"I was scared but not incredibly surprised. The treatment options that I was given were as horrifying to me as the disease itself."
My name is Castagna. I was born in Oklahoma City in 1978.
My family moved to Guthrie in the mid 80's. They saw the huge potential in Guthrie and wanted to help restore the town's historic buildings, while hoping to the promote the growth of the art and music scene in the Guthrie community.
The people in Guthrie are the best!! Some of the best and friendliest people in the world live right here in our beautiful little town. I have always felt supported by the community here, whether it be by teachers, business owners, my clients or friends. From grade school through adulthood Guthrie's community has encouraged me to grow and to follow my dreams. I had a very successful massage therapy practice in Guthrie for over 18 years and now I'm pursuing my lifelong dream to be a painter. I feel supported in whatever I do here, even if it's a little outside of the box (or in a bus!). Guthrie is one of those rare small towns in the Midwest where you can be your very special, individual self and thrive because of it.
I've been a member of the community for over 30 years now and I have a plethora of beautiful memories in Guthrie. My proudest and most exciting moment was the grand opening of Be Well Spa in 2006. I remember feeling so accomplished to be a productive member of the business and social community in Guthrie. I really wanted to make a difference and I think that we did that as a business, in our personal connections with our clientele and through our health promoting spa services.
I'm not a big community volunteer. However, I like to attend the community events whenever it is possible, especially the art and music festivals. I love it that Guthrie has so many diverse events and festivals throughout the year.
Some of the things that have wowed me the most in Guthrie are the Pollard Theater, the Masonic Temple, The International Bluegrass Festival, the amazing coffee shops, the art galleries, the bed-and-breakfasts and the antique stores...to name just a few.
I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma in January 2016 and at the time I was 37 years old. No stage was diagnosed but we know that it was at least in stage 2.
I felt a lump in my right breast. The growth was very obvious but I naïvely refused to believe that it could be anything other than a cyst or a benign growth, even as it was getting larger. I could feel the lump for over a year before I went in for my first mammogram, after being encouraged by my doctor and friends to do so. I could feel that something was wrong towards the end but I didn't seek medical help until it started to affect my energy level and my immune system. That may sound careless, which it was, but the more people that I talked to, I found that denial of the threat of cancer is surprisingly more common than I thought originally.
I was scared but not incredibly surprised. The treatment options that I was given were as horrifying to me as the disease itself. I have been able to treat the cancer naturally without chemotherapy, radiation or surgery and the rumor has shrunk by about 25% so far.
I have no family history of breast cancer and all of my gene testing was negative as well.
It's been a roller coaster ride of fear, joy, depression, relief, regret, gratitude and every other expression of emotion. Being diagnosed with any type of cancer instantly changes the rest of your life. It's the struggle with myself that seems to be the hardest for me. I've made huge changes in my lifestyle, diet, social life and spiritual practice to help my body fight the cancer. But I still find myself constantly asking these questions: Can and will I permanently change my habits/lifestyle? Am I doing enough? Am I making the right personal and treatment decisions?
Tell us what you do for fun and to get a positive mindset? I spend a lot of time alone everyday doing natural treatments so I watch a lot of funny movies and a ton of YouTube videos that teach and inspire me to better my health. I also spend as much time with my friends, boyfriend and family as my energy level allows me. As I start to feel better I would like to spend as much time painting as possible!
My parents and their partners, my sister, my best friends and my previous clients have been gigantic supporters. Just about everyone that I know has supported me at sometime this year, either through prayer, correspondence, gifts, favors, hugs and donations to my GoFundMe account. I have been struck with awe this year at the outpouring of love from this community and can't help but to think how lucky I am to have so much support from so many wonderful people that I love and respect. It is really overwhelming in the most wonderful way.
Don't see someone with cancer as someone who needs sympathy but see them as a warrior fighting for their life. Remind them that they are strong and loved. Encourage them when they feel like giving up.
I saw my first Guthrie America shirt at the Apothecary Nights event in the summer of 2015. I fell in love with the brand immediately! I see it everywhere now, on the streets, in stores and on social media!
I wear a GuthrieAmerica shirt because I'm proud to be a member of the Guthrie community and don't mind showing my pride! I love Guthrie and enjoy doing anything I can to support it's constant growth and transformation.
To me GuthrieAmerica, is about community, pride, growth, creativity and fun!
Thank you GuthrieAmerica for giving me the opportunity through this interview to connect with others in and outside of my own community.
Thank you to each and every one who has been a support to me this year and over the past 30 years. I wouldn't be the person I am today without each and every kind gesture and word of encouragement. A special thanks to my Mom (Gio), my sister (Cimarron), and my best friends (Lily and Megan) for always going above and beyond for me and for the incredible unconditional love that you've shown me.❤️