SaEeda Sharon King - Portrait of a Cancer Survivor
Having endured cystic breasts for years, SaEeda King was tired of having them so frequently aspirated – so she stopped going to the doctor.
"I didn’t get checked for a few years," she admits. Then she found a painful lump under her arm. It was stage III breast cancer.
King thought, "I can take care of it myself." She followed a macrobiotic diet and underwent cleanses. The lump went down, and the pain stopped. But then she developed a new cancer – an aggressive, inflammatory cancer.
Around that time, King, who calls herself multireligious, had a spiritual experience. A friend from her old home in Hawaii had recently died of breast cancer. King built an altar and prayed for her friend: "And her spirit came. She said, ‘By the time I turned to medicine, it was too late. You need to do both.’"
Taking that advice, she began treatment at UC Davis Cancer Center. She underwent chemotherapy, a full mastectomy, radiation, and then a year on the drug Herceptin, which targeted her specific type of breast cancer. Her spirituality never flailed.
"I did Buddhist chants and visualizations. I would picture the chemo and radiation as bursts of gold-colored light, knocking out the cancer."
"I did Buddhist chants and visualizations," she says. "I would picture the chemo and radiation as bursts of gold-colored light, knocking out the cancer." Before her operation, she also buried two rose quartz heart-shaped crystals in the earth as a ceremonial goodbye to her breasts.
King has nothing but praise for the health-care professionals who helped her.
"I felt comfortable with their spirits," she says. "You have to decide whether to trust your physician and trust what they have planned for you."
She is now three years cancer-free, but she doesn’t use the word "remission."
"I prefer to think it’s not coming back," she says. "It’s gone forever, in this lifetime and in any others!"