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3 Years Later, A Letter To My Late Uncle Bobby (+ his nutrition recommendations)

3 years.

1, 2, 3.

Every year on the anniversary of your death, I check in with myself. I write. I don’t show it to anyone.

I use it as a measurement for how far I’ve come.

This year is especially special because I met two big goals. One of those goals was heavily influenced by you.

I remember after your first round of chemo, when hope had been introduced to us. You were on a break from the chemo, and you looked incredible. Anything that touched your lips or skin was to aid your immune system in the battle. We actually naturally develop cancer cells 7+ times in our lives. Our body naturally turns them over. They spread and multiply if your immune system is compromised in any way. Boosting your immune system through diet and lifestyle and working WITH your body is pertinent in the battle against any fatal disease. You knew this. You changed everything about your diet and lifestyle to aid in the battle. You taught me this information. You lived this.

It was during this hopeful period we were driving on our boat. I’m not sure where we were going. Where we were going doesn’t matter. The setting doesn’t even really matter. Being with you did.

Your advice did.

You leaned over to me while we were driving to, well, who knows where, and you whispered to me. You whispered to me and said something along the times of “if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that if you want to go for something, do it. If you want to make that career change, do it. If you’re unhappy, change it. You keep saying you want to do something with nutrition. Do it. Make that change.”

And I did.

Three years later, and I’m posting this on my blog, which is a part of my Health Coaching site. I went through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, graduated in January, launched my business in February, and have more than a handful of clients under my belt continuing your mission to encourage people to unlearn what they think they knew about health and take their health into their own hands. I did this with the words you whispered to me lingering in my ear. I followed my heart. You gave me permission to.

I had always been interested in nutrition, trying to self-diagnose what may have been the cause of my digestive issues and seeing if there was a correlation between food and the acne I was experiencing. It became an obsession. My loved ones didn’t get it. I remember my parents telling me the “GMO” food I was learning about in school was just part of the “liberal bullshit college” education I was experiencing. I remember them coming back from a trip to visit my brother in California saying “organic is a gimmick.”

When you fell ill, they started listening. You dug through every book and internet article you could find. You taught yourself everything there was to know and infected all of your friends and family with the information you could find. Inspiring is an understatement. If I ever told you that, you would have just told me it was in an effort to stay alive as long as you could with your three, handsome boys. And that’s what you did. You stayed alive twice as long as your original prognosis. You encouraged everyone around you to change their diet, including my parents, in hopes to not end up in your situation.

The chemo is what killed you. The nutrition and lifestyle changes is what prolonged the inevitable.

Your journey taught me to follow your advice: to do something with nutrition because that’s what I felt in my heart I wanted to do.

And now I’m here. And you’ve been gone three years. And I miss you. I miss you so fucking much, but with every client I coach, with every post I make that inspires someone to lead a healthier life, you’re behind it. You’re everywhere. I love you, and I thank you.

Forever, Your Niece-y,


In loving memory of Robert Dodenhoff, July 30, 1956 - May 26, 2014. Throughout his journey, he kept updating a document labeled “My Nutrition Recommendations.” One and a half years into his journey was the last time he updated the document. You can download and read it here: My Nutrition Recommendations (1) year and a half

Please be respectful of the document. He wanted to share it with anyone and everyone, which is why I am posting it. However, please do not distribute it and use for personal use only. Thank you.

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