Categories
Life

HOW TAKING MY HEALTH INTO MY OWN CARE SAVED MY LIFE

From before my diagnosis to middle of treatment, I captured my journey through photos.

THE STORY LEADING UP TO MY CANCER DIAGNOSIS …

I am fortunate to say that I had great health as a child and teenager. My parents would only serve me fresh organic food and make sure I took my vitamins everyday. I had so much energy and always stayed active. The only thing I wrestled with was cystic acne and digestive issues due to my intolerance to lactose. I thought these problems were difficult to manage, but it was not until halfway throughout college that I got a sense of what health complications really looked like; my life completely turned upside down.

It all started in the beginning of my sophomore year. The second semester something frightening happened to me. I started to experience unforeseen anxiety, developed rashes all over my chest and back, and had night sweats which caused me to wake up in damp pajamas in the middle of the night. I knew something in my body was not right. It was not until a lymph node the size of a golfball popped up above my collarbone (March 2017) that I started to become very concerned. I was very confused and immediately dismissed myself from the room, went to the lavatory, took a photo of myself in the mirror and sent it to my mother. She suggested I go to the medical center on campus.

After taking blood tests and receiving the reports back, I was told that nothing was wrong and I was told that my body was probably fighting off a virus. They had suggested I visit an ENT at home just to make sure I was okay. During my visit with this doctor, I went through a series of exams including: a nasoendoscopy, MRI, and fine-needle biopsy. The results: negative, negative, and negative. Even my internist said there was nothing wrong with me. I thought this was peculiar. I let my fears release themselves as I complied to the medical professionals.

Still, deep down I knew something was wrong. My parents agreed. I figured it would be a good idea to get further testing (August 2017) before going back to school and traveling abroad for a semester with my classmates. I went to another ENT and was told within seconds that the size was abnormally large and that the area it was in was concerning. He said I needed to go in for surgery, that I could not let it wait any longer. Although I was afraid to go under the knife, I knew that it was the best thing for my health. I scheduled a biopsy, and a week later my pathology report came back positive (September 2017). I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and had to start chemotherapy right away. I was 19, and was not ready for this battle. Needless to say, I persevered and survived.

If it was not for me to listen to my intuition and keep visiting doctors, I would have not come to this diagnosis. Who knows how long I would have gone without the answers I needed. The situation could have gotten worse and my prognosis could have been more serious. With that, I encourage you to also take your life into your own hands if you feel like something is wrong. Fight for your health because your life is worth living!

You can read my full story here.

Categories
Food

FAVORITE NON-PERISHABLES DURING THE COVID-19 QUARANTINE

Although many of us can be tempted to binge on a bag of chips (guilty!) or eat an entire package of cookies in one seating during the coronavirus quarantine, we can actually serve our bodies with healthy non-perishables. It can be tricky (trust me I struggled with finding healthy options), but it is possible. Out of sight of of mind! You eat what is in front of you, so if you fill your pantry will healthy alternatives, you will be able to fuel your body without stressing out about going off track your diet.

I walk through the options I have chosen on my YouTube channel. I opted for foods that are full of fiber and high in protein. You can view more on my Amazon Associates page.

Here is a list of what I stocked up on:

In addition to these non-perishables, I have been eating fresh carrots, frozen broccoli, frozen berries, and sweet potato. I have been able to stay full and fueled 10 days into the quarantine so far. My meals consist of smoothies, soups, and beet burgers (recipe coming soon). I usually do not eat tomato and beans because I find that they inflame me. However, I have been indulging. I know that this is only temporary, and these healthy options will help me get by for the time-being.

I would love to hear how you are staying healthy during this time.

Remember, stay safe and strong!

Categories
Mindset power to persevere

The First Step to Perseverance is Acceptance

If you are reading this right now, you are probably looking for hope. Perhaps you are in physical pain, or maybe you are emotionally distraught. You might be searching for a way out of your discomfort, or for a glimmer of light and hope. Maybe you feel discouraged and are afraid to try a new experience and need guidance, or perhaps you know someone else who is in desperate need of a reset and is using this book to help them. Before I found peace in what was weighing me down, I went through these same trials. — Alexa Cucchiara, Power to Persevere

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Sometimes we think that we are immune to everything and anything until that something hits you. Never in a million years did I think I would have been dealt with my battle, but I was tested and overcame it all by acceptance. This is one of the first themes I discuss in Power to Persevere. At first, I had a hard time accepting all that I was going through. It was not until a little over a year ago that I came to terms with my reality and became motivated to become vulnerable to make a change in the world. From the moment of my diagnosis, I knew that I was experiencing this heart-ache for a reason. I knew I was meant to use my experience to help other people. Funny enough, someone had mentioned to me a few weeks prior that the purpose of my life was meant to help others. How was I going to do that if I had not accepted what I went through?

The first step I took in this process was helping Melody Lomboy-Lowe and Gracelyn Bateman through Luna Peak Company’s cancer survivor book #ProjectInspireHope. I had a hard time deciding whether or not to participate in their initiative and have my face and story in a book, but then I reflected on my plans to help others through my battle. I took a leap of faith and thought if this was my last day on Earth, I would want to spend it by impacting someone else to help them live. After the photoshoot and interview, I felt like a light within me was ignited.

From this moment on, I was able to have the courage within me to then write a book. I am so happy I proceeded to do so because I have been encouraging and helping so many people just in the small amount of time.

  • Alexa, thank you for sharing your message.
  • Alexa, what you are doing is amazing.
  • Alexa, you have helped me so much already, and I have not even read your book yet.
  • Alexa, you are inspiring me to change my life.

This is not even a tenth of all of the messages I have received. I am humbled and grateful, but the only way I was able to impact others was through acceptance. I encourage you to come to terms with the battle you are given in order for others to follow. Recognizing your reality is a closer step to overcoming your pain.

I would love to hear what you have done after accepting one of your challenging moments.

With love,

AC

Connect with me!

Instagram: @alexacuc

Email: alexacucc@gmail.com

Power to Persevere: buy here.