Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Perfect Storm.

As my head starts to clear I am finding myself more and more confused.  I have been reading and researching many different aspects of cancer, specifically breast cancer.  The internet can be such a wealth of information that must be somehow deciphered.  I am not sure it is possible to find total truth.  So, I think it becomes a personal perspective or conclusion.  When it comes to cancer there is a continuing debate about, awareness, prevention and a cure.  I think most people are well aware of it and know there is no "cure".  So, the prevention becomes the main variable that we can try to control. 
Cancer is a multi-factoral disease, often described as "a perfect storm".  In fact, cancer remains a huge mystery to the medical industry, more recent studies suggest it is genetically triggered with environmental and dietary consequences.  Knowing this I find myself wondering what was the real trigger for me?  I played with the mercury from broken thermometers, swam in a highly chlorinated pool everyday for many years, didn't use sunscreen, drank red cool-aid and ate pixie sticks and ran with scissors!  I also ate a lot of fresh fruit right off the trees, ate vegetables from my Dad's garden, exercised regularly and never smoked.  So then I have to wonder why so many people with cancer feel the need to know what they did to "get cancer".  Maybe it is pressure from society to find something or someone to blame.  I personally think it is more random than that.  There are some "health nuts" that still get cancer and then there are the people who are obese, don't exercise, smoke, and even drink tap water and have no signs of cancer and of course the "average" person who may or may not get cancer. I do not think anyone knows the answer to that.  
So whatever it is that caused  a perfect storm to erupt in my body is truly unknown.  I am doing what I can to live my life as healthy as I can (within reason!!).  I never really eat beef or pork and never eat veal or lamb (because I am a true animal lover!).  Poultry sometimes and fish the most often.  Fruits and vegetables are now falling out of our fridge!  Dairy and processed food will be very limited, this is hard because I do love cheese.  My type of cancer loves estrogen and sugar, there is a huge list I am trying to follow to starve any little cells trying to grow!!!  Alcohol and wine are on the list of no-nos :(.  However there is quite a controversy about red wine and I will take the moderation side to that dispute!!!  I have been walking and trying to get back into some sort of shape soon!!  I haven't gone to the gym yet, still self conscious about hair situation.
I am still waiting to find out my radiation treatment plan, hopefully soon because nothing else can continue until that is done.  So I am doing my best to be patient (not real easy for me!).

Thought I would share this list (one of many philosophies out there) I found in the clouds!  Number 64 is probably the best!!
                          Michael Pollan Food Rules List:
  • 1. Eat food
  • 2. Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food 
  • 3. Avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry
  • 4. Avoid food products that contain high-fructose corn syrup
  • 5. Avoid food products that have some form of sugar (or sweetener listed among) the top three ingredients
  • 6. Avoid food products that have more than 5 ingredients
  • 7. Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce
  • 8. Avoid food products that make health claims
  • 9. Avoid food products with the word "lite" or the terms "low fat" or "nonfat" in their names
  • 10. Avoid foods that are pretending to be something they are not
  • 11. Avoid foods you see advertised on television
  • 12. Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle
  • 13. Eat only foods that will eventually rot
  • 14. Eat foods made from ingredients that you can picture in their raw state or growing in nature
  • 15. Get out of the supermarket whenever you can
  • 16. Buy your snacks at the farmers market
  • 17. Eat only foods that have been cooked by humans
  • 18. Don't ingest foods made in places where everyone is required to wear a surgical cap
  • 19. If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don't.
  • 20. It's not food if it arrived through the window of your car
  • 21. It's not food if it's called by the same name in every language (Think Big Mac, Cheetos or Pringles)
  • 22. Eat mostly plants, especially leaves
  • 23. Treat meat as a flavoring or special occasion food
  • 24. Eating what stands on one leg [mushrooms and plant foods] is better than eating what stands on two legs [fowl], which is better than eating what stands on four legs [cows, pigs and other mammals].
  • 25. Eat your colors
  • 26. Drink the spinach water
  • 27. Eat animals that have themselves eaten well
  • 28. If you have space, buy a freezer
  • 29. Eat like an omnivore
  • 30. Eat well-grown food from healthy soil
  • 31. Eat wild foods when you can
  • 32. Don't overlook the oily little fishes
  • 33. Eat some foods that have been predigested by bacterial or fungi
  • 34. Sweeten and salt your food yourself
  • 35. Eat sweet foods as you find them in nature
  • 36. Don't eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk
  • 37. The whiter the bread, the sooner you'll be dead
  • 38. Favor the kinds of oils and grains that have traditionally been stone-ground
  • 39. Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself
  • 40. Be the kind of person who takes supplements - then skip the supplements
  • 41. Eat more lie the French. Or the Japanese. Or the Italians. Or the Greeks.
  • 42. Regard nontraditional foods with skepticism
  • 43. Have a glass of wine with dinner
  • 44. Pay more, eat less
  • 45. Eat less
  • 46. Stop eating before you're full
  • 47. Eat when you are hungry, not when you are bored
  • 48. Consult your gut
  • 49. Eat slowly
  • 50. The banquet is in the first bite
  • 51. Spend as much time enjoying the meal as it took to prepare it
  • 52. Buy smaller plates and glasses
  • 53. Serve a proper portion and don't go back for seconds
  • 54. Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like pauper
  • 55. Eat meals
  • 56. Limit your snacks to unprocessed plant foods
  • 57. Don't get your fuel from the same place your car does
  • 58. Eat at the table
  • 59. Try not to eat alone
  • 60. Treat treats as treats
  • 61. Leave something on your plate
  • 62. Plant a vegetable garden if you have space, a window box if you don't
  • 63. Cook
  • 64. Break the rules once in a while
Thank you to my family and friends for all your continuing concern, support and love!  Sometimes little things mean so much, especially during trying times!  Those frequent letters from Seattle bring me to tears every time in such a nice way!!  Sara ♥♥♥
PS  I have a guest writer that will be adding articles to this blog :).

Exercise And Cancer- Fitness During And After Treatment

Physical fitness is a chief component of “energy balance,” a term that describes how exercise, weight, and diet impact health. According to the National Cancer Institute, numerous studies link physical activity to reduced cancer risks, increased survival rates, and improved quality of life.

Various medical studies have revealed the positive effects of exercise on several different types of cancer. Colon, breast, endometrial, lung, and prostate cancers are some examples.  Current studies funded by the National Cancer Institute are exploring the impact of exercise on other cancers.

Physical activity is related to health in numerous ways. In healthy people, exercise controls weight, improves heart health, reduces blood pressure, maintains muscles, improves bone and joint health, reduces stress, promotes emotional health, and so much more.

Exercise is beneficial for cancer patients, too. Not only do they enjoy the same health benefits as healthy people, but they reap additional benefits, too. Physical activity returns the sense of control that is so often lost to cancer diagnosis and treatment. Exercise enables patients to cope with their various cancer symptoms and treatment side effects. It typically speeds their recovery time, and it greatly enhances their quality of life.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults need about two-and-a-half hours of exercise each week. They need moderate aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, as well as strengthening activities that work all the major muscle groups.

Cancer patients may not be able to start a fitness program at this level, and that is all right. Exercise helps patients maximize their health both during and after treatment, and even small amounts of activity produce measurable benefits. Studies show that women who exercise after breast cancer surgery and chemotherapy live longer lives, with less risk of recurrence. Colorectal cancer survivors who exercise also experience improved survival rates. Even people in mesothelioma treatment experience benefits: improved mood, reduced fatigue, and more self-confidence.

Many cancer patients wonder when they should start a fitness program after diagnosis and treatment. “As soon as possible,” say most medical experts. Stress, depression, sickness, and fatigue work together to down-shift physical activity during cancer treatment. But exercise is essential for a good recovery.

As each person’s situation is different, cancer patients should check with their doctor before starting an exercise program. Upon their doctor’s approval, they should incorporate moderate activity into their daily lives. Exercise is critical to the physical health and emotional well-being of cancer patients. It greatly improves their outlook, and it provides the strength and energy necessary to fight their illness well.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Bald Barbie!!!

I am actually feeling like I am done with this regimen of chemo.  I still have some lingering side effects, but nothing too debilitating.  I am exhausted and working on getting an appetite back, oh and hopefully grow some hair back!  I went for a couple mile walk today, I am so looking forward to getting in some sort of shape!  I have been in bed too long, watching "let's make a deal" everyday at 2:00!  Pretty sad!!
I went to get my expander deflated a little by plastic surgeon yesterday.  I walked in with my fab wig on and the receptionist who is there every time asks me my name.  I told her and she was like "Oh, wow, I didn't even recognize you!"  I knew I looked bad but....She said, "No you look good!"   Yeah right.  Oh well, I haven't been there since September and it's been a pretty gruelling five months!!!
I went to radiologist today.  Dr. Kuske drew all over my side to be radiated with a black marker.  They call it mapping and that is just what it looks like.  Then some magnetic markers and then a CAT scan.  Then three tiny little tattoos, I asked for hearts or stars but the tech said she wasn't creative, so dots is all I have.  They showed me the computer view of scan, and said I had a big heart!  Ahhhh, that was sweet.
I should start a week from Monday.  Side effects should be nothing compared to chemo, mainly fatigue and some sun burn like issues. That's all I know about schedule so far. 
I am very relieved this part is over as well as holiday season.  It was very nice and everyone was so generous, but I was very "out of the loop".  I will be back soon!
I am so very thankful for friends and family that have been there for me as well as my immediate family.  We definitely don't realize what we have until we really need it.  So, a huge thank you to so many people who have been part of this journey.
Sara ♥♥♥
                                             Bald Barbie!?!  I Think Great  A Idea!