Tag Archives: Cancer

Good Choice 9 – Sleep

This week, is finding me detoxing and getting off some pretty nasty meds, including a steroid. Detoxing from meds is never fun, and never comfortable, but I have to say I was excited to get off the steroid. For me personally, this med does some just horrible things to me, not the least of which is total disruption of my sleep cycle and patterns.

I have always been an avid dreamer, and taking this drug nearly completely eliminates my dreams. There is a question of if I even manage much time in REM. Its not uncommon for me to wake soundly ever 4 hours.

The unfortunate thing is as this drug gets out of my system, my body crashes, hard. It is with great excitement that I was able to get like 18 hours of sleep yesterday. I woke pretty much every 4 – 6 hours did my personal routine when wake, and then back to a sound sleep.

it felt glorious. This is a new thing, a new appreciation of sleep. In the past, pre-cancer I had this feeling/belief that sleep was stealing from my time. I would actively work to try and sleep less, to control how much sleep I allowed myself to get. During my first experiences with cancer, I still stuck to this debilitating belief. I have come to realize that sleep is not only critically important, it also feels pretty great.

Such a shift in my thoughts, I remember being angry with myself for times when I overslept, when I didn’t wake up as early as I’d planned. Now, I am super excited when more sleep comes, when I am later than I had hoped I’d get to sleep.

When we sleep, when we rest our bodies, the cells get to do the healing. They get to do their job of making our bodies stronger. As we relax our bodies, our organs, our bones, our muscles, our cells, our dna and all the other parts of our energy body get to harmonize, and do a dance of healing that restores us, revitalizes us, and brings us into harmony.

They have told me that the radiation will take 2-3 months of a taxing thing on my energy. That I will be extra tired, and extra heavy from the radiation for this period of time, generally. I am looking forward to being able to nap and rest to heal back up.

I am wondering what it will be like to be a stronger person, that gets the most out of rest time, allows her body to revitalize fully, before pushing to the limits again and again. I am excited to meet this part of myself, that I have effectively gimped for so long, gotta do the work, and sleep.

Good Choice 8 – Waiting

This blog was originally in my mind titled as “exercise”. And that might be a more catchy or more appropriate title to woo someone into reading it, but since this blog is for me, I think that titling it waiting is actually best.

First I’d like to talk on the fact that part of my healing, part of my personally developed protocol requires daily exercise. I have been endeavouring to make the movement of my body more regular, and more routine, and finding that I enjoy the fact that I can do this, and that I can push my limits. A 30 Minute walk is just always going to be a good choice for pretty much everyone, there are very few people who are truly unable to accomplish this task, and even they would probably benefit from the effort of the endeavor. Its just almost always going to be a good choice, but its also one of those things, that doesn’t really require spelling out. This is something we know… We like to talk about things we know, they sometimes help us gain inspiration to do them, but often they also defuse inspiration because we feel as if we have talked about them and that was part of the energy to accomplish the task.

In my case, the cancer was in the lymph. Also, when you have radiation, and dead cancer cells, its that good buddy your Lymph that moves all that junk across the stratosphere of your body, into the waste system to help you get it out, thru sweat and good old bathroom time, both necessitate the “movement” of lymph. The easiest, best and most healthy way to move lymph is thru good old fashion movement. its like that old colored bottle with the oil, turn it upside down to see the colored oil bubbles move out, dance around, jump around, or walk around to move that lymph and get those baddies out of your system.

But I digress. I named this post waiting… Smartly. There are alot of old adages about “stop to smell the roses” or “slow down life is to be savoured”… Its definitely worth mentioning, that while I have always had an acute sense of my own mortality thru the entirety of my life, this year has given me an even more razor sharp edge to that mortality, but sometimes I can be a little dense, and it takes me some time to realize the impacts of razor sharp things. I do not say this to be morbid or negative, but the only given in this life is that someday we will die. There is no punch card for getting out of this, so truly the only thing we have is time.

We all know that we have time, we rush, we hurry we move, and get from place to place doing, doing doing. While I recognize that life has elements of doing. There is a so much larger element of feeling.

I think maybe it was and has been because of the therapy I’m more acutely aware of feeling right now. A thing, one of the rare ones my therapist says, that sorta at first took me for a loop but has become something of an internal thing for me now is “How does that make you feel?”

Really? How does that make me feel? – its a stop and pause moment to ask that question, and then a stop and pause moment to answer it. And in the answering you are suddenly overcome with that emotion, of how it made you feel. The good, the not so good, and the bad. Getting to the root of all of those feelings and flushing out the bad ones has been part of the good choice of the therapy. But the realize has occured to me that that question is paramount to my healing.

By surrounding myself with waiting, and feeling all the good things that are around me all the time… stopping to realize, that even when things are not going my way, even when there are gaps or road blocks, I can still feel blessed, and happy and well… that those things, that used to make me crazy, or frustrated or sad, or angry or hurt, don’t need to……. Story time to relay the thoughts in my head into words..

We picked up foods last night for dinner, from Hat Creek. Kind of a rarer treat, particularly for me. I was overwhelmed by the fact that they have a pretty decent Vegan Burger, which they wrap with lettuce upon request, and serve with all sorts of tasty veggies. They also have one of my guilty pleasures, sweet potato french fries. We went thru the drive thru, as I was getting a treat, and it was dinner time so the place was hopping.

They messed up my order. They gave me regular fries not sweet potato fries.

P pulled the car over, and I walked inside. There was a huge line of hungry patrons at the counter, and 3 clerks meticulously working thru the line, with hungry soccer children, and families, and just general folks waiting for dinner. There was a clerk on the shakes – I didn’t indulge in these, but I do have to say I have in past, and their milk shakes are amazing. There were two floaters, and a manager.

As I stood at the pick up place, with my bag of incorrect food, I smiled. I waited.

I’m not precisely certain why I didn’t rush to get the attention of one of these people. I just suddenly, following intuition, knew I needed to wait. I needed to just stand there, with my little OPI REI sunscreen purple hat, covering my head, as I have to keep my head covered now from the radiation.

I smiled, and I waited.

I don’t know how long it took, but one of the people, I think it was the shake floater lady came over and I politely expressed to her that it was supposed to be sweet potato fries, not regular fries. She visible relaxed when I was polite. The lady ringing at the register at the end, that had noticed me and fully expected me to interrupt or ordering also visible relaxed.

Within less than a minute, the manager who had also been floating came over and brought me the sweet potato fries, also expecting me to be angry and hostile, and visible relaxed when I thanked her for fixing my order.

I felt the relief and the positive vibes resonate higher, and the line of people in the time I was there had also relaxed, as people were able to continue doing their work, and moving thru their process to get things accomplished. My waiting netted me the correct stuff, in pretty short time, and I felt pretty great about it.

Accidents happen, mistakes occur, we all make them. Whether it be me spilling the coffee, or forgetting to order the thing, or sending the wrong size, we are human, we are not perfect, and even though we try, sometimes we goof. I think what I am learning is how that sometimes those goofs are also an opportunity for enjoying positive emotions of help, grace, and generally forgiveness.

Waiting, is about observing, and feeling. Observing what is occuring, how other people are and what is happening around you, then assessing not the situation, but how you are in the situation, and correcting or fixing that.

Its worth mentioning, that the tie in to waiting and exercise is truly poignant. We all know “yeah yeah do your exercise” but we also all know, it takes time after you do exercise for the affects, or impacts to occur. Life takes time. Waiting is a part of life. Time is our only currency and we should be spending it on feeling more. Especially making sure we are feeling more positive, not negative, which sometimes takes waiting, to sort out.

We exercise today, for results tomorrow or next week, that time is waiting. Don’t stop the doing, but please try and spend some time waiting, and feeling.

I stopped to see the patterns in the clouds, and the shapes, and then thought about how they made me feel. I thought about the smell of the roses, and the images of how those memories make me feel, and the other places where the roses that smell so strongly so beautiful are located. To feel the connection to those people working, hard at work, trying to do their best to help everyone around them, and how maybe it isn’t a good day for them, but maybe me just smiling and waiting, and being happy at the solution instead of grouchy at the problem made things better.

We wait for many things in life, test, test results, strength, energy, focus, clarity, all of these are part of the journey, part of the what must be done, rather than focusing on these, going to continue this new found waiting knowledge of focusing on the feelings and ensuring that the waiting makes me happy.

Happy Waiting to you as well.

Good Choices – 7 Dial it up to 11

Today’s good choice is Intuition.

I feel I have always had really strong, really good and really really powerful intuition. For the bulk of my life, I remember developing this super early, I remember memories from being very young and knowing about things.

For the bulk of my life, my intuition has been on and spot on at a volume of 2-3. Meaning, I could hear that strong powerful resonate voice in my head, and know what it meant, but it was also pretty easy to take a back seat and be bluntly ignored.

One of the choices I have actively made, as I work to heal my body, to make it stronger, to clean out all the cancer, to sweep the proverbial cobwebs away and be the beautiful person I know I am. …. is to actively turn that intuition up to 11.

At some point after, I believe it was honestly after getting back from my London trip, my intuition and I had this come to Alethia conversation. I recall, discussing things with myself, like an internal meditation, I don’t recall the details of the conversation, so I’m not precisely certain how I turned the intuition up. It was not a fast process, it was like climbing a step ladder that had a thousand steps.

The visual for this process for me, makes me think of one of those temples you find pictures of with so so so so many steps.

From my meditations, I know that I now know how to actively turn up my intuition. I would not say I have mastered this technique, but I would say I understand the fundamentals enough to get myself back to Loud Intuition.

Loud Intuition is so so great. I can’t speak highly enough of this, because bluntly its impossible to ignore. When you are trying to heal yourself, you need your intuition to be screaming at you, like the teacher, like the healer it is…. It knows, you know, what you need, just gotta pay attention and do the work.

I have countless examples of using this loud intuition and having them make my life recently so much better.

Its a pretty new thing for dialing it up, but I have to say that I have yet to find any downside. I am just so much more aware of everything around me, and the easiest, best and most correct path for me to follow. I will say, that it does take the foreknowledge that I’m not responsible for anyone else but myself, and not taking other peoples journeys, but this is a lesson that I had gotten under the belt so to speak long before turning up the intuition.

Intuition is powerful, it is also relaxing and freeing. It feels good, it feels whole, it feels like the best things in life all bundled up in to a warm fuzzy package of love, hope and all the possibilities of the universe.

Highly recommend getting into resonance with intuition. Its a super good choice.

Cancer Part Three of Four

In this, part 3, I’m going to explore a concept, a truth, and a come to the edge of the cliff realization, all of which took place along my journey, and are still impacting my journey today. I am going to speak, in raw truth terms in this blog, and this will be my only qualification for the fact that everyone has different conditions, everyone has different truths, and this will not be a true telling for every other person – only for me. So when you read my propaganda about cancer, know that it is 100% my truth, but it does not necessarily reflect every other 100% cancer survivor, nor would I ever claim to be an expert on anyone else state or cancer than my own.

First, lets talk about Cancer. “They” – we are not going to discuss they, just call them they – this isn’t a judgemental term, just a common term to mean “us, and those other people with more knowledge than us or whatever agenda is available, good bad indifferent…”… They used to say that cancer was a genetic disease. And while, there is an element of genetics (Think laws of natural selection in terms of mother natures ability to control excess population or weed out weakness in preditors) to cancer. Overall, cancer is NOT a genetic disease. Cancer is a metabolic disease.

I’m not going to assume you know what a metabolic disease is, I certainly didn’t, and the concept of this was mind baffling to me. I am pretty sure you probably have heard about metabolism, as the majority of us are obese, fat, or generally well aware of how metabolism impacts life. Sufficed to say, that cancer is a disease that develops, thrives and impacts the body based upon metabolic conditions.

Our bodies are strong, our genes are strong. We are subjected thru this great planet many times every day to cancer. Our body just kills it.

What allows tumors to grow, is poor life choices, and damage to our bodies that is precancerous.

We are humans, we make a billion choices every day. Mentally, Physically, emotionally, consciously, unconsciously, spiritually. Turn left, get the latte, eat the sandwich, walk the dog, shut the door… all of these life choices, can be qualified by ourselves, and our bodies as falling into 3 categories.

Good decisions, the ones that lead towards your goals, that push you ahead in the right way, and even sometimes though they are painful in the moment the lingering good out of them is usually resonate and far outweighing of the momentary discomfort.

Bad decisions, these often feel good in the moment, but usually there is a negative emotion attached with everyone, as we have learned how to feel guilty about these, or learned to hold onto fear, or concern or doubt. So even though these momentarily feel good, they are not good, they are not good for us and generally they produce harm.

Neutral decisions. These are the ones that are tricky. Sometimes they have elements we know to be bad, but often times have elements we know to be good. They are coping mechanism decisions often.

Cancer develops by making too many bad decisions. The location of cancer, is directly related to the area of our lives in which are are making too many bad decisions, there is not a randomness to the development of cancer tumors. Bad decisions weaken the body in specific areas, these bad decisions allow weak cancer cells to form clusters, huddle, wait for us to make more bad decisions, where they are able to develop an ecosystem, and thrive, build giant tumor cities, and spread out to other weakened systems.

The most insidious part about cancer cells is that they are not some foreign invader. They are our own cells, that we, thru bad decisions have mutated into cancer cells. This is both a beautiful and a frightening thing to realize. Beautiful because in a way, they are our bodies natural method for trying to sustain us, the human in a terrible environment of poor choices, a way to harness all those bad decisions into something that thrives. Frightening because with this ultimate power of responsibility for our decisions, comes the power to turn this around, and to remove these bad patterns, bad habits, and bad decision making in order to allow our body to heal this cancer.

One thing to mention, decisions are intimately personal. What is a “good” decision for me, Alethia, in my life. Maybe a horrible bad decision for you. And visa versa. This makes it very difficult to come to a common ground on how do I fix this problem, once you identify it, because the fix for one person, is likely never going to be identical to another. This is why western medicine has issues, they are trained to look for patterns, and to base all treatment on statistics. Choices, while there are “some” that are pretty obvious overriding things, generally there are more controlling decisions that are hidden truth.

I will go as far to say, that developing a tumor is a spiritual experience we make with our body. I have come to realize that my cancer is a pact, I formed an agreement with my body, and it was not until recent weeks and months, in realizing this agreement that I needed to negotiate and take back control and tell cancer its time is passed.

A few obvious facts about cancer that are worth sharing, to improve some basic “good” decision factors.

Cancer cells can’t just thrive. Their need sugar as their food source. Our diet, the western diet, is so fraught and overrun with sugar, it is impossible as being able to see it as much of anything other than a cancer breeding ground. As someone, who has spent the past 12 months removing all sugar from her diet, I can tell you it is ridiculously hard to do this. There is virtually nothing you can leave on auto pilot if your goal is to starve out existing cancer cells from getting the food source of cancer. Including places and things you previously varied as being “safe” are not always going to stay or be safe. Vigilance and a pattern of verification on everything you put into your mouth is necessary.

Cancer cells are weak cells. They are not difficult to kill. The body has the tools to kill them, it has the knowledge, one just has to make the difficult and vigilant decisions to help the immune system, the microbiome, the lymph system, and generally stop giving cancer things that allow it to be strong. There are some great resources on this, the Keto (anti sugar) community has some great tools. There are also alot of “nutritionally how to kill cancer” that also will point out alot of details.

There is an awesome quote, that one of the many sources of good information about naturally curing cancer I have come across gives – its from https://www.chrisbeatcancer.com/ which has been an inspirational source of information, and well worth the financial investment. The quote is, that basically if your body makes it your body has the power to heal it. This is intimately true for cancer.

Most recently, I had a second MRI, that showed significantly bad progression in the tumors in my brain. I also had a CT and a Bone scan, that showed the rest of the cancer in my body is pretty non-existent – meaning they could barely make out the cells that had the cancer, and they showed no active cancer anywhere other than my brain. Armed with this knowledge, and the continuing advancement of my symptoms. I sought out my favorite Radiation Oncologist.

This time, he was very willing to approach a treatment I had initially asked him to consider in Feb when my first MRI was done, a targeted treatment of radiation to my cerebellum. We started that 9 days ago, today I go for treatment 9 of 10. I can tell you that knowing what I know about cancer, and radiation, I am having stellar results. I will go for follow up scans in early July both MRI (July 3) CT/Bone scan (July 11) – to check the state of my union. The radiation is helping, it is killing the tumors in the cerebellum – the bulk of my issue, as well as killing all the blood vessels that cancer has developed to support the other tumors in my brain that live in this area. Everyday, I feel tired from the treatment, but I also feel empowered, renewed and I feel as if I now have the information to move past Cancer. This may not be my only treatment. But I do feel it is miraculously more helpful than any of the other conventional medical treatments I have had to date. … and this is honestly a change in perspective for me.

I have some more to say about cancer, and the agreements that we make that allow it to form tumors, but I feel this part 3 is complete, and Part 4 will be over the next period of time, as I remove the cancer from my body and show miraculous positive results.

I know feel I have the keys as it were to unlocking the spiritual, emotional, and mental reasons I developed cancer, and allowed it to have a place to thrive in my body. I feel like I know understand these like a 3 year old learns, I do not have them mastered yet, but I am well on the way to learning how to do this, I know what I need, and I know where and how to get it. I am uplifted and excited, its probably not going to be a super fast process, but everyday I will feel better, stronger, and thrive. Cancer will go off to the west, and leave my body for good. The power of good choices is super important.

The biggest take away I would like to make sure that I have conveyed in this blog. Cancer is less than 50% physical. All the physical treatments in the world can only be as effective as your soul and heart are at helping. I needed to stop building cancer with my soul and heart in order for the treatments to thrive, and allow me to thrive.

Good Choice – 4 (Shhh Veganism)

I’m a little torn in writing this blog. I have done Vegetarianism in the past, and dabbled a little bit for short periods of my life in Veganism. – For various reasons at the time, most of which intimately personal and having very little to do with most of the reasons people tend to “go vegan” or go “vegetarian”

With cancer, there is an amino acid – Glutamine, that is helpful for rapid cell growth and proliferation. Unfortunately, its nearly next to impossible to “remove” this super vital nutrient from the body. It is however, possible to significantly reduce its impact, and availability. Thru removing Meat & Dairy.

I did a somewhat/loosely phrased Keto Vegan diet for about 6 months. This was after being diagnosis as having the cancer in my brain. My intuition lead me to remove the meat and the dairy from my diet.

For me this was a drastic change. I can tell you that generally, overall; at the specific time, it was a super good choice. It cased a profound and very intimate thing in my body, and life.

I have always been a dairy girl, I still miss my greek yogurt alot, as well as some of my many favorite cheese friends.

Dairy also produces an inflammatory response in the body, gastro and otherwise. Inflammation is the bread and butter of misery related to cancer. It causes the pain, and the soreness. I do feel that removing the meat and dairy, while very mentally challenging and unpleasant did afford me the extra time to get to the place I am now.

Giving up something to which you have grown comfortable and attached is a healthy thing. It teaches us balance and humanity.

I don’t know that I will always be vegan, infact I suspect that my time with these things is limited. They were very good choices at the time, and they maybe good choices for a time still. But I enjoy dairy, and my body does better with some of the meats – particularly missing fish. I do think I have learned alot along this journey about food.

I do also think that this has taught me how to incorporate a lot more veggies and variety of veggies into my diet in healthy and propitious methods. How to center a meal around veggies and healthy foods, vs just staples of a meat and dairy.

Veganish has this thing with it, that I didn’t subscribe to – with so so much tofu. Tofu is not a good choice for me. Tofu in the USA is GMO, and I will say that GMO does not feel like a good choice for pretty much anyone but I know it is a poor choice for me. I have tried pea protein powder, and one of my biggest struggles with keeping veganism a healthy good choice is NOT being a nutritionist. And recognizing the need for protein, but not feeling competent in insuring I have enough of it.

So maybe its a thing to say that while Veganism maybe a super good choice for alot of people, maybe I’m just not the poster child for it.

Its a good choice for me now, and I’ll continue to follow it – not quite as religiously as others — My indian place has this amazing paneer – not at all vegan, and makes me gastro miserable for like 2-3 days, but tastes so good, and makes my body happy.

I have found myself cheating with little things, not huge amounts, but like “oh that had an egg in it…. or that had a tablespoon of butter”…

I will tell you that once you have been “clean” of meat and dairy for 4 weeks, you will feel EVERY time you eat some of any variety. Whether the sauce had meat stock, or the pancake had butter. Your tummy will tell you, sometimes you can taste – depending upon how good the quality of the product being prepared is – but tummy doesn’t lie.

I will say from the good choice perspective, my stomach much prefers the company of any vegetable over any dairy or meat. its just happier all around. Things go in, and go out in a much more predictable manner, and overall my digestive system works like clockwork, and seamlessly. Its one of the many advantages of Veganism.

I think there is a lot of room in this Vegan headspace for Keto or rather, low carb no sugar to be brought out more, and given more raised awareness.

I feel I did a bit, but not really enough, having to eat to survive.

So in the short – Veganism – Good choice for now, maybe change in 6 months or so.

Good Choice 3 – ACUPUNCTURE

Okay so I should say, I have had a … issue / fear with needles my entire life. I have never liked them. However, that being said, one of the things I have been aware of is the debilitating ness of fear, and its self disempowerment.

Armed with this knowledge, years ago – maybe 7 or 8 I worked hard to come to more rationale state with my discomfort/fear of needles. To this end, I visited an acupuncturist and got an introduction to it as a healing modality.

Acupuncture is based upon the meridian in the body. It is fundamentally an eastern healing method. It utilizes the energy and strength inherent in the body to fix any stoppages or blocks within that energy that keep things flowing well and fluidly.

Lets talk about this more fundamentally. Our bodies are designed to work perfectly. We often do things that make this perfection work less well. Acupuncture is a specific approach to fixing these bad choices.

I started doing Acupuncture as a part of my self healing protocol around the same time as therapy. I started going weekly.

I have alot ot say about how powerful this experience has been, and the fact that hands down it not only works, it has saved me many times.

Every week I go for a approximately 20-45 minute treatment. Everytime I feel better, stronger and healthier. There have been times I have gotten a cold, gone in gotten a treatment and immediately felt better.

There have been times I have gone in after chemo or after other treatments and felt “bad” the acupuncture treatment has fixed this “bad” and I leave feeling great.

Over one year of treatments, I can say I have never had a mediocre treatment, never had an experience where I didn’t leave feeling more empowered and resonant than before.

I can also controversial speak of the very very few times I have missed a treatment….. going more than 3 weeks without a treatment I didn’t notice, but I did notice that going back it helped fix things I hadn’t noticed were out of wack.

I am honestly enough of a poster child for this treatment, that places I visit on the regular I have a “back up acupuncturist I see”. I always ask for a recommendation for a therapist/office I can see while I travel, but sometimes for one week its just not possible/reasonable to go.

I would highly recommend this good choice for everyone as a small self care thing, that everyone should be doing. It makes doing other smart decisions easier. Making things easier seems like something all of us want.

As to what the actual treatment feels like. …. really it doesn’t feel like much. You laydown, the therapist goes around your body, takes notes, you tell them what you are feeling and needing, they put in needles. You do feel the initial touch from the person, ideally you don’t really feel the needle, and if you do you speak up, the therapist adjusts it and you don’t feel it. They are very very small, and its this crazy thing, they sit in your body, but you don’t really know they are there. They will put them all over your body, to get to the pathways and organ systems. You will feel energy moving, if you are sensitive.

I have a great acupuncturist, that I can’t speak highly enough about, she is AMAZING. Everytime she does a treatment I feel a sense of “complete” when she puts in all the points. If I feel anything missing, anywhere on my body, some spots will itch or sort of burn telling me “hey mention this to her, and ask about what its serving”…. and she will usually put a point in those spots, and I will feel it connect to the other points she has done.

Overtime, I get a sense of when she has finished putting points in, because I feel “set” sort of like doing a perm or a hair color when the hairstylist sits back and goes “time to set”… I don’t’ know if this is from the points themselves or from the feeling from the therapist, I honestly didn’t think too much about it.

I just know, then she leaves me for x amount of time, I lay down and take a nap, because basically I’m just meditating with these things in, and then she comes back and removes them and I leave.

It feels amazing. I usually nap while they are in, sometimes the music keeps me awake, I usually have her use some aromatherapy while she does this, but one of the travel spots doesn’t really do that.

Some Acupuncturist do other things – some are herbalist, some use other healing modalities also. But overall, the acupuncture is the “reason” you are going, and its just incredible.

Most insurances cover some version of this, so I would recommend checking into that first, my particular acupuncturist is a specialist in cancer treatment. Meaning she knows the points to help me deal with side effects and also help my body be strong to kill off the cancer. If you are experiencing a particular physical problem I’d recommend finding one with that speciality. Overall, I would just recommend trying it out for a period of time for yourself, and make notes and reflect how it makes you feel.

I feel this is a super strong good decision, and I also feel if I had any friends or family with Cancer, this and a therapist would be the first on the treatment list.

Good Choices 2 – Therapy

So these good choices, are apparently going to be so inspiring so as to wake me from a sound speak with the need to be told.

Good choice that I would probably actually call number one, even though its showing up as number 2 which has a lot of ironic things in my world, but I have to say, call it one or two or call it overall “OMG ITS MOST IMPORTANT” one. It woke me, from a sound and restful sleep with a need to be told.

Good choice number 2 is a Therapist. A Psychologist that you pay money, weekly to sit down and listen to you whine, bitch, scream, cry, laugh or just lament about all the good, bad, amazing and life altering things that are going on in your life.

First I would like to point out, that anyone that knows me very much at all, would very easily laugh at me calling this a good choice.

I have been very very self aware for a long time, and I have a very profoundly well developed ego. So in my world, in my life I viewed this as a truly unnecessary thing. Fate tried, thru kind small movies and actions to lead to release the error of my ways. There are alot of really good Youtube and Ted Talks about how important this is, and how it really somewhat relates to having a bandaid on a bleeding wound. Having a therapist is just a no brainer.

It wasn’t until I had a recurrence of my cancer, and found a study in Germany that found that 85% of woman with a recurrent of hormone responsive therapies, being a particular personality type, and that personality type being Type C – which effectively means “people pleasers that are resentful – that please other people at the detriment of their own needs, goals, and aspirations, and recognize these as bad, but keep doing it anyway”

It wasn’t until I read this, and realized that wow, 85% meant it was “probably me” and the type C didn’t seem so far off from me to be a possibility and to recognize that after 46 years if I didn’t have a fix for this, maybe I need to at least consider that I wasn’t as much an expert as I’d thought, and maybe I needed to at least consult with someone who had spent their life work finding truth in life.

For me, Therapy started as me hunting for a therapist that was covered under my insurance, was less than 5 miles from my home, and had a Doctor – a PHD. Because personally, that vanity aspect, if I figured if I was going to talk to someone and share myself with them, they were going to have done enough annoying schooling and jumped thru enough hopes to be “qualified”. I figured a reporte was something that would come later.

In my findings, I happened to have a comical experience at first, because apparently my DR – there are 2 with the same last name, both doctors both covered under my insurance and both 5 minutes away from my house, and my GPS took me to the wrong doctor the first day. She was super kind, and while it was clearly not the right office, it was an office that could also have been the right office.

When I found my doctor, the one I had made the appointment with we laughed about this experience that first day and instantly a reporte was built.

I have been seeing this doctor weekly for over a year. And I can honestly tell you two things. One I have never had a bad therapy experience. There has never been a time, when the hour was up that I did not wish for more time, and that I did not l,eave in a lighter, happier more profoundly fulfilling space than I started. I have walked thru alot of dark places, and shared alot of really intensive information, but it has hands down always felt better to share it.

Second thing, I can honestly say, that this single step is one of the most critical steps for curing cancer, and for helping me as a person. I feel better after these sessions.

Its also worth mentioning for those with no therapy experience, and I can not speak to anyone else, or any other experience, or any other therapist, but I would imagine that my experience is how much “should” probably go. She doesn’t talk much. In the course of our meetings, our discourses, 90% of the talking is all me. Unlike my fears, or expectations she did not have a crystal ball of knowledge that she felt the need to share to “fix” something that was wrong or broken with me. There isn’t anything wrong or broken with me, I’m just fine the way I am. Her job this entire process has been to allow me to have a voice. To be heard. To speak my truth, and to hear it back myself. The few words or times she has spoken, has been to reframe or offer an alternative to how my thought process has evolved. To allow me to see a different perspective about something I am so sure is correct. This different perspective has always been without any agenda or intent, and I have felt quite confident that it would not have made any difference to her if I agreed or disagreed with her opinion and shared information. I am paying her for a service, and that service is to listen to me share my thoughts, privately and selectively and unbiasedly with her. I did not realize how critical this was, I did not realize how life altering this was, and I didn’t realize just like all those ted talks told me years ago, how much my world would improve by just these small baby steps.

Every week I go to her, spend my 35$ copay – at this point free since I have met my out of pocket deductible for the year, and I am so so thankful the universe put this in my path. I feel I will cure my cancer, and I feel I have learned so much about it and myself thru these simple little one hour of my own effort of nothing more than conversation, every week.

Please find a therapist, please go schedule an appointment and please go regularly. Mental health is not a small thing, it controls your entire universe.

Good Choice.

And now I’ve blogged and I can go back to my sound sleep – more good choices to come over more days, I’m super happy to be able to share this one, and the future ones, maybe they will let me get back to my part 3 of the cancer blog again soon <3

Good Choices Intro/1- Keto

I’m trying to write my part 3 of cancer. I realized I had too much to say for one blog post. Part of the issue is that in this part 3 there are so many pieces that really need their own blog.

Many of the things that I have been lead to that are arguable super super good choices. Things I should have been doing my entire 46 years, that have helped me be a better, stronger person, and have allowed me to fight cancer, to learn about cancer and overall have improved my health.

In no particular order, I’m going to blog about each of these things, by defining them first as a good choice. I am not at all saying that the order is the importance for me or for my life. I am also not saying that they are the order I would give to someone else, anyone else.

They are just ordered as they felt important to share.

This is the first of the good choices. I am not going to try and argue for anyone else to make this good choice. I would like to define 2 things that make something a good choice.

One, something I have chosen to define as a good choice. Does not seem to have negatives for me or for anyone that are large enough to prevent a person from making this decision.

Not necessarily calling them a no brainer, because good choices are hard. They require dedication, discipline, and alot of help from outside resources often. However, that being said, the choice, once made and implemented has such wildly positive impacts as to make me, of all people wonder how I could possible have avoided or steered away from this choice for so long. They are things that have literally made my head spin with my own ignorance. I am not one to call myself ignorant lightly. I have spent the entirety of my 46 years trying to snuff out this dragon of ignorance and have found not many things that have made me question my sanity and state of mine.

Good Choice things, are one of those things where in hindsight they are so good that not doing them seems fundamentally lacking in knowledge.

Two, something else about good choices. Every one of the ones I will blog about individually, is that they are overall, relatively simple. They have alot of fundamental parts, and a bit to learn much like reading, was originally. Letters and the concept of these things is a little hard, but once you grasp this, the basics are so easy as to take you to mystical lands thru books and other worlds.

Good choices are simple, and fundamental and are good for all people, whether they are implementable or right for an individual is totally subjective, and I do not claim to know what is best for anyone other than myself.

That is enough preamble about what makes something a good choice. I will refer back to this multiple times, for now, on to what I consider a number one of my “good choice things”. Things I need to document, in order to continue documenting my cancer journey.

Good Choice #1 – Keto.

Lets talk for just a moment about Keto.

its called a diet, and by nature of the fact that everything we put into our mouths is a diet, by that factor alone it is a diet.

I would more call keto a way of thinking about eating.

Our bodies have this miraculous ability to either burn Sugar or to burn Fat, to fuel cells in our body. . The later we burn with so much more efficiency than the former, its actually a significantly healthier state to be fat burning than sugar burning. Cancer cells do NOT share this multi-pronged ability to burn both food sources, they are only efficient at burning Sugar, they are extremely efficient at burning sugar, in fact, they are 10 times more efficient at burning sugar than any other cell in our bodies. So effectively when you supply sugar, or any sugar to our bodies, cancer cells get fed first. They take the bulk of the sugar, and make new roads to feed cancer cells, multiple, grow and spread harm. They do not have a way to utilize ketosis. When you bring your body into a state of ketosis, and allow the rest of our cells to burn using fat, you are effectively helping starve cancer cells.

Keto is about removing sugar and carbs from your diet. This is a hard hard step. Its not really hard physically. the Keto diet feels so good, that its actually extremely long term sustainable. after the initial transition 1-2 weeks into it. You become less hungry, and your body will automatically cannibalize all that extra fat you have storied making it ridiculously fast and easy to lose weight. Its also super formulaic to follow, just don’t eat anything with sugar and limit the amount of carb you are having to lower than the amount of fat you are consuming. The bulk of your food should come from vegetables, and you should not be eating carbs as we traditionally know them. You will be getting plenty of carbs, veggies have carbs. This food plan is not about avoiding carbs, its about avoiding those processed grainy carbs that we all have known for years are not good for us, but we continued to make bad choices and eat them anyway.

Couple of things I will say from personal experience about Keto. The keto “flu” as they call it, the first week or two of transitioning your body into a state of ketosis, where you are not having carbs. It feels precisely like going thru chemo treatments. Exactly like chemo. Having had a lot of different chemo treatments in my life at this point, and having started a very mild chemo the first week I decided to try Keto, I have to tell you that the keto flu for me, was as bad as some of the worst chemo treatments I have had. I felt miserable. There is alot of emotional and psychological attachment to carb in our diet and lifestyle. We feed ourselves carb because it “feels good” or that is what we tell ourselves. We have developed bacteria and fungi in our gut that “enjoy” that feeling of carb, they are not necessarily good bacteria or good fungi. They are just strong at eliciting a brain response that releases chemicals when we eat carbs and other rawer sugars. Thinking of carbs as sugars is how I personally made it alot easier to transition more onto keto. Anything that turned into a raw sugar within a short period of time in my gut, was on the “no list” for what I was eating. This pretty much meant that when I first did Keto, the first few months, I avoided almost every fruit. There are alot of safe keto fruits, and I’m not recommending that everyone do this, its not for everyone. What I will tell you is that anytime you are trying to transition to something that is harder than where you are at, when you are trying to form new brain and body patterns. Doing things the hardest possible way for the first period of time – for me its 4-6 weeks will make it so much easier to adhere later. Basically have to stick to the guns until you have a routine of “no thats wrong” that pops up from your own mind, that you don’t have to think about.

The keto flu – the 1-2 weeks of feeling like you are going thru chemo is a deterent that prevents alot of people from going on this path, from changing over to this keto diet. I will tell you, that if you take my comments about it “being” like chemo, and you realize that basically your body is revolting because much like having cancer, you have been feeding it all incorrectly for too long, and this Dis-ease of feeling like you have been given chemo. Of feeling like you are having the flu, is a last ditch effort of those fungi and bacteria to try and prevent you from doing this good choice. Don’t worry. there will be a point somewhere along the 10 day mark, where you will suddenly be fine. The good bacteria will take over, and suddenly you will wake and have THE BEST day of your life.

When the body transitions into ketosis. When you stop fighting yourself for feeding yourself things that you need, healthy fats, no sugar no carbs. Lots of veggies. Your body will respond with a “thank you” Things will feel great.

Your brain will work better. You will be smarter. You will have rose colored glasses on, because things that seemed impossible will not seem possible. You will have alot more energy than you expected, and suddenly almost too much. You will want to move your body. I’m not necessarily talking about workouts or exercise routines. But suddenly sitting still, all the things we know are “not good choices” become alot more clear, and they just seem alot easier to give up. There isn’t a gold star or a plan needed. Fun movement things just suddenly pop into your head of better ways to take care of your body, that don’t require really much effort at all, because you have energy for this effort.

Alot of people call this diet the “bacon diet”. I laugh at this, because I know where my journey eventually took me, and I will tell you that the coolest most fun part of starting this diet is that “yes, you can pretty much have as much bacon as you want. That isn’t to say that Keto is the bacon diet, just that sometimes when you are moving to something overall more healthy for you, giving yourself something you want is a necessary trade out. So have alot of bacon if that makes you happy. I will say, I didnt’ eat alot of bacon, however I did buy good quality bacon and I used the fat for cooking alot of things. Bacon itself has always been one of those things that smells and tastes so yummy, but my body is like “meh its food” type of things when I eat it. it was Part of my initial Keto diet, but the bacon grease, the fat from cooking the bacon that was part of my world. It was stored in mason jars, and alot of times I’d cook veggies in it. It made a good source of fat, that wasn’t super bad and had a really good taste.

My personal journey took a left turn at albacourkey a long while after starting keto. I will say that there are people that still utilize bacon alot and good for them. The best thing about this diet is, its not about avoiding lean meats, its more about eating a lot of fat. You get to make friends with some oils, olives, avocados. I was morbidly obese, so for me, this fat introduction took a little longer, because I honestly had so much fat on my body that staying in ketosis was more about reducing the carb count than anything else.

There are alot of sources of good macro information about Keto. I can tell you that the fundamentals are more important than the macros.,- at least from my personal experience. I will say understanding the macros is a good idea, and maybe following for those first 4-6 weeks a “plan” where someone has done all the macros for you, so that you ensure that you known what keto feels like, so that you know what to avoid, and what to ensure you get plenty of, would probably be super helpful.

That isn’t and wasn’t me, but that is alot of people. There are alot of people in this world that feel the need for knowing “this data number is right where it is at. This diet – Keto, is known for producing some of the best body builder results hands down in the world. There are alot of very knowledgeable and smart people that follow keto, and they have gold star advice, My goal with this blog is not to at all replace, or even try and replicate that knowledge. My goal is to share only why Keto is a good choice. One of the best choices for me.

Some resources, for people curious that want more information:

There are a few blogs I follow regularly, and people that do videos I find inspiring and engaging. About this topic I’ll give you an army.

My hands down favorite, Thomas Delauer. This guy is living the dream. His blogs are always uplifting, always spot on, and he has very relevant information about Keto from his own personal experience and struggles. He publishes multiple times a week, and his videos always seem timely.

Another great source, that is reliable usually amusing, and chock full of great sugar information, as well as a woman following keto that happens to cook like its going out of style – making alot of replacement things that you “want” but know you shouldn’t have, that now she provides you with “keto” alternatives. Keto Connect with Matt & Megha.

This third one, I don’t really list down for Keto, but he has alot of good information about health in general, and is one I follow. He has spoken about keto and has alot of good information, he covers much ore broad topics, and covers some interesting topics about cancer. Dr. Berg

I will say, in my personal journey I was very very blessed, that the local farmers market “happened” to have a keto bakery, that filled my kitchen with a few “fake things” that helped me during the first few months of transitioning to Keto. The transition is only hard mentally. I wanted those carbs back. I wanted those sugars back. I had made poor choices for 46 years, and those poor choices were defining a lot of my choosing ability at this time. Utilizing some of her quick recipes for fat bombs and using her yummy baked fake out deserts helped me get through my routine, and move on to making my own plan with less replacement things, and more real foods that suddenly tasted alot better. But I will say, having her recipes for chocolate chip cookies, that were keto approved did help make the transition alot less painful.

I will say, this is alot more than I intended, for this first “good choice” Keto is a good choice. Enough said.

Cancer Part two of Four

Well sports fans,…. Okay not really, I don’t feel its appropriate for me to use that “sports fans” tag, since I’m not really a sports fan. Its pretty fair to say that I’m kinda an anti sports fan… although I do enjoy the amount of people that love to enjoy this, so I suppose we will direct that sports fans at pretty much anyone other than me reading this blog. … Back to my journey with cancer.

When last we left our intrepid heroine…. There were 18 weeks, which I handled by doing “Alethia things”… in my 46 years of life, I can honestly acknowledge there are a few good, a few neutral and a few really bad copying mechanisms I have for life in general, I suspect that this is probably the case for most people, one of the “good” is my ability to feel full belief that I will have the capacity to climb whatever mountain I have chosen to set my foot on, thru the power of song. I made a spotify playlist for my 18 weeks of chemo treatments. (6 treatments, 3 weeks part, 7 days in a week — 126 days

This was my plan, I’d just hide out in a bunker of myself for these 126 days, and basically handle my life as a microcosm, fighting against all the bad, and letting these toxic chemo drugs do magic work of killing my tumor.

Still no plan was discussed about causes, still no source, and I was still fighting myself, still intent that “I was entitled” to not have cancer. I could “pretend” it away. I could get through 126 days, and all the aftermath and I could just go back to my old life, old ways, and things would be just fine.

Bad things were happening all over my body. I felt miserable. Chemo drugs; at least in my experience every one I have ever had reason, rationale, or argument to take, cause issues with your cognitive function. They also cause issues with pretty much every system in the body. They are designed to destroy weak cells. The idea being that cancer is a weak cell. There is a fault to this logic however, that in a body that has developed cancer, there are many weak cells. In a body, where a cancer cell, which we are all exposed to every day millions of millions of times, has had purchase to develop into a tumor, has had time to thrive and grow into a protected colony against which the body’s own immune system has been fooled into protecting, this cancer cell is about as weak as the Mob during the great depression. Its worth recognizing these things, because when you inject chemo, with intentions of doing no harm, it’s definitely worth considering that you are absolutely going to be doing harm. This is not something that any doctor is unaware of; having had extensive trainings, lectures, learnings, and advanced education on the effects, risks, and side effects of every chemo drug and the hopes they provide, but then we all have our copying mechanisms for dealing with unpleasant things.

I remember vividly after treatment number 5 a day, laying in bed, where I was just too weak to do anything else. I remember feeling the sunshine on the pillow next to me, and feeling the warm spiritual touch that comes from the holy spirit, god, or whatever source you personally take power from… Feeling that presence overcome me. I remember feeling so weak, so broken, so unable to understand why this was happening to me. I felt that presence ask me if I was done. I felt the full and complete comfort associated with permission to die.

In my life, this permission to die is not a small thing. This wasn’t the first time I’d felt that. Anytime, when I have spoken to source, I have always been given permission. My life is a gift and a blessing, and I am here thru the grace of god, and specific requests that have granted me access to this life, in this form that is Alethia. Its never a question of permission for me, its a question of am I done.

I contemplated this question, in my head for the next few hours, mostly because I was really too weak to do anything else. I thought about all the people I loved, all the experiences I’d had. I thought about all the things that made me laugh, and things that just never ended being a source of joy.

I found a one thing, I wanted to accomplish that pushed me to say, to myself, to source, to everything, “No, I’m not done yet.” and its sort of funny, because source has this sardonic sense of humor, because no sooner were those words thought and passed in my consciousness, than the expected and inevitable follow up occurred of response: “This too shall pass”

And suddenly I was still as weak as I was, and I still had one more treatment after I got thru this one, plus all the rest, but I knew I was alive, and I wasn’t going to die today.

I got thru the treatments, and then I met with the surgeon. I had always, up until cancer believed my body to be a temple, of which I was a curator, not a sculptor. This meeting, showed me for the first time, that I would get to be a sculptor. It opened this possibility up, due to necessity. They would need to remove my left breast, to ensure that the cancer was “gone” they would be taking out lymph nodes on the left side, to get the one where my cancer had started to sneak off.

After discussion and consideration, a few minor points of vanity to mention, part of why I let the lump go in my left breast for so long… was a vanity thing. Growing up, I’d always had an extreme dissymmetry between my breasts, more than a cup size. This is both a visible, and emotionally uncomfortable thing. The tumor afforded me the luxury of symmetry. Pretty close to perfect harmonious symmetry. It is not easy to admit, that the lack of any other discomfort from the tumor, and this happy pretty symmetry, is part of why I took so long to pursue any type of resolution. Following the generally old adage “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”

This changed now, with the “tumor gotta go” medical approach. So now, I would be having a left breast mastectomy. I opted to do a Trans flap reconstruction. My surgeon wanted to give my body some time to heal after the chemo before she radically shifted everything about it for not the last time.

One minor point to mention during this blog. I have to give a shout out to my medical team. While I have a lot of small inconsequential notes, and not small disconnects over the entirety of my experience, these individuals have been nothing short of a treasure to me. They are valuable, smart, cunning, shrewd, and blissful people, some of the best minds in medicine I could have hoped to encounter, and while they each have had their own day, their own agendas, their own struggles both professional, medical, and otherwise, they have all worked very hard to provide me with the highest standard and quality of care, this I have never felt was in doubt. If I had ever truly questioned this, they would not be part of my medical team, I have no time for doctors that are not in their bliss, there are enough problems with the medical system, the insurance system, and the pharmaceutical system which are all pretty far behind my grasp of correcting at this time, for me to ever have time to hold a doctor that shouldn’t be a doctors hand.

I was scheduled for the surgery, and had the surgery, had stellar results, and I could feel the day after the surgery, a lightness in my chest. I could feel the darkness of the tumor gone. The healing from the reconstruction wasn’t nearly as toxic or difficult as the healing from the chemo drugs, and I was still taking the HER2 positive chemo drugs (the ones that suppress estrogen) for another year. The surgeon that removed the lymph came to me in the second day following my radical surgery. She explained that she had needed to be super aggressive with removal of my lymph nodes, as apparently they were unable to locate any cancer. She removed 25 lymph nodes in my left side, and none of them showed any cancer in them. While I recognized the doctor was using her best in the surgery judgement, and that her outcome was not atypical, I was not prepared for removal of so many lymph nodes. I suppose maybe it would have been better if the chemo had not killed that cancer cell off or if I had just completely declined removal of the lymph nodes all together.

Lymph nodes are important. They are not flashy and red like blood vessels, or tactile and so emotional as nerves. I knew they were important, but at no point was their import covered with me by a medical professional. They were just taken out, and I was not advised of the side effects of this removal…. until a year later when I started to have side effects, in the form of Lymphedema.

I healed from the surgery, and continued to have my every 3 week chemo drug treatments to suppress Her2 Cancers. These had fatigue, brain fog, and general mild other side effects, they prevented me from trying to return to work; as I continued to isolate myself.

My medical team strongly worked to persuade me to have radiation. They wanted to radiate my newly reconstructed breast, just to ensure since they didn’t find any cancer in the lymph nodes they removed, they wanted to radiate me “just in case” they missed something.

Still at no point was the “how did this happen, how did I join the cancer survivor club” No discussion on “don’t do this to not get cancer again” No discussions of anything other than carpe diem medical treatment, and what I mean by this is – triage, handle the great concern, with no thought or consideration for what it means, how it happened or what needs to occur to prevent it again.

More next time in Cancer Part three of four.

Cancer Part One of Four

This post will be part one of four, where I discuss a few not fun facts, about a not fun thing I am dealing with, going through and otherwise choosing to learn, by necessity, in order to survive.

Time for a History lesson of me. In June 2016, it was determined, much as I had suspected for the few years prior, that the lump in my left breast was in fact cancer. I was initially diagnosed as Stage IV, as the cancer had metastasized to my lymph nodes already and was presumed to be elsewhere within my body yet undiagnosed.

Stage IV is the scariest stage to be diagnosed, because it effectively means that western medicine doesn’t have a “cure” they can sell you, and they are more concerned with keeping you alive as long as possible than anything else. This may sound a little bitter, but its more a realistic emotional reaction based upon my personal experiences.

Within a few more weeks of testing, a surgery to install a port, and my first “chemo” treatment. It was later Re-diagnosed as Stage 2. This means in humble people jaron free speak, western medicine has classed you as: “Good news, we think we can reasonable “cure” you, if you follow these toxic protocols we give you.”

Up until this point in June of 2016, I had never had surgery. I should not gloss over the fact that from the time of diagnosis, till the time of re-diagnosis, and beginning of my “stage 2 journey to healing”, I had undergone some of the most frightening experiences known to humanity. A mammogram, a biopsy, a surgery, a chemo treatment, a CT Scan, a Brain MRI, and so many doctors appointments, and planning and educations for all of the above, it hardly bares mentioning that my head, heart and soul, and that of my loved ones was still spinning.

My “protocol” was going to be 6 grueling treatments of chemotherapy, that were guaranteed to make my hair fall out, make my nails and skin brittle, risk possible permanent damage to all of my internal organs, as well as my skin. I was advised that once the treatments were finished, I would be referred to a surgeon for removal of my breast, reconstruction options, and then referred to a radiologist for irradiation of the reconstructed skin. I was not given options, no other details were discussed or reviewed, this was “the way it was to be”

I was educated on the fact that I was triple positive, a fact that was relayed as being a “super good thing” as it meant that there were hormonal suppression chemo drugs, I’d be taking for 18 months, that would prevent further outbreaks of the cancer in other areas of my body.

I was immediately put into flight or fight mode emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically. Having no time to breath and consider my options, having no recourse other than to follow the “experts” advise.

At no time was the “cause” or “root” of this problem identified. At no time was diet or best course discussed. When I asked the best diet for chemo, I was generally told “whatever I felt like eating”. This honestly somewhat made sense, since in addition to the mainline chemo drugs they were pumping through my port, they also subscribed steroids and 3 types of anti nausea meds, so it really didn’t matter much what I ate, since my body was so heavily medicated that my immune system had no hope of helping me out.

In addition to the medical rollercoaster ride I was now experiencing, there were three other “necessary” amusement “rides” for me to embrace during this time.

The first was my work. I had been working, for a company for many years, 12 plus years, and I was suddenly, incapable of returning to work. This caused a void in a routine in my life. I suddenly had more time to focus on how truly miserable I was feeling, with no daily satisfaction from the small things, at my job that had been satisfying for me. At this point, back in 2016 when all of this was occuring, there was no thought in my mind of “not” returning to work, it was not knowing when I would be able to return to work. This created a state of frustration both in myself, and I’m certain for my colleagues. The environments at businesses in our country, The United States, are such that perpetually we are overworking our staff. This greats better profit margins, but creates a tremendous amount of stress surrounding incidents where an employee is forced to go on a long term medical leave. I was a basket case. I felt horrible leaving my teams, my employees, my colleagues, in the lurch, to tend to this most vital thing, my health. As if this feeling of guilt, and responsibility weren’t enough, in order to financially provide some stability to my family, I needed to jump thru the hopes to get short term, long term, and extended disability – All of which, are by design intended to be excessively convoluted. These required a jobs worth of follow up to ensure that I was qualified, that the paperwork for my qualification had been filed by me, by my employer, by my doctor, and had been approved by multiple sources at the insurance company. This process has been ongoing, and judging by the number of hours I have spent thru this process, its not unlike having a job. I am truly grateful to have been “prepared” in such a way so as to have paid for disability “just in case” for years, for this incident. I am also grateful for the time of the nurses, and doctors (multiple) who had to spend some of their time, away from patients to file my claim information multiple times. This process was a nightmare, continues to be a nightmare, and is one that I dread over and over again.

The next of the amusement park of cancer that I had to experience, was sudden brutal realization that i was no longer on the elite outside of “I don’t have cancer” Now forever, I would be a “cancer survivor” which is basically what they call you once you are diagnosed until you are dead. You are a cancer survivor until you are dead. I was now a label. I have always been a label in my life. A white woman. An obese white woman. An over 30 non-college graduate woman. But now suddenly, I had this other label that would forever define me. A Cancer Survivor. This just didn’t seem acceptable. I fought against this. As anyone who knows me will tell you, when I feel something is unfair, I will be the first to stand up and ring the bells and cry foul. Well, I looked at this label and I said “Nah this ain’t me” and I did everything humanly possible to avoid having this label, for no real other reason than I didn’t want to have it.

But wait, there is more, there was another rollercoaster of emotion waiting for me to struggle to come to terms with during this personal war against cancer going on. This one was a little bit more insipid and mild all at the same time, wrapped up in a pretty bow, and was the most toxic fruit cake of all time. That of my family and friends. All well meaning, all well intentioned, all filled with their own worry, regret, concern, hopes, inspirations, well wishes, needs, and generally aspects of being human. Suddenly I went from being a rock for everyone else, to being expected to be a mountain for everyone else. It isn’t that they intended this to be the case, but its more that they had these expectations that I just couldn’t fill or fit. They wanted to be there fore me, to provide assistance to me, all in ways that I couldn’t figure out how or what to do with. How did this happen? What did I do to create this mess?

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my journey.