I decided to write to Joan Lunden today to thank her for sharing her journey publically because it has been helpful to me to see a woman with the same type and stage of breast cancer go through the steps just weeks before I had to go through many of them myself. She is an inspiration and also believes that attitude is everything throughout this process. Check out her blog at www.joanlonden.com. Sending her a hug and also praying she never has to go through such a thing again:) She chose to do the radiation at the end and I am still considering it myself, but unsure of my decision at this point. Still it is helpful to see what she has bravely shared with everyone to assist others. I understand why and hope some of my own journey has helped someone out there:) Enjoying this beautiful day, as I do appreciate them all now more than ever!
I am waiting to see Dr. Stephen Isakoff, Oncologist at Mass General Hospital right now and feel a sense of relief and accomplishment to have completed my chemo:) I'm sure he will share in my feeling of celebration! I'm so fortunate to have had him on my team. I'm also meeting with the Southwest Technologies rep today to give her back all the cold therapy Elastogel packs and we are meeting with the nurses on the infusion floor to discuss how a trial would work.
I found the process to be very easy. If this can prevent neuropathy and hair loss I see no downside to using their products. They are also really affordable and there is no need to rent expensive freezers like other cold caps suggest. Just a little dry ice and a cooler and you are good to go. I did not have a port and could still manage to put the cold mits, booties and caps on by myself if a friebd could not join me. What a great way to avoid a damaging side effect to certain types of chemo:)
I also just learned that they have something for radiation that can be worn as well which can help protect your skin during the process. Very interesting company that also specializes in rehabilitation and sports injuries as well as burn victims with their collagen products. Check it out if you need such a thing or know of anyone. I'm off to dinner with this rep and she has a lot of questions, so hopefully I can give her some perspective as a patient. I'll post again soon. I've decided to share the things that were not so nice about chemo for a perspective to offset my 12 days of Christmas positive things I had posted. People need to know the whole story...until then:)
Around the time I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer last May, I was so fortunate to have just viewed many hours of documentary interviews of doctors, patients, naturopaths, and other health professionals. It had just been produced and posted on www.thetruthaboutcancer.com . Here is a link to the top 17 things everyone should know to help prevent cancer and I would advise survivors like myself to keep these in mind on the quest to remain cancer free:) http://thetruthaboutcancer.com/17-cancer-facts-every-person-needs-know/
I am entering an important phase of detox to strive to get my immune system as strong as possible now that chemo is complete. It will involve baking soda/salt hot baths, green coffee enemas, moderate juicing (so I don't detox too fast) as well as eating very clean foods. I consider the ideal goals in my diet to be the following: consume as many organic non-GMO foods, fruits and veggies with adequate "clean" protein in small portions. (10-15 grams of protein 4x day). Eliminate sugar, refined carbs, starchy veggies flours and grains. I had this diet over the summer and felt wonderful, easily loosing 10 lbs. back to my ideal weight. During chemo I came off this to some extent and also cheated around the holidays:) The point is I had never felt better and know this basic diet is best for overall health, not just for the purposes of cancer prevention. Wish me luck!
One of the things I need to remember is to take the time to be still and quiet daily, especially to calm all that mental chatter. Those faced with a diagnosis have more chatter than you can imagine, but I am reminded today by this link that there are also many physical benefits to the body. Here is a link to a 30 second audio on a natural breast cancer web site, explaining why it is so important. Also I have included a photo of my friends in town who get together weekly to take time to support each other and meditate to keep the practice going:) Every time I need to make an important decision in my life, I try to gather all the important data and information, but then to be still to really know what to do in the situation. Take quiet time for yourself in the New Year!
Yesterday was my last day of chemo and I am so excited to be finished:) Overall, I did very well, I think and had minimal side effects. I felt it was probably a combination of attitude and supplements to support my system during this time. My husband, children, and friends were all so thrilled as well to finally be in the homestretch with this chapter as they supported me, many giving me rides and sometimes meals which were so much appreciated.
So as I reflect on this past year, it was certainly a mix with the shocking breast cancer diagnosis that came in May and rocked my world. But I can honestly say I have really much to be thankful for during this journey. Amazing doctors and surgeons, supportive friends and family, and my loving husband and children who keep me laughing and never doubted I would overcome this challenge. I embraced every moment with a new appreciation for life and came to realize that this is an opportunity for growth and change. A new beginning, such as the New Year, to regroup with the goal to learn from this experience whatever I can and to better myself and become as healthy as I can possibly become. Also I have met women who are going through this and I feel a strong pull to support others who are going through this as well. It is crazy that NH has the highest rate of cancer in the nation and I recognize that there are environmental factors surely as well. So as I look to 2015, I feel a renewed spirit and mission, remembering to cherish the moments and stop to notice it all and live in the now, or "Take A Breath" as one of my songs is appropriately titled. Attached is a link to this song that I decided to share. I wrote it over a year ago, not knowing how much I would be reflecting on those special moments today. I do intend to grow to become an old woman with grand children and plan to live a long life. 2014 had quite a bump in the road, but I'm on the road to recovery:)