Cancer Helped Me Realize That My "Normal" Life Was Killing Me

At the age of 35 I was leading what I thought was a normal life. Looking back now, I see that I was very wrong.

I spent more than 20 years working in the multinational industry where I was constantly chasing my tail, pursuing never ending deadlines and surviving on junk food to keep me fueled throughout the day. I made no time for myself, took care of everyone else’s needs before my own, always felt fatigued, my skin wasn’t great, I had no desire to exercise, and I suffered with constant bloating. I was in this hazy fog that I called life.

Then I hit a roadblock…a life threatening disease. This changed the course of my life forever, and has transformed every aspect of it for the better.

In 2009, I was diagnosed with a rare form of aggressive breast cancer known as triple negative BRCA1--the same type of genetic mutation as Angelina Jolie--whilst undergoing what should have been one of the happiest times of my life; it was 8 weeks before I was due to get married.

I immediately had to schedule a surgery and start treatments for chemotherapy and radiation, which all wreacked havoc on my immune system and put me into early menopause, meaning I was unable to conceive-- not great for a newlywed couple. The treatment made me sick, tired and depressed. My oncologist then recommended I get a genetic test done, the results of which were devastating.

I found out I had the BRCA1 gene. My medical team strongly advised me to have preventative surgery to get my breasts and ovaries removed. I had a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy scheduled for January 2011. In the meantime, I began researching everything I could find about the BRCA1 gene, cancer, and the role of epigenetics. I made one very important call to a Natural Healing Clinic and spoke with a doctor who appeared to have had great success with nutrition/ lifestyle changes in cancer patients.

I spoke to the director and this was the catalyst to everything else I've done since. I spent three weeks in the U.S. learning how to eat right and I began to educate myself on the power of food. From that day forward, I have based every day on ensuring I get the best nutrition possible. I spent one year after cancer completely detoxing my body, removing the “fake” foods from my diet and trying to recover from some of the damage treatment put on my body.

My doctors still continue to tell me that cancer will return; in fact, they told me six years ago that I have a 90% chance of breast cancer returning and 50% of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer unless I have major preventative surgery. But time is moving on and I am still cancer free and thriving.

From my experience with a life threatening disease, I can see not only the importance of healthy, wholesome food and exercise in one’s life, but also how each of these are connected to the mind. I decided to take my life into my own hands and to use food and lifestyle changes as my medicine. I haven't looked back since.

This journey has transformed my life and I’ve never felt better!

Did cancer help you realize something unhealthy about your life before your diagnosis? Tell us in the comments below!

Photo courtesy of Jake Stimpson.