“I learned that gritting through certain things wasn’t necessary.”
In this Expanded episode, I’m talking to Casey Kang Head, a three-time survivor of acute lymphoblastic leukemia and a stroke. She’s now a cancer coach who teaches survivors how to reclaim their lives and the author of Finding Your Way Back to Heart Center; Cancer Treatment Ended, Now What? Casey shares the few highs and many lows of this unexpected journey filled to the brim with uncertainty and ambiguity at every turn. Through this process, she learned the power of decision, surrendering to the care and support of others, and what it takes to reorient to yourself and your life once cancer’s behind you. Her story is beautiful and confronting, but she shares tremendous wisdom, showcases incredible trust and faith, and powerfully models what it’s like to live this methodology in the most challenging of circumstances.
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What to listen for:
- Casey’s journey of finding out she had cancer
- Not allowing the reality to land until her hair started falling out
- Starting chemotherapy before getting the biopsy results
- Facing denial and not being able to say “the C word”
- The goal that motivated her to be a part of her healing team
“I was in bed for three days straight in the hospital because I was so sick, like even getting up to go to the bathroom was a struggle. And they were like, we need to get you out of bed. You need to be walking around. You need to be participating basically. That changed it for me in perspective because I was like, if I want to go home, I have to get to a point where I can walk up and down stairs by myself. And as soon as I had a goal, it helped turn things on in my brain. It also helped me on a larger scale of my medical team is doing everything that they can to kill cancer inside my body with the medicine. How can I participate in that? How can I also do everything to be a good team player to help them do their job well?”
- The struggle of doing what you need when you’re exhausted
- Surrender and support are required for healing
- Allowing her husband to help her in very vulnerable ways
- How this experience deeply humbled Casey
- Gritting through it isn’t necessary
“It humbled me to a point where I didn’t think I would ever be. And the level of vulnerability to not just ask for help but receive help. And not because I needed it but because I genuinely wanted it. Even when there were certain points where I could have done a lot of the things on my own, but instead, my ego, I put it aside and asked for help. I learned that gritting through certain things wasn’t necessary.”
- Living in the constant uncertainty
- Going home to “settle her affairs” while waiting
- Holding onto hope despite all the setbacks
- Deciding to go through a third round of treatment
- Figuring out life after cancer, wondering if it’ll come back
“I lived in that unknown for a long time and felt very stuck because I’m not the woman I was, but I didn’t know who I was. My therapist at the time asked me a question that woke me up. She looked at me and goes, ‘What if it never comes back?’ And I go, ‘Oh. I don’t know.’ And I came back the next week, and I go, ‘I’d be wasting time.’ And she goes, ‘So what are you gonna do?’ So, from that, I formulated my plan of how do I get rid of living in this paralyzing fear that’s making me feel stuck? How do I stop living so anxious and afraid? And who am I?”
- Diving into self-help and healing her body
- Sharing her experiences with women on social media
- Becoming the voice she needed after remission
- Writing her book and sharing her vulnerable story
- Casey’s advice for anyone struggling with the impossible
About Casey Kang Head:
Casey Kang Head is a 3x survivor of acute lymphoblastic leukemia and a stroke survivor. She’s now a cancer coach who teaches survivors how to reclaim their lives and learn how to live differently to ensure they are stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally so they don’t live life in fear. She’s the Author of Finding Your Way Back to Heart Center; Cancer Treatment Ended, Now What?
Connect with Casey online: