How does a health coach get cancer?
So how does an AADP Board Certified Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach (that’s my official long title), with otherwise perfect health get diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer? Since diagnosed, I’ve read several books by people who have cured themselves of cancer by changing their not-so-healthy lifestyle, by going vegan, etc. But I was already living that healthy lifestyle (minus the vegan part). How did this happen to super healthy me?
Short answer: No one knows. The doctors say it’s random, don’t try to figure it out. Well sure, the very first mutated cell may have been random. But I believe the human body is an amazing machine with the ability to heal itself if given the opportunity. How did my super healthy body let this happen? Why didn’t it do it’s job? So in my quest to figure this out, I’ve come up with some thoughts, maybe even theories.
As you’ve possibly read on other pages of my website, I wasn’t always a Health Coach. In fact I’m just coming up on my 2 year anniversary of being certified to see clients. Before that, I ate pretty healthfully and was generally in good shape as I worked and played in Los Angeles and Seattle as a Graphic Designer. I had my weaknesses like chocolate chip cookies and double tall lattes but so did everyone.
In my 20’s, I lived in Hollywood which just so happened to be the time when my symptoms began from an (unknown to me) dairy allergy. I was going out a lot back then, eating fabulous restaurant fare, going to concerts and to clubs, dancing all night, and still showing up for work the next morning (shhh don’t tell my bosses–oh wait they knew: coolest bosses ever). Ah, my 20’s were fun. Add to that a lot of environmental toxins in LA that I was exposed to on a daily basis, and it all adds up to a lot of stress on my detox/elimination system. I wasn’t even remotely aware back then of anything having to do with toxins, detoxing or even what stress can do to your body. Nor did any doctor tell me that there was any connection between my lifestyle or what I was eating and the major acne I was getting and the mild constipation I was having.
When I moved to Seattle, my toxin exposure reduced significantly. Not only were the water and air much cleaner, but my lifestyle wasn’t quite so glamorous. I still had fun, but this was the town I had chosen to settle down in and that is what I eventually did (and every one knows when you have kids your social life takes a nosedive!). I was happy in my domestic world, while still working freelance as a graphic designer. However, the symptoms of my dairy allergy continued.
When I finally found out four years ago that I was allergic to dairy, my naturopath said, “Your immune system is elevated. It is fighting something on a daily basis which looks to be a food allergy”. So I’ve spent this time diligently cleaning out my system, detoxing seasonally with whole foods and eating clean to calm down my immune system. Which I did! I had blood tests to be proud of. I became a Health Coach and wanted to help people learn about food allergies, and detoxing, and help them heal their bodies. And all was well and good until this most recent abnormal blood test in August indicating the Mantle Cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Out of the blue. Quite the shocker.
So who knows really when that flip got switched–when that B-Cell of mine split funny and decided to go rogue as a Mantle Cell. It could have been an exposure to an environmental toxin in LA. It could have been some funky pesticide that didn’t get washed off some fruit I ate, or a big swig off a water bottle made from BPA plastic, hell it could have been that extra shot of tequila. That’s the random part that we’ll never know because we are exposed to countless toxins and stressors in our daily lives that put our detox system into overload.
What I do know is that my immune system had been fighting dairy for probably 20 years, not to mention dealing with the toxin/stress load we all face daily. Translate that to a fundamentally weakened immune system, no matter how much repair I tried to do in those four years. My theory is that my damaged immune system may not have been able to search out and kill off those hiding slow growing cancerous Mantle Cells.
Not to scare you but did you know that every person’s body has cells that mutate in funky ways? The thing is though, if your immune system is strong it will find those mutated cells and kill them before they get the chance to multiply and spread. I think my immune system was weak and didn’t catch the cancer cell before it multiplied and eventually spread into my bone marrow (that’s Stage IV for anyone interested).
So as a Health Coach, still committed to helping people get healthy, you can bet that I’m going to be learning even more about the immune system, about toxins in our food and toxins in the environment, and how stress plays a huge role in our ability to maintain a strong immune system. I’ll continue to see clients one-on-one because that lifts my soul but I will be adding speaking engagements–speaking to anyone who will listen, about how to clean up your lifestyle, eat and cook healthy foods, build a healthy gut and a super-immunity so hopefully you don’t have to go through what I’m going through now. And I’ll continue to chronicle what I learn emotionally, spiritually and physically along my journey here in this blog.