Last night I found out that, Australian blogger Jessica Ainscough, the Wellness Warrior, died of cancer. I was not an avid follower of her website but I checked her blog quite often to see what she had to say. She also had several other social media sites where she shared her “alternative” therapies, positive attitude and recipes for healthy living.
After reading some of the comments on You Tube channels that interviewed her, along with articles from “science” based blogs, I decided to give my opinion. I feel I am qualified to weigh in on the “controversy” because I am a stage four cancer survivor. But before I go in to that, I will give you some history about Jessica (in case you don’t already know). I snagged part of her bio from Hay House Australia website:
Jessica Ainscough is a certified holistic health counselor, having studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York. She is the creator of the popular health and wellness website, www.thewellnesswarrior.com.au, and her writing is also regularly seen elsewhere online and in print. Jess is one of the hosts of the wellness web TV show healthtalks and is a transformational and motivational speaker.
She was diagnosed with epithelioid sarcoma seven years ago (she was 22 years old). Epithelioid sarcoma is a rare cancer that affects young adults and shows up in the distal upper extremity (hand and forearm). It has a high tendency for recurrence and spreads along lymphatic channels. Chemotherapy (doxorubicin) has been used for metastatic disease (stage four cancer), but has not been shown to improve survivorship. Radiation therapy is used in some institutions for primary and recurrent cases to save the limbs, but it has not shown to improve overall survivorship either. In other words, persons with this type of cancer usually do not survive more than five to ten years. If you want to read more about this deadly cancer, you will find it here.
I do not know for sure, but I am willing to guess that Jessica was told all her options by her doctors and she decided on Gerson Therapy as her primary cancer treatment. She talks about her daily routine in this video:
Now for my opinion:
First of all, I find most people who give their opinions one way or another when it comes to cancer treatments do not and never had cancer. Most of their information is based on “My friend told me this…” or “I read this on some blog…” or they are simply talk out of their asses. I know because I have had similar “advice” from “well-intentioned” people when I was going through my cancer treatment.
Stuart Scott, a well-known (and loved) Sports Center anchor was diagnosed with appendiceal cancer in 2007. His appendix was removed, but the disease came back four years later and again last year. He died January 4th, 2015. Stuart went the conventional route. It was what he decided to do. I do not remember reading any negative comments about his treatment choice.
Why is Jessica being attacked for making her choice?
If you never had cancer, you do not get to bully someone who is in treatment, about the choices they make to get well… no matter which one they choose. You certainly do not get to bully or attack someone after they are dead from the disease. Wait… you do not get to bully anyone for having cancer. Period!
There are no guarantees that someone will survive their cancer diagnosis. I don’t care if its conventional, alternative, or integrated. There are no guarantees! Each of decides for ourselves which treatment is best for us; not me, not you and certainly not some blogger!
I volunteer in a cancer center and all the patients there are getting chemo or radiation or a combination of the two and some have surgery. There is a book at the nurses station that contains several hundred names of patients who have died. It is updated on a regular basis.
I was given two doses of chemotherapy, thirty rounds of radiation and have a permanent colostomy bag. I was diagnosed with stage four rectal cancer on December 28th 2010 and was declared cancer free June 11th 2011. I am still cancer free! I have visited with several colorectal cancer patients (who weren’t even stage four) who died of their disease within a couple years. Since then I met other colorectal cancer survivors (via the Internet) and the things we have in common; are we all changed our diets and lifestyles.
In my opinion, I healed faster because I decided on Integrated Therapy. I changed my diet and my entire lifestyle (including mindset). I am healthier than I ever was.
However, my cancer was not the same as Jessica’s. Luck also played a part; my cancer was not a rare one.
I do not know what kind of cancer Stuart had. There are at least two hundred different types of cancers today. We are all unique individuals, with our own health histories. Many patients have other health problems (for example: diabetes) besides cancer, that makes treating them even harder. Chemotherapy and radiation poison your system. You have to be tough to withstand their side effects. If you have another health issue, you will have a harder time with these drugs. You have to be strong-willed to withstand the emotional roller coaster you will experience having cancer…no matter what treatment you choose.
Stuart decided to share his story to inspire others. He was always positive even though, I’m sure there were times he had to “fake it” to get through his sportscast. He did not let cancer take away his “life” while he was living. Jessica did the same thing. They just made different choices about their medical treatments.
Jessica decided to inspire others after her diagnosis. She was always upbeat and positive. I am sure she felt fear and sadness when she was alone. I know she felt physical pain. But she did not want to project that to others.
There is already too much negative news and people who love to complain, attack and just act like assholes for whatever reason. Jessica rose above all that (even though in my opinion, she had plenty to be pissed off about!).
Stuart Scott said:
Every single one of you reading this will die someday…from something. What matters most is how you choose to live your life… right now, this minute.
Will you bring positive energy or join the chorus of how “life sucks.” Its up to you.
I am sorry to hear that Jessica died…but she lived life on her terms and that’s all that matters to me.
Be Well and don’t let anyone bully you in to doing something that’s not right for you!