Healthy Livin’ Ain’t Easy

I am embarking on my new healthy livin’ plan to beat cancer and it ain’t easy.

Those of you who know me may think, “But she was already pretty healthy.”  Apparently, I can get even healthier.

Last week I finally met with a naturopath doctor in Columbus.  I found her online and oddly enough, when I called, she told me she was closing her practice here in Ohio because she was moving to – are you ready? – NYC.  But she did manage to squeeze me in.  And fortunately, I’m in NY a lot these days so we can continue to see each other there.

One of the main reasons i chose this naturopath is because she specializes in women’s health issues and seeks to balance hormones naturally rather than with pharmaceuticals.  This is big on my list because my breast cancer feeds on excessive estrogen.  But I’d rather not take Tamoxifen or Arimedex, or any of the other long-term hormone drugs.  So balancing my hormone levels has become a serious priority for me.

She is also an expert in botanical medicine, whole foods based supplementation, homeopathy, and hydrotherapy, and has advanced training in two European systems of medicine: gemmotherapy, which utilizes plant stem cells for their potent healing compounds and biotherapeutic drainage, which facilitates the body’s ability to eliminate toxins.

A few days ago I received her long list of recommendations based on our 2 hour long consult, and have to admit I was initially a wee bit overwhelmed.  But piece by piece I’m putting it all together.

First we need to do a bunch of testing to look at any estrogen metabolism issues and evaluate other female and adrenal hormones… Then she recommended dietary and supplement changes to stabilize blood sugar, insulin, and reduce my INSANE sugar cravings…  Along with, biotherapeutic drainage with UNDAs to restore homeostasis in the liver and breast tissue…  And finally she offered a homeopathic remedy to help me with stress, anxiety and as she put it, “letting go…”

One of her dietary pieces of the puzzle involves changing my breakfast routine (which up until now consisted of a piece of sprouted grain toast with vegan spread and a cup of organic coffee or chai tea).  Now I’m to consume a big glass of lemon water upon waking and hold off on eating until I’m actually hungry (even if that means I don’t eat breakfast till 11am).  For breakfast (and all meals actually) the focus is on protein, fiber, and healthy fats.  This is the combination that’ll keep ya going.  So now I’m scouring the web for healthy, protein rich, vegan breakfast recipes.  Yesterday I made the chia breakfast porridge pictured above.  I found on The Alkeline Sisters blog and it was actually pretty good.

Another person I’ve learned an amazing amount of information from is Andrea Nakayama.  She is a functional whole-foods nutritionist and certified holistic health counselor based out of Portland, Oregon.  I first found out about her in an article from Whole Living magazine.  Her husband was diagnosed with cancer when she was 7-weeks pregnant with their first child.  He was given 6 months to live.  Through her commitment to studying and implementing natural ways to boost his immunity they were able to extend his life for 2 years.

Her online course on sugar (Sweet Tooth, Bitter Truth) and her recent online class about naturally balancing hormones (EstroZen) taught me so much about how food and environment impacts every cell in our body.  And it also gave me hope that numerous ways exist to restore my health and hormone balance naturally.

In addition to all these changes, I am back on my regular exercise routine (albeit a modified version).  Doing my cardio for 20-30 mins every day on the elliptical.  And it’s got me feeling so much better!  For me, exercise is the starting point for everything else.  If i’m not exercising everything else always goes to shit.  So this is big for me.

Plus, I’m still juicing and blending.  Still trying to fit in meditation and visualization as often as possible.  Still going to my monthly support group and weekly psychotherapy.  Still reading and researching.  Still doing regular reiki sessions.  Still taking time in nature (despite the cold temps).  Still trying to love and live life to the fullest.

I understand now why so many people choose to just take a pill.  Going the natural route is extremely time consuming, sometimes complicated, costly, and a lot of hard work.  But for me, it’s worth it.  I’m healthier and more energetic than a lot of folks I know – Despite having stage 4 breast cancer.  And I truly believe this is the answer to keep my cancer from coming back.

Every day I’m also conscious of, and grateful for, the fact that I’m even able to follow this path.  That I have the support, the finances, the education, the organization skills, the time, and the ability to go the natural route.  As I said, healthy livin’ ain’t easy.  And I understand why taking the natural path may feel totally overwhelming or confusing for many folks.  Which is why I plan on doing what I can to help others in their journey.  To share the information that I’ve gathered.  To make suggestions and offer up resources.  To support others in their own cancer battles.

The other day, I was watching Oprah’s interview with  Joel Olsteen and he proffered the following statement:

What follows the two simple words, “I Am”, will come looking for you and determines what type of life you will have.

The words hit home with me.  How often do we think negative “I AM” statements…  “I am never going to succeed…  I am sick…  I am a failure…  I am all fucked up” (that’s a personal favorite of mine).  But how is that gonna help??  I believe one of the reasons i’m doing as well as I am is because I continue to believe anything is possible.

So today I choose to say something different.  I AM going to beat this cancer.  I AM strong.  I AM healthy.  I AM a fighter.  I AM an inspiration.

What are you saying to yourself?  Maybe it’s time to change your “I AM” statement too.

Peace.  – T

17 Responses

  1. Terri. . .

    Way to go. . .another good source of protein is Quinoa. .

    The Incas, who held the crop to be sacred referred to Quinoa as chisaya mama or ‘mother of all grains’, and it was the Inca emperor who would traditionally sow the first seeds of the season using ‘golden implements.

    Quinoa provides all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Quinoa is a gluten-free and cholesterol-free whole grain. Maybe this is something tht you can try.

    There are many recipes on line. . .Wally makes it all the time, as a breakfast cereal and you can eat it cold as a salad, by adding all fresh organic ingredients.

    I love you. .


  2. Quite the balancing act isn’t it? My cancer was also estrogen related, so like you I am always searching for what to eat, how to think, exercise daily and breath in the good energy and exhale the negative. I AM a survivor and I know you ARE a survivor also!!

    Keep up the great work…hugs

  3. Hey Terri! Sounds like you’re doing great things! Mike and I were driving by the exit to your town yesterday and talked about you, wondering how you were doing.

    I agree; going the natural route is really time-consuming and challenging, so I’m impressed by all you’re accomplishing! I actually dug out my juicer yesterday after months and months of neglect. I take an integrative route (both traditional and holistic), but I know I can do more on the holistic side. I love Joel Osteen; thanks for sharing!

  4. Terri, when you’re in ohio, a great resource might be Yellow Tree yoga, downtown. The teacher there is fantastic, very knowledgeable about the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle and great at integrating the body/mind/soul aspect of health. best wishes in these healthy-eating pursuits!

    • OMG!! I’ll be praying for good results. Hopefully it won’t be cancer after all. And if it is, you guys will be forced to draw upon all your inner strength and supports to get through. And get through you will. Let me know if there’s anything I can do. Thinking if you… Big hugs, – Terri

  5. One interesting note about blood sugar… for ordinary folks, in ordinary times, blood sugar doesn’t actually vary all that much. It varies some, of course, but the pancreas and the liver keep it in a relatively narrow range. Of course, it’s possible for that balancing act to break down (reactive hypoglycemia, diabetes, etc.).

    Hungry might not mean a low blood sugar, and a sugar craving can be the result of higher-than-normal blood sugar, if you’ve been even higher recently. It can be confusing stuff.

    If you can, though, a low-ish carbohydrate diet can very quickly put you back in a stable pattern. You don’t have to go full-out Atkins induction, but if you cut grams of carbohydrate to about 100-200 for a few days, and keep your carbohydrates spread out during the day, you’ll probably hit a stable blood sugar range quickly, and that might help with sugar cravings. (Or, if you want to ignore the advice of some random weirdo you met on the internet, that might be wise too :-). Me, I like cutting carbs – it works for me, so I can be a bit of an evangelist.)

    You’re right – this isn’t easy. But if you take each individual piece of it as one small piece, and master each bit, then soon it’s just a bunch of small things, each of which is easy. If you can do full mindfulness meditation for even ten minutes, I’m sure you had a time where even a minute seemed impossible, yet breath by breath, instant by instant, one can put together ten minutes, and longer – much longer – by putting it together from smaller victories.

    • Interestingly enough my new Naturopath has advised me along the same lines… Encouraging me to give up my breakfast of tea and toast for one with less carbs. Have to admit it’s hard to give up carbs as a vegan – Without them, all I eat is veggies, fruit, beans, nuts & seeds. Which I guess isn’t so bad, but somewhat limited. Anyhow… I have been cutting back on the carbs (on top of my usual sugar limitations) and have to admit that the sugar cravings have gotten A LOT better lately. There may be something to this theory after all.

      And your suggestion to take it all one piece at a time is what has been saving me. I’ve been gradually incorporating individual items from my naturopath’s immense list and finding it way easier to manage that way. And way less overwhelming. One task at a time. One day at a time.

      Thanks again for your wise suggestions, encouragement, and support. Hope you’re feeling better now with the new meds and getting your own life back on track. Cheers! – T

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