The Heartbreak Kids: Season 2.28
Many of us think we are healthy and indestructible, and while we know bad things happen, we think they won’t happen to us. I learned in 2004, they do.
I was sitting in meditation one morning when one hand was pulled to touch the left side of my neck, the other, the front of my neck. The meditation became quite scary: full of darkness, illness, and fear. Something was definitely wrong, very wrong.
I am forever grateful for my meditation practice for giving me the insight to see what doctors couldn’t see. While I knew something was wrong, I was repeatedly sent home by different doctors and denied a referral to a radiologist. After finally begging a radiologist to see me without a referral, I was officially diagnosed with papillary thyroid carcinoma. My first treatments involved a full thyroidectomy and lymphectomy (removal of the thyroid gland and surrounding lymph nodes), ablation, and radioactive iodine. However, we soon found my cancer cells were resistant to the radioactive iodine, and my case was severe enough to put me among those with a one percent chance of surviving the cancer.
On top of all of this, between my third and fourth surgeries my little brother went missing. About two months later, pieces of him were found in the Grand River. No one teaches us to process such brutal loss. I was trying to stay alive, and now I was left wondering how I was supposed to wrap my head around the brutality of his murder and even more importantly, live without him.
After all that I have been through, I do know this, with every piece of my being: without my yoga practice, I would not be here. For 15 years before my diagnosis, I stood on my head every day, flushing a space riddled with cancer with fresh life, blood, and breath. Mentally, without my meditation, I don’t know that I would have found my cancer in time. I don’t know how I would have processed my brother’s death or the idea of my former self without the silence of meditation. The whole point of yoga is to heal, to bring us closer to our authentic self and be aware of what that means. Yoga enables us to see inside ourselves, including our ugliness, sadness, and trauma, and find a way to process this reality so that we can heal and experience joy.