I’d been dealing with a stubborn sinus infection for quite some time. None of the natural remedies I tried seemed to work. Neither did antibiotics. Months went by with little clarity as to what was happening. In Costa Rica, while I was completing my advanced prenatal yoga teacher training, I was startled by various nosebleeds, each progressively more intense until I finally landed in the ER. So when I got back to DC, I saw one ENT who sent me to get a CT scan, then was referred to another specialist, who sent me to get an MRI & referred me to a third ENT surgeon, who performed a nasal biopsy.
A few days ago, the results from the biopsy came back. Turns out I have a malignant tumor in my sinuses that has been causing those sinusitis-like symptoms for so damn long. The craziest part is that the kind of sinonasal cancer I have (SNUC) is remarkably rare, apparently aggressive & way too close to my brain, so the doctors wanted to waste no time & have worked to get me into surgery to remove the tumor as soon as possible. According to the surgeons, I’ll be recovering from the craniofacial resection for a month or more, then start chemo & radiation when my strength reserves are back up. As I like to say these days, “I’ll cross that bridge when I get to the river. . .”
Since I got the news, I’ve been spending the majority of my time at Georgetown Hospital for tests, appointments, procedures, etc. I am facing some of my deepest fears–needles, sickness & debt to name a few. Life has been moving at super high speed & I’ve been doing my best to journal & meditate for at least a little while each day to cope with the news in a positive way. Though it’s been tough to reach out individually to everybody, I’ve realized I want to let everyone know where I’m at because it is important for me to engage truthfully with what’s happening & because I really believe any positive energy you can send my way will help me heal!
My dear friends have already helped me start to recognize & let go of the hatred I’ve had towards the patriarchal structure of the medical industrial complex by differentiating between the system & the individuals, the history & the present. I am having to learn how to trust these doctors who are helping me along this bumpy ride. I am recognizing that healers come in all professions–even for-profit mainstream medical settings–& that I have to open my mind & my heart to these surgeons & specialists just as much as I would to my acupuncturist in order for real healing to occur.
I remember feeling a lot of fear & resistance in the hospital in Costa Rica & praying intensely to my angels, “Please teach me how to trust the doctors that will help me get well & protect me from those whose hearts may be closed.” To my great relief, the doctors I’ve stumbled upon on my way have been warm, patient, caring & down-to-earth. When I told my ENT surgeon I was a yogini & reproductive health educator, he smiled & said, “Oh, great! My wife is a midwife & meditates too.” I could hardly believe it: a doctor at a big name hospital who I can talk to about alternate nostril breathing & not only knows what I’m talking about but also gives me a medical explanation of why it helps decrease inflammation in the sinonasal cavity. How awesome & astounding! Still a lot of work to do to let go of this ancestral mistrust, but I am finally starting the process of opening to forgiving & healing.
Right now I feel calm & resolute. I am glad I’ve emerged from the confusion & can focus my healing efforts to best prepare myself for what lies ahead. I am taking this as an opportunity for deep emotional healing, spiritual renewal & opening to a LOT of learning! Have already learned so much about empowering myself with nutrition, visualization & more…
I am grateful to this unexpected visitor for the unexpected lessons. When the intensity feels overwhelming, I read this Rumi poem, one of my favorites. Each time I read it I recommit to welcoming my experience as a guide that is leading me to a greater understanding of my power & potential. I can be grateful for whatever comes. Yes, even cancer.