The Natural Evolution Podcast

Season 1

Episode 10

S1E10 – Medicine In Pain with Eddie Enever

Eddie Enever knows all too well how the body responds to chronic stress.  At age 33 he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, which ended up coming back 3 times.  He didn’t have a real healing breakthrough until he started dealing with the stress he was avoiding.  

Eddie is a highly experienced naturopath, cancer and chronic disease coach, practitioner mentor, as well as a meditation, mindfulness and breathwork teacher, and founder of CSRT (Cold- Stress Resilience Training). To say Eddie has developed strength and resilience in his life is an understatement. Eddie is a three time cancer survivor, he’s also had his battles with anxiety and depression, he’s been through a marriage break up as well as financial demise, BUT, he got through it all, bounced back and recreated a successful business, a loving relationship with his kids, partner and him-Self and has a successful career full of meaning and purpose.

“My personal mission is to raise public awareness of the role of chronic, persistent stress on ALL levels of health. I have experienced first hand how stress can seriously impact your health and happiness. I’m passionate about providing support, skills and resources to help others to better manage stress, improve their health and increase their quality of life.” 

To connect with Eddie and learn more about his work, visit:

Head over to https://rebelhealthtribe.com/kit to get a free download of our loaded quick start guide to help you along your healing journey.  If you like us, subscribe, review, and share us with your friends, and come join our Rebel Health Tribe group on Facebook.

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Listen to Episode #10

About our Guest

Eddie is a highly experienced naturopath, cancer and chronic disease coach, practitioner mentor, as well as a meditation, mindfulness and breathwork teacher, and founder of CSRT (ColdStress Resilience Training).
 

Eddie is a highly experienced naturopath, cancer and chronic disease coach, practitioner mentor, as well as a meditation, mindfulness and breathwork teacher, and founder of CSRT (ColdStress Resilience Training). To say Eddie has developed strength and resilience in his life is an understatement. Eddie is a three time cancer survivor, he’s also had his battles with anxiety and depression, he’s been through a marriage break up as well as financial demise, BUT, he got through it all, bounced back and recreated a successful business, a loving relationship with his kids, partner and him-Self and has a successful career full of meaning and purpose. “My personal mission is to raise public awareness of the role of chronic, persistent stress on ALL levels of health. I have experienced first hand how stress can seriously impact your health and happiness. I’m passionate about providing support, skills and resources to help others to better manage stress, improve their health and increase their quality of life.”

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Podcast Transcript

Eddie Enever knows all too well how the body responds to chronic stress. At age 33 he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, which ended up coming back 3 times. He didn’t have a real healing breakthrough until he started dealing with the stress he was avoiding.

Michael:

We’re live. All right. I am here with my friend and colleague, Eddie Enever. Eddie, how are you?

Eddie Enever:

I’m good. Hi, how are you?

Michael:

Great. Thank you so much for doing the podcast. I’m excited about this one.

Eddie Enever:

Thanks for having me on. It’s amazing. Thank you for the opportunity.

Michael:

Yeah. This is going to be great. And this season, we’re talking about healing journeys and transformations, and you’ve got a great one, and I only know bits and pieces, so I’m excited to get the whole story. Eddie and I actually are in the Compassionate Inquiry training of Dr. Gabor Maté together and that’s how we met.

And I learned about his story, and I was putting together this podcast, and I was like, “Look, man, we got to do this. This story needs to get out.” So I will give you a little background on Eddie and then we’re just going to jump right in and talk about his remarkable journey, and then maybe just a little bit about healing journeys as a whole, and how you view them, and what you’ve seen in patients now.

Eddie’s a highly experienced natural path cancer and chronic disease coach, practitioner, mentor as well as meditation mindfulness and breath work teacher, and founder of CSRT which is cold stress resilience training. I’d love to learn more about that, so bookmark that.

To say Eddie has developed strength and resilience in his life is an understatement. He’s a three-time cancer survivor. He’s also had his battles with anxiety and depression, which I can also relate to. He’s been through a marriage breakup as well as financial demise, but he got through it all, bounced back and recreated a successful business, loving relationship with his kids, partner and himself, and has a successful career full of meaning and purpose.

Eddie says his mission is to raise public awareness of the role of chronic persistent stress on all levels of health. He’s experienced firsthand how stress can seriously impact your health and happiness. He’s passionate about providing support, skills and resources to help others to better manage stress, improve their health and increase their quality of life.

That’s a very good purpose to have, my friend. And so I guess let’s just jump right in. Before we get to your three-time cancer surviving, I’d like to ask a little bit about your natural path, your chronic disease, cancer coach and all this mindfulness, meditation, breath work. How much of that were you doing before the cancer, and how did you get into that line of work to begin with? Where did your interests get sparked?

Eddie Enever:

So it’s a long story. Essentially, before I was a natural path, I was a printer, so I was printing labels like wine labels and actually pharmaceutical labels a lot of too actually.

Michael:

That’s ironic.

Eddie Enever:

A little funny. Yeah. So I was just doing my thing. I wasn’t spiritually-minded or anything like that. I wouldn’t even tell you what natural therapies were. And then one day, we had a big, devastating incident happen and my five-year-old nephew unfortunately got hit by a car outside of my sister’s home.

And me being the youngest in the family, I was the first out on scene, and so essentially, I witnessed him pass. It was a five-year-old boy on a bike getting hit by a four-wheel drive towing a horse trailer, so he didn’t stand a chance. But that really changed direction of my life.

Really weird things started to happen after that on a spiritual level, really seemed like opened me up and made me incredibly sensitive. And so my interests started to change, and I started hanging out with different people, different places, going to different things, and immersing myself in more of a spiritual world.

I was raking in energy medicines, and all these things. And I went to this event that happens every year in Perth called the Conscious Living Expo, which is just like a big exhibition full of new age, different stuff and heaps of interesting people. There was a stall for what was called, at the time, Australian College of Natural Medicine.

They were obviously plugging their courses and their degrees and diplomas at that stage. And so I went and had a chat and got the old freebie bag. I was basically going around, collecting as many freebies as I could that whole day. And I reckon I didn’t even look into that bag for another month or so, and I read about this thing called naturopathy, and I was like, “Oh, that sounds interesting.”

I was at the stage of my life where I was looking for a change in direction, so I went and met with the college and met with the coordinator, whatever you want to call them, course coordinator, and I said, “Yes, sign me up. Let’s do this,” and never looked back.

So from this really devastating impact of my little nephew, Ben, passing, it really changed the trajectory of my life in a really positive way that led me down this track ultimately to become a natural path, and then everything that ensued after that, which include cancer and all the stuff that’s in that bio to here, to having conversations like this with you. So really pivotal period of my life, and that’s how I got into the natural health world.

Michael:

Thank you for sharing all of that. I’ve not been in a similar situation myself and can only imagine how powerful of an experience, and how powerful just in sheer impact on the individuals who were there, and-

Eddie Enever:

Totally. It’s going to change so many people’s lives for the better. You can be like a five … Losing a five-year-old just for a parent is devastating, you know?

Michael:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Eddie Enever:

But you can’t even connect all of that with [crosstalk 00:06:03].

Michael:

Is your sister’s child?

Eddie Enever:

Sister.

Michael:

Man.

Eddie Enever:

I just saw so many people’s lives change for the better, and I’ve always viewed … I always knew that he just had a little five-year contract, is still how I related to it, is just like he went out with a bang and he went out changing people’s lives, and it certainly seemed to do that for a lot of people. It’s like, “Okay, we’re doing this, are we? Let’s do it.”

Michael:

That’s beautiful. It’s a beautiful way to look at it, and I hope that she’s well, and that-

Eddie Enever:

Yeah.

Michael:

And it’s incredible sometimes, and that’s been a theme in the conversations that I’ve had thus far, that it’s usually been something tragic, horrific or extremely challenging that’s caused the reversal in fortune or the shift or the change in direction.

Often times, that seems to be trial by fire, so it’s the catalyst, it’s the spark, it’s the trigger, it’s the ammunition for something that maybe has been lying dormant a little bit. So you got into the naturopathy program, and you mentioned Perth. I should have prefixed that at the beginning.

Eddie lives in Perth, Western Australia. If you’ve noticed, we sound a little different. And I’m familiar with traditional naturopathy versus naturopathic medicine, and physicians, and how that goes in the US. It’s a lot more traditional, I guess I would call it probably.

What was that experience like? You had no background in that whatsoever really, so you just jumped right into the program and started it off, and you just dug it from day one and go right into it or what?

Eddie Enever:

Yeah, just went for it, started off part-time study as I was still working, and then transitioned out to full-time study. And then I went straight into practice from being a qualified straight out there, straight to practice, really as everyone is at the start of their career, not really knowing, having all this theoretical knowledge about [inaudible 00:07:56] those practical knowledge and how to work with real humans, and sort of fumbled my way through the best that I could and learnt.

And then I had an amazing opportunity where somebody actually gave me a business, believe it or not. They gave me a 10-year-old business, an established health center with 15 practitioners, the overhaul café and a shop given to me for free, literally just, “I want you to take this over,” and I was just like, “Whoa.”

And me being a green natural path, a green practitioner, not really knowing what I was doing, it was scary as hell, but it was just like, “Wow. What an opportunity? That doesn’t come up often.” And I sort-

Michael:

It sounds like a lot of stress though.

Eddie Enever:

Ended up being, you know?

Michael:

Yeah.

Eddie Enever:

[crosstalk 00:08:37]-

Michael:

I have the same part that hears things like that and then it’s like, “Yes, do that. That sounds great.” And then I have this other part that’s learned over time, “Hey. That’s going to be a lot of work. That’s going to be a lot of stress, buddy. Hey, wait a minute.”

Eddie Enever:

But you know when you’re at the start of your career and you’re enthusiastic, you’re inspired, you’ve got boundless energy to do this and you want to succeed, and you want to progress. And I saw it as this beautiful opportunity to set the family up and all that sort of stuff. But the missing link was that I knew nothing about business, so I just went and-

Michael:

Funny how that ends up mattering.

Eddie Enever:

Yeah. And so when things weren’t working from the business level, I did what I knew what to do which was to work harder. And when that didn’t work, I worked harder because I was good at working hard. This is what then created a huge amount of stress for me which ultimately led, around about six years later, to my diagnosis of cancer. So-

Michael:

What’s the timeline on this? What year was it when your nephew passed?

Eddie Enever:

Probably I think he would’ve turned 18 this year.

Michael:

Okay, so about 10 to 15 years, and then you went through the training, you got out, you got the facility gifted to you by some sort of angel, and then started running yourself into the ground with that.

Eddie Enever:

Yes, mate.

Michael:

And how many years ago was your diagnosis, your first diagnosis?

Eddie Enever:

I was diagnosed 10 days before Christmas in 2013.

Michael:

Okay, so about seven and a half years ago. How did you know something was wrong?

Eddie Enever:

I was diagnosed with testicular cancer, so it’s quite obvious. When you have a testis that’s not feeling quite right. And that was essentially what alerted me to it, to something not being right. Looking back on it, there was some little signs and signals that I was probably a little bit numb to or ignoring a little bit, or just wasn’t really taking seriously like some achy type groin pains that I’d just put down to groin strains and stuff in sport or exercise.

But essentially, it was just referred pain coming from the testis. And so I’ve got a friend who’s a very good integrative type GP, and so I just called him on the phone and we organized an ultrasound basically straight away, and that’s when it all basically came to light, then the journey took off on me.

Michael:

What was the initial diagnosis, just the testicular cancer? Had it spread? What was the situation like?

Eddie Enever:

The original diagnosis was a right-sided seminoma, so there’s different sorts of testicular cancer. Mine was a seminoma, which is quite a common one. There was some evidence of lymphovascular infiltration, so some of the cells had gone into blood and lymph by the histology report.

So a PET scan didn’t show anything in the body, but it did show that there was potential for that spread at that point. So in four days, like four days before Christmas, I was in surgery getting Mr. Righty chopped off. And then they wanted to give me a dose of chemotherapy in early stage.

Michael:

Did you say Mr. Righty?

Eddie Enever:

Yeah, I did.

Michael:

So I want to backtrack just a little. We’ll get back to Mr. Righty. But that initial, I don’t know if it was a phone call or an appointment or what it was where you found out what was going on, I’m sure you had suspicions or concerns, but the actual confirmation like this is cancer, how old were you?

Eddie Enever:

I was 33.

Michael:

33?

Eddie Enever:

Yeah.

Michael:

What was that like?

Eddie Enever:

It was pretty devastating. That wasn’t a good day. Life [inaudible 00:12:20] down at that stage. I had a two-and-half-year-old son and my wife was pregnant. And I remember she was waiting out in the park across the road from the radiology clinic for me to go in. And I had to go over there and basically tell her, “Listen, I’ve got cancer.”

Life changed in an instant. Literally in one little consultation with the sonographer, everything changed.

Michael:

You were given a pretty prognosis like, “If we do surgery and you get some treatment, this is a largely treatable-“

Eddie Enever:

Yeah, testicular cancer is the most treatable cancer you can get if you can get it. So success rate’s very, very high with first-line treatment. They painted a very positive view of it like almost like it’s not that big a deal, “You know, we’ve got this.”

But you’re met with your mortality, and for me, it was the first time I was met with my own mortality, and that’s pretty hard to swallow especially when you’re at the prime of your life, and you’ve got a young family and everything. To be dished out that sort of new is pretty hard to slow.

Michael:

It’s not in the script.

Speaker 1:

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Eddie Enever:

And so I’m pretty do whatever it takes sort of guy. I can knuckle down, which is probably how I got up as well, is if I was like, “Yeah, get on with it.” So I knew that I just had to do whatever it took, but it was still a lot. And this is a big part of my story is that bit me in the bum a little bit because of that way just to block it out and do whatever it takes, but internalize that stress.

That was a big part of my journey, is this internalization, repression of emotion. And that stress of it really for the next two years. And what ensued which was three relapses in two years, a big part of that was because of the way that I was interfacing with my stress levels within my life, and then the cancer diagnosis and marriage and everything.

Michael:

Is that more testicular cancer or was it-

Eddie Enever:

Yeah, it’s that cancer. It basically didn’t get cleared, so I did go and have chemotherapy eventually in February, and that was one of the hardest decisions to make. But looking back on it now, just like one dose of Carboplatin was just like walk in the park. But at the time, it was this huge thing, chemo.

And I was a natural path, so I had that natural bias. But then, there was the scientist in me and the realist in me going, “Look at the stats. You’re crazy if you don’t do chemotherapy for something that’s got such a high success rate.” So I eventually did it. And then six months later, I had the relapse where it popped up in my periaortic lymph nodes, so the ones in the abdomen, the chain of lymph nodes right up next to the aorta, basically came up on a PET scan, and that’s basically … It had spread and it traveled up the lymphatic tract, and that’s the first stop on the train line so to speak. And so that-

Michael:

That’s a little more scary then.

Eddie Enever:

That is. That’s now metastatic cancer, which is harder to treat. With testicular cancer, it’s still … Testicular cancers are still highly sensitive to treatment, so success rate is still really, really high, but the treatment’s very aggressive. So from the medical point of view, it was a week of chemotherapy, three chemotherapies on one day, on a Monday, and then two chemotherapies for the rest of that week every day.

So they hit you really, really hard, and then two weeks of nothing, and then that’s one cycle, and you go through and you do multiple cycles of that. And so took me a long time to come to terms with actually going ahead with that. It was a very different scenario than just one dose of chemo. This was like brutal.

Michael:

Yeah, four-course.

Eddie Enever:

It took me a lot of time to get to the point where I was ready to embrace it, which took me into meditation, a world of meditation and really trying to come to peace with that decision, because I wasn’t comfortable. I didn’t want to go in there and do the treatment and be resenting those bags of chemo that had been hang up at the top [inaudible 00:17:05] they were in.

I wanted to be able to fully embrace it to get the most from it, and it took me a long time-

Michael:

This was for the lymphatic cancer, right, the full course of chemo?

Eddie Enever:

For the metastatic cancer, yeah.

Michael:

The metastatic, yeah. And so then I was going to ask when meditation and breath and mindfulness came into play, and was it was to help you make-

Eddie Enever:

At that point.

Michael:

… peace with the choice you’d made, with the situation you were in, with-

Eddie Enever:

Yes. I chose to go before I made the decision. It was an hour and about … They wanted to give me straight away just like, “What are you doing? Just starting doing it. You’re crazy if you don’t.” But I was just like, “No. I need to be in the right place to do it,” and I wasn’t in the right place to do it.

So I went to a live-in retreat at a place called The Gawler Foundation, which is a non-profit cancer foundation on the East Coast of Australia run by a guy called Ian Gawler, beautiful organization that’s unfortunately closing because of COVID, which is devastating.

But they run or used to run live-in retreats, and it was a 10-day retreat called Life and Living for cancer patients. And it was there that I really got immersed into meditation. It was a big part of their program, was meditation and getting in touch with your emotional states and all those sorts of things.

It wasn’t until day eight that, in the meditation, I came to a point where I could really choose to do it. It wasn’t a cognitive decision. It was a deeper decision within me, in my heart or whatever it is that was just like, “Right, I’m ready to do this, ready to go for it.” That was a really, really important thing for me. So I could go back and I could totally commit to what I was doing.

Michael:

Was that chemo experience everything you expected it to be?

Eddie Enever:

Yeah, it was rough. It was-

Michael:

You lose all your hair, feel like garbage, get sick?

Eddie Enever:

Yeah, listen, the nausea, not really. You don’t feel like trash, but they manage nausea pretty well with their dexamethasone, and there are actually nausea meds that are pretty good at that. I dialed that in. But no, it’s brutal chemistry. It really knocks you around. You don’t feel … My digestive system basically shut down for a week, so that’s second week.

The week of chemo was all right. You feel grody but you get through it, you’re dosed up on steroids, so you can function. But the second week, when the steroids wear off and all the side effects shine through, that was rough. That was very, very rough. Then the last week was a little bit of normalcy before you go and rinse and repeat, do it again.

So it was interesting how much it impacts you physically. But mentally and emotionally, it was really interesting how much it impacts you and how it can send you down, very much a rollercoaster through the whole different cycles.

Michael:

And so that was the first relapse, the second diagnosis, and you did the full round of chemo.

Eddie Enever:

Yeah. [crosstalk 00:19:57]-

Michael:

And then you were cleared?

Eddie Enever:

Yep.

Michael:

Then how long was it before the third?

Eddie Enever:

Three months, so it came back after three months, again in the periaortic lymph nodes, but then it spread further up and I had some in my chest and some lymph nodes in the chest, and that was pretty devastating, especially after all that work that you do. You really work for it and that chemotherapy makes a lot of suffering in there, and to keep it together and just get through it, it’s almost like, “Really? Again? All that and I still don’t [crosstalk 00:20:28]?”

Michael:

How did you catch those, those two when it had spread up? How did you notice? Did you have symptoms or were those just routine blood work or scans or?

Eddie Enever:

I was always the one that went to my oncologist and said, “Listen, something’s not right.” I just knew, and it’s really bizarre, it’s really weird. I just knew inside of myself, my mental state changed and it was almost like I could sense it was there. It’s really bizarre.

But my skin also told me. When my skin wasn’t happy, breakouts with acne on my shoulders and back and stuff like that, that was a bit of a sign. But with testicular cancer and seminomas, they produce a lot of beta-hCG. This is one of the compounds that go out in pregnancy, and it gives you sensitive nipples, so my nipples told me. It’s sort of the running joke is-

Michael:

That’s funny.

Eddie Enever:

… my nipples are always the barometer of how I was going, so the daily nipple check to see how things are going. But when beta-hCG erupts, increases, you do get sensitive nipples. And so it was a confirmation of my mental state, my nipples, sounds ridiculous-

Michael:

Or the nipple spidey sense.

Eddie Enever:

And my skin really alerted me that hey, things weren’t right. I’m very sensitive to my body, my environment, so I would go to him and say, “Hey, listen. Something’s not right.” We’d do a PET scan and sure enough, there was something [crosstalk 00:21:46].

Michael:

Were you still running the clinic through all of that?

Eddie Enever:

Yeah, I was. I was trying. I was trying semi-successfully. My stress levels were still pretty high through that whole period. Obviously, the toll that it was taking on a young family and it was very, very stressful. And for me, feeling like I was failing at it all, it was very strong.

So my internal environment wasn’t good, so my stress levels, albeit the best that I could try to deal with it the best that I could through some of the skills that I’d learned with meditations and things, but it was still a lot going on. It was very, very heavy times.

Michael:

Were there points in there … And then you did the same type of treatment again for the second relapse, the full course of chemo and-

Eddie Enever:

Yeah. No, second line, they wanted to go in and get heavier, second line treatment, and I was really struggling with that just because that first one was so brutal. So basically I needed to do something for myself and so I chose to actually do some alternative treatments or complementary treatments.

So I came through a colleague of mine, and a client and colleague, around hypothermia, so heat treatment. And so I looked into that and I found a clinic in the Philippines that didn’t charge an arm and a leg, and I went and spent eight weeks at this clinic, hypothermia clinic, which was heating the body up either locally direct to tumors or systemically, heating the body up to very high temperatures in the hopes, one, either to kill cancer or to sensitize cancer.

So I spent eight weeks baking myself like that in the hope that my cancer would’ve disappeared, or it would’ve killed it. But by the end of that eight-week trip, all my tumors had tripled in size, and so I was at my sickest then. So I had an eight-centimeter by nine by three-centimeter tumor in my abdomen-

Michael:

Oh, wow.

Eddie Enever:

… that was pushing my pelvic against one side of my abdominal wall. I had a couple of tumors in my chest, a couple under my collarbone, one in my neck, one in my lung. At that stage, I was really unwell. That was pretty devastating. Again, all that work, no result for it.

So I came back and at that point, I did my next round of chemotherapy, and that’s when the cancer melted away, literally started disappearing so quickly that my oncologist was absolutely flabbergasted. He couldn’t understand why and he basically just put it down to [inaudible 00:24:11] the hypothermia. And certainly, the research shows that there’s a-

Michael:

That the hypothermia treatment would make the cancer more sensitive to the chemotherapy?

Eddie Enever:

Yeah, and research shows that with radiotherapy and chemotherapy, there’s about 30% benefit to your outcomes with introducing complementary hypothermia, so it’s quite a powerful intervention. And certainly, my regression so quickly, of it melting away certainly reflected that.

It was very, very quick and it went away. So that was a really, really important part of me getting well was this hypothermia. And also, it was eight weeks away that I’ve spent with myself, and so there was a lot of internal work that went on, a lot of meditation and reflection. [crosstalk 00:24:53]-

Michael:

Did you go by yourself?

Eddie Enever:

… and everything, so that was a really important trip.

Michael:

Were you by yourself in the Philippines?

Eddie Enever:

Was, yeah.

Michael:

Wow, so eight weeks in the Philippines. Had you been there before or no?

Eddie Enever:

No, this was deep in the Philippines, deep, deep in the provinces.

Michael:

So eight weeks in a really strange place, going through alternative treatment for a third appearance of fairly aggressive cancer.

Eddie Enever:

Yeah. It was becoming treatment-resistant. The more that it had unsuccessful treatment, what’s left behind is these more robust cancer cells, these … They’re called cancer stem cells, stem-like cells which are really tricky to treat. And I had quite a resistance.

I did a genetic profiling of my cancer. It had a lot of resistance factors were up-regulated, so it was a robust, stubborn cancer. So I really had to go all out and go above and beyond to get rid of it, which included, obviously, the hypothermia. It really was a crucial factor in me getting well. It was that in combination with-

Michael:

Curious what else happened in those eight weeks.

Eddie Enever:

It was also my relationship to what was going on for me, so my relationship to stress, my relationship to the business and my life really, and all the internal state had to change massively. The way I interfaced with stress was a big part of it, my default stress-coping mechanism which was to repress and to swallow down and stick the happy-happy, joy-joy face on, when inside, it didn’t necessarily say that.

There was a congruence between head and heart, if you will. So I really had to work on all those aspects. And so there’s no one magic pill that did it. It was just the synergy of this approach that worked for me.

Michael:

And I’d imagine … I’ve never been through something like that, but I could imagine being in that scenario, you can almost look at your life almost as an outside … It’s back there, you’re not in it, it’s back there and you had a lot of free time probably to think about things and reevaluate-

Eddie Enever:

That’s right.

Michael:

… and really look at what’s important. And the theme that a lot of guests have chatted about is how facing something like that really changes what you feel is important in your life and what-

Eddie Enever:

Except whether [crosstalk 00:27:13]-

Michael:

… you’re really concerned about and what you’re not.

Eddie Enever:

Whether it’s cancer, or a diagnosis of an autoimmune condition, or bouts with depression, or death in the family, whatever it might be, for me, the greens looked greener and the blues looked bluer and the reds looked redder, and what was important to me before just wasn’t important, the finances, the ego-driven aspect of my business, wanting the attention of what I’m craving type thing wasn’t important.

None of that stuff was important anymore, and what was important was me being around for my kids. We get so wrapped up on that stuff. So it changed my whole relationship to my life, and I think disease or suffering has a beautiful way of doing that if you’re willing to take that approach towards it.

It’s not until we get unwell that sometimes we realize that we need to become well, that we need to make changes in our life. And there’s nothing like a diagnosis of cancer to really rocket ship you to that point if you’re willing to look there. And so for me, it was a huge catalyst to what I do now.

And honestly, looking at it, although it was harsh and within there was some marriage breakdown as well during that period, which was really, really hard, I’m a better person for that whole stage of my life. It’s given me a different direction in life, it gives me meaning and purpose to be able to help people who are just me but at the start of their journey. I do-

Michael:

So now, you’re working … Well, I’ll get to that in a second, but that last treatment was successful. After the hypothermia, you did the second round of chemo, the second level of whatever you had called it. I’m not good with cancer treatment terms-

Eddie Enever:

Second line therapy. Yeah.

Michael:

… but the second line therapy, and it worked, everything melted away, and that was four or five years ago?

Eddie Enever:

Yeah. I’ve been clear basically six years.

Michael:

Okay.

Eddie Enever:

Six years, yeah.

Michael:

Amazing. And then after that experience … So cancer wasn’t your jam before that. You got into-

Eddie Enever:

Not really, no.

Michael:

… working. After that experience, probably, you had learned so much in your own research and what you’ve been through and everything that this became an interest of you to work with cancer patients?

Eddie Enever:

Yeah. And people with a diagnosis, they want to talk to someone who understands it. So more than just the physiological treatment of the cancer, treating what’s wrong with the person, the understanding of the biochemistry and stuff. People want more than that and especially the diagnosis.

They’re being met with their mortality and they’re asking big questions of themself, “Why me?” these more philosophical type questions. I think they just really value speaking to someone who gets it, who understands it, who’s actually trodden that path. And so I think people just started wanting to work with me, and actually just because I got it, I understood it, the actual emotional nature of the disease, not just the physical nature.

There’s something you can do like diet or supplements and therapies. But to actually deal with why someone’s unwell not just what’s wrong with them, but why it’s wrong with them, that’s a line of questioning and that’s why I love this type of work because we get to go really deep with … or I get to go really deep with these people to really help them make sense of all the events that have led up to this, their biographies and how their biographies have become their biology in a weird way, and help them find meaning and purpose in their diagnosis and make some really meaningful change in their life that helps with the outcome while we’re treating the physical nature of the disease.

It gives me a lot of meaning and purpose myself. So I find we can have some very deep, meaningful conversations that makes some amazing impact on their life and their actual prognosis.

Michael:

It’s beautiful, and I can relate to the hardest periods. My wife has multiple autoimmune conditions. We’ve been through three pretty horrific flares in the last three and a half years that have shaken everything we thought our life was, and turned things upside down, and changed courses four times.

So, “Nope, that’s not the way things are going to be. Here’s your new life and here’s this.” And there was this resentment or this anger, this, “Come on, no. I worked too hard to get to here for it to be like this, for this to happen,” especially like you’d already been through the naturopathy school.

I’d already been working in health and wellness. It was like a personal gut punch to me, that then my wife was sick and I couldn’t fix it. I couldn’t change it. And it was despite, “We live this and we do this healthy thing, and we do this thing and this thing, and why is this happening?”

“Come on, this is bullshit, and what is …” And if somebody would’ve told me then that this is going to shift both of your lives in a way that’s going to result in … and then show me what was going to come out of there and be like it’s all for this and this and this and you’re going to learn this and this and this, I’d have wanted to choke me.

I didn’t want to hear it when I was in it. People would say that. I had well-meaning friends who were like, “You know, this is really challenging and it’s going to change your life in ways that you …” because they’d been through it, and I didn’t want to hear it until I did, until I saw it, until I understood, and until I saw it happen once and things shifted, and things changed direction.

And then she got sick again. I went right back into hating everything. And then we got through that one and things shifted even more. And then there was this really interesting path that I’d gotten onto, and then she got sick again and there was just this, “Come on, why? Why? Why?”

That third time, I was like, “All right. I’ve seen this twice already. I’ve seen the shift that happens. I’m going to lean into this.” And then I used it to practice meditation, to practice mindfulness practices, to practice the things … Because it’s easy to practice those things when you’re not in the fire.

Eddie Enever:

Yeah.

Michael:

It’s easy to meditate every day when your life is peaches. It’s easy to do all these self-care things when you feel great and when your partner feels great, and there’s no chaos and crisis.

Eddie Enever:

But when the storm rolls in, it’s a bit trickier, isn’t it?

Michael:

It is, it is. And to practice it when there’s no storm makes it possible to use it when there is. And I really learned that through these flares. And so the meditation and the breath work and the cold therapy, all those things were basically things that you learned for you that were helpful for you that you now teach to your patients and the people you consult with.

Eddie Enever:

Because when people come to you as a practitioner, health practitioner, especially they’re coming because they want to be you. They want that outcome that you had. And so the way that I help people is to show them what I did and my skills that I learned in my process.

So I use myself as the example a lot with my patients, “Don’t do this because this is what I did. It didn’t work. Let’s have a look at this, and this did work.” And so you develop your skill set which is your medicine to give to the world along with you and your biography and your story and the skill sets that you hold. And so that’s a beautiful thing to be able to share that.

Michael:

It is and there’s no better way to learn to … There’s no better way to teach something than to have learned it by doing. And I know a lot of things I’ve learned from books, and I know a lot of things I’ve learned from experience. And I can teach the ones that I’ve been through experience much better than I can teach things I’ve memorized out of a book.

Eddie Enever:

Sure. And also, you also teach what you need to learn. So I’m doing this course and teaching people this stuff. I’m also talking to myself the whole time because I’m human as well and life gets stressful, and it gets busy, and sometimes I lose sight of my balance in my life, and I need these skills to then come back in, and to bring myself back into homeostasis. [crosstalk 00:35:02]-

Michael:

And to get yourself-

Eddie Enever:

… that I learned in cancer was maintaining balance in my life.

Michael:

Yeah, that balance and homeostasis.

Eddie Enever:

Work on my balance, my body. We know about that. That’s signs and symptoms, that’s disease, that’s suffering. So to then respond appropriately and make those changes to come back into homeostasis or balance is really, really important. And that’s something that I’m constantly working on, and I think that’s just health.

That is what life and health is. It’s attending when you’re out of balance and coming back in and making those choices.

Michael:

I love that you teach what you need to learn. I think that’s true too. And the training that we’re in together, I haven’t talked about this one any of the episodes, is Dr. Gabor Maté was a ground breaker when it came to equating emotional stress, repressed emotions, trauma to physical disease including cancer and other physical diseases.

I don’t know when his book came out, and that’s probably about 20 years ago now. And everybody thought he was nuts. The medical establishment though he was nuts, the psychiatric establishment thought he was nuts. And now both sides are inviting him to be keynote speakers at events and looking at him as some sort of profit.

But really, the method, the practice that we’re learning is a line of inquiry that helps individuals get to the root of the patterns and the beliefs and the stories and the challenges that they see, that they find in their life. So I’m sure it’s an immense addition to your toolbox to be able to converse people in that way, but also to see them.

Eddie Enever:

Yeah, huge. It’s huge, and in me, in my life as well, it’s been absolutely amazing, and I know it has been for you as well. It’s just to be able to see where these patterns have arisen from, these experiences that we have typically earlier in life and childhood, and the meaning we ascribe to that, what we make that mean about ourself and how this then echoes through our lives in behavioral patterns, and these things that just keep popping up over and over again.

And especially in the world of oncology and cancer, there is a personality typing that’s been studied for a couple of decades called the cancer-prone personality type that is … I see it with my passion because I’ve treated hundreds of cancer patients, and I reckon probably 80% fit the bill of this cancer-prone personality type.

These are beautiful people, but some of the big hallmarks of this type is that they do internalize their stress. They don’t want to burden others, so they swallow it down and they learn that from an early age because of the dynamics in maybe the home. Or it wasn’t safe to express emotions, so they hid their emotions and they swallowed it down, and this became a lifelong chronic pattern for them, and that it’s that internalized stress that can have a massive impact on our health.

I know that stress doesn’t get taken overly seriously in health because where’s stress? Show me stress. It’s not a tangible thing as such. It’s subjective. What stresses me doesn’t stress you. And so I think medicine’s overarching view on stress, it doesn’t get taken overly seriously, but has this massive capacity to impact our health and our healing.

And for me, with my healing of my cancer, it wasn’t until I really found that meaning and purpose why I was unwell, made some meaningful change in my life to get my stress levels down dramatically, that involved selling a business, that involved selling a home, making massive changes, to decrease my total stress levels.

I believe that unblocked my capacity to get well. It was almost like I was trying to get well in an environment that wasn’t conducive to getting well. And yes, the hypothermia was amazing, and the right chemotherapy drugs in the end were an amazing combination. But I really, really know in myself that if I had not actually taken away this roadblock to healing, this chronically high stress levels, and the way that it interfaced with stress, if I didn’t change that, I don’t think it would’ve been successful.

Michael:

So that was the marriage, the business, that high stress life you’re talking about. Because the business, the clinic, you walked from that after the third round?

Eddie Enever:

Yeah. It became very apparent that it wasn’t what I was doing was the problem. I was doing what was prescribed to me. It wasn’t making scientific sense, medical sense why it kept coming back. So it was at that point I realized that it wasn’t what I was doing. It was the way that I was doing it was the problem.

So my environment that I create for healing wasn’t conducive to getting the outcome. I had to change my environment. And a big part of that was my perception of my environment, so the way that I interfaced with my stress and my perception of my world. It had to change, and you can only change that by going within and doing that inner work.

And that was really crucial because it then took the steam out of that stress in my life which … There’s the chemistry of stress, the cortisol, the adrenaline, the cytokines, all the stuff that was just blocking and making this job of healing so much harder for me.

And when I finally understood that and what my cancer was calling for, which was a change in my epigenetic environment, the life that I created for myself and the chemistry that that environment created wasn’t conducive to health. So it’s like I was trying to get well with the same information feeding in epigenetically, and then it’s just like, “Yeah, good luck with that.”

So I had to change everything in a major way. If you speak to these people that have had these phenomenal turnarounds with cancer, and there’s thousands around the world, that’s what they do. They change the way that their whole life is. They simply change who they are as a human being, and they can get well.

For me, my cancer was calling me to change my life and the way that I interfaced with it. That sent me on this new trajectory, which is absolutely beautiful. So how-

Michael:

What’s your relationship now with the cancer that used to be in your body?

Eddie Enever:

Listen, I look at it and I’m very appreciative of that period in my life. Although, it was two years of a lot of harshness, hard lessons. But no, I wouldn’t change it for the world, because what I’m doing now gives me so much meaning and purpose, and I absolutely love the conversations that I can have with people, and the way that I can support people on that really high level, not just with the physical stuff and the diet.

But really to hold someone through the journey with cancer, that really floats my boat. That makes me feel really, really good inside. And so I have cancer to thank for this new direction in life and this new … The way that I perceive the world is so different now. It’s led me down a totally different path of reconnection to me and to be able to design my life in a much more conducive way for happiness and health.

And I have cancer to thank for that. Because if I think out loud, I’d probably still be trying to do that old thing.

Michael:

You’d be running yourself into the ground in that clinic.

Eddie Enever:

Yeah, probably.

Michael:

Getting some other disease.

Eddie Enever:

Probably in the ground actually.

Michael:

Yeah, some other disease or some other breakdown or something.

Eddie Enever:

Man, I think there’s huge growth and suffering. We like to avoid … These pleasure monkeys that we are, these comfort-addicted beings that we are, we like to avoid pain. But there’s a lot of medicine in pain if we’re willing to look at that, if we’re willing to look at it, understand it and then make the changes.

And it can be hard, really, really hard. People find themself in fairly tricky circumstances where change is very hard. But they can change the way they interface with their perceptions of it. That’s the internal journey. That’s one. A huge proponent of these internal arts, the internal martial arts and meditation and breath work, and all these beautiful yogas.

Because it does, it changes your relationship to your life. Well, you can’t change your life. But you can change your relationship to it which can be game-changing.

Michael:

Beautiful, man. I’d love to do some breath with you sometime. Breath work for me has been a powerful, powerful experience and tool as well. It really unhooks me from the … you called it pleasure monkey. And that needs to be coined term if you haven’t already trademarked that. Pleasure monkey needs to be-

Eddie Enever:

I will continue that, I reckon, [crosstalk 00:43:16].

Michael:

At this words. Yeah, T-shirt that says, “Pleasure monkey,” on it.

Eddie Enever:

[inaudible 00:43:21].

Michael:

But it’s so true. We’re so averse to pain and discomfort of any kind, and so much of our culture and society, and granted, your culture and society is slightly different than the one here, but generally not in these regards. There’s an entire economy out there based on things that they try to get me to buy so that I don’t feel pain or discomfort of any kind.

And they know. I mean, there’s psychologists that work as marketers. That’s a very solid career, if you want to go down that line and weaponize the internal work that we’re learning to do. They know how to play to your, as Gabor called it, holes or loss of self or stories. And we have a whole entire culture, society, economy based off not feeling pain, off not feeling discomfort, off not being in the present moment.

These practices of meditation and mindfulness and breath is what they do is they bring you to now.

Eddie Enever:

I think they help you to stop looking for the answers outside of yourself in marketing, in the product, in government, in religion, in whatever it is, and it sends you within. I think all the great spiritual teachers have talked about this, find the divine within the answer to then go within, whether that’s prayer or meditation or whatever … what the spiritual practice is. It’s very much going within and not external, which is [crosstalk 00:44:51]-

Michael:

A pretty redundant message. I’ve done a lot of studying now of spiritual teachers across the full spectrum. I was raised in the church, I’ve studied Buddhism, I’ve studied a little Daoism, there’s Hindu. It’s pretty redundant. The message is pretty clear.

Eddie Enever:

Yeah. But you can see where the resistance to that is, because how do you control people, is to trick them into the powers outside of themselves. This is a whole ‘nother conversation that’s probably not [crosstalk 00:45:20]-

Michael:

Yeah, that’s a whole ‘nother podcast. But as far as healing goes, yes, there’s the avenue that you did. You did the chemo, you did the hypothermia. I’m sure you did some other supplements and nutritional stuff and lifestyle things. Yes. And it was really the internal shift in changing your life and the way you were living, and the way that you perceived it.

I heard you mention earlier when you were talking about stress, that stress is subjective, that it is perception of stress. I first learned that. There’s an excellent book for anyone out there who likes to read, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Professor Robert Sapolsky, I believe at Stanford here in Northern California.

And that book, at the time, was probably the thickest and heaviest physiology, health-related book I had read probably 10 years ago. And it blew me away. Because it shows how you said, that medical science and most conventional medicine, they don’t give stress the due that it needs. They don’t look at it.

If you walk into a doctor’s office smoking, they’re going to be like, “Hey, you shouldn’t do that. That’s really bad for you to do.” But if you walked in and said, “I had six meetings today and I got stuck in traffic, and my wife was yelling at me, and I’m unhappy in my job,” and whatever, they’d be like, “Oh, welcome to life,” or like some comment, not about the same way they’d react to smoking.

And he breaks down brilliantly all the different physiology around the stress response and the havoc. And with cancer, cancer’s metabolic and it’s immune system going haywire, sideways. And nothing damages and destroys the immune system’s capability more than stress.

Eddie Enever:

Correct. Yeah.

Michael:

And so-

Eddie Enever:

People don’t realize how stress is like … It’s a full, major body physiological event. Not one cell in the body goes unaffected by the chemistry of stress. It’s fight or flight response. But what a lot of people don’t realize is that it’s a two-way street.

You can put yourself into fight or flight, but you can actually take yourself out with relaxation response, which is that beautiful feeling that you feel when you do your breath work and your yogas, your meditation or you’re lying in a hammock reading a book and you get this wave of different chemistry flood through the body.

Again, a full body, major physiological event but more beneficial this time that takes you out of that. And I think just modern humans, with the lives that we live, we spend so much time in the stress response, that sympathetic nervous system dominance is basically forced upon us almost.

And we’re living these chronically stressed lives with very little respite from it to the point where if we don’t say no, the body will, and that’s where we get our breakdowns, where we get our disease, it’s where we get our burnouts or whatever it might be. So a big part of me keeping myself well is responding quickly to my body feedback, my signs and symptoms, which is just feedback mechanism my body uses to get my attention.

Michael:

But that awareness is a practice in and of itself, and that’s where the mindfulness comes in and the meditation, and that really systematic awareness of the body and how you said like, “I just knew something wasn’t right.” We get pulled so far out of touch with that.

And that’s another reason why people go in to a doctor once they finally notice they don’t feel well, and then you have advanced stage diseases and all kinds of things because feeling crappy is the baseline for so many people, that for it to become noticeable, it has to be really, really bad.

And so the awareness of the body and the awareness, and slowing things down, and getting into that state, you’re able to feel things at a very subtle level when they shift in your body. So it’s been a game changer for me when I started to learn meditation and breath and some of these other practices.

And I would get into that truly relaxed and present and disconnected from pleasure monkey stress, mind. It was like, “Whoa. This is what they were talking about.”

Eddie Enever:

Yeah.

Michael:

Okay. I don’t want to make it sound like it’s easy to do this, especially when you’re in crisis. But it’s possible.

Eddie Enever:

Yeah.

Michael:

And-

Eddie Enever:

It’s called practice for a reason. We’ve got to practice it and sometimes we get those beautiful bliss moments like what you described. But sometimes we don’t. It’s 20 minutes of battling with the monkey mind. But the thing is if we persist with it and we keep coming back to our techniques, whatever that might be, like you said, it’s practice but it’s practice but outside of your meditation session.

It’s when the bank manager calls, or you’re having a fight with the Mrs., or whatever happens at work, stress, conflict situation, it’s how just these skills and these practices permeate into your life, and that’s the benefit of this stuff. But it’s not easy. Sometimes it’s frustrating, frustrating practice.

Michael:

I’ve had some pretty not fun meditation sessions.

Eddie Enever:

Yeah.

Michael:

Breath is almost always great. I almost always enjoy breath work sessions. I have trouble getting myself to do it. It’s like a chore or a thing, and then once I do it, I’m like, “Oh, this is awesome. Why don’t I do this every day?” But meditation, I have had some miserable times spent on my meditation cushion.

But you do, you notice it in your life. You don’t react as quickly, you don’t react as consciously to situations, you notice things and say, “Oh, I’m going to sit here for a second before I respond to that.” And each one of those-

Eddie Enever:

[crosstalk 00:50:54].

Michael:

… little things shifts the trajectory from that moment.

Eddie Enever:

The way that I describe it with the meditation, that meditation or breath work, when you start to calm the mind and become more aware of how the mind works, it opens up the space between stressful and then reaction. And it’s only a split fraction of a second, but in that fraction of a second, you have choice.

Rather than going straight to default behaviors, bang, aggression, whatever it might be, flight or fight, you can actually choose, “Do I engage? How do I engage?” And it’s a very powerful thing that can help you to interface with your stress differently.

Michael:

Beautiful. It’s changed my relationship with my wife and with everybody in my life, and who I work with and who works for us, or anything like that. It’s just really changed the way that I interact with people. In closing, I would like to give a little message.

If there’s anybody out there listening to this who recently received a cancer diagnosis or some other really scary medical diagnosis, or they’ve been battling with a chronic disease for a few years or somebody they love has a scary medical situation, what are the first words that you say to somebody when you start with them? Or what kind of message would you like to share with somebody in that kind of situation?

Eddie Enever:

I think it’s big when you’re met with that struggle. The biggest thing is to sit back and, as hard as it is, just to sit with yourself and calling your support network that connects you and is so, so important. That can be sometimes one of the hardest things, is when we get into these stressful states of the diagnosis, whatever it might be.

Some of us like to push away. But it’s nice to be able to call that support network in just to sit with what’s going on. And then especially with disease, it’s about calling in, your team and that’s finding the right people to work with. Ideally, the wounded healer is the ones that have been through what you’re going through to be able to work with them so they can understand … they understand you or what you’re going through on a deeper level to help you to traverse that journey with whatever it is.

Michael:

So leaning into the support network is-

Eddie Enever:

Yeah, and breath like what you said. You got to breath, slow it down. You get stressed, you’re just going to start breaking fast. Slow it down. It’s the easy thing to do, I feel, self-care, self-soothing, slow your breath down, focus on the up breath.

Michael:

Great. Well, thanks, Eddie. I’m glad you went through hell so that you’re here to share this story and do the work that you’re doing, and that I’ve met you through the program that we’re in. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you and getting to know what you do and what you’ve been through, and it’s really a gift how you’ve turned it around to be able to share it and to do so much good in the world and help people that are in the same situation that you were in.

So if people want to find you and look you up, I’ve got a few links in front of me. Which would be the best spot for people to go?

Eddie Enever:

Easiest one is to go straight to the website, eddieenever.com. On there, you’ll find all my different offerings. And also, if you want to reach out just for a free chat, there is the option of booking a 30-minute slot with me, just a phone call or we can do a Zoom or Skype just so I can meet you.

We can have a look at what’s going on for you, the ways that I can be of service, totally no obligation whatsoever. It’s just so we can meet and see if we’re a good fit to potentially work together. And that’s a nice service that I like to offer without having to book straight in for a consultation.

Michael:

Perfect.

Eddie Enever:

So [crosstalk 00:54:30].

Michael:

And do you do consults virtually anywhere with anyone?

Eddie Enever:

Yep, yep, yep, took it all over Australia, New Zealand, internationally too. So we’ve just got to find a good time zone that suits or time that suits especially for overseas. It can be a little bit tricky being in-

Michael:

And we’ve [crosstalk 00:54:45]-

Eddie Enever:

… Australia. We manage to do it, so whatever it takes.

Michael:

Great. All right, and I’ll have all the links in with the show notes with this, so look below for the information on finding Eddie there. So thanks a lot, Eddie. Thank you for sharing your story. Thanks for what you’re doing in the world. Thanks for going through what you went through to be able to do what you’re doing now.

It’s really inspiring, and I’m just excited for people to be able to hear it and to hear from you. If you want to reach out to Eddie and have a chat with him, there’s the links below to do it.

Eddie Enever:

Awesome. Thanks for the opportunity for coming on.

Speaker 1:

And this brings us to the end of today’s episode. Head on over to rebelhealthtribe.com/kit to access the RHT quick start bundle which includes four full-length presentations from our RHT master classes, two downloadable PDF guides, and a 15% off coupon which you can use in our retail shop.

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