Lessons from Cancer and Other Life Dilemmas
Lessons From Cancer and Other Life Dilemmas
On October 17, 1997, my surgeon told me she’d removed a six- to seven centimeter invasive lobular carcinoma from my right breast. She said she was sorry, she hadn’t gotten clean margins so I’d need to have a mastectomy, then probably chemotherapy and radiation.
I sobbed while she recited statistics on how long I might be expected to
live if I followed my doctors’ recommendations. They weren’t very comforting.
Everyone I’d known who had had cancer had died, so I believed I would, too.
But I’ve found that when I’m on the wrong path, something – my spirit? God? the Universe? – nudges me in another direction. After I recovered some from the shock, I remembered that I’d always been interested in alternative medicine and I started looking for a doctor who could suggest less drastic therapies to help me be well.
I also began to notice that my body was talking to me, sending messages of its own. I felt heavy with dread and fear and hopelessness when my doctors talked to me about the treatment they insisted I needed to have, but I felt light and powerful and optimistic when I thought about finding a way to get well that wouldn’t make me sicker first.
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