When I was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1998 at 24 years old, I had no idea how long I would live. The experience was shocking as I entered a new world of uncertainty. Since then, I've learned a tremendous amount in my journey. As I further reflect on being a 20-year brain tumor survivor, I now know discoveries that are enabling me to thrive. Here are some pieces in the puzzle that I utilized in my quest for optimal health and healing.
Innovative Cancer Hospitals and Treatments
I've had three awake brain surgeries, radiation, oral chemotherapy and participated in clinical trials, including immunotherapy. In the process, I had treatments at the National Institutes of Health, University of California, San Francisco and University of California, Los Angeles with top-notch providers. For cancer patients, the process requires quality research, multiple opinions and informed decision-making to find the best possible answers for their situation.
Each Person Is Unique
Over many years, too often I was seen as a patient instead of as an individual. Now, conversations can occur with aspects of patient-centered care, personalized medicine and precision medicine. This momentum continues, including more genomic testing, genetic testing, other tests and treatments. I've personally had types of testing to find new information and approaches, as well as knowing research findings, professionals and patients who have experienced benefits.
Integrative Cancer Care for the Whole Person
In my quest, after brain surgery in 1998, I had to do more for my healing and cancer prevention. I started with complementary and alternative therapies, yet certain components were not making sense. Ultimately, I embraced integrative cancer care for the whole person. That addresses the physical body, mind-body connection, spiritual vitality, social support and a cleaner environment to improve quality of life, cancer survival and cancer prevention. Integrative cancer care is important in my ongoing quest to feel better and live longer.
Meaning and Purpose
Positive transformation occurs through meaning and purpose. Core integration is essential for embodiment, which supports various aspects of the whole person for vibrancy. Since the beginning with volunteer and professional work in the cancer arena, the experience connects me with a source larger than myself. Now, I'm grateful to provide services as a cancer coach, consultant and speaker with motivation full of inspiration.
Hope and Actions
Along with the “highs” of feeling hopeful in my journey, I also endured “lows”: heartaches where hope was shattered with the unexpected, undesired, and unwanted. As I continued to cultivate more of myself, I've explored aspects of the mind-body connection to integrate better ways in life. The improved mindset of hope has positive levels of energy that I've incorporated through integrative cancer care for the whole person and other sources. My improved relationship with hope and actions has invigorated me to live life more fully.
In my journey, I've been aware of my intuition and instincts. I have had powerful experiences that guided me to new relationships, work, homes and much more. As I've needed help trying to figure out cancer treatments, and other cancer-related approaches, some choices have been successful with intuition and instinct, and others not with fear and confusion. Over time, I've learned to be more aware and awake, and those levels of presence helped me to choose wisely. That involves a mosaic of strategies, such as listening, engaging in proactivity, meditation, and being in the present moment with silence and stillness. Guidance is available, and I continue to embrace levels of mystery with support in the process.
Love and Gratitude
For all of us, we never know what will happen and when. Life is precious. The heart is potent and powerful to support health and transcendence with love and gratitude. That continues for me, with grace, faith, and whole person vibrancy. The strength with appreciation about one's self and life helps support the energy levels that attract better experiences. I cherish those connections of love and gratitude.
Other discoveries enabling me to thrive include more approaches and strategies. In the process, I am grateful to help cancer patients and caregivers as a cancer coach for their individualized situation. Indeed, challenges can become opportunities and adversities to actions. Many possibilities are available. Now is the time.