Being in the mental health field, I was familiar with the literature that believes that cancer can be triggered by major life stressors and negative life events. My ignorance lead me to believe that people who had cancer were probably miserable to begin with. My family history of cancer was insignificant and since heart diseases were more rampant I had never ever imagined that I could one day be diagnosed with cancer. Bernie Siegel is a well renowned surgeon who wrote many books on “medical miracles” and extraordinary patients who end up defying the odds of their diagnoses and curing themselves of life threatening diseases. I watched a movie he made for some of the most prestigious cancer centers, the movie was called “fight for your life”. In his movie he describes how 90% of cancer patients can look into the past 2 years before their diagnosis and identify something significant (negative) that happened to them. So I did the exercise and went back to the past couple years of my life.
My close friends knew how much I was dreading turning 40. Maybe I was just being “vain” but I have heard so many women complain about how their metabolism and body changed when they turned 40. So I decided to take a pro-active approach and set the goal to be the healthiest I could be. This is why about 2.5 years ago I decided to start a medically supervised weight loss program. I ended up losing 30 pounds which I successfully kept off. It was a big achievement and felt so good about myself. I was almost 40 and finally had the body I had wanted all my life.
My family life was extraordinary. I often heard couples struggling in their marriage but there was nothing I would have changed about mine. Fred is the love of my life, my best friend, my confident, my voice of reason, my rock, my everything. We are such a good team when it comes to raising our boys. Our boys are the joy of our lives. Their personalities are so different and on some level they complement each other really well. Both of them have been super healthy, really good students, they have good friends and enjoy their sports and activities – what does a wife and mom want more? nothing I had it all.
Professionally, I was exactly where I wanted to be. I had a thriving practice and loved my job. I always felt so lucky that I could chose my hours and working 7am to 2pm enabled me to pick up my boys from school and take them to all their activities. I sometimes felt like I could have done more professionally and missed the combination of clinical research and counseling that I did while working at Massachusetts General Hospital but these were just fleeting thoughts. I knew the pace of living was so much easier here and enabled me to work part time so it never gnawed at me. With the success of my practice came the financial perks that enabled us to have the means to travel. Last year was a really big year for travels. We enjoyed a fabulous disney cruise, a trip to Connecticut to spend the Holidays with my entire family, we even got to spend one day in New-York and I promised my self I would go back in the summer as it was a little chilly for me – hehehe so much for being Canadian! Then we went on an amazing ski trip to Lake Tahoe, I loved seeing how much my boys loved the snow, how Sebastien took to snowboarding and Pierro to skiing. They loved the ski school and Fred and I got to ski together like the ‘good old days”. It was plainly fabulous. To top it all off, we went to Jamaica to “not” celebrate my turning 40. Our good friends. The Peters, came with us and we had a fabulous week. We climbed waterfalls, went rafting, snorkeling, relaxed by the pool and beach, ate a ton and drank wine (I didn’t say “good” wine – it was an all inclusive resort after all!) – and this was one month before the dreaded diagnosis. It is so hard to believe that something so serious was going on inside my body while I had absolutely no clue…
So back to my list of the past couple years. I started taking piano lessons with my boys, learning how to play the piano has been a life long dream and I found the perfect piano teacher for us. Slowly but surely I am learning the notes and how to play some songs. It felt so good to do something I have always wanted to do. My good friend Tish introduced me to standup paddleboarding a couple of years ago and I fell in love with it. I got a pink girly board and would go on the weekends when the winds were cooperating. Being on the river was soothing, calming, refreshing and re-energizing. One time, we just sat on our board and 4 or 5 dolphins were dancing around us and we would just watch them, amazed at the spectacle right in front of us. We called our outings “mommy therapy” and it truly was. And then what about “show off” the sailboat that my husband bought which doesn’t get much use because we are always so busy but we have had wonderful outings and overnights on the boat with our friends. We have made so many amazing friends here and all the support and encouragement I have received on Facebook has been extremely touching and a constant reminder of all the great friends that we have around us.
I can say with certainty that the past couple years of my life have been amongst the best years of my entire life. I have felt the best I have ever felt, I was exactly where I wanted to be. There was nothing about my life that I would have changed.
So with all do respect Dr. Siegel and all the others who believe that cancers are triggered by bad stuff in your life I say “BULL SHIT”…