Hey Positive Peeps!
Some of you may know that I recently did an interview with Lymphoma Canada about healing with positivity. It was was featured on their website, but if you missed it you can read it here. Now, while they obviously couldn't fit all of my answers into the feature, I thought I would share them with you incase you wanted a little more insight into my experience with Lymphoma. So, here you go...
1) How did you know that something was wrong? What symptoms of lymphoma did you display?
I first noticed something was wrong when I was at work one day and got this feeling as if I was being choked. This sensation like all the blood was being constricted from my head. It started happening often enough that I decided to go to the local clinic where the doctor thought it might be my thyroid. Obviously that was not the case. At that same time, I also started getting sick, which my family doctor thought was pneumonia. But after numerous tests, it turned out that I had a tumour in my chest that was surrounding one the main arteries, which was constricting all the blood going to my head and causing pneumonia like symptoms in my lungs. When I found out about the tumour, I thought back and realised that I had a lymph node on the side of my neck that was swollen, I had also been getting night sweats and had lost about 10 pounds. All of which I attributed to stress. If only!
2) Bring us back to the day you discovered you had lymphoma. Describe to us your feelings and actions.
Not my best day. My doctor had previously told me after an xray that he had found a mass in my chest. He said that it might be nothing but it could also be cancer, so he sent me to a surgeon to discuss a biopsy in order to determine exactly what we were dealing with. Sitting in the surgeon’s office with my parents a few days later, he was explaining the procedure to us, when my mum asked what happens if it turns out not to be cancerous. This is when he turned to my mum and said bluntly that it was definitely lymphoma. I sat there in shock. Up until that moment I was holding onto the hope that it was nothing. We finished talking about the procedure and then his lovely intern took me into the examining room to take my blood pressure and what not. I sat on the table and just started to cry. I held it together as best I could, so I didn’t make her feel uncomfortable. She held my arm and explained that they didn’t know that I hadn’t been told yet. She was very sweet. I went home to be with my family. I had no idea how to deal with the news, so I just tried to keep it together for my family's sake. I knew they were terrified and I didn’t want to make that burden worse for them.
3)What is the significance of your hair loss?
The diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma was shocking, but at the same time, even when I started chemo I couldn’t see it. I felt somewhat healthy and when I looked in the mirror I saw someone that looked healthy. But when I started losing my hair, that was the truth staring me in the face, and the loss of control that I thought I had on the situation. I was also someone that had changed my hair on a regular basis, whether it be style or colour, I always had fun with it. It became my identity. But when that was taken away, I had to face the real me, the me without that false identity. The stripped down version of Hayley. Sometimes that’s scarier than cancer.
4)What is a positive mental attitude?
Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) is a term originally coined by Napoleon Hill. To me, it’s the sledgehammer that helps you break down the wall of negativity to let the good stuff shine through, the stuff that we can be grateful for. All it takes is changing your perspective: focus on the positive rather than the negative. I’m a realist though, and I know that this world isn’t perfect. So, while I obviously take note of what isn’t working in my life and try to make improvements, those very same aspects actually highlight all the things that are working and for which I am deeply grateful. Luckily we all have access to this inner tool, it’s just whether we choose to use it or not.
5)What is your medical status now?
Since November 23rd 2011, I have been cancer free!
6)Why do you credit your current health status to having a PMA?
I wouldn’t say that PMA alone cured my cancer, but it was definitely a major contributing factor along with a few other crucial lifestyle changes. I believe that one of the biggest killers is stress. If we could eliminate stress from our lives, whether it be through mental attitude, environment, or eating habits, we could all live quite healthy and happy. So when I was diagnosed, I knew that the best thing I could do for my body and mind would be to stay positive, focus on the blessings in my life, and do things that make me happy and surround myself with people that add positive energy to my life. Mind and body are connected, and stress has the power to break them both down, so be proactive in living every day with PMA!
7)What is P.M.Art?
P.M.Art stands for Positive Mental Art, and it’s basically PMA in the form of art. Whether it’s designs on tshirts or quotes on canvases, they’re all the materialisation of my creativity into products that inspire people to feel good. We all need daily reminders to keep us on track. I have a PMA tattoo on my forearm that I see all the time, which reminds me to constantly refocus and stay positive. I realise that not everyone is into tattoos though, so I wanted to create more accessible things that would help people to pump up their PMA.
8) How did you decide to take an artistic route?
That was a no-brainer! I’ve always been artistic; my life isn’t complete unless I’m making something, so it was only a matter of time until it turned into a business.
9) What is your goal in this company? How will your art help others with lymphoma?
My goal with P.M.Art is to inspire positivity in others. I want people who are in contact with my art/products to feel good. Whether they’re wearing a tshirt or visiting the website, I want them to be reminded about the power of positivity and how a simple shift in perspective can change your whole life for the better.
10) What was your treatment plan and how was your treatment different (with the inclusion of PMA)?
My treatment plan started with a surgical biopsy followed by 12 sessions of chemotherapy over a 6 month period. What made it different from typical treatment plans was the changes I made in my life while going through treatment. I took cancer as a chance to really look at my life and decide what was working and what wasn’t. Like I said, stress is a killer. It will break you down eventually, emotionally and physically. So first things first, get rid of stress. I started by eliminating relationships from my life that weren’t working anymore. I also adopted a plantbased diet, which changed my life in ways I couldn’t have even dreamt of. Not only was I feeling good about doing the right thing for animals and our planet, but I also was seeing massive changes with my speed of recovery after chemo sessions. What would normally have taken me 12 weeks to recover from, was now only taking me 1 to 2 days! Also, as soon as I changed my diet, my hair started growing back, and this was during chemo. I was already feeling positive, as much as you can while receiving chemo, but after weeding out all the things that were holding my life back, I felt the true healing begin!
11) Do you recommend the route you took to other lymphoma patients AND their families?
There is no question in my mind that PMA is for everyone. Whether you’ve just been diagnosed or your family member is going through treatment, finding positivity is key. Of course there are always times when you need to cry and get mad, but when those moments pass, as they always do, enjoy life! Laugh a lot. And when you’re done laughing, laugh some more! Even if it turns to tears, it’s all positive healing.
12) What is your hope for yourself, your family and your brand?
My hope for myself is to live a healthy, compassionate and loving life, and to always be striving to make a positive difference in this world. My hope for my family is that they are happy in whatever it is that makes them happy, and that I get to share that journey with them. My hope for P.M.Art is to expand into even more forms of art, all inspiring positivity. In the future, I would also love to start a charity that helps the youth; maybe something that empowers them to make strong, informed choices, and to be themselves.
13) Words of advice to lymphoma patients and their families?
Hindsight is a beautiful thing. It has taught me what I could’ve done differently, and I can now pass that experience on to others, which I’m really grateful for. So, here is what I learned: Take the time to find out what feels right for you. You are the one in charge of your health and what happens to your body, no one else. Fear can take over and before you know it, you’ve made decisions that you didn’t even realise. But, fear isn’t you, you are stronger than fear. No matter what stage you’re in, you have a choice. As for family members. Support, support, support. For yourselves and for your loved one going through this.
14) Words of thanks to your family?
My family were my heroes. They went to doctors visits, laughed with me through chemo sessions, flew across the world to be with me, gave me pep talks when I didn’t have the courage to shave my head, and even raised money for me when I couldn’t afford the medications. Most importantly, they supported each other when I didn’t have the strength to. I am overwhelmed by the love and support that was shared between my family and they will continue to be the inspiration for my PMA.
15) Anything you would like to include..note the theme of this month's newsletter is treatment
Do not underestimate the vital healing power of your attitude and your diet!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read all of this... I’m so grateful.
I’d love to hear your thoughts or answer any questions you may have about this topic, so feel free to leave a comment/question below :) Oh! You can always tweet me your comments/questions to @_PMArt, which would be awesome too!
So it's been 4 weeks since the launch of P.M.Art and so far things are going awesome! Everyone has been so supportive and encouraging and I've even sold some tees! Pretty good start, if you ask me ;)
Since I've launched, a few amazing people have asked me some really great questions about P.M.Art, and I thought to myself, "Wow, I bet other people are wondering the same things!". So I'm going to take this opportunity to answer these questions that some of you might be wondering...
How much did you end up raising from the Indiegogo campaign?
Well, for those of you that are new to P.M.Art, I started the business by running an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for the start up costs. Ya know, things like buying tees, supplies, administrative fees, PR... all that fun stuff. I had 7 t-shirt designs at that time and buying ethical products such as tees is costly, so my goal was $15,000. After a long campaign, pushing it non-stop 24-7, I ended up raising $740. Not exactly the goal I was hoping for but I was super grateful for what I did raise. Since I now had $740, I thought to myself, "right, what can I do with this?". So based on popularity, I cut my t-shirt designs down to 3 from 7 and cut back on things like PR and eating... only kidding, health first!
What's happening with the other t-shirt designs?
I have plans to use the other designs at a later date when P.M.Art is financially ready to take that step. I will be revamping them to make them extra special, which I'm really excited about!
How do you find running an ethical business when you're up against cheap off-shore competition?
Honestly, it wasn't a difficult decision to make. P.M.Art is about promoting positivity, so I had to ask myself:
1. Do I want to do what is right for the earth and all the lovely creatures that I share it with? Yes.
2. Do I want to feel proud about the products I put out there? Of course.
3. Will everything I sell create positivity in others? I really hope so.
So what other option is there? Obviously buying cheap products overseas would be the ruthless way to make money but that's not the way to change the world. I made sure that when I started P.M.Art that every decision I made was honest and ethical. I don't want anyone or anything to be hurt from the products that I sell. So although I don't make as much money on the products as I would if I were using cheaper supplies, I feel good about the change I'm creating in the world and that is worth much more than money in my pocket.
Well there you have it! Hope that answers some of the questions you might've had. I'd love to hear your thoughts on any of these topics, or anything else for that matter! So feel free to leave a comment below.
Thanks for reading!
After a long PR campaign and a ton of promotional tweets (thanks for putting up with them!), my Indiegogo campaign has finally finished! I'd like to thank all the people who supported the campaign, whether you contributed financially or just spread the word, you all helped make it happen, so thank you! Now the time has come for P.M.Art to be launched and to begin creating planet positive, one t-shirt at a time! Watch this space for lots of news coming soon...
I'm deeply moved and honoured to be featured on the inspirational and life-saving Gerson Institute's website. Not only is their work vital in curing diseases, but it's also what inspires me to stay healthy and cancer-free every day. To find out more about their revolutionary therapy and to read their amazing article on P.M.Art, please click here.