My friend Stacy Seebart radiates her bright light wherever she goes and on whomever she encounters. I first met Stacy through a mutual friend who insisted I take her Pranassage inspired class. A juicy class with tons of hands on adjustments. I was hooked and connected with Stacy from that seminal class onward. Years later, Stacy was diagnosed with cervical cancer. She shared her experience about receiving the news of her diagnosis with Mantra Yoga + Health and I wanted to share it with you. It’s an intimate moment the person living cancer and their loved ones will never forget.
The town of Nosara, Costa Rica has since become a second home to me, and I spend time annually on its beaches and within its jungles. I’ve dedicated myself to the people and culture of Nosara for the past ten years, training in various yogic modalities of healing and self -inquiry. Little did I know that this work and this environment would become so instrumental to me when going face-to-face with my biggest challenge in life yet: My own health.
The environment of Nosara is heavenly. The life force, prana, of its beaches and jungles have had a palpable effect on my practice and in turn my well-being. The language of energy is omnipresent and most tangible each time I step off the mat following a long, sweaty practice. Everything feels plugged into a very high vibration. The power of the ocean puts the journey of life into perspective for me.
Ride the wave.
In 2014, I received news that would require me to tap into the wellspring of healing potential revealed to me by the teachings of yoga and the Nicoya Peninsula. On April 14, 2014, I received a voicemail from my doctor. I saw it sitting there on my phone screen earlier in the day and ignored it. Around 4pm, I listened. She had such a flat tone to her voice. She left her cell phone number, and she said to call her back at any time of the day. Panic. I knew something was wrong, but I never ever in my wildest dreams thought of what I was about to hear her say. I called her cell phone back and she answered right away. Within moments she had said the tests of the biopsy came back as cervical cancer.
I was immediately having an out-of-body experience. No, she did not just say that to me. There was a mistake. Writing down what she was telling me, adenocarcinoma, glandular, only 25% of cervical cancers are this form, cone biopsy, hysterectomy, treatments, chemotherapy, radiation, trials….I was writing down her notes as if I was taking someone’s food order. This isn’t about me. This isn’t real. This isn’t happening. In shock I stumbled through some questions, took some deep breaths, and I think I even tried to make a joke to make her feel better as I could tell she had that tone in her voice that she felt very, very sorry for me. That actually made me feel worse, like I had an immediate death
Holy shit, I have cancer.
The wave of the next five months of my world was very high and low. My practice of yoga came into play when I was in need of healing, clarity, perspective, and self-discovery. The resonance within the jungle of Costa Rica gave me support, a feeling that there were powers greater than my own in action, and that I always had a choice to connect to them.
I could choose to open up to a new level of existence or to shut down. Every day I was faced with thousands of choices, which doctor, which treatment, which tests, which surgeries to do or not do. I would sit, breathe, stretch and meditate and then answer one by one trusting that I was on the right path. I am proud to say that I am now one year cancer-free. I went through a fast and furious fight in 2014.
My determination to seek within myself, to find the best medical care around and literally change my chemical makeup on a cellular level from the inside out, could not have been possible had my body, mind, and soul not received the tools of self-inquiry and healing through yoga and the innate wisdom of the Costa Rica environment.
I knew I was in the right hands when I was speaking with my surgeon about what I needed to do before my last surgery. His answer? “Do more yoga.” Thank you Dr. Sean Dowdy. Thank you Yoga. Thank you Costa Rica.
The post “My #cervicalcancer Diagnosis and the Healing Powers of Costa Rica” first appeared in Mantra Yoga + Heath Magazine.