
Some say that receiving a cancer diagnosis can be a gift … in some ways it is. For me personally it was the catalyst for a complete change of living. After extensive research I made the health altering decision to take a natural healing route. An all-encompassing time of research into all things natural including foods, personal care products, the important health benefits of pure essential oils, environmental effects, personal relationships – ruthless about who should stay and who should leave my life - and discovering a new way forward.
It was tough, more tears than laughter, bouts of depression, manic behaviour, and the total head confusion and physical changes that only the menopause can cause. Brain fog, lack of concentration, high anxiety, lack of confidence, painful joints (so bad at one point I could hardly walk), sleep deprivation, mood swings, vaginal atrophy etcetera! Added to this, there was the breast cancer diagnosis to deal with as well. So much pressure to jump into surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, hormonal blocking drugs and chemotherapy oral drugs. It is said that time is a great healer, let’s begin with that.
I decided to make myself my project.
C J Tudor (British Author) is quoted as saying “We think we want answers. But what we really want are the right answers. Human nature. We ask questions that we hope will give us the truth we want to hear. The problem is you can’t choose your truths. Truth has a habit of simply being the truth. The only real choice you have is whether to believe it or not”.
The truth about natural healing was out there, I just had to believe and look for it. There was light or a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
For my main focus on the natural healing route I came across the Max Gerson Foundation https://maxgersonfoundation.org … Everything that I read from this great man who discovered the Gerson Therapy initially for his own migraines (and I was a chronic sufferer too) made sense. He lived from October 1881 – March 1959, a German-born American physician. Old school, wise, solid factual, well documented information. This protocol became part of my main healing process for breast cancer and ultimately for help with the menopause symptoms too.
As quoted by www.gerson.org
'Restoring Hormonal Balance – one way to restore hormonal balance is to restore the efficiency of our digestive system, more specifically our colon: our body’s main exit, handling 70% of all the body’s waste.
A great way is the Gerson Therapy: an extraordinary asset for the menopausal woman. It floods the body with amazing nutrients, cleans the blood, restores balance (homeostasis), alkalizes the body and rids it of waste. Waste removal is amped up with coffee enemas, supplements and enzymes to support digestion, and iodine to restore and boost the thyroid.
Once hormonal balance is restored, menopause becomes a beautiful transition in a woman’s life … as it should be.'
Other factors in helping with menopause symptoms.
Pure essential oils and minerals became part of my protocol – including oils such as frankincense, lemon, tangerine, thyme, myrrh, lavender, geranium, rosemary. Mixed with carrier oils for massage, natural essential oil drops in the bath, in diffusers, as perfume on my clothes. I breathed in their beautiful aromas, calming, soothing and rebalancing. Magnesium foot sprays to aid healthy bones, promote sleep and relaxation and to fortify the immune system.
Daily meditation practices, either using pre-recorded meditations or just sitting and practicing quietening the mind, to stop the turmoil from taking over, combined with crazy music, isochronic sounds, healing frequencies targeted at specific problems. I let my voice make whatever noise it felt like, believing too that sound can heal. At a cellular level we respond to sound waves, and I felt sure the body knows at what level it needs the frequency to heal.
Gentle exercise, walking, being in nature amongst the greens and vibrant colours of the plants, hugging trees, feeling their calmness. And then I discovered Sea-Swimming or Cold-Water Swimming.
Cold-Water Swimming: This is something new for me, having discovered it recently since a move to North Devon in 2020. It is exhilarating, exciting, challenging and creates the most amazing natural high that I personally have ever experienced. There is a great article by IPRS Health which can be found at https://www.iprshealth.com/news/8-benefits-of-cold-water-swimming/ which as it says on the link, outlines 8 amazing health benefits of cold-water swimming. Here are a few of them:
'It increases your libido. Cold water was traditionally seen to repress sexual urges. The fact is that it increases libido! A dip in some cold-water boosts OESTROGEN and TESTOSTERONE production, adding an edge to fertility and libido.
The benefits of increased libido include MORE CONFIDENCE, HIGHER SELF-ESTEEM, and ENHANCED MOOD'
'It REDUCES STRESS. Cold water swimming places stress on the body physically and mentally. Many studies have identified the link between cold water and stress reduction. Cold water swimmers become calmer and more relaxed'
'It is a great way of socializing and making friends. There are ongoing studies into the effects of cold-water swimming and the MENOPAUSE. The difficulty is that it is difficult to prove that it is specifically the cold water that is having the positive effect as the aspects of socializing and doing exercise will both improve general health and wellbeing.'
In Conclusion – life is never perfect; it has its own ups and downs of monumental proportions. I am still on my healing journey and learning something new every day. I genuinely believe in the power of the collective coming together of like-minded women – we can guide, offer advice steered by true life experience, talk, discuss, rant and rave. We have each other’s backs and together we can find a way through the ever-changing views and opinions of the world at large on how, we as women, need to behave, act, and to deal with life altering stages of our natural biological way through life. Shhh… Menopause Wellness is here to help our community of likeminded women and I am so excited to be part of this amazing group.