We both had cancer in this video. Dad stepped into heaven on May 31, 2019, after a long battle with cancer. I miss him, but oh, how I relive this dance over and over. I hear his words of wisdom and how he always lifted me up and supported me in my goals. The three men in my life with the most beautiful hearts and most extraordinary compassion I have ever witnessed are my father, Robert DiConti, my son, Kyle Young, and my darling husband, Michael Madden. I am so blessed. Make Good Memories! Cherish the moments. When we fight with loved ones, we make a memory of regret, so be mindful of your moments. I loved dancing with my dad as early as when he had me dancing on the tip of his toes. I remember how significant this moment was because I didn’t know if he or I would survive cancer, I already was staged 4, and dad was private about his details. This was our father-daughter moment, a memory I am happy I have. When I watch this, I know dad is smiling in heaven with me and dancing. I still see his smile and feel his arms around me, twirling me with joy in his heart and making me feel like a princess. “Cinderella”-Steven Curtis Chapman
One of the most common questions when searching for a doctor or cancer treatment facility is the success rate. There are many many variables to consider when we get the information from him. A doctor doesn’t know our daily lifestyle, physically, mentally, and emotionally. He really shouldn’t be telling us what the success rate is, but we all want to know.
We have free will and choices of how we live our life. Take into consideration what else affects the success rate of cancer treatment; delaying treatment is the most common, no response to certain types of chemo drugs, How much chemotherapy and did it do more harm than good?. Physicians cannot help with these things that make a big difference in our health. We influence our results; more than we realize.
Cancer treatment is a partnership, and doctors will work with you as best as they can and should never make promises.
There are other factors such as surgery and the risks, pain medications, and side effects on our organs. There are habits that some people have, such as excess alcohol, cigarettes, emotional and environmental problems at home, or just an overall weaker immune system than others. Our success is also impacted by what we do at home for self-treatment. People experiment with supplements, herbs, and other unconventional therapies that are not covered by insurance or recommended by your physician.
I remember when I had a recurrence of stage 4 breast cancer, and I had metastasis to all lobes of my lungs and bones. Cancer was eating through my sternum and ribs like termites. My oncologist was meeting me for the first time, and he came highly recommended. He sat down with me at his desk and directed my focus to his computer, where he pulled up the information on the mortality rate for stage 4 breast cancer. He talked with me about my age, how common my type of cancer was in women, and the efficacy of treatment options he was offering. What he shared with me was terrifying. In 2010 the statistics of survival overall in America with stage 4 were so low with or without treatment.
As a hematologist and oncologist, he had an arsenal of conventional treatment he recommended, which were hormone blockers, chemotherapy, and radiation on my sternum. He sounded so sensible, smart, and kind. He recommended a cardiothoracic surgeon do a biopsy on my sternum to confirm the lump was cancer and later a pulmonary surgeon to do a biopsy on my lungs to confirm the disease.
I had the surgeries and after the 4th of July weekend as I sat on my bed with family waiting for the results the phone rang and my doctor said he was sorry but that I was stage 4. I felt the blood rush and leave my body. Now what?
Here it is, we’re at the crossroads with a diagnosis, one doctor’s recommendation on our mind, and so many other options. We see different paths to take and have real concerns because what we decide will be the most significant decision we make, and that is weighing heavy on us on how to save our lives. We don’t get a guarantee for any treatment we choose. It fills you with panic and anxiety, not knowing which course to take.
Doctors do not force cancer treatment decisions on us, but they strongly recommend within their legal and medical practice scope. If we go to the oncologist asking, they must recommend treatment every time. It is their obligation to us—alternative or integrative therapies.
It is still our choice, and we can discuss their recommendation and decide whether or not to do the surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or drugs. Many other healing therapies from integrative or alternative doctors are available, but unfortunately, not covered under health insurance. The conventional cancer treatments which are covered have their risks. There are no healing therapies available afterward. There are side effects of nausea, burns, possible infection, neuropathy, hair loss, and so many others.
Chemotherapy and radiation and many drugs can put us at risk for secondary cancer, and with all this knowledge, it feels like we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.
The choice is ours, and we will be the ones signing the paperwork to administer the treatment recommendation we decide to do. We sign paperwork freeing the doctor from responsibility if our body does not respond or worsens because of the complications from treatment side effects or infection.
We know this, and we do our best not to think about it. Afterall the resounding message to anyone with cancer is to stay positive. So we try and work on that as best as we can even though we know something is in our body trying to kill us.
The conventional treatment approach is barbaric when a patient goes through chemotherapy and then has no therapy recommendations to restore the immune system, which should be the other half of their treatment and covered by insurance.
I respect every cancer treatment choice, mainly because I have so many family members who have faced these hard choices; Over twenty family members. If we choose standard cancer treatments like chemotherapy, we know it compromises our immune system to kill cancer cells successfully. There are things to consider in the outcome of treatment success; our age will also determine how many fighter cells we have.
My cancer journey started in 2006 when I went to the University of Washington in Seattle, with stage 3 breast cancer. It was estrogen and progesterone positive and HER2 negative and out of all the recommendations, including surgery, chemo, and radiation. I chose only the bilateral mastectomy, which resulted in a severe staph infection.
When I had a recurrence in 2010, I went to a UCLA doctor, and after two biopsies, one in my lungs and the other on my sternum, I did radiation, and before I could finish, I got a staph infection again and was not even a candidate for chemotherapy.
I did not want to quit and started researching other hospitals that would not give up on me. UCLA gave me 3-12 months to live, and I was in denial. I found a hospital with a unique cancer treatment program that would not further compromise my immune system. I felt like it was my last hope, and I had to try one more time.
I was intrigued by CMN Hospital and Dr. Payan’s alternative cancer treatment. Mainly because I was so sick with secondary infection and I needed inpatient care around the clock. I knew I was on the last leg of my cancer journey, and I never had to be so brave. I felt secure knowing there was an emergency room downstairs and an ICU in case things went from bad to worse for me. Sadly, my insurance did not cover one penny of the cost. It came to my friends doing fundraising to get me there and me. They are my angels for sure.
Some of the CMN therapies that saved my life in 2011 are not approved for cancer treatment by the FDA, and quite frankly, they may never be accepted even though they were tested and proven effective at great universities such as Baylor, Stanford, and the University of WA. Two of the advanced therapies dendritic cell therapy and the autologous bone marrow stem cell transplant are procedures that harness our natural killer cells and use them to fight cancer and strengthen our immune system. No drugs but advanced healing.
When chemotherapy fails for a patient often, they choose alternative therapies. You can imagine how they might be even more frightened and overwhelmed. They are afraid to trust another doctor, especially in another country, because they are still trying to cope with the gravity of their situation. The conventional treatment failed, and now they either have to try a new approach with something like; alternative cancer treatment or give up. Many people have not heard about
We need to do a lot of research on a drug or therapy before taking it. We must look at the pros and cons. If we choose an alternative approach, is it the very best and is it aggressive enough?
We are the decision-maker, and we feel the pressure because the doctors cannot guarantee a successful outcome regardless of the road we choose.
It is up to us.
My post is not medical advice on cancer treatment. Always consult with a physician and do your research before deciding on cancer treatment.
Fundraising Help for Cancer Treatment
Today, many people seek cancer treatment outside their country because they want a healthier alternative than chemo and radiation. Health insurance will not cover non-FDA Approved treatments. So many people have to resort to fundraising.
I know what it’s like to be there at a crossroads with stage 4 breast cancer having to decide what’s next for treatment and unable to afford the therapies I wanted.
The Best Insurance Will Not Pay for Alternative Treatment
Even though I had the best insurance, it would not cover the cancer treatment 9-10 years ago that saved my life. Asking for money is difficult and it teaches you humility. I had stage 4 breast cancer, and needed help because I was racing time since my UCLA doctor told me I only had 3-12 months to live. I had to raise money quickly and the stress of that is enormous.
The Emotional Toll With a Failing Fundraiser
I don’t know how I would have done it with out my girlfriends love and support. They were a team and they did everything they could to raise money for me. I can empathize with the feeling of waking up each morning checking to see if anyone donated. It affects you emotionally and mentally; suddenly your life is valued by whether or not people contribute to your fundraiser.
It was confusing feeling so desperate and scared and I have to say, It was the only time I questioned my worthiness. When you know that no one contributed that day, there is an overwhelming feeling of mixed emotions, and the main one is defeat which is why having a team is so important. They keep you focused and motivated with love and effort.
Encouraging Facts About Algorithm
I want to encourage you with some facts. People are not always able to see the fundraiser posted on Facebook. Research algorithm, and you will understand more about how the newsfeed on Facebook works. You will realize that many people do not see your posts and learn why. It’s even more of a challenge raising money because of new restrictions for holding events due to COVID. However, I think online events are just as effective if you get creative!
Look at the ALS Foundation that took social media by storm with their ice bucket challenge. It was so powerful and catalytic, and it has raised awareness. Since the campaign started, ALS has raised over $15.6 million through their challenge. I have always tried to find ways to help others creatively come up with ideas.
Engage With Your Donors
I have ideas! It is a great idea to add an endearing video to your fundraising page where you or a loved one talk about why you need their help. It’s an opportunity to share your story and thank everyone for their contribution. You allow people to feel more connected to the person they are giving money to. When you do video challenges such as the ice bucket one on social media it makes your goal fun and exciting. There are many creative ideas on what you can do for a challenge.
My Gift to You
To help out I am offering my book “Grateful Heart, Memoirs of a Cancer Survivor and Activity Journal” to anyone who is trying to raise money for cancer treatment. All the profits from the book sales will be a donation. For information on how to purchase books at production cost, feel free to contact me. Here is the contact form to reach me at. https://www.shannonknight.com/contact/,I will happily consider speaking at your fundraising event, even if it is a virtual Facebook Live. I can talk about the cancer journey, the importance of donations, and the many crossroads we face.
Here is a favorite stained glass window of mine. It is at “The Riverside Mission Inn in Riverside CA. My husband and I were married there. Look at the beautiful detail and time it must have taken to put the glass together. Cutting and soddering the lead together to create such a asterpiece.
When I think of my life and all of the blessings I have today—a loving marriage, healthy children and
grandchildren, a beautiful home, a healthy body, and a fulfilling career—I realize it was all built from a
broken past with many blessings along the way. I have come to a place where I don’t regret a single part
of my life where there was heartache, betrayal, loss, sickness, or pain. It took all of those broken pieces
for God to put together this masterpiece of a life that I am so fortunate to have.
Your Life Can Be a Masterpiece
Have you ever been to a cathedral and seen the light that comes shining through a stained-glass
window? It just stops you in your tracks! You can’t help but look at all the details with appreciation;
what was once broken pieces is now a grand design.
Years ago, I took classes on stained-glass art. My final product would be a 30-inch-by-20-inch abstract
art piece. It took me a long time because I had to draw out the design, then I had to cut the glass, break
the pieces, and put them back together. It was a lot of work and took a lot of patience! After working
with the glass, there would always be tiny cuts on my hands. It was tedious, and I wasn’t sure how it was
all going to turn out, which made me nervous but was very exciting. The result was beautiful! I had the
art piece framed in oak and hung it in my home so.
I think of that creation as a metaphor for my life and the lives of all women who have been able to
reemerge after trauma, piecing the shards of their broken hearts back together to create something
new; something good. I realized how many pieces of glass had to be cut and broken to create a
To me, the different pieces of glass in varying shapes and colors were like the countless times I had my
heart broken in life—when I lost a job that I cared about, when I was betrayed by my partner, when I
endured abuse from the man I loved, when I lost family members due to cancer, when I underwent a
bilateral mastectomy and lost one of the most feminine parts of my body… For a while, these loses
made me feel resentful, but if we hold onto the pain, it’s like holding onto the pieces of glass. It cuts us,
again and again, as we relive our anger and wish things were different. Holding onto this pain can be too
much stress, emotionally and mentally, and can cause physical illness. Imagine the pain of someone
grasping onto shards of glass in their pocket, and then pulling them out, looking at them with
resentment, wishing for things to be different but not believing anything will ever change. Eventually,
we need to do something with all of these little broken pieces. We need to take all of these broken little
pieces of our hearts and allow God to help shape us into a masterpiece. We need to unbreak our hearts.
People admire stained glass windows. We look at all the intricacy in the colors and cuts in the glass. You
can’t help but look at all the details with appreciation. These windows remind me of all the survival
stories from people who have recovered from trauma and illness and have gone on to help others and
inspire them. We look at these people and see their beauty. We see there’s a light shining through all of
Adversity forces us to stretch and find solutions to problems we would never have considered. As a result, we discover new abilities. You will gain confidence and move through challenges victoriously. It changes your attitude and perspective. You will feel better equipped and tackle problems that once seemed enormous. Motivation can spark us to take a challenge head-on instead of procrastinating.
When you do so successfully, you can look back at the colossal mountain you climbed. You will see how far you’ve come from sitting in a problem for too long. The powerlessness is gone, and you’re taking action.
Now you can see adversity as an opportunity to learn new things. It took time and effort to climb that mountain, and now that you reached the top, you see all you overcame. You’re able to bounce back from adversity much quicker.
Now, you have new approaches to significant problems. Your tenacity, courage, and hard work blazed a trail that no doubt others will follow.
My Darkest Hour: A Personal Letter to a Friend.
It was Spring, May 2011, just three months after doing alternative cancer treatment at CMN hospital in San Luis, Sonora, Mexico. I had stage 4 breast cancer that had aggressively spread to all lobes of my lungs, bones, and lymph nodes. I was in a lot of pain, terrified, and afraid the treatment was not working.
I get emails from brave cancer warriors (Mostly women late stage) asking me how long it took to start noticing my body healing after treatment? My answer is not what you would think because my health got worse before I improved. Publicly I seemed courageous, and I have to say that I’ve had my worst fears and most extraordinary courage through my entire cancer journey.
I feel this letter is imperative to anyone facing cancer, who thinks I was brave through my entire experience. I wasn’t. A dear friend wrote me a short message I believe it is vital to share my response, and want to share it with all who feel bad about “losing it” now and then. Looking back I see clearly now that it was the darkest time in my life, which was right before I started to feel the healing.
If I did not experience this stage of my emotions, I don’t think I would have the insight or empathy to share with others are terrified. This letter reveals how my faith was failing, and fear was consuming me. However, you will see that I still had hope and trust in God at the end of the message.
A dear friend wrote to me to ask how I was doing and if she was bothering me by checking on me?” I am not sharing her actual letter to honor her privacy. My response below depicts the fear, struggle, and anger phase of anticipatory grief I was going through because I had a terminal illness. I do not think she was expecting such an emotional response from me. I want to add that right after this letter, my symptoms from cancer were diminishing and by August they were completely gone. October 15, 2011 I got results from my PET/CT scan that showed I was cancer free and this letter show us how you can be at your darkest hour before you are taken into the light. My analogy or visual is of God’s hand and the shadow getting darker and darker as He get’s closer to us before He picks us up and brings us into the light. God’s will is still with Him ever so close to us.
Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
My letter Response: From Shannon Knight
May 3 2011, at 12:33pm
My breathing is getting worse; it’s been hard times, and my lungs feel like there is a knife in it. I am not very positive today and feel so small. Heaven is where God wants us; eventually, He wants us to be with Him, so why do we fight to hang on here? The tumors are growing rapidly, and I feel like I have been wasting my time trying to get well. I know you think this is probably Satan working his stuff on me. We don’t always get what we pray for.
Since we last talked, two women are now in a coma and very sick from chemotherapy. I feel like when we pray, God will do what He wants anyway, and He already has a plan for us. So, are we praying against “His plan”? I hope my letter does not upset you. It’s just me and the pain and the fear (God made me with “all emotions”). I do not believe He thought I would get through life without my fears and be gleeful and joyful all the time. He made me human and I felt guilty for feeling fear that it is not working anymore. Fear is an emotion, and satan did NOT have a hand in our creation. God created my entire being, my anger, my joy, my fear, etc. I am trying to come to terms with my emotions, and it’s hard. I watched a true story last night. I was saddened to see all the Christians killing the Pagans. Our world is full of craziness, and it has me so sad. What a mess!
Forgive me for being so blunt, and I do not mean to sway you at all from your faith; I admire it, but I lack it right now. I am one woman just clacking away at a keyboard in a big universe. Do you know how tiny that is, with the billions of people on earth? People are being tortured and murdered, pleading for God’s help in the Congo with the horrible genocide, and Juarez Mexico dealing with femicide.
I am so small to be expecting Him to answer my prayers right now. If I am worse this week, maybe, it is just meant to be; I’m only Shannon out of how many Shannon’s and how many women who are fighting this disease?
We have free will, and we must choose the right treatment, and I am trying so hard, but I feel it is so futile when I see so little change after being so confident and full of hope. I have never been like this, and here it is, I am finally to the point where I just think God lets us make choices, and then we all die at different times, “but eventually we die” and go to a better place. I don’t think praying anymore will change what God has already planned for me. I believe in Him, I believe He sent His son to die for our sins that Jesus is our Savior, but right now I think, that death does not mean the same thing to God as it does to us. “We are afraid to let go and return to Him.” He knows it’s the best place we could ever hope to be and yet we don’t dare pray for it because to do that, we would look suicidal.
We pray to stay alive and expect God to answer that prayer. He takes us when He wants to!
I know how lost I seem, I do! I am sitting right now wondering if I will scare you away by hitting the send key to deliver this letter. I love you, my friend, and I am so glad you are in my life, but what if I bring you down? What if I insult your faith with my angry interpretation of God’s will?
Why am I so jealous of survivors right now? What the heck is wrong with me? Why do I want to just for once cook whatever I used to cook because it is delicious? Homemade meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and corn, my homemade Italian meatballs are simply the best with angel hair pasta and sauce, which is also out of this world. I miss my favorite pineapple, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. I am tired of waking up, and everything has to do with this disease. I am supposed to eat all the foods I don’t even like (and that’s healthy?). You should taste my homemade lasagna. I even make the best pumpernickel croutons. Now, everything I love to eat is not supposed to be healthy for me! To hell with it!
Forgive me for being so honest about how I feel, please forgive me. I don’t want to scare you away; I need your friendship, and I am hurting.
PS. To answer your question, you don’t bug me too much; you never have, and you never will.
Let me say today;
I pray to God, and I know I am worth it!
My faith is strong.
The pain, afflictions, and challenges you are trying to handle can feel like too much sometimes. You are not alone in this. Our Heavenly Father hears your prayers today as you pray with me.
Where two or more are gathered in Your name Lord Jesus, You are there. (Matthew18:20)
Hear our prayer, Oh Lord, for all who need Love, comfort, security, and hope. Our prayers are for all who are suffering from panic, anxiety, or depression. If it is Your will and timing to give them mercy and grace, we pray for this and patiently wait so we can see what blessings You are trying to reveal first. We ask You, Father, to open our eyes and see evidence of Your Love and comfort each day. You still bless us with miracles, and I pray for all of us to see and appreciate them.
Every breath I take in of Your Love, and every exhale is a prayer dedicated to You Lord asking for comfort for anyone who is at a breaking point where they feel this world is delivering too much for them to handle.
Lord, You command us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. (Matthew 22:39)
Please provide truth to anyone who believes the lie that loving themselves is selfish. Loving ourselves as You do is Holy.
Self-Love is loving ourselves for what You created us to be. It is honoring, respecting, and cherishing all the light, Love, and goodness, you breathed in us from the day we were born. When we Love ourselves as You do, we can love others without ultimatums, hate, resentment, or disrespect. Your Love is unconditional, and we must follow your example of this Great Love.
We must have self-compassion in order “to love others.
When we have shame, self-criticism, guilt, and resentment, we cannot love others as You ask us to. It is an insincere imitation to please another. We must accept Your Love first, and then the Love you gave us will pour out genuinely.
I pray for all who are afraid to receive your Love so they themselves can have self-compassion. I pray for each of us to expand our hearts today to the fullest. So we can allow Your Love to fill it up to maximum capacity. We know that when we do this, we will be able to pour your gifts of Love, Light, and Tenderness out to others.
In Jesus’ name, I ask for all of these blessings for everyone in need. We pray together in faith with every breath of life we take.
Love Always, Your daughter Shannon.
I heard You loud and clear.
I woke up with an excruciating headache. I told my husband it felt like my head was going to explode wide open. My husband gave me medication. I got out of bed and went to the living room and prayed passionately to You for help. I kept taking deep breaths and prayed for you to breathe healing relief into me.
During my prayers, I got a clear message from You for your army to pray together and unite and not to keep Your message or prayers to ourselves. You led me firmly to write this prayer for all of us.
So much turmoil is going on in our world. People are filled with fear and anxiety. We need to help each other grow stronger in faith.
I give thanks first for the message. You gave me and secondly for the relief I now have from the pain.
I try to be open to hear and obey those crucial messages from You. When I do, I have never regretted it.
Oh, Holy Father,
We come to You in mighty prayer, please remind us that You are so close to us, a Light for all to see. We dedicate every breath we breathe day and night to join others who pray to You in Jesus’ name. Let our prayers all across the nation and around the world be heard. Many people are confused and have gotten so caught up in all the tragedies in our world that it causes them to feel distanced from You. We need to remember. You are here with us. We give every breath. You breathed into us, to You in united prayer. You have made us Your army. We accept Your Son Jesus as our Lord and Savior and are grateful for Your forgiveness and salvation.
We begin praying together right now with deep, slow breaths of acknowledgment and gratitude for all we have. We thank you for every blessing that has gone unnoticed. As we breathe in, may we fill our heart and soul with Your Holy Spirit and Grace. As we exhale fully, may we breathe out Your Love and the forgiveness You asked us to give one another as Jesus did for us.
Love is needed to heal our nation. With each breath throughout our day, we dedicate it to You. Please lift up all our prayers to heal our nation from civil unrest, violence, and corruption.
Lord, help each of us endure through the individual challenges we each face so we can do our part in helping others. Lord, we ask you to always help us find the right words to say when choosing to speak or write. Help us make sure our words are approved by You. We thank You for the gift You gave us to communicate Your Love with one another. Help us get more wrapped up in You than we do with the media entertainment’s earthly drama used to infuse fear, chaos, and confusion. We know it, and we feel it.
We ask You to help us be more discerning in our choices.
We continue to pray for the world and every soul who is suffering and needs comfort. We pray for the ill and all who are trying to cope with panic, fear, anxiety, or depression. God of peace and Love guide us into new ways of finding hope and peace immediately.
During these seemingly never-ending times of anxiety, panic, and guilt from hate, anger, violence, and grant us patience and sensitivity towards those affected during the pandemic. Please lift all our prayers for all who ask for forgiveness. Receive each breath of prayer for the confused children, victimized, lost, and suffering. Hear our prayer for the children who are facing challenges due to families’ facing added stress.
Receive our prayers for Your presence to be seen in every miracle and creation. We pray for the wisdom of the mind, heart, and Spirit of all our leaders as they try to determine a way forward. Light their path with all our prayers.
With each breath, we pray in unison for Your Grace. Help each of us do our part as we continually seek to heal in our own communities and heal the Earth, as we face natural disasters in so many parts of the world. We pray for all in the paths of natural disasters, famine, violence, and all who are suffering from life-threatening illnesses. We pray for you to fill all of us with Your Holy Spirit as the tensions are high everywhere we turn. As we pray, we will continue to breathe in peace, and breathe out Your Love. Help us to remember your gift of life and how each breath can be a prayer for all. Even the weak, sick, or frightened can dedicate the blessing you gave us of every breath as a prayer for hope and healing that is so desperately needed.
We close with a deep breath receiving your Love, and we exhale Your Love, Light, Forgiveness, and Grace to all. May we be reminded with each breath to appreciate blessings so we can find joy along the way amidst all the chaos. In Jesus’ name, we lift our fervent prayers to You. We have faith that you are so close to us, You are the breath we breathe, in Jesus’ name we always look to You for guidance and ask you, Father, to hear our sincere prayers for one another. Thank you with all our hearts and faith in You.
From your daughter, and everyone who prays together as brothers and sisters with me here 🙏
Let everything that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.
“The Spirit of God has made me,
And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
Ezekiel 37:10 The breath entered them, and they came alive! They stood up on their feet, a great army!
My husband sent me this picture the other day when I felt so emotionally weak. We all have hard times hit. My dog Louie got out it was devastating at 6 AM. He only has three legs and I had to call out for him up and down streets. He is practically blind and can see his way around the house but the neighborhoods are unfamiliar territory. My heart was racing. Louie is definitely an emotional support dog for me and I think I offer him support too. Louie and I both went through cancer twice which is why he only has three legs now. He still follows me everywhere and now with him out and lost this was tragic. I
I felt like I failed my little guy even though I found him hopping blocks a way in an alley and I must say he looked more frail then when he is in the house. The picture my husband sent had several meanings in the message he wrote with it. One was that he realized how important Louie was to me throughout our life together, Louie is turning 13 years old next month but most of all my husband made me realize it is okay to be vulnerable and tired and to let someone else carry the load when you are weary. I became aware of just how attached I am to my little buddy.
The day was rough even after Louie was home and I could not shake the emotional shock. I knew I had to surrender it all to God, especially when I have no understanding of why I could not shake off all the emotions. It felt like my world had flipped upside down. Panic and anxiety can hit you so hard, and it can feel like the emotional pain will last forever. It doesn’t, it never has, even though in those moments, it felt like I would be changed forever and that I could never light up bright again.
Hold on and let others take care of you, Ask God to show you the way and let Him handle all that you give over to hIm with complete trust. Let go for a little while so He can do what He does BEST.
Meanwhile, allow the knowledge of how deserving you are of self-compassion to wash over you completely. It’s the same compassion our Heavenly Father has for us when we let go and surrender it all to Him. Take care of yourself right now with the deepest compassion.
If it’s a few days in your comfy bed, watching old favorite movies or an art project -I did a painting of my dog Louie while listening to my happy music playlist on Spotify and then I snuggled up in bed and watched movies for the rest of the day. The music playlist has songs that take me back to when I was 15 years old and carefree!
My husband brought me Cherry Garcia Ice Cream (A fav I rarely indulge in) after work, and I ate it without one bit of guilt in bed while continuing watching movies.
I pampered me; I allowed my husband to pamper me, and most of all, I let God’s healing love in my heart. I promise you that your spirit will feel restored, and you will light up again! It’s a storm, so bunker down and ride it out while allowing God to work on all surrounding forces trying to work against you. I got through it in 24 hours, and the more I do this, the quicker I can get through it. Resisting and trying to be what I think I should, only prolongs the pain.
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:7
My brother Stephan’s Birthday today! I love his faith in God, and how, when we get on the phone, our conversations will always be from one hour to four hours! He is a good father, brother, grandfather, husband, and friend!
We have the same values, faith, and his heart is so beautiful! I am immeasurably blessed xo.
Below is a story of my best funniest brother-sister memory. Stephan was quite the prankster growing up, and we had a lot of laughs.
One Christmas, Stephan picked me up to get a Christmas tree. We were broke!
He knew my daughter wanted a Christmas tree decked out in pink.
I was a single mom with Kyle and Jess, and Stephan was staying over a few days. He said, “C’mon we’re going to get you a tree!” I said, but I only have $26. He said, I can help out a little, and off we went!
He took me to the Christmas tree lot, and we saw this Dr. Seuss looking tree laying in the dirt, and it cost more than what we had together, but he talked to the guy working in the tree lot privately and walked up to me and said he got a good deal for the tree, but there was a condition. I said, “What?” He said you have to kiss the tree lot guy under their mistletoe! I said what?!
I’ll be straight-up here on this part- I said, Okay, but then I want the mistletoe too!! I gave the tree lot guy a quick pathetic kiss, and we got that tree, threw it in the back of his pickup, and headed to Target to get cheap pink decor for Jessica.
The store was packed! He said I’ll wait out here with the tree, so no one steals it. I thought. “Right, who’s going to steal a Christmas tree?” I got a few surprisingly lavish pink holiday trimmings for the tree with the money we had left and got in the long line at the checkout.
Suddenly, I see my tall brother at the storefront doors standing 6’4 “easy to spot him in a crowd. He is waving at me with a confused look on his face.
I’m getting worried about him, he’s pacing a little, and I’m feeling anxious to get through the checkout. I finally make it over to him, and he says, “Oh Sis, someone stole our Christmas tree!” I said what!? He said yeah, I had to use the bathroom and came inside just for a few minutes, and when I came back outside, I saw these guys taking off with it. He went on and said, “I tried chasing them down and could not catch up!”
I was so shocked and kept thinking about it being Christmas Eve. My mind was whirling, trying to figure out how to explain to the kids that there would not be a Christmas tree this year. I had to tell them basically; the grinch exists!
We got in his truck, and I turned towards the window to hide my tears, and finally, he said, “Sis, are you okay?” I didn’t answer because my tears would have flooded.
Finally, he pulled the truck over, got out, and opened my door, and saw my face smeared with tears. He said, “Oh my goodness, sis, I had no idea this would make you cry. I choked out the words, “who…sniffle…would…sniffle..steal…a Christmas tree.. sniffle…and then loudly half crying… AND ON CHRISTMAS EVE? Bawling now,” I failed Jessica, and I kissed a stranger underneath the mistletoe for nothing!
Stephan noticed my quietness and suspected I took it real hard.
He said oh no sis, I have to fess up; The Christmas tree is safe at home. I wanted to play a joke but did not know it would hurt you? He hugged me, and I was so relieved the tree was home. I was so grateful to him, even in my distress.
What I appreciate so much about Stephan is his playfulness, creativeness, and sensitive kind heart.
I love good memories and think it’s important to be mindful of how important it is to be able to look back and remember the good times.
Amid the desert I am walking in, you see my pain and struggles. Thank you for never forgetting me. I know I have doubted your presence when I walked in fear and darkness. I am lifting the veil of deceit that keeps me separated from you so I may see Your lighted path.
My mind wanders off with worry and confusion sometimes, please help me stay focused on You. I realize the world’s chaos has kept me distanced from You many times. I confess all my sins, especially anger, resentment, and unwillingness, to forgive others. When I reached out for ways to appease me instead of praying for Your comfort, please forgive me.
I need Your help to strengthen my relationship with you. I know all I need to do is seek You first and You will fill me with Your Spirit. My heart is crushed and I know only You can heal my heart in every place it has been broken. Father I ask for You to fill my heart with Your Grace and my mind with Your truth and wisdom.
Lord, please calm the storm of panic and anxiety in my heart. You are the great Comforter and I need to heal so can share Your Love and comfort with others. Transform my depression and fear into joy and courage to face another day. I have nothing to fear when I remember that You are before me, behind me, and beside me.
Thank You Lord
In Your Sweet Son, Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I like to think of the Lord as He is A leader and my Heavenly Father who is￼ always ahead of me, making a path for me to follow.
What I mean is, when things seem to be a big mess, and you can’t find your way, We can get tangled up pretty bad sometimes, or circumstances can put us in places we never thought we’d be.
￼ Always go with the thought of the Lord ahead of you, clearing a path. There’s no one better to do that job than our Lord.
Sometimes all you need is just enough faith, remember even the size of a mustard seed,￼ if you’re hanging on by a thread. Don’t handle these things alone, pray to God ￼and say,
“I’m looking out for your direction. Lord, show me which way to go.” Then look but pray as you are looking for His guidance. You know you will find it. He has shown you before.￼
Some people think God is too busy to get to them because He has people praying with more pressing problems; you are mistaken. God’s light is in those who believe. If you are around believers, the answer to your prayers is in the people around you who have faith. That’s how God gets around answering prayers with all of us. We are all an answer to someone’s prayer.￼￼
￼Be on the lookout of what you are supposed to do because the Lord always shows us the way.
Your faith matters more during the more challenging times than any other time. There is nothing more entertaining for the enemy than to see you feel defeated and abandoned by our Heavenly Father￼.
There are many liars And people unknowingly influenced by the enemy who will try to bring you down and distract you from your faith And do so in the name of love. Turn to God and pray even if you don’t know what to say because you’re just that overwhelmed. Say,
￼ “I’m scared, Father, and I don’t know what to do￼, but I will patiently wait on you, and I thank you for all my blessings.”￼
Never doubt that our Heavenly Father is at work in your life, Pray to see a direction. ￼￼
￼Surround yourself with people who will remind you of this💖￼￼
Reading from Sherri Rose Shepherd’s book
Gems or Love From Your King”
Big Family in a Small House
“Having a large family is a lot of things; it’s chaos and frustration or an anchor in stormy waters. Sometimes rocky yet sometimes the greatest comfort. It’s an unconditional love I will never take for granted.”
~ Shannon Knight
I grew up with four brothers and sisters and very humble beginnings. My twin sister and I had dresser drawers for a bed when we were babies. Four of us kids were in diapers at the same time, and my parents could not afford a washing machine. My slender, 5’6” mother would manage to take all of us to the laundromat to do the laundry.
When we were older, I remember mattresses on the floor for beds and lots of chores. We all got plenty to eat; but, if we wanted more and there was no more to eat, Mom would say, “No, honey, you got plenty. We need to save some for your father when he gets home! Dad was 6’4” and ate a lot. In all, we were a family of seven (five kids in an apartment on Saticoy in Canoga Park, CA). In 1978, we moved to a house in Simi Valley CA. I still shared a room until I turned 18.
Meals were modest and filled our bellies. Breakfast was oatmeal or cream of wheat, and on the weekend we’d sometimes have eggs or pancakes. Lunch was bologna and American cheese sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly, and Kool-Aid. Our dinners were delicious because it was either Mexican or Italian much of the time. Mom could cook creatively on such a tight budget. She would make a big pot of beans and rice or spaghetti, which would last a few days for all of us!
For Christmas 2017, my mother gave me the cookbook she got as a wedding present. It’s a red and white checkered Betty Crocker three-ring binder. It’s a year older than me! My mother used that book, and so did I! We loved the food we ate, and we learned to cook at a young age as well.
Mom was handy with her tan colored Singer sewing machine and saved money by making our clothing and even outfits for our dolls! She taught us how to use that thing! The three of us girls had to share a closet at times and learned to share our clothes through high school.
We had a blast playing outside—kick the can or learning new dances in the street. When the street lights went on, we knew to high-tail home! Our family enjoyed playing card games like Hearts, Canasta, and Rummy. We also played board games like Parcheesi and Monopoly, and we loved playing charades. Watching everyone acting in silence so we could guess was hilarious! That’s what was great about living in a small home and having a big family. We had teams! If we wanted to ride a bike, we rode mom’s bicycle, which had a baby seat on the back. We shared one pair of roller skates for a while until they could afford skates for each of us one Christmas.
Our neighborhood kids became like family to us. We were creative! We would pack lunches and walk to the nearby park and hang out with friends. We shared one phone and only were allowed 15 minutes to talk to a friend! That’s it; not a minute longer. We did not have call waiting so, if someone tried to call, it was a busy signal. Mom needed the phone to be free in case Dad needed something.
We fought! Boy did we fight! We had to make pacts, keep secrets, and if we were going to do something like sneak out a window, you had to get an agreement from every sibling, not to tell; this taught us strategy. I know you think it’s terrible, but it did!
After every argument, my mom would tell us that we’d be each other’s best friends someday, which we would naturally balk at for being impossible. Of course, she was right! At least to some degree. It’s like we survived a war together. When we recount stories with each other, we laugh at things we thought were so seriously wrong at the time. I am so grateful for my siblings. I don’t talk to my brothers often, but I love them immensely. I talk to my sisters quite often.
I told my parents that they should be proud that they raised children who are problem solvers, self-starters, and not afraid to start their own businesses. I said to them that because of our upbringing we are creative and excited about starting something on our own. We are not followers, and they taught us values. We lead at what we do with confidence because they instilled that in all of us.
When we were old enough to work, we contributed a third of our paycheck to the household to help pay for food, clothing, and utilities. We walked everywhere to fill out applications, and we accepted the position if we got it. We didn’t sit around declining jobs, looking for that perfect one. It was humbling and a good learning experience for us. We worked hard and never said we were going to quit if things displeased us. We respected our boss and would only leave a job if we had secured another place of employment. Our friends never made fun of where we worked. We were happy for each other in my neighborhood if we got work. I am so grateful for that lesson! It just made me want to work harder and be creative in getting money to get out on my own. We learned about contribution and not being entitled to anything.
We knew better than to sass or argue with our parents! We would get grounded! We respected them and knew the boundaries we were not to cross. I cannot tell you how many fights my brothers, sisters, and I got into while we were growing up. Things could get pretty rough when we were at our worst, but we managed to avoid having to be rushed to the hospital. We had family meetings to discuss our behavior.
My parents could not afford to put us through college or buy us high school yearbooks. What they did have for us were books! We could read the encyclopedia and the National Geographic collection. I remember my Nancy Drew collection. I loved solving mysteries. My parents’ budget was tight. Some Christmases were just a doll and a stocking filled with nuts and Christmas candy. I still have a ragdoll—I call her my “Heather Doll”—and it will always be a reminder of my humble beginnings and how we are brought up to appreciate the small things. It has made a big difference in my own adult life. It taught me about perseverance and never giving up.
We did not complain to our parents about what we thought we should have because our friends had something. We were happy with every gift we got! Our parents taught us things that helped us to be independent and strategize. We walked to our jobs, even on the sweltering days in August. Dad had the car and needed it to drive to work. We knew walking was what we had to do.
I remember the Christmas dance skits and plays we would do for Dad. Mom was the director, and we couldn’t wait to show Dad! She also started a dance group called the Sweethearts where my sisters and I belonged to with two other girlfriends. There were five of us, and we would perform at schools.
I remember forming a club with my sisters and friends. There was a membership, and we cleaned out an old storage shed that had been sitting in the backyard of my friend Stacy’s house. It had rotted potatoes in it and spiderwebs. We cleaned it for days and added curtains. We found ways to make money! I directed a play for the kids in the neighborhood, and we sold lemonade. We turned Stacy’s driveway into a skating rink and charged a nickel. It was the only one on our block that had brand new concrete instead of cracked, bumpy asphalt from the earthquakes; a prime location to skate!
When you grow up with a lot of friends and in a crowded small house, you learn that close families have to work out things. You cannot isolate yourself and play video games all day alone in your room. You are always planning things.
I love my memories and my family, and most of all I am grateful for being a big family in a small house! Even though we move on as adults, get caught up in our own lives, having our own children and grandchildren, I know that we love each other. My family is the most valuable thing in the world, and they have marked my heart forever.
Fourteen years ago, today at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 19, 2006, my phone rang. It was the call I had patiently been waiting for since having a biopsy. If you have been diagnosed with cancer you know that sinking feeling of anticipation.
I answered the phone.
It was Nicole at the doctor’s office and she asked how I was doing. I remember thanking her sweetly for asking and the small talk we had before she finally said, “I’ve got your biopsy results” I said, “Oh good! Please say it’s good news!
Nicole said, “Well, I can’t , the doctor wants to see you now and needs to tell you the results in person.” I asked her if that was normal.
I lived all the way in the Tahuya Forest, in Mason County, Washington State. At that time of the day, I knew there would be rush hour traffic once I got to Tacoma. I would have to cross the Narrows Bridge, and it would be at least a two-hour drive.
I told her I probably wouldn’t get to their office until 6:30 or 7:00 p.m and asked her if I could come in the morning, or could she please ask the doctor to give me my results over the phone.
She said, “No, he wants you to come now and you need to bring a support person. I asked her if I should be scared. She was quiet and then I broke the silence and told her that I didn’t have a support person to come with me. She said, “That’s okay just come alone.” I told her I was on my way.
I’m sure some people who have been diagnosed with cancer can probably relate to much of the phone conversation I had as I received the first hint of my diagnosis. The ride to the doctor’s office was terrifying—I cried the entire way, gripping the steering wheel so tightly that my fingers ached. I found it difficult to concentrate on my driving, instead, I was panicking and drifting off into fearful thoughts. I think angels must have been steering that day, because I do not recall one moment of that drive.
When I arrived, all I could see through the glass window was a single light shining from the far corner of the medical office. Everything else was dark. It was after hours.
It felt eerie as Nicole escorted me through the dimly lit waiting area to the doctor’s private office, instead of the customary examining room. She put a box of Kleenex on his large cherrywood desk, within reach, and handed me a bottle of water decorated with a Susan G Komen pink ribbon label that said, “Run for the Cure.”. My heart sank. This couldn’t be good. It wasn’t. The doctor said my biopsy results showed that I had cancer. I kept staring at that water bottle and the message on it, “Run for the Cure”. Oh my God, I have breast cancer and they are still running for the cure!
A song came on the intercom called, ”Unwell” by Matchbox 20. The irony was it was a favorite of mine and my brother’s so I immediately remembered it was his birthday and I wanted to let him know our song was playing on his special day. My mom answered the phone when I called and said my brother was out and I asked her to write down the name of our song and let him know our song was playing for his birthday. What’s crazy, is that this was not a good thing for mom. I also told her I had cancer in that same conversation. It was my first phone call to my family. When I asked her to write down the band name and the song Unwell she said it wasn’t funny and she thought I was joking around because I found out I had cancer. I will never forget that moment.
That day marked the start of when I found myself transported into a whole new way of life, awkwardly trying to figure out how to win my battle with cancer. I had no idea how to fight against an enemy I had seen do its worst to some of my relatives. I had Stage 3 breast cancer, my life was in danger, and the eleven hundred miles that separate me from my family now felt like an abyss, stretching further into infinity than ever before.
I felt vulnerable and scared. I was a woman thrown into an unfamiliar arena to fight a battle of a magnitude I had never experienced before, and I knew nothing of the enemy. I transformed slowly, and it was painful. I learned that friends and family really cared, and they all had grand ideas as to how I should approach cancer treatment. I felt overwhelmed because my life depended on my choices. My strategy had to be successful because I was not willing to die from cancer!
I had a bilateral mastectomy. I was shocked by how I felt afterward. I was not prepared to feel as if I had just gone through an amputation. I suppose I thought it would be like what many of my girlfriends went through with breast augmentation. There had been no discussion, no preparation emotionally as to how much loss I would feel after surgery. Breasts are such a feminine attribute, and I had not realized the emotional pain I would experience once they were gone. I experienced complications from the surgery and became very ill with a staph infection. This complication lent me some time to learn about the world of alternative medicine for cancer.
After surgery, I declined the standard recommended treatments of chemotherapy and radiation. I was scared because I had lost loved ones to cancer who did chemotherapy and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I went to a small clinic in Arizona once the staph infection cleared up. The clinic shut down two years after I had treatment. There, I received intravenous vitamin C and B-17, far-infrared sauna, and ultraviolet blood irradiation treatments. About a month later, in May of 2008, testing at the University of Washington revealed that I was in remission. I had beaten Stage 3 cancer, and set out to rebuild my life again. I had reconstructive surgery, but always, in the back of my mind, lingered the very real fear of a recurrence.
I moved back to California in August 2009. It wasn’t long afterward until I experienced persistent coughing and pain in my sternum and ribs. In July 2010, I was diagnosed with a recurrence of metastatic breast cancer, which had progressed to Stage 4. The cancer had spread to all lobes of my lungs, my ribs, sternum, and the lymph nodes under my collarbone, as well as other soft tissue areas. My UCLA doctor told my family and I that there was no chance of going into remission. The disease, he said, would eventually lead to paralysis, and death. He predicted I likely had only three months to a year to live.
I refused the recommended chemotherapy and hormone blockers, but agreed to forty rounds of radiation to my sternum to slow down the bone metastasis. I completed twenty-two rounds, but had to stop the treatment because of another staph infection and pneumonia. The radiation burned my chest and back, and my lungs. Testing revealed that the cancer had progressed. The radiation therapy had not done any good at all.
After much research and soul searching, I chose CMN Alternative Cancer Treatment in San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico. My friends and I had to raise money because my insurance would not cover non-FDA approved therapies. When we finally reached our goal and had enough money to get to CMN I was admitted February 7, 2011 and received very advanced alternative cancer treatment. I did dendritic cell therapy and later I went back to CMN to do Autologous bone marrow stem cell transplant, a procedure using MY OWN fighter cells instead of drugs. Stanford University did an incredible study of women with stage 4 breast cancer which showed that it INCREASES SURVIVAL by 23%. We should be allowed to have this treatment in the U.S.
Six months later in August, I was free of all symptoms. Two months after that, on October 15, 2011, I received the results of my PET scan. The tests confirmed there was no evidence of disease. The CMN alternative cancer treatments had worked!
Dr. Payan saved my life. Five years later, my twin sister got breast cancer and she skipped everything I went through on my cancer journey and went straight to CMN and received successful therapies from Dr. Payan as well. It still feels like a miracle. It’s hard to hear you are going to die in a year or less. You never forget it.
Nine years later, I am still cancer-free, have learned of healthier ways to heal completely from a diagnosis of cancer, and have devoted my life to sharing what I discovered with others. Many people are learning that we can have hope for a healthier way to recover completely from cancer. I am living proof, and there are many others. I know many people who have chosen conventional therapies and at some point are told to get their affairs in order when the treatment doesn’t work and the doctor is out of options. It’s good to see people sharing their stories of healing beyond that point when the doctor says there is no more hope. They did not give up! When you have a strong will to survive you can’t quit because there are survivors who defied the odds and give them hope. There is research of alternative treatments that have the real possibility of complete healing of metastatic cancer. There are success stories that will not be factored in when the American Cancer Society or doctors are telling us the statistics.
I went to Mexico in order to receive therapies that will likely never be tested in the United States because the drug companies cannot patent natural substances and other non-toxic therapies, such as intravenous vitamin C and B17, ozone therapy, ultraviolet light, dendritic cell therapy, autologous bone marrow stem cell transplant—the list of therapies that will not be offered to you by your conventional oncologist goes on and on.
Just because a treatment is not FDA approved does not mean it is ineffective; it simply means the FDA refuses to test it for one reason or another. Contrarily, often the treatment has proven to work and has already been used successfully in Mexico or Germany. I did not get sick with side effects from alternative cancer therapies. I did not vomit or lose my hair, and I was cured in six months.
We are often discouraged and told we should be afraid to leave our country for non-traditional cancer treatments , and in the movies Mexico is not always depicted as safe or modern. So it can get us thinking hospitals in Mexico are dirty and dangerous. I saw many hospitals in the United States that were sub-standard, even filthy, when I was a patient. I find that each hospital maintains their own standards, regardless of their location.
My healing was a great blessing and I don’t I feel that I would have survived the barbaric conventional treatments for cancer because my immune system was so compromised. It would have been miraculous for me. I got an infection from surgery and radiation. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause secondary cancers and collateral damage to other parts of our body. The radiation destroyed my thyroid so I will be on medication for the rest of my life.
￼ Chemotherapy works for some and yet it can often make cancer more aggressive, promote metastasis, and eventually cause treatment resistance. The fact that there are not healing therapies made available to help restore a patient’s immune system after completing chemotherapy or radiation strikes me as nothing short of cruel and negligent. If a patient chooses conventional therapies, then focusing on the immune system and restoring it should be the other half of their treatment. It’s humane and compassionate.
I respect the reasons why people accept the therapies recommended by their conventional doctor. Often, a trusting doctor-patient relationship has been established in advance, and that trust plays a role in decision making at a time when the patient is most terrified. A sense of urgency is conveyed by their physician and they respond accordingly, rushing to accept conventional treatment without pausing to discover what other healthier options are available. Also, financial hardship can prevent someone from even considering researching other valuable resources for those who want to know about these healthier strategies before making treatment decisions. Health insurance will not cover the cost so why look anywhere else other than what cancer treatments their insurance will pay for.
The hard choices we have to make can overwhelm anyone with a diagnosis of cancer. There is a great impact on us physiologically, psychologically, and even spiritually. Stress and happiness can each impact our health. Over the last fourteen years I have a greater understanding of the human spirit and more compassion for those on the cancer journey, regardless of which road to treatment they elect to take. The journey to healing is very personal and to be respected.
Our souls are here for a reason getting cancer was a wake up call for me to put my soul front and center and not live on auto pilot any longer. We shouldn’t have to wait till we get a diagnosis of cancer but I believe It was the best thing that ever happened to me spiritually. I give all my thanks to God for His grace and blessings.
Broken Heart Syndrome: Link to Cancer
Even in the worst of battles, we can help another. We can go through shock and a broken heart in divorce, loss of a loved one, custody battle, etc. After talking with so many women as a life coach, I believe many of them hold a lot of pain inside and are lovely at showing compassion to others but forget how to have self-compassion. They feel guilt when they look back at the adversities in their life and feel guilt or shame, thinking they could have handled things better or prevented it in the first place.
Sadly, those emotional wounds get left untended, and they never take care of the emotional scars.
They can put them on a shelf for a long time because they don’t want their children to see their pain.
The pain’s got to go somewhere, and eventually, it will.
Broken Heart Syndrome (Cardiomyopathy) is linked to breast cancer and other cancers. Broken heart syndrome, also called takotsubo syndrome, causes the heart’s main pumping chamber temporarily to enlarge, and as a result, it cannot pump blood adequately. It feels like a heart attack, causing chest pain and shortness of breath, and even though there is no heart muscle damage or blockage in the coronary arteries later, there can be other health problems such as cancer.
An international study of patients from 26 medical centers provided the most influential association yet between the syndrome and cancer. New research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association says broken heart syndrome may be linked to cancer.
The study found that one in six people with broken heart syndrome also developed cancer — and they were more likely to die within five years after their diagnosis, compared to those without broken heart syndrome.
We can no longer just look at the physical path to healing cancer while excluding our emotional trauma from the past. We can heal a broken heart, but it does take hard work and time. If I focused on one thing the most on my healing journey, it was the emotional and unresolved pain from past traumas.
I will share a technique with you from my life coaching course. I coined the phrase ost Happiness Triggers and used it in my coaching for women “One Wildflower Life Coaching”.
Many of us know what Post-trauma triggers are. Those who have struggled with symptoms understand what it is like to go through flashbacks, nightmares, and even depression. When your life is threatened, it is not uncommon to go through PTSD.
Although psychotherapy can be beneficial and other clinical techniques, It is also essential to control triggers that can bring happiness and joy.
I give my clients an exercise that has proven effective in helping with anxiety before a doctor’s appointment or pulling themselves out of a flashback.
Try this! Try to remember the happiest time in your life.
Have you ever heard a song that just brings you back to that moment? Make a song list from a time in your past that was the happiest. I have a Spotify song list I listen to that makes me want to dance. I am taken back to the best times were walking to school with my girlfriends and chatting the whole way were the best! The period was from when I was 15 years old, and I was carefree with no worries except when would be the next time I got to hang out with my friends!
Also, I have clients purchase fragrance from that time period. As we know with PTSD, A smell can take you back to trauma, so we need to be focused on what scents brought us the happiest memories. For me, it was “Love’s Baby Soft” and strawberry lip gloss! I bought a strawberry candle that smells just like the Lip Smackers I kept in my pocket. I also have a rose-scented candle that smells like my Kiddle’s doll in a perfume vial I wore around my neck when I was about 11 or 12 years old.
I call all of this prepping “Post Happiness Triggers” to wash away the Post Traumatic Triggers, and it WORKS!
Whites a Minority- Broader View on Black Lives Matter
Africa just recorded the highest rate of modern-day enslavement in the world.
Armed conflict, state-sponsored forced labor, and forced marriages were the main causes behind the estimated 9.2 million Africans who live in servitude without the choice to do so, according to the 2018 Global Slavery Index. And despite these practices being widespread, slavery has remained a largely invisible issue, in part, because it disproportionately affects the most marginalized members of society, such as minorities, women, and children.
The proportion of whites in the U.S. population started to decline in 1950. It gradually fell over the years, eventually reaching just over 60% in 2018 – the lowest percentage ever recorded. It is estimated that whites will be a minority by the year 2025. Think about that, America. The United States is a nation of immigrants. Some of them have a story of trauma from another country.
Where are the black slaves today? The answer is a grave one.
Today’s slavery of blacks kidnapping blacks, blacks killing other blacks is a horror that lives on day after day in the Congo (DRC). Today About 1 million are victims of modern slavery in the Congo– from sex trafficking, forced labor, forced marriage, and child slavery, according to the Global Slavery Index by the Walk Free Foundation. #WalkFreeFoundation
From April 7 to July 15, 1994, in Rwanda, the Hutu, mass slaughtered Tutsi, Twa, and moderate Hutu. It is referred to as “100 Days of Slaughter,” the black Hutu managed to kill eight hundred thousand to one million black lives because of ethnicity. They used machetes, torture, machine guns, and any method they wished. The genocide is still a hugely sensitive issue in Rwanda, and it is illegal to even talk about ethnicity.
Why does the DR Congo have slaves today? They are mining gold, diamonds, platinum, and coal; that’s the most well-known among the minerals and metals mined. Still, South Africa also hosts chrome, vanadium, titanium, and several other lesser minerals. Black lives enslaving other black lives for money! They mutilate, rape, and are killing as well. There are even black lives forcing children to kill their parents and recruiting the children into their militia.
I can’t help but wonder how many of them know about our president Abraham Lincoln and his 13th Amendment ending slavery in the U.S. They think of escape and a hero like that today in their country. The black lives movement in the U.S. keeps referencing how oppressed black lives are in America. Seriously?
Take a look at what oppression is for other countries. Is it easier to forget them because they are so enmeshed in their circumstances, and the BLM movement can’t bother with innocent people in far worse conditions? We know that it’s brutal and a hard to accept reality. If we only read for five minutes about what is going on, we would feel shameful to￼ compare the DRC’s horrific slavery issues today with the blacks enslaving blacks to our Black Lives Matter issues.
We are a nation of immigrants. From 1965- 2015, there were 59 million immigrants who arrived in the U.S. Many￼ people come from all over the world with their past and present-day traumatic stories. Those are the bitter roots that inspired them to flee to America.
No doubt, the black lives in the DRC would gladly￼ trade places with most of us.
Spend a half-hour, those of you who support Black Lives Matter, and research what I just wrote about. ￼You will see how we have evolved as a nation and how they can’t even get started on a peaceful and civil solution to ending slavery today. They are working hard to finish it, but It is a nightmare there.￼
I am part of the support for the Congolese women and have been since I was diagnosed with cancer in June 2006. I got involved with the movement V for Congo through myspace when it was around￼￼! I joined a movement on Valentine’s Day, 2007, V for Congo women.￼ Please research them. The women’s stories and the support they appreciate, like letters of hope, are remarkable.
I believe all lives matter; The name Black Lives Matter is racist in itself and so poorly chosen a name for a movement as a Christian.
The founder that came up with that name was not looking at any other black lives going through present-day slavery, torture, rape, and murder.
￼￼The Black Lives Matter movement￼ was a name destined to keep the past alive. Today signs are being carried in protest
and some are referencing white people that someone still needs to pay.
Revenge and more restitution through hate and keeping themselves separate from the rest of this nation is no longer a white nation. Far from it!
My grandparents were immigrants; my grandfather came from Italy, my grandmother came from Mexico, and neither of their families had anything to do with slaves.
Yet, I’m considered white. My ancestors did not own slaves, and neither did many other white people facing the hate and anger from the BLM protesters.￼
￼￼Black Lives matter itself is exclusive and ignores other people who have suffered from what you say is only police brutality “for black people.”
￼￼￼Black Lives Matter is not a movement only for police brutality against blacks. I went to their website (everyone should) I read every single bit of the content.
It is so much more than that. ￼ ￼
So when people are pushing back or responding with All Lives Matter. In America, it is true! You have to understand why America is so sought after and so diverse. The United States citizens have ancestors in other countries who had nothing to do with slavery. They immigrated here from other countries for hope and opportunity.
Angry people look for the bad and find it everywhere because of their attitude. They cannot see the improvement, and when there is a racial problem, instead of taking a rational approach to making change without destruction and hatred, you start a race war.
We are privileged in the U.S. to start a petition when we want to change and have that hope turn into new laws. We can make changes, pass bills through congress, make amendments to the constitution. Thank you, Abraham Lincoln, for our 13th Amendment. We can continue making changes peacefully like we have in the past and will continue to do so.
The BLM protesting is not productive when they blame everybody in America who they think had ancestors for slave owners.
So when I believe all lives matter, it’s because, as a Christian, I refuse to listen to a name brand that was chosen poorly, excluding so many.
I think it is terrible marketing!
The founder that came up with that name was not looking at any other black lives going through present-day slavery torture and murder.
￼￼The Black Lives Matter movement￼ was a name destined to keep the past alive. That means to hate and separate from the rest of this nation, which is no longer a WHITE nation.
My grandparents were immigrants; my grandfather came from Italy and had nothing to do with slaves. Still, I’m considered white even though my grandmother was born in Mexico. My ancestors did not own slaves, and neither did many other white people facing the hate and anger from the BLM protesters.￼
￼￼Black Lives matter itself is exclusive and ignores other people who have suffered from what you say is only police brutality “for black people.”
￼￼ ￼Black Lives Matter is not a movement only for police brutality against blacks. I went to their website (everyone should) I read every single bit of the content.
It is so much more than that. ￼ ￼
So when people are pushing back or responding with All Lives Matter in America, it is true! You have to understand why America is so sought after and so diverse. The nation has millions of citizens who have ancestors that had nothing to do with slavery. Some Americans have come here from other countries for an opportunity. Angry people look for the bad and find it everywhere because of their attitude. They cannot see the improvement, and when there is a racial problem, instead of taking a rational and legal approach to make change without destruction and hatred, they start a race war.
We are privileged in the U.S. to start a petition when we want change and have that hope turn into new laws. We can make changes, pass bills through congress, make amendments to the constitution. Thank you, Abraham Lincoln, for our 13th Amendment. We can continue making changes peacefully like we have in the past and will continue to. The BLM protesting is not productive when they blame everybody in America who they think had ancestors for slave owners.
As a compassionate Christian American Woman in closing, I have to say that I acknowledge All Lives Matter under God.
People often ask me why cancer treatment works with some individuals and not others. Whether it is conventional or alternative, this is the case. I know they are referring to the physician and treatments.
It takes more than the physician and treatments in my experience, and I think each of us is on a unique journey to healing the mind, body, heart, and soul. A lot is involved with cancer. What if it has to do with their self-talk? You cannot get in the mind of each person. I have listened to many women in my life-coaching and learned a lot. Starting with myself. I went from being the worst self-critic on auto-pilot and completely unaware of how my mind was totally knocking me to the ground mentally and emotionally.
For the last nine years, I have tried to be as transparent as possible with all that I have done with healing my heart, mind, body, and soul to all who seek me out looking for the answers to surviving cancer. I assure them, first of all, it isn’t luck for any of us survivors. Come what may our desire to begin fixing what we think we broke kicks in! Some of us change our diets and start supplements immediately.
Some begin going to church and getting closer to their spiritual roots. Cancer can really be a call to action for your soul.
From the moment we are diagnosed we start looking back at our life choices we made. Each of us has a unique immune system and our response time to when we take action for treatment varies from one another as well. Cancer treatment includes emotional healing for many of us and changing how we cope with stress. That was a big one for me. The first book I purchased that had a workbook companion that was life-changing was “Safe People” Here is the link. I need to tell you it is a faith based book following bible scriptures. It still has great lessons that are eye opening but scriptures that show example for one reason (Hey, even Jesus had boundaries so don’t feel bad if you make it a rule that someone must earn your trust first)
Some traits of Unsafe People
~Unsafe people demand trust instead of earning it. No one is entitled to it.
~Criticizing without being caring
~Apologetic without changing their harmful behaviors
~Blame others instead of taking responsibility for their decisions.
~Treat others with a lack of empathy when they are upset.
~ “Often fail ” to forgive others for their mistakes.
The saddest part of this is these individuals often inflict themselves with the same treatment, Self-criticism, holding on to shame for their past mistakes, they cannot trust themselves, and lack self-compassion.
They need to heal themselves within first, you cannot fix them.
Safe People Book Link Below
A good example on my personal growth over the years would be to look back at my first cancer diagnosis of stage 3 breast cancer in 2006. I did not believe I deserved all the pain I was going through (poor, poor, pitiful me) and yet I blamed myself too! I mean, I handled cancer the first time like a train wreck, which is why you don’t see a single picture of me going through it at all in WA State.
I was terrified and angry because I felt no control over what was happening! I saw people around me through what was
projecting. I was looking through a filter of fear that brings up a whole host of other negative emotions.
Resentment, distrust, frustration, impatience, contempt, sadness, depression, self-pity loneliness, humiliation, abandonment, envy, longing, blame, regret embarrassment, worry, anxiety, confusion, distrust, insecurity, and doubt.
How can we see and feel love while we have so much fear running through us constantly?
Everywhere I turned, whether it was a medical appointment or interacting with friends, I felt a dark cloud hanging heavy over my head just waiting to rain more bad news on me.
Think of placebo groups, and your mind will start to wander off into the right direction. How do people respond favorably to a placebo a sugar pill? They “think” they have the drug!
My first step to healing emotionally was a gratitude journal. I began it at the end of my battle with stage 3 breast cancer when I had so many complications with infection from multiple surgeries. I started by writing thank you for 5 things a day and progressed by taping positive messages to my ceiling. I was in such a state of depression I knew I was spiraling downward and that I had to do something. I healed from stage 3 cancer in 2008.
In 2010 it came back with a vengeance though.
I took my gratitude and positive messages to a whole new level! I refused chemo I chose alternative at CMN in San Luis Mexico even after my UCLA oncologist gave me 12 months to live. People saw my positive messages On my my water bottles, again taped on walls and my ceiling so they would be the first thing I saw when I woke up! It was not going too far when I drew a heart and wrote messages on my body because our body is about 75% water. I had to write those messages as a reminder that I was lovable because I was now married to a physically abusive man during this second battle with stage 4 cancer in 2010 and I knew I had to succeed. I think a fighting spirit has a lot to do with this. It was private and personal and I did not ask a single woman for advice on how to0 win my battle. NOT ONE WOMAN! I PRAYED. I did not belong to a single group. They did not exist on facebook at that time.
I also framed a picture of myself when I was a little girl and sent her messages of love. I spoke to her and told her my plan f how I was going to save her life. I told her she was loved, that I love her as if she was my daughter. Is it crazy? NO! not when you have a husband hitting you and a doctor saying you are dying. We are unique. Do what you must do.
My faith in God was so important, and knowing that I was lovable to God was so important. Be unconventional, pay attention to your heart wounds and heal them any way you can. Do it quick .
You are worthy, ignore the negative self-talk and gravitate to LOVING PEOPLE. Never ever take them for granted. They are hard to find. If you believe in God, Keep Him the closest. Cancer is not a punishment, “That’s a lie” Cancer helped me learn His love and self-compassion. It helped me learn my soul purpose and to live each day with intention. I am no longer living on autopilot.
People often ask me why cancer treatment works with some individuals and not others. Whether it is conventional or alternative, I know they are referring to the physician and treatment choices.
I think each of us is on a unique path to healing in my observation and personal experience, which involves the mind, body, heart, and soul. Cancer reveals to us over time so much more than we realize.
Each of us is hard-wired with our past, and at first, with a new diagnosis of cancer, we are uncertain and view ourselves based only on what we have heard from the past stories.
Some of us are already dealing with old wounds and perspectives handed down by family and other expectations, and it’s not easy to talk about cancer with anyone. We are a bit confused about our true identity now our new meaning as to how we are viewed, our worth in a relationship, or if we are single, we cannot help but think about what we are worth now with cancer. It’s a real fear. It’s emotional, and it’s gripping for many.
For complete healing to occur, it is integral to get to the heart and soul of who we are and completely own it.
Cancer brought me to that crossroads, and I faced myself for the very first time. I hit every single one of those I just mentioned with stage 3 when I was single and stage 4 when I was married.
I went from being the worst self-critic on complete auto-pilot, totally unaware that my mind was continually knocking me down mentally and emotionally, to where I am today helping other women learn about the importance of healing emotional wounds and coping with stress.
In the very beginning starting with my cancer journey at stage 3, I would say deprecating things to myself subconsciously all day long; it was background chatter n my head (A constant judge and jury) saying things such as, “You should have, or: “You shouldn’t have” or, What a fool you were! Or How stupid could you be or, You’ll never, or Once again, here you are! The list is long on how I criticized myself, and I even got into relationships in the past with men who were critical of me until I healed from cancer the second time around.
Healing from cancer was not only about the treatment of my body. It included my mind, body, and spirit too.
For the last nine years, I have tried to be as transparent as possible with all that I have done with healing my heart, mind, body, and soul to all who seek me out looking for the answers to surviving cancer. I assure them, first of all, it isn’t luck for any of us survivors. Come what may, our desire to begin fixing what we think we broke suddenly kicks in! Some of us change our diets and start taking supplements immediately. Some begin going to church and getting closer to their spiritual roots.
Cancer can be a call to action for your soul.
We all start with different approaches. From the moment we are diagnosed, we start looking back at the life choices we made. Each of us has a unique immune system, and our response time to when we take action for treatment varies from one another as well. Cancer treatment includes emotional healing for many of us and changing how we cope with stress. That was a big one for me. The first book I purchased that had a workbook companion that was life-changing for me was “Safe People” It teaches you how to be a Safe person and how to recognize unsafe people in your life. We all have moments where we push the boundaries of where we lose our cool. That’s not what I am referring too. Are we able to apologize and change behavior? Can we feel deep remorse or empathy?
Here is the link. Safe People Book Link Below
I need to tell you it is a faith-based book following bible scriptures. It still has excellent lessons that are eye-opening but scriptures that show an example for one reason (Hey, even Jesus had boundaries so don’t feel bad if you make it a rule that someone must earn your trust first)
Some traits of Unsafe People
- Unsafe people demand trust instead of earning it. No one is entitled to it.
- Criticizing without being caring
- Apologetic without changing their harmful behaviors
- Blame others instead of taking responsibility for their decisions.
- Treat others with a lack of empathy when they are upset.
- Often fail to forgive others for their mistakes.
The saddest part of this is these individuals often inflict themselves with the same treatment, Self-criticism, holding on to shame for their past mistakes, they cannot trust themselves, and lack self-compassion.
They need to heal themselves within first; you cannot fix them.
An excellent example of my personal growth over the years would be to look back at my first cancer diagnosis of stage 3 breast cancer in 2006. I did not believe I deserved all the pain I was going through ( poor, pitiful me), and yet I blamed myself too! I mean, I handled cancer the first time like a train wreck, which is why you don’t see a single picture of me going through it at all in WA State.
I was terrified and angry because I felt no control over what was happening! I saw people around me through what was
I was looking through a filter of fear that brings up a whole host of other negative emotions.
How can we see and feel love while we have so much fear running through us constantly?
Everywhere I turned, whether it was a medical appointment or interacting with friends, I felt a dark cloud hanging heavy over my head just waiting to rain more bad news on me.
Think of placebo groups, and your mind will start to wander off into the right direction. How do people respond favorably to a placebo a sugar pill? They “think” they have the drug!
My first step to achieving emotional wellness was writing in a gratitude journal.
At the end of my battle with stage 3 breast cancer, I began it when I had so many complications with infection from multiple surgeries. I started by writing thank you for five things a day and progressed by taping positive messages to my ceiling. I was in such a state of depression; I knew I was spiraling downward and had to do something. I healed from stage 3 cancer in 2008.
In 2010 it came back with a vengeance, though.
I took my gratitude and positive messages to a whole new level! I refused chemo I chose alternative at CMN in San Luis, Mexico, even after my UCLA oncologist gave me 12 months to live. People who visited me saw my positive messages on my water bottles and once again taped on walls and my ceiling to be the first thing I saw when I woke up! I drew hearts and wrote messages on my body because they were a reminder that I was lovable. I was now married to a physically abusive man during this second battle with stage 4 cancer in 2010, and I needed to feel the love. I wanted to succeed in my healing, and I think having a fighting spirit has a lot to do with our ability to heal.
It was private and personal, and I did not ask a single woman in a group for advice on how to win my cancer battle. I prayed and did not belong to Facebook groups because they did not exist at that time.
I framed a picture of me when I was a little girl and sent her messages of love. I spoke to her about what kind of future she deserved and how she would get well, and everything would be alright. When you have a husband hitting you and a doctor saying you are dying, you need that comfort.
My faith in God was necessary, and knowing that I was lovable to God was so important.
You are worthy, ignore the negative self-talk, and gravitate to love, and If you believe in God, Keep Him the closest. Cancer is not a punishment, “That’s a lie” cancer helped me learn more about God’s grace, and it showed me His purpose for me to where I live each day with intention now, and I am no longer living on autopilot.
I went through it when my father was nearing the end of his life with stage 4 cancer. The feelings I went through were separation anxiety, aloneness, denial, sadness, disappointment, anger, resentment, guilt, exhaustion, and desperation.
Who am I without my father? Dad is my touchstone, and our conversations last hours sometimes. I get the best advice from him.
When I visited dad for Father’s day and saw him for the first time in his walker, I could no longer be in the denial phase of grief. Dad was seemingly accepting of the inevitable, and I was thrown in shock as I transitioned from denial to anticipatory grief. I think the pain of knowing what dad must be feeling is what hit me so hard.
Anticipatory grief is felt by the person who is terminally ill, family, friends, and caregivers.
Anyone who has just received difficult news about her cancer may begin to show anticipatory grief physically, emotionally, cognitively, and spiritually. Both the patient and family can experience these symptoms. Examples of physical symptoms are similar to those experienced by our loved ones after the anticipated death. We can have sleep and appetite disturbance, headache, nausea, and fatigue. Many feel anxious, sad, helpless, disorganized, forgetful, or angry. Going through a period of doubting one’s faith or questioning God’s existence is not unusual, and neither is disconnecting from loved ones or people in general.
Anticipatory grief rarely alleviates or eliminates the suffering after the actual death, but anticipatory grief can give us time to prepare and develop coping skills for the inevitable changes to come. Have a family meeting and talk about anticipatory grief when a loved one is ill so you can understand what you all are experiencing and offer support and confirmation that this is a normal process.
As far back as I can remember, cancer terrified me. Cancer always meant death was around the corner. Whenever I saw someone losing their hair and dropping weight, it scared me. I was not old enough to understand. Cancer affected many family members in my life and still does. I have lost three grandparents, an aunt, and have family battling it right now.
I remember the last time I ever saw my Grandmother; it was to say good-bye. My parents told me her cancer was very advanced and did not have much longer to live. I remember how eerie it was pulling up to my grandparent’s street. I flashed back to when my sisters and I went down the big hill on roller skates. It was too steep, and if our parents knew we would have been in trouble because it went past an alleyway next to a church where cars went through. At the speed we were going, it was too dangerous to stop, we had to finish the ride out. We were lucky, laughing at first and then screaming when we realized just how fast we were approaching the alley. I’ll never forget it.
Here I was now a grown woman experiencing death with my beloved Grandmother. I got out of the car and walked across the front lawn. More memories flooded my mind of me, my brothers, sisters, and cousins laughing and playing games in the front yard. We made up games and played traditional games like Red Rover, Red Rover, and “Tag!” There were so many kids in our family when we had our family holiday get-togethers. I have so many wonderful cousins, aunts, and uncles that I looked forward to seeing every year, and I couldn’t imagine holidays without her. I knew nothing would ever be the same again when she died.
On the ride up, I had tried to prepare myself for something I never experienced. I thought about what I could say, knowing these would be my last words to my Grandmother. They needed to be the comforting and reassuring words that I would never forget because I wanted to comfort her and take any fear of dying. What could be more meaningful than I will miss you and I love you? I did not want to face her death and tell her I would miss her! My heart was breaking, and I hated cancer. I couldn’t tell her everything would be okay; it was a lie. My faith was not strong, even though I was Catholic. I did not understand what would happen; I just wanted her to have comfort and make sure she wasn’t scared.
I walked into my grandparent’s house and down the hallway with all the family pictures on the walls. This hall was small but always a place the family would gather to look at family pictures from over the years. I turned around the corner, and I could feel my heart race with fear and sadness as I got near my grandparent’s room. I didn’t want to see what my Grandmother looked like near her death; I wanted everything to be back the way it was. I walked in, and she was laying down frail in a hospital type bed. I looked over to the left of the room where Grandma and Grandpa’s bed was and knew she would never lay there again with my Grandpa. I knew his heart was breaking. They were such fantastic companions. The reality was hitting me so hard, and it was all so sad.
I walked into my Grandparents’ bedroom; it was a heartbreaking vision to see my Grandmother in this weakened condition. I knew it was time for me to say the most meaningful words to her because they would be my last words. I remember the sliver of light coming in through the window. It was peeking through the pulled down shade at the head of her bed. I would remember her fragile state whether I wanted to or not; it forever burned in my mind. Grandmother was so full of life, and she kept all of us kids in line. She did it with strength and love. She fixed incredible Italian food and made us peanut butter and banana sandwiches in the afternoon when my cousins and I played outside. Her biscotti cookies with that hint of licorice from the anise spice were the best I had ever had.
My Grandmother was strong, kind, and gentle. Her eyes were soulful and filled with wisdom. My favorite dresses of hers were her cotton plaid pastel ones. She could dress so simple and look so elegant.
I stepped cautiously and closer to her. I said, “hello,” very softly. I leaned over to hug her carefully, barely touching her. She didn’t reply; she just looked at me with her beautiful brown eyes, always full of kindness. They looked exhausted, though, I had never seen this look before. I saw her fading away. I told her I loved her. I asked my dad if it was okay to hold her hand, she just looked so fragile, and it felt respectful to get his permission. He said, “yes.” I will never forget the last words I had said to her before I walked out the bedroom door. I leaned over, and I whispered to her that I was pregnant with my second child, and the baby was due on her birthday. I don’t understand why I said what I did. I was so young and unprepared for anything I went through. When I think back on that day, I suppose I was hoping it would make her feel some peace as she was letting go.
The guilt I felt afterward was heavy as I was walking back to the car. What was I thinking, sharing my joy of a new life coming into the world while she lay there so ill with death waiting to take her? I was so naïve of what to say. Here she was fragile and pale, and I was trying to cheer her with the exciting news of a child coming into the world. I wanted to run back in there and comfort her, tell her I was sorry, but the family kept moving forward towards the car, and they would not understand this rush of emotion and the great need to be near her again.
She died a short while after, it was Autumn 24 years ago right before Thanksgiving. I still miss her so much that my heart is aching, even as I write. I never heard her yell at me or any of the kids once; she was incredibly patient. From that day on, cancer felt sinister to me. Grandma always looked okay, and then one day, she was sick with cancer. She was starting to look thinner and started wearing a wig. I thought it was because of cancer. I know now it was the chemotherapy that took a toll on her. I always wondered why people had to suffer so much through these cancer treatments. It never made sense to me. I was afraid of cancer and chemotherapy. To me, it meant if you got cancer, you were going to suffer from treatment. Both my grandfathers died of cancer, and then one of my aunts got cancer and also did chemotherapy and died. I didn’t look at their medical records, all I know is, they were very sick, and I was afraid of ever going through what they did.
If I could start my life again without cancer, I would choose the same path of battling cancer because it led me to where I am today. I am blessed and can help many people because of what I went through. What knowledge I have gained from this experience is invaluable. I learned how to heal my body and not give in to the toxic treatments. Alternative Cancer Treatments saved me and gave me a life I never knew could exist. It showed me that I could help others see another way to fight if they were too afraid of chemotherapy and radiation. I beat breast cancer twice, stage III in 2006, and stage IV in 2010 without using chemotherapy. I left my country the second time, and it took courage. I respect choice, but if people want another alternative, I want to share my story, so they know they have options.
I meet many other survivors, just like me. Everyone should be exploring why is healing the body, not a priority when someone gets cancer, why is healing such a misunderstood word? Why do they immediately go in with the scalpel, burning and chemicals, and drugs? I have never been the one to see something and pretend not to see it. If the Emperor is naked and everyone wants to lie and say he looks great in his new clothes not to upset the king, I have a natural inclination to run up to him and shelter his nudity with a cloak to spare him from shame and indignity.
If people ask me how I healed without chemotherapy, they better brace themselves for the truth.
On one particular summer evening, when I was just a young girl, my father went outside with a ladder and propped it up against the house. He held a small white box in his hands and in it contained little gold stars. He gathered me, my brother and sisters, outside to show us something fantastic. He climbed the ladder with the tiny white box and reached into it and pulled a gold star out. He licked the white sticky side and held it up to the night sky. My dad is a very tall man standing 6’4″. Dad seemed taller, like a giant, standing at the top of the ladder, and tall enough to reach the sky.
We were curious and asked him what he was doing, he said, half laughing, “I am putting stars in the sky for all of you kids!” I was six or seven years old at the time, and I believed him! As a kid, I’m thinking, oh, now I understand it finally made sense to me at such a young age how all the stars got up there in the sky!
What dad gave me that night was priceless and a beautiful memory I cherish. I remember lying in bed that night, thinking how amazing my dad was. He held all of us in wonderment that entire evening by being creative and doing something to make us all smile.
My parents were like this in our life. They would find ways to bring a little magical wonder by using their imagination. We did not have a lot of toys growing up because dad supported our family and was going to school full time, which kept him busy. I loved their ingenuity and how they came up with creative ways to make us smile. At that young age, it was not the monetary thing that I remembered most significantly. It was the creative ways my parents were able to show love by engaging in activities that were fun or educational, or both. I saw the value in that and was able to do the same for my children when they were little. We make memories, and they last not just in one person’s life, but in those with whom we share our stories.
The picture also reminds me how I like to have little lights and candles glowing in my home at night for warmth and ambiance. I have lanterns throughout my backyard, around the pool, in the small garden and sitting area. It makes relaxing even more enchanting.
This morning, when I woke up, I received a text message from my husband Michael. It was a girl with a string of lights and holding them up to the night sky as if she were putting the stars in the sky. It was such a beautiful picture that it inspired me and started my day off great. It took me on a journey back into time. I also remember thinking as I climbed out of bed to be the light. We are all a bright light to someone who is in a dark time of anxiety, fear, or panic.
Shine your light bright.
My husband and I did a reenactment one night to capture the feeling in that fun photo of looking like I was also putting stars in the sky.
Great memories of my father.