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Name: Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos

Diagnosed At Age: 43

Status: Cured (I don’t use the word remission. I believe in cured.)

Bio: Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos, Intuitive Life Coach, survived three breast cancers, wrote “Surviving Cancerland: Intuitive Aspects of Healing” (Cypress House, Jan 2014), and websites: SurvivingCancerland.com and AccessYourInnerGuide.com, hosts Living Well Talk Radio, Cancer Q&A, columnist for CapeWomenOnlineMagazine, Patheos and BreastCancerYoga blogger, Dream Queen columnist for Wellness Woman 40 & Beyond, Your Dream Intrepretation, Om Times Magazine contributor, WakeUpWomen; R.A. BLOCH Cancer Foundation Hotline counselor.

My story: My physician-within came to my rescue when the medical community and the tests on which they rely missed my breast cancer three times. There is almost always a point in the process of illness where logic, reason, and medical expertise fails. It is at this point a patient can slip through the cracks, often never to recover. However, I found that we hold all the answers to our well-being. Dreams are the key. My story is about healing cancer through dreams, meditation and prayers and winning at the “Hospital Policy Game.”

I survived aggressive breast cancer—three times— missed by physicians at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, in Boston Massachusetts and the scientific tests on which they relied. However, my physician-within and female intuition empowered me with signs, symbols and information to get tests that validated my dreams and found the cancer that three mammograms, blood tests and physicals had missed. I took the advice of my physician-within and convinced my doctor to do exploratory surgery which found the cancer.  My treatment consisted of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and tomoxifen. I combined holistic and conventional medicine for a healing greater than the sum of its parts. While most women would be glad to hear that they were healthy and to go home, I knew my doctors words were wrong and advocated for the tests I knew I needed to discover my cancer in order to live. I used my intuition to self-advocate a course of treatment, often against the vehement advice of my doctors, in my healing process. My story is a blind study between doctors and intuition.

My first cancer was stage 2, the second was stage 4 and the third was stage zero. The chances of my dreams finding cancer missed by “state of the art medical tests” three times is as lucky as winning the lottery three times in a row. Luck had little to do with it. Divine intervention did. When we are in crisis, we are never alone! We have spirit guides and guardian angels. Their job is to help us fulfill our destiny which I refer to as “Our Celestial Game-Plan.”

My reaction when I was first diagnosed: My reaction was mixed because my pathology report proved that my dreams were correct and the doctors and the medical tests on which they relied were wrong. My pathology report scared the bejabbers out of me, but I also knew that my Higher Power was involved in my survival, and that was very reassuring.  My dreams had told me to return to my doctors for more specific tests. My Higher Power had faith in my doctors even though mine had wavered. Now, with the pathology report proving that I did have breast cancer that three mammograms, blood tests and physicals over a 3-month period could not find, my doctors were listening to me.

I remember the exact moment I received validation of my dreams and physician–within. “Pathology didn’t like what they saw when they cut the tumor open,” my surgeon said after closing the privacy curtain behind him.

“So, is it cancer?” I asked, while holding fast to the hospital gurney, bracing myself for the answer I already suspected and feared.

“Yes, I’m sorry. I’ll refer you to someone else now, a specialist.”

Thus began my Alice in Wonderland’s steady decent down the dark rabbit hole of cancer.

So, my voices and dreams had been right. The doctors and tests were wrong. With my surgeon’s words, the first shot of my ensuing battle had been fired, and it was not a warning shot across my bow, it was point-blank into my breast. I glanced down at my painful wound and wept with grief and joy.

My Inner-guidance filled with life-saving information and delivered by dreams had saved my life. I was not alone. (From “Surviving Cancerland: Intuitive aspects of Healing”).

How I’m feeling now: I feel fantastic and am busy being of service to others. I am spreading the word that we have all the answers to our questions if we know how and where to find them. I just finished the Dream Work Telesummit with David Dibble to help others see the important information concerning healing and life that is contained in your wildest dreams. The wilder the dream, the more information it shares because wild is difficult to forget.

My inspirations: My inspiration is the tenacity of nature and it’s connection to my Higher Power. I believe in the power of healing prayer, dreams and meditation. You can cover nature in hurricane waters, burn it out in wildfires, blow it away in tornadoes and shake it to it’s foundation in earthquakes, but it will and does recover because of it’s deep and basic connection to a Higher Power. Nature accepts challenge, but not defeat. Nature heals naturally. Through our connection with nature on earth, our bodies are natural healing machines. We know that when we cut our finger, it will heal. Nature does not know the difference between a little healing and a lot of healing. It knows healing. I take my inspiration from nature and put my healing in the hands of my Higher Power. Beside every poisonous plant grows an antidote plant. Poison Ivy has the beautiful yellow flowered Jewel Plant. In time we will find cancer’s jewel flower growing close to our hearts.

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My support system: My support system was and still is my husband of 33 years, my three cats and a handful of steadfast friends who were by my side every step of the way. When I fell, they cried, and we picked each other up. My poor husband suffered sympathy pains and lost much of his hair, too. We both have a beautiful healthy head of hair today and laugh about our past cuts and bruises.

I’m proud of: The book I wrote, “Surviving Cancerland: Intuitive aspects of Healing” because it leads by example from the trenches of experience and success. It teaches cancer patients, their doctors, caregivers, and loved ones, how to stand in their power and speak their truth in the face of adversity and authority while being a part of their decision-making team in a medical environment that is undergoing great change. This is my first book in a three-book series.

And the volunteer work I do as an R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation Hotline Phone Counselor.  I am a mentor, friend and advocate to newly diagnosed women.

I’m afraid of: Not getting my information on progressing from “Survivor to Thriver” (my third book) out to the public fast enough. With cancer statistics rising, I feel I need more hours in the day.

I’ve learned: That we are never alone. Even during our darkest hour, our loved ones who have “crossed over” to the other side are given permission to return to us in our dreams, prayers and meditations and give us love and healing advice. If we still the chatter in our minds or tune into the messages in our dreams, we will have all the answers to our questions and the guidance we need. We were all born with guardian angels/ spirit guides. We are their job, and they take that job seriously. Ask and you will receive much more than words. It is a promise. Believe.

My advice to new patients: Here are five pieces of advice I have for you, the new patient.

  • This time in your life is a bizarre nightmare, aka Cancerland, that can also be a blessing in disguise. Keep a dream journal beside your bed and begin journaling. It is your way of connecting with your ET, Eternal Teacher, who uses your dreams to phone home for much needed guidance and healing information—ET phones home! And someone always answers.
  • Your dreams are the telephone lines to information that can open a new world of healing which compliments conventional therapy but also goes beyond modern medicine. Your prayers are often answered in your dreams.  Believe in the power of prayer. Trust in the wisdom of your Higher Power. And remember, the Universe is always listening. Talk to it. It will answer you in your dreams.
  • Dream Journaling is also Dream Therapy. We all have a physician-within.  Meeting yours in your dreams is a wonderful way to begin a new life full of confidence while fulfilling your life purpose. If you are reading this, you have not yet fulfilled your life purpose. It’s not time for you to go home. Keep walking, don’t give up, but remember to stop and smell the roses and celebrate.
  • Celebrate your successes, no matter how small or far between. See the glass as half full.  When you have reached the tiny 1/100th point of completing your treatments, celebrate! And then write about it in your journal. When you feel that you are not making progress, go back and read your celebrations to remind yourself that you are moving forward. Write down the funny, silly, sexy things (yes, they do happen) on this strange  journey because…  Laughter is medicine.
  • Laugh until it heals.

To see more of our 31 Survivors in 31 Days stories, click here!