Today is Earth Day. Most of you might brush it off as another random holiday that appears as a little gray dot on your iPhone calendar. But, to me, it is one of the important ones.

Nearly a decade ago, I committed to a better world. At first, it was mostly for my own health benefits. I began with the food we eat, prioritizing organic whole foods in our budget. We supported local farmers by joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), buying maple syrup, honey and eggs from local suppliers. We drastically reduced and eliminated eating meats. I slowly started…


A sign at a photo op location inside a state vaccination site.

I wasn’t a super hero. I didn’t do it as my part to save humanity. I didn’t do it because I was scared. I didn’t do it for the photo op. I didn’t do it out of pressure. Like any rational person, I weighed my risks, rolled up my sleeve and made a choice. MY choice.

I was entirely unaware of how controversial vaccines are until I was pregnant with my firstborn. There’s something about holding your perfect newborn — a being who is completely untainted by the world — that makes everything you put into and onto your child…


When Elon Musk tweeted about the red pill a few weeks ago, it took me a few minutes to dust off the cobwebs from my memory. At the dawn of the new millennium, we were captured by the horrifying society in “The Matrix”. You may remember the scene where Neo is offered a choice between a blue and red pill by the rebel leader Morpheus. If he chooses the red pill, he will live in truth. If he chooses the blue pill, he will return to the beautiful mind prison of the matrix.

Like all good dystopias, the underlying ideas…


When we look back on this time in history, what will we remember? What will have been important? Where will we chide ourselves and where will we see praise? I ask myself these questions almost daily in silent, mediative moments. That place where I yearn for inner peace, that feeling you get when you lay next to your sleeping children at night, dig your feet into the hot sand while listening to the rhythmic waves of the Pacific Ocean, deeply hug a family member, or listen to a small group of guitarists play Hallelujah in the darkness of a campsite…


You do have control over your own destiny.

If you are just joining us on this journey, I’ll give you a brief back story. I was floored when I found out in February that I have follicular non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a blood cancer, at age 35 — I tried to preemptively fight against something like this for what seems like my entire life. I’ve always eaten “healthy”, but really in the last six years revolutionized the way I consume food by joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), grow an extensive garden with vegetables and herbs, and shop exclusively in the organic…


Staying healthy during chemotherapy is a top priority, because the consequences of catching even the smallest of colds could be astronomical. When you have a blood cancer, particularly lymphoma this is even more paramount — the therapies are targeting your white blood cells specifically. One of the greatest debates after my diagnosis was how to best protect myself from illness while still maintaining some kind of normalcy, most especially with an 18 month old and a three and a half year old in preschool.

At first, we didn’t change much. I asked my doctors about how to best manage with…


There isn’t much I want to remember about the month of February. It was the month of scary unknowns. Was it lymphoma or something even more sinister? Was it going to be in my bones? What would they stage me? What if it was everywhere? What if it was a type they couldn’t treat? I just want to be here for my boys; what will this mean for my life? The onslaught of questions, tests, scans and biopsies, and the waiting… the waiting… and waiting after a diagnosis was one of the hardest parts. I’m sure you can imagine all…


When I first found out I had lymphoma, back in December, when my GP gave the correct diagnosis that would soon after be reversed by an oncologist (not my current one) and send me on a wild quest for answers that indeed turned out to be lymphoma in the end — 2 months later — I was confused. How could this happen to me? I’m young, and I’m healthy. I had no known family history of cancer. We were a family more afraid of heart disease since my maternal grandmother had passed away young from a heart attack. …


There aren’t enough words to describe how incredibly sweet the doctors and nurses are who work at the oncology office. They really make an effort to know you; I talked incessantly to the poor girl, who may have even been my age, about my two boys, shared my favorite places to go in California (where I was preparing to rush off to in my mind palace), and cracked all kinds of jokes… I find I have the most humor when I’m nervous— this is a recent revelation.

My first treatment day, March 14, was also Pi day — the school…


There’s something super counterintuitive about consenting to poison yourself, most especially when I’ve always been so cautious about limiting my exposure to toxins! There’s a level of hysterical irony as I sit here contemplating this while hooked up to human antibodies, an army of snipers ready to obliterate my b-cells.

In my mind, I’ve gone to California, the place where my spirit lives. I feel the warm sun on my skin, the salty wind through my hair, the cool smooth sand in my toes, and the aroma of the sweet white jasmine flowers. …

Amanda Stygar

I'm a: mom. wife. daughter. sister. teacher. writer. friend. cali girl. lymphoma survivor. local-organic foodie. new age hippie. packers fan. believer

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