There are two references I have loved since becoming diagnosed with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. One is a book called Radical Remission and the other is the documentary Heal on Netflix's. I've been wanting to share more on what is helping me through this journey, but never know what others are already aware of and what has crossed my path due to what I am dealing with. For me it's similar to the cancer commercials, and really anything lung cancer related, that I come across. My husband and I will be sitting there enjoying an episode of Last Chance U (the only way he can get me to watch football) and it breaks for the few Netflix ads. All of the sudden, we are hearing about the medication Keytruda for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. If you are familiar with Netflix you know they love to repeat commercials. So much so that you want to stop watching just because you don't want to see the turkey who can't quit smoking "cold turkey" or the Cologaurd box that makes testing for colon cancer easier. Side note, but the thought of mailing my poop is very disturbing. More for those who have to handle the box in delivery than anything else. Can you just imagine seeing the company name on the box and automatically knowing what's inside?! On top of these commercials other weird circumstances always seems to happen. Just the other day we got mailed a package for someone else that was from a smoke shop. On the back it stated a warning for lung cancer. There never seems to be a shortage of reminders of having cancer, but it only grabs your attention when you're in the midst of it. Instead of letting it consume my thoughts, I've learned to adapt and to just hold my breath through the crowd of smokers.
The focus of my mind needs to stay on what I can do. For me I have been trying to follow the nine factors that Kelly Turner lays out in Radical Remission for surviving cancer.
1) Radically Change Your Diet
2) Taking Control of Your Health
3) Following Your Intuition
4) Using Herbs and Supplements
5) Releasing Suppressed Emotions
6) Increasing Positive Emotions
7) Embracing Social Support
8) Deepening Your Spiritual Connection
9) Having Strong Reasons for Living
I have a lot I could say about each of these, but want to focus on number seven for this post...embracing social support! Mostly because this has probably been one of the top factors I have incorporated. However, it hasn't been my doing. It has been thanks to the wonderful people I am blessed to call friends and family. Going back to the beginning of being diagnosed, I immediately had family surrounding me. My in-laws came out to Colorado within a day of getting my initial scans and my Aunt Jane followed shortly. In addition, a couple that have become second parents to me were also present. When we would go to appointments we would have to wait for the "big room" to become available and bring in extra chairs. During this time Castle View High School, the school where I was a physical education teacher at, stepped up and gave me so much love. A friend, and fellow teacher, organized two meals delivered every week that were cooked by a CV employee. If that wasn't enough I received countless gifts and cards from the community. My friends in the SSN department had all their students write me cards. As well, many other students wrote cards or reached out through email. It didn't end with the school because so many sent encouraging cards that pushed me through my first round of radiation. The love was constant!
Through my past experiences I was waiting for the love and support to have its die off phase. It's nothing against anyone, but eventually happens as life happens for everyone. Naturally their focus shifts. However, here I am six months past initially being diagnosed and recently got back from a weekend of out pouring love from my California "family". For college I attended school at Cal State Long Beach and was fortunate enough to make life long friends. Most of these came out of a CrossFit gym I had joined back before CrossFit was even talked about. I initially joined with one of my best friends not even knowing that's what I was signing up for. All I knew was that the Freshman fifteen had become the Junior twenty and things needed to change. Now roughly 10 years later I find myself visiting these wonderful group of people who suffered through countless burpees, pull-ups and cleans with me. Some of whom that no longer go to the gym on a regular basis, but made it out on a hot Saturday morning to suffer with me through my first CrossFit workout since being diagnosed. If that wasn't enough Heyday sent me back to Colorado with a poster signed with wonderful messages. That alone was enough to keep me fighting, but then one of my best friends decided to put together a beautiful dinner to celebrate my birthday. That topped with meaningful conversations with my California mom and best friend over coffee and breakfast left my cup completely full. Oh and shout out to the girl on the plane who randomly complimented my hair (one of my biggest struggles after radiation). You never know how much a simple compliment from a stranger can brighten your day! To me it's just a reminder that I need to do that more often.
Now that I am back in Colorado and have had time to reflect back on all the love I have received since day one I can only thank God. He truly gives you what you need if you put your trust in Him. I know I said it years back when my mother passed away, but your strength is only measured by those who surround you. I have more gratitude for God giving each person that has blessed my life and left me with a fighting spirit. The past six months have taught me how best to receive and thankfully I have this blog to express my gratitude. I've always been better writing my emotions than speaking them. So thank you for taking the time to read this because my greatest desire is to bring purpose to my diagnosis. My hope is that through this blog, and other methods, I can achieve that! By taking the time the time from your hectic day to read what I have to say helps me reach that goal!