Nine months after treatment and a year after starting an integrative cancer care protocol, today, I am cancer-free.
In January 2019 I was diagnosed with early stage invasive ductal breast cancer and chose to have my tumor frozen versus a lumpectomy or mastectomy. “Cryoablation” as it’s called is much less invasive and my results are consistent with study statistics; the procedure is proving to be 100 percent effective on tumors under 1 cm.
For months, I envisioned this day and the enthusiasm that would accompany these words, but the reality is very different. I say ‘today’ because I have come to understand just how unpredictable this disease can be, and that cancer is a lifelong journey.
But through the journey, you learn so much about yourself. I now know that I am not invincible. I know that some days it just feels easier to give up and to give in. That deciding what is right for you – and you alone – is extremely daunting, and that sticking to a plan that takes more time and more money than you feel you have takes unparalleled patience and faith.
As with any challenge we face, so much is mind over matter and I find solace in these words from Deepak Chopra, MD, in his recent meditation experience, The Path to Empowerment: “Here is a truth that most people don’t even dare to consider. We have the power to change anything in our lives.”
And so much has changed…
When I was first diagnosed, a psychic friend told me that he thought this journey was more spiritual than physical and asked what unresolved issues I needed to address in my life. Within 48 hours, the answer became crystal clear, and I made a conscious decision to free myself of that undue stress. The changes created a deep peace that continues to positively affect so many elements of my life. Through this process, I have grown and evolved to be a better, more balanced human being.
I now find it ironic that my personal blog is entitled, “It’s All About Balance: Journeys of an Overachiever” because it took cancer for me to truly make the changes necessary to achieve a healthy balance, and lightening up on “the overachiever” is an important part. So many of those I know affected by cancer are Type A personalities, and I feel strongly that stress plays a big role – even what some of us consider “good stress.”
For many, it takes something of this magnitude to implement change, but I wholeheartedly ask that you honor yourself today; don’t let unresolved issues linger, and work towards achieving balance before you are forced to do so. Slow down. Connect with your true self, leading with compassion and love in everything you do.
The changes don’t happen instantaneously, and I am still getting used to the “new me” – especially the effort to slow down. But I am embracing the wonder and joy in the day-to-day process of minimizing stress (which means saying ‘no’ more often), eating nutrition that fuels my individual body, making time for self-care and play time, and nurturing enhanced empathy for others.
Life seems richer, deeper and calmer than before, and I have a clearer sense of what I want and don’t want in my life. I am working on “going-with-the-flow” led by a sincere belief that everything will work out just as it’s supposed to.
Living in harmony with the universal flow takes a different level of awareness and creates a much deeper gratitude for it all. Considering the driven, meticulous, and high-energy path I have been on for 54 years, I wouldn’t have achieved this new level of consciousness if it weren’t for this past year, and for that I am grateful.
Many have guided me and many more have inspired. I continue to thank those in my inner circle but cannot say enough about the larger community of support through Desert Health which truly means the world.
To what do I contribute my positive outcomes?
- My belief that cancer was a sign that life changes needed to be made and listening to – and acting on – those signs;
- My rigorous research and drive to be my own advocate;
- My integrative protocol and open-minded health care team which includes medical and naturopathic doctors, an oncologist, acupuncturist and energy worker;
- My revised diet which has become a lifestyle choice I now crave;
- Support and love of family, friends and our desert community.
This is what life is all about – connecting, sharing and helping others along the way, and we would love to hear from you. As with all articles in Desert Health, we encourage you to leave your comments and share your experiences below.
Thank you for being a part of it all. It has meant more than you will ever know.
Lauren Del Sarto is founder and publisher of Desert Health and can be reached at [email protected].