The Alchemy of Cancer

I remember it distinctly. I had just come out of my therapy session. My Aunt was waiting for me at our favorite tea shop a block away from the Flatiron building. My drink was an iced black tea with coconut jelly and hers, the daily special iced chai. Despite the burden of cancer weighing down on me, those sessions were my favorite respite…and the jelly drink was an especially uplifting treat.

“Maybe something good will come out of this. Maybe it’ll be a blessing in disguise.”

I looked at her stunned. How could this terrible experience ever be anything other than terrible? I sipped my drink as the thought marinated in my brain. I was in the weeds, in the dark tunnel, at the bottom of the pit. I couldn’t possibly fathom the next chemo session, let alone getting to a place where I can befriend this thing called cancer. It felt so wrong, just so terribly wrong.

Time went by, as did the end of treatment. My hair grew back and I starting feeling more and more like myself. My heart was cracked open but in the best possible way. I allowed feelings, adventures, guidance, and my own voice seep in so deeply that on a little Caribbean island of Aruba, I found light. Pure and transcendent light that brought about the clearest message: “Mine is the Power.” A yoga retreat that was meant to be filled with yoga and beach time turned into a life-changing experience where I met soul sisters and felt deep healing. I was being guided to my purpose and, though I had no idea what it was, I remained open and eventually found what I was searching for all along — inner peace.

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That inner peace allowed me the silence to hear my soul’s calling: to help those that are also searching for something — for peace, for happiness, for health, for well-being. I didn’t know how to translate this into something tangible, into something that truly helped. And that’s when I found Integrative Health Coaching. The thing is, true health and wellness isn’t just about nutrition and exercise, it’s knowing that all facets of your life are in harmony so that you feel balanced and “in the flow”. I am thankful that my intuition pointed me in the right direction as I healed from surgery and treatment. I examined everything mind, body, spirit to follow the things that bring me fulfillment and joy, which after all, is the whole point of living! And with that, I got myself out of the dark pit and sprouted my wings so now I feel like I’m soaring, so damn high.

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With that, I proudly introduce you to the culmination of all this self-work… YANA Well-Being. To even type that brings tears to my eyes because of all the things I’ve done in my life, this has been the hardest yet most fulfilling endeavor. I jumped in feet first into training, and soon after, launched a business where I provide one-on-one coaching to anyone looking to get “unstuck” or want to make a lasting change in their health and wellness. It’s hard work, this entrepreneur life, but damn does it feel good!

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YANA stands for ‘You Are Not Alone’. If you remember a couple of posts back, I wrote about how I found a card my Grandma gave me on my 18th birthday just months before my diagnosis. The front said ‘You are not alone’, and inside was a passage reassuring me of my faith, and a simple note telling me that “if you need me, I’ll be right here”. Getting treatment in NY miles away from friends and family often made me feel scared and alone. I brought that card with me to all my doctor’s appointments, surgery, and chemo treatments. It reassured me that there is still so much love and light even in the darkest of times.

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It is this same sentiment that I bring into my coaching practice. The road to health and wellness can sometimes be overwhelming, daunting, and lonely. But you don’t have to do it by yourself. You are not alone.

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Reading the book, The Power of Now, this line struck me deeply, and has since been my life’s motto: “Become an alchemist. Transmute base metal into gold, suffering into consciousness, disaster into enlightenment.” There is no denying how terrible cancer is, but it also sparked so much good. Perhaps my Aunt had it right all along, that there was blessings to be uncovered in my cancer experience.

It made me an alchemist. I’ve transmuted base metal into gold.

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