Winning and Thriving

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.

Mending a Broken Heart

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.

Shannon Knight

Physician Grief

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
Gray Matter

You are Not Alone 

Have you ever been consumed with these thoughts?

“You do not want to  burden anyone.”

“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. 

Teen Memories

Who remembers?

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!

Fundraising Support

 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 at CMN 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 a success rate because 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.

Angels for Shannon has fundraising resources.

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.

Love Matters Most

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.

My Thoughts on the Womens March

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.

Signed,

an American woman who is so grateful for every liberty I have starting with my breath of life each day,

Shannon Knight

(birth name Jennifer Ann DiConti)

PS. I’m still hurt by anyone who has burned our American flag.

Sound of Health

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.

Understanding Cancer Grief

Cancer is a very delicate subject, and I must warn you that 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 because of my two battles with cancer and watching how my emotions vacillated not just from day to day, but sometimes several times a day. I feel there is a great need to understand the difference in intensity of emotions between the cancer survivor and what they go through compared to the feelings of their loved ones.

There are five stages of cancer grief, and the onset of these starts immediately for everyone involved once the diagnosis happens.  After battling cancer twice, stage 3 and stage 4, and talking to well over 1000 cancer patients since 2011, I felt it was time to shed some light on my experience of the five stages of grief.

The five stages, of cancer grief;  anger, denial, bargaining, depression, and acceptance are part of our learning to live with the diagnosis of cancer and fear of loss. There is no order or time frame on these stages of grief. Understanding and navigating the terrain of grief together will allow for more support. Each person’s grief is unique from the next person.

Denial

Denial helps us to cope with the overwhelming feelings of being diagnosed. We wonder how we are going to get through each day and in order to make it through we allow ourselves the grace of denial to feel better.  Sometimes we even stall on taking action with getting treatment.  As we become stronger and proceed to take action all the feelings we were denying will begin to surface.

Anger

Anger is the one feeling we are more aware of and feel a need to manage or control.  Anger extends to our friends, doctors, loved ones, yourself and even to God. We think, why would God allow this?  There is pain underneath that anger. Anger allows us to feel some control over the whole situation.

Bargaining

Bargaining is our way of making promises to God if we could just be spared. “I’ll be kinder, more charitable and dedicated to helping those less fortunate than me if You’ll just let me live!”  Fulfilling our end of the bargain helps us cope as we present our offering in exchange for life.

Depression

Depression comes once the realization that we may not get better becomes a reality to us.  We are understandably depressed once we start to grieve for the loss of time and things we once thought we would be able to do in our future.  Being sad about this is an appropriate feeling.  It is a process we must go through.

Acceptance

Acceptance is reaching a point where we have a realistic point of view where we can take in all that is happening to us.  We still don’t like what’s happening but have developed courage and can tolerate it better.  We know we must learn to live with his new norm.

All of these stages are responses to our feelings that can come on suddenly.  There is no telling how long each one will last.  It can be for minutes or hours, and we can flip flop back and forth from one to the next.

Grief does not occur in 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 typical for family and friends to both experience fear. Everyone grieves differently, so I do not want to invalidate or minimize the pain that anyone feels. It can be emotionally damaging to the one dealing with cancer for someone to say to them that they are going through the same feelings. They are not.

Everyone that loves them 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 your son or daughter is not able to handle the stress or think as clear anymore because he or she is in crisis. It will be tough for some to accept the decision of the treatment that he or she chooses.

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 gentler approach if you want to bring up an idea. If it gets brushed off, it is vital that you remain supportive.  You can share what your thoughts are, but do not risk hurting them more with your opinion even if it is out of love and concern. It is very emotional for them. It is not easy deciding what to do to save your life. It is not the time for them 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. Just be there for them.

When I talk with individuals facing a cancer diagnosis and their loved ones, I use an analogy with the hopes of trying to paint a picture that can help people relate. I explain that when someone 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 one who has cancer, 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 cries of advice because everyone who cares wants to offer a solution. They’d be telling them how to position their body or how to craft something out of the seat cushion to beat the odds when the plane crashes. Everyone is scared and wants their loved one to survive. Your support is loving and sincere, but it’s just not going to take the situation of having cancer away.  They’ll still feel a sense of being out of control and are in a life-saving mode with other people who are. Your love and concern may be appreciated, but sometimes it may not. Getting the news that you 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.

We must remember this always with family and friends that when your loved one does open up about their emotions of fear that they are trusting you.  I had heard of horror stories where family turned against them at a time when they were needed most.  It is understandable that this too is a dynamic of grief and that everyone is experiencing it differently.  One family member will be going through anger while another one is in denial and another one is in acceptance.   It’s a riptide of emotions amongst a family that all love one another.

Without minimizing grief for loved ones, the difference between the two types of grieving is significant. Everyone is afraid of losing the one they love to cancer and will still get to go on with life eventually.  He or she who is with cancer is facing the grim possibility of having to part with everyone and everything forever.  Coping with the thought of this is difficult.  No one is immune to fear.

All of this is normal, and it does not mean they have lost their faith in God if they are a believer. 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 God to let me live and made all kinds of promises.

I prayed or had conversations with God constantly.  I had faith but I slept with a nightlight because it eased my anxiety attacks a bit. 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 still.  I think I only reached the acceptance part of grief only once and even then on that day I must have gone through all the other stages of grief like a see-saw.  There were days I was okay and at peace; other days I was very optimistic, and people thought I was courageous. I don’t think I wasn’t courageous but I was able to better cope with fear at times. It was a journey of daily highs and lows like a rollercoaster. Everyone that loves the person battling cancer will express and cope differently, and you will experience your roller coaster of emotions too, but it is not the same as trying to survive.

Those with cancer may worry about their families; they comfort their children, and they hide the pain and agony of wishing they did not have to prepare to say goodbye. They try to hide their fear because they don’t want to scare their children,  be a burden on loved ones or make anyone feel awkward.

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. I encourage you to find something that will help you get through this struggle.