Updated: Jan 23
In this episode, Michelle talks about how fun it is to be an identical twin, about her passion for the environment and children's charity, how important to find the disease at an early stage, keeping fit and appreciate every single day, and about the importance of finding the right person.
Watch Michelle's VIDEO interview HERE
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE:
INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT (auto-generated):
Hi, you are listening to My Body My Story podcast,
it's your choice, you wake up every morning, and he can decide if this is going to be good day, or if it's going to be bad day.
This is the 45 or 45 chapter where we celebrate rule breakers and role models, the women who inspire us to live life our way and to show that sensuality, beauty, soul and true essence. Here we talk about what it's like to be 45 Plus, adjusting to the changes that come with time, and will listen to the stories of our participants. If you have an interesting story to share, we would love you to participate, you can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website, www. aleksandrawalker.com
Hi Michelle. So tell us about yourself.
Okay, I am an identical twin. Grown up never feeling lonely my whole life. And I come from a gorgeous family. And I have two children, young adult children. And when I got married on it ever thought that I'd be signed up to get divorced. So yeah, so about almost nine years ago, my husband unfortunately, had an affair and left and literally just walked out the door. And so yeah, so kids saw him from time to time or the first 12 months. But then he basically got a little bit too busy and and then he's moved overseas to Amman in the last, say three years. So here. So I've been a full time mother looking after the kids and raising them to be gorgeous young adults. And I had to go back into the workforce full time, which I'm so grateful. I got a job that had a job that that I was able to keep it and sustain you know affording to live in Sydney. That's right and be a single mom and be a single mom. Yeah. So it was challenged. And yeah, so the kids, the kids are great. And they've adjusted. And they really actually appreciate everything. We do know what we have. And they've grown up with great morals and great values. And I've had to be strict with them and give them boundaries that my son especially said to me, about a year ago, I'm so glad that you gave me boundaries because it it made me feel loved and honour that he cared about me. And my daughter was really fine. She was just a normal, natural, easy. It's I never did anything that was outside the norm. So I was very lucky with her. Yeah. So yeah, so work in the city, and I love it. I love the atmosphere of the city.
What are you most passionate about?
Okay, well, I am very passionate about the environment in the world and what's happening with regards to the planet heating up. So I do like to take note of what we can do in our own small little ways to help our environment. And being in the industry that I mean, I understand there's a lot of renewable energy. And there's ways to help the planet and that is you know, by putting solar panels on our houses and having Tesla batteries in our garages so that we can be self sustainable when it comes to using electricity. But also just small things like plastic. Having a chapter on book club girlfriends and we've discovered it with the silicone bags you can buy from a shop basically to put all your fruit and vegetables in Ziplock but you can keep them washed in there, keep everything fresh, so you don't have to use clever Apple plastic bags or anything like that. As well as just be mindful of what we use and what we do. So yep, so definitely the environments one of my passions. My other passion is my keeping fit. Keeping food is really important to me my life for live a long healthy life and be here to you know, see my grandchildren be born one day. And other things that I'm passionate about as a charities we were I work were very involved with children's charities and we have been sponsoring on that Dong house and yeah, Ronald McDonald House come along and went to before pre COVID We met families and we do a lot of fundraising things for for the for the charity, and we've raised hundreds of 1000s of dollars through work and you know, we go We cook to the families. And it's kind of like a, a team effort from work. And it's great. And so, so you're just doing something like that. And you see how much it helps these families live hundreds of miles away and have to come to Sydney with sick child. And the fact that there's this Ronald McDonald House at Randwick, and it supports families is invaluable. And I think with our busy lives, and everyone's so consumed about, you know, me and what I have, but there's, you know, helping others is very important in in life as well. You need a medal. I think, what did win the global citizens award at work? He did my charity work, yeah. You train me to go to Kenya last year and live with the mess article? Yeah. Is it because COVID will be cancelled. So sad about that, or they sort of re instate there? You know, they can't, it's because I think Africa has got real problem with COVID. It's just too probably too dangerous. So unfortunately, that won't happen.
Everyone knows with that with age, we change. But what positive changes have you experienced with age?
I suppose it's just the maturity of growing older and understanding human relationships with each other as we grow older, because when you're younger, you know, you're quite green and naive, and just the psychology behind how you behave and react with each other. I think as you grow older, you kind of understand a bit more. And, you know, just accepting, accepting people how they are. And also accepting change in your life. And not dwelling on it too much, and trying to move forward and think positive. But, you know, I think the biggest adjustment for me would might be my body that's changed shape as I've grown older, having children. But you look at your kids, and you realise, well, you know, it's worth it's worth it. But as much as there's all this, you know, body image, beautiful body looking gorgeous. All of the, you know, things you can put into your face to get rid of wrinkles. I think just try to be happy in your own skin and just feel natural and appreciate what you've got. Because, you know, he could be gone.
That's right, you know, and here you are worrying about a wrinkle.
Yes, exactly. So I think just as you develop and you grow older, I think you're just understanding how we operate and trying to try to make every day important and count and just coping with with how people are in life, whether it's with work or relationships, friends, I suppose it just boils back down to maturity. Yeah, understanding people
that comes with experience and age, why can't we be this clever at 20
years, and the things that are important to you, when you're 20, just you know, it's like small fry, it's like, don't sweat the small stuff. And it's not until you grow up and understand that we're actually it doesn't really matter at the end of the day, and I think having children as well. It changes your whole outlook on life.
your priorities. Absolutely. Like our, you know, small things would upset me when I was in my early 20s. But then once I had the kids in my 30s just stuff just do not just and yeah, so I think it's in Yeah, it is time to grow up.
What is the biggest challenge you're experiencing at this age now?
Okay, biggest challenge. I suppose the biggest challenge to me at my age right now, having been divorced, is where, where to now for the rest of my life? And who do I want to share it with? And I think finding the right person that, that trust you and that you're on the same path together, perhaps have the same values.
Okay, you're doing very well. In between my brush strokes.
Yeah. So just I think it's, it's the whole single thing. You know, it's, I've got friends that are at my age as well. And, you know, they're actually some of them have just recently left their husband some of them are very unhappily married. And I just wonder like, you know, when sign up for marriage, you, you how it's a difficult thing to keep. Keep the spark in the marriage, and to just try and enjoy each other's company and respect each other until you're older. So I think if that dies or something happens to change those circumstances and then meeting somebody, again, is like Yeah, how you gonna get through it because most of the people that are out there now been through exactly what I've been through. And it's like, I think perhaps it's goes back to the maturity thing. And you kind of learn how to respect each other more, and how to behave better second time around. So yeah, I think the challenge is meeting and suitable person at my hunch. Because there's so many different platforms that you can you can meet people, but you're also circulating on often, basically,
Describe your biggest accomplishment.
I think my biggest accomplishment is getting my children to this level that they only out grown up. And then understanding how important it is to appreciate the lives and be respectful to other people. And basically, you just have good morals and good values. And I'm really proud of them. And I think that's probably my biggest achievement, my biggest, biggest accomplishment other than getting through my kidney cancer five years ago, which was just a miracle that I discovered it by doing a leapfrog through the park with a bunch of people from work. And I had this slight pain in my left side, and I thought, oh, that really hurts. And I actually thought I wasn't working on Fridays at this stage. And I thought, I'm going to go to the doctors, and just get this checked out because it just didn't feel right. It was a really sharp pain. And I went saw her and said, looking at but the sharp pain and just doesn't feel right. And so she actually sent me for a CT scan on the Friday and then Saturday morning, I was at boxing classes, you know, going to go get a blood test. And as she reads me, she said, Oh, you need to come in and see me this morning, Michelle, she goes, I believe there's a very big tumour on your left side in your kidney. Well, and I knew I was shocked, I thought, Oh my God. And so I went to saw her and then she sorted out. She's gonna need a couple of days to get the right surgeon for this because it was quite large. And so on Monday, she found me she said, There's Professor Howard Lau. He does robotic surgery, keyhole robotic surgery, you go and see him. And I think he's the right person for you. So yeah, so I went and saw him and, you know, stage three bouncer, I dodged a bullet. And if I hadn't have done that leap frog in the park that day, you would have been a sitting duck, absolutely no symptoms, nothing.
Did you have to do Chemotherapy?
I didn't have to do chemo because your kidneys actually in case, you know, he said to me, like with all the cancers, you know, kidney cancer is a good one to probably get it because it is encased in like a bag. And they literally put another bag around it, and they encapsulate it and then they bring it out through the stomach. Right. So yeah, so I am, I just missed out on having to have chemotherapy. And you know, had to do a lot of follow ups thereafter. And just make sure that it hadn't progressed to my lungs, of course, or my other kidney. So I just, I've just recently gone past the five year stage of that, which is great. And hence why I'm really, it's so important to me to be fit and healthy. And live my life to the absolute fullest and Max every single day in appreciate every day when I woke up, you know, it's your choice. You wake up every morning, and he can decide if this is going to be a good day, or if it's going to be bad day. And I make the most of every day when I walk out that door.
It's very inspiring.
Yeah. So so I'm lucky. I'm so lucky. And my twin sister had a dream three weeks prior to me having my kidney, discovered my kidney issue. And she rang me up crying from she was living in Perth at the time. And she said, Michelle, I have this terrible dream. And she said, I woke up crying. That's how I remember she said you donated a kidney to me to save my life. And I'm thinking not much about it. Next thing on the kidney out. So we're there that was the 20 thing? I don't know. Yes. So she flew over from Paris to take me to hospital. And I just said, Let's pretend we're on HomeAway. And, you know, feel okay about this a lot. And then I had this major surgery. And then yeah, that was it. And then she had to fly back home to Perth. So she just came over just in case. So it all went very well. Thanks to Dr. Howard Professor lair. Wow. So that's probably one of the biggest things I've got through. Yeah. And just raising my kids in the light to be good human beings, right, which is great.
What a story. How was it growing up being an identical twin was the lots of confusion. Were you tricking your parents? How was it as a child?
Yeah, it was actually it was a lot of fun and as I said initially, I've never felt lonely because I've always had my twin sister and I also have an older brother, and everyone goes through, oh, you've got an older brother, because everyone knows you as twins. And you get a lot of attention growing up as a twin because you look identical. And my mother's my mother and mother used to dress us the same, which, you know, was a bit embarrassing at times, because, you know, we were quite skinny. And a lot of people go, Oh, my God, you're so skinny. And there's two of us. So it kind of like it really was no. But we handled a foliation we mapped up in school a little bit in the sense that we, we decided what Karen had a dot, she had like a mole on top of her eyebrow, and I didn't, so we boarded her out and put put it on me and smoked. We swapped classes. And then but what forgot to take the dot off. And that's how the teachers could tell us apart. And then he didn't believe me that I was who I was. So it kind of like backfired a little bit growing up, Karen always got the boys liked her more than me, which I found really strange.
I know, because she's just a young, probably more softer person than me, and are more black and white. And so that always asked her out first. And if she said no, then no turn demean athlete. Okay, no, I'm not going to be second best. That's right. So we always like different boys. Thank goodness. So we didn't have a challenge there. But it was fantastic when we're teenagers, because our wardrobes were extensive. Yeah. And we both worked in the city together. And here. You know, I worked for one company, she worked for the other company, and the executives would come down to my company from her company. And I'd walk in and serve them tea or coffee, and just look at me – What are you doing here? Because I didn't know we were twins. So it was quite funny actually, because I and I had like one day in the city. I was walking to lunch, and I had this woman come up and working on the bottom. And I turned around, looked her up on the bottom. And she does she knew care. But she didn't. She didn't know me. But anyway, it was we had a lot of fun growing up and then had our babies together. Well, three months and sorry, 10 weeks and eight weeks apart, and both pregnant together. And that was strangely enough. We had miscarriages and you can't predict any of that. Like that's just Mother Nature. So our kids are extremely close. So she went to my birth. And she cried when I went into labour. And I said it's made of having the baby, not you. And so she came to the birth and the doctor that obstetrician. He was actually married to twinning. He was trying to convince Karen to actually go natural birth instead of scissoring. She had a husband it was six foot five and was very big baby. And so she was very nervous about giving birth to her baby naturally. Anyway, so babies came out and like our kids, it's fine. My niece, she said to me, technically, you're my mother as well, because genetically You're the same. She said you're half my mom. That's a good way of putting it. Yeah. So the kids like, Karen's kids will come over to our place and stay and my kids will go up to her place and stay and they are extremely close. And she felt when I got when my marriage fell apart. She actually got extremely upset about that. And she felt it but she lost sleep as well. She was living in Perth at the time and she lost a lot of sleep about it.
Yeah, cuz you're connected.
Yeah, that's the marching band. I went down the street on Friday.
Have you seen them?
Yeah, they are doing the answer's no just he idea that actually really good. Now that when I was out having lunch on during the week came past and are seeing the wine they'll play and I wanted to death and illustrate what stopped you should have done I should have would have been quite funny actually. Yeah, but no been busy. 20 has been a lot of fun. I think I've you know, been very blessed.
It sounds like so much fun. I'm the only child so I always wished for you know if it was a twin it would have been dream come true.
So I don't know what's gonna happen if one of us dies before the other. I have a broken heart. Yeah, since they're in the womb in actual fact, we were triplet when we're born. Our there's a little boy babies well, but he didn't survive because we're so premature. He was the biggest baby he was five pounds. And he didn't make it. 24 hours later he passed away. So we were identical twins. He was the lock the fraternal part of the secret baby And, yeah, sound we're both lucky to still be here because like, you know, 57 years ago, when you born premature, you know, they didn't have the technology back then. So I'm really glad I can see that I can hear because you know, that didn't realise that oxygen was. He could if you have too much oxygen as a baby it can it can affect your sight and stuff like that. Really? Yeah.
Michelle, what advice would you give your 30 year old self?
Yeah, the 30 year old self. The Vasa would have done like, what I should have done was to invest in a property. Because they seemed expensive, but they weren't when you were 57 year old self. I think the advice I would give would be to just so that you women are so resilient and strong. Like you can throw anything at a woman mostly, she will recover, she'll get better. And become stronger.
Yeah, I agree. We're survivors. Yeah,
We are survivors. Yeah, and times have changed as well since then. Because it's more equal now is more opportunity. Yeah. And, yeah, and you know, with diversity, everything like that. It's just it's amazing how all of that has changed. Because we're more accepting of who we are, whether you're gay, or transgender, or whatever. And when I was younger, I remember working with a man, he'd become a woman, I was 18. And it was a total shock to me to say, Man, that was actually wearing women's clothes. And try and be feminine. And I found that difficult to understand. Whereas now, growing up older, I realised that it's just a natural process for some people. And that you just accept more. So I think that advice would invest in a property and realise that you will be strong and you'll get through everything that's being thrown at you.
What advice would you give younger women who will eventually undergo these changes?
Um, like, with younger women, go you know, I've got a daughter at 21. Just to have some goals, have you goals and work out what you're where you want to go, and how you're going to get there. Because life goes by so fast. And I think you need to have some sort of goals so that you can have something to work for. And also not to be too scared about the future because like, there it is scary now, because they talk about the environment and what's going to happen if we don't slow, slow the the warming of the earth down. You know, that there is a future. Mother Nature is amazing at turning things around. Yeah. So to feel confident. And stand up for yourself. Just don't take any shit from bikes, or other people. Yeah, stand up for yourself. Don't let people bring you down and don't let them hurt you. So yeah, just be strong. Be passionate, have you goals. And you know, just love yourself the way you are. Don't have to go and get all this Botox and that slamming and clumping up or whatever it is that you can get done.
What is your favourite quote about being a woman?
There's lots of quotes, but this is the one that stood out to me. Here's two strong women. They we know them, may we be them? And may we raise them. And that's exactly what I've done with my daughter is to be strong here. So that that that resonates with me that quote, it's nice.
I think we should then have all these quotes on the website. Amazing. Thank you, Michelle, thank you for sharing this with us.
Well, thank you for the opportunity.
If you have an interesting story to share would love for you to participate. You can email us at email@example.com or visit our website, www. aleksandrawalker.com
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