by Bell Chung
“Cancer is the best thing that has ever happened to me” – this is my response to anyone who acts sympathetically to my health crisis. Cancer has opened my eyes to a whole new world of optimum health that I never thought was possible; I have discovered that cancer, like most chronic illness, is simply Nature’s way of telling you to change what you’re doing.
Before cancer entered my life, I thought that I was a fairly healthy person – I was always involved in athletics, my diet was diverse (in accordance with theCanadian Food Guide), and I looked relatively healthy. Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving, and my previous perception of health was skewed by a combination of apathy and ignorance. Despite my annual battles with the “common cold”, I figured that these disturbances were just a normal way of life. I didn’t realize that every time I got sick, Nature was presenting me with a proverbial fork in the road. Apparently, I always chose the easiest (and most destructive) path – by continuing on with my supposedly “healthy” lifestyle.
During the summer of 2002, I first became aware of my deteriorating condition after a routine physical. My Papanicolaou test result was flagged as “abnormal”; thus, my doctor requested that I get more frequent check-ups so that he could monitor the cells. For two years, I continued down “easy street” while my cells mutated more toward the cancer end of the spectrum. I subconsciously tried to ignore the cancer, hoping that it would just miraculously disappear. During this time, my godfather (Richard) was sending me tidbits of information from newspapers and other sources – coincidentally related to health. Some of the clippings addressed the dangers of consuming animal products, while others warned against drug usage – specifically the birth control pill and vaccines. Although I read through the articles, I did not feel the need to directly apply the information to my specific situation.
After a colposcopy in 2004, I was encouraged to schedule an appointment at thelocal hospital for laser therapy, which is the current orthodox treatment for cervical cancer. This materialization opened my eyes to the severity of my condition. At that point, out of both fear and a gut instinct, I decided to delay the appointment. Something within me was telling me that surgery was not the answer for my problem; this inner voice was reinforced by the wealth of information that Richard had been sending me. I discovered that many patients who undergo orthodox treatments develop secondary cancers – this is something I really wanted to avoid. In my opinion, surgery seemed like a quick fix; it is a method of covering up symptoms, rather than dealing with the root cause of a problem. Being twenty-one years of age, I decided to take “the road less traveled” – I chose to give Nature a chance.
I quickly developed a thirst for information related to healing and superior health. With Richard’s love, I was humbled into realizing that I never really knew anything about true health – I had been living in a fishbowl for over twenty years! I basically had to throw out all of my preconceived notions of what constituted a true state of health; I had to relearn everything.
My quest for ideal health led me down numerous paths: I pushed myself in the exercise realm (namely for toxin removal); I discontinued prescription drug usage; I focused on deep breathing for greater oxygen intake; I followed a sleep pattern that was more in tune with the circadian rhythm; I increased my exposure to sunlight; and most certainly, I made a conscious effort to have a more positive attitude. I believe that a shift in attitude is absolutely necessary both for healing and promoting longevity. Instead of acting like a victim of my day, I chose to take charge of my life, and accept that every choice I made, no matter how minute, had direct consequences. Furthermore, I felt that it was necessary to modify my diet because what you put into your body cannot be denied at a cellular level; “you [literally] are what you eat!”
In addition to witnessing the horrific lives of slaughterhouse animals, I accepted that human beings have absolutely no need for animal products in their diets. A shift in mentality was crucial; I no longer wanted to be an accessory to murder. From a biological, environmental, and ethical standpoint, it made sense for me to eliminate all of the negative stressors in my life, and diet was of the utmost importance. With this in mind, I decided to cut out all meat from my diet. Also, consuming dairy was definitely out of the question – I learned that dairy products are more detrimental to human health than meat itself (due to the exponentially concentrated amount of toxins). Being raised on dairy, I was aware that I would have to be patient in my healing process, as unknown amounts of toxins were embedded within the fibers of my flesh.
I understood that the change in my diet would cause my body to enter a state of cleansing. During my transition to a vegan diet, I experienced some minor discomfort (fatigue) as well as cravings for sweet and salty foods. Thankfully, through my research, I was conscious of the fact that these minor setbacks were a positive sign that I was on the right track – my body was reacting to the changes that I entrenched upon it. Quite often, I feel that people give up too easily; therefore, it is important to understand the mechanics of the human body, especially through times of change. After I got over the “hump”, I experienced a dramatic surge in my energy levels – I was able to function at a significantly higher state of cognizance on fewer hours of sleep!
In 2006, I was introduced to the world of raw foods. Richard had been sending me information on enzymes, and I soaked the concepts up like a sponge. It really made sense, in my mind, that heat kills enzymes and destroys “life force energy”; thus, it was pointless of me to continue to ingest food that was devitalized. I joined a raw vegan group in Edmonton, and it was so refreshing to meet people with the same passion about health as myself. Attending rawlucks (raw potlucks) really opened my eyes to the endless choices that a raw diet could offer. At this point, my diet consists of about ninety percent raw foods, but I am still in the process of going completely raw. There are some days that I succumb to the cravings of cooked foods, and I definitely suffer the consequences for giving in to immediate gratification (taste)! I would like to point out that as a result of my raw diet, I have noticed that my body has undergone some extra benefits: my hair is silkier (and less is falling out); people have commented on my skin’s radiance; and overall, I feel much more at peace with myself and with Nature.
In addition to altering my diet, I increased my water intake. Looking back at my previous lifestyle, I realized that there were days where I did not drink a single glass of water – oh, my poor body! Since the human body is made up of almost ninety percent water, it must be stressed that water is the ideal choice of drink; it is important not only for cleansing, but for the rejuvenation and rebuilding of cells. Also, with my diet being focused around fresh organic fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, my water intake has increased ten-fold.
I firmly believe that the human body is quite amazing and – if given the proper tools – it can repair itself to a state of superior health. Throughout my progression, I continued to get regular colposcopies, and I am jubilant in reporting that the cancer is almost completely gone! Rather than accepting cancer as a death sentence, I embraced it as my saviour – I honestly do not know where I would be at this point in my life had I not been touched by this illness. I believe that health is something that we earn – it is not automatically awarded to us, especially if we treat out bodies like cesspools. Ultimately, health is a function of responsibility. My journey to attain optimal health has been a work in progress, and I realize that this journey will continue for as long as I am living.