Cancer Coaching - Part One - Nutrition tips for living with a cancer diagnosis

When my parents were going through cancer treatment, I came up with a brilliant business: The Cancer Concierge.

Nurse Navigators within the hospital system are supposed to act as concierges -- to make appointments for you, make recommendations and referrals, answer questions and generally be there for you. In my experience, they do none of that. It's a nice th
ought though. 

My nurse navigator called me last week "just to check in," after having not touched base in over six months. I told her I had had emergent surgery to remove an infected expander, that the plastic surgeon her office recommended was awful, etc, etc, and she had no idea about any of it. Like, really, she didn't even have time to look over my chart before checking in, so there's just no way she has time to give a crap about my nutrition.

Screenshot from my first coaching 
session! She's lovely.

I would have paid good money to a Cancer Concierge™service if that existed (the last time I googled, it didn't exist yet, but please: someone make it happen!).

What does exist, however, is a Cancer Coach, and I'm thrilled to be working with Isabel Galiano. (Follow her on Instagram at

I have to admit that for a loooooong time, I equated "coaches" with just "unlicensed therapists." I figured anyone could just call themselves a coach and have a job, but I didn't really take it seriously. I'm someone who's always been self-employed and who has been successful at it, so "life coaching" didn't really make sense to me. 

After meeting Isabel, I am acknowledging: I was wrong. 

I had an initial 20-minute intake with The Cancer Coach to discuss where I am in my treatment and my general lifestyle and situation.

Then I had my first hour-long session with her, which was focused on nutrition. I've generally eaten really well my entire life -- which is part of why getting cancer was so frustrating. I did pretty much everything I could to lower my risk, and I still freaking got cancer. It makes you want to just go to McDonald's and grab a large fry and a coke and then eat unlimited chips and queso for dinner. I mean, why did I both being 90% vegan when it's clearly genetics that's going to bring me down?

While Isabel is very evidence-based (I love that -- I don't respond to mystical stuff for the most part: I prefer science), she also understands that I am human. Finding a balance between doing everything right, but also being able to enjoy the occasional Taco night with my neighbors, is key. 

Something she pointed out this week that seems obvious, but my way-of-thinking was interfering: it doesn't have to be all or nothing. You can eat gluten-free and plant-based most of the time. But just because you have some chips and queso (can you tell that chips and queso is my weakness?) one night doesn't mean you are a total failure. 

Anyway, if you're just beginning your cancer journey, and if you have the resources, may I recommend you reach out to someone like The Cancer Coach? (Check out her website; it's full of resources.) The nurse navigators will never be able to focus on YOU, and it is wildly helpful to have someone who is doing just that. 

Other takeaways from my first session with The Cancer Coach:

  • Pay attention to the chemicals in your local water, and consider investing in a filter. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, then your body clearly has a difficult time fighting off cancer cells. Don't feed them more carcinogens.
  • Drink water first thing in the morning. (I knew this, but I don't always do it. Isabel was great about explaining the science behind, and how that affects cancer patients.)
  • Limit alcohol intake. Science links cancer and alcohol. Despite my whisky-related career, I don't drink much, and I never have more than one in a sitting. (Cancer Coach's videos are here if you'd like to hear more discussion.)

    The biggest takeaway of all was:

  • PLAN YOUR MEALS. This is the hardest thing in the world for me. I know how to eat healthy. I have so much trouble with planning my meals -- primarily because of last-minute schedule changes. I can cook in batches and plan ahead, but, being self-employed, something always comes up to mess up my plan. But sketching out the week and then being okay if something comes up, is super helpful in eating well and eliminating food waste (pet peeve!).

    I'll tell you that I'm not doing perfect about planning out meals, but I am doing great about not beating myself when I diverge.

I want to write more and more, but I am taking forever to post. Trying to just check in and post and move on and not strive for perfection:) 

Cancer updates:
If you're a Patreon member,
head over there now to see
me and Jeska
SING together!
- I'm feeling pretty tired again, which is frustrating.
- My brainfog is still really thick, and I've started some occupational therapy to help with that -- more about that in another post because it's just yet another resource that I didn't know I had access to because NONE OF MY DOCTORS MENTIONED IT. 
- I have probably two more surgeries, but they are both reconstruction. I'll be getting my tissue expander out in a couple of weeks and, while my scars are bigger than most mastectomy scars due to my first sloppy plastic surgeon, I should at least be symmetrical again. I want to fit into my show dresses and look good!
- I had to cut my hair because the cancer pills and surgeries have made so much of it fall out. It's now just below my shoulders, and I HATE it. People say it looks cute, but that doesn't make me feel good at all. I miss my waist-length locks. WHINGE!
- My prognosis is really good - they staged me at 1B. I'm on a pill for 10 years, but I'm vigilant about my health and will go to the doctor for anything that doesn't feel right. 

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