It’s time to let you go. You have lied to me and tried making me believe I was worthless. You
held me back from following my dreams. You brought me nightmares and anxiety. Well, guess
what, I got a little curious, and stepped out onto a different path. I found Courage and now
you’ve lost me. I’m moving on and never looking back. I don’t believe your lies anymore. I
remember Courage from a long time ago. Courage was in my life long before you appeared. I learned to
take my first steps as a child with Courage, you were nowhere around! I fell many times, but I
got right back up because of Courage. I learned to be careful and safe and I was brave. I can remember when you first crept into my life. It was a conditioning, you worked me over for a long period of time. So, I
imagine that’s why it took me some time to finally reunite with Courage. I’m sure you’ll try to follow me
and trick me with your lies again, but I’ll turn to Courage every time. So long… I’m free.
Yesterday, I was in the grocery store standing at the end of a very long line feeling exhausted. I mean in every way; emotionally, physically and mentally. Our family experienced a tragic death with a loved one this week, and it had taken its toll on me, on all of us). I live alone, and I can go weeks maybe longer without a hug (Never take a hug for granted if you have loved ones close by HUG THEM )
There was a man in the lane next to me with red vine licorice and Dill Pickle Sunflower Seeds. He’d be checked out and on his way in no time! He surprised me with his kindness when he asked me if I would like to go into his lane and go before him. I said,” No, thank you”? He didn’t give up; he asked again as if “YES” would be the only answer he would accept. I said no one more time and thanked him again. He asked a third time, and I surrendered with great relief to not have to stand in line anymore.
He went ahead and showed what I call loving kindness. (Loving kindness is where instead of giving a hungry child a piece of bread, you put a little jam on it before you give it to him). The man opened up his red vine licorice and reached the package over to me. He said, “Here take one, you need a break” I was going to say no (Not sure why), because I don’t eat sugar? I don’t know, but I said “yes, instead and thanked him.
I felt surrounded by random kindness, I felt relief and cared for by a complete stranger. I thanked him as he assisted me by handing me a few of my groceries to make it easier as I unloaded my cart. I ate that licorice! It was the best piece of candy I ever had because of how I received it. Those are the little diamonds in my life I cherish forever. We said goodbye and when I unloaded my cart in the trunk of my car I felt happy. I got in and could not start my vehicle just yet because tears started pouring down my cheek. They were mixed tears of relief and joy that this type of kindness still exists in all of us.
Today, I needed a couple of things and had to go back to the grocery store. I saw the sunflower seeds and red vine licorice at the checkout, and my heart smiled! I purchased them always to remind myself to pay that kindness forward and I will too!
A friend of mine in 2006 who belonged to a large skeptic organization told me the first time I had cancer that I was a fool, an absolute idiot to not do chemotherapy with stage 3 cancer. He said, ” Shannon, orange juice will not save your life! Listen to yourself! He genuinely pitied me. His sarcasm about OJ was because one of the “many healthy cancer therapies” I chose was I.V. Vitamin C.
He was a handsome, persuasive, firefighter who sounded so noble, smart, insistent and caring. He was wrong, and I am glad I was able to withstand all the charm and advice he afforded me so compassionately for my good. He believed with all his heart that I was making a very grave mistake based on my intuition in my gut to try a healthier alternative to treat cancer. This feeling led me straight to the hospital and physicians that would save my life; CMN Hospital.
I have never shared this with anyone, but I wanted to let you know that often what we feel intuitive is the right thing for us to do, we tend to ignore. We do this because of outside opinions of others and their fears, skepticism, or genuine love. We need to trust ourselves. It could mean saving your life.
How do animals know not to eat from poisonous shrubs? How? I trust my instincts more now and quiet the noise of skepticism around me.
In 2010 I had a recurrence of stage 4 cancer, and I still decided against chemo. I trusted my intuition twice, and here I am six years later realizing my instincts were right and the intelligent doctors and skeptics were wrong in “my personal choice for treating cancer.” Let me reemphasize, “My personal choice.” We must respect each other’s decisions.
We must trust ourselves, and sometimes your family and friends will think you are crazy. Each of us has the answer inside, try to listen to your inner voice. Your voice. Don’t worry what others think because one day you could save your life, not just with cancer but on many different things that you will get advice on that does not match what you think is right.
Wishing you confidence and less distraction when your inner voice is speaking to you the answers you need. I pray for all of you to continue trusting yourselves and turning down the volume of outside noise so you can hear your inner voice and the message.
PS. When I was a kid, I was considered tolerant and tenacious. It’s an Interesting combination if you think about it. I was patient and tolerated strong opinions of others. I had tenacity when going after what I believed. www.shannonknight.com
One of the most common questions to a cancer treatment facility from a cancer patient is, “What is the success rate?” Can you imagine what would happen if a doctor turned that question around on patients and asked, “What do you think your success rate is? What is your plan in this healing partnership?” Patients do have choices of how they treat their body; the doctors are not solely responsible for a patient’s health.
I remember when my UCLA oncologist first met me and was discussing my treatment options. He terrified me with the mortality rate. I am over three years cured now. I went to Mexico for therapies that will not be tested in the U.S. because the drug companies cannot put a patent on IV vitamin C, IV B17, Ozone Therapy, Ultraviolet Light, Dendritic cell therapy – the list goes on of what will not be offered by your oncologist. Just because it is not FDA approved does not mean it doesn’t work; it means the FDA refuses to test. Contrarily, it has been tested and used successfully in Mexico. I learned this and understood the common sense of it. The cancer therapies I chose did not cause toxic side effects like vomiting or losing my hair, and I was cured in 6- 8 months. Many of us are afraid of leaving our country for healing.
My healing was not a miracle; surviving the barbaric conventional treatments for cancer would have been. The fact that there are not enough healing therapies made available to help restore the immune system is cruel to me. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause secondary cancer and are so harsh. If a patient chooses this, then the focus on the immune system and restoring it should be the other half of their treatment. I respect the reasons people choose the therapies recommended by their doctor. Often, a prior doctor-patient relationship was established, so the trust is already there during a time when the patient is most terrified. The sense of urgency is made clear by their physician, and suddenly they are rushing to make a decision without getting a chance to know what other healthier options are available.
When chemotherapy fails, which often it does, many patients choose alternative therapies and yet they are so frightened and afraid to trust anymore that they are very skeptical of the healing potential. Tamoxifen is a common drug prescribed for breast cancer and can cause uterine cancer, yet the patient feels the benefit outweighs the risk.
Success with a cancer treatment is based on our unique immune system, which is different from everyone else. If we choose Standard cancer treatments like chemotherapy, this compromises our immune system. Our age will also determine how many fighter cells we have. What other cancer treatments can we attempt, before finally going to a different hospital?
Chemotherapy and radiation compromise your immune system, so if one starts treatment the same time as another patient that never used any, he will have a stronger immune system to fight it, but then again, his cancer could be worse than the other person. Take into consideration types of drugs, how many rounds of chemotherapy surgery, pain management, diet, alcohol, cigarettes, environment, or overall health. A patient’s chance of success is also going to be determined by what she does at home for self-treatment. Many patients will treat themselves by reading articles on the internet and ordering many supplements and herbs, even drugs, mistletoe, marijuana, PolyMVA, and many other therapies without seeing a doctor first. Cost is a reason. It starts becoming a financial burden, and the options seem fewer and fewer, with the help of a doctor, and maybe you will see many. He is relying on you as much as you are relying on him. The doctor cannot do many of these things “for you” that make a big difference in your success. You have more power over success than you realize. Cancer treatment is a partnership and doctors cannot make promises. Educating ourselves on the treatments recommended is imperative. We need to do a lot of research on a drug or therapy before taking it. We must look at the pros and cons. If we are choosing an alternative approach, is it the very best and is it aggressive enough?
This post is not intended to give medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with a physician and do your research.
Shannon Knight survived breast cancer twice. Like millions of others, she was faced with the challenge of deciding how to save her life. She refused chemotherapy and did some radiation and mastectomy. When conventional medicine failed, her she discovered alternative healing at a hospital in Mexico. It was because of her courage and willingness to go on searching for alternative cancer treatment that she is alive today. She survived! The death sentence hanging over her head has been removed for over five years.
Shannon is now a cancer advocate and certified life coach who has assisted many survivors who struggle with the emotional issues connected with cancer. She has been a guest on radio shows and featured in documentaries.
She has deep empathy and compassion for all cancer warriors and understands what an individual goes through once they learn of a cancer diagnosis. She can relate with having to choose treatment and how difficult it is deciding how to save your own life, especially if your doctor has given you only so much time to live.
Shannon Knight is a survivor and thriver. Having survived breast cancer twice, including stage 4, she was faced with the challenge and fear of how to save her life. She refused chemotherapy and did some radiation and mastectomy. When conventional medicine failed, her she discovered alternative healing at a hospital in Mexico. It was because of her courage and willingness to go on searching for alternative cancer treatment that she is alive today. She survived! The death sentence hanging over her head has been removed for over five years.
Since then, Shannon has become a cancer advocate and continues her education in order to help in her mission. With training as a certified life coach and other training, she helps survivors dealing with emotional issues from cancer.
Sometimes the bigger health problem for people is not Diet. Could it be what is eating at them instead of what they are eating? Every week I get asked about my diet once I returned home from alternative cancer treatment at CMN hospital in Mexico to stay in remission? First of all. I never use the word remission. (That word is restricted from my mind 🙂 I was healed, cured and I am healthy. The moment I got the news I declared that I was cured and healthy!
Now, about my diet, I ate healthily, but I was not fanatical. The first time I had cancer in 2006, I went vegan and organic, and cancer came back fast! Women have written me after having a cancer diagnosis and explained how they were trying to fight it on their own by going vegan, juicing and doing coffee enemas. Some women tried a carrot juicing diet, some tried Budwig, and some tried the Gerson diet. Many women wrote me very scared and frustrated because they couldn’t understand why the diet change did not cure their cancer. I wish I could say some magic diet was the answer; I have heard of many. Resentment and anger are like eating thorns and rocks daily. Forgive and apologize to someone you need to make things right with (even if they do not forgive you) and then feel good about yourself. Enjoy being a WOMAN.
If you are happy while you eat and not stressed than this is great! Stress is an antagonist to our healthy body. I believe it was the choices I made, the treatments I chose, my faith and my mindset that saved me. We need to take accountability for our journey and choices of treatment each day. Please never, ever forget your thoughts and your heart. Resentment and anger are like eating thorns and rocks daily. Forgive others that you have held resentment for. Apologize to someone you hurt and try to make amends even if they do not forgive you; you will have that heavy weight off of your shoulders.
Enjoy being a woman. Be happy. Make others happy too.
I like healthy food, but I eat dessert now and then. Maybe I’ve made a few changes with less gluten and replacing sugar with stevia. Disease – (Dis-ease), perhaps there is something to that, that we seriously need to address as part of excellent health. I have much less stress in my life. Mind food is imperative! How are your relationships?
I also firmly believe raising our frequency is important. Dancing, singing, comedy, and anything that makes you feel a natural high to get those endorphins going is healthy. Body movement instead of exercise is excellent. You can dance, swim and do enjoyable activities that would be even more effective in healing than a rigid work-out regimen. Be creative, think about your body and movement. If you are going to jump on a mini trampoline or jump rope listen to music. Make sure it is upbeat and feel-good kind of music. If it is negative and angry music, this is not a good choice. Even music while cooking and cleaning. I HAVE IT ON!!
As far back as I can remember, cancer terrified me. Cancer always meant death was around the corner. Whenever I saw someone losing their hair and dropping weight, it scared me. I was not old enough to understand. Cancer affected many family members in my life and still does. I have lost 3 grandparents, an aunt and have family battling it right now.
I remember the last time I ever saw my grandmother; it was to say good-bye. My parents told me her cancer was very advanced, and she did not have much longer to live. I remember how eerie it was pulling up to my grandparents street. I flashed back to when my sisters and I went down the big hill on roller skates. It was too steep and if our parents knew we would have been in trouble because it went past an alleyway next to a church where cars went through. At the speed we were going, it was too dangerous to stop, we had to finish the ride out. We were lucky, laughing at first and then screaming when we realized just how fast we were going approaching the alley. I’ll never forget it.
Here I was now a grown woman experiencing death with my beloved grandmother. I got out of the car and walked across the front lawn. More memories flooded my mind of me, my brothers, sisters, and cousins laughing and playing games in the front yard. We made up games and played traditional games like Red Rover, Red Rover, and “Tag!” There were so many kids in our family when we had our family holiday get-togethers. I have so many wonderful cousins, aunts, and uncles that I looked forward to seeing every year, I couldn’t imagine holidays without her. I knew nothing would ever be the same again when she died.
On the ride up I had tried to prepare myself for something I never experienced. I thought about what I could say, knowing these would be my last words to my grandmother. They needed to be important and probably words I would never forget. I wanted to comfort her and take any fear away she had of dying. What could be more meaningful than I will miss you and I love you? I did not want to face her death and tell her I would miss her! My heart was breaking, and I hated cancer. I couldn’t tell her everything would be okay; it was a lie. My faith was not strong even though I was Catholic. I did not understand what would happen; I just wanted her to have comfort and make sure she wasn’t scared
I walked into my grandparent’s house and down the hallway with all the family pictures on the walls. This hall was small but always a place the family would gather to look at family pictures from over the years. I turned around the corner, and I could feel my heart race with fear and sadness as I got near my grandparent’s room. I didn’t want to see what my grandmother looked like near her death; I wanted everything to be back the way it was. I walked in, and she was laying down frail in a hospital type bed. I looked over to the left of the room to where Grandma and Grandpa’s bed was and knew she would never lay there again with my Grandpa. I knew his heart was breaking. They were such fantastic companions. The reality was hitting me so hard, and it was all so sad.
I walked into my Grandparents bedroom; it was a heartbreaking vision to see my Grandmother in this weakened condition. I knew it was time for me to say the most meaningful words to her because they would be my last words spoken. I remember the sliver of light coming in through the window. It was peeking through the pulled down shade at the head of her bed. I would remember her fragile state whether I wanted to or not; it burned in my mind forever. Grandmother was so full of life, and she kept all of us kids in line. She did it with strength and love. She fixed incredible Italian food and made us peanut butter and banana sandwiches in the afternoon when my cousins and I were playing outside. Her biscotti cookies with that hint of licorice from the anise spice were the best I had ever had.
My Grandmother was strong, kind and gentle. Her eyes were soulful and filled with wisdom. My favorite dresses of hers were her cotton plaid pastel ones. She could dress so simple and look so elegant.
I stepped cautiously and closer to her. I said, “hello” very softly. I leaned over to hug her carefully, barely touching her. She didn’t reply; she just looked at me with her beautiful brown eyes, always full of kindness. They looked exhausted, though, I had never seen this look before. I saw her fading away. I told her I loved her. I asked, my dad if it was okay to hold her hand, she just looked so fragile, and it felt respectful to get his permission at this time. He said, “yes.” I will never forget the last words I had said to her before I walked out the bedroom door. I leaned over, and I whispered to her that I was pregnant with my second child, and the baby was due on her birthday. I don’t understand why I said what I did. I was so young and unprepared for anything I went through. When I think back on that day, I suppose I was hoping it would make her feel some peace as she was letting go.
The guilt I felt afterward was heavy as I was walking back to the car. What was I thinking, sharing my joy of a new life coming into the world while she lay there so ill with death waiting to take her? I was so naïve of what to say. Here she was fragile and pale, and I was trying to cheer her with the exciting news of a child coming into the world. I wanted to run back in there and comfort her, tell her I was sorry, but the family kept moving forward towards the car, and they would not understand this rush of emotion and the great need to be near her again.
She died a short while after, it was Autumn 24 years ago right before Thanksgiving. I still miss her so much, that my heart is aching even as I write. I never heard her yell at me or any of the kids once; she was incredibly patient. From that day on, cancer felt sinister to me. Grandma always looked well and then one day she was sick with cancer. She was starting to look thinner and started wearing a wig. I thought it was because of cancer. I know now it was the chemotherapy that took a toll on her. I always wondered why people had to suffer so much through these cancer treatments. It never made sense to me. I was afraid of cancer and chemotherapy. To me, it meant if you got cancer you were going to suffer from treatment. Both my grandfathers died of cancer and then one of my aunts got cancer and also did chemotherapy and died. I didn’t look at their medical records, all I know is, they were very sick, and I was afraid of ever having to go through what they did.
If I were given a choice to start my life over without cancer, I would choose the same path of battling cancer because it led me to where I am today. I am blessed and can help many people because of what I went through. What knowledge I have gained from this experience is invaluable. I learned how to heal my body and not give in to the toxic treatments. Alternative Cancer Treatments saved me and gave me a life I never knew could exist. It showed me that I could help others see another way to fight if they too were afraid of chemotherapy and radiation. I beat breast cancer twice, stage III in 2006 and stage IV in 2010 without using the barbaric treatments that are the only approved treatments by the FDA. I left my country the second time, and it took courage. I respect choice, but if people want another choice, I want to be able to share my story, so they know they have choices.
I meet many other survivors just like me. The question everyone should be exploring is why is healing the body, not a priority when someone gets cancer, why is healing such a misunderstood word? Why do they immediately go in with the scalpel, burning and chemicals and drugs? I have never been the one to see something and pretend not to see it. If the Emperor is naked and everyone wants to lie and say he looks great in his new clothes so as not upset the king, I have a natural inclination to run up to him and shelter his nudity with a cloak to spare him from shame.
Shannon Knight survived breast cancer twice, including stage 4. Like millions of others, she was faced with the challenge of deciding how to save her life. She refused chemotherapy and did some radiation and mastectomy. When conventional medicine failed, her she discovered alternative healing at a CMN Hospital in San Luis Rio Colorado Mexico. It was because of her courage and willingness to go on searching for alternative cancer treatment that she is alive today. She survived! The death sentence hanging over her head has been removed for six years.Shannon is now a cancer advocate and certified life coach who has assisted many survivors who struggle with the emotional issues connected with cancer. She has been a guest on radio shows and featured in documentaries.
Shannon is now a cancer advocate and certified life coach who has assisted many survivors who struggle with the emotional issues connected with cancer. She has been a guest on radio shows and featured in documentaries.
She has deep empathy and compassion for all cancer warriors and understands what an individual goes through once they learn of a cancer diagnosis. She can relate with having to choose treatment and how difficult it is deciding how to save your own life, especially if your doctor has given you only so much time to live.
I think most of us have had to deal with a broken heart in our lives. The pain is excruciating.
In fact, I have had a heart break so bad that I just wanted someone to put me to sleep until time passed away. I was not suicidal at all, but the pain was too unbearable.
The American Heart Association explains that when you have a broken heart broken heart it is a syndrome! It is known as takotsubo cardiomyopathy, which can have the same sensations as a heart attack. The symptoms include shortness of breath and rapid, severe chest pain that follows an emotional occurrence.
A new shocking study of 485 patients by European Heart Journal carried out tests to trigger emotional feelings, and as a result, 20 people were found to have experienced broken heart syndrome after an instance of joy. What was found baffling to Dr. Steven Schiff was that he had seen this a dozen times and it’s almost always been 95% of the participants this was found in were women.
This has baffled doctors as they aren’t sure why this occurs, but according to cardiologist Dr. Steven Schiff, “I’ve seen this a dozen times. It’s almost always been women.”Dr. Malissa Wood states that “it’s probably tied somehow into estrogen levels.”
While many consider broken heart syndrome to only occur in postmenopausal women, she’s also seen it happen with younger women under the 30s and 40s age group.
Amidst all the scary facts, broken heart syndrome isn’t related with any threatening factors and can easily be recovered from.
How do you remedy a broken heart? It hurts so bad especially when you wake up the very next day after the spiral downward from joy. You wake up and then feel a jolt when you remember why your heart aches. You feel deep loss or betrayal. You wish you were dreaming and you feel powerless.
We start to break it down and ask questions like, “What did I do wrong?” or, “Why did he leave me?” You have a choice at this point; do you escape the pain or do you deal with it head on? If it was your fault you would need to apologize, and this may not repair all the damage, but it will keep you from staying in guilt mode which will destroy your spirit even more. Remorse is good, but guilt is destructive if you dwell on it. So what do you do?
Sometimes we use temporary things to cover up our pain instead of healing the brokenness.
Think your pain as a wound or broken bone that needs tending. If you had the power to numb your broken leg and continued to walk on it so you could escape the pain. This causes further damage. When you have a broken heart, it is tempting to cover the pain with substances like alcohol or drugs. You could also rush right into another relationship without thinking it through fully. It helps with a temporary avoidance of feeling pain. These are all temporary fixes and what you need are time and support. Let the healing happen. It will hurt but then over time, slowly but surely, you will heal and mend properly.
Here are the four steps for healing the heart:
1. Be good to yourself. Understand that this pain is temporary and you deserve goodness.
allow yourself 2-3 days to fall to pieces and cry. Eat that ice cream and watch funny movies! (No love stories!)
2. Healing takes time. Find things to do like daily body movement vs exercise. Dancing releases endorphins, Swimming is gentle, riding a bike and taking in your surroundings. A walk on the beach or lake. Be patient. Take your time.
3. If you did something wrong and need to make amends, write a letter or meet with the person to apologize.
4. Forgive yourself. Forgive them too. This is how you will truly heal.
5. Allow someone who is a very good listener to be your support. They may need you someday and you are not a burden.
Healing your heart is a process but it is not the end of love for you. You will love again and you will be loved.
Often I have thought about doctors and their grief. Too often they get the bad rap for being desensitized. Is this the case though? I remember the first time I thought about what a doctor must go through was in 1998 when I saw the very first scene from the movie City of Angels with Meg Ryan and Nicholas Cage. She had failed with surgery and felt so responsible. It’s been years since I lost my grandparents to cancer, but I still wonder if the feeling of grief hit the doctors when their patient passed away.
Do doctors grieve when their patients die? Yes, according to a report in the journal Death Studies a group of internal medicine colleagues found a report that said not only do doctors experience grief, but if they show their emotions in the professional arena there will be professional consequences for themselves as to the quality of care they give to patients
The study took place from 2010 to 2011 in three Canadian hospitals. Twenty oncologists who varied in age, sex, and ethnicity and had a broad range of experience in the field were interviewed. They found that oncologists struggled managing emotions and experienced feelings of failure, self-doubt, sadness and powerlessness in spite of the necessary detachment to do their job. The study also revealed that even though they struggled with feelings of grief, they hid them from others because showing emotion was considered a sign of weakness. Many said that it was the first time they had been asked about these emotions at all.
Doctors get a bad rap from many loved ones because of their grief. The grief that we don’t see from doctors is what we complain about and exactly what we don’t want our doctors to experience: inattentiveness, impatience, irritability, emotional exhaustion and burnout.
Half of the participants from this study reported that their discomfort with their grief over patient loss could affect their treatment decisions— leading them, to provide more aggressive chemotherapy, to put a patient in a clinical trial, or to recommend further surgery when palliative care might be a better option. Some oncologists are unable to stop treatment when it is clearly futile, and “they should” discontinue treatment. They keep trying.
Many physicians will distance themselves from their patients, scheduling fewer appointments because they are uneasy about losing patients. Some don’t have the ability to communicate about end-of-life issues with the patients and their families. The visits are fewer with them by their bedside in the hospital less effort is directed toward the dying patient.
Most physicians want what is best for their patients even if the outcome is an inevitable dealing with the end of life. It is never comfortable for physicians who are expected to deal with end-of-life, so they put up some emotional boundaries: can you imagine if they didn’t?
There would be doctors walking around openly expressing their grief, and this would be unacceptable professionally.
Unexpressed grief has proven to have an adverse impact on the personal lives of oncologists. Oncologists are for the most part not trained to deal with “their grief, just to suppress it. It is not easy to normalize death and sorrow in a medical setting. Talking about this to a patient or family will always cause distress because they will refrain from showing emotional grief. Avoiding the topic simply because they are all out of options to improve the quality of their life or extend the patient’s life is very distressing.
To improve the quality of end-of-life care for patients and their families is important as well as helping them with their grief but we also need to recognize that the quality of life of their physicians is important too because they are the ones trusted to care for their loved ones. Often the grief-stricken family will blame the doctor, and the medical community does not provide opportunity or space for them to grieve like everyone else.
I understand better now what doctors must do to get through their grief. I respect them and I recommend people share this information so we can get a better understandng of what they must do to keep it together emotionally so they can do the job as professionally as we need them to.
Sunday Review New York Times
When Doctors Grieve
“If you I died, it would take weeks before anyone noticed you were gone.”
“No one would miss you.”
“When you are sick, no one cares about you.”
None of this is true. Perhaps you have made loneliness your constant companion that has become a hidden secret to those who love you. Maybe when you are around loved ones, you find they are too critical of you during a crisis. Does your loneliness come and go? Do you isolate because you feel like you are an outcast? Does your loneliness come and go? Monday you feel support and loved and then a few days where you feel alone and abandoned? Are you going through a critical time with illness or grieving because of a loved one who is ill or grieving a death?
I speak with many women and hear their sadness or frustration when this happens to them. Why did my family abandon me when I needed them most? The confusion when they separate from you during the worst time of your life is heart-wrenching.Sometimes loved ones will have a critical opinion of your life choices for many different things. Perhaps it’s your selection of cancer treatment, or maybe you experienced trauma or a divorce. It can be very embarrassing for them even to begin to imagine how you allowed bad things to happen to you. They may see you as foolish for your choice.
Your life journey is personal, as is theirs. Their attitude towards you and your choices do not define you. Seeing you vulnerable and going through emotional pain can be extremely uncomfortable for them. They may back away, change the subject when yo want to talk about trauma towards you because many people just can’t handle it. They are not equipped and feel awkward if they cannot help or make things better. Some people you trusted may gossip and add another layer of trauma to your life.
The only thing you can do is let go. Do so with love for your own peace of mind. I know it hurts, however, if you resent them, you will suffer. Your health will be affected. I have heard many sad stories, and I can empathize. Letting go with love and prayer was the best. You are never alone, and someone is waiting to help you if you wish to reach out. Here are some tips on combatting loneliness:
1. Nurture others. When we nurture someone else, it contributes to alleviating your loneliness
2. Get adequate sleep: Sleep deprivation can bring down our moods. Get a routine for a great nights sleep.
3. Make a distinction between needing solitude and loneliness. Embrace solitude with peace, creativity, and restoration. Loneliness feels draining, sad and very distracting.
4. Write a journal and get some clarity on what is missing in your life that would make you feel less lonely. When we see a problem written down on paper, it is easier to write down a solution to find out what is missing in your life.
5. Take initiative to connect with people. Adverse feelings of loneliness, shame, envy, and guilt are indicators that something needs to change. That lonely feeling you have means it is imperative to connect with other people. Sometimes negative emotions will get in the way and put up a wall for others to get close to you. There are steps you can take to get help with what you are going through so you can counter it.
I remember that telephone with the tangled cord on the kitchen wall. My sisters and I would get 15 minutes to talk and have to take turns. This meant trying to set up plans for our weekend. We memorized so many phone numbers! If we dialed it wrong, we’d try it again with a different sequence; a few times if we had to.
I got my first job when I was 15. I walked to work most of the time until I could afford a car at age 19. I remember my friends and me knocking on each other’s doors to see if a friend was home to come outside and just hang out.
The first record 8 track I owned was Carole King, my first vinyl record was Cher: Gypsies Tramps and Thieves and my first 45 was Olivia Newton John, Please Mister Please.
Spending a day with friends at the theater going to the “Holiday Theater” in West Hills Ca. for 49 cents to watch great movies like Grease, Orca, and Jaws.
Summer nights sitting on the hood of a car with friends to listen to music and talk.
Passing notes in class to a friend had its risks unless your friend happened to sit right next to you, you’d need a chain of accomplices to get your neatly folded note across a room. You had to consider it’s path and who you trust to pass it. Some might be trustworthy. Others, not so much.
I remember rides in the back of a pickup with neighborhood friends to the store, the creek or just to other friend’s houses! Riding with friends in the back of the truck on a warm summer night was adventurous.
I remember four wheeling in the Simi Valley Hills, We had CB radios to try and find each other. There were train tunnels we’d walk through (crazy), and the bonfire parties listening to music on a car stereo.
I loved music and creating variety cassette tapes of favorite songs was my thing. I would sit the cassette player right in front of the radio or record player to make these custom tapes. There was the recorded background noise of course which included my mom coming into the room and telling me to go outside and play, or my brother or sisters yelling in the hallway. “Ugh, shhh” you’re ruining my recording!
As I was having my coffee this morning, Michael Bolton’s song came on, and I was flooded with a comforting memory.
One early morning just before dawn, on January 17th, 1994 at 4:31 am the Northridge earthquake slammed Southern CA at a magnitude of 6.7. It woke me from a sound sleep. The motion was a jolting up and down, not the side to side rocking I experienced from previous quakes like the Sylmar one in 1971; I was only 5 years old during that one and remember it well. Our house was on a raised foundation and there was more of a shimmy kind of swaying. Our house creaked and rocked back and forth for a time after the quake ended.
No, this one was different! It felt like King Kong picked up my apartment and shook it up and down for 20 seconds. The sound of glass breaking and furniture banging was loud, and there was this eerie feeling as I smelled the mixture of perfumes that spilled from the broken bottles.
It felt like forever before I could take a solid step. My first attempt was met with the ground pitching me up and slamming me down to my knees, instantly skinning both from the force of the rug scraping them.
Twenty seconds felt like forever as the loud rumbling, and crashing sounds continued in that small, dark apartment as my 4-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son were screaming, “Mommy! Mommy!” As soon as there was a break, I Instinctively remembered to grab the emergency flashlight radio from under my night table. I crawled over to the living room yelling at the kids to stay where they were and to let me come to them; they were in their bunk beds terrified! Jessica kept asking, “Is it coming back?” I had no real answer for her except a half truth, “No, baby, it’s all over!”
When I was finally able to get to them, we made it safely to the doorway and held one another. Then, we crawled to be together more comfortably under the dining room oak table. I knew I needed to turn the radio on to get information to see how bad it was all around us. Kyle was sweet and tried to be brave and helpful with turning on that radio. I was scared, and then we had our first moment of peace.
The first sound that came from that emergency radio was not an emergency announcement, it was a song by Michael Bolton. His voice was calm, comforting and temporary relief from all the thrashing… Hearing him sing made us feel normal for a moment as if nothing had happened.
“You came to me like the dawn through the night
Just shinin’ like the sun
Out of my dreams and into my life
You are the one, you are the one
Said I loved you, but I lied
‘Cause this is more than love I feel inside
Said I loved you, but I was wrong
‘Cause love could never ever feel so strong
Said I loved you, but I lied…”
It’s the first track on this link I posted. We listened, and for a moment I felt peace, love, and unity. I felt the kids relaxing a bit under the weight of my arms. We just listened.
A simple song cut through the fear for a minute and gave us a moment to catch our breath. Next, we went outside, Jessica in my arms, clinging, frozen with her body wrapped tightly around my neck and torso. She wasn’t letting go for anything. We peeked outside our front door, and it was pitch black except the stars; there were so many! WIthout a single city light, the stars were brighter than I had ever imagined possible.
Thank God my kids were always fascinated with stars and I could talk about something good from all of this mess that fell on us. I sat them down in the front door way and did my best to calm them with stories about the stars and promises that everything would get better from here on out. The worst was over.
Every now and then I’ll hear a Michael Bolton song. I would feel an urge to turn up the song as if it as an anthem song to connect me with my kids during our most terrifying time that had been comforted by Michael Bolton’s voice. Songs have a way of taking us back to revisit a significant time in life.
On September 3rd, my daughter and I will be taking our seats front row and center at his concert in Las Vegas. She was so happy when I told her about it. She said, ‘ Mom, I have the best memories with his songs” Times together just you and me and Kyle in that apartment.” She said she had the best memories then. She remembers that song and the earthquake. We will be giving him thanks, and he won’t even have an inkling of what those two ladies in the front row will be remembering and thanking him for.
I still love this man’s voice because It has calmed me on many occasions. Not one of his songs makes me feel a connection to a bad memory; only good.
She asked me,
“How can you believe in God, it is impossible for God to handle the cares of the entire world!!” I responded, “For me, it means, God gives us free will and the ability to be an answer to someone else’s prayers throughout our life. How many times have we said to another, “Oh my God! You are an answer to my prayer?” Yes…Oh my God!
Prayers get answered,
No one lives forever,
How well can we love each day?
The light; the love within us, this is God.” I cannot deny that one common gift we each have within us. Accept the light and love that already exists in your heart, this is God; then… share it, His light has always been meant to be shared.
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
FUNDRAISER SUPPORT: LOVE CHALLENGE
If not for the love and support from family and friends I am certain I would not be alive today. It was fundraising that got me the funds I needed to get Alternative Cancer Treatment atCMN Hospital. I will be forever grateful! Angels For Shannon is an educational website that can map out a successful plan to raise money for a loved one’s cancer treatment.
I have always believed that for many people parting with their money, their time, and service when they have a loved one who is fighting for their life with stage 4 cancer is tough to do.
It seems to be the end of the road. The oncologist says to a cancer warrior after a long hard battle, “There is nothing left we can do for you!”. They are in shock; they go home feeling scared and tell those who they trust that their oncologist said, “it’s over.” It’s okay to break down and go through a period of defeat. Sometimes, that’s all it is, ” a moment,” or maybe longer until suddenly they feel a surge of will to fight. They don’t want to give up! They have faith in God or sheer will and do not see the expiration date stamped on their foot! They had heard of miracle stories, where success had happened even when all seemed lost! The thought is like a power surge through their mind, their soul, and body” What if I can be that miracle too! It’s a long shot, but, “What if”?
It’s convenient for friends or family to say “It’s time for them to understand they are in denial.” Is it worth it to “invest money in false hope”? Fear sets in, and they believe they can’t even see or recognize a scam! I say this because many people don’t support alternative cancer treatment and call it snake oil. There is a list of reasons why they will not support. Why take from their children’s college fund? It’s desperate and selfish! Is it worth all the effort of fundraising? What about their friends and family that have raised money in the past for prior treatment. They feel they did their part, so enough is enough, this is now too much of a burden! Can you imagine having to fight for your life yet again and how they must feel?
I was discouraged with the negative information from my doctors when I had a recurrence with stage 4 breast cancer. Let me tell you something, though; I am glad I didn’t give up! My loved ones allowed me to be that burden, and it was so humbling. I was afraid the entire time! I felt so scared of wasting their time and money but I also made a promise to help others should I survive against all the odds!
It’s easier sometimes to try to convince them just to give up, to believe what their doctor said. Just offer and help “Get their affairs in order” because after all, their doctor said it’s time! ” It’s convenient, yes, but to be selective and choose to listen to their physician who is limited in treatment options and ignore the will of another human being who wants to fight to survive is cruel! It is wrong to persuade them to give up if they feel there is any hope left!
I am proof; as well as many others that we are all a possibility for a miracle! Thank you for all who stood by me to keep up the fight when my UCLA doctor ran out of options. I never did chemotherapy because I had pneumonia and staph infection in my lungs. The breast cancer spread to my lymph nodes, lungs, and bones. He did all he was allowed to do, but his best was not acceptable! When you walk out of that office with such discouraging words you are changed, believe me.
Once the shock wore off and after some deep personal introspection, I didn’t waste time searching for treatment. I found a trustworthy hospital in Mexico, CMN Hospital’s Alternative Cancer Treatment Center. It’s been there thirty years. I never asked for asuccess ratebecause all my life I fought for individuality growing up with a twin sister. I used to get sick all the time; she was stronger than me. People always said. You two are identical, and I knew they were wrong and how unique we were. I even got mononucleosis, and we shared a room. She never got it in those two months I don’t know anyone with my personality, my soul, body or immune system. We have a chance at a miracle. We are not clones.
Getting my affairs in order as the doctors say, could mean anything. For me, it meant fundraising and getting ready for “Mexico”! It doesn’t matter what they tell us. There are no guarantees in this life. So, how can anyone give up when someone has the will to survive.
Tough love is where your loved ones roll up their sleeves and say, if you don’t want to quit fighting even though the doctor said, “there is nothing else to be done, then we will fight with you!” Many times a someone battling cancer does not wish to be a financial burden on anyone” We need to be there especially since they do not feel well most of the time and are tired and scared. We need to get a team together and raise the money. We demonstrate to everyone the passionate mission we are on to support our sister, brother, friend or whoever it is in our life that we need to help.
It is never someone’s time to go, if they want to live. We must ask how we can help. At the very least cancer warriors are emotionally worn out! Respect their choice of treatment and then plan a way to make it happen.
Tough love is when we make sacrifices for someone we love. We are giving money that was planned for something else to someone who wants to fight to live. We already understand that whatever treatment they choose has no guarantee, yet it has worked for other people battling cancer. That’s hard to accept and yet real honest! If they have faith in the treatment because it is a stone left unturned and they feel it must be tried, then it is worth the effort regardless of the outcome. (Please do not torture them by asking what the success rate is of where they choose to go?) No one knows. There would be too many variables especially if they tried prior treatments. The type of cancer I battled in 2010 had a 1% success rate, and now I’m healthy and on a life mission to help others who don’t want to give up. There is hope! It was worth the fight to be able to do what I am doing.
If someone you love has a battle left in them and you are supporting them, THANK YOU! I am grateful for you. You are an earth angel. If you are not helping, please try and do what you can, even if you do not support their treatment plan. Faith is the biggest part of their battle and if they ever needed your love and support, now is that time! Without it, trust me you will feel it later on in life the closer you are to them. It will hurt you.
Today, I realized something so life-changing and profound.
I don’t know what will come of it; I just know that I am smiling in the middle of chaos in our nation and I feel peace. Love is what matters and just because there is chaos doesn’t mean that love can’t crash in to heal all the craziness.
For the first time, I grieved losing me. Not because someone coerced or changed who I was. I’ve always had choices, and I’ve made every single one of them. Not because I was damaged or broken through cancer or abuse. No… I allowed myself to be afraid of so much that I struggled to find my authentic self and to be transparent to others.
I worried what friends or family thought of me if things did not turn out the way they wanted. I worried so much that I lost my authenticity for a long time. All the things we go through, every trial that we think stains us, the lies others sell us about ourselves.
I know who I am, and was reminded especially the last two days of how much happiness I deserve. I write about happiness and gratitude, but it’s not easy all the time to feel it. I feel like I finally found the key to holding onto joy and gratitude longer! I accept who I am. I have amazing friends and family, and I will not buy into a bad version of someone else’s perception of me ever again. I will listen and understand that we all see differently depending on where we are on that leg of our journey in life.
I feel the same as when I was 16: a little goofy, sensitive, brave and inquisitive. I liked me. I lived carefree, but I was also considerate and respectful. I broke the rules and learned lessons, but it did not mean I was bad. I know who I am. I had dreams that seemed possible. I believed in the biggest kind of love and felt I deserved it.
It hit me so hard tonight (maybe it was all the extra prayers, the new year, or just so much loss) to show me how short life is and to see the preciousness in each other.As I cried, it was the first time I felt happiness and sadness at the same time. I felt a lie slipping away and love taking its place. I felt loved, and I saw me again.
I had no more tears from a broken heart, for death, loneliness, or any of the things that bring any of us to tears. I felt fear being replaced with peace. I now feel like I was never lost, simply ignoring who I was so long ago.
I am not ashamed of my tears, laughter, frustration, or anger. I feel blessed to “feel.”
I no longer feel horrible if anyone disapproves of me. You are so unique and do not need to worry if you stack up to someone else. You never will, that’s how unique you are! There is never going to be another you. So, be great at being you!
I did not want to lose this feeling, and I hope it helps even one person who has been criticized or judged by loved ones. If you feel pulled in different directions and find you might not be able to please everyone, stop! Be you. Grab hold of a journal and write about who you are your hopes and dreams. Write it all. Your identity resides within your soul, and your soul is waiting for direction, so go for everything you deserve and LOVE. Don’t judge others because they are not like you. Use discernment but live true.
There are no PEACE marches or protests led by anyone who has displayed acts violence through, bodily harm, property damage, barbaric words that are meant to cause psychological harm. We all know what peace feels like.
I do not support the Women’s March in Washington, the protestors with vulgar demonstrations presently in the US. Nor do I support Madonna, wildly speaking out about blowing up the White House. No house should be talked about getting blown up. (If I stood outside on my street and yelled that out about the White House or any house, I wonder what would happen).
The verbal violence and displays of anger in the name of Women’s Rights Movement – it is so much more than that. The destruction of property and attacking of fellow human beings while protesting is shameful, and this has gone on stronger than ever over the last two years “plus” during political elections.
It doesn’t matter which side I am on; what is important is how things are done today, right now, by all of us. I am so grateful for all the blessings in my life, including our freedom of speech. I show that by not abusing it and lowering our standards and our values. I do not feel like a victim. I am gravely disappointed, and I am glad my grandparents are at peace and cannot see what is going on in our country right now.
I started my life all over from the ground up with a new identity, which included a new name, new social security number, a relocation where I did not know a soul, and a new job without the luxury of connecting my work history or college transcripts to my brand- new identity. I could not use any evidence of my former life including work history, references (business or personal), etc. I had a blank resume for Shannon Knight. Everything was erased to help me start over because I was a stalking and rape victim in the truest sense of the word; a victim for “a little while” instead of forever because of my CHOICES.
The tragedies that happened to me between 1998-2000 were not mild at all, and I hope no woman endures it. The perpetrator was convicted of stalking and other crimes in the first degree. Even after the attacks of sexual violence and continual stalking, I continued recovering slowly from post-trauma symptoms. However, I knew I had resources that could help me because I lived in America. The government agencies did assist me through many programs for victims of crime because of my status as an American citizen, That’s progress and that’s America, and I am grateful.
I am not a “victimized woman” because of things that were done to my body. My soul is unscathed… I am a victorious woman whose heart is not jaded. I will always do my best in terrible circumstances, those that which I cannot begin to compare to women who have no rights, and are abused and oppressed in other countries. I will use all that was done in the past to me to help, inspire and give hope to others. Otherwise, it will have all been a waste. There are always more opportunities to assist others. How best can we serve others who have gone through similar trials? We develop real empathy and can relate. I learned to feel more compassion and to help women see that perhaps if I could do it and rise above, well maybe they can too. I did not hurt others, attack, or blame any president, past or present. I will always see opportunity and ways to make the best of a situation. I know MANY great women that do this. I will try hard to inspire daily.
I had no car for two years during my relocation, and many women would never believe my story if I did tell them, because sadly even accidentally revealing some of it out when I came home showed me a not- so sensitive side to women. It was always too hard for someone to believe me and that just added insult to injury. I felt to blame in many ways and quite often. I held on strong though, because of my faith in God. There was loss. My kids were ashamed because it was an embarrassment to them for mom to not be “normal” – I mean normal like the Joneses kind of normal. It was not their fault. This was all collateral damage from what had happened to me. I wanted them, and still do, to rise above and not worry about what everyone thinks.
People who knew me by my birth name saw me when I came home and did not understand why my name was Shannon. Believe it or not, that was a tougher to acclimate to on my return than adapting to my new name, “Shannon.” I am glad I do not feel shame any longer, and I do not blame anyone. I love them.
I was afraid, but I pushed through without hatred. I had a deep yearning to become a better woman – I am always trying to be the best person that I know God intended me to be. This has always meant helping others as well. None of us were ever promised a life of bliss. I made it, finally, with assistance in my homeland, the U.S.A.! I created an entirely new identity where no one knew who I was when I relocated 9 years ago, and I made it! I don’t mean I just survived – I mean through perseverance, faith, and hard work I made it and am now thriving because of my attitude, empathy, compassion, faith and hope. Most of all, I made it by never giving up and having self-respect.
I had victory over breast cancer twice. Stage 3 & 4 and I have had breast reconstruction, one surgery after another at ZERO COST to me. The reconstruction surgery was not a part of saving my life, but a kind gift because I was a breast cancer survivor. This has also been given to many women. We have resources available, and there are still some that we are still striving for. I was never entitled to it, though – it was a gift, and I keep that in perspective. I received it after breast cancer surgery/ bilateral mastectomy, and I am forever grateful.
I think of women with their women’s clinics and birth control, etc. Those clinics exist. I just have to give thanks to every man that still opens my car door and treats me like a lady because of his personal choice to do so. Thank you!
We can be heard, and we can make a change, and we have proven it over the decades through petitions, laws, and through inspiration and motivation. Our voice is heard without being vulgar to make a point. There are so many other peaceful and efficient means that can make an impact on our American soil.
My grandmother was born in Mexico and became a US citizen.
My uncle, Sr. Albert Armendariz, a Civil Rights Activist has a Federal Courthouse named after him in El Paso, Texas for a good reason, and I am so glad he was decent and inspirational in his actions.
We are ALL part of history; how we act each day matters. We show people our heart and passion, and we show how we each will be remembered.
We have a choice to lead any PEACEFUL way we wish, and we will be remembered by our words and actions.
an American woman who is so grateful for every liberty I have starting with my breath of life each day,
(birth name Jennifer Ann DiConti)
PS. I’m still hurt by anyone who has burned our American flag.
Music is a healer; although it isn’t tangible, it has the power to completely change your mood or perspective and has brought people together for centuries. I am almost constantly listening to music whenever possible. I dance in my kitchen, dance for body movement, and just to boost my mood. There is scientific evidence that music has healing properties connected to the brain. By this, “When pleasurable music is heard, dopamine is released in the striatum — an ancient part of the brain found in other vertebrates as well — which is known to respond to naturally rewarding stimuli like food and sex and which is artificially targeted by drugs like cocaine and amphetamine. But what may be most interesting here is when this neurotransmitter is released: not only when the music rises to a peak emotional moment, but also several seconds before, during what we might call the anticipation phase.”
I believe that music is magical and can impact our lives in measurable ways. Something important that I have learned and studied is how certain frequencies of music help us to fight anxiety and panic attacks. Also known as the Solfeggio frequencies, these key frequencies “(396hz – 417hz – 528hz – 639hz – 741hz – 852hz), penetrates [sic] deep into the conscious and subconscious mind, drawing forth emotional reactions which we are sometimes unable to control completely.” The frequencies I most rely on are 432, 528, and 852 Hz (hertz).
417 Hz is “connected with resonation processes or processes of amplification. Re can “delete” person’s “alienation from God” and enable returning to the “right path.” This solfeggio frequency cleanses traumatic experiences and clears destructive influences of past events. It also can be used for cleaning limiting impression, which disables the person to achieve her life goals. When speaking of cellular processes, tone Re encourages the cell and its DNA to function in an optimal way. 417 Hz frequency energizes your body cells and helps to use their creative potentials.”
528 Hz is specifically “used to return human DNA to its original, perfect state. If it is used in a way described in Webster’s dictionary – by communicating the wanted effect and with energy support from the “light” – miracles will happen! Beneficial effects follow the process of DNA reparation – increased amount of life energy, clarity of mind, awareness, awakened or activated creativity, ecstatic states like deep inner peace, dance, and celebration. It also opens the person for profound spiritual experiences and spiritual enlightenment.”
Finally, 852 Hz is “directly connected to the third eye chakra and can be used as means for awakening inner strength & self-realization. It is useful for dissolving stagnate mental energy from to over-thinking. (mental activity) It is said to clear up energy blockages that before has hindered clear and strong communication with our higher self, spirit guides, and spirit helpers. The 852hz solfeggio to play either clean as is or as a background sound to other audio.”
Music is all around us, whether we take the time to tune in or not. When we’re listening, we can implement the healing power of music to help our brain help us relax and calm down during panic attacks or times of stress. These techniques work wherever you are and with whatever time you have. You are in full control and can use this as often as you’d like to! I recommend that you listen to this music through headphones or earbuds to send the frequencies directly to your brain, rather than on a stereo or other speaker.
For example, you can lay in your bedroom and listen to music that is set to 945 Hz; I recommend this especially when I am trying to wind down for bed following a panic attack. I will even sleep with this music playing!
Or, if you get nervous or anxious on your way to doctor’s appointments or check-ups, I recommend putting in your earbuds for 5-15 minutes while you’re sitting in the vehicle before you leave for your appointment and again after you arrive. While you are driving, unplug your headphones and listen to the frequencies through your car stereo.
If you would like to check out some of the music that I listen to when I am focused on my healing, click here.
My Personal Letter to a friend during my darkest hour. It was Spring, May 2011, just three months after returning from CMN hospital in San Luis, Sonora Mexico. I was treated with alternative cancer treatments for a recurrence of stage 4 breast cancer. The cancer was bad and had spread to all lobes of my lungs, bones and lymph nodes. I was in a lot of pain, terrified and afraid the treatment was not working.
I get emails from brave cancer warriors (Mostly women late stage) asking me how long did it take to start noticing my body healing after treatment? My answer is not what you would think because my health got worse before I improved. Publicly I seemed courageous, and I have to say that I’ve had my worst fears and greatest courage through the cancer journey.
I feel this letter is imperative to anyone facing cancer, who thinks I was brave through my entire experience. A dear friend wrote me a letter, and I want to share it and be transparent with all who feel bad about “losing it” now and then. I see now that it was the darkest time in my life, which was right before I started to feel the healing. If I did not experience this, I don’t think I would have the insight or empathy to share with others who are terrified.
This letter reveals how my faith was failing and fear was consuming me. However, at the end of the letter, you will see I still had hope and faith.
A dear friend wrote me to ask how I was doing and if she was bothering me by checking on me?” I am not sharing her actual letter to honor her privacy. My response below depicts the fear, struggle, and anger (Cancer Grief) I was going through, and I do not think she was expecting such an emotional response from me.
My letter Response:From Shannon Jennifer Knight
May 3 2011, at 12:33pm
My breathing is getting worse; it’s been hard times, and my lungs feel like there is a knife in it. I am not very positive today and feel so small. Heaven is where God wants us; eventually, He wants us to be with Him, so why do we fight to hang on here? The tumors are growing rapidly, and I feel like I have been wasting my time trying to get well. I know you think this is probably Satan working his stuff on me. We don’t always get what we pray for. Since we last talked, two women are now in a coma and very sick from chemotherapy. I feel like when we pray, God will do what He wants anyway and He already has a plan for us. So, are we praying against “His plan”? I hope my letter does not upset you. It’s just me and the pain and the fear (God made me with “all emotions”). I do not believe He thought I would get through life without my fears and just be gleeful and joyful all the time! He made me human and felt guilty for feeling fear is not working anymore. Fear is an emotion and Satan did NOT have a hand in our creation. God created my entire being, my anger, my joy, my fear, etc. I am trying to come to terms with my emotions, and it ‘s hard. I watched a true story last night. I was saddened to see all the Christians killing the Pagans. Our world is full of craziness, and it has me so sad. What a mess!
Forgive me for being so blunt, and I do not mean to sway you at all from your faith, I admire it, but I lack it right now. I am one woman just clacking away at a keyboard in a big universe. Do you know how tiny that is, with the billions of people, especially people being murdered that are pleading for God’s help? The Congo, Juarez (both dealing with femicide) I am so small to be expecting Him to answer my prayers right now. If I am worse this week, maybe, it is just meant to be, I’m just Shannon out of how many Shannon’s and how many women who are fighting this disease? We have free will, and we must choose the right treatment, and I am trying so hard, but I feel it is so futile when I see so little change after being so confident and full of hope. I have never been like this, and here it is, I am finally to the point where I just think God lets us make choices, and then we all die at different times, “but eventually we die” and go to a better place. I don’t think praying anymore will change what God already has planned for me. I believe in Him, I believe He sent His son to die for our sins, and by the blood of Jesus we are saved, but right now I believe, that death does not mean the same thing for God as it does for us. “We are afraid to let go and return to Him.” He knows it’s the best place we could ever hope to be and yet we don’t dare pray for it because to do that, we would look suicidal! We pray to stay alive and expect God to answer that prayer. He takes us when He wants to!
I know how lost I seem, I do! I am sitting right now wondering if I scared you away by hitting the send key to deliver this letter. I love you, and I am so glad you are in my life. What if I bring you down? What if I insult your faith with my personal interpretation of God’s will? Why am I jealous of survivors right now? What the heck is wrong with me? Why do I want to just for once cook whatever I used to cook because it is delicious? Homemade Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and corn, my homemade Italian meatballs that are simply the best with angel hair pasta and sauce which is out of this world. I miss my favorite carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. I am tired of waking up, and everything has to do with this disease. Eat all the foods I don’t even like. You should taste my homemade lasagna. I even make the best pumpernickel croutons. Now, everything I love to eat is not good for me! Forgive me for being so honest about how I feel, please forgive me. I don’t want to scare you away; I need your friendship, and I am hurting and don’t want to take pain pills because they stop me up.
xoxo xoxo ~Shannon
PS. You don’t bug me too much, you never have and you never will.
Let me just say today, I pray to God, and I know I am worth it! My faith is strong.
Cancer is a very delicate subject. This blog post may trigger some emotions for survivors of cancer and their loved ones. I felt compelled to write about the emotional aspect of battling cancer. There are five stages of cancer grief, and the onset of it starts immediately for everyone involved once the diagnosis happens. Post-traumatic stress can set in, and the symptoms are sometimes overlooked by the doctor because the biggest problem is fighting cancer. After battling cancer twice. Stage 3 and stage 4 and talking to well over 1000 cancer patients in the last three years I felt it was time to shed some light on my experience on this matter and to introduce something that many survivors and loved ones do not think about, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and how it relates to cancer.
As a cancer survivor and a patient advocate, it has been an ongoing issue with many families and friends of loved ones battling cancer. I have needed to explain many times what PTSD is and what the five stages of grief are. There are excellent resources, so please look into it.
The stages pf grief may not be experienced by all, and they do not have any particular order. It’s like a roller coaster. What the survivor goes through and the loved one’s experience are not the same. However, the family often feels they are going through the same thing. It is common for family and friends to both experience fear. Everyone grieves differently, so I do not invalidate the hurt that anyone is going through. However, it can be emotionally damaging to the cancer survivor for someone to say they are going through the same feelings. What they are going through really is much more terrifying.
There is support available at hospitals. It is healthy to talk about what you are feeling, but it is important to educate yourself on what to say and what not to say to someone who is sick with cancer. They are hurting and fighting for their life.
Everyone that loves the survivor does not want to make a mistake at doing what they always thought was the right thing to do. If you are the parent, you may believe that you know best and that they are not able to handle the stress or think clearly anymore because they are in crisis. It will be tough for some to accept the decision of treatment they choose. Mainstream medicine like chemotherapy and radiation are getting second-guessed more and more. You will have to resist giving a harsh opinion and take a gentle approach if you want to bring up an idea. If it gets brushed off, it is important that you still support them in their battle. You can share what your thoughts are but do not hurt them more. It is very emotional for them. It is not easy deciding what to do to save your life. It is not the time for the cancer survivor to be worrying about what your needs are and if they hurt your feelings just because they share with you what they truly believe is the right choice for them. Tell them you are there for them.
When talking with patients and their loved ones I use an analogy with the hopes of trying to paint a picture that they can help people relate. I explain, that when a cancer patient gets the shocking news, it is hitting them so suddenly that they feel helpless at first. Loved ones experience this as well; it’s devastating. For the patient, it is different, though. For them it is like being on an airplane headed for somewhere pleasant, maybe Hawaii and then suddenly the pilot announces that the plane is going to crash! He informs passengers that they have a 2% chance of surviving the accident. Shock sets in and their world is upside down.
Now imagine if the passengers were able to receive phone calls from everyone that cared about them on the ground below, imagine the calls of advice because everyone who cares wants to offer advice. They’d be telling them how to position their body or how to craft something out of the seat cushion to beat the odds. Everyone is scared and wants their loved one to survive. So they started searching online for answers, looking for someone who was in a plane crash and survived. They felt compelled to share survival stories and how they accomplished it.
Your support is loving and sincere. It’s just not going to take the situation away. They still feel a sense of being out of control and are in life-saving mode. Your love and concern may be appreciated and sometimes it may not. Getting the news that they have cancer makes you feel numb, and nothing looks the same ever again. I remember waking in the morning with a pounding heart, and I wondered, “What’s wrong why do I feel panic?” I would suddenly remember I had cancer and was battling for my life. The reality would cause me despair, and my heart would flood with thoughts of wondering if I would survive.
One difference between the two types of grieving is everyone who is afraid of losing the one they love with cancer is losing one person while the one with cancer does battle sometimes with the thought of having to say goodbye to everyone forever. Even people that believe in the afterlife or heaven go through the fear of that.
Perhaps you think they don’t want to live anymore. Cancer warriors never wanted this to happen, and they may be exhausted! Never forget that they had hopes and dreams, they are scared, “why me”? They don’t want to burden anyone. All of this is normal and does not mean they lost their faith in God if they are believers. I remember I did not want to go to church sometimes because it reminded me of heaven and death. We are human beings, not saints. I remember how terrified I was and how I prayed to beat cancer. I pleaded, no I begged for God to let me live and made all kinds of promises.
We must remember this always with family and friends that when your loved one does open up about their feelings of fear that they are trusting you, and I had heard of horror stories where family turned against them at a time when they needed them most. The family needs to approach in a new, unfamiliar way, and there is plenty of reading material about this. I am a Christian woman; I believe in God, and I was afraid!
I kept praying, but I slept with a night light. Just because we are Christian does not mean we have no fear of dying. I had anxiety attacks. I would sometimes cry and beg God like a child, to beat this disease, I wasn’t ready, and I had things I wanted to do to help people. Some days I was okay and at peace, some days I was very optimistic and people thought I was courageous” Not really, I was coping with fear as best as I possibly could, one day at a time. Sometimes, though, I did have courage, everyone that loves the person battling cancer will express and cope differently, and you will experience your roller coaster of emotions, but it is not the same as trying to survive.
The survivor is preparing quite possibly to say goodbye to everyone if they lose this battle. Everyone around them is afraid of losing only one person, the one battling cancer. Cancer patients worry about their family; they comfort their children, and they hide the pain and agony of wishing they did not have to prepare to say goodbye possibly. They try to hide their fear because they don’t want to be a burden or an embarrassment. If you ever want to talk to me about this just message me.
It is important to note that not everyone will go through all of these stages, and they do not have a particular order. It will be up and down sometimes in a day and can be like a roller coaster! So please be supportive. You as a loved one will have your stages of grief, so this is why everyone has a rough time. If you have faith in God, please pray together and pray often! Reading Psalms were what saved me emotionally.
It may be time for you to get that beautiful picture of you out when you were a child. It could change your life! This is for anyone who is not feeling good about themselves or maybe about the direction their life is going in. If you feel like you were meant to do more with your life and there’s this faint voice in the back of your head that keeps telling you so, maybe it’s time to listen. Do you have a dream you have been holding onto but are afraid to take that first step? Perhaps there is something much more serious going on in your life and you just know this is not the path you want to be on and need a little encouragement.
We’ve all had experience with positive and negative messages at school, work and growing up. They were part of what shaped us into who we are today. The positive and negative collectively shaped us. Some of us have a harder time than others removing the negative ones from our memory because they latched on early in childhood. Children are vulnerable and what we say to them becomes a big influence and impacts their self esteem. It can prevent them from living their life to its fullest potential. The great thing is, we can change anything we want to with our messages to our self.
A great self esteem exercise that you can do which requires only a picture of you when you were a baby or small child. Find one you really like and tape it to your mirror. If you don’t have one that young, just find the youngest you picture you have. If you are really serious about getting rid of old negative messages and smothering them with new positive ones, then go ahead and be the master of this project and make several small copies and put them in places you frequent like your car, your refrigerator or your desk at work. What you put in, you definitely will get out of this one! Tape a baby picture on your ceiling if your feeling ambitious, so it’s the first thing you see when you get up in the morning as a reminder.
This baby picture you are looking at, is still you after all these years! That’s right, take a long loving look at that beautiful, cute, baby face, now give it a kiss! I’m having fun now! But why not! Get ready to love you, all over again. Tell her or him gently but spoken out loud, with love what she deserves and what kind of life you want for her right now, in the present. Tell her how deserving she is of love and respect. “You deserve nothing but the best”. Go ahead and explain, give detailed examples of what that experience is going to be for her when she gets the best. Speak out all the positive things you see in him, all his attributes, qualities and gifts. Tell him how smart, loving and talented he is, name them all. Tell her the positive truths about her and all her great potential. Love her or him. Love you.
Do not defend any of the criticisms from your past that were laid upon you carelessly. Those words don’t deserve any more attention. For example, saying “You are not stupid”, gives stupidity the power. Instead, speak positively, saying, “You are so bright and intelligent!”. The power is definitely given to the positive words, “a bright and intelligent”. Eventually all the positive messages will smother the negative ones. When we say anything positive or negative out loud it has a physical impact on a person. Research studies have proven this.
The mind is so amazing and you will be doing something so purposefully beautiful and deserving for yourself that there can truly only be one outcome; A life that you are choosing for yourself, the best life. You will be loving yourself!
In July 2006 I was diagnosed with my first bout of breast cancer. I did not do the recommended chemotherapy cocktail (three drugs), and I did not do the recommended hormone therapy or radiation. I did go through with the recommended surgery for a bilateral mastectomy and had experienced one complication after another. I was hospitalized twice with a staph infection from the surgery. I had a broken foot in a cast that had a pin in it as well as two knee replacements. One knee replacement had was crooked, and because of this, I went through two more corrective surgeries. I had my gallbladder removed, uterine surgery and other surgeries from the complications.
I had 14 surgeries during that time, and it was excruciating. The recovery time in between surgeries looking back now, I’d say was not enough time before I was back in the hospital having surgery again. My attitude during that period was not very good starting; I was terrified when it got to be about the 7th or 8 surgery.
I was on antibiotics for months, which caused extreme nausea. I was confined mostly to bed. I used to be annoyed in the morning because the birds chirping outside my window woke me up very early and the pain would kick in preventing me from going back to sleep. Being awake so early also meant I had a much longer day. It seemed like the time just passed very slowly. For me, time wasn’t relevant except for doctor appointments. I was lonely and bored quite a bit, and I did not want to be a burden on friends or my daughter.
I realize how depressing this sounds, but the truth is I was not happy with my circumstances. I needed help for everything like getting to the bathroom, showering and washing my hair and I needed my meals in bed. I did not want to see my chest in the mirror because where my breast used to be there were now two ugly gashes. It took nine months before reconstructive surgery was complete. I was confined to bed and desperately wanted to be able to get out and visit friends. All my family except my daughter lived in different states. I couldn’t drive or go for a walk outside. Now and then I would snap back to reality and remember that many people had to endure even greater struggles than myself, but regardless I am ashamed to say I still felt my attitude headed in a downward spiral.
Somehow I reached a crossroad where I knew I needed to change my attitude. I was afraid of slipping into complete depression and knew If I continued feeling sorry for myself I would never return to the optimistic woman I used to be. I used to write in journals, and I had stopped doing that when I got sick with cancer. I remembered in the past, writing down five things I was grateful for and how it always gave me a feeling of hope and regardless of the adversities I was facing in my life revealed my blessings.
I knew it was time to start up a new gratitude journal so began immediately. I started by looking around my bedroom to find things to be thankful for; you’d think being thankful to be alive would be enough yet I was still afraid feeling miserable. At the beginning of this new undertaking I had to push myself to write, and it felt like I was stretching just to take notice of all the goodness I had in my life. My sloppy handwriting barely filled up a 1/4 page.
It read like this,
My attitude did not change overnight. I was sad; I needed to forgive, let go of resentment, it was a process. I still felt cheated in life, not just from cancer, and my relationship that took a huge hit but I missed my family. I felt my spirit diminishing. You can do too much thinking when you are sick and confined to bed. There was a veil of despair separating me from everything good around me; I lost sight, but I was determined to reach happiness again. I always use to say, ‘If you don’t feel like smiling, smile anyway because the rest of your body will eventually catch on.
I wrote in my journal faithfully, and soon I was filling up an entire page each night. More time passed, and I was filling up two pages. My handwriting was not sloppy anymore, and finally, an attitude adjustment was taking place. It was getting to the point where I would feel concerned about leaving anything left unwritten that I was grateful for that day. I was grateful for the smallest things, like my soup spoon versus the regular teaspoons that caused more spills. I loved my flex straws for my protein drinks.I was grateful for phone calls from friends, we always laughed. I received a letter one day, and inside the envelope, there were drawings from my best friends daughter.
Now I was grateful to hear them singing because they were a reminder for me, someday I was going to be free again. I just knew I would get through it all.
I took this attitude adjustment project a step further! I wrote down positive affirmations on pieces of paper. “You are loved,” “There is beauty all around you,” “God is with you” etc. I printed pictures of fairies and colored them in careful detail with pencils; they cheered me up! Their big beautiful wings reminded me of freedom, the long flowing hair and whimsical gowns signified femininity that I had been so afraid of losing because of what I had lost with breast cancer. I had my daughter tape these positive affirmations on my ceiling for me, including each blade of my ceiling fan over my bed so I would wake up to a room with positive messages and start my day with a smile. I felt inspired and beautiful on the inside and felt I could get through just about anything.
What I have learned is this, sometimes we are given too much to handle, and each of us copes with it differently. Adversity showed me my abilities, and it shaped me into a strong and compassionate woman. We all have the power of our perception to see a lifetime of success and failures any way we wish. Some will see a life of many victories. Others will see many failures. Our attitude and our perception can continually be adjusted. What we see is what we get.
In closing, I will share a short story with a compelling message.
“Once there were three bricklayers. Each bricklayer was approached and asked what he was doing. Their responses were quite different. The first one answered gruffly, ‘I’m laying bricks.’ The second replied, ‘I’m putting up a wall.’ But the third bricklayer said with great pride, “‘I’m building a cathedral.'”
The bricklayer story is a great reminder of how we can each have a different perspective of the same thing. Now when I am sick in bed, I have a different attitude. I can envision my body healing itself, and while I lay in bed resting, there is a whole lot of work going on inside my body by me being at peace and having an attitude of gratitude. Thank God I am alive and healing.
Success in my life never came from playing it safe. I always was a bit of a scaredy cat. Fear always seemed to be in the front line of any path I had to choose that was right for me. My faith in God has always washed that away. Courage was always what followed later on. I had faith and trusted that I could push through and do what I needed to do. When I was diagnosed with cancer and chose the cancer treatment I felt was best for me there had been criticism from people before, during and after my treatment.We cannot expect everyone to agree with us. I believe in miracles and God’s ability to heal even when everything seems futile. We are unique and there is a different plan for each of us. If we have faith this can make all the difference in the world about how we approach our life.
I learned that at the beginning of striving for a new goal, it felt like I was wearing my shoes on the wrong feet or someone else’s shoes entirely. It took getting used to. It did not mean I was on the wrong path. Sometimes I didn’t have support from people around me; people I was used to having there by my side. It wasn’t because they didn’t care. They cared so much that they could not get to where I was, we were in separate worlds for a while. I had God with me though and I prayed.
Being alone with God in your walk is sometimes temporary and it may feel scary sometimes not having someone to hold you. Pray, have faith and just hold on another day. Success may be just around the corner. Remember the road to success never goes without criticism. You have to have to keep your eyes on what God has for you and do not give up.
When you step outside the box, people take notice, it gives them concern, it’s exciting, something to talk about and you have created a little stir. Just wait, be patient. Do the work and seek God’s blessings. If you stick around waiting for everyone else to appreciate you, you could be waiting a very long time. I think knowing in your heart that your intentions are in the right place and your drive to do what you do is for the right reason is what matter most. Keep checking in with yourself and with God. You will know. Keep a journal and write your progress down.
I found this and I was thrown back to a time where I was very sick with a recurrence of stage 4 breast cancer. I was so afraid to say good-bye.
It has been more than 5 years since I made this video and I remember how terrified I was. I survived and am blessed with 4 beautiful grandchildren now and am fulfilling a promise I made to God.
I do not take any moment of life for granted. I love my family so much. We all leave marks on the hearts of those we love.
I was in the habit of using, and I sold toxic substances!VICTORIA’S SECRET BATH & BODY WORKS yummy smelling bath lotions! I loved that stuff and still have it (It’s going in the trash!). My friends and daughter will tell you I had that stuff everywhere. Even in the center console of my car, my purse, etc. I became addicted to the scents. These products and many others contain PARABEN which absorbs in your skin and mimics estrogen, causing cancer.
VICTORIA’S SECRET Body lotion, as well as BATH & BODY, WORKS deliciously scented bath lotions! I loved that stuff. My friends and daughter will tell you I had an abundance of their products everywhere. Even in the center console of my car, my purse, etc. I became slightly “obsessed” to the scents. Perhaps that is an exaggeration, but I would say that being around their beauty products for 40 hours a week minimum had me always excited about the next new fragrance! These products and many others contain PARABEN which absorbs in your skin and mimics estrogen, causing cancer.
I worked at Victoria’s Secret 15 years and wore it daily! I wore the underwire push-up bras too which block the lymphatic system. We have so much of this being sold, and breast cancer is just skyrocketing. I sold all of this and contributed to the problem. We have to educate to eradicate! The beauty industry will have to change, but we are a part of that change. So don’t just read this, take action, share this information privately or publicly. Research more to see if I am correct.
Please Read the labels. If it has—> Methyl paraben, parabenPropyl Paraben, Ethyl paraben, Butyl paraben, E216
Breast cancer is on the rise ladies, so please read the labels of your skin products. I think the combination of many things that we can control is killing us. Parabens, vitamin D deficiency, tight fitting bras/ underwire compromising adequate lymph drainage, which puts you at risk to the development of breast cancer or just poor health. Now add unaddressed emotional pain, and poor diet, not enough exercise and not drinking enough water and you’ve got the perfect storm just rising, waiting to happen.Think back to what you have been doing in your life, your habits.
I speak with many women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, and then they immediately begin juicing daily thinking this is the fix all and I learned something from them, many have iron deficiency and are underweight. I talk to them on the phone and the question they always ask me first because it is the least expensive “Fix it solution” in their head ” So Shannon, what is your diet like?” Diet did NOT cause my problem, and it did not cure me”. I eat as organic and healthy as possible, but I will do gentle detoxes now and then. You can go into a book store and find hundreds of books on cancer diets. I believe that it works for some but to be stage 4 and rely on that alone when your life is in danger…I would think about everything and consider all options.
Diet did NOT cause my problem, and it did not cure me”. I certainly eat as organic and healthy as possible, and will do gentle detoxes now and then. There are hundreds of books on cancer diets. I believe that it eating healthy is great for everyone but I think we need to look at the product labels to see what toxins are absorbing directly into our blood stream.
I talk to so many women stricken with breast cancer who are terrified to deviate from juicing and will never eat a balanced meal again. Many are taking the drug tamoxifen or other estrogen blockers as well. I am not knocking the juicing; I am asking you to evaluate your entire situation.
Not everyone is likely to reverse cancer with just juicing I get sad emails sometimes where the woman is blaming herself and panicked because the juicing did not work. I know it works for some but we need to understand the type of cancer and do the research. I do eat my veggies and fruits and lots of them! I prefer to chew my food instead of liquefying it.
Please try to address these other things, ladies. It makes sense. Keep juicing if you like but do not ignore the other things that can contribute besides your diet.
I stopped using paraben products, increased sunshine to get my vitamin D level up, I started swimming, dancing and jump rope. I improved my diet by 25% I never actually ate bad except for a short period eating frozen “Healthy Choice” meals and drank Starbucks. Just about a year though. I eat a balanced organic gluten free diet; my life is stress-free compared to three years ago. I also ditched tight-fitting under-wire bras and switched to comfy stretch lace and other fabrics that still offered support and looked pretty.
PS. Include laughter in your life no matter how grim life feels, rent movies and find a reason to laugh; it is EXCELLENT for the immune system.
I rarely ask for people to share… but I think this one could make a difference, maybe save lives! Sharing this one is caring about women (even if it is in a blog or private email, we need just to get the word out )
Accept the love that makes you laugh and feel like you are not number one, but their “only one,” anything less than that, well…you are just settling. You have value; you are meant to be cherished by one that will not be able to imagine someone else in your place and to reciprocate the same way. A soulmate is pulling you in steadily, and the love will grow between you. It may be a journey getting there, but once you are there, you will be inseparable, and no other man or woman can come between you. You are home after a long journey. Every tear that was shed and all those restless nights where you were longing for more from someone that was not meant for you will suddenly have new clarity.
Rejection is redirection! Get excited if a relationship was the wrong fit. You learned from each other. You will be glad it did not work out because soon you will realize what it feels like to be with your true match. It will probably make you shake and feel awkward because you are so used to trying to force love into happening, working and fixing it. This will have a force that will be unlike anything you have felt. You may back up from it but you will know it, and you will trust this love unlike any other.
Don’t fight for a position in someone else’s life. If you are trying to fit into the life of someone you think loves you, or you think in time they will, and it has been a very long time. STOP, Let go… That’s obsession. If it is meant to be you will not have to fight for it, you will know it without a doubt because love is like that, it does not require manipulating. Don’t be distracted by what you feel in your heart is not meant for you but is one-sided and unhealthy and you just do not want to let go. You may only be an idle amusement for that person until they find their soulmate and you are prolonging your own inevitable pain of having to let go. It will lead to a dead end for you if there is no reciprocation. Temporary moments of joy mingled with longing and heartache is not as rewarding as lasting fulfillment which brings mutual reassurance of knowing you are loved completely and belong together.
Be patient, there is love for everyone, your soulmate will need to see you are available. Your soulmate is on a journey heading towards you. You deserve to get back in love what you give. Soulmates will provide reassurance to each other, and the desire to bring happiness will be balanced and mutual. It really is like two puzzle pieces connecting instead of trying to cram the wrong two pieces together.
Two people who are in the right relationship will work together for a win-win always. They found each other and don’t want to gamble or play games with the gift of their union. You will grow more together, you will be patient with each other, and you will want to give love to them. You will communicate and respect each other. There will be a safe feeling and tenderness.
If you set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.
How do you define yourself? What do you stand for and what is your philosophy? Don‘t be afraid to stand alone for what you believe. Sometimes others will be in agreement with our ideas but many times we are alone. What is your dream, calling or vision? Are you afraid of what others will think? It’s alright if you are, courage will come once you decide to stand and start the journey. I know what it feels like to have people looking at me like I’ve lost my marbles. It used to make me nervous. Not anymore. I don’t walk around spouting out at the mouth random things. I just speak my truth and do not worry if people are not in agreement.
When you stand alone, you will eventually have amazing connections with other people and it will feel like all the missing puzzle pieces in life are starting to come together. You might ask yourself, “Why did I wait so long”? Well, everything has its perfect timing. I know for me, I am right where I am supposed to be, and the timing is right.
Listen to your heart, your mind and what has been calling to you for a very long time. Every day that passes where you ignore your calling is just another day of letting others participate in defining your character. What I mean is this, it is easy just to go along with everyone, and be agreeable. You may be thinking, “Why make waves, it’s easier to keep others happy”. Is it? Your happiness absolutely could affect others in a positive way. If it’s getting to a point where you just feel like you can’t go on another day doing the same thing any longer than start preparing for what you want and work at it a little each day. Do not ignore what is stirring inside you. Trust yourself and with dignity, grace and passion start to expose your truth and do not worry about what others think of you.
An exotic flower has no concern of how different it looks from all the daisies. People may not relate to you right now, but some day they may. You will be able to help others and shine more light when you step back and shine your light. It will be something to see. You are unique and independent, and this can involve helping your community or even bigger. Only you know what that calling is.
Living an authentic life is a magnificent feeling. We must step out of comfort zones all the time, and when we do it is intense at first. We shake a little but it gets comfortable again, and then we always seem to be getting ready to move on out of the next comfort zone. You have gifts, truths and so much to share with others. Allowing ourselves to grow takes guts. Sometimes, family and friends may walk away, but you can still love them and keep them very close to your heart. Always be grateful for all that others have done for you. They were a part of what brought you to where you are now and where you are going.
Be your authentic self. Do not waste days or years trying to change someone or trying to get them to love you. Either you love each other as you are or your life is meant to be shared with someone else. There are people who love you, trust you and know you. They can’t wait to be around you, to hear your voice or talk with you and grow with you. Don’t chase after what is not meant to be or you will miss out on something or someone who is perfect for you. Be patient.
Stay on your own authentic path that leads to the kind of love you need. It will be filled with compassion, love, laughter, support, forgiveness and you will be able to be yourself with that other person. This is your beautiful journey and you will have true friends that you will grow old with and some that will tire of you like a child who sets down a toy that he has outgrown. It’s okay, the season of that relationship is over. Some relationships are meant to teach us something. We make the choice to stay or let go, but there was a lesson that needed to be learned.
Try to see the value of a tough lesson in a positive way and keep it with you on your journey. Even if it hurt like hell try to find the good, you can grow from this. To stay angry and carry resentment would be like the butterfly angry at the cocoon it had to push hard to break through to spread it’s wings, or the flower pushing hard through the dirt to reach toward the sun and blossom into a beautiful flower. That time of growth was necessary and we all have endured pain to find beauty. Some are still in the pain but there is hope and there is light on this path. Look around you.
It’s good to have someone by your side to help you through those hard times, to help you see through a different perspective. After all, it really comes down to just that. It’s how we see our experiences and that can change when ever we decide, that’s pretty powerful.
Always return to love that nurtures you and ignites your soul. Be around people who want to see you smile and feel happy when you are happy. You will know who your forever friends are, you will know. It is priceless and cannot be bought.
Someday your words and every impression you made to someone in a special letter whether you think it is sloppy or not will be cherished. My father wrote to me in his most recent letter that he did not like it that I emailed him and that he appreciated my handwriting more than an email message. He said the essence of who we are is in our writing, it’s our personal art form” We take yet another element away in communication with emails to one another. Instead of face to face conversation, or being on the phone so we can hear each others voice, we also take away the unique penmanship that is a part of who we are.
I remember what it was like when I was younger to find a letter in the mailbox with my name on it. I could recognize almost instantly who it was from because of the person’s handwriting on the envelope. I would smile all the way to my room where I could find privacy to read my letter. Today if I close my eyes and think of loved ones that have passed on, I can remember their writing still, in fact, I still have some of their letters and called one of my cousins to share one with her. I cherish all my letters that I have received from each and every one of them, and I am glad they took the time to write me. Each letter brings them back to me for a moment. I feel them there with me. This is one way to keep our loved ones close. I remember the extra care I would put in writing a letter to someone I cared about. I would underline words for extra emphasis, put a little heart instead of a dot over an “i” and then finally on a very special letter kiss the stationary and draw a circle that spot and write the word kiss with an arrow pointing to the circle. You do your best when you don’t wear lipstick at a young age. I remember how the letter needed to be just right. This was never an impulsive act. I would re-read it before folding it and putting it in the envelope. Time was put into it. I’d put the letter in the mailbox swing the little red flag up and wait for it to be received, read and responded to.
Technology is fantastic; now we can just scour through our inbox open a message, hit reply and the paragraphs look the same from each of us. We have to keep looking for the name to reference who wrote what. Then there are those emails that you wish you had never sent. If it were sitting in the mailbox in front of your house, you could run outside in the middle of the night and retrieve the letter before the postman took it the next day. You thought long and hard and realized you didn’t want to send what you wrote. Those were the days! I think both email and good old-fashioned letter writing with the pen to paper have their place.
The convenience of email is great, no doubt about it! However, I think we should consider my father’s wise words to me and at least write one letter that’s meaningful to our kids if we haven’t already and to anyone that we care about. These would be cherished one day believe me when we are gone from their life. There is an amazing feeling when you open an envelope, and you know someone cared enough to sit down, pick up a pen and paper and write a special letter just for you.
What happened that September day explains it all… Photo Taken by my twin sis with my niece (Her daughter) Madison Liberty September 2010
This picture says so many things, I was holding all my fear inside. The doctors told me the cancer was aggressive and just spreading (seemingly hopeless). Unless I did the recommended treatments I would just be putting my life at risk, could be months a year….It was September 2010 the afternoon I got the news from my oncologist that my cancer was getting worse. Stage 4 breast cancer metastasis to my bones, all lobes of my lungs, lymph nodes and soft tissue, I had staph infection in my lungs and pneumonia. www.shannonsstory.com
My twin sister upon hearing the news, came and picked me up and drove me to the beach. She saved me that day. I remember her playing music from the good old days in high school and singing to me, literally. She tried cheering me up, looking back, I don’t know how she did it. I would be devastated if I heard the same news about her. She’s strong on the outside but I know she was breaking on the inside.Every now and then I’d start panicking and crying on the drive and I’d put my head in my lap. I was panicking about dying.
We had a great day at the beach, but it felt like my last trip there, every moment felt like a goodbye. Madison her daughter (My niece) so wise beyond her years would say things to cheer me up, she always senses things no matter what. Very amazing. I took a walk later when I felt like I was going to lose it emotionally and I just needed to come to terms with death. I walked under the dock to the other side of paradise cove in Malibu, I laid down on the sand and I stared up at the sky, it felt more like a part of me at that moment than anything else on earth. It almost felt suffocating, so vast, like it was falling closer to me. I was flooded with memories of all my loved ones that had already gone before me. It was scary but comforting to imagine them there waiting for me in heaven.
I was terrified laying there. This feeling of acceptance of death was there too but it was odd, it just felt all wrong, like I had so much still that I had to do. I felt a sudden passion run through me with the Lord and I had a conversation with Him that day. I even made a promise to God. This was the day, the life changing moment for me! I prayed so hard and pleaded Him and I must say it was with the greatest determination of my life.
This is as real and vulnerable as it gets. I did what I am sure many of us with faith do, I pleaded, because I was sad to leave, I felt like I had unfinished things to do. I felt a purpose to stay and it was stronger than ever. I asked God, no, honestly I begged Him as tears poured down my cheeks. I said, “Please let me stay, I swear to you I will make my life worth more than 10 volunteers, just let me show you I can help people! Let me stay and beat this cancer my way, the healthy way. Let me help other cancer patients.”
I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I said it with force and conviction, ” I said, “I can do so much more here than I can in heaven, let me show you!” I don’t know where that falls in line with being a good Christian, I just felt I needed to have this serious talk with God. I’ve always believed in God’s will, but, anyone that knows me, knows I’ll have my say with a situation that I feel strongly about.
I am Christian, so faith is important in everything I do. I am keeping the promise I made, it wasn’t really a deal, it was a calling and I want my life to be a life that serves others. What happened the day this picture was taken has caused my life to change forever. I thank you, Lord for all the blessings in my life for getting me through the darkest days and giving me a chance to show you that I can do so much more then I ever though I was able to do until I got sick. You revealed all my abilities.
Success is possible by having belief in yourself even if no one else believes in you. Just because you are afraid of the unknown, does not mean it is a bad thing you are about to attempt. You are breaking ground, and this is where you will find your courage. Over time, you will get stronger and more confidence. You will face more fears and run into roadblocks, but this is not a failure. It is a road to success.
Think of it as a maze. We’ve all done them, even as kids with a crayon or a pencil. You see your end dream, and it looks awesome. You have thought about it so much that you know it’s your path. You have a pretty good idea of what you need to do to get there and you see it hazy or scrambled sometimes. So you set out on your path, just like the pencil or crayon on your maze. It may look like the right direction for a while, but then you may hit a dead end. You have confidence; you are fearless, and you don’t give up.
You have not lost sight of your end goal because this is your dream. You evaluate, recalculate and begin again. Sometimes you have to start all over and sometimes you just have to go back a bit and take a different path. Eventually, you will achieve success.
Your journey towards your dream will be something that mentors others. The more blocks or twists and turns that it took to get to your success, the more satisfying it feels when you have accomplished it. We inspire others with our stories of what it took and how we never gave up. Share your story with others. When we face our fears and beat the odds to achieve our goals, it is never a success just for you even if you started out alone. You are helping others achieve their dreams too because someone is always watching us. We are all leaders to someone.
I have tried online dating a couple times in the past and have felt more peace since I gave it up.
I do not want to date a lot because I want my heart to be free, so there is a lot of space for “one exceptional man”. I don’t want a list of men on my brain that I dated from online dating. I want plenty of room in my heart for “him, his stories, his trials and learn about his journey and make our memories.”
I have a story it’s my story from so long ago. I’m sharing it for a reason. It will throw some of you baby boomers that are single back in time where dating was magical and falling in love meant something.
I was 15 years old; the year was 1979, and I was completely innocent and vulnerable. I was fearless as I fell in love for the very first time. Love was a word that had a different meaning to us when once we declared it. It was a love worth fighting for. To our parents who were wise it was only “puppy love,” but to us, it was a world of dreams and possibilities tamed only by the restrictions of our parents, our moral compass and what common sense we had in our teen years.
I remember the first time I met him, it was my 9th grade graduation, and many from my class had gathered at Round Table Pizza in Simi Valley to celebrate the end of Jr High, It was a warm summer night and the beginning of school break. I was so happy my parents trusted my twin sister and me enough to drop us off at the restaurant, leaving us unchaperoned. I met my first love that night; he was a year older and would be a Junior that Fall at a different high school. We instantly connected it was as if no one else was there but us. He asked for my phone number, and I hated having to tell him I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 16. We talked quietly and separated from the crowd, and I remember how I didn’t like my dress very much, it was from Goodwill because my folks didn’t have a lot of money. I thought it was very pretty at first which is funny. It wasn’t until I saw all the other girls showing up in gowns that revealed a lot more skin. I suddenly felt like I was wearing a dress a 12-year-old would be wearing. The sleeves were long, and it had a very high neck with lace trim. All you could see was my face and hands. Regardless of the extreme coverage of my gown, he somehow noticed me and our eyes locked. I did not feel uncomfortable anymore and I don’t think the dress mattered.
He was kind, sincere and cute. He was gentle in his manner and amusing. No other boy stood out. When we finally said our goodbyes, he was quiet, and my heart sank. I knew I would never see him again because we lived on separate ends of the valley.
We had the entire Summer ahead of us before returning to school after Summer Break, and we went to rival schools. Parting seemed wrong, and I remember feeling a sort of anxiety. I thought about him for a long time but then Summer distracted me eventually, and I got over it. That Autumn, my very first week in high school I was having lunch in the cafeteria with my friends when I heard that a cheerleader was asking around for me. I didn’t know any cheerleaders yet personally. She eventually jumped up on a table and yelled out my name to let me know there were some boys from Simi High School outside in the parking lot asking for me. I was more embarrassed than you could imagine. What on earth could there be guys from a different high school doing looking for me?
I got up from the bench of the lunchroom table, half reluctantly but I had to find out what was going on. There was a trail of curious friends behind me. Simi High guys on Royal High campus? Maybe this a joke played on me. Everyone knew they were not supposed to be on our campus. When I went outside through the double doors, I didn’t have to walk very far before my eyes locked on to that blond haired boy I met at Round Table Pizza. There he was at my school with a group of his friends. I was shy but walked to him bravely. We recognized each other instantly; it was like a flash of lightening and a jolt to my heart. Surrounded by all our friends, he managed to captivate my soul just like he did the beginning of Summer. We talked awkwardly, and he asked me out on a date and once again. I told him that I was still only 15 and wouldn’t be 16 until February. He said he’d wait and this time, I did give him my phone number. His patience and perseverance stole my heart. I knew he cared.
When I turned 16, he took me out on my first date. I remember the phone on our kitchen wall shared by five of us kids waiting for him to call me on the nights we weren’t out doing something together. I was only allowed 15 minutes to talk. We couldn’t keep the line tied up because there was no call waiting and there would be a busy signal for anyone trying to ring through. Every kid was waiting for their 15 minutes. I’d take the phone, outside, stretching the cord as far as it would reach so I could sit with the sliding glass door closed and have that precious time with him. He never hung up early, and we cherished that time. We trusted each other. He taught me how to shoot a rifle in the Simi Valley Hills (Indian Hills). We went four wheeling with our friends. He taught me how to drive a stick shift, talk on his CB radio. I believed in him, and he knew it. He played football, so I went to his games instead of my school games. We went to his senior prom and then mine.
Our interests didn’t have to match because we were so open to learning things together. We had the patience to teach each other and grow together. I was shy, and it didn’t matter, I didn’t judge him about little things or talk bad about him, and I know he didn’t. We loved each other. We laughed a lot. I remember when we tried smoking clove cigarettes, I got sick to my stomach, and a horrible headache and he helped remedy that. One night we got stuck in the mud when we went four wheeling and used the CB to get friends to find us and bail us out. We had mud all over us, and I had to tell my parents how we muddied our clothes. I was restricted from seeing him for a long time as punishment, and it hurt so bad. He managed to get hand-written messages to me, and he always had a way of reassuring me of his love. He didn’t tell me I was his number one girl, I was his “only girl, ” and everyone knew it.
In all my life this relationship felt more like a shared union of our souls, a natural bond, the only feeling I would want in a marriage, isn’t that funny. I was so young and supposedly knew nothing about love and what I have learned is this. Over the years, we learned fear. There cannot be love where fear resides. I was free to be me and so was he and we loved with all our hearts. We were fearless. I remember my Grad Night; we went to Disneyland, and I got sick with tonsillitis (I didn’t know what I was sick with at the time). It was an all-night event, and I had a high fever. He sat with me while I lay there in his lap, he soothed me till the bus got us back home. When he took me home that early morning from the school there was family from Texas and they were sleeping all over the house. A cousin was in my bed because she knew I was out all night. So we retreated and left my house quietly. He had a way of always finding a solution, calm and relaxed. He took me to 7-Eleven, where we got ice, a Slurpee and Tylenol.
He drove his truck into the Simi hills where we found an oak tree to park under a tree. He made a bed for us with a sleeping bag and used his flannel shirt as a pillow for me. He took care of me by cooling my burning forehead with the ice, gave me Tylenol and the Slurpee for my sore throat to break the fever. Then we fell asleep for hours because we were so exhausted from being up all night at Disneyland. I remember when we woke up, I was scared to see coyotes standing all around the truck. It was the strangest thing. He was calm and said not to worry; they were just curious. I climbed in through the cab window and drove us out of there. We were always working together.
I kept pink roses he gave me dried safe up on a shelf. We kept the concert tickets, wristbands and movie stubs and other things that meant nothing to the ordinary person but were like little diamonds to me. I was trying to capture the memories. I loved him. I used a T-shirt of his as a pillow case that had his cologne (Jovan Musk) because I wanted to feel close to him. He was my best friend and lover. We had our songs.I remember getting a call from him one night. He told me, “Hurry up and turn your radio on; I dedicated my song to you.” I listened to the DJ dedicate Caught up in You .by 38 Special”, We were never cruel to each other and never fought hard or dirty, that is an accurate memory. We challenged each other but made up quickly because we loved one another. We never threw past mistakes at each other; we just kept looking ahead.
Even though this was young love and it ended because we were separated by something very unfortunate. I was able to experience the love from a young teen boy that grew into a young man who eventually proposed marriage to me. I said “yes” It wasn’t anything at all like internet dating. It’s hard to feel like anyone’s “only one” as easily as it was back then. I know what it feels like to have loved and been loved fearlessly. Those four years taught me how significant vulnerability and trust are in a relationship.
I am hopeful and optimistic and in the meantime, very happy with my life. I want my soul to crash into love and for the two of us to follow it through not because we have to but because we are pulled like a magnet and steel and just know we are meant to be.
I feel great like this is my soul’s mission statement and somewhere out there even if he’s across the nation, his heart will hear this message, and he understands and wants the same thing. I’m sending it out with a prayer. One man understanding, my other half is all it takes. I trust God, and I know there is a great plan. I am patient. I believe God is the master planner.