It is estimated that by 2030, cancer will be the leading cause of death in the United States. The rate of cancer fatalities is rising each year. It is said that 1 out of every 2 men, and 1 out of every three women get some form of cancer in their lifetime. In women, breast cancer is the prominent cause of death. Whether it is malignant or benign, cancer cells are just cancer cells. One moment you are free of cancer and the next it has spread from its primary base to the rest of your body. Then, does it mean having cancer is a life sentence of misery and pain until death? Certainly, Angie Lima doesn’t think having cancer gives you the right to give up on your life.
It all began in 2017 when Angie Lima was diagnosed with breast cancer. Being a mother to a beautiful daughter and wife to a loving husband, Angie never thought a disease would turn her reality upside down. She had lived her life as an athlete and a diet conscious person. Therefore, it was highly unlikely for her to be at high risk of cancer.
Her first experience of losing hair happened on a Friday. At that time, every store and the public facility was closed due to the fierce ice storm in Nashville, TN.
On that day, she was playing with her daughter and dog outside the house, ” All of a sudden I reached down, put my fingers through my hair and start playing with her again. Then, I look at our dog and noticed he had this mustache. I remember looking at him thinking what was on your face? I only came to find out it was my very long piece of hair that had fallen out just a moment ago.”
Angie’s hair came out in big chunks from that day onwards. So, she decided to shave it all off with the help of her husband. It took strength and acceptance to cut her long thick hair and embrace the bald look. Nothing can prepare a woman to lose hair in such a way as cancer does.
Since there is nothing more she could do about the state of her hair, she had to come into terms with it. The cancer was affecting her hair, causing the strands to break and fall off when touched or pulled. The transformation of whom she was and what she was becoming was the ultimate revelation of how intense battling with cancer has been the past few weeks.
Angie, couldn’t recognize herself when she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. She had stepped into the bathroom to have a shower when she spotted her frail, pale, skinny, bald self staring back at her. Angie had lost pounds since she was diagnosed with cancer, a signature that comes with the disease. Not recognizing yourself, according to her, was the most difficult part of her journey. However, the fighter in her was not yet ready to give up.
In search of answers, Angie’s first instinct was to try every available treatment that would slow down the progress of cancer cells. She tried natural remedies like essential oils and dieting.
Also, she made the extra effort to look for surgeons and radiologists known for their groundbreaking cancer treatments. At least, she wanted something or someone who would give her what she needed the most. That is, a chance to beat the disease and get back to her family as a whole and healthy person.
She even tried all kinds of therapy; hypnotherapy, chemotherapy, IV therapy, immunotherapy, and light therapy. Unfortunately, none gave her the type of healing she desired. Test after test, she fell into an emotional rollercoaster after several false flags of hope of being cancer-free, was raised and pulled down more than once. So, you may ask, will Angie continue with her journey to find healing? Or is this just the beginning to a life of searching for lost answers.
Despite the massive effort to find a treatment that suits her needs, Angie’s had what she needed most. Her family’s love and support. She chose to go on with her journey spiritually and emotionally with family as she sought medical intervention. This was the only way she would get through this difficult patch in her life, on her terms.
What about friends and acquaintances? Aren’t they part of the family circle? Yes, she has friends. But what mattered most was creating an environment in which she was free to make her own choice without scrutiny or pressure.
”It’s funny that people say, ‘ the more people know, the more they will pray for you’. I think that’s true but you also don’t know what people are praying for in the process.” Angie explained as she drove back to her home from running errands in town.
She went on explaining why she preferred to keep her life a secret, ”Everyone’s got an opinion of what you should and shouldn’t do. I think that’s great. But at the end of the day, unless it’s you, you can’t say what you would or would not do.
Her choice to listen to what her body says and follow what she believed in years before she was diagnosed with cancer, is what made her make this choice. She recalls her grandfather who suffered from lung cancer. He passed away before she was born but what happened to him is what made her stand by choices today.
”Once i knew what happened to my gandpa, I vowed if ever be diagnosed with something like cancer, I would not do chemotherapy. I would not do radiation. No way!” Angie declared.
From the stories, Angie remembers how the fate of her grandfather was sealed the moment he started chemotherapy and had radiation. The cancer had spread radically and his health deteriorated after the treatments. Because of that, she knew she won’t take the same path as her grandfather, despite the medical advancements of this present time.
Being diagnosed with breast cancer at the peak of her life changed everything. It goes beyond being a chapter of your life to a completely new different book of your life story. They say change is inevitable, but are you ready to face whatever change brings into your life?
Angie struggled with social life and what she ate. ” All of a sudden I couldn’t go to a restaurant and look at food the same way.’ Her health consciousness took a turn to a toxic turn and this frustrated her husband whenever they went out. She couldn’t just go to a restaurant without criticizing what she eats or drinks. Not to mention pointing out the dietary danger each food poses, making every eat-out a nightmare for her husband.
However, she decided to turn the ‘health nut’ down a notch, but still, maintain a healthy lifestyle for the sake of her family’s and her sanity. Her friend Rebbecca couldn’t agree more, ” I mean we don’t want you to just eat anything but, we just want you to pack the pounds back on- which you’ve done since you started feeling better.”
Since the day Angie chose to relax the reins on strict dieting, her health has been improving gradually. She identifies herself as a warrior who is not battling her body, but helping it to heal from the cancer cells that came from within.
”I do believe that your body creates this (cancer). It takes courage and strength to battle this kind of diagnosis. However, you can’t fight something your body created. You can’t fight yourself. That to me mentally is a losing battle. So my body created it this will help my body heal it.” Angie smiled as she sat on the table with her friends, husband, and daughter.
In future, Angie and her husband plan on going to a treatment center where they will help her body heal naturally the way it’s supposed to. In this place, they’ll find out what kinds of treatments and activities they’ll engage in to build her physical and spiritual defense against breast cancer.
The good thing is, she is aware of the program the facility provides them, and the experts who’ll run tests to determine the state of her body. Above all, she looks forward to the mental, physical, and spiritual healing in the therapy sessions where they’ll talk about what got them to that point.
However, this time she is ready to go through the whole process until the end. Previously, she had checked herself out of thyroid therapy before completion. As a result, she suffered untold consequences weeks after prematurely pulling out of treatment. ” My hormones started to change and a couple of weeks later, the lump developed.” In spite of the horrible experience, she still wants to know more about thyroid and everything associated with it.
Through it all, her friends express admiration of how well Angie’s and her husband are handling the situation. Phillippe, Agie’s husband admits it’s his wife who made the situation easier for him. Her positive attitude is what made the whole ordeal ”ok” to handle.
Regardless, of the tough and sad moments Angie has gone through, she still believes she and others like her can heal naturally. ” I’m gonna be home soon and we can get back to enjoying life and living life together. Despite the anticipation, I am really excited to meet everybody at the treatment facility.”