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Oakland ‘Cancer Conqueror’ Coaches Others To Health

Sheryl Brian at Vista Natural Wellness Center in Oakland.
Sheryl Brian at Vista Natural Wellness Center in Oakland. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
A White Tara statue at Vista Natural Wellness Center, where even the merchandise is about promoting physical and mental well-being.
A White Tara statue at Vista Natural Wellness Center, where even the merchandise is about promoting physical and mental well-being. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Non-toxic nail polish at Vista Natural Wellness Center.
Non-toxic nail polish at Vista Natural Wellness Center. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Even the jewelry at Vista Natural Wellness Center is designed to heal and inspire.
Even the jewelry at Vista Natural Wellness Center is designed to heal and inspire. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash

OAKLAND, N.J. — When Sheryl Brian, of Oakland, opened Vista Natural Wellness Center in 2012, her vision was to create an oasis of healing for people.

But she had no idea she would be one of them.

In 2012, Brian had a thermography scan at Vista. That’s an imaging technique that measures inflammation in the body using an infrared camera. It showed a lot of inflammation, which can be a precursor to disease, particularly if it’s allowed to continue unchecked.

“I ignored the thermography and I stopped going for annual physicals,” said Brian, who previously had worked as a vice president at a large corporation.

“I thought I had some autoimmune problem,” she added. “I never thought I had cancer.”

But she did. A sudden retinal hemorrhage in February 2015 compelled her to go to the eye doctor. One medical test followed another until she was diagnosed with Stage 4 mantle cell lymphoma.

There she was, ill, amid the singing bowls, green drinks, herbal supplements, yoga classes, massage therapy sessions, healthy cooking classes and Ayurveda workshops at her own center. Up to that point, Brian had avoided traditional medicine whenever possible, but cancer taught her balance.

“I would have died in a month if I had not gotten treatment,” she said. “I had to do the chemo.”

Dr. Andre Goy, her oncologist at Hackensack University Medical Center, has done groundbreaking work on her rare form of cancer.

“He did his part. I did my part,” said Brian, who is now cancer free. “With his part alone, I probably wouldn’t have had the same results.”

Her part was eating healthfully, taking supplements, moving in whatever way she could and tending to her mental/spiritual well-being.

Brian, who calls herself a “cancer conqueror,” has emerged from her experience wanting to help others. A health coach certified through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition , she soon will work one-on-one with clients at Vista.

“My number-one job is not to get cancer back again,” she said, “but my other job is to use my learning to help other people with diagnoses change their lifestyle, little by little.”

That way, she figures, they can do their part, too.

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