I love synchronicities. It is great when I am confronting a particular problem or issue and the very next person I talk to has the same challenge or when I am happy or excited about something and someone else feels the same excitement. I am a holistic health coach and meeting fellow health coaches who share my passion is a joy for me. I don’t have a need to stand out in a crowd or to wear unique shoes, clothing, jewelry or accessories.
Here’s where I want to be unique. I want to walk into a room full of people and be the only person who had breast cancer. Don’t get me wrong, the number of survivors is awesome and it is a club full of extraordinary members that I’m proud to be a part of. But, it would be so much better for people not to have to go through this particular journey. I look very forward to the day when I walk into a room and people don’t say that they are also survivors, that their best friend died from breast cancer, or that their cancer has metastasized. I want to walk into a room and have people say, “I don’t know anyone else who had that disease.” I want to be the only one in the room.
There are a lot of us right now. In my book club of eight women, there is one other breast cancer survivor and one ovarian cancer survivor. In my girls’ night out group, there is one other breast cancer survivor. One of my closest friends died of breast cancer shortly before I was diagnosed. The neighborhood I grew up in is riddled with breast cancer survivors.
I want for my nieces and nephews to introduce me to their friends and perhaps say in passing “Aunt Wendy is so quaint, she had breast cancer” in the same way we now talk about dial phones or eight track cassettes. I want for my friends with cancer to be cured and for it to be able to be prevented.
I read an article in the paper recently where the author was talking, very poignantly, about losing both parents to cancer and fervently praying for an end to this disease. But, here’s the thing, I don’t believe prayers are enough. I believe that we need to support efforts in western medicine to find a cure, support complementary and alternative medicine, and support non-profits that do good productive work in this environment. I also believe that we have to take specific steps to reduce the risk of cancer for ourselves and those around us through:
- Voting with our pocketbooks by making wise decisions around consumables through:
- Buying organic fruits and vegetables where we can, especially for the “dirty dozen.”
- Buying non toxic personal care and home cleaning products. The Environmental Working Group’s skindeep database is a great place to start.
- Avoiding processed foods, especially those with ingredients that are considered to be toxins in the European Union.
- Using our vote to support politicians and policies that reduce toxins in our environment and support GMO labeling if not GMO elimination. Roundup is a known carcinogen (as well as the cause of many other diseases) and is sprayed on plants that are specifically genetically modified to not be killed by this toxic chemical
- Reducing stress for ourselves and others through the stress management technique that works best for us. I am a big fan of HeartMath™ and its approach and am, in fact, a HeartMath™ Mentor. Or follow a great mediation practice.
- Being mindful about the items that we bring into our home and avoid chemical laden fire retardants, stain protection, and volatile organic compounds in paint.
- Freeing our houses of indoor air pollutants by opening windows, cleaning, and keeping house plants. Avoid toxins for maximum health by following these tips.
- Exercising frequently, even if it is a thirty-minute walk, eating healthily and maintaining a healthy weight.
These are just a few of the steps that we can actively take to reduce our risk for cancer or its recurrence. And, the good news is that in taking these steps, we are also reducing our risks for many other deadly and debilitating diseases and setting ourselves up for a healthier, more joyful life.
I am truly honored to be a member of the extraordinary club of cancer survivors and I am proud to have survived that journey. I will continue to work to keep myself healthy and to work with others to make healthy choices to reduce their risk for cancer, to vote with their pocketbooks by buying non toxic products, to use their vote and their voice to protest against the cancer causing chemicals in our environment, and to be their most authentic selves and find ways to reduce stress. And, I will try to be a role model for others who will go through this journey. But, most of all, I want to be unique.