Devastatingly beautiful.

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Date: Apr. 11, 2022
From: CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal(Vol. 194, Issue 14)
Publisher: CMA Impact Inc.
Document Type: Article
Length: 1,238 words
Lexile Measure: 610L

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It's dark.


My husband, Rick, is sitting beside me. He's been crying. Surgery was at 1 p.m. I had my hysterectomy. My ovarian cyst is gone. But what is it? Why is he crying? Something else?

The surgeons found cancer throughout my abdomen.

It's bad, isn't it? It's the worst-case scenario, isn't it?

That evening, we just hold hands.

A month later, we meet with the oncologist. She hands me an eight-page pathology report. "Lillas, you have stage 3C cancer. It's serious and treatment will be aggressive." We cry. Tears of relief, actually. We know that if it were stage 4, my chances of treatment would be very small. Chemotherapy begins immediately.

I am grateful for the treatment, but I have so much loss and grief to process: my health, my identity, sturdy walking ... my beautiful long, dark hair. Life as I know it is over. I'm in shock.

It's early 2019, my first morning home from the hospital after chemotherapy. I don't want to move. I'm exhausted. Leave me alone! I have every right to stay in bed all day! Wait a minute. No! I get out of bed and look in the mirror. I look like hell; this could go very badly. Unless ... God, I am not ready to die. I don't know what to do. Please help me to heal. That's the moment I vow to act. I drop everything--I mean everything. I devote myself 100% to my health. Forty-eight ounces of green and red juices every day. I can't even carry the bags of vegetables myself. I wake up at 5 a.m. for meditation, yoga, journalling and gratitude practice. I focus on selfcare, compassion and love. I surrender.

Several months later, there is a familiar pulse to my treatments: deep breaths, hospital visits, sleep, counselling, yoga, chemotherapy, prayers, meditations, vomiting, juice, crying,...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A699623533