Chew on It – with Janise Beaumont

The Power of Resilience
My dear friend, Janise Beaumont, who I met 25 years ago when she interviewed me for a newspaper article, is facing a huge life challenge right now. I’ve asked her to share some of her journey with us and I’m sure after reading it, you’ll admire her positive attitude and strength as much as I do.

“In February, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Within a week, I was wheeled into surgery, followed by chemotherapy, then daily radiotherapy. Next on the list is long-term hormone treatment. Quite a year.

I know what you’re thinking: this sounds like a depressing story. It’s quite the opposite in fact. I’m alive! And do you know what? Despite being bald and despite still reeling from how dreadful chemo was, I’m incredibly thankful for the fine care at Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, the medical advances that make my survival possible, and the kindness of friends and strangers.

I’ve learnt two things along the way. The first is the power of gratitude. I’ve come to appreciate the touching moments in my ‘adventure’ –  the nurse who arrived with a heated blanket to comfort me when I was feeling low, the anaesthetist who made me laugh just before my surgery. They’ve kept me positive and in keeping with modern scientific research, I believe this attitude has boosted my immune system.

Secondly, I’ve realised that physical exercise translates into mental strength. Yes, there was a time during chemo when I could barely lift my head off the pillow, but now that I’m feeling stronger I’ve returned to Elixr – and I’m loving it. My Pilates instructors are, without exception, understanding and encouraging and I feel supported, however feeble my performance may be on most days.

The most wonderful thing about a gym like Elixr is that you’re part of a community if you choose to be, and I don’t think you can truly heal hurt unless you belong to a tribe. An excellent gym gives one that sense of connection – it’s like a 2016 version of the village square.

In my many years as a journalist I’ve seen from interviewing thousands of people that ‘whole’ men and women inevitably feel included somewhere along the line. The truly disconnected I’ve sat down with, such as Michael Jackson, do not/did not identify with any group. Loners may be romanticised in movies, but they usually miss out in real life.”