4 Things I Learned About Health After Surviving Breast Cancer
In 2007, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was really lucky and my hair is back, along with most of my original breasts and all of my offbeat sense of humor.
So here are a few things I learned about health:
1. It's a really, really good thing to have.
You know how people say,"The most important thing is health." And it sounds so quaint and you want to roll your eyes? Well, they are right. The most important thing is health. We seriously take our good health for granted and that's crazy. I still take my health for granted. More on that later. Health is the basis of everything.
2. Health problems don't necessarily happen to someone else.
Until it happens to you it feels surreal that something serious can ever happen to you. In fact, after it happens to you, you still don't think anything will happen again. One in every three people alive today will get cancer at some point in their lives so it really, really can happen to you. I am not trying to make you feel bad. Its just a fact. Like most women get their periods at some point. Not the best news really but it is a fact.
3. We are active participants in our health.
You know some people asked if I was angry or "Why you?" And I thought, "Why not me?" Our research hasn't advanced to the stage that we know definitively why me. Why I got cancer. But I know it has to do with how I lived my life spiritually and physically.
Our activities affect our health. Our eating habits. Our smoking. Our sleep patterns or lack thereof. Our binging. Our drinking. OUR THOUGHTS AND OUR STRESS.
I don't know who will or will not get cancer. Or heart disease or diabetes or anything. But I do know this: we can manage our health. It is not something that just happens without our participation.
4. I am not much smarter than a pavlovian dog.
(I feel like saying people but that's a generalization.)
I don't do things when I don't see the immediate result. I had cancer. I read a lot. I learned about what is healthy and what is not. It's been less than ten years since and I re-indulge my sweet tooth, I have gone back to using chemicals in all my toiletries and hair color. I excuse myself that its really far to Whole Foods (across some seas) and a pain in the ass to wait until someone can bring me the natural hair color I used. And they are so damn expensive! I rarely buy organic anything anymore and I am just not careful about anything that has to do with my health.
Like seriously - what? I didn't learn my lesson? What else has to happen before I treat myself well? We see people in our lives get sick and they change their habits - and we help them, we support them. We buy them organic foods and remind them that sugar may not be the best choice for them now. But none of us around them thinks that we should do it too.
So, yes. I know why this is. There is no recipe. We know people who "ate really well" but still got sick and people who "smoke like a chimney" and are still dancing up a storm at 96. Could be that the reason why people who eat organic are healthier is because they FEEL like they are taking care of themselves. We don't know definitively.
But I want to leave you with this:
Forget the overall recipe. The only thing we can do is find the things that bring joy to your life and follow that. Look into our own hearts and find what resonates. We know how to bring ourselves health. Just don't silence the voice that is speaking to you with another chocolate bar to drown out your feeling of despair.
Israel/USA; Loves when good wins in the end, island beaches, getting free upgrades to first class, licking the cake bowl and when magic is apparent.