At the age of 54, Caryn Murray was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer after she noticed signs of something being “off.” In pursuit of answers, Caryn went on a healing journey of combining conventional medical treatments with holistic healing. She is now cancer-free and sharing her experience, knowledge, and wisdom as a Certified Radical Remission Teacher and Coach. Here is her story in her own words.
“In 2013, at the age of 54, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Appendix cancer, which is rare and usually found when looking for something else. Audrey Hepburn also had Appendix Cancer. After going through menopause and losing that extra weight women sometimes put on, I knew something was off because my belly was huge like I was 6-7 months pregnant. It was disproportionate. My original OBGYN scheduled me for a hysterectomy, as she felt my belly was the result of fibroid tumor growth after menopause. I asked her if she felt this was cancer and she responded “no.” I was opened and closed [surgically] within minutes of that procedure. My family was told I had cancer; it was extensive and everywhere. The hospital I was at didn’t have the specialists I needed, and truly this was a blessing in disguise! At that time, they felt I had stage 4 ovarian cancer and every staff person at that first hospital (doctors, nurses, aides) made me feel as if I were dying. They held the wrong attitude and energy for me. I decided, for me, to combine the best that conventional medicine had to offer with proactive, holistic treatments as well.
Blessed with Loyola University Medical Center – a teaching hospital – close to home, I had my initial consultation with the head of the gynecologic oncology department, Dr. Ronald Potkul. When we left this appointment, we were given hope and did the Snoopy happy dance on the way out! This doctor said, “I do this all day, every day. I have your back!” What a night and day difference compared to my first experience! Prior to my rescheduled hysterectomy, I was required to have a colonoscopy first, to rule out colon cancer. As a side note, I grew up with Ulcerative Colitis. Eleven days after my first full abdominal incision, my hysterectomy and initial tumor de-bulking surgery was completed. Approximately 15 pounds of tumors were removed. Mucin also filled my belly area (hence my pregnant-looking belly), and samples were evaluated to determine the source of the cancer. The pathology report determined it was stage 4 appendiceal, or appendix, cancer. Who in the world has ever heard of appendix cancer? Not me!
Next in my treatment plan was four rounds of chemotherapy in preparation for HIPEC surgery, which was a 12-hour surgery with further tumor de-bulking, finished off with 90 minutes of spraying heat-infused chemotherapy inside my abdomen in order to coat any cancer cells that were microscopically present. During that second surgery, my spleen, gallbladder, ascending colon, plus part of my sigmoid and rectum, part of my liver, and two parts of my diaphragm were removed. (At the time of my hysterectomy, my appendix and omentum were removed as they contained large tumors). I came out of the HIPEC surgery with an ileostomy that was reversed 5.5 months later. My surgeon, Dr. Gerard Abood is my hero! He promised to do everything he could for me and he did! Because my disease was so advanced, I chose to prepare for the HIPEC surgery as a first option and not a last resort.
I combined conventional medicine with many alternative healing modalities, along with incorporating all the 9 factors Dr. Turner notes in her book. I am blessed that my sister, Eileen Yelovich, has her PhD in Holistic Health and was also my caregiver! I had a total of four surgeries, numerous healing sessions (Energy Touch, Healing Touch, Reiki, Lumalight by Spectrahue color/light Therapy, Music Therapy, Biomat Therapy, Vibrational Therapy with VibroAcoustics, medicinal acupuncture at Harvard Medical school) and faith healing (John of God and the Chimayo Sanctuary, NM), plus supportive prayer by many groups. Bottom line, I am the miracle my doctors are talking about! I am here to say “You are not your diagnosis! Your body is amazing and holds miraculous healing capabilities!” I am so blessed to be alive and cannot wait to help empower those currently on their own personal cancer journey. I am certified by Dr. Turner to bring Radical Remission workshops to the public and I am available as a Radical Remission one-on-one coach. Reach out to me for support any time! I AM cancer free (NED) since 9/2013!”
EDITOR’S NOTE: As of January 2019, Caryn remains well and thriving post-cancer diagnosis.
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