25 Nov Thanks Given
Thanksgiving has always been me and Brian’s favorite holiday. Then 8 years ago, in early November, our lives were turned upside down when Brian at 35, was diagnosed with colon cancer after the discovery of a tumor the size of an orange in his upper left colon. As many of our family and friends know the initial diagnosis wasn’t very hopeful, especially for someone so young.
The next 21 days would change our lives forever we learned terms like, “health journey” and “patient advocate.” Frantically, I tore through our cabinets detoxing everything in our house from the shampoo we used, to the water we bathed in. There was so much stress mixed with confusion. The information about chemo and colon cancer was conflicting. The answers on how to live a clean life back then weren’t just an “Insta Story” away. America was dealing with a recession, yet we were dealing with our own health revolution. What I discovered, as I unraveled layer after layer of what was in everything from our stevia to our dish soap, was plain scary. As I took classes, called scientists, read books and interviewed doctors, the most frightening factors were that there are many statistics, but none of them applied to Brian and NONE of them were for someone under the age of 50.
After he went to bed at night, I found myself staying up all night scouring the internet for answers. I was hopelessly searching for at least someone who was in our age group who had gone through the same thing. In group chat after group chat, I found cancer patients enraged with these facts: suggested diets were non-nutrient based, survival projections weren’t studied after 5 years, and there was a lack of communication and information being provided. Patients were given no guidance on how to improve their overall health or their long term outcome. However, I also couldn’t find anyone who had tried combining conventional with non-conventional medicine and successfully improved their chances.
Then one night I received a message from a board I had posted on. “Hi, I saw your post and what you are doing for your husband’s “whole health”. Sadly, it is too late for me, but there is a guy named Chris. He did what you are doing. He has now been alive 7 years. God bless you and good luck.” That night I found Chris’s very new website. His story was eerily similar to Brian’s. I asked him, “please call me”. The next day he did call, which he later said he never done before, but reading my email he knew he had to. We spoke for hours and compared notes. While nothing he told me was really different than I was already doing for Brian, I found true power and hope in knowing we weren’t crazy and someone else had been through the same journey as us… and they came out the other end ok. I shared with him that we were documenting Brian’s journey with the hope that our story would someday end up like his. He said to me, “Have faith there is a reason this is happening to you. You are going to have an opportunity to help others someday.” (Chris is now the very well-known cancer blogger www.chrisbeatcancer.com.)
Brian and I made a promise that day that we would fight this together and live a life of no regrets moving forward. I also made a promise to God, if what we were doing was able to turn his health around, we would find a way to help others, just like Chris said.
On Thanksgiving of 2010, Brian was released from the hospital less than 72 hours after having a foot of his colon removed, his doctors were astonished at his speedy recovery from surgery. This was one of many miracles that were about to happen in the weeks to come.
This holiday season, as always, we are grateful for Brian’s health and the second chance we received to always live our life to the fullest, jump in with both feet, and never look back. We are also grateful that the universe has lead us on a continued path to help others. We are blessed that we get to help create big picture conversations, educate and raise awareness and have the opportunity to help the millions of people out there who just need to connect to hope. I am personally thankful for our family & friends who continually support us on our journey and for all our work colleagues who have created immense opportunities for us in this space. However, I am most grateful for my incredibly strong, brave and brilliant husband who is a true partner. You continue to defy the odds and inspire me to know, “We can do anything together.”