My whole world exploded when I was diagnosed with a recurrence of breast cancer with bone metastasis during my vacation in Paris this summer (while I was living in the U.S.) After months of silence, I’m getting my voice back. Here’s who I am now.
The explosion happened on June 24, 2022. I had been living in Atlanta, GA for 16 years and was enjoying my summer vacation in Paris—my native city—, when my oncologist announced the unthinkable: “You have a recurrence of breast cancer with bone metastasis”. The PETSCAN showed eight sites on my bone structure where cancer cells had settled. It’s been eight years since my second cancer, 18 years since the disease first entered into my life.
A week later, I made the most radical decision of my life. I came to the conclusion that, if I had a chance to survive this, it would be in France. I decided to settle in my native country close to my mom, with access to France’s universal healthcare and medical system (which is under huge pressure, just like any other medical system in the world). My gut feelings told me to stay put and concentrate on the healing process, not to travel back to Atlanta to move my stuff. To this day, I haven’t returned to Atlanta.
Instead, my Atlanta friends did what I should have done myself. They moved my stuff out of my place in Southwest Atlanta, sold or donated it, and traveled from Atlanta to Paris with suitcases full of my clothes. An incredible movement of solidarity. I still have no words to express my gratitude. Instead, I feel tears coming up.
I’ve felt as if I’ve been dropped in France by parachute, uprooted. Still feeling that way today.
As the medical treatment kicked off in the early summer, the universe sent me help—thank goodness. I was lucky to find a regional park—nature is rare in Paris suburbia, one of the world’s most densely populated areas—close to my place. I practiced yoga every morning in the park’s meadow. Bare feet. No mat. I had to feel and smell the (new) ground I was standing on. Hikers? People walking their dogs? I didn’t care, nothing stopped me from doing what I needed to do to stay somewhat sane.
A bond with my adoptive city
Another “extraordinary” thing happened around the same time. My work (at least part of it) as a yoga therapist and a teacher of French “followed” me in Paris. I’ve continued teaching online to my Georgia students. That’s helped me keep a bond with my adoptive city and stay busy, thinking about something else than cancer.
Finally, I’ve been able to put together a team of complementary medicine healers to help me in this journey where I feel a huge sense of loss. Loss of my health, loss of my Atlanta life and tribe.
Now what? Cancer impacts a person on the physical, emotional and spiritual levels. This time, the diagnosis was an even bigger slap in the face, a stronger mortality wake-up call because of the metastasis. My oncologist believes I will reach complete remission. I feel I can too. When? I don’t know.
A few things are emerging for me.
- The emotional work is hard. Still, I’m committed to doing it. I want to know, understand and, most importantly, feel what are the shocks that have led to the recurrence. I’m convinced it’s necessary for my healing.
- I’ve been so terrified by the diagnosis that I’ve let it silence me. I’m done with that. I’m finding my voice again. This post is a start.
- I’m continuing my work as a yoga therapist and a patient advocate, spreading the word about integrative medicine and integrative oncology. This means the true integration of complementary modalities into health care and cancer care to help us, patients and survivors. Because our lives depend on it.
It feels good to be back—back in the light—showing the world who I am. Thank you for seeing me.
26 Replies to “The Comeback”
My dearest Elisabeth. For those of us close to you, your journey is also a part of our journey, so please know you are not walking it alone. It feels good to find our voice again, yes? Our bodies, on a cellular level, will feel and respond to that positive shift. It is with a fullness of heart and confidence that I’m continually inspired by your spirit, your actions and your light. Holding you in the highest healing vibration my lovely friend. Love and peace for your heart to you. Carole
Gosh yes, it’s a relief to find my voice again !! You inspire me too, my friend. I’m so happy that we met. Thank you, contradance!!!
Hi Elisabeth. Great post! I love and support you every second of the day!
Oh I SO KNOW that! Thank you, my friend!!
I am sorry to hear the news but I am not sorry to know that you are a wonderful person and thinker who writes beautifully! I appreciate you sharing your story and history here and I praise your dedication and determination to live your life for YOU. Bravo
Merci, Jennifer. Ca me fait plaisir de te lire. You know, I think it’s because of the illness I do my best to live the life I love. Life can be so strange… and beautiful.
Thank you for your courage and sharing your journey. We can be your extended tribe and support you even from the distance, keeping our thoughts high for your total recovery and renewed health in body, mind and spirit.
Thank you, Beate, for being part of my tribe. There is no distance when there is affection and care.
Oh god cancer sucks! I am very touched by your story. And I have to say I feel good that you are here, in your home in your land. I send blessings for peace and strength and healing.
Thank you for reading my story and for your blessings too, Elizabeth.
Thanks for telling your story… Very Brave, and good to do so! Sending well wishes to you.
Thank you, Aumdoc!
I see you. Je te vois. j’aimerais qu’on se voit en France, peut être une belle balade ensemble dans la campagne de Haute Saintonge en Charente Maritime…je t’embrasse bien fort.
Merci de me voir, Natalie. Ah oui, avec grand plaisir pour des retrouvailles en Charente Maritime ! C’est la région de mon père !! J’adorerais y retourner.
Elisabeth – you are a wonder and a force of nature. I am wishing you all the best in your healing and recovery. Thank you for teaching us through the early pandemic-years.
— thinking of you with love and support, and hoping you continue to keep in touch and share your journey
Merci, Sandy. Yes, I’ll definitely continue to write my blog.
Dear Elisabeth, you know how much I am following you on your journey and supporting you from far away. You are my hero because you are full of positive energies and strength. And I feel it even more during this period when you have to challenge again a health diagnosis. You will win because you are a winner and that it s written in each of your cells! Can t wait to celebrate your remission.., in Santa Fe. I am glad your voice is back .
Yes, I do know!
Gosh a celebration of my remission in Santa Fe… That would be wonderful. It’s on my list! Inch’Allah!
Hello Elizabeth, I am sorry to learn what you have been going through. I returned to Guam a few weeks ago from Japan after spending some time recovering from three years of lockdown I was forced to face due to Covid. I understand how shocking this diagnosis means to you. Sending lots of love and hugs from this end.
Thank you, Carmen! I hope you enjoy your post-covid freedom;)
I loved reading your post. You are an inspiration!!
I feel your pain of sudden departure from what you created in Atlanta. And I see that your life is full of challenge. I also see bright and positive energy all around you. I am visualizing you healthy and whole and full of life energy. Sending you love!
Thank you for seeing me and what I’ve created in Atlanta! Little by little, I’m starting to see how I can continue right here where I live. Inch’Allah!
Oh, Elisabeth! I am so glad to hear from you, to know where you are and the courageous, self loving path you are on. I’m so glad your friends supported you in you move back to Paris. I treasure our last visit in Atlanta. I send you love and healing light, dear friend. Thank you so much for your post.
Our last visit in Atlanta was epic! So much authenticity and fun!! Maybe you can come and visit me here one day:)
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