My Story

Hi my name is Candice Walker, a mother of three beautiful children & my purpose & passion is providing psycho-social support to those with cancer and their associated loved ones. To help move those with zero belief, to being true believers in the redemptive power of understanding and compassion.

 

In a world where information is often contradictory & problematic to source, and fear overwhelms; I want to inspire people to never give up. Life is a privilege, and it is never too late to make it count. It shatters me to think that cancer sufferers will face a diminished life quality because they cannot obtain the information required. Nor the confidence, to ask the right questions.

Most of my life I have questioned our existence here on earth, I have questioned the meaning of life and our purpose. It is only in recent years that I have found the answers to all these questions. It is only through sickness that I have realized that every moment counts, how precious human life is and how grateful I am to be part of this beautiful world we live in. 

 

I have previously managed by living in a bubble. I call it my secret garden. A place where if you got close, I would detach. My secret garden provided protection. It meant that I could survive the emotional atrocities that I have experienced. Life just kept throwing me situation after situation, it felt like I could never get to that light at the end of the tunnel. Just when I was about to reach it there was always another disaster. The death of my ex-boyfriend at age 26 due to cancer took me on an emotional roller coaster like I have never experienced before.

 

Knowing this, I know how self-destructive it can be if you are gripped by fear and anxiety. I don’t want cancer sufferers and helpers to live in a bubble. I don’t want them to feel that there isn’t any support and it is too hard. I want to complement traditional medicine with holistic-support. The right information coupled with the right psycho-social guidance. I was content living life in my bubble. Not letting anyone in. This all changed on March 5th, 2013.

I was supposed to be obtaining a ‘second opinion’. I had pain but just thought it was a toothache. I was sent in for a CT scan because of the tooth but then there was an incidental finding of a mass sitting in the left frontal lobe. I will never forget those words…. Stage 2 Brain Cancer (Oligioastrocytoma).

My world was turned upside down. I had three kids under the age of six and a husband who struggled to deal with my diagnosis. Everywhere I turned, the situation became worse. No one could give answers, just more questions. No one told me I could be cured.

I was told I had 3-5 years max to live and not much else.


I had two choices: I could curl up under my doona and live in my bubble or I could put on my game face, live life to the fullest and dig & mine for all the possible options available. I had to give up my secret garden and abandon my natural instincts. I had to embrace vulnerability and fight for life.


I have made my life complicated because I never let anyone in. I thought strength was personified by oneness, rather than openness. By not allowing love in, I closed off opportunities to grow. I have learnt that holding back my emotions does not get you anywhere. I really had to trust someone to be vulnerable. On March 5th I determined that this had to stop. My bubble had to burst. 

 

The first year, whilst I had a thirst for knowledge, I had to endure a horrific marriage breakdown. The events that transpired were so traumatic. It is hard to think  about  losing your life and then losing your marriage. It is a double whammy. It made me feel really false. The heartache and pain that I endured after the separation was nothing that I ever expected. I fought incredibly hard to keep my children with me. This ultimately came at a cost to my health.

 

Without doubt it has changed me as a person. My whole outlook on life has evolved. Things that mattered before don't matter now. I do worry about leaving the children behind and how this will affect their lives... this is my greatest concern not so much about death itself, though it is a very scary thought. It is leaving this world on your own with no idea of what comes next. Only hoping you make it to that bigger and better place above. It has made me dramatically alter my lifestyle.


I have really focused on eating healthier, first and foremost. I am very pedantic on what I consume and where I shop for these foods. I keep a diary of what I eat and take photos of meals to keep myself accountable.

 

This extends to my time at the gym. I work out 5-6 times per week. This can range from weights, cardio to salsa dancing I am vigilant with my tailored, prepared program. Everything relates to a body, mind, heart & perspective. Science was never going to be enough. 


Upon diagnosis, I wasn’t offered any other viable treatment (outside of a ‘sentence’); so I had to resort to alternative means.

 

Meditation became my favorite retreat. It makes you appreciate every day. It makes you want to live every day. In the present. You don’t know when your last day is going to be. You don’t know upon completion of your scan whether you will be told ‘it’ has progressed to a higher grade. It is hard not to feel fragile when fear looms at every corner. Making sure that every day contains elements of body, mind, heart and spirit is the only way to keep fear at bay. 

 

I have been on a roller coaster of highs and lows. It is challenging not to remain in my safe place. My bubble. My secret garden. But I know that I can’t be complacent as inactivity will be the death of me.

 

I became painfully aware of this after I endured a mind-shaking seizure that a friend said resembled a scene from 'The Exorcist' from that moment I came to realize that my life would be about gratitude and self-discovery. 

 

I have learnt that you can never take a single day or moment for granted. This ‘aha’ has meant that I want to share my cancer journey with friends, family and anyone else going through a similar situation. 

 

Having brain cancer is a very harrowing place. It has that ‘terminal’ diagnosis that makes it very scary. There is no one presenting information that will ally your anxiety and fears. You don’t know whom to turn to. People do not have the knowledge or the funds to contribute anything additional. You are alone. At times it has felt like you are the only person with this disease. Even with other people who have the same diagnosis, they are all different. It is so hard to find someone who understands what you are going through.

 

Even if you do, often they avoid the inevitable. It is too difficult to talk about the reality. There have not been many brain cancer patients in my age group. There are younger kids and the ever-growing older group. 

 

It is rare to find someone who I can relate to. I am often looked upon to lift up other people’s spirits. Some people cannot get to support groups. They curl up because they think they have no hope. This has to stop.

I still want to make an impact. I have no choice so I will make the most of it. Family and friends are everything. You could sit and cry about it or live it and have a crack at this magnificent beauty called life. 


Everything I have learnt I want to pass on. It is a very torturous place to be. Not just for those diagnosed but importantly, the people around them. I am not qualified to coach but I can educate people with my own experience. I want to help others and extend people's life. I am living this and I can provide psycho-social support to give people hope but more importantly understanding & depth.


It is like I have done my 10000 hours up to now for this moment. I have studied Psychology. I have studied Social Studies. I have been a volunteer with Very Special Kids. I have had a successful coaching career as a Financial Planner and a great year of my life was as a Nursing Student. I have learnt how to deal with people. How to deal with grief. I want to help people in a meaningful way. Everything I have done has led me to be the person I am.
 

When you are diagnosed with cancer a mirror is shone upon yourself. I have learnt that no matter what I am told, there is no bigger uplift than shopping at Chadstone, sailing, fireworks, watching Bold & The Beautiful, engulfing dark chocolate, and dancing to Taylor Swift. Seriously though, my kids give me hope and the will to live. When Sebastian came into this world I fell in love. I was besotted with the child. Having Sienna was a blessing. She is so loving and just like me. Joshy lights up my world. His character, his sense of humour is so joyous to be around. Their innocence or smile makes you feel so happy. It could be the shittiest day and their smile and happiness is just so infectious. I want to be around so I can see my kids become adults and beyond.


I have also a burning desire to ensure that all cancer sufferers who I meet, can ignite and be ignited by their loved ones. Now and ongoing.

I want to make people aware of how to live their life to the fullest. Being diagnosed with brain cancer is not the hard part, trying to live with it is. It is just so hard to find answers (or at a minimum, the right questions).  People I know have survived with stage 4 for over 10 years. You have to change your life. You can change people’s attitude. People have to be open to information beyond what the scientists say. People need to listen to people beyond doctors. There is a balance. I believe that healing is holistic: body, mind, heart and spirit.


It often doesn’t work coming from a family member.  Often you need to hear it from someone who is living it.


Doctors are your first port of call but will normally just try to be conservative (“it is great that you are still here”). I honestly heard this from my GP and was a little taken back when these words spilled out of his mouth.


You need to change everything with your life. Just being pumped with chemotherapy is not enough, you need to change your mindset & change your life.

I am a true believer of integrative medicine, in with conjunction traditional care. And it is not just because the healthiest food is purported to be dark chocolate. 

It just makes sense
 

I live for my kids. I live for fireworks. I live for any opportunity to get out in the water and sail. My purpose & passion is providing psycho-social support to those with cancer and their associated loved ones. To help move those with zero belief to being true believers in understanding & compassion. 

Whatever I have learnt on this journey I want to pass on. I don’t want those diagnosed living in their own secret garden. I want a world where information is accessible and transparent. A world where there is hope and options. I am a realist but whilst love still reigns in my veins, I will fight and seek the truth.


If you are seeking the truth then welcome to CandiceWalker.com.

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