by: Christina Parrish
I was taking good care of myself.... eating right (so I thought), and getting my exercise. I gradually began to notice a difference in my energy level. At first, I thought it was because I was a workaholic. My appetite became poor, and I just could not figure out what was wrong. I went to my family physician. She stated that I never was in her office. I explained how I was feeling and that something did not seem right. We did x-rays and a CT scan. I came back five days later to.... "You have a mass in your pancreas and lesions on your liver." My life, literally, flashed before my eyes! WHAT? I asked if they could just remove them, and my P.A. just shook her head as her eyes welled up with tears. She started talking about an appointment with an oncologist. I knew it was cancer. So many thoughts were going through my head. I am too young for this. Tears began to fall. Then I thought.....this must be a bad dream. This can't happen to me. That was a beautiful June day in 2008 -- a day that changed my life.
It took me two months to get to a hospital that wanted to fight with me. I had an "angel" from work who assisted me in getting it straightened out and I say a little prayer each day for her. But during this time, I was going crazy from all the information that I read about pancreatic cancer and knew it would take a miracle for me to beat the odds. I spent time reading spiritual books, learned to meditate, and began Reiki therapy. I spent time mentally preparing for the fight of my life, With insurance issues handled, it was time to go to Chicago.
You are probably wondering why I went to Chicago? The survival rates of pancreatic cancer are: Newly diagnosed: 44,030 -- Folks that do not make it 37,660. That is a big reason why I chose to go to Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA). They had innovative treatments and positive results with pancreatic cancer -- and they gave me hope (they never told me I had a specific time frame to live). I am proud to say that I am almost a 3 1/2 year Survivor.
Through my family of amazing caregivers, CTCA, and the grace of God, I have been given a new lease on life! I do a lot of outreach work at home and during travel to Chicago. I am using social media as a way to communicate with others affected by cancer. We have built a little community to support and uplift one another. These folks give me inspiration each day and I hope that I give them the same in return. I am thankful to have met so many people through sharing our cancer journeys. Cancer changed me. I was just going through the motions before, sometimes taking life for granted. I know that life is precious and fragile and can be taken from us at any time. Live each day, each moment, like it is your last.
Express gratitude and love each day to those you care about. And take in the small moments in life...they are the most precious.
You can follow my journey on Facebook: http://m.facebook.com/chrisinrealtime