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The Realness of Wealth and Health

by Matthew S. NewmanSurvivor, Brain Cancer, Anaplastic AstrocytomasSeptember 14, 2020View more posts from Matthew S. Newman

Things happen for a reason. I never used to believe that prior to being diagnosed with a grade 3 astrocytoma at 39 years old. I was gifted with seeing through a new set of lenses and having a better understanding of the fragility of life. It altered my perception on the realness of destiny. I saw this new perspective in a variety of different ways; one was built off wellness and nutrition.

I played sports in High School as well as in College. I loved Baseball, Soccer, and anything that involved physical activity and competition. It was a passion. When I graduated from the University of Delaware in 1996, I started my career in financial services. I was on the road traveling all the time, building my career in my new profession. I was gone so often, I couldn’t play sports any longer. I was unable to join any teams as my schedule, aligned with my passion to succeed in my new craft, didn’t allow the time to commit to sports. I found a new passion that did correlate to my schedule: Fitness.

Fitness didn’t have game or practice times; it was penciled into my schedule every day when it would fit. I would go to gyms at 5 am almost every day, sometimes it would be late at night, occasionally it would be mid-day; it allowed me to build in into my schedule whenever it worked for me. It became a never-ending passion. I found being fit and working out provided me more energy, as well as it was a catharsis for all the stress and anxiety that accompanied my new career. As my business continued to build, my passion for fitness did as well. It didn’t take too long for me to incorporate healthy eating as part of my regimen. Was my eating perfect? No, but I started to see physical and mental results fairly quickly. I would constantly read in my profession about how Wealth and Health were so tightly connected, but to be honest I really did this for a few personal reasons; physical appearance, stress relieving, and it was frankly my way of having a competitive sport on my own schedule. My competition was me and I loved it!

As I got older, my commitment to fitness got deeper. By my late thirties, it was a staple in my schedule every single day, and the benefits I took from it were irreplaceable. On May 14, 2013 I was diagnosed with a Grade 3 Astrocytoma at 39 years old. Life changed immediately. My father in-law was fighting pancreatic cancer, I had 3 children under 5, and now I had brain cancer. On May 17th I had a craniotomy to remove my tumor. They told me I would be in the hospital for a while. On May 18th I asked if I could go home, I was in the ICU. They told me I would have to pass a physical test, I said great let’s do it now! I passed it, and they said If I was able to do it the next day, I could leave. I did it the next morning, and that afternoon I was home; with my family, my children, and tears of joy and love poured out of me.

I believe fitness became a passion of mine to prepare me for my battle with brain cancer; It happened for a reason. I was able to get home quicker than expected! I was able to walk, be mobile, and recover quicker. This also alleviated excess hospital bills as the less time spent there, the less financial devastation would be endured. Wealth and Health were truly connected deeply, and I was an example of that. My craft was financial services, and I had done all the basics of planning prior to being diagnosed. I knew my family would be protected financially if things didn’t work out; I was able to utilize the healthy eating habits and fitness to recover quicker. Ten days after surgery I got the OK to get back in the gym, and I have never stopped 7 years later.

I was approached by my surgeons on different diets that could possibly avoid cancer going forward. I told him I’m very disciplined, and if I commit to something it will happen. I asked if there is proof that these types of diets will work and prevent my astrocytoma from growing back. He said there was no proof yet; that was my moment that at some point we will be able to build dieting plans that void sugar to hopefully prevent cancer from growing back, but until that time it can be proven it works I will not neglect living and appreciating life; form someone who last his taste buds for 3 months during chemo an radiation, that included my renaissance with food.

I believe wellness and nutrition accompanied with fitness will be essential components in our universal fight against cancer. The more we learn, the more research that is achieved the more we will be able to use these tools to slow the growth of cancer and eventually beat it. I know it helped me not only physically, but mentally as well. This is our journey, we own it; cancer is just along for the ride!

Fitness is a passion of mine, it has been since my teenage years. My perspective on fitness changed drastically as I aged, as I became more knowledgeable of my goals and aspirations. Growing up in Northern New Jersey, there was originally a look I wanted to achieve, and working out was the key component to that. AS I got older, I started running races, doing Tough Mudders, and it became less about the look, and more about actually being in shape; fitness shape, not just having big muscles. My routines continue to change and adapt, but I never miss a day of fitness.

My daily schedule is I wake up at 5 am. I make a cup of black coffee and get myself ready to workout. We built a true gym in my basement, as it’s such an important part of our lives it allowed us to have a 24/7 fitness room with no travel required. It created efficiency for us.

I usually start by running on a treadmill 2-4 miles. I then do a 30-40-minute workout that incorporates weights, TRX, and bands while never stopping. I’m 46 years old, I don’t lift heavy weights often as I don’t want to injure myself. I do high reps, and usually do 10 exercises at a time and just go from one to the next, and so on. It incorporates strength training, cardio, and core workouts. It includes kettle bells, sandbags, TRX, bands and weights. I change the workout every time but the cardio start, into the combination of all usually lasts 65/70 minutes and my day is started.

When I’m done, I usually make a protein shake, take a probiotic, and take psyllium pills and flax seed as well. I preach that change breeds opportunity or change breeds complacency on a variety of levels. The biggest change I have taken form this pandemic, is taking 20 minutes a day, usually around 4 pm, and doing yoga. I stream it to google chrome, it gives me a great end of day stretch, workout, and allows me to focus on my practice and myself before the next component of my day.

Everyone wants to find their own way of achieving fitness and mental peace, this is an example of how I found mine. If you would like suggestions, have questions, go on and email, DM, or use any social media device to contact me and start a conversation. This is my passion, and I believe it helped me immensely during my fight with brain cancer.

This article was in our September 2020 Magazine – Click Here to view that issue!

All of the posts written for Elephants and Tea are contributed by patients, survivors, caregivers and loved ones dealing with cancer.  If you have a story or experience you would like to share with the cancer community we would love to hear from you!  Please submit your idea at

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