By Alex Ripepi
Assistant Opinion Editor
Last week, Crystal Becks, the CSUB director of housing, invited others to hear and learn from her experience with ovarian cancer as part of the Brown Bag Talk series. Becks spoke on Jan. 23 in order to both convey her feelings during her struggle and inform attendees about her choice to use holistic medicine when the prognosis was most grim.
One of the first things Becks discussed was her reaction to the diagnosis. Becks’ cancer was discovered in 2001 when she was 28 years old, but she admitted that before her diagnosis she “knew something was wrong.” She visited a doctor after experiencing extreme lethargy, and while the results weren’t immediately found to be cancer, Becks was told of her condition by a doctor at the City of Hope branch in Buena Vista.
“I felt very helpless,” Becks said. Once the diagnosis was delivered she shut down. She began urging anyone with an important medical exam to take a friend or family member with them, as she candidly admitted that anything past that point went in one ear and out the other.
Becks’ choice to undergo holistic treatment was not immediate however, and she initially decided to use traditional western medicine. Becks underwent chemotherapy and explained that the entire experience was miserable. She was later informed that her diagnosis was terminal.
Making an honorable choice, Becks decided to take a journey to the East, traveling to Korea and Vietnam on a service mission. While working at an orphanage, Becks discovered Eastern medicine for the first time, and after further research on holistic cures, decided that she would not just live the rest of her life, but she would fight the cancer.
When she returned from her life-altering trip, Becks enlisted the help of a healer named Trisha, a woman Becks described as “crunchy-granola,” during her first impression. She admitted that in her meeting with Trisha, she was skeptical that this woman would be her salvation. Strictures such as removing gluten, sugar, soda, and other things were among the laundry list of treatments Trisha had to offer. Becks explained that Trisha told her very bluntly that she would die if she didn’t follow those prescriptions to the letter.
Becks followed Trisha’s advice. She explained her following experiences and the medical roller coaster ride she endured was rather tense. After staying true to Trisha’s orders, Becks entered remission, but fell out of it again when she decided to stop the treatment. This happened twice,. Then, last November, Becks entered remission for the third time and has been staying the course since then.
Becks began to explain the different ways that she has changed her life since then, and urged her audience to be more conscious of their health. She explained that in her holistic route, she stopped taking certain medications in lieu of alternative options, and that medicine similar to the Eastern style that she learned of is available everywhere.
However, she let the audience know that each person’s choice is their own entirely and that she would never force her beliefs on anyone. But even then, Becks had one piece of advice that she believed everyone should take to heart. She explained that writing health issues down in some type of notebook or journal and keeping a log of them allows her to make the most of her current visits with her doctor that she uses in addition to supplementing her health with Trisha’s advice.
“I feel like cancer was a gift,” Becks said, explaining that her life right now could never have been attainable even if she hadn’t struggled with such a dire medical problem. More than sharing her experience, Becks seemed excited to be able to offer even the possibility to improve the lives of others, much in the way she found her salvation while on a mission to help the help