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Cancer Saved My Life

In 1982, I was stuck in an unhappy marriage and saw no way out. I didn’t think that I could support my two Sylvia Edwardschildren on my own, so I just went on day after day, year after year. That is until I was diagnosed with melanoma. Melanoma is a fast moving skin cancer that is a killer as it can rapidly spread to the lymphatic system. It was the first time I ever saw my husband cry, but unfortunately it was not for me. He wailed “what am I going to do, stuck with an invalid! That made up my mind in a hurry. I was determined that I would not let the cancer win.

After surgery that removed a good part of my upper arm, I set about changing my life. I realized that I just had to take a risk, and so I divorced my husband and miraculously, somehow the children and I managed. Not long afterwards I received a promotion at work, and have never looked back.

Prior to my diagnosis, the only time my husband and I spent together, was after work. We would hit the liquor cabinet, light cigarettes, and moan about our day. After being given the news of the cancer, I smoked and drank even more for a while, as I was stressed to the max. Then I thought, this is stupid, if the cancer doesn’t get me, the cigarettes and booze will! So another change occurred. I stopped smoking, cut out hard liquor in favor of a glass of wine, and together with my new single life, I blossomed.

Fast forward to 2002. After a routine mammogram I was informed that I had breast cancer. I was dumbfounded! There was no history of cancer in my family, how did this happen? After a lumpectomy and radiation, I started reading everything I could about this disease. I learned that we all have cells that occasionally go awry and form cancer; however we have an immune system called NK cells which then target these abnormal cells and demolish them. That is, unless our immune system is compromised due to illness or extreme stress, in which case the cancer cells take hold. It takes years to grow a cancer and most go undetected in the beginning because a million cancer cells can fit into the period at the end of this sentence. As I did my reading, I thought back to an accident that my oldest son had some years before, in which he almost died. This obviously caused me worry and stress over a period of at least eighteen months.

Another thing I learned from my reading was that diet and environment play a part in weakening our immune systems. I thought I had a good diet so didn’t make any changes at this time, and put the cause of the cancer down to stress. Two years later I was diagnosed with cancer in the other breast. I really believe that it was there at the time of my original diagnosis, but was just too small to be seen. Unfortunately, since it was in several different areas, this resulted in a mastectomy.

This time I decided to improve my diet by eating organic whenever possible, reducing animal fat, and cutting out all processed food. I started exercising more, and also investigated toxins in personal care products and things we use every day, to eliminate potential hazards. Now I am not saying that I became fanatical about my diet, existing on tofu and bean sprouts. In fact breast cancer survivors should not eat tofu or any other soy product, as they contain phyto-estrogen. About this time, a friend turned me on to a supplement called Juice Plus+, which is just ripe organic fruit and vegetables that are turned into powder and put into capsules. Again from reading and going to talks, I have learned that the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association have both upped the ante on the amount of fruit and vegetables we are supposed to eat for disease prevention. They now say we need 9 to 13 servings of ripe, preferably raw produce daily. Even with my improved diet there is no way I could manage that much. So I started taking Juice Plus+ and have been amazed at how well I feel. In fact, thanks to the changes that I made, I can honestly say that I have never felt better in my life.

There are many things that we can do to lessen the chance that we get cancer, heart disease etc., such as stress control, improved diet and consciously eliminating toxins from our lives. I realize that if it had not been for cancer I would probably have ended up a miserable, bitter and unfulfilled alcoholic…funny how something so bad, can actually do good.

For more information on Juice Plus+ go to www.sedwardsskincareandjuiceplus.com

Sylvia is a licensed esthetician in private practice in Tucson Arizona www.skincareatcivano.com.

To read other articles by this author, click on the link below. Clicking Home will return you to the current issue.

A Sustainable Garden

Breaking Out at any Age
Stepping off a Cliff
The Rule of Three

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