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What Now?

So.... you have been diagnosed with cancer?  Let me give you the insiders guide for how you can thrive!

In June of 2022, I was diagnosed with what ended up being Stage 4 aggressive, inoperable, and chemo-resistant colon cancer. I had a 14% chance of survival, but within 9 months, was NED (No Evidence of Disease) and truly living my best life. I am writing this to give you my insiders guide on the advantages I found on my cancer journey and how I leveraged the best of conventional and traditional healing approaches to heal from the inside out.  

 

I know cancer is scary - so let’s start to break this down so it’s not just fear talking and you understand what you can do to give yourself an advantage, how you can build a team to heal your body (and the root causes) as you try to treat the cancer cells, and how you can maximize joy and live your best life.

Cancer is not a death sentence, but it is a life sentence….

This is a choose your own adventure approach - there is no prescribed order to doing these things, but everything listed below will help you have an advantage on your journey. Feel free to skip around and don’t think you have to finish one part before you dig into the next.

 

Don’t get overwhelmed, work at this little by little every day until you have a plan that suits your life. Take a deep breath before you begin.  

How  much time do you have to gather data and form a plan? 

The first thing I would recommend is to understand urgency. As soon as I was diagnosed, I wished for nothing more than for the cancer to be gone, especially considering it had been growing inside for many years...  they think up to a decade.

 

 But the reality was I had time to collect some data, build a team, and prepare my body for treatment so I wouldn’t have to suffer. You probably do too.  

 

Most cancer diagnoses do NOT require urgent treatment - but no one really tells you that. We recorded a podcast with 20 year veteran oncologist , Dr. Chad Levitt on this exact topic  - but when in doubt, just ask your doctor if this is a fast or slow growing cancer and how they know that. 

Gather all of the information possible to get baseline data and build a strategy (aka Be a Data G - you decide if that means gatherer, guru, or gangster). 

Start to collect data. There is no reason to be nervous until there is a reason to be nervous - and just having cancer isn’t a reason to be nervous, IMO. Most cancers are nothing more than a speedbump you have to overcome.

 

Start to understand the diagnosis, what caused the cancer (only 8% of cancers are due to our genes - so get some genetic testing to rule that out, but listen to this before you act on anything you discover), and collect baseline data so you can know if the treatment is working early on.

 

As an example, a $30 blood test was the difference in me having useless toxic chemotherapy and pivoting to find the treatment that was effective (CA 19-9). It is really valuable to have something to watch that is easy and inexpensive to collect like a blood test. This is not typically done in today’s standard of care.

 

Don’t start treatment (unless it is absolutely urgent) before you have baseline data. This will literally destroy the evidence and take away the advantage of failing fast and changing direction if things aren’t working. Listen to the podcast and definitely read the Be a Data G page.

Start to formulate your plan, not your doctor's plan.

Read MOJO Healing. It will help you get a good understanding of the situation and options to build your strategy as well as your role in healing. (Not required, but it will make you feel better about your journey and how you can build a strategy to heal)

 

Identity your strengths and weaknesses. Use them to help make your journey easier. Mine were that I understood the business of healthcare and how to build a team to achieve outcomes and I throw a fun theme party. It doesn’t matter what your strengths are - you can find a way to use them! Start to understand your role in healing by listening to our podcast and reading our resources on Be Your Own Champion.

Gather your Tribe

Look in/to your community to find out who the best doctors are and what local resources can be helpful. I found it very helpful to build a private group on social media where I could post updates and ask for help/guidance for two reasons:

1. It allowed me to communicate quickly with my "tribe” and not think about cancer all day every day and tell the same story over and over.

2. I am not very good with asking for help and I could post what I needed and whoever was available could speak up.

This could easily be on Facebook, WhatsApp, Caring bridge, etc. - the location doesn’t matter - the use of your energy to communicate once with a broad audience does!

 

Please note: lots of well intentioned people give you advice. That doesn’t mean it's all good advice or you have to take it. It is perfectly ok to say “Thank you for sharing and caring and I will consider that in my strategy”.  Also be clear with what you need and what will not be helpful to you .  We have recorded a podcast on this topic as well that may be helpful!  

Decide who you are going to listen to..... 

Get a second, third, or fourth opinion. Care plans can vary regionally so consider other healthcare systems as well….but also consider more than just another oncologist (but I did record a podcast on what to look for in an oncologist). You want someone who will look at ALL the data and take time to dig in. Not someone who is being paid for by insurance to review your information in the allotted appointment time.

 

If you have any opportunity to invest, it would be worth spending time and resources to build your strategy and know all the options to heal.

 

If I were just diagnosed, I would talk to the herbalists who saved my life at Sierra Botanica & Collaborative Medicine (Oscar Sierra is our Chief Health Officer) to help you dial in botanicals, nutraceuticals, diet/lifestyle, environment, and facilitated healers and then consider ONCare Specialty Consultants (Dr. Chad Leavitt is our Conventional Health Officer for a reason!) who deploys oncologists to dig into all of the data (outside of the confines of insurance) and identify conventional treatment approaches. They will even go advocate on your behalf with your practicing oncologist, doctor to doctor.

 

These would be my first two calls if my family or I was diagnosed with cancer, so I wanted to share these directly with you - but there may be other local resources locally so talk to your community and use your network! 

 

Start to build your team. Oncologist or Primary Care will likely come first, understand what they suggest and what insurance will cover. Not everything you will need to heal is covered by insurance so you want to get as much covered as humanly possible. But you need more than just one toolbox to heal, so you need more than one type of training to help guide your healing journey. I had 10 people on my healing squad from doctors and herbalists to chiropractors and reflexologists. Our MOJO Health Strategy Builder can help identify what facilitated healers may be most beneficial to you.

 

You will need at least two experts to help guide you - your oncologist to help you reduce the cancer cells in your body and an herbalist or naturopath to identify the root causes and how you can build a body that is inhospitable to cancer.  Please note, oral health is the beginning stage of gut health - so a dentist should be part of your healing squad!

One piece of advice cancer thriver Wendy Goldberg (MOJO Health Information Treasurer and Founder and President of Benjamin Goldberg Foundation) shared is to prepare for your medical appointments by building an agenda like it is an official business meeting.  A few days prior, Wendy would send her healthcare team an overview of her questions, any updates (bulleted for easy reading), and research links for her doctor to be familiar with so they would have time to review before her appointment. You need to make sure you are using every moment of their time to maximize your likelihood of survival and to increase your quality of life.  

If your doctor is not giving you the time and attention you need, I encourage you to find someone who does. You need to have confidence in your team!

Decide who you are going to listen to..... 

Build a strategy to heal the root causes, strengthen your immune system AND treat cancer.

Build a strategy to strengthen your immune system, Armor Up and protect your body, and discover the root causes of why cancer was expressed. There is NO better investment than in your health. You want to start treatment as strong and healthy as possible - so if you can take a few weeks to focus on sleep, diet, supplements, and exercise to get your body into the best shape possible, I would take it.

 

In addition, we have built a tool to help you make side effects optional - and a registry to help you make all of this more accessible and affordable. Yes, there are even ways to outmaneuver hair loss with chemotherapy

Maximize Joy and Find your Flow.... 

 

Last but not least, cancer is not only a physical illness, it's a mental challenge as well. Do everything you can to not live in fear, but live in joy. This seems crazy to suggest, but its one of the best things you can do for yourself and your health.

 

How can you do this?

 

  • Find your flow and do what makes you happiest. then listen to MOJO Rising... how to make cancer suck less. 

  • Block out negative energy and as much stress as possible. I watched super hero movies every day to convince myself anything is possible.

  • You need to start saying no to things and people that rob your energy.

  • Give yourself permission to set up a healing energy bubble - take in all of the good and filter out all of the bad.

  • Your thoughts dictate how your body will act…. Believe you will get better with every cell and thought you have.

  • Visualize yourself on the vacation you always dreamed of or at the event you really want to attend (wedding, graduation, etc.)

 

If you feel good mentally and have a positive approach to cancer, you will literally feel and heal better. This is your opportunity to shift how you use your energy - choose to prioritize your time based on what matters most to you.

 

If your time on this earth is limited, consider if you want to give any more time to this disease by living in fear. I decided I was going to make the absolute most out of every moment I have left (and may have listened to Tim McGraw’s Live Like You Were Dying a few times to get inspiration). This means I even throw theme parties at my infusions - I don’t waste any opportunity to have a good time.

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Surround yourself with love and joy... it is truly all that matters. 

We are going to keep working to make cancer suck as little as possible.... so keep checking back with MOJO Health as we will constantly be evolving how we help people heal. Please share us with your friends and family!

This is just the beginning of your journey.  It is your invitation to change. Take a deep breath, go for a walk, and start thinking about what really matters in your strategy/life/future.

 

I wish you so much strength, patience, gratitude, love, joy, and health on your health journey. You are worth the effort.

All my best,

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Julie Stevens

Founder of MOJO Health

Survivor of Stage 4 Colon cancer

Author of MOJO Healing 

Host of MOJO Rising... How to Make Cancer Suck Less 

 

PS - I had a really hard time sourcing quality supplements and tools to support my journey, let alone spending my life savings on everything I needed to heal, so we built a sister company - More Joy Health - where you can build a registry to help people know what they can do to support you with the highest quality supplements and resources we could find! I hope this can also help you heal!

 

Please note, More Joy Health funds most of MOJO Health Information, so every dollar spent there is helping us continue to operate this amazing non-profit!

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