"I was leaving my lucrative career to dance the tango,
savor the wines, learn the language,
and make love with romantic locals."
Vicki Marie Stolsen
Cancer came for me, like cancer does, when you least expect it, and when it is most inconvenient.
I had just resigned from my corporate job, found a tenant for my home, and bought a one-way ticket to Buenos Aires. It was a bucket-list dream, and the stakes were bucket-list worthy. I was leaving an enviable career to dance the tango, savor the wines, learn the language, and make love with romantic locals.
Before I left town, I had a physical exam. That exam led to a biopsy, and that biopsy brought news that sucked the air from my lungs and dissolved the bones in my legs. I heard later that everyone falls to the floor when the diagnosis is cancer, and that’s where I landed, on the kitchen floor, between packed boxes and the recycling bins.
My self-care journey began because they told me the stage-3 disease was incurable and untreatable.
The horror of cancer will grind in your mind, but the prognosis of “incurable and untreatable” added a back-breaking dread that I was forced to carry. It was a slow-growing lymphoma, and because cancer drugs act on fast-growing cells, there were no treatments available. They promised chemo treatment later, some unknown date in the future, when the cancer divided into the terminal territory of stage-4. I was ten days from boarding my flight, and suddenly, I was packing a hopeless prescription. I left my hometown, braver then I believed possible; still in shock from the rawness of trauma, and doing my damndest to shake a creeping mindset of disease and death.
Many years later, I became grateful that the cancer that came for me could not be drugged, radiated, or removed. That crushing fact transformed into a blessing, and is the reason I am healthy today. It gave me the opportunity to save my life, by changing my lifestyle.
When I began looking for cancer treatment outside of conventional medicine, I found stories, and those stories taught me that highly-educated doctors are not always the experts we’ve been led to believe. In fact, I found stories that repeated a common theme; that doctors, sometimes, just don't have a clue.
I did not have a health coach to guide me, but I had evidence to motivate me and I had the internet to inform me.
I learned that scores of people had reversed, delayed, or down-graded their terminal symptoms, and that there were many different pathways that could make that happen. Sadly, not everyone overcame disease, but so many did. I was inspired and I was determined to become one of the warriors who fought cancer and won. I did research, made choices, and experimented with treatments. I changed my behaviors and my diet, and ultimately, I changed my mindset.
That was ten years ago, and today I am a health coach because I want people to have knowledge that I had to discover on my own. The biological truth is profound: when given the right resources, the body will heal. There are techniques that activate and support optimal biology; that dial-in the immune system; that down-regulate negative mindsets; and that repair and rebuild millions of pathways. There are many methods to balance your lifestyle, to modulate habits and behaviors, that when combined, will feed your soul and wither disease.
I believe, with every molecule I am made of, that self-care is the new healthcare because there is no medicine more potent than the potential of the human body, and the most powerful medicine in your body, is a clear and ardent mind.