Finding love while fighting for life
When diagnosed with ovarian cancer, most women don’t survive, and when Parksville author Crissa Constantine read that, she was beside herself.
“When I saw that I started screaming in my kitchen, I thought, Oh my God, I’m only 54, I’m too young to die.”
With no family around, Constantine didn’t know where to turn, so she decided to call a friend who is also a counselor. The results changed her life, she said.
Her friend had her stand in front of a mirror and tell herself that she loves herself. This was important because every thought in your brain effects every cell in your body, she said, and it helped her get rid of negative baggage and self-critical thoughts.
“You suddenly stop and say, ‘Ah I’m free, I’m liberated, I don’t have to feel like this anymore.’”
Constantine learned to love and accept herself during chemotherapy treatments and the effects that had on her made her want to write a book to share it with the world.
Love and Accept Yourself Now, A Memoir, is Constantine’s third book, published this month. The book tells her journey through cancer and also describes her change in perspective and how others can reach that same level of happiness. Besides having five university degrees, Constantine has had training in novel writing.
When Constantine was diagnosed with cancer she was already in stage 3 (4 is the highest), but she was lucky, she said.
Often there are little or no symptoms and luckily her doctor sent her for an ultrasound when he did. Although all her blood work came back fine and her tests showed nothing wrong, her gynecologist monitored a cyst in her ovaries. After a second ultrasound the cyst had changed, and it turns out it was carcinoma and it was spreading.
Constantine has been cancer-free now for seven years. She credits her survival with new surgical techniques and chemotherapy which is targeted and more finely tuned, but she is also alive because she learned to love herself, she said. Lack of self-esteem is at the root of most mental health problems and when people constantly feel they are just not good enough, it begins to weigh on their mind, spirit and body.
“One shouldn’t have to face a life threatening disease to get to the point where they can just accept themselves,” she said. “And I’m on a mission with this, and I really want to reach as many people, not just cancer patients, but everybody.”
Constantine’s book can be found on amazon.ca or Google Books. It will be available at Mulberry Bush Book Stores and can be ordered at Chapters book stores. Visit her website for more information www.crissa-constantine.com.