Personal Story: Barbara Morris, My Journey of Empowerment
I was only 32 years old when I got the bad news: “You have stage three metastatic breast cancer.” I had young children at home. I felt overwhelmed and hoped medical science would lead me to safety. I had surgery, followed by chemo, and seemed to be doing well for 18 years.
Then, in 2001, I had a reoccurrence. That’s when I began taking charge of my own health. I read everything I could find, including alternative views on cancer treatment. Since I had estrogen-receptor positive cancer, I began avoiding everything that had estrogen or turned to estrogen within me, which included such unlikely things as plastics and some cosmetics. I put together my own wellness team, choosing medical doctors and other professionals who would support me in my quest for healing. I am in charge of my team because I realize I’m responsible for my own health.
One day I bumped into a woman who had previously been my personal trainer. She said, “I’ve got a book you just have to read.” It was The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. The book explained how a diet based upon whole plant foods supports health, whereas the typical western diet of animal products and processed foods undermine health and promotes cancer. I read it, it made sense, and I became vegan the next day. That was Christmas Day, 2008.
Shortly after, I attended a Food for Life: Cancer Project class series, which taught me how to prepare healthy and tasty meals with whole plant foods. This class helped me put the pieces together to make a vegan diet work for me. I love eating a plant-based diet. Food tastes better to me now that my taste buds aren’t dulled by fatty, processed foods. I’m doing more cooking than I did before changing my diet and I’m having fun preparing foods that are new to me.
I feel better since I’ve switched to a plant-based diet. My bones don’t hurt anymore. I have more energy and more endurance. I can think more clearly. I’ve lost 20 pounds, my cholesterol has dropped 30 points, my blood pressure has dropped, and I just feel good! The results of all my medical tests are great. Even my eyesight has gotten better!
I have a gallery of watchers, including my doctors and my friends, all watching to see how I do in the long term I don’t actively worry about the cancer coming back, but it’s always there in the background and it continues to motivate me. I stay active and enjoy yoga, walking, riding my bike, and kayaking. I have peace of mind about my vegan diet and know it’s the right choice for me.