Cancer as my epiphany?..Who would have thunk it?

IMG_0396Where do I begin…let’s begin by reflecting on the past for a while (which I know from my meditation classes is something you need to let go of), but for now, let’s consider it. Let’s reflect on how my “career in cancer” has developed over the years.  I think I may be the President and CEO of Cancer Corp. right now!

Looking back, cancer has taken so much from me. It took my health, my hair, my energy levels, chunks of my body, one of my perfectly functioning kidneys, my reproductive organ, my thyroid, sometimes even my sanity, and it left me scarred both physically and emotionally. (No, I’m not bitter at all.) Not to mention how many countless times I have had to put my life on hold to deal with this dreadful illness and the destruction it leaves behind. I had to skip Junior Kindergarten, which seems like no biggie right, but really I should have been having play-time like a normal child as opposed to being stuck in a hospital for two years. Although I had my fun moments at the hospital too, I must say…they had an awesome game room! (I adore the Hospital For Sick Children to this day.) Cancer also interrupted highschool, University, Law School, my articling and call to the Bar, as well as the planning of my wedding. Cancer was always there, never missing a beat. It was always there to try and slow me down or make me lose hope, but it never succeeded. So there!

Now, fast forward to my current diagnosis – one that has come years after my previous tumultuous journey. Just when I thought everything was going so peachy keen in my life; I was dating the man of my dreams; I had finished law school and landed a great articling gig, so naturally, I kept thinking “what about if something bad happens, like I get cancer again”…”that would be so crappy”. And then, I got the news at 31 years of age, when my life was just starting. Cancer was back in my life and this time with a vengeance. I have stage four cancer! And there’s no stage five people (so you get the point).

The oncologists keep telling me to “try and live a normal life” and “enjoy the time I have”….seriously?! How the hell am I supposed to do that? With all these little tumors infiltrating my lungs and waiting to kill me, how could I not think about dying every day? I am 33 years old!! This totally sucks that I have to be facing my own mortality, I have so much to live for and so much more to accomplish in life. Heck, I feel like I just started living, how can I be dying? How can I plan for the future; do I even have a future? This is unfair on so many levels. Part of me wanted to just crawl under a rock and wallow in my misery, but with metastatic cancer at my door, this was not an option. Time is not on your side with cancer metastases, so you have to act fast and make those tough choices.

So, being the research nerd that I am, I put away the law books for a while and dove in head first into everything and all things cancer. As if I didn’t know enough about the disease already (as most doctors I come across tell me I should have gone to med school not law school), but this time I needed to know more. I needed to know what treatment options might work, which ones were hopeless, and I needed to know how I could heal myself or prolong my life.

With sarcomas, as with many solid tumors in general, chemotherapy just isn’t that effective. This seems to be even more so with respect to metastatic cancer. The numbers aren’t there. Essentially, it’s a shot in the dark for oncologists, one that doesn’t appear to have inspiring results. In fact, in some cases, it can wreak more havoc than good, not only can it make the tumors more aggressive in some instances, but it can also weaken and destroy the immune system. It could shut down my only kidney, yeah, that’s exactly what I need. Sign me up..NOT! Not to mention the harsh side effects that come with chemotherapeutic agents, trust me, I know as I endured two years as a cute 3 year-old, little bald-headed girl.

Radiation treatment wasn’t even mentioned in terms of being of any use to me right now.

So, with limited options, the oncologists chose a “wait and see” approach, which sometimes to me feels like a “go home and die” approach. I needed to do something.

Alas, came the cancer epiphany! No, lights didn’t actually go off in my head or anything, but I knew what I had to do. Our bodies are designed to heal themselves, so I needed to make my body my first line of defence in order to try to save myself or at least prolong my life. I needed a drastic makeover…and I’m not talking about getting my makeup and hair done (although that would be fabulous too)…I’m talking revamping my diet and lifestyle. I needed to trade in my steak and martinis for kale and carrot juice. I decided that I am going to become a health junkie, overdosing on nutrition.

My lifestyle change is going to consist of eating an organic, plant-based whole foods diet, engaging in meditation and yoga, Reiki, juicing, rebounding, alternative treatments, loving life, having an awesome support system, being more positive, and saying sayonara to anybody or anything bringing negativity, stress, or adding conflict to my life. I don’t need or want any of this while fighting for my life. I’m so done with that!

So, please follow me on my journey towards trying to heal myself…the road is a long and arduous one, but it’s far better than the alternative. I will update you all along the way.

Love sent! xo

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