Because breast cancer affects so many women and because I’m an advocate of taking care of our health and being proactive in doing so, I’ve asked a good friend of mine Debra, a breast cancer survivor, a few questions, the answers of which I’d like to share. It’s my hope that you will glean some inspiration and advice from my friend Debra.
Here are the questions asked:
1. What was your initial reaction when you found out you had cancer? Who did you first tell?
2. Because I know it’s been years and you’ve been in remission and then not (several times), how ever do you find the strength & courage to go on, move forward as you seem to do so well?
3. Who is your rock? Who do you turn to the most for guidance, comfort?
4. What kind(s) of treatment have you undergone (go) ?
5. Do you do anything more natural or alternative (diet, meditation, supplements, Medical Marijuana – MMJ) to help in any way?
I am going to answer number three first = my rock is my faith in God. I have a lot of conversations with him and I get comfort from the angels he sends to me.
1. I was 17 yrs old and had a benign tumor removed from my left breast. Approximately ten years later my left breast swelled and the Dr. asked about my caffeine and chocolate intake. Once I cut back on the caffeine (which is also in chocolate) the swelling went down. I stayed away from caffeine for about five years and started up again which resulted in the same breast swelling. At 38 years old my GYN found a lump in the left breast and said “Let’s keep an eye on it”.
About a year later I was stretching my arm back and heard a tearing noise and made a mental note. Not long after, a dimple about an inch wide appeared in my left breast and then months later a yellow discharge came from the nipple while I was showering. I knew something awful was wrong but refused to deal with it. I thought I’m too busy for this. I had an excellent career in the oil and gas business as an accountant. I had a sore that wouldn’t heal near my eye so I made a doctor’s appointment and then mentioned my breast. I was immediately sent to a surgeon who performed a biopsy. The doctor’s office called and said I needed to make an appointment and come in. I replied “No I don’t, have the doctor call me”. The doctor called about an hour later, and I already knew what he was going to say. I called Tom (my husband) and he started crying and said “I have to go”. I was in my office and just stared out the window thinking to myself – what about my kids. They were 18 and 21. I then told my boss.
2. I basically have never been in remission for 15 years. I have had active cancer that medicine has kept from spreading. The meds seem to loose steam after a while. I have a lot of time to myself which allows me to concentrate on my health and time to meditate and pray. It’s God that gives me my strength.
4. I have been on nine different kinds of chemo and radiation to 7 different places on my body. I have had numerous hormone therapies as the breast cancer that I have is estrogen positive which means it responds to hormonal therapies.
5. As cancer can be painful, I do rely on MMJ for pain relief, nausea and as asleep aid. I really try to keep active and have a social life.
6. Words of wisdom, 97% of breast cancer cases are curable if caught early. Do not put off your health.
My first thought after hearing Deb’s story was – listen to your gut feeling. It’s scary to think the worst yes, but at the cost of making it worse? We all do it at sometimes, procrastinate. With your health and in my opinion, your wealth, don’t put it off!
I later asked Deb if she ate or stayed away from certain foods or was working on her beautiful silk scarves (that she hand paints) and this is what she told me:
I don’t eat certain things because of how they make me feel. Being lactose intolerant I stay away from dairy and eggs. I love seafood and lean meats. I love pizza. I am really not doing any thing as far as my art right now. Just trying to get through chemo.
I met Debra through our husbands who worked together back in our Pueblo West days. I have never known a more courageous, focused woman, bound and determined to make it past, to BEAT this cancer. I commend her and all women who have or are suffering from disease.
I did a little research on a Breast Cancer Survivor Diet and came to the conclusion that there are no food or dietary supplements that will act as “magic bullets” in breast cancer or any cancer for that matter. The National Cancer Institute‘s guidelines for healthy eating should be for EVERYONE and they are:
- Increase intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains
- Decrease fat intake to < 30 percent of calories
- Minimize intake of cured, pickled and smoked foods
- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
- Alcohol consumption should be done in moderation, if at all
I would add to this that healthy fats found in nuts, avocados and coconut oil could be consumed at a greater rate than <30 and I would add at least 1 and 1/2 ounces of clean water per pound of body weight should be consumed daily as well as doing some form of physical exercise.
It’s my hopes that you have found value in this article and in this website and that you might share it with someone you know. If you’d like to share an inspiring, uplifting or educational article, please reach out to me and we’ll make it happen! One thing I’d like to mention is that Living Benefits, aka Accelerated Benefits are up and coming in the life insurance industry. This is life insurance that we can use while we’re alive to stay alive! Leave comments or ask questions here or give me a jingle. And, be sure and sign up (upper right hand corner of Home page) for updates to this blog.
(c) 2014 Guest Writer and D.C. Brown