In September of 2014 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and life came to a screeching halt. All of those healthy choices I had made along the way (eating well, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, living a balanced life) were overshadowed by something that took over my body anyway. I had a double mastectomy a month later and then had reconstruction in the months to follow. After my surgical treatment I thought we had beaten it. For 7 years I was followed by my oncologist and treatment team and everything seemed clear. But in August of 2021 I developed great difficulty breathing and a pervasive cough that had become debilitating. After a series of diagnostic tests I got the dreaded news that the cancer was back, and this time it was Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer.
I was so grateful when my friend Julia Holbrook stepped in and told me about Karuna Precision Wellness Center, a more holistic approach to treating cancer. She started this non-profit center after her own experience with cancer and auto-immunity challenges, creating, in her words, “the kind of place I wish I’d had.”. It was clear that with a more involved, pervasive cancer this time I needed to explore every kind of treatment I could find — not just traditional medicine—to lead the best life I could from here on out. Simon Cancer Center has given me exemplary medical care, but I wanted to try other treatments as well.
I started with a complete dietary overhaul with Karuna dietician Kathleen, who recommended that I cut out dairy, gluten, sugar, and processed foods to battle inflammation. She also helped me find good quality vitamin supplements to create a healthier body overall. I have felt great results from making that change, as well as giving up most alcohol.
I began acupuncture treatments with David and craniosacral massage with Natalie, and all of these treatments have felt truly healing to me. I am so relaxed after this energy work and deep care. I always sleep better on the days that I receive these treatments.
All Karuna clients are generously offered a free gym membership at the Indy Healthplex in the building where Karuna’s offices are housed. This has been incredibly important in sustaining my health throughout chemotherapy. My first group class back was Yoga, and this was just what I needed both physically and mentally. I gratefully found there were adaptations for all my body could and could not yet do, and I have been going now 2-3 times a week. I started to see myself as capable again. Through Karuna, Brooklyn offered me athletic training sessions and HIIT classes designed specifically for cancer patients looking to rebuild and I started to see myself as strong again. I walk the indoor track several times a week and engage in strength training both with Brooklyn and on my own. I have noticed that this has made the recovery after chemo much faster and I just feel so much better overall.
I really can’t explain what all of this has meant to me, to have this Karuna community rallying behind me and giving me the gift of physical and mental health. What they have provided to me is a way back to feeling like myself again. All cancer patients deserve that.
- Sonya, Karuna Precision Wellness Center Client