In June 1988 I was suddenly diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer dysgerminoma. I was just 34, a mother of three and had never heard of ovarian cancer!
Two weeks after radical surgery while preparing for subsequent treatment, my friend Kathy phoned and asked if I had only one year to live, how was I going to live it?
I told her emphatically I did not have just one year to live, but if I did, I was going to live everyday living and not dying.
2018 marks 30 years of living since I made that decree. This month I will also celebrate my 65th birthday. I am a miracle in motion, a medical anomaly and am celebrating and reaching out.
My oncology gynecologist told me while researching this that he had only two patients who survived stage four ovarian cancer 25 years plus. Sadly, Gwen passed this year at 88, an ovarian cancer overcomer.
My oncology neurologist has never seen someone come out of such extreme brain trauma with such vigor and success. He told me during our last interview before his retirement he calls me his miracle patient when he talks to doctor associates and students about me. He had an expectation of 3 per cent survival and 0 per cent of expectation of recovery for me.
The raison d’etre for Inside the Healing Journey
After I was diagnosed, I went to the book store… that was still pre-Internet days… to find a book about how, not that, someone had overcome any cancer. There wasn’t one.
When Canadian singer-song writer Dan Hill was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011 he googled to find that book. There still wasn’t one.
To make it more relevant and to drag those 30 years into 2018 I have updated
everything I did and used from traditional surgery and treatments to alternative medicine and Judeo-Christian perhaps radical faith.
And because my journey expands over 30 years, I have taken everything I did in the 80’s and 90’s into the 21st century from a “this is what I did, this is what I would do now” perspective”. I write about how I made changes in what I ate and drank and how that has evolved to a lifelong of healthy eating. Through wise associates I learned about supplements. Thirty years later I almost begin my book with what I would start my healing journey with today.
I write about how I kept myself inspired and motivated to continue on the journey when I hit a detour or things got rough including putting on my full face of makeup as if I was going to work face before treatments, the princess nightgown I purchased to wear during treatments, the music I listened to around the clock, the books I read to learn and be inspired, and even the comedy movies we watched to keep our minds on something else while creating happy endorphins… healing hormones.. Smile
As I am writing this in November 2018 there is still not a how-to account for getting through the labyrinth of healing: the tools, the work, its detours, surprises, celebrations and disappointments. I am finally well enough to write it and plan to publish in the spring.
Despite all I was going through I pushed forward to become a published journalist/author, inspirational speaker, life and soft skills trainer, artisan, impresario and community investment specialist….that is my favourite… making a difference in peoples’ lives. In fact, a lot of that became my therapy to getting through and recovery.