Told her odds of survival were less than one percent, 31 year-old Alyssa Phillips took up the challenge and set out to beat those odds. Diagnosed with stage IV cervical neuroendocrine cancer, the prognosis was bleak, but her spirit was strong.
Young and married, her hopes of starting a family were dashed in an instant, but there would be no time for self pity. New hopes and dreams would take hold. Now 34, she is not only surviving, but thriving and sharing her inspirational story with the world. She’s gutsy, energetic, and relentlessly upbeat. And she’s a person you should know.
What is neuroendocrine cancer?
One of the most aggressive types of cancer, there have been less than 30 cases of cervical neuroendocrine cancer ever documented, and precious few successful outcomes. Information is scarce on this rare disease, but the cancer’s aggressiveness is well documented. Most patients die within two to three years of diagnosis. (Hong Kong Med J 2009;15:69-72)
Battling the Cancer
The diagnosis came as a shock. Having just completed a half-marathon in her best time ever, Alyssa had never felt better.
With stage IV cancer ravaging her body, there was no doubt in Alyssa’s mind that she was in the midst of a medical emergency of enormous proportions. The trained Physician Assistant underwent a hysterectomy, followed by high-dose chemotherapy, and two bone marrow transplants that required eight months of what she calls “house arrest,” as her immune system went through the process of rebooting.
It was a grueling treatment plan, but one she would endure because giving up was simply not an option she could accept.
Modern medicine would play a large role in saving her life, but she knew that she needed to do more, to learn more about the “other” side of medicine. She began learning about emotional healing techniques, affirmations, meditations, visualizations, and prayers. She practiced yoga, acupuncture, juicing, energy medicine, ancient healing disciplines, and worked with a nutritionist. In her quest for life, she utilized a blend of modern medicine and complementary therapies. As she put it, “No stone was left unturned.”
“All of these things I still do today and each of these were no doubt “difference makers” that turned a less than one percent chance of survival into the life of my dreams now. Medicine has its place but, in the end, all true healing begins within.”
As for those odds of survival, she fell squarely into that less than one percent, and says she’s happier and healthier than ever before.
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