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CAROLINE REINEKE

Coaching
 
with Cancer

Welcome to my site

I can offer you support with cancer. In my daily life I am a professional coach on topics like selfcare, dealing with stress and leadership in (work)life. I recently had cancer myself. With this experience and my years of coaching others I offer a fresh and broad view on cancer and can give you and your body specific support.  

A safe space for a conversation ‘with yourself’ to let both your body speak as well as what is on your heart

You have just heard you have a cancer diagnosis. This may have emerged through a population survey, a referral to a specialist or through a scan. However it came to you, it is either a surprise, or it confirms what you already felt namely that something was wrong. You immediately have a lot to process, relate to and make decisions about.

 

Or you are in the middle of numerous medical treatments and you are trying to find your way in this rollercoaster and how you can support yourself and your body in it.

 

Or you have just completed all of your medical procedures and you are in a phase of picking up your life again: strengthening your body and finding a way back and (work) rhythm that suits you and your body.


 

How do you support yourself
and your body, when you are in a vulnerable 
position and you need

to be your own ‘spokesperson’

with all that occurs? 

 

I have gone through all of these phases. I had a number of operations and treatments following my colon cancer diagnosis, from which I have now recovered. 

 

Read more about my experience with cancer

 

I have been a professional coach for people in their work lives for more than thirty years.  Topics include: self-care and vitality, dealing with stressful situations, and taking responsibility for their lives and lifestyle choices.

 

These topics can be applied one-on-one to a medical situation, such as the one you are in now. The experiences in a hospital can be more intense and stressful at certain times.

Coaching with Cancer can offer you support with essential questions such as:

 

  • How do you deal with all the tensions and stressful situations that come your way?

  • How do you take yourself ‘by the hand’ and give yourself and your body the care that it needs?

When you are confronted with a diagnosis of cancer, and everything that follows, ongoing support is very important. Your body needs deep care, taking the circumstances you find yourself in. First of all, that requires a relationship with your body. 

Specific body treatments can support you to connect with your body. Furthermore, they have a positive effect and support the body to relief from the stresses it has picked up from the medical treatments and operations. As the face has many points correlating to the body, a Facial Massage is an easy and deeply relaxing way to treat the body and its organs without having to touch the body. 

I offer . . . 

    

some guidelines how to move in the 'new' environment of hospitals and medical systems. 

 

a listening ear from me, who is not  emotionally involved, who can relate and deeply understands. 

 

support with feeling more at ease to make decisions and get a grasp of the rollercoaster you find yourself in.

support for your overall situation as well as for what your body is going through right now.

a breathing space: to have a conversation with yourself and what is on your mind while I will be with you by your side.

Get a coaching session or a body treatment or a combination depending on what is needed in the moment.

*The first introductory Session is free of Charge

About me

About me

In 2023, I was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in my larger intestines. What looked like constipation was cancer. My world turned upside down.

This is what occurred to me. I entered a world I had not entered before and therefore knew very little about. In a period of nine months, I went through a lot and I learnt a lot. About myself. About life. About hospitals and the care and medical system. I learnt about love, support and about my own foundation and strengths. This whole experience has enriched me; it has broadened and deepened my view on life, and it has also given me a deeper connection with others around me including people like you: a person with cancer.

 

You might have your story, perhaps a similar one, but with your specific details, procedures, journey, realizations and lessons learnt offered to you along the way. Here is my story.


I needed an emergency operation for a stoma, an opening in my abdomen, which was formed to externalize the digestive system so it could recover and get going again. I needed to recover for six weeks and started a  so-called pre-hab program which included physio fitness with a oncological physiotherapist, home exercises and dietary support. After that those weeks I was operated: my tumor was removed, and my stoma was closed. What seemed to be all clear, soon appeared not to be so: complications occurred, with an internal leakage. I needed another operation and a reforming of a new stoma from another part of my intestines.

 

When I came out of the hospital, I could hardly walk, was severely weakened and had lost quite a lot of weight. I was delighted to be ‘out in the world’ again, being able to move freely and take small walks in the fresh air. I appreciated deeply… The joy of the daily things in life was deeply appreciated.

 

Where I thought this was it, I was taken by surprise to hear that the lymphatic nodes around my tumor, that recently had been removed, were metastatic. Metastatic is when an organ is infected by malignant cancer cells and can spread from there to other parts of the body. I was told that I needed chemotherapy as a preventive measure.

 

With the chemo I entered a new chapter of my illness: a new hospital, another world with a specific routine. It started with a few hours of infusions, then two weeks of chemo pills and a ‘recovery’ week, then to start all over again. This was my world for a few months. As the weeks proceeded I began to sense that the treatment was doing more damage than good. My body was reacting severely to the pills and infusion. I could not keep food, nor water, nor pills down. I was constantly vomiting.

It soon became clear that the preventive nature of the chemo was actually more damaging to the body now than what the chemo was meant to prevent in the future. My body was ‘talking’ ‘and saying to me loud and clearly: ‘not another round of infusion and pills in this body.’

 

So, after three treatments I told my oncologist to not proceed with the last treatment. She agreed, as it would indeed do more damage and the effects of the chemo would be have little benefits if we were to proceed, and so the treatment was stopped.

 

The big lesson of this chemo-period was: stay connected to the body and listen to it at all times. Equally, stay in dialogue with the doctors. Don’t lean back and just let it all occur.

The doctors are the experts on the chemo treatment – pills, infusion and doses – and I am the expert and authority of this body and therefore its spokesperson. So that asks to express in detail what the effects the treatment has on the body. Speak up as nobody else will – or can. 

 

After ending the chemotherapy I entered a period of rehab and recovery, as well as finding my way to relate back to ‘normal’ life again. This meant exploring what I could and what I couldn’t do in a day. By then I had built an intimate relationship with my body. Listening to my body had become pivotal.

 

What was left, was my stoma. A few months later I had it sealed and my pristinely clean and dormant larger intestines were activated to get going again. It felt like being reborn after a period of nine months. A period of recovery and rebuilding my body, in particular my intestines, followed. 

This is how Coaching with Cancer was ‘born’.
After my symbolic nine months of going in and out of hospitals for operations and treatments I felt re-born, not only with fresh intestines, but also with the clear impulse and the commitment to ‘give back’. So, I have combined my skills, which are coaching people in daily life, and my recent experiences, into a new area to support people: Coaching people with all kinds of cancer.

Important life sessions

Important life lessons

It may sound strange to hear, but this experience has enriched my life. It has shown me how strong my foundation was to hold me throughout this period. I came out stronger and wizer. Here are some of the lessons I learnt.

Many people were around me as a support. The loving care I received was deeply appreciated, whilst not always easy to embrace at first. In the beginning, I was very good at doing a lot -still- independently. Yes, I had a core team around me, but I still did a lot by myself. In the period of the chemo treatment, I was – to put it mildly – in a position of needing support for everything: cooking food, helping me undress and laying me in bed etc. This was a humbling moment. I learnt to ask for support and to accept it by allowing it in. Those moments of support were also very intimate and deepened the relationships I had with those around me. In hindsight it was very special to witness how a whole team of people gathered around me, where each played a specific role in this episode, each with their own quality and expression.   Talking to ‘peers’ e.g. people who also have a form of cancer, is very supportive. They could easily relate and it was a ‘normal’ topic to talk about. There was no judgment, just understanding and sharing. We were all in and dealing with the same ‘new’ environment: hospitals and medical systems. What is in front of me here & now In situations of illness it is tempting to go into all kind of thoughts like worries, concerns and doom scenarios. But that is in the future which I had no control over. So what helped me was to only focus on what was in front of me – literally: in front of my body – and deal with that. So not going into 10 steps ahead, but just stick to the here & now and the next required step to take. It keeps life very simple especially when there are already a lot of things going on. I also learnt a lot about expectations, hope and ‘pictures’ on how things should go, I want or need them to go. There were so many moments when things went ‘differently’. I could have signed in for the course ‘Dealing with Disappointments’. Instead I learnt to ask myself in those moments if I had an expectation. And just nominate it. Gradually I learnt to embrace what was occurring in each moment and find a way to relate to it. ‘Life comes to me’ was a helpful additional perspective. From there I became more and more receptive to life. And then there is so much to enjoy – the extra-ordinaries in every day, the things we take for granted like breathing or eating – without tubes in your throat. Deep care for the body on all levels is a vital part of the recovery and healing process.                                               With all that was going on I started to write down my experiences which will become a book with my lived experiences. It gives insight in my insights, lessons and suggestions how one can deal with illness and disease and still keep on smiling, or at least ‘staying with it and ‘open.’ And also how to register when one goes into our automatic pilot e.g. ‘survival mode like wanting to withdraw, getting frustrated and shutting down, when the going gets tough. Simply connecting to my breath and breathing gently was a great help in some moments when I had nothing else, so to speak.

Support: learning to ask for help and receive it. Many people were around me as a support.

Coaching

sessions

Coaching Sessins

In a coaching session you can share about the situation, the ‘new reality,’ you are in now and what it triggers in you emotionally and mentally. You can be sharing your queries and dilemmas, which you want to get a deeper understanding of, and how to deal with them.

We can also talk about self-care, a vital topic when it comes down to supporting the body during and after treatments. We can talk about food, sleep, gentle exercises and mental health.

Body Treatmens

Body Treatments

In this session the body gets all the attention and has the space to ‘talk’ and to be heard. The treatments provide the body with a safe and loving space to settle and to release stored stress through the impositions of medical treatments. It is also an opportunity for you to reconnect to your body and your sensitivity. The body is by nature delicate and sensitive. Stress shuts down the body to protect itself. Giving your body deep care is a very loving thing you can do for yourself.

In the body, a lot is stored from what we have picked up and went – or are still going – through, especially during operations and treatments. Already, on a physiological level being in a hospital heightens the stress in the body, something we are not aware of when we enter the hospital. On top of that, there are the treatments and operations. These are activities that ‘impose’ upon, and ‘invade’ the body, whether through pills, injections like infusions, tubes and drains and the major imposition: operations. While being faced with all these new experiences, our body automatically – and understandably – hardens as a form of protection, a coping mechanism. Once it is over, the body then can and should be supported to let go of this protection and this hardening. Next to that, there is the emotional and mental impact of what you have to deal with during the months of treatments. On a psychological level, getting a cancer diagnosis and having to ‘stop’ rather quickly with ‘your life’ as you know it, already is a great source of stress in the body. And it can also trigger old stresses from other stressful experiences you have had in your life. All that is stored in the body, dormant but still present. If we don’t address this, then the body has extra ‘burdens’ to deal with during and after hospitalization and the healing process. Another ‘why’ for body treatments: I observed that in pre-treatment and post-treatment support programs called ‘re-hab’ programs a lot of attention is given to restarting, rebuilding your strength and revitalizing in general. This is important – that is, to feel physically strong and to be able to participate in life again. What I did, and many do, was walking, physio fitness and cardio workout exercises on a weekly basis. Only minimal attention is given to releasing the built-up – often unconsciously – stresses in the body and provide equally, a space for a deeper settlement for the body to recover from all that has happened. This is vital to an overall sense of well-being, a deeper connection with your body, a ‘home-ness,’ and the quality of your movements in all that you do, including the rebuilding of your strength.

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All treatments support you to reconnect to your body,

release stress and restore the natural rhythm.

The treatments work on several layers:physical, emotional

and other deeper levels in the body.

 

You can receive a specific • Massage • e.g. to release stress

in the shoulders, arms or back. When you are exhausted,

a kidney massage can give your life force a boost.

A • Connective Tissue treatment • works on the deeper tissue

layers of the body to provide flow where emotions are stored. 

The body can settle and return to its natural

rhythm and state of harmony again.

• Facial Release • This vitalizing facial massage releases tension and emotions that have been stored up in the face. Additionally, this massage works on freeing stress that has been held in the organs. So when your face is treated, it affects the whole body. Especially supportive if certain part of your body can’t be touched physically due to medical treatments. The massage gives you a relaxed face and your glow and sparkle back.

More about my practice

My Practice and Contact

I have a practice in the heart of Amsterdam.

 

The first talk is an introduction talk and free of charge. It takes an hour. You share what your needs are – whether it is more on talking and sharing or support for your body.

 

In this talk I will also include your health history and what you have been and are going through.

I will explain about the treatments I offer.

 

If you want, I give you a facial massage to experience how it is.

After the first session you can decide if this is something that can support you.  

If you are interested and want to know more, or make an appointment, then you can contact me via:

 

info@carolinereineke.nl

or call me at: 06-51330243

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I am also working as a care professional for the Cancer Care Center Amsterdam. I give my treatments in their CCC-head center in the Spa Zuiver Hotel close to the Amsterdamse Bos. 

Caroline Reineke

team & personal coaching 
training & facilitation


Phone: 06 - 51 33 02 43
info@carolinereineke.nl

If you are interested in an informal
conversation, call or email me.

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