Today I have the pleasure of sharing a guest post by Tami Boehmer,cancer survivor and author of From Incurable to Incredible, a must read for anyone affected by cancer.
Hope … it’s one four-letter-word that should be spoken more often. For someone with cancer, especially metastatic cancer, I believe it’s more effective than chemotherapy or radiation. But it wasn’t until recently that hope became a mission for me.
In February 2008, I was desperate for hope. I had just learned that after five years of being in remission from stage II breast cancer, it had come back in the lymph nodes in my right armpit and liver. All of a sudden, a hopeful prognosis turned sour. In my heart, I knew not to ask about my statistics. I knew they were awful, but my spiritual coach urged me to ask to see what I was facing.
So we went down to MD Anderson, the world-renown cancer center, for a second opinion. The oncologist scooted her chair up to my husband Mike and me and told us, “You could live 2 years or 20 years, but you will die of breast cancer.” I’ve since heard a lot worse from doctors, some who think 20 years, even 10 years, is an unrealistic expectation. But I became angry on our ride home and was determined to prove her wrong. After all, she just met me. How did she know how long I had to live?
Luckily I had mentors like Bernie Siegel who decades ago coined the term, “exceptional cancer patient.” I learned there was a lot more to healing than medical science can explain. Stories of these patients were the most powerful things I took away from his book, Love, Medicine and Miracles. These patients had hope, faith and determination. They didn’t give up and neither would I. After all, I had my wonderful husband and a daughter, who was eight at the time.
So I started down my path using everything in my arsenal—from a healthy, whole-food diet void of sugary foods to prayer and visualization. Knowing stress contributes to cancer growth, I decided to take leave of my job and focus on getting Tami well.
Yet fear and loneliness crept in and I felt I needed to do something meaningful. I had spent my career in public relations, ironically in the health care field, and loved writing inspiring stories about people the organization had helped. I desperately needed to hear about metastatic cancer survivors who were doing well and decided more of these stories needed to be shared.
After months of overcoming self-doubt, I finally began interviewing people whom I called “miracle survivors” and began a blog by that name www.miraclesurvivors.com. In June 2010, I released From Incurable to Incredible: Cancer Survivors Who Beat the Odds, featuring 27 stories of people around the country. In the book, I share what I found to be common attributes of these amazing people: attitude, perseverance, faith, purpose, proactivity, and support. It has been an amazingly healing experience for me. With each story I heard, I became hopeful if they could overcome this tricky disease, so can I. Many people who visit the blog and read the book tell me they feel the same way.
I feel extremely blessed and that I am fulfilling my higher purpose. In almost every way, I feel healthier and happier than ever before. Indeed, hope is a wonderful four-letter word.
About the Author
After being diagnosed with a metastatic breast cancer recurrence at age 45, Tami Boehmer began interviewing survivors nationwide who survived and thrived years beyond what medical science predicted. Tami compiled these inspirational stories into her book, From Incurable to Incredible: Cancer Survivors Who Beat the Odds. You can learn more about her book, as well as valuable information on healing the body, mind and spirit; on her Web site and blog www.miraclesurvivors.com.
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