ONE WARRIOR with Kristy Morton
Kristy has been to hell and back with a stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis last year. Her doctors told her the worst and she set out to prove them wrong. After four months of treatment and some radical life changes, she went into remission.
I love this story so much because it's filled with so much hope and happiness. It is possible to defy all odds. Enjoy this gorgeous warrior's story - I hope it starts your Friday with a kick of inspiration.
What was happening in your world at the time?
One day I was getting dressed and I noticed my left breast was quite full – upon feeling it, there was a large lump present. I never thought it would be cancer, so to be honest I was a bit blasé about it. It was my husband’s insistence that I get checked straight away that led me to the doctors!
I had none of the early warning signs for breast cancer and was generally feeling very fit and healthy, so it was out of the blue.
At the time I was a “very busy” person managing two businesses around general life and raising my three young girls!
My initial diagnosis was Stage 3 cancer and I had a left breast mastectomy and axillary clearance. Then, just before Christmas we received the news that it had spread to my chest wall, sternum, lymph nodes and liver – and was therefore Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer.
Cancer in 3 words.
Positively Life Changing.
What helped you get through the shit storm?
When I was diagnosed, I made my survival my number 1 priority. I closed down my business and put together a “treatment protocol” including everything below – this became my daily focus!
I assembled a support team so I could get the best information across all areas, as I think it’s so important to get professional advice on these as everyone is unique (and of course each type of cancer requires a different approach).
I feel that having my extensive support team, making myself the number 1 priority and all my treatment protocols below led me to my awesome result – being in remission 4 months into treatment! This result surprise everyone, including my oncologist.
Kristy and her beautiful family.
Getting to bed early and getting enough rest is super important too.
QUOTE/MANTRA/AFFIRMATION: I used to say to myself everyday “I am healed”.
WHAT KEPT YOU SANE? My massive support group (my friends and family are truly amazing) and my meditation/journaling and daily walks. Also trying to stay in the moment and not get too far ahead of myself.
The worst part of cancer?
Seeing my friends and family upset.
The best part of cancer?
It’s changed my outlook and made me start to live the type of life I want to, on my terms. Which is pretty awesome.
How has the whole cancer ride changed you and your life?
This experience has been life changing in the most positive of ways. I’ve learned so many things throughout my journey so far. I’ve had to learn to let people in and accept (and ask for) help when I need it. I absolutely can’t do “everything” by myself, and that’s ok.
I’ve learnt that our health really is the only thing we have! I now listen to my body, I exercise when I have the energy and I rest when I don’t.
I’ve stopped rushing and cramming everything I can into each day. Now I look for the joy in our experiences, which can often only be appreciated when we slow down. I now live in the moment and find it easier to be present. I’m grateful for every minute I’m here and these days, I stop the smell the roses!
I’ve realised I was living my life from a place of fear – worrying about upsetting people, or afraid to make changes in case of the “what ifs”, but now I know that’s not a healthy place to be. Now I make decisions based on what I want to do, and what feels right for my family.
I’ve also learnt your intuition is a powerful thing, and we all need to take the time to tap into more often! We often have the answers we need within us, but we make our lives so busy we can’t hear what we need to.
In a nutshell, cancer has reminded me of my values and how important they are to me and made it very obvious to me how precious life is.
Cancer theories: Do you think you were destined to get cancer? Is it completely random? Or did something happen along the way?
Prior to my diagnosis, I was what most people considered to be a “health conscious” person. I didn’t eat gluten, I ate a low sugar diet, I was conscious of eating enough veggies and good fats and so on. I meditated and journaled and thought all of that was enough.
But underneath it all, I was quite stressed and highly strung. It didn’t look like that from the outside, but my constant busy-ness with work and late nights working and little sleep meant I was exhausted and stressed. I was so conscious of people pleasing in my business that I would rather harm myself through becoming burnt out, than tell my clients I couldn’t take on certain projects.
Ultimately, I think the stress levels I put myself under cancelled out any “healthy” things I was undertaking. I think stress is the biggest health issue around right now – so many people are doing the exact same thing and not realising how much they are impacting their health!
Golden tip for new warriors.
I’ve got so many awesome stories of how everyone in my life really got around me. I truly am super lucky! I could probably write a massive essay about this topic, but I’ll just share some key things which might spark ideas in other people!
I know people worry about what to say or what to do, or even what gift to buy someone – but honestly, I was grateful for absolutely anything I received! Even if it was just a text message saying they were thinking of me. It really helped.
The one thing I found hard, was knowing what help I actually needed. Some things were obvious, like taking the kids to school, but somedays I just didn’t know what I needed. So I think it’s safe to assume people always need to eat and have their house cleaned, so they’re good starting places!
I had an amazing friend who set up “Gather my Crew” for me, which is an app where people can register their details and you can assign tasks to anyone who registers. She would put a call out for meals to be made or things for school lunches, and anyone who was available could take that “task” and complete it.
Another lovely friend put a card together and collected donations, so I had money for school fees and also for school lunches (through an online ordering system). That was life saver!
Another friend sent me an Uber eats voucher. The charity Mummy’s Wish organised house cleaning and sent books and teddies for my girls.
My cousin went out and brought a freezer for me so I could store extra meals and filled it with meals she prepped and some cuts of meat. Again, her just taking that decision away from me was so amazing. She also offered her holiday house to me for a weekend getaway, which was so wonderful to get away and spend family time together.
Another gorgeous friend took my girls and I for a night at a hotel – a beautiful break from the “routine” for us and again great quality time.
I had people sending me little gifts and cards, which was so nice – and another friend even recorded a healing meditation for me.
I’ll stop now…. hopefully that gives people some ideas.
Kristy now no longer needing the Bravery scarf as a headscarf!
Golden tip for new warriors.
I’ve got so many tips, I hope some of these resonate with anyone reading:
- Find your support team – I don’t just mean friends or family who can help, but professionals who can give valuable advice and support. For me, this looked like my GP, Holistic Doctor, Oncology Naturopath, Surgeon, Oncologist, Physiotherapist, Breast Care Nurse, Emotional Support Crew (through practices such as Reiki, Bowen, Healing etc) and friends and family.
- Do your research – finding the right information is very important. If you’re not up to it yourself, as your family or your healthcare professionals. Be sure you have the information you need to make the best decision for you.
- Get your mindset right – easy to say, but I believe mindset is everything. Remember you are not your diagnosis, and just because a doctor gives you a prognosis doesn’t meant that’s what’s going to happen to you. Ensure you get clear with the outcome you want and work towards that. For example, after my diagnosis I wanted a clear PET scan so I focused on that. I’d meditate each day and visualize seeing my clear scan, I journaled my thoughts and feelings, I was very careful about the media I consumed (I basically came off social media – I even limited cancer support groups I interacted with) and was careful with my words (for example, I was careful to not call my chemo “poison” which I have heard many people say, to me it was a “healing medicine”).
- Also on mindset, I truly believe we must remember the cancer is part of us and has occurred for a reason. We need to have a holistic approach to make sure your body can get back into balance and heal. It’s important to try and not be angry at the cancer, but to send yourself love and healing to help you recover. It sounds crazy, but I believe this was a massive part of me reaching remission so quickly.
- Learn to listen to your body, if you’re tired – rest! Don’t set any expectations on yourself.
- You’ll have off days, and that’s ok. Go to bed early and know the next day will be a better one!