Why Cancer Was the Beginning of My Life, Not the End
“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
I’ll never forget the moment the words fell from my doctor’s mouth. In one fell swoop, the “perfect” persona that I’d spent thirty-plus years carefully constructing received what would ultimately become a fatal blow. Following that fateful day of demarcation, my life would never again be the same.
But let me back up a bit.
By the time I’d arrived at my early thirties, I was cloaked in all the trappings of outward success: a lucrative career in the high-paced, high-stress world of high-end commercial real estate; a swanky West L.A. apartment filled with pretty things and a closet full of designer clothes; and a perfect size-two body that I’d finally learned how to punish and deprive myself into maintaining.
At that time, I was what I would now refer to as an expert in applying “Band-Aids.” Desperate to avoid confronting anything uncomfortable—whether in the realm of my body, mind, or emotions—I numbed myself with a creative array of distraction techniques.
High-carb, sugary desserts were my go-to for suppressing painful feelings—and, soon after, toxic processed foods, diet pills, and eventually drugs became my go-to for managing the resulting weight gain.
When work became too stressful, I’d buy yet another new outfit, round up my crew of girls, and throw back a few cocktails to drown out my day while rocking the dance floor late into the night.
If I could hide the not-so-pretty painful stuff behind some slim fit designer jeans, a fresh highlight, and a smile, I thought, all would be a-okay. That I had no energy, got sick all the time, and generally felt like crap most of the time seemed acceptable, even normal.
I had a collection of Band-Aids to mask those symptoms, too.
A few weeks after I heard the c-word fall from the mouth of my doctor, I found myself staring up at a bright white light as the doctor cut an incision down the bridge of my nose.
I felt nothing, but I knew in that moment that my life would never be the same.
I just didn’t realize at the time how it was going to change. The significance of surgery on my face did not escape me.
This was not on my ankle, but instead front and center where everyone would see it. My bangs were not going to hide this scar. Nothing could hide this outward reflection of my inner disconnect.
The truth was there was no more hiding from anything. I knew my body was speaking to me at a whole new level. This was my wakeup call; it was time for the Band-Aids to come off.