Maria Shahan easily recalls the day 12-years-ago living in Caracas, Venezuela, when she went in for her annual doctor appointment and just 24 hours later received news of a cancer diagnosis.
Throughout her life, Maria has always been a confident person. As a career training consultant she spent her days teaching others how to communicate, “There I was, in this mammography clinic being told that I needed to see a Surgeon as soon as possible and my reaction was to excuse myself and go lock myself in the closest restroom. I remember standing there facing a blank wall and saying to myself over and over again… this is not me, this is not my reality.” What seemed like hours locked in that bathroom was probably much less but when she did finally come out, she remembers being in shock. Maria went home and shut herself off from the world and in her own denial for the next three days. She told herself that she would not go through this. She had heard the horror stories, she didn’t want to be sick, lose her hair, lose her strength, or lose control. It was her sister, a doctor, that finally got through to her and convinced her to see a surgeon.
That was the beginning for Maria.
Maria had surgery, went through chemotherapy treatment and radiation for stage II breast cancer. After the biopsy came back positive and an appointment had been made to begin chemotherapy she made the decision to take control of her life again. She may have to take chemotherapy but chemotherapy would not take her. The first thing she did was request a tour of the treatment center, “Walking through and seeing the radiation treatment machine, the infusion room, watching the nurses and therapist smile and laugh with the patients, it was like looking the monster in the eye and discovering that maybe he wasn’t so big and bad after all.”
When Maria started treatment, she had a plan. When she lost her hair, she wore a different hat to every treatment. She spent her days planning and finding different hats to wear to entertain the patients and staff.
She listened to music or spent her chemo hours visiting with the other patients. However, she soon began losing weight and feeling weak. She knew she had to regain control over the way she felt because with the fatigue came depression and despair.
There are times in our lives when tragedy strikes and we have to make a choice: we either become bitter or better. Maria decided to become the best version of herself, to pick up the pieces and redesign her life. That journey of discovery brought much spiritual growth and healing.
Maria is the founder of the LifeMatters Institute. She conducts seminars, workshops and retreats for women. It is through these resources that she inspires, motivates, encourages, and coaches women into embracing a healthy lifestyle to bring about healing, joy, and fulfillment.
Maria is currently working toward her certification as a Health Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She is very involved with coaching both English and Spanish speaking clients, as well as working with other fellow Health Coaches from Latin America, bringing her voice and message of Life, Healing and Health to the women of these countries.
To schedule an appointment with Maria call: 580-919-5684.