I am a cancer survivor. I was shocked when, at age 33, I was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma, because I had always considered myself a “health nut.” Unfortunately, cancer can happen to anyone, but I fought back and after intensive treatment, I’ve reclaimed my health through nutritious eating, exercise and living mindfully day by day.
Ever since I was a young child, I struggled with a lot of health issues, including allergies, eczema, hypoglycemia and anxiety. My mom was a proponent of holistic health, and growing up, I tried a lot of natural healing remedies. Over the years, I became increasingly conscious of what I put in and on my body. I eventually became trained in cooking therapeutic foods, and board certified in natural nutrition and yoga. I dedicated myself to “whole body living.”
Despite my healthy lifestyle, I received my scary diagnosis after struggling with unexplainable symptoms for several years. I was told that my treatment would make me infertile, and leave me at risk for secondary cancers. After six months of chemotherapy and one month of radiation, I was left weak and emaciated. My muscles were completely atrophied.
I needed to heal and get my strength back. I knew that eating nutritious foods would help me get stronger and allow me to improve my overall health. So I used my training as a naturopathic chef to help my body and gut recover. I created healthy meals that satiated my appetite, focusing slightly more on protein since I lost about 40 to 50 percent of my muscle mass.
I incorporated the following foods into my diet on a frequent basis:
- Brown Rice
- Beans (black, kidney, chickpea)
- Rice-based vegan protein powder
- Veggie/fruit smoothies (I started slowly with this, and within three months, I was having a smoothie every day.)
I also took daily supplements: high-grade omega-3, a multi-strain probiotic, and raw vitamin D3.
In addition to eating healthy food, I used yoga to help regain my muscle strength and improve my nerve damage. I also switched all of my beauty and skin care products to natural and organic brands. To maintain my health, I know I have to be extra careful about what I not only ingest but apply topically.
The biggest lesson I learned was how to let go and just live in the moment. Adjusting my mental state and practicing mindfulness has become an important part of my wellness. Focusing on the moments of each day allows me to be present, more relaxed and happier, which I think has a big impact on how I feel physically. As my yoga practice deepened, my ability to be in the present moment became easier too. I felt more connected to both my body and my spirit through the movements and poses.
Right after I celebrated my one-year anniversary of being in remission, I found out I was pregnant with a miracle baby! I had my daughter in July and could not be more thankful for such an amazing blessing. I truly believe that my healthy lifestyle and mindset helped my body heal and allowed me to get pregnant. In fact, through my own personal experience, I have become convinced of the importance of a nutritious and active lifestyle, as well as a positive attitude, so I have committed my life to helping myself and others find whole body wellness.
It will take years to get my body to an optimal place again, but I am taking it day by day. I will keep living the same healthy and natural way I did before, and I will always be conscious of my body and my overall wellness.
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Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.