While tucked up cosy drinking my coconut turmeric chai on this chilly Melbourne night, I feel excited about the future, about the opportunities the universe presents, about my conscious awareness..a huge reward after a four year life changing journey, about the heart connections I have made and last but most importantly the unconditional love I now have for myself. Life is truly amazing and I’m so happy that finally I understand what it means to live.
In June 2012 I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, both ovaries were affected and in fact the tumor in my right ovary was 15cm while the tumor in my left was 7cm. Being given this diagnosis felt a bit surreal at first and there was of course some fear but overall I was OK This was a subject I had spent years researching, this was my area, I had the information and resources I needed to be able to make the right decision for ME. I emphasize the ME as I believe we are all different and what works for one does not necessarily work for another but this is where it gets exciting…we all have the answers inside of us, we just need to connect to our feelings, I always say if something doesn’t feel right then it’s not, so you need to search until you get more clarity or search for another way, trust your intuition it is your best guide.
I took my time I did not let the medical doctors pressure me or rush me into any decision, this is an aspect that upsets me with the medical industry. When you are given this life changing diagnosis you need to be able to process the enormity of just what this means for you and your family, you need time to seek information about alternate options if this is of interest to you. I like using analogies and although this is not the best one because our lives are far more important then any material object it’s the best one I can think of…so here goes..when one morning you wake and decide you want to buy a new house (in general) you don’t just go out and buy one that day, you put research into it, you think about what area you want to live in, what layout would work, how much you can spend etc…we see it as one of those big life decisions and you should take your time to get it right so you don’t have any regrets…hmmmm well now think about that when dealing with your precious life! For me that is just not something I want to have any regrets about..get my drift! You don’t want to be making any major life decisions while you are gripped with fear, you need to time to process all the information you get given in those uncomfortable medical appointments, you need time to work out what parts still feel unclear, you need to think of the questions you need to ask. This is your body and your needs need to be respected by everyone including your family, friends and medical people.
For me what I needed was space to get clear about what was right for ME so I decided to keep my diagnosis within a tight circle of very close friends while I worked through my options, a decision I now know trusting my intuition was a very wise decision indeed.
After six weeks of gathering information and asking questions I could feel my decision to be operated on was the right one for me. So on the 13th of September I put my life into the hands of the surgeons and they removed the now 18cm and 7cm tumors as part of a full hysterectomy. The day of surgery I was relatively calm and relaxed which I feel had a lot to do with the fact that I had made the right decision 100%.
I could not fault my hospital care and in fact my oncology nurse who was the first one on the scene the morning after my operation, holds a special place in my heart, she is primarily a healer and secondarily a nurse, she has supported and respected my choices and I respect the amazing job she does and energy she gives. I like to highlight this as we come from very different belief systems but it proves we can still support each other even if we don’t agree or believe the same things.
Five days later I walked I might add a little hunched out of the hospital a feeling of overwhelming emotion hit me as I walked out through those doors, a feeling of relief that I had indeed made it…made it out alive! Probably mainly because I didn’t eat the hospital food..lol
It was a very slow drive the short distance home and I can clearly remember feeling every little bump in the road!
Life is not a journey we can make on our own, I was extremely grateful that my sister came to stay to help look after me alongside some very special friends.
My pathology results arrived a few days later to confirm that in fact the two tumors were two completely different cancers and neither of them were common ovarian cancers and one was deemed aggressive ( I was to find out weeks later this cancer is deemed aggressive because it does not respond to chemo a fact that was never past on to me, it also puzzles me as to why chemo was so highly recomember if this is the case?) …I have always known I was different in a unique kinda way. Next up was an oncology appointment, I had quite a few questions ready, I can honestly say I could not get a satisfactory answer to any of them so I walked out confirming the decision I had already made. The thing I want everyone to understand is if you are diagnosed with cancer your body is toxic, so naturally for me that means you need to detox your body so here is another little analogy I use..if you had a sick plant you would not pour a weed killer on it expecting it to thrive, you would give it the nutrients it needs to heal itself. Our bodies are the same they are designed to heal themselves, you just need to work out the nutrients it needs.
Up until this point in my life I had found it very difficult to speak up for myself so this was my time to shine, this was my life and I had the biggest investment in it so i found my voice and I took responsibility and committed to myself 100%. I spoke my truth to doctors I refused to see doctors who showed me disrespect. I respect there belief which is different from mine and I expected the same in return. I was here to heal the deep down primary cause not just get rid of the symptoms, because the symptoms will always come back if the primary cause has not been dealt with. So my healing journey started. From day one of my diagnosis I knew it was my emotional health which had caused the toxicity, mainly my long term relationship so I made some changes but 12 months later while under extreme stress dealing with my partner who was out of work for 3months I had a dream that I found a lump and that morning I woke up and there it was a tumor in a lymph node in my groin. I agreed to have the lump removed for diagnosis purposes and again it was deemed the ‘aggressive’ cancer and again I refused the chemical treatment path. I knew more work was needed to remove the toxicity from my life, our lymph system represents our support system in the emotional sense, something that was completely lacking in my relationship.
Wow..so much to tell I can’t wait to share with you the layers I have peeled off!
But for now I want to let you know that my cancer was my greatest gift. Unlike many people who see it as a death sentence, I see it as my gift of life.
It has been 2 1/2 years since that lymph node deemed me ‘stage iv incurable cancer’ a label I laugh at because I am the healthiest and happiest I have been my whole life with much wisdom and clarity, surrounded by unconditional love.
Melissa Togni is a pioneer of the conscious revolution. A vegan who loves food, animals and sharing my life wisdom. Check out her Instagram handle chillitonks