The Vitality Doctor

My Cancer Journey

My Cancer Journey

By Dr. Marilyn Joyce, PhD, RD
The Vitality Doctor


Why Such a Book by Dr Marilyn Joyce?
(Forward excerpted from:
“INSTANT E.N.E.R.G.Y.™: The 5 Keys to Unlimited Energy & Vitality”)

We’ve all heard the expression, “Nothing ever remains the same. Change is inevitable!” And that includes all of us – you and me! If we are not changing – in other words, growing – we are stagnant – we’re dying. That’s right, rotting! Have you ever smelled a stagnant pool of water? If we’re not moving – or changing – we’re stagnant and rotting, or dying!

So, when I first wrote my original book, 5 Minutes to Health, the place I was coming from, in the process of creating and writing that book, was a far different place than where I am at today. INSTANT E.N.E.R.G.Y.™ reflects my own shift, or growth, from a focus on the physical perspectives of health, primarily nutrition, to a focus on the whole person perspectives of health: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Being optimally healthy depends on being wholly healthy – every aspect of our entire being is in balance.

A tall order, you say. Absolutely! Is it possible, or even feasible, to believe that each of us can achieve this balance? Well, why not? Remember the expression – and you’ll read it again in this book, since repetition is the mother of learning – “For things to change first I must change?” And another important expression you’ll likely stumble upon in this book is: “Change your mind to change your life.” And you can change your life in an instant, by changing your mind – or your thought – in that instant. These are not simply expressions. They are proven facts, proven by many folks who have applied them to their own lives! And yes, it does take consistent practice at first like anything else. There’s that word again: Repetition!

Well, all of that said, I have decidedly changed – or expanded – my mind about almost everything since I wrote 5 Minutes to Health. And my life is completely different today than it was when I traveled the continent promoting my baby (that book) – yes, it actually took 9 months to write 55 Minutes to Health! And I absolutely referred to it, upon completion, as my baby. As with all babies, it grew up. And, as all of us who have raised children know, the growing up process takes a lot longer than the original 9 months of gestation! Hence, over the past almost 14 years, my baby grew up into a very well rounded, multi-faceted, young adult.

No longer simply satisfied or fulfilled with meeting only the physical (nutritional) needs, 5 Minutes to Health morphed into INSTANTE.N.E.R.G.Y™, a book that addresses the depth and breadth of the various dimensions of the human being-spirit. All of the basic elements from 5 Minutes to Health are still here, though completely revised to reflect the wealth of new information, and expanded learning and experience, I have undergone since that book was originally written. However, INSTANT E.N.E.R.G.Y™ includes, and expands on, all of the various aspects of the work I do with my patients and clients today. A whole new, and extremely comprehensive, section has been added, with more than 20 new chapters addressing all four dimensions of whole person health – again, those are physical, mental, emotional and spiritual – that need to be in balance and harmony in order for us to enjoy a completely fulfilling, healthy and vibrant life.

And that’s not all! The, already thorough, References and Resources section has been completely revised and updated, as well as tremendously expanded to include a wide variety of new resources, while eliminating those that have bitten the dust since the mid-90’s. The best part is that all of the information in this section is compiled in a much more comprehensive and organized format than previously provided in 5 Minutes to Health, thanks to the persistence and genuine commitment of my amazing editor, Laurie Poel, to make it the most valuable tool possible for the reader – You!

Wait, there’s even more value added to this new book, INSTANT E.N.E.R.G.Y™, than ever provided by 5 Minutes to Health. Remember: 5 Minutes to Health grew up! So the focus in this new book is not on overcoming illness, although all of the strategies and information included here will prove to be valuable tools in anyone’s journey back to health from a life challenging illness. However, the focus of INSTANT E.N.E.R.G.Y™ is on prevention of illness – and on creating and maximizing your energy and vitality, anywhere, anytime, using innovative, easy, quick, and healthy 5-minute strategies, that can be done by anyone! What more could you ask for? And who better than The Vitality Doctor™ to provide this information for you?

Well, let me first state that I was not always The Vitality Doctor™! The person you go to for simple, quick solutions for creating energy surges in an instant when you’re experiencing a “personal” energy crisis! And we’re not talking about lack of fuel in your car! So, please allow me to take you on journey – my journey – that led me to where I am today, and to the writing of this book…

In 1984, I, Marilyn Joyce, had the world by the tail! Or so it seemed! On the surface, everything looked like it was working. I had my own nutrition consulting business, demanding a high fee for my services. I was living in a beautiful home which I owned, driving the car of my dreams, traveling extensively, dating very successful, and generally interesting, men in the business world, and was basically writing my own ticket in every aspect of my life.

My peers, my employers, my clients and my audiences alike, had only great things to say about my work and my pleasant, friendly, accommodating (people pleasing) nature! I would bend over backwards to make sure that I had covered every possible detail, and more, in the name of my work. It was not uncommon for me to work around the clock for days on end in order to meet unrealistic deadlines. My resume was full of letters from satisfied clients stating that, “Marilyn always gives at least 130% to every challenge she is faced with.” But, after all, this business was my baby, and that’s what one had to do to get ahead! Or so I thought!

For about two years I rode the crest of that wave, and believed on some level that I loved every moment of it. Though, quite frankly, I did spend a lot of time marveling at my seemingly great success. And spent many sleepless nights wondering how I had managed to pull this off, and how long it would last before something would bring it to a crashing halt. You see, I did not really enjoy the feeling of success! I was too busy worrying about it coming to an end!

And, end it did! Suddenly my world shattered around me. In other words, I was so focused on what I did not want (everything good coming to an end) versus what I did want (joyful and continued progress and success)! Guess what I created. My business contracts, which were primarily government based, ended overnight, with sudden cutbacks in spending in the particular arena of my focus. My car was totaled in the first major accident of my driving career. Somehow, I and my friends, who were in my car at the time, were only slightly bruised, if at all. Yet that did not deter a lawsuit by one of my passengers. A nasty ending to a so called friendship!

There’s more! One of my closest friends, for reasons unknown at the time, committed suicide a week later. Her business was at its greatest height of success at the time! And we, her closest friends, all envied her wonderful marriage to one of the most loving, demonstrative men we had ever known! Something in this picture did not fit!

What appeared to be unfolding into the relationship of my dreams, ended about the same time as the suicide occurred. One day we were speaking about marriage. The next day, without any explanation, “the love of my life”, called the whole thing off!

And, of course, as a result of this whole sequence of events, I was faced with a monthly mortgage that was now beyond my means. So I began the process of selling my beautiful home with all of the amenities I had come to enjoy and cherish. I knew it couldn’t get worse than this! After all, nothing that I had worked so long and so hard for, was still available to me. My world seemed to be disintegrating around me.

Wrong! To coin a phrase, what happened next was, literally, the straw that broke the camel’s back!! An unusual looking, hard, shiny black mole appeared on my face. My vanity took me to the doctor. The shock of the diagnosis sent me spinning. Melanoma! I’m sure you could have, literally, knocked me over with a feather. Though I had no idea, at the time, how serious this diagnosis could be, it represented the “C” word – the word we all whispered about when someone we knew was marked by it.

However, I was assured that we got it early, and that there was probably no cause for concern. Out of hospital a week, I was rushed back into the hospital, with tremendous pain in my uterus. You can probably guess by now what the diagnosis was.

Here I was 36 years old, and given a death sentence. After all, in every hospital or nursing home I worked in, the moment a patient or resident was diagnosed with any kind of cancer, we began preparing him or her for “the end,” in other words, DEATH! It is not uncommon to hear a doctor or a nurse state that “It’s only a matter of time!” And, at the time, I bought into that belief, hook, line and sinker, so to speak. Who was I to believe that my odds were any better than anyone else’s?

Was I depressed? You’re darn right I was! Did I show it? Not a chance! The world was only going to see me at my best. By this point in my life, it was ingrained in me that I must never let anyone see my vulnerabilities, my weaknesses. I was known, by most people who knew me, as a survivor. And furthermore, I was a Dietitian, who talked about health and how to achieve it. So, it was critical that I put up a good front, until the bitter end. If people were aware of my condition, I would lose my credibility! At least that was my belief at the time.

Several years into my struggle with cancer, someone in a nowhere town in mid somewhere USA, really summed up the entire story of my life, at least until that point in time: “Lookin’ good! That’s all you care about, Marilyn! Your only concern is what you and your life look like to the onlooker! Make sure you don’t let anyone get too close now, just in case they get to know who you really are.” So you might say that I was at an impasse in my life and with my illness.

Without going into the gory details of my illness, suffice it to say I went progressively down hill. At the point at which I was given only a short amount of time, the realization that “Lookin’ good!” was not cutting it, hit like a lightning bolt! I was not looking good! And the myriad of excuses I used to explain my tremendous weight loss and extreme fatigue were growing old, and not very believable.

I had tried everything! Every diet and every program I could find or stumble upon. Every idea anyone suggested. Every vitamin and mineral supplement ever written about, whether in scientific or popular lay publications. Every herb and every tea anyone talked about. My own personal library of books and information filled every shelf in my home and covered every available space on my floors. And let’s not forget that I was a trained dietitian with a major emphasis on biochemistry. If anyone should have the answers, I should! Right? Wrong!

Well, if I had remembered my biochemistry, I might have had some answers sooner. However, cancer, like all illnesses, is a teacher. And my lesson was about learning to listen. It was obvious that I did not have all of the answers. Yet, in my effort to hide my own challenge, I would attempt to find a solution for everyone else’s challenge or health crisis, as a way of avoiding dealing with my own situation. Of course, the day of reckoning always arrives! And fortunately it saved my life!

A Home Show, a Vita Mix machine, a young man knowledgeable about things I had forgotten about, and a Bernie Siegel workshop. Love, Enzymes and Miracles! (My own summation of this cumulative set of events.) As I began to research and remember about enzymes in food, and the need for that food to be alive and wholesome, filled with all the nutrients necessary for the biochemical functions of my body, I saw the need for a drastic change from foods that simply provided calories, to foods that had a lot more than calories and fat to offer.

With a lot of help from a couple of devoted and true friends, and the implementation of very basic and quick to prepare recipes, my health began to improve. The focus was mainly on raw foods in more bioavailable forms. A wide variety of fresh vegetables and whole grains formed the basis of my diet, with the addition of a little fruit and a small portion of fish every day. I added green things, such as spirulina, barley grass, chlorella, various seaweeds, and GMO-free (no genetic engineering) protein powders.

To begin with, however, I had almost no energy to even eat. Sucking on ice chips was, initially, the extent to which I was able to ingest anything. However, little by little, I was able to consume more foods in this ice chip form, and later, foods in liquid forms. Using a Vita Mix Machine, which is a high powered blender, food processor, grinder, grater, chopper and mixer all rolled into one machine, I got all of my foods in the whole food state, but in a much more bioavailable and digestible form. Within a few months, I was able to tolerate more solid foods. Just for the record, I have continued to use my Vita Mix machine (see Equipment, in the Resources Section of this book) simply because of the speed with which a delicious, wholesome meal can be prepared, and because of the amazing taste and consistency it provides.

As well, I realized throughout my own healing process, that the most productive practices I employed, were also generally the simplest, least time consuming practices! Whether they involved the physical, mental, emotional or spiritual aspects of getting well again, simplicity was, and is, always the key.

Since my recovery, I have continued to incorporate the 80 20 principle in all areas of my life. In my diet, that principle translates into the foods I eat being predominantly free of over processing and over preparation. Once in a while, when I go out with friends, I may indulge in foods that are not as close to natural as the foods I eat at home. But “fast food” is never an option! It is simply not on my menu! And left to my own devices, I will choose a restaurant that serves a variety of healthy food choices, versus the opposite. I steer clear of the rich desserts and items prepared with heavy cream sauces. In this day and age, you just never know what might be lurking in those “fancy” foods!

In my work with patients and clients, it became evident to me that those who incorporated a similar pattern of simple healthy eating and lifestyle habits began to see major improvements in their health. Their energy and vitality, within a short period of time, were dramatically improved. Getting back to basics in all aspects of our life seems to be the key to outstanding health, and boundless vitality, regardless of age! The minute we move away from a simple, somewhat basic, lifestyle, we begin to complicate our lives and to create tremendous stress on our bodies, which in time, leads to a breakdown of the overall efficiency of our immune function. And then our bodies, in turn, become susceptible to, and fall prey to, an attacking illness.

So you see, this book is the result of my own journey back to wellness from a life challenging illness, as well as the results of my extensive work with a wide variety of degenerative illnesses in my nutrition and lifestyle practice. It is at the request of my patients and clients, to put all of the basics and strategies I teach them, into a form they can refer to at any time, that this expanded book, became a reality! And it is written, as I previously stated, as much if not more, with prevention of illness, versus overcoming an illness, in mind!

It is important to state here, that when it comes to creating, maintaining, and optimizing whole person wellness, there are no magic bullets. There is no one thing that will be the answer for everyone. Yet a simple, high quality diet together with a balanced, harmonious lifestyle program, fully addressing the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of wellness, will, at least, give a person a solid foundation for the creation of the highest degree of health and vitality possible. For a more individualized program, designed specifically for you, it is important to seek out reliable, credible professionals to work with you.

NOTE: Do take a moment to check out our 4-week teleseminar series: Your 5 keys to Instant E.N.E.R.G.Y™ outlined in the back of this book (where we have also provided a bonus discount coupon for anyone in possession of this book), as well as other valuable resources available

Furthermore, be assertive! Take nothing at face value. Ask questions. Become involved, and be a participant in your healing process – or in your illness prevention program. Choose health and wellness over illness! Choose quality over quantity. Choose natural, whole foods over processed, denatured foods. Choose simplicity over complexity. Choose to be self reliant, taking responsibility for your own health and vitality, versus depending on your doctor or other healthcare providers to “make” or “keep” you well. Seek out the kind of support you need, and use it! If you are ill, or not quite up to par, see your illness or malady as your teacher, not your friend or enemy, and pay attention to what it is trying to teach you. In other words, be proactive (the stance of a responsible (response-able, self-determined individual), versus reactive (the stance of a victim) in all areas of your life!

Most importantly, think of this road that you are about to travel on, as an adventure. It is an opportunity to explore your options and to try new approaches to the way you live your life. It is your chance to fully take charge of your body and your life.

With love, I offer this book, to assist you in making some of the changes necessary to insure your continued health, as well as renewal and expansion of your energy and vitality. Or, perhaps the strategies and tools provided here will assist you in overcoming a life challenging illness, should that be the journey you happen to find yourself on at this time.

I will leave you, at this point, with two statements that I have internalized over the years, and now embody in my own consciousness, as a result of my personal journey back to wellness and vitality. And yes, you may be very surprised by their absolute simplicity!

If it doesn’t flow, it doesn’t go!

However, it is important to remember that, from time to time, there may be rapids along the way!

And remember:
It ain’t over ‘till it’s over!