Mullumbimby, Cancer and Me

Mullumbimby, Cancer, and Me:


Mullumbimby is a crucial part of my cancer journey, yes, I don’t like the word Journey’ because I always relate a journey with a planned, fun, adventurous vacation.

Cancer to me is none of that!

But Mullumbimby was I guess the beginning of finding myself in many ways.

I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in January 2013, my eldest daughter was travelling Europe and was due home in February, so I decided not to tell her until I could see her face to face.

It was a tough few weeks, whenever we spoke she knew I wasn’t right but would have never imagined what was in store upon her arrival.

Mid-February and I had just gone through a Lumpectomy, removing two tumors, I wasn’t working, I couldn’t work physically as I couldn’t lift my arm up above shoulder height which makes Hairdressing impossible. Even though my clients were friends I felt like I could not face the conversations at work either, so I had walked away from my salon.

I saw an advertisement for ‘The Spirit Festival’ in Mullumbimby and could not focus on anything other than getting there.

I was looking for something. I had no idea what that something was, but I knew if I had to find it, it was in Mullumbimby. Had I been there before? No. Did I have any idea what a Spirit festival was? Yes, but I had never been to one before.

I had no idea how to get there as I wasn’t working, I had been told by my Dr to take one year off work and concentrate on my treatments and recovering, so I knew I had no money coming in any time soon.

My Brother came to visit, as I was telling him I wanted to go to Mullumbimby but couldn’t afford to get there, he handed me his credit card,” buy flights or accommodation and whatever you need." he said.

I bought two tickets One for my daughter, Zoe and one for me. I booked a room at the pub and a car, and I was going to Mullum.

I still had no idea why, all I was thinking was,

I have no idea how to get through this? I think I will find it at the spirit festival.

I have no idea what to do, where to go or what I needed to learn to get me through, So Mullum was the only plan I had.

We arrived at Coolangatta airport, picked up a car and headed down into NSW.

We stopped at Brunswick heads beach, I can remember standing on the beach looking at the vastness and unspoilt waters, I saw that beach in a way I had never noticed any beach before.

I breathed deeply, swallowed the salty air and walked barefoot in the sand.

We travelled south to Mullumbimby, found our room at the local pub, ate, drank, and wandered around town to find out where the festivities were happening for the weekend.

The town was buzzing with tourists, locals and hippies that had ventured to Mullum from near and far.

I can’t remember sleeping for the whole weekend, or eating for that matter, I obviously did but I was in another dimension, I think.

I ploughed through the itinerary trying to fit in as many meditation groups, acupuncture, healing sessions, yoga, chanting etc…. as I could as I didn’t want to miss that thing.

That thing that I had traveled here to find. I had no idea what that thing was, where it was and if I would even know when I found it.

We meditated, tapped, danced like no one was watching, cleansed in tons of sage amongst other new healing modalities.

I found my self in a meditation class led by an Indian Guru, I was having trouble concentrating, or trying to clear my mind. He was talking about his life experiences and the people he had met, led, and helped along the way. His journey, I guess.

Toward the end of his session, he said he has traveled the world teaching openness and healing mantras to people from every corner of the globe.

The one thing that stood out for him was that these people were always looking for something, searching for something.

He continued to talk about how everyone is born with everything they need to survive this life.

Everything and anything you need can be found within; you don’t need to travel to the ends of the Earth to find it. You must dig deep and look within, and trust that you have it, whatever it is you need whenever you need it.

I felt an instant weight lift, I had come here in search of "IT" In search of something or someone to tell me or teach me what I needed to know to survive. Suddenly, I knew it was me, anything I needed was in me and now all I had to do was find it. I had to learn how to dig deep and how to listen from the inside out.

The next day we took off to Byron Bay for some shopping, I had been feeling a little ill and weak, a bit of a fever was setting in and my Surgery site was extremely red and sore.

After a while walking the streets I said to Zoe, I think I need to find a DR. We did, within the hour we were booked in and heading to the Gold Coast hospital.

I was suffering a site infection septicemia.

I spent the next couple of days being dressed, cleansed, and pumped with antibiotic concoctions.

Our flight was due to leave and the hospital wanted me to be close to my specialist team, so they were working hard for us to catch our scheduled flight.

Zoe had been bunking on the hospital floor, never complaining, always supporting.

We caught the plane, arrived home and worked on healing well so that I could begin my next stage of treatment, Chemotherapy.

I can only reflect now on what I put the rest of my family through so soon after my diagnosis, jumping on a plane, disappearing, suffering infections in another states' hospital before arriving home to continue life with cancer.

I am forever grateful to them all, particularly Zoe, who thought I was crazy but wouldn’t allow me to be crazy alone.

If I hadn’t traveled to Mullum, to find "IT" only to realise I had "IT" all the time, I know I never would have made it through that year and the years following.

For the others, to watch their Wife, Mum, Daughter, Sister leave home to search for something  so soon after diagnosis must have been difficult and confusing. All I can say is I am Thankful they let me go and welcomed me back and have supported me every step of the way since.

I love them all and am forever grateful that i am able to watch them do life:


Always Dig deep,

Gill x



Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published