If you haven't already, I recommend you check out my blog post titled My Story: Wellness in the Context of Illness to give you some context.
As many of my readers may know, it was close to two years ago that I was diagnosed with cancer.
Now before you jump to conclusions know that I am healthy and well.
This post is not meant to be a pity party but to help people become comfortable with the idea of "wellness".
Last year I had finally publicly shared my health journey since being diagnosed and even my health journey since I was a child. I remember actually being scared to share my story thinking that people would judge me as a nutritionist as if I somehow failed or wasn't a good nutritionist because I had gotten cancer. I now know how ridiculous that sounds now but I blamed myself for everything that had happened.
Over the past two years I have had to take medication multiple times (the lesser of two evils), had deal with everyone's reactions (even though I knew they were coming from a good place), question if I should pursue my nutrition practice before I knew whether or not I would need more serious treatments, try to grasp the idea that I may have to deal with this for the rest of my life, and finally create my own definition of wellness in order to come to terms with everything (which is always a work in progress).
During this time my body was struggling. I finally went off the pill after wanting to for years which resulted in adult acne, intense PMS, and hair loss. The stress caused my IBS to flare up the worst it had since probably grade 9 and mental health was ok but not stellar. Over months of hard work I started to feel better and my symptoms associated with going off the pill are finally improving.
I still have a lot of work to do and there are still times when I feel guilty for doing/eating certain things, I often feel pressured by others who don't understand my health issues, and I think about how I wish this never happened.
But then I remember how it made me more in tune with my body, help me more seriously address other health conditions like my digestion, and has honestly made me take more chances, although I am still quite conservative to most people standards. I am doing more with my business and I have decided to just go for more things. I honestly wonder if I would have gone to Hawaii last year or quit a part-time job that I didn't feel was the best fit if this didn't happen and make me put things in perspective.
But perspective was the biggest. I am still the type to overanalyze and I still have days where I get frustrated with my health but I have, with huge help from Brendan, realize the little things aren't worth getting stressed over.
There are certain things I do in terms of nutrition and lifestyle which are suppose to be supportive and preventative but I often ask myself, "does this mean I have to do these forever"? For example, am I not suppose to eat sugar ever again? What happens if I do the odd time? The word "forever" is a bit daunting. I am teaching myself to not look too far into the future and again, focus on the now. The now is what I have control of, not the past, and not necessarily 30 years from now despite my best efforts. I have control issues ;)
I came to the realization that I had to get back to my normal healthy routine but before that happened, I experienced extreme guilt throughout the past few moths and as I had this realization. I felt guilty for every gluten-free cookie or beer I had consumed over the past few months and how it might not be supporting my immune system and so on.
So where does this leave me now? Well back to my original blog post, one of the main things I came to realize was that I was actually a healthy person despite being diagnosed with cancer. I was truly dealing with wellness in the context of illness. This is important for someone like myself who is a nutritionist and constantly deals with the health and wellness industry.
I may not be the healthiest person on this planet and my digestive system may go a little whack the odd time from stress and unknown things, but I take my supplements, I drink my water, I don't over indulge, I stay away from my food sensitivities, and I eat my fruits and veggies. So really, at the end of the day, I am still healthy, I am still well.
Remember, this isn't just about me. If you remember from my last post, I emphasized that there is no one singular definition for wellness. Wellness is something you define for yourself. Achieve it how you may but don't compare yourself to others during the process. Wellness isn't only abs, green smoothies and yoga. It can be all of those, some of those or none of those for you. Take ownership of however you define wellness.
In good health,
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