When I moved to New York, shortly after being diagnosed, I was a total “deer in headlights” and felt so lost and alone. Like was this for real? I just wanted my life to go back to the way it was but I knew that wasn’t going to be a reality for me. Not only was I facing what I was up against, but I was in New York, which was far from home. Although I absolutely love New York and had been countless times, I was still separated from everything familiar to me as I had just moved from home, Los Angeles.
I felt like my life was totally spiraling out of control… I had just gotten news that the cancer had spread to my bones and was put on an intense chemo regimen with a grim prognosis. Everyone was urging me to to join a cancer support group in order to meet people who could relate to my circumstances. But for me personally, that was the absolute last thing I wanted to do…..sit in a circle and talk more about cancer. No thanks. I wanted to escape cancer and not have to address it anymore than I was already forced to. I needed normalcy! Now while a cancer support group was not an ideal match for my personality, I am by no means knocking them as they do provide relief and support for a ton of people (my disclaimer :P). I’ve always kind of gone against the grain, so if I were going to be a part of any kind of group, it would have to be totally out of the “norm.”
The Universe is always working for us, I totally believe that. God knows I can be super stubborn and that I have a mind of my own, so He had to align me with something or someone really special to get my attention, and so He did. One day, I met a woman (while getting a henna tattoo…random) and we got to chatting a bit and I somehow ended up telling her my situation and she replied, “Omg!, You have to call Luana at You Can Thrive!.” In my mind, I was thinking, “here we go again with another support group recommendation.” I told her thank you and that I would look into it, knowing damn well I had no intention of calling…just wasn’t my thing. But she mentioned something that caught my attention. She went on to say it was totally non traditional and that this wasn’t “your typical meet up group,” so….I called, reluctantly, and a few days later, I found myself at You Can Thrive.
That day, I met Luana DeAngelis, founder of You Can Thrive (YCT), and I knew instantly that I had been Divinely guided to the exact place I needed to be to receive the support I was in such desperate need of. YCT’s approach to cancer support is so unique in that they provide integrative resources to help patients going through treatment. Luana recruits professional volunteers in the NYC area, who feel kindred to the idea of easing the journey of those affected by breast cancer. They volunteer their time and skills to make a real difference by caring for patients during and after treatment. I was blown away by the number of comprehensive therapies and services YCT offers which include patient advocacy, nutritional counseling, environmental education, acupuncture, massage, reflexology, reiki, aromatherapy, polarity, emotional freedom technique (EFT/tapping), yoga, meditation/visualization and the list goes on…. There are also seminars and workshops that focus on survivorship empowerment.
I was able to take advantage of all of these services/therapies and I have benefitted so much. And after attending the workshops, I definitely left feeling uplifted and in a better mental space. And because the foundation is volunteer based, all of these services and resources are either low cost or free for breast cancer survivors and thrivers. Pretty amazing! To top it all off, Luana is beyond knowledgable with just about anything when it comes to cancer, especially breast cancer, being that she too is a survivor.
Here’s a short interview I did for YCT years back during my “deer in headlights” phase. Lol…told you. Hopefully it offers a little more insight…
Typically on Sundays is when all of the volunteers come together in a donated space to offer their services. You can come and get a few therapies, or if this doesn’t work with your schedule, you can arrange for appointments during the week with different therapists. I personally benefited significantly from acupuncture, EFT tapping, reiki and group meditation…all of which I will expand upon in future posts.
It’s really bizarre to me that integrative therapies and nutritional advice aren’t offered in hospitals, let alone suggested or mentioned by oncologists. I mean, it’s kind of a known fact that cancer loves sugar, which is why cancer patients are injected with radioactive glucose when getting pet scans, so why aren’t we told to avoid sugars?? I can go on and on about this, and I will in another relevant post, but this is just one of many examples implicating the need of additional support and resources in cancer care. There are also so many side effects to treatment, not to mention the emotional distress one deals with, and addressing these issues is detrimental to healing. There needs to be a mind/body synchrony in order for one to experience total healing and YCT offers the missing components necessary to achieve this union.
Being a recipient of YCT’s services has been life-changing for me, and I say this with complete sincerity. I can’t say enough about this foundation and I truly hope that the mission and vision behind YCT becomes a universal movement, in that such resources become more readily available and accessible to everyone facing cancer. I was fortunate enough to discover this gem while residing in NY and am forever grateful as I have benefited tremendously. I have learned so much and have made life long friendships with some pretty awesome women. Now that I am back living on the West Coast, I really would love to see this foundation grow and have chapters in other major cities. I think a lot more people would survive and thrive. These services and therapies coupled with traditional care is a great cocktail. I believe, actually I know, that these therapies have played a crucial role in keeping me alive and strong. Thank you Luana and You Can Thrive! Love you!
If you or anyone you know has been affected by cancer and live in the NY area, I encourage you to contact YCT! …like ASAP.