Yesterday was a BIG day.
I walked out of a building I poured my heart and soul into for 4 ½ years.
Let’s go back in time for a little bit.
Several years ago, I went back to school to become a dietitian, specifically an oncology dietitian. Why that focus? My family had been affected by several cancer diagnoses. Breast cancer x 3, lung cancer, and liver cancer. I had a lot of questions about cancer and nutrition.
Could proper nutrition prevent cancer?
Could proper nutrition help during cancer treatment?
Could proper nutrition reduce the risk of recurrence?
Spoiler Alert: The answer to all of the above is YES despite what several oncologists and other physicians inform their patients. Nutrition plays a role in the development, progression, and recurrence of cancer.
Not only did I dive into the coursework, but I also started reading piles of books, shadowed many dietitians, and shared my dream focusing on oncology with my instructors.
All the hard work paid off and I graduated with a B.S. in Dietetics and was offered an amazing internship at a nationally known cancer center. To say I was excited was an understatement. They even offered me a full-time position as an outpatient oncology dietitian before I even started my internship!
My dreams were becoming a reality.
Only a few months after starting my dream job, my heart led me to a new opportunity at the cancer center my mom was treated at during her cancer journey. Not only was it in my hometown, but they were also looking for a full-time dietitian to build an oncology nutrition program.
I didn’t pass up the opportunity.
I loved my new job, my patients, my co-workers, and the challenge to build a nutrition program from the ground up.
After a while, patients outside of the cancer center asked to work with me. So, I started Wholesome LLC in 2015 (while still working full-time at the cancer center) to serve more clients and take on a new challenge.
Not only was I helping more people than ever, but my dreams were also evolving and moving me in a new direction.
My passion for oncology nutrition exploded and I started researching preventative nutrition for several other chronic diseases like lupus which affected Lauren. Little did we know, together, we would put Lauren’s disease in remission!
My days started changing. I began setting my alarm for 5:00 AM to get in a few hours of Wholesome work before my 8-10 hour day at the cancer center while the rest of the house was sleeping.
I told Lauren about my big dreams for Wholesome. I asked her, “When will I know it is time to purse Wholesome full-time?” She replied, “You’ll just know.” (Note: Lauren had experience as she started her own business in 2014.)
And she was right. I just knew.
After working the numbers, my husband and I decided there would be no better time than now to try pursuing my dream of helping others beyond the cancer center.
Even after closing my computer, turning in my phone, and saying “see you later” to the staff and patients, it doesn’t feel real. Perhaps it’s the holidays, or maybe it is because it’s the right decision?
I am proud of the positive strides made at the cancer center, but there is more work to do. I feel confident leaving my past dream in the hands of two amazing dietitians who became part of the journey.
To my patients -- you are what makes every day worth it. You inspire all of us in your fight.
To my co-workers -- your passion and love for the job made every day joyful and truly wonderful.
To myself -- never forget the patients who touched your life. They not only made you a better dietitian but a better person.
To you, the reader -- I am so thankful you are here on this journey with me. I could not be more thrilled to help you on your path to living a more Wholesome life. I am beyond excited to share what Wholesome has been working on (coming soon). Together, we can accomplish more than we think!
And finally, to cancer -- you.ain’t.got.nothin’.