CANCER JAM OF THE DAY:
I’m about to step off a precipice into a free-fall. Where I’ll land, nobody knows. Will there be a net? Maybe. I feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland sans acid. At least I hope no giant white rabbits will appear in this gig.
My odyssey into becoming a full-fledged chiropractor has been longer and more filled with twists and turns than a Swiss mountain road. I’ve been doing it in a half-assed, chicken shit kind of way for years; a small home office with a few family members and friends of friends. If it had been my sole source of income all this time, let’s just say Alpo would be looking mighty good for dinner about now. Thankfully, I’ve been employed in a hospital lab as well, so I can afford groceries.
Oh, I’ve had plenty of legitimate reasons for dragging my feet. Let’s see. I got pregnant right out of chiropractic school with the idea of working at the lab for a couple of years and then starting my practice when the baby was a little older. That was planned. My oldest child died four days after she was born. That was not planned. That one threw me for a loop. I finally recovered enough to think about a practice again. I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Ok, God, time to challenge someone else!
Well, here I am, still standing and rebelling. And I’m pulling myself back up to try again. I have had many opportunities come calling in the past few weeks, and I’m listening very carefully. It looks like I may be getting an office next month in a holistic practice including two acupuncturists and a massage therapist.
Holy crapballs, what am I doing? I’m terrified, yet exhilarated. The two crazy people in my head have been arguing non-stop for days.
“Stop! Are you nuts? It’s the holiday season in a bad economy and you want to start a business? Why don’t you just slit your wrists while you’re at it?” (I know, this one is a bit dramatic.)
“I know it’s a little crazy, but it can’t be a coincidence that I keep getting offers to rent space. The universe is sending out lots of signals, and I shouldn’t ignore them.” (This one is a little naive but very sweet.)
It’s true though. I feel like someone is reaching right down from the cosmos and kicking me hard in the ass. And I have a strong feeling that person is my son. At least I’d really like to think so. He was my biggest cheerleader for starting a practice while he was alive, and he is no doubt wondering what the holdup is.
It would seem that I had to wait for the cancer to reveal it’s true purpose. I’ve written about how this horrible diagnosis has made some positive changes in my life quite unexpectedly. And they continue to unfold in delicate layers. As a result of this experience, I have developed a strong desire to help others through cancer treatment and recovery. I’ve spent years doing continuing education in nutrition, supplementation, and functional medicine. And yet I had no direction for all that knowledge, just a closet full of lecture notes and a dwindling bank account.
In the past year I have put much of that knowledge to the test in designing my own “integrative” treatment plan. I’ve been the ultimate guinea pig, navigating the taboo world of alternative medicine in an effort to salvage my body from the wreckage of conventional cancer treatment. And I must say, I haven’t fared too badly. I’ve missed less than a week of work through chemo and radiation so far. What a shame that people have to search for holistic treatment like drug addicts in a dark alley or else face the disdain of theIr doctors. I want to be the “go-to woman” in my community.
So what will I do when that first cancer patient shows up looking for help? Give her an awesome adjustment, of course. And hold her hand and tell her it will be okay when she doesn’t know if she can do it. And arm her with information so she will be prepared and not be as terrified. And together we’ll create a plan to help her not just survive cancer, but to thrive in spite of it. Now that is a vocation.