Saturday, February 20, 2010

Making diet/environment/lifestyle changes

I've been thinking about what big changes I can make in my diet, environment, lifestyle, etc., in an attempt to improve my overall health and prevent a recurrence of cancer as best I can. (DISCLAIMER, which I hope I don't have to keep adding to EVERY post: I know there is NOTHING AT ALL i can do, whether it's a natural or conventional treatment, that can totally guarantee the cancer won't return! But I try anyway!)

Immediately following diagnosis, I was outraged that I, of all people, could possibly have cancer - remember that post where I was like, "I'm the freakin posterchild of the anti-cancer lifestyle!"?? It's true that there are many things I've been doing well for years already, but clearly since I DO have cancer, there are things with which I can improve. I still don't believe that cancer is entirely self-created and self-healed, but I do believe that my dietary, lifestyle, and environmental choices can impact my health greatly. I still am not sure which conventional treatments I will agree to/complete, and which I won't...but if I'm going to refuse any of the recommended conventional treatments, I want to at least be doing other things that will greatly improve my body & life, in an attempt to compensate for the lack of conventional treatment - even though I know it doesn't exactly work that way. I just don't believe that refusing chemo automatically = "doing nothing." I don't want anyone to be able to point at me and say, stupid new age hippie freak refusing treatment, don't come crying to me when you get a recurrence!

I'm not going to "do nothing," nor am I going to just sit around eating mushrooms and visualizing sparkly white light. I spent time thinking about what has NOT been working in my life/what has been BAD for my health for years, that I can change, and here's what I've come up with so far as my ACTION PLAN:

- BREAK MY INTERNET ADDICTION. I have been strongly addicted to the Internet for about 16 years, no joke - more than half my life.
- Stop eating refined sugar and dairy. I have a major sweet tooth and used to eat a lot of sugar, until just this past month when I stopped, and I'm actually allergic to dairy but have kept eating it because I love it, despite how bad it is for my body.
- Eat ONLY foods on the anti-cancer food list!
- Find work that is as enjoyable and stress-free as possible, and STOP working for under-staffed, disorganized, low-paying non-profits I always get too emotionally invested in and caught up in the drama of. I want to focus more on writing!
- Move to a mold-free, affordable, studio apartment that's just for me and my cat. I love living alone, and thrive when I have that privacy, space, freedom, quiet...
- Return to therapy to process/heal from past traumas that I've been shoving aside for years.
- Improve my sleep habits, by going to bed and waking up and approximately the same time each day and getting as much of that sleep before midnight as possible, sleep in total darkness to help with melatonin production, and learn the art of napping when necessary.
- Meditate regularly, FOR REAL! I SAY that I am a person who meditates, but really I meditate approximately once every 3 months, despite how much I INTEND to meditate more.
- Correct my vitamin D deficiency! I didn't know, until last month-ish, that I was deficient!

Many of those are difficult changes, and I don't yet have a timeline for them or a plan of how to make these changes, but I'm working on it.

I suspect that simply curbing my Internet addiction will result in these other positive changes occuring almost by default. If I am not spending so much time on the Internet, I will have more time to do things like cook and eat healthy meals (which I will be eating more mindfully, instead of in front of the computer), meditate, do creative things, read books, spend more time in nature, exercise, etc! Right now, I sign online the moment I get up in the morning, go online during every free minute I have during the day, and stay online till the wee hours of the morning, right up until bedtime!

Combatting my Internet addiction is THE MOST DIFFICULT change I need to make in my life, because it's been a strong addiction for literally over half my life now. It is not something I could ever go cold turkey with, because I use/need the Internet for so many things, and it meets needs of mine that cannot be met in any other way. I need to regulate my online time, not give it up.

I'm taking baby steps. My goals are:

A)Walk around the block first thing when I wake up, instead of immediately going online.
B) Stop eating meals in front of the computer.
C) Shut my computer down at least one hour before bedtime.

This is hard! I walked around the block a couple mornings ago (and this morning) and I kind of had that jittery, I-need-the-Internet-NOW feeling, but the walk only took 11 minutes, so geez, I should be able to handle this. The benefits of walking around the block first thing upon waking are vitamin D, time in nature, exercise, melatonin regulation, and 11 less minutes on the Internet!! As for turning the computer off an hour before bedtime, I tried that last night, and pathetically stood in my room thinking, what the hell am I going to do for an hour? And then I thought of something I wanted to write, and turned the computer back on. AAAHHHH!

I will keep trying!!


  1. you have a good plan! i think all of these things will be easier & easier as it gets warmer & warmer out. xo

  2. oh... the internet.

    I mean, it's a necessity of life really (like the telephone is, kinda) but sometimes when i am away for a weekend i leave the laptop home (i make joe do it too!) and it is just SO REFRESHING to not have that little machine to check all the time. Freedom!

    but everything in moderation, of course :)

  3. thanks, andee! i think you're right.

    steph, wow, i could never go an entire weekend without my laptop!! the only time i am truly computer-less is my one week in august, at the michigan womyn's music festival. and then, i don't miss my computer at all. i made a list of everything i use the internet for, and besides the "usual" like information, music, facebook, maps & driving directions, weather, shopping, work, youtube, etc., MOSTLY what i use the internet for is support/social interaction over obscure topics i cannot connect with local people about. e.g. i am a lesbian feminist pagan circus freak diagnosed with the old lady breast cancer at the age of 30; i'm an unschooler, a deborah gibson fan, etc... I AM FREAKIN WEIRD!!! and my "tribe" is thus online. and the reason i don't miss my computer during michfest is because michfest is the only time/place on the planet where everything that i am is the norm, and i am surrounded by hundreds/thousands of other lesbian-pagan-feminist-vegetarian-unschooling-etc-women.

    also, the internet is a way for me to express myself through writing, which is much easier for me than speaking, and it's a way in which i can SIMULTANEOUSLY be social & solitary, which is amazingly wonderful. so, those are my big reasons for being addicted to the internet. OMG, i can't believe i am right now on the internet babbling about my internet addiction, when i've been MEANING to buckle down and work on the meeting minutes ever since i woke up 3.5 hrs ago...dammit...