When Mom Has Cancer

I was filling out a paper for my daughter’s doctor’s office. ‘Have there been any major changes in the household?’

‘Yes. Her mom had cancer and was hospitalized for a year.’

Are my kids going to be okay? Do they understand how close they came to losing me? How much is this story of mine going to write their stories in the future?

Parenting, as we all know, doesn’t come with an instruction manual. And neither does a cancer diagnosis. I am 9 months post-transplant and still taking medication. My family and I have recently moved into a new home in an entirely new state. It is Spring and everything is brand new everywhere I look. New doctor, new town, new bone marrow, new me, and a new way of living our lives.

I won’t pretend like I know all of the right things to do in a situation like dealing with an illness with young children, but thanks to a strong foundation I had already built with my daughters and some pretty amazing social workers at City of Hope, I’ve learned a few things that might be helpful.

Be Honest. Always.

Sugar-coating is dishonest and creates tension between you and your kids. We didn’t say the word ‘cancer’ for the first month or so of my diagnosis. But guess what? If your kids are visiting you in a cancer hospital, they are going to see brochures. They see signs. They see other sick people. And they may be young, but they know something big is happening, and their imaginations are going to be far scarier than a loving explanation from their parents.

Talk about the hard things.

“When people get cancer in the movies they die.” That is how my oldest daughter expressed to me that she was concerned that I wouldn’t live through my treatment. And to be honest, I was scared too, and I couldn’t hide that. But this was a wonderful opportunity for me to remind both of us that plenty of people in real life live long and healthy lives after an illness. And that what we see on TV is made to be dramatic and evoke some kind of emotion, and is very rarely a real representation of real life.

Don’t try to keep things normal.

Things are not normal. Pretending that life is going to sail along smoothly and exactly the way it was before is exhausting for you and confusing for them. It is so much better to embrace what is actually happening around you and teach your children to surrender to days filled with love, trust, and a new kind of normal. Each morning I give the kids a sort of ‘mommy report’ of how I’m feeling, how much energy I have, what I expect of them and what our plans are for the day. It gives us some consistency even in the chaos.

I hope that you never have to navigate the complicated waters of parenting while sick, but if you do, I hope these three tips can help bring a little bit of light to the dark. And if you know someone who is going through their own diagnosis, pass this along if you think it will be helpful!

I am now a resident of the beautiful Eugene Oregon, and my recovery is going well enough that I will begin working again soon, starting with placenta encapsulation. I am thrilled to be able to be a part of the birth process in some small way again! If you are in this area, reach out and say hi. We can’t wait to meet our new friends!


Intuitive Eating - my thoughts and experience

   I have something I want to share with you, because I am becoming more and more fascinated with my body's own process, and how different my diet looks than how I would have imagined if you had told me I'd be dealing with cancer at any moment before all of this. I believe that it is a true testament to listening to our wisdom, our intuition and our body at all times, but especially in times of great change.

   Way back in my other lifetime (or when I was 19 if you want to be less dramatic) when I was knee deep in my Natural Chef training, I was completely absorbed in what I was learning about cooking for and feeding people with cancer. Before applying for that training I had already been obsessed with the idea of food as medicine for treating cancer, and I soaked up the knowledge that was available to me at the time like an organic, Eco-friendly sponge.

   Fast-forward to now. Ten years later and I am actually staring in to my fridge, making the decision of what to put into my body that is dealing with cancer. Wow.

   The decision felt huge at first. Heavy. Crushing, really. What if I chose the wrong thing? Would cancer grow? Could I hope to irradiate this disease with my food choices? All of my training and reading and knowledge I have gathered over the years began to flood back to me, and surprisingly, not a lot of it resonated. There are foods that shrink tumors... I do not have any tumors. There are meals that I learned to make for patients who couldn't eat because of chemo sickness, but my appetite is fine. Nothing felt right. The information I had learned all of this time suddenly felt... just kind of wrong.

   That isn't to say that I threw all of my health-conscious ways out of the hospital window. I powerfully believe in the body's ability to heal itself, and I know that the fuel we put into the body plays a big part in that. Not just food, but what we watch, listen to, who we interact with on a day-to-day.. we are digesting all of it, and it can heal or hurt us.


   To my great surprise, as I allowed myself to get quiet and make my food decisions from a centered and intuitive place, I didn't lean toward a cleansing, light and plant-filled diet like I would have imagined. You may have seen some of the same documentaries I have, so maybe you know what I mean. Green juices are delicious, but not something my body cries out for on the daily. Instead, I am gravitating toward these 4 things. Big time! And what I've found is that they are more on the grounding side.

All the fats, all the time!

It makes sense to me in some ways, but I'm still surprised by how often I am craving healthy fats, and how great I feel as I honor that desire. My favorites right now are coconut butter, avocados, coconut milk in the form of the delicious Rebbl drinks, and olive oil. Every single day, multiple times a day, I eat fats.

Processed food is a no go.

This seems like something to obviously cut out of any healthy diet, but I feel almost a repulsion to heavily processed foods. Tonight my kids and husband will be eating veggie hot dogs, and I can't think of anything that I'd like to eat less. The way I am honoring my body these days, is that if it isn't a 'hell yes', then it's a no, and processed and fried food is a big fat Hell No.

All the green food!

If it's green, I want it. I have suddenly become obsessed with matcha tea, anything with chlorophyll, green smoothies (heavy on the kale and spinach please!) and roasted broccoli. It just sounds so damn good! Most recently I bought a Matcha Latte from Kreation Juice in Pasadena, and it tasted like absolute heaven in a glass. The thing that is weird about this, is that I used to have to force myself to eat green food. I knew it was healthy for me, so I would make an effort, and it was a grand effort. I have never been a fan of salads and green smoothies were something I gulped down because I knew I wasn't going to eat anything else leafy or green for the rest of the day.

Collagen. (Don't hate me)

Lastly, this is something I hesitated to share, because I love our plant-based lifestyle. I am not a vegan, as I do eat eggs from my mom's backyard chickens on occasion, but my whole family is pretty damn close. Especially my husband and youngest daughter, who hate eggs. Collagen is decidedly not vegan, or even vegetarian, and it is having its moment in the spotlight these days. I was very drawn to collagen powders and had read about the possible healing effects this current superfood could have on leaky gut. Curious, I started to take a small amount every day. Soon, I noticed an improvement in my digestion and in my skin. An improvement in my skin was a huge deal, because chemotherapy had really done a number on the skin all over my body and I was struggling with painful peeling on the palms of my hands, flaky painful peeling on my face and dry skin on my cheeks that even the heaviest moisturizer couldn't do anything about. And now... all gone!

The way I drink this powder these days is by making a morning tonic of a packet of Four Sigmatic mushroom powder (I switch it up), collagen powder by Vital Proteins, a dollop of coconut butter, a little bit of raw honey to taste, and that's it! It's so easy, especially with one of these milk frothers to really mix it all up and incorporate the ingredients.


Every time I am going to feed my body, I do so with a lot of awareness and a lot of love. I am incredibly mindful of what feels good, and this is what has worked for me in these months while dealing with my diagnosis and finding healing. My hope in sharing this is that you will see, first of all, how sometimes when we follow our intuition it looks nothing like what we would have imagined! It might not even make a lot of sense to us intellectually, but let your higher self guide you and see what unfolds. If you are going through a difficult time, similar to mine or totally different, maybe some of what I am eating and using to heal my own body might help you. Maybe not! But in sharing I hope that it gives you a small nudge in the right direction for you.

Much love to you on your path!


Where in the World is Jasmine? An Update...

   How much can change in a month? Nothing feels the same around here!

   The day after Easter I was expecting a phone call in the morning. It was the hematologist who was going to call with the results from my bone marrow biopsy and blood work.

   When my phone rang I was still sitting in bed, sipping tea. When I answered, the doctor immediately asked me if I was sitting down. Were my kids around? Was I home alone? Did I have support nearby?

   I didn't want to hear anymore after that. I wanted to hang up the phone and resume my normal life. The homechool plans I had for that week and the grocery shopping. I felt a cold sweat break out all over my body and waited for her to say what I now knew she was going to say. I had cancer. And I had to start treatment right away.

   The next few days were terrifying. My diagnosis was Acute Meyloid Leukemia- something I had never heard of before. I wasn't given much information at first except that it is a fast-acting cancer and I needed to have my butt in a hospital bed sooner than later. I couldn't look at my kids without the threat of tears. I looked at the wall and told them to pack a bag- they'd be going to grandma's for a few days.

   I had clients emailing me. Placentas to pick up for encapsulation, a podcast I was going to be interviewed for, potential business opportunities waiting on the sidelines. I didn't know what else to do besides awkwardly email everyone and let them know that I was going to be in the hospital. I didn't know when I'd be out.

   Everything felt surreal. Over the course of a few days I had more procedures and tests done than I had ever had in my entire life. I cried silently when I was told that my IV would be placed directly into my heart.


   It has been a little over 6 weeks since those first scary days, and a lot has changed. Externally I am minus 15 pounds and some hair. Internally I could have never anticipated the changes that are continuing to take place. I also could have never anticipated that many of the changes would feel so good! Cancer became my mirror and gave me nowhere to hide. I was forced to shed old habits and beliefs, stare my bullshit in the face and confront the things in my life that were no longer serving me or the people around me. It was an intense process, and one that continues to unfold.

   All of this to say, that if you've noticed my absence, had an email or message go unanswered, or have been curious as to my whereabouts... this is what has been going on! My treatment continues and I will be hospitalized for another extended period of time. I obviously won't be working for the next several months, and I'm already missing it terribly. But I hope to update my blog more often as I find a new sense of normal in all of this.

   If you are local to us, the meal train that has been set up by Phil and Sandrine from Inner Evolution Yoga has been such a blessing for my husband and kids. You can sign up for a day that works for you here.

   And if supporting us financially is available to you, I'm sure you can imagine what that means to us these days. You can donate to us here.


   After working through the initial fear of hearing "the C word", I've found myself in a good place. Somehow I've found peace (I'm sure yoga and my meditation practice has something to do with it) and a sense of calm as I navigate this phase of my life. You can follow me on Instagram (@jasmine.rose.doula) where I try to update as often as I'm able to!

Much love to all of you!




Recipe Share~ Steamed Cod or Tempeh and Veggies

This meal is great for your digestion, full of healthy protein and a wonderful dish for pregnancy and the postpartum period that the entire family will enjoy. This is a recipe adapted from my days at Bauman College Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Institute. Print this recipe out and give it to a friend or partner and have them make it for you, or put this together for someone in your tribe who is pregnant or just had a baby.


One of my favorite things about this meal is that it contains dandelion greens. You can replace the dandelions with any leafy green, but I highly recommend giving the dandies a go! This underutilized green has so many health benefits. According to the Dr. Mercola website, "folk medicine claims the dandelion plant is a powerful healer, used to purify the blood, settle digestion and prevent piles and gall stones, among other maladies. The fact is the greens of the humble dandelion provide 535 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin K, which may be the most important source of any other plant-based food to strengthen bones, but may also play a role in fighting Alzheimer's disease by limiting neuron damage in the brain." Vitamin K is also an important nutrient in the weeks leading up to giving birth for you and your baby.


Steamed Cod or Tempeh with Veggies Recipe

You can click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Everything You Need For A Minimilist & Natural Medicine Cabinet

   The first time my oldest baby got sick I had never felt so helpless. She was tiny and I was brand new at just about everything. I have always leaned toward natural remedies for myself, but when it came to my tiny baby sneezing and burning up with a fever the fear and helplessness was so strong that I was willing to do just about anything to take her pain away. I dosed her with the tylenol that the pediatrician had given me every few hours per the instructions I was given and waited...

   It hadn't occurred to me that I could actually feel empowered and take charge of my family's health. Especially with the pressure and judgement I felt from those around me, "natural remedies" felt a little too uncertain. Until one day I read that tylenol was actually terrible for growing baby brains, and many pediatricians were recommending that parents stop using it completely. And it made me think... why not try to treat my kids with things that have no side effects? Fear had thrown me off my "crunchy" path, but I realized I had missed the mark.

   Now I don't fear illnesses and we rarely get sick to begin with! But I remember the uncertainty and the fear, and it took me years to confidently build our home first-aid kit. So today I am sharing with you the things that I have found to be the most helpful and effective.



Simple but incredibly effective treatments such as the old-fashioned sounding "wet sock treatment", hot and cold compresses, and easy to understand home remedies are all laid out in this reference book and guide. It has been essential to my family.


- HERBAL HEALING FOR WOMEN by Rosemary Gladstar

- HERBAL HEALING FOR MEN by Rosemary Gladstar

The Basics

- MUSLIN CLOTH for compresses

- HOT WATER BOTTLE is an underutilized and effective means of breaking up congestion and treating ailments during a cold or flu

- THERMOMETER for obvious reasons. But don't panic if a higher temperature arises! Fevers can be functional.

- BAND AIDS for the little boo-boo's that just won't stop hurting without a cartoon, colorful bandage




Kitchen Must-Have's

So many natural remedies can be found in the kitchen, and they work! Before you roll your eyes at me, keep these simple things stocked and try them the next time you catch some cooties.


- EMPTY GLASS JARS OF VARIOUS SIZES WITH LIDS for herbal decoctions, teas and infusions

- LEMONS speed up healing when ingested, and can be used in a wet sock treatment for fevers or fast recovery


- CAROB is not commonly known as a treatment of illness, but it can be a fast-acting and safe treatment for diarrhea, which can be dangerous for small children because of dehydration

- ONIONS for compresses, fevers and killing bacteria in the air

- POTATOES for coughs and congestion when used as a compress

- GARLIC is an effective and natural antibiotic

- VARIOUS HERBS (see the herbal books for specific herbs to treat everything from fertility issues to headache)

Essential Oils

There is so much information on the internet about using essential oils, that I almost hesitate to try to add to it. They are potent and effective, and a major part of my arsenal.

- LAVENDER is so simple, but so full of uses, it would probably be the oil I would choose if I could only have one. Especially for small children, it can treat everything from cuts and scrapes to fever. Plus, you can't beat that smell.

- LEMON similar to using fresh lemon in a wet sock treatment to speed recovery, lemon essential oil can be used on the bottoms of the feet for faster healing

- PEPPERMINT is a must for nausea. I diffuse peppermint when anyone is feeling queasy and it perks us all up immediately

- ONGUARD is just pure magic. A little goes a long way and it has proven to me time and time again that this is a must for the medicine cabinet. I even used it to successfully treat my mastitis, along with the age-old trick of cabbage leaves in the bra.

To shop oils or sign up for your own wholesale account, you can visit here~

Homeopathic Remedies

I LOVE homeopathic remedies! But they can be a little bit more time-consuming. Meaning, the remedies are very specific, and require you to monitor symptoms carefully so you can choose the right remedy.

This kit is the one I purchased when my kids were little, and it was worth every single penny. It includes a booklet with dosing instructions so there is never any confusion, and the remedies work quickly. They are safe, natural, and they never expire.


Part of living a healthy lifestyle is preventing your family from getting sick in the first place. I've had people actually ask me directly how I keep my kids so healthy. It is our daily life habits that keep the cooties away!

- THE FAMILY SMOOTHIE is an easy daily ritual where you can hide all of the crazy powders and foods that your kids normally wouldn't touch. Spirulina, powdered mushrooms, leafy greens, healthy fats and antioxident-packed berries are some of my favorite add-in's.

- PROBIOTICS for the whole family are a supportive daily ritual


- SO. MUCH. WATER. I am always reminding my kids to drink more fresh water from our Berkey

- MUSHROOMS and mushrooms and more mushrooms. I am a huge fan of Four Sigmatic and their easy to use packets of various superfood mushrooms. I give my kids reishi and chaga mushrooms during cold and flu season

- ELDERBERRIES forever and for always. Depending on my schedule and my mood I toss back and forth between making my own syrup from scratch and buying elderberry sprays and syrups from the store, but we take this daily.

- HERBAL TEA is a daily occurrence in our house. Nettles, red raspberry leaf, chamomile, mint... tea doesn't just taste good, it is plant medicine and I love it