If a cancer diagnosis has found its way into your life, you are probably filled with fear and confused about what to do next. You have important treatment choices to make in a short period of time. I have learned that lifestyle changes are an important part of the healing process. They not only heal your body, but also your mind, and soul. You might even reinvent yourself.
Hearing the words, “you have breast cancer,” rocked my world because I thought cancer could not happen to me. I believed my “healthy” lifestyle would protect me: For many years before cancer, I had a somewhat healthy diet, did not smoke or drink alcohol, had a positive attitude about myself and life, and did yoga and meditated on a regular basis. In spite of my best efforts, cancer became my wake-up call twelve years ago. It shouted, “Something is not right.” Evidently, I had more “waking up” to do.
A few weeks after the diagnosis, I made a commitment to use cancer as an opportunity to achieve optimal health and become fully ALIVE.
I turned my feelings of powerlessness and fear into purposeful actions. After researching the causes of cancer and the many conventional and alternative ways to treat it, I designed my own integrative treatment plan.
The first few years after cancer, the following two lifestyle changes contributed to my new body and life:
I identified the stressful situations that compromised my immune system. Many studies report that 75 to 95 percent of illness has a stress component. Once I understood that financial hardship was a major stressor in my life, I did my best to get my finances under control. I also found more effective ways to manage my stress levels—body, mind and spirit. If you cannot change or leave a stressful situation, you do have the power to build up your resistance to stress through many techniques—yoga and meditation, energy work, breathing techniques, visualization, positive thinking, gratitude, exercise, supplements and more. Explore what works for you.
I ate healthier than I did before the cancer by paying more attention to a cancer prevention diet. I consumed less processed foods and more whole fresh foods (mostly vegetables and some fruit), drank water and green tea, and took life-promoting supplements. I focused on reducing chronic inflammation and balancing the pH levels in my blood, saliva and urine. Cancer cannot live in an alkaline environment—the terrain around the cells. Scientists tell us that 30 percent of cancer deaths can be eliminated with diet and exercise. Your body is always giving you feedback about the foods that fuel it or compromise it; pay attention. Increase your vegetables, fruits and healthy fats and decrease sugar, meat and processed foods. Become a conscious eater.
Cancer thrivers know that a bright light can be found at the end of this dark tunnel. With a curious mind and positive outlook, you could turn a cancer diagnosis into an adventure that improves your quality of life. Cancer is an opportunity to get healthier by making the most of what is within your power to change.
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