A Little About Me and My Journey of Healing From Cancer

A Little About Me and My Journey of Healing From Cancer

Like most health coaches, my own complicated and frustrating health struggles brought me here. In 2019 I was simultaneously diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Severe Osteoporosis. The proposal for the RA was Methotrexate, a low dose chemo that suppresses the immune system. The suggestion for the Osteoporosis was more drugs. I knew that my immune system was in place for a really major reason and suppressing it didn’t seem like the right answer. And the research I did on the bone drugs didn’t look all that optimistic for actually building bone. After a long road just to find out why my body was racked with pain, the given “solution” was doubly frustrating. An acquaintance told me that I must get Dr. Wahls book called “The Wahls Protocol.” She wasn’t lying when she told me it was a game-changer. I eliminated gluten, dairy, and sugar from my diet and felt an immediate relief of my symptoms. This is when I started to realize that food really IS medicine. I was so pumped learning about health that I was spending hours online watching webinars and reading articles.

I hired a Functional MD, Dr. Keesha Ewers, who ran some labs and put me through protocols to heal my gut, balance my hormones, work on my adrenals, and chelate an extremely high lead level. 10 months after my dual diagnoses, I did bloodwork to see where my RA levels were. Both numbers came down 100 points. Without medication! That was in February 2020. We’d barely gotten to celebrate that victory when on March 5, 2020, I was told that my irregular bleeding was not a fibroid. In fact, I had cancer. Wow. I had all the initial fear, doom, and shock at first. When I pulled myself together, started in on the onslaught of medical appointments, and conferred with my Functional MD, I got my head in a good place and thought through how I wanted to handle this beast.

The pandemic was ramping up at the same time my cancer diagnosis came. As a result, I had a lot of televisits. My first in-person oncology visit was one I had to face alone. In fact, my entire cancer journey was alone. Nobody was allowed to come in anywhere with me, and the only reason I was getting appointments was because I was in a major health crisis that put me in the front of the line. My cancer team did not share with me their concerns about how late stage my cancer was, but they were very efficient in getting me through the process at a time when nobody was getting routine medical care.

That first visit I found out I had a large tumor on my uterine wall, and an even larger fibroid near my cervix. I was scheduled for a Davinci robotic total hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. I had my surgery six weeks after my diagnosis. Amazing, considering where the world was at the time! I was a basket case going into my first major surgery (and first ever hospital stay), but it was amazing. My surgeons, nurses, surgical staff were incredible. My hysterectomy surgeon (I also had a lymphadenectomy surgeon) called me on a Sunday afternoon from his personal cell phone to give me the after report of the surgery that he had gotten Saturday evening. Stage IIIC1. That means it had spread throughout my reproductive system, but not to other organs. My right ovary was no longer an ovary, rather a tumor. Two lymph nodes were involved. There were suspicious cells in the pelvic wash. There was substantial myometrial invasion (through the uterine wall). The biggest blessing I had is that it was caught before it spread to other organs. Whew. Close call.

With the results in, the protocol my team had been prepping me with were now a reality. Six rounds of Taxol/Carboplatin chemo, and 25 external/3 internal radiation treatments. I dug in and started reading a lot of PubMed studies. I became increasingly against any radiation but met with the radiation oncologist. I met with the chemo oncologist. I met with my cancer team gynecologist. I read more studies and statistics. I ate cleaner and took pristine care of my health. In the end, I vetoed all radiation because my chances of having other organ issues was almost 60% because I am very thin. My chemo oncologist stood by me on this decision, which was an awesome validation. I did six full dose rounds of chemo with my blood work never falling out of normal range. I never needed any extra meds or OTC drugs outside of the normal protocol. I had chemo every 3 weeks from the end of May 2020 until the beginning of September 2020. I looked forward to my chemo days because it helped me focus on what my ONLY job was that summer. Heal. Heal. Heal. One of my favorite memories of chemo is about halfway through when my oncologist came into the room for our appointment before infusions began. When she saw me, her eyes got wide, and she said, “You look so HEALTHY!!” Yeah. Food is medicine.

I had a CT scan on October 15, 2020. Official NED (No Evidence of Disease). About 8 months from diagnosis to clear health. YESSSS! But I knew that chemo doesn’t get rid of cancer stem cells. Chemo was just a helper to making cancer manageable for my body. The task of staying healthy was always going to be up to me. The job of keeping my head in a good space was mine to own. Staying active was going to be my task. Making sleep a priority was up to me. My health is in my hands! And I have taken this seriously. I eat to live, not live to eat. This doesn’t mean my food is boring, but I changed how I view things. Food is medicine, not recreation. I get outside, I sleep well, I work (constantly) on stress reduction, and I supplement my diet in smart ways. In FDN this covers our D.R.E.S.S. for Health Success® (Diet. Rest. Exercise. Stress Reduction. Supplementation).

It was toward the end of my chemo treatments that I signed up to watch a summit called, “The Answer to Cancer.” There were daily speakers, mostly integrative doctors, and some doctors and regular patients who had gone through their own cancer journeys. Dr. Kelly Petrucci struck a chord with me in that series when she said, “When you have cancer, you find out who loves you.” I had quite some eye-opening surprises about who loved me and who did not. In that series I learned a lot about why cancer comes, and what we need to take away from our cancer time. I’m not the same person I was before cancer. I let it change me to be better, bolder, wiser. My Functional MD told me at the beginning of my cancer that I was going to have to be thankful for the cancer. I could not fathom this. Today, I am more grateful for my cancer than almost anything else that has ever happened for me. The cancer journey and “The Answer to Cancer” made me realize that all of my health studying was my prelude to becoming a health coach. My AHA moment came sometime during that series. I started researching health coaching courses, and ended 2020 by signing up for Functional Diagnostic Nutrition with Reed Davis.

I’m ready to help people fighting autoimmune issues, cancer, and any other health issue. We don’t diagnose anything in FDN. We work with you to achieve balance in the body. Our wellness principles yield better results than treating symptoms without looking for resolutions to their causes. If we eat, sleep, exercise, and live purposely we are going to get better. I know this to be true because I have walked the path ahead of you. I am gratefully here to help as many people as I can. If you’ve read all of this, thank you. I want to be transparent in my background and exactly what brought me to you.

My journey through the cancer mosaic brought an awareness of my true mission in life. There is a way out of the cycle of trial and error that yields only temporary results. I want people to be able to heal themselves, stop just treating symptoms, and give their bodies what they need to heal themselves. Our bodies are made to heal. We just need to give them what they need to do so. I want to be the person to teach you that, to walk you down that path to being the best version of you that you can be! Let’s do this!!