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Living Through Cancer

What Does Cancer Feel Like?

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“What?! Cancer? Are you sure doc? Because I feel great. I don’t feel cancerous.”

It’s true. I feel great. I feel strong and I have good energy. I don’t feel any pain. Or at least I didn’t feel any pain until I had the biopsies. Ever since then it’s as if my boobs got the news that they are supposed to be sick and they have started to hurt a bit. But I think that is more due to the biopsies than to cancer. Other than that, I am working, exercising, and carrying on with my normal life. I mean as normal as it can be when you suddenly discover that you have a life threatening illness. My point, friends, is that cancer doesn’t feel any different than normal. At least not in the beginning. So please get your regular check ups and see your doctor if you feel anything at all out of the ordinary. Ladies, Pleeeeeease get your mammograms as suggested by your doctor. Don’t let fear of the unknown deter you from such a simple procedure that could save your life.

It would be very easy to get depressed and feel bad because it is all very overwhelming. But notice the title of this blog.  I chose that title very deliberately – Living Through Cancer – because I absolutely intend to get through this, and I fully intend to keep living. Or, more appropriately, I intend to keep fully living. My body may have cancer but my spirit is cancer free and I refuse to be sick. I know that as I progress through treatments I will need to listen to my body and slow down when needed.  That will be difficult for me because I still have to run a business and care for my patients.  But I am blessed to have wonderful friends and family who will kick my butt if I don’t rest.  I know that there will be difficult days.  But I am a glass half full kind of girl and I always look for the good.  And there is always something good. I also know that I am not going through this alone.  My husband and family are going through it with me and there will be days when it gets to be too much for them.  That is the thought that always brings me to tears.  I feel like I can take the cancer but I cannot stand to see my husband and family suffer.  All I can do in those days is remember that God has a plan for us.  He uses these times to grow and refine us.  He wants us to draw nearer to Him and He is always working in our favor.  We must have faith and again, look for the good.  Especially when we can’t see His big picture.

Here’s an example of good things that are already coming from this.

The other day I was talking to my brother on the phone and he said “I love you.” Out loud.  Without even the tiniest mumble.  The last time I heard my brother say that was when we were in college and there maaaaay have probably been alcohol involved.  I know my brother loves me and I love him too.  But we don’t say it much. So that was awesome.  I love you too, Joel.

Living Through Cancer

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I dedicate this to my mother and sister who’ve already fought this battle and won.  Thank you for setting the example of strength and grace.  I love you both.

 

 

Actually, I’m not really that surprised.  My mother had it 10 years ago and my sister had it almost 25 years ago at the very young age of 30.  At that time cancer was almost surely a death sentence.  I cannot even begin to imagine what she was feeling at that time.  But my family is strong and resilient and I am happy to report that both mom and Maggie are doing fine.

I really struggled with how much I wanted to tell people or even if I wanted to tell people.  This was partly because I was trying to deny and avoid. That’s my usual strategy.  My husband would get so mad at me when I would hear a strange noise in my car and “fix” it by turning the volume up on the radio.  This was partly because I didn’t want to worry my family.  I hate it when my mom worries about me.  But mostly, this was because of my ego.  I’m a health care provider, for Pete’s sake!  I’m not supposed to get cancer.  I’m the one who is supposed to help other people get and stay healthy.  I worried that I would freak out my patients and that I would lose credibility. But cancer doesn’t care about your job or your ego.

When the diagnosis was confirmed I knew I had to let all of that go.  Instead, I’ve decided to go full on out there and be completely transparent in the hopes that my experience will help somebody else.  Maybe you have been diagnosed with cancer.  Maybe you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with cancer.  Maybe you are a healthcare provider who treats those with cancer.  I am all of those.  I am the daughter, sister, and cousin of cancer survivors.  I am an acupuncturist, herbalist, and clinical nutritionist.  I am looking at this from many different angles and I’m hoping to offer a different perspective.  Perhaps my doctors and some of my acupuncture colleagues will learn something from how I go about treating this with both western medicine and with acupuncture, herbs, and nutrition.  I don’t know. I don’t have any expectations.  I’m simply sharing my story.

Keep in mind, this is MY story.  It may be different from someone else’s story who is also dealing with cancer.  Everyone is different and everyone has their own story of their experience.  I am never meaning to offend anyone.  But let’s be honest, as a Christian who practices acupuncture, reads spiritual books, and is fascinated by the metaphysical, I will probably offend somebody.  Just know that it is not intended.  Read my story.  Take from it whatever you need, whatever speaks to you, and use it however it best serves you.  Discard anything that does not resonate with you.  Feel free to comment, but know that I will immediately delete any negative remarks.

I truly believe that everything happens for a reason.  I believe that God has a plan and that this is just a tiny part of it. I believe that I’ve been given a unique opportunity and I hope to not waste it.  Friends, this journey is just beginning and I am already seeing good things come from it.  I look forward to sharing it all with you.

 

Much Love, Yvonne