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101 Inspiration – People 

Lena Wappling – Switzerland 

My name is Lena and I am a cancer survivor! I was born and raised in Sweden and have lived in Zürich, Switzerland with my husband and our two daughters during the past 6 years. I would describe myself as a positive and optimistic person, who has always been good at enjoying my life.

Just before Christmas 2017, I was diagnosed with stage 4A of ovarian cancer. Cancer came as a shock and going through cancer treatment has been like a roller coaster ride both physically and mentally. Some days have been wonderful and others gloomy.

When I had done a few cycles of chemotherapy, negative thoughts started to take over my normally positive state of mind. I felt scared of what would happen, if treatment would be successful, if I would survive and for how long. Earlier I had been good at staying strong and being optimistic about the treatment results and my future. My inner drive and positive mindset was suddenly not enough to handle those negative thoughts. I felt I needed to do something differently. When looking for inspiration, I found Greig Trout’s website. Greig is a two times cancer survivor and he found that having things to look forward to, and proactively working towards them, was imperative to him surviving cancer and the psychological effects that came with it. I decided to make my own Survival List and have been ticking it off ever since.

Right now, I am in the recovery phase after winning the first round against my cancer. Physically I feel stronger and stronger. However, my mental recovery is lagging behind. All my energy was spent on fighting cancer and there was simply no energy left for dealing with psychological aspects during the immediate stage with surgery and chemo. I know it will take time to handle the mental effects and have decided to allow myself all the time it will take. I am optimistic about the future and continue focusing on the important things in my life: family, friends and My Survival List!

If you want to know more about my journey, check out my blog Cancer Survival What’s Next? 

  1. Support the charity Macmillan by ordering a survival T-shirt via Greig Trout’s. Completed, see link 😄
  2. Write a cook book
  3. Learn to play the saxophone
  4. Celebrate my belated 50th birthday by inviting good friends for champagne. Completed, see 😄
  5. Enjoy the view by the lake at our summer house in Sweden. Completed, see 😄
  6. Drink champagne with my good friends Tina and Marie-Louise. Completed, see 😄
  7. Do something simple and fun every week with my husband, such as going to the theatre, a restaurant, a museum or see a movie
  8. Enjoy Österhagen’s ice cream in Hjo, Sweden
  9. Treat myself with massage at least once a month
  10. Go on a fitness/training trip
  11. Do one of the most beautiful hikes in Switzerland the “Gratwanderung” in Stoos. Completed, see 😄
  12. Have Afternoon tea and go shopping in London with one of my daughters. Completed, see 😄
  13. Go on a safari in South Africa with one of my daughters
  14. Celebrate “Kanelbullensdag” (Cinnamon bun day) with my mom. Completed, see 😄
  15. Ski in the Dolomites
  16. Go on a “girls” weekend with Lotta and Ulrika. Completed, see 😄
  17. Go on a “girls” weekend with Else and Maria. Completed, see😄
  18. Visit Sanremo with my sister. Completed, see 😄
  19. Celebrate New Year’s Eve 2018 with my parents on the Canary Islands
  20. Give Yoga a true chance. Completed, see 😄
  21. Learn more about my current home country: Switzerland by visiting the National Museum
  22. Join my friends: Karin, Johanna, Niclas, Hasse and Patrik on our yearly skiing trip
  23. Do more “crazy” and spontaneous activities
  24. Start using the Christmas gift, I had bought to myself. Completed, see😄
  25. Go to a concert with a world-famous musician. Completed, see 😄
  26. Visit the Galápagos Islands
  27. Practice Gratitude Everyday – will be forever ongoing 😄
  28. Do volunteer work
  29. Participate in Ruter Dam class of 2008’s 10th anniversary. Due to surgery not possible  😟
  30. Visit Yellowstone national park
  31. Ski in North America
  32. Visit Canada
  33. Explore New Zealand
  34. Enjoy a Bentobox in Japan
  35. Restart my golf career
  36. Enjoy a summer picnic in the Swiss Alps, Completed, see 😄
  37. Do a cancer rehabilitation to improve physical and mental strength
  38. Visit Sweden International Horse Show with one of my daughters
  39. Participate at the yearly Ginger bread baking party in Nävlinge, Sweden
  40. To be discovered
  41. To be discovered

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Ok gang, it’s fair to say that my body has turned to cookie dough these past couple of years and it’s time to do something about it. I’ve always struggled with my strength and fitness but as I get older I am noticing it even more.

The life saving operations and treatment I received as a child have had a significant impact on my health in later life. As I was only 7 and 8 years old when I had this treatment, I was more susceptible to damage and it also means i’ve pretty much grown up not really knowing what normal is. I’ve always found exercise quite challenging, I struggle to put on muscle and fat on my upper body and i’ve always had issues with my back.

It turns out my treatment and operations have caused the following health issues:-

Scarred Lungs – a side effect of the radiotherapy used to get rid of the tumors in my lungs.

Heart Failure – a side effect of the chemotherapy where the heart muscle is no longer as efficient as it should be at pumping blood around the body. I now have the heart of your average 60 year old. (No offence to any 60 years olds out there! I’m sure your hearts are amazing;)

Upper Body Damage – Due to me being only 7 years old the high doses of radiotherapy to my chest burned away various cells which means it is difficult to put on muscle or fat.

Scoliosis – I’m not entirely sure why this is but a combination of radiotherapy and the removal of my right kidney has left my rib cage pointing one way and my pelvis the other. This has resulted in a curved spine.

THE CURE

Prior to the arrival of my beautiful baby boy 5 months ago I decided to not only do something about some of these issues but that I was also going do deal with them naturally, without the need for operations and medication.

I wanted to be in the best physical condition I could be in for Jospeh’s arrival and I wanted to be able to pick him up without feeling like a 90 year old.

I only learned a couple of years ago that if I had received physio as a child I may not have had the issues I do now with my back and upper torso.

I was offered medication for my heart but I refused it as I firmly believe that this can be dealt with via good nutrition and exercise.

See below to find out how I plan on achieving this:-

SCOLIOSIS
I booked an appointment at the Centre for Health and Human Performance in London for a one off intensive physiotherapy session. An amazing physiotherapist called Rob Madden developed a physio plan I could do on my own at home which would help strengthen my back, lessen back pain and improve my posture.

HEART AND BACK
My brother arranged three sessions with a cross fit instructor (pictured). I was expecting a drill sergeant and I got one of the loveliest people you could ever hope to meet. Natalie Fitzpatrick is a professional cross fit instructor and she worked with me on developing a workout plan that would improve my core and all round body strength as well as improving my cardiovascular health.

NUTRITION
My diet has been evolving ever since my second diagnosis in 2010. I’ve seen many a nutritional therapist over the years but this time I saw Deb Archibald who is a breast cancer survivor that specialises in cancer based nutrition.

I BUILT THE 101 GYM
And finally I have set up a mini gym in my garage which is freezing cold, damp and dusty and I love it! I’ll give you a better tour soon.
Jaime suggested that I share some of the things I have learnt and implemented in my own life over the past 7 years. If people ask, I am more than willing to tell them but I often find people aren’t interested in changing their diets or lifestyle which breaks my heart.
Cancer and many other forms of physical illness have been shown to be the result of a combination of environmental, life-style and biological factors. It makes perfect sense that the key to both preventing and overcoming these illnesses is an overall improvement in the exact same things that cause them.

I hope you get something from these ‘101 Health’ posts and please know that I will not post anything that hasn’t been PROVEN to have a positive effect on your physical and mental well/being.

Lets make this our healthiest year yet.

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Thank you so much to everyone who took part in the Christmas caption challenge.

Jaime and I had a good old laugh reading through them all and you definitely put smiles on our faces. I’m sure Princess Anne would love them too!

Congratulations to Myra and Sabrina for their winning captions and also to my old school pal Gareth for his contribution. His entry was far to filthy to win but it did make us laugh….a lot. Book on its way to you buddy!

The winners will receive a 101 T- Shirt or hoodie of their choice and a signed copy of the greatest book ever written – Kindness – ‘the little thing that matters most’.
Baby Trout not included! 😉

For those who missed out the T-Shirts are available to buy via the 101 website and Jaime’s book is available on Amazon
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kindness-Little-Thing…/…/000825284X
and in all leading book stockists!

Enjoy and I look forward to seeing your 101 photos!

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Yesterday, I turned the grand old age of 38! Yikes….How on earth did that happen!

2017 is coming to a close and what a year it has been.
Some of you may remember I took some time away from 101, social media and all things cancer related at the start of this year.

2016 was a tough year and it seemed like my life had become all about cancer. Several people in my life died from cancer and I couldn’t seem to turn on the news or social media without seeing articles about cancer or hearing of a celebrity who had recently died of this horrible disease.
Possibly the most difficult and heartbreaking experience was seeing my good friend Rowena slowly succumb to the effects of breast cancer.

I thought I could battle through it and keep writing, replying to emails and giving talks but by the end of the year I wasn’t feeling any better mentally and my physical health was taking a battering as a result.

The very mention of the word cancer, made my skin crawl, my stomach churn and the distant worried look I had for so long in the past, came back to haunt me.

When Jaime and I got the miraculous news we were having a baby, I decided enough was enough and took a break from everything to figure out what was going on. If there were two people I needed to be strong and fit for, it was Jaime and Joseph.

So, I read a lot, researched why I felt this way, stepped down as a trustee of a cancer charity, spent more time with family, deleted my social media apps from my phone, turned down 101 talks, reduced 101 messages and emails and just concentrated on supporting Jaime, being present and improving my own health. After a good few years of saying yes to things I decided to say no more and it was equally as life changing as the yes moments were.

As I always say – you have to help yourself before you can help anyone else.

Jaime and I bang on about Kindness a lot but many of us forget to be kind to ourselves.
We do things to improve our physical health such as diets and exercise but we sometimes neglect our mental health.
This little break was the best thing I could have done. 101 was an alternative to cancer blogs and support groups. I always wanted to concentrate on life and the good that could come out of illness rather than the bad things. So I tried to make my life about that once again.

This little change helped make 2017 the best year yet and I didn’t even have to get on a plane!:) –

I had a healthy baby boy (and made a new best friend), got engaged on Richmond Hill, climbed Ben Nevis with my brother, spent more time with family, gave some of my best and most influential 101 talks yet and in the last few weeks Jaime and I moved into our new home, which would you believe was Plot 101 – I don’t believe in fate or destiny but that was definitely a spooky one.
It has been an incredible year and it all started with me putting myself first.

In the talks I have given recently, I have mentioned that if I wrote my 101 list today it would be a lot different to the one I wrote back in 2013. I said it so many times that yesterday I decided to sit down and write one.
When I thought about all I hoped to achieve more than anything else I came up with only 7 things:-

1. Stay healthy
2. Be a good boyfriend/(future) husband
3. Be a good dad
4. Spend more time with family
5. Be kinder to myself
6. Help others
7. Have fun

There may also have been an eighth….:)
8. appear on Strictly Come Dancing

The list I wrote before was all about things I thought would make me happy…and they most certainly did. But I was always thinking about the next place I would visit or the next thing on my list. Now, for the first time in my life I am where I want to be.

At a talk recently, a man asked if I ever feel that I should tone down my positivity when talking to people with cancer. As someone who has struggled with survivor’s guilt I understood where he was coming from but I told him – if I’m not positive then what is there for people going through physical or mental illness to aspire to?

I share this all this with you today because I truly believe that there is hope for everyone and that challenges with physical and mental health can be the start of a whole new life, not the end of it.

I hope 2018 is filled with health, happiness and it is your best second, minute, day, month, year yet.

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Morning autumn walk in nature with these two little munchkins followed by a healthy brekkie of turmeric scrambled eggs with spinach, tomato and a big mug of turmeric tea – all eaten whilst flicking through my favourite paper – The Happy News – a newspaper filled happy real life stories and all that is good about the world.

Bring on the rest of the day!

NUTRITION

Turmeric is has been used for its medicinal properties for thousands of years and is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It has been proven to alleviate and prevent degenerative disorders such arthritis, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and cancer!

POSITIVE MINDSET

Negative emotions release the stress hormone cortisol which causes inflammation in the body and I turn a whole host of health problems.
Positive emotions however, have been proven to have a significant impact on physical and psychological health. When we feel happy or do something meaningful that fills us with joy, it releases a whole host of natural chemicals in the brain which cause a chain reaction in the body giving us a feel good feeling.
When we feel good our mind and our immune system are thriving and when that happens – anything is possible!
Turn off the regular news and focus on the positive! It might just save your life!

The happy newspaper is available here https://thehappynewspaper.comThe Happy Newspaper

EXERCISE

Regular exercise helps :-

* reduces risk of high blood pressure (hypertension), coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes and many cancers.
* reduces anxiety and depression, and helps prevent mental health problems
* boosts mood and wellbeing
*keeps bones and muscles strong
* Helps us live longer!

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Those who have followed this blog for the past few years will know just how special a place called Richmond Hill is to me.

It was a place I loved and loathed in equal measure, both during and after my treatment for bowel cancer. I loathed it because I struggled to walk up it but when at the top, feeling angry and exhausted, I couldn’t help but be mesmerised and soothed by the beautiful view.

Two years ago Richmond Hill became even more special to me when 200 of us met there to drink hot chocolate and celebrate life.

September 10th marked the 7 year anniversary of my diagnosis for bowel cancer. A day that I’ll never forget, but looking back, it was also the beginning of a process that saw me completely change my life.

Jaime and I recently took our baby boy, Joseph to Richmond Hill for the very first time.
While we were there, I got down on one knee and with the help of help of our beautiful boy I asked the love of my life to marry me and she said …YES!!

Never in a million years did I think I’d be standing on that hill with my baby son and the girl of my dreams.

When I was travelling I often wondered if I’d ever find my dream place to live and settle down.
I never thought that my dream place would turn out to be a girl who lived 15 minutes down the road!

I’ll never be grateful for having cancer but as much as I despaired during the dark times I realise now that without them, I really wouldn’t have made the changes to my life that have lead me to where I am now.

I know all to well that there are an awful lot of people out there going through the most scary and challenging of situations and this breaks my heart.
I only hope that my own experiences dealing with physical and mental health go some way in inspiring others to know that light can be found through the darkest of times.

I also just want to thank you all for being a part of this little roller coaster of a journey. You’ll never fully realise just how much your support has meant to me. Thank you all so much.

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It’s HERE!!
I am so proud of my beautiful girl who has written the most inspiring and life changing book.
Packed with 52 suggestions of kind acts we can adopt on a daily basis to help us live in a kinder and more loving world.

Each suggestion is backed up with real life case studies from 52 Lives and proven science showing us why kindness is good not only for others but also for ourselves.

Kindness really is the most important thing we can be in life. As you can see little man already has his copy and we all popped out today to see if it was in any of the shops! It was! Aaaahhhh! It’s so surreal to see it on the shelves.

It really is a wonderfully written book which I know will inspire and bring out the best in anyone who reads it.

Kindness – the little things that matters most is out now and is available on Amazon and all good book stockists.

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He’s finally here!!

Dearest gang, Jaime and I are so proud to introduce you all to our beautiful baby son – Joseph Greig Trout – born on the 2nd August 2017 and weighing a healthy and sturdy 7lbs 9oz.
I still can’t quite believe I helped make him.
He is the most beautiful little thing we could ever hope for and we are so grateful to have him in our lives.

Thing 101 – To have a family of my own – TICK!

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Some you may remember that towards the end of my trip I spent some time at the incredible Butterfly Children’s Hospice in China.

This wonderful charity cares for abandoned and sick children and thanks to the help of you guys and 52 Lives we were able to help buy two of the children specialist wheelchairs which has completely transformed their lives.

Some of you have kindly offered to buy things for my baby son who will hopefully be born this week (He’s a stubborn little thing).

We have everything we could ever possibly need in the world and I wondered if instead, you wouldn’t mind donating that money or any spare you have to help buy this beautiful little boy his wheelchair.

Noah was just baby when I met him and I must admit I was slightly taken a back when I first saw him but then totally fell in love with him.
He sadly has a condition which doesn’t allow fluid to drain from his brain and as a result his head is a lot larger and heavier than that of a normal child’s. He was abandoned as a baby and now he is taken care of by the amazing nurses at Butterfly.

He can’t sit up and therefore can’t be taken outside and struggles to interact with his friends.
He is such a beautiful boy and I remember how he loved to grab my hands and play with the stubble on my face.

Noah is now 4 and the Butterfly Hospice has raised half of the funds needed to buy his wheelchair.
52 Lives is now helping raise the remaining £1500 and I thought the 101 gang might be able to help reach our target.

Like Matilda and Edmund a specialist wheelchair will transform Noah’s life. He will be able to go outside, sit up and interact with the world around him and no longer have to spend his days laying on the floor looking up at the ceiling.

As with all of the lives helped by 52 Lives – 100% of what you give goes straight to helping buy his wheelchair.

If you can spare anything at all we would be so incredibly grateful and even if you can’t just liking or sharing this post will help it pop up on someones screen who may be able to help.

Thanks so much gang.

Much love.

You can donate here – https://52-lives.charitycheckout.co.uk/life145

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I recently had the honour of guest speaking at the The Avon Valley School & Performing Arts College annual awards ceremony in Rugby. What a truly amazing School this is. I’ve given talks at quite a few schools now and I think it is wonderful that they provide a platform like this to help both inspire and also raise awareness of topics such as mental health and overcoming adversity.

Although my time with cancer was challenging it was my experience with mental health that led me to change the way I lived my life.
This change came in the form of changing my diet, leaving an unhealthy job, doing more of the things I wanted to do and learning more about how the mind and body work.

I wanted to worry less and live a happier and more fulfilling life.

I’ve met many people over the years who have made similar changes to their life and who have also been through some kind of trauma in their life.

It often takes a traumatic event to give us a kick up the backside to get out there and do the things we’ve always wanted to. Sadly for some, that traumatic event may be too late to make the changes they wanted to.

I aimed my closing message to the students but I think this is a message for us all – no matter what age you are.

‘Please don’t wait for tragedy or illness to prompt you to live the life you want to live. Believe in yourself and get out there and make your dreams and lists happen. They won’t happen by themselves.

If you are enthusiastic and passionate about something it is amazing how much you can achieve and how many people you can inspire along the way’.

Thanks so much for having me Avon Valley – I can’t wait to see what you all get up to in the future.

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You can find out more about the awards ceremony and Avon Valley School here – http://news.warwickshire.gov.uk/…/warwickshire-school-news…/

Photo credit – Avon Valley School

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