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Lehua - Bodies of Courage Bodypainted Cancer Survivors

I am Lehua and I’ve survived Cancer five times. Here is my story.

THE 50’s: My Mom had breast cancer when I was an infant. She didn’t survive it.
She was 20 years old.

THE 60’s: When I was 20 I had my first mammogram. I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
I was told it was a very aggressive cancer and that I had from two to five or seven months to live.
Of course, I thought…like Mother, like Daughter. I told my Dad and my Step-mom.
They violently threw me out of the house!
I turned to friends and neighbors, but everyone rejected me when I told them.


Then I met some hippies who invited me to their commune. They were just what I needed!
It didn’t matter there that I was jobless, homeless, pregnant and had breast cancer.
I gave up my baby for adoption in preparation for the end.
Months went by and then a year, then another year and I was still alive!
I believe that for me, the hippie lifestyle, daily drum circles and meditation healed my breasts.
To this day my favorite meditation is to be surrounded by crystal bowls and the droning sound of the didgeridoo.

THE 70’s: Ten years later I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Both ovaries were removed and my marriage ended, because he had wanted us to have a child or two of our own and he kept taking it out on me…blaming me that he became an alcoholic, since I ruined everything!
So, I divorced Jerry after he tried to shoot me with a shotgun.

THE 80’s: Several years went by and one day I woke up scratching my left breast.
My left nipple was itchy and there was a rash on it.
There was also a small hard lump and a little dimple next to my nipple.
I returned to Florida, got a biopsy and then another one.
I prayed it wasn’t breast cancer, but it was…and I didn’t want to tell my new husband, but I told Michael anyway, he left.
So, I quit my job and drove to California. I told my half-sister and she took me in.
She needed help with her husband who had advanced prostate cancer.
They had a two year old daughter.
When my sister was home, I went to meditate at Shrine Lake. I never missed a day there.
Rain or shine, I went! It was working for me!
As the months rolled by, my left breast slowly healed until my nipple no longer resembled a walnut from hell!
Even the lump and dimple began to disappear!
By the time the rash on my nipple was nearly gone, it wasn’t itchy anymore.
I continued meditation at Shrine Lake for another year and then my brother-in-law passed away.
He called me a crazy hippie since the day we met and my sister was amused by it; but she wished he believed in meditating and sound healing the way I do.

FLORIDA – THE 90’s: I was suddenly hemorrhaging! My neighbor rushed me to the hospital.
The diagnoses was uterine and cervical cancer. (My ovaries were removed; it was not detected that the cancer had begun spreading! I flat-lined during my hysterectomy and I had a near-death experience.
Eleven years ago after a party, my abdomen began hurting and I was unable to fall asleep, so I went to the ER.
The pain was getting worse while I was there and I felt very cold. I was shivering, but my body was hot.
After a few days in the hospital, the diagnosis was that I had abdominal cancer.
I was told that the cancer my be isolated or not, so exploratory surgery was recommended.
During the surgery I flat-lined and I was shocked back to life.
After a few hours, I had another near-death experience.
Shocking didn’t work this time, but adrenaline injected into my heart, plus shocking, did.
I woke up from a week long coma and I was told I might have two more years to live and to set an appointment to start chemo, after my staples and stitches have been removed, and then follow up with radiation.
Six weeks after my discharge from the hospital, I had the sutures and staples removed.
As I watched, it looked like a long industrial zipper!
I left without making a chemo appointment.
Instead, I went to pack for a vacation in Hawaii.
I rationalized…after all I have been through and dying three times, I’m very alive and I’ll enjoy living my life, however far it goes from here.
I didn’t believe I had only two years left in me and here I am, almost ten years beyond that, and I’m still going strong!
It takes courage, perseverance and unconditional love in order to have no room at all for fear.
I’ve learned that lesson and many others…and I know how beautiful the journey is.

Where there is no fear of death, there is no fear of life.

This is my story. May it help others in positive ways. Mahalo!