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Is Self Healing Possible?

It’s time for me to come clean about something. I have known for a long time that I would have to do it eventually, and nearly nine months after I made this major choice the time has come.

But first a little history. I was originally diagnosed with stage IIC granulosa cell ovarian cancer in the summer of 2006. After two surgeries and six rounds of chemo that summer and fall, I was declared NED (no evidence of disease). That lasted for four years, and ever since cancer has been something I have “dealt with” approximately every four years.

Between my original diagnosis and my first recurrence, I did a ton of reading and research, and I knew that if the cancer came back, I wasn’t going to take a conventional approach again. There are countless alternative, complementary and integrative approaches, and it is difficult to know which ones really work or what might be right for your specific disease. Trust me, I have tried many of them. It is hard to say what the results have been because the cancer continues to return right on schedule, but then again, my doctors told me that was likely when I was diagnosed. They said we would probably be treating this as a chronic illness, which is definitely better than the terminal kind, so I was encouraged.

Now four surgeries (including a complete hysterectomy), 15 abdominal scars, multiple thousands of dollars in medical bills and countless hours pursuing various therapies, specialists and approaches, I am weary of spending my time and money on cancer, though I am still very grateful to have the opportunity to experience the fatigue of living with cancer for 11 years rather than the alternative. So many have had it so much worse. Being a survivor for this long has meant that many of my friends have also experienced multiple recurrences and some of them have not survived. Cancer is not for sissies.

Despite the fact that I have an unwelcome “guest” in my body every four years, the healing practices that I have undertaken have mostly been super positive. Eating better, meditating, doing yoga, being mindful, managing stress and shifting my perspective have all been quite helpful in a number of meaningful ways, as have the supplements, chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, Reiki and many other therapies I have undertaken. The only downside to all of it is that the pesky cancer continues to come back no matter what I do. It can be frustrating.

There was a point in the summer of 2013 when I was in California in the midst of approximately $30K worth of alternative treatments that I had this thought: “Conventional treatments made me feel terrible, but were covered by insurance. Alternative treatments mostly made me feel good, but were not. Both are based on the premise that something outside of me will ‘cure’ me. But I have believed for a long time that healing is an inside job, so why am I focusing so much on the externals? Hmmm.”