Bethany's Journey Healing Cancer
More about me & how I am approaching cancer....
I have chosen a path of healing that integrates traditional & alternative medicine ~ the perfect path for me. I feel incredibly blessed to already be fully equipped with incredible healing tools ~ The Work of Byron Katie (self-inquiry), Yoga, Meditation, Nutrition, Art, Acupuncture, Humor, & best of all…the Loving Support of Family & Friends.
I am not here to fight cancer. I am here to make friends with it, listen to it, learn from it, evolve & grow. What if illness happens for our enlightenment? What if it makes our life even better? I am already learning so much from my new guru, Cancer:
~ People are kind.
~ Unconditional love does exist.
~ I am fully supported in every moment.
~ The cancer in my head (ie- my imagination) is way worse than the cancer in reality. Whew.
The universe doesn’t just pour a pile of shit on your head; there’s a bigger calling at work here and I’m open to fully experiencing it. Like Byron Katie says, “Life happens for you, not to you.”
This video will explain more about the treatment and how I am doing. I have also created a blog on my site, www.bethanywebb.com, where I’ll share my journey and update you on progress. Make sure to view the full site in your browser and click “follow” on the link to the right.
With Love & Gratitude,
What a great way to start the new year, eh?
We’ll meet with the breast surgeon in 2 weeks ~ I personally expect the cancer to be gone by the time surgery rolls around in March and if that is the case, they still recommend taking out some tissue in the breast and lymph nodes just to be sure it’s all clear under a microscope. I’m actually really looking forward to hearing what the surgeon recommends and getting a better understanding of the what’s involved with the rest of my treatment plan (radiation & hormone therapy). Feeling zero stress about the future ~ it’s amazing to be walking this path with a clear and open mind.
Our trip to California to staff Byron Katie’s Mental Cleanse was perfect on so many levels. I got to travel with a face mask for the first time which was pretty entertaining and my ears have become especially attuned to the sounds of coughing, sneezing, sniffing, clearing of throats…EVERYWHERE! Everyone around me seemed to be catching a cold, even my husband who never gets sick, but I guess my little immune system is rocking because I feel great.
Being with our Byron Katie family felt like home, so many hugs, tears, sweet moments. My energy and chemo brain were put to the test working the event and I did a great job of balancing taking care of me and serving the event ~ support was always available when I needed it. I also had an opportunity to share some of my experience with cancer to the 400-500 people who attended the event ~ I shared how important inquiry has been for me in this process and how it has taught me to approach cancer as a friend & teacher, rather than something to fear & fight.
I also had an opportunity to meet some women who have started a company called CanSurround ~ an empowering online tool that guides your mind’s journey through cancer using inquiry, breathing techniques, journaling, meditation, & more….ummmm…can we say PERFECT fit? I was in tears during their presentation ~ helping others achieve peace in illness is a new passion of mine and I am so excited to become involved in this project any way I can.
One more piece of fantastic news ~ I have officially met my $10,000 goal in my gofundme account ~ these funds were raised by over 80 loving, caring individuals within 3 months. WOW. Speechless. Thank you for showing me that it’s ok to ask for support. Thank you for showing me unconditional love. Thank you for being with me on this journey.
The inspiration I feel in this moment is so overwhelming…it’s like my heart is bursting open. 2016 – this is THE year!
So far, this second phase of chemo is definitely much easier than the first. I will have my 4th treatment of Taxol this Wednesday and it will continue weekly until February 24th. The chemo is also given with Benedryl (to help prevent an allergic reaction) ~ it COMPLETELY knocks me out the rest of the day and then my body is nice and wide awake when it comes time for bed. Luckily, this only happens the first night. A new side effect is night sweats ~ my body turns into a little furnace and the clothing and covers come off quickly. The Katy Perry song lyrics usually pop into my head, "you're hot then you're cold. It's yes then it's no. You're in then you're out (of bed), up and you're down..." ;)
Some other interesting bodily news is that I seem to longer have menstrual cycles ~ they call it "chemopause" and I am ALL GOOD with this! I would often get migraines around my cycle so they have disappeared as well. Something tragic did happen while I was doing yoga recently: I found hair on my legs and actually needed to shave...I have really gotten use to this whole low maintenance lifestyle!
This past week, I have felt more tired and very emotional. I was able to work with a dear friend and Certified Facilitator, Sarah Maya, who helped me work through some stressful thoughts that were at the core of my emotions. Right now, I feel much lighter and optimistic. Yesterday, I gifted myself an amazing Christmas treat that I will continue to receive: an Ayurvedic Abhyanga with Kathleen Lohr ~ warm oil poured over my bald head, body, and then gentle massage & lymphatic drainage techniques are used. Wow.
Another early Christmas gift has also arrived ~ the results of my gene testing are.....ALL NEGATIVE! I do not carry the gene for cancer (breast, ovarian, uterine, prostate, colon, liver, etc.). We are all over the moon about this and it leads me to believe that a simple lumpectomy may be viable option for surgery.
Today, I will have my 2nd breast MRI which will show us an update of how much the cancer has shrunk (or disappeared?). I am no longer able to feel the lump in my breast at all ~ it use to be visible so this is really exciting! The lump in my armpit is extremely hard to find and feels like the size of a small bean.
I was finally able to have lunch with my new friend, Amy, who is also in breast cancer treatment. Our "baldies" lunch was over 3 hours ~ it was SO MUCH FUN to connect with someone else who is going through what I'm going through ~ we could share side effect stories, laughs, fears, treatment plans, helpful tips...and the best part is a stranger decided to anonymously pay for our bill. I am continued to be amazed at the kindness of the human race. It's beautiful.
We'll celebrate Christmas in Dallas with my husband's side of the family ~ I am having a blast thinking of new vegan recipes! I am beginning to post them on my blog ~ check out the latest, Healing Ginger & Turmeric Teas. Travis and I are thrilled to spend New Years in Los Angeles where we will staff Byron Katie's annual Mental Cleanse. It will be so good to reconnect & hug all of our ITW family ~ this community has been so supportive during this journey.
Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and a very happy new year! xoxoxo
The doctor was a little concerned about my weight because I’ve lost about 5-6 pounds within the 1st month of treatment. She has prescribed medicine (a synthetic form of THC) to boost my appetite and maintain my weight. The medicine doesn’t work very well for me to take frequently (it’s pretty intense!), but I have been increasing the protein in my diet: I’ve added eggs & vegan protein shakes, plus more of the healthy proteins: quinoa, beans, seeds, nuts, avocados, and oils. Yes, I could gain weight with burgers and chocolate cake, but I’m choosing foods that do NOT feed the cancer. So I’ll be sticking to my diet plan because IT IS WORKING!
This Friday, I will undergo a pelvic sonogram to take a look at some cysts on my ovaries ~ they showed up on the CT scan as benign so this is just a precautionary measure. I will also have another breast ultrasound so we can get more accurate measurements of the size of the tumor in my breast & examine the surrounding tissue. I have declined doing a mammogram again ~ the 1st time I had a mammogram, the results were inconclusive because my breast tissue is so dense. So I prefer not to expose myself to additional radiation if it’s not required. My doctor is on board with this.
Next week is my last round of what doctors call the “roughest part” part of chemo. My mom is coming in town to join me for 5 days and I am so excited to be with her! Next Thursday, we’ll meet with a genetic counselor to determine if genetic testing is right for me, and if so – which tests I should take. I am assuming they will recommend testing to see if I carry the gene for breast and ovarian cancer. I have mixed feelings about the testing ~ I know that we are not locked into our genes; genes can change. But I will go into the counseling session with an open mind. The results of Thursday’s tests & gene testing will be taken to the breast surgeon so she can make a recommendation for next year’s surgery: a lumpectomy, mastectomy, or double mastectomy. I am hopeful for a simple lumpectomy (or nothing at all if the cancer disappears!) ~ for me, less is more in this process.
I had my 1st sound healing session today and loved it. I am also getting more involved with the cancer support center at Presby ~ they offer a wide variety of complimentary healing classes for patients: yoga, tai chi, meditation, art, nutrition, support groups, & more. How cool is that? I am looking forward to both joining the classes and exploring if I can offer The Work of Byron Katie at the center.
A struggle of mine has been dealing with the financial aspects of treating cancer. There have been some surprise medical bills from September when I didn’t have health insurance. I had thought my biopsy was going to be $825 which is why I chose to pay for it out-of-pocket in September, rather than waiting for my insurance to start October 1st. Right now, the biopsy bills are over $6,500! We are contesting the charges with the hospital and also applying for charity funds ~ fingers crossed! I am learning a lot about the medical industry and how you really need to be your own advocate, keep records of conversations, and triple check everything is covered before moving forward with a procedure.
My amazing insurance plan with Blue Cross Blue Shield (Obamacare) is being discontinued next year so we are currently looking for another plan that will cover the expensive treatments/procedures my doctors are planning for next year: 3 more months of chemo, surgery, radiation, & hormone therapy. The alternative treatments such as acupuncture, sound healing, a ton of vitamins/supplements, and eating 100% all organic has boosted our monthly expenses as well. Fortunately, I am able to work a reduced schedule (about half of my regular schedule) and Travis is increasing his work with private clients and music. I have now met my deductible and out-of-pocket max with the insurance company so they should be covering 100% of my treatment for the rest of this year. Yeah!
I have been working with many Certified Facilitators about my fears around money and it has allowed me to see the wonderful ways I have been/am financially supported. My fears about the future are in fact, not real in this moment. So I am learning & growing a lot in this area! I am also asking for help which is a big step for me. If you feel it in your heart to offer financial support, you can donate on this page and share it with your friends. My wonderful friends are also hosting a fundraiser for me in Dallas on Saturday, November 21st, 3-7pm, at Kid Art in Snider Plaza. There will be family-friendly yoga, art projects, live music, and a silent auction. Beautiful things happen when you ask for support!
As many of you have seen on Facebook, I am rocking some new looks these days ~ the “bald & beautiful” look and the “sexy Samantha wig” look! It’s been quite a ride and I am so happy you are all on this journey with me. I’ll be sharing more on the blog soon and hope the blog will be “real time” by the end of the year. You can sign up for the blog at www.bethanywebb.com.
Thank you all so much for your support & inspiration!
Lots of Love,