A Distinctive Style Magazine

Issue 16

Culture, music, art, creativity, photography, environmental awareness, new fashion, celebrity interviews, motion video, organic eating, holistic health

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IAMFREE I ROLLED OVER AND looked at the clock, 4:20 a.m. Leaning back into my pillow, I breathed deeply and stared at the ceiling. I had the feeling that something big had happened the previous day. For just a moment, I felt Then it hit me like a Mack Truck, Ohhh...I have cancer! Sitting up in bed, I felt the tears welling. Oh, God . . . was this really happening? My chest ached as I thought about my mother's untimely death from breast cancer when I was three; my father's death from lung cancer; and my grand - parents, who'd also died from cancer. Three of my cousins fought the battle, too. Now, it was my turn. My heart raced as I thought about those dreaded words— chemo, radiation surgery—and the doctor's order, "You'll have to make a decision soon." April 16, 2008 marked the beginning of a journey that would eventually take me to the edge of death. At forty-seven I'd seen a lot of life. Now I wondered had I really lived it? My lifelong dream of being a hit songwriter and singer in Nashville had brought me some success though not exactly what I'd imagined. I see now that my life was full of fear—fear of failing, fear of not being good enough or maybe 82 A Distinctive style . com it was fear of actually succeeding beyond my wildest dreams and having to face all that goes with it. Broken-hearted, I laid my guitar down, left the music business and became a mother and eventually an author. Along the way I boosted my chances of avoiding cancer by becoming a vegetarian and an advocate of alternative medicine. Yet, despite these measures, I still ended up with cancer—a very unglamorous one at that—rectal cancer. Anyone who has faced a life-threatening illness knows that along with the difficult decisions, the physical strains and pains and the days and nights where your heart beats hard, come new discoveries, times for reflection, a chance to cry, and lessons in learning how to love and live. I've come to the place where I feel grateful for what I choose to call "the gift of cancer." But I didn't always see it that way. Three weeks of intensive, near-fatal chemo and radiation treatments left me hospitalized and discouraged. I closed my mind to allopathic medicine, including the recommended ostomy surgery. Instead, I put my faith in prayer and alternative methods. But it would take more than raw food and herbs for my healing. There's an old saying, "When the stu- dent is ready, the teacher will come." I FLY TO By Stowe Dailey Shockey was fortunate to have, not one, but two teachers—the cancer itself and a man named Calvin LeHew. Rising above in- credible challenges, Calvin has fulfilled every dream he's set his mind to. He is a pilot, a self-made millionaire, an entre- preneur and a student of the school of pos- itive thought. He's also a cancer survivor. Intrigued with Calvin, my husband, Peter (a filmmaker and author) and I decided to share his wisdom through a film and book called Flying High. With Calvin as my mentor I began chronicling his life, while also keeping a journal of my story and what I was learning. I challenged myself to change my negative thought patterns and soon felt a positive shift in my attitude. Empowered, I set new goals for my healing and myself. Maybe I could overcome this disease and even my long held fears. But months into the project, as the book's chapters grew, so did my tumor. Pain meds dulled the hurt but I was quickly losing energy, weight and hope. All along, I'd wanted to be healed super- naturally—without medical intervention. That was my mantra. But Calvin taught me that while we can ask God for what we want, we can't dictate how it comes about. "That," Calvin says, "is for a higher power than you or me to determine." With this new shift in my consciousness, I made My dream in life is to inspire others to live out their dreams and pursue their passion

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