A new journey – but not as I expected

I came to Sydney in May 2004 with my then-boyfriend and now-husband Pascal. Initially, we thought we would only stay for a couple of years. Still, after we settled, there was never much talk about going back to Switzerland until sometime in the last year when Pascal started talking more often about going back to Switzerland.

In September, we decided to move back to Europe but Munich in Germany rather than Switzerland. We both love the idea of another adventure. And the ball started rolling from that moment, and things began to get organised. The container was booked for the 21st of December to vacate the house we rented before Christmas.

Tuesday the 20th of December, we had been tidying up, organising, and sorting things for a couple of weeks already, so I decided to go to my last yoga class with my teacher and mentor, Simon. I remember I worked restoratively that evening due to being in my menstrual cycle. Still, I also just had a needle biopsy with ultrasound the day before because I had found a couple of swollen lymph nodes in my right armpit during my stay in India.

After cycling home, I checked my phone and had a missed call from my GP and a message: May I please call her back.

Of course, I went to different scenarios when I found the enlarged lymph nodes before any test, but still, when someone tells you it’s cancerous, you are in shock, and everyone reacts differently to shock. I just remember looking at my 5-year-old daughter Lena and thinking that I might not see her grow up. All other plans suddenly became irrelevant as my eyes started filling with tears, my throat started feeling tight, and Pascal’s long arms wrapped themselves around my body.

At this moment, I appreciated my yoga practice even more, and that it teaches me every day to be present. I believe in the healing abilities of my body, I always had a pretty strong immune system, and most of all, I was not in pain or feeling sick at this moment. After my diagnosis, I had long chats with my teachers Simon Joannou and Pixie Lillas, but I also spoke to Stephanie Quirk about what to practice. Luckily it was during the holiday time table, and I could use the Balmain Yoga Studio for my practice as my props and things were already on the way to Germany. I practiced the immune system sequence with lots of support and the arms horizontally spreading to the side to get space in my armpits. I felt pretty calm and positive at that time.

So I was diagnosed with breast cancer (specifically a HER2 +), which they found in the lymph nodes; more tests followed, and it has been a rollercoaster of a journey up to now. In the mammogram, chest x-ray, they didn’t find the primary until the MRI. Two days before leaving my beloved Australia, I received the CT scan report, which said metastatic lesions in the bone visible; I wasn’t aware at first what that meant for the future. But my move to Germany became an even more significant jump into cold water than expected.