On April 24th, 2017 after a mammogram and ultra sound, I heard the words I will never forget from my Radiologist.
“Cathy, I am quiet certain we are looking at breast cancer. I am very concerned.”
I seriously could not believe what I was hearing. Biopsies were scheduled and a MRI as there was extensive lymph node involvement.
My Doctor also recommended a surgeon I should set an appointment with to discuss possible mastectomy. That’s the moment I think I stopped breathing and did not hear another word.
Biopsies confirmed breast cancer. ER-PR positive HER2 negative, ductal carcinoma. I was told I was really lucky as this is the most treatable type of breast cancer. I was not feeling very lucky.
A few weeks later the MRI report revealed I had metastatic breast cancer, which means that the confirmed breast cancer had spread to my bones. Cancer was found in my sternum, ribs, thoracic spine, lumbar spine, hips and femur. Final diagnosis was De Novo, Metastatic Breast Cancer Stage 4. De Novo indicates that an initial primary cancer has spread to other parts of the body. With breast cancer the typical places to spread to are bones, liver, lungs and brain.
Only 6% of women diagnosed with breast cancer
have an initial diagnosis of de novo
Fear dug its claws into me…I saw myself in a wheelchair, in horrible pain and dead within a year. I cried so hard one morning I could barely breath.
Then something came over me…It was a profound sense of peace and love. I was overwhelmed with a sense of stillness and I knew that I would be ok.
I pulled myself together and realized I was responsible for creating most of the terror I was feeling. It had to stop. I knew I had to come to terms with my new reality and come up with a plan to survive.
It is our fear based thinking which in and of itself takes us away from our own true nature, which is love, my friends. Love is the opposite of fear. I chose to move away from the fear I was experiencing and move toward the present moments one by one. This is where I could think, calm myself down and move forward.
It doesn’t mean we don’t acknowledge our suffering – it does mean we can pull ourselves together and learn to live well within the new realities that come with living with cancer.
There is no doubt that our fears and emotions have a right to live. I believe it’s our responsibility to acknowledge how we feel in order to explore our wounds. This is a gateway to healing. Many times the emotions that scare us the most are coming from the stories we tell ourselves about the past or the future.
I am a year out from my diagnosis. Not once did I find myself in a wheelchair, pain has been manageable and I am ALIVE. My last scan showed no evidence of active cancer. A completely different reality than the one I created when I was in fear mode!
We can live in gratitude, peace and hope if we choose.
That doesn’t mean we aren’t allowed to cry our hearts out on a bad day or fall into the depths of despair at any given moment. We can. I do. Then I pull myself together. The release itself is healing.
The tapestry of devastation has many different colored threads, each as unique as every single one of us. In the past three years I lost my Mother to Alzheimer’s, followed by my sisters diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer and her death 7 months later, followed by my own stage 4 breast cancer. I have been taken to the depths of despair that I didn’t even know existed.
I wasn’t sure I would live through it all.
So can you.
I know you may feel abandoned and completely alone. I promise you you’re not. I know you may feel you’re not enough, like you need something you don’t have to survive this.
I discovered I had everything I needed and that’s why I know you do too. You won’t hear that many places – but you ARE enough. You DO know and have what you need and at the deepest level of truth you will survive.
I have taken down my original coaching website and created this new site for us to connect. My coaching will now be dedicated to helping others with MBC. This is the most authentic work I will ever do. My heart and soul has and will continue into this work.
I have the steps and questions that will help you discover that YOU have the answers you are searching for. Having walked this path, finding that my way through was within me, I can help you navigate to that place within YOU where all your answers await.
Together we will take a deep dive into profound soul work.
Because this work is not about escaping the devastation, but working WITHIN it, we will go into your fear.
We will face every bit of where you actually are…together.
I realize living with cancer can be terrifying – and that’s why I’m right here with you. You don’t have to do this alone. And this is the beginning of the way through. (Not “out” but through.)
My coaching will open doors for you into a new relationship with the most beautiful you. It may sound impossible now, but you can discover self-compassion, forgiveness, a deeper spirituality and a profound new sense for what it means to live life to its fullest potential.