Interview with Penny Kemp – Part Two

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 1.36.22 pmWe present part two of our interview with cancer survivor Penny Kemp as she explains some of the more psychological aspects to battling cancer.

How did you manage the mental aspects of battling cancer?

I named my chemo pump Tara Goddess of Healing, I got up, and I moved. I spent an exurbanite amount of time using visualisation techniques. I would lay at night and close my eyes and picture a house in in-between the ocean and the mountains. I would visualise that I would walk in with all my friends with me and take the medicine I so desperately needed off the shelf and I would take it with all my friends standing around me in a circle holding hands. When I had the medicine, we would all go down to the beach and get in the ocean and the ocean would wash through me and wash all the bad stuff away. I was a brave Warrior Sista and I would go into battle and beat whatever came my way.

I also never took anti-nausea meds after my one week ‘on’…. I would come home on the Friday night, eat a huge meal of Chinese takeout, and then spend the evening watching movies with a vomit bucket. I would vomit all night, but the next day I would feel so much better than if I had taken the anti-nausea. I would close my eyes and imagine that all the chemo I didn’t need was being expelled and that my body would then be clean and healed for the next round.

I got up and moved. To this day I almost never sit. I stand up at my office job and I stand up and any given opportunity. I move all the time. I don’t ever want to stop.

How do you think your experiences with cancer have altered the ways you perceive yourself? 

I unleashed my inner sassy ranga self. There is no two ways about it. I used to be a pushover – I’m so far removed from that now that I had to go to therapy to reign myself in. From the minute I walked out of the diagnosis I was a different person. My poor husband didn’t know what hit him. Our marriage suffered greatly because of it too. I was untouchable. I took the bulls by the horns and didn’t let go. I was the strongest feistiest version of myself I have ever been. I was completely untouchable – until I was in my oncologist’s office, and only then did I crack, break down, cry, be vulnerable. I’m still the same today, although a much much softer version.

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