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There are three things I would tell anyone with an illness. Freak out and have fun, you are in charge, there are many paths to healing.

Freak out and have fun.  Right now is your time to smash that vase you’ve always hated. Sprint a mile down the street in your pajamas at 4 am. Take your dream vacation. Whatever you’re facing will be there tomorrow. Treat yourself. 

You are here now so be here now. Just be. All we have is the present moment. The past is gone and future is not here yet. Do not go to the internet, do not look things up. The internet is full of words and anyone can write words. I’m doing it right now! What you choose to believe will be the outcome. Your mind is the most important and powerful tool you carry and it’s with you all the time. Use it. Create your own reality. If you are going to live 50 more years, then live 50 more years. Do not let anyone tell you differently.

Recently, when discussing my recent treatment options with Dr. Smith at the University of Colorado Hospital, he concluded with, “With these treatments most people can live 5 years.” I stopped him right there, “Whoa. Don’t talk like that. I plan on living for 50 years.”  I will not have anyone predicting my future. I do not think he is a time traveler or uses a crystal ball. Do not put ideas like this out there.

You are in charge.  Listen to yourself. Trust yourself. Listen to your body. Trust your body. Every thought/feeling/emotion/ache you have is connected. If something doesn’t feel right then it’s NOT. Do not stop until you get what you want and the answers you want. Health care is a team approach and you are the coach. Do not do anything that does not feel right.

We are raised with the agreement “the doctor is always right.”  You do not have to subscribe to this agreement. Doctors are humans. Humans are imperfect. The medical field is imperfect. Doctors make knowledgeable, cognizant decisions based on what they know and knowledge varies vastly from person to person. You must find the right doctor for you. I can’t say it enough, listen to yourself and only do what feels right.

ALWAYS get a second opinion. Or third. Or fourth. There are many treatment options out there and you have to find the one best for you and your situation. If something doesn’t feel right, it isn’t. Go somewhere else, talk to someone else. I did not agree with the surgery option initially suggested by the physicians at Kaiser (where I have medical insurance through my job). I asked for a second opinion and was referred to the University of Colorado Hospital. I did not agree with the chemotherapy option they recommended. I researched hospitals who specialize in my type of cancer. This produced the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN so I called and made an appointment. The surgery option given at Mayo was the best option I had heard. So we booked it. It took three options at three different hospitals before I choose the best one for me.

Following my surgery at Mayo my brain took the stance I was cured and done with cancer. You can find my picture smack-dab under the word denial. I will be smiling. In my defense I was told this surgery was going to give me decades of life and basically “fix” things. It didn’t. But I digress. Physically I felt amazing;  I checked out of cancer-patient mode and into LIFE. It was beautiful. It was fun. BUT in reality the remaining liver tumors were growing and multiplying. The surgeon who performed my surgery at the Mayo Clinic ablated the tumors in the half of my liver they didn’t cut out. I got to pondering why couldn’t this happen again. My oncologists at Mayo and Kiaser only offered chemotherapy as a “treatment” option (which would hinder the reconstruction of my body). There is no treatment protocol for my type of cancer so I’m making it up as I go. 

Lindsey, MD. Dr. Eadens, my Kiaser oncologist, said ablations are a temporary solution, putting the proverbial “band-aid on the problem” and we should try a few more chemoembolization procedures. (You can read about this procedure on my blog.)  Dr. Rubin of Mayo, the man at the helm of my catastrophic meltdown last month (story also found on my blog), told me chemoembolizations are a temporary solution, putting the proverbial “band-aid on the problem.” At this point I’m thoroughly entertained. These two know each other! Eadens’ fellowship at Mayo was under Dr. Rubin and supposedly they have been conferring about my treatments. They are the culprits for my current we have to get these tumors under control and I’m the only one who is doing anything about it situation. That will be all gentlemen, you’re dismissed. But thank you. I felt lost and hopeless and sought answers from outside of myself. Now, my power is coming alive. I am looking inward, feeling dynamic and forceful again.

There are many paths to healing.  Find balance. Explore many methods of healing and gaining strength. Yoga, acupuncture, and chiropractic work has brought some seriously amazing healing to my life.

Your mind is very powerful. When writing for my blog, I hit the publish button and let my thoughts float into space and out of my life. They served their purpose;  a bit of therapy for me and little info for my people. I recently decided to reread and edit some posts. They read like a Hemingway lamentation for the ages. Woe is me! I briefly pondered deleting them. I briefly pondered deleting my blog entirely. Instead, I made a few minor adjustments and opted to keep the posts as a reminder of where I’ve been. Mentally and physically. Phrases like, “I know this will come back” and “these tumors are expected to return” got the boot. Interesting I’d written that because it’s exactly what happened. I can’t have expectations or beliefs of this nature wafting about.

I have cleaned out old ways of thinking and being. New spirit is flowing through my life. I’ve purged my home, work space, heart, mind, body. Time to purge tumors. It is time for fresh energy. When I told my oncologist I no longer take some of my prescribed meds and have opted for herbal routes to manage my symptoms, he was very concerned. If you want a good laugh, mention something made from a plant to a Western doctor.

The most powerful healing is LOVE. Let people help you. Collect the love you receive from others and use it to rebuild yourself. Love is bright light, Batman-signal shinning into the night, making its way from my heart into the universe. God is making its way from the universe to my heart. This is quite a shift from where I have been. And where I still may go. I will stumble, we all will stumble and have bad days. There are new healers in my life. New plans for the next fifty years of my life. The changes, which started small and slowly, are now Indian Jones-run-away train advancing. The exhilaration is consuming. This train ride began down the “I’m sick, woe is me” rusty track towards a Wiley Coyote painted tunnel on a brick wall. I blindly cruised, full-speed ahead, awaiting the pointed orange-red BOOM. I’ve diverted my train to a new track and my path is now open-arms raised to the skies flowing with Love. This illness no longer serves a purpose in my life and so it is done. Some people are born with this knowledge, some find it naturally. I took a little longer route but it’s here now and the message is blazon upon my brain. I no longer have to suffer.

Raise your glass or fold your hands or lift your arms…  Here’s to an outrageous amount of fortune, love, and solutions.

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Lindsey Drahota

Lindsey is a teacher/writer/artist/catlover/yogafiend/traveler. When she is not in the elementary classroom relaying her love of reading and writing, she can be found on her yoga mat, bicycle, on a plane, in the Rocky mountains, or on a Denver rooftop-patio loving the Colorado life-style. Follow me on my blog: http://havecancermustblog.blogspot.com/

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