You might not know from looking at me, but I recently lived through every woman’s worst nightmare. I was doing my hair one morning when my hand brushed up against a lump on my neck. “That’s funny” I thought, “I’ve never noticed that cancer there before.”
Looking back I realized I had veered away from my cancer-preventing diet while on a silent retreat in Guatemala for several weeks, and I knew I was at risk. I made an appointment to see the doctor and hoped for a positive outcome: that it was cancer, and that I was indeed a savvy cancer-finder. But as I sat there on the cold examination table, I heard those terrifying words: “This is nothing to worry about. It’s just a swollen lymph node.”
Hearing the diagnosis sent chills down my spine. It confirmed my worse fear: My doctor was an ignorant hack who was unwilling to listen to me. After a second and third opinion, I realized that I would be all alone on my cancer journey, with no one to rely upon for thinking I had cancer but myself.
The beginning was rough, as people with medically sanctioned “cancer” seemed reluctant to accept me into their groups. I did seek out help and guidance, but I found that almost all support groups for cancer patients are under the thumb of the medical establishment. Groups that seemed welcoming at first turned their backs on me when I shared my doctor’s blatant neglect of my health. They said ignorant, misinformed things like, “Wait, you haven’t really been diagnosed with cancer? Do you realize that this is a life-altering disease for those of us who actually have it? Maybe you should consider mental health intervention instead.”
The rejection was devastating. I couldn’t believe they bought the medical establishment’s lies, and I could see them judging me. They get to have fundraisers for their cancer. I got arrested for trying to fundraise for my self-diagnosed cancer. The brainwashed Western world was turning its back on me left and right.
Though everyone’s skeptical attitude made me angry, I have to admit that I understood it. It’s easier for some people, such as the support group for cancer sufferers, to pretend that my cancer just doesn’t exist. My friends and family had a difficult time coming to terms with my self-diagnosis, too; in fact, they stayed in the denial phase of the grief process for months, and are still there now. They said obtuse, insensitive things to mask their pain, such as, “Kelsey, if you must nurse this delusion, please don’t talk about it with your Aunt Charlene. She’s been so brave throughout her illness, it would be really despicable for you to try this attention-grabbing act in front of her.”
Like most things in my life, my saving grace came in the form of an online message board. After being neglected by my doctor, spurned by the support groups that were designed to help people like me, and ignored by the family who just couldn’t cope with their grief, a wonderful woman named Green_Feather17 stepped in to provide me with the care that I, and all cancer patients, deserve. She explained to me that, combined with a great deal of positive thinking, green tea and peppermint oil can cure cancer, and I am proud to report that, after three weeks of careful treatment with green tea and peppermint oil, my tumor has disappeared and I am now cancer-free!
Even now that it’s all behind me, people around me are STILL struggling to accept me as a cancer survivor. When I showed my doctor that I had successfully cured my cancer, she said, “Right. Mild inflammation of the lymph nodes tends to take care of itself.” My best friend from college recently said, “You know Kelsey, spreading around misinformation could harm people who are actually suffering from cancer. You’re being irresponsible.” That made me proud: I have really started a dialogue about cancer amongst my friends!
Going through this struggle has its other benefits too. I’ve set a brave example for other people to diagnose and treat their own cancer, and knowing that means as much to me as the relief I feel from beating my own cancer. If you take away anything from this, please don’t trust egotistical doctors and their Western “knowledge.” Trust in yourself and you will find your own kind of healing.