As we go through our lives, we experience the highs and lows that life in general hands us. Highs are joyful events such as births, marriages, and success. On the flip side, the lows are things like death, job loss, accidents, and illness. We all have our fair share of both. While I’m confident we’d all rather have the highs, the lows can lead us toward a positive change.
I know we’ve all been there in the middle of one of life’s horrible storms. I have a lot of examples but both my family and I have survived every singe one. The cool thing, while none of us could see the positive at the time, we eventually enjoyed the rainbow.
I will share the storm that has been cancer for my family.
Over the past few years my family has been struck with cancer. It has been a huge eye opener for me. In 2008, it was both my parents. In 2013, it was my daughter. And in between it has been friends.
The good news is my family is all in remission as well as some of my friends. I am very happy about that! What the whole experience has done for me as I look back was to analyze my life and my loved ones lives as well. What am I eating? Am I not protecting my skin? Do I surround myself with unnecessary toxins? Do I have healthy habits? Lots of questions! This cross translates into influences I have with others.
Here are some things I’ve been doing after our storms and what motivated me to seek the rainbows…
1. My Mom had these blister like spots in her one ear that wouldn’t go away and a few small spots under her eye just below the rim of her glasses. Turns out it was Basil Cell Skin Cancer. Crazy thing about her whole ordeal was that several doctors looked at her ear and had no clue as to what it was. An oncologist happen to walk by, overhear the doctors talking, and he asked if he could look. Well, he knew what it was. I’m thankful he happened by!
After my Mom had skin cancer removed from her ear and face, I no longer needed the lecture about sun screen. Skin cancer is not attractive and it could kill you. It is scary!
My transition wasn’t over night. I used to go all day long without sun screen and had the darkest tan around. I used to go all day long without protection or I’d sunbathe. (I’m influenced by the 80’s). Once, I moved to Colorado, I got burned pretty good and it hurt. It happened more than once too. I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t doing any thing different than before so why the burn now?
I eventually learned that it was due to the high altitude in Colorado. I’m regularly at 6000 plus feet so I’m closer to the sun, air is thinner, and there is less protection. This was why it was very easy to get sun burned in Colorado.
Now I am a big believer in sun protection. I wear sun screen and often a hat even in the winter when I’m hiking or skiing. No more tanning! Also, I get a facial every two months and have learned about great sun screen products for my face and the good news is they don’t break me out.
All in all, my Mom would work out in the sun doing yard work and gardening all day long. She too never burned, but she was struck with skin cancer! Now, Mom wears a hat, long sleeves, sun screen, and works in the yard in the morning when the sun is less intense. I too, wear a hat and wear sun screen. Yes, I get sun, but no more burns and hopefully no skin cancer. I also, get my skin check during my annual doctor’s appointments.
2. My Mom couldn’t catch a break and was also diagnosed with CML Leukemia around the same time. She was given a chemo drug called Gleevec and has to take it every day. It made her sick and extremely fatigued. Mom was frustrated, devastated, and sad. We all worried about her.
Eventually, Mom figured out the best time for her to take her medication where she can minimize her side affects and now has it managed pretty well. She still has Leukemia but is in remission. As a family, we have racked our brains to try and figure out what might have caused it. We are at a loss. The good thing that came out of this was that the diagnosis scared the crap out of my Mom and really motivated her to kick this cancer to the curb.
She was successful! She kicked cancer’s butt in six months! Apparently, that is unheard of for Luekemia. The doctors were shocked and awed at the same time. Now Mom is of great interest to her oncologists.
What did she do? Well, my Mom drastically changed the way she eats. Now, she only eats nutritiously dense foods. Essentially, she influenced her recovery through nutrition! I’ve read about food being medicine. Now, I believe it! She is also very good at listening to her body which is something my yoga constantly reinforces so I can relate.
Mom’s choices influenced all of use as we now don’t frequent restaurants that have horrible choices on their menus and we shop for better foods. Now, I’ve always thought I was a pretty good eater with regards to my choices, but at that time I still ate fast food from time to time and also ate crap on my busy days. It was at this time I consciously made the decision to reduce fast food from my diet. To this day, I still avoid fast food and I don’t miss it!
Another thing I explored was what I cleaned my house with. I used Windex, Pin-Sol, bleach, furniture polishes, and Lime-Away products. While these products work great, they are toxic and I’m breathing this. Mom, used these products too and her house has always been nice and clean. So she was breathing these toxins too. Could what we use to clean with possibly contributed towards her Luekemia? Maybe.
With this as a possibility, I made the decision to go with natural and less toxic products. At first, I bought green products from Whole Foods and I still use these from time to time. I eventually discovered Melaleuca and use some of their natural products. With the switch, my house is clean, smells nice, and hopefully less toxic.
Recently, my parents came to visit me me and my Mom showed me the awesomeness that is regular white vinegar. It is cheap, natural, and extremely effective! It outshines any glass cleaner I’ve ever used. No more streaks!!! (Ever spend to much time going over and over your mirrors trying to get rid of those streaks???) Now, I clean my mirrors, windows, stainless steel, and counters with a mixture of water and white vinegar. I’m converted and there is no going back to Windex for me.
3. So what about my Dad? My Dad was diagnosed with both prostate and bladder cancer at the same time. The good news was the cancers were two different cancers verses one that spread. At that time, my Dad quit smoking his evening cigar cold turkey. While, I’ve never smoked, this influenced my brothers who from time to time would smoke. Now they don’t. This is wonderful for them. We all know that smoking is absolutely one of the worst things a person can do.
4. In April 2013, my daughter Ashley was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was only 21! This certainly got all of our attention! I couldn’t believe this had happened to my young and beautiful daughter! She is way to young for this sort of diagnosis! Long story short, she went through the biopsies, surgeries, and radiation treatments. It was rough on her and she lost a lot of so called friends who couldn’t handle it. My Ashley felt like my Mom did back when she was starting her chemo treatment. Fatigued, scared, depressed, and angry.
As she went through her treatment, she learned that the cancer was environmentally caused. Both my Mom and I were checked out to see if we had breast cancer and whether it ran in our family. We don’t have a family history and as of now neither Mom nor I have breast cancer. So what was the environment?
We think it is possibly food. Ashley finally entered remission in November 2013! During the whole ordeal, Ashley made drastic diet changes too. Just like my Mom. Ashley is now a vegetarian, but will eat wild fish, cage free organic eggs, or hunted game. She won’t eat anything factory farmed or fast food because she thinks it was her food that contributed towards her cancer. It makes sense too. They do pump up our animals with antibiotics, hormones, and keep them in stressful tight quarters. Then we eat them. We also eat processed foods with who knows what chemical is in them. (Remember, the Subway bread scandal?) Why wouldn’t that eventually wreck havoc on our bodies?!
Now, she cooks the majority of her meals. Her choices are influencing younger people like her boyfriend, friends, and of course family members to include me.
Ashley is also an athlete who went to college on two scholarships: track and cross country. The biggest question she gets is “what about protein?” She stresses constantly that she gets her protein mainly via plants and this hasn’t hurt her as an athlete not once! In fact, she has “PR’d” more than once since the change and she is giving everyone a run for their money even with breast cancer!
I found this facinating! It caused me to explore factory farming and what I’ve been eating. I read books, talked to others, watched both my daughter and Mom kick cancer quickly, and watched documentories.
But change isn’t easy. In August 2013, I did my first yoga detox with a group of ladies and the program actually explored what we put in our bodies. This reinforced what Ashley was doing. Another eye opener! (I blogged about my detox – August 2013 – and put links to those documentaries on my site also).
Now, I won’t eat factory farming either. I won’t call myself a vegetarian though. I’m not there yet. However, I don’t eat a lot of meat; maybe once a week. What I do eat is organic, cage-free, wild, or free roaming. I describe myself as a flexaterian and yes, my coworkers love to tease me. They don’t get me not eating meat. But it’s ok.
All in all, I mainly shop in the store’s parameter, make most of my meals, take my lunch to work more days than not, have a small garden, and I get Door to Door Organics delivered biweekly to my home. My motto is that if you have it around, you’ll eat it. Why not make it healthy.
Another thing I did was take myself off of birth control pills. I’ve taken them since I was 21 after my daughter was born. I stayed on them for two reasons: birth control and clear skin. It worked great!
My doctor wanted me off birth control pills because of the estrogen being a factor contributing towards breast cancer and since Ashley had been diagnosed, I shouldn’t use stuff to put me in a higher risk. So I went off of them. But I still wanted birth control so I decided on Nexplanon which is the progesterone implant inserted in your arm. No estrogen.
I had Nexplanon inserted this past January. By March, my skin went crazy! Real crazy! Breakouts everywhere! I was extremely frustrated! I had worked so hard to have clear skin and have battled it since my teens. I was embarrassed about my skin and was getting depressed. And I couldn’t go back on the pill because of being in a higher risk.
In addition to the pill, I’d been on Benzoyl Peroxide, Differin, Clindamycin, and Retina A. I had regular facials and all this had worked in the past. But, not anymore! Nothing was working.
In my frustration, I’ve eventually explored natural remedies and have finally found my miracle! Why didn’t I know this before? Ugh! It’s apple cider vinegar, melaleuca, and oregano essential oils. Yep, that’s it.
I was willing to try anything. What did I have to lose?! So I did and within a few days, I saw impressive results and thought wow! I decided to stay with this more natural approach and I replaced the prescriptions with natural remedies. And to top it off, it is way cheaper. Have you seen the cost of some medicines and the high end skin care products?!
For my face, I used the vinegar as a toner, and spot apply the oils to my troubled spots. It works way better than the medicines including over night.
My success has has caused me to take an interest in Pinterest. Now, I have a board dedicated to natural remedies no matter the problem. Additionally, I have been extremely impressed with essential oils, enough that I became a consultant for DoTERRA. Because, I have the oils readily around me and I’m learning, I’ve introduced them to my yoga classes, my home smells nice, I ingest them, my dog is less stressed during storms, and I use them on my skin. Finally, my skin is healing, clearing up, and it is all natural!!! Yay!
I know I have a long way to go, but I’m on the wellness journey. As I look back, I realize it was all the storms that struck my family that grabbed my attention and motivated me to find better and healthier approaches. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way. I have. I don’t want cancer, bad skin, or any other bad disease knocking me or any other person down.
Now, I strive to eat healthy, use natural remedies to clean and for self care, get plenty of sleep, use sun screen, and deepen my yoga practice. This has been on my mind lately as I constantly get reminded there often is a better less toxic approach to many things I do.
Maybe my blog will inspire you to explore more natural approaches. I’d love to hear your success stories of natural remedies that actually work as well as how you learned about them. Maybe you had a stormy life event too.