“I didn’t want this illness, cancer, to define my life. I wanted, intended, to continue with some sort of normalcy.”
“But cancer laughs at me, at that thought, as if it was some crazy-ass idea.
I needed normalcy so that I could move through this, to tolerate it, with more ease.
This isn’t me. I’m an entrepreneur! I’m used to being in service to others. I’m a creative!
But like it or not, cancer does define my life, more than I like or want.”
Those are the words I recorded in my journal on May 3rd, 2017, 78 days after my first cancer diagnosis.
In February of this year I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer and five weeks later diagnosed with a secondary pelvic cancer – two Stage 3 curable, but aggressive cancers.
Along the way there have been so many unknowns. I’ve often felt like I was in some sort of alternate reality where everything had stopped. But it hadn’t.
I struggled with a total lack of direction. “What’s happening to me? Where am I going? And who will I be when I get there? What happens to my business? And, how am I going to survive not just one but two cancer diagnosis?”
Every year I have a word theme for that year. This year my theme was “Bliss”. Kind of ironic when you think about it. Not quite what I had in mind.
It has been a year of transformation like no other, one of my whole body, mind and spirit.
I have put to use every tool I have in my quest to not just survive, but thrive, through this journey.
I am happy to report that even though my journey is not yet complete, I have had many more good days than bad, and, my pelvic cancer has been cured!
One down, one to go!
Everyone who knows or meets me says I don’t look like someone who’s been through radiation and on my third round of chemo. My doctors tell me “I wish all of my patients were like you.” My main oncologist told me the other day “You’re a Rock Star!”
Along the way I have recorded my thoughts, feelings and insights. At first it was cathartic. Now it is becoming a book, a book entitled “Living Well through Cancer – 7 Keys to More Clarity, Vitality & Inner Peace”. That book will be released after the first of the year.
In the meantime, I have distilled my most valuable resources into a quick reference guide entitled “Coping with Cancer with More Clarity, Vitality & Inner Peace”.
As Julia Louis-Dreyfus stated on September 28, 2017, “1 in 8 women get breast cancer. Today, I’m the one.”
Chances are that someone you know in your immediate circle has or will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
I offer up this quick reference guide as my gift to you. In it are all the things that have been my lifeline to navigating this journey with cancer and feeling well and more at peace in the process. It is a collection of practical as well as spiritual tools.
You can download the free guide HERE.
What does all of this mean for me?
Interestingly, I have come to realize that this journey is serving as an extension of the work I already do.
In both living with and researching cancer I have found there are two gaps:
- The first is the lack of integration between Complementary Care and Western medicine; and
- A lack of clarity of what comes next for a woman post-cancer, who is left feeling changed by her experience with cancer but not knowing what to do next with her life as a result.
I’m quite clear I want to help fill those gaps.
That for me is just a natural extension of the work I already do in supporting women in midlife transition.
So while I am, and will continue, working with women in midlife transition who want to create a new career or business that better reflects their life purpose and passion, I will also be supporting women going through cancer in defining what comes next for them.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, my breast tumor has shrunk from about 2 inches at the start to practically nothing. As of this writing, I have six more weeks of chemo, followed by a lumpectomy and then 5 weeks of radiation.
My current chemo treatment has been much easier to tolerate than the past protocols. I am feeling well and full of energy and vitality, most days.
I am very excited about the future and to see what comes next!
I sincerely hope that all is well with you.
As always, I send you much good energy,
Debra Wilson Guttas, Mid-Life Transition Doula™, HTP
P.S. Access your FREE guide “Coping with Cancer with More Clarity, Vitality & Inner Peace” HERE.
Author of the forthcoming book “Living Well through Cancer – 7 Keys to More Clarity, Vitality & Inner Peace” and co-author of the book “Women of Spirit“.