How has your cancer journey been going?
Things have been going fine. I think my body is becoming acclimated to the chemo treatment that I’m taking daily. I feel like my energy has improved, and I’ve been optimistic about future outcomes being positive.
Yes, I got it reduced to 50 milligrams from 100 milligrams. And then I had a metabolic reading, and I got my levels to a good spot. [The cancer] in my blood is getting close to becoming already untraceable, which is wonderful. I will stay on the treatment plan for at least two years to make sure that the mutations don’t come back, but I’m hopeful. The intention is to get off the medication at some point.
Did you ever imagine when you were first diagnosed that you would respond so positively to treatment? Did you prepare yourself for the best? The worst?
I think the first reaction was just that utter shock. I wasn’t even thinking about the outcomes, and then there was the initial panic of, oh my gosh, I have cancer, what the heck, and what does that mean, exactly? Then there was a period where I did my own research, and it was really frightening to see what was going on with leukemia and cancer in general. But then as I started getting more comfortable with the diagnosis, talking with my doctors and seeing how effective specific targeted treatments are in leukemia, I became more optimistic. I had guarded, cautious optimism.
Can you tell us more about the medical concierge aspect of BIÂN, and how using these services helped detect your cancer?
The medical concierge at BIÂN is structured in a way to be preventative with medicine and healthcare. I went in for a typical extensive annual physical, and within that, there were some levels of my white blood cells that were elevated. I think in many normal circumstances, the levels were not elevated enough to cause alarm, and my condition might not have been diagnosed right away. At the insistence of my doctor, she recommended I get further testing, which I actually didn’t follow up on right away, but she stayed on top of me. I think the personalized care of the doctor that I received at BIÂN is what put me over the edge of like, OK, I’m going to do this, and it’s because of that early diagnosis that my outcome is better. My treatment plan has changed so fast; I feel like I really caught this within the first three to six months of inception, and that gives such a greater probability of a healthier outcome and a healthier life.
What does a week in your life look like when it comes to holistic healing?
I do weekly acupuncture and monthly energy healing specific to me. I try to follow clean eating habits 80 percent of the time — BIÂN has great food, so that helps a lot. I try to meditate every day and do active exercise five times a week. I’m doing yoga, or light strength stuff, and a lot of the time, I feel like it’s making me feel stronger than I was before my diagnosis, and many times I often even forget about my diagnosis.
What’s your favorite activity at BIÂN?
I’m partial to our steam room with our cold plunge pool — that is a very consistent part of my routine. I feel like there is a meditative component to the cold plunge that really relaxes and calms my whole body, along with reducing inflammation. It expedites recovery and gets my mind and body in a healthy spot. The steam helps sweat [everything] out. The combination of the two gets my blood, which I’m trying to heal, moving through my body faster and opens and constricts my blood vessels, and I think [that] expedites the healing process.
I feel very fortunate and blessed for [access to BIÂN], but I also feel it’s part of my overall mission. We built this place before any diagnosis, and I feel like there’s a reason that I got this diagnosis, maybe, to spread awareness on preventative measures and new alternative and reactive ways to treat cancer.
What is your favorite and least favorite part of your weekday?
I love talking with all the BIÂN members. This community is super positive and supportive — not just of my journey, [but] there’s just a great energy here that I really love and enjoy. The toughest part of my day is the challenges of building a brand-new business, and in a COVID and post-COVID world, there are endless challenges. And it could certainly add up, but I have to keep a positive attitude and just keep on trying to build the best possible experience we can.
How does BIÂN support the cancer community?
We’ve sponsored and donated a number of things to various cancer organizations and continue to do that. I think that I’ll be more active and involved specifically in leukemia foundations, and I think this has opened my eyes to the importance of continued cancer research. I know that 25 years ago, my cancer diagnosis was very severe, and it was not as bright of an outcome as we currently have. I think taking this and hopefully finding cures for all the other cancers out there and diseases, you get a lot of hope. There are many people that don’t realize how impactful donating can be, and how powerful science and medicine are getting at addressing these specific diseases.
Any new advice that you’d give to cancer warriors?
I think that it’s healthy to take in all the love and support that you feel from others and thank people for sending that energy out into the universe. It helps me get better, I think, so it’s powerful. I think it’s also healthy to know that every day is not great, and there are going to be moments where it’s frustrating, and it’s OK to have breakdowns. It’s healthy to accept the ups and downs of this journey and hopefully just fall back on all the support, or any support people have, and to know that it starts with the right kind of attitude. Hopefully people can feed off the positive energy that the world sends them.
What animal best embodies your personality?
A dolphin. They are super playful. I love the ocean; I feel the power of the ocean — I think it’s very healing. I feel like they love interacting and are incredibly intuitive, and can communicate with all different types of life forms. And they’re just so beautiful to watch, jumping through the ocean waves.