Cancer Survivor Encourages Empowerment
This week's Patch Portraits also feature a Glenview woman who changed careers to change kids' lives and a Glencoe police cop who saves birds.
Dena Mendes was not always as health conscious as she is today. But a battle with spastic colon colitis at the age of 17 led her to discover a different way of life.
"When anybody has any kind of physical manifestation of anything, whether it's colon, allergies, acne...there's a reason, because whatever they're putting in, that's what they're getting out," said Mendes, who has developed a holistic approach towards hers and other peoples' health. She's turned her struggle into a soon-to-be-published book, "A Survivor's Guide To Kicking Cancer's Ass," and a companion cookbook loaded with tasty, healthy recipes.
Mendes considers her bout with poor health as a teenager to be a blessing now, as she was well prepared for her second battle with cancer that came years later. "I got healthy, and then I got sick again," said Mendes. "When I got sick again I knew there was a deeper reason."
At that point in her life Mendes was eating and living healthily, but emotionally she was suffering. Lacking any family history of cancer, Mendes believes it was these negative emotions that allowed the disease to develop.
Today, Mendes' 10-year battle with cancer has only made her beliefs stronger that people with disease (or dis-ease as she likes to call it) need to be their own advocate and empower themselves to get healthy again.