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Authority Magazine

Carmelina Baccari: I Survived Cancer and Here Is How I Did It

An Interview With Savio P. Clemente

Photo Credit: Paul McGrath

If my cancer had message for me it would say. “You are worthy, you are loved. You deserve the best. Speak your truth and don’t hide who you are or what you feel. All of you is accepted. Heal your past, let go of resentment. Forgive.”

Cancer is a horrible and terrifying disease. Yet millions of people have beaten the odds and beat cancer. Authority Magazine started a new series called “I Survived Cancer and Here Is How I Did It”. In this interview series, we are talking to cancer survivors to share their stories, in order to offer hope and provide strength to people who are being impacted by cancer today. As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Carmelina Baccari.

As a breast Cancer survivor, Carmelina’s transformative experiences have fuelled her passion for the art of Areola Restoration: A medical procedure that is artistically created to illustrate a 3D hyper real areola and nipple. Through her own life lessons and struggles with breast Cancer, Carmelina was able to channel her energy into a craft that serves to bring happiness to others while fulfilling her own life’s purpose. Carmelina takes pride in continuously refining her approach, skills and techniques to not only produce exceptional aesthetic results but also to support her clients emotionally and spiritually in their transition.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! We really appreciate the courage it takes to publicly share your story. Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your background and your childhood backstory?

Thank you for having me and for the opportunity to share my story! I really love what you are doing. My childhood… well, I am the second eldest of 6 children. My mother is Metis, German, Irish, Russian raised in Canada and my father is Italian, born and raised in Italy. I was born in Canada but lived in Italy through my early years. I am not going to lie, there were many challenges growing up, it was no fault of my parents because I know they did the best they could with the tools they had. My childhood felt unstable because we moved many times and my parents divorced when I was young. I ultimately learned to coast in the chaos. My survive and thrive spirit was born really early. I was close with my brothers and sisters, we have all had our challenges but we are all so strong in our own way. I am grateful for my big family. Blood is thicker than water. I really identified with my Italian heritage — culture is connection for me. I had a very vivid imagination as a child, I loved to dance and play. I still do! I attended multiple schools and I had to start working very young. All of these things made me who I am now!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“The heart has no wrinkles.” When I was 15 years old I opened a Baci chocolate and this message was enclosed. It is my favourite because I believe it. I folded the message up and it is forever etched in my mind. Your heart never ages and no matter how much heartache we endure there is always an opportunity to love, like you have never been hurt. I believe in the power of love.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about surviving cancer. Do you feel comfortable sharing with us the story surrounding how you found out that you had cancer?

Yes, it is a story of listening to my intuition. I was in Europe for the summer and I didn’t feel right. I felt a pulsing feeling in my left armpit. I remember having hot flashes and feeling flu like. It passed, but something was off so I decided to follow up with my doctor. My doctor did not seem to be too concerned but I pushed for tests to be done. The test results indicated that I had stage 3 Breast Cancer that moved to my lymph nodes.

I feel like I was in a bit of denial at first. I was really pragmatic about what needed to happen next. That’s the Sagittarius in me :). I was laser sharp focused and knew that negative thoughts were not welcome in my realm. I started to research, talk to people, get alternative therapy advice, holistic health guidance — you name it. I wanted to fight with all my power and from all angels. I committed to only positive thoughts and started to really dive deeper into meditation and movement- yoga. I recognized the emotional and energetic component to disease and started to really commit to my total healing and wellbeing.

What was the scariest part of that event? What did you think was the worst thing that could happen to you?

The scariest part was acceptance. I don’t think I ever did accept I had cancer. I refused to believe it. I was able to relate to the diagnoses as: ‘OK — this is something you are going through, but it does not define you.’ I think when anyone is diagnosed with cancer, it’s natural to think that you could die. I also thought about losing my hair and all of the things that come with treatment. I had no idea what I was up against but I knew that I was ready to fight.

How did you react in the short term?

Shock, denial, organized. Proactive! I was like ‘OK — now what do we do? LET’S DO IT.’

After the dust settled, what coping mechanisms did you use? What did you do to cope physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually?

I did chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. During these treatments I took certain supplements and I did energy clearing with a Maori healer 24 hours before every chemo. I did yoga and barre class to keep my body moving. I cried a lot and then would rehydrate with lots of water and bone broth. My friend is an amazing chef and he prepared frozen meals for me. All alkaline and healing foods. Although 80 percent of my diet was organic and conscious I would also crave shit food like burgers and fries with gravy. Apparently the type of chemo I had induced these cravings.

I did a lot of research and committed to gut health and support after the treatments. This is ongoing and a lifestyle now. Probiotics are so important.

Other supplements I took were:

Apricot kernels x 3 a day

Broccogen

Cur-cumin

Greens liquid

Green tea

Water with lemon

  • iodine drops (ask naturalpath more detail about it )
  • Coffee enemas ( helps produce our own glutathione)
  • Vitamin C iVs
  • Vitamin k2
  • CBD oil

I still do IV therapies for vitamins, ozone therapy and Infrared saunas.

Before I started chemotherapy I had a ceremony with dear friends surrounding me to cut off all of my hair. I knew my hair was going to start to fall out, so I made the decision to celebrate the release and renewal and transformation I was about to bravely face. We did a photoshoot and when I look at the images now, I am reminded of my strength. There is so much power in each photo, because I was surrounded by community and friends. I had moments of feeling terribly alone but knew I was not.

Is there a particular person you are grateful towards who helped you learn to cope and heal? Can you share a story about that?

I am grateful for so much support during this challenging time, from my boyfriend, friends and family. I have so many stories. One is of a woman from New York City. Here name is Elyn Jacobs and she is a certified cancer coach. Even though I had so much support around me, no one I knew had ever faced cancer. I felt really alone and my hour conversations with her was really helpful. It is scary when you feel alone.

In my own cancer struggle, I sometimes used the idea of embodiment to help me cope. Let’s take a minute to look at cancer from an embodiment perspective. If your cancer had a message for you, what do you think it would want or say?

If my cancer had message for me it would say. “You are worthy, you are loved. You deserve the best. Speak your truth and don’t hide who you are or what you feel. All of you is accepted. Heal your past, let go of resentment. Forgive.”

What did you learn about yourself from this very difficult experience? How has cancer shaped your worldview? What has it taught you that you might never have considered before? Can you please explain with a story or example?

This experience cracked me open. You never really know what anyone is going through so it is important to be kind and compassionate. It was difficult to experience my hair and eyelashes falling out and my body change. I had to let go of everything that I thought that was. The journey was full of ups and downs, it was a journey of the unknown. I learned that I am stronger than I thought I was. My worldview has shifted enormously. I try my best to never judge anyone or anything. Life is hard sometimes. I appreciate my health now more than ever. We don’t know how important it is until it is in jeopardy. Never take anything for granted.

How have you used your experience to bring goodness to the world?

My entire life mission is dedicated to helping women build their confidence back after their breast cancer journey through areola restoration. Right before my diagnosis I had the urge to get my paramedical pigmentation certification. Then, I was diagnosed. Strange, right? After my treatments I pursued this dream and now my business partner Kacie Rainey and I started Procedures for a Positive Purpose and our mission is to help restore body confidence through Areola Restoration to improve the emotional well-being for cancer survivors. There is no greater gift than giving back to our Cancer Warrior Community.

What are a few of the biggest misconceptions and myths out there about fighting cancer that you would like to dispel?

I have heard that “Breast Cancer is an easy one.” Maybe people say that because it is so common. That does not make it easy.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experiences and knowledge, what advice would you give to others who have recently been diagnosed with cancer? What are your “5 Things You Need To Beat Cancer? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Heal your past and internal wounds
  2. Be your own advocate
  3. Stay positive / Eliminate stress
  4. Create community
  5. Eat healthy

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be?

I want everyone to know that they are worthy.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. :-)

Mary J Blige. She has had so many challenges in her life and she continues to rise. I admire that strength.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

www.carmelinabaccari.com

@carmelinabaccari

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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Savio P. Clemente

Savio P. Clemente

Board Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), #1 Best-selling Author, Syndicated Columnist, Podcaster, and Stage 3 Cancer Survivor