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Excerpt from "Live, Laugh, Love"

by Peggy Richey


Face the Music

When we least expect it, life changes or perhaps more accurately—life happens.

We have the chance to spend time with and tell the people we love in our lives

how much they mean to us. Do it now! Why wait until it is too late? Let’s thank

them for being in our lives and tell them what they have meant to us and how

they have influenced us. When we hurt each other’s feelings, apologize and ask

for forgiveness. Don’t let old relationships flounder over petty issues and misunderstandings;

instead embrace your friends, loved ones, and forget the small

grievances. There is no such thing as loving our family and friends too much.

The Road Less Traveled

During this entire time I had made a commitment to change my lifestyle, and

diet. My life stress was still high, and I had too many responsibilities, but such

was life. In March of 2005, I started working with a Wellness Center and started

juicing, cleansing my body, and changing my body chemistry from acidic to

alkaline.

The twenty-one-day body cleanse was totally regimented. In the beginning,

it required juicing three times a day. I went to Whole Foods three to four times

a week for organic vegetables and bought them in huge quantities. When I got

them home it was a three-hour ordeal to wash, drain, and package them in my

refrigerator. After the cleanse, I continued to juice daily and constantly checked

my system with test strips to maintain an alkaline level. I was also getting more

sleep at night because my body needed it.

Talk about boring. My life was totally regimented—get up in the morning,

go to work, go on appointments, come home, prepare food or wash vegetables,

eat, go to bed, and start all over in the morning. I also installed a water purification

system in my house and an additional reverse-osmosis filter for drinking

water at the kitchen sink.

Because I believe so strongly in homeopathic and naturopathic practitioners,

I decided to wait before submitting to the more toxic chemotherapies;

after some investigation and a referral from one of my life coaches, I made trips

to Arizona every six weeks to work with Dr. Ber, a homeopathic physician. I

discussed this with my oncologist, Dr. Levinson, and though he may not have

agreed, he understood and accepted my decision.

I would fly out to Arizona on a Monday morning and fly home that same

evening. Being out of the office for just one day every six weeks allowed me

to keep my cancer a secret. I still felt that it would hurt the business if people

knew.

It was important to me to find other methods before resorting to toxic poisons

in my body. Dr. Ber was actually a medical doctor, but he had practiced homeopathic

medicine for thirty years. He also believed that healing involved the

mind, body, and spirit, so he referred me to Shalom Siegel, one of his associates

who holds a master’s degree in psychology.

All Things Must Pass

Grieving is a natural process for everyone. For some it takes minutes, and for

others it takes days, months, or years. There is no right or wrong way to go

through the process because there is no typical response. Don’t be hard on yourself

if you feel that your process is taking too long. Don’t let your friends tell you

that you haven’t grieved enough, or they are waiting for you to “crash and burn”

because you went through it too quickly.

We don’t need to compare our process with anybody else. Be patient. Our

energy is needed to concentrate on us. As cancer patients, we cannot afford to

grieve too long or we will miss the blessings cancer can bring. Only we decide if

something is a blessing or a curse.

As a cancer patient, we need to know that not all friends and family can deal

with our situation. A good friend or family member may avoid us as they deal

with their own emotions. Don’t judge them. They have their own grieving process

to go through. At times, we may be trying and difficult to work with, or we

may be wonderful and loving. They are just as scared as we are. They are not only

trying to go through their own grieving process but also taking care of us. So

they are double tired and walking around on eggshells. Let’s give them a break!

The key is to understand the stages; look for signs and know or learn how to

comfort the grieving person. There are lots of books that you can read for more

information, and you can always seek professional help if needed. We go through

seven stages of grief.

1. Shock: We feel a sense of disbelief. Bad news takes time to absorb. I always

appreciated a hug when someone couldn’t always find the right words, and

frankly, it keeps some people from putting their foot in their mouth.

2. Denial: A person’s response is this is not happening to me.

3. Anger: It is a frustrated flood of emotion that many times includes

the need to blame someone, even God. Many people become embittered

and hostile.

4. Bargaining: People look for a way out, and some try to make a deal

with God. How can I make this not happen?

5. Depression: Beginning to realize the inevitable, they are sad, lack energy,

or the ability to function. Their attitude is I don’t care anymore. Many

people stay in bed and hide from friends and family.

6. Testing: Reality sinks in and it is time to look for and test realistic

solutions.

7. Acceptance: They are now ready for what must come and to start

making decisions.

An unknown author wrote, “When the world says ‘give up,’ hope whispers

‘try it one more time.’” My response to cancer was, is, and always will be—

BRING IT ON

Entering Uncharted Waters

The cancer continued to grow, and after asking several questions of my homeopathic

physician in Arizona, I realized I had gone as far as I could with homeopathic

therapy. I returned to Dr. Levinson to start conventional chemotherapy.

Here is a great testimony to Dr Levinson. His only comment to me was that

he wished we had started sooner with the toxic chemicals. I know his statement

came from caring and hoping that the delay did not jeopardize my chances of

survival. And you know what? I was okay with that.

I feel strongly that the homeopathic and mental therapy I received, along

with my diet and chemical-free environment, did much to strengthen my immune

system and help my body fight the cancer; keeping it from spreading to

more organs.

At this point, I had tumors under my arm, on my head, around my neck,

side, back, stomach lymph nodes, lungs and two bones. Many people, including

me, believe that if the cancer doesn’t kill you, the chemotherapy might. Let’s

face it—there is no good cocktail.

In the last two and a half decades, drugs and treatments have changed.

Antinausea medicines are better, and more chemotherapy choices mean treatment

can be tailored to each individual. I know that these therapies can damage

other organs, and there are side effects that surface, hurt, or are uncomfortable,

but sometimes it is your best and only choice because homeopathic and naturopathic

will not work fast enough, and you need that integration. You cannot

worry about future effects if the current solution will save or prolong your life.

We started with Abraxane in April 2006, and I also took a pill called Femara.

You can only take a certain chemical for so long or periodically, and some

medications have a lifetime quota. After Abraxane, I switched to Cytoxan and

Adrimycin, which were very harsh cocktails, and then to Xeloda, which didn’t

work. I currently take Gemcitabine.

I joined the ranks of the bald. People may say, “Bald is beautiful,” but please,

spare me the details! Bald children with their cherub faces look wonderful—

what’s not to love? Television personality Robin Roberts looked terrific after she

lost her hair to chemotherapy, and I was proud of her when she did her fashion

show bald. But she is tall, big boned, and has smooth, creamy skin without signs

of aging. At my stage of maturity and with my small-boned, slender frame, bald

means that every wrinkle and every blemish I ever had lights up my face like a

halogen bulb.

Going bald in public was not an option for me because I had visible tumors

on my head. I was afraid that it would be disconcerting to others, and I wanted

to be sensitive to their feelings. Of course, around my good friends and family

it wasn’t important, and they didn’t care. One day, Dr. Levinson said that I was

taking healthy eating to a new extreme with “cauliflower” growing out of my

head.

I love adventure, so I take cancer day by day and treat each new challenge

as a learning experience to be enjoyed to the fullest. For those of you who are

gorgeous bald, I salute you. For the rest of us, I am easily entertained with

makeup, earrings, hats, scarves, and wigs. It forced me to change my look. In

other words, have fun with it. I did! I was never a “fashionista” and easily identified

with Anne Hathaway’s character in the film The Devil Wears Prada, but not

having hair makes you acutely aware of your appearance, and you find other ways

to compensate for the lack of hair.

When I had hair, many people told me I looked like Jamie Lee Curtis; I

thought that was an incredible compliment; you’ll understand if you have ever

seen the movie True Lies. Reality sunk in once I was bald—they had meant my

haircut made me look like Jamie Lee Curtis. I had thick, straight, medium-brown

hair. I wore it very short. To make matters worse, I have a small head; the

baseball caps that fit me best belong to my five-year-old grandson.

Book Title: Live,Laugh,Love 177 pages – soft cover

ISBN: 1449917674

Purchase Information: www.PeggyRichey.com there is a direct link to amazon.com. For volume purchases contact the author through her website.

Permission: Reprinted with permission from Peggy Richey, Live, Laugh, Love, copyright©2010 Peggy Richey.

Peggy Richey My journey began at a special time…Born in Covina California and raised in Azusa, I grew up with and experienced the days when two way roads were small; doors were never locked and Christmas glowed with color and neighborly friendship. A time when our family lived, loved and learned on 10 acres of oranges and avocados and a sense of a strong foundation. Memories of aromas from homemade bread and cinnamon rolls all rolled up in my grandmother’s love for us have been the hallmark of each holiday since.Years pass and a new set of experiences continue to shape my life— As a graduate from the University of the Pacific, in Stockton, I earned my bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts with a major in Spanish and a minor in French. Because of my strong appreciation and thirst to experience people, their history and culture, I made travel to foreign countries a major part of my personal journey. These fortunate years to live my dreams influenced my love of diversity and appreciation for people.Now as a resident of North Texas since 1979, I have applied these experiences for 25 years to the Real Estate industry…until my doctors required my retirement in 2008. My motto, “Variety is the spice of life,” is still my daily mantra for seeking out the next experience, hand shake or just a simple shared smile.


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