Merritt Tracy is a health and wellness coach at The After Cancer. She specializes in hormonal and women's health.
For as long as I can remember, cancer has impacted my life.
When I was a kid, my grandmother was fighting breast cancer. I remember playing dress-up in her room – she had a closet full of clothes, shoes, jewelry and purses. My cousins and I always loved playing there. One day my mom came in as one of my cousins was prancing around the room sporting fake boobs and high heels. We were having a blast, but my mom was horrified and angry. The fake boobs were my grandmother’s prosthetic breasts that she needed because of the double mastectomy.
My mother’s reaction to our innocent playtime was a projection of her own fear and she instilled that fear in me early on. Those fears weren’t unfounded. When I was in high school, I lost my grandmother to metastatic breast cancer and my great grandmother to ovarian cancer. When I was in college, my aunt was diagnosed with both ovarian and uterine cancer. When I was in my thirties, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and just a few years ago when I was 50, she was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time.
From worry to wellness
I spent a good bit of my life worrying about my risk of cancer. I could see the train barreling down the tracks and it seemed to have me in its sights. Then one day I heard someone say, “Worry is a waste of energy. If you are consumed by worry, there are two things you can do to overcome it. You can let it go or you can do something about it.” I realized then that I needed to do both of those things. I needed to let go of the fear, and I needed to take action.
Shifting my mindset to focus on the things I could control to reduce my risk was a pivotal moment for me. I was able to let go of my feelings of helplessness and instead embrace a sense of empowerment. I started eating healthier and I found that I truly enjoyed eating cleaner, fresher foods. I made a conscious effort to slow down and reduce my stress. I learned about endocrine disrupters and reduced my exposure to environmental toxins. I became fascinated with hormone health and gut health. I did a lot of soul-searching and self-discovery. With every step I took, I felt better physically, emotionally, and even spiritually.
Sharing it with others
I enjoyed the wellness journey so much that I started exploring ways I could share what I had learned with others. I completed my training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to be a Health Coach and went on from there to become a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. For nearly twelve years, I have been seeing clients who want to find balance in their lives and hormones and prevent and recover from cancer by lowering their stress and improving their diet and lifestyle. I am happy to be in a place where I can help others strengthen their bodies and minds so they too can let go of worry and take action.