I was born with cancer (ERMS)
By: Emilee Garfield (USA)
I was born with cancer (Embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, ERMS). It was detected when I was three years old, and by the time they found it, it had grown so much that the doctors said that I would not survive. My father committed suicide when he found out.
I went through chemo and radiation and against all odds, I survived. However, throughout all of my childhood, my unconscious life story that started when I was born was killing me. I hated my body as I looked different, I was shy, I never believed in myself, I thought that no one would ever love me, and I knew I would never be a mother due to the radiation to my pelvis. I was a victim to my circumstances, and that is the beginning of my people-pleasing.
Later I had a pre-cervical cancer scare that required a hysterectomy and a full vaginal reconstruction, and this only worsened my feelings of shame of my body.
I got married, and deep down I wasn’t happy. Much later did I realize that I was searching for someone to love me rather than to love myself. But during my 16 year marriage a miracle did happen: I had 3 babies. When I was 4 years old the surgeons had moved my ovaries to my stomach, and this was what enabled me to have my angels. I now have an 18 year old and 15 year old twins.
However, I felt something was wrong. I had varied physical symptoms, sex was painful, my back hurt, and I was not emotionally happy. Everybody lessened the importance of what was happening, including my doctors and even my husband. My husband would tell me that no one cared about my story and that I was bipolar. Looking back, I realize that he was emotionally abusive to me. I became very resentful in my marriage, and my inner story that kept playing in my head and heart was that I hated my life.
Then I got diagnosed with advanced stage 3C ovarian cancer, which I blamed myself for entirely. I felt so helpless, but at this all time low, I finally decided to change my life. I saw an energy healer that said that I would die of anger before I would die of cancer. This changed my perspective dramatically.
I thought, “why give up on life when you don’t know how long you have?” I am not ready to die yet!
I was also deeply inspired by the 12 stages of “The Hero´s Journey,” Joseph Campbell´s documentary. I learned that I was the only person that could make myself happy, and that happiness comes from within. I forgave myself for the mistakes I made. I decided that I needed to heal “little Emilee” , the little girl who felt abandoned and unloved. This was my chance to create the life I wanted – to reinvent my life and get to know myself and love myself.. I became the author of my own story.
I worked with a life coach and later became a certified professional coach myself, specializing in boundary and reinvention coaching. I also teach movement as medicine online and in my Pilates & Yoga studio in Santa Barbara, California.
I own a pilates studio, and I went to work straight away, as being a single mother I had to financially maintain my family. I started thinking about what I could create from my life story that would have a positive impact. Cancer saved my life. It was my wake up call. Today I inspire other women going through difficult circumstances that anything is possible. I use both the body and mind as a holistic approach to healing.
The gift of cancer is that I am living for the first time in my life. Shame free, guilt free and all those limiting beliefs are no longer controlling me.