Don’t Just Survive - THRIVE!
By: Melanie Stachelski, MA
On the day that I was diagnosed with cancer, I sat anxiously in a sterile hospital room with white walls, intrusive fluorescent lighting, and paper covered seats. Several nurses were rushing nervously in and out.
I didn’t understand. “Why does everything seem so urgent?” I asked.
One of the nurses knelt down to look me in the eyes. As she laid a hand on my knee she said, “Honey, it’s because we think you have Leukemia.”
I began chemotherapy almost immediately and a few months later, under the care of an incredible medical team, I received a successful Bone Marrow Transplant. A crucial piece of my journey was finding a doctor that I completely trusted to guide me through treatment. But my own intuition also told me that there was so much of my healing that wasn’t up to my doctors - it was up to me. So I started asking, “What else can I do to get well?”
As a cancer patient I wanted to know how I could not only survive, but how I could THRIVE.
This path of inquiry led me to go back to school to pursue a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology, and on the 7th Anniversary of my Bone Marrow Transplant I opened the doors to my private practice: Colorado Cancer Counseling. Now, as a cancer therapist it is my passion and my privilege to combine all of the training, education and insight I have gathered over the past decade with life-changing experience of my own cancer diagnosis in order to give my clients the tools, information, hope, and inspiration to continue their journey towards health and well-being.
My best advice for anyone facing a cancer diagnosis is to find a doctor and medical team that you have complete confidence in. Seek out the people who are experts in your disease and who believe in your success. Ask about clinical trials and cutting-edge treatments. Then, follow their directives 100%. If you haven’t made the right connection yet, keep looking! This will be the foundation of your healing.
And the rest is up to you! Find ways to take care of your mind, body, and spirit. Surround yourself with a good community and accept their help when it is offered. Stay focused on what you want your life to look like after cancer. And look for the message of love. I believe that there is a message for each of us in cancer, and the message is always love. When you are ready, begin to examine what changes you need to make in your life in order to become the most authentic, vital, and healthy YOU!
To contact Melanie Stachelski, go to www.cocancersounseling.com.