We Are Not Alone
Even in our Battle against Cancer
By Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos
CANCER IS HUMBLING. It is guaranteed to knock you down with its series of crises, beginning with discovery and continuing through treatment, often with no end in sight. Upon hearing a diagnosis of breast cancer many women feel devastated, confused and alone. However, nothing could be farther from the truth: We are never alone!
If you are reading this article, odds are good that you or a loved one has been knocked down by illness and you are searching for answers that include and go beyond scientific facts. So, you have already begun to pick yourself up and make yourself stronger.
I know. I am a two-time, ten-year breast cancer survivor. I was also one of those people searching for answers, because I found out the hard way that not all cancers are found by conventional medical tests. Intuition can play an important part in diagnosis.
I AM A WIFE, TEACHER AND A PSYCHIC who has always suppressed her supernatural skills. Fortunately, I am under the watchful eye of much more than the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and “Chiefs-of-Everything” doctors. I am under the protection of “spiritual-guides” from the “other side” who were at odds with my doctors and the tests they relied on. My story explores my search for a cure for cancer by challenging medical authority with serious information from the psychic realm, and how I found my life saving “inner selves” in the process.
The first time I had cancer, rather than believing the test results that came back negative, suggesting that the lump I had discovered four months earlier in my breast was just “in my head,” I summoned the courage to defy doctors and used everything available in this world and the next, to save my life. The doctors and tests had missed the Stage Two cancer — invasive ductal carcinoma. My tumor was 2.1cm and had already infected my lymph nodes.
IT'S TIME TO STOP ignoring ourselves. No matter what stage of treatment someone is in, patients and their families should listen to their intuition when it doesn’t jive with the expert’s advice. It’s time to let that inner voice guide every decision to be made about the health of the patient, then use modern medical tests and evaluations to validate what that voice is saying. The inner voice that I listened to was a special but familiar one, and it literally saved my life. Listening to your inner voice may save your life, too.
Spiritual guides, angels, intuition, gut instincts, call them what you will, “voices” have gotten a bad rap in society (just ask Joan of Arc.) Yet in addition to saving my life, they were a comfort to me while I underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Without the intervention of those voices, I believe I would be dead and my story buried. They are as much a part of my battle with cancer as the medical staff and treatments. Their “inside information,” imparted through dreams and meditations, proved that they often knew more about my cancer than the doctors and tests revealed.
After multiple mammograms, blood tests and physical exams over a three month period, I should have been diagnosed with breast cancer, but the tests were negative. My lump was invisible to the medical community with whom I consulted. However, my persistent self advocating with the unwavering help of my “spiritual guides” finally resulted in convincing my doctor to perform surgery on a spot that he could not feel and the tests didn't show. My guides had armed me with an angel feather to fence with against the indisputable medical information. Subsequently, I convinced him to perform an operation that I knew I needed, even though it was against hospital policy and his better judgment. The result was a diagnosis that shocked the medical community and changed my life, forever.
One of my biggest and most pressing challenges throughout this ordeal was in deciding whom to trust—my doctors and their results, or my “voices” and their messages. I decided to listen to both. I requested different procedures and medical tests and cross-checked them against my “guided information.” This “mystical information” came to bear on me in a way that I never imagined, as I ran the race of life against time.
I REMEMBER THE exact moment when I received validation of my dreams, inner voices and spiritual guide’s information.
"Pathology didn't like what they saw when they cut the tumor open," my doctor said after closing the security curtain behind him.
“Is it cancer?” I asked, while holding fast to the side of the gurney, bracing myself for the answer I already suspected from the dreams and information my guides had given me.
“Yes, I’m sorry. I’ll be referring you to someone else now—a specialist.”
So my “voices” and dreams had been right, the doctors and first tests wrong. With my surgeon’s words, the first shot of my ensuing battle had been fired and it was not a warning shot across my bow—it was point blank into my breast.
I glanced down at my painful wound and wept. Thus began my Alice in Wonderland’s steady decent down the dark rabbit hole of breast cancer. My thoughts suddenly shifted from my serious predicament to that of my mother’s death, one year earlier, from colon cancer.
I hadn’t had time to fully grieve her death and now I may be grieving my own.
THE MOON WAS FULL the night my mother died. The colon cancer had won and she silently surrendered her body, but not her soul. She died during what she called the “Hour of Souls,” that special time between 2:00AM and 4:00AM; different from the “Witching Hour” of midnight.
As a nurse and a psychic-in-denial, due to her Catholic convent upbringing, Mom had seen enough people die to know it was indeed a special time for death. She described it as the time souls often chose to free themselves of their worldly bodies. Did she choose to die during this hour or did it just happen? Do we have control over our time of death or are we suddenly somewhere else, dreaming a dream from which we cannot awaken, unaware of our death? But, most important: Are we alone, confused and frightened?
The full moon became many things to me during my cancer treatment: my shield and personal symbol for survival, but especially a sign of Mom’s love. Any time I gazed at it from the darkness of night or life, I would whisper, “Look Mom, there’s our moon,” and I’d know in my heart that she had heard me and nodded in agreement.
WITH MY INTUITIVE SUSPICION of breast cancer medically confirmed, I was slammed to the ground and there were brief moments when a part of me was at odds with my inner-warrior. I considered suicide as a means of freeing myself from a painful uncertainty. I was engulfed by fear-of-the-unknown and wanted to avoid my mom's gruesome death. Fortunately, armed with lessons I had learned while caring for her, my inner selves united in my goal to survive. Everyone battling a life-threatening illness has his or her own set of questions concerning survival, and each must find individual answers to their needs.
Continued on next column . . .
The Creating Wellness Program comes to Lowey Chiropractic
"BE FIT • EAT RIGHT • THINK WELL"by Gillian Drake
THE CREATIVE WELLNESS SYSTEM is billed as the world’s first doctor-led mind and body wellness program, which combines the latest scientific technology with advanced measurements and motivational programs. The goal of the program is to reclaim your life from the three dimensions of negative stress and create your maximum health potential. This system provides the tools and support to transform your life by creating wellness, and can slow and even reverse the aging process.
Wellness is the degree to which an individual experiences health and vitality in any dimension of health. Physical health is only a part of wellness—equally crucial are eating right and thinking well, important components of this program. Disease and illness can be created by making poor decisions, one day after another, whether about what we eat, what we think, and how often we exercise. These lifestyle decisions can lead to chronic disease, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s. It is a sad and embarrassing fact that, despite the billions of dollars we spend on so-called health-care, the US is one of the most unhealthy countries in the industrialized world.
I recently went to a presentation that Dr. Kevin Lowey gave about Creating Wellness and was so intrigued with the program that I signed up for a Creating Wellness Assessment. I was impressed with Dr. Lowey’s enthusiasm for the program, and his desire to help his patients in ways that go beyond chiropractic. “I was getting frustrated because I would adjust my clients time after time, and they would come back with the same issues,” he said. “The problem is, they would go back to their old habits, eating the wrong food, not exercising, getting stuck in negative thought patterns. All these affect our health. We have to approach wellness from all fronts to maintain, and even improve, our health as we age. And this program helps my patients to do that.”
Beth Novotny, who has worked with Dr. Lowey for 17 years and has a B.S in Health Fitness from Springfield College, is a trained Wellness Coach, along with Paul Frazier, who has recently joined Dr. Lowey’s team. Beth administered my baseline tests, the Comprehensive Lifestyle Evaluation, which consisted of filling out a detailed questionnaire (no cheating!), taking measurements (blood pressure, height, weight, waist, hips, thighs), testing muscle strength and lung capacity, and taking various computer tests, which measure one’s ability to recover from mild stress, and so on. The idea is that your sense of health and well-being can be measured and improved. These results are analyzed and fed into a computer, which produces a report and a number showing your Creating Wellness Quotient—where you are on the scale of 0 (very challenged! in fact, probably dead) to 200 (tip-top condition). A score of 100 or more is excellent, it means you are aging more slowly than your physical age, while those who score under 100 are aging faster than their years (the average American clocks in at 73.) This report also indicates where there is room for improvement in the three different dimensions. Clients have the option of working with a Wellness Coach for a specified period of time (10, 20 or 30 weeks), to be coached weekly on diet and exercise choices, or they can work on their own and return to the office for a re-evaluation to see how they are progressing. For the coaching, the Physical Dimension includes creating a workout program with exercise DVDs, workout ball and bands; the Biochemical Dimension includes creating a meal planner and food diary, with nutritional supplements; and the Psychological Dimension includes a weekly audio magazine called Sound Advice, plus journal pages and a weekly checklist. Creating wellness and changing personal habits and lifestyle takes courage and determination and the certified coaches will help clients face challenges, overcome obstacles and share in their victories. The tests will be re-taken at intervals to measure the progress.
“The response to the program has been great so far,” says Wellness Coach Beth Novotny. “People know they want to feel better and function better but have no idea what needs to be modified or improved—or they may be on a healthy path already but don’t know if what they are doing is working and leading to the progress they want. We now have the tools and technology to determine which dimensions of health need improvement and can measure the progress. The weekly coaching sessions help break down the goals into attainable segments and keeps people accountable. We celebrate the ‘wins’ of the week and strategize how to overcome the challenges.”
Beth gives as an example one client who started the program at the beginning of May with a Wellness Quotient of just 71. She was able to raise that to 97 over a 16 week period. She is still working with the program, and so far has lost 11 lbs, reduced her body fat by approximately 3 percent, has improved blood pressure readings, increased her strength, has reported being more organized, and says that her ability to manage stressors has improved dramatically. “Changes like that make a difference in the quality of someone’s life,” says Beth.
Where was I on the scale? I clocked in at 143, and I didn’t cheat—honest! But there’s still room for improvement, and, since I intend to live until I am 100, I immediately went out and bought a new pair of running shoes and will treat myself to a membership at Willy’s Gym as soon as I get back from vacation. I’ll keep you posted.
Gillian Drake is the publisher of this magazine.
Lowey Chiropractic is located at 169 Route 6A in Orleans. For more information call (508) 255-5866 or go to www.loweychiropractic.com
Cape Care Update
The mission of the Cape Care Coalition is to create a regional, community-owned health care system to provide all Barnstable Country reisdents with comprehensive and affordable health care, delivered through the current and expanded network of providers. A group of concerned citizens and medical professionals has been working since 2003 for an equitable health care system for Cape Cod.
This may be the first example in the nation of a regional single-payer health care system, and we hope it will serve as a model for state plans, or even a federal plan for the whole country.
Thanks to the hard work of many Cape Care supporters, a ballot initiative will appear in three of the six Cape districts this November, giving voters the chance to say YES to health care as a human right. We want to be sure that our neighbors know about and support this initiative, and YOU can help.
Information/organizational meetings are being held in the following districts. Please plan to attend one near you and lend your support.
FIRST BARNSTABLE: Tuesday, October 14 at 6:30 pm, Brewster Ladies’ Library, 6A
FOURTH BARNSTABLE: Wednesday, October 22 at 7:00 pm, Wellfleet Public Library, West Main Street
The ballot question reads as follows: “Shall the representative from this district be instructed (1) to support legislation that would establish health care as a human right regardless of age, state of health or employment status, by creating a single payer health insurance system that is comprehensive, cost effective, and publicly provided to all residents of Massachusetts, and (2) to oppose any laws penalizing the uninsured for failing to obtain health insurance.”
Join us in working for a resounding YES to this question! Please call 1-877-700-8070, if you have any questions.
E x c e r p t f r o m:
Health Care: The way forward
By DR. JAMES R. GARB
"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... . I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?" — Robert F. Kennedy
Writing in the American Journal of Medicine in July, Dr. Joseph Alpert, the Journal's editor-in-chief, and Dr. James Dalen stated, "Our fragmented system of health care, with thousands of health insurance providers, has enormous administrative costs, and for some providers, enormous profits. Only about two-thirds of private health insurance premiums are spent on health care; the rest goes to administrative costs, costs of billing, and profits for the insurance company. The overhead in our health care system is more than twice that of countries with single payer."
Simply put, we can't afford to continue along this path. . . The truth is that, while many individuals do have access to excellent health care, as a nation we can hardly be said to have excellent health care. Consider these facts: The World Health Organization ranked the U.S. health care system 37th best out of 191 countries, just ahead of Slovenia.
The Institute of Medicine estimates that 18,000 Americans die each year because they lack health insurance. Life expectancy, infant mortality and immunization rates in the U.S. lag well behind other industrialized nations. The Medicare Modernization Act gave some prescription coverage to seniors, but forbids Medicare from negotiating prices with drug companies, keeping prescription prices unnecessarily high.
Locally, the Cape Care Coalition is working to develop a universal, single payer health insurance plan for all residents of Barnstable County, which could serve as a model for a national plan.
Learn more about it at www.capecare.info.
Dr. James R. Garb of Yarmouthport is a member of the Cape Care Coalition.
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Cancer Article Continued:
“I’m too young to die! I want to live!” I cried aloud, after my diagnosis. But was anyone listening? They were! Hearing my cry for help, my spiritual guides, often accompanied by my mom, turn up in surprising places and become very active in my fight to survive.
Five years later, my guides again told me I had cancer during the reading of my 'healthy' mammograms. Again, I had to self-advocate for the correct medical tests to prove that the guides were correct and the medical tests wrong. If my first cancer diagnosis was a fluke, this second time proved the healing power of the universe was at work, with its commanding message that “We are not alone!”
Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain: Two steps forward—one step back. Now I live by that mantra, after being humbled but not defeated by life with cancer. And whenever I dance in the moon’s platinum glow, I know that I am not dancing alone.
Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos was born in Germany and raised in Europe. She lives on Cape Cod with her husband of 25 years and their four cats. Kathy is in the process of finding a publisher for her book: "SURVIVING CANCER: A Memoir of the Psychic Aspects of Healing. "
For the past 7 years, Kathy has counseled women all over the world with breast cancer as a phone counselor for the Bloch Cancer Foundation, which reaches all US States, plus 7 foreign countries, www.blochcancer.org (800) 433-0464. She has also worked as a mentor for WE CAN on Cape Cod.
We would like to take this opportunity to invite you to share your own story with us. If you are traveling this uncertain path, and want to publish your story in future issues, please write to email@example.com
We would also like to begin a dialogue with Cape Women and Kathy Kanavos, who has agreed to answer your questions about cancer and offer her support, through our website. Please email us your questions to Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org