An Ovarian Cancer Survivor’s Quest For Health And Balance
By Kirsten Cowart
As you enter the end of September, you are reaching the end of Ovarian Cancer Awareness month and entering Breast Cancer Awareness month. Breast Cancer is the number one type of cancer for women and, although it is important that we raise awareness, sometimes we accidentally overshadow some of the other cancers that women suffer from.
While many people are decorating with pink in preparation for October, it is important to also honor those who are on their own ‘Teal Journey.’ Teal is the color used to represent Ovarian Cancer awareness and survivors like Deborah Binder want the world to know about the less published below-the-belt cancers.
The lack of awareness on these other cancers leaves a lot of women with late diagnosis and a lack of tips on prevention, so when they do find out that they have ovarian cancer, it can become a hard journey.
By spreading awareness of one woman’s journey, we are hoping to inspire and save other lives moving forward.
Deborah Binder – The Survivor
Deborah Binder has been cancer-free for 6 years, which means that she beat the odds. She was diagnosed with a BRCA1+ gene mutation, which statistically shows that she has a higher probability of getting breast cancer. Because of that, she spends her time spreading awareness about women’s health holistically.
Her research from breast cancer may have helped her beat the statistics of ovarian cancer. “…breast cancer research helped me decide to get a prophylactic mastectomy — a tough decision to make. But spreading the word about TEAL is more important, because the statistics stink: 25 percent of us live beyond five years, 22,000 are diagnosed every year in the U.S. and 16,000 die. It’s sobering and scary.”
The fact that she is doing so well at year 6 is incredible and Deborah feels that eating healthy has been a big factor to her success.
Healthy Eating – Deborah’s Healing Journey
Eating healthy was always important to Deborah; she spent 20 years as a vegetarian, tried vegan, but didn’t stick with it and even went to culinary school. She cooked a lot of food and is an adventurous eater.
“I don’t prescribe to ‘shoulds’ these days in the culinary world, simply because I received the ‘life is short’ message far too often. Nevertheless, I am a healthy eater. I shop the outer aisles of the grocery store, make most things from scratch, don’t eat process(ed) foods much and enjoy the pleasure of food when I am eating.”
Moderation Is The Key
For Deborah, moderation is key. She doesn’t have a list of restrictions and to her, no food is forbidden. However, she does limit how much she eats. Sugar has a place, but is eaten sparingly, dairy has a small place and she also still eats gluten.
Her main concern is picking a path that brings her a balance of nourishment, peace and pleasure. “Moderation with everything, including moderation.” She does try to avoid junk food and keeps her focus on quality over quantity.
The truth about healthy eating is that it’s okay to be human too. It is alright to enjoy what you like and have a healthy life. Perhaps one of her secrets to success is not stressing as much over her eating while still remembering to stay balanced.
“I devour fresh vegetables from my garden (nothing beats a homegrown carrot) and cook healthy ‘wholesome’ meals every day. I have become an advocate for balance. I exercise, meditate and follow my passions.”, she says.
One of her biggest passions is spreading awareness about the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer. So, to honor Deborah and women like her, we will share the symptoms here. Talk to your doctor and go to ovariancancer.org to learn more about how to stay healthy and cancer-free.
Please see your doctor if they persist more than 12 times during the course of one month and the symptoms are new or unusual for you.
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
- Urinary urgency or frequency
“Additional symptoms include fatigue, indigestion, back pain, pain with intercourse, constipation and menstrual irregularities. These symptoms are not as useful in identifying ovarian cancer, because they are found as often in women who do not have the disease. When in doubt, talk to your doctor. If necessary, ask for a CA-125 and a transvaginal ultrasound.”
What do you do to prevent cancer and to keep your life happy and in balance? Let us know your experiences in the comments below.
Kirsten Cowart is a writer and researcher that has worked in the spiritual, mental health and medical fields.Kirsten enjoys studying and experiencing the benefits of yoga, meditation, nutrition, herbalism, organic gardening and alternative health.She worked hard in 2014 losing over 40 lbs. and has since maintained a healthy lifestyle.Follow her to learn more about her journey on Twitter, Facebook & Youtube!
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