Cancer survivor Jackie Featherly’s motto saved her life: “A positive attitude is a healing attitude.” This way of thinking guided the 67-year-old Vestaburg woman from near death to complete recovery.
Today, she uses her personal experience and her training as a naturopathic physician to empower others to get healthy and make a fresh start in their lives — emotionally, physically and spiritually.
THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING
Featherly has practiced natural medicine for nearly 40 years. In 1999, she was diagnosed with stage-four colon cancer at the age of 54. Homeopathic medicine – once more of a hobby – became essential to saving her life.
“Finding out that you have cancer feels like you have an enemy living inside you – a traitor of sorts – like your body has betrayed you and you don’t know what to do or how to feel,” Featherly said. “It is a very eerie feeling and difficult to explain unless you have been there. You definitely believe that life is more precious. You realize you are mortal, and you count your blessings every day.”
Doctors told her she needed surgery to remove the large tumor growing inside her colon. But her religious beliefs didn’t allow blood transfusions, so surgery was not an option.
She chose to use natural medicine instead. But the tumor continued to grow and her condition worsened. She stood behind her beliefs, remained positive and didn’t give up.
“Emotional health can create a helpful or detrimental spirit,” said Featherly. “When a person is facing a life and death situation, they come to realize that so many things are unimportant and so many other things are very important.”
Featherly’s religious beliefs were important to her.
She met with therapists and doctors at the Cancer Treatment Center of America (CTCA), where they respected her religious conviction and were able to remove the tumor without blood transfusions, during an eight-hour surgery.
“I was able to choose the therapies I felt comfortable with,” Featherly said. “Peace is a positive experience and it brings a feeling of well-being to the soul, making every cell in your body happy. I felt like I made the right choices. My faith was uncompromised and that is a very good feeling.”
Following surgery and radiation, a naturopathic physician at CTCA introduced her to the Blood Type Diet, which was developed by naturopathic physician Peter D’Adamo. The idea is that there are certain foods you should and should not eat depending on your blood type and if you follow such a plan, your body has a better chance of fighting illness and disease. D’Adamo authored Eat Right 4 Your Type, as well as several other books that support the diet.
DIET AND EXERCISE
Featherly beat the odds and has been cancer free since April 2000. She completed her naturopathic studies in 2001 and dedicated her life to helping others get healthy.
D’Adamo personally trained and certified Featherly. She shares his goal of teaching people about the Blood Type Diet through her medical practice in Vestaburg and her newly opened retail store located inside Edmore Family Foods, both of which go by the name of Let’s Get Healthy. Her store sells Right 4 Your Type supplements, teas and other natural healing products.
When patients first come to Featherly’s clinic, she starts by determining their blood type and then develops an individualized diet based on the patient’s DNA.
“Having studied with Dr. D’Adamo, one of the greatest pioneers in genetic nutrition, has been an invaluable asset for me to be able to help those who come to me looking for a way to get healthy and stay healthy,” Featherly said.
In addition to a diet plan, she advocates physical activity. She recommends choosing simple, inexpensive workouts outside in the morning sunshine to get vitamin D and mood-elevating benefits.
“The fresh air is free and full of oxygen,” Featherly said. “Walking is certainly inexpensive and enjoyable, especially walking and talking with a friend. Also, try swimming at a local pool or working the muscles in a simple way at home – push-ups against the wall, sit-ups on the floor or dancing to music.”
FAITH TO KEEP YOU STRONG
Featherly continues dancing to the music of life and knows her work on earth isn’t finished.
“I feel I was truly given a gift in my survival, and I am dedicated to helping as many people as I can in my lifetime,” she said.
Overcoming stage-four colon cancer without compromising her religious beliefs renewed Featherly’s faith.
She believes it’s important to have a relationship with your Creator.
“A spiritual connection enhances a person’s overall well-being,” she said. “This one-on-one relationship can serve you well in times of sorrow, need or loneliness. It is the strength that seems to pull you up from the bootstraps and help you put a smile on your face and keep going. It is a peaceful feeling on the inside.”
Balancing our mind
• Be realistic. Is your daily list so long that it could not possibly be accomplished?
• Turn it off. Distractions, especially those electronic ones, have a way of zapping energy. Most emails are not urgent. If an issue is really important, someone will find you by telephone or in person.
• Listen. To your spouse, your children and your own inner voice. A potential problem may be averted because someone else had insight into a situation that you did not.
• Don’t be afraid to ask. If a task seems daunting, ask for help. Many hands make light work.
• Count your blessings. In the midst of our chaotic, busy lives, it is easy to forget that we are the ones who constructed this full life. • Remember how rich your life is with people, love and meaning.
Maintaining a healthy body
• Balance physical, mental and spiritual well being to attain overall health.
• Consult with your physician before starting a new exercise program.
• Eat whole foods. If it grows, eat it. If it is manufactured, leave it on the shelf.
• Move more and don’t be a sofa spud.
• Find a form of exercise that you enjoy.
• Take a walk outside to regain mental focus.
• Have an attitude of gratitude.
• Quiet your mind, so you can hear what the world around you is saying.
• Use meditation to create a sacred, nurturing and safe space.
• Practice movement meditation through yoga, chi gong and mindful walking.
• Attending religious services can help tap into your faithfulness and prayer.
• Through quiet meditation methods such as concentration and deep breathing, you can nurture a sense of calm, peacefulness and balance.
Donna R. Moyer, D.O., is chief of radiology at Carson City Hospital and board certified in diagnostic and nuclear radiology and cardiac CT. Moyer also shares her mind, body and spirit message as a motivational speaker. You can get in touch with her by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org