Day 87: That Nasty Business Called Cancer

I’m not going to say WHO, but I will say WHAT…I noticed yesterday a few hits to my site pertaining to someone I know whose wife has the same cancer as me.  It’s not in the news…I checked.  But I do find it interesting that this NHL guy remembered I had done a post on “The Pink Elephant In The Room.”  It was a post where I announced a few years back what I’ve been struggling with since 2008…a reawakened cancer.

I haven’t really spoken too much about it since then.  Actually, I just don’t talk about it period.  I just look at each and every day like there is no tomorrow.  There is only today.

I’m actually glad that this person (that this post is for today) went looking for that post from a few years back.  It gave me an opportunity to re-read what was happening in my life then.  It also gave me a moment to reflect on how the past has helped to shape the future, i.e. my present day.

Back then, I was just discovering how important it was to go green.  My home has to be 100% green now.  In other words, only all natural products are used to clean my home.  Now, I’m not talking about those green cleaners you buy at the store.  Cleaners don’t have to list all of their ingredients.  Ergo, steer clear of green cleaners.  I use vinegar, water, baking soda and lemon juice (and essential oils) to mix my own all-natural and non-toxic cleaners.  The only green cleaner I will purchase is dish soap.  You can find a lot of recipes for green cleaning online.  Also, I’m still an adamant supporter of the book “Green This! Volume 1: Greening Your Cleaning” by Deirdre Imus.  If you have cancer, this is a must.  It not only teaches you how to go green at home, but it also explains how toxins in our environment aggravates and worsens cancer.

After I went green at home, I noticed that there was a huge change (especially in being able to breathe).  I could physically feel the change within 3-4 months.  It was a very good positive change.  Vinegar is my cure-all from cleaning to getting that warped heat stain out of my kitchen table to making the mirrors and windows shine to calming my stomach and using it as a cure-all in my foot bath to cure/prevent everything from cracked heels, nail fungus and even athlete’s foot.

The all-natural route has helped keep the toxins in my environment out of my home and out of my body.  I even take my clothes to a green dry cleaner to dry clean my clothes.

I’ve greened up my kitchen, taking out plastic and replacing them with glass, ceramic, stainless steel, cast iron, and bamboo products.  At the grocery store, I aim to buy all organic, chemical and antibiotic free meats, organic fruits/vegetables, organic dairy products made from local farms (like Stonyfield) and I try to limit processed foods. 

I subscribed to a magazine put out by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. called “Clean Eating.”  Learning to eat clean has actually helped my budget, as well as taught me what types of food will help my body.

I’ve tried to do the five small meals a day and that’s a very hard thing for me to do.  It’s borderline torture to do that to myself.  I can’t eat that quickly, because by the time I finish one meal, it’s an hour or two later and I’m supposed to start on a new meal.  My doctor recommended that I just eat the two to three bites that I can, then wait the two hours.  That resulted in 300 calories per day.  You’re supposed to have a mandatory 800 calories a day in order for your body to function properly, so that little plan didn’t work when the red flags popped up across the board and they tried to admit me into the emergency room.  Trust me, they took all of the tests two times and they all came back in the RED ZONE both times. 

Over these past few years I’ve really had to re-learn how to eat.  If I could have my way, I’d live on coffee and be happy.  Now, I have to limit my coffee intake, boost protein by eating more eggs, fish and chicken.  No tofu or soy products.  Limited to ZERO bad starches.  I eat more dairy, but it can only be organic.  I eat greek yogurt.  I eat fruit only two times a week.  If I eat carbs, they are limited to only two times a week.  I eat veggies every chance I can get!

Trust me, I’m very limited in what I can eat, but I do find a way…or I elect to not eat.  It’s that latter part that usually gets me yelled at.  Lately, when I go out with the girls, I order soup.  It’s hot, it’s liquid and a little easier to get down (most of the time).  When I travel, I usually look for a grocery store and load up on things I can eat like tuna or nuts.  But most of all, I have to just listen to what my body is telling me to eat.  I let it tell me what it needs.

It took a while to tune in to the needs of my body.  I prefer to make my own meals because I know what’s going into the meal and I’ll sneak difficult foods into the dish like grated apples or mangoes…foods that usually induce vomiting if eaten the regular way.

But most of all…the practice of clean eating has helped me to have more good days than bad days.  I’m lucky because even if I don’t cook my own meals, I have access to a cafe where the chef uses the most qualitative organic ingredients in everything he makes.  I also have access to Fresh & Co.  The guys down there have been so great.  They’ve given away so many great free meals to me.  I love those guys there.

Do I eat clean all of the time?  No, not all of the time.  When I go out, it is a little hard to find a certified organic restaurant.  Those kinds of restaurants are very limited anywhere you go in the world.  So that means that I have to make good choices when dining out.

In Morocco, I ordered chicken tajine citron every single day.  I tried to have fish when I could.  I had rice a couple of times.  They made eggs for me every morning.  Everything in Morocco is all-natural.  There are no preservatives or toxins or antibiotics used.  Trust me, I asked before eating anything.

Back in 2009, I talked about not being able to work out.  That still rings true today.  I still get up in the morning and do what I can.  I do a mile every morning…walking or running.  Lately, because I had too much exposure to cigarette smoke in Europe, I’ve been limited to walking again because my lung has been having extreme difficulties.

Speaking of my lung, back then, we were just discovering what happened to my lung.  Today, it still hurts.  I still have problems breathing.  I’ve started making sure I stop when the lung is panicking.  I wait for it to kick in and realize that it’s getting air before pressing onward.  For me, that has been really hard.  It’s like admitting defeat.  Once upon a time I was strong.  I could keep up with the New York Rangers in the gym.  Now, I can’t even walk up a hill without the lung saying, “WTF?!” while going into uber shock…threatening to malfunction and stop.

It’s because the lung has panicked, malfunctioned and stopped that I now stop when I feel the first signs of that panic.  Trust me, I’ve blacked out in the middle of the street twice because I pressed on.  It’s scary.  The lesson I learned here was a hard one…I have to stop and listen to my body.

When I feel that ‘cancer’ feeling, I have to stop.  That feeling is no joke.  Sometimes I end up having to lay down and sleep for hours and hours.  Other times, my body demands that I eat something like spinach or tomatoes.  Whatever it needs, I have to do exactly what it tells me to do…or I’ll have a doctor in front of me saying that they are admitting me into the emergency room…in a non-green hospital.  {For a list of the top 10 green hospitals, CLICK HERE}

I actually know right now that I’ve graduated into the next phase.  I’ve been through all of the phases before.  The first time I had it, the doctor said she would have given me two weeks to live if they didn’t operate right then and there. 

I am very vocal about not taking drugs or doing chemo/radiation.  I refuse to have doctors pollute my body with toxins to ‘cure’ this cancer.  This cancer is hereditary.  My grandfather died in 2007 of the same cancer.  I’ve had 5 different doctors inform me that I will have cancer for the rest of my life.  It’s a matter of it being dormant or awake. 

I don’t believe that radiation or chemotherapy will help me.  I decided on taking an all-natural route.

When I was in Morocco, I was very open about the fact that I had cancer.  When I got ill…I had to explain that it was cancer related.  If I couldn’t eat…it was cancer related, not because I was trying to starve myself to be thin.  That cough…it’s cancer related because the cigarette smoke aggravated my lung.  My lung is sick due to it absorbing chlorine bleach vapors (like a sponge) during my surgery in 2008.  That is a side effect for people with cancer.  I almost died on the table because of this.  Since then, my lung hasn’t worked right.

I have never smoked a cigarette before in my entire life, but after the surgery, the nurse told me that my lungs were now that of a person who had been smoking for over 20 years.  That should tell you how bad my lungs are now…and I’ve NEVER smoked a cigarette a day in my life!  That is what chlorine bleach vapors did to my lungs.  That should also tell you how toxic chlorine bleach, as well as other toxic cleaners, are to people with cancer.

One of the main reasons why I’m moving to Morocco is because of the latest findings…both mine and from scientists.  I’ve already talked about my findings, but I also read recently that mole rats from the Sahara Desert cannot get cancer…even when injected with the strain multiple times.  Regular rats (not from the Sahara) can.  That led me to think…wait…mole rats and Berber Nomads from the Sahara Desert can’t get cancer…there must be something in the Sahara that prevents them from getting cancer.

It’s either a plant that they are eating, or it’s a lifestyle, or something about the Sahara (she is a very magical place) that prevents people and animals from getting serious illnesses.  What if the cure is there? 

Moving to Morocco…I’m doing it to give my body a fighting chance.  I’m lucky that the guy I fell in love with is a Berber medicine man too (and will help me through the illness).  It’s a learning curve for him (because cancer is a new illness to him), but he’s already tried out a few of his methods to help with a few of the symptoms…and it has worked. 

Perhaps there’s something tied in with how peaceful everyone is there…I’ve heard that people that have found complete inner peace have been healed from cancer.  I don’t know, but I’m going there myself to figure it all out.  Whatever I find, maybe it will help me, and in turn help others searching for a cure.

As for the book, I’m glad said NHL person was looking at that old post again.  It kind of reminded me that there was a journey…and cancer has been a huge part of finding happiness.  Like Driss said to me, “look back on your life…connect the dots…it’s very apparent God was leading you somewhere…to this very moment.”

All I can say is “Losing 100 Pounds of Unhappiness” is not ending the way you would think it would.  It’s ending in a way that will change the way you look at everything in life.  This journey really was about Losing Unhappiness in the end…the results of this project…not what I ever expected it to be.  The result is what changed my life forever and made me decide that I’m moving to Morocco and onto the next stage in my life.

Having cancer taught me to find strength when I was weak.  It taught me to listen to ME.  It helped me to find a more spiritual grounding with God.  Granted, it also pushed my mind into a whole new realm of awakening that helped me look at life in a new way. 

Cancer taught me to be brave and to be fearless.  It humbled me and scared me.  It’s taught me to admit to my own defeats, knowing that feeling defeated doesn’t meant that it has destroyed me, because I’m still standing. 

I also learned to live each day as if it is was my last.  Do anything and everything you’ve ever dreamed of doing, because you want to have a life filled with meaning.  You want to leave your mark in this world somehow…even if it is just touching the life of someone else for just a brief second…it’s that second they will remember for the rest of their life.

Lastly, cancer taught me how to live.  At the time I was first diagnosed and had the tumors removed, I had just left the rockstar.  Three months after being in NYC, I was lying on a table having three tumors removed from my back.  It took me five years to tell the rockstar what had happened after I left.  That was a difficult pill for him to swallow. 

There are times that I look at my idiot family and think…if I told them I have had cancer all of these years…would they be nicer to me?  But I look at my little brother and think…why do I even care?  All I care about is being happy.  That is more important to me than worrying about whether someone likes me or not.  If they do…they’ll tell me.  If they don’t…I don’t care.  I just want to surround myself in the things in life that matter.  Happiness is the number one thing.

Living life means being happy.  Who wants to live a shitty life?  Live life to its fullest.  Do everything you’ve dreamed of doing.  That’s what it means to live.  Write out that bucket list if you have to…make your dreams come true.  That’s what I found to be the meaning to live.

I found this quote…it describes 100% why I feel it is important for me to move to Morocco…it’s where I felt at home.

Going home means getting comfortable being who you are and who your soul really wants to be. There is no strain with that. The strain and tension come when we’re not being who our soul wants to be and we’re someplace where our soul doesn’t feel at home.
Melody Beattie, “Finding Your Way Home”

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