In the last week, I was inspired by two survivors of cancer — both great teachers of courage and overcoming challenges some would consider daunting.
Deborah Shemesh learned 29 years ago that she had melanoma. She was a beautiful blonde swimsuit model. Doctors thought all her childhood years of getting burnt at the beach in polluted downtown Chicago had caused the skin cancer. With medical professionals saying she had roughly 6 months to live, Shemesh sought a family for her young son Adam. My parents, who already had six children in a Brady Bunch-style family, came close to adopting Adam. Today, Adam is like a part of our family and still enjoys the company of his mother, who miraculously proved the doctors wrong.
Shemesh is a testament to not only what a strong will to live can do but to being open to many methods, including traditional and alternative medicine, to heal what is thought to be a fatal disease. She has also created a fulfilling life, despite having the challenges of a health condition. An artist, a yoga teacher in training at The Chopra Center, a mother and so much more, Shemesh tells her story at http://www.deborahshemesh.com/
The other survivor is Edomyas Solomon, who at only 30 years old can already claim victory over cancer. What stood out about this man — who came to the U.S. years ago after being raised in Ethiopia — is that he looked at cancer not as something to fight but as a visitor in his body. That unconventional positive attitude may be what gracefully led to his quick recovery within a year of being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. The five prior years of meditating paid off as Solomon quickly accepted that it was perhaps his time to go, viewing life as something not so serious.
Along with meditating, working less, and enrolling in a writing class, a large part of Solomon’s healing was the support he received from loved ones. He also took a cooking class for cancer prevention through Sharp HealthCare in San Diego. The class suggested a vegan diet, as well as avoiding processed foods and sugar. During 6 months of chemotherapy, he followed a mostly vegan diet. For the last year, Solomon has tested as cancer-free, and he is active in meaningful work on AIDS in Ethiopia.