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The Story

How Vita Retreats started…


Ali Potter

I remember looking at a black and white photo of my grandma and thinking she had really similar looks to me. I never met her. She died the year I was born. She had cancer of the breast and lungs. My mum’s not sure which came first. She was diagnosed in her 40s and died age 50.The first thing I said when the Consultant said it was cancer was “I don’t want to die” I think he thought I was mad. They were the first thoughts in my head and I said them out loud. Once I got over the shock and realised I wasn’t going to die – immediately- the roller-coaster started. Hospital appointments, blood tests, scans, more tests, more scans, surgery, more surgery, more appointments and so it goes on… In amongst it all I was struggling with the prospect of not having a family. The Oncologist said they advised patients with this type of cancer not to have more children. Well I haven’t had any yet (apparently at 35 I’m not normal). So I sought second opinions, had fertility tests, considered egg freezing. In the end my brain couldn’t cope with it all anymore so I started the Tamoxifen and have decided to re-think in a year or so.

The thing that kept me going other than the help of my friends and family was controlling the things that I could control. I took it upon myself to read and read about anti-cancering my life. I sought information from Catherine about the anti-cancer foods, I got supplements for helping my liver and intestines, I “organic-ed” my lifestyle from top to toe. I meditated and visualised the cancer leaving my body.

Then one day it was all over. Or that’s what they tell you. Everyone around you thinks it goes back to normal. Everyone says “oh I’m glad you’re better” and all you want to do is just shout “ but I’m not better- don’t you get it. I think about it all the time. Every mouthful I eat I’m thinking about it. Every glass of wine I’m thinking about it. Every pain and ache I’m thinking about it. Every side effect from the drug I’m thinking about. Nothing is normal anymore, there is no normal!” My normal has now changed forever. I still have a diary of appointments, problems from the drugs, scans, tests etc. I just don’t tell everyone.

I wanted to get away for a week or so on my own. I searched numerous retreats and realised that I wanted to go on one the way I wanted it. Not spiritual, or bootcamp, weightloss, or detox, just health. I realised I had the professional skills to make it happen for me, and every other woman in my shoes. So that’s how Vita Retreats was born.

If you would like to read about the journey I went through at the time I did write a blog justanothergirlfighting.blogspot.co.uk