Welcome to the Join Up Dots Podcast with Margaret Cahill
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Introducing Margaret Cahill
Todays guest on Join Up Dots is a lady who is inspiring the world to tackle issues that could affect all of us in our lives.
Hopefully it doesn’t, but if it does then she has shown that it shouldn’t be the end of our lives, but simply just another stage of what makes up our lives.
Diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma in 2012 the author resorted to a blog to keep in touch with friends, and unwittingly ended up writing about the good, the bad and the ugly side of cancer, which attracted many followers.
Is there a good?
Very possibly. Bad and ugly, definitely.
There is also an extremely funny side – wry observations that brought humour into an otherwise bleak landscape which included chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant.
How The Dots Joined Up For Margaret
And I think that says so much of how life is generally, and what makes Join Up Dots such a powerful concept.
Are the bad times, the good times, and the good times the bad times?
Who truly knows.
But what we do know is that we will learn more from the moments of our lives that challenge us, than the ones where everything goes our way.
So the moment when she was told the news of her illness, was this a complete shocker or had she realised that something was right?
And has she been amazed by the support that blogging her way through this illness has brought into her life?
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show, to start joining up dots with the one and only Margaret Cahill
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Margaret Cahill such as:
Why she feels that she would only have written a book of her own, the way she has done, by living through an illness that gave her something truly honest to say about her life.
How she knew that there was something terribly wrong with her, and started diagnosing herself by typing into the internet to see what could be wrong. Scary stuff!
Why she feels that having a project in her life at the time of her illness was the best thing she could have had, and now is becoming an amazing opportunity to build into her life.
Why she truly believes that we must all stay in the here and now, and be present in our life. It’s the only part that is truly real and can be savoured.
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Full Transcription Of Margaret Cahill Interview
David Ralph [0:01]
Today’s show is brought to you by podcast is mastery.com, the premier online community teaching you to podcast like a pro. Check us out now at podcasters mastery.com.
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:39]
Yes, hello there, everybody and welcome to Join Up Dots. We have David Ralph coming across the world to 145 countries now I think he wasn’t I mentioned to the guests that we’re recording with today. I think it was 142. I just had a quick look. And number three you have jumped in. So welcome aboard all of you. And we’re going to have a good show today and it’s it’s going to be Be a similar story to what we’ve touched on before we have some of the other guests. But of course, it’s very much unique to the individual. It’s very much unique to the guests I’m going to be talking to. And she is a lady who is inspiring the world to tackle issues that quite simply could affect all of us in our lives. Hopefully it doesn’t. But if it does, when she shown that it shouldn’t be the end of our lives, but simply just another stage of what makes up our lives, diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma in 2012, the author resorted to a blog to keep in touch with friends, and unwittingly ended up writing about the good, the bad, and the ugly side of cancer, which attracted many followers. Is there a good very possibly bad and ugly definitely. But there’s also an extremely funny side why observations have brought humour into an otherwise bleak landscape which included chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. And I think that’s so much of how life is generally and what makes Join Up. Dots such a powerful concept are the bad times the good times and the good times, the bad times. who truly knows. But what we do know is that we’ll learn more from the moments of our lives that challenges than the ones where everything goes our way. So the moment when I was told the news of her illness this was a complete shocker to me because I didn’t expect it to be that case. I thought this was another offer, who was coming onto the show? And I imagine that she when she was told the news as well, she was shocked with you, but we’re going to find out about that. So has she been amazed by the support that blogging away for this illness has brought into her life? Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show, to start joining up dots with the one and only Margaret Cahill, how are you Margaret?
Margaret Cahill [2:34]
Hi, I’m fine. Thank you very much. It’s good to be here.
David Ralph [2:37]
It’s lovely to have you because you are a lovely English lady. We are we’re good in this country, aren’t we? We we breed English roses? Are you in English? rose Margaret.
Margaret Cahill [2:49]
David Ralph [2:51]
Coursde you are of course you are so so whereabouts are you? You’re in the United Kingdom of course because we can tell by your your your accent and for the listeners, give us a sort of understanding of where you are.
Margaret Cahill [3:03]
Okay, um, I live just east of Bournemouth in a lovely place called high cliff, which is actually it’s got a high Cliff castle, and that’s where Mr. Selfridge live today Mr. Selfridge himself with his own TV
David Ralph [3:17]
programme, I don’t watch it at all, but um,
Margaret Cahill [3:20]
no, we don’t watch it, but actually, he’s, yeah, he’s buried in the church are down here and he lived in Highcliff castle for quite a long time. So yeah, that’s where we are. We’re used to Bournemouth and for everybody who isn’t in the UK, that’s kind of roughly opposite the Isle of Wight, if you find that on the map.
David Ralph [3:38]
And you know what i did down there, Margaret. You told me not to say anything, but no, no, don’t be like that. Margaret. You’re my guest. You should respect me. I saw Rick Astley. Yes. Rick Astley in concert down at bomer it was one of the greatest nights of my life. We could have gone together my way I could have contacted you and dragged you down for a bit of Never gonna give you up.
Margaret Cahill [3:59]
Yeah, I think i was washing my hair that night.
David Ralph [4:01]
No, you wasn’t you’re just being mean Margaret. So so so what what do you do actually sort of sort of fun gonna kind of just sort of start with Are you fit and healthy now? Are you in recovery? What’s your sort of state of affairs?
Margaret Cahill [4:13]
Yeah, I am. I’m in remission. The cancer I had, up until about, I don’t know two months ago wasn’t actually considered to be curable. So I’m in remission. I’m planning on staying that way. I’m trying to get fit again. I used to love dancing. And so I’m going to various dance classes and keep fit and stuff. And exercise is really important because it helps to build up your immunity and also your strength, obviously, your aerobic strength. So we have lovely walks down to the beach. We’re really lucky. We’re about 10 minute walk from the beach. And yeah, I’m well I feel really good. I’ve got my own business and working full time working more than full time. So yeah, life is good.
David Ralph [4:56]
And you really feel it’s good because life is good or It’s just thank god I’ve got a life I was like good for you.
Margaret Cahill [5:05]
That’s interesting. Yes, thank god I’ve got a life I mean, I this if I hadn’t had the treatment I had I wouldn’t be here now. That’s absolutely for sure. So thank god I’ve got a lie. But thank God I’ve got this life as well because I have got so much to be grateful for and that I am so happy about.
David Ralph [5:23]
That’s that’s a key thing, isn’t it? I bet that actually helped with your recovery, the fact that you are grateful for being who you are, because so many people in life look at other people go Oh, why have I got everything? Oh, why was it all right? The bam, but you actually look at yourself and go, I wouldn’t want to swap my life with anyone.
Margaret Cahill [5:43]
Yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever been one of those people who’s been jealous or look to other people. And they got that and I happen, you know, I’m not naturally one of these people. But certainly since I’ve been here since I was ill. You just get a different position. Boom things and you just think thank God I’m here, you know, I was absolutely not ready to leave the people I love. And so you know that that kept me going really kept me going.
David Ralph [6:10]
So so with your book under cover of darkness that you you’ve written which is like that the collection of your your blogs when you look at it now, was there a book always in you? Would you have turned your hand at being an author? Maybe you’ve written other books I’m not aware of?
Margaret Cahill [6:28]
No, the funny thing is I’m actually a publisher. So I’ve got my own business and I publish astrology and mind body spirit books. And so I’m used to working with other people’s writing, you know, I have, yes, I have written the article and sort of within me, I thought, well, I’d really like to write a book one day, but I didn’t have any particular theme in mind and I’d never tried anything long, you know? So
David Ralph [6:57]
I suppose it’s been an amazing opportunity. sort of came out of nowhere. So, yeah, this is quite strange. Once I started watching the blog, I just loved it. I loved the writing. When it’s not strange at all though this is what we find time and time again. And I alluded to it in the introduction, that the bad times, no matter how bad things are in your life, if you get far enough away from that bad time, you’ll go thank God for that. And it just seems to be every single guest that comes on Join Up Dots says to me, yes, that was absolutely dreadful. I’d never want to go through it again. But I’m glad I did. Do you feel that yourself and now that you are in recovery and sort of moving towards full fitness?
Margaret Cahill [7:41]
I think I’ve felt that with every single thing that’s happened in my life because you know, we all have dramas and crises and horrible times and bereavement and divorces and everything. And I think if you can kind of rise above that and think, yeah, this is really, really, really awful and horrible, but it’s leading me somewhere else. I don’t know where it’s leading me. And that’s the exciting part. Do you
David Ralph [8:03]
think that is what people need to do? Did you think that we really had to listen to podcast like this and other sort of inspirational real life stuff and not Mr. Selfridge and not EastEnders, and not all those kinds of stuff? Do you think once we get to the nuts and bolts of hearing two people talk like we’re doing now, it really makes you realise where I know, my life’s not so bad, and I’ve got a lot to be grateful for.
Margaret Cahill [8:30]
Yes, definitely. I think there’s a place for both actually. I mean, funnily enough, I obviously I spent a lot of time in hospital and my reading which is the equivalent of like Mr. Selfridge or documentary, my reading was either chiclet which my partner would bring in for me, because in my brain cells couldn’t cope with any more, or it was really serious stuff like TechNet harm and Thomas Moore and you know, sort of really heavy soul crunching stuff, and I think there’s a place for both and I think you need the frivolity and And just being able to switch off at the end of a long day, just switch off and watch Poldark or Downton Abbey or Korea or whatever people watch but other times your soul needs more you know that they’re kind of a hunger there. I think if you listen to it, you know the right thing to go to.
David Ralph [9:15]
So how have you done all 350 shades? Have you gone through those? No, you haven’t. So so that’s one part you didn’t feel like you needed to make your life too dark?
Margaret Cahill [9:26]
No, I wasn’t too interested to be honest. Because it’s hard to say this. Because being in publishing, I know how publishing works. And we happen to be at a local supermarket. And we were the Customer Services Desk and there was what’s called a dump bin, which is a big stack of books in a cardboard frame. And we will we were waiting to be served and my partner is also in publishing. And I said, Oh, I wonder what that is. And I went, I haven’t had a look, look at it, flick through it. And so I’m really not interested in that kind of stuff. So we moved on, and then we happen to be in another shop Few days later, another dump in 50 Shades of Grey, you know, and I thought, This is interesting. And then what I started to notice is those dump bins were absolutely everywhere. And if the publishers hadn’t put a huge amount of money into promoting that book, it wouldn’t be the success it is now.
David Ralph [10:22]
Yeah, I suppose that’s it, isn’t it? He’s got to be brought to the attention of the masses. And once he gets to that, that critical tipping point, people just grab it Don’t lie. And yeah, yeah, they’ll go you know, what is it? What is everybody reading this? I don’t want to miss out on this.
Margaret Cahill [10:38]
Yeah, and it doesn’t even have to be a good book.
David Ralph [10:41]
Now he doesn’t know. It could be a great, it could be something marvellous. Like recast these Greatest Hits. It could be
Margaret Cahill [10:49]
that would never make a book.
David Ralph [10:51]
Yeah, but I could get a tipping point if I keep on pushing it. I could bring the Rick Meister back. He’s gonna have a Margaret is gonna happen. Go for it. So both thankfully you’re feeling good. But the thing that jumped out at me right early on started talking about your illness was the fact that you said only two months ago, it wasn’t curable. So how has that changed? How is it into mom’s you’ve got into recovery? Are you defying logic? Or is it just? I don’t know. Is it fluke, is God looking down on you, whatever.
Margaret Cahill [11:28]
I think a lot of science goes into Actually, we saw my consultant, my absolutely lovely consultant couple of months ago. And mantle cell lymphoma is very rare, extremely aggressive cancers, probably caused by pesticides and 99% sure that it’s caused by Roundup. So you can imagine how I feel about Monsanto at the moment. And it involves a permanent chromosome swap, which is chromosomes 11 and 18. And apparently, I’m gonna I didn’t know that Technical details. But apparently, when cancer becomes curable, that’s when they are able to get those chromosomes to swap back. And up until our last appointment with Joe. It wasn’t they didn’t know how to do it, it wasn’t curable. So and mantle cell lymphoma has an extremely high mortality rate. So that was something that I was really struggling to live with. And then we saw him two months ago and he said, you know, the best thing is that we’ve done it now science has done it, we can actually, if it came back, we can actually target the exact cells. And and that seems to be where the science is that the brutality and barbaric form of treatment, which is chemotherapy, hopefully eventually will be phased out and people almost like some futuristic sign science fiction film. You know, people would would go in and almost like a star trek laser gun or something without us at the cell. Which is absolutely amazing because chemotherapy. I mean, it just strikes fear in everybody’s heart and rightly so.
David Ralph [13:06]
These Oh, I’d never had it and I don’t personally know anyone who’s had it. So it is really, really bad is it?
Margaret Cahill [13:14]
Some people don’t suffer too badly, but the cancer that I had had a proliferation rate of 90%. So basically, it was doubling every day. And it was a blood cancer, and there weren’t any tumours and I went to the doctors because I had tonsillitis, which wouldn’t go away. unfortunate. That’s how they picked it up. But to arrest accounts like that, you have to be extremely aggressive in return. It’d be like playing a tennis match with john McEnroe. You know, you don’t, you don’t push a little serve back cross. So I had extremely aggressive chemotherapy, called the node regime and that term that culminated in a stem cell transplant. Now, before the stem cell transplant, you have an even more aggressive six days of chemotherapy, which is designed to kill every single cell in your body. And if you’re not given the stem cell transplant, then well I would have died because obviously it literally killed off every cell in my body.
David Ralph [14:21]
And when they told you the news, what were you feeling ill leading up to it, or was it just a complete shock?
Margaret Cahill [14:29]
No, I’d been really ill. We went to New Orleans for a conference in the June, May June and but I wasn’t feeling great when we went but when I came back, because New Orleans is a really, it might be an amazing place, but the actual climate is absolutely horrible. And the time we came back, I had bronchitis and raging tonsillitis. And that was we were only there for a week. So I went to the doctor quite a few times, because my tonsils just wouldn’t go down. And finally I got referred to the consultant by which time I wasn’t able to work all day I was I was finishing about three o’clock because I just couldn’t even stand up right anymore. So I was actually desperate to see the consultant because I I’m pretty in touch with my body and I was scared when we went because I knew that something was wrong, very wrong. So why
David Ralph [15:20]
can I just jump in now? Most of us will feel ill most of us will have sore throats and stuff but what made you think that there was something very wrong and it wasn’t just you know, a cold or whatever?
Margaret Cahill [15:33]
Well, all my usual remedies I’m, I rely on alternative therapies a lot. So I reached for the economic issue and the tea tree and steaming and Epsom salts bath and all that kind of stuff. And normally, you can be off a bit, but then you have days when you feel better. And you think I’m normal, right? But it was just a downhill slope and also one of my tonsils to come kind of the appearance of an alien So they had sort of a big bit sticking out and I thought this really isn’t right. And my voice started changing. And in fact, one of my tonsils started touching my epiglottis so I knew that that definitely wasn’t right. And I just felt awful. I felt absolutely awful.
David Ralph [16:16]
So did you try to sort of self diagnose yourself like we all do, do us all get on the websites and start typing in how you were feeling?
Margaret Cahill [16:23]
Yeah, that was that was awful because I put in tonsillar cancer kind of in a way it’s like your deepest fears is that you go and look for them and yeah, whether they’re right or not. So yeah, I put in Taunton, because I just thought, Okay, this isn’t good. You Thompson’s not supposed to do that. And I went in a bit tonsillar cancer, and I found out that 3% of all tonsillar cancers are lethal and incurable. And so when we went to see this consultant I had, there was part of me was thinking, Oh, no, it’s all going to be fine. And the The other part was thinking Don’t kid yourself, Margaret, this is actually really bad. This could be really bad. And she was I mean, the consultant was absolutely incredible. She took about four minutes. She put a probe up my nose, felt my glands, looked in my throat, and said, I think almost hundred percent sure we’re dealing with lymphoma.
David Ralph [17:21]
And at that point, was that new to you? Or when she said those words? Did you go Oh, my God.
Margaret Cahill [17:28]
I was just it’s really weird. When people give you bad news. I think your brain goes in like it freezes or something. And in my head, I was thinking, Okay, you know, lymphoma is cancer, you know, lymphomas cancer, like, Oh, my God, but I actually said, That’s cancer, isn’t it? Because I just thought I was being stupid. You know, when you think you’re being really dumb. Yeah. Yeah. And you have to ask the question
David Ralph [17:51]
about every, every time I doctors, I feel dumb.
Margaret Cahill [17:54]
I know. And she and I saw I said, That’s cancer, isn’t it? And she said, Yes. And she was so lovely. She was just, she was absolutely amazing. I sent her a copy of the book and a big card say thank you because she was she just rushed me through all the scans or I was like kind of medical loyalty, which helped me to feel better because obviously you feel like you’ve been hit by truck and Stephen and I just looked at each other and I started crying. And she said, I’m so sorry, this is, you know, there are some things we’ve got to do. And I know it’s a lot to take on, but we have to get you sorted. You know.
David Ralph [18:29]
And what what is your partner Steven? Do? Did he just take control? Did he did he crumble? Because I think with men, we kind of go bears an issue. Leave it to me were sorted out. But it’s something that is would be new, there’s not much you can do. Is it really other than being supportive and trying to be there for you?
Margaret Cahill [18:50]
Yeah, and that’s what he did all the way through. He was he was absolutely amazing. He was he was very calm, and he just kind of held me and I did kind of stopped all over him. But I couldn’t look into his eyes because I knew that it was the kind of the love that was there that was so strong. It completely undid me. It’s like I, I couldn’t he was being strong because I couldn’t be and he was like that all the way through. He was amazing.
David Ralph [19:17]
And and since you’ve started to get better, or maybe while you were going through it, had you discussed how worried that he obviously was even though he was being your rock.
Margaret Cahill [19:30]
Um, the only time that he actually showed any weakness at all was when I was going in for the stem cell transplant because when I was first diagnosed, and before I really got into the treatment, I used to wake up in the middle of night just crying at the enormity of it and just thinking I don’t want this and he would wake up and comfort me. But he didn’t he didn’t cry. He didn’t show any emotion. No, he did obviously showed emotion. He didn’t cry and then when I was going into the stem cell transplant, we knew that I would probably be in hospital for a month in isolation. And he wouldn’t be able to see me unless he was very fit and well and all that. And we’re really close couple. I mean, we work, although we don’t work together, he works in my office because he works for a company in London but works in my office in Bournemouth. So we’re together 24 seven, we’re never apart. And we just happen to light that we want those couples. And it meant that he would be without me for four weeks. And up until that point, it had only been two or three or four days in hospital. And I came in you know, got my stuff all packed up and everything and he was just sitting on the bed just crying and he’d never done that before. That was the only time
David Ralph [20:45]
and did that pull you closer. Did you realise vain but you were both battling something
Margaret Cahill [20:56]
I think is easy for the sounds really weird, but it It’s easy for the person who is going through the treatment to be almost slightly detached, because you just turn up the appointments. And yes, you’re on the drip, and it’s already horrible and everything, but you’re the person who’s the doing, whereas the the person who loves you, who’s supporting you is kind of in the passive role. And I think that’s really, really difficult. And one of the blogs I wrote was about Stephen and how worried him about him. I was asking people to think of him because it’s the carers who get forgotten. And they are. They’re the people that keep us going, I couldn’t have done it without him.
David Ralph [21:34]
Because on your cover of under cover of darkness, which obviously we’ll talk about in a moment, how I blog my way through this illness. There’s a lovely picture of you and I assume it is Stephen looking each Yeah, and he’s wearing a stupid hat, and you’re wearing something equally stupid on there. And you’d obviously lost your hair by that time. But this is the weirdest thing that I’m going to say but it seems like every single picture you seem to fully alive. You seemed like you was embracing the moment. And I can’t imagine anyone looking happier even though you’re laying in the bed. You’ve got some pads on you. You’ve got tubes. You’ve got you know, you’ve lost your hair. Did you feel that you was happy at those times all was bad board the photograph?
Margaret Cahill [22:22]
No, I was happy. It sounds really weird, doesn’t it?
David Ralph [22:25]
It really does.
Margaret Cahill [22:26]
Yeah, something took over. I was happy. Those are absolutely genuine pictures. I was having an absolute ball. I mean, the the picture with me with the chiefs and everything. That’s actually the stem cell harvest, which is where they give you yet another massive bout of chemo. And then you get plugged into this absolutely incredible machine, which takes the blood out of one arm and it puts it through his incredible machine, which removes the stem cells and then it gets put back into your body. So my my blood was taken out and re circulated two and a half times. And you can’t move for six hours. So and you’ve got chips in both arms. And you’ve got two people looking after you and if you move at all It upsets the machine. But I had two fantastic nurses. One of them was really interested in alternative therapies. And so we had an absolute blast and they took a video for me, there’s a video on YouTube of it. If you put in Margaret Kyle stem cell transplant, you can see me having the stem cell transplant, and sorry, harvest. And yeah, it was something else took over. And I think because I knew I was it was almost like being a reporter. I knew that everything I was doing and everything I was saying, I could somehow craft into a blog that would make people laugh and make them cry, but make them understand.
David Ralph [23:47]
And did that help you get through it? The actual fact that you had a project?
Margaret Cahill [23:53]
Yeah, definitely. Absolutely. Definitely. Because when I first started I actually bought a special book. I could write a journal. I did a counselling course a few years ago. Well two counselling courses and I knew the value of his spiritual journal. And I think I wrote one side of the island like this, I want to share this around, you know, and somebody suggested writing the blog. And so once I started writing for the public, I just loved it. It was I don’t know, just share the misery.
David Ralph [24:24]
Yeah, but you know, you you’re sharing the hope you’re you’re you when you look at it, as I say, it’s hard to realise how ill you was. Now I haven’t read I’ve read inside the book I dipped into in Amazon, you know, when you can sort of go inside so I dabbled around. And I was reading it and it’s not a misery guts book at all, is it it’s, it’s very Matter of fact, but you are ill and you were close to dying. But there’s not one part of it that I thought this is doom and gloom. This is kind of is an inspiring book, due to the fact that You didn’t stop smiling. And I think people are going to come to this book time and time again. But as as it becomes more and more well known, I think this is going to be something that’s going to provide so much comfort to people because you didn’t allow it to bring you down.
Margaret Cahill [25:17]
Did you know thank you know, and it wasn’t a deliberate thing. I’m not one of these people. In fact, I’m exactly the opposite of the kind of person that wakes up and says, oh, Isn’t it lovely? The sky is blue, the sun is shining. You know, I’m really not one of these people. I think I just found the human content and everything I saw on the wards I saw the most amazing people the bravest. I mean, if you get the chance to read the book, there’s a lovely, lovely lady called Jane who totally inspired me. And she she died she had a very nasty cancer but you just see the most amazing spirit she see the happiness of the nurses. You see the dedication of the doctors and just there’s so much inspire you. And I didn’t expect that. It’s not artificial. I didn’t work at it. It’s just something arose in me and I just thought, wow, I am so lucky. I really, really meant it.
David Ralph [26:12]
Where did the blog come from Baylor when it’s all I creating a blog people say do it. But when you have a blank canvas in front of you, it’s very hard to put the first words down. Did you just start typing anything that came out of your mind? Or did you have an idea of what you’re going to write when you started?
Margaret Cahill [26:31]
I needed to date people. What happened was that and I’m sure everyone can relate to this. When you get usually bad news of any kind, you’ve got lots of people who love you and want to know what’s happening. And we were spending every evening on the phone we were emailing because Stephen is also involved in the mind body spirit community and so between us we know a lot of people and and they wanted to know a latest was and it was moving very fast. You know? Having one test after another and then being admitted and starting chemo. And one friend, very dear friend in particular sent a text one night saying, It’s okay, I can understand you know, you haven’t got time to tell everybody everything. But I’m here if you want me, which was kind of almost a late night sarcastic drunk. How about me? Yeah. And I was talking to one of my authors the next day and she said, well write a blog. I know you know, you think you’re an editor but write a blog. So I found out just a really, really simple means of doing it. And it the first blog was literally updating people. It was just pouring out all the facts. And then I started thinking, as I was writing it, I just started putting a bit of a slant on it and kind of laughing about the ridiculous situation on the second blog when I had to go for the the CAT scan and I was radioactive and everything and how ridiculous that was and it just kind of built on that.
David Ralph [27:55]
Really. I had a lady back on episode 200 95 called Vicki Claflin. And she’s got a platform called laugh lines. And she is, well, she’s not suffering, she’s living with Parkinson’s. And she sort of looked back on it. And she says, Thank God, thank God, it was the greatest gift because it’s changed my life. And I could go around, talking to people about it and inspiring hope in other people’s lives. And she’s hugely passionate. But although she’s got to deal with it, it’s not something that she needs to suffer with. It’s something that she can live with. And she can sort of embrace the fact and help people get through it. Do you do feel the same way what you’re doing now? Is is the project finish? Or is this just the start of it?
Margaret Cahill [28:41]
No, it just is the art of it is so it’s lovely. It is the start of it. I mean, I’ve been in publisher for 18 years, and you know, I love publishing books. But that was a very kind of that was doing things for other people and it was very strange being thrust into the limelight because of writing this and everything and, and obviously, you know all the treatment you get lavished on you and me You sure you know. And so it actually gave me more confidence to be myself. And so if there’s any way I can inspire people and help people through it, then I will. And certainly because of the contacts that I’ve made, and also family and friends and everything, other people have started coming to me and saying, so how did you get through this? What was this like? And you know, and I would love to do more of that. I really, really would.
David Ralph [29:33]
And is that something that’s always been in you even as this old little girl are you somebody that has that sort of caring nurturing side?
Margaret Cahill [29:43]
Yeah, I can do I can be fairly feisty, but
David Ralph [29:47]
so so so it is not something that you’ve always sort of embraced is something that you’re finding in yourself now.
Margaret Cahill [29:53]
Yeah, yeah. I have always cared about people, but I think it hasn’t had a focus and now it definitely focus and I have the knowledge of how to deal with these things. And yeah, yeah.
David Ralph [30:08]
So So what was the worst part of it all because I don’t want the listeners to sound like it was a breeze because you’ve been very positive and open about it but weren’t as serious seriously moments when it was touching go.
Margaret Cahill [30:25]
There weren’t any moments when it was touching goes to whether I would live or not. Because once I started the treatment, the consultant was was pretty happy that I would survive. As we face that, it’s possible more people die from the toxicity of chemotherapy than actually dying from cancer. So the biggest concern actually was me surviving the chemo. We knew the cancer probably wouldn’t. But would I survive the the incredible strength of the chemo and because it was such strong chemo, the side effects were horrendous. I mean, there was one particular time when I think it was on cycle three, which was a particularly nasty one. And I started throwing up sorry about this or you’re not eating your breakfast or whatever. But I started throwing up, and actually I dislocated my jaw because it was so violent and managed to crawl back to bed. And that was just horrendous. And also, cancer can do really weird things to your hormones. And I had problems before I was actually diagnosed I had problems with an irregular heartbeat, really serious problems. So my my heart would be irregularly for three days at a time, and they didn’t know what the problem was or why it was doing it. So it wasn’t until I started the cancer treatment that it sort of started to come down. But the drugs I was on the chemo actually made my heart problem worse because one of the side effects one of the many side effects of chemo irregular heartbeat. And there were times when I couldn’t actually sit up, right. And one of the blogs, I was I said that I wanted to write so much, but that I had one arm resting on the table with my head on it, and I was typing with one finger. Because the drive to share it always was so strong. But that was horrible. And there was once when I actually posted up, I got out of bed to go to the bathroom, and just move two steps and then passed out and hit my head on the wardro. I mean, it was, it was awful, absolutely awful. And the stem cell transplant, there were three days this is period when the cells that are in your bone marrow die off and the new stem cells that have been transplanted, they have to become what’s called engrafted. And so that’s like a change every period, a bit like two shifts, you know, And in that time, you are unbelievably ill. And I was a person who got up every every single morning I was in hospital, I got up, got showered, got dressed because I was going to talk to the doctors in proper clothes. I was not going to sit there, in my nightie trying to have a proper conversation with professionals. Three days of stem cell transplant, I couldn’t even move out of my bed. I just felt so ill.
David Ralph [33:27]
Well, I widely Well, maybe they don’t keep that secret. But the thing that really shocked me at the beginning of that statement that you made, was the fact that more people die from the chemotherapy than the actual cancer. Now, I had no idea of that. did. Did you have any idea about it? Was that a shock to you as well?
Margaret Cahill [33:46]
No, and I had a very good idea of that, which is why I didn’t actually want to have chemotherapy, but if at halfway through the cycle, I went to see an Ayurvedic herbalist because I wanted to try and treat It naturally and I was all set to go off to India for six weeks from massive, massive detox. And my consultant actually comes from Kerala. And some very same friends said, Look, you can’t just stop chemo at least talk to him about what you’re thinking about. So, very regarding me, I made an appointment to see him and he was as ever amazing. And he said, if you had any other kind of cancer, I’d say yes, go for it. But this particular cancer, there’s one single cell left in your body, then it will all come back and we won’t be able to treat it the chemo. And he knew how ill the chemo was going to make me but there wasn’t. He said, I know this is really barbaric. And I really wish that I could say that it will cure you, but we can’t guarantee that and at the moment, it’s the only thing we have. But now because they are learning how to target the exact cells. You know, hopefully people in the future aren’t gonna face for those of us who haven’t came out never did.
David Ralph [34:57]
And do you have people I have stumbled across your book and now contact you or do people go searching for it? Is it becoming sort of recognised in the medical profession as something that you should read if you get diagnosed with this?
Margaret Cahill [35:13]
I’m hoping it will do and the books only just out so melon cancer care have a copy. I’ve also given my consultant Joe a copy. And I think a lot of the integral health magazines and what doctors don’t tell you that like a copy will have gone to those kind of magazines. So I’m hoping it does actually get out there, you know, quite quickly and help people because one of the really, really key things about chemo that everybody complains about is that you get really bad ulcers, and it completely destroys and certainly the chemo had completely destroys your GI tract. It just turns it to some disgusting mush and you can’t eat properly. We can’t really eat too and I will It was suggested to me by a very dear friend that I take one a bit of an A drop a day, which actually prevents mucositis which stops the ulcers. And when I had the stem cell transplant, they said, you know, you’re going to be in a really bad way. We’re going to inspect your mouth every day you’re going to have ulcers, you won’t be able to swallow but don’t worry, we’ve got morphine drips and you can have straws and we’ve got mouthwashes always kind of stuff. And I took my vitamin A drops in with me, and I didn’t have a single ulcer.
David Ralph [36:33]
Boy, why didn’t you
Margaret Cahill [36:35]
because vitamin A prevents that kind of problem happening determine a surely
David Ralph [36:42]
surely when you’re real he’s only gonna saw paper over the cracks, isn’t it?
Margaret Cahill [36:48]
Well, no, I mean, I was taking a lot of stuff. What Joe said he was he was just so lovely when when I said okay, I won’t go for the IV. But, you know, I want to use other stuff. And he said you can embrace Aveda you can embrace herbalism you can take whatever you want to help you stay strong. But just tell me about it. So I know so long as it doesn’t involve any heavy metals, which would apparently interview interfere with the chemo. He said, just tell me and so. So I did. So every time a problem came up like the sickness for instance, the tablets, there are lots of tablets that can give you for the sickness and for while I was on a pump in my arm because I was being so sick, but it gave me absolutely crushing headaches. So then they give you a tablet for the headaches that the tablets were off after two hours. So you still got two hours of crashing headaches, but at least you’re not being sick. So my aim with every single cycle was to get home as quickly as I could so that I could have proper, nice organic food and I could take the supplements I wanted to take and that is how I survived it
David Ralph [37:58]
and would you recommend To people out there if somebody is going through with that sort of awareness of what you’re putting in your body really help.
Margaret Cahill [38:07]
Absolutely, absolutely. Because I mean, Joe said to me when I was in the in isolation and not eating very well, he’d said to me, you know, you do have to be careful what you put into your stomach because you’ve got the the GI tract, really have a newborn baby, is that sensitive? You know, and you don’t want to be having dairy or anything. So what did they give you on the wards, protein drinks made with milk, you know, just really simple things like that. So, you know, you can’t avoid that kind of thing in hospital and one of one of my missions, really, certainly with Macmillan is to start to get the word out that you know, people are given been given the wrong food in hospital to help them get through chemo. And I’ve seen people in such awful states and they don’t have to be there can there can be some really, really simple things that you do, like innovative and a drop wonderful day bitumen d3, which increases your chances of survival by 50%. It’s not rocket science. You know, the medical profession knows about these things, but they just don’t tell you. They didn’t think about it because they’re focused on cancer. They’re not focused on recovery.
David Ralph [39:17]
And this is all sort of listed in your book on us all recipes and stuff in your book.
Margaret Cahill [39:21]
And it’s on in the book in the blogs. But what I’ve done actually on my blog in the last few days is a page which is called that tips and resources. And I’ve listed obviously, it’s a work in progress, but I’ve listed the basic things I took and underlined. You know how important it is to eat organic, and to be very careful about what you eat and to have small portions and that kind of stuff. So people can go there. It’s, I didn’t really put it in the book because the book would have gone on forever. And I just think you have to stop somewhere.
David Ralph [39:57]
You do. You do have to stop somewhere and I’m Wake up a stop somewhere now because I’m actually going to bring on a gentleman who really created the theme of the whole show. And I’ll be fascinated whether these words really mean anything to you after what you’ve been through. This is Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [40:13]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [40:49]
So do you believe but the dots join up, Margaret? Yes, definitely. And I’ll buy you words that you can actually see have come true in your own life. What What should be dotting your life when you look back on it now?
Margaret Cahill [41:08]
I think there’s probably lots of dots soon, it’s hard to say that there’s one big dot. I think that I’ve always felt that I was on some kind of spiritual path. And I knew that every single thing that happened, however unpleasant it was, I believed that it was on the route to something else. And I think that’s what’s been my salvation. And I completely agree with with what Steve Jobs says, you know, you can’t, you can’t, you can’t know what’s going to happen. You already know where you are now, and that you’re as a result of what you were and, and just realise that in the moment, a lot of what I did in hospital was there’s mindfulness and being in the moment and this moment is the only thing that you can, you’ve got some effect over and you can move forward from that you’re always a sum total of exactly where you are now.
David Ralph [42:00]
And when you look back over time and where you are now so you’re a published author, you’re getting invited onto shows like this. You’re inspiring people with similar illnesses. Are you glad you went through it? Although it was horrific and terrible and everything, do you look at it and go? Yeah, perfect. Thank God, I went through that, because I really like where I am now.
Margaret Cahill [42:23]
Yeah. Yeah, it sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But yes, definitely, I met some amazing people. And it’s given me a chance to communicate with people, a very, very deep level. Because it’s no holds barred. You know, once you’ve been through that kind of experience, you could just tell it like it is. And there is like this kind of shroud comes over as soon as somebody mentions cancer, everybody backs away and nobody wants to talk about it. But I know the right things to ask now and I know how to comfort people and that’s what people want straight talking, empathy, the straight talking,
David Ralph [42:55]
and do you think it’s only come about because of that the fact that you you do Look on it in a positive way. Because I was interested you, I would have said that you were the kind of person that goes, Oh, the sky is blue, and everything’s wonderful and all that kind of stuff. But you were quite open to say that you weren’t. But are you a bit more like that now because of where you been?
Margaret Cahill [43:21]
Know that I’ve tried to be very genuine about how I’m feeling when one of the really weird things that happened with a stem cell transplant, you can apparently I was some ladies doing some research on in states but depression can be quite a problem. And I didn’t know that and nobody the hospital knew that is something to do with the chemistry what’s happening in your body. And I was really troubled because I felt really, really, really depressed and no amount of feeling grateful would actually make me feel better. And I think what’s most valuable is to be true to yourself. And there’s no point saying the sky is blue and dark, the dark inside your fingers. Horrible you have to deal with what’s there. And I think being honest with yourself is actually what gives you strength and that’s when you start to see the sunshine coming through.
David Ralph [44:09]
So so where where what are you really aiming for now? Where’s your life? Sort of gonna head in what direction obviously you’re, you’re still in recovery and you’re getting better but have you got dots lined up in front of you?
Margaret Cahill [44:23]
Well, having you know, being on shows and stuff it is actually first it’s very intimidating, but I would like to do more of that actually. Because I think if you can encourage people and support people who are really sad and often isolated and very very scared, then I just I think that’d be brilliant. I’d like to do more of that. Really, really would
David Ralph [44:47]
you could be a celebrity
Unknown Speaker [44:49]
David Ralph [44:52]
up with Rick Astley at these parties. It see it’s coming together. You can’t get me that good. UD? Well, this is the end of the show, Margaret. And this is the part that we call the Sermon on the MC when I’m going to send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back and speak to the younger Margaret, what age would you choose? And what advice would you give? Well, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the theme and when it fades, Europe, this is the Sermon on the mic
with the best of the show.
Margaret Cahill [45:45]
Well, I’m going back to my 30s I think, but it’s not really that young is it? But I’m going back to a time when I was feeling unfulfilled. concerned about the future and very unhappy because my younger self was grieving for the loss of our parents and the future looks very bleak. And what I want to say to her is that everything is going to change. Everything is always going to change, wherever you are now is just a cycle, that cycle will change, something else will come. It’s not always going to be like this. And I want my younger self, to have courage and faith in the future and to know that things are going to work out the way they’re meant to work out, have faith in that. Be in the moment just allow every single moment to unfold. Because when you do that, you start to see the wonder of what there actually is out there. You open yourself to inspiration and intuition and support and love And you don’t know what’s around the corner. Don’t think that you can plan for the future completely because you can’t. There’s always some miracle waiting to come.
David Ralph [47:10]
Mommy, how can our audience connect with you?
Margaret Cahill [47:14]
They can go to my blog, which is Margaret car Hill, that spelled ch r double.wordpress.com. There’s a contact box. They can read about me and they can read the blog. So I would love to hear from them.
David Ralph [47:27]
I’m sure you’ll get inundated. Margaret, thank you so much for spending time with us today. joining up those dots. And please come back again when you have more dots to join up because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Margaret, thank you so much.
Margaret Cahill [47:43]
Oh, thank you for having me on the show. I’ve loved it.
David Ralph [47:47]
Thanks for listening to today’s episode of Join Up Dots brought to you exclusively by podcast is mastery.com. The only resource that shows you how to create a show, build an income and still have time For the life that you love, check out podcast is mastery. com.
Now, David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you or wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.