After watching both of her sisters go through cancer diagnosis and treatment, separately at different times, Nadine Shapera thought to herself, “ain’t nobody got time for cancer.” But before long, Nadine found herself dealing with multiple cancer diagnoses at once. How did she do it? In her words, “you just get through it.”
When her second sister was diagnosed with cancer, Nadine signed up for a prophylactic double mastectomy in hopes of not having to go through cancer diagnosis and treatment herself. In the midst of being there for her sister, Nadine found out her son would need her too.
At the tender age of just fourteen (years old), her younger son Daniel was diagnosed with leukemia. It turned out to be a whirlwind year and what Nadine calls, “a tale of two cancers”. So much for “ain’t nobody got time for cancer!”
Nadine and Daniel spent nine months in the hospital and what would’ve been a year to forget, turned out to be a year of so many memorable moments.
When I asked Nadine about her mindset during this time, with her sister with breast cancer in Toronto and she with Daniel in Denver, after the initial chaos and general will to survive, Nadine mentioned the power of humor.
“We had to laugh and find the humor. We had to stay positive to get through it.”Nadine Shapera
As a dietitian, I couldn’t help but wonder how a teenager took care of himself in the process. Nadine spoke highly of the power of diet and lifestyle in recovery and healing. Even if not done perfectly, consuming a healthful diet will help in the long run. And still does…
“Now in college, he (Daniel) doesn’t have to make good choices (about food), but he does, and I continue to also.”Nadine Shapera
If you’d like to make a difference in the life of a cancer patient and you don’t know how or what to do, visit the link below to the National Bone Marrow Registry and join the registry or donate to The Courage Classic or your favorite cancer organization.
Highlights from the episode and a link to the whole episode are below.
Here are some highlights from our conversation:
- 2:06 Nadine’s induction into the cancer club.
- 8:06 The call you NEVER want to receive.
- 11:00 The tale of two cancers – being there for her sister and her son.
- 12:00 On mindset and intention.
- 13:33 Daniel’s aspirations.
- 14:50 Using the cancer experience as a jumping off point for living your dreams.
- 17:20 The contest that changed the trajectory of the future for Daniel.
- 19:15 Finding humor.
- 20:30 Doing bone marrow drives to find a donor.
- 22:37 The Courage Classic.
- 25:50 The role of nutrition and lifestyle in recovery and healing.
- 28:19 Thoughts on a life well-lived.
Links mentioned in today’s podcast:
- Children’s Hospital Colorado – Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders
- The Courage Classic
- National Bone Marrow Registry – Gift of Life
A new podcast will be released every two weeks, the second and fourth Thursdays of the month.
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