Today is a bittersweet day. Some of you know my mom passed away on November 15, 2017. The official diagnosis was advanced melanoma which was diagnosed in December 2015. I say official because as we learned along her journey, disEASE of the body and imbalance begins many, many decades before. Of course once that dysfunction in the cells turns to cancer, especially an aggressive one like melanoma, you have a tough battle ahead and my mom was one hell of a warrior! She would have been 79 years young today. I miss her every day and I get really sad when I think how she isn't physically here with me, although I feel her spiritual presence daily. Some days the oddest things will get the tears flowing.
Renewing my Costco membership last week was one of those odd things. As you may know, they allow one additional person on a Costco membership. My mom was my additional person so when they asked to confirm she was my extra account holder it hit me very hard that she is no longer physically here. I had to work hard to prevent the ugly cry while standing in the customer service line. I laughed (and cried) about it when I got home to tell my family because they all knew how much my mom loved going to Costco at the last possible moment... right before closing...usually on a Sat. Sorry Costco employees but thank you for always allowing her in the store to shop.
Anyone who knew her always commented on her endless energy & vibrancy but here's the thing...my mom was often VERY tired but she had such a feisty spirit that she usually found a way to battle through the fatigue and take it up a notch or 10! That’s how she would show up at Costco right before closing plus the million other things she would get done for herself and others. Some days she'd fight that fatigue with only a few hours of sleep- which clearly isn't a wellness principle she would want to promote and it is something she struggled with her entire adult life. Call it a strong work ethic, perfectionism, feisty, amazing or I think it was just good ole resiliency and a desire to live fully.
My mom's feisty personality was such a paradox to her life because rest is clearly vital especially when recovering from illness. BUT, I also truly believe if she wasn't so feisty she would have died decades earlier. That high vibrant life force is what kept her going for as long as she did but as with most things in life, balance is key.
Most of her friends & family were shocked when she was diagnosed with cancer saying, "She is so healthy & followed a healthy lifestyle. How did this happen." (Which she did compared to most Americans especially once she quit smoking in her 40's) but my mom also had a lot of chronic illnesses starting with thyroid and digestive problems occurring in her 20's. She smoked for many years which clearly added insult to injury. She did work hard at adopting new healthy living principals each year and I'm still in awe of her tenacity. She truly did the best that she knew at the time.
As I'm sure many of you experience, it's sometimes hard to know which "healthy living principals" to incorporate.There is so much conflicting info! It's frustrating to learn that we were flat out lied to regarding food recommendations and of course the cigarette companies misleading marketing. I won't hash out all the lies here but here's a few articles about sugar and cigarettes to remind you that sometimes the recommendations for our health is made with a very big influence from big food/big business/big pharma and not our best interest.
I LOVE learning about this stuff but I get overwhelmed too. I remind my family and myself, there is NO "ONE" " RIGHT" diet or lifestyle choices for ONE person. The human body is complex and although it would be nice to have a simple answer (a magic bullet) that will never be possible because once you figure out what diet or healthy living principles work for you, then your bodies needs change. I think a big key is to be in tune with your body and to follow a few "Common Sense Principals" (you knew it was coming right) ;)
I try to focus on the common themes that most of the wellness experts do agree on and not so much the conflicting view points:
My mom's body had some subtle and not so subtle messages over the last few decades and of course hindsight is 20/20. She would want me to tell you, do everything in your power to promote wellness in your body and the earlier the better because it's really hard to turn things around once disease sets in. If you have a serious chronic condition I encourage you to check out www.Chrisbeatcancer.com or Gerson.org because then you do need to get into the details of things and do some extensive research and soul searching. There is a steep learning curve with Gerson Therapy that honestly we didn't hit very often and we didn't start it until almost a year after her diagnosis. That's a whole other post but we absolutely heard and saw amazing results with Gerson for many folks with many chronic conditions not just cancer.
My mom really had a full life and I'm so grateful for my 50 years with her and the journey was epic even it it was cut a bit short. Unfortunately though, every day, daughters (& sons) lose their mom's (& dad's) way to soon and even worse parents lose their young children/babies to complex diseases. There are no simple answers. There will always be some debates about what foods, exercises, products are best but do step into your common sense corner and listen to your body, decrease your toxic load where you can and most importantly focus on a fun and love filled journey.
Happy Birthday Mom. I love you and miss you. #EPICDAYSAHEAD, xoxo, Lisa