Along the way on my journey of healing myself from cancer, I have used 9 strategies.
I radically changed my diet and physical activity. Years before my diagnosis, I had taken away gluten, wheat, dairy and soy. seven years before my diagnosis. After being diagnosed, I cut out all sugar and mostly ate as a flexitarian (eat some organic, free-range chicken and fish) and I try to eat more organic foods and very little processed foods.
Physical - I started walking a bit
each day with my dog a few weeks after surgery. I increased walking distance after about three months. About six months after my surgery, I started taking Razzl Dance class, then started training for a flash mob about three months before the actual mob. I continued with the individual yoga sessions I had started before I was diagnosed but I soon found a group of other cancer survivors to do yoga with. To date, I am now walking 30-60 minutes a day.
I took control of my health and I got in touch with my inner healer. After I stopped panicking and made a decision to start listening to my body, I was able to relax and not be afraid of the cancer in my body. I began to take an active role in dealing with my health. I used critical thinking and did research. I re-activated my rebel nature and started “bucking the system” and used my medical professionals more as consultants. I wrote my own self-prescription for health living. I quit my stressful sales job and my new job became healing myself.
I followed my intuition. I call my intuition my “god self” It told me I needed to slow down and listen and then doing what I was led to do. I started doing meditation and I learned reiki which I started doing every day on myself. Whenever I tuned into my body, it let me know what it needed in order to heal, and it would always direct to just the next right step, resource and person. For me this meant getting grid of most of my possessions and renting a small cabin on a farm in the woods-getting back to nature and living simply. All through my journey with cancer, I was lead to just the right person or resource in my path to healing. The body is a channel to the soul. Rather than using the illness to beat ourselves up, or set off on a new crusade to figure out why bad things happen to good people, we can use the illness to get our attention. Our bodies have a deep desire to live. They have an incredible tolerance for damage and destruction. I believe that we live as long as our soul needs our bodies and live well because of the care we give to our bodies. The care we give to our bodies determines the quality of life we will have, but not the length of life. Getting ill is what woke me up to my body and made me pay attention to it. Bernie Siegel says “Diseases can be our spiritual flat tires-disruptions in our lives that seem to be disastrous at the time but end by re-directing our lives in a meaningful way.” I could no longer view my body as a machine to be driven and manipulated. Now I needed to see it as my companion who needed to be loved and listened to. A sanctuary to be worshipped. I started asking my body what it needed to tell me. At the beginning, I decided on a double mastectomy after discovering that often the cancer travels from one breast to the other. I could not see getting a lumpectomy in my right breast followed by seven weeks of radiation (while trying to also work) and then having to go through the same thing with the left breast later. The surgery gave me peace of mind and I wanted the foreign substance out of my body as soon as possible. I am now convinced that the surgery caused errant cancer cells not removed to travel throughout my body but I can’t worry about it. I still feel that the surgeries were the right treatment for me as I could not live with the thought of a foreign substance growing inside me. I needed to get it out. At this point, I have decided what was the best way for me to do is build my immune system up and manage the cancer as best I can the rest of my life using the tools I have learned to possibly reverse the cancer and stop it from coming back. Right from the start, I knew I would never agree to chemotherapy as I knew it also killed healthy cells and can cause many problems in one’s body. I knew I would not withstand being sick from poisons put into my body. It went against everything I believed in. I chose quality of life even if it meant a shorter life. I may have agreed to radiation if it had not been for seven weeks off- island. I could not have kept my job taking that much time off. But after I researched radiation more, I would not even do that if given the option in the future, as it is a direct cause of cancer. Even the x-rays the dentist does can cause cancer so I now refuse to get them. Unfortunately, two years after my mastectomy, the cancer came back and I had more surgery to remove the tumor. It came back two months later. At that point, I faced my mortality. I quit my part- time job I had at the time, without knowing how I would pay my bills. I knew that I needed to take time off to either heal or prepare for my death. I had seen my cancer as a dark hole which kept pulling me in. The pull was so strong that it too all my strength to resist it. I got tired of struggling and fighting. So I gave in. I gave up. I let myself surrender to the force of the pull and be drawn into the darkness. I found a healing so profound there that it changed me forever. I had been living in a way that was running away from death and trying everything I could to stop the cancer. I was able to relax and let the cancer teach me what it came to teach me I then made a decision to heal myself without using conventional medicine again.
I used herbs and supplements Toxins- I started doing cleanses on every major organ every six months for clearing toxins and parasites out of my body Supplements- I take supplements in order to build up my immune system detoxify and keep disease away. I also do a Vitamin C flush once a month. I did Vitamin C IV treatments once a week for over 4 months. I have created my own topical treatment that seeps into my body and has reduced the size of my bump to almost nothing.
I released suppressed emotions. A few years before my diagnosis, I had worked with an EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) therapist to release trauma left in my body from past issues. My therapist was a breast cancer survivor, so she was one of the first people I called when I was diagnosed. We set up an appointment about two weeks after my surgery when I still had my drains. It was exhausting as I had to drive about one and one half hours plus take a ferry ride to get there, but it was worth it. It immediately helped me feel less anxious. Facing death was my greatest challenge as I dealt with a reoccurrence of my cancer at the same time as my best friend, Janice, was dying of cancer. Janice was an example to me of what it was to live well and die well. She taught me that dying is a natural progression of life. We just aren’t part of a body anymore but our spirit or soul continues to live on I knew intuitively that if I were to be fully present for her in her dying, I had to face my own fears of dying in order to talk openly to her about how she was feeling about death. Whether it is a fear of increasing pain, suffering indignity, dependence, a fear of having unfinished business, that the life we have led has been meaningless, fear of separation from those we love, of losing control, losing respect or the fear of fear itself, we are all afraid of some aspect of death was Watching her journey to death, I was confronted with my own death. I didn’t know when it would happen, just that it would at some point, so I might as well face the truth and prepare for it. Around this time, I wrote one of my soul poems to express how I was feeling.
Releasing The Negative
I increased positive emotion I learned to love my cancer and felt gratitude for all it had given me. I started seeing it as my message center rather than a tumor and experimented with my diet, etc to see what caused to diminish or grow. I started laughing and feeling joy and enjoying life again.
I embraced social support When I worked at my sales job, I had some wonderful co-workers and friends who supported me and provided help with physical duties I could not do on my own. But I yearned for support from other women who had experienced breast cancer who were proactive in their approach to cancer. I could not find that kind of support of person where I lived. It wasn’t until a year after my surgery that I attended a free retreat for breast cancer survivors called Harmony Hill. It was only 3 days but it changed my life. I met a woman who became a dear friend and support system. I then started my own women’s circle as a way to ask for help and support. I have made some good friends from a local meet up called “Wild Women of Whidbey”.
I deepened my spiritual connection. I learned that it is about surrendering. I had always been a driven person who strove for ambitious goals. Besides living a stressful life, like many women, I tended to put others before myself. I forgot that I wasn’t the one in control. I thought I knew better. This was my wake up call to live differently. To live a life of total faith. What it all comes down to is I finally stopped to listen to the wake-up calls I had ignored before and come to my senses in all areas of my life so I could stay there. This is what cancer did for me- it woke me up. I know now that if I forget what can happen and go back to my old ways. In the face of death, I found the strength to forgive myself for violating my body and for being mindless. I found deep energy, deep breathing and meditation to give me the strength, stretching and stillness I needed to heal.
Reasons For Living
I connected with my strong reasons for living. I knew I was not done with my work on the physical plane and that my experience with cancer was what I was to use as a way to help others use their intuition to heal. I now do reiki and coaching to help others re-connect with their divine self and their own unique path of healing whether from cancer or any other traumatic life challenge. My message is don’t wait until you get sick like I did or experience some other traumatic wake-up call. Take my story and learn from it. Live your life well now and don’t put it off until tomorrow. Put God first. Surrender control daily. And then everything in your life will be right and good.
Thavin & Marcob is a place where you are celebrated for being you!