I recently had a health scare that made me question some of my choices and reflect on my past.
I went in for my annual exam a couple weeks ago and a physician assistant concurred that she felt a lump in my breast. I had felt it a few weeks before, but I wasn’t sure what it was or what it meant. Because of my family history of breast cancer, she instantly referred me for a mammogram.
As soon as I got into my car, I called my step mom to tell her the news and immediately started crying. I was terrified. I always knew that I had a higher risk of breast cancer, but I thought, “Can this really be happening to me at 29?!”
I had been on the other side, I had been the one that was left behind, but this was a whole new perspective. During the days between my appointment and my mammogram, I kept thinking about who I would be leaving behind if this lump was cancer. I thought about my step mom who had stepped in when my mom passed. I thought about my brother and nephew who had just moved back to Michigan. I thought about my new practice and my work with you. It was hardest to think about my husband, Kevin, a man who is always positive and supportive. How could I put him through this pain? What about our plans to have children?
As the days passed I began to reflect on what I am empowered to do in the face of this disease. Am I doing as much as I can to live a purposeful and healthy life? The answer was, “No, I am not.” So I began meditating, praying, hugging my husband more, and letting myself feel my emotions instead of burying them. I tried to be more present. I spent time with my family. My father and I had always struggled since my mom passed, and he reached out to me, we connected a little more.
We see patients daily who have to face choices about what to do for care. I began to walk down this road for myself and my family and think, “What would I choose if I had cancer?” The answer that came to me was, “Everything I possibly could!” Surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, naturopathic medicine and complementary care for side effects, supplements, Reiki, meditation, massage, yoga, exercise, mental health counseling, nutrition, acupuncture, IV therapies, aromatherapy, chiropractic… anything and everything because I do believe in our mission statement, “to provide truly holistic cancer care that considers the therapeutic impact: nutrition; mental, emotional and spiritual work; intimacy; healing touch; movement and other modalities, have in the battle against cancer.”
I would not let this defeat me. There’s still so much I want to do, see, and experience. I don’t want to leave anyone behind.
The ultrasound and mammogram day finally came (10 days later) and luckily there were no abnormalities detected. It was just a lump. I felt a wave of relief and started crying again. I felt grateful that the results were negative, but I also felt grateful that it brought me closer to an understanding of what my mom went through and gave me a glimpse of what you, my patients go through.