One of my earliest memories is lying in bed, deathly still, slightly afraid, and listening to the blood rush through my body. My 7 year old self imagined this was God's army marching towards earth in preparation for the war between good and bad.Who knows where this nighttime idea came from?I am catholic, but at 7 I had not been exposed to the end of times scriptures. In fact, it was the opposite. I'd only been exposed to the prayers, the Ten Commandments and The Tenet that You love everybody as you love yourself. God was an ubiquitous all-loving entity.Where ever this idea came from, I don't know, but I do know these thoughts, dreams, visions, guidance, whatever you'd like to call them, have stayed with me throughout my life.They've stayed with me because I've kept my heart open, praying for guidance and acceptance.However, even I, who is strong in belief and faith, have been hesitant to write about my experiences for fear of alienating others even though there is a huge, often unspoken, connection between faith and dying.Me, silly me, who has no problem posting about politics like my life depends on it, has hesitated to post about the religious beliefs that have guided me to put my heart into my messages.Me, who started writing with a pledge that whatever I was embarrassed about going through, whatever I wanted to hide, needed to be written so others didn't feel alone or ashamed.For as long as I can remember, I've had a close relationship with my higher power. This relationship has given me the knowledge that I am here for a reason, that I have a purpose, that I'll always have my needs met if I continue to have faith, that I'll remain safe, and all the bad that happens to me, has a reason.When I was twelve I read Andrew Weil's Spontaneous Healing for fun at the beach on vacation.Yes, I have always been that kind of science geek.That was when I became obsessed with virally induced diseases, such as HIV and blood cancers. Alongwith the aforementioned information, A 1993 study linked living near power lines in Nevada to childhood leukemia. I lived near power lines. It was then I became distracted by the idea that I'd get leukemia and die young. I'd die by thirty, to be exact.That was also the year I contracted mononucleosis, or the Epstein-Barr Virus, the only known link to contracting blood cancers. I started then to study alternative treatments for improving all aspects of health, starting with Native American remedies (myself being minimally Native American)and moving on to aromatherapy, massage, etc., anything available to a 12 year old.I knew then what I still know, that a cure is in the world, we just haven't found it yet. I pledged to myself that if I ever found any information that would cure these ailments I'd find a way to give it to the world for FREE. I'd dream of inventing the cure, a long series of equations, and blasting it across the front page of every newspaper in the world.Even then there was the issue of whether people could afford their medications to survive, and even at 12, I was not going to allow that to happen. I knew if I gave the directions that anybody anywhere with the proper ingredients could create it themselves.Following my heart, my dreams, and signs guided me to The College of New Rochelle. I was cleaning my room thinking of where I'd go after high school when I stumbled on a series of prayer books, all published in New Rochelle, NY.Later, I was researching going abroad with a charitable organization, Cross-Cultural Solutions, only to realize their home base was located in New Rochelle, NY.I entered college in 2001 as a communications/journalism major hoping to pioneer a new, rarely recognized genre of electronic publishing, but had a nagging that I my future would be more secure with nursing.My mom says she'll never forget the day I told her that, "I could be a journalist without a degree, but i could not be a nurse without an education."After Sept. 11 I prayed for an answer regarding my major change and that night I was clearly told "Go to nursing."I did and never looked back, hoping that I would use nursing as a specialty in my investigative journalism pieces in the future.No one knew then what we all know now: that I'd barely be able to practice as an RN but my knowledge would save my life, and I would do exactly what I'd always dreamed of.My faith has allowed me to view my suffering as a divine purpose, as a cross to be carried, a challenge that was given to me by a all-knowing higher being for a greater good.It has provided comfort where no other could.One thing I know to be true, with out quantifiable evidence, is I would never have survived as long as I have without my faith and without the prayers of others.
Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.
He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.
Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."
I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.
I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."