This month we are holding in our hearts the journey, process, challenges and gifts that a diagnosis of cancer brings to all who lives it touches. I don’t believe there is anyone on the planet whose life has not been affected in one way or another by cancer. It is ubiquitous, pervasive and devastating. In its wake we shake off the complacency of our daily lives and celebrate that which brings us together and brings meaning to our lives: our families, our friendships, our gift in waking each morning anew, ripe with possibility.
Our world has gone through cataclysmic change in the past 100 years. Medical, social, cultural and technological shifts have initiated waves of change that have in all ways transformed and shaped how we live our everyday lives, how long we live, what we eat, the air that we breathe, the water that we drink, ultimately our means as humans of surviving on this planet.
From the perspective of cancer prevention, living in a society in which more than 250 chemicals can be confirmed in the umbilical cord of a newborn, there is so much we can do to support our bodies to be the healthiest they can be. We cannot do everything. There is the nature versus nurture argument. We all come in with predispositions —and despite this, or in recognition of this– — we CAN through the choices we make every day, do what we are able to, in order to give our bodies the fighting chance they need through the creation of healthy immune systems.
Current thought in complementary medicine circles credits inflammation as the underlying cause of disease. Causes of inflammation rank certain dietary and lifestyle choices, toxic exposure and chronic stress as some of the most important factors. We can’t ignore that we live in a stressful world and the choices we make regarding what we put in our bodies and how we live our lives can nurture or hinder our ability to live healthy lives. We all have our unique genetic packages, so ultimately, we do the best we can. We look at what we come in with, the specific challenges our genetics bring to us and make the choices we can to provide the best support possible. We laugh and cry and embrace our joys and passions. Studies show that Love truly is the answer; the laughter and tears of moments with friends and family make our lives meaningful, unique and healthier. We are on this planet to be in relationship with each other.
Be conscious, make healthy choices in the food you put in your bodies. Remember to take time everyday to breathe, inviting the relaxation response into your body, reducing stress. Take time for what is important. Breathe again, eat your vegetables… avoid products that are toxic, drink lots of water, eat well, laugh a lot, tell your loved ones you love them. Notice the day. It is a gift.