My Cancer Story
In November 2019, I was a typical sleep-deprived mother of a new baby and 4 year old. I had been struggling with severe cold symptoms that had persisted for weeks, but chalked it up to lack of rest and a non-stop schedule. After a particularly rough week, hoping to get some answers, I visited an urgent care facility where the attending physician ordered chest X-rays. The results confirmed her suspicion of bi-lateral pneumonia, but also revealed a grapefruit sized mass in my chest cavity. I was rushed to the hospital where I was admitted overnight to treat my pneumonia and undergo a CT scan to get more information about the chest mass. I was discharged the next day with pneumonia meds and no real information about this terrifying, mysterious mass.
The next few months were a blur of doctor’s appointments, blood draws, tests and multiple scans, none of which could provide concrete answers about the nature of the mass, or whether or not it was cancer. I was ultimately referred to a thoracic surgeon and was scheduled to undergo a thoracotomy in March 2020 to remove the mass. Post surgery, I was told I’d recover in the hospital for nearly a week. Less than 24 hours after I awoke from the procedure, my chest tube was removed and I was abruptly informed I’d be going home that afternoon. It was March 11, 2020 and the pandemic was just beginning its terrifying spread across the country. My surgeon told me it was too risky to keep me at the hospital, and I later deduced that they also needed to free up as many beds as possible for incoming COVID-19 patients.
Several weeks later, while still healing at home, my surgeon called: my mass was officially diagnosed as a benign (non-cancerous) thymic cyst, but unfortunately my thymus gland – removed during surgery purely as a precautionary measure – was cancerous. I was diagnosed in early April 2020 with a rare, aggressive form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (Primary Mediastinal B-Cell Lymphoma). I was shocked and terrified. A true nightmare come to life.
After further testing and meeting with multiple oncologists – including several at a world renowned cancer hospital – I was told repeatedly that chemotherapy and radiation were my only options, due to the highly aggressive nature of my cancer. Still in disbelief over my diagnosis, I dove headfirst into all of the research, podcasts and books that I could get my hands on about cancer and alternative treatment therapies. I eventually made the agonizingly difficult decision to forgo formal treatment in favor of holistic healing, and instead took an “active surveillance” approach. I found a brilliant board-certified oncologist who, to this day, closely monitors my health – he supports my choice with the perfect blend of vigilance and cautious optimism.
I am currently disease-free and credit my significant dietary and lifestyle changes for keeping me healthy. My cancer journey has strengthened my belief that our bodies are capable of miraculous healing, as long as we fuel them properly with the right foods, and adapt lifestyle practices to keep disease at bay.