Intuition may be the first sign of cancer. It was for me.

Listening to your innate ability to sense could save your life.

When I was in the Himalayas, not far from the Indian and Nepal borders, I visited ancient Hindu temples that date back ten-thousand years before Christ. That trip was a spiritual pilgrimage leading me back to a life of faith after years of doubt and wandering. After considerable reflection about my solo travels and a plunge into ancient Indian Tantric theories, I started to blend life experiences into a healthy real-world perspective. Even though my mind was calm and confident, my body seemed to be telling me that something was wrong. Because of that intuitive pull, my newfound peacefulness had waves of uneasiness.

Doubt, especially about oneself, can be like a cancerous cell. It can grow into an unyielding beast that ends in consumption.

But I had faith in myself and knew the doctors were missing something. At first, there were subtle signs — seemingly typical pains associated with being in my late fifties, so I dismissed them. Nothing in particular stood out as life-threatening: fatigue, backache, ringing ears, and bruising. I chuckled that bees and mosquitos would fly in for a whiff and then move away as if I was their caretaker, immune to their stings. Funny at first, being a leper among insects raises more than a few red flags. Next came the rash. It first appeared on me at the ancient Jageshwar Temple in northern India, in the armpit of Nepal. When it began to grow, I imagined that a parasite was growing under my skin or that a obscure, ancient disease unknown to the west, had infected me. I observed its red spongy mass on my cheek come and go, linked to my mood, existing in some odd, foreign way.

Finally, I had enough. After four years of dermatological visits,

I insisted on a biopsy.

My Mohs surgeon sent the sample with specific instructions relating to my travel destinations and the realm of diseases that were to be tested. Even leprosy was listed as a possibility. Then I waited. Six weeks later I received the pathology report. I spent hours on Google to discover the complexities of my diagnosis.

The determination was slow growth, stage four, Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Everything seemed like a contradiction in terms.

Every cancer journey begins with questions. The answers are never fully satisfying and bring more doubt about its discovery, the healing processes, and life expectancy. Finally, one thing remains clear: there are no definitive answers. The life of a cancer patient consists of day-to-day doubt.

To bring sanity into the fray requires immense faith. Faith is necessary for mental stability. It is used to balance the ways of the world with the means of our spirit.

In the process of healing (or not healing), as is the case with terminal cancer, doubt could lead to chaos without faith because uncertainty divides the mind from the body. A person with self-doubt dismisses innate messages, inspirational dreams, even peaceful spiritual thoughts. That could suffocate one's essence and limit one's life potential.

Although the final diagnosis was surprising, I have learned to trust my intuition and have become proactive in my treatments. It has made my cancer journey a more peaceful one.

For additional information about Tantra and its place in yoga's history read my book "Yoga Affect: A Primer for a Beautiful Life." To implement yoga theory into your daily life, start journaling in "Yoga Affect: A Guided Journal." Both books are available on Amazon.

To learn more about traditional forms of yoga and how to add these methods to your life please visit my website:

Sandra Zuidema is the author of the Yoga Affect Series. Yoga Affect: A Primer for a Beautiful Life and it's companion journal, Yoga Affect: A Guided Journal, both available on To learn more about the series and please visit the website


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© 2016 Sandra Zuidema