I share a positive update on my cancer story as well as my top lifestyle tips to help reduce the progression of cancer.
A little over a year ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. A rare, aggressive form of lymphoma is what they diagnosed me with on that fateful day at City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, California. They told me I should be prepared for 6 months of highly toxic chemotherapy regimen which would start immediately. But before you start worrying needlessly about my health, let me now tell you that I am healthy, strong, and have the luckiest outcome one could possibly hope for in a cancer journey.
I told you, my communityAll about it on my blog and social media channels after about a month of keeping it to myself. It totally exhausted me – the hours doing research, finding doctors, making and going to appointments, fighting with insurance companies, and most of all, defending myself. At first, I had locked myself away, but eventually I wanted to tell You are everything about him. I couldn’t pretend that everything was fine because on my blog I wrote my favorite recipes and nutrition tips; In addition, I had a deep conviction that perhaps something good could come from sharing my journey with cancer with my community. I thought, as a nutritionist, that I could offer my story and the care regimen that kept me strong, and maybe someone out there would benefit. So, I took a deep breath and spread it first blog Announcing my diagnosis. It was already the right thing for me. I heard from hundreds and hundreds of you. You have shared your cancer stories – stories of courage, sadness, and overcoming the odds. You’ve talked about your unique diagnoses and care strategies that have worked for you. People have removed the burdens of their secrets, share them and share them subscriber. I cemented my darkest days, because I knew if You are can do it, I You can also do that.
One thing I’ve learned during my cancer journey is that there is a lot of baggage with a cancer diagnosis. Too much fear to share with those who fight it (as if it was shameful), and too much fear for your loved ones as to how they might look to you better. Speaking was liberating for me during those difficult days. I also put a new focus on taking care of myself. But before I talk about my cancer strategy, let me tell you about my amazing story that led me to it today. I haven’t talked about it in a long time, but many of you have asked me how to do. Some even worried about me, so I thought it was time to share the good news!
I’m going to give you a quick glimpse of what happened to me over the past year of my cancer journey. After being diagnosed with the rare, above-mentioned lymphoma, the City of Hope oncologist requested slides and tissue from the original biopsy (two lymph nodes were surgically removed and analyzed at a small local hospital) to verify the correct diagnosis. Because of the shoddy lab work done on the biopsy at that small hospital, City of Hope couldn’t confirm what type of lymphoma I had. My first PET scan in the City of Hope showed another very active nodule in the back of the tongue. My chemotherapy plans were put on hold, and I had surgery to remove that nodule on the back of my tongue, which City of Hope diagnosed as follicular lymphoma after they had a pathology. With a mystery about what type of original lymphoma I had, treatment decisions are now difficult. Should they proceed with caution and treat me for a very aggressive cancer, even if it is not confirmed? Or are they waiting? My case was shared with the National Institutes of Health for review, and I took a trip to Stanford for a second opinion. The decision between the three places was to wait. With these two cancerous areas removed, there was no further obvious cancerous activity in my body, and given how toxic the chemotherapy regimen was, the referee had to wait a few months and re-evaluate with another PET scan. This scan came out well – no new cancer activity. Therefore, the next PET scan is set for 6 months (July 2022). And it turned out to be good too! The amazing oncologist (there really is a special place for these dedicated souls) wished me a Happy New Year in advance, as he was so happy to tell me that I wouldn’t darken his door until after the holidays, and that this slow growing cancer turned up the opposite of aggressive. I still have underlying lymphoma, but it doesn’t seem to be doing anything devastating to my body at the moment. Now the next examination is set for 6 months (January 2023).
What a turn of events! After days of thinking about the worst, my days are now filled with hope and even normalcy! However, I have a renewed sense of life as part of this experience. I can say that I am fortunate enough to know what the longing for life is like; To fear that my days are numbered, and to appreciate each day I have. Many of us go through life not quite appreciating gifts every day (I was one of those). Glorious sunrise, the taste of oranges fresh from the tree, the scent of the blooming rose, the thunder of laughter after a joke, the warm embrace of a loved one, the thin blades of new growth peeking out from the soil. I spent hours browsing through old photo albums, evoking happy memories, writing in my journal – I haven’t done these things in a long time. Life gets in the way of enjoying every day, right?
I began to think about living each day as if it were part of my last year on earth. Doesn’t this anymore seem like a possibility to me (although how would any of us know)? But, when you describe your life in these terms, it highlights many of the things we do that are just below par. Of course, we all have responsibilities in life – we must pay the bills, raise our children, and take care of our communities. But we also control a large part of our lives. This new way of living was liberating!
I practiced self-care on a whole other level. I started with physical therapy – the art of connecting the mind and body with focus of the soul to deal with trauma. Meditation was a huge part of this practice, allowing my body to let go of the constant stress and anxiety I was feeling during my journey. Stress is very destructive, especially in the management of cancer. In fact, a recent study From US Health and Nutrition data from 1988 to 2019 found that individuals with lifelong chronic stressors have a 14% higher risk of dying from cancer. The study published in the journal SSM – Population HealthAnd the showed that the risk of cancer death was 2.4 times greater among people with high levels of static loads, compared to those with low static loads. Other studies have documented that depression and anxiety are associated with higher cancer mortality rates and poorer survival. no wonder , Anxiety has been linked to higher levels of inflammationInflammation is closely linked to the development of cancer. Reducing anxiety has become a matter of life and death for me – literally. But that’s not all I did to reduce stress and take care of myself. I have taken a renewed lifestyle. Certainly, I have always honored a healthy, plant-based way of living, which includes exercise, diet, and time spent in nature. But this was not enough. I can do more! You see, I have lymphoma, and I need to live a cancer-preserving lifestyle; It discourages its slow growth, and keeps me strong and healthy for years to come.
What do I do to ward off cancer? I recently shared my story of how I live with and fight cancer every day with the American Institute for Cancer Research over here. You can also discover my evidence-based view on the best diet approach to fighting cancer over here. and check out My Self-Care Strategies to Fight Cancer over here.
And there’s more. Here is the full list of lifestyle strategies I focus on every day as I battle cancer in its tracks. Although I am not promising that these steps are the “cure” for cancer, they have evidence-based potential for fighting cancer, and help create a better approach for the possibilities to prevent the development of cancer.
My Lifestyle Approaches to Help Fight Cancer
1. Vegetarian diet with an emphasis on whole plants
Research supports that plant-based eating protects against cancer. But I also focus on including a variety of unprocessed plant foods to maximize nutrients, phytochemical diversity, and density. I cut back on alcohol, cut back on added sugar to enjoy only on special occasions, and focus on quality foods at every meal. Learn more about a healthy vegetarian diet over here.
2. Daily Antioxidant Smoothie
My daily juicing habits make sure I fit in some of the special foods and nutrients I’m aiming for, like the omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed, the anti-inflammatory action of ginger and turmeric + black pepper, and the bioactive compounds in mushrooms, green tea, berries and kale. I am making a large group of This recipe Every week, break it into mason jars, and put it in the fridge so I can have a smoothie every morning.
3. Joyful physical movement
I enjoy doing mindful exercise that boosts the immune system and strengthens the cardiovascular system, but also reduces stress and anxiety. This includes early morning walks with my dogs Teddy and Violet, hiking, gardening, beach walks, stretching and strengthening at home, and Pilates at a local studio.
4. Mental health support
I regularly engage in mental health professional help, and incorporate meditation into my daily life. I spend time with friends and family, we talk and support each other. I pet my dog every day, which reduces my stress (it’s proven!). I spend some time outdoors every day, even if it’s my morning walk or going outside and watching the sunset for a few moments.
I strive to be kinder and kinder to myself; Not setting hard goals and expectations, but listening to my body when I’m tired and need a break. I don’t allow myself to do anything – to daydream and stare out the window while drinking tea. I make time for myself, and try not to place too many demands on myself.
6. Reducing stress
Daily affirmations of stress reduction, such as meditation, spending time during the day in a fun activity (I love cooking, gardening, going to the farmers market, knitting and books on tape!), and cuddling my dog and partner are now part of my stress reduction plan.
7. A healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is fraught with concern when facing cancer. When you’re undergoing treatment and recovery, you may not be able to eat what you normally choose (who wants salad and veggies then?), and keeping your weight in a healthy range may be the last thing on your mind (which is true.). Some people gain weight during cancer treatment. I was one of those individuals. While I can’t stand myself, I strive to keep my weight within a healthy range in order to increase my odds of battling cancer.
8. Low-toxin environment
Increased research documents how environmental toxins — pesticides, chemicals in body care products and foods, and pollution — can increase the risk of cancer. While this is something I’ve always cared about, I became even more careful after my diagnosis. I did an “audit” of home and personal care products to check for ingredients of concern (Learn more about this over here), and found new sources and products — including hair dye, deodorant, makeup, and cleaning supplies — that are free of these chemicals of concern. I’ve also doubled down on my efforts to choose only organically grown foods without using most synthetic chemicals.
Everyone has their own journey. We all react differently when faced with a terrifying health diagnosis, such as cancer. this is my story. This is what worked for me. I would love to hear from you regarding your health or your cancer journey by sharing in the comments section. Let’s keep sharing our stories, supporting each other, and staying strong together. Thank you all for your support during my journey!
eat and live well,