Actress Cobie Smulders, who gained worldwide recognition for her role as Robin Scherbatsky on How I Met Your Mother and Agent Maria Hill in the Marvel Cinematic Universe recently penned a poignant and touching letter essay on her fight with cancer. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the young age of 25 and beat it successfully.
Here, we have a few excerpts from her essay that are sure to shed a new light on both the fickle nature of life as well as help us glean a new meaning to it.
"Sometimes working as a television actor, someone who comes into the privacy of your home on a weekly basis, you're required to share a part of yourself with the public. This is a concept that I understand but am not entirely comfortable with. I am a very private person. My happy place is being tucked away in the Canadian woods, miles from civilization. But something happened a few years ago that made me think that revealing some of my personal life might actually make a difference in the lives of other women.
This fortuity happened when I was asked to appear topless (what the what?!) on the cover of Women's Health Magazine. I know. Not what you were expecting. Sometimes in this insane industry that I have chosen to be part of, you get these types of requests when you have a project coming out that needs to be promoted. This particular magazine issue was about bodies: how to love your body, how to have body confidence, and how to keep yourself healthy.
It was a very strange day. I was standing in front of a camera lens in my underwear and holding my breasts, all while trying to appear not sexy but confident, not flirtatious but gleamingly positive. Aside from the fact that I had just given birth six weeks prior and was not feeling my physical best, I was still recovering from the overwhelming flattery that someone other than my husband would want to see me topless."
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"It all made me start thinking about this body that I'm in. And what it has been through. And suddenly this bizarre invitation became an opportunity to share some insight from my experience of being diagnosed with, receiving treatment for, and eventually learning to cure my cancer.”
“….I found myself in the centre of such a storm in the spring of 2008, when I was 25. Just when your ovaries should be brimming with youthful follicles, cancerous cells overtook mine, threatening to end my fertility and potentially my life. My fertility hadn't even crossed my mind at this point. Again: I was 25. Life was pretty simple. But suddenly it was all I could think about."
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“…Just before I was diagnosed, I had felt like something was off. My energy was low, I was just so tired all the time, and I felt a constant pressure on my abdomen that I could not explain. I listened to my body and immediately went to my gynaecologist. She referred me to an oncologist at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles who is an angel and helped me to put my fears aside and take action.”
“Thus began the strangest, most bizarrely educational four months of my life.”
“I went RAW. I forced myself into a devastating breakup with cheese and carbohydrates (fortunately, we are now giving our relationship another chance, but we will never be what we once were). I started meditating. I was constantly in a yoga studio. I went to energy healers who evaporated black smoke from my lower body. OK ... sure! ... right? I went to a cleansing retreat in the desert where I didn't eat for eight days and experienced hunger-driven hallucinations. I read so many books (Crazy Sexy Cancer, by Kris Carr, was one of the best). I went to crystal healers. Kinesiologists. Acupuncturists. Naturopaths. Therapists. Hormone therapists. Chiropractors. Dietitians. Ayurvedic practitioners ...”
“I really wish I could tell you what particular combination of these things, along with multiple surgeries, eventually gave me a clean bill of health. I wish everyone had access to all these treatments. I am aware of my situation, that I was incredibly fortunate to have had the means to explore any and all options. The good news is that these options are out there. You can do the research and find many different ways to help your body heal itself.”
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“…It has taken a lot of patience with myself to get to where I am today. I am learning that in life it is OK to travel in darkness, not knowing what your next move is. I don't allow the stress of the unknown to affect my health, and I listen to my body when it sends me distress signals. I wish that we as women spent as much time on the well-being of our insides as we do with our looks on the outside. If you are going through something like this, I urge you to look at all your options. To ask questions. To learn as much as you can about your diagnosis. To breathe. To ask for help. To cry and to fight.”
You can read the whole essay here.
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