Hi my name is Anoula and I have cancer. Wait, wait, wait! It’s not another cancer story…. Ok maybe it is, but I have a unique perspective. Actually, I have come to realize that everyone has their own story, each with a different viewpoint, however this was not my belief before my diagnosis and I’ll tell you why.
I was pregnant when I was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive form of lung cancer. I was told it had spread to my lymphs and was inoperable. I was the talk of the medical fraternity. What were they to do with me?? They couldn’t give me a life expectancy because the literature was out of date. No one had treated my disease before in Australia so any treatment that could be offered would simply be trial and error. My external world changed in an instant. In the space of a few weeks I had gone from choosing an obstetrician to interviewing oncologists, experiencing baby brain to dealing with chemo brain, and being told that the hospital I had decided to have my baby in would not allow me to have a termination.
Shortly after my diagnosis I stopped believing in coincidences. There were so many, it became too hard to ignore. They kept piling up, one after the other. I had to take stock and really examine what was going on. You see, I am a scientist and not your typical lab-coat wearing scientist (those days for me ended about ten years ago). My current role involves setting up and managing human clinical trials to treat rare cancers and here I was with my very own rare cancer. Couple this with my first job, which involved work on the immune system, its down-regulation during pregnancy and the associated complications it creates in the body, my eyes ‘pinged’ opened. My awareness was raised to a whole new level a few months back, when my professional and personal worlds collided and I became a clinical trial patient. I started on a new type of cancer therapy from a company that I previously worked at.
Although I am logical, rational and very scientifically minded, something was telling me (in fact it was screaming at me) that my body, mind and spirit were out of alignment and in order to heal I needed to bring them back into harmony. I could clearly see that my body had given up, my mind was in total control (or was it out of control?) and my spirit, well what is ‘spirit’ to a scientist anyway…it was non-existent. Over the past year, I have had a life revolution. I have changed the way I eat, the words I speak, how I think, even how I breathe. My views on disease and healing have deepened. I was surrounded by disease in my work, but I was only ever looking at it from a superficial level. Being ‘in it’ or ‘on the other side’ has expanded my understanding. I am starting to get a complete picture on how I can best heal my body using all that is available to me now that I can see both sides of the story.
On paper my story might sound horrific, and yes, my life is certainly very different, but almost one year on what I have learnt has transformed me into a whole being. One that finally is starting to feel complete, honest and real. One that I believe people will be interested in hearing (and most importantly) reading about!