My name is Jean Brazeau and I am a seven year breast cancer survivor. I am a survivor of brain and spinal cord tumors. I am also a survivor of violent physical, emotional, and sexual childhood abuse that had left me filled with fear, shame, anger, self hatred, guilt, and an endless number of self limiting beliefs about who I was in the world.
My life as I knew it started crumbling around me on March 11, 2000 when my oldest sister died unexpectedly. My strength to go on with my life as it was came from a daily dose of Wellbutrin.
Eleven months later, a routine mammogram revealed that I had breast cancer. At this moment in time, from somewhere deep within me, I knew this diagnosis would somehow free me from the life I was living which was not providing me with personal fulfillment or joy. Because I believed I had no control over cancer and because I had spent my entire life looking outside of myself to cope with the challenges of living and surviving, I numbly and mindlessly turned my body over to the medical community with the hopes that soon I would be having an opportunity for a new beginning to my life. As customary I parked the emotions somewhere deep inside where I would not have to face or feel them.
Motivational tapes in hand, I engaged in daily physical exercise and healthier eating habits, I ran for the cause, offered advise to others and was cited by the medical community as a model example of how to deal with cancer positively. As my treatment that included surgery, chemotherapy and radiation progressed, the battle became more difficult. The side effects of treatment took me to a new low and another anti-depressant was added to my repertoire to off-set the effects of the chemotherapy-induced menopause.
I vividly recall 9/11/2001, the day terrorists attacked America and the Twin Towers. The day started as any another day in my life which was then being defined by the cancer. Having just completed my final chemotherapy treatment, I sat in the family room glued to the television. The effects of chemotherapy and menopause were taking their toll. I was bloated, bald, weary to the bone, alone, afraid and seriously depressed. The world trauma of 9/11 added to my personally deep fears of what was going on in my life. Both my outer world and my personal world were falling apart, and it felt as though the world was coming to an end. I could feel myself slipping deeper into that black hole of depression and despair.
I was unable any longer to hide behind makeup and highlights or the shell that I had created and believed was me. I attempted to look inward and tried to convince myself I liked what I saw. In retrospect I realize looking inward for me was very superficial as I had no idea how to go very deep, nor did I have any idea of who I was. For the next two years, life presented me with more countless painful experiences including the deaths of my best friend’s son, my brother-in-law, my step-father and my mother. It didn’t seem to matter which corner I turned, there was always a hammer waiting to come down and validate my belief that life was hard. It was just nineteen months after completing treatment for breast cancer,another devastating blow came. A series of routine tests ordered by my oncologist uncovered “something unknown” in my brain and spinal cord. It was five short days after my mother’s memorial service at a long awaited appointment with the NeuroSurgeon when he spoke the words of possible outcomes of “paraplegic”, “irreversible damage”, and “prioritized spinal cord surgery”. Words that left me more in shock than I can ever verbalize.
But it was also in that moment that my new future became very clear to me, a future filled with a cycle of serious illnesses, more drugs to offset side affects, paralysis, death. It was on this day I got very angry and made a declaration of Enough already! No Way! No More! Somewhere deep inside I knew this was not how life was supposed to be. A series of synchronistic events followed this proclamation that introduced me to a totally new life paradigm. This paradigm invited me to explore different alternative and complementary healing modalities and offered a completely new and empowering perspective on the root of illness. Every cell in my being knew truth was being spoken when first exposed to the scientifically based teaching that the root of dis-ease, be it physical, emotional or spiritual, is repressed emotional trauma at the cellular level. This level of healing had not been explained to me by any of my medical team and certainly was BIG news to me!
I certainly had to acknowledge that I had life-long repressed emotions. I had lived a life that included breast cancer, elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, severe migraines, allergies so bad I would vomit on a moment’s notice, a back so wracked with pain I could hardly walk, a brain tumor, spinal cord tumor, a diagnosis of depression, disassociate disorder and post traumatic stress disorder all of which threatened my very livelihood…WHEW !! That was a heavy load to carry.
Thus began my personal healing journey. I was spiritually dead, emotionally exhausted and my body was consumed with pain when I was guided to “The Journey”. The Journey is both a book and a set of processes that Brandon Bays created after healing herself of a basketball sized tumor in 6½ weeks without chemotherapy, surgery, or pharmaceuticals. Since my initial introduction to the work of “The Journey”, it has now became an integral part of my own personal healing, physically, emotionally and spiritually. It provided me with the love, safety, support and tools I needed to venture inward and to reclaim myself.
Over the course of the next year and a half while completing “The Journey” Accreditation Program, I bore witness to the most incredible metamorphosis taking place inside of me as I learned to shed the pain, grief, sadness, guilt, fear and anger that was ravishing my body, mind and spirit.
There is so much less of me here now, less ego, less anger, less fear, less envy, less desire, less attachment. At the same time there is so much more of me, more love, more joy, more compassion, more inner peace, more Gratitude.
In retrospect I realize I never knew who I was, I never even gave it a thought. I know who I am now, I stand proudly and comfortably in my own skin and everything about my life has changed. I am independent now, after having spent my whole life dependent on others, introspective after having spent my life analyzing others. Loving and compassionate in a way that no longer enables others in their self destructive behaviors. The worry which consumed my every thought in the past is gone and replaced with a great faith and knowing that all things will unfold exactly as they should….and it’s all good! My health is great and I have more energy than I have had in a very long time. I am now unwilling to ingest anything that interferes with the flow of my energy or inhibits my ability to feel alive. The use of all prescription medication including those intended to minimize the recurrence of cancer fell away quite naturally at the onset of my personal journey into this complementary and alternative field. Around every corner is a new exciting adventure waiting for me. For the most part, life has become easy, effortless and so much more fun. There is no longer any question in my mind, we truly can and do affect our own experiences, What a blast!
I have also come to know for sure we are not the “labels” allopathic medicine has given us, we are not our illness or dis-ease. They are simply our bodies way of communicating with us. It is time for us to get still, go inside, start listening to what our bodies are trying so desperately to tell us. This is where true healing really begins.