What does freedom mean to me? It means I get to make my own choices, about everything. I get to choose where I live, how I live, with whom I live. I get to choose what to eat, when to eat, how to exercise, when to go to bed, when to get up. I get to choose if I want to take on a project or pass. I get to make my own choices about medical care mostly leaning towards natural remedies and alternative health care. My medicine cabinet is filled with tinctures, balms, salves, supplements.
I feel at times in my life, my choice were not my own. They were based on where I lived, who I lived with, the job I had and as I started into the real battle with cancer — what the doctors wanted me to do. I always believed I could heal myself through healthy eating, herbs and prayer. I avoided doctors. So when the spot on my face began to grow, my husband and I went online and self-diagnosed, incorrectly. It looked like a basal cell carcinoma but was actually melanoma.
For decades I had reached for one of nature’s remedies when I had an ailment. When that first biopsy was done and I found out that I had melanoma, I was thrown into what I call the crazy revolving doors of the cancer industry. I felt for many years as I went through the whirlwind of appointments, testing and various treatments, that it was all about the money. By that time, I had insurance, a “luxury” I had not consistently had before. When I did have it as a State of Alaska worker, I didn’t use it as I don’t trust the “medical” profession. Then when I needed it I was fortunate to live in a state where they had embraced the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid came into play to help keep me alive.
Freedom means the choice to choose to live or not as well. There were times in my life I didn’t feel “free”, burdened by the circumstances of life and challenging myself on if it was worth it. All of these times resulted in my exercising the freedom to live wherever I choose to. When things got tough, I like my mother before me, got going. Not one to sit in the quagmire of unhappiness when we can throw our stuff into our vehicle and wander on. I came by my gypsy ways naturally, as that was the “norm” as a child. We live what we learn.
While I was doing the cancer dance, I was grieving the death of my husband of 30 years, with each new tumor, I would wonder if that is the one that would free me to go be with him. I always thought we would die together, never imagining that I would walk this planet without him. It was almost four years into the dance with western medicine that I had to make the choice to say YES to Life if I really wanted to be free of the cancer. Being stuck in that state of grieving, my body could not really heal. It heard me saying I wanted to go be with Keith. Which is probably why some of the amazing natural treatments I was trying, as my version of “adjunct treatment”, did not work.
I credit immunotherapy with my success in freedom from cancer. The very expensive drug they gave me every three weeks, to the tune of $12,500 per treatment, enabled my immune system to engage in kicking cancer’s ass. I could feel the tumors getting smaller and smaller in my neck. I was on it for two years, as it was still in the newly experimental stage. They were allowing the medical profession to use these drugs even though they didn’t have full FDA approval because it was having such great success. It worked for me, it gave me freedom from cancer, freedom from fear, freedom from the revolving doors of the doctors offices. Now I see my health care professionals one time of year, combining all of the different modalities into this one time period. My primary care physician for vitamin D testing, wellness tests, ensuring my thyroid is still functioning properly, cholesterol, the basic stuff. I see my eye doctor for my annual prescription and or update for glasses. And after years of every three month testing for new tumors, I now do that dance with the cancer industry once a year to prove to myself I AM CANCER FREE.
The thing I believe that has kept me cancer free is dealing with the spirit body, healing the wounds that stem from childhood that led to choices other people might not have seen. Because of my deep inner dive in the past couple of years, I have found freedom from all the ghosts that used to haunt me. Freedom from the feeling of abandonment. Knowing that I am whole and the Universe has my back. Cancer free is a wonderful place to be and I intend to stay there.
I don’t know how many people understand what truly being cancer free feels like, other than the ones who have gone before me and also won the battle. My heart goes out to the ones who fought the battle and found that their freedom meant freedom from their worldly body, to move onto whatever is next. I often think that is the ultimate freedom, which will between me and my maker, at that time. In the meantime, I am feeling very grateful to have the freedom to live my best life ever. To make the choices for what brings me happiness and joy. To choose how to share my love with the world, which I have identified as my purpose, to Be Love. I am feeling so very very blessed to be just that, in the freedom of Being Love.