Every Strike Brings Me Closer to the next Home Run

To keep you all up to date, we’ve found out that my cancer is not hormone related (ie it’s triple negative) and so I’m having some genetics tests to see if I’m a BRCA carrier. It could also be another gene mutation which has caused it, or (and this is one I’m expecting – it’s just unlucky…. if I had a dollar/pound for every time I hear that, I would be so so rich!) that I am just unlucky *sigh*.

On the upside, the chemo seems to be going well; the lump has softened! It also measures a whopping 5cm x 5cm, down from 9cm x 7cm!!! And even more incredible is the baby is bouncing around and being a super awesome warrior princess for her mama! The chemo isn’t affecting her at all as the placenta keeps out these drugs. The wonders of modern medicine 😊

She is completely oblivious to what the rest of my body is doing and that’s exactly how I want to keep it. We had a 28 week scan and boy did we get a performance! From the usual waving and rolling to her sticking her tongue out and what appeared to be licking my womb lining! She knows how to make me laugh.

So the plan is:

  • 2 more chemos before the birth
  • Birth will be scheduled for the end of August ’18
  • 4-6 weeks after the birth will be surgery. What type will depend if I’m a BRCA carrier or not (could be full mastectomy if so, or a lumpectomy if not).
  • Then there will be 2 more rounds of chemo
  • and then possibly radiotherapy afterwards.

My aim is to be finished with the treatment by the end of this year, but I’m well aware my body will need more time to heal. This is one helluva journey, but I’m so glad to have you all surrounding us with love and positivity. I couldn’t ask for a more wonderful community xxx

Pregnant with Breast Cancer

I think I jinxed myself. It seems the universe or the divine being who controls it thought I needed more challenges. It has been hard to comprehend all of the emotions, information, stress and anxiety of the last few months, so I feel the need to just let it all out in the best way I know how – this awesome blog! I hope that it will help others in a similar situation and bring them some solace.

Present: I’m sat in a beautiful pink recliner chair receiving chemo. 32 years and 8 months old, pregnant at 23 weeks. I’m the youngest one here. My gorgeous rock of a husband is sat across from me and I can tell that just as much as me, he wants this first session over and done with so at least we know what to expect…

So the big question: how the F**k did we end up here?!

As many of you will concur, we have had a fair amount of poop thrown at us in our 8 years of being together – from my near deaths from peritonitis 8 years ago to losing our little baby girl Rey on New Year’s Day last year, to moving continent and having to move back for health reasons…

My friends, here is a little bit of an insight into the madness that is our lives.

Rewind to January this year, we were blessed with a little nugget of awesomeness who will be joining us sometime around the end of August/beginning of September! We knew this nugget would throw a few spanner’s into our long term plans – we had only just decided at Christmas that we were going to apply for a US green card. Things unfolded in ways we did not expect – we couldn’t get it in the 6 months we originally thought,so it looked like we’d have to move back and then relocate again, once the green card had been approved. There is so much of America we still want to see and we barely scratched the surface in the year we were there!

At 8 weeks pregnant, we found a lump in my breast, but there was no immediate concern from the doctors. At 10 weeks I took the Counsyl genetics test to check for any abnormalities with the baby. The good news – she is perfectly fine and wonderful! The bad news is that markers flared up in my DNA pointing towards something less fun growing in me simultaneously. It could have been literally anything from polyps through to a 1/1000 chance of cancer, but the test didn’t provide a definitive answer as to what it was and where, which meant a lot more testing needed doing (X-rays, pet scans, MRI, Bloods etc…) We made the decision that we had to come back to the UK, which SUCKED but needed to happen.

And I am so glad we moved back. (We’ve been blessed with some lovely weather too!)

Doctors appointments, midwife appointments, followed by tests were all organised very quickly and we found out within 3 weeks of being back that I have triple negative grade 3 Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer. Before we sat down in that room we knew it wasn’t great news – we were introduced to the breast cancer care nurse (before being given the diagnosis?!) and there were a lot of people there.

The consultant did the best thing in this situation and told me straight up that you have breast cancer, but IT IS TREATABLE.

So here’s the plan – once every 3 weeks I will have a round of chemo for a total of 12 weeks. Our little girl will be born hopefully pretty normally and I get to play mum for a short while, and then we will work out what surgery options I have to have around October. This may then be followed by either a bit more chemo or radiotherapy, but as of yet we don’t know.

In the meantime, I will be keeping you all updated with my progress on this interesting twist in the road – It may not be the most fun of adventures, but if I am to believe everything happens for a reason, I will do my darnest to help others out of it at the same time and carry on dishing out that positivity instilled in me from Rey.

Mummy’s Star is a charity I’m using to help me through this. They provide support for expecting mums who have received a cancer diagnosis whilst pregnant, and they have been fab.

MacMillan have also been great support so far through this testing time, and I know they will be in the months to come!

I didn’t see the point of keeping my long hair if it’s just going to fall out and end up in the bin, so I’ve donated to Little Princesses Trust who have wigs made for kids going through cancer treatment and they currently need hair longer than 7 inches, so why not? If I can make a little girl mike through this, then it was well worth it.

React, adapt, breathe, take action. Life certainly is 90% how you react to situations and I will beat this, and come out even stronger than I could ever imagine.

The making of a music video – featuring Fozzys “Judas”

Canons, wolves, bunnies, clowns, confetti, a little dwarf dressed like one of the Blues Brothers, a guy on fire (WTF?!). These are just a few descriptors of the crazy yet simplistic shoot for Fozzys music video Judas.Nathan Mowery (director) and Chris Jericho reviewing one of the takes.
Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of the DDPYoga performance center, where much more than just DDPYoga happens! The center also turns into a studio where normally items for the DDPYoga Now app are filmed, but today it took on a different beast. 

Nathan who works in the production department was directing the shoot, and invited Haydn and I to come along and watch. This was going to be quite exciting as I’ve never been on a music video shoot before and it was so lovely to be a part of. 

Here is the link to the video Judas – it has had over 1 million YouTube views in its first week!

The concept was to have Chris Jericho the bands singer, in the center of the screen with a microphone being the main focus whilst a freaky circus scene takes place in the background. The beauty of this video is in Nathan’s execution of it as a director. The piece was deliberately filmed at half speed, with the band playing and singing along to the slow track, but their actions were normal. So once the video was at the songs original speed, the actions looked jittery and almost robotic /mechanical in places. It was to be shot in one whole take, so who knew how many run throughs there would be! 


We had the pleasure of even getting hands on in the process – shooting confetti canons after the bridge section and throwing streamers afterwards. That was fun! Nathan was so calm and positive as a director, so everyone contributing felt great around him. It was such a great atmosphere. The band were so friendly and down to earth, it was so nice to chat to them about all sorts of things. 

In one of the takes that didn’t make the final cut, Frank the drummer was unfortunately laden with streamers all over him and the kit, before you ask neither haydn or I were responsible for that – for a start I can’t throw that far! I think there were 3 takes in total, and as you can see in the video  The Making of Judas, there was a lot more going on behind the scenes. You can even spot me ready to fire my confetti canon!

The Wrestlemaniacs

I know the blogs are a bit wrestling heavy currently – this is the last one of these for a while! 

I’m hooked! Shit! I never thought it possible! Experiencing Wrestlemania weekend was nuts – especially when you are with a group of mostly guys for the whole weekend, some of whom are obsessed with sports entertainment and WWE,  but nonetheless I love them, heck I married one didn’t I?! 

We have had so much exposure to the inner workings of wrestling this weekend. It has been non-stop. From the Hall of Fame, watching DDP get inducted [see the blog Diamond Hall of Fame], various after show parties, Project OM, Wrestlecon, Wrestlemania itself, and finally the Raw after Wrestlemania – that had to be my favourite event of the weekend.

Don’t get me wrong, Wrestlemania itself was insane!!!! We had awesome seats, the crowd was electric, all the stops had been pulled out and it was a real show stopping, jaw-dropping, body-popping extravaganza. But… I fell in love with the more intimate setting of Raw. It felt more personal, and as a punter, you felt you were part of the story. Much more so than when we watch it on the box at home.

I’ve watched enough wrestling thanks to seven fabulous years of being with Haydn, and heard booing of bad guys before, but not to the crazy extent we witnessed that night. I wanted to feel sorry for the sheer amount of booing Roman Reigns was getting, but I really couldn’t! It was fun!  I lost my voice! He played it out so well and the crowd lapped it up. Every time he put the mic to his mouth, the booing intensified. After what felt like 20 minutes, He mic bombed us with “this is my yard now” (the previous night he retired the veteran wrestler, the Undertaker – a heart breaking end to the show). What a start to Raw and he didn’t even wrestle! 

Instead we had a tag team match featuring my old teenage crush, Jeff Hardy, his brother Matt (I love the delete chant!) against Anderson and Gallows. We were seated near the entrance and I can’t believe I actually got to clasp his hand! (Giving myself a self high 5 for that one). The high flying moves were awe-inspiring and the showmanship was second to none. That was certainly my favourite match of the night.


Later on I even got to touch the Diva, Baileys hand too (sorry Garett) as she met everyone on the way to the ring. As a punter she comes across as so sweet and lovely that  she has my entire fan-girl support. Charlotte Flair however, is in a league of her own – not only did she have the coolest peacockesque robe, she is a force to be reckoned with. She might be playing a heel at the moment (for my friends who might not know that means the baddy), but she has everyone’s respect.

Now I know many of their names, but I’m not entirely kosher with the moves, so I’m not going to comment on my thoughts on the matches, apart from that they were all exhilarating, emotional and enthralling. My appreciation for sports entertainment has quadrupled since going to the wrestlemania weekend, and we were so lucky to hav

Next time we are in Orlando, if we are  going to be that close to Disney and Universal, we will actually be going there next time (husbands dream is fulfilled; mine next!)

With Rey always in our hearts wherever we go xxx

Project OM Launch

As part of the Orlando Wretlemania weekend, we were invited to take part in the Project OM Launch. This is a fundraising initiative supporting Susan G Komen. (Breast cancer research here in the states). AND IT WAS EPIC! The goal of this project is to have 1 million people take part in a yoga class between 12th and 14th May to raise funds and awareness in the hope of eliminating breast cancer in the U.S BY 50%, by 2026. 
The atmosphere was positively infectious with an array of participants who had travelled from as far as Canada to take part! There was in total 161 of us participating – a DDPYoga workshop record. The event was headlined by the man himself, DDP and the gorgeous Maria Menunos (Just so my UK friends know she’s a celebrity over here on daytime tv). There were also a couple of WWE stars taking part: Natalia, Dana Warrior (who is inspirational!) and Titus O’Neil. That man is so tall! I felt ridiculously short in comparison! 

The workout itself ROCKED – DDP made it accessible to everyone, as you would expect. The cross section of participants ranged from yogis, people affected by breast cancer to WWE fans who may never have stepped on a yoga mat before. The room was electric and it was so warming to be in a judgment free zone for a lot of the people there. It was also great for the yogis to experience DDPYoga too as some of them have never tried it before.

The sponsors were super and gave us a lot of free stuff including Manduka (a specialist yoga mat company here in the US) who provided us all with yoga mats, and blankets, DDPYoga which gave us all free pink t-shirts and WWE who arranged the event to coincide with the 2017 wrestlemania. There were also huge fruit cocktail kebabs (kebobs as Americans know them!) to munch on too, which was very much welcomed after the workout. 

We met a great deal of people at the event and saw some lovely familiar faces too (the Travel Smiths clan). Marcel who is a DDPYoga instructor from Canada finally met me after I had evaded him (completely by accident) for so long! He was in the UK in 2016 and taught a guest spot at one of Haydn’s classes but I missed him! I also met the lovely Lori from Florida – another instructor (in training?). Best of all I met the mama of Christina from Bodyrebooted. Christina if you read this I may have to steal your mum! 
Here’s Christina and I doing the M challenge at Kennesaw for Project OM (do you like how we used the canon to make an O?!)

If you want to get involved and take part, click on the link below:

https://www.manduka.com/projectom/

“Positive, powerful change needs to start from the ground up. Or, in many cases, from the yoga mat up. That’s why Manduka, the industry’s most trusted yoga brand, is hosting the world’s largest yoga class of one million bodies strong to benefit Susan G. Komen®.
We share the collective goal to do great things – for our bodies, for the bodies of others and for the world. From May 12-14, be part of something epic.”

The Diamond Hall of Fame

This April Diamond Dallas Page, aka the man we moved 4500 miles for, was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Haydn and I were so chuffed to witness this momentous occasion in the flesh! We are so proud of Dallas’ achievements and now he is getting the recognition he truly deserves.Eric Bishoff introduced DDP and did so in the most eloquent of ways. “Heart” was the driving force of his speech, and Dallas has bucket loads of the stuff! He was not only a blue collar grafter, working his way through the ranks in the ring, he is celebrated more so now for the effect he has in changing people’s lives for the better through DDPYoga. 

Personally, DDPYoga has not just changed mine and Haydn’s lives physically, but also our mental perspectives. The first philosophy is to live life at 90%. Why only 90? Why not 100?! Let me explain – Dallas took this philosophy from Lou Holtz who quotes, “life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% how YOU react to it”. 

In other words, YOU determine your reactions and your reactions determine the path you lead on from there. Take time to breathe, adapt and then react to situations you are confronted with, and you will find that you are able to cope much better, than if you let your emotions run riot.

THIS was why we took the jump in the deep end approach!

THIS is why we moved to America!

THIS is why we treat everyday with love, positivity and a willing to be the best that we can be. 

At the Hall of Fame, DDP gave us another golden nugget of wisdom, which resonated with both of us, especially during the challenges we have recently faced:

“To be an over-achiever, you first need to be an over – believer. 

Never, NEVER give up the power you give yourselves, by believing in you”.

By believing in yourself first, loving yourself first and respecting yourself first, you have the power to achieve anything. Don’t hold back and don’t compare yourself to others – because they may be good at something, but they won’t BE YOU. And what you bring to the table is your individuality. You are unique, you are special and you deserve happiness. Believe in yourself – you will be able to embrace your own power to achieve your goals! 

If you haven’t started already, start now! 😊

Gut Instinct

Today was the first day of Haydn easing into the new work environment at the DDPYoga Performance Center. I don’t think of it so much as work for him, more of a vocation as he loves it so much! Filming for the DDPYoga Now App was taking place and it is always exciting to participate in. It was a live beginners workout and the place was heaving with energy and yoga mats. 

I like to go on the floor normally, but today was an exception as it was pretty busy. Next thing I know is Haydn and I are on stage with Garett (leader of Team Red Headband), Ted (the most charming 82 year old on the planet) and DDP – eek! I never go on stage for the workouts and this was a real test of my ambidextrousness to mirror image Dallas’ callouts (left becomes right, right becomes left) . I had brain-fry! But it was SOOOOO MUCH FUN and the calorie burn was pretty good as a result!

Soon after the workout, I was getting changed and caught a glimpse of a client who I thought was stretching her legs in the corridor. No one else was around at this point. I carried on sorting my clothes out, but then heard a bang….  I jumped out (thankfully with most of my clothes on!) as my gut told me something was wrong, and said “are you alright? “. Her head had hit the floor, but she was conscious. She quietly responded: “SUGAR”. I thought, “oh sh*t is she diabetic?” It turns out she’s hypoglycaemic… Now where can I get sugar in one of the most sugar free buildings I know?! 

I called for some swift assistance and received some help in the form of peppermint, a cinnamon roll, and dried mango. But none of this was any good… She needed sugar in her system and she needed it pronto. 

Thankfully Team Red Headband came to the rescue! Garret sorted the lady out with some orange juice – that never even crossed my mind.  It worked! And it worked quick! I had been so worried. I sat with her for a while whilst she stabilised and learnt her name. 

I’m so glad to have met her as I’ve learnt so much from that experience. It’s the first time I had encountered a hypoglycaemic attack and now knowing how to approach it, I feel ready if it ever happens again. I’m so glad that I was there at the right time.

Today’s life lesson – Trust your instincts. If you feel something needs addressing, DO IT!!! If someone you see is in anyway vulnerable, give them a helping hand, even if it’s just to check they are ok. You maybe the angel they need right at that moment.

“Some of the best advice you’ll ever get, will come from your gut instinct.”

Nothing Scares Us Now

As I type, we are flying over the Atlantic, heading towards Atlanta GA. We are moving over to the big USA for 18 months for my husbands work and we are truly excited. I say excited because I’m not scared by this life changing experience in the slightest. In recent times we have faced fear – REAL FEAR, and been to hell and back. And after these experiences, NOTHING scares me now. 

If we were to have made this transition 10 years ago, I would have been bricking it, but a beautiful girl came into our lives for a short while and taught us to fear nothing. Our beautiful Rey has taught us to take up opportunities as they arise, to be bold, daring and to have a good time doing it. 

Everyday to us is a Rey Day and everything we do is in the honour of her memory. Although she may not be with us in physical form, we carry her with us in our hearts and minds, always. This is what gives us the strength to carry on and to make the most of life and this amazing planet we are blessed to live on. 

Adventures on a Rey of Light documents this new chapter in our lives, whilst reflecting on other interesting aspects of our lives that have lead Haydn and I to take this humongous step. We hope you enjoy reading! 

Love and hugs to you all

Laura and Haydn Walden xxx
Ps a little excerpt from Roald Dahls book, Flying Solo gave me inspiration for this blog: p.108
“Curiously enough, it did not frighten me. It did not even depress me. In a world where war was all around me and where I had ridden in dangerous little aeroplanes that roared and zoomed and crashed and caught fire, blindness, not to mention life itself was no longer too important. Survival was not something one struggled for anymore. I was already beginning to realise that the only way to conduct oneself in a situation where bombs and bullets whizzed past, was to accept the dangers and all the consequences as calmly as possible. Fretting and sweating about it all was not going to help”.