I feel I’ve been bouncing around a lot in my writing (but maybe it’s just my mind!), and maybe some of you new to my story might be wondering what’s going on. (Sometimes I wonder too. :P)
So just a quick recap of where I’m at in life:
Recently cancer free – hoorah!
On May 8, 2015 I was diagnosed with breast cancer – invasive ductal carcinoma. Mother’s Day weekend. I stopped by the doctor’s office on my way to surprise my mom.
I had planned to do a personal training session and leave later in the afternoon. But I needed to get on the road and just be alone. I told anyone who called or needed to know that day.
And then. Josh Groban on loop. Feeling nothing. Crying. Driving from Nevada to California.
My next priority was to get on Medicaid. I had just come off because of my income level being too high. Thankfully, there is a breast and cervical cancer program and I worked with DWSS over the phone to expedite enrollment.
Decisions about treatment…
I come from a Christian, faith-based background. I have faith… in faith and love. I think that love can work anywhere, and that makes it incredibly intelligent and flexible.
Still, what did that mean practically for me when I made decisions about treatment.
I have had a rough few years and there were times I thought I would just get my soul right and pick some nutritional route in response to my cancer. I felt I had something I’m meant to accomplish here, whether I came up with it myself or it was destiny, I definitely felt I had unfinished business. So maybe just test that faith, I thought.
Worse case scenario, I would be wrong. Maybe business was finished and I just didn’t know.
Then I wondered, if I believe things like the sayings about how life is worth something if you bring a smile to someone or change someone’s life… by that, my life has been worthy.
What I mean is, I made peace with death. It was not the first time.
But I was not looking for death, as afraid as I sometimes was of living. There have been other times I stared death down. It didn’t seem it was my journey.
Peace with death was important to me because it gave me more energy to put towards healing.
I felt that the sickness was a gift as far as a chance to go inward and really heal all aspects of me that needed healing – besides the cancer.
I believe that the new person does not need the old disease. I heard this from Louise Hay and have seen this myself in smaller ways up till now. I intended to change whatever I could about myself that no longer served me. Sometimes I find it easier to change when other changes are going on. Full immersion. But there’s a method to the madness.
Not to get ahead of myself.
With so many emotions and thoughts, I tried things on for size for awhile, through the waves of feelings, to see what felt right.
Someone asked me about chemo. They assumed I would be starting. I wasn’t sure. My mom believed I had the power to heal naturally, but she supported me in whatever I believed. I didn’t think I wanted to do chemo, but surgery I was okay with. Lots of people refuse chemo. I liked my surgeon and her staff.
I listened to Louise Hay’s audio book on cancer. Bernie Siegel’s “Love, Medicine and Miracles” audio book. I started listening to Emperor of Maladies.
I started feeling if I could change my perspective on chemo maybe it would be okay – somehow it felt right for me. Bernie Siegel confirmed this for me when he talked about how patients who saw chemo or radiation as positive energy had better outcomes.
Part of my decision to go through with chemo had to do with the fact that I was determined to have a breakthrough in my life even before cancer came along.
I felt like cancer was saving my mind and my heart which both felt so broken. Thankfully, my body is pretty healthy – and I believed that my cancer came from stress and, as I joked, riotous living.
I made so many compromises in my life and at a certain point I was so depleted.
There is a quote from the classic, Dr Zhivago, which I love.
The great majority of us are required to live a life of constant, systematic duplicity. Your health is bound to be affected if, day after day, you say the opposite of what you feel, if you grovel before what you dislike and rejoice at what brings you nothing but misfortune. Our nervous system isn’t just a fiction, it’s a part of our physical body, and our soul exists in space and is inside us, like the teeth in our mouth. It can’t be forever violated with impunity.
(1890 – 1960)
Source: Doctor Zhivago
I felt that the things I had kept in and the ways I had not been true to myself challenged my nature on a cellular and energetic level.
I didn’t feel the answer was going to be just to change my diet or go on some solitary fast – I needed everything – I needed help from others too. I needed to rest my mind which had just been running almost continuously.
I needed to let other people take care of me.
It had been so important with the things I had been through (learned helplessness included) that I did things on my own, that I got back up after I had fallen. On my own.
But I knew I needed to take charge of my decisions and let other people who were not depleted, look after me. I believe the medical system is full of good people who want to help others and I focus on that. It was ok to let others look after me.
I also wanted a positive environment and the information available on alternative treatments has a lot of negativity in it sometimes, and I didn’t want to have to wade through that on my own.
And when I talked with my surgeon, she said “Why not do it all?” Yes! Inclusive, comprehensive, integrated solutions. Love this.
We talked about how I’d learn so much as a personal trainer going through breast cancer to help others. I was excited. Opportunities and a reason to focus on myself, but for others. It made it easier to look after myself.
Fast forward to now – March 29th, 2016. I am cancer free and the unfinished business I felt I had, is well underway.
Things are very different, of course. Because my cancer was HER2+ I was a good candidate for chemo and targeted treatment. I am still going through treatment, but the “red devil” portion of chemo is over. So is the bilateral mastectomy.
I have a great support team on the health side, compassionate and practical friends, upbeat family, and between everyone and the financial assistance for cancer survivors, I’m very grateful.
I’m planning on getting back to work soon – personal training will be different for a bit, but writing and consulting – and some new projects, because I’m coming’ back with the thunder! To paraphrase Leona Lewis.
My chest is tight these days – the right side feels like it’s burning right now, probably from
the typing. I get sparks on the back of my arm some time if I get tired – processing information like a one hour phone call today was tiring and then sparks flicking the back of my arm. I feel a lot stronger in my arms though and have good range of motion.
Learning my new pacing. Getting more dancing in … stretching the arms gently. Learning to rest in between activities.
Still taking selfies and writing on my phone when I’m tired. (I write on my phone a lot and have for years.) Connecting with the cancer community in new ways. Getting interested in dance therapy.
But first while I’m doing a lot of physical resting, I’m getting started on my story here for starters, which brings us back to transparency.
Transparency Tuesday because transparency is one of my values. I think in a world with so many cover-ups and hidden agendas and shadiness that it’s refreshing to be transparent. It’s a lot simpler too.
Or maybe I just like it because I’m a rebel.
Tata for now,
PS: My goal for this week (it’s already Tuesday) – an assignment from my life coach: to buy a juicer. A masticating one because it’s better for keeping the enzymes in the juice. The challenge? Buying it!
Let me know at miko hargett at gmail if you can help. In the meantime … I think I’m gonna write a juicy book about what I’ve learned about juicing, and other juicy things.
Thank you for reading. xoxo