Tag Archives: Cancer

I found the hidden key to post-menopausal weight loss!

I once canceled an appointment with the oncologist because I felt like I was too fat.

Here’s what happened… The Dr. had been telling me for the last two visits that it was in my best interest to eat a sugar free, mostly fruit and vegetable diet -either that, or take the drug Tamoxifen. The later didn’t make sense as an option because when presented with the pamphlet, it said it was only effective for woman who had hormone+ cancers, AND that there was an increased risk of uterine cancer for those who took the drug! I also read something about needing to wear gloves when you wipe, and to make sure your children don’t come in contact with your urine by accident. huh? no thanks. The choice to focus on diet made sense to me.

But to be challenged to lose weight by the oncologist after surgical menopause, became a preposterous chore! My metabolism had flat-lined, and I had this new level of midsection muffin top! It didn’t seem to matter how much I worked out, or if I counted calories. I wasn’t seeing lasting change. Instead of facing the doctor with my failure (yeah right, lose 15 lbs in the wake of the Christmas season!) I bailed on the appointment.

Now, I love bodies of all shapes and sizes, but I personally felt weighted down.  I was always tired, chasing cups of coffee as the day wore on. Not only was my energy schlumpy, but my mind was foggy too. I was missing the edge and drive that a younger estrogen intact version of me use to feel.

But I have made a tremendous breakthrough!!! I just lost 10 lbs in one week without starving myself, buying into some big PLAN with products, OR exercising like a MANIAC!

In the past, I’ve tried all sorts of cleanses and ways of eating, from vegetarianism, to veganism, raw, gluten free and paleo, but what is rocking my world right now is my discovery of a KETOGENIC way of eating, or Keto diet. It really isn’t a diet per se. I would think about it as a life altering perspective shift in how you view food. It is a lifestyle change.

In the first 7 days of eating this way, I have lost 10 lbs, including 2″ off my waistline, and 3″ off of my hips. I have increased energy, stamina and focus. All prior gastrointestinal troubles I’ve had, are gone. No more bloating or gassiness. The best part of all is that I don’t feel plagued with intense cravings for sugar or carbohydrates. I don’t feel starved, hungry, deprived or limited in my food choices, and still I can’t – help – loosing -weight!

I have found a ton of Keto recipes, articles and blogs, and have learned ways to modify this diet for vegetarians. The biggest thing is that there is a complete elimination of sugar, processed foods and nearly all carbohydrates. Carbs convert to sugar, and if your body is running on glucose and fructose, you don’t burn the fat stores in your body. By starving your body of sugar and carbs, you turn into a fat burning MACHINE!

Ketosis is maintained by following a basic guideline of eating:

75% healthy fats, oils and non-starchy vegetables

20% protein

5% carbohydrates in the form of berries, and only a few other foods in small amounts.

This way of eating flies in the face of the SAD (Standard American Diet) we grew up eating. We have been force fed a food pyramid  that dictates that we eat lots of whole grains and carbohydrates, and pursue all things low-fat. Add to this, the travesty of processed food, which has tons of sugar, corn syrup, saturated fats, additives, preservatives and dyes.

I encourage everyone who has an inkling of interest in learning how to eat a healthier Ketogenic diet to watch a documentary that is out on Netflix right now called, The Magic Pill. It follows different people with a range of illnesses as they switch from a SAD diet to a Keto diet. Watch and see what happens! There are profound opportunities for healing and a better life waiting for people who are struggling with diabetes, high blood pressure, autism, neurological problems, gastrointestinal problems, autoimmune disorders, cancer, depression and poor self esteem.

I am so excited by this shift that I want to tell everyone I know. This way of eating is helping so many people, and might be just the shift you have been waiting for!

If you would like to learn about an opportunity to be a part of a group to share information and support, to fully step into a ketogenic, fat burning, energy filled life… if you want that group accountability and encouragement to lean on, send me an email today! I will share what I know, we will learn from each other, and from people who have been rocking this way of eating with great success for long periods of time.


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*MELISSA EPPARD is a certified Life Coach and Holistic Cancer Coach. When her son was only 3 she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of hereditary breast cancer. Now she coaches people through difficult transitions, teaches stress management techniques, and helps people live their best lives at any age or stage. She helps ignite the spark of purposeful living and creative fire in everyone she meets, and lives by the belief that what you nurture will grow! www.MelissaEppardCoaching.com

*Please note that I am not a dietitian, nutritionist or medical doctor, and am not giving health advice or nutritional plans. I seek to share information and inspiration based on my own experiences, and encourage everyone to do their own research. If you have a serious medical condition and take medication, you should continue to consult with your medical providers. 



Coping with Loss after Cancer

There is a raw wordless ache in my core. When I start to approach it, it builds into a fire that agitates my whole system and threatens to engulf the whole of me. It’s in my pulse and my blood. My scalp prickles and my hair hurts. I itch all over. My hands are restless, so I scrub dishes and fold laundry and pull weeds. I’m afraid that if I get too close to it, all my positive efforts at healing and rebuilding… my health, my career, all my gratitude, that it will careen off into a blurry void of hopelessness and crash into a gully of despair.

Three people in my circle have had their lives taken by cancer this year. Their names are Champagne Joy, Milyn Kukon and just this past weekend, Cat Barney. Cat and I were newly acquainted, and I wish I had more time to know her. Our sons go to school together, and this similarity in age, the idea of leaving behind a husband and son, it gathers the storm clouds and terrifies me.

I want to put a name on it, to analytically dissect it. That is safer than feeling the tsunami of emotion. I am left with this question:  How can I experience loss without retraumatization?

I have heard the saying that, “Anger is Sad’s bodyguard,” but I wonder if Sad is somehow allowing the walls to still stand. Anger threatens to obliterate me. Anger seeks to undo my remasking as a “Person Among the Living” after the absurdity that is cancer. Who am I angry with? Is it God? Is it Mankind’s destruction of the environment? Why would my genetic code go haywire like this?

I don’t know what to do with these feelings, so I write. I lean into my community again, like I did when I was weak and bald and sutured. What comes to me now is the image of being carried by a sea of people who love and support me.

After Harvey and Irma, and our mass retraumatization of watching these devastating images, I remember that most of us intimately know loss and pain and the vulnerability of being alive. I see these images and all I want to do is get on a bus and head to the most ravished place I can find and try to pick up the pieces.

As I wrote Cat’s name the sun broke through. I want to tell myself a story that she and Milyn and Champagne are everywhere now, all around us, invisible in the air, and we can breathe them in. Is raw vulnerability the gift they left? This reminder of impermanence? It makes me double down on my mission. Busy is my default coping mode.

Refocusing on the other, finding my community again, I’m leaning in.

Gifts You Can’t Find on Black Friday

I grimaced inside when in an attempt to comfort me, people would mention that there would be Gifts, unknown to me now, that this cancer diagnosis would bestow upon me. How could any of this be seen as a gift?! For my readers who know of someone newly diagnosed, please note that this is not something easily heard, not a warm and fuzzy sentiment to wrap your loved one up in. Perhaps at a loss for what to say, just be present. Ask, “What can I do right now to help you?” Let them know that you will be there for them in any shape or form… a call at some odd hour, a warm meal, a friend to help drive them to an appointment, a research assistant when terms and treatments are suggested that sound confusing… there are many ways to give and be present without idealizing illness, without projecting pity, and without marginalizing their experience.

Now I wish to speak to those of you who have suffered a great deal. Cancer is not a prerequisite, and many of us have known suffering, so pull up a chair… I am in the final 6 weeks of a total 5 month Chemotherapy regimen, and six and a half months have passed since my diagnosis. Let me tell you that there WILL be gifts. You will find the most unexpected and surprising gifts if only you just open up your mind and your heart, and most importantly, that you are there on the other side of the door to receive them. This flip side of giving has been a big growing lesson for me. In order to experience these gifts, you have to 1. ASK, and 2. open to RECEIVE.

The “Ask” I speak of is not like sitting on Santa’s lap and running off a list of material things you wish to magically appear under the proverbial tree. To ask is to be seen. I know that sounds confusing, but what I mean is that you must let down your guard of being afraid of judgement for your vulnerability and suffering. Look around you right now. What could make your life a little more simple, more comforting? What could bring you ease or uplift your spirits right now? Company? A bath? Someone to wash your dishes or do a little shopping? Be willing to be seen and ask. Don’t assume you are all alone in this. It can be so hard to reach out of your suffering, but trust me, you must try. We NEED each other. Yes, you could go it alone… but you will deprive others of the experience to give of themselves… to share their Light with you.

For me, to at first Receive was like being asked to dance in the 6th grade, awkward and uncomfortable. It was hard to let down my self judgment and is still something I work to keep in check. Yesterday for example, I was day dreaming about doing my taxes for the year (yes, I’m strange!) and in this daydream I wrote, “Charity Case” as my profession for 2014. Quickly snapping to, I silenced that inner critic and judge and shifted to gratitude instead of feeling sorry for myself. A friend reminded me yesterday of how much it means to her to be able to give. Me being on the receiving end made her feel so good. You forget that when you’re feeling vulnerable and low.

I’d like to share just a few of my unexpected Gifts… While I am SO grateful for the donations that have helped me to pay the bills and endless co-pays, and for the generous offers of various healing sessions, for the food donations, and people helping me get to appointments and bring over warm meals, I am talking about something else entirely. I wish to share with you a few gifts to the soul that will stick with me forever… the unexpected treasures…

My Mom and I, who were so close when I was growing up, have grown closer through this. I think when I went off to college we started drifting apart… maybe she saw me as a strong and capable young woman and thought I didn’t need her as much. She got into dog breeding with her new husband and though we were only 20 minutes away from each other, weeks would go by without us really connecting. Through these difficult months I needed my Mommy and she has really shown up for me.

My biological Dad and I have had a tumultuous and strained relationship. I felt like he didn’t know me and at times that I was unlovable to him. Well… Hi Dad. He has been reading my blog and writing me emails, opening and sharing parts of himself, like his views on spirituality, and I feel closer to knowing him and being known to him.

Other family members too… my Dad who adopted me, my Sisters, my Stepmother, my Aunts, my Stepfather and Step-Grandmother, my In-laws, all rallying around me, praying for me and checking in on me. In wellness, at it’s best, you assume your family loves you and cares for you or at the very least you tolerate each other. In sickness, you KNOW you are loved.

I am grateful too for my Sisterhood of Beautiful, Strong and Soulful friends. I had always cherished our good times of laughing together and creating great memories, but I think the greatest gift was being able to cry and be vulnerable with these women, and being held with such grace and care.

My relationship with my Husband has strengthened too. I had always thought of myself as the organized one, the Do-er, the caretaker. As I have had to take a back seat to a lot of our domestic tasks, I have made room for Joey to step up and show his capability and strength. He has always been a loving husband and my best friend, and now I know what a wonderful caretaker he can be. I have seen a new strength in him that was always there, but perhaps not fully realized and appreciated from my “Do-it-all” perch. Thank you Darling!

The last surprising gift that I will offer today, is that my vulnerability and sharing has reached into the hearts of others. I use to write endlessly in my teens and twenties, then life happened and it dried up. This blog has been an outlet, a release, and a voice for me. I think in some small way I may be helping other people on both sides, in wellness or in sickness. While it Gives to me, it Gives back and that helps me feel useful and gives meaning to this experience.

And the best part… I’m still in it, so I know there will be more gifts to unfold as time goes on!

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