Motivation Monday: Nature Healing for Cancer

This Motivation Monday we have an inspiring story from Karisa, a talented artist, mother and nature-lover who is sharing how nature has helped her though her cancer battle.

After speaking with Karisa, we mentioned to her that there is a Japanese practice called Shinrin-Yoku (taking in the trees or forest bathing), according to research, many trees give off organic compounds that support our “NK” (natural killer) cells that are part of our immune system's way of fighting cancer. Learn more here.

We hope you enjoy reading Karisa's story as much as we did! - Karla and Phillip

In 2014 I found out that I had an aggressive malignant melanoma after having a mole checked that had changed when I was pregnant. After surgery my doctors were hopeful it hadn't spread so I got to celebrate my 30th birthday cancer free! Sadly though my cancer came back & it came back when I was in my third trimester with my second child! After giving birth to our son I went through a lot of tests & was headed for another surgery. This time my surgery would be more intense, since now I was dealing with a sizable tumor on the side of my face & the removal of all the lymph nodes from one side of my neck. My surgery went well & I was able to rest thanks to my wonderful family but once I was back to watching our two kids (I am a work from home mom) I felt so lost & sad.

I was up crazy hours with our baby & was worrying all the time about the cancer & whether or not I should do chemotherapy. One night I found the 52 Hike Challenge & I felt so excited. Being outside hiking sounded like the perfect thing to help me forget about cancer.

I started my hikes slow with a mile or two whenever I could fit them in between naps & nursing & preschool drop offs. The more I hiked the better I felt. Being outside exploring trails calmed me in a way nothing else could. The 52 Hike Challenge gave me goals when I felt like nothing was certain. It helped me to clear my mind & trust that everything would be okay. In the spring I had my first post surgery scan after declining adjuvant therapy & it was clean! I was officially in remission! To celebrate my husband & I planned a trip to Olympic National Park where we hiked all over with our kids. It felt amazing to do so many of my bucket list hikes during our trip!

Now I am a few hikes away from finishing & while my list of hikes might not have long distances or crazy elevation gains they have showed me how strong I can be & that finding time for what you love is the best way to heal. So good luck to everyone out there & remember your challenge will look nothing like anyone else's & that's okay! Just keep going! - Karisa Marley

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