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My New Hero Is A Teenage Girl

13 Feb

Sara was first diagnosed with cancer at age 7, with a tumor in leg.  She had surgery and 10 months of chemotherapy, but had a recurrence 9 months later. She had another surgery and local radiation, and then more chemotherapy with stem-cell rescue.  This was a prolonged hospitalization - almost four weeks - but her mother had her doing her homework every day! (I totally salute this Jewish Tiger Mother approach!!)

She stayed cancer free for five years, but at age 15, she developed some headaches. The ophthalmologist suggested an MRI and that's how they found another tumor - the cancer was back.  She had a local resection, went for radiation to the site, and then had a few rounds of chemotherapy.

On a routine quarterly MRI a year later, they found a new brain tumor, even though she was asymptomatic.  She also had a tumor in her adrenal glands.  
She had more surgery, with three weeks of radiation, and is now undergoing chemotherapy yet again.  

Now, here’s the thing - listen up, people! Sara has never fallen behind in school. She finished her first semester with four A's and one B, passed her drivers test, and started a new community service club at school which has had two events already - one for animal shelter, one for a food bank.  

Of course, she's proudest of the driver's license!  (And her parents punctuated this accomplishment by getting her a refurbished beater to drive.)

Sara and her parents believe in a holistic approach to healing, and she’s always included Reiki as part of her personal practice, in addition to meditation and assorted herbal supplements.  

But what impresses most is how both Sara and her parents insist on letting her continue her life, finding purpose, meaning and accomplishment in the regular, everyday stuff of kid life, while managing this persistent, serious, scary disease as a sidebar.   

How about a combined wish from all 70,000 of you guys, for the permanent disappearance of this pesky disease, which, after all, is no match for this kid and her family?  And, until that time, for continued kid business as usual!

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award