In 2013, Justine was diagnosed at the age of 45 with an aggressive Stage 3 colon cancer, which had metastasized to her ovary, small intestine, and lymph nodes. Here is her story in her own words:
Following the death of my father to colon cancer, I was very reluctant to choose the same treatment path he took, which was also presented to me by my oncologist. I had to figure out what I needed to do to heal, so I spent many hours researching other integrative healing options and declined to do the conventional treatments of chemotherapy and radiation.
One thing was, in fact, crystal clear to me since day one. Chemo and radiation didn’t sit right for me, and I had to TRUST my intuition that this was the right thing to do. I felt my body had created this tumor and wasn’t feeling at ease with using chemo. I felt chemo would poison my already weakened body in order to ‘kill’ my cancer. After all, I weighed only 45kg (99lbs) at this point.
It made perfect sense to me to actually try and heal my body instead of using the recommended toxic chemo drugs. I respect the courage of everyone’s choice, though, if they do decide to do the treatments — and many people get through the treatments very well. People think I was brave to cross the border and receive alternative medicine to save my life, and yet I think people who do chemo are brave. I realize many choices are made quickly because there is a sense of urgency instilled by the oncologist for us to act quickly.
We may save ourselves more harm if we take some time to research healthy ways to optimize our healing, regardless of what treatments options sit right with us. We are part of our success, and deep down I knew I could do this my way, and I wanted to choose what was best for my body and not be thrown into FEAR by what the doctors told me I SHOULD do!
You go through shock at first. It’s a choice to adjust and love yourself regardless, and believe that you will be loved again, scars and all. We’ve all got something that doesn’t fit in our scope of the perfect body. I think our soul can become more beautiful as more scars collect on the outside. If people worked out their souls as much as they worked out their bodies, this world would be a better place to live in. At the time of my diagnosis, I had made another big decision. I didn’t intend to allow cancer to rule my life. I never pitied myself. Once I had reached that place of acceptance, I wasn’t going to allow others to do so, either. I felt so positive and inspired to find a new way forward through this process. I knew why I wanted to live and I knew my journey would allow me to open myself up to a new way of being; I just had to trust the process.
After living through this, I tell my story to as many people as will listen, as I believe that I made it through all of this for a reason. It may sound a little weird, but I chose to thank my cancer for coming and saw it as a blessing in many ways. I want to be an inspiration to others. I want just one person to make a decision to see a doctor after hearing me, or maybe I can help someone live with a cancer diagnosis.
If I can help someone make a decision on his or her journey in this crazy world, or if someone can look at me and think, “Wow, look at what she went through, look at what she was told, but she is still here, so I can do it too,” then it was worth it.
You don’t have to listen to the odds and the statistics. Cancer is a label, a phrase, not a way of life or a death sentence. Just look at me! I am living my truth and I love every minute of helping others to live theirs too. Whenever someone asks me about my health and how I’m feeling I say, “I’m awesome, I feel so good!” — because the majority of the time I am and I do. I still struggle with an underlying level of fatigue some days but I live a very full, happy, and healthy life – despite having cancer cells in my body.
As part of this journey, I have been inspired to learn a new way forward. I have a deeply embedded passion to help people live to be the best they can be. We have so much more control over our health & well-being than most people realize…at any age.
Cancer and the healing transformation has given me the reason to be, a greater understanding of who I am, love and acceptance of my imperfections, and gratitude for the opportunity to work with people who want to find greater happiness.
EDITOR’S NOTE: As of April 2020, Justine is thriving post-diagnosis.
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