A couple of weeks ago I had blood work completed. I went and visited my oncologist and we had a nice discussion where for once very little was done to try and scare me into treatment they (as in the standard medical establishment) felt I should complete.
That is until three days later when my oncologist called me because my tumor markers have elevated somewhat. Now there is a huge urgency. The question becomes “What are we going to do”? I hear the information, but to me, this doesn’t change my plans. This information does not constitute a crisis on my part.
I calmly explained that we will proceed as I outlined when I was in his office. We will draw more blood at the end of July and see if we have a trend. Rushing me into further testing is only going to stress out my system. My body needs to be able to heal, not be in a constant state of fight or flight which tends to be common within the current standard of treatment regime.
Our system of healing does little to calm our fears. The sterile environment, the recital of facts and statistics, the lack of listening or empathy on the part of our healers, these all contribute to a feeling of our health being outside our control. My doctor’s call did not provide me with any feelings of well-being instead it started a tail spin. As I’ve experienced the whole situation I’ve also been an observer and I’ve been amazed at how one phone call can change your attitude. When someone calls you with this news you’re first reaction is to become very upset, to feel helpless, lost, overwhelmed, and none of these are good emotions to make decisions with. Nevermind, that ten minutes ago you felt great, you had no complaints, and every day you felt stronger.
For the first few days I was very emotional. I would cry easily and I found myself with little patience for others and their troubles. While the rational part of me felt that the news was not anything to be overly concerned about, another part of me was devastated. I’m ready to move forward with my life. I want to be able to live like people who don’t have cancer. Where an ache or a pain is exactly that, where you can eat McDonald’s and worry about the consequences in ten years, or have an alcoholic beverage or five without worrying about how harmful it is to your body, I could go on with the list of things that you take for granted before you realize that every action you take adds up and you will likely pay for it and sooner than you’d like.
It also isn’t what I want. I don’t want the life that most people have. The life I’m living fits me better than my past. I don’t want to eat food that I know is going to harm me, and I want to be aware of my body because those aches and pains are messages from your body telling you that you need to do something different, and as for alcoholic beverages we tend to use them because it changes our mood in a way we like. I don’t need to be drunk to be silly and fearless. That was when I realized I wasn’t upset because of what I couldn’t do. I miss the connection I can have with other people by indulging in these behaviors, but I don’t actually want to partake in them.
I’ve come full circle in a year. Last year in May I was scared into doing radiation and going on Tamoxifen. June was an unpleasant month in many ways. I was exhausted and depressed. I didn’t do these treatments because I believed in them, I did them because they are what you do and I didn’t have the energy to fight the system anymore. I didn’t trust myself; I felt that I had failed. These decisions haven’t set well with me. I understand why I made the choices I did, but I am not surprised that my life has conspired to give me a situation where I can fix it.
A couple of months ago I realized that I didn’t like feeling that I was dependent upon a pill for my well-being, especially a pill that is carcinogenic. I haven’t been happy with the side effects I’ve experienced, but the old saying of “don’t rock the boat” comes to mind. The tests results I received a couple of weeks ago give me the leverage I need make the changes I’ve wanted to make for months now. I could be scared and ask why has this happened, but instead this is an opportunity. That’s the way opportunity works. We don’t get to pick how it appears in our life and we often get stuck on what is happening instead of realizing that whatever it is will actually help us achieve our goals.
My goal is to heal from cancer without the harmful treatments provided by chemo, radiation, or pharmaceuticals. It’s been that way since I started down this path for the second time. This time last year I felt like I was dying. My appearance and attitude at that time would have led you to believe otherwise, but I could feel my body dying. This isn’t the case this time. The last year has made me strong. It’s changed me on a very deep level. It’s made it so this time I can walk the other path fully. I look back at how far I’ve come in my own healing and I know that regardless of test results I am in a much better place. I know that I am healing. I know this because I know what it feels like to be dying. There is amazing power in that.