Osteopath, empath and educator of health & wellness, Sophie Edgar-Parkes reveals in this feature blog post how a text message changed her life beyond recognition and why she believes if she can do it, anyone can.
Sophie lives in the Berkshire Downs with her husband, two sons, and two black Labradors. She qualified as an Osteopath 23 years ago and offers patient centred solutions to all those in her care, from tiny babies to folk much later in years. She helps to educate and motivate those who visit her to take responsibility for the health of their bodies and their minds, so they can become the best version of themselves, and be fit to take on the journey of life.
This is Sophie’s story, and how her message to educate and motivate people to reach their full potential now goes way beyond that of her treatment room.
WE ALL AIM FOR PERFECTION, WHY? WHEN IT DOESN’T EXIST
This was me. I was aiming for perfection and was left feeling pretty burnt out at the beginning of last year.
In amongst a lot of love from my beautiful sons and my husband (whom I married in 2011) I was struggling to keep up with life. There was a lot of stress, and a lot of emotional turmoil, for reasons I won’t go into right now. Let’s just say life was challenging.
We were faced with having to move to a new house from a place I had come to love and cherish fondly for a decade or more. It had been my sanctuary and I was nervous about leaving it behind. I was feeling fragile not having really dealt with the death of my parents, and with everything else going on, the future looked a little bleak.
We did however find this gorgeous place to call home, and in early spring I received a text from my sister in law offering me a business opportunity.
At first, I was a little confused because my sister in law is a very logical, driven, and scientifically minded lady, who has been a teacher for many years. This text message came completely out of the blue and in all honesty, I didn’t know what to make of it.
I rang her, and we spoke. She explained how a new nutritional cleansing system was coming to the UK, and was I interested in getting on board. Me being the incredible cynic that I am, having been asked to try many complimentary supplements over the years, as a purist, my instinct was to immediately dismiss it.
However, on this occasion I didn’t for the fact that I trusted my sister in law enormously, and I was looking to feel better, to have energy, and to not feel so tired all the time. I’d tried the likes of acupuncture and all the therapies that I refer my patients to, but never had I seen any long-lasting effect.
I was also seeing the changes my patients were going through resulting from my care and support, and I wanted a bit of that for me. I was beginning to feel a bit bitter, I was becoming someone I didn’t want to be, and I was beginning to hide. I came incredibly close to seeing my GP and asking for help as I simply didn’t want to live like this.
I am a great believer in fate, and the opportunity to join this business during the pre-enrolment phase (as it wasn’t going live in the UK until the May) with a money back guarantee came at just the right time. It was at that moment that my health journey really started.
In the first month of starting the nutritional cleansing programme I began to enjoy being me again. I caught myself dancing round the garden with my headphones on, I was smiling more and having fun.
I lost weight, which was amazing, although it was my mood and my renewed energy where I noticed the real change.
I stopped having afternoon naps, and I realised how much of that lust for life I had lost. Life began to feel more positive, and I was beginning to feel less anxious and more confident.
To the extent that one day I decided to brave the Ridgeway for a walk with the dogs. This was a huge step forward for me. I was terrified and thought I would get lost. Instead as I began walking, I began to smile, and although it sounds a bit evangelical, I felt free. I was so proud that I hadn’t turned back, and when I reached the top and let the dogs off, it was here I felt compelled to share my achievement.
I hopped on to Facebook and went live to share the shear joy I was feeling. I felt alive, I had energy and I had found my vibe again. Nutritional cleansing was transformational, and I was certainly not going to be returning my box of products at the end of the week.
Within that first month, I was back exercising again too, loving every minute of my HIIT training with the fabulous Shaun T. I was back out there, getting off the sofa in the evening, and going out to see friends, I wasn’t hiding anymore.
As a coach and a mentor in my Osteopathy clinic, my patients were noticing a positive change in me as well, and with the nutritional cleansing I now had the opportunity to educate and motivate people to reach their full potential beyond that of my treatment room.
I got to be the fittest I’d ever probably been, and then at the end of last year I found a lump in my breast.
Showing due diligence, I went to see my GP. Although I had found lumps during both of my pregnancies, I was healthier now and more in tune with my body, and this felt different.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?
Just before Christmas I went through a barrage of tests, there wasn’t anything to worry about at that stage, and I was to have a core biopsy if the lump was still there in the January.
It was, and so the core biopsy went ahead.
I will never forget that moment, being in the room with the radiographer, the hushed silence, her face, and me with my morbid sense of humour thinking she should never take up poker. I knew instantly something wasn’t right.
When I went to get the results a week or so later, everything was running behind time. Leaving my husband in the waiting area, I went in and immediately said to the surgeon “you’re having a nightmare morning, just give me the results and I’ll get out of your hair.” It was then that he asked if I had brought anyone with me, and my heart sank a little. I realised then that life really can turn on a sixpence. I was diagnosed with Grade 1 Breast Cancer.
Suddenly this was serious, this wasn’t something I could hide from or talk my way out of. I had to get on with it, accept the medical opinion, have my lump removed and go through radiotherapy.
It drained every ounce of positivity out of my body, which having only just found it again was a huge challenge. It redefined the meaning of tired and knocked me flat.
I went in the healthiest I’d ever been, having lost 2 stone, I was nutritionally balanced and being the fittest version of me since forever, it made no sense. I had a lump removed of which there were no symptoms, and I wasn’t ill. It was a complete mind f**k!
Cancer makes you realise you are not in control.
Being diagnosed, the control you have over your life is taken away from you in an instant, you have no way of changing your circumstances. That said there is an element of freedom too, as it offers you a different perspective, the opportunity to re-frame your life, and to prioritise what is important.
Cancer has given me the ability to see things for what they truly are, to pick my battles, and to live in the now, as opposed to living for tomorrow and worrying about yesterday.
I CAN, I WILL, AND I AM!
I did my first park-jog 2 weeks after I completed my radiotherapy treatment. I look back now and think, what on earth were you doing, you were nuts! The fact of the matter is if I hadn’t done it then, I wouldn’t have done it have at all.
I don’t go out to break any records, and admittedly I am slow. For me it’s not about size, shape or speed, it’s about getting off the sofa and doing it. It’s about putting your trainers on (that don’t cost the earth) and moving.
You don’t need a gym membership, you don’t need a £2k bike, and it’s not just for athletes, anybody can get out there and walk and move. If I can do it, anyone can!
For me it’s all about being ‘Raw & Real,’ showing up, and honouring the commitment I made to my body and my wellbeing. As much as it can sometimes feel like an onerous task, I know that I will see and feel the benefits, both physical and emotionally.
Thinking I can, I will, and I am, rather than I can’t has been a choice. A choice I made on the back of discovering myself again, after breaking through the barriers I had created in my life and the fear that was holding me back from being the best I can possibly be.
With regards to the past and recent events, I can’t change the story, I can however change my relationship with it, and my perspective, and it has taught me an awful lot.
Cancer is a massive deal, and I am learning to live alongside it.
I’m not cured, my Consultant wouldn’t even use the word remission. Right now, there is no cancer in my body, and although I’m not planning for it to come back, how I choose to live my life and how I deal with stress is a massive part of that.
I intermittently fast once a week now, which is something I will do for the rest of my life, and nutritional cleansing gives me the ability to do that easily. It’s a health choice and these products have changed my life, enabling me to take care of myself from the inside out.
This is my journey and I am grateful for everything.
It doesn’t bear thinking about what could have been or might have happened. What if I hadn’t had that telephone call with my sister-in-law last year? What if I ignored the opportunity to challenge my beliefs and trust the products that were on offer to me? Would I have discovered the lump if I hadn’t lost 2 stone and worked hard to get fit?
I truly believe with the right attitude and the right help anything is possible. We can inspire, we can achieve, and we can get out of the way of ourselves if we want to, if we can only stop long enough to breathe and be present and be grateful.
Who do you know that I could help? Who do you know that you could help? Whether it’s through my osteopathy, or through nutritional cleansing, I want to help people to grow and be the best they can.
If you have enjoyed reading this blog, found it inspiring or know someone who you think would like to read it, please feel free to share it on your social media channels. I don’t doubt for a moment Sophie’s amazing health journey will continue, along with all the help she has to offer.
Until next time, be truly you.