So Much Suffering / Cancer a Multi-Factorial Disease
After arriving at the Hope 4 Cancer Institute clinic in Tijuana, Mexico for a month of holistic therapies based on a mind/body/spirit approach to treatment, I was struck by the suffering of those around me.
Like most people, until I received my cancer diagnosis it had never really crossed my mind how much people suffer with this disease. I really did not “get it,” did not grasp how bad cancer can be. Yes, I had heard and seen it from a distance. I had heard about the pain that the disease often brings, and the often-ravaging effects of the chemotherapy and radiation that so many people undergo in an effort to win their cancer battles. After all, everyone knows someone with a cancer diagnosis. Everyone knows someone who has been through the “standard” cancer treatment.
But I never thought cancer would happen to me. And until I got to that clinic in Tijuana, I just didn’t realize how bad it can be.
At the clinic I saw so many people suffering. Observing them made me realize that cancer is a very multi-factorial disease. It doesn’t just attack your body. It’s rooted in a very spiritual and emotional level of your being. I met a lot of people at the clinic who were not just sick in their bodies; they were also sick in their minds, spirits and hearts.
This was another wake-up moment for me. Was I sick in my heart, too? What was I carrying that I hadn’t been aware of? Was there something inside of me from long ago that helped or influenced the development of my cancer?
I quickly realized that the answer was most likely “yes.”
At the clinic they have a special area for new patients. Part of your first week is spent filling out an extensive questionnaire about your childhood, life history and emotions. I avoided this questionnaire for as long as I could. In fact, I don’t think I ever fully completed it. Something in me just could not face this questionnaire. On the surface the questions were simple. But in reality they were very, very tough. Answering these questions meant going to areas deep inside of me that I hadn’t previously realized I just did not want to visit.
For example, “describe your childhood relationship with your parents.” I saw this question and knew this was a topic that I did not want to deal with, although at the time I couldn’t explain why. Now I can. Now I’ve discovered many things about myself, but these discoveries did not happen overnight.
The truth is, we all carry many layers of trauma, experiences and beliefs about ourselves, our relationships and our histories. We’ve made all of this part of who we are—even though much of these beliefs and thoughts can be toxic to ourselves. At the clinic in Tijuana I realized that for me, taking a holistic approach to wellness would mean facing these demons, resolving these traumas, and moving forward in wholeness and love.
I was created to live from a place of love, and fear cannot be found in me. I choose to let go of the past, and I choose mercy over judgment.