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Mamie’s story

Many things in life can be debated and so many of our experiences are purely subjective, but an absolute given, an undeniable fact is… we are all getting older!

I think about this a lot. The fear of getting older and our bodies giving out on us as disease kicks in and our quality of life deteriorates. What a cheery thought!

My work is now all centring around my belief that as we inevitably age we should still get to continue living and enjoying our lives to our fullest potential and our own personal best! In short, we should be feeling really good physically & mentally no mater what age we are and I am so passionate about helping people realise and unlock this for themselves!

Now I understand that some of you may read this and think at 37 years young I shouldn’t be worrying about ageing, pain and death. I’m getting some silver sparkles in my hair and my laughter lines are permanent feature these days, but you may be thinking my obsession with aging is some what premature. So I thought I would share with you my own experiences that led to these very real concerns and in truth what has subconsciously led me to wanting to help others so badly.

I have been told many times over the years that I look like Mum, but I have never really seen it. Then all of a sudden every time I look in the mirror lately, all I see is her.

My beautiful Mum, Mamie, died at 58 and I think my obsession with ageing is because of this.

On one hand the age 58 feels like a time bomb to me, like I am walking around with an expiration date and I need to live life to the fullest because if history repeats itself, I don’t have long and there is still so much I want to experience! Then in complete contrast to this I think about overcoming my genetic odds, what if I can cheat death and live until I’m 116!!! It’s a confusing paradox of emotions that I flip-flop between daily.

My memories of my childhood are quite patchy, but here are a few things that seem relevant to this story.

My brothers and I were high spirited (that’s a nice way of saying little shits that were a lot of hard work) and when we pushed Mamie to her limits, she would get so worked up at us that she’d need to get right on the inhalers. I joke, but her Asthma was so severe there were many times she would be stuck in bed hooked up to a nebuliser. I think this was the beginning of Mamie’s love affair with alternative medicine. I would sit and watch her get needles stuck in her back by the acupuncturist, would steel her little sugar coated pills from the homeopath and I can still smell the wretch inducing aroma of the herbs she would boil up from the Chinese Medicine place that opened up in the city centre.

When I started having periods it was not good. In my teens I suffered from horrendous period pain, but as far as I knew this was completely normal, because for Mamie it was all she had ever known too. Every month I would get handed the big pink ibuprofen pills and scoff them like smarties. If I cried she would take me for a walk round the block or tell me to do squats. “It’s just like contractions, Christine, you have to keep moving!”. I feel like this became a metaphor for my life.

The next bit I can’t put a time frame to, but Mamie started to get back pain. I remember her going to so many doctors and for so many scans, but no-one could work out what was causing it or relieve her from this debilitating prison of never ending discomfort. She needed a stick to walk, sometimes a wheel chair and would grip your arm in wincing pain when linking an arm as you helped her shuffle from place to place. This went on for decades until she eventually had a double hip replacement.

Despite all her pain this woman grafted! As well as raising three children she worked as a waitress in the Little Chef, pulled night shifts at Texas, was a teaching assistant at our primary school, childminded, trained in and worked as a montessori nursery teacher, led all the catechism classes at our church, volunteered in a charity shop and operated the switch board like a demon as a receptionist where she listened to everyone’s problems and never stopped smiling. I never once saw my Mum rest, or do anything that was for herself. Other than a little lipstick, blusher and Maxfactor compact she carried in her purse I never saw her buy or treat herself to anything. She never complained, she never got angry and she never fought back. She never took time for herself, she didn’t have hobbies and in all honesty, I don’t remember her having many friends, just lots of people that she helped.

My childhood memories are having a mother who was often unwell. She endured and tolerated so much pain, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally too, being subject to a lot of trauma and abuse. When she was 45 when she sold up everything, packed one bag and a banjo (which she couldn’t play) and moved back to New Zealand where she promptly went on to live her best life. She was back home next to the ocean and ready to start her long love affair with Pinot Gris whilst she worked out how to be truly happy… and I really think she was.

Then fast forward 8 years and I get the phone call. Mamie has got cancer. Not one of your run of the mill cancers. This was a rare and unique cancer for a rare and unique woman. Cancer of the fallopian tube (exactly, I hadn’t heard of it then and I’ve never heard of anyone else having it since!). She had a hysterectomy and chemotherapy and eventually went into remission.

Fast forward another 5 years and the C word was back. This time it took up residence in her bowel and then decided to get in on some liver action, spread through her lymph and finally into her lungs for good measure. She found out in November and then passed away less than 5 short months later. As tragically short as this was, she embraced every moment she had left. My god, did this woman show us all a thing or two in the last few months on how to make every day the best day ever!

I spent a lot of my life standing by and watching someone I love so deeply suffer as they constantly put themselves last until eventually, they broke. When they finally put their needs and wellbeing first it was too late.

Maybe cancer was always going to be the gun, but I swear all that pain and suffering is what loaded it and eventually pulled the trigger.

I have put the research in by watching all 19 series of Greys Anatomy twice over and have come to accept the harsh reality that I couldn’t of saved my Mum. It wasn’t my time or place.

But I can help myself.

I can choose to rest, let go of tension, keep realigning myself beck to what makes me happy and continue to build towards a long healthy future.

Like Mamie I am an absolute fucking grafter and I will tirelessly keep trying to work this stuff out and share it with you all. With a big old mix of study, application, trial and no doubt error, I intend to grow old free from pain and truly hope that it inspires you to invest in your own health pension with me.

Relaxing, releasing, resetting and rebuilding for a long, happy and healthy life.

{I would love you to share this story with anyone you think it might help or resonate with... And know that Mamie would love that people are reading about her and her legacy. One day I’ll share her letter which she clearly wrote hoping to be a viral sensation after her dying. God I love and miss this woman. She still makes me laugh every time I think of her.}

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Dear young woman, remember life begins at 30 and every 10 years the living new adventure begins...

I have known your mum, my dear friend Memie, since 1980 and went through all her life up and downs till 2000 when she decided to break away from the old and begin three years later with the new....her dream place: New Zealand!

Unfortunately life was not kind to her in that land and her dna together with where she lived opened the way to an illness that I have always dreaded since I was 13.

I remember her dearly and went with her to her first MRI scan going into the scanning room with her as she was scared and without realizing…


Absolutely beautiful x


I can’t explain how much your story has resonated. It seems that this generation of mother’s put everyone and everything before themselves and the consequences to their health had a huge impact! Our family mottos included things like - “don’t be selfish”, “do everything you have to do before you do the things you want to do”, ”Never, ever let anyone down“,”Don’t be needy”.

I think I’m only really realising now how emotional traumas (not necessarily the Big T’s) can cause physical issues and can so easily bE passed down through family lines. No surprise that we all tend to carry the same physical symptoms! I’m trying really hard to make those changes so it stops with…


What a beautiful piece of writing thank you for sharing this


As someone who is desperately clinging on to 59 (the big 60 catches up with me in October), I recently lost a friend to cancer at the age of 58, and it all happened scarily quickly.

I now feel like health anxiety is a real thing, sometimes it’s all i can think about. I’m doing all I can to read and listen to as much as I can firstly, to get the anxiety under control; my head knows my thoughts are irrational but sometimes, I seem to have no control of the feelings/thoughts. I’m working to put all the ‘good stuff‘ in place; movement, breathing, hydration, supplements for balancing my hormones. Nutrition and diet is next on the list wher…

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