My Aunt died last night. Cancer. Fuck you, cancer.
I need to start this with a disclaimer…
I honestly don’t know how I am feeling right now. I know that as I write this I am fleeting tears of rage and sadness. If you are reading this, I want to make sure that I say this first…
I will not have a filter as I write. Not today. I will not spend hours editing my words or writing because it’s what people want to hear. I need to write for myself. I know that I haven’t written an article in a long time. But I am writing one now and I think that it’s because it’s therapeutic. I am going to write until I am done and have nothing further to say. The only apology that I can manage to offer is the apology that my words may be jumbled and thoughts unorganized. But I will not apologize for the content. Maybe that’s what makes this authentic? I don’t know.
I will ask you to do one thing for me. If this speaks to you or someone you love, share it. Not for me. Share it for someone you love that may be slipping away right now. Maybe the writing is on the wall and you see it, but don’t want to face it. Please don’t wait.
Nearly all of us have lost someone we love to cancer or another life destroying disease. The feelings that manifest are crippling…
I feel trapped, angry, lost, sad, confused, helpless, completely fucking helpless.
Last night, Aunt Leslie died from a preventable disease. Did you know that only 5-10% of diagnosed cancers are from people that carry the gene for that particular cancer? That means that 90-95% of cancers are due to other factors and have nothing to do with family history? Can you believe that?!
Why does this happen? I am going to use this platform to express how pissed I am that Americans are dying every day from preventable diseases. Every time someone dies, it creates a surging effect that cripples families and friends. The people who are still here are frozen in time with grief and pain. Listen…I get it. I understand the cycle of life.
There is the creation of life, the living of that life and death that waits for us. I can’t change the beginning and the end. But I can change the middle. I have to believe that how we live will change how we die. Otherwise, I’ll die the same way that the rest of my family has. Heart disease, stroke, heart attack, Alzheimer’s and cancers. I am so damn scared of leaving my husband and children too early. I know they need their mama and the thoughts of not being with Sam, shatters me. As I type these words, I am not only thinking of my life but also the lives of my family members who have only a few breaths left. Many are obese, have coronary heart failure, diabetes and have suffered from heart attack and stroke. Rather then being sad, I’m so pissed!
I surround myself with all things health and wellness. I am passionate and obsessed with learning the truth in the latest research and current evidence. I am constantly furthering my knowledge base, in desperation to prolong the lives that I love the most. Yet, I can’t save these family members!! Maybe I am so desperate to learn because it gives me some sense of control in a situation that is completely out of my control. If every word I read and every research article I absorbed saved a life, I would never stop reading.
But today, I face the sobering truth that I can’t save everyone. It doesn’t matter how much I know or don’t know. My contribution is slight and my voice is small. I don’t know how to navigate that feeling right now. That’s why I am writing. My career is driven by my emotion to change lives and families. My passion is to add happy years to everyone that I can. It just sucks to know that I can’t save everyone. Right now, I feel so small and I am mad at the world around me.
I am mad that the government has bullshit regulations on the foods and drinks we consume. I’m pissed that the lobbyists get their way because they have deep pockets and political ties. I am pissed that food companies everywhere market foods as healthy because they have the catchphrases like “gluten free” “fat free” “paleo friendly” “keto” and “no added sugar” attached to the label. I hate that food industries pay researchers to perform studies in their favor and then bury them when a negative result is found that may compromise their sales. For what?! MONEY?! Am I naive to hope that they should care? Probably.
But you know what pisses me off even more? The bullshit companies and fitness personalities that are force feeding us their own version of the truth! As humans, we believe any narrative that follows our deep desires and goals. Many of us are hurting and lacking self-confidence, therefore we will believe almost anything because we are desperate to feel value and self-worth. We want that perfect body because we think it comes with happiness. We want to lose weight because we think it’s wrapped up in joy and fulfillment. I get it and it’s normal to want to lose weight. In fact, obesity is the number ONE risk factor for many of the top killers in America. What sucks is that these companies can say whatever the hell they want because the results are clear. People can lose weight on ANY diet that promotes a calorie deficit. That’s what weight loss is! It’s burning more than you consume. But when the foods we consume are wrecking havoc on our health, do we notice? Do we pay attention? Shit, if the weight loss is there, do we even care about the hidden side effects? These questions plague me all the damn time. I want to change the world. I want to be a bigger voice that can make a bigger difference. My heart is there and it hurts for those who are suffering.
If you have been touched by the loss of a loved one, I am so sorry. You have my deepest sympathies and regards. I see you. My hope is to provide the knowledge people need to support a healthy lifestyle, increase self-confidence and support healthy immune function.
Some healthy advice for all of us…
- Question everyone and their intentions. Look for conflicts of interest. Find the truth with responsible publications and research articles. If references to current studies are not published, throw it out as an opinion, not a fact.
- Eat more plants. As many varieties as you can have. Fruits. Vegetables. Whole grains. Beans and legumes. I don’t trust any diet trend that demonizes such critical food groups that promote health.
- Eat less processed foods (foods in a box or package). Shop for whole foods that you can find at any grocery store and have fun preparing them.
- Don’t adopt a diet trend. If you can’t see yourself doing keto or packaged food companies for the rest of your life, then don’t even start. What the hell is the point? Sustainability is the key to long-term health, weight loss and success. Period. Exclamation point.
- Go to sleep. Every system in your body is begging you to get more sleep. If you want to ward off disease, allow your immune cells the energy and time to find and destroy immature cancer cells before they grow and multiply.
- Move your body with care and consideration for at least 20 minutes every day. Just a 20 minute walk can help prolong life! But don’t go ape-shit either! Chronic exercise stress has been shown to impair immune function of cancer fighting cells.
- Drink water so that you can filter out the bullshit and help delivery life-saving nutrients to every cell in the body.
- Do something that you love every day and spend time with the people you love! Adopt a healthy hobby that gives you a break from the normal stressors of life.
Each one of these strategies supports a healthy lifestyle and can maximize our defenses against current and future ailments.
Sometimes, I wish I had a bigger platform. But all I can do is change one life at a time. I am sitting here reflecting on each one of my clients and their goals. I am so grateful that I get to speak into their lives. I KNOW that we are adding years and value to their lives.
I may have lost family yesterday, but I’ll be damned if more of them are taken from me without a fight. Fuck you, cancer. I’m fighting for the good guys.
Dear Aunt Leslie… I know I didn’t know you very well but my heart hurts for you and your family. You will be greatly missed. My Dad, your baby brother, misses you already. We love you! We wish you peace and rest.