Four years ago my daughter ran a fever accompanied by a headache. I couldn’t identify the source of her symptoms. No ear infections, no tummy pain, no sore throat. Three doctors said it was probably a virus. My instinct told me something was not right.
10 days later, I took her to the emergency room asking that she be thoroughly checked. Eight hours later, after many tests, her blood inflammatory markers came back very high. I didn’t know what that meant. The doctor asked us to come back early morning for an abdominal ultrasound. They found a 10 cm tumor on her left kidney the minute they started the ultrasound. Before the doctor was called in, I googled “Wilms Tumor”: the most common cancer of the kidneys that typically occurs in children, rarely in adults. The doctor explained that long-term survival rates are excellent: about 85% to 90% of Wilms tumor patients with favorable histology can be cured. Histology is the way cells look under the microscope—in this case tumor cells. This information was key in helping us get through the coming months.
My daughter got treated in Montreal, Canada. We got excellent treatment and support from the hospital whose staff guided us step-by-step to better understand what was happening and was about to happen. Our doctor team told it ‘like it was’ – no sugar coating, and I respected them for it. At home, family friends and acquaintances turned to magical unicorns and took amazing care of us. I will be forever grateful to them.
My perspective on life completely changed with the diagnosis. My daughter was 6 years old at the time.
Earlier that year, I had started practicing Nutrition and Health Coaching. It was a new profession. Family and friends were wondering why on earth I was ‘imposing’ clean eating and other ‘healthier’ ways of living on myself and our family.
I understood then that it was so that I could support my daughter on this journey, with optimal nutrition and health care, and to guide and support others as well, on their journey to healing.
I consulted with medical practitioners, from oncologists to complimentary medicine doctors, and started integrating key supplements and remedies into my daughter’s protocol. You see, doctors do the best they can. But you have to take your health into your own hands – in this case, my daughter’s health.
With hope, prayers, support and luck, my daughter is now in remission. She is followed closely every 3 months. I worry every time the date of her follow-up approaches.
I panic every time she runs a simple cold or gets a headache that lasts more than 24 hours. As a parent reading this, you understand what I mean.
I hide sugar from her, she takes it from her friends. I spoon feed her salad every day. She says “I wish you were a junk food coach” but deep down she understands which foods are good for her and which are not.
In the process, I’ve had to let go of certain ‘restrictions’ that backfired so we now follow the 80/20 rule: we aim to eat and live happily and healthily 80% of the time and leave the unmonitored 20% to when we are on holiday, at the grandparents’, etc.
Throughout my daughter’s treatment I kept my professional Facebook page going, featuring my nutrition and health coaching services: ‘Healthytude’. It gave me a reason to keep going.
Like with my family, I work very closely with my clients to incorporate healthier foods and habits in their life and that of their families. I make their nutrition needs approachable through personalized programs. In addition to optimal nutrition, my goal is to identify the areas of your life you need the most support with – physical, mental and emotional. Together, we dig deeper, identify behavior patterns and connect the dots in a way that is meaningful to them, in order to be the healthiest, most productive and happiest version of themselves.
The field of health is constantly evolving. I am a proponent of the Functional Medicine Approach, which is based on providing personalized treatment to the individual as a whole, rather than treating the symptoms of chronic disease. It addresses the underlying causes of disease.
Even though this is not part of my daughter’s follow-up or protocol, this approach will provide us with precious medical information and guidance. I am currently testing it on myself and my daughter and will be updating you on how it’s going.
I am grateful my daughter is alive today. I am grateful for having a second chance. I am grateful to be able to serve others in health and wellness.
Only you can commit to improving your health and that of your family. Do your best and the universe will conspire to make things work out for the best as well.