I really wanted to write this from my last appointment in the chemo chair. But the necessary Benadryl makes me loopy, at least just enough to reach endlessly for the keyboard and never finding it there.

Just out of reach. Do you ever sense your real life is right there but shrouded in a fog that makes the fine details impossible to see? My contractor used to say upon hearing my long-winded angst over project delays, “I can feel you, I just can’t quite reach you.”

I still feel like there’s more to this journey and I hope you don’t mind if I share. When I asked my dear friend, Dan Reiland, “are we tired of talking about chemotherapy,” he replied with an emphatic, “No! You need to finish the story. It needs a conclusion even as your heart and mind are attempting to absorb the conclusion as well.” Isn’t that beautiful? We will all blame it on him because this one is a bit long—

From the beginning I determined I would dress up for chemotherapy. Regardless of my initial fear surrounding all the details, these have been some of the most important appointments of my lifetime. I see each one as if going to a lunch with one of the extraordinary people who have infused life into me through the years.   

I imagine my mentors’ voices like drops of liquid wisdom mainlined into my veins—I close my eyes and remember the disposition of head and heart in those moments when I felt overwhelmed, even intimidated—I love that even at my most insecure I was open. teachable. leaning in.

Chemotherapy isn’t for everyone. For so many years I’ve carried such big opinions about this, and other things I know little about…probably just like some of you. “That’s just not what I would have expected from her.” If you’re whispering this under your breath, I used to be in alignment with every word.

Here is my concern. Our big opinions about everything often get in the way. Sometimes we dismiss the very things that are integral to discovering who we really are—isn’t it ironic that the “poisons” we indict from the outside are often already oozing from our own veins?

My veins are tiny and extremely hard to find. I love that they hide out, that they are cautious about who and what gets in. I am taking notes from my body: Not everything eager for a little piece of me is worthy. 

Which brings me to a conversation about Greece. There’s a state-of-the art clinic there. While flotillas sail along the endless coast, scientists test blood to determine precisely which therapies [both conventional and alternative] have the most potential to heal my specific disease. We are living in a time when medicine can be personalized: One size fits all approaches are passé. My blood, my mitochondrion/my cells spoke loudly that my chemotherapy cocktail is the very best therapy that currently exists for me.* 

To get what you want you have to know who you are. So, what is it your body, mind, and spirit crave? Try answering in five seconds with just one word. Constructing an authentic answer will depend on how willing you are to lay down popular opinion and pay attention to who you really are. Learning the answer will, most definitely, require sacrifice and probably a great big healthy dose of “going it alone.” 

Did you know heart muscle cells live in the body for an average of forty years?
These cells are our elders pumping four decades of life-giving wisdom through our veins.
It is not an accident that these cells exist within the heart. 
Are you hearing what is being said? Are you practicing some quiet ritual—prayer, writing, meditation—that allows you to turn down the volume of the world and listen? 

There is no reason to agonize over the future. You already have everything you need within you for the journey ahead.

For years I professed that I would never do chemotherapy but I’m not sure I had an answer for what I would do instead. We are all so sure about what we are against, but do we know what we are for?

Have you settled the battles within before the tangible, real-life conflicts arrive?
Have you done the research in advance so that facts, rather than opinion, are your guide?
Have you been willing to seek out and genuinely listen to alternative points-of-view?
Have you stopped listening to the whispers of those who have no first-hand knowledge of what you’re going through?
Have you aligned yourself with wise counselors who are expert in their fields?
Have you gathered the necessary resources [both human and financial] to empower the best decisions when the time arrives?
Are you willing to make the necessary sacrifices in preparation for what may be necessary ahead?   

Life is not either/or. This is the mantra I live in all caps. If you are pro alternative wellness it doesn’t mean you can’t embrace western medicine. Black and white thinking is often the sharp object that severs the lifeline. 

In concert with the findings in my extensive blood evaluation, we will be onboarding additional modalities that have tested positively for combating my particular cancer. When I say we,’  I am working with a Medical Doctor who is a Cancer Fellow and Alternative Wellness Provider…everything I need in one extraordinary person. 

I will endure the compulsory scans over the next months and years but I am determined not to wait. If I have learned anything, both the obligation…and the power…exist within me.

The body is the First Sanctuary. Let’s make that beautiful first. Everything remarkable on the outside world depends on it. 

* I am pleased to share a short list of alternative therapies. Many have been a part of my life for many years. Thanks to my experts, I have added new favorites as an integral part of this chapter and will continue with these for the rest of my life.

Most of what we go through is a result of a certain amount of neglect through the years. Listen to your body and start now to heal your First Sanctuary:
Low/no sugar diet—I’ve been fairly good at this off and on through the years [bread is my happy place but carbs are sugar in disguise]. 
Greens and Cleanse—I start every morning with a shake filled with concentrated nutrients and cleansing agents. It’s delicious.  
Healthy Diet—Need I say more? The best way to tackle this mystery is to work with an expert. I recommend Mindy Marinos, Savor Your Soul. 
One Hundred Ounces of Water—Per day? Yes. I think we all know how important this is. I have to admit, for me this has been the most difficult element of my regime…I hate the taste of water but have found the brand, Essentia, to be quite good.
Low/no beef—On the rare occasions I eat beef, I am particularly careful to source locally and ensure no hormones are on board. 
Homeopathic Beads—These are remarkable in reducing symptoms. Find someone in your area that specializes in the fascinating healing modality of Homeopathy. Thank you, Cindy Taylor for your gift in this area. 
German Mistletoe—I inject myself in the belly three times per week with this extraordinary healing element. Used for hundreds of years to treat medical conditions such as epilepsy, hypertension, headaches, menopausal symptoms, infertility, arthritis, and rheumatism. Mistletoe is one of the most widely studied complementary and alternative medicine therapies for cancer.
Dry Brushing—A remarkably therapeutic way to clean away dead skin and impurities.
Gua Sha—A rather invasive technique for bringing new oxygenated blood to injured areas.
Epson Salt Soaks—Such a serene way to release toxins and promote relaxation…add your favorite essential oils.
Essential Oils—Both diffused and skin delivery help noticeably with my mood and mild neuropathy…I have dear friends [Mindy Marinos, Sheri Keyeski] who are experts with both Young Living and doTerra…find the one that’s right for you. Hyperbaric Chamber—An oxygenated therapy that has benefits for those suffering with cancer. I included this in my regime although I am extremely claustrophobic so found it difficult.
IV-C—High doses of Vitamin C are known to assist with cancer [the disease and the side effects from traditional treatments]. The intravenous delivery avoids the belly and the typical upset associated with Vitamin C.
IV Poly MVA—Supercharged with alpha lipoic acid, vitamin b and more, this therapy challenges cancer cells by increasing cellular energy in the “engine room” known as the mitochondria of the cell. Because of its detox properties, I typically don’t feel great after and my face break out is extensive.
Turkey Tail—This cancer-fighting mushroom tincture is lauded by the researchers at the famous Bastyr University in Washington State and the scientific community around the world.
Cell Activating Supplements—Throughout the day I take handfuls of cancer-fighting agents that promote new cell growth.
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