I'm three years in now. Three years of actively fighting and overcoming, not only my cancer, but my feelings. Cancer is such a case-by-case illness that it can be a very lonely healing journey. And the feelings of loneliness are sometimes more overbearing that the actual physical pain. I've gone through a series of very different types of emotions; from the beginning when I found out about my disease to now with my continuous monthly treatments. I have found helpful ways to cope emotionally.
When I first heard the words "You" and "Cancer" in the same sentence, it was like hearing a foreign language. I actually didn't have feelings immediately because it simply didn't register. That word did not pertain to me, a 31 year old mother of four who can conquer anything that comes my way under the motherhood umbrella, and hardly EVER got sick. My heart did not skip a beat. It didn't sink. It simply did not register that I could die from Cancer and leave my family behind. It took a while for that word to sink in. I couldn't even say it. I did not want to give it any attention or energy.
After a few days of hearing the news, I then went through the phase of "IF it is Cancer" then "WHY ME???". I like to take ownership of the occurrences in my life. It was just natural for me to ask myself what I did to cause this. I thought to myself that if I could figure out what I did wrong, then I could fix it. I then went on a detailed analyzation of my life day and night trying to figure out the broken piece in my life puzzle that brought to this point of my life. What is my unstable childhood consisting of all the different cultural experiences? Although I've always been naturally fit, could it be my underweight struggles? Can it perhaps be because of the stress of being a young, married, mother and entrepreneur? I questioned my whole life and every major decisions I made and didn't make. And I also compared myself and asked "WHY NOT THEM?". What about everyone else who struggle more than I have (rape victims, homeless people, refugees...)? And what about those who aren't active and eat a heavily junky diet? What about the people who deal with serious stress from raising children with disabilities, financial turmoil, and abusive relationships? If Cancer is causes by stress and/or bad nutrition, what have I done to cause this to myself?
And there was the "There is no Cancer" phase. I hid my Cancer for over a year before I told my world. I didn't even tell my mother. The signs were there. The symptoms were there. My Lymphoma lumps were obvious. But I didn't talk about it at all. I hid them in pictures. When people would ask me about the lumps on my neck, I would simply say that my lymph nodes were swollen. I didn't hide my Cancer out of shame. I didn't hide it out of pride. I simply wanted to be NORMAL. I didn't want the attention or pity that comes along with the disease. I just wanted to focus on my everyday life, just like everyone else. I didn't want to feed the fear of Cancer, from me or other people. I wanted in a way to protect the ones I love from having to worry about me. It was a lot for me to deal with my own feelings, I couldn't bear their heartache as well. I actually made a plan in my mind. My plan was to heal from Cancer secretly, and then tell my love ones after remission. Well, that was an epic fail lol.
Here are some pictures of how I hid my lumps:
I also experienced the "ALL IN" phase! I was determined to try and do whatever it takes to heal. Healing became my number one focus, and rightfully so it should have been. Going the wholistic route, I researched like crazy. I went vegan (raw vegan at that!) cold turkey one day at the office. I didn't wait until Monday, or whatever date you might set it your mind that my magically make you feel determined to do something. I tried so many home remedies and followed expensive programs! I bought supplements (about $400 bi-weekly in supplements). I read and reread every healing book I could put my hands on and watched every video possible. I dove deep into essential oils. I did intense detoxing. I took in NO SUGAR what so ever! I didn't even eat a peppermint for two years. I could go on and on... I went all in. I was so focused that I became obsessed with healing remedies.
There were days of dancing it off and days I couldn't make it out the bed. I was trying to be happy, and I was very sad. I worried about my children. I worried about my husband raising my children alone (well I'm sure he would have eventually found a hot wife...he's got good taste lol). And then a light came on! I didn't realize I was sick in other areas of my life beside my body. I had to heal emotionally!
My first AH HA moment was that, it's not your circumstances, but it's how you react to your circumstances, that changes the game. Yes, there are people out there, who survived wars and people who eat pizza for breakfast, that do not have cancer. And there are also people who stress out about everything that do not have cancer. I think the key for me was how unhealthy my reaction were to my life circumstances. I didn't even realize it, my fight or flight state became my norm. I had to find a way to manage my feelings better, regardless of how big or small my circumstances might seem. Otherwise, I can be on the best cancer remedies in the world, and it too could fail.
#1. I had to acknowledge my feelings instead of sweeping them under the rug. It's hard to hear that you have Cancer. You might as well be mourning the death of your old life. You will no longer look the same, feel the same, or be able to live the same life you have worked so hard to build. So how could I possibly think that I would just be "OK"?
#2. I focused on healing holistically meaning, fix the whole puzzle: Mind, body, and spirit. It is scientifically proven that your thoughts affect your body. Wether I chose to heal through traditional or holistic medicine, I would need heal the whole me. I had to heal my spirit, my emotions, and my mental state (I'll share all that I've plugged into that was life changing for me to be able to overcome my feelings).
#3. An "ALL IN" attitude is awesome, but too much of anything is unhealthy. There was a major shift in my healing when I started to let go of the obsession of curing my Cancer. I remember telling myself one day "if I die from Cancer because I ate a peppermint, Lord TAKE ME NOW". Yes, focus on improving your life by taking good care of your health, but putting so many restrictions on what you eat, read, see, do, or think is not the way. You might as well crawl in a cage and wait to die. I love the "80/20" rule I learned: if you're going to indulge in something you shouldn't be eating (for example) enjoy it! It would be better than stressing over it and causing more dis-ease in your body.
#4. The path of least resistance: My favorite word is ALLOW. When my cures, chemos, remedies were failing, and the doctors were unsure of what to do next, I was terrified. Yet something else also happened that was magical. I let go. I literally got so tired of worrying and feeling sad. If you are sad long enough, it gets boring lol. I missed just living my life. I was sick and tired of focusing so much on my healing. I wanted to focus on something else, anything but Cancer. So I did just that. It wasn't and it is still not easy. But minute by minute, day by day, I force myself to get up out of the bed, and do something other than focus on "what is the PH balance of my water". I turned on my Zouk music, and I danced. I started to watch a lot of stand up comedy. Anything to distract make me laugh and to make me happy.
If I haven't learned anything yet, there is one thing that sticks with me. Tony Robins says that "EMOTION is just ENERGY in MOTION". So when you want to (need to) get rid of bad emotions, move! For example: If your husband left that toilet seat up again, don't dismount the toilet and kill him. Instead do jump and jacks right away. Will that fix your toilet seat issue? No. Will that make you feel better about having Cancer? No. What it does is prevent "negative proteins" from attacking you on a cellular level (we shall talk about that later). It shift what your body is focused on. It is so important to live in the present moment and to protect what you are feeling. This helps create healing by not adding on to the dis-ease.
I've learned so many little tricks and nuggets to help me navigate my high-tide emotional state. I still struggle sometimes of course, but I keep trying. I feel so much better emotionally, which makes it easier to fight another day. I will make sure to share in detail everything that I have tried and done that have contributed to my healing. This was a mouth full lol! If you have a question, ASK! I know how lonely this journey can be, and I am to help and pray for you.
Kisses for now!