It’s World Cancer Day.
Having been diagnosed 3 years ago, it has felt like an induction into a club I never asked to be part of. It’s something I have tried to avoid at all costs. I don’t want to be seen as a “cancer patient.” My first day at Hope4Cancer in Mexico, back in 2017, I was hooked up to a Vit. C IV before heading to the dining room for breakfast. I nearly hyperventilated at the dining room door. I looked at my mom, fought back tears (or maybe I actually cried, I don’t remember) & said, “I don’t want to go in like this. I look like a patient!” She lovingly reminded me that half the people there were patients & the other half were family & friends who were there for support. I ended up finding a wonderful support group in the people I met there.
I have recently come to the realization that life will never fully go back to the way it was before the diagnosis. I will never be the same Krista I was before the diagnosis. Those aren’t necessarily bad realizations, but some are hard to accept. The good – I am stronger, my faith is stronger; I have & will have an even greater testimony; scars (even the unseen ones) are part of our stories & help us help others we otherwise would not relate to. The hard – cancer steals certain things. For example, I found out recently that I will never be able to donate blood again. Once a person has had a blood cancer, no matter how long they are cancer free, their blood can never be accepted for donation. My heart broke a little the day I found this out. I always hoped to one day be a regular blood donor. I have fought hard to not let cancer steal anything from me & have continued to thrive & live my life as normally as possible; some things are beyond my control though. No matter how strong my faith is, fear is always waiting at the door, ready to pounce the minute I let my guard down. Every ache, every pain, my mind tries to go wild wondering if the cancer has spread. Every weak moment when I cheat on a non-cancer-fighting food, my mind starts spinning with fear that I just fed cancer & caused it to grow. Every time my faith weakens, guilt is waiting to pounce & tell me countless lies. No matter how good of an act most cancer patients try to put on, there is a fight & there are wounds that nobody sees. I have been blessed to be able work on healing naturally; with that said, I don’t pretend to know half of what conventional treatments do to patients and the additional battles they have. People tell me I am strong, and all I can think is, “They are 10x stronger!”
Cancer is not something anyone would choose. Yet in 2018 there were an estimated 18,000,000 cases of cancer worldwide (https://www.wcrf.org/dietandcancer/cancer-trends/worldwide-cancer-data)! That is unacceptable & something has to change!
Too many people are being diagnosed with cancer & we have to do something about it. A cure is not the only solution; prevention is just as powerful & important & it empowers you! The American Cancer Society reports a decrease in cancer deaths, which is great news! However, the decrease is largely due to a decrease in smoking, meaning there was less instance of lung cancer in general (meaning fewer people died from lung cancer because they never got it). Everyone knows smoking increases your risk of lung cancer & so many wisely choose to not smoke or to quit smoking. But what about other factors? Obesity is a big contributing factor to cancer as well (https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/diet-physical-activity/body-weight-and-cancer-risk/effects.html). Modern lifestyles, in general are a contributing factor. We have choices to make on a daily basis & I am excited to see a growing movement towards healthier living! We do not have to be victims to our genetics or our environment. We can make choices that will strengthen our bodies & make sickness less likely.
A couple of resources I recommend are:
Chrisbeatcancer.com Chris is a 16-year cancer survivor who has beat the odds. He has created a cancer coaching program (SquareOne) and it will be available for free this month (starting on 2/11/2020). He also has a book you can get at your local bookstore, library or Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Chris-Beat-Cancer-Comprehensive-Naturally/dp/1401956114) Whether you have been diagnosed or not, this is a great resource to arm yourself with for you or someone you love.
The China Study (https://www.amazon.com/China-Study-Comprehensive-Nutrition-Implications/dp/1932100660) Also available at your local bookstore, library or Amazon. I read this book last year & it was fascinating. At that point I was still eating some dairy but this was the final piece of evidence I needed to give it up. I do occasionally eat organic eggs & organic meats, but overall, I believe a plant-based diet is the healthiest lifestyle there is. Too much evidence is coming out to deny it.
Next on my reading list: The Blue Zones.
So what is the point of this post?
- Chances are you know someone fighting cancer or who has already overcome cancer. Understand that while we don’t want cancer to define us, it changes things. There will always be nagging thoughts, for some there will always be pain & lingering effects. It’s hard. No matter how strong we look, we are probably battle-weary & could always use a little bit of encouragement or a distraction with some quality time or an evening out.
- Don’t buy into the news & Hollywood movies (where literally every cancer patient eventually succumbs & dies). There is hope! There are things we can do to beat the statistics. Is it easy? No. Nothing in life that has any value is easy. But is it worth it? Absolutely. Research for yourself the stories of people who have survived cancer (alternatively & conventionally) & be inspired (chrisbeatcancer.com has a ton of survivor testimonials)! Make choices towards a healthier lifestyle & be a part of the declining statistic of cancer related deaths simply by never getting the diagnosis! Contrary to what we are told – “Cancer is largely genetic & you have no control over whether you get it or not” – we DO have some choice in the matter by how we choose to live our lives. So be encouraged, be empowered & encourage others around you.