One of my best friends in the world has a sister-in-law who is fighting a very aggressive form of breast cancer.
She is in her 30s and has three young kids and has chosen not to undergo traditional treatment. Instead she is delving deep into the world of nutrition, learning and researching all she can about how to heal her body with the food she eats. She is a gifted writer and has been chronicling her journey; I have been following her words closely.
The things she has been sharing have hit my heart hard and she has got me thinking about things I was rather ignorantly blissful about. We live in a carcinogenic world, with scary things lurking around every corner of our home, our grocery store aisles, our environment. As a result, I have been really thinking more about the food I eat. As someone who has struggled with her weight/body image for a good portion of her life, I tended to classify food as “good” if it was low-calorie, like diet soda and pre-packaged meals. Also, we have been leading busy lives and I have relied heavily on convenience foods like frozen pizzas and chicken fingers. All of the preservatives and junk in those things are not what I want to keep putting in my body and the bodies of my family.
It’s easy to start freaking out about everything that might increase your risk of getting cancer: anti-perspirant, microwaves, aspartame, cleaning products, gluten, sugar, meat, cell phones, etc. The only real way to avoid it all is to move to a hole in the woods away from civilization and eat moss. Not a real possibility for most. So we have to find a way to balance our awareness with our fear, making small changes that take us in the right direction. For now, I am rethinking what we’re eating, trying to focus solely on real, whole foods. (And I haven’t had a Diet Coke in three weeks. This is BIG, you guys.)
Do you think regularly about cancer? Do you know people in your circles who are fighting it? How have their journeys changed your own?