They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It’s definitely true. But I think it’s when you’re sitting on the knife edge between life and death that you truly find out how strong you are. And how much you want to live.
I’ve teetered in this space a couple of times, overcoming breast cancer in 1999 and a blocked bowel in 2010. Other members of my family have faced serious health issues too. My son was a sickly baby who had a stroke at the age of six, and I lost my mum Denise, to secondary breast cancer when she was just 56. Mum and I were undergoing cancer treatment at the same time. We even had chemotherapy together. Not a mother/daughter bonding experience I would recommend!
It was during all these medical misadventures that my interest in natural health started to grow. My first real proof of its benefits came during my chemotherapy, with the blood tests before each treatment coming back better than just ‘chemo normal’, but close to that of someone not undergoing any cancer treatment at all. I put that down to the complementary supplements my kinesiologist was prescribing to boost my immune system, although the registrars at the hospital said I was just ‘lucky’. Not a word I would use to describe my experiences at the time! Regardless, to me it wasn’t luck – as I believed I was doing something positive to support my return to health.
Anyway – the upshot of all this, is that my interest and focus on ‘wellness’ rather than ‘illness’ was taking shape. I took up yoga and meditation, and natural therapies such as visceral manipulation and NLP which all helped a great deal. But I was still nagged by fearful thoughts, pretty common for people like me who have overcome life threatening illnesses.
Then I spoke to an amazing natural healer, Vanya, who asked me why I was doing all these other great things for my health but continued to put completely the wrong fuel into my body? It made perfect sense so on the spot I committed to going onto an 85 percent raw vegan diet for three months to get rid of the toxicity I was carrying.
The difference was amazing. Some minor gallbladder issues disappeared, my skin cleared, extra weight dropped away, and energy returned that I hadn’t felt for years. And by eating to truly nourish my body, those fearful thoughts diminished.
Three months went by. Then six. Then nine. I had long stopped counting the days I was on my ‘diet’. In fact I stopped thinking of it as a diet at all – rather a ‘whole food lifestyle’ with a high proportion of plant food. I started to eat fish again once a week or so, but found I had no desire to eat other meat, or return to any processed foods, or foods containing gluten, dairy or sugar. I didn’t feel that I was missing out on anything. Food tasted better. Cooking became a pleasure rather than a stress. For me, there was no going back.
It is this journey that has led me to starting The Whole Health Crew. Writing has been my full time gig for 25 years and I’m most passionate about sharing information that might help people. Not that I profess to be a true expert on any subject, which is why I have looked outwards to wonderful women like Tristin, Julie, Rosie and Julia, so we can share our collective experience and knowledge, and build an interactive online community where others can share too.
Outside the ‘crew’ I’m still busy with my writing career. My children are almost grown and my partner and I are working on a new house project. Life is good. But I’ve also lived through enough to give gratitude for the present and not take anything for granted into the future.
What I do believe, from experience, is that taking responsibility for our own health is a far better alternative than being picked up by the ‘ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’ or in my case, ‘the ambulance at the front gate’!
Thanks for reading. Be well.