The Raw Of It

I have had people ask about what I am eating, why I am eating this way and what brought me to this decision. I am a newbie Raw Vegan. The decision to go down this path of nutrition stemmed from several things. The first thing I will attribute this to is my breast cancer diagnosis Dec. 2010. I was never scared about it, but I did a ton of research on what I could do to better my health and stay strong. My breast cancer was caught very early and I am so blessed for that. While seeking out the medical attention for the next steps, my intuition was telling me to research, research, research. When you get a cancer diagnosis things move very quickly, you are on the hamster wheel and sometimes wonder if you are ever getting off.

I have many blessings to count when it comes to medical care. I knew someone at the breast surgeon’s office and got right in. My surgeon is amazing. He listened to all of my concerns, and although he is mostly on the traditional medicine side, he didn’t count out my passion for being as healthy as I could. He held my hands and told me everything would be ok. He has healing hands. I trusted him pretty implicitly. I always trust myself first. After all of the tests, blood work, bone scan, genetic testing, etc. I decided I would have surgery to remove the teeny tiny piece of cancer that was inhabiting my breast. Again I trusted that he would be as noninvasive as possible. Everything I thought about him rang true. My scars are barely visible. I know the love and care he took removing the cancer helped heal me. My body is a good healer too.

After all of the tests came back from surgery, wide margins, clear lymph nodes, blood work perfect, it was time to decide what to do next. I had consultations with the radiation oncologist and the oncologist. I made friends go with me each time, sometimes when you are in the middle of it you hear what you want to hear. You need fresh ears to listen for you! Time was on my side. The cancer was out of my body and I was beginning to heal.

The radiation oncologist is another amazing human. After meeting with the oncologist the day before to discuss chemo and basically being dismissed for my beliefs and concerns and being told I would I was on the borderline for chemo,  he met with me for almost two hours, through lunch hour, addressing all of my questions and putting my mind at ease about my decision to forgo the chemo. Chemo they said would provide a very small percentage increase (this is supposed to be decrease, I think subconsciously I knew it would be an increase) in recurrence. Chemo in my opinion and my core would have destroyed a very healthy immune system, that I  know I could have never recovered from. Yes my immune system let the cancer in. There are several reasons I think this happened, I will try to discuss those in a later post.

Surgery was in January and by March I had decided to do the radiation treatments, I know my body and I was sure it could withstand it. At this point I had not changed much in my diet, but my blood work was perfect. I wasn’t eating what most people would consider unhealthy. I ate a pretty good diet, with very little meat to begin with. I go to yoga twice a week, I have an elliptical I try to get on daily.

I received 33 radiation treatments to my breast and under my arm where they removed the lymph nodes (mine was a Sentinel Node procedure). While doing radiation I met with a nutritionist and discussed my ideas, they again were kind of dismissed. I was told to avoid soy because of the estrogen enhancing effects. My breast cancer was 95% estrogen positive. My next course of treatment was deciding to take Tamoxifen or not. Tamoxifen can be a nasty drug. I made the choice to take it, with the understanding that if I did not tolerate it, I wouldn’t take it. I am not going to live a sick life just to have more time on this earth. It is quality for me..not the quantity. I am sure my family and friends were probably more upset about the cancer than I was. They then had to deal with my daily rants about not wanting to do any treatment. They were, however, loving and supporting and I know if I needed anything there would have been people lined up at the door. I live in a fantastic community, with loving, giving people, for this I am also blessed. In the end, my decisions were mine. I felt no pressure from anyone to undergo the treatments I did.

After all of the decisions were made, I decide I needed to go “home” to where I grew up. Get back to my roots. I had friends I wanted to see, my parents, my sisters, and just reconnect with my youth. The first several days my husband was there, my sisters etc. I stayed an extra week, by myself to have “me” time. It was invigorating, freeing, and a loving thing to do for myself. Before I left to go “home” I met with the surgeon, started the Tamoxifen and before he let me leave his office, he again held both of my hands and said “Natalie, this pill will not make you fat, what you put in your mouth will. You are going to have to watch what you put in your mouth in order to keep your weight on track and you may have to exercise more.” Blunt and to the point, just how I like it!!! I can’t stand the sugar-coated stuff. Again the intuition was kicking in about the way i was eating and the changes I knew I needed to make!.

The second phase started when I got home. I ran into a wonderful person from my childhood who was on the raw food journey already. I don’t know if I knew that at the time, but when I got home to FL  and we connected through Facebook, the ball started rolling for me. With his knowledge, compassion and patience I made some basic changes in my diet. The changes grew each day as I was feeling better and better!  I never did this to lose any weight, I wanted to maintain where I was and give my body optimal nutrients and health. What has happened since has been truly amazing! Some days I can’t even describe it! All for another post.

Today, I wonder sometimes why I waited so long to go down the road I have always known was right for me. I can say, where I live there aren’t many resources available, modern medicine doesn’t support the mind, body, soul connection as much as they need to. Hopefully this will shift in the future. Our society is obese, what we put in our bodies was not meant to sustain life. I believe that is why there is so much disease.

At this moment in time (for it is all we have) I have lost 15lbs, and feel amazing. The detoxing this is doing to my body also reaches my core, my soul. Some of those days can be hard, but the journey has just begun and I look forward to where it takes me next!