When dealing with cancer, it’s essential to understand the underlying causes physically, emotionally, and mentally. If you haven’t heard of a holistic approach to treating cancer, this episode may be for you. Cindy Scott is the CEO and Founder of Evolving Women Co and the host of the Rethinking Cancer Podcast. In this episode, Cindy joins host Liza Florida to share her cancer journey and what it was like going through a second breast cancer diagnosis at the start and height of the pandemic. Cindy learned to unpack and find healing from within, along with undergoing several procedures to overcome her cancer. Today, she guides other women to connect with their bodies and minds and develop a positive mindset to help them through their cancer journeys. Tune in to learn more and be inspired by her story.
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A Holistic Approach To Treating Cancer For The Evolving Woman with Cindy Scott
My guest is an author, speaker and mindset coach. Some call her The Cancer Whisperer. She helps women to activate mind-body healing to heal from cancer. Everyone, please help me welcome Cindy Scott to the show. How are you, Cindy?
I’m amazing. How are you?
I’m doing well. Thank you. When I came across your work, I was excited. It’s very near and dear to my heart because I’ve lost my mother to cancer. When I read Cindy’s bio and her work, I absolutely had to have her on because she has actually taken a holistic journey to healing. I’m super excited to have her share her story. Cindy, if you would like to start, you could start anywhere in your time line, but of course it would lead to your work that you do now.
Not that you would wish a cancer diagnosis on anyone, but now on reflection, I can say that it was the greatest gift to me in my life and my awakening. In the beginning of 2020, and the world was going crazy with COVID and everyone was advised to get back home to their home countries. At the same time, I was diagnosed for the second time with breast cancer. It was like this doubly doomed freaky place in the world to be. It was like diagnosed self-isolation, freaking out a bit of my own health and wellbeing. At the same time, the world was doing this in parallel.
In way, I felt supported that the world was shut down. You weren’t allowed to travel. You weren’t allowed to go on holidays of any sort. It was like, “Stay home, stay safe.” I wasn’t feeling I was missing out on anything socially or travel or anything like that. What I was confronted with was the second diagnosis with breast cancer, which was a journey in itself in terms of me shutting off my connection to the outer world, and diving deeper into my own inner landscape. Because it was my second diagnosis, it rattled me that much more. It was like, “Haven’t I dealt with this already? Did I not get the learnings and heal the first time? Why has this revisited me in just less than five years?”
What’s unique about my journey is that I’ve experienced breast cancer twice. The second time through was a lot more aggressive, so it required chemotherapy. There was talk of radiation, but fortunately I was able to say “Pass” on that. I didn’t have the radiation. There were many learnings and insights I took away from my second journey with cancer that I think are worthy of sharing to people that are going through a journey like this, whether it’s cancer or any other sort of health scare.
On your second, you had to do chemo because it was a little bit more aggressive. Were you able to heal your first breast cancer holistically?
I chose to have the lumpectomy because I was new to the whole cancer world, and I was that total deer in headlights freaking out like, “What does this mean for me?” I had the lumpectomy, then I chose to do some complementary therapies. I refused the drug therapy. They had advised for me to take Tamoxifen for five years. I said, “Thanks but no, I’ll work on my own mindset. I’ll work on my own health and wellbeing.” I went alone from there.
The second time around was even more frightening because it was a more aggressive cancer, and it was in my lymphatic system. I had it in my lymph nodes. Straight away, the doctors were saying, “We need you in for surgery, pronto. We need to get you started on chemotherapy straight away.” There was a lot more sense of urgency and severity to the second diagnosis. At the same time, I have this husband who’s very entrenched in conventional medicine. He’s like, “You must have these things.” I’m like, “No, I don’t want these things.”
I had some real internal conflict around, “Where do I go with all of these?” To appease him and my family as well, but also to honor myself and the journey that I knew intuitively was the right one for me, I did a little bit of both. I did have a lumpectomy. I did have chemotherapy. I did have a double mastectomy, but I also did a truckload of inner work, complementary therapies and wrote a book all through that. There was a lot of healing for me as well. I wanted to take a lead role in my healing journey. I think I did that in the second time through.
I’m going to warn you guys because I’m crying. You probably guys know and anyone who is following me, my mom is my angel. I watched her go through first breast cancer, and then second bile duct cancer, which is an aggressive form of liver cancer. Your stories are very parallel because her second one around, she didn’t want to go down the Western medicine route. She didn’t want to go chemo, but my brother and sister believe in that practice. It’s not to say that I don’t. There are certain parts of it that I believe. There are other parts where I believe we can go holistic first, and she wanted to.
To appease the kids, all of us, she went both routes, but on her second round of cancer, she didn’t respond very well to chemo. I do believe that what created a little bit more longevity for us to have her, I think she was with us for maybe ten months from her diagnosis, was that she did a mix of holistic. However, on a deeper level, I do believe that my mom’s cancer stemmed from many years and maybe half a lifetime of stress, and a lot of things that become a part of our body that we don’t realize like stuck energy and a lot of trauma that we’ve never healed or weren’t even conscious we needed to heal from.No matter what horrible things happen to us in life, we can always look for the silver lining. We can always find gifts. Click To Tweet
I totally agree with that. I think even on a personal level, before we go there, let’s honor your mom and acknowledge her on this moment. She’s a special lady that’s brought you into the world. Obviously, she’s had a tough journey herself, so let’s pay tribute to her.
Thank you so much, Cindy. There was a reason why you were led to me or found me, or how we energetically met. My true belief was that the cancer was half a lifetime, if not her whole lifetime, of many different stresses and traumas that she probably never healed from, like all of us have.
One of the things that I find when I’m speaking at events, I tend to share this mantra of “whisper, tap, slap.” I believe that we get a little bit of a whisper, and our body is always communicating with us. We’ll get a little whisper. It might be headaches or we’re not sleeping right or we’ve got muscle tension. There’s some way that your body is indicating that you’re out of alignment. If you miss the whisper, you get a bit of a tap. If you miss the tap, then you get the full on slap. I’d say that cancer for me was the proverbial sucker punch to the guts. That was like, “You have missed all the signs. I’ve been communicating with you all this time that you’re stressed, you’re exhausted, you’re not living your truth. I’ve had to actually give you a really big shake to wake you up and get you on your right path.”
I’d love to do research around this, and I know that there has been a lot of research already done now, but for people that get cancer, what is actually trapped in their body in terms of emotions, trauma, beliefs? When I had my diagnosis, a girlfriend said to me, “Will your soul be getting something out of this that it wants?” Initially, I was offended. I’m like, “What do you mean?” Then there was this quieter voice within me going, “I’m actually going to get a rest.”
In my 50 years of life, I have been going, going, going. I’ve had a lot of setbacks in my life too. There have been quite a few hurdles in my path. I am very resilient and I know I’m very strong, but I was very exhausted with everything that life had served me. I thought I’ve actually manifested the perfect rest. I could hit pause on my life. I wonder for other cancer patients too, what is going on for them in their inner landscape that is trapped and held there?
I can only speak for my mom’s experience. I knew she didn’t have a good marriage. Another thing was she was an alpha female. She ran a real estate business that she turned over to me, my brother and sister. She’s very good at it. She had a kind heart. That’s what I wanted to tell the audience, that sometimes the toxicity can become your closest relationship. I’m not saying by any means, “Everyone, start leaving your partners and spouses and all that kind of stuff.” When you try to alleviate stress or you try to remove it from your life, you’ve got to sit down and re-identify what your stress factors are because at one point, you’re going to be used to taking on so much, it doesn’t feel like stress for you. That’s where I believe when the cancer starts to grow.
One of the things that I learned along my cancer journey too was that I was addicted to the adrenaline, that feeling of being buzzy and important and busy. I was quite attached to my identity of being busy. I thought that meant that I was purposeful, that I was productive, that I was important, or that was actually making me feel worthy in some way, but that’s not the truth. That’s just an illusion. I’m detaching from that adrenaline-fueled pace. It was a big challenge for me.
Let me ask you, the clients that come to you now, are they from all different stages, from stage one all the way to remission?
Yeah. I work with people that come to me right at diagnosis, when they’re that deer in headlights, straight through to being on the other side of treatment, and wanting to rebuild their lives. Anywhere along that continuum. I’ve got a number of different resources and support materials to help people go through any stage of that.
The first phase is to get ahold of the book, Healing Journal, which is like a workbook, a guide book to help people navigate through treatment, and also to manage the mindfulness side of how to deal with an overrun nervous system, and to bring more calm and groundedness to you through your treatment process. There are some beautiful journaling inquiry questions in there and journaling pages.
I’ve also got two online programs. There’s one called the Cancer Companion Support Program, which is a beautiful program that mirrors the book. The book goes with that. Then I’ve got another program called The Great Reset Program, which is about thriving after cancer and putting your life back together. There are a number of meditations that are free on my website as well.
I’ve also got a podcast, which I’ve just launched, called Rethinking Cancer. There’s a number of beautiful resources that are free and easy to access. If someone decides that they want to work with me personally, I’m a little bit harder to get to in terms of there’s a number of ways that you can work with me in a group context.
I do work one-to-one with people. I’m more at an executive level, mostly women that are really struggling with, “How do I keep this all together? How do I keep all the balls in the air? My identity is being eroded with a cancer diagnosis and treatment. How do I make this all work?” I often help women through that process, and then rebuilding themselves and their identity post-cancer. Often, cancer leads to change. The big C is not Cancer, but it’s actually Change that we tend to head towards with something that turns our world upside down like cancer does.
Even after going through that whole thing of losing my mom, sometimes the trauma that’s caused amongst the family members too, if they lose the loved one, that in and of itself is also a journey and that’s a healing process there. My heart goes out to many different families. That’s why I wanted to bring Cindy on to know that there’s a resource out there for everyone, specifically geared towards that. One thing I wanted to ask you, Cindy, is in most cases, when you do get a potential client or someone that comes to you, do they believe in Western or they just know they want to absolutely go down holistic?
If people are very pro-Western medicine and they’re very one-eyed about that, they’re probably not the right client for me. If there’s someone who wants to dabble a little bit in both worlds, so Western and Eastern philosophy, or probably not purely alternative, I’d probably wouldn’t be the right practitioner for them for that. To help people around their mindset, to connect the body and mind, to activate their own inner healing, then I’m the right person. To help people empower their own selves to heal from within.
I’m in the camp of believing that we don’t want to wait for somebody external to us to fix us, like a doctor to come in and fix us, that we can actually take charge of our own healing journey and empower ourselves to take the lead role in that. If someone identifies with that approach and that philosophy, then those are the types of people that I tend to work with.
That’s absolutely beautiful because remember how you were saying that sometimes people get appalled by you? Was that cancer the gift? Cindy, what if just by chance, you ended up getting it to open up this pathway for others to heal through this? That’s what I’m saying and that’s what I wanted the audience to know.
The tagline, the front cover of my book is The Gift of Cancer. Some people would be horrified to hear that. Even in a conversation when I share that or speak at events and I say that, some people are offended to hear it, “What do you mean The Gift of Cancer?” I think no matter what horrible things happen to us in life, we can always look for the silver lining. We can always find gifts.
People say to me, “What were the gifts of cancer for you?” I’ve written a whole book on the gifts of cancer for me. I can’t just list them off in a conversation. There are many ways that I have grown, that I’ve become a better person, that I’ve learned to slow down, that I’ve learned to breathe more deeply, that I’ve got much more gratitude for everything in my life. The list goes on. There are so many ways that cancer has woken me up to the truth of who I am, and the work that I want to do in this world. What price do you put on that?
I still feel like I’m on my journey, but I commend you for having put together a book because it’s needed most especially during this time. Everyone is shifting. There is a call. There is an awakening happening. There is a call for more holistic work coming out. Especially with COVID, even if you didn’t have anything severe like you weren’t dying within 24 hours, they wouldn’t take you because there weren’t enough beds across the world. I heard that too that sometimes, cancer patients were not put to the back burner, because if you have someone that’s dying of COVID, they have to help that person first.
In Australia, we have a public health system and we have a private health system. There are two distinctly different systems. Fortunately, and that’s another thing I’m immensely grateful for, is I’ve been in the private system. It has been largely unaffected by COVID and shortage of beds. My whole cancer journey and treatment was not interrupted because of COVID. What did get affected though was I wasn’t able to take any support people with me to my appointments.
I basically did my cancer journey on my own. My beautiful husband drove me to my appointments, but he wasn’t even allowed in the front door because of the risk. When you pan back two years, everyone was freaking out about, “What is COVID? Am I going to die from it? How does it spread?” No one had answers. There was a lot of fear around it. I did most of my treatment on my own, and that was really frightening particularly with the chemotherapy because that was a pretty daunting process for me to go in and have those infusions myself.
You are very strong. I know my mom is strong. You are a very strong woman, Cindy.
When you get tested, that’s when you figure out just how strong you are. I know that I’ve been in some pretty dark places and I’ve had some big challenges in this lifetime. One thing I do know is I am strong and I’m resilient. I will get through. Bring it on. What else you got for me?Cancer is actually repressed anger in our body. Click To Tweet
This is a typical conversation. I feel like I’m talking to my mom, the strength of my mom. The kids would be bawling their eyes out and she would just have this unwavering strength of love. That’s why it’s such an honor for me to sit with you here.
Likewise. There are three things that I’ve narrowed it down to in terms of what I did differently. The first time, I’d say I did everything epically wrong. I swept my diagnosis under the carpet. I refused a lot of treatment. I continued working. I was like, “Toughen up, soldier. Get going.” I thought that was what strength was. I didn’t share it with many people.
I was a single mom at that time with a young son. If I wasn’t working, I wasn’t getting paid. I was self-employed. That was quite confronting and scary for me, but I just soldiered on and pushed through it. When cancer showed up the second time, I approached it very differently. Thankfully, I have this beautiful man in my life who said, “It didn’t work for you the last time, and here you are with it the second time. Why don’t we look at doing it a little bit differently this time?”
When I synthesized that down into three things that I did very differently, the first thing is I chose to be vulnerable. That V word is so achy and uncomfortable for me. I’ve made it mean weakness, that I need help or that I’m going to be dependent on someone. Because I’ve always been very strong and independent, I’m like, “What do you mean vulnerable? What do you mean share? What do you mean get support from people?”
What my husband said to me was, “You’ve got a lot of people around you that love you. They want to help you, but you need to open the door and actually let them help you. Let them see you falling apart, down needing help, bald.” I went through that ugly chemotherapy phase where I didn’t even like what I was seeing in the mirror. To be vulnerable and actually let people in was huge. That was such a massive learning for me to actually go, “I need to open my heart in order to receive.”
To seek support from people was number one. It was a big game changer. Two, I chose to see the positives even in the darkest times, because you will go through dark times, no matter what challenge life throws at you. We have a natural progression of the way we handle things on an emotional level. Even in the darkest days, it would be like, “What can I be thankful for in this moment?” It might be that I can hear a bird chirping outside or the sun shining, or I got a text from a girlfriend. Any little thing that I could latch on to put my mind on something positive rather than on the things that I didn’t have. That was massive.
The third thing is I learned how to love myself. I think that’s something that I had never done well in my life. I had never made myself a priority. I had never put myself first. It was always making sure everybody else around me was okay, but I didn’t take time to honor myself or even do things that gave me pleasure. I’ve just signed up for a painting class. I wanted to paint my whole life. I’m now painting. Sell sedans, taking beach walks, actually putting myself first and going, “I deserve happiness. I deserve to be able to do things that bring me joy.” That self-love, self-honoring has been a really big part as well.
You said it all while I cried. I truly honor your journey because it’s true. By me sharing this, it touches the deepest parts of my soul, it’s absolutely those things. When you’re on this constant go like my mother who was running a business, you don’t know it. You don’t actually know that you’re not taking the time for yourself. Those are the biggest things. The self-love is huge. That is absolutely the first journey and step to the healing process.
I think you said that about your mom too a little bit earlier. You said that she was always giving to everybody else, running a business, looking after you guys, and maybe self-love was a part of it for her. They do say breast cancer is an inability to nourish and love self. That’s what the breast represents.
I’ve heard that too, Cindy. Then I heard that liver was tied to anger.
I heard that cancer is actually repressed anger in our body. Girlfriends said that to me very early in my journey. I thought, “Whether it’s true or not, I’m going to sit with that and I’m going to connect with any anger that needs to be healed within me.” I did find quite a bit of anger and a few people to forgive along the way.
We’ve all got stuff that we can actually do some work around and clear out because whether it manifests as cancer or something else, at the end of the day, lighten the load. Get rid of all the stuff that doesn’t serve you. Get on living your truth. Be aligned and feel energized by life rather than dragging your butt through it.
Cindy, before I ask you to share how people can get ahold of you, tell us a little bit more about your practice. I know you just launched it. By the time anyone sees this, she’ll have a few more episodes, but you guys will know that that’s another resource out there for you.
The podcast is called Rethinking Cancer. The purpose of the podcast is to start having different conversations about cancer. It’s a mind shift program to get us thinking differently. There are three different types of people that I’ll be interviewing on the program. Firstly, it will be cancer survivors that have actually found purpose and shifted into a whole new direction as a result of their diagnosis.
The second are expert interviews of people that can actually help support us to move through. It might be different complementary therapists or doctors or psychologists, anyone who can actually support us in ways that are resourceful. The third type of people that I’m interviewing are people that have strategies and tools to live your best life free from cancer. I have many different people I want to interview. I’ve got four out there already, and I’m loving the experience of hearing people’s stories, sharing them so that they may affect others going through tough times in their life.
This show was such a gift, not only to me, now I can give it to the world. I know it’s going to do the same for you.
Do you have a website? You mentioned your podcast, but what’s the best way for people to get ahold of you or learn more about your services?
You can find everything on my website, which is EvolvingWomen.co. You can find the podcast on there. You can find the Healing range of products that we’ve got. You can find the book, the online programs, everything is there. That’s probably a good central point to send people to.
Cindy, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for being a part of this season, and for most especially, the work you do for other humans.
It’s my absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for our chat.
You’re very welcome. To the audience, thank you for tuning in to this episode with Cindy Scott. We will catch you on the next one.
- Rethinking Cancer on Spotify
- YouTube – Rethinking Cancer Podcast
About Cindy Scott
I am an author, speaker and mindset coach. Some call me the cancer whisperer. I help women to activate mind-body healing to heal from cancer.