I learned this lesson the hard way when I was diagnosed with stage 3C ovarian cancer at the age of 17.
The summer before my senior year, about 3 months before my diagnosis, I had a recurring dream that I was sitting my friends down to tell them I had cancer. The dream occurred off and on for several weeks, and was so unsettling and vivid that I felt almost positive it was true.
Needless to say, I was worried sick, and my distress lead me to telI my Mom, two of my Aunts and my Grammy that I was sure I had cancer somewhere in my body. My mother, acting only on blind faith, immediately took me to the doctor who (as expected) told me that there was nothing wrong with me. Although I felt loved and supported by my family, I was terrified.
I couldn’t shake the dream, or the awful feeling that something bad was about to happen.
It was the beginning of my senior year in high school, and I was feeling cute, sassy and ready to start dating. As a young, flowering woman, my mom wanted me to go in for a routine checkup with the gynecologist. The doctor found what appeared to be a cyst on my right ovary. The doctor assured me it was nothing, but decided that they’d better perform surgery…just in case. Reluctantly, I told him about the dream that I’d had all summer. He respectfully told me - and I quote - “The chances of cancer at your age are about as likely as being hit by a 747 while walking down the street”.
Instead of being hit by a jumbo jet, I was hit with the news that I knew was coming. On September 29, 1989, my routine cyst removal turned into a major surgery with a 12-inch incision and 36 staples. When I woke from surgery, I was informed that I had stage 3C cancer, and would have to begin chemotherapy. In all honesty, I felt a sense of relief; I could get on with the battle I knew was coming, and as it turned out…I had been right about myself! And just as I knew I had the cancer, I also had no doubt that I was going to make it through.
My encounter with ovarian cancer gave me my first real divine message. I refer to this as my spiritual coming out party, even though I can assure you, the experience was no party at all.
Even though several months of chemotherapy made me very ill, I missed most of my senior year, and I was bald as a baby’s butt, cancer was one of the greatest gifts I've ever been given. That experience - regardless of how awful it was - is what opened me up to my life’s calling and my soul’s purpose.