Mellanie Smith is The Sand Dollar Foundations Founder . Here is part of her story...
In August 2012, I was diagnosed for the first time with Large B-cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.
I was 34 years old. A mother of two small daughters and scared. I had a tumor so large in my chest wall that is was compromising my life. I had no choice but to start conventional treatment right away. I did six aggressive rounds of chemotherapy and within six months I was told that I was cancer free... but that is not how this story ends. It was during that six months that my whole life was flipped upside down. I suffered debilitating side effects of chemotherapy and my mind began to question how this could be "healing". It was one night, during my recovery phase that I had a dream of a place, a wellness center. I could see it so clearly. This was a place of healing. I drew a picture in my journal the next morning.
In December 2015, just shy of three years cancer free, I heard the dreaded words"Mellanie, it's back". You could imagine the overwhelming thoughts and fears that took over in that moment. I didn't allow them to stay long. Within the three years prior to this re-diagnosis I had made many changes. I had learned the healing art of Reiki, I had become an Herbalist, I had learned how to stay in a positive mindset, I had started a business helping other people heal. I was prepared mentally, physically and spiritually this time but still had loved ones around me that were living in a space of fear. It was their fears that led me down a path that I did not truly want to take. I started an even more aggressive chemotherapy and within two rounds my organs began to shut down... I went back to the moment that I thought ,"How is this healing?"
It was at that point that I took matters into my own hands, I used all of the integrative, holistic, functional therapies that I was trained in and I called upon a team of healers/practitioners to assist with my wellness plan. I had stopped chemotherapy and that is when one of my oncologist said these words to me, "No one has ever survived this disease after failing chemotherapy treatment" she said in April 2016. I did not accept or believe that. I had hope, I had resources, I knew that with the right plan I could heal and cure myself. I dug deep, went to work on my wellness plan and within four months, I was cancer free and have been ever since.
There is so much more to my story but this one is important to share with you now.
The therapies that I did all came with an out of pocket fee, but there was no price tag on my healing or on my life. I used credit cards and went into debt to pay for the treatments that were ultimately curing me. I do not ever want someone to feel what I felt in those moments.
That is how we got here...and this is how we can help others.
***please note that this is my personal story and not all patients have the same experiences or outcomes. The Sand Dollar Foundation is here to provide comfort, compassion and wellness care to support your own personal journey.