A weird thing happened at the beach the other day. It seems I made peace with the idea of death. I was at the beach meditating and suddenly got this message that death wasn’t something to be afraid of. That I had to just surrender. Let go of all the stuff I can’t control (hello serenity prayer!) and make peace with the idea that I will die at some point. We all will.
Then in the next breath I thought, “No, wait! I can’t be ok with death. Won’t that signal to my body that I’m ready to go?!? I don’t want to die. Not yet.”
But the more I reflect on the experience the more I realize that letting go of fear and accepting death is a good thing and an important piece of being able to surrender. Trusting and knowing that everything is a part of the master plan… Each challenge, every person we encounter, all our experiences. I do believe everything happens for a reason. And the goal of it all is to lead us to living our highest purpose and being our most authentic selves. Striving for this will help our minds grow, our bodies to heal, and our spirit to soar.
One practice that brings me closer to living this way is meditation. So I am back at it again… Adding regular meditation to the end of my daily exercise. Prioritizing my need to be still and centered in the moment, I’m also doing daily affirmations (from Louise Hay’s book Heal Your Body) and visualizations. When I was doing chemo I visualized dancing ladies like the Rockettes going through my body and kicking my cancer cells apart and out of my body. Now when I’m meditating at the beach I imagine the ocean waves washing through me and removing the pain and cancer cells.
Plus, I’ve gotten into the habit of asking myself questions out loud and waiting for an answer (yes, talking to myself). Like the day I was in pain during the hour long “rest period” before going for a PET scan. The pain in my arm wouldn’t go away. So I asked it, “Pain, what do you want? What is the lesson here?!?” And I heard back, “Humility”. Alrighty… Then yesterday I asked the pain in my neck… the cancer… what it needed. And I heard the answer “Love”. Ok. Interesting what comes up when you allow yourself to just sit and be silent.
I met with my new Naturopath Dr. J on Friday. She’s a professor here in Connecticut who just wrote a textbook on Naturopathic Integrative Oncology. She knows her stuff. She’s also Cherokee Indian and a deeply spiritual person. It was hubby who found her from a simple Google search. Go figure. And now she’s helping me formulate a multi-step holistic healing plan… Which involves mental & spiritual work, diet changes, supplement revisions, herbal remedies, nightly castor oil applications, hormone balancing, and regular acupuncture to help with the pain.
And Dr J was the one to tell me the good news that my tumor marker number actually went down!! Yes, you read that right. It went down instead of up on the most recent test. Oh yeah! A small decrease, but a decrease nonetheless. I’ll take it.
In other news… Breast Cancer Awareness Month is fast approaching. Although I abhor most of the big pink ribbon campaigns and over-commercialized misuse of people’s pain to funnel money to large, and often toxic, corporations, I do support a lot of small grass-roots cancer organizations. I was recently contacted by Beyond Boobs asking if I was interested in promoting their new “2014 Calendar To Live By“. I checked out their site and was impressed. Their work specializes in breast cancer of pre-menopausal women and speaks directly to the problems us young women face. They offer education, support, and resources with a truly holistic viewpoint. I already went online and ordered a calendar. Check it out for yourself.
I was also recently contacted by Katie Ussin of Channel 2 News in Dayton. Last year she did a piece on me for her week-long breast cancer awareness tribute (you can see it here). This year she wanted to do a follow-up with all the women she interviewed, including me (via facetime on my phone). The interview will air at the end of October. I’ll keep everyone posted as to where/when they can see it.
Lately it seems people want more from my blog, more from me. So I am finally in the midst of building a better website for gracefulwomanwarrior.com (and even learning some CSS coding in the process!) Hoping to launch the new site in the next month or so with recipe pages, recommended reads, more resources, and possible partnerships with health promoting companies. Stay tuned…
Also happening next month is my friend and colleague Eryka Peskin’s program, “31 Days & 31 Ways to Jumpstart Your Abundance!” For each day during the month of October, she’s going to share tips, tools, and exercises that cover all the areas needed to live a more abundant life (health, money, sensuality, love, work, mindset, and more!) And I am one of the guest contributors! You can sign up for this FREE program at http://eepurl.com/C4Hmj.
All in all I’m feeling pretty good these days. Continuing to take steps to get back on track. Still trying to figure out how to handle my ever changing “normal”. How to deal with the fact that my body is not what it used to be. Some days are fabulous. Others, not so much.
Last night while reading the story of another cancer warrior Leah Putnam on her site Wholy Cancer, I was reminded that cancer is not some foreign object inside me. It is a part of me. Created by me. My own cells – only mutated. So I can love it. Because loving it means loving myself. Healing it means healing myself.
In the meantime, I’ll keep talking to myself and asking the big questions.
Peace. – T