The essence of truth sits at the edge of every story and the story is what connects us and allows us to help each other to heal – and to find freedom.
I could not believe what I was being told. There was no doubt in my mind – until this moment – that it wasn’t cancer. The surgeon went on to tell me when my surgery would take place and all I could hear was someone in the far distance talking, saying things I couldn’t hear because my heart was beating so loudly in my ears.
I lay down on the operating table seemingly without choice and allowed a piece of me to be carved from my body. Afterwards, numb, staring at the stitches that held my breast together, my eyes stung with tears at the full realization of how weak and violated I felt.
My perfect breasts had been reduced to less than perfect. I was full of doubt. Had surgery been the right choice? Had it been my decision? I hated how my breast looked; it didn’t feel like a part of me anymore. Worse, I hated how I felt and hated that I didn’t have a clue how to not feel this way.
My husband’s friend told me breast cancer on the right side meant anger and resentment. Who was he to tell me that and what did he mean? He couldn’t have known how anger lived at the center of my being; the demon inside I tried so hard to keep secret. It lashed out at my husband and it kept me constantly irritable.
It was a hot Saturday afternoon in the middle of summer and I lay in bed crying – waiting for the doom of chemotherapy and radiation. Fear at the thought of these treatments sucked the energy from me and terrorized my mind. I didn’t want to be sick… to lose my hair… to have poison injected into my veins. I was terrified it would kill me and I didn’t know what to do. The phone rang. It was a friend of a friend who had undergone natural therapy for something similar. She talked of alternative therapies and told me to get passionate about life. I honestly didn’t know how to get passionate about life but I did know I wanted to live! Relief spread through my body at the realization that I could make choices to help myself. I hung up the phone, bound out of bed, and headed straight to the organic farm for some fresh vegetables to juice.
Mainstream or alternative, a decision had to be made. Sitting alone in our family room – engulfed by mind numbing indecision – fear pulled at my insides. How do I decide what to do? What if I make the wrong choice? There was a subtle recognition that my body felt strong when I thought of alternative therapies but weak when I thought of chemo and radiation. And a strange inner knowing came over me that if I listened to my body it would guide me. It felt right. I felt that trusting my body’s wisdom could be the best thing that I ever did. That is the decision I made; to build my immune system instead of destroying it. I struggled initially to find someone willing to help me in my condition but I remained determined. Eventually I did find a naturopath to work with and I also discovered some other healing options that resonated with me. I found my healing path!
Exhaustion was a constant companion as I finished my treatments (high doses of Vitamin C dripping into my veins by intravenous). And knowing I was going back to work in a couple of months didn’t help any and caused me a great deal of anxiety. The truth was I hadn’t liked my job for a good many years. After reading a few books on the law of attraction I began to realize that maybe I could have the life I always wanted. Although, in truth, I didn’t have a clue what that life would be like because I hadn’t dreamed or wished for anything in such a long time. I decided to quit my job. I didn’t know if it was the right decision but it was my decision.
Doubt came visiting again, and with it depression. Was I really healed? Many days I just sat and did nothing while my mind raced with thoughts of all the things I should be doing. Some days I cried but mostly I just sat feeling nothing; trying desperately to feel something… anything. I was so empty inside. Friends called almost daily but I felt utter loneliness. Then the rage came. It started to erupt through my body like a volcano and I couldn’t keep the lid on. I felt like I was losing my mind. My body would shake violently as a huge energy would surge up through me. I was completely out of control and after each of these episodes, I would cry, feeling lost, confused and ashamed.
After some weeks the force of this rage seemed to lessen in intensity and I just surrendered to it. I would sit and stare into space, arms limp at my sides, not saying or doing anything. I didn’t even answer the phone. I gave up the fight. One day I woke up feeling good. Nothing had changed, I just felt happy. The feeling stayed and every morning I woke up ready to face the day. I started going for long walks and would imagine how I wanted my life to be and how I wanted to feel. I didn’t know how or why this shift had happened but I was ready to begin to live my life, not just exist in it.
It was in this state of openness and inquiry that I heard about a book called The Journey by Brandon Bays. I was listening to a tele-seminar over the internet about cellular healing and the story of a woman -Brandon- who had healed herself from a serious illness. I had to know more and immediately picked up her book.
Her story, in so many ways, mirrored my own. She told of the huge energy that shook through her body and, how it was through the opening and surrender to these powerful emotions that she found release and healing. It touched me at my core. My experience over the last year and a half had been exactly this. She went on to say that this emotional journey of healing was available to everyone and could be undertaken in a matter of hours through guided processes that had been developed. I eagerly awaited my first Journey Intensive workshop and was not disappointed. It was to be the first step on my path to becoming a Journey practitioner.
Through my Journey work, I learned how my time of torment and grief helped heal my body. The fear and doubts were scary because I thought they were the illness. In my Journey processes I discovered how to open to these emotions and to welcome them as a part of who I am and, in that, to find my own forgiveness and release. I have been able to release the rage that was exploding to get out and today I wake up happy and free from the chains that kept me bound in my life.
The Journey became an integral part of the completion of my healing and I no longer have any doubt that I am completely healed. I have turned toward growth and today find myself living from a level of authenticity that I could only have imagined before. And I have the tools to look inside myself for even deeper awareness.
It is through The Journey that I have also discovered my life’s purpose: to share my story and Journey work so that I can spread healing and hope to others. I have learned to love all parts of me, my slightly smaller breast, my scar, my anger, my fears, and I have been able to embrace the feeling of love I have for myself. It isn’t selfish or arrogant to love oneself, it is imperative. It is my deepest prayer that we all find the freedom and healing available to all of us and can live from this amazing place of awareness. Through cancer I learned how to live in my body and how to trust my body’s wisdom. I also learned how to love myself and how to live an authentic life. I am grateful everyday for the learning that continues to unfold and for knowing who I am – even if it did cost me a quarter of my beloved breast.
Susan grew up loving the outdoors, nature and animals in beautiful British Columbia, Canada where she still happily resides. She is completing her accreditation for becoming a Journey practitioner to serve others as they face cancer and other diseases and life challenges. It is her passion and continued desire to make a difference in how we view breast cancer. She is writing a book to tell her story in the hope of sharing another way of how we can heal. She hopes to help empower others and to help change the consciousness of this dis-ease.
PUBLISHERS NOTE: All healing experiences vary, no two results are the same. Please check with your trusted medical advisors, your own body wisdom, and with your spiritual guidance connections as to what is best for you.
Breast Cancer Wellness Magazine Volume 3, Issue 4, Winter 2008/09