I am healthy, and I am feeling great. All follow-up biopsies have come back clean. That’s right, baby.
Thank you for your support, your kinds words of sympathy and empathy, your stories, your care and your love. So many readers and friends left comments, sent me personal emails, reached out through facebook, even through linkedin. I am so incredibly fortunate to have the love and support in my life that I have; thank you.
Thank you also to the melanoma that lived in me just long enough to redirect my path, but not to end my journey. I have learned so much from you, and plan never to take you for granted. I understand that the relative risk of you visiting me again is 500 times the average person’s (yes, literally five hundred), but I’ll have you know my body is no home for you. I am working hard to make darn sure of that.
It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post. I have been all over the place with when and how to write this post. There is so much that is going on, so much that has changed in me, so much stuff that has been released, I haven’t known where to begin.
It’s the most remarkable thing. It’s like on July 1, 2011, I had the opportunity to flip a switch. I have seen old habits and patterns that I’ve struggled with for years become yesterday’s story. I have never had anything hit me as deeply as this brief brush with cancer. It’s like this magical light went on around me, and it’s big and bright and sparkly and beautiful, and I’m glowing in it.
I feel these big surges of gratitude and love, and I have deeper moments of calm and peace. I am reclaiming my love of my body, my appreciation for all the ways it takes care of me, and nurtures me. My body works so hard for me, and it’s the only one I’ll ever have. I am forgiving myself for abusing it with neglect.
I am tangibly understanding now the difference between self-esteem (something I’ve always had) and self-love (something I am so divinely embracing now).
Below I list some of the things I am doing to nourish my body in my embrace of self-love. Will you join me? Pick something for yourself that you can do to nourish your body. Leave me a comment and tell me about it. It can be big or small; doesn’t matter what it is, it’s all significant.
- First and foremost, I am keeping my skin out of the sun. My husband and I invested in new – and even cute! – UPF protective clothing. Not just for swimming, but for life. I plan to own everything in the Coolibar catalog at some point.
- Big beautiful wide-brimmed hats. Everywhere. I’ve already been greeted with “Hey Diva!” and “Look at you, Miss Fabulous!” I’m down with rockin’ the diva hats – totally works for me.
- I woke up to the fact that my big brand sunscreens, while touting “all-natural”, “Broad Spectrum” and “SPF 70”, were actually little BPA-filled plastic bottles of toxins. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s sunscreen guide for the skinny on the products you’re using. And then chuck any poison and get on board for some real – and safe – protection. My faves:
- Daily facial moisturizer (good under makeup) with real sun protection: Juice Beauty, DeVita, and Keys Solar Rx
- Beach/outdoor/sport sunblock: Badger SPF 30+
- Kids’ sunscreen: Badger SPF 30+ and California Baby SPF 30+
- SPF Lip Balm: UV Natural
- I looked up the rest of my bath and skin care products in the EWG’s Skin Deep database and chucked a bunch of that stuff too. It was shocking to see how poisonous my daily moisturizer was, not to mention my fancy department store make-up – which is next on my agenda. Ugh! My new faves so far:
- Shampoo & conditioner: John Masters Organics
- Facial cleanser: Juice Beauty Organic Facial Wash
- Nighttime moisturizer: Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer
- Toothpaste: Tom’s of Maine
- Body Lotion: For everyday, Loving Naturals Hemp Unscented Hand & Body Lotion; for when I wanna smell yummy and feel sexier, John Masters Organics Blood Orange and Vanilla Body Milk
- (Yesterday I stumbled across a terrific blog about organic skin care and beauty products – with tips on what to avoid, specific product recommendations, and more good stuff – check it out!)
- I stopped eating red meat
- I threw out all the artificial sweetener (I was a Splenda fan), and replaced it with agave nectar and organic stevia
- So long, soda
- Peace out, white carbs
- I found the amazing and inspiring Kris Carr, and am learning as much as I can as quickly as I can about what’s truly good for my body, for my blood and my organs – hello chlorophyll, goodbye cold cuts
- I have finally begun a meditation practice I have been putting off for years
- I am taking myself to a yoga retreat this weekend – hello fresh mountain air!
And of course, there’s all the stuff I did in the mad rush phase. All the steps I needed to take, appointments I had to have – to be sure I was ok. Two follow-up dermatology visits… visit with the surgeon to have the stitches removed… trip to my primary care doc for lymph node and organ checks… blood work… eye-exam with an ophthalmologist to rule out melanoma in my eyes… chest x-ray to make sure the melanoma hadn’t spread. The waiting game for pathology reports and revised pathology reports when the first versions were incomplete… Amazing how many to-do’s there are when a little cancer scare comes along. Well, I passed it all with flying colors! THANK YOU, MY SWEET, GORGEOUS BODY!
So, please join me in a little self-loving indulgence. Show your body some gratitude. When you get out of the shower, stop, look at yourself in the mirror, and admire. And then nourish that sexy thing! You deserve it just as much as I do.