Surviving cancer With a Small C & Joy Love and Peace
Having an unexpected encounter and relationship with cancer... good, bad, and ugly
My friend Elizabeth Alraune has been such a positive force in my life but I am just one of many that she has touched through her work. Hypnotist. Life Coach. Blogger. Public speaker. Personal cheerleader. A natural intuitive that has this way of introducing you to yourself. I've never meet someone so open, so vibrant, so... Real.
She has this way of challenging you to be a better you, to think in whole new ways.
I first came to know her through her hypnosis work, and our interactions on Twitter. Like many, I only knew her as JoLoPe. I learned about her from her twitter account, her radio show, and her videos. (I had no idea at the time just how many other ventures she had going.) Slowly a friendship bloomed, and we began talking offline as well as on.
See the smile that is one her face in every one of those pictures?
You can actually hear it in her voice.
There is just something about that voice that really does hypnotize you, even when she isn't consciously trying to do so. She works so heard to bring peace into the lives of others, and joy... and even love.
JoLoPe = Joy, Love, and Peace
Back when I used to listen to her radio show, World Of Perspective, it didn't matter what she was talking about, I was intrigued. Her voice lulls you into a peaceful state, even when the topic is unpleasant, and we've tackled some tough topics in our many hours of random conversation.
I've grown so used to her voice in my life, I actually miss hearing it when we can't get together. We have never met in person, but we talk on the phone often. It isn't easy, we both have hectic lives and I still don't have a ell phone. I don't have long distance phone service either so we usually have to arrange for her to call me.
Now and then I come home to find an unexpected message on the machine just letting me know she is thinking of me, but it is rare for her to catch me home without warning.
That day we came home from a trip out of town and the answering machine light was blinking. As my husband played the message, I heard it in her voice. Something was wrong, very wrong.
I grabbed the calling card and rang her back.
"Two days ago, May 14, 2012,
I was told there is a good chance that I have cancer.
I have, perhaps prematurely,
been telling people that I do have cancer.
Apparently, you need a biopsy to know for sure.
I would like to be wrong. Perhaps I am.
I will find out in a few days, as I am
going to be going to a place that
has a great reputation when it comes to
They will assess, and if they need to, slice."
Elizabeth Alraune; A New Me Relating to Cancer
It was bad.
It was cancer bad.
cancer has touched many people I know over the past few years nd each time I ask myself why... why an amazing young man like my nephew Josh? He was just nineteen then and a damn good kid, he's never been anything but a blessing in any of our lives. And why my uncle Larry? He would do anything for anybody, and often does. They both recovered and we count our blessings for that, but why did it have to be them at all?
Kind people, caring people, good people...
People who make the world a better place aren't supposed to develop cancer. Nobody should.
But my friend Elizabeth did.
Getting To Know JoLoPe
Some of us met her through Twitter, others through her blog, some found her through her radio show World of Perspective, and those of us who have been truly blessed have received one of her letters of love... However you met her, you can be sure your life will never again be complete without a little Joy, Love and Peace...
Jolope's Guide to cancer with a small c
I've lived with chronic illness for a very long time, and I know how frustrating doctors can be without the urgency Jolope's diagnosis brought. After she was diagnosed with cancer a lot of things were out of her control. Even then she made conscious and deliberate decisions to remain in control of what she could...
Jolope's Guide to cancer with a small c
When I was diagnosed with cancer, I made some choices about how I was going to look at things:
1. I wasn't going to ever capitalize it, not even at the beginning of a sentence. I did not want to give it any level of importance.
2. I wasn't going to look at it as a "fight" or a "war." There is an expression "what you resist, persists," so I did not want to feel like I was resisting something, or fighting it off. It was just going to be something I was going to have a relationship with.
3. I really didn't want to do chemo, but given a combination of factors, I didn't really feel like I had much of a choice and, in fact, at the time it seemed liked the best one. Because of that I had to put aside my reservations about it and I also decided that I was going to refrain from looking at it in any way that was negative. I went as far as to call chemo an "ally" and a friend that was seeking to help me.
4. I didn't want to do too much research online, as I did not want to scare myself with statistics, and others' facts. At the same time, I had to balance a willing ignorance of the possibilities with being responsible to myself as a patient.
5. I was determined to use any available things that could possibly help: Acupuncture, Reflexology, Massage, Reiki, working with a Naturopath, and Hypnosis. I made a 2 recordings for myself, and listened to them, and other files while I was undergoing treatment. Nothing of any perceived value was going to be off the table, as long as I could afford it, or make it work.
Becoming a Survivor the Right Way, OR...
You're Doing It All Wrong
While Elizabeth was going through chemotherapy, I mentioned in passing that I needed cover art for my book. I vaguely described a vision I had in my head of a woman becoming a tree. Her feet rooted in the ground, her arms as branches raised to the sky. A few hours later Elizabeth returned with my Survivor Tree Nymph... and she had incorporated everything I had envisioned... even the details I had neglected to share.
I write a lot about the Survivor Spirit, and I have seen rising up within her as she made her way on this I don't know that she was always aware of it, but it was there. I heard it on her worst days when she just wanted to give up. I heard it on her best when she knew she knew exactly what was ahead. I heard it as she allowed herself to accept the things she never thought she would have to accept.
I heard it when she got pissed.
That's how I always know someone has hit the Survivor point. When that righteous anger comes showing through. When they are determined to reach a goal no matter who or what gets in their way.
For Elizabeth, it was the moment I heard her start talking about finding ways to help others avoid the hell she went through. Every survivor hits that point. They see that what happened to them was not normal. They were treated in ways that were unacceptable. They were alone.
Elizabeth said nobody should ever have to be alone.
And that's when I knew that she knew the secret.
Being a Survivor isn't always pretty. Elizabeth is right, sometimes it is downright ugly. When you spend night after night holding yourself in the dark wondering if you are going to die, life can be a pretty dismal place. I've been there.
If being a Survivor required always being positive, none of us would make it. Sometimes you have to curl up in a little ball and wallow in your own misery. Sometimes you have nothing else left.
And sometimes all you can do is cry.
But she keeps fighting on, and it was that spirit that attracted me to her in the first place. She has every hallmark of the Survivor Spirit inside of her and I see it shining from her. She even tried to design the cover for this book, but in the end her spirit shone through far too brightly. It made the book seem softer, less serious. He moment I placed it on the cover the entire book seemed out of place. Almost like a lie.
It deserves to be the cover of a book someday, but not this cover. Perhaps the book it graces has not yet been written, perhaps that book belongs only to Jolope.
Positive Energy For Healing
We hadn't talked in awhile, but it doesn't take long. Not long at all.
She'd gone from healthy to sick so rapidly. She'd gained seventeen pounds, had some digestive problems, and then just like that she was sick. Really, really sick.
I had no idea what to say when she told me they thought it was cancer. Nobody really does do they? With Jolope it was different. Her light has always shined brighter than just about anybody I have ever known, and for just a moment there I wondered what the world would be like without it.
So did she...
She didn't know anything other than "preliminary test results" that "showed a likely-hood" but it cancer seemed to have found a home somewhere within her. They would schedule more tests and let her know...
So those who knew waited with her...
"If something was really wrong with me,
someone would let me know, right?"
The office that he works in has a number of doctors,
and one would think that if something was really
wrong, someone would say something, right?
I have to wait til Monday to get a call.
The doctor's arrogance is gone when he calls me
and tells me there is something that needs immediate
attention. Apparently the cat scan (the one I asked
for, but he wouldn't give me when I first arrived
in his office) shows a mass that looks cancerous."
Then it was official.
Suddenly our conversations changed. She didn't really have the time to make the decisions she needed to make.It was all so confusing, so urgent. Numbers, and surgeries, and treatments and options. Every day there was new information. So much information.
But there was never enough.
"Today I am heading to the place that will diagnose and treat me...
I have very little I can appear to control,
so I want to seem to control as much as I can.
Every adult that I have spoken to, I have chosen to tell.
I have also asked them to please send me good thoughts
instead of worry when they think of me.
Who knows what they did with it, and if they will?"
By then she already had a pretty good idea of what they would find. The surgery found the ovarian tumor, and it found where it had spread. Chemo was no longer a choice. She didn't want chemo, she didn't want to tell the public, and she didn't want to ask for help. None of those resolutions would last long.
She was determined to face cancer with grace and dignity, and no small amount of stubbornness.
She kept that promise beautifully.
All it will do is reveal what came to be. Nothing is
absolute. Nothing is certain. No one has THE
answer. Whether or not it is time for me to leave
is something that no human can answer with
absolute certainty. Whether or not there is
someone or something else that knows, I haven't
I suppose the key is for me to take one moment
at a time, one step at a time. In some ways, it is
no different than it was before that conversation
I had with the doctor around noon this past Monday.
I am just a bit more keenly aware that the clock
will not forever keep ticking for me in this body.
Something I always intellectually knew...but now
has become a much deeper part of my awareness.
She chose not to treat cancer as an enemy, but an unwanted guest. She did not attack it as much as she uninvited it out of her body. She asked those of us who could to help her. I pulled in everyone I knew who prayed, and those who any sort of positive healing work I could. We all did.
Her intuition said she needed positive healing, so she gave it to herself.
I wanted to worry about her, I tried to worry about it, but that was one thing she had expressly forbidden. I had to stop myself, she didn't want me or anybody else to send negative energy her way. Not everybody understood this, but she knew that I would. And she knew that I would do my best to turn anything I felt for her into positive energy.
Surviving cancer, the good, the bad, and the ugly... - A New Me - Relating to Cancer
This whole time, she kept a blog. It was raw, and hard to read at times. Her joys, her sorrows, her revelations. Sometimes they were so raw even I couldn't read them. Me, the queen of TMI. I hear horror stories of abuse from people all over the world, and my friends honesty actually scared me. Sometimes all I could offer was a weak hug. Many times I couldn't bring myself to comment at all.
Sometimes she talked about how people shied away from her after she was diagnosed. She said it was as if people thought she was contagious. No, she was untouchable. When you compared your problems to what she was going through you always walked away humbled.
It was just before it became official when she asked me if I saw or felt anything in relation to her diagnosis. I closed my eyes and concentrated, but all I saw was her light growing brighter and a word...
I'm not sure I understood it at the time, and I don't think she did either but as I watched the process of her treatment unfold I began to understand. She had come to a point of change in her life, of shedding the old to make way for the new.
I watched the changes in her through her blog, and our more private discussions with sheer amazement. It was like watching an entirely new person being born from the ashes. I know Survivors, and Elizabeth always was one.
Survivors are strengthened by hardship, just as tea is enriched with heat. You can't go through something as fundamentally life-changing as cancer without being changed.
We can become better, we can become bitter. We can fight it or we can just BECOME.
A Woman's Intuition
Elizabeth was one of the first people to actually trust my intuition... long before I was able to trust it myself. Before Jolope, I had rarely called on it consciously. As her trust in me grew, my own faith in my abilities increased. Before I met JoLoPe I was in the "no clue" category.
As an abuse survivor, it's still difficult for me to trust my instincts. Elizabeth has fed my intuition since the day we met. Drawing my attention to it, pulling it out of me. She was the very first person to ever come straight out and call me an intuitive.
I've always seen things and known things I had no possible way of knowing. My oldest daughter and I can communicate from across the world. I've come to believe that we all have intuitive abilities, some people pay attention and build those skills and others don't.
And I saw that in her approach to cancer...
The biggest difference I have seen between Jolope and a "non-intuitive" person is that she is far more likely to trust her instincts. She trusts herself. She trusts her ability to make good decisions. She seeks advice, does her research but if her instincts tell her that something is off she listens.
Her own intuition had led her to a diagnosis that might not have been made otherwise. Her intuitive nature went on to become her guide and her strength during healing.
It also likely helps that I am getting signs of things
that are telling me that I am headed in the "right"
(if there is such a thing) direction. Before I knew
what was going on with me, and right after I found
out, I knew with clarity, there were things I needed
to do, and I knew I needed to do them quickly.
Apparently listening to that inner voice is likely
what saved my life. It just so happened, though,
that I was in incredible discomfort that was getting
worse by the day. So, in some ways, I really didn't
have a choice. At the same time, I could have
chosen to handle things differently, and the results
may have been very different.
Even when the doctors pushed her to have procedures she didn't want, when loved ones pressured her to make decisions that were difficult , even when other bloggers told her that she should talk about cancer so openly because she might scare people... she listened to her instincts.
She shared everything. She didn't hold back or try to coat her experiences in candy. She just said what was on her mind. It needed to be said, and she said it despite any protests she may have received.
As an abuse survivor, the stories that helped me most were always the most honest. Other people who are experiencing similar things need to hear that they aren't alone.There is a lot of raw emotion in someones shared experience, and they need to know the bad as well as the good.
I am encouraging her to publish it as a book someday. All of it.
Knowing just the good parts always left me feeling like there was something wrong with me when I got to the bad. Elizabeth's voice was a powerful way of telling other cancer survivors that they aren't alone. That there are good days and bad, high points and low. She shared them all.
Letters of Joy, Love and Peace
Eleven Letters of Love
Letters of Love
Love Letters For Strangers
When she first told me that she was an intuitive I must admit that I wasn't exactly sure what that meant.
She was talking about her "Letters of Love" one night. She had mentioned them in conversation and described them as basically love letters to strangers. Very detailed and intimate love letters to people she has never met.
She writes these letters to you on a personal basis, and only needs a name or some way to identify the person...
I had no idea what to expect when she offered me one. It's magical, this gift she has for looking inside of people and seeing what nobody else ever has. She placed a trust in me that I have always struggled to place in myself. That others have ridiculed me for in the past.
These are the words she first wrote to me...
"What a lovely lady you are, one with so much love and
light to share and express with others. The more you
share and express the greater your light. The greater
your expression - the greater the you. You are an amazing
and resilient woman who has much to offer to your children
and the world's children. You must speak for the world's
children by speaking to, and through, their parents."
It has not been easy, I still doubt why anybody would want to hear what I have to say about parenting. Elizabeth has asked me to be a guest on her radio show a few times, and I keep putting her off. I still feel as if my voice is too small to be heard or make any real difference, but her love for me is still there every step of the way.
My heart has always been with giving our children a better world. I didn't have the courage to act on it until Elizabeth came into my life. I began my separate blogs on parenting and school safety with this running through my head. She is the one who made many of my articles possible and she never even knew it until she got sick.
She has written letters for many of our friends over the years. They aren't always what we want to hear, but they have a habit of being exactly what we need to hear at the time. She even writes letters of love for total strangers knowing very little about the person or situation but she taps into the very essence of the situation just the same.
Sometimes we forget to say thank you.
Thank you my dear Elizabeth. Thank you.
Hypnosis for JOy LOve and PEace with JoLoPe
Elizabeth Alraune, Certified Hypnotist
I don't even know if she realizes it, but she has this way of making references to hypnosis in nearly every conversation we have. Not that I mind, in fact it is so much a part of the natural conversation that I am quite certain it is not a conscious effort on her part at all. So it was no surprise when she used hypnosis to heal the cancer within her as well.
She talks about how we get so intent on things that we actually hypnotize ourselves all the time without realizing it. We decide that we don't like someone, and we find more reasons not to. We talk about how bad things are and can't figure out why they are getting worse. We make up our mind before we have all of the facts and then we struggle to hold on to those beliefs. How we think determines how we live.
She chose to live positively...
"In addition, I am in the process of writing a
hypnosis script for myself. I believe that hypnosis
is an incredible tool, and that is why there is an
urgency around me using it as I go through chemo.
I have known for a while that I wanted to do
something, but haven't been clear about what,
and wanted to give myself some breathing room.
Yesterday the dam broke, and there has been quite
a flow for the script. It may seem odd to say, but
I am kinda excited about what possibilities may
lie in my very personal experiment."
I've studied the power of the human mind my whole adult life, and it has always left me awestruck. Psychology, religion, spirituality. Over the past few years, these things have merged in my world. And I realize now, that it is Elizabeth that has helped me find that peace.
There was a long time in my life where I was afraid to believe anything. I had been proven wrong so many times, I had been let down. Then along comes this woman on Twitter who says "It's okay to believe again." I had to believe for me, not anybody else.
I spent years in bed feeling sorry for myself. I got better for awhile, but things were getting tough again. Elizabeth didn't know that I was at the end of my rope when she was first diagnosed. I was ready to go back into hiding, to protect myself from the world, and tell everyone and everything to screw off.
And then to see your friend living their life with the sheer determination that Elizabeth has... well, if you need a reminder to pull up your big girl panties and deal with life, watch your friend handle cancer better than you are handling... anything...
She inspired me to change my attitude and my life just by letting me be a part of her most private experiences. She opened up her thoughts to the world, and those thoughts brought healing to far more than just herself.
"Because I have been listening to hypnosis
while getting my treatment, the time during
treatment flies. I believe yesterday's total
treatment time was 3 1/2 hours. It didn't
feel that way, at all."
It has everything to do with the way she looks at life. Without hypnosis, she would not have approached her diagnosis or treatment anywhere near the way she did. With Elizabeth, everything is an experience.
She didn't fight cancer, it was not a battle, she developed a relationship with herself through it. It has been truly beautiful to watch.
"I kept trying to remember tonight
that chemo was my friend. I am
really not sure about how that came
out in the grand scheme of things,
however I did not see it in the same
way most do. I am guessing my
hypnosis had a lot to do with that.
While chemo left me affected, I
never once went to "blame" chemo.
If I felt badly, I felt badly. It sucked.
And eventually the feeling left.
You Can Help Jolope Just By Reading This!
All proceeds from this lens will go to Jolope to help with her financial difficulties... Thank You.
All proceeds from this lens will be donated to Elizabeth Alraune, to help her keep her insurance premiums paid and help with her living expenses until she fully recovers. Every time you read this lens or share it with a friend you are helping us get just a little bit closer to her goal, so thank you from both of us.
When Elizabeth was diagnosed the biggest relief to me was the fact that she had insurance. I've never really had health coverage, so I suppose I thought it had some magical mystical power to make everything okay. Private insurance meant better doctors, higher quality care, the very best in my mind. I don't know what I thought that treatment would consist of, perhaps they would even offer her a rose on a silver platter at her cancer retreat?
That isn't how the real world works.
Even when you are sick, you still have to pay the premiums. Nobody ever explained how she was supposed to keep up the payments as her ability to work declined. $560 a month for insurance? No wonder I've always thought it was a luxury I couldn't afford!
And she still had to find a way to pay her bills and eat too.
She did what she could to keep working at first. She took calls from clients when she could, she kept working on her "Letters of Love," marketing her various enterprises, writing... and when she couldn't do that she created new works of art and kept doing videos.
She tried to stay positive, but it got harder to do as the money began to dwindle. If she had an ounce of energy she used two... and very little of that work paid anything at all.
The conversations leading up to her deciding to open a fundraiser to help her pay her expenses were not easy for her. It was not in her nature to ask for help, but she was unable to stop worrying. She would much prefer to earn her money, but desperate times...
The generosity of total strangers has been a true blessing through her struggle. Even when they only sent $5, another day and another step on the journey was made that much easier for her.
Now she is struggling to rebuild her health and her career at the same time, and still keep up her insurance payments.
If you do choose to purchase one of her services, you are helping Elizabeth more than you know. Perhaps you need private and intimate advice through one of her "Letters of Love," maybe you have been considering hypnosis or even life coaching.
If you would rather just donate to her cause directly you can always go to her fundraising page at GoFundMe: Thank You for helping with Elizabeth's Medical Emergency!
Just by reading this lens and sharing it with friends you can help JoLoPe help other cancer survivors.