More Than Meets the Eye, True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife covers many aspects of the dying and grieving process and sheds light on euthanasia, suicide, near-death experience, and spirit visits after the passing of a loved one. ___________________________________________

Friday, March 13, 2009

How Many People Do You Know Who Have Cancer?

Today we have a guest blogging about her experience with people she knows who have cancer.

December 12th, 2008

“It’s astounding how many people in Haliburton County have been diagnosed with cancer… Astounding”… I’m seriously beginning to wonder if there is something in our water…It’s a bit of a mystery… These statistics are alarming and the last thing we want to do is give anyone false hope, but when it comes right down to it there are only three choices—chemo… radiation or surgery. One’s worse than the other .And once you’ve had it…. there is a huge chance it comes back . I hear that holistic hoo-haw doesn’t exactly cure anybody either”

I don’t know the group of women who were engaged in this conversation at the fitness center today…I’m sure they were well-meaning and compassionate people merely chatting as they were getting ready for a class. We have all heard similar fears expressed by others on different occasions and gatherings. The status of yet another’s recent cancer diagnosis, treatment, or loss of life is often a topic of discussion among the anxious, concerned, caring members of our community.

I thought about interjecting to say that the number of triumphant people in this area who have overcome cancer is just as astounding… That in fact, most survivors and especially the “exceptional” person with a cancer diagnosis feels more secure, self-assured and more empowered when they understand and participate in crafting a treatment plan. That there are countless “patients” who…take responsibility for their own healing…participate actively in their own care… are willing to investigate every alternative, natural and complimentary option that can assist them in the recovery process. There is no false hope for the person who recognizes that the healthy part of them continues to fight…that acknowledges the concept only a small percent of them has cancer…the rest of their being—their inner mental and emotional resources… their immune system…their very life force is co-operating with their medical treatment…That’s truly astounding!

I wonder if we can rise above the premise that those of us who are “identified” as a result of some sort of diagnosis are less fortunate than those who are not. Isn’t it often the experience that what seems to be a big tragedy can turn out to be the greatest good in our lives? A crisis calls for change and the call for action can be a positive life altering experience. How you react to your health challenge is your choice. Many people who have been diagnosed with an illness consider their situation to be an inspiring opportunity for transformation on many levels… leading them to places of awareness, insight…even mastery.

I contemplated gathering the nerve to share my personal belief that disease can be healed if we are willing to change the way we think, believe and act….That maybe all we need is a little shift in the way we think of ourselves in order to recognize the great truth that we are, in fact, the architects of our own experience …That miracles can happen when we are willing and open to literally “change our minds”….change our perceptions out of fear and into a state of unwavering belief, and acceptance.

The sweetest thing about a moment like this is the realization that there is power and wisdom in remaining silent. It’s just not helpful to be lecturing anyone on anything at anytime. Experience is the greatest and only true teacher. We re all here to learn a few things and we can choose to learn these through pain or joy. Not very long ago, I was in a similar state of mind bearing thoughts that were also profoundly more cancerous than my pathology. Prevailing fear immediately overpowered me as I anticipated the devastating impact this cancer would have on my kids, my husband, my parents, my students, my career, my finances, my rather low tolerance for pain, the impact and risk of surgery, the best case scenario, the worst case scenario, the agony of long term suffering and the possibility of dying.

Then in a fleeting moment of stillness, a new thought emerged:

“I understand the appropriateness of this response, given the circumstances…but how is it working for you?”

So I let it all go. Thank God

Speaking of God…I did enter into frequent negotiations with the entire heavenly realm…usually around 4 am.

A few hours later, on my way to surgery, while praying for a miracle and wheeling down an insanely busy corridor, someone handed me a card. It was from woman whom I had never met.

She graced me forever with these words:

“The heroine’s journey through cancer requires toughness, resilience, patience and flexibility. During the process of coping with diagnosis, treatment, decisions, and adjustments to side effects, it may be difficult to imagine any benefits. But remember darling, you are not your illness. The essence of who you are is more than your body. Regardless of how you are feeling right now or even how others might perceive you, know that within your body is a free, wise, compassionate and powerful spirit. Trust this power and intelligence and follow your own healing abilities. Whatever is needed will be revealed to you. All is well.”

A miracle and had indeed arrived and it came with instructions.

And now, I have promises to keep and several other teachers to acknowledge on the path. I want to pay tribute to a five year old angel who embraced my life on a gloomy, March morning at the The Kingston Regional Cancer Center… this wise little being who invited me to put my faith in my “goodness rather than my sickness”. .. I want to celebrate the life of a 77 year old self made millionaire named Jim…. a pilot ...a fighter….a kindred spirit…a loving and gentle being whose last words to me were: “I’m rooting and praying for you Canadian.” And then there is much I owe to a wonderful, intuitive psychic healer, this wise woman who taught me how to “communicate with my cells” through the joy of dance and music.

I intend to share some of their stories and wisdom which I’m sure will serve as a source for inspiration for at least one other person

Today is my birthday. I have reached the beloved age of 53. Ten months ago after my ovarian cancer diagnosis, I truly had no idea what the status of my health or existence would be on this day… Yet here I am, feeling profoundly grateful, blessed and still recovering into new levels of well-being.

Today, I will not give the slightest meaning to conversations reciting alarming statistics, recurring cancers or potential malignant agents in the Haliburton waters. Rather, I can choose to spend this precious day in quiet meditation, looking over those same magnificent frozen lakes…across to that little medical building and feeling such love and gratitude for the hardest working team of doctors and staff I have ever known. How fortunate am I to live in this precious little village, a place that has become such a significant part of my life now and will continue to be through the years of follow-up care.

Today, embracing a moment of peace and gratitude feels far more appropriate than the need to impose my views on any person.

Everyone finds their own way. All is well.

Elke Zilla.


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