Be healthy … mind – body – spirit

What Having Cancer Taught Me


I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you what having cancer taught me.

It was on Tuesday December 19, 2006, that I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a lumpectomy on Tuesday January 9, 2007, and then two months later, I had 15 days of radiation.

Although I was being treated by allopathic doctors (mainstream medicine), I had a burning gut-feeling that I needed to see a naturopathic doctor too. So prior to my lumpectomy, I found myself at a naturopathic doctor’s office. It was there that I begun my health recovery and journey on the holistic road. And boy oh boy, how I love this road! This is what ultimately led me to go back to school and become a Certified Nutritional Practitioner (a.k.a. Holistic Nutritionist!).

So what did having cancer teach me?

Food choices matter A LOT. OK, I want you to visualize your cells. Cells are the smallest unit of life that can replicate independently, and are often called the “building blocks of life”. So, what do cells need to thrive? They need oxygen, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, amino acids, and water. How can you transport these important nutrients to the cells? By eating foods and drinking liquids that contain these vital nutrients. When we eat nutrient rich whole foods, our cells are extremely happy!! Our cells say ‘”Thanks sooooooo much for sending me the nutrients that will make your body healthy, vibrant and energetic!”. Eat to make your cells thrive and health will follow!

Choose fun over cleaning the house. I often hear on Monday’s that people spent the whole weekend cleaning their house. Ya, I get it. We all work full time and don’t have a ton of spare time to clean the house. My question to you though is ….. how clean does the house have to be? If you have an opportunity to go for a walk, meet a friend for lunch, play a board game, go to the beach, have sex, watch a movie, etc. …… Put down the cleaning rags and go! I’m telling you that life can change in an instant.  Do you want to remember the fun you had, or how clean your house was?

Surround yourself with fun and positive people. The people we interact with play a huge role in our lives. You may not be able to control the people you work with, but you can control who you socialize with. The saying “misery loves company” is entirely true. So surround yourself with positive energy by choosing friends who are optimistic, fun and happy themselves. Positive social relationships are a key to happiness, so be sure you make time to be with friends and family who bring out the best in you.

What you put on your skin is important. Did you know that your skin is your largest organ and whenever you put on it is absorbed into your body within minutes! So if you use body care products that contain hazardous ingredients, then your organs, tissues, cells, blood, lymphatic system are all affected. EEEK! For instance, studies show a connection with parabens and cancer because their hormone-disrupting qualities mimic estrogen and disrupt the body’s endocrine system. Or that acrylamide, which is found in many face creams, is linked to mammory tumors. Or that toluene, which is made from petroleum and coal tar and is found in most synthetic fragrances, is linked to anemia, lowered blood cell count, liver and kidney damage. YIKES! So find  products that don’t create havoc on or in your body. There are so many products to chose from these days. In our house, we LOVE coconut oil for moisturizing.

Go out dancing. Yes, out dancing! Head to a club or venue where there are lots of people shakin’ their booty! Find a disco, salsa lounge, country bar, DJ rave … whatever floats your boat. Just go. Don’t worry if you’ll be the oldest person there. No one cares (seriously) and the night of dancing will do you a world of good! Dancing reduces stress, lifts your spirits, and is a great form of exercise. And, you will wake up in the morning ridiculously happy!

Find exercise that you like to do (and don’t forget to smile while you do it). Your cells need oxygen to thrive. Find something ~ anything ~ that you like to do that moves your body. My spouse does yoga every day. Me? I get bored doing the same thing day in day out. So sometime in the week I’ll do yoga, spinning, booty-camp, bike riding, jogging or I’ll go for a long walk. My point is, for you to find something that you enjoy and then move your body at least 5 days a week. And don’t forget to smile while you are exercising. You’ll be surprised how much more enjoyable exercise is when you smile every so often.

Do what you love. I know some of you are saying “I can’t quit my job to do what I love”. And yes, I totally understand. We all have bills to pay so you might not be able to give up your day job. BUT, you can do what you love in the evenings or on the weekend. When I was working full time at a desk job and ‘being a’ Holistic Nutritionist (what I love), I’d see clients in the evening after work or on the weekends. Once I started incorporating what I love into my days, I understood that this is what gives life balance, excitement and joy!

Visit Farmer’s Markets. Once you become aware of how super-uber important the food you eat is, you will l.o.v.e. going to farmer’s markets. There is nothing cooler than talking to the farmer who grew or raised the food you are buying! The care, hard work and passion farmers take in growing  and or raising your food is amazing! You will be buying non-sprayed fruits and veggies as well as treated properly, nutrient dense meat. This is important ‘cuz you won’t be ingesting added pollutants like pesticides and herbicides, and you won’t be contributing to the horrific treatment of animals living in factory farms. Farmers Rock!!!

Don’t wait for things to be perfect. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a girlfriend say: “I’ll start (dating, exercising, etc) once I get my life in order”. Your life is never going to be perfectly in order or the way you imagine it to be. This, my friends, is life! And how great is that! Don’t wait for your job to be stable or to lose 10 lbs or for all your bills to be paid or for your house to be perfect. Don’t wait! If you want to do something, start it today!



15 Responses to “What Having Cancer Taught Me”

  1. Jojo


    How blessed are we all to share a part of you and your values


  2. Mayrienne

    Love it Jeffi. No one knows how to ‘live’ a fuller life than you & I’m so glad to be a part of it! Xo

  3. greengeo

    This is a great post – we hear a lot about what you are saying here, but you say it in an original way.


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