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Life Lessons: Fighting cancer with a warrior attitude

Anyone would be terrified by a cancer diagnosis but some people have a fighting attitude that doctors say can help.

Six pacemakers, over 60 radiation treatments, 14 months of chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant, 120 blood transfusions, a heart valve replacement, and the list goes on, but Kelly Gallagher is still standing after fighting for her life against “the big c” five times now.

“I never really thought about cancer. I thought about what was on my to do list, I thought about my goals,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher is celebrating the Doctors who Rock awards, a night she organized for those who go above and beyond to help others. It’s inspired by the ones who helped her survive her fight. But over twenty years ago, one doctor told her she had less than a year to live. Kelly simply wouldn’t accept that.

Her ex-husband, and now good friend, Mark Schulman said “You give her a challenge she’ll say screw you, I’ll show you.”

Right from the start of her remarkable fight against cancer, Gallagher took charge of her own personal health plan. Even without health insurance, she never stopped searching for answers, like when she opted out of chemotherapy.

She explained her process; “I went from macrobiotics to raw foods. I was told I had to eat red meat with the fat, no leafy greens, no citrus, no salads, no coffee.”

Some things worked, and some didn’t, but she never gave up, relying on her own instincts and her then-husband's support to give her the strength to keep fighting.

“When she did a macrobiotic diet, I did a macrobiotic diet. When she was doing wheat grass enemas, I tried wheat grass enemas, I drank carrot juice,” Schulman said.

“Even if he didn’t believe what I believed, he allowed me to believe what I believed and supported me to believe what I believed," Gallagher said.

But Schulman said it is Gallagher’s warrior attitude that is the centerpiece of her successful recovery. She tries to spread that attitude to other women battling cancer.

“You’re a goddess in progress. And be patient, and be happy and continue to love yourself,” Gallagher offered as some advice.

Gallagher also wrote a book of crazy cosmic poems that helped her get through her illness, called Poetry or Prophecy. It is an e-book soon to be available to download off her website. 


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