Category Archives: Healthy Living

Is This Real Life? 

Seriously though – How beautiful is Thailand? 

I am fortunate enough to call this place home for the next two weeks, then I’m off to Australia for three more. It’s funny how I can be so grateful for this beautiful view and day one minute, and then the next remember that I am still very sick, and really only here because of that. I am lucky to have some amazing people in my life, and one of those amazing couples offered me last year two tickets to anywhere in the world. So here Chris and I are, in THAILAND. 


We couldn’t be happier here, but inside I am still fighting myself to stay happy. It is hard to keep pushing down those thoughts of – “What the fuck is going to happen to me this summer?” – and just take in all the beauty that today brings. So far, I’ve only had one big cry – so I’d say I’m doing fairly well. That cry though was a bad one. It was a deep, deep cry that had me say all of the dark thoughts running through my head… out loud… in front of Chris. Thoughts like, “Maybe it would be easier if cancer just won.” – Those kind of dark thoughts. 

Now don’t go getting your panties in a knot, I’m not suicidal. But when I am so down and upset, that thought pops up in my mind. I don’t enjoy feeling this way. I don’t like to worry about what tomorrow will bring. What if my cancer has spread further? What if it is true and chemo is no longer an option? What will happen then? All these questions are pointless to worry about so I try not to think of them. Keyword there is TRY. 

However sometimes all it takes is my period, being hangry (hungry and angry), and a stub of my toe and BOOM, the perfect combination for sadness to begin and dark thoughts to see their escape and run free!  It takes a patient man with a good sense of humour to snap me out of it. Too bad I only have Chris. Hahahaha BURN. 

He doesn’t read my blog but if he does he will say, “That’s girl funny, not actually funny.” He likes to think that girls only find girls funny. I beg to differ. 

Moving right along – The truth of the matter is, this is my real life. I’m half way across the world in a beautiful place LITERALLY trying to escape my own reality. It’s almost working….. white wine helps. 

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Forever Growing 

I have been working hard on my nutrition for quite some time. This has been really helping my internal strength. By adding in therapy, energy healing and guided meditation I am slowly developing my mental strength. Just recently I have decided that it is time to research and discover ways that I can work on the next stage, my physical strength. 

Last week I was at my local cancer support centre and picked up their monthly calendar. These are always readily available but usually it is the same classes so I do not pay much attention. Looking it over I saw it – yoga. Years ago I used to practice yoga and was quite good at it. I was sure the classes offered here would not be as tasking, so I thought it would be a great way to start stretching out my weakened body. 

Walking in the room today I looked around and saw all women 65+. My old self would have past judgements in my head such as, “This class is going to be so brutal and boring”. However the new me was laughing on the inside as I was betting most of these women are in better health and shape than myself. 

I sat on the mat waiting for the class to begin, and did not feel judged. Everyone was chatting with each other and I could tell it was a group of kind and loving women. 

The class began with breathing exercises and some guided imagery. I kept my eyes shut so tight as I could feel the tears building up in them. I felt so safe in a room full of strangers. I really listened to the woman leading the group and tried to stay present without having my mind wander too much. There was some light stretching to follow – which was actually extremely difficult for me – and then we layed back down to continue with some more breathing practices. All the while I felt at peace. At the end she asked us to all come together in a circle and hold hands. Again my past self would have felt uncomfortable and probably would have rolled my eyes and prayed it would be over soon. Instead I got right in there and closed my eyes as we all breathed as one. I could feel everyone’s healing energy surrounding me. 

When the class was done I headed for my car because I needed a good cry to let it all out. What a release. 

It is fascinating how we can grow and learn something new about ourselves when we thought we knew it all. I feel so much lighter. I feel like I did receive positive, healing light that I can carry with me until I am able to attend again. What a blessing. 

Oh She Glows – Apple Bake

First off – For those of you who have read my post from a few months back about how I am was going to start cooking everyday, and you are sitting around and laughing at my lies – I would just like to say, it’s been harder than you think.

I had good intentions, but then I went through a major slump. I was depressed, eating still fairly healthy, but not perfect. Most days I didn’t want to do much of anything. I also was stressed over planning for my wedding – which I will post about on a later date.

Now – back to the good stuff!

This oatmeal apple bake found in the Oh She Glows cookbook is AMAZING. I have actually already made it twice. It is so easy once you figure it out for the first time.


Here is a picture of all of the ingredients I used the first time around. I try to stay as healthy and organic as possible. The Simply Organic products are my absolute favourite.


And there is the beautiful finished product. I transferred it to a few containers as it keeps really well in the fridge – I continued to eat it up to 4-5 days later. I am also sure it freezes really well in case you have too many leftovers.

After doing it the second time around I changed a few things. For starters, as you can see I did not add pears. I am not the biggest fan of baked pears. I also included 4 apples and did not skin them. The first time I made this I found skinning every apple to be tedious and I just didn’t want to do it again. It honestly tastes the exact same.

Highly recommended!!

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Healthy Weight Loss

As I have written about many times – I have body issues. My scars funny enough do not bother me in the slightest – it is more of the gained weight over the past year and nine months. By the way – how crazy is it that it is has been that long? Unbelievable. Although it feels like it has been my life forever truthfully. 

I went from 155 in April ’14 to 135 in September ’14 (back to back surgeries will do that) to 180 in January ’15 – and have been that weight ever since. The swelling from the steriods went down, but I still did not feel like myself. It wasn’t until I began to eat clean and healthy that I began seeing amazing results. I was never doing it for weight loss. That is the truth. It was just a happy side effect to eating as clean as I have been. It has been 5 weeks since my healthy lifestyle started and I have lost a total of 15 pounds. Before you begin to judge – no I am not weighing myself. Before each chemo I have to weigh in so they can make sure the dose is appropriate for my weight. I don’t even care about the scale. It is the way I feel in my clothes now. The way my face looks in the mirror. Slimmer and healthy. When you start eating clean you stop watching how much you are eating. Just the other day I finished an entire container of fresh hummus and veggies in just two sittings. No regrets because it is not a bag of chips. I eat as much as I want, whenever I want. It is a glorious thing. My stomach will never be flat again due to my scar tissue build up, and I may never return to my original 155 pounds – but that’s ok. I am happy and healthy. 

Here is a progress picture. Ignore that itsy bitsy bathing suit – it was a pre-cancer purchase. I’m not dumb I obviously know it no longer fits. 

April ’15 – July ’15 – December ’15 

   

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Living With Disease

That is the new category I fall into now. During my first visit with my naturopath she said something to me that changed my whole perspective on my life moving forward. I was trying to hold it together while going over with her my history in the past year and a half. While my guard was down, through my tears I asked the question we are told to never ask, “How long do you think I have?” This was her answer:

“You are living with disease. A disease we call cancer. Unfortunately in our society the word “cancer” always has people instantly thinking of death. That does not have to be the case. There are many people out there who are also living with disease. People with alzheimers, diabetes, multiple sclerosis. You can live with your disease as long as you are getting the correct support in order to help you MANAGE that disease.”

YES. Just because I have stage 4 cancer should not mean my life is over. I just have to work harder than most people in order to sustain my life. But that does not mean there isn’t a strong possibility that my life can be sustained for years on end. I have built around me an amazing support team including family, friends and doctors – and my team is still being built. Adding the new addition of a naturopath is only going to make my team stronger. Positive energy and positive thinking can bring great things. 

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Labels

The past few weeks my eating habits have been consistantly healthy. Why? Well there are many reasons, but I think the main one is that I am not labelling myself. I do not consider myself a vegan, gluten-free, juicer,  anything. If I label, then I have an opportunity for failure. So I am taking failure out of the equation. Let me explain: my everyday eating habits are now mainly vegan and gluten free – however – there have been 1 or 2 meals that are not. For example: I was recently at an auction that went on much longer than I originally anticipated. I was not prepared and did not bring enough healthy snacks. It was lunch time and I was STARVING. The only relatively healthy option they had past the donuts, chips, chocolate and burgers were egg salad on brown bread. So that is what I had, and I did not feel bad about it. It is still a healthy choice. If I labelled myself I would have been a “cheater” which would make me feel horrible. The mind games would have started where I thought, “well if I cheated today, then tomorrow it’s ok if I eat a small turkey sub.” That is how sick my brain is when it comes to food. Without the label I allow myself to be flexible to a degree. Technically, I am a vegetarian. I will not eat meat no matter how hungry I am. I will also not drink a glass of milk or add cheese to my salad. Now I am not saying that I now add eggs to my salads, but I choose to eat over starving my body. With the amount of drugs pumping through my system the fatigue level for me is very high. I do not want my body to feel weak at any moment in the day. So I was desperate and ate the egg. 

I am now on day 16 of healthy eating. Although 16 days may not seem like a long time – it sure feels like it. I compare it to quitting smoking. To others, 16 days is nothing – but to the person who is quitting, 16 days feels like 16 months. I have tried eating healthy in the past and the pattern always turned out to be the same. I would be great the first few days, and then some one would have something that I shouldn’t eat – and I would just have a bite. No harm in a small bite of something bad right? Well then the next time I was out, a friend would say “Oh go on and get dessert – we’ll split it.” Well ok. Splitting a piece of cake is not that bad. I’m still eating healthy and ok. But then that split dessert would turn into my own next time, and that bag of chips at the grocery store is now ok because it’s Friday. Slowly but surely I am right back into my old eating habits. So I changed the way I look at things. Having that bite of chocolate is like an ex-smoker having a drag of a cigarette. Are they smoking again? Can they still count their quit date or do they have to start over? Works the same in my case now. If day 16 feels like it has taken forever to get to, I do not want to start back at day 1 because I said ok to cheesecake. 

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Fuel Your Body

Monday, November 2nd – I woke up with a purpose – To start giving my body clean and healthy fuel to help it heal itself on the inside. I watched a lot of videos and read numerous blogs in order to figure out what my new meal plan would look like. I decided to stop making excuses and being afraid to try new recipes. If I can sit in a hospital and allow poison to run through my veins for hours on end – then I can spare 15 minutes of my day to juice. What is crazy is how easy it turns out to be. I have not had a bump in the road yet – not to say that one may come – but right now it just feels SO good to eat so clean! Here is a breakdown of a typical day from beginning to end:

  • 1 teaspoon of greens+ powder mixed with a 500ml of water
  • Organic oats made with coconut milk – topped with berries, hemp hearts, chia seeds, ground flax seed, and pumpkin seeds
  • Green juice (I juice every other day making enough for 2 glasses)
  • Spinach salad with cucumber, dried cranberries, green pepper, red onion and sprouts – dressed with olive oil mixed with balsamic dressing
  • Vitamin D and Turmeric supplements
  • 1 handful of sweet potato chips
  • A banana
  • Sweet potato vegetable stirfry made with quinoa
  • Handful of pumpkin seeds
  • A bowl of red grapes

Eating like this has already changed my body. I have had consistant and constant pain on my right side where my liver is for over a year – and for the past week it has diminished. Crazy right!? I’m not saying I am a vegan, vegetarian, or a gluten free fanatic – all I am doing is listening to my body – and right now it is telling me to stay on course.

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FitBit

What I have learnt about myself over the years is that I enjoy having numbers as goals. Whether that is a certain amount of savings I want to reach, or pounds I would like to shed – I have always been attracted to numbers. So when it came time for myself to get serious with my post-chemo weight loss – I began researching wearable technology. After speaking to others as well as conducting my own online research – I concluded that a FitBit would be the best for what I was looking for. Now I have a number goal that I have to reach each day. Also, the fact that you wear it on your wrist has helped as well. It is hard to just “forget” about working out when it is staring you in the face every moment of the day. I am very hopeful that with this new way of being accountable for my fitness goals, that I will be able to reach them. I am also being realistic to the fact that it will not happen over night – however that would be nice.

Diet Change

Man changing a diet is hard. After a hard last weekend I made the decision to change my diet for good this time. Back in April when I was diagnosed, I chose to quit alcohol all together. At the time doctors did not tell me flat out to stop (now they do), but I still moved forward with my sobriety. What was the point of forcing my liver to work harder than it already is? It has been hard, but I was never a big drinker to begin with. Red meat however – red meat I love. Giving this up will be very difficult. I have to though. I need to slowly start dropping any type of food that is not going to help my fight.

It’s not steaks I will miss the most – it is the all mighty cheeseburger. I have said before if I was on death row and had one meal left of my choosing, it would be a cheeseburger. They are my most favourite thing. If anyone out there knows of a way to create this same taste without using red meat, I welcome the comments.

I have tried before many times to cut out red meat and have failed. From those failures I have learnt that I am unable to have “cheat days”. These do not exist in my world. One cheat day leads to two which then leads to all of my old habits back. Nope, this time it has to be all or nothing.

My next challenge is to slowly cut out white sugar. This unfortunately is in every single thing we eat it seems – but I will do whatever I have to do now to not have all of this pain be for nothing. What is the point of putting myself not just through one operation, but two, only to come out the other side still feeding my insides garbage.

By the way, I also welcome anyone who would like to cook for me. I am entering this blind – and have no patience in the kitchen.

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