From Darkness to Light
Isabel Hanelin

I want to tell you this story from my life.

The darkness of a cancer diagnosis is undeniable like the darkness of winter.  Everything is still except the glaring statistics and frightening recommendations.  I looked for the light and heard an inner voice trying to guide me.

My body was tilted away from the light.  I wanted to know what caused my cancer. Nobody knew.  How can I heal something if nobody knew what caused it,  I wondered.  That was the beginning of my journey toward the light.  I was drawn to the stories of exceptional survivors, those with radical remissions, and those with wisdom to share.  There were hundreds of books to read.  I devoured them and started a library.

They guided my journey in three directions: the food I would consume, the healers I would trust, and the support community I would seek.  Each of these would let in a little more light, one day at a time. 

It was winter and food was a natural survival strategy.  Organic plants became my new best friend.  Learning how to juice them, combine them, and cook them can be an art form as everything in nature is synergistic.  I focused on plants to support my immunity and repair my DNA.  Organic was important because toxins had been damaging my cells causing then to loose their natural rhythms.  I learned though that my body had the potential to heal and repair itself, if I took very good care of it.  I would have to improve and refine this care over and over again.  I would strive to bring my body back in harmony.

Next, I needed a healing team.  I loved my surgeon best; we had a good repoire; she listened and was very respectful.  She skillfully removed my breast tumors and I healed well.  My oncologist and I had a bumpy road at first,  but we both hung in there and things got better over time. More light was coming in. I also had a remarkable chiropractor, a good Reiki teacher, and great naturopath. I worked with them all, more light to guide me.  I listened to the inner voice. No one had all the answers, each had some.

I also needed a support community.  This journey was not one to travel alone.  There were no clearly marked trails.  Gratefully, I found a support group at FCT, a special  group where we wrote as well as talked.  It was the stories of my group members that inspired me,  their courage, their challenges, and their triumphs.  The writing would always lead me toward the light and that inner voice.  I was also fortunate to have a supportive family, especially my husband, who accompanied me to all my appointments and cooked with me all of the time.

Cancer is a warning sign for me.  As I wondered about the disharmony in my own body, I thought of myself as carrying a reflection of a larger disharmony, one that threatened our entire planet.  I noticed the floods, the fires, the excessive hurricanes, and finally a Covid 19 pandemic as virulent as my cancer that brought me to my knees.  I wondered how these might be all connected and how I could make a difference.  I came to realize that if I were to become more loving of myself, more inclusive of others, and more attentive to my environment, that my life would be filled with more light.  And that commitment took me more and more toward the light I was seeking.

Healing my cancer has meant choosing my healers wisely, building inclusive and caring communities, and caring for our planet so that she may be a source of nurturance with her bounty of healthy and restorative plants. 

May this story feed you and be a shelter for your life.