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What Cancer Taught Me: 12 years Later, 8 Rules To Live By For Total Health

Brooke on couch with tea 4-23-2014 11-58-35 PM

It was one of the scariest moments of my life. I’m talking the kind of moment that drops you to your knees.

I was 26 years old and 4 weeks pregnant and I was told I had stage 3 Melanoma. Doctors feared it could be spreading hard and fast.  

I had two choices. I could start chemo and lose the baby or undergo surgery to cut the cancer out. But because I was pregnant, anesthetic wasn’t an option.  I’ll spare you the details of having surgery using only topical lidocaine for pain.  I ended up with 50 stitches and a scar that to this day changes the way I look at life. When I took a chance on surgery vs. chemo, I had no idea if I was picking the right path for my health, but I knew I was choosing the right path for my family.

I truly believe that Angels can often be disguised as children. My daughter, Reagan became my angel. After she turned a year old, the shock of what I had survived started to wear off and the reality that doctors said my cancer was likely to return started to set in. I needed to fortify my body against the illness. I began to research cancer and health and nutrition. Guided by my brother, Dr. Matthew McAlees, I started to learn about my nervous system and the healing power of real food.  Before the cancer, I was the poster child for every “fad” diet on the market. I was putting toxins on my skin and using toxins in my home without even giving it a thought. I had no idea. I thought I was healthy. In reality I was on a path of destruction. I had already made one life or death decision. Now it was time for another.

My heart and eyes opened up to a new world. A world that would create a healthier me. A me that wasn’t going to let cancer win.

I created my “Grateful 8” list of things that I know have a positive effect on health. The best part? They are all things you can control. You choose what you eat, what you buy, and what you use. Over the last 10 years, my passion has turned into a mission to help others find real health. This list is a good place for you to start regardless of where you are in your own journey. We have all had that scariest moment that makes us question, cry, and resolve to not let ‘it’ win.  Whether you are Post-Cancer, Pre-Cancer or struggle with MS, Crohn’s, Fibromyalgia, even obesity…all of these things can help you live healthy and love life!

Brooke’s Grateful 8 Rules For Wellness

1.) Eating an Anti-Inflammatory Diet. If you are looking for tips on what this looks like, check out my Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle blog on this topic. Eat REAL food as much as possible and foods that are purposeful. There are cancer fighting foods and foods that actually protect your skin and protect against melanoma. Here are two blogs where you can learn more about that:  Edible Sunscreen and Cancer Fighting Foods.

2.) Drinking Alkaline water and eating foods that are high in alkalinity = healthier body. Keeping your body balanced on a pH level is crucial. Cancer can thrive in an acidic body.  Learn how to keep your body balanced and why to drink alkaline water to keep your body in an alkaline state. 

3.) Supplementing with premium vitamins.  To find out why I supplement, click here

4.) Use non-toxic cleaners and use paraben-free skincare

5.) Keep your nervous system and spine as healthy as possible. I follow the 5 essentials from Charlotte Health Center and get a corrective care chiropractic adjustment regularly.

6.) Exercise regularly. I do yoga, cycle and burst training regularly for mind and body.

7.) Find Your Purpose.  I believe everyone was created for a purpose no matter how big or small.  We can all have a positive impact in this world and the community around us.  Figure out what your purpose is because knowing it will drive you not to give up.  Sometimes fear stands in the way of fulfilling our purpose.  It is important to stand bold and go after whatever your passions are – there is freedom in letting go of that fear.  Don’t let anyone knock you down in life or shake you.  It is ok that your purpose is different than others – life would be pretty boring if we were all doing the same thing!  

I did not realize my purpose until I had children. There was something that shifted inside of me when I became responsible for someone other than myself. However, my purpose really came when I was faced with the words “you have cancer.” I needed a reason to get past that dark time and become a healthier person for my family. After a lot of soul searching, I finally found my purpose. I wanted to make an impact on this earth, my children and the next generation. I felt a sense of responsibility because I knew I was capable – capable to make a difference and a positive impact. I realized my purpose was to “Live Healthy and Love Life” and help others do the same,

8.) Have Gratitude.  Find things that you are truly grateful for, even when you are having a bad day. It is amazing how this will shift your mental health.  Being thankful can be one of the best things to get rid of the stress in your life.  Considering the good in your life and truly appreciating your surroundings is something that can help bring out the best in you. 

For me, I am very thankful and full of gratitude and joy for so many things in my life.  It took me a long time to get to a place of true happiness and gratefulness.  The main things I appreciate in my life are my faith in a loving God that has restored my soul and has healed my heart, my family, my dogs that I love, a career that I am passionate about, the amazing beauty of nature, and supporters and friends like you!   We can all find things in our life to be thankful for even if things are not going our way.  We all have ups and downs in life, but finding happiness is a choice. We can all live healthy and happy and love our life. Truly learn to love every minute of your life because it really is a gift. When you can live in a place of gratitude, everything will shift!

My cancer diagnosis completely shifted my entire life and my future. Since I started living by these Grateful 8 Rules For Wellness, every year my blood work has come back better and better. That is my proof that it’s working. It can work for you, too. We can make a huge dent in our health and our bodies by the way we treat it. I hope this will encourage someone today that is struggling with their health, weight or post cancer. 

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