Finding Holistic Health After Cancer

I was diagnosed with cancer at age 20. I was in college, right before Thanksgiving, when I felt a painful lump under my left arm. After some misdiagnoses it kept growing fairly quickly, and then a few days before the New Year I got the diagnosis. Stage One, Non Hodgkins Lymphoma - I was told I had a "good" kind of cancer.

My first question was, can't you just remove it? Well, that was not how they planned to treat it so I underwent three rounds of a chemotherapy called CHOP, and then localized radiation to my cervical and axillary lymph nodes. I completed my treatment in May of 1997 and immediately went back to college to try and be normal again.

Over the years I have dealt with health issues that were most likely related, although at the time I didn't realize exactly what to do. I ended up becoming a Physician Assistant and worked in Oncology with my personal cancer doctor for 10 years. Over time I realized that there was a huge need to help people after treatment.

I remember being done with treatment and my doctor said, ‘Okay, we will see you in three months.’ I felt scared and unsure. Like, what do I do now?

During my work in oncology I tried to create a survivorship program, but in the confines of a big corporation it was not what I had envisioned it to be. At that time I was also battling severe anxiety, fatigue, and other symptoms that left me stressed and unsure how to take care of myself - let alone my two kids and family.

Later, I stumbled into functional medicine and started learning about how we can get to root causes of issues and symptoms, as well as get better by addressing causes versus treating a symptom. I quickly got out of traditional medicine and started practicing functional medicine. During that time I completed a holistic health coaching course and quit my job as a PA. Today, I hope to create a program so people finishing treatment can rebuild their health through whole foods, learning to relax and let stress go, sleep better, exercise, and limit exposure to toxins as much as possible.

I'm excited to have gone through what I have in order to help others feel better after cancer and, as a result, prevent other health issues from arising. I got better without medication and know many people can too.

- Alison W., Full Circle Health