2001 – Chapter 1 “Precancer”
Once upon a time I went to the dentist for a super boring, I’ve done this a million times, routine cleaning. He performed an #OralCancerScreening. I didn’t even know this was a thing. He found small white spots on my tongue. The biopsy was benign. It was precancer. Lots of eyeballs would now be paying close attention to my mouth. I’m so lucky to have the best and most thorough dentist in the world since I was 10 years old. I love you Dr. Sacks!
2007 – Chapter 2 “Diagnosis 1”
The precancer became cancer in 2007. In hindsight, my first diagnosis was a “Walk in the Park.” Easy surgery, one night in the hospital, and no follow-up treatment. Five years is the magic number for remission.
2012 – Chapter 3 “Diagnosis 2”
Four and half years after my first diagnosis, my cancer returned with vengeance. My doctor broke the news to me while getting manicures and pedicures with my 5 and 7 year-old daughters. After an 11-hour surgery, half of my tongue was removed and reconstructed with muscles, tissues and arteries from my forearm (freckles and all). One long grueling week was spent the hospital with a tracheotomy and a feeding tube in my nose. Followed up by over 3 months of simultaneous chemotherapy and radiation.
2013 – Chapter 4 “Diagnosis 3”
No rest for the weary. The surgeons removed another tumor from my jugular vein. Another 3 months of treatment.
January 22, 2018 – Chapter 5 “And She Lives (Happily Ever After)”
It has been 6 years since any sign of disease, and I am cancer-free. Woohoo!
Present – Chapter 6 “Riding into my sunrise”
As I reflect and find meaning in my experience, I’ve identified one common thread throughout my diagnosis, treatment, and, finally in healing. It is POWER…My Power. The power of my medical team, the power of my family and friends, the power of shaving my own head when I was losing my hair, the power of the Food Channel when I couldn’t eat, the power of a crystal, the power of empathizing over a fellow patient, the power of acceptance, the power of faith, the power of a nutrition plan, the power of my support group, the power of hypnotherapy, the power of crying and laughing, and SO MUCH MORE!!!! Power kept me involved in the process and not just a bystander going through the motions of cancer life.
I’ve learned I do not have to be strong to have power. Power is unlimited, everywhere and completely accessible if I allow myself to be open to the possibilities. From this idea, DYP™ was born. “I have power” is my daily mantra, and I am committed and passionate about helping others discover their own power each and every day.