By Anni Diamond
Well, I guess the short answer to the question above is that most people can’t do it. Having said that, my motto is: “You are the solution.”
When I was first diagnosed with cancer, my bestie said to me, “You will treat this disease just like you run your business – with military precision and an exit strategy.”
My exit strategy was to be cancer-free no matter what it takes, and that’s exactly what I am doing.
It’s been a long 4 years of finding my way, not getting sucked into the vortex of mainstream medicine and the fear that surrounds this disease.
I was never afraid of dying; everyone leaves the planet eventually. I didn’t want to be in pain, a waif that no one could recognize, so I had to take a proactive approach to my own healing.
I always believed that chemo would kill me faster than the disease itself, so choosing to take another road was a no-brainer for me.
So how am I still sane?
To give you a brief history, I was diagnosed on the 23rd of November in 2013 with Stage III Colon Cancer, which then metastasized to my lungs and became Stage IV. I also have a husband that, in 1999, had an accident which left him with an acquired brain injury and hasn’t worked since.
In October 2013, he was also diagnosed with dementia.
In January 2015, I was offered palliative chemo and radiation, which I didn’t want.
I had already been overseas for treatment 12 months prior, and yet the disease kept progressing. I remember my oncologist’s disdain when I said I would not have his poison. Chemotherapy has a 2.3% success rate, and I figured if I took control of my own health, I would have a much higher chance of success than he offered.
His parting words to me were, “Well, you will come back when you need me,” and my parting words were, “That won’t happen.”
According to TruthQuest2, their authors found that the contribution of chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was 2.3 percent in Australia, and 2.1 percent in the USA. Why would I take a chance on such low odds?
I decided to back myself, the same way I did in business. My survival would be based on my decisions, not based on information being fed to me by doctors that get paid to poison my body. This didn’t make any sense to me.
I have seen many of my cancer buddies who chose conventional medicine die before their time, not from the disease but from the treatment.
That was not going to be me.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use conventional medicine. There is always a place for that kind of treatment and, in fact, I believe that an integrative approach is the best road to survival. You need to work with an integrative doctor who will listen to your needs and help you navigate the journey ahead of you.
Adjunctive/alternative therapies get a bad name, I believe, when patients try to do it alone and only do one thing at a time that would never have worked for them anyway. Adjunctive/alternative treatments can be very targeted to the patient and their disease. There are amazing tests that you can have (not in Australia) that can tell you exactly what will cause apoptosis of the cancer cells.
Having all of this information was paramount to me getting on with the job of healing, keeping my family from falling apart with fear, and running my small business.
I needed to have an income to pay for my treatments. Because I chose not to have the traditional poison that our current system offers, there is no Medicare rebate, nor does my private health fund cough up any funds.
I was totally on my own with this, and if the disease doesn’t kill me, it’s likely that the financial stress of the disease just might.
This disease is financially crippling if you choose to buck the system. We know the system is floored. In the end, I sold my business and worked from home so that I could have money for treatment.
Then, recently, my mother and I sold both our homes and bought one together in an effort to have money left over to send me overseas again for treatment.
Let’s get back to how I’ve stayed sane during this kind of situation.
1. Don’t buy into fear
Firstly, I didn’t buy into their bullshit and took matters into my own hands. I researched and researched and found an amazing integrative doctor who is also a pharmacologist, microbiologist, specialist surgeon and MD. She looks at medicine very differently, so she has been my complete saving grace.
Don’t buy into FEAR. And more importantly, don’t buy into everyone else’s fear, including your family (especially your family!). Even if they bully and ridicule you for the choices you make, stay strong.
It’s your choice, your life, your journey, and your money.
Doing integrative treatments meant that I could continue to work because I felt well for the most part. I was also able to share my learning experiences along the way on social media – running seminars and workshops, interviewing doctors and clinics from around the world, learning more and more and sharing with anyone who would listen.
This kept me excited and moving forward looking for the one thing that would be the Achilles heel for this disease I had. Sharing knowledge empowered me, and I would shout it from the rooftops to whomever would listen.
The saddest part of this disease is that if you buck the system and choose to do it the way I’ve done it, people use up all of their money just to stay alive… and then when you kick its arse, you have nothing left except your health.
No house, and no money in the bank. The stress of that alone could set off cancer…
2. NOURISH YOUR BODY
Secondly, I decided to take the time I needed daily to nourish my body (and still do). That can be with rest, exercise, nutrition, meditation, listening to my favourite music, having intravenous vitamins, enjoying a walk or a cuppa with friends, and spending time with family.
I try and do something I really like each day. I love music and Zumba, so I do that 2-3 times a week. I try hard not to miss it for any reason.
I don’t tell my family everything. It’s not that I don’t want them to know, it’s just that there are some things that are too confronting for them to hear. When they go into fear, it becomes a merry-go-round. Their fear becomes your fear, and you will second-guess yourself way too much!
I enjoy my work; in fact, I really love it. Cancer has taken me on a very different career path. Working if you are well enough is a great distraction from the disease.
Cancer is 24/7
It’s a constant mind game you play ensuring that you eat well.
Nutrition is an entirely different topic. There are so many opinions on what you should eat and what you shouldn’t eat.
For the first 2 years of my journey, I felt constantly deprived. This did my head in for such a long time, but now I just feel nourished with the choices I make. If I don’t eat right, my body tells me really fast.
3. Don’t own the disease.
Choose your words wisely. Pick and choose who you want to chat about cancer with. People eventually get sick of hearing about it. You will find that some of your friends will disappear, and complete strangers will befriend you instead. If you don’t look sick, people don’t think you are sick.
I’ve never thought of myself as sick, even though I have (or should I say had) Stage IV cancer!
Cancer is not a journey; it’s a marathon, and you need to become a warrior.
Cancer is not about dying; it’s about learning to live. Learning to stop and have fun along the way and knowing what’s important and what’s not. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Stress leads to toxicity, which in turn harms your body.
1 in every 2 Australian men and women will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85. Cancer is a leading cause of death in Australia according to www.cancer.org.au.
Cancer is the gift that you want to re-gift. Look for the gift in your disease. In as much as I would rather it NOT be me, it was always going to be why not me. I’ve learned to be a warrior, and you can, too.
4. Remember that YOU are the SOLUTION.
Throw shit at this disease from every angle. Stay informed, but don’t listen to those people who have no clue what it’s like to have cancer.
Tony Robbins says, “Success leaves clues.” Follow the advice from someone who has navigated this disease successfully before you.
Everyone will want to give you well-meaning advice, but don’t get sucked in.
This marathon you are running requires constant navigation. Just like the GPS in your car, when you get off track, don’t beat yourself up. Just take a breath and let your inner GPS take control.
Lastly, just don’t quit. Winners don’t quit.
Whether it’s in business, raising a family, or in the battle with a disease, have a plan, but also be prepared to tack into the wind.
Even though this is a serious disease, don’t take yourself (or it) too seriously. Remember to have some fun along the way and make experiences. Material things are unimportant; it’s the memories you build and leave behind that you will be remembered for.
Sending healing hugs to all the readers.
Anni Diamond is a mother, carer, business owner, and cancer thriver. She lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. Anni is passionate about sharing her business strategies for success, but more than this she found her voice after a diagnosis of Stage IV colorectal cancer. She was only offered palliative chemo and radiation, which she didn’t want. This led Anni to a journey of searching for her own cure using adjunctive/alternative therapies.
Today she shares the knowledge she has gathered from all over the world offering hope to many people facing their mortality, through seminars, workshops and online. You can find more information about Anni by contacting her through her websites www.