On the chemo couch with Rochelle Birch

Change your thoughts and see your world change around you

The recipe to overcome the side effects of chemotherapy for single mother, Rochelle Birch (36), was a whole lot of faith, an unlimited supply of crackers, and even more ginger biscuits. But little did she know that change would be the most crucial and sacred ingredient.
chemo couch

We often hear people acknowledging and emphasising that “change is good” when it’s in their best interest, e.g. a job promotion with more money, or a new car they’re able to afford, or a new man (LOL)…but why do we not see the good in the change of health? For the survivors, don’t you marvel at the fact that you’re able to read this story? Why are we still here? What are the Lord’s plans for our lives?

When this body of mine was diagnosed, in 2015, with Stage 3 breast cancer – the oncologist immediately started me on ‘Red Devil’ as the tumour was almost a third of my right breast. I lost my hair in a matter of 14 days, which I really battled to accept; hair is such an important part of a woman.

After the chemo, I received radiation and then had a mastectomy, and my breast was aligned. Throughout all of this, I didn’t really have any questions; I got my chemo dates, went for my consults, went for chemo, and chose not to speak to people in the room, which I soon discovered was my coping mechanism. In my mind, me not talking about my cancer to others would keep me focused on winning this battle, and, ultimately, that was my only priority – I was adamant to beat this illness. However, I soon discovered that people perceived that I was constantly angry, and that was one emotion I didn’t want to show or be associated with. That was when I made the decision to live with the amazing peace that only Jesus Christ can give, as I knew that I had Him in me, and solely believe that He is the author and finisher of my existence.

Being a single parent, after the months of chemo passed, I started questioning my life, and how I live it as my five-year-old daughter, Kenidy, only knows that life. I was setting the goalpost for her. I asked myself “What can I change for the better to help her cope with this situation?”

I won’t deny the fact that my body experienced agonizing pain – horrible nausea and not being able to function normally for seven days max – and that not being able to mother my child in certain ways affected me negatively. This did happen but I never allowed this illness to control my mind.

Let me remind you that you have dominion over this earth, exercise that authority over your illness too. My mind understood that change starts with new life; this surely was new to us. Change is something we all have to experience as it is an ongoing part of life, and it should be no different if the change is negative. If you are not able to change your mind in a negative situation, how can you change anything positively? We have to overcome this obstacle and set in motion “being the change” for others to see, and believe through our own individual stories.

Last year, my body was dispersed of breast cancer. Yay!! But, a month later, I was called back to do a nuclear test, where it was discovered that cancer follicles were  on my spine. Yes, a total bummer, right? Due to it being detected early, I now go for three weekly treatments of bone cement. But, still I don’t allow my mind to be lost and confused in all this. I choose to live life normally, go to work, eat what I want, enjoy whatever I crave, and carry on with the things of the Lord and the life I am afforded.

From today, let’s be in awe that we are offered a second chance in this life! How many people have lost family and loved ones to this illness? And, for that reason, let’s make a change as we are still surviving everyday through this, by His grace. My prayer for you is to realise that this life is to be lived, have your quiet time, and search your life for changes that you can make to enrich your life.

If you are not able to change your mind in a negative situation, how can you change anything positively?