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Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and the following post should not be considered medical advice. If you have recently been diagnosed with cancer, please do your own research and seek professional medical advice as you make decisions for your own health and well being. I am simply a person who was diagnosed with cancer that seeks to freely share information about her own journey with others who may be on a similar path. God bless.
One of the most frequent questions I get is “How are your treatments going?” It’s a tough question to answer succinctly because the short answer is “I’m not undergoing any treatments.” But I think what most of these friends are asking is a form of the question “Is your cancer under control?” and the answer to that is much more complicated. The honest truth is I can’t be sure. On March 17, my 1.0 cm tumor was frozen, so the cancer cells that we knew about died on that day. Cancer was never spotted in my lymph nodes and there’s no reason to think it exists anywhere else in my body. Still… It’s sometimes tough to avoid thinking those “what if” thoughts: wondering if I made the right choice regarding my treatment, whether cancer already exists somewhere else and it just hasn’t shown up yet, etc etc. When my mind starts to wander in that direction, I just remind myself that none of this is beyond the reach of God. As long as I continue to trust in Him and follow where He leads, I’ll be OK. And as hard as it is to think about, that includes even if the cancer comes back.
When I initially met with a surgeon to discuss my options for getting rid of the tumor, I was told that I would need to undergo 6 weeks of daily radiation. For the first week after that meeting with the surgeon—before I stumbled across cryoablation and my journey took a radical turn—I began to think about what daily radiation would look like. I started planning what I might do to make the treatments feel less scary, to put a positive spin on them. I decided I’d listen to books that I’d always wanted to read while I drove to and from the treatment and thereby redeem the negative of the cancer with a positive action.
Since I never had to have those radiation treatments, I decided instead to do everything in my power to try and change a lifetime’s worth of bad habits in the food and exercise departments. I greatly modified my diet, began taking supplements to boost my immune system, and have started exercising regularly. Instead of listening to classic books driving to and from radiation, I listen to them as I walk these country roads around my house. And because of that, I now think of my 45-minute daily morning walks, as my “cancer treatment.” I think as long as I do—as long as I keep the seriousness of this awful disease in front of my face while it propels my feet and causes me to make better decisions about what I put in my mouth—then I’m doing as much as I can do to keep cancer at bay. Most people probably consider it to be unconventional therapy at best but it feels exactly right to me right now.