My Tribe

Going through a serious illness is every bit as much a psychological struggle as it is a physical one and in moments of weakness your mind can take you to dark places that can be hard to return from. It is in these times that the love, support and encouragement of family and friends is as critical to your success in battle as your medical team. There is no room for ego. You will quickly find out who your network is and you must use them because your energy focus must solely be on getting better. Leave the rest to your team and use their strength when yours is waning. They don’t want your gratitude. They want your presence. There will be time later for thanks.

For me later is now and although my words will fall short of expressing my profound love and gratitude to you my people, I want to say them anyways. You held me in your arms when I cried.

You came to every doctor’s appointment and treatment that I had and there were so many. You called me every day. You cooked for my family when I couldn’t. You never turned away from me when you were afraid. You prayed for me and you shed tears that you thought I didn’t see. You were my support. My people. My tribe. I felt your presence with me always. It is what gave me the strength to carry through.

Thank you.

A Little Bit About D3

Each type of cancer has its own nuances that necessitate individualized nutritional and supplemental protocols.  Pervasive to all however is the importance of Vitamin D3.

Vitamin D is either ingested in the food we eat or manufactured through sun exposure.  It is fat-soluble and actually behaves more like a hormone than a vitamin.  Vitamin D acquires its hormone-like actions when it is converted to the active form of D3 (Calcitriol) by the liver and kidneys.

It is established that D3 is required for the absorption and utilization of calcium and phosphorus, vital for bone health.  However, virtually every tissue and cell in our body has receptor sites for vitamin D3, including those of our immune system. This suggests that vitamin D3 plays a critical role in our health beyond bone maintenance.  As an example, T-cells, a vital component of our immune system, are white blood cells whose main job is to fight infection.  T-cells need vitamin D to convert from an inactive form into an active form.  Other research has shown that vitamin D3 lowers C-reactive protein (CRP).  CRP is elevated when there is inflammation in the body.  Chronic inflammation is a risk factor for a number of conditions including coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.  Strengthening your immune system and lowering inflammation are important components of preventing and fighting disease.

Many people are deficient in D3.  Consider supplementing if you are one.  It’s vital for your health.

Only Because I Had To…

Cancer is not for the faint of heart and it is certainly by necessity not by choice that we take up arms and fight the good fight.  Test after test, appointment after appointment, and treatment after treatment. But fight and endure we must because the alternative is not an option.

As a cancer patient I learned many things.  I realized the strength of my faith.  I found out who is a part of my tribe and perhaps who is not.  But most important of all, I learned who I was before cancer and who I am now after cancer.  So many people told me how brave I was during my treatments.  I don’t look at myself as brave because I felt a consuming fear that still lies quietly below my surface.  What I am is strong.  Faced with my mortality I found an inner strength and resolve that I now carry with me always.  This influences my days and it is shaping my future.

I will never say that I am thankful for the experience.  I wish it had never happened.  But what I am thankful for is that by the grace of God, I am here and I am a better person for it.

Back to School

I decided to go back to school in my forties. I have always had an interest in the Wellness field but it wasn’t something that I decided to take action upon until 2 years ago. My degree is a Bachelor of Science and my career, up until 3 years ago, was in the financial industry. But now I am a certified Cancer Coach and almost an Holistic Nutritionist!. Good golly! So now the questions start. What am I going to do with my training? Who am I trying to reach? Well my awe inspiring answer is “ I don’t know yet. I’m still trying to figure things out”. And to be perfectly honest, I am just fine with that for now and here is why. I feel that at this point in my life I have a greater sense of who I am and what I can accomplish than in my twenties when I was just embarking on my life of independence. I don’t have the time constraints of young mothers. That pressure is off. My kids are older and for the most part, self-sufficient. I have already made LOTS of mistake and am the wiser for them. And I have nothing to prove. I am not sorry for feeding my Wellness passion on the second go round. I had different passions earlier on. I don’t feel that any of my time has been wasted. This is meant for me now and I’m settled enough in my own skin to let things come to me. I will continue to endeavour to learn and to see where the road leads me. My hope is to make a difference in the world of Wellness and Cancer Care. But if this path leads me straight to my own front door I’m good with that too.

Cheers Ladies!

As I sit here knee deep in studying Nutritional Pathology, I can’t help but get a little nostalgic looking back over the past 19 months or so that I have spent in the company of some wonderful ladies who are the CSNN Richmond Hill Wednesday Night class. Amidst commitments of family, employment and just the unending busyness of life, we have stayed committed to our studies each week and have found the time for hours of external work to fulfill our course requirements. It could have become overwhelming but somehow we’ve done it. We have been vulnerable in discussions. We’ve talked of our kids, of relationships, of challenging course material and somehow as a unit we have supported each other and pushed forward as a group to within eyesight of the finish line.

The fundamental premise of Holistic Nutrition is that our health is a synergistic relationship between the food we consume, the environment we find ourselves in and our perception of it. Mind, body, soul. To commit to only one aspect of this can not in and of itself lead us to our best health. Yes our food choices are important. But so too is finding ourselves in environments with people that nourish our being.

So to all of my inspiring teachers, the students who have come in and out of the program and the class that will stand with me on graduation day thank you for inspiring me, motivating me and enriching my world.

Cheers Ladies!