Taking the road less traveled...
There is something indescribable that happens to the mind, to your entire being when your doctor says "you have cancer". Its as if the life you had and the life you're now living become disconnected. For many people the initial reactions are similar; shock, fear, more shock, more fear, confusion. Once the piercing edge of shock begins to wear off and the grinding fear somewhat manageable, the internal process kicks in and for everyone this is where the journey really begins. Decisions have to be made, research must be done, more decisions to make, more research must be done. Simultaneously, while this process gets underway there is the inevitable impact of facing other peoples' reactions as well. Its different for everyone, some may be supportive, fearful, critical, wise, or loving but regardless of the reaction its always ultimately from a place of love and caring.
My own internal process kicked in somewhere between the first few weeks of numbing shock and nauseating fear, while riding the first few sparks of hope I'd felt since the diagnosis. I'd met with a few surgeons and was left with the most powerful inner feeling; there must be a better way. None of the options offered to me were any I could make peace with in my own heart, so I began to research other options, looking for any other possibility. It didn't take long before I stumbled upon a wealth of information and began educating myself; some of the initial resources I came across resonated so strongly with me it was unexpectedly reassuring. For the first time in weeks since everything began, the raw, gnawing ache of fear was no longer prying at my gut. I felt hope. Still, I knew in my heart there was a lot more research to do before I could make any concrete decisions.
Like many people, I didn't know a lot about cancer. My knowledge around the subject was sourced from knowing a few people who had gone through it, other than that everything I'd heard was through the media. That had always seemed to be enough, I really didn't want to know more…until I had to.
My initial motivation to find some other treatment option was rooted in a resoundingly strong internal voice, or sense that "there has to be a better way"; I needed something that I could believe in and be at peace with. With more research I was surprised by how much information I found about countless others who had healed their cancer naturally. People with all kinds of cancer, all ages, at all stages, some sent home to die; all of them now telling their story a decade or more later cancer-free.
It seemed that after I found the first few resources it opened up in to a wellspring of other resources, information and people sharing their stories. I began to sift through the immense amount of information, anything that was sound information and resonated deeply with me I would compile; Books, websites, videos, stories from people I met or emailed. There was no magic pill for these people. They all healed using various different treatments, some did it on their own, others worked with a naturopath or clinic, some turned to natural healing after chemo failed and others went natural right from the start. One thing for sure, they were willing to make changes on an emotional/mental, physical and spiritual level and these changes were life long. True healing goes to the source of imbalance and eliminates that cause, thereby the body naturally orchestrates itself back to dynamic health.
In the beginning these people's cases were considered "radical remissions" and paid little attention to. Over the last few decades there have been more and more people who healed naturally and are sharing their story. While there is no magic pill there is most certainly a common thread of action to all the healing stories out there. A few of the key elements are (physical) radical diet change and taking control of your health--(diet being one of the most powerful healing influences one can have in healing cancer), (mental/emotional) releasing suppressed emotions (resentment is a big one), (spiritual) deepening spiritual connection and having strong reasons for living.
Once I began reading about this I felt it began to resonate deeply. Like a blaring horn in my ear, there was no ignoring this feeling and why should I? I have spent most of my life coming face to face with my insecurities and self doubt. Through old tattered family wounds and years of mental tapes playing in my head I had become really good at second guessing myself. Always looking to someone else to make sure I was making the "right" choice, always seeking validation from friends, parents, boyfriends it was endless and for others it was exhausting. Not this time.
"If the mind is allowed to quiet down, it will know what it needs to do in order to get well again."So I listened. To find the truth that is right for me.
Sifting through everything I had researched and learned, I began the process of weeding out my own personal truth which would become the foundation for my healing journey. By now I had learned that we all have cancer cells in our body, but most of the time our immune system locates and eliminates the mutated cells on a regular basis. However, when the immune system is compromised imbalance takes root; stress and diet are two biggest factors that suppress our immune system. No doubt I could look back over my life and see that I had lived under severe stress over long periods of time (10+ years). In addition, my body had been giving me 'signals' of imbalance for years but I ignored them, assuming that I was fine and had more important things to focus on. Nothing that a few yoga sessions won't take care of, right? I was approaching my health haphazardly and without a sense of commitment or true self worth. "Jen, you've got to wake up and make some serious changes. Find the love in your heart for you."
The three treatment options offered to me are the only ones that doctors can legally prescribe. They are bound by law to offer surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Also, the fees to get FDA approval and thereby offered in hospitals is to the tune of $300 million which guarantees only pharmeceutical companies will be able to get their products through this approval process. From the beginning it simply did not make sense to try and heal my body by poisoning it with cytotoxic chemicals. This would destroy my immune system, damage my DNA and leave my system even more vulnerable to reoccurrence. I knew I could not be at peace with this and by now I had learned enough about this 100 billion dollar cancer industry to know that doctors would not look favorably on my choices, but they would likely agree that its vital to believe in the treatment we choose. I, personally, could not believe in this path for me and I opted out.
As for radiation the choice was rooted in the same feeling, knowing that I could not be at peace with this choice. Although I knew many people who claimed they or a friend/family member had radiation and it was really no big deal". I totally respect their choice but I had learned by now that radiation causes damage to cells causing secondary cancer and also can make certain cancers malignant. I wasn't at peace with this and I opted out of this as well.
By now I came to the conclusion that I wanted to work with a naturopath. Although a lot of people had healed on their own, its a personal choice and I needed an advocate and someone I could trust and most importantly someone who had worked with other people healing cancer naturally. Although many names appeared on a random Google search, I needed someone special, someone with experience. Through the graces of this beautiful and mysterious universe, I found one. My friend Erica had worked with a doctor in Plymouth and after sharing her incredible story with me I knew I needed to meet him and find out if this was the doctor I wanted to work with, trust my life with. After my first meeting Dr. Olarsch and spending 9 hours with him at my first session, I left feeling electric with hope and inspiration. As I drove home from the mountains that night, the Full moon hung in the night sky, draped in its stunning yellow glow, I felt a reverence for life that was unlike any I had experienced before; I felt clarity for the path I had chosen and with that a deep sense of peace settled in my heart.
That was three weeks ago and during my meeting that day I discussed with my doc whether to do surgery or not. I had not yet arrived at a decision on this matter and ultimately felt pulled to let my own body heal but was up until that day not sure what was the best choice for me. The thing with a cancer diagnosis is that everyone reacts with fear and a desperation to take action immediately without thinking things through first. Some people need surgery; in particular if the lump or tumor is blocking a major bodily function then there is no question. However, ultimately the lump is just a symptom of the deeper root cause and will not 'cure' the cancer. When there is surgery there is also a flood of hormones released during the healing process that becomes food for cancer cells, they love it. In addition I knew that I wanted to focus on healing my body rather than healing a surgery wound, as my lump is small and in time on the radical treatment plan will begin to shrink and dissolve as my body does what its meant to do. Heal. With the help of my doctor I will be monitoring my progress through blood tests and MRI if needed and will share all of the progress along the way.
Over the past couple weeks I have begun to share my choices with more people and many are supportive even if they don't fully understand or agree while others have outright disagreed. My responsibility is only to respect others opinions and not use my energy trying to manage their emotions but remaining tuned in to my own voice and remain my own biggest advocate. This is where another vital layer of healing begins; that of inner healing. Stepping out of the cloak of insecurity and standing up as my own advocate, standing up out of the shadow of playing-it-small and being willing to play it big and be seen.
There are people who have healed naturally and the cancer came back. There are people who had chemo and the cancer came back. Ultimately I create my future by the thoughts and choices I make today. This is not about blaming myself, in fact its quite the opposite. Its about taking responsibility for my health and tapping in to the deeper healing potential that we often give up in search for an easier way or quicker results. I am in this for the long haul and some of the lifestyle choices I have made, I have made them for life because once my body heals there will also be the journey of prevention. We expect our bodies to heal in a linear direction but that is not always the case, instead we are called upon to invoke faith and trust in our bodies and the miraculous, dynamic systems they are and to do everything we can to support them in this process.
So here I am, three weeks in to my new regimen and the word I can use to sum up the past few weeks is calibrating. Changing our lives takes time, discipline and commitment. Acquiring all the supplies, supplements and food to implement such a change took me the better part of the first two weeks. I have taken a small reduction in work hours over the next 6 months to support my healing process as I realized if I'm going to do this, I need to be 100% committed. The financial magnitude has stirred up fear for me, as a single mom who still has regular life responsibilities and now in addition eating 100% organic, juicing up to a gallon a day, naturopathic therapies such as Intravenous Vitamin C, Colon Hydrotherapy, etc…have been tossed in to the budget it is daunting! But I keep coming back to my strong inner voice that reminds me "Jen, this is your life…! You are worth it , stay committed girl, you got this."
The deeper inner work of finding a way to truly love and accept myself sits at the core of all my efforts and as I step deeper in to this work I realize I'm reaching the source of deeper ancient wounds. This isn't about a romantic love, its about deep unconditional acceptance of who I am at the core of my being in this world, on this earth, in this body. Thoughts create acidity in the body as much as food does, thereby creating inflammation and dis-ease in the body.
And so I continue the work…. loving through my fear, loving through my doubts, loving through my anxieties, loving through the old wounds, loving the forgotten inner teenager, loving the lost dreams that aren't' really lost, loving the lump, loving the cells, loving life and holding true respect for all that life truly is.