My mom is a two-time cancer survivor, my dad is a cancer survivor, and so is my brother. What the hell was in that water on Sampson Ave (the street I grew up on)? Now that I’m writing this, I see how darn lucky they all are to be alive. I’m not sure of the stats but I think its somewhere around three out of five people that will develop a form of cancer in their lifetime. I come from a family of 6 with 3 people already affected. I figured one more would get cancer. I just never thought it would be me. After all, I’ve spent the last 10 years doing everything in my power to avoid cancer.
Those who know me, know just how hard I have worked trying to be as healthy as possible. I’ve been on a personal health and wellness journey (go ahead and call it a form of crusade) for over a decade. I started educating myself years ago (when I began my nursing career) and discovered that I am a great nurse; I realized that in becoming a nurse, I would make a horrible patient. I saw my patients coming in and realized most of their diseases could’ve been prevented through diet and exercise. I took the advice that I was giving my patients and started doing the same. I ate fresh locally sourced organic foods as much as possible. I went as far as having a beautiful organic basket delivered weekly to my home, chalk full of garden fresh veggies and fruits. They had the best bananas I have ever eaten, and oh the delectable veggie dishes I made. I felt like sayin’ “Move over Giada! I could be the next food network star”. I only purchased organic meats. I don’t drink soda and totally avoid processed foods. I enrolled back in school for a year-long program to get my nutrition/health coaching certificate. Last year I launched “Wicked Healthy with Nurse Jodi” (my health coaching and consultation business) with the hopes of helping other people achieve their own health and wellness goals. I was on the road to great health and helping other people achieve wellness. At the time, I felt great about it. I went all in, I drank the organic kool-aide, I went to the earthy crunchy funny farm, I was vegucated.
Since my diagnosis, I won’t lie, I’ve felt like a completely perplexed failure. It feels like an episode of, “Not so Wicked Healthy with Nurse Jodi”. Four unexplained miscarriages with a side of breast cancer. WTF man?! While my family members have battled other forms of cancer, there is no family history at all of breast cancer. And now, this week, to top things off, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I completely lost my entire shirt when I decided to go all in on the organic train to healthy hippy town. And now, I’m totally pissed at you Organics! You were supposed to be my extra insurance to prevent cancer and keep me healthy. I feel like I wasted my time. These mounting health issues feel like an order from the McDonalds drive-thru; “I’ll take 4 miscarriages with a side of breast cancer, topped with some diabetes (just a sprinkle)”. Seriously though, I’ve often spent time wondering where the heck this all came from. Could it have been the Dino nuggets I ate as a kid? Was it in the water? The air? The materials we use to build our homes? Maybe the mattress I am sleeping on? My deoderant, perhaps?
I would like to say that “going organic” (being health and wellness driven) was all worth my while but, I am just not sure; it has got to have some benefit, right?! During my decade of “being organic” I once spent more than three full weeks drinking fresh, organic pressed juiced to completely cleanse my body pipes. I was hard core… I mean the ONLY thing that entered my mouth for 24 days was fresh juiced veggies and fruit or smoothies that was made up of veggies and fruit. It was suppose to rid my body of any toxins. Yeah right…or so I thought!
I’m not really sure where I went wrong or (more importantly) if I went wrong at all! As ripped off as I feel from organics, I have no proof that food was the cause. Who knows, maybe my Organics were what saved me from being diagnosed at stage 4 and terminal. Being pregnant and starting this new chapter of my life there is so, so much to live for. I knew this chapter was bound to be fraught with tough choices, indecision, and worry. Under the circumstances things have felt ______. I know that I am my own harshest critic, and while I know I can’t place blame on myself for these health issues, I suppose I’ve looked just one layer beyond myself to find somewhere to point the finger. Exasperation has just brought itself to a whole new level for me. I was completely convinced that I was doing everything right to be well and healthy, inside and out. Coupling exasperation with frustration, I find myself wanting to vent it all out. All those questions that pop into mind when someone finds out they’re sick. Where did it come from, where will it go? How could I have prevented this? Could I have prevented it? Are the fates just blowing in the wind or is there a bigger plan? I choose to have faith that God is in control, that there is a direction and trajectory that has been set in place for my life, my husbands and the life of our child(ren). I went into the Organic lifestyle believing, in some ways that it would solve a lot of problems, that it was my insurance policy to betterment all around. If there was a claims department in the Organic insurance agency, I’d be calling for a fraud investigation.
Truly though, I know that Organics are not to blame, they have probably been a savior to me in many ways. Cancer is the only thing I really can point blame at. As folks toss around the old adages such as “life isn’t fair” etc, I find it brings me to a more mindful state. Life is what it is, and what’s going to happen will happen. The sense of control that society (or corporations) try to make us feel like we have, is bogus. We all live in toxic environments, and there is little to no control over what we can do to cleanse ourselves from the dangers. Danger is inherent in life, and things will happen and continue to happen whether we want them to or not, as long as we live. The point is that we don’t give up, we choose to keep on living. While I am still pissed at organics, everyday I am less and less mad. I know that organics is my friend and am still living, clean & organically—letting life unfold as it will, trusting that my salvation is with God and my willingness to keep trying to do what I know is right for my health and well-being. These are the things, along with love that will carry my family and I through it all.
This is me with one of my chickens that got attacked by a fox. She had over 20 wounds and we nursed her back to complete health. Unfortunately I had to give all my chickens away during chemo. But I will get more once I am better.