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Tuesday 22 May 2012

"What Cancer Has Taught Me" - Jessica Ainscough

I am thrilled to have this guest post on my blog by writer Jessica Ainscough.

I have known Jess since she was a teenager, when she came to work with us as an intern for the NineToFive and City Weekly magazines based in Sydney.

She became such an excellent writer and integral part of the team, she went on to be with us permanently. It was then that Jess received her cancer diagnosis. We were beside ourselves with sadness, as was Jess, but she replaced that with incredible positivity quick-smart. Jess went on to become the online editor for Dolly magazine, but was destined for an even greater calling. Here is her story, in her own words, which she wrote for Josie's Juice:

What Cancer Has Taught Me

For the past four years, I have been living with the knowledge that I have cancer in my body. Like anyone who has ever been given a terminal diagnosis, this experience has changed me. I have gone through the usual changes – life becoming that little bit more precious, petty drama becoming totally insignificant, and priorities being completely reshuffled. However, there has been so much more.

Before cancer I was a big meat eater, now I am vegan. Before cancer I drank a lot of alcohol, now I am sober. Before cancer I was self-critical and full of self-judgment, now I love myself unconditionally. Before cancer I associated the disease with pain, sickness, hair loss and death. Now, cancer is my greatest teacher, my guru, and the catalyst that lead me onto a path far brighter and more fulfilling than I ever knew was possible.

I was one of the lucky ones – conventional medicine had no answers for me. My doctors wanted to amputate my arm to remove the cancer, but they said there was a high chance that the disease would come back somewhere else in my body quite rapidly. I decided that this wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t ready to die, I wasn’t willing to be an amputee, and I wasn’t willing to hand my power over to some people who didn’t really know what they were doing with it. So I became one of those difficult patients and started thinking for myself. I researched anything and everything to do with healing cancer, and what I discovered is that our bodies have this incredible ability to self heal – as long as we provide the right environment for them to do so.

The healing modality that resonated most with me was Gerson Therapy – a treatment that involves hourly juicing, a specific vegan diet, various supplements, and coffee enemas. I spent three weeks at the Gerson clinic in Mexico learning how to implement these practices, and then came home to carry out the Therapy for two years with the help of my family. For two years I dedicated every waking hour to saving my own life. To thriving against the face of adversity, and carving a new reality for myself based on the wisdom and inspiration I’ve gathered along the way.

It has been far from easy. For two whole years I have not been able to go out for lunch, go out for dinner, go out drinking with my friends, or even sit through a whole movie without having to get up and make a juice. But I would not trade one moment of this journey for anything. The power, wisdom, and deep self-respect that have been born of riding out these challenges is something I feel incredibly blessed to have.

When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I thought I had something in my body that needed to be “killed”, “eradicated” and “beaten”. Now I understand that cancer is not the enemy. I have realised that you cannot wage a war against yourself and win. No one wins when you go into battle with something that is part of you. And contrary to conventional belief, cancer is a part of you. Cancer doesn’t need to be “killed”; it needs to be “healed”. Cancer is simply your body’s way of giving you one final opportunity to clean up your health.

I may have completed Gerson but healing doesn’t end now. Healing is ongoing, and I will live the rest of my life being as kind and respectful as I possibly can to my body. Even now, after two years of intense natural treatment, I cannot say that I am cured. I’m not sure if I will ever be “cured”, but I will always be healing. Cancer is something I will always manage with my clean lifestyle.

I don’t plan to have any scans, partly because I don’t want to subject my body to the poison and radiation, but also because prior to my diagnosis scans were not detecting that I had cancer. Only a biopsy did this, so I don’t really see the point.

Many people think I’m crazy for not “checking up” on the status of my condition, and once upon a time I would have agreed. My path is not the right one for everyone, but it is right for me. The moment I stopped struggling, and fighting against myself and the cancer, was the moment that fear left my mind for good. Now, I never fear that I will die of cancer – and that is the most empowering feeling ever.

The number one thing I have learnt over the past four years is that our bodies heal in their own time. Sure, it is our job to do whatever we can to make sure this is possible, but we can’t force anything. Our bodies are incredible, and as long as we listen to them – truly listen to them – give them what they need to heal and remove any obstacles that will prevent the process from happening, healing is inevitable. Healing is possible for all of us.

About Jessica: Jess Ainscough is a writer, holistic health coach, and the creator of the health and wellness website, The Wellness Warrior. Via her e-books, daily blog posts, and videos, Jess’ goal is to empower people to take control of their health and show that the quality of our lives is directly linked to how we treat our body and mind. Her transformation from champagne-guzzling, Lean Cuisine-loving magazine writer to all-out nutrition nerd was made after she was diagnosed with a rare, “incurable” cancer back in 2008. Deciding she wasn’t having a bar of that “incurable” nonsense, Jess took responsibility for her condition with two years of Gerson Therapy. Along the way, Jess developed a obsession with passing on all of her newly learnt wellness wisdom to anyone who was parked in front of her for long enough to listen.

You can connect with Jess here: 


  1. Jess- you are an inspiration! You have the courage to listen to your body and the innate wisdom in it.
    For me, it has been 15 months since I was diagnosed with a rare spinal cord tumour and I am learning, just like you, that cancer is not the enemy! It is, by far, the greatest teacher and eye opener!
    A couple of weeks ago I have posted in my blog about exactly this- Tumour- Enemy or Friend?

    Thank you!!

  2. Jessica, I am speechless. Your courage & dedication is absolutely jaw dropping. I too have a "health challenge" to say the least & have been healing or attempting to for some time. You really are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing & thank you for documenting this journey. Brav-O!

    -ToVah Terranova

  3. Thank you for sharing your journey. You are such an inspiration. Thank you.