Monday, May 17, 2010

Chapter Fourteen - Wake Up: A Conversation About Thoughts

The Angel looked at me with a smile and asked me, ‘what are you thinking’. That seemed like a strange question coming from her since I was sure she knew what I was thinking.
“You know what I am thinking. Why are you even asking me?”
“You are right. I do know what you are thinking. The question is; do you know what you are thinking?”
I sat looking at her for a brief moment before replying, “Nothing, really.”
“That’s a lie. It is impossible for you to think of nothing in the state that you are in. You are constantly thinking of something and one thought leads to another and another and still another. They don’t make sense to you and because they aren’t organized you think that you are not thinking of anything but you are. And the more important thing to learn from this is that what you are thinking affects you body, mind and soul. It affects your life and what you give to it and get from it.”
She asked again, “What are you thinking?”
I sat looking at her and then turned inward. What was I thinking about? I was thinking about how my life right now really sucks. How this cancer should have never happened to me. How I wanted to believe everything she was telling me. How I wanted to believe that I wasn’t having some nervous breakdown and I was imagining all of this.
She sat staring at me as if she was reading the marquee that scrolled across my forehead with all my thoughts. She smiled.
I smiled back and shrugged my shoulders in resignation. I knew she could see it all. She could see that I hadn’t totally bought into these late night conversations. She could see that I even thought that I might be crazy.
She continued. “Your thoughts determine your life and what you make of it, what you get from it and what it allows to happen to you. Your thoughts are the instructions that your brain sends to your soul. Your soul then takes these thoughts and works with other energies to make what you think about become reality. Your soul’s main purpose is to make your thoughts become real.”
“Well, if that were true, I would be rich by now.” I stammered, thinking to myself that she would not be able to explain this one away.
“That’s true; you would be rich if that’s what you thought about in your deepest thoughts, the thoughts that make up your subconscious. But you think about being rich in the conscious level of your brain. Your soul doesn’t bother with conscious, surface thoughts. It only hears the deeper thoughts. The thoughts that make you who you are. The thoughts that continue to run in your brain when you are asleep. These are the thoughts that shape your life.”
“You buy a lottery ticket and tell yourself that you are going to win. It would be a nice thing and you could get rid of a lot of your problems and make the world a better place. But that’s where it stops. You don’t dwell on why you are going to win, how it will feel, why this is the route you must take in order to solve your problems and change the world. You don’t do these things because they are surface thoughts. Not deep thoughts.”
“You say you want to be healed but then you only think of your healing as something that needs to happen in order that your life can go on as it had in the past.”
“Your own deep thoughts brought this on. It allowed your soul to find the ways in which your body started to live in such a way that you ate the wrong foods, you drank the wrong liquids and you continued to live your life in order to prove out the subconscious thoughts that were not happy with life the way your were living it. You did not love your life and your resented the things that were happening to you. You, Kim, brought this upon yourself.”
“That’s the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard,” I blurted out. “You are saying that I willed this cancer on me? That I wanted to kill myself? Now, I know you are nuts and since you are me I must be going crazy.”
She watched me as I breathed heavily trying to decide on whether or not I was done with this dream. It was then that she grabbed my hand for the first time and I felt a coolness flow through my body. It was as if the temperature of my blood had dropped 10 degrees.
“There were times in your life that you played the good girl. Always doing what people expected of you. Always being the martyr. Always swallowing your own wants and needs in order for others to have their own. This was selfish of you. By doing this you never allowed others to give back to you. You never allowed others to do something in which you could show gratitude. It was always you dealing with what you had determined were important things happening in your life and the lives of those around you. How did that make you feel? How did this victimless death affect you?”
She still had hold of my hand and I could feel my emotions coming out of me, not my brain, but my soul. I had died a victimless death. I wasn’t dead but I wasn’t living either. I lived each day in order to prove to others that I could handle anything and anyone. I could feel my blood begin to heat up as a strong feeling of resentment came over me. It wasn’t that I resented those who I had chosen to serve in my own sick way, I resented what I had put myself through. I resented that I knew what I was doing the entire time and still carried on the martyr’s march.
That feeling of resentment continued to grow and get hot and started to rise out of me in such a way that I thought that I would soon burst into flames and burn us both. She let go of my hand and at that very moment the red hot ball of resentment which had been above us now plummeted towards me and into my chest. I reeled backwards onto the bed and lay there sweating. I felt my right breast and felt the tumor. It was still there and the temperature of it was much hotter than the rest of my body. I knew that this tumor had been crafted through years of resentment.
I stared at her waiting for her to tell me what had just happened. She smiled and said these words, “You are not dreaming, this is real, pay attention and tell others.”

With those words I drifted off to sleep.

Chapter Thirteen - Making Sense of It All

I woke up the next morning and surprisingly the information that she had imparted to me the night before was still fresh in my mind. I went downstairs to let the dogs out for their morning run and stared out my kitchen window as I ran water into the electric teapot.
One, two, three scoops of coffee into the French press and I stopped myself. Should I be drinking this? I don’t think coffee is alkaline. It must be acidic because people always complain about having an ‘acid’ stomach when they drink coffee.
I made myself a note to look up what foods were alkaline and acidic. In the meantime, I grabbed a box of peppermint tea out of the cabinet, opened the box, grabbed one and placed the teabag into a cup. The water in the teapot began to boil. I removed the teapot from its base and poured the hot water into the cup watching the teabag float up to the top. As I took the string and started dipping the teabag in and out of the water I noticed that there was a message that the tea company had placed at the end of the string. I turned it over and smiled as I read the message.

‘Trust in your soul to lead you to your answers.’

Chapter Twelve - Wake Up: A Conversation About Body

Suddenly I was fully awake, keenly focused and my eyes and ears were aware of only her presence and her voice, my voice. The Angel, after all she was delivering a message from God, sat across from me looking into my eyes. “Let’s talk about what you know.”
With that I felt a pen in my hand and a legal pad slide underneath the pen holding it. For some reason that didn’t seem weird. “Well, I know that I have cancer. I know that some people have cured themselves of it in the past and I know that most people choose to take the more conventional route of surgery and possibly chemo and radiation. I know that insurance will pay for that but won’t pay for the un-conventional route. I also know that no doctor I have spoken with can tell me what caused the cancer in the first place. That doesn’t make sense. How can you try to fix something unless you know what the cause is? I would expect more information from a plumber or a mechanic. This is my body we’re talking about and my life. I need more info. That’s what I know.”
“See, you are on the right path. The answers that I will give you will seem simple and complex at the same time. Just take notes so that when you wake up you will remember what you said to yourself. Ready?”
“I guess. I just want answers,” and with that I wrote across the top of the legal pad. A Conversation About Body.
“Alright, your body is a very simple yet complex organism. It is used to house your mind and your soul but never to take the place of them. Your mind is an outlet for your ego. You know. The thing that makes you proud, angry, jealous as well as a multitude of other feelings based on fear. It dies with your body but it does have a tremendous amount of effect on how the body functions. We’ll get to more of that later.
“The soul or your energy is eternal. Energy never dies. It merely changes form. Think of your soul as being like water. It can be water. It can be steam. It can be ice. But it is always water and it never goes completely away it just changes form. Does that make sense so far?”
I nodded yes as I was trying to keep up with my note taking. I understood this completely. It was not necessary to go into details on this topic. “But what about the body? That’s where my challenge lies. My mind and soul don’t have the cancer my body does.”
“No, that’s where you are wrong. What you call cancer started in your mind and eventually made its way into the body. The soul being eternal doesn’t get disease. It can help you understand it if you need it to but mostly the responsibility lies with the mind.”
“I am about to say something that you are not going to understand because it goes against everything you have been taught. There is no such thing as a cancer or a disease. There are no individual ailments.”
“Yeah, I don’t understand. Millions of people every year are diagnosed with terrible diseases. They die from them. Adults and children and even babies. How can you say there is no such thing as disease?”
“I can say it because it is the truth. The human body is perfect unless you do something to cause it not to be perfect.” She was looking straight at me and I realized that she truly believed this. How could she be so sure?
She answered my unspoken question, “Creation is perfect. Perfection cannot and will not produce imperfection. It’s just not possible.”
“That can’t be true because if our bodies were perfect then we would never get sick or die. We would all live perfect lives of health.”
“It is true because free will comes into play in this equation. One perfect body plus free will equals health, sickness or death. You have the choice. From the time of your conception you chose. Not only did you choose but your mother that carried you chose. Granted, many who chose had no idea what they were doing. They just relied on information that was given to them but none-the-less they chose.”
“So, you’re saying that I chose to develop cancer?”
“No, I already told you that what you think of as cancer truly isn’t but you do have a part to play in it.”
“Okay, I guess I need to learn first what this is that I have since it’s not cancer.”

She closed her eyes as if she were trying to remember something. Something that had slipped her mind like an item on a grocery list that she had misplaced. A smile came across her face. It was the same crooked smile I had seen in the mirror whenever I had thought of something that had been hidden in the back of my memory. Something funny that I had not thought of for quite some time.
“You don’t really understand your body do you?” she said opening her eyes. “It’s not that complicated and yet you want to make it so. You see. It’s like a sponge. What you put into it is what will come out of it. Let’s say you have a sponge. If you pour water into it then when you wring it out that’s what comes out of it, water. If you pour a coffee into it then … well, you get the picture
She continued, “Kim, you and everyone inhabiting a bodily form right now are born in a body that has one purpose, one mission. That mission is to house your soul. In that mission it is given the opportunity to be born in a healthy, healing environment. It is strong, able to grow and able to aid your soul in its development. That development is to help the soul progress. Nothing more.”
She glanced over at my nightstand where there sat a small box. The box was beautifully wrapped in red shiny paper and on the top of the box was placed a small gold bow. I had not noticed the gift before. It had been placed there by my husband before we left for the airport that morning. For a moment I felt that I should open the gift but then the feeling passed and I re focused on her.
“Think of your body as the box that encases a very precious gift. That gift is wrapped so that nothing can harm it. It will be the same always and forever. The box that protects that gift can change based upon its environment. Although the gift within will remain the same the box can show signs of age, wearing, destruction. It is a strong enough box and it has been designed so that the gift will remain in tact. However, the box if subjected to negative elements can begin to fall apart. Let’s talk about your body as this box. The beautiful gold bow that has been placed upon this box is like your mind. Your mind, like the bow can become unraveled. It can lose its crispness, its shine. Both the bow and the box can withstand quite a lot of onslaught before they both begin to show signs of wear and tear and eventually break down all together.”
“Over fifty years ago we placed you into this body. At that time you promised to take care of it so that it could help your soul work towards its mission. It seemed easy enough at the time. It was easier when you were younger. As you have added each year upon your earth life it has become increasingly more difficult. We understand that. You could continue down this path of destruction and degradation but you have come to a crossroads. Your soul has asked for help and we are listening. It needs more time to complete more of its mission. It needs your body to remain intact and stronger for a bit longer. Do you understand??
I nodded my head but I really didn’t understand. I mean, I understood but I wanted to argue about what she was saying. I wanted to stand up for myself and say that it wasn’t easy living in this day and age. I wanted to argue the point of why me? I was pretty healthy. Why didn’t people who lived a lot more unhealthy lifestyle have what I have? Why was I singled out?
She smiled, and continued. “You were not singled out. Everyone that is living your lifestyle is in the same predicament as you. It has just not shown up on the surface yet. You have not been singled out. Each and every human being on the planet has the responsibility of making sure that their body remains in tact and capable of helping their soul fulfill its mission. You have not been singled out.”
I blurted out, “Then explain to me why I have cancer and my friend who thinks a cheeseburger with fries washed down with a diet soda is a balanced meal doesn’t.” There I said it. Let’s see how she answers that one.
“They can’t have cancer because there is no such thing as cancer.” She answered, no longer smiling.
“What do you mean there is no such thing as cancer? If there isn’t any cancer then what the hell are all these people dying from? What are we raising all this money for research for? Why are body parts being removed and people being subjected to all this chemo and radiation for? No cancer? What is it then?”
“There is no such thing as cancer. There is no such thing as disease. It is all in your mind.”
Now my head was reeling. This wasn’t a dream, it was a nightmare. Here I was sitting in the middle of the night talking to what seemed to be myself and I was making this asinine statement about there being no disease and how it was all in my head.
Now, I was shouting. “It’s not all in my head. People are dying. It’s not all in my head. I am not willing this. I am not willing this”
She took my hand and smiled at me. “It is all in your head because your head is what has accepted this condition known as disease. Your soul knows differently. Listen carefully.”
“Your body is designed to live a healthy life and be free from disease. You have a choice in how healthy your body remains because you control what happens to. Let’s begin with how your body is made and what keeps it going.”
Your body is made so that it is what this world calls an alkaline state. Without going into scientific terms let me just tell you know in order for your body to function properly and at its highest and best use it must remain alkaline. This is based upon the environment that you have chosen to be placed into. If you had chosen a different environment then your body would have to be different. But in this environment when your body is alkaline it works better. Cuts heal faster, bones mesh faster, cells reproduce and choose to transmute into whatever cells the body needs to keep itself working in proper order. When a body is alkaline no disease appears to inhabit that body. I say appears because disease is not real. Each body has the capacity of either being diseased or healthy. Each human has the capability of health or disease. Just as each human has the capability of choosing right over wrong. Bodies are not predisposed towards disease. Bodies are designed to be healthy. You must work hard to become unhealthy. You make those choices.”
I knew this. Somewhere deep inside myself I knew this. For years I had heard my body speak to me. Whenever I ate too much meat, too many dairy products, too little fresh vegetables. It spoke to me. I heard my body cry out when I had too many glasses of wine. It whispered in my ear when I slathered too much butter on my bread. It had been writing notes to me on my skin for several years now telling me that I needed more water. The always tired look on my face and the dull look of my hair had been my body speaking to me to make better choices. I heard the messages but I found it easier to make other choices. After all, life was hard enough without these vices. Hey, it wasn’t as if I was hurting anyone. Well, no one but myself. And besides I had plenty of company. We couldn’t all be wrong could we?
“It’s not a question of right and wrong. It’s really not a question at all. It is a choice of the path you choose to take. You house your soul. Your soul needs your body in this lifetime to do what it needs to do. Your soul will live on without your body. But your body is needed to help your soul achieve what it has set out to do in this lifetime.”
What was I supposed to eat? Rabbit food? There is the issue of quality of life you know. How much fun is a life filled with looking forward to nothing other than lettuce and tomatoes?
She smiled, “Your choices have gotten your body where it is today. Your soul has cried out to us because the quality of life that you are experiencing now is not what you want to live. You are fearful, restless and frustrated. There is no quality in this life that you have chosen for yourself.”
She had a point. My life had pretty much sucked after my initial diagnosis. I can’t remember a really good day since then. Even when it seemed as if I was having a good time with friends and family I had that nagging in the back of my head that my time was limited unless I could find an answer. I was looking for an answer. Was this it? So tell me more about this alkaline thing.
“Your body is designed to be alkaline. When you are alkaline you are healthy. When your body reaches a state of acidity for a lengthy period of time it begins to show signs of wear. That period of time is different in different people. Some people live lives that are borderline acidic for so long in which their bodies are constantly trying to remain alkaline that one day their body gives up and they go to sleep that night and don’t wake up the next morning. Others are gifted with signs that you call symptoms of your body talking to you telling you that it needs help regarding the choices that you are making. It is always talking to you. Whether or not you listen is up to you. Some people find it too difficult to listen. It is their choice.”
“Signs that your body is talking to you can be a cough that won’t go away. Perhaps it is that nagging headache. That irregularity that you have been experiencing isn’t just because you need more fiber. How about your dry skin? Your hair becoming dull and starting to fall out a bit more. Sometimes your body speaks to you by making you restless at night. It screams at you to make better choices by sending you night sweats and muscles that seem to twitch uncontrollably. There are so many different ways in which your body will speak to you. If you are not experiencing a life of full health your body is speaking to you.”
It made sense but maybe it only made sense because she was explaining it. I may not remember any of this tomorrow.
“You are not dreaming, this is real, pay attention and tell others.” And with that comment she was gone.

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Chapter Eleven – The Midnight Meeting

    "I knew this was going to be a restless night." I said it out loud as I stared into my bathroom mirror washing my face and brushing my teeth. "I don't like being by myself at night," I said. Every little sound seemed amplified and my imagination did not need any coaxing to start its way down some sort of 'worse case scenario.'

    All the books that I had seen on the bookshelf that day were swimming through my head. Who comes up with this stuff? I have to get some sleep. I am exhausted just from thinking and I really would like to go off to a dreamy vacation spot for at least five hours and pretend that everything is okay.

    I know, I'll read. I went to my bookshelf and pulled a book that I had started and had yet to finish. It was something motivational. Lately I would start reading and then my mind would wander and I would finish a page and not remember what I read. It was happening again. I tossed the book on the bed to the right of me and settled in for what I knew would be another restless night's sleep. I closed my eyes.

    I don't know how long I had been asleep when I heard, "What are you doing?"

    I thought it was my husband until I realized that he was still travelling out of town.  With eyes still closed, I waited another moment certain that I had heard something.  Perhaps it was the refrigerator downstairs.  I knew that it was just a matter of time before it went out completely and lately it had started making some strange noises. 

       "What are you doing?"  There it was again. This time I knew someone else was in the darkened room with me and I felt a rush of heat as my heart began to pound.  I mentally struggled to quickly determine if the book I had placed on the bed to the right of me would make much of a weapon against an intruder.  "Kim, what are you doing?" 
        It was then that I realized whoever it was in the dark room with me knew my name and was female. I quickly reached for the light by the side of my bed and flipped it on.  I turned in the direction from where I thought the voice came and stared straight into all too familiar eyes.  They were mine and they were looking at me.

     "Kim, what are you doing?" she asked once more and the sound of my own voice snapped me back into reality.

    "I'm sitting here looking at me wondering if I'm still dreaming. Am I or maybe the stress of the search and me second guessing myself has finally taken its toll?"

    "No, this is real. Well, as real as it can be at 2am in the morning." She replied.

    "What's going on here? Why am I looking at me and why do you keep asking me what I am doing?"

    I stared straight at me. Yes, me. It was like looking into a mirror except somehow the reflection was a bit different. Different in a good way. She seemed younger, her skin seemed smoother and her smile seemed brighter. She sat there smiling at me and I sat there with my heart pounding out of my chest. I have often wondered what it would feel like if I ever saw a ghost. This was as close to that feeling as I ever wanted to get.

When I was younger, after my grandfather had died I thought I heard him calling my name in the middle of the day and when I turned I imagined I had seen a glimpse of him out of the corner of my eye. They say that most apparitions are seen through the corner of people's eyes. Why not right in front of us? I don't know. Maybe that's what keeps us guessing as to whether or not there are such things as ghosts or spirits. Here I was looking at what seemed to be my ghost or my spirit not out of the corner of my eye but right in front of me and she was smiling. I said nothing for what seemed like a full minute and then I whispered 'is this a dream?'

    I, or she, answered, "No this is not a dream, this is real. I have a message to you from God. I've come to talk to you because you have asked a question that you and others like you want and need to know the answer to. I have come because you have opened the door. It is a small door but it is an opening none the less. Shall we get started?'

    Started? Started with what? It was as if she read my thoughts.

    'I am here to talk about your body. The body that you are in right now. The one that you feel is challenging you. I am here to tell you how it works. Let's start.'

    That's how it began. No introduction, no light from heaven with a celestial choir, no "Fear not.
nothing but, "Let's start."

    She stretched out her arms over her head and rolled her neck as if working out a kink, "I had to come to you because you were getting too confused. You already know the answers but you keep looking for something that isn't there. I'm here to get you back on the right path."

    "The right path? I'm sitting here in the middle of the night talking to myself, literally, talking to myself. I'd say that I am no where close to the right path. I must be hallucinating. That's it. Maybe the cancer has spread to my brain and now I am seeing and hearing things." I felt a huge knot come up in my stomach at that time with the realization that maybe I was killing myself slowly.

    "No, you're not dying. You just can't hear yourself because all of the crap … "

    She stopped in mid sentence listening to what I was thinking and smiled.

    "Kim, I am you, you say crap, I say crap. Shall I go on?"

    I nodded and she continued … " as I was saying, you can't hear yourself because of all the rubbish that you keep reading and listening to regarding this cancer. I am here to tune you back into what you already know. But first, you'll need to go back to sleep. As long as you are awake I can't get through to you without being interrupted. Good night."

    And with that my head hit my pillow and I began to dream.

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Chapter Ten – Comfortable in Barnes and Noble

    When I feel like I am in need of answers I go to Barnes and Noble. I don't always find my answers there but I surround myself with what I feel are the answers to all the questions of the universe. Why am I here? What am I supposed to do? Now that I know what I am supposed to do how do I do it? What if people don't like what I do? What if they like what I do too much? How do I teach this to my kids? How do I make money with this new found wisdom? Why do I worry about such things?

    All these questions can be answered just by strolling through my favorite Barnes and Noble. What makes it even more comforting is that I can eat and drink while I am there making my way through my self imposed labyrinth. I can't do this at my local library. They don't have a Starbucks or even a Barnes and Noble Café where I can pick up a 'tall regular drip no room for cream' (no foofy drinks for me) and a slice of pumpkin loaf. I just love the experience. I love surrounding myself with thousands of other writers, and I love the fact that even when I tell myself that everything has already been written there are people out there still pounding away at their keyboards. They cover the same topics in a different way and each month new books become available for people like me who want to plug into the wisdom and even the idiocy of the universe.

    I needed to be in B & N today. I needed to know that others had felt what I am going through. I wanted to know others suffered and searched for answers and came out at the end of their dark tunnel with a new found faith in God, the universe, their fellow man and even perhaps themselves. I was there that day looking for my answer to my question of 'What am I going to do?'

     "Yes, ma'am, how can I help you?" asked a lovely young lady from behind the customer service desk. She looked as if she was 16 years old. She reminded me of what Nancy Drew would have looked like had she been real. She was young yet very mature. Young and very intelligent. Perhaps she had the answer to what I was looking for.

    "Yes, I was looking for books with the cure to cancer in them. Do you have any of those?" I asked as if expecting a positive answer. Something like, "Yes, we have quite a few. People come in every day and buy them and then cure themselves within a week's time. They're just over here…"

"Well, we have books about cancer. Would you like for me to show you where they are?" She was young and very polite."Yes, thanks" I replied and followed her up the escalator and to health and diet section.

Do you have any idea how many books about Cancer there are? There were two full rows about cancer. Hopefully somewhere among all these books was my answer. I thought to myself if one of these books holds the answer for me then why isn't it flying off the shelves? I looked around. Perhaps no one knows about these books. As I looked I noticed that some of the books had been placed back into the shelf upside down. I guess someone had been through these looking for an answer. Did they not find it? Would I find it?

     I just knew I would find my answer there in some small insignificant tome that had been written 80 years ago and whose author was long gone. That's why the answer wasn't well known to the rest of us in this day and age. It was hidden among the older volumes. I searched. I looked with my head sideways reading the spines of the books.

    I grabbed five books that looked interesting and looked for a place to settle for the next few minutes while I looked through them. I turned the corner and there it was, the most comfortable looking chair I had ever seen. And no one sitting in it. Today must be my lucky day! Well, sort of. I made my way to the chair and placed the books at my feet. I stashed my purse to the left of me between the chair and my body and grabbed a book: The pH Miracle for Living. Hmmm. I liked the title. I needed a miracle, but I had no idea what pH had to do with it. I started to read the book.

An older woman sat in the chair next to me with her younger daughter perched on her lap looking through a children's picture book. I thought to myself, has she had cancer?
Will she have cancer one day? Will her daughter have cancer one day? Would she remember how it felt not to have cancer?

    Before cancer. Will my life's timeline now take on the acronyms BC for before cancer? What would AD stand for? After death … no … quit thinking that way. AD could stand for After denial, after doctors, after diagnosis … after diagnosis. That would make sense. What happens after diagnosis? I turned my attention back to reading the book. A few more pages later I looked up to glance at two older women having a conversation that was just above a whisper on the other side of the aisle from where I sat.

"You know she is doing remarkably well since her surgery. Poor thing, she had both breasts removed and they are about to start chemotherapy treatments. Her doctor seems to think they got it all. We visited her in the hospital last night. She looked terrible but who wouldn't after everything she has been through. We took her a birthday cake. Did you know yesterday was her fiftieth birthday. Who would have ever guessed this sort of thing would happen to her. I mean, she seemed so healthy." The other woman voiced her agreement and they walked away towards another section and hopefully found a better topic of conversation.

I could feel the relief in their voices that it was not they who were suffering from the disease. It was their friend and it was always easier to deal with if it was happening to someone else. I could not blame them for their sense of relief. I had felt the same way when I had heard of people who had been diagnosed with cancer. I was always glad it wasn't me.

    I turned back to my book and slumped a little lower into the chair. I was so tired from the stress of my search and so many sleepless nights. The chair was so comfortable. I continued my reading.

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Chapter Nine – Questioning My Decision

    By the end of March the Oprah segment had aired, I had been inundated with hundreds of emails and was still searching for a cure.

    Half the emails applauded me on my choice to search for a cure, the other half either shared with me protocols that had worked for someone else or were trying to sell me some new product that would 'cure my cancer' and that I would be more than welcome to share with the rest of the world.

    Unfortunately, a few emails were mean. I have often wondered what caused these people to take the time and trouble of finding me and sharing their opinions and negative prophecies with me. I was doing what I thought was best for me and they thought it their duty and many their 'God Ordained' mission to tell me that I was killing myself.

    These negative emails were written by the kind of people who would swerve to hit animal in the road when they could easily miss it. They would run over the poor animal and then mumble about animals should not be in the road and that they saved them from a life of hunger and disease. These were those kind of people. Self righteous and self justified.

    I will never forget one email that I received where the woman actually told me that God would not heal me because I would not trust in conventional medicine. She quoted biblical scripture to back up her case. When she was finished I was the one laying broke and bleeding in the middle of her road. Tire tracks on my back and her words of self righteousness about how she saved me from a worse fate trailing behind her as she sped away crossing herself.

    I read some of these emails over and over. The positive ones kept me searching for a cure. The negative ones threw fuel on my fire anytime I questioned my decision. I would not let these doomsayers win. I would not let them do this to anyone and get away with it. How dare they have a negative effect on my life! THEY were the cancer. They were the reason no cure had been found and if found not shared. They were the reason that more and more money was being poured into 'research' and this disease was still out there.

I often asked myself why no cure had been found yet when so many people supposedly were searching for it. Maybe a cure for cancer cost too much money? Not in research, but in monies lost to those who benefit from keeping cancer alive and well. Maybe these people who wrote to me with their negative comments represented this group that fought to keep cancer in our lives.

    Only God knows; but God knows.


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Chapter Eight – “Being Irresponsible”

    I continued my research and started to find things that I felt could make a difference in my healing. I started changing the way I ate. I was still seeing Dr. M and he had me working with a nutritionist that had started educating me on certain foods that I should stay away from. I had gotten my first thermogram and it in itself had shown me what cancer looked like. It was hot. It showed up as heat in my thermogram. To me that was an explanation of my hot flashes as well as my constant need for air conditioning. Funny, as hot as I was feeling I didn't seem to sweat much.

    By this time I had opted for the biopsy. When I made the decision to cure myself I made the decision also to have a needle biopsy performed. You can't say that you have cured yourself of cancer unless you have the proof that you had cancer in the first place. I had the biopsy on February 14th, Valentine's Day a week after my 50th birthday.

    By March 9th I was well into a month of research. I had not told anyone outside of my immediate family of my decision to heal myself. Most people did not even know about my diagnosis. I decided that this was the best way to go about it. I was a pretty private person; until I received an email.

    It was sitting in my inbox and was from someone with It was what seemed to be a courtesy response from my earlier email thanking me for my 'Letter to Oprah' about The Secret and that they would like a recent photograph of me. I figured that perhaps they wanted to use it for their website with their other 'Letters to Oprah' participants and I attached a recent headshot in the reply email and went about my day. I did mention to my sister that I had heard back from Oprah's people and that maybe it would be on the website in the future.

    It was about week later that I received a phone call from the Harpo organization inviting me to be on their upcoming 'Letters to Oprah' Show. The voice on the other end of the call was professional, friendly and I am certain not surprised when my answer was 'YES'! "Oprah loved my letter and wanted to have me on the show." How could I not say yes. This was the perfect opportunity to help others out there who were in the same predicament. Oprah Winfrey was known throughout the world. She could jumpstart the search for a real prevention or cure for cancer and I could share with her and her audience what I had found out!

    I have to tell you that I had written on my Vision List that someday I would be on the Oprah Winfrey Show for something I had written. Being a magazine publisher, I had always assumed that it would be a book. Never would I have thought that a late night email would land me on the show.

    The rest went pretty quickly. Medical records were sent, flight information was exchanged and brief phone interviews were performed. I was in Chicago with my sister Dana by my side by the next week.

    What happened before the taping of the show was pretty matter of fact. We arrived at DFW International Airport in Dallas and claimed our prepaid tickets; took the flight from Dallas and arrived in Chicago O'Hare where a chauffeur waited for us at the gate. We were then taken to the hotel, given vouchers for our meals and told what time we would be picked up in the morning. It was a nice little vacation for both my sister and me.

    That night I spoke over the phone for quite some time with one of the show's producers going over what I had been doing in the last month after I was diagnosed. No mention of what was going to be said, what order I was going to be on the show or anything else other than it was the 'Letters to Oprah' segment.

    The next morning a car came to pick us up and take us to the studio. We arrived at the studio went through security, signed releases and were escorted to the Green Room where I would have makeup applied and wait for the show to start. It was all very exciting!

    What happened next; even I could not have visualized. They sat us in the audience where we would watch other segments being taped. One of her producers came out and warmed up the audience to relax everyone and then they introduced Oprah. I remember thinking to myself, 'Wow, this is it." I could feel the butterflies start to flutter in my stomach. I wasn't nervous. Why should I be? Oprah loved my letter and we would just talk about how I believed that we are in control of our destinies. We would laugh about how we both believed that thoughts do become things. I would share with her the amazing things that I had found out during my month long search for a cure. We would hug at the end and she would wish me the best of luck.

    That's what should have happened. Instead, a completely different scenario took place.

As I was escorted to the famous couch on stage I was handed a piece of paper with an excerpt from my email letter that I had written. It wasn't until a few moments later that I would be asked to read those few sentences and hear those fateful words coming out of Oprah's mouth. In my recollection of that day I see and hear her speaking to the audience and I knew that things were going to be different as soon as she mentioned how concerned she was when her staff received my letter.

Then Oprah started speaking to the audience of her dismay that many people had taken the message of The Secret as being the answer to every problem known to man. People chanting their affirmations at home, seated on their couches and not doing anything to take action towards those goals. She was concerned that now I was here on the show thinking that I would be curing myself by just thinking good thoughts. She would do something different if she had been diagnosed. She would seek conventional medical care. And then she said those fateful words, "Don't you are being irresponsible?"

    It was at that moment that my experience with Toastmasters kicked in. This was however a 'table topic' that could kill me if I got it wrong. Oprah was looking at me with the question still hanging in the air. It was my turn to say something. In my head all I could think was, "I've been set up." But then my spirit rose up, grabbed my brain and I began to talk.

I told Oprah what I had been doing this past month, what I believed, what I knew in my soul to be true and how we could not make a decision based on fear. She asked me if it was about saving my breast. I told her "No, if it came down to my breast or my life I would choose my life, but it all boiled down to the right for me to choose when I had all my questions answered."

It was a blur. The taping of my segment ended. The audience clapped and I was led off Oprah's couch, her stage and into another dimension that was to become my new life.

    By the time we had reached the Green Room where we would wait for our ride back to the airport I realized that I had become the sacrificial lamb to appease the media gods. So much hoopla had centered around The Secret that the show had been catching a huge amount of flack for leading people down a path of inaction and irresponsibility. Oprah had to make people understand that it wasn't enough to just think good thoughts, you had to do something. She was able to get her point across but at what cost?

    By the time the show aired the following week I wasn't sure what would show and what would end up being edited out. Most of the interview remained intact. I was glad about that. I was able to get my point across.

    Then the hundreds of emails started pouring in and my life was forever changed.


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Chapter Seven – A Late Night Letter to Oprah

    I left Scott sleeping in our bed and pulled the door of our bedroom shut. I silently made my way downstairs. My laptop was still on the kitchen table where I had left it, and the light of the screen was now a beacon for me in the darkness. It was as if it were saying to me, "Glad you're back. Have a seat. Let's do some more research."

    I accepted its invitation and pulled my chair up to the table, typed in 'cancer cures' onto my Google homepage and waited for the results. Scrolling through the pages and pages of today's new offerings I found a few seemingly new ones that offered me a couple of moments of hope only to find out that they were just reactions to a blog or someone trying to sell 'an amazing new ultra miracle product from deep in the Amazonian rain forest that had been harvested by an ancient civilization 5,000 years ago that will cure everything under the sun including poor self esteem with just 4 small drops under your tongue once a day at the amazingly affordable cost of $200 a bottle.' It was another scam that will 'shockingly' get people who are desperate to try anything typing in their credit card numbers and waiting at home for that miracle cure.

Do these companies that tout this stuff realize what they are doing to these people? Maybe they did believe in their product. Maybe they did believe that they were giving hope to people out there. But what if it didn't work? Then what?

    I had had enough researching for the day. I was tired but I knew I couldn't sleep. I would just lie awake thinking about my cancer challenge. I decided that I would watch a movie instead.

    I made myself a cup of tea and went to the DVD player, slid the DVD in and fumbled a bit for the play button.

    I recognized it immediately. It was my video copy of "The Secret". I had not watched it in quite some time but had loved the movie the first time I had seen it online. For the next 90 minutes I sat watching the movie again and forgetting about my diagnosis. For 90 minutes I was just a regular human being trying to get motivated about life and living. The movie worked. It made me realize what I had known all my life. Thoughts became things and the human mind is more powerful than we give it credit. I was filled with hope once again! I was ready to tackle this disease.

    So ready in fact, I turned off the television and went back to my computer to do more research. I was certain that I would find my 'cure'. I was so sure that this was going to happen.

    I went back to my search. It was then that I decided to do something that was out of character for me. I went to the Oprah Winfrey Show website. On the website it had a question to Oprah's viewers asking them to write and tell the show how the movie "The Secret" had changed their lives. Well, it hadn't changed my life yet but I knew that it would very shortly so I gave it a shot. I began to type …

I watched the Secret for the first time back 2006 (way before most of the world knew what it was). I stumbled upon the website while I was researching information for one of my magazines. It was 2am and the first time I saw it online I was like Oprah when she said "I've always lived my life this way and didn't know that it was a Secret'. Well, shortly after The Secret aired on Oprah I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I was shocked but most of all I became mad. Not because I had cancer but because most of the doctors that I have spoken to (three so far) have all said surgery was absolutely necessary within the next month. I would have to undergo a partial radical mastectomy of the right breast followed by treatment. Where was the hope in something less invasive, less permanent?

After much thought, I have decided to heal myself. Most would say that's putting your money where your mouth is. Well, if you can talk the talk, you should be able to walk the walk. It's easy to think positive about things that don't threaten anything other than your comfort or your reputation.

It's a different story when the worldview of the outcome could be losing your life. I have a great life. I am doing what I love and I am making a positive difference in this world. I plan on being here a long time and when I do leave (another 70 years from now) I plan on doing it with all my body parts! I do believe that we have barely tapped into that amazing source that rules all things in the Universe. If we can tap into it we can do great things. The greatest of which is inspiring others who will follow to believe that they deserve an abundant life full of promise and potential. I'll keep you posted!

I reread the letter once to make sure that I had everything in it that I could think of and then I hit the send button. In a blink of an eye it was gone. I figured it would go into a mass of emails that would be read by someone who would hit delete and it would be gone forever. It didn't matter. I wanted to tell someone and Oprah was the person I wanted to tell that night. So from my laptop on my kitchen table in the outskirts of a small rural north Texas town I shouted my proclamation to the world: I was going to heal myself of this disease and live to tell about it.

I closed my laptop and went to bed.

Chapter Six – Surfing for a Cure

    The world wide web. It has become the great OZ of our Emerald Planet. Is there anything that you can't find through Google? Yes, you can find all sorts of answers to all sorts of questions. But you have to have discernment when it comes to what is truth and what is just someone's opinion or an outright lie.

    I don't believe everything someone tells me and I certainly don't believe it any more when it makes its way onto a blog or a website.

    Do you know how many results show up when you Google 'cancer cures'? As of this writing it is over 600,000 results. Six hundred thousand! How are you supposed to sift through all those to find the hidden pearl of wisdom? You can't. Just because a website shows up on the first page of a search doesn't mean that it is the right one.

    I have this conspiracy theory mindset going on about certain subjects on the web. I know that you can pay people to get your website to the top of a search list and I know that 'the powers that be' have everything to lose if people start looking for alternative answers to their diseases. There is a lot of money to be made from everyone but the patient when it comes to curing disease. Because of this you have to use your own intuition and discernment and you HAVE to do a lot of research.

    My challenge was that I didn't even know what I was looking for. Yes, I was looking for a cure but a cure from what? What is cancer? What caused it to come my way? It was then that I figured that what I would start looking for was the answer to my first question. What is cancer? After all, how can you cure something when you don't really know what it is or what causes it. Good idea, Kim.

    So that's where I began. I started Googling 'what is cancer?' I then used my logic to purposefully not look at any websites that were linked or sponsored by large non-profits or commercial associations that stood to make money if a cure for cancer was never found. I know this doesn't make sense to everyone, but being an entrepreneur I always knew that to find out where a problem is in any business you have to follow the money. If a business was struggling where was the money going? If a deal was cut that was not a win-win for all parties concerned (including the general population) then you had to follow the money. Where was all the money when it came to finding a cure for cancer? Who stood to benefit from a disease that went on for infinity?

    My search was on.

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Chapter Five – Trying to Strike a Deal

    I am a fairly good negotiator. Well, I am when it comes to getting things for other people. For myself; not so much.

I did feel that after my diagnosis that I should have been able to negotiate a timeline for my treatment. Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to try my negotiation skills. I was always faced with "We need to do this within the next two weeks." Why two weeks? Why not a month? How fast was this cancer growing? Didn't it take me years to get where I am right now? Doctors don't negotiate. I guess they don't have to.

    I began to wonder if doctors try to schedule surgeries based on their own availability. If my surgeon were leaving tomorrow for a trip around the world for two months would she have given me two and a half months to get the surgery performed or would she have referred me to another doctor?

    I needed at least six months to do everything I could to find out answers to my questions, get things in order and live what was left of a possibly normal life. Would they consider giving me six months? No? Why the rush?

    Maybe some people faced with a diagnosis such as this pull out their insurance card and jump right up on the operating table. Since my insurance was limited, I wasn't going to be one of them. I didn't have the insurance and I didn't have all my questions answered.

    This may be what saved my life or at least allowed me to make my own decisions.

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Chapter Four (Meeting with the Consultant)

The day arrived when I was going to have everything explained to me regarding the mammogram and sonogram that I had gone through earlier in the week. Although I wasn't really looking forward to it, I knew that it wasn't going to be as bad as I thought it was going to be. I wasn't one of those people who was always sick or had migraines or had a regular doctor even. I wasn't allergic to anything. I wasn't even overweight.

    I drove myself to my appointment. After all, it wasn't necessary for Scott to be there just to hear them say that I was going to be fine. I could call him over the phone for that. We had already discussed that we would meet after my appointment for lunch.

    I sat in the waiting room. This time I was prepared. Although I didn't bring my laptop I did bring a book. It always made me feel good to have a book on me. Sure, doctor's offices have stuff to read, but I want something of my own choosing that I can dog ear and even mark up if I choose.

I couldn't remember a time in my life when books weren't important to me. They were often the only companions I really trusted. This book I held in my hand was no different. This book would be the only witness to this meeting between me and what I had decided to call 'the consultant.' I didn't want to think of myself meeting with a doctor. Doctors weren't meant to be questioned. After all they were the 'experts.' Consultants, on the other hand, would give you their opinions and then you had the chance to ask them questions and eventually decide for yourself. I wasn't planning on dealing with anymore 'experts' I had decided to start dealing with consultants.

    I had found Dr. M through a friend. Carol owned the local herb store and someone had come by with a book written by Dr. M. In his book he talked about preventing breast cancer through proper nutrition and the use of bio-identical hormones. Carol had become intrigued and handed me the book as soon as I had told her about the initial diagnosis. After reading the book I searched out this doctor and found that he was located less than an hour from me. I called to make the appointment and was told that it would be several weeks before an opening would be available. Okay. I'll wait.

    I had promised Meria (my doctor) that I would keep her updated so I picked up the phone to give her a call. When I told her about the delay and that I was fine with it she sounded noticeably concerned that waiting that long was not a good thing. She made a couple of phone calls and was able to get me in within a week. I was almost disappointed that the she was able to get me in sooner. After all, if they didn't think it was important enough for me to come in I figured it wasn't that serious. Evidently Meria didn't think the same way I did. The day of my appointment I left my house early enough to swing by the Diagnostic center to pick up my films to take to Dr. M. I was glad not to have to be going back there and I secretly hoped that I would not run into Dr. V. I didn't want to have her ask me what I had decided to do especially since I hadn't decided to do anything yet other than stall. I picked up my films and hurriedly made my way back down the same elevator where two weeks earlier I had misplaced my brain.

    I was fifteen minutes early for my appointment with Dr. M. I had completed my paperwork prior to arriving there. This was done with the help of a fax machine and a very efficient office manager. Who ever thought you could fill out paperwork for your doctor ahead of time? Was this a sign of progress? Perhaps I am in the right place after all.

    Dr. M walked into the room and I liked him instantly. He looked at my films all the while explaining everything to me. Then he looked at my sonogram results explaining those to me also. I was waiting for him to say something like 'I don't see anything really out of the ordinary, why don't we give it a couple months and see what happens.' I was waiting for him to say it but instead he said. 'I know you don't want to hear this but I think we really need to have a biopsy done. The sooner we get the results on this the sooner we can talk about viable options.' He wrote something on my chart, smiled and said that he would have a nurse schedule me for an appointment. We talked about his book and how I found him and why I wanted to come to see him and how I thought even if it were malignant that he could cure me with nutrition and supplements and that surgery would not be necessary. His smiled faded as he began to explain to me that there was no alternative if the biopsy returned a malignant result. Surgery was necessary. Chemo and radiation however might be optional depending upon the results. The best thing for us to do right now was to send me for blood tests and then for the biopsy. We could then go from there.

    Then he said, "You are young and in good health, with surgery and all the progress that we have made in understanding cancer you could live a long and productive life."

    What was that sound? That loud thud. It sounded like the first nail being pounded into my coffin.
Long and productive life?
You don't say 'could live a long and productive life' to someone who 30 minutes earlier thought the worst was behind her. My heart was racing. I know that he could tell there was something wrong since the color was now gone from my face.

    My only question, "Do you mean that I could die from this?"

    That's when he started quoting statistics on how many women survive breast cancer and lead 'long and productive lives'. How we shouldn't jump the gun until we have all the test results back and can make decisions based on facts. How I should not be worried and how we needed to take it one step at a time.

    Let's just go get the blood tests done and schedule a biopsy. He would see me after the test results had been sent back to him. He smiled, shook my hand and asked me to visit the nurse at the front who would give me my appointment for my biopsy.

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Chapter Three – Breakdown Behind The Wheel)

    I found my truck, slowly climbed inside of it and pulled the seatbelt across my chest. Ouch! The strap had landed directly on the lump that was now hot and very sore. It was if a hypnotist had snapped his fingers and I had come to. Except I wasn't waking refreshed.

I came back to earth feeling numb. What had just happened? Okay. The double mammogram. The sonogram. The talk about the possibility of it being malignant…doing the biopsy. No, wait. Not doing the biopsy.

    Okay, okay. I'm in control. In my truck. In the parking lot. I started up my truck and began the 45 minute drive home. I wish I could tell you what I thought about during the drive home but I can't. I don't remember, and frankly I am not sure that it even made sense.

    I do remember thinking What am I going to tell Scott? I usually had the answers or at least several options. I had neither. Fifteen minutes into my drive I began to cry. The crying didn't last long. I had never felt comfortable as a cryer. The crying abruptly ended and then I began to get mad. I don't have time for this. I don't have insurance. I don't have the right questions to ask. Whose fault is this anyway? What did I do to deserve this? For what must have been 20 minutes I ranted and raved out loud.

    By the end I was exhausted but had calmed down considerably. My optimism kicked in. Hey, it's probably nothing. Just because Dr. V had been doing this for 10 years doesn't mean that my lump was malignant. I bet that it would be gone in a week, two weeks tops.

    With that I concluded my breakdown and started working on the conversation that I would have with Scott. I grabbed my cell phone and called him. He was so concerned that I was okay.

"How was the mammogram? …. Two times! Wow, that must have been uncomfortable. …. How are you feeling now? …You know everything will be alright. It's probably nothing. Doctors have been wrong before. … I'll see you when you get home… Drive safe. Love you … Bye."

    That was it. I was hopeful. He was hopeful. We both figured that the doctor was going to be wrong and that everything would be alright.

It was still a long drive home.


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Chapter Two – The Mammogram (Definitely NOT an E-Ticket Ride)

On the day of my mammogram I awoke with this feeling of dread. I didn't like taking time away from my work. I especially did not like taking time away from my work or anything else for that matter when it came to going through another mammogram. I was hoping that in the years between the last one I had experienced and this one that technology had indeed graduated out of the dark ages of cold metal and pressed flesh to a quick little laser light scan. I could hope.

I arrived at the Breast Diagnostic Center for my mammogram appointment 20 minutes early. I wanted to fill out my paperwork and be ready to go when they called me in. I completed my paperwork, managed to read through two entire magazines and several brochures that touted the various other procedures that I might want to have at a later date. I watched three other women come and go before me and walked around the lobby feigning interest in the artwork. I know nothing of art. I was just killing time. I thought to myself that I should have brought my laptop and done some work. I would have if I had known it would take this long. Next time I will have to remember. What am I saying? There isn't going to be a next time. I was reaching for a third magazine when they called my name and I jumped up as if they would give my spot away if I didn't respond quickly enough. Don't ask me why. I'm just programmed that way. I hate to make people wait for two seconds even if it is people who have made me wait for … 55 MINUTES! Already I was hoping to get out of there as quickly as possible and get back to my work.

The rest is kind of hazy. The mammography tech was very friendly. As a matter of fact she was from my area. I began thinking that I hope she doesn't tell anyone that I was in. I don't like anyone to know what I do in my spare time. Who are we kidding? I make sure that I don't have any spare time. To paraphrase Gordon Gekko in Wall Street, "Spare time is for wimps." I took my attention off Michael Douglas'character and placed my attention back on the mammography tech who was now explaining to me what was going to happen. I smiled and cracked some joke about the machine not having made much progress from several years back … or from the dark ages for that matter. Yes, it was still cold, and yes, it hurt like hell.

We had some difficulty getting situated. I had forgotten that this was the first time I would have experienced a mammogram since the addition of breast implants several years earlier. I was more concerned about not damaging them during the session than anything else. I would hate to have to get them redone because I sprung a leak. Hey, I don't know why those thoughts went through my mind I just know they did. Anything was better than concentrating on the mammogram. When it was all over the tech excused herself and asked me to keep my gown on. She wanted to make sure that all the pictures were clear before I started getting redressed.

While I waited for her to come back in and tell me to redress I was playing out in my mind how I wanted to spend the rest of my day. I had to stop and get gas. I needed to check the mail at the post office. I needed to make a few phone calls on the way to people who had left me voicemails. I could be pretty productive even away from my office.

The door opened and I could tell by the look on her face that it was not good news. "Sorry, Kim, the films are just not clear enough. We're going to have to take another set."

Another set? You mean I have to do this all over again? I didn't want to do it the first time. Why not just stick me in a microwave? I thought all these things but all I could say was, "Okay." I really need to stand up for myself. I should put that on my resolutions list. I know it wasn't her fault. But it wasn't my fault either. I hopped off the stool where I had been sitting and once again subjected myself to the tech, who by now was looking like the female version of the Marquis de Sade.

The second set came out clear and I redressed to wait for the doctor to come in and tell me that everything looked normal and that they would see me again in twelve months for my next mammogram. Fat chance. I had already made up my mind not to visit this theme park anymore. The lines were too long and the rides weren't fun at all. In my head I imagined women waiting in line at the mamma-rail with their cute paisley and floral examination gowns. After an hour waiting for the ride you could climb on board and then be whisked away towards a tunnel that was much too small in which you and everyone with you would be squeezed into one sixteenth of your size between two cold, metal plates all the while music played in the background repeating the words, 'breathe in and hold still, breathe in and hold still, breathe in and hold still." No thanks, I was not returning.

"Hi Kim, how are you today?" a voice entered into the room trailed by a small dark haired woman in a white lab coat holding my films.

"Uh, well , I guess that would be for you to tell me. What's next?"

"Let's take a look at your films," the doctor said as she slid them onto the light board that seemed to come out of no where. She pointed at what looked like my breast and then to a huge mass. My heart stopped. I didn't know what to say. She continued, "This is your breast implant." She must have seen the shocked look on my face. Oh, thank God! I had thought it was the lump! I almost started laughing until I noticed what she was now pointing at. A small dark mass just above my breast implant and the muscle that covered it. It seemed pretty small. But looking at it now it did look larger than what I had been feeling. Come to think of it. I now realized that it was a little sore. It must have been all the probing, pushing and stretching during the mammograms. I could actually feel its presence now without touching it.

I zoned out during part of her conversation, but managed to jump back in when she said "… so we'd like to do a sonogram and see where we are. If you'll get undressed I will be back in to do a sonogram and then we will go from there."

Go from there? This was taking way too much time. This lump has come and gone and it probably would have been gone by the end of the week, but now it's mad because of the stupid double take on the mammograms and will hang on a bit longer just to get back at me. Go from there? Where are we going? Where are we? That's what I was thinking but all I said was, "okay". Boy, do I need to get a back bone.

Five minutes later the doctor came back in, had me lie down on the table and place my right arm above and behind my head. She squeezed a little jelly (it was cold) on to my breast and then placed the sonogram instrument (colder) on top of it. Memories of my sonogram when I was pregnant with my now teenage son, Garrett, came flooding back. I think the jelly and the instrument were cold then to. Once again, not much progress in patient comfort had been made in 18 years.

Dr. V began talking about this and that and size and placement and things that went through my ears and above my head. All I wanted to know was what is it? Do I need to get rid of it? And when can I go back to work? She finished with her exam, placed a tissue on my chest to wipe off the sonogram gel and said these words.

"I think we should do a biopsy today to find out if it is malignant. I can schedule you in within the next thirty minutes. I do think it needs to be done today. Is there someone you would like to call to tell them you will be a little longer? I'll be back in fifteen minutes." The door shut behind her. Somewhere between the words 'malignant' and 'I'll be back in fifteen minutes' she explained the needle biopsy procedure to me. It sounded easy enough, the needle is inserted into the lump (tumor), some tissue is extracted, you get a bandage over the small incision and you go home and wait for the lab results.

Malignant? Thirty minutes? Today? Call someone? Yes, Regis, I'd like to phone a friend. And who is this friend? Oh, that would be my husband, Scott. He knows all about how things like this work … fixing things that are broken … making do with what you have … he knows me.

That's when it hit me. I really didn't want to call Scott. He was going to tell me to do what I thought was best. I could always get my way with him. He always trusted my judgment. Funny, I'm not sure I trusted my own judgment right now. I pulled my phone out of my purse and dialed his number.

"Hi, how'd it go? Are you on your way home?" His voice was so normal sounding. I was surprised that he could hear me over the loud sound of blood rushing through my ears.

"Well, she wants to do a Biopsy today and I don't think that's what I want to do. I really need to think this over and do some research. Is that okay with you?"

"Yeah, whatever you want. But … (I thought to myself, Scott, do not give me a 'but' right now. I really want to just walk out of here and forget everything that just happened) maybe you should go ahead and take care of it today."

"No, I think I need to think about this right now. Besides I know that it's going to be pretty expensive and we really don't have the money right now. Is that okay? I promise I will get some more information and call back to make an appointment."

"Okay. I'll see you at home."

I got dressed and was sitting on the table with my purse and car keys in hand by the time Dr. V walked back in. There was a look of surprise on her face. "You're not going to have the biopsy today?"

"No, not today. I would like to think about it and get back to you if that's okay?"

"Well, yes, but I do think that the sooner we get this done the better. I've been performing these for over ten years now and this does not look good. You really should have this done as soon as you can."

"Yes, I will. I just need to think about it a bit, that's all. I also need to think about how I am going to pay for it. I'm self employed and my insurance …." Blah, blah, blah. She wasn't listening to me. I wasn't listening to me. I just wanted to get out of there. She handed me her card. I stopped by the front desk to pay and sign some things and then I walked out into the hallway, took the elevator downstairs, walked out into the parking lot and tried to remember where I had parked. I couldn't remember what car I drove. I pushed the alarm button on my remote and a horn started blaring from the right side of the parking lot. I wondered if there was something on the remote that I could push that would sound off the alarm on my brain so that I could find it. It had turned off somewhere between Dr. V handing me her business card and me pushing the first floor button on the elevator.

I can't drive without a brain!

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Intoduction to Cancer Angel (The Book)

I wish I could say that I started writing all of this down on the first day, but I didn't. I wish I could say that I handled everything just fine, but I didn't. I wish I could say that I have it all figured out, but I don't.

    Nevertheless, I do want to recount things as they happened for a lot of reasons. One is to get it off my chest, literally. The other is that you may be sitting there reading this book because you have been diagnosed with cancer and are in a panic and no one is alive that you can talk to that will understand exactly what you are going through. I understand now why they have those millions of different support groups.

    This is not the first book I have written. I have written others both on paper and in my mind. This one is a tough one though because unlike my others this one is about me, my feelings, my fears, my lack of control. My others were self help books for other people. This one is my own personal self help book for me.

    Where do I start? Hmmm. Well, let's start at the beginning. I have always been pretty healthy. Not marathon runner healthy but healthy. I wasn't a druggie, not even prescription. I ate fairly healthy, or so I thought. I exercised when I thought about it, which wasn't all that often, but I wasn't a slob. One thing that I was and still am is optimistic. At least on the outside. Most people you meet when all of this is over will tell you that I am or was the most optimistically energetic person they know or knew --- depending upon the outcome of all of this. See, I told you it was on the outside.

I will tell you that I noticed the lump, a small one, a year before I really NOTICED the lump. A little background is needed here. In 2004 I treated myself to breast implants. Honestly, after the initial pain and getting used to them I can tell you that at the time it was the best thing that I ever did to improve my looks and the way I felt about myself. That's neither here nor there. But, because of the breast implants (saline) I had been instructed by my doctor to massage them regularly. It was during one of the massages that I noticed the small lump.

    Years prior I had read or heard or been told that drinking a lot of caffeine was the cause of lumps within the breast. So I chalked the small lump that I had found up to the six or more cups of coffee I drank every day. I didn't drink the cheap stuff either. Starbucks was a regular hang out for me. And there were no fancy, diluted drinks in my order. It was always a tall, regular drip with no room for cream (bold). Anyway, the lump must have been extra caffeine hanging around my system. I went about my business and told myself that I would cut back on the java.

    As the months went by I noticed that the lump would come and go (maybe I just thought it did). Well, anyway, one day I noticed that it had gotten a little larger. I had put on a few pounds so I thought perhaps that was the reason. Was I feeding this lump? I told myself that I would need to start exercising more and not eat late at night.

    Okay, so now I have cut back on the coffee and started eating a little better. Not much cutting back on the coffee and not much eating better but hey, I still looked and felt okay.

    Each time I stepped out of the shower I felt for the lump. As the days passed I was hoping that each time I felt for it that it would have disappeared into thin air. After all, I was a pretty positive person. You could will these things into existence and you can will them out of existence too. I guess I wasn't 'willing' in the right way. You can't will something out of existence if you are constantly thinking about it. Can you?


And so my story begins ….

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Chapter One – The Now You See It, Now You Don’t Lump)

The lump came and went several times after that. It became such a regular occurrence I decided to ignore it all together. It didn't seem to grow any so why worry about it? I had heard from other women that if it moved around and wasn't painful that it was probably just a cyst brought on by stress and caffeine. The qualifications of stress and caffeine made me a prime target for these cysts so I went about my daily routine. After all, who isn't stressed? Most everyone I knew couldn't make it through the day with at least some form of caffeine. At least I didn't add sugar and cream to mine.

I thought about going for a mammogram just to make sure that I had no cause for concern, but those things hurt and weren't covered by the kind of insurance I could get as a self employed business owner. I recalled the last mammogram I had two years prior was not only painful but reminded me of a modern form of torture. Surely we have come farther along in technology not to have to squeeze painfully stretched body parts between two plates of cold metal while holding our breaths and allowing a machine using radioactive material to take a fuzzy picture. So for right now I ignored the 'now you see it now you don't lump' until January. In January, shortly after all of the holiday decorations had been put up and I began working on achieving my carefully thought out goals for the year I remembered that it was this time the year prior that I had thought of adding 'regular self breast exams' to my resolutions for that year. I had not done it this year either. I reached for the spot where the lump had been a year ago and felt it again. This time it was no longer the size of a small pimple. It had grown. The lump was about the size of a pea. Should I be concerned? Probably not. It would probably be gone by the end of the week. I'll just cut back on the caffeine. That should do it.

I forgot about the lump until a week later when I felt for the lump again and it was still there. Okay, maybe I had cheated a bit on the coffee. I'll give it another week and see what happens. Besides, I didn't have time to make time for an appointment…or was that true? I could make time to call and make an appointment. I just didn't have time to go to the appointment. Especially since it seems that you never get in at your designated appointment time and I don't like sitting out in a waiting room filled with sick people. I'll make the appointment and then cancel when the lump goes away.

I called up a doctor friend of mine who I knew would get me in as quickly as possible. Meria had always been one of my favorite doctors. She didn't even look like a doctor. She was pretty, petite and really loved what she did. I felt that going to a female doctor would give me a one up on this lump thing. She'd probably seen it a hundred times and knew exactly what caused it and how to get rid of it for good. I knew that Meria would see me and tell me something like, "It's nothing to be concerned about. Women get these all the time, especially busy women. Drink more water and cut back on your coffee. That should do it." I made my appointment for the next week and looked forward to being able to cancel it when the time came and the lump once again disappeared.

The week passed. The lump remained and I made my way to my appointment with Meria. After filling out the necessary paperwork and flipping through a couple of magazines I was called in. I hadn't seen Meria in a while so we made small talk about the weather, her practice and everything else besides my lump until she asked me to show it to her. I watched her face as she felt the lump with her fingers on both sides moving it slightly from left to right and up and down. In what seemed like less than a minute we were finished with the exam. Meria said, "It's probably nothing to be concerned about, but I would like for you to have a mammogram just to be on the safe side. Let's get you scheduled for one as quickly as possible so that you can put this behind you." I agreed to the mammogram and scheduled it for January 31st in Southlake, a nearby town.

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