Cancerous cells two words you never want to hear at the doctors is preciously what I heard sitting in the Gynecologist office.
After an annual pap smear I was called back into her office a week later to discuss my results. “Your pap is abnormal” she said. “You have high strains of pre-cancerous cells on your cervix” she continued. “I recommend we go in there and burn them off before this turns into full blown cervical cancer.” She added.
And just like that I felt I had been thrown into the deep end of the pool, unable to swim, gasping for air. Did she just say what I think she said? She continued “cervical cancer is a slow growing cancer that’s the good news” “You don’t need to worry, we will go in and burn these cells off before they can even turn into cancer.” “Burn?” I respond “Burn my cervix’s?” Two words I never imagined I’d put in one sentence. She responded, “It’s a procedure where we use a wire loop heated by electric current and we remove the unwanted cells”. “And the side effects?” I ask staring at her like a deer in headlights. “Bleeding, scarring, trouble getting pregnant”…
“Trouble getting pregnant?” I was only 24 and trying for a baby was not on the agenda, not now, but I knew one day I wanted to be a mother, I’ve always known that, and I didn’t want any “trouble” with the process. “No thank you” I responded. “My gut tells me that a procedure that could potentially hinder my ability to have children one day is not the procedure for me”. I started to gather my things. “Like I said we have time before this turns into cancer, why don’t you go home and when your ready make an appointment to come back in a month, if your pap is still abnormal we can schedule the procedure then.” Feeling too exhausted to even respond to her comment, I nodded my head and left.
As I walked the 20 city blocks home, my mind was racing and my emotions were running high. “The good news”, there was nothing about what she said that was good, “burn”, she wants to bring a heated electric current near my cervix? I was upset, and scared but something inside me said no. No to all of this. These thoughts, these results, this situation, the pushy doctor. NO. Just no.
By the time I reached my stoop I didn’t have a solution but I did have the courage to figure out a different way. I was angry my doctor only had one solution for me, but I used that anger as motivation to figure out a better way.
I was going to heal myself before these cells progressed into something worse, intuitively I knew I could. And that’s where the journey began.
Clean House: I immediately realized I was eating all the wrong foods and many of those foods were processed. I threw out all the low fat, fat free, 100 calorie packs, cartons, and frozen entrees. I learned that although low in calorie, they were high in processed preservatives, GMO’s, pesticides, corn syrup and unnatural ingredients. I replaced the junk with whole nourishing foods that did not come with a packaging label.
Balance the Scale: Not that kind of scale! The human bodies PH Scale. One of the big ah ha, moments for me during my initial research was discovering how important it is to maintain a healthy PH level. The human PH scale measures how acidic or alkaline our bodies fluids and tissues really are. I learned that if we are in a constant state of acidity it will cause inflammation, disease and an array of health issues. When are bodies are alkaline, disease has a hard time thriving. I studied all of the foods that increase the bodies alkalinity and made them apart of my daily meals. Eating an abundance of dark leafy greens, green juices, smoothies, and sprouts.
Drink Juice: Juicing I quickly learned was one of the easiest and fastest ways to supercharge your health and boost your immune system. I swapped my morning coffee and began each morning with a fruit and vegetable juice, packed with nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Eat an Anti-inflammatory Diet: Just like juicing, eating a diet high in anti-inflammatory foods lowers your risk of disease and keeps inflammation at bay. So I began eating only those foods that would keep my body thriving. I incorporated almonds, flaxseeds, lentils, avocados, and greens, lots and lots of greens.
Listen to your body– In a fast paced go go go world it’s hard sometimes to hear what are bodies are trying to tell us. When I started to change my diet and became more mindful of my lifestyle, I slowed down and really started to tune in. Being aware and mindful to what my body needed instead of ignoring my symptoms. Headache, fatigued, upset stomach- I’m aware your here, I wonder why your here, what do you need from me? Listening closely and trusting my body to guide me in the right direction made all the difference.
Take Charge: You are the most important person in your life. You know what’s best for you, your body, and your health. You are the best advocate for you. When healing yourself always remember YOU are in charge, this is your body. If something doesn’t feel right, if a solution isn’t aligned with what you want, if a doctor won’t listen, find the path that works best for you. Ask questions, seek opinions, research options. You’re the boss of your life and don’t let anyone or anything get in the way of that. This is your body and you have the ultimate say.
Use Affirmations: In the beginning stages of my research I stumbled upon the book “You Can Heal Your Life” Ms. Louise Hay’s title was all I needed to look at to feel strong and empowered but her message throughout the book is clear. Positive affirmations have a major impact on your mind and your body. Your body hears everything your mind tells it, so starting each day with a healthy thought, or having a healthy mantra leads to overall positive health.
Beyond the Plate: I quickly learned that the food on my plate was just one huge part in getting healthy. I looked at my friendships realizing that quality was much more important than quantity. I slowly started to decline invites with people and situations that weren’t aligned with my new get healthy, green juicing, veggie eating self. I also realized that my lifestyle working a demanding, fast paced, job that I hated; sitting at a cubicle for 14 hours a day barely seeing the sun was burning me out. No job is worth jeopardizing your health, so I made the change to leave my position and find something that would fulfill me. I began teaching nutrition and cooking classes to children. Talk about instant happiness, seeing a 5 year old eat kale. Swoon.
Express Gratitude: I began to take inventory of everything around me. It’s so easy to start to feel pity for yourself when something doesn’t go as planned but instead I forced myself to be grateful for something everyday. I am grateful for having hot water to shower in, I am grateful I have food in my refrigerator, I am grateful it’s sunny outside. I wrote down 3–5 things I was grateful for each night. I noticed I became more joyful and started to appreciate my life so much more.
Love Yourself: I stopped bullying myself. I let go of any and all negative self talk. I realized that in order to truly be healthy I had to believe in my body and trust that it wouldn’t let me down. And each time I went back to the doctor and heard those precancerous cells were disappearing I would say, thank you. Thank you to my strong beautiful healthy body. Because I knew that if I loved my body it would love me back in return, and it did.
Melissa Brescia, is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Wellness Educator living in Washington, DC. In 2008, Melissa went through her own personal health journey where she healed her body through food. After this life changing experience Melissa vowed to help others using food as medicine. She became Certified by the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and runs a private health coaching business where she is on a mission to help others heal their bodies and restore their health once and for all. Check out www.melissabrescia.com to learn more.
Originally published at medium.com