Sasha Reid's Incredible Cancer Comeback Story & My Visit to her Alkaline Wellness Centre
This is the most important post that I have written about health, wellness and self-care. While I was in Toronto earlier this year, I wanted to visit the Alkaline Wellness Centre, owned by Sasha Reid. Sasha had been one of my table mates at Toronto's Diner en Blanc in 2019 and is the full meal deal - very cool, intelligent, funny and gorgeous. Sasha also has one of the most compelling, defies all odds life stories that I have ever heard and I was eager to visit her Wellness Centre to experience some of the treatments that she offers to give my own health and well being a much-needed boost.
Before I get to the treatments, I want to touch on Sasha's story to give this whole piece some context because her story is one of the most powerful and triumphant cancer comeback stories. Hearing it gave me goosebumps and made my heart soar. Sasha beat an aggressive form cancer that was without question going to kill her. She is alive today because of steps that she took to take control of her diet and life.
Sasha was a pescatarian for 18 years. Originally from a city outside of London, England, she is a beautiful professional woman, a wife and mother of two children and like many of us, she thought she was healthy. She exercised and was doing things right. Until everything went wrong. Her cancer story started in July 2012 when she started getting skin rashes that were misdiagnosed as a fungal and bacterial infections. A growing lump in her groin area that ended up the size of a toonie that was diagnosed as an ingrown hair. Enlarged masses going down her leg that was viewed on an ultrasound showed that she contracted cellulitis, which is poisoning of the tissues from the biopsy she received. She had lymphatic fluid dripping out of the site of the biopsy and was bedridden for six long weeks.
Intuitively, Sasha knew that something wasn’t right and felt that she had been misdiagnosed. This tenacity and refusal to just sit back and listen to what the doctors were telling her was integral in getting that most frightening diagnosis that nobody wants to hear. She had cancer. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the cancer that Sasha had was anaplastic lymphoma. A rare and and aggressive cancer.
After the misdiagnosis, she took her health and her life into her own hands and requested, then demanded which hospital in London that she would be treated at. She began a rigorous course of chemotherapy and was cancer free for six weeks. She underwent more chemotherapy and was cancer free for only two weeks. After a stem cell transplant from a donor, Sasha was told that the cancer had spread to her groin to her armpit and neck. She was taking 23 drugs at the time, her body couldn’t handle any more treatments and the doctor told her that they would have to take a “wait and see” approach, while handing her pamphlets on palliative care options and discussing ways to "keep her comfortable". You don’t need a medical degree to understand that Sasha had just been handed her death sentence. She was going to die. That was it. It was September 2014. While crying on the phone with her dad, he told her miracles happen every day and asked her if she wanted to die. Sasha replied no. With her children in the waiting room, Sasha had to pull herself together quickly.
So, let’s back up a few weeks earlier to July 2014. While at a ceremony where her grandfather was being honoured by Queen Elizabeth II of England, a man had approached Sasha who was sitting in a chair at the event, unable to move with a medical back pack strapped to her back pumping medications into her body. He said that he could help her. Sasha’s father took the man’s business card and Sasha thought no more of him.
Fast forward back to September 2014, after her doctor had told Sasha in a not so roundabout way that she was going to die, her father made an appointment to see the man from the event, an alternative health practitioner who was a live blood cell analyst and nutritionist because at this point, there was literally nothing left to lose.
At the appointment, he pricked her skin and put the blood on a screen so that they could see what her blood cells looked like. This was a live blood cell analysis, a live snapshot of what is happening inside of the body and compared Sasha’s blood cells to healthy blood cells. There was a huge difference. Healthy blood cells are uniform and round. Sasha’s blood cells were collapsed and there were bits of stuff floating around between them. It didn’t look good. What she learned that day is that disease cannot flourish in a healthy alkaline environment, just like plants cannot grow in rubbish. She needed to clean up her environment – her body and this required her to look at her diet.
She immediately underwent a 90 day treatment plan that incorporated a plant based alkaline diet and in doing so, learned that foods can heal. Sasha learned about enemas and colonics and found them beneficial. 45 days into her alternative treatment, she had a PET scan to see how the cancer was progressing. Glucose is used because cancer cells feed on sugar and the cancerous cells ‘light up’ and can be viewed easily. Sasha expected the same dismal results. When she came back to view the results of the scan a week later, to her shock, there were no active cancer cells. The test was repeated again and the results were the same. No active cancer cells.
This result can only be described as a radical remission. As a timeline reminder; the stem cell transplant was in February 2014 was not a success. By August, the cancer had spread. By the end of October 2014, there were no active cancer cells. According to the doctors, they couldn’t technically call it a remission until Sasha was cancer-free for five years. Fast forward five years to October 2019 where we find Sasha living in Canada with her family, still cancer free, thriving and happy. She opened the doors to the Alkaline Wellness Centre in Markham, Ontario which is a suburb of Toronto at the beginning of 2020. In her own words, she has never felt healthier or better. “Being unhealthy gives you a perspective on what healthy feels like.”
I literally cried after Sasha told me her story and was excited for my appointment that would take take place in early 2020. Enter Covid-19 which required Sasha to close the doors on the Centre a scant two weeks after the soft opening.
By July 2020, The Alkaline Wellness Centre back open for business again. I did not waste a second making my booking online while I was still in Toronto. I signed up for the colonic hydrotherapy and the Live Blood Cell Analysis. At the time I was nearly 90 days alcohol free and thought that the colonic would be a great opportunity to flush my colon of anything that needed to come out to provide me a feeling of lightness, mental clarity and maybe even make my tummy look a little flatter. I've spent most of self quarantine doing self care activities and things to better myself and the live blood cell analysis also sounded like a good plan to see what my blood cells were up to, if there was any abnormalities that might require a change to my diet or something else. I felt and feel completely healthy, but I also know that just because you feel healthy, it doesn't mean that everything on the inside is healthy and perfect. I wanted that reassurance as part of my whole body and lifestyle reset.
I showed up at the Alkaline Wellness Centre for my appointment at 11am. I entered the space which is beautiful and clean with open white spaces accented by bright green plants. It a quietly elegant space, devoid of any stuffiness. It is filled with natural light and feels holistic. I am at instantly at ease.
We already touched on what a live blood cell analysis is and what it does, the other part of my visit was to have a colonic, which gently cleans and clears out your intestine using filtered water.
The treatment room was an echo of the waiting and reception area. fresh, bright and very clean feeling. Sasha took great care in explaining what tube was going to go where, where the clean filtered water would come in and where the water that had served its colon cleansing job would end up. It was straightfoward, even though at the back of my mind I was a little tense thinking about the plastic tube that in a few minutes would be inserted a centimetre into my boo-tay.
The appointment was about 40 minutes with me being in control of ending the session if I became uncomfortable. Thankfully, the process wasn't painful nor weird, even. Everything was super clean, with no awkward smells, every tube was single use (obviously) and opened right in front of me. I really loved the fact that I was the only person at the Wellness Centre. When I asked her about this, she advised that she purposely sets up appointments this way so that clients aren't running into each other before, or after appointments. I was grateful for that because I seriously didn't feel like meeting new friends or making eye contact with anybody as I left the treatment room! Post appointment, I felt light and hungry - which is normal because the contents of my colon had been emptied. I was advised to stay away from spicy or carbonated food and drink for a day or so. I could do that.
Next up was the live blood cell analysis. We went into Sasha's office at the centre and she explained how the blood cell analysis is done before doing a quick and very painless prick of my finger to get the drop of blood that she needed. That tiny drop of blood was put right onto a slide. She also did dabs of blood on another slide to be used later. The slide went under her magnifying machine and the image of my live blood sample showed up on a computer. VERY cool. It looked like a bunch of uniformly sized bubbles, each with a shiny circumference. Those were the red blood cells and as she moved the slide around, my white blood cells made their appearance. They were so bright and white and spaced out. they looked like little north stars floating around. Sasha explained that the white blood cells were there to clean up any 'messes', bacteria, etc and in the slide, we could both see the white blood cells moving around, sweeping up these messes. It was a very interesting thing to see. I was fascinated.
The verdict is that I have amazing red blood cells and the worse thing that Sasha was able to see was that I have been drinking tap water. I definitely know better than this. I am an advocate for collecting and consuming my spring water from Canmore [check out that post here] but was busy and then got lazy about it over the summer. That tap water drinking laziness resulted in some heavy metal toxin accumulation. I was a bit dehydrated because some of my red blood cells were sticking together. So drink more water, but not tap water was the prescription. Easy.
[My bubbly looking red blood cells having a time floating around. You can also see a bright white blood cell making an appearance to help keep everything clear and under control - fascinating!]
I left the centre feeling empowered because I know that what I have been doing, minus guzzling tap water has been working for me. The results gave me peace of mind and the green light to keep striving for excellence in life. Obviously, I'm keeping my diet very clean and consuming only whole foods after this experience to see if that makes me feel even better. I originally stopped drinking alcohol as a short detox but felt so great that I decided to make it permanent. That decision has catapulted me into a new way of being present and how I show up for life. I am also making better use of my time and keeping on top of my fitness goals is so easy and way more enjoyable. I fully understand that what I choose to put in my body is what determines my output and the state of my internal health. Once you have this information, it's difficult to go back to the blissful bubble of ignorance, and I don't plan to. I recommend Sasha's services to any and everybody who would like to take a proactive approach to their health.
Want to learn more about Sasha Reid and her work? Do you have questions for her? Would you like to find out more about what is going on in your body? Yeah, you do!
You can also tap into her wisdom by giving her a follow on IG: @tenaciousbutterfly.com and @alkalinewellnesscentre
GET IT: Recommended Reading - Mind Gut Conection Book & Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Underrated Organ
My name is Nicole and I am a Calgary based lifestyle and travel blogger with a focus on alcohol free living. During this period of self-isolation and physical distancing, like many others, I've been more focused on lifestyle than travel. This time has given me the opportunity to slow down and find ways to stay inspired, have fun, stay fit and eat well without travelling too far from home.
While I am inspired by beautiful Instagram pages and blogs that feature nomad travellers living and working from beaches in enviable locales – but that’s not my reality. Even though I don’t normally travel for extended periods of time, I have always had great times and made amazing memories on my getaways.
I noticed that short trips are definitely not showcased as frequently as longer getaways. There are people who don’t wish to be away from home for long periods of time. There are also people like myself who love to travel, but because of their schedule or lifestyle have decided they will not travel for several weeks or months at a time. For us like-minded folks, I've decided to create a community for those who love short getaways and life without alcohol.
Get in touch: Send me a message: email@example.com or find me on Instagram and Pinterest: @nicowalkerlyons
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