Cancer. Once. Twice.
The first time was hard enough. Getting cancer a second time in one year’s time was INTENSE!
When the ER doctor came in to tell me these words, “I’ve been standing out here trying to figure out how to say this…,” I already knew what was happening. I basically collapsed and sobbed uncontrollably and was ANGRY. That damn cancer from a year ago had metastasized into my gut area and was now stage 2 cancer. It was the size of a small apple.
That moment in the ER was one that I can still remember to this day. The thing is, you can ask any cancer survivor and their caregivers about dates and times. We remember everything from the first diagnosis to the first day of remission and every needle prick for blood draws.
I had spent that following summer going through 3 rounds of intense chemotherapy. Chemotherapy ran Monday through Friday and the following two Tuesdays. My most intense days were the Tuesdays of treatment. The chemo treatment on Tuesdays gave me 72 hours of uncontrollable hiccups and my bones ached so much, I wanted to rip them out of my body. It hurt so bad that at about half way through my chemo regimen, I wanted to just be done with it and transcend into the next life.
About mid way through chemo, I was sitting on the futon with my husband and as I touched my hair, I noticed a clump of hair in my hand. I said to my husband, “That’s it! It’s getting shaved off!“
My husband was a little hesitant in shaving my head, but I wanted it shaved because I didn’t want to be traumatized, waking up with a huge clump of hair on my pillow each day.
So I shaved it! There was something liberating about shaving my head. I felt a sense of relief. I was in control.
When I arrived at the cancer center every morning, before I stepped foot into the clinic, I blessed the clinic and all those inside. I envisioned a healing white light overcoming the entire clinic and its inhabitants.
Before I received my chemotherapy, I would verbalize, “I am being healed. I am here for my healing.”
It’s sad; I overheard several other cancer patients who would verbalize, “I’m here for my poison.“ I would just cringe inside when I heard them say that! My inside voice would yell, “NO! Don’t say that to yourself!“
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On one of my hardest days, I wanted to transcend and just be done; but there was this inner pull inside of me to keep on going and keep on living. Plus, the thought of leaving my husband, cat and family really upset me. So mentally, I kept myself strong. I would tell myself, “I am getting HEALED.”
Everyday, when I had the energy, I would get onto Facebook and be inspired to keep on living by reading all the loving support from all the people at my work and everyone online. Even while writing this to you, I am overwhelmed with emotion. I am overwhelmed that I am here, alive and being able to share this with you.
I had no idea how much of an influence I would have when I shared my journey on Facebook. By the simple act of sharing, I had several – and many more to the present day – people thanking me for sharing my cancer story and many others recently diagnosed looking for answers.
Cancer has shown me gratitude and humbleness. I learned to fully embrace my humanity. All of it. The good, the bad and the ugly.
The biggest mind lesson was learning how to let go of the outcome. I had no idea whether or not I was going to live, but I trusted. Trust was really hard for me. But in time, I just let the outcome go and believed that no matter what would come next, I would be okay.
So many have asked me about what I ate during and post chemo.
Well, before chemo started, I had done a 48 hour water fast. Why a water fast? Cancer lives and thrives off of sugar. So, I basically starved the cancer for 48 hours and when it came time to receive my first chemo treatment, the cancer was hungry for some sugar!
In the chemotherapy drugs, the chemo is delivered in a sugar rich solution. So when it enters the body, the cancer is starving for sugar, which is loaded with the cancer destroying chemotherapy.
During chemotherapy, my diet primarily consisted of whole foods, veggies and lots of water. As time went by, my body started to fail and my appetite started to deteriorate. My taste buds were gone. So basically, I had a lot of soups and bone broths. I forced myself to eat.
I knew I needed to eat. Eating solid foods was very difficult towards the end of my treatment. Plus, I was very constipated as well.
I did consistently supplement my diet everyday with doses of Essiac Tea and a beverage of goji berries.
As soon as chemotherapy was complete, my appetite was back in full force. I started with a full body detox to get the chemo drugs out of me.
And my journey with juicing began. I started juicing daily and really started to focus on healing and regenerative foods. My education on healthy foods and living was limited before cancer.
When I had all this free time during cancer, I did a lot of research online on healing foods and came across a lot of information. One of the biggest influencers was FitLife.tv. I had no clue about juicing until I came across Fitlife’s founder, Drew Canole.
Having gone through cancer twice, I’ve learned a lot about myself. One thing I realized I was horrible at was my relationships. Both my relationship with myself and with others.
I treated my body horribly by not eating well all the time. I really didn’t have a focused approach with my diet before cancer. Now, having gone through it twice, I’m very much aware of what goes into my body and what goes into my mind.
My relationships before cancer were, well… all business. You see, I have a home business and I had no time – I was too busy running a business. At least I thought I was. I made no time for family and friends because I was “too busy” working.
Having cancer literally forced me to stop, think and re-evaluate my relationships with everyone. It has taught me to really appreciate everyone in my life. I learned to say yes to people in my life that wanted to spend time with me and I learned to let go of the people that were trying to take advantage of me. Learning to say no was empowering and necessary.
One can never truly prepare for cancer, but you can take measures to hopefully prevent it on a physical level.
My biggest piece of advice is to keep the mind strong and positive no matter what. The mind is SO powerful. It’s been proven. There is a book I refer to all the time, The Power of Water by Dr. Emoto. In this book, he proves that words have an effect on the crystal structure of water. It’s a must read if you are even doubtful of the power of the mind.
The next biggest thing I can suggest is to keep your diet clean, green and organic. Stay away from all of that processed and dead food! If it doesn’t have mold growing on it in a week, you probably should not be eating it.
And lastly, know that cancer is a personal journey. Your life is your life. It’s yours and yours alone. Don’t be intimidated and scared by outside influences. Go with your gut and your intuition on your decisions you make for yourself.
Yes, it is possible to combine both western and holistic methods of healing. There is a time and place for both.
The one question everyone has asked, “Would I do chemo again if I had cancer again?” My answer is, “NO!”
The chemotherapy almost killed me.
With the knowledge I have about my mind and nutrition, I would do things differently. But the choices I made felt right and they worked. I am grateful for that.