"Whack-A-Mole" by Wendy Fish
A few months prior to my treatments I was diagnosed with a rare genetic mutation called PALB2, which basically means my body does not repair DNA damage like most people and it increases my risk for multiple types of cancers. So when they told me I should do chemotherapy I just could not make sense of it. If my body doesn’t heal right why would I push damaging poison throughout it? When I asked my doctors, they would say, the genetic information is all so new, they didn’t know how the chemo would affect me long term. Are you serious?? My common sense was telling me to run, this doesn’t make sense! But everyone around me kept talking about the risk of reoccurrence if I didn’t do chemo, so I gave in.
After my first round of chemo I got really sick, I was having horrible stomach pains and got up in the middle of the night to use the restroom. The next thing I knew I was writhing in pain on my bed, my husband said I passed out and when I kicked the trash can over it woke him up and he found me lying on the floor with my head against the wall. After carrying me to the bed, my husband immediately called an ambulance. I remember being placed on the stretcher in my short nightgown and a pair of yoga pants my husband thankfully put on me. After arriving at the ER, finally getting some pain meds, and a CT scan of my head and stomach, the doctors came in with the news, I had a brain tumor! I thought, wait a minute how can this be? What are the chances? I was seen soon after by a neurologist who wanted to do brain surgery right away. He said it appeared to be a glioma, which could quickly grow and this was much more risky than the breast cancer! The doctors made the decision to stop my chemotherapy and schedule a brain surgery. The neurosurgeon jokingly said, this is good timing, since I was already bald and they wouldn’t have to shave my head.
This was my breaking point! Wait a minute everyone! I can’t do brain surgery, I’m in the middle of fighting breast cancer! Another tumor? In my brain? My common sense came back again and said lets pump the brakes here. I’m not having any symptoms, can’t we just watch it for a while and finish what I started then go back to the brain tumor. I was feeling like I was playing whack a mole! How many more tumors were going to show up? Thankfully my neurologist agreed to keep an eye on it for the next few months while I finished my chemo treatments and then we would proceed with the brain surgery to remove the tumor.
I had so much support from family and friends, but I felt incredibly alone. No one I knew could truly understand what I was going through and I had no idea where to turn. I remember going home after seeing the neurologist, falling to my knees, and pleading to a God I really never knew. Please help me! What should I do? Who can I trust? There was so much conflicting information on the internet. I felt like I had been dropped off in another country and I didn’t know the language and there was no one around me who could help translate! As the tears streamed down my face, I believe that divine intervention showed up next. I had a whole new resolve to listen, to be open and figure out what I needed. I got up off my knees and decided, I would find the answers. This was not the way my life was going to end. I had never thought about MY needs much before. It was always about what everyone else needed from me.
I literally locked myself away and within minutes it was right there, exactly the inspiration I needed. An online course from someone who took a different approach to healing from cancer. 10 modules to give me a road map to start my healing adventure! I poured over the modules and did everything I could and I didn’t stop there, I kept going. Learning, researching, and being open to the universe. I am an all-in kind of girl. And when I say I went all-in, I REALLY did. It was time to get at the root of the cause, to swim upstream and see what the hell was going on in my body to cause these tumors in the first place and make some major changes.
I started the changes very quickly, so suddenly that my family would come in day after day and say oh my God, what’s next! I threw out all the toxic foods, chemicals, pots, and pans, and plastic. I changed our soaps, water, and even our air. No more beautifully polished nails! I changed my makeup and stopped wearing deodorant, and threw out all those Victoria secret’s bras with wires! I mean I went all in. And I didn’t stop there, I spent years working on myself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I became a pretty good cook, graduated from a Yoga teacher training program and an Integrative Nutrition Health Coaching program. I’ve loved every minute of building the life I always wanted. Although, it wasn’t always as much fun for my family. There were times that the changes felt like too much, never ending and overwhelming, but they supported me the entire way. Well, except for the time I told my husband how bad grilling meat is for you!
I’m very happy to say that 4 years after being diagnosed with cancer I am doing great! I never had my brain tumor removed. I just keep an eye on it and do you know my doctor actually said it was shrinking! It hasn’t all been easy though, some days I still worry if a pain is just a pain or a headache is just a headache, but I’ve learned to listen to my intuition, be open to the universe and advocate for my needs. I’ve am healthier, happier, and more joyful than I can remember being since I was 10 years old. My relationships with my husband and children are more authentic and better than I ever knew was possible. I am not just running on the hamster wheel of life anymore. I am really living, living the life I was always meant to have!
My passion now is to share what I’ve learned to support others on their journey, so they never have to feel like they have been dropped off alone in another country. I want to contribute to others lives in a meaningful way, by creating positive changes that transforms their lives. To help empower other women to listen to their intuition, to put themselves first for a change, and to be the healthiest, happiest version of their selves possible!
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