How do you like my new title? I really couldn’t stand the “My Cancer Journey.” It seemed depressing and sick to me. I’m not sick! And, I’m not depressed. Heck, I’m already calling myself a cancer survivor instead of a cancer patient and I haven’t had anything other than tests and consultations. So, since I love hiking, I decided on my trek through cancer. Trekking through is is exactly how I am viewing this. Even though cancer may be with me for the rest of my life even if it is only in my thoughts, I’m hoping to finish this through hike and make the most out of it as I go.
Let me pick back up from June 21st until today.
I decided to get the uber expensive genetic testing done to help me decide if I want to remove the disease free breast while we’re at it. There are a lot of very rare cancers in our family and I didn’t really realize it until I had them all down on paper. My sister lost an eye to the very rare ocular melanoma last year. She also had HPV16 throat cancer. I have a nephew that had melanoma at age 25. An aunt that died of the very rare bile duct cancer. And I have one first cousin that had breast cancer at age 47. We have some other precancerous issues running in the family as well as some non-melanoma skin cancers. With all those, the genetics counselor opted to run the full panel of cancer testing and not just the test for breast cancer genes. They asked for a rush on the test and I got the results back on July 2nd.
I’m negative in all areas! There are no variants in my genes that are known to increase the cancer risk for any cancers. Woot! Woot! This was a huge relief not so much for me but for my 2 daughters. They of course could still be positive but I am hopeful that since I am negative, it will mean they may not have to worry about breast or any other cancers as long as they take steps to stay healthy.
That brings me to the question of what caused my cancer. Let’s face it. I bet at least for the last 10 years since I have been running and trying to eat healthy, I have been one of the healthiest people you would ever meet? Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve had my on again off again vegan/vegetarian episodes over the last 10 years and have had my share of fast food and meats on occasion. Sometimes, even the vegan foods I’d choose were really junk food vegan choices. Hello Beyond Burgers and Newman O’s!
I don’t think it was the occasion bad food choices though. No one knows for sure and I’m really trying not to focus on the why. But if I had to bet, I believe it was the hormone replacement therapy that I was on for the last 3 years. When I hit menopause, I got hot flashes like crazy. I was handling it okay at first but then I started to get some other symptoms and I hope this isn’t too much information so this is warning. Stop reading now if you don’t want to hear about female issues.
I also got vaginal dryness and started having painful sex. Bam! I told you to stop reading. LOL!
Anyway, my mother took HRT for years and years with no problems and even though I had heard about the risks, I figured I was so healthy anyway, I could take the chance. I started Prempro almost 3 years to the day prior to my May 21st fateful mammogram. If you Google Prempro, you’ll find that most cancers after Prempro show up 2.5-3 years after starting the medication. The dimple or dent as I call it, appeared months and months prior to May 21. I don’t know for sure when I first noticed the dent. I know if was less than a year ago. It was probably about 9 months or so ago. When I talked to my primary care physician about this she of course said no one could know for sure. One thing that she said was that many of her patients that were on Prempro would get angry with her when she wouldn’t renew their prescriptions without getting their annual mammograms. Hmmm. Wonder why getting a mammogram is the determining factor in whether or not she would renew their prescription? Doesn’t add up to me. Needless to say. I am not taking Prempro any longer!
Another culprit may have been the very very strong antiperspirants that I used ALL MY LIFE. Many will say this is an old wives tale but no one can dispute the increasing numbers of breast cancers that are in the upper outer quadrants of the breast. (exactly where my main tumor is) I again had heard of the risk of using these strong aluminum based antiperspirants but I thought I was healthy enough in all other areas that I could cancel out any negatives from the aluminum. I have switched to Tom’s all natural deodorant now and love it! I have to apply more often but I think it is healthier.
Speaking of changes since May 21, here’s my list!
- Praying and keeping God in first place! One of my good friends that is also a cancer survivor sent me her list of favorite verses. This is one of my favorites!
- No more Prempro
- Completely vegan
- No aluminum based antiperspirants
- I’m juicing now. I’m shooting for 64 ounces of fruit and vegetable juices per day. Some days I only get 32 ounces or so and I have missed a few days but not many. My go to ingredients are celery, beets, beet greens, apple, carrot, ginger, turmeric, and garlic. All of these are super noninflammatory agents.
- Trying to get plenty of sleep. I get 8 hours most nights now with only an occasional 7 hours. In the past, sometimes I’d exist on 6 hours for days on end. Sleep is critical! I don’t have my cell phone charging on my night table any longer. It is in the Living Room now. I try to make our bedroom as dark as possible and I even wear a silk eye mask. I keep the sound machine running for the first hour and I also take melatonin. I don’t have any trouble going to sleep but the melatonin is helping to let me sleep through the 3:30am hot flashes that are now back with a vengeance.
- I stopped going to Burn Boot Camp and my Running Speed Class. BBC and Speed were intense workouts and I am trying to let all my spare energy go to my immune system so it can fight like crazy to keep this cancer from growing or spreading any more.
- I am working out though. Just on a less intense schedule. I still run on Wednesdays mornings but on this run, we always keep it at a slow conversational pace. I am also rebounding and have a trampoline in my bedroom. Click on the link to see the benefits of rebounding. It is also great for your lymph nodes.
- I’m using my essential oils for relaxation and cleaning more and more now. You should have seen all the toxic cleaners, makeups, and perfumes I finally got the nerve to actually throw away now.
- I’m seeing a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine now and he had even prescribed Frankincense for me. I just paid for it today and it should be coming to me early next week. His directions are to take 2 drops under my tongue morning and evening. I’ve already talked to my sister and another cancer survivor who has been prescribed this special blend of Frankincense and I know it is going to really take some getting used to for me to be able to get it down. Here is my doc if you are interested. He is amazing!
- My DO tweaked my vegan diet. He spent over an hour on a conference call with me on nutrition alone. Now for at least for 4 weeks, I am not only vegan, I am gluten free, soy free, and oat free. Gluten causes inflammation and he wants to keep that down all we can. My diet is so simple now. I have quinoa and blueberries in the morning, a huge salad with beans at lunch, and then a potato with broccoli at dinner. That with all the juices I have is about all I can eat!
- One other crazy thing my DO has me doing is taking a TBSP of EVOO with 10 drops of lemon juice, a pinch of salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper. It isn’t bad at all and is supposed to protect my gall bladder with all the changes in my diet.
- This one is a suggestion from my neighbor. Her brother-in-law has stage 4 lung cancer and he is doing this and his tumors are shrinking! I ran it past my DO and he said okay so I’m going with it. Hey why not?!!! It is one tsp of black strap molasses with 1/3 tsp of sodium bicarbonate. (aluminum free)
- I’m practicing peace and meditation and am trying to keep all negative thoughts away. Picture this. Every cell in your body is eavesdropping on your thoughts. Make sure they are positive!
- I’ve also tried Essiac Tea. One breast cancer survivor that I listed to swears by this. I’m out now but I will get again. In the meantime I’m drinking matcha green tea. No more caffeine for me.
- Not using any plastics and not using the microwave!
There are probably more but this post is so long already and I haven’t even gotten to the best part yet. So sorry. I’ll end now and I promise, tomorrow I’ll post an update with more details of my surgery choices.
Much love and happiness. Now go out there and be at peace. Eat your veggies and love one another! Ditch the aluminum, save the world one straw at a time, and Check for the Dimple.