When you receive a diagnosis for a serious illness that could potentially kill you, a whole lot goes through your mind. Obviously there’s the debilitating fear that causes nightmares and wakes you up at night, but the thoughts of why, what you could have done to prevent it, how it happened and what you’re going to do completely take over. These thoughts are certainly amplified while you’re waiting for appointments for consults and results.
Personally, I never believed anything like this could have been possible for me. I had been a vegetarian since the age of 5 and occasionally vegan since my early 30s. I’ve always eaten properly with loads of beautiful disease fighting vegetables in the mix, exercised and had a solid group of amazing friends. I had turfed all toxic chemical makeups, cleaners, laundry soap and everything in between in my mid 30s. I’m huge on the importance of being responsible and accountable for our actions and situations and I thought I was doing mostly everything I could to be well. So WTF, cancer? Who invited you? I started to look for things in my life in general (environmental, dietary and relationships) and began cleaning any other sources of junk in my life. Fortunately, there wasn’t a lot to remove but what was there was pretty big.
Unimaginable and unnecessary stress was the biggest piece of shit around. That meant any relationships (friendships, exes, etc.) that left me feeling depleted instead of complete had to cease immediately. I cut that shit out faster than the surgeon cut the mass outta my boob. Surgery was almost symbolic in a way of “cutting it out”.
I turfed any foods that I knew my body didn’t like and any form of sugar, including fruit and adapted a mostly ketogenic vegetarian diet. I’ve since reintroduced low sugar fruits (i.e. berries) and I’m feeling pretty groovy.
I changed lights in my house, turfing LED bulbs and replacing them with halogen or incandescent (I will cover this in detail in a post on its own; there’s just too much to cover and it needs its own thorough explanation). And, while it looks ridiculous to those passing by my house in the evenings I even added some red lights in my bedroom and living room that I use in the evenings to help encourage my body to produce melatonin (low melatonin levels are directly related to hormonal breast cancer diagnosis, and it turns out I did have low melatonin levels).
Not honoring or acknowledging my feelings was depleting me and I didn’t even realize it. I had been conditioned to feel unsafe when emotionally vulnerable, so I had always shut feelings down and applied logic to my reactions to things instead. Humans have emotions! It’s part of our experience. I learned how to allow myself to experience my feelings.
I invested in a few very specific tests with functional medicine and holistic practitioners and incorporated additional alternative practices into my life; acupuncture and integrative chakra therapy being some of my favorite and definitely most helpful.
I made regular meditation a priority and incorporated it into my daily regime. This has been one of the most powerful tools in understanding and healing myself and has inspired me to create my own guided meditations to share with others. Stay tuned for those!
I indulged in every minute possible with my dog. I took her everywhere I could with me, went to parks at least twice every day, snuggled her in bed and mauled her as much as she would let me. While I normally do all these things with her, having the extra time off work made it possible for there to be more of that and I just can’t get enough of it. What loyal companions and healers our dogs are.
Instead of worrying that I would end up with doctors that wouldn’t support my fiercely strong belief in the importance of a combination of conventional and functional medicine to overcome disease, I put complete trust in the Universe that I would have the best doctors and practitioners I could possibly have for my situation and let me tell you – I was not disappointed. I have had the best care and attention from the most incredible medical doctors, functional doctors and holistic practitioners you could ever imagine. Like, so good, if you’re jealous I would totally get it.
Anything that depletes me no longer has a place in my life. Sure there are days when I give more than I take, but there has to be a balance and it is up to me to make sure those boundaries remain established. Anything that creates more time depleting me than it does completing me either gets punted or the amount of energy I expend reevaluated. I give a lot fewer fucks these days and I’m not about to start handing them out like free passes anywhere it’s not warranted. This is called self love and it completes me. I complete me, and I’m so thankful to have learned this important lesson.