Friends ... today I am incredibly frustrated. I spend most of my free time trying to help cancer patients and survivors heal! I want more than anything to help people see that there are many things within our power ... things we can do to promote health and healing. There are many things we can do to activate our body to FIGHT cancer and, for survivors, to keep us well and cancer free.
What frustrates me is when I hear a cancer patient/survivor say ..... "My doctor said it doesn't matter what I eat ...". Or their oncology nurse tells them "... don't worry - sugar doesn't cause cancer - eat whatever you like.."
You see .. I'm hearing that quite a bit lately. It breaks my heart. And it's very hard to fight against medical practitioners who have the medical degrees and the trust of their patients. But what if they are wrong? What if they mean well but are terribly misguided? What if, while a patient is suffering through chemo to fight their cancer, at the same time what they are eating and their stress-heavy lifestyle is working against their fight for wellness?
Who am I to argue this point ? I'm not a doctor, to be sure. I don't have a nursing degree or 19 years under my belt as an oncology nurse. But I am a survivor. TWICE. I am a survivor who was told that food didn't matter the first time I battled Trip Negative Breast Cancer. As I left the cancer center as a fighter after an entire year of various treatments, I was told to just go live my life. I'm cancer free now - don't worry about what you eat, etc. Just enjoy your life.
Sounds great, right ? And I thought so, too. It felt good to think for that split moment that I was done and this nasty journey was over.
But truth was, my cancer journey wasn't over. I left the cancer center that day and immediately drove through McDonalds and went on with my life, doing all the same things I did prior to my diagnosis.
A few short years later my Trip Negative Cancer was back - but no longer in my breast. Now it was housed as a 5 cm tumor in my mammary lymph nodes and also in lymph nodes in my neck. I was in trouble. And I knew it. Instinctively I knew that my doctor was wrong - in retrospect I now wondered: if the way I was living did not help me stay well the first time, why would it work the second time ? Something had to change!
It is a fools errand for us to keep the same bad habits that lead us there. It just doesn't make sense. Somehow, we have become a population that understands the importance of feeding our cars correctly, but not ourselves. And when things go wrong and all sorts of chronic illness befalls us, we look outward for the cause, or, more commonly, avoid a discussion of origin altogether and just try to find the pill that will fix the symptom.
But what if so much of what ails us is actually a product of our poor lifestyle choices ? What if we truly are the masters of our domain when it comes to wellness? What if we actually possess much more power than we know ?
After my second diagnosis, I asked myself just these questions and determined to go down fighting. No longer accepting the notion that food did not matter, I now sought to learn what people did who experienced radical, unexpected remissions. I studied people who seemed to be the healthiest among us. And rather than reinvent the wheel, I copied them. I am completely derivative of others' successful journeys.
And now, 10 years later, I am alive and thriving and CANCER FREE! My life's work now is spreading the word that, contrary to what some medical professionals tell us, FOOD DOES MATTER !!
So the next time a doctor, nurse, neighbor, friend, relative tries to tell you that you can do anything you want and still be healthy, I hope you will remember me. Cynthia ... who changed her nutrition ... fought to reduce stress .... seeks daily to get restorative sleep ... exercises regularly ... simplified her life ... and has somehow kept Trip Negative Breast Cancer away for 10 years. A cancer that had found a way into her life not once but twice in close succession.
Help me spread the word! Help me save some lives out there! It will take an army ... and I hope that I can count on you to be one of my foot soldiers!