My Cancer Journey
I’ll never forget the day the doctor told me I needed to have chemotherapy. He said the tumor had started growing again. I was afraid, even though they assured me that the treatment would be successful. If I didn’t deal with this thing growing inside of me it would consume me.
My husband has often said that I didn’t smile during those months. I didn’t realize that at the time, but what I remember is long soaks in the tub to ease the pain. I remember reaching out for heavenly strength and comfort as I desired to stop hurting and to have some control over my life again. More than anything I wanted to continue caring for my little family. I also wanted to have another baby.
There is another thing that happened, though. I’d been interested in herbs but hadn’t realized what they could do for me. I met a lady who’d had the same type of tumor as me. This type of tumor is a direct result of pregnancy and, after the initial treatment, most women recover. In rare cases, the tumor starts growing again, at which point they recommend chemo. This was my path. Well, this new friend had done none of the traditional treatments but had instead made some major life changes that included eating natural foods and using herbs to help her heal her body. I was intrigued by this story and began a more serious search into herbs and what they could do for me.
Although I did finish my chemo, I began to explore and learn about these options. I purchased herb books and played with new food recipes that included more fruits and vegetables and less processed food. I visited with a naturopathic doctor who guided me in putting together a regimen that I followed religiously. It included two-quarts of dandelion tea every day in addition to green drinks, vegetable juices, lemons, and a list of other specific nutrients that I checked off each morning as I took them.
What happened was that my body quickly became strong again. I had more energy and felt the effects of the chemo fade away. The blood tests showed that my body was healthy. And that baby I wanted is now an amazing adult. But I realized the efforts that helped me to cleanse and nourish my body would continue to help me if I would make them part of my life.
I also realized that there were many things in my environment that were filled with toxins. Cleaners had strong, toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, which can slowly affect the body’s ability to control the brain. Other toxic cleaners have chemicals that contain carcinogens and neurotoxins; in other words, they have toxins that have been linked to cancer and nerve problems. But even worse, I realized that there were also toxins in my lotions and other skincare products that have been linked to breast tumors, respiratory distress, birth defects, endocrine disruptions, and more. And I was smearing these products on my skin which meant they were getting into my bloodstream and becoming part of me.
I struggled to find safe skincare products, so I began making my own. I spent the next twenty years learning about herbs and formulations while I homeschooled my six children. One thing the kids looked forward to was our weekly trip to the library, where between all seven of us we often checked out close to 120 books. My stack often included books about formulating and herbs. My kids grew up trying out my concoctions, whether they were for personal care or for dinner. Out of these experiments came the skincare line that eventually became Auminay Naturals.
It was mostly a hobby, though, until the day I was life-flighted to the hospital after a terrible auto accident. As I lay in the trauma unit, staring at the ceiling all night, bruised and broken, I made some decisions that changed my life. Again! Soon afterward I began my training as a Master Herbalist.
There have been many times along this road that I’ve thought about quitting. That is usually when somebody will send me a note or tell me how one of my products has changed their life for the better, whether it helped their eczema or their fine lines.
Every individual has the right to be empowered toward a healthier life. That is why I do what I do.
By Melanie Skelton, Master Herbalist