First of all, THANK YOU. From the depth of my heart, thank you for all your prayers and messages. I received sooooo many messages after my last blog. And while I tried to respond to each one, there were simply too many messages for me to reply back to all of them.
I’ll share this story and hopefully it will inspire you in some ways. And if you’re a woman, hopefully it will persuade you to go get a mammogram.
This past July, at the age of 40, my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. And while this was her very first mammogram, we learned the timing was a miracle.
While her diagnosis was a Stage 1, her doctors recommended a double mastectomy because of the aggressiveness of the strand and also her age. And they also informed her most likely she will need chemotherapy after the double mastectomy because of this particular strand. She talked to more than one set of doctors and they all agreed on this path.
So my family and I prepared for an arduous road ahead for the remainder of this year.
On August 21st, my sister had her surgery.
And one week after that, we attended her first post-op appointment where the final pathology reports were going to be shared with us.
Thankfully, the cancer had remained where it was and had not spread to other parts of her breasts or lymph nodes.
And her doctor said there was barely anything for her to remove (only 3 mm). At the time of the diagnosis, her cancer tumor was 9mm. And mammogram machines detect irregularities/tumors at about 4-5mm.
So her doctor told us that most likely she had a very effective biopsy and they removed most of the tumor then. And she continued to tell us she was very curious to know what my sister’s oncologist was going to prescribe for her next round of treatment.
Before I continue, I want to share with you why it was a miracle that my sister got the mammogram when she did… After her surgery, they told us more in depth why this particular strand was so aggressive and caused immediate concern for the doctors.
Had she gone in for her mammogram 5-6 months ago, it may not have been detected. And had she waited another couple months, it would have been a different story.
This particular strand likes to jump from the breast to the brain when it wants to metastasize. (Her doctor had asked her to also go in for a brain MRI before her surgery).
The timing of her mammogram blew us away. Nothing short of a miracle.
She had actually felt some pain in her left breast. And I advised her to go get a mammogram. But the cancer was in the right breast, where she had zero pain and zero symptoms.
Going on with the story…
My sister’s oncologist is one of the best, and has even made appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show. So we knew she would be in good hands, no matter what the doctor prescribed. And with all this said, we had prepared ourselves for chemo.
After her oncologist appointment, my sister called me from the car, crying. She said, “I’m done.”
I replied, “I know you’re done. What did she say?”
My brother in law, who was in the car with my sister, replied, “We’re done. The doctor said she doesn’t need chemo.”
I was so shocked; I had no words. This was not at all what we were expecting.
Then when my shock subsided, I began crying too.
Again, we experienced something that felt close to a miracle.
The truth is, we are all still processing this.
What was a grave situation in the beginning turned out to be so humbling and touching in the most miraculous way.
The oncologist said her 3mm tumor was not worth the bad side effects of chemotherapy. And that statistically my sister would be fine from this point on.
She also did not prescribe radiation or hormone pills.
Again, we cannot get over the timing of her mammogram. What a gift from Life.
If you’re a woman, I hope this will encourage you to go in for your regular mammogram screenings.
I’ve tried to understand how all of this transpired the way it has. And I’m still processing it. But two things I know for sure:
The way my sister handled the diagnosis had a lot to do with the outcome of her circumstances. I have read a lot on the mind/body/spirit connection. And I cannot express the importance of the mind and emotions when it comes to diseases and also to healing.
From the day my sister found out about the diagnosis, she was so calm… So accepting of everything to come. I never sensed any fear in her. She never showed or expressed any resentment. She was so positive about everything, and handled it with pure grace.
The other thing I know for sure is the power of prayer. We had A LOT of people who prayed for her or sent her good energy. But the beauty of prayer and positive thoughts doesn’t have to come from tons of people. It can be one person, or a handful of people, who extend that energy out into the universe.
Once I am done processing all of this, I’m sure I’ll be sharing more on these topics in the blogs to come.
I am personally a deep believer in the power of prayer. But I am aware this is a subjective stance, with room for debate. So I would like to find research and studies done on this topic to share with you. If and when I do find such articles/stories, I can write a blog on this topic.
For now, I wanted to share this update with you.
And to THANK YOU FROM THE DEPTH OF MY HEART. I may not see your faces, but I can feel your energy. And I’m deeply grateful our paths have crossed.
I continue to be at my sister’s house because she is still recovering from her double mastectomy. She has 1 and 3 year old children, which she still cannot lift.
And for this reason, I should be back in the full swing of things, and my normal blog schedule by October 1st.
Please share this blog with the people in your life. Unfortunately, cancer has been hitting close to home for too many people. My hope with the story of my family is:
For everyone out there to continue hoping for the best
For everyone out there to read of a real-life experience of a miracle; they do happen For everyone out there to not view cancer as a death sentence
Cancer is by no means something to take lightly. And it is because of this, we have all (especially here in the United States) been so conditioned to fear it and view the worst out of it.
No matter the cancer, early detection is crucial. So please, please, please go get your check ups, mammograms and stay on top of your health.
Lastly, the photo I have shared with you is our most recent family photo. On August 11th, ten days before her surgery, my sister hired a photographer to go to her home, so she could have family photos taken. At this time we were assuming she would need chemo, and she wanted decent photos before she lost her hair. It was a beautiful day, but also an emotional one. My mom was so emotional she could not participate in the photos.
And on a very different note…
I want to share with you meditations I will be releasing.
If you are on Insight Timer, you are aware of their Daily Insight program.
They had asked a number of their teachers, myself included, to create specific meditations for their program. Each series of meditations had to the same theme, and for 5, 10 and 20 minutes.
So I have sets of meditations they had asked me to create. I had not released these on my podcast channel, to save it exclusively for Insight Timer. But now that they’re removing that program, I also will be releasing my meditations on podcast.
(Insight Timer is removing the Daily Insight program at the end of September. And my final set of meditations for that program will be released on September 28th).
I made sure that the 5, 10 and 20 minute meditations were not the same version, within each theme. And there is something new I shared within each one. So consider them each a little different, yet within the same theme.
If you are on Insight Timer but had not subscribed to the Daily Insight, you can now access these meditations for free via my podcast.
Podcast is a free app and can be downloaded from any smart phone.
Just type my name Michelle Zarrin to have access to my channel.
The first set of meditations will be released on October 1st.
Again, thank you. Thank you.
Life is crazy at times. But it can also be so miraculous and wondrous.
Never stop believing in the beauty of life.
And please share this blog with your family, friends and anyone else who could benefit from it’s message. Hopefully it will give them hope. And hopefully if they’re a woman, it will entice them to go get a mammogram.