The public is aware of the suffering and strain we live with as humans striving to thrive in the world. As this ‘pink’ month of October just closed for 2019, I share a story about what it really means to create the conditions to thrive, for ourselves and others.
On September 6th, 2019, I left a scan and MRI to go on about my life. Suddenly the phone began ringing, repeatedly. On the other end of the line was a doctor “Ms. DeAngelis, are you still near the hospital? We’ve received some alarming results of today’s MRI. There is a very concerning very large lesion in your brain, you need you to come IMMEDIATELY to the emergency room.”
Wow. If you’ve ever had news like this on the other end of the phone, you can relate to the rush of fear that washes over you when being diagnosed. I hung up and began walking in circles in the middle Manhattan, trying to think about what I would do with my animals, my life. Instant confusion. Trauma. I couldn’t even remember how to get to the nearest train. The phone rang again “Ms. DeAngelis? Are you on your way? We have testing waiting for you now, please do not delay." More probing from me led to, "You may want to come by ambulance, this looks to be rather large metastatic cancer of the brain. Please, do not walk near the subway platform. Get here right away.”
Now, I’m paraphrasing but you get the gist of the story. The phone rang four times in a row before I could figure out what was my next step. I live alone in NYC, but I have built and fostered a beautiful community.
So I called the team at You Can Thrive! Eileen, our Director of Programs answered. She and others from our organization were standing by to provide our weekly ‘Live Sound / Reiki Journey’. When that call was received, everyone at You Can Thrive! sprang into action. Immediately the news traveled. As I was on my way uptown to the Emergency Room, the Reiki team were called. Compassionate presence was needed. Powerful hands-on contemplative care workers, the same ones who are at the bedside of all those who receive services and also end of life care through the programs at YCT. The volunteers give because they CARE. I will thank them in person, but suffice it to say-- they will never be forgotten. Not just by myself, but by so many.
It is hard to be devastated in the face of that much love. The humanitarian presence of these volunteers helped me to feel calmer, even with all the beeping and the bright lights.
In any medical setting, the energy of the place is just overwhelming. Dozens of doctors reiterate bad news. A new reality, and the perceived HOPELESSNESS of the situation. In the midst of it all, the compassionate team from You Can Thrive! brought me hope, peace and unconditional love. Our service dogs were brought to my side, I remembered to do EFT tapping, and someone fed me healthy food. The sound of tuning forks and the smell of Young Living essential oils reminded me to focus on healing.
For quite a while I had been experiencing a different way of seeing the world: when I look around I see color and energy flow. Even though my vision felt enhanced, testing revealed I have lost a lot of peripheral vision. There is hyper sensitivity or ‘synesthesia’. This means sound, smells, and feelings are enhanced.
As you can imagine it was challenging to feel centered. But nothing could convince me that I was dying.
The scans showed a 6.8 cm brain lesion that was pressing on the left side near the middle/back of the brain.
This news would have been crippling to anyone who is alone and unsupported.
I would have lost all hope if I had listened to the grim tale of my fate that morning. If I had listened, I would have died.
I was in shock. I was grappling with my inevitable demise, and soon. But I was surrounded by charitable, earth-bound angels. Within an hour of receiving the news holistic practitioners began to show up through our network at You Can Thrive! and they brought so much relief. The Reiki and support gave me strength. Through those hearts and hands, I saw in real time, what we give at You Can Thrive! I was NOT ALONE.
Neither are you…
I was I was kept in the ER from 4 P.M. to 4 A.M. before being admitted Friday morning. The whole time I was told by a team of doctors that I was experiencing seizures, and I was told again that I needed anti-seizure medication, steroids, and brain surgery. Dozens of tests and doctors did take ‘care’ of me; however, up until my discharge on Friday evening no one except the team at YCT offered the touch of a hand on my arm, or a simple compassionate question “Are you ok?”
Without You Can Thrive! no one would have said, “Can we get you something to help calm you? This must be shocking.”
I was given care by way of all the tests and medical groundwork that were needed, but not a trace of real healing energy. Not a trace of HOPE.
The doctors said they would do their best to ‘keep me comfortable’. It was clear that they did not expect me to survive. Still, the first thing that was prescribed was to slice open my scalp and saw open my brain to release the pressure. After surgery, the plan was to radiate. Additionally, they offered multiple drugs- steroids, seizure meds, etc. etc. The terrifying treatment plan for this was deemed to be easy. Though all the tests showed full cognition the scans were very shocking. It is understandable that for them it was hard to believe I was still talking and walking with this diagnosis of 'metastatic brain cancer'.
Our system was doing its best. I was offered what they had. But all the factors were not considered. Too seldom our system does not utilize the ‘art of medicine’ or the ‘biology of belief’ to foster hope. I was offered only the apparent 'end-stage' diagnosis.
They were all there to help, but being so sensitive to energy, I only felt that this environment was not at all conducive to healing. I could visually see it, due to the massive compression in the left side of my brain. I asked the neurosurgeon, “If you saw open my skull, are you hoping to heal me?” He quickly stated “No, no, no. We are here only to keep you comfortable.”
For me, this was a firsthand snapshot of our current medical system. They do their best, but it is disconnect, cut and dried. It's loud and bright and confusing. It doesn’t feel healing or supportive.
So to them all I stated, “This is what healing looks like. What you are seeing on the scans is a very paranormal brain. This is not cancer, that is not my story.” Judging by their expressions, they must have thought I was crazy.
Only strong intuitive guidance insisted that I "Kiss the dragon" on that day. So, I did.
I listened to that inner guidance that I had meticulously cultivated during my decades in the healing arts. I refused all the treatments they offered me, because I was being told to- by a higher power.
This past month a lot of very miraculous things happened. I had a host of visions and discernments which I hope to write and share with you later.
For now, I wanted you to know that I am ok, and I am here only because of the team at You Can Thrive! All of the members who have helped myself and so many others going through cancer over the years. The healing energy offered in person, and also remotely, was a life-saving gift.
I was only able hear my internal intuition because I was able to stay balanced. I was only able to stay balanced because there was real SUPPORT in that room with me every step of the way. I had a whole team outside the medical arena.
SO DO YOU.
This is what You Can Thrive! offers. This is what is must be added to medicine.
It’s been five weeks now, and I made it through breast cancer HEALTH month of October- barely. When I reentered the oncologist's office after that fatal diagnosis, they scratched their head, surprised that I had not had any major episode, confusion, seizure, or even a headache.
“This must not be metastatic brain cancer.”
It was exactly as my intuition had told me. Radiation, surgery and drugs were not going to benefit me. A miracle. I got through that misdiagnosis, thanks to angels who were there for me. These are the same people who are waiting to be there for anyone who needs them, through this mission.
By releasing my story in NOVEMBER I offer a gentle reminder for all of us. It’s time to illustrate why it’s important to have independent SUPPORTIVE CARE SERVICES and hands-on selfless LOVE every day, not just in October.
For 15 years this April, You Can Thrive! has continued to hold space for healing in the most difficult circumstances. We have watched many heal, and many leave us. Without consistent funding. We need your help.
My heart would not be beating right now without all those caring people who were there on that fateful day. These same people facilitate the many services and complete health paradigm we have set into motion, and I believe that you will want to be a part of it.
LOVE. This is the future of true care and the future of true medicine. It is time to truly integrate our system. Healing only starts if a person is given the safety and tools to make decisions that are WISE. You Can Thrive! is the safety net that drives the future of transformative care.
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