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Cancer Sucks

imageI get it now.  I mean I always got it, but when I got diagnosed I was so confident in my team, and my health, and I was certain that this would be behind me in a very short time.  I couldn’t have been more wrong. And now when I hear people describe cancer as endless, exhausting, I understand now.  I am so tired of this.  All I want for Christmas is to be in remission.

Yesterday was Halloween.  Before I managed to put a smile on my face, determined to have a nice night with the kids, I had a follow up with my oncologist.  I wanted so badly for him to say “Yes, you have to do radiation, but after that you’ll be all good to go!”  He didn’t say that.  He COULDN’T say that.  I asked him if I NEED not worry, or I SHOULD not worry.  He responded that I should not worry.   The only way to tell if I have stage 4 cancer is to do scans, but that treatment of 3C and 4 would be the same, so I *should* not worry myself over it because it isn’t useful.  He’s a sweet man, and I took the news not as condescending, but as … reality.

He said about 40-50% of people with my kind of cancer can walk away in remission after radiation.  That wasn’t exactly the statistic I wanted to hear, but I do believe in miracles.  And I do believe that I can do my best to make my body not an ideal place for cancer to live.  And that maybe my Christmas wish can come true 🙏

 

 

 

SO WHAT CAUSED THIS THEN?

Yes, I actually have done the research.  It’s no lie that we pump a huge amount of hormones (in addition to corn & soy) into the cows that serve the meat and dairy industry here in the states.  It’s also no lie that a plant based diet certainly wouldn’t hurt you.  But what is a plant based diet? Literally plants.  Few grains.  No sugar other than occasional fruit.  It’s actually not all that hard to do anymore with all of the vegan products available.  But a plant based diet is NOT just a vegan diet.  And a breast cancer fighters plant based diet is even stricter.

⚫️ SOY: “Tofu contains phytoestrogens — or plant-based estrogens. These compounds have an estrogen-like effect on the body so they block normal estrogen production and have been linked to breast cancer. Some scientific research finds that soy might “feed” certain breast cancers since it can behave just like estrogen. It might depend on how much soy is consumed as well as the overall health of the woman, but if you have breast cancer currently, are a survivor of breast cancer or you have a family history of breast cancer, I would definitely avoid tofu and other unfermented soy products entirely”. (6) – DrAxe.com

Well that makes things more challenging.  Especially since I was a vegetarian for 7-8 years in the 90’s/00’s when all of the meat/dairy alternative products were soy only.  Only recently has that market expanded to almond, coconut and more options.

So maybe soy ✔️

⚫️ What about birth control?  Breast cancer is an estrogen/ progesterone fed disease (usually, not always), so what did those ten years of birth control do to me?  Also, I am a huge proponent to a woman’s right to access to it, but I’m becoming reluctant at fighting blindly for something we know very little about chemically.

BIRTH CONTROL: “Increased Risk: Breast Cancer. If you take or have taken birth control pills in the recent past, you are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than women who’ve never used them. Researchers aren’t sure if the link is due to the estrogen or progesterone” – American Cancer Society

So maybe birth control ✔️

⚫️ What about smoking? Well there is the off/on smoking “socially” I did for all those years.

SMOKING: “Smoking causes a number of diseases and is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer in younger, premenopausal women” – breastcancer.org

Hmm.  Maybe the smoking ✔️

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So yeah, I’m healthier than most people I know.  I haven’t drank or done any outside substance for nearly a decade.  I used to run 20+ a week before treatment, and still walked 10-15 miles a week all through chemo, and again 2 weeks post mastectomy.  I have done countless 5k, 10k, half marathons.  I don’t eat fast food very often, and almost never drink soda.  I eat mostly dark chocolate and don’t use a lot of butter or excessive cheese.

So WHY ME.  I’ll never know.  Just please don’t assume it won’t be you either.

 

The C Word

MV5BYjM4MWUwYjItOTg3Zi00MWMzLTgzZDgtNmM3ZDYwZmRiN2E2L2ltYWdlL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjA0NTY3MDY@__V1_After a few days (months really) of searching how to properly take care of my body and TONS of unsolicited advice from well-intentioned people who have ZERO experience with cancer, I landed on this last night.

The irony is in my desperate attempt to take even more action (other than showing up for my modern medicine appointments), I came across a book called the ‘Anti-cancer diet”.  All the reviews called it a must read if you have cancer or want to prevent it.  While searching Netflix for a documentary on Gerson Therapy, I found this.

As soon as I realized who he was, I was in. He was the author of the book I had been researching.  He was me, but also a medical doctor, a scientist, and someone who had been living with brain cancer for 17 years.  BRAIN CANCER.  Survival rates of brain cancer are low, and my bet would be rarely have any of them lived 17+ years.

Most of the advice I’ve been given was dairy causes breast cancer, soy causes breast cancer, sugar causes breast cancer, toxins cause breast cancer, stress causes breast cancer.  So how do I have any clue on which direction I am supposed to go?  What this documentary pounded into me is not a single one of those things caused my cancer.  Getting rid of one of those things will not reverse my cancer.  Eating a grain, or a burger, or a snickers bar or a cheese doodle did not cause my cancer.  What I need to do now is rid my life of ALL of these things.

While he mentions a plant based diet, he also discusses the idea that cows USED to eat grass, and once they started being fed soy and corn, cancer rates started rising.  So eat organic grass fed beef & chicken if you can.  He said that Big Tobacco bought Kraft & Nabisco(?) and when that happened, chemicals started seeping into our food until there wasn’t any actual food left.

So what I need is a radical life makeover.  I need to consider what I eat, what products I use, I need to cut sugar (as cancer is insulin receptive), I need a meditation practice, regular exercise and companionship.

It made perfect sense to me that I didn’t create this by doing something poorly, but that this was created for us due to decades of carelessness passed down from the top.  Well you know what?  I had to change “everything” once before, I can do it again.

As Dr. David Servan-Schreiber says, today I am grateful for cancer, because I’m more motivated than I ever have been to live today.

God is a woman and her name is Jeanette

On Monday I got the news that despite 5 months of chemotherapy and a radical double mastectomy, my Stage 3A cancer has advanced to at least 3C.  The next stop on this train is Stage 4 cancer.

Luckily somebody brought me a cake, and I have been eating it at every meal ever since.

But after about 24 hours of feeling sorry myself, definitely  justified self-pity IMO, I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I couldn’t stand not taking action to feel better.  The thing I always do when I feel like shit is go for a run.  Well I can’t run yet, but I can walk.  So I said “Alright Cancer, I can play dirty too.  And you’re going down.”

I wasn’t even a block away when i found this piece of paper on the ground.  I have consistently opened every piece of paper with writing on it in hopes of finding loves notes or breakup letters for years.  It’s almost always been grocery lists.

But I opened this one and it said “Don’t stress.  Things will work out.”  I knew immediately that something greater than myself was telling me to keep going.  So walking led to motivation, led to action, which led to reaching out, which led to today’s encounter, which has led back to being able to smile.  Being hopeful.

Fuckin’ thanks, Jeanette!

There’s nothing to fear but everything

IMG_4731Two topics have come to the forefront of my mind in the past 24 hours.  Faith and fear.  Faith that a higher power (of my own understanding) is always watching over me, and if I open my eyes the signs are everywhere.  (More on that later).

Fear.  I’ve been terrified and angry and ALL THE THINGS since I got my pathology report on Monday.  Mostly terrified that I’ll die before my kids grow up.  Before my kids find peace.  How can I die in peace without knowing if my kids are going to be okay?

I happened to be somewhere today where the topic of fear came up.  A young man in his 20’s, whom I’ve never met before, shared that his mother just died of cancer on MONDAY.  And that he has peace knowing that his mother was able to see him get his life together and meet his newborn child. As soon as I could I pulled him aside, and I said “Look, I have cancer.  I just found out MONDAY that it advanced after a ton of treatment.  I was thinking about what I was going to say if the topic got around to me.  And I was going to say ‘I can die in peace knowing my children have peace….  maybe you were put here today to tell me it’s possible that I could see that, and maybe I was put here today to tell you you’ve given her all she needed”.

We stood there for a moment,  bawling our eyes out and hugging.  It was just one of those HP moments.

 

 

No Rhymes/ No Reason

I just came from a chat with my mom where this subject came up.
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I know people are well-intentioned. Almost everyone I know is pure of heart. Which is why I have taken into consideration every recommendation I have been given. But right now, when the cancer is deciding it’s not done with me yet, it’s hard to not find suggestions (as well-intentioned as they may be), as condescending.
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Don’t eat meat!
Don’t eat dairy!
Don’t eat soy!
Eat Keto!
Don’t eat sugar!
Think positive!
Take this supplement!
Don’t do chemo!
Don’t do it naturally!
Be active!
Meditate your way out!
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I’ve spoken about this before, the idea that we live in a society that desperately wants to believe if they behave a certain way they can avoid bad things from happening to them.
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We’ve seen it in parenting “that would NEVER happen to my kid!”. We’ve see it in victim blaming “well if she hadn’t been dressed like that. Walked that route. Just bothered to smile”.
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The truth is, as many suggestions as I’ve had, I know they come from a place of people feeling helpless. And the only correlation I can see through any of it is eat clean, take care of your headspace and move your body.
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So as I navigate what the right path for ME is, I don’t suggest you stay quiet, but hopefully this will just serve as a reminder that cancer doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t follow a guideline, and it doesn’t take recommendations. I really hope you all stay proactive about your health, including doing self-exams, regular check-ups and stay active. ❤️❤️❤️
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Foot Loose

It’s been 8 days since I scratched my foot.  The next day, I saw the damage.  I also discovered several other sites (for lack of a better word) around my legs, feet and ankles.  People tell me a lot that I don’t look like the face of chemo, which is true!  I’m healthy looking, but not invincible.  1 chemo left, let’s get my skin back!IMG_3596.JPG