How I overcame cancer –US-based wellness expert Julia Fortune - Paul Ukpabio's Blog

Breaking

Post Top Ad

Place Your Ads Here

Post Top Ad

Place Your Ads Here

Thursday, 25 February 2016

How I overcame cancer –US-based wellness expert Julia Fortune

Julia Fortune

Wellness expert, Julia Oyefunke Fortune, is living in two different continents. As the CEO of Total Body Wellness Foundation in Nigeria, she shuttles between Nigeria and America every year, and in between, tucks in a cruise holiday in the Caribbean with her American husband. All was well with Julia, until she had to struggle through a nasty divorce with her ex-husband. It was much more difficult because they had both struggled and built a large business between them. Julia says, “we were actually multi-millionaires in dollar!” And as if that was not enough, developed cancer soon after the divorce. But rather than despair, Julia fought cancer to a stand still. She tells her story and the fulfilled new life that she has found to Paul Ukpabio.


Today, you are a wellness expert, how did you start out?
It was when I became a breast cancer victim and later became a conqueror, that I found the need to establish a foundation. I went through a devastating situation that left me thinking that I was going to lose my life. I had the cancer on my right breast. So in the process of going through that cancer experience, I wrote a book. Again in that process of experience, I went back to school to get a Masters degree in health care just because I wanted to take my mind off my challenging heath situation. I wanted to take my mind off from the disease, and focus on something else. That’s because if you do not take your mind off it, it will take you with it. After completion of the book, I came to Nigeria to launch it.
When you came to Nigeria, were you still having the cancer in you?
No, it was over with by then.
How did you overcome it?
I did integration of orthodox medicine and traditional medicine. The orthodox was the surgeries that I went for. Yes, numerous surgeries because I watched the cancer leave my breast, down to my colon, right down to my mid section, the cancer was just playing tricks on my body. At a point I realised that I needed to do more than just surgery. Also when I learnt about the side effects of radiation, I decided to change from that path. I knew that wasn’t for me. Even at that time, I had started feeling lower back pains. So I went for traditional medicine which has about four faset. These are, the change of diet, I went for 90% plant based diet, mineral based diet, went into physical exercises, spiritual therapy and mental education.
Where did you do all these?
I was in the USA when the cancer struck. I wanted to survive. And if you want to survive, then you have to do whatever it takes to stay alive. Thats exactly what happened to me. I was looking at the children that I have had. At that time, I had four children and only one of them had graduated from college. The other three were still preparing to go to college. So I had to be alive for them! The most important aspect of the traditional medicine that I embraced was the spiritual therapy. I made a pact with God that if I am able to pull through the cancer, I will come to Nigeria, go into the communities and impact people therein.
The pact was for me to be able to put my children through college, watch all of them get married and for me to have grand children. Between 2007 and 2012, I achieved all of that. God made it possible. I believe that if you truly love yourself and love God, you cannot go through this kind of disease by yourself. Cancer is the type of disease that makes everyone isolated from you, even if they are all around you.
How did people around you react to your illness?
During that time, I had so many people around me. I had support system, but then it was like I was still alone. So all I had was God. So I went to Him. I told Him to get me through the cancer, that I will love and surrender to Him. Of course my philosophy was found in Mark 12, 30 to 31 that says, ‘thou shall love the Lord your God with all thy heart, with all thy strength.’ I embraced all of that and of course, ‘love thy neighbour as thy self.’ I embraced that too, and I was focused on making sure that I get out of the hold of the disease.
However, I also embraced Chinese medicine. That played a big role for me  because, with Chinese or Japanese medicine, they go to the source, they do not treat you at the surface of the disease, they go right down to the source. So the integration of orthodox medicine and traditional medicine helped me through the cancer.
That must have been expensive. Did that cost you a fortune?
Well the most expensive part was the orthodox medicine. I had to spend all my savings, I was self-employed. I’m talking about thousands of dollars, to pay for the various surgeries that I had to go through.
So, how did you find out that you were cured?
I had to go back to the doctors, do repeated tests to locate the cancer, but they couldn’t find it. So they asked, ‘where is the cancer? Where did it go? It just disappeared. Since 2009, it hasn’t been back.
How did you celebrate it?
By saying thank you Lord, singing and praying. I have been a Christian but I wasn’t that close to God until I was diagnosed with cancer. That diagnosis really drew me to Him. I was in a state of shock. I couldn’t believe that could ever happen to me. I was pleased with God, so I celebrated with thanksgiving for seeing me through the cancer. Now, I love the Lord with all my heart.
Are you back finally in Nigeria now?
I am not back completely. Initially when I started coming, I would spend about two months, sometimes three months and go back. But since last year, I have been spending about four months. Now, I have so many things to do here. If one has to impact the communities, then one has to be around. I cannot say I am impacting the communities here when I am permanently in America.
In what ways are you impacting people?
I give educational workshops, I have just done one. I invite communities; we conduct tests, we use devices to test them. we check the lungs, the digestive system, the reproductive health, we check for diseases. If you are healthy, we let you know and if you are not, we tell you to go and see your doctor.
How expensive are the tests?
They are not expensive. We subsidise where necessary. We do full body test, and I have to analyse it. That takes a lot of knowledge to be able to analyse. I have been able to help people with breast cancer, prostrate cancer, with obesity, hypertension and others. Some people could actually be saved if they had test done earlier. Most people do not even go to the hospitals for medical check up. Everybody should do annual medical check up. It is important.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Surulere, Lagos. I was born and raised in Ebute Metta, my parents then moved to Surulere. I attended Lagos Anglican Girls Grammar School. From there, I went to Federal Government College, Odogbolu; from there to the University of Ibadan and then to USA.
What did you study?
I studied education/english and theatre arts.
What did you study in the US?
I did education science, technology and then did education technology for my Masters and also a Masters in health care.
Julia
Why didn’t you go into theatre practice after studying it?
(Laughs) I didn’t have somebody to encourage me in that direction. But back then, I used to act in school. I belonged to the drama group in college. Though if I had stayed in Nigeria, I would have veered in that direction. However, not too long ago, I was at the office of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, where I went to make a health presentation. And I enjoyed it because they asked me a lot of questions about breast cancer, prostrate cancer, cervical cancer and so on.
How was life in America when you arrived there?
It was interesting. I was involved in a lot of businesses with the man that I married. I went into engineering because he was an engineer. I joined forces with him and started a business in engineering in the field of compliance; that is, before any company can sell any electrical appliances, they have to meet some certain conditions of the country they want to sell to. I was in charge of operations. I acted as Chairman of the company board, I did Vice President human resources, Vice president marketing. I actually went to Germany to help him set up the business there. I was married to an engineer so I gravitated towards that. He wouldn’t stop talking about his work, so I got sucked into that.
How about marriage?
That was my first marriage which lasted for 16 years.
Was it love at first sight?
Yes, it was, and that started in Nigeria because we met here in Nigeria. He was the first to leave for USA and when he got there, he called for me. He was the first man in my life so I had that affection for him. He happens to be the father of my four children too.
So what happened between both of you? What went wrong?
We had a divorce, it was very sad. It just didn’t work out. I call it irreconcilable difference. He is a tough person, and I am a tough person too. I am coming from a family of enlightened people. Not that I was not submissive, I was, but submission has to be to a certain level. When a man starts doing some things that you do not agree with, then you have to put your feet down and say you will not go along with it. It didn’t work out. As a result of that, the divorce was devastating. We were multi-millionaires, we built that giant business. And I can say that the stress of that divorce, led to that cancer. I was under much stress. You know, sooner or later, if stress is too much or chronic, a person will definitely start developing illness. It disturbs the blood from flowing through the system. That means problem.
The divorce must indeed have affected you…
Yes, it did. Who ever goes through divorce without stress? Everybody suffers in a case of divorce. However I can say now that in as much as the man is not hitting you, or he is not an abusive husband or you are not an abusive wife, there is really no reason to leave. If he is not doing that to you, it is always advisable not to leave, better to stay and let the kids grow up. If you think that you are punishing each other, you end up punishing the children, everybody gets punished.
Did you marry after?
Yes, I went into a second marriage four years ago in America. He is not a Nigerian, he is an American. At least I tried a Nigeria man and it didn’t work out (laughs), but I stayed in that relationship for 16 years.
Tell us about your new husband…
This new man I met, is a Godly man. He is loving, a good listener, he lets me say what I have in my mind, I listen to him too. He has a good way of communicating with me. To live with each other, we had to have understanding with each other. He is coming to Nigeria soon. He has never been here before. So he is coming to know Nigeria, and an opportunity for my family also to get to meet him. He tells me ‘honey I want to make you happy, I am not going to fool around, I love you and I want you to be happy, because if you are happy, then I am happy.’ That is the way he sees life.
You travel a lot, for instance, you are here and he is there, how do you keep such relationship going?
Everyday we talk on Skype; we do not miss that. We talk a lot. I’m happier.
But you have been used to wealth. Does this new man have that kind of wealth that you were used to?
No, he doesn’t have the wealth, but the little wealth that he has gives me peace of mind. He is a loving person. He is not ashamed to tell anybody that he loves me. He tells everybody that he loves me. He can say that 20 times in a day. If he does that in Nigeria, I am sure people would say that I have given him some concoction to drink (laughs)! He is a transparent person.
Is it better for a woman to be a career woman or a house wife?
It depends. Life has different phases. For instance, there is a time when it is necessary to be a house wife because the children could be growing. At such time, even if you choose to work, it’s better to cut down on the hours of work, because you need to be there to nurture the children. And if your husband is in money, why would you want to work so hard? Though I do not subscribe to a woman just staying at home doing nothing.
How do you describe yourself?
I am a passionate person for whatever I do. I love serving people. It makes me fulfilled. I derive my joy from that. I am a blunt person. I say it the way it is so because of that, I do not have many female friends. I won’t tell you what you want to hear.
How about your fashion sense?
(Gets excited) Oh, I was raised by a grandmother who is a fashion queen. She is still alive, she turned a hundred years old in July. She loves to dress to match. We take after her. I love to dress, but not in spending money as if there is no tomorrow. With a little bit of money, I still want to buy something that will make me look elegant. I like to look elegant and sophisticated with what I wear.
What kind of clothes do you like to wear?
I wear all sorts of things. I wear pants, sometimes I like tight skirts, but I do not like bulky clothes. It makes one looks fat.
How about your colour?
I love purple. It is spiritual to me. It’s peaceful to me and has a calming effect on me.
What fashion accessory can you not do without?
There is nothing that I cannot do without. Right now, jewels or all other such stuffs do not take much priority in my life. Though I still use them when necessary.
What do you think of fashion and today’s women?
Today’s women are creative with fashion, though I don’t see the relevance in the way our women are dressing these days. They are copying western concepts, it’s so sad! I wonder why ladies wear such short skirts showing their thighs, and then you complain that nobody wants to marry you. That is because you have already exposed yourself to the man that wants to marry you. When a man sees all that, what else will be left for him to see again? I guess that is why most ladies are not getting marital proposals because, what is there to see anymore? when you have already exposed everything to him through lewd fashion? So the man ends up saying no way, this one is not a marriageable material. Some ladies are indeed over doing this fashion thing these days.
What do you value most?
I value God first. I value His role in my life. Before I do anything, I ensure that I consult with him. I read His word, the bible. I value life, I value good health. I like to walk, I like to exercise my body but over here, in Lagos for instance, you do not have such luxury of space because of Okada riders and motorists, unless one goes to the gym or the stadium. But not so in the United States. There is no stress there unless you decide to give yourself stress. We do not have crazy bills! All that has a way of leading people into stress which leads people into diseases that can be prevented.
Are you fulfilled?
I am very fulfilled though not hundred percent. That’s because I still have things to complete. I still need to go into villages, into communities, to do more educational workshops.
When should a lady be glamorous?
It depends. To some, just being dainty is glamorous, to some others slamming on make-up, wearing bold colours with dangling jewels is glamour. so it depends on the individual.
Do you have time for leisure?
I do, sometimes I go to the malls to watch movies which I normally do with my husband in America, sometimes to the beach too, to see the lifestyles of other people. I enjoy watching people and I have learnt so many new gospel songs in church here. I dance in church. Nigerians I must say are happy people. But unfortunately, most Nigerians drop their happiness and goodness at the gate of the church. Once outside the church, they assume new personalities. Indeed it’s only God that knows who is really worshipping Him.
How do you celebrate your holiday?
In Nigeria, I visit family and friends. With my husband we go on cruises. My husband is a very simple person, he is satisfied with simple things. He takes me on cruises, we go to the Caribbean Island, Hawaii and so on. We do really have fun. When we used to live in Las Vegas, we go to watch shows. Now we live in Whidbey Island in Washington state. It’s in the western part of the US close to California. There are lots of beaches, we are surrounded by water. so all you see is beautiful clean water and you can go fishing which my husband loves to do. The water is so calming.
Do you swim?
I used to, but one day I guess I overdid it. That was in my first marriage. We had an Olympic-size swimming pool in the house, so we were at the pool and my children teased me to jump into the pool like they did. We had a trainer, who had given me lessons so I felt brave and good to jump. But when I did, it was a different ball game. I almost drowned! Thank God my husband was there with a trainer. They dragged me out. I still go into the pool though, but I am not aggressive over my swimming prowess again.
Any fond memories?
When I first arrived the United States, I didn’t know much about casinos. So my ex-husband took me to Texas, he gave me 100 dollars and he had the same amount. He told me we will lose the money, that were not going there to make a lot of money. He said I should not go there thinking that I was going to make a lot of money overnight. But when we got there and the machine swallowed all the money, I did the typical Nigerian thing, I banged on the machine and behold, down came pouring money. But by that time, my husband had moved a little bit away because that really embarrassed him. He had warned me to move away when the money finished that I should not make a scene. I got $700. The second experience was still at the time I had just arrived America and got into the university. I saw two girls sitting with their legs wide open. My husband cautioned me to look away but I couldn’t help myself, a typical Nigerian. I went over and told them to close their legs. Of course, they told me to fuck off! That I should mind my business.
Considering the difference in culture, how did you groom your children then in the US?
There are some things that we do not allow our children to do. For instance, I do not allow them to wear earrings. I don’t allow them to braid their hair or wear sagging pants. We have been overly protective of our children.
How long have you been in the US?
I have been there for over 35 years now.

1 comment:

Post Top Ad

Your Ads Here