Vibrant Life, and Cancer
I am a cancer survivor. No. I am more than that.
I am a woman who is not defined by the cancer diagnosis because I have discovered vibrant life. I am not merely surviving – I am thriving. If joy pales in adversity, then it isn’t joy. And I am determined to face each day, even each cancer challenge, with persistent joy.
Of course it is not easy. It is a battle that I wage in my physical body and in the spiritual realm.
In 2002, a medical examination startled me. I was diagnosed with stage 3 inflammatory breast cancer, which led to a mastectomy in 2003. At that point, I received the bad news that the cancer had affected seven out of eleven lymph nodes, and I underwent chemotherapy treatments. I was determined to face my condition and not wither at the thought of the disease that was attacking my body.
At the recommendation of a friend, in 2003, I attended a program at Optimum Health Institute (OHI), in San Diego, CA. OHI is an oasis of healing that involves all aspects of the human body. It is warm, caring, forgiving, and relaxing. Some people go simply to detox after a year of partying, but most go for serious healing of a disease. The main element of the program is wheatgrass, a treatment that requires a dedicated regimen. I won’t describe the details here – go to OptimumHealth.org for more information.
As is the norm at OHI, I began to follow a raw vegan diet and continued to maintain strict eating habits in the ensuing years. I became an expert at juicing, and I developed a repertoire of raw vegan recipes which I enjoyed sharing with any of my friends who were willing to venture into my new world of delicious raw nutrients. Along with this, I took supplements – probiotics, enzymes, melatonin, magnesium. My tactic was to boost the goodness and banish the illness.
The cancer cleared, and I was full of energy – nourishing my body with wholesome foods and nurturing my soul through my faith in God. Talking to God has been my daily walk, and prayer has surrounded me all along this pathway.
Then in the fall of 2014, much to my surprise, the cancer returned, this time in the form of stage 4 lung and bone metastasis. I could sense it – the pain in my back, the struggle to breathe while walking up a hill. Jolted by this news and yet undaunted, I returned again to OHI for a short period of renewal. Once home, I applied further strategies to enhance my blood flow and lung function, including hyperbaric oxygen therapy, sauna treatments, and Bemer vascular therapy.
Despite my efforts, my body was struggling to fight the disease, and in November of 2015 I was hospitalized for ten days with severe pain in my back and ribs. That was followed by terrible bouts of nausea due to the medication.
In the midst of this, though, I maintained my upbeat outlook, knowing that a cheerful heart is good medicine. Beyond this, my faith in God was unstoppable, and I knew that the battle was ultimately his to win.
As days turned into weeks and months, my health fluctuated. I was thriving, I was joyful. And yet, my body was evidently also weakening. I could not ignore the pain.
A trip to the ER at the beginning of July 2017 was another indication that the cancer was still attacking. I developed Ascites, an accumulation of fluid in my abdomen, and my prognosis was not pretty.
All of this was happening as my son and his family were visiting me from Sweden. What was to be a carefree summer holiday became a period of uncertainty and concern. But life is to be lived, and we maximized our time together as best we could.
Then the miracle came, toward the end of their stay, after four days of euphoria with my family. It was Sunday night, July 30, 2017. We had celebrated my granddaughter Dagmar’s birthday with a wonderful outdoor party that day.
As I got ready for bed, I started praising God for all the blessings that he has bestowed upon me. All of a sudden, I started to cry and was sad because I had really sensed that God was going to heal me. I cried out, “I’m angry. I feel like this whole year I’ve done nothing but lean in and surrender to your word, and yet by all appearances I’m not going to be here. I still trust you, God.” At that point a sensation came over me.
I sensed God respond, “My daughter, you will strive no more, for you have my full attention. You are no longer choosing any of your thoughts, you are choosing my thoughts. May my ways be your ways and your ways be my ways.”
Then God started showing me amazing things. I felt so calm. Afterwards, I felt very excited and scared. Scared because I understood the intensity of what the upcoming months would hold. Not only would my body be healed, but also I would become a vessel, speaking to others the message that God had so generously shared with me.
It is a message of not only of wellness, but also of spiritual joy – joy through adversity, now and into eternity. It is a vibrant life.