Life is full of important lessons. Unfortunately, I had to learn this one at age 33: cancer doesn’t discriminate against anyone. I was a student and natural health professional, yet I was sick all the time. I was having night sweats and fatigue. At one point I started to get recurrent infections. My blood tests came back abnormal, and I had developed a horrible cough that impaired my breathing. After about two months of this cough getting progressively worse, I finally felt so sick that I went to urgent care.
An Unexpected Diagnosis
After many tests, surgical biopsies and a chest CT scan, I received a diagnosis that many view as a death sentence: Stage 4 Lymphoma cancer. I was always the “health-nut” girl, so it was hard for my friends, family and I to believe I had been diagnosed with Stage 4 Lymphoma. Based on the type and stage of my cancer, a natural cancer treatment was out of the question. My only option would be to start a rigorous and highly toxic form of chemotherapy and radiation. Lymphoma chemotherapy is the worst as it includes five to seven very harsh drug combinations as opposed to the normal one or two prescribed for most other cancers.
I underwent 5 hour-long chemotherapy infusions every two weeks for 6 long months followed by 1 month of daily 30 minute radiation treatments. I was told that I would very likely have damage to my liver, lungs and heart due to the treatment, and that I’d be infertile. Additionally, I would have a higher risk of developing secondary cancers down the road as a result of this toxic treatment.
When you’re faced with death or treatment that carries such risks, you just need to follow your heart. For me, I chose the treatment and prayed that I’d be okay. I decided from day one to be positive and only focus on my healing. I wasn’t going to let this define me and I wasn’t going to go down without a fight. I wasn’t able to work, so I had to move back in with my family so that they could help care for me. I was losing too much weight, on the brink of death, and barely able to get through the horrible side effects of my chemo. Yet I intuitively felt that I needed to surround myself with only positive and uplifting things. I adopted a meditation practice to focus on getting better and staying positive, I practiced guided imagery, positive affirmations, prayer and used healing crystals. I did everything in my power to get better.
Six months later, on December 31, 2013 when my treatment officially ended, I was cancer-free. It was a miracle. I’d be starting the New Year with a celebration of life. Everything about me internally had changed: the way that I lived, and the way that I thought, felt and responded to things. I now felt powerful and fearless and would commit to living my life fully every single day.
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