Despite Cancer, Holiday Abundance Awaits

Editor's Note: This is a continuation of Cynthia's initial experience of being diagnosed with hereditary ovarian cancer in 2012, which she began to tell us in her post from September 29, 2016.


With an October diagnosis, the holiday season was going to be a new experience for our family of five. Although difficult in many ways, cancer helped us all put life in perspective as we approached the traditional busy-ness of November and December.

Immediately upon diagnosis, my chemotherapy began—we were set to do 10 rounds before my big surgery after New Year’s. I was also intermittently getting fluid drained out of my abdomen until the chemotherapy started taking effect on the cancer.

Nauseous, drained, exhausted. Anyone going through cancer and chemotherapy understands those sentiments. That said, when you’re fighting for your life, perspective changes and the holidays took on new meaning: In addition to giving thanks for my husband and children, I gave thanks for my life. Through new eyes, I saw the freshness of true gratitude for things I so often took for granted—namely my health and the health of my family. In the midst of such physical chaos, I experienced such a calm and quietness; I felt a deep humbling of how fortunate we really were.

I also felt an overwhelming connection to a deeper sense of spirituality. I had a strong sense of knowing that my cancer was here for a reason. Although I didn’t yet understand why, I was determined to faithfully let the answers unfold by spending time in reflection each day.

As the holidays unfolded, my CA-125 number reached an all-time low. Chemotherapy was working and the doctors were pleased with the effects my “chemo cocktails” were having on the cancer. After ten rounds, the doctors decided a two-week rest would benefit my body as I prepared for surgery on January 5th.

My surgery consisted of a full hysterectomy and tumor debulking. The procedure went smoothly and the doctors were thrilled with the results—and especially pleased that they decided to do numerous rounds of chemotherapy beforehand.

Still sore and barely moving, the second part of chemotherapy began the week after surgery. I had twelve rounds to go, which would take me through the Spring to Memorial Day weekend. My white blood counts were too low on several instances, to receive chemotherapy but we powered through with shots to boost my white cells and/or holding off a week. We made it.

By the end of May, I was tired in a way I never realized I could be. It took great effort to talk to people, move around and care for my kids. I fought each day to have a positive attitude and think restorative thoughts as I got through each day. I worked diligently on scheduling counseling and acupuncture; reiki and massage, with the amazing assistance of The Cancer Wellness Center in Northbrook, IL, benefited me greatly. I took supplements, visualized robust health and ate as organically and cleanly as I could. I managed to take hold of all the things that were in my control, so that my healing could be as optimal as possible. I looked at the journey as an opportunity for growth—physically, emotionally and spiritually.

This blog entry has been a wonderful reminder for me about what’s truly important. As we approach the holidays, it’s good to remember our difficult times—these are the times that humble us and keep us grounded—we’ve all had them and will continue to have them. Adversity is part of being human; the silver lining comes from truly understanding how abundant our life is in this very moment. May abundance and love be cherished and shared by you and yours this holiday season!

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