Hi, I’m Carly Hana, the creator of CarlyHana.com. Thursday, April 9th, 2015, I was diagnosed with triple negative invasive ductal carcinoma after finding a lump in my right breast. That 90-second phone call changed the course of my life, and blog. The day I was diagnosed, fear paralyzed me. My emotions swayed from being overly optimistic to complete despair, with a healthy dose of denial in the middle. My life as I knew it was on hold, and more realistically had likely changed forever.
Not long after my diagnosis, I frantically began working towards my Ph.D. in Cancer with an influence in Breast Cancer at Google University. The more I learned, the greater my frustration. My research spanned from cutting edge immunology therapy to John of God. Most of the conventional protocols dismissed holistic treatment, and the alternative treatment bashed conventional therapies. How was an overly educated person to make a decision they could feel good about in a world where the people you want to help heal you have such polarizing beliefs? Destroy my body if I choose this option. Die if I choose that route. Why wasn’t there more cooperation among all healing modalities for the greater good of the patient? The choice I had to make felt cruel and unbearable. Lesson One in Cancer: people live and die no matter what route they choose. Once I became comfortable with that idea, the easier it was to pick my path by honoring what I knew to be true for me.
Conventional doctors diagnosed my condition, as I’m sure is true for most of you. My first step was to meet “my team” (surgeon, radiologist, oncologist, genetic counselor, social worker). During my half-day meeting, I was prepared to execute their recommendations without question. If you are newly diagnosed, my advice to you is breath. There were a few people who told me I had time. Supposedly, most cancers take between 7-12 years to grow to a size where modern technology can pick it up, or you can feel it (as was true for me). Knowing that gave me the piece of mind to slow down and go inward. I discovered I had a lot of resistance towards the solutions presented regarding the procedures and outcomes for the type of cancer I was diagnosed with. I continued to explore options, I joined Facebook groups on healing cancer, called clinics around the world, and filled myself up with as much information as I could until I couldn’t take it anymore. Lesson Two in Cancer: choose a treatment approach that allows you to sleep at night, and believe whole heartedly it is going to heal you.
After reaching a point of information overload, I flew down to interview the clinic I believed was best equipped to aid me in a full recovery. Remember, a doctor is a hired service provider no different than your plumber, except for their trained area of expertise. At any point, you can choose to go in a different direction if your doctor is not meeting your needs as a hired professional. The more faith you can have in your team, the better the outcome. So choose who you entrust to support you in healing your body wisely. Two days later, I booked a ticket on a Tuesday morning and hopped a flight to begin treatment the next day. Lesson Three in Cancer: pick a team of care providers who listen to your concerns, talk to you as an adult and competent person, you like, trust, and are comfortable around, and you believe will give you the best chance to thrive and live a long happy life.
My mission is to 1) create a place where young people diagnosed with cancer feel comfortable learning about cancer and how to heal, regardless of what path you choose, without fear or judgment. And 2) support you to cultivate an unwavering belief in your ability to recover by listening to your body and choosing a path that best suits your needs.
I see it time and time again, and it happened to me. Someone receives a grim diagnosis and gives all of their power over to doctors without question. We live in a day in age where we believe doctors know best. If you agree with that statement, I hate to break it to you, doctors do not know everything, they know the school of thought they’ve been taught. At times, this set of knowledge is extremely beneficial. My intention is not to demonize doctors, but instead to encourage you not to sleep walk through your recovery. Become an active participant in your healing; take responsibility for your disease and recovery (often easier said than done, and something I struggled to do until 6-months into treatment).
There are many healing modalities across subcultures, communities and countries. You have a lot more control over the state of your health than you may realize. As humans, we are not innately dis-eased. As proof, just look at the other mammals in the animal kingdom. There are many contributing factors to why someone becomes ill, which we will explore. For now, I encourage you to question, by listening to your gut, not only what your doctors say, but also what you read here or anywhere. Not everything that’s good for your unique body is available in a statistic. A full recovery will likely take a leap of faith at some point along your journey.
You are a unique, one of a kind, individual and what works well for someone else, may not work so well for you or it might be what you need—only you know. I want to empower you to become the guru of you by learning to listen to your body, and becoming attuned to what makes you function at your peak. My goal for this site is to provide you with the knowledge that will empower you to be your own best doctor.
In the chaotic world, we live in today, from the moment we wake up most of us are go, go, going from one task to the next. If you’ve recently received a cancer diagnosis, after you breathe, I encourage you to slow down and make time for yourself. On a scale of 1-10, ask yourself: have I been taking care of me? Are you eating healthy nourishing foods? Do you make time to move your body? How often do you laugh? Can you find peace in your mind? Are you living the life you desire? Is your self-confidence at an all time high or low? How are your relationships? Do you have a strong will to live? With our busy lives today, taking good care of ourselves can easily fall by the wayside. Cancer can be your body’s way of saying, hello! I need more from you.
Unlike the renowned wellness warrior and cancer thriver Kris Carr, who discovered her cancer during a particularly stressful and unhealthy period of her life, this wasn’t abundantly clear and didn’t seem true for me. I felt at an all time high when I received my diagnosis. I’d been on a healing path for the last six years. I worked hard to overcome dis-ease such as IBS, headaches, fatigue, bloat, mood swings, foggy brain, post nasal drip, sickness, and wicked PMS followed by extremely painful menstrual cycles, with adult acne as my biggest and most frustrating symptom. Now, sickness was the last thing on my mind. When I received this shocking news, I’d healed myself from 95% of my health struggles, was two years out from a divorce I had initiated, and had a plan for my future. To my surprise, the diagnosis brought up a lot of old wounds and brightly shined the light on non-physical areas of my life that required my attention, and needed to be healed. In a nutshell, my inability to accept and handle particular stressors was taking its toll on my health.
Born and raised in Rochester, NY I came into this world with an adventurous spirit. Growing up in a small town, I spent a lot of time outdoors playing and exploring, working in my grandma’s yard, and participating in sports. I am most comfortable in a bathing suit by the water where I can waterski or surf, covered in performance outerwear skiing down a mountain or contrastingly fashionably dressed in black, leather and skinny jeans strutting down the sidewalk of a big bustling city.
Finding my passion has taken some time. I had no idea what I wanted to do after I graduated high school. After visiting the University of Colorado Boulder as a senior in high school on a “bluebird” day, I said yes to spending the next four-plus years in the mountains. After receiving a BA in Economics and MS in Accounting (more of my dad’s track than mine) I lived in Denver for a short stint before my heart ached to move to NYC. In Manhattan, I worked as a tax consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers, before sidestepping into Executive Recruiting for Accounting/Finance. When the market crashed in 2009, my husband at the time persuaded me to move out of one of my favorite places on the planet. During that time, my journey to not only heal my body but find my passion blossomed. Without any website knowledge, I created She’s Next to encourage women to live the life of their dreams. I later sold my business to a woman, who I am happy to say, is still running the site after taking a bit of a hiatus to have two babies! After lots of experimentation trying to figure out what was up with my body, I decided to deepen my wellness knowledge by attending the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. From here, my desire to inspire others to live a healthier and empowered life was solidified!
My favorite way to move my body is skiing. There’s nothing I love more in this world than the freedom, joy and contentment I experience while skiing. Learning how to ski is the greatest gift my father ever gave me. I started strapped into a pack on his back, when that was still legal and found my ski legs around two and a half years old never looking back. While my days on the mountain have ebbed and flowed over the years, in 2012 I moved to Vail, CO and had my first big season of 87 days. In 2013, I maxed out at 121 days, and in 2014 hit 101 days. We shall see what this season holds.