A Little of My History:
On July 20, 2017, at the age of 28, I was diagnosed with triple positive (estrogen, progesterone, and HER2 positive), stage one, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma that was grade 3, meaning it was one of the more aggressive forms of breast cancer. My immediate reaction to any problem, big or small, is to learn as much as I possibly can, and so I immediately took to the internet and, without really knowing it, became a member of my own healing team. I have always been open to alternative medicine, and the more I researched, read, and watched, the more I found out about the benefits of an integrative treatment route. Once I listened to my body and my heart, both were telling me that my path was meant to be an integrative one, using treatments from both the alternative and conventional world. I decided to accept some parts of the conventional treatment (surgery, partial chemo, Herceptin, and hormone therapy called Tamoxifen), but I decided against other parts (radiation and the rest of chemo), and I complemented these with a whole host of alternative therapies, supplements, and lifestyle changes. You can learn about some of the important diet changes I made, and that you can too, by receiving a free copy of the Orenda Cancer Conqueror Diet Guide when you subscribe to my weekly Love Note + Newsletter at the bottom of the homepage.
Cancer brings with it a lot of decisions, especially for someone who chooses a non-conventional or integrative path to healing. I was forced to make difficult decisions that NO ONE could make for me, and these were decisions that could literally mean life or death. Those are huge stakes! When one decision was done and I thought it had to be the toughest decision of my life, another would come along hot on its heels that was even more difficult. I asked friends, family, and practitioners for advice. I kept waiting for someone to tell me what to do, to make the decisions for me, as I had done most of my life. I was waiting for someone to tell me, “Do this and you will be okay.”
Then one day, I had an epiphany: I became aware that I was waiting for this and I realized almost simultaneously that if I did not take charge, I would be waiting forever. This was one of those times in life where no one could make these decisions for me and, even more terrifying, that no one could guarantee the outcome. It was a leap of faith, every decision forcing me to trust myself and my gut a little bit more. Every time I imagined receiving more chemo or radiation, everything inside of me screamed “NO”. I could feel it physically, the intensity of my body’s reaction to those thoughts, and I decided to trust it and the extensive research I had done. This might not be the case for you; you might feel like taking everything they can give you is what you should do, and that’s okay! All treatment paths are welcome here.
The Lessons I Learned and Who I Am Now:
An absolute flurry of important lessons has been gifted to me (and still are all the time) as a result of this terrible diagnosis:
- We can do difficult things and we are stronger than we think
- Our own bodies know what’s best for them – listen to and trust in what your body is telling you
- It is so important to cultivate a trust in your own intuition and listen to it, to develop a confidence in yourself and the fact that you know what’s best for you
- Do not shy away from what you know in your gut to be the right choice for you simply because you are afraid someone won’t approve of it or like you for it – what feels right to you may include everything your oncologist can throw at you, or it might not; both are okay!
- Never simply let things happen to you; take an active role in your own health – there is always something that you yourself can do to improve your circumstances, and this helps to deter the feelings of helplessness when they come knocking
- True emotional, mental and spiritual growth in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges is possible and can completely shift your perspective and your life in the best ways
- It is incredibly important to a person’s healing to learn what true kindness to oneself looks like, including how vital it is to have an awareness of your needs and to put the tending of those needs first
- Practicing gratitude for all you have, especially the small stuff, can completely change your perspective and your life
Now, I want to share my experience and my resources so that you can also be inspired to find the right healing path for you and hopefully discover your own positive, valuable lessons. Your health is your own, no one else’s. It is entirely up to you to take charge of it, or not. The helplessness that so many cancer patients feel (myself included) is not a mandatory part of the experience, at least not the entire time; you can overcome it. We all have our moments, or our days or weeks, but it is possible to conquer those feelings and take an active, positive role in your health. Call on your own Orenda. In fact, it is the best and most important thing you can do on your journey to healing. It will make all the difference.
Where Orenda Cancer Community Fits In:
If you’re here, it probably means that – whether you have had all, some, or none of the conventional treatment options – you are most likely interested in learning more about and integrating into your treatment plan some (or many!) alternative therapies. The majority of people don’t have the time, energy, or desire to spend that much time researching, especially when they are dealing with the pain, fear, anxiety, confusion, anger, and sheer number of appointments that accompany a cancer diagnosis. This is a problem.
When I took that active role in my healing, I spent six months doing not much else besides learning about all of the potential options out there and then trying to implement as many as possible to find the right combination of treatments, supplements, exercises, diet, and more for my unique self. With this community, I want to share all of my resources and research so that you don’t have to do the work. I want to make the path easier for those that come behind me. My aim in growing this community is to have as much up-to-date information about conventional and alternative treatments in one place as possible. It will burgeon into a one-stop-shop for resources, support, and valuable information, with NO biases or judgements about your treatment choices. Here, your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health will be nurtured as you approach your health and healing from a holistic, whole-person perspective.
All healing paths are welcome here, which is a big hole I noticed that needed filling. Many people in the conventional world of healing are heavily biased against the alternative world, and many in the alternative world are just as heavily biased against the conventional world. This has never made sense to me. Why not make use of the best tools available, regardless of where they have their roots? This idea, this bringing together of the two worlds, is what Orenda Cancer Community signifies. No one should miss out on something that could help them simply because they didn’t know where to look. Here is where you start. Welcome!