My Cancer Journey – It All Started in Peru

Like most people, I didn’t see cancer coming. At all! In fact, I didn’t have any symptoms that would lead me to have any concerns. I was doing life just fine, so I thought that there was nothing wrong. Add in the fact that my husband is a Family Nurse Practitioner the fact I was so blindsided seemed even more ironic.

My cancer journey actually began during a long family vacation. In June 2014 my husband and I took our three children to Peru to visit family. At the time our twin boys were 11 years old, and our daughter was just four. We had all been looking forward to this trip for quite some time.

We were staying with my father, who decided that he really wanted to try to help me deal with a medical issue that I had been dealing with for years: Acne. “I see you still have acne,” he said. “Why don’t we try to get you in to see a dermatologist while you’re here?”

Of course, seeing a dermatologist for my acne was a pretty low priority for me, especially in a third world country. As I explained to my father, I had already seen dermatologists at home. The antibiotics and creams that they prescribed didn’t work, and I thought I just had to live with this. I had decided that still having acne when I was 41 years old was not the end of the world.

But Dad was insistent, so I gave in to make him happy. Two days later I was headed off to my appointment.

The dermatologist felt that my acne problem might be hormonal, so she recommended that I see an endocrinologist. The endocrinologist was able to see me shortly after. She took my history, gave me a prescription for some blood work, and then started to do a physical exam. When she checked my neck she wasn’t happy with what she found.

“I feel a lump,” she said. “Have you felt it?”

Then she started asking about possible symptoms. I don’t recall most of the list, but I laughed when she mentioned fatigue. “Fatigue?” I said. “Yes, I have three kids! How could I not be fatigued?”

But the endocrinologist was quite concerned about this lump. “I strongly suggest you do an ultrasound right here, right away,” she said.

When I went back that afternoon for the ultrasound I wasn’t concerned – I was sure it was nothing. I lay down on the table in the ultrasound room and relaxed. Unlike in the U.S., where ultrasound images are taken by technicians and then reviewed by radiologists, in Peru the radiologist actually does the ultrasound and reviews the images in real time.

I was lying there watching the doctor when all of the sudden I saw his eyes open really wide. In fact, I saw fear in his eyes. “You need to have a biopsy right away,” he said. My heart started racing. What’s going on? The radiologist said the lump was something of concern. I was terrified!

I remember locking myself into a Starbucks bathroom. Yes there was a Starbucks in this little town in north Peru. I cried out to God, asking why here? What was happening? How and why would God lead me to find something serious in Peru?? How could this be?

At that point I knew I had a choice to make right there. I could go into desperate-anxiety mode. Or I could surrender it all and trust that somehow it was all going to work out. My family and I had three weeks left on our trip, I chose to let go of all fear, emotions and questions to focus really hard on enjoying my time with my family as planned, and to take care of all this when we got home.

Power Thought:
I release myself from all anxious thoughts and put my trust in alignment with the light that shines in me.

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10 Comments

  1. MARUJA on March 7, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Ya me imagino y me conmueve bastante tu vivencia Karen; creo que la palabra “conmueve” no es la apropiada; pero de alguna forma VIVO tu experiencia. ..SIGUE ADELANTE MUJER BATALLADORA ..MUJER GUERRERA …Dios te bendiga siempre ..Saludos.

    • Karen Berrios on March 16, 2017 at 9:24 am

      Gracias Maruja por tus bendiciones y tus lindas palabras de animo.. Que Dios te bendiga ! Carinos.

  2. Mayra Nieto on March 9, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    Thanks for sharing .God bless you and I really admire you.Keep the excellent job. And many years to come for God’s testimony..

    • Karen Berrios on March 16, 2017 at 9:30 am

      Thank you so much Mayra, I truly appreciate your encouraging words… Indeed many years to come to declare to works of the Lord. Blessings to you and your family !

  3. Sunshine on March 10, 2017 at 5:44 am

    First time I heard the beginning of your journey. Thankful for doctors that did not accept surface problem, but looked beyond to the cause.

    • Karen Berrios on March 16, 2017 at 9:32 am

      Thank you Sunshine ! I am truly thankful for ALL of those doctors and health practitioners that are sincerely committed to bring healing. Blessings and joy your way !

  4. Zomsmom on March 27, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    What kind of treatment are you doing? Alternative? Or chemo, radiation? Have you started your treatments? I was just diagnosed with lung cancer, and like you never saw it coming. Never smoked a day in my life.

    • Karen Berrios on March 29, 2017 at 3:22 pm

      I’m very sorry to hear about your recent diagnoses. But I trust that there’s always opportunity in every circumstance despite how dark it may seem. In my journey I have learned that cancer is a multifactorial disease and everybody is different. I have chosen to follow an alternative approach to heal. This is what resonated with me. I do share more in the following articles on how I come about to make this decision. I pray God’s wisdom and healing over your journey. Blessings !

  5. Sonia on April 6, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Wow!! What a powerful article Karen, God was and is with you always And through your father and those concern doctors you were diagnosed. Maybe in USA it would have not being so quickly. You are an amazing strong woman. I admire you for that and the beautiful light that shines in you.

    • Karen Berrios on April 19, 2017 at 11:00 pm

      Hi Sonia, thank you so much for your beautiful message. I do believe I am blessed and thankful for everything learned in this journey. I hope my testimony helps many ignite that healing power that lies in us all. Blessings 🙂

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