In April, I traveled to Colorado for IV mistletoe therapy. Mistletoe, an extract of the kissing plant, is an immunotherapy. If you’re familiar with mistletoe, skip the next paragraph.
I like to explain mistletoe like this (but please keep in mind, I’m a big dummy, not a doctor i.e. do your own research too): chemo is a drug that destroys cancer… and everything else in your body, including the immune system. Immunotherapies, like mistletoe, are meant to strengthen your immune system so your body can more naturally heal itself. Chemo is a foreign agent meant to come in and kill stuff. Immunotherapies give your immune system the tools it needs to recognize and fight disease present in the body. Mistletoe can be taken subcutaneously in small doses to combat side effects of chemo like a champ; it is standard of care for chemo patients in Europe. Or, mistletoe can be used intravenously in much higher doses to harness its cancer-fighting properties. I’ve been taking mistletoe subcutaneously (shot in my stomach 3x per week) for close to two years. I absolutely attribute my stamina through chemo to mistletoe, so I immediately jumped on the opportunity to try it intravenously.
About a week before I was set to leave for Colorado, I grew antsy. Planning Colorado was incredibly time consuming and left me with zero energy to think about or do anything else. Once all our ducks were in a row and all that was left to do was get on the plane, depression crept in as I started thinking about the fact that we had no plan for once we returned from CO, meaning, chemo would be waiting for me. So, I began to pray on it. One day, I was reading “The Universe has Your Back” by Gabrielle Berstein and she encourages the reader to not be afraid to ask God for a divine sign when faced with important decision making. When I read this, I thought about an integrative clinic in California that I had been interested in for a while, but put on the back burner. In that moment, I thought, “When is the right time to finally pursue this place? Maybe this clinic is the next step in my healing...”
Berstein’s instructions walked me through a meditation for divine guidance. The “sign” that presented itself during my meditation was a pineapple. When I saw the pineapple.. I thought to myself.. “hold on… a pineapple!? Pineapples are everywhere! How the hell am I supposed to know which pineapple is a divine sign!? So my neurotic self thought through ALL these stipulations, like: it can’t be in a grocery store or on the print of a coffee mug, it can’t be this, this or this… “God, just please let me know when its you! I don’t care if its 6 months from now or if it never comes! … just let it come to me in a way I know it is You.”
Its kind of weird because before I started this meditation, I had this anxiety that I would obsess and obsess over finding the “sign” once I identified one… But in all honesty, I completely forgot about it the minute after I stopped meditating because my house was a freaking mess and I started cleaning. Well, while I was putting dishes away, the podcast I was listening to mentioned a comedian named Jimmy Pineapple.
As soon as I heard the name, my face set fire and heat poured down my whole body. I stopped dead in my tracks with a bowl in one hand, reaching for a cabinet door with the other. I busted out laughing and wiped away the tears pouring down my face. I was a bit hysterical, honestly. I never thought, in a million years, the sign would be auditory. Thank you, Divine, loving, higher power! You have truly amazed me.
After a few deep breaths, I said: “ok… I surrender.”
That night, I started working on the intake paperwork to send to CA and my mom started figuring out how we could change our return flights from CO to home, to CO to CA. Andy started applying for jobs in Irvine and I scheduled apartment tours. On Cinco de Mayo, I called Andy from Laguna Beach to tell him I found the perfect apartment and to start packing.
For those of you who DON’T know… Andy and I are still in Kennett Square and our packing boxes are still collapsed, in a pile, on our dining room floor. Why? Next time.
With love and gratitude ~
P.S. HUGE thank yous to Believe Big and Delaware Cancer Support Community's Incyt grant for making my trip to Colorado possible! It was the most incredibly healing three weeks of my life. Please consider donating to these amazing organizations... They are real MVPs for us cancer warriors <3