Hi, I’m Jessica and my purpose in creating High Five Wellness is to give you simple proven solutions to your questions about wellness and healthy living. Information and tough lessons that have taken me years to learn, I want to give you fast access to. I am dedicated to providing the absolute best information to you and your family. Whether you are just at the beginning of your journey towards wellness or you have been at it for years, there is always something more to discover.
My journey to the “green side” began fifteen years ago. At the time, I was a happy young lady with what looked like a bright future in front of her. Being claimed by my piano teacher as her “prized pupil ” from her 60 plus years teaching, she had one goal for me in mind: Julliard. Having recently graduated from high school and now with college just around the corner, I was very eager for what the future held. And then, in just one day, my life began to crumble.
My father had noticed a knot in his abdominal tissue and assumed another hernia. Rather than seeing a local doctor first, he chose to go to the hospital that had performed his previous two hernia surgeries for him. My brother looked after our father’s small business while my mother and I went with him. But on that day, there was no hernia. The doctor came in and said “non hodgkins lymphoma”. I didn’t even know what that was. I didn’t know it met cancer.
Suddenly, my perfect introduction to live after graduation was over. My dreams were put on hold. All that mattered was my father and getting him well. I had always heard people tell him how they “wished they had his genes”, with my paternal grandparents both living into their 90s. How could this be? What had made this happen? I had no answers, just questions.
With college dreams now on hold, all i could think to do was care for my father until he got well. The doctors had said, after all, that with eight rounds of chemo, he would live about ten years. Ten years? My heart broke. But I didn’t know the doctors were wrong. I didn’t know he would die eight months later after suffering through the eight rounds of the chemo nicknamed ” the red devil “.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, just three months before my father died, I noticed i looked as though i was “gaining weight” in my stomach. But it didn’t feel right. It felt like there was a balloon in my stomach. Four weeks later, I was in surgery to have an ovarian cyst removed that was the size of a six month old fetus. I remember my week father crying by my bedside as he sat in a wheelchair. My right ovary was gone, being completely destroyed by the cyst, but i still had my left ovary and I still had hope that someday I would be able to have children.
More questions arose. What created my ovarian cyst? What would have happened to me if the cyst had continued to grow or burst? Would I have gotten cancer too? Pathology taken on the cyst did show signs of early cell mutations.
Now, after the death of my father and myself only just recovered, I couldn’t just leave my mother and brother to care for the family business my father had left behind. I had to help. I felt I owed it to my father as a thank you for all the years he had taken care of and loved me. Perhaps when things were stabilized and back to normal, then I could consider my music conservatory dreams again.
Of course, that wasn’t the case. My mother had noticed all along while we cared for my father, that her breast just “didn’t seem right”. After two doctor visits, telling her that her breast was “just dense” and that she was 57 and “everything goes south” concerning her inverted nipple, my mother was told she was fine and to wait another year for her next mammogram. But this time I wasn’t going to just go along with what the doctor said. We did that with my father and we knew how that ended. I was determined not to lose another parent. This was the beginning of me becoming an avid researcher.
At the time, only twelve facilities existed in the US that allowed for MRI without a doctor’s order. We flew to the nearest, located in Chicago, Illinois. That same day, it was discovered that my mother had breast cancer in all four quadrants of the right breast! Had we not been proactive with her health, we would have been home waiting another year for another mammogram!
The thought of going back to the same hospital in that had told my father he would live 10 years was not even an option in our minds. If we were going the chemo route again, i wanted the hospital that had the least percentage of cancer treatment patient deaths. I researched more and discovered that M.D. Anderson in Houston, Texas was ranked number one for patient survival at that time. The second and third highest ranking were closer to where we lived, but I had already had the tough life lesson that when it comes to health, second best is not an option.
My mother did well and I am happy to say has been well since 2004.
My mind still remained full of questions about why and how all this sickness occurred in my family within such a short period of time. But I would not begin to know the answers until years later. Years later when I got married, got pregnant and became a mother.
The moment I found out I was pregnant, I was in total disbelief. My husband and I hadn’t planned to get pregnant for at least another couple of years. But, there i was, pregnant, feeling blessed, but mostly scared and confused. I didn’t know the first thing about raising a child, giving birth or even being pregnant! But the one thing I did know led me to become an extreme force at researching. I knew I had to do all I could to help the baby inside me grow healthy and strong, God willing.
So, I began endless studies about nutrition, what a developing fetus needs, what should be avoided, and everything else in between. My lifestyle did a fast 180. I began to really understand what the body needed, what was really in food and how so many ingredients consumed today can lead to disease, cancer included! I was overwhelmed, feeling betrayed and misinformed. I knew I had to do everything I could to raise a healthy baby and lessen the risk of my family ever falling victim to lack of environmental and nutritional education again.
I never made it to Julliard, but my dreams did come true. I married an amazing man and am a mother of two healthy children (and hoping for more in the future). My husband and I enjoy making health and nutrition a large part of our lives. So much that I have spent countless hours of breastfeeding while taking online nutrition courses, reading medical journals and finally even seeking to become a CHC. (Certified Health Coach)
I want no one to ever have to go through the hardships that my family has encountered. My goal is to make finding answers so much faster and easier for you than it was for me. I know my story is unfortunately not unique and many of you have your own stories that led you to where you are today. And some are simply looking to prevent disease. Either way, I welcome you here and am happy to make your path to real answers as short and easy as possible.
Now that you know my story, I want to know about you! Comment in a post that you like so i can learn more about who you are! I would also love to invite you to our High Five Wellness family, so please sign up to join and together, we will be healthier!
Peace and Prevention,