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A CANCER FREE CHRISTMAS

Updated: Dec 23, 2023

Cancer- a simple six letter, two syllable word. The fourth sign of the zodiac, represented as the crab, for those born between June 21 and July 22. A seemingly benign word. Yet this one word strikes up endless, terrorizing mental images of immense, prolonged suffering, loss, and grief. As we are going through our lives we hear about the neighbor, a co-worker, our friend, or somebody's wife or husband having this dreaded disease, but we hardly ever think about the idea of having to deal with the reality of having to face cancer ourselves. And statistically speaking, cancer is coming for one in two men, and one in three women, falling at number two- right behind heart disease- in the leading causes of death in America, according to the Center for Disease Control. There is not a single person who has not been impacted by cancer themselves, or by watching a friend or loved one going through their battle for survival.


As a plant based health coach, I speak and teach about how important our diet and lifestyle are for maintaining good health and function into our golden years. I, like everyone else was cruising through life with a false sense of security that cancer was never coming my way. Until one day it did!


In a nutshell, I was diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer at the end of 2017. I was working full time in my massage therapy business and had just started my health coaching course two months before. But now I was looking at the seemingly insurmountable road of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy- the course that pretty much all cancer patients are looking at when they are diagnosed. I felt like I was about to be dropped onto a conveyor belt that was going to whiz me through all of these terrible things, like I was on some type of grotesque horror ride at an amusement park that was far from amusing, and I had no choice. It's the treatment standard- it's just how it's done. I was so scared, confused, and fucking angry! Now, I wasn't angry at the stereotypical "God" construct that many people adhere to. I definitely believe in a omnipotent creator, but perhaps a more nature based and harmonious one. And religion just feels like a sales gimmick to me! No, I was angry that my vegan diet and healthy lifestyle, that I had made a full transition to seven years prior, weren't enough to keep me from getting cancer. But, given time to ruminate and look at things from a better perspective, I realized that this was just irrational thinking. I hadn't done anything wrong, or not well enough. The plant based diet is awesome. I was doing very well! I was just one of the unlucky generation X'ers who became a statistic of the pre-vaccine era of HPV. I had a virus and it was doin it's thing.


Now, anybody who knows me knows that I am a critical thinker and a bit of a maverick. Sometimes to a fault, I will analyze something that grabs my interest. I will research, assess, reassess, and then turn the whole thing on it's head in order to look at it again from another angle entirely, and I will do this over and over. And in my exhaustive research of all of the statistics of cervical cancer treatments, with and without surgery, I just couldn't get behind allowing myself to comply with the the radiation and chemotherapy treatments that my doctors were advising. I initially chose to go against medical advice, and to balance western medicine and alternative therapies, which translated into going ahead with the radical hysterectomy, and then using alternative treatments and diet/lifestyle to continue my battle with cancer. Reluctantly, I had to allow radiation (but still not chemo!) treatments six months later, when my PET/CT showed another malignant lymph node in my pelvis. Yes, it totally sucked! But not as bad as I thought it would. And I accept and live with the damage to my body that was left in it's wake. But, I have to say that I was truly blessed with the amazing doctors, both medical and alternative, by whom I have been, and continue to be treated. And the amazing benefits of the whole food plant based diet that has been, without a doubt in my mind, another saving grace. I must add that I was really impressed that one of the first things that my radiation oncology doctor advised was for me to eat a plant based diet! Go Kaiser Permanente!


Flash forward to today- December 23,2023. The day before Christmas eve, and the day before my five year remission date! Hooray! I made it! I'd say that just about everybody knows that the five year cancer remission date is a really big deal! I had initially scheduled myself to attend several parties, as well as a get together at my ow house tomorrow, to celebrate this milestone. Seriously, who wouldn't? But , after the Christmas fun and festivities of last weekend, COVID decided to cancel the rest of my holiday plans for me. Initially, I was pretty bummed out. COVID really sucks! But I have found that in the quiet time I have had, through my little one-woman quarantine, that the true blessing for me this year is actually the time it is affording me to be able to get quiet in my body and to check in with my soul. I have the blessing of breaking free from the busy-ness of this holiday season to reflect, acknowledge,



feel, learn, and then to turn the final page of this heavy cancer chapter of my life. I am also taking time this Christmas to meditate on all of the events of my life that have brought me to this year, and this day, and this moment, exactly as I am showing up. I acknowledge and thank all of my life's triumphs, my set backs, my blessings, and my lessons through these 55 years of incarnation. This time came to pass, and it is done. And now I move forward from here, fascinated and inspired by my new perspective that is forming, and with so much excitement for what is yet to come. As crazy as it may seem to some, Christmas 2023 has got to be on my list of one of the best yet for me! and I am filled with awe and gratitude


I wish everyone the merriest of Christmases this year



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