Today we’d like to introduce you to Anuschka Alborzian.
Anuschka, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am delighted to share my story. Thank You for the opportunity!
My story might seem scary to most, yet it’s empowering to me. It all began the Spring of 2017, while my husband, Ashkan, and I were on vacation in Hawaii, and I couldn’t leave the hotel room one of the last days due to a massive headache, which lead to random vomiting throughout the day. Initially we thought it had to do with alcohol, so I cut out alcohol once we headed back to San Diego, yet the sporadic migraines (or so I thought) and getting uncontrollably sick to my stomach continued for several months, 4 to be exact, when I finally decided to go to the doctor for a checkup.
Let me back up a bit; while growing up and through my twenties even early thirties, I hardly ever got headaches! To the point, I had to ask my cousin how many ibuprofen’s I should take one of the first times! Once the major headaches started, even several pills wouldn’t stop the pain or regurgitation. As you can imagine, this was not the norm, and I’m quite aware now I should have gone to the doctor much earlier than I did.
August of 2017, I just knew it was time to see my primary care doctor, who thankfully was an integrative doctor and had a “hunch” to send me for an MRI; otherwise, all signs pointed to a migraine.
August 23, 2017, is my re-birthdate. This day feels like it was yesterday! I went in alone to get my MRI because I thought it would be a quick 15-20 minute procedure for the purpose of peace of mind, and off to Volleyball, I go! Instead, 30 minutes in this tiny tube and lots of loud noise (thankfully I meditated and remained quite calm and peaceful), they said they need to poke my arm and inject me with contrast (whatever that means!). Next thing I know an hour has passed and the technician pulls me out of this long tubular piece of equipment and informs me that he’s going to take me to the Emergency room. I asked him why what did you find? His answer: you’ll have to wait for the doctor to review and tell you. AWESOME (not)!
Thankfully, I had done quite a bit of self-development and personal growth for the last few years prior, thanks to both Isagenix and Landmark Worldwide! So, I was able to remain calm, present, and just look at the circumstance as “it is what it is”! At this point, while sitting in the ER, I called my husband, who came straight to the hospital. While waiting for Ashkan to arrive, the ER doctor with 8+ nurses surrounded me around a computer monitor that displayed my MRI scan and as we all looked, all I remember them saying is “there is a swelling in your brain”, which to me looked more like a huge ball and all I could think is “how am I standing here and functioning?!”
Shortly after, a dear friend of mine, Kelly, came as well, who sat by my side as we shed some tears while Ashkan called our families, letting them know what’s going on, easing them into it. My mom, living in Denver, immediately purchased the earliest flight possible. At this point, the “swelling” had been escalated to a “mass”. Although I had no idea what any of these terms meant, I was grateful they didn’t say a “massive brain tumor” right at the beginning!
The next step was to move me into the ICU room in order to reduce the swelling for a few days with who knows what amount of drugs being injected in me, then surgery as soon as my brain was ready. In the meantime, the next several days were what we called a “Party in the ICU”!!! We even ordered the Mayweather / McGregor fight that Saturday before my surgery and every day there was nothing but pure LOVE and 10+ people surrounding me! My uncle and cousin along with one of my best friends from Colorado flew out, one of my other best friends and her hubby drove up from Rosarito, family and friends all around San Diego poured so much love into me, and everyone brought all kinds of gifts and goodies! I even felt that Power of Love from ALL over the world, thanks to social media.
My dad, who was visiting Iran at the time, was looking for a ticket back and thankfully was able to make it to San Diego right as my surgery ended! My surgery, which was supposed to take 4-6 hours, was done in less than 1! I was awake and out the ICU in less than 24 hours, out the hospital in 10 days, five days post-surgery. It took everyone by surprise, and I attribute it all to the amount of love, healing vibes, and prayers that were being sent my way!
Although the next few months were physically some of the toughest experiences I’ve ever had, I was on a completely different level spiritually and mentally. I didn’t know that kind of peace and presence existed. My motto has always been Live Life to the Fullest, yet I never really got it until then. The diagnosis took several weeks to be evaluated, and you may think I was anxious, on the contrary. I was super positive and KNEW deep down no matter what, I WILL BE FINE and continued the mantra that everything is always working out for me, which thankfully kept everyone else quite calm as well.
The day of the diagnosis is another one I will never forget. Although they were able to extract the entire tumor and the margins, it ended up being a Stage 3 (at the time) with a prognosis of three-five year life sentence. My life flashed before my eyes, yet everything inside of me kept saying out loud to the doctor: “that won’t be me, watch me!” and Ashkan continued saying the same as our questions kept pouring out and I took notes like a mad woman, not knowing what I was even writing!
Once we left, we held each other tighter than ever before, waterfalls coming out of our eyes. And I kept repeating my vision: to 90 and beyond, surrounded by our kids, grandkids, our friends and family and all their descendants holding hands and dancing on the beach into the sunset. I even created a vision board, and within a couple of weeks, my mindset was shifted. As strong-minded as I am, it took something to replace the doctor’s words with my own. I see why people can easily lose hope after hearing prognosis’, which I no longer believe in by the way! Diagnosis is one thing – it’s what is so; Prognosis on the other hand, completely different story! We are individuals, NOT robots to be told what will happen to us based on some previous statistics.
I’m not going to get into details of the next several months thereafter, other than the fact that the diagnosis was escalated once again, hence why I’m still on chemotherapy and have been using one of the newest technologies out there called Optune, meaning I wear a “headgear” on my head with wires attached to a device in a bag I carry with me almost 24/7. Also, I do put in more than a full-time job amount of work into healing and have completely changed my lifestyle habits tremendously because I believe I will live many years to come, to 90 and beyond!!!
This empowerment and strength within me are what inspired me to create my business “Free To Be Me 23.” My rebirth is what had me become FREE and authentically myself. Why 23? Besides the fact it’s my birthday and my rebirthday, it’s also my dog’s birthday… ANNND, the magical part, HUMANS have 23 pairs of chromosomes!
My Mission: Empowering People to FIND their Inner Power and with that, their “Happy Place” one HUMAN being at a time!
I am an Empowerment Coach and super passionate about empowering others to be self-advocates in their own lives, be fully self-expressed, and have their voices heard by the Universe!!!
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It definitely has not been a smooth road; it actually has been quite the opposite. I felt as if I died and came back to life! I do also believe that struggles in life cause us to grow and expand the most as well!
Post-surgery, I went through the worst rashes multiple times and countless sleepless nights due to the prescription drugs. So much inflammation that I didn’t even know was possible. Within the first few months, we went back to the ER 5 times, I even went to one in Colorado the day of my Colorado bridal shower (yes, I got married during this journey)! Ashkan and I froze our embryos just in case before radiation and chemo started. Once radiation started, I lost half my hair due to the radiation, and get this – the day of my San Diego bridal shower. Oh man, what a day! I wouldn’t wish this upon my worst enemies (if I have any haha):
To paint a picture of this traumatic experience, my hair had recently started to fall out due to radiation. On this day of my bridal shower, I made the mistake of putting Aloe Vera on my scalp to cool it down (due to the radiation having slightly burnt my scalp). I asked my mom to help me, not thinking what hell we were about to enter. Once I get out the shower, I had a HUGE knot of hair on the right side of my head. I initially thought it was due to the Aloe Vera. If only there were a video of this day: my mom and I in the bathroom with two combs and two wet brushes. I was completely balling, then screaming, then yelling at my mom, then apologizing to her for the yelling and back to balling ALL while I was brushing and combing, switching out what’s in my hand while my mom would clean out the massive amount of hair that had fallen out from each brush or comb. This went on for I would say 3 hours, while taking breaks to breathe and get ready for my bridal shower that my amazing family and friends had thrown me and were waiting patiently for me to arrive. My poor mom, I could FEEL her heartbreaking. She kept saying, “just cut it off”! And I would refuse. One thing I learned from that experience is how dang determined I am! Once I completely got the knot out, you could easily see more than half my scalp. The hair that had knotted was mostly dead hair hanging on to the few strands of hair that remained attached. Dead hair knots quite easily; the Aloe Vera was not the culprit. Although we were a couple of hours (or more) late, my bridal shower was pure love, fun, and joy!
The final three weeks of radiation gave me enough time to CHOOSE to shave my head rather than an “I have to do it”. This was an empowered choice rather than feeling like I have no choice in the matter, so I finished 2017 off with my dear friend Kat shaving my hair LIVE on Facebook!
If that isn’t struggle enough, I began higher doses of chemotherapy January 2018. Come to find out, too high of doses as I’d be nauseous and out of commission for much longer than anticipated. As healthy as I am and even with the number of supplements I have and all that I do, chemotherapy will always kill what’s good in our body along with the bad. This has destroyed both the good and bad bacteria in my digestive organs, and for whatever reason there’s been too much acid production, causing me so much pain that I get scared to eat at times right after chemo. And to top that, I’ve had hormonal imbalances since June of 2018 till present day, yet every day I keep on pushing forward to be the best version of me, accepting that every day will not be ideal. I know I will have tears to shed, frustrations and triggers to have, and I also know life is a roller coaster. If there were no downs, we’d never appreciate the ups, and we’d take them for granted.
Honestly, I didn’t even remember half these struggles. After reading the initial draft of my family, they reminded me of them. The thing is, I don’t focus on the negative, I focus on the positive in life! What you focus on grows. That’s who I always was inside, and now I’ve become Free To Be Me! I am that person who looks a struggle in the eye and takes it on as a challenge and says, “WATCH ME!” BTW these are just the extremes of it all, not the daily issues that seem quite minor when compared to all that described!
That said, my advice would be to never give up on your dreams! Dreams may change due to experience and time, and that’s fine, CHANGE THEM if you’re inspired to do so, but don’t change them because you feel like it’s too hard, or scary, or whatever it may be. Just know struggles in life are what create the most growth and expansions in life!
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Free To Be Me 23 story. Tell us more about the business.
As I mentioned previously, I am now a Life Coach. More specifically, a Leadership, Empowerment, & Transformation (LET) Coach. After everything I have been through most recently, including switching my oncologist doctor three times and three different hospitals, my passion to serve others and partner with people to Live THEIR Life to the Fullest and be FREE to be themselves has never been greater! Thanks to social media connecting me to a co-worker from ten+ years ago who happened to see my journey along with recent a transformation post after a Landmark Forum weekend who then contacted me about a program he was in, I am now in a year-long coach training program with Accomplishment Coaching where I’m learning tons of distinctions and tools to be able to make the biggest difference in my clients lives, and I’m happy to say I’ve already begun to witness the shifts in my current clients!
I look forward to working with eve just plainn more clients who are up to big things in life and have beautiful dreams, yet have hit a roadblock of some kind, whether it be health related (as myself – which is what I’m most passionate about), Self-Love, relationships, work, or just plain complacent in their life and scared of the unknown, thus stay comfortable. Besides my most recent brain tumor experience, I’ve also had quite a bit of life experiences ever since childhood, which makes me the perfect candidate for a coach; relatability is key in connection and partnership.
In all honesty, as hard as it is for me to “brag” about myself, I am truly most proud of myself for having taken such a life-threatening experience that could have easily spiraled down and left me and everyone around me completely hopeless, believing I only have a few years to live, to a completely empowered Wonder Woman state of mind, and THAT is what sets me apart from others!
Looking back on your childhood, what experiences do you feel played an important role in shaping the person you grew up to be?
I believe childhood plays a HUGE part in every single person’s life and what they do with their life. Childhood is where most of our internal wounds are created; then we spend most of our adulthood healing those wounds if we first and foremost allow ourselves to become aware of those wounds and courageous enough to dig deep and uncover those dark places and memories in our minds. Some of those out there are so numb to their childhood experiences that they don’t even remember them nor care to go there. Thankfully, I have always been the opposite.
Growing up, I didn’t have the easiest childhood, some of which was due to the amount we moved around. I was born in Frankfurt, Germany and we moved to Denver, Colorado in the winter of 1987 where I learned English as my third language. We lived in different parts of the city for five years. The summer after 6th grade, my mom and I moved to Iran for a year and a half, where I attended 7th grade and had to learn to read and write a whole new language and alphabet, then moved back to Colorado again in the 8th grade, yet another school! And then to a completely different high school due to an honors program called IB. Shortly into high school, my parents divorced. High school was not the best of times for me. I don’t have many fond memories of those days, although it did prepare me for college as well as life and now looking back, I am super grateful for the hardship I endured.
There is one particular incident that seems to have played a key role in my life. I was quite the outgoing, rambunctious, curious kid, always asking questions and wanting to know “Why?.” I remember 5th grade vividly and my 5th-grade teacher, Ms. Parson; the only elementary school teacher’s name I recall. I was aware of what had happened for years, but I didn’t realize how much it had stopped me from BEING who I am until I started to do the work on myself and begin the transformation process. I remember sitting around a square table facing the window. The table seated about eight kids, all close enough to hear Ms. Parson and burst out laughing after her response. I ask a question as usual, and her response in a very frustrated tone as she hovered over me to look at my piece of paper: “OMG Anuschka! You’re so stupid, how did you make it to the 5th grade?!”.
Yes, that happened. It is in the past, yet I had made it mean SO many things about myself. This moment in my childhood shifted and shaped my life for years to come! It was only in my mid-thirties that I discovered this. So much in my life was based on a decision I made back then:
1) I will never ask a question; I will always figure it out myself!
2) I will prove I am smart and not stupid, hence Computer Science and Engineering degree.
3) The thought of raising my hand, let alone speaking in public frightened me so much that I could feel my heart throbbing in my throat and a faint feeling.
4) I get triggered when I feel that people are laughing “at” me or call me stupid, even as a joke.
5) I will never say the answer or speak up in a group unless I KNOW I am correct.
I could go on for a while; you get the idea.
Although it wasn’t the path I would have chosen, I have no regrets. I enjoyed my 15+ year Computer and Consulting career with many awards and promotions throughout the years, and I am grateful for the opportunities and skillsets I now have due to it. With the Universe having my back, I was recently laid off from Qualcomm, and I have closed that book in my life, successfully, allowing me space to be catapulted into my new Coaching career as an Entrepreneur.
I will be completing 2018 out with two more cycles of chemotherapy and a goodbye to my Optune device. Although MRI’s will continue for a while, I am beyond ecstatic to start focusing more on building my Life Coaching business on a full-time basis and impacting as many HUMAN beings as I possibly can touch in my lifetime!
- Website: freetobeme23.com
- Phone: (720) 338-1531
- Email: FreeToBeMe23@outlook.com
- Instagram: freetobeme23_
- Facebook: https://facebook.com/freetobeme23
- Other: https://freetobeme23.isagenix.com
Ashkan Alborzian, Ziba Rezaie, Farnaz Farhoodi, Ahmad Ganji, Sonia & David Taban (with kids), Azim Rezaiefard, Touraj Alborzian, Parichehr Alborzian, Arash Rezaiefard