Monday, November 11, 2019

Cancer is not the boss of me.: Cancer isn't always a death sentence, but a new li...

Cancer is not the boss of me.: Cancer isn't always a death sentence, but a new li...: Cancer is not always a death sentence, but a new life sentence.     A cancer diagnosis changes more patients’ lives for the bett...

Cancer isn't always a death sentence, but a new life sentence.


Cancer is not always a death sentence, but a new life sentence.

 
 

A cancer diagnosis changes more patients’ lives for the better than it kills in my experience.  I know so many survivors whose lives have been changed or affected for the better than I know who have died from cancer.


I am one, my cancer totally changed my life and the decisions I make.  And it is all for the better.  I don’t hate or regret my cancer for that gift.  Don’t get me wrong cancer sucks big time, and the four years of chemo, radiation, medication, multiple surgeries and medically induced early menopause has been hell!  Not fun at all, but, the outcome and personal and spiritual growth is worth it.  The friendships and connections I have made are priceless. 


Cancer sucks! It is ugly, painful, and scary.  It is not fun at all. Cancer is horrible.  Cancer is a lot of things, but it is not always a death sentence.  Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of that fact, and every patient is different.


Remember that you have a part to play in your cancer fight, and if you want to live you need to participate in your fight and believe that it is possible to win.  Winning a fight against cancer doesn’t always mean that you will be cured, it could mean a lifetime of remission.  There has been incredible progress in the battle against cancer, and more progress is being made every day.  Cancer can be beaten.  It can be cured.  It can be survived!  I have survived it twice now.


Monday, October 28, 2019

Getting back to "normal" with cancer


Getting back to Normal with Cancer
 

Getting back to “normal” after going through cancer treatments and surgeries is easier said than done.  Even though we as cancer patients are striving and focusing on “normal”, once you try to achieve it, it’s difficult and even a little scary.  After completing my first year of treatments and mastectomy I was able to get back to my normal schedule and daily routine, but I was just not “normal” yet.  I was still not whole again as I had to wait at least twelve months after radiation was completed before having my breast reconstruction surgery as radiation effects take a minimum of six months to a year to heal.  Not to mention radiation is a gift that keeps on giving, even years after treatment.  My hair had started to grow back about a month after chemo completed after my mastectomy just like my doctor had said it would, and it was coming in curly as well.  However, because cancer likes to play cruel jokes, my hair while it was coming back in, was coming in GREY!!!  Not fair!  I was only thirty-six years old dang it!!!!  Haven’t I been through enough?  Cut a sister some slack already.

            Just when you think you are normal again you are reminded that you were a recent cancer patient.  Things were getting back to normal and got hit with the monster flu of 2013 which turned into pneumonia and spent three days in the hospital, shocking the ER doctors and paramedics by not dying.  (When I do something, I really do it!) My blood pressure was 60/40, my white blood cell counts tanked, and my liver enzymes skyrocketed.  When the paramedics were working on me in the ambulance, they said that my organs were shutting down and I was in a pretty serious condition.  Not fun. In the hospital no one could figure out why my white cell count wouldn’t go up or why my liver enzymes wouldn’t go down.  They did get my blood pressure out of the dangerous levels, but it was still low, so I was required to have two more blood tests after I was released from the hospital to make sure I was getting back to normal ranges.  There is that elusive normal word again that us cancer patients are always seeking.  Sometimes I feel like Alice from Alice in Wonderland chasing the White Rabbit.  Lord knows I was always on the verge of falling down the rabbit hole of anxiety.

            I am reminded of just how frail and susceptible my body is to infection or the slightest illness and how things can rapidly go screaming downhill due to the cancer.  I am a vibrant young-ish mom and woman and I have always been a strong fighter and relatively healthy so this quest for normal is not an easy one.  For all my strength, stubbornness and fight I try to find the humor in my medical situation in which I will never really be “normal” again.  Like a soldier who is home from war, so am I dealing with the effects of my own war. 

            What is normal for a cancer patient?  Feeling normal, normal blood counts, normal hormone levels, normal life/work balance.  Normal.  Oncologists really seem to like the term, “new normal” and refer to it often with a cancer patient.  Cancer survivors are often faced with the new normal and can forget about the regular normal, what they previously knew as normal because after cancer you don’t get to go back to “normal”.  Your “new normal” consists of alterated blood counts, hormone levels, and a fear of reoccurance that never leaves, not to mention the routine doctor check-ups and tests that at the very best are annually.  Your body never gets back to pre-cancer “normal”, chemo and radiation have long lasting effects, some of which are life long.  I don’t mean to depress anyone, but I have to be honest.  Cancer treatments have aged my body a good twenty years, and it’s not fun and it’s not fair, but it is my new normal.  My new normal is routine doctor visits, routine pet/ct scans to monitor my cancer, pain meds, treatment meds, living with constant pain, anxiety about cancer spreading or getting sick, being a germaphobe, and physically disabled, not able to do and feel what I should be able to feel and do at my age.

            I strived for ”normal” during my cancer treatments, especially when the kids were little, they didn’t deserve not to have a normal life.  Even though cancer effects the whole family they were four and six when I was initially diagnosed.  I chose to finish my Bachelor’s degree in law while going through chemo and radiation in an attempt to focus on something “normal” and needing a goal and distraction that was not health or cancer related.  I needed normal.  I felt like a circus freak in public with only one breast, no hair, and horribly scared.  I wore make-up every day to try to look normal for my children and husband.  I tried to shield them from the horror and ugliness in an attempt at “normal”.  A “normal” person doesn’t have to strive and chase “normal”. 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Does Cancer define me?


                                                                             Day 11

I do/don’t let cancer define me, I let my fight, my life and my faith define me, cancer is just a chronic illness I have.

 

You have probably read other cancer patients online say that they don’t let their cancer define them.  I have cancer friends who are emphatic about cancer not defining them or changing their lives.  I embrace the change that cancer has made in my life because I allowed it to be for the better, and I think I was lucky to realize that God had a plan for my cancer.


I guess when I stop and think about it, I do let cancer define me, but in a positive way.  I have been very open about my cancer since the beginnings.  Having cancer has changed me, my priorities, importance of family, importance of health and wellness and just how short and precious life can be.  My goal is to help as many of my survivors as I can.  It helps to make my horror story and physical misery worth it.  If I were to look at my book of life and write a brief bio on what defines me, cancer would be just one more thing (albeit a big one) that showed off my strength and determination.  Another dangerous illness that I survived. (I had an extremely bad case of mono in 1997). My definition of myself is that of a survivor, a fighter, and a warrior. 


It may feel like cancer defines you because of how all-encompassing it is, and how it affects those around you.  That's ok, feel it for a season and then accept it.  For most it changes you, physically, emotionally, spiritually.  Some only for the duration of treatment, others for the first few months and years after, but there is a small few of us who it has changed forever.  I hope I will never be the same after cancer.  I was always a survivor, fighter and warrior before cancer, and I will continue to be those until I am gone. 

 
*exert from Successful Survivor Guide, by Kat Davis

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Top 14 Anti-Cancer Superfruits you should add to your diet

 
Some fruits have the ability to fight against cancer formation. Cancer is nothing but uncontrollable growth of cells. Our body contains lots of cell, about more than 100 million cells. Cancer starts with one cell which affect the other cells and bone marrows.
 
Apple : Apple has antioxidants and flavonoids that helps the activity of vitamin C. Thus helps in lowering the risks of colon cancer, breast cancer
Acai Berries: Acai berry is one of the most nutritious berries on the planet. This fruit has been heralded for centuries for its healing, immune-stimulating, energy-boosting properties. Research reveals this antioxidant-rich berry may help suppress and repair oxidative damage.
Strawberries: Strawberry has high antioxidant power hence it is a best protective fruit. Strawberry consist of Ellagic acid that prevent cellular toxin to affect DNA and provide amine ,which prevent leukaemia disease.
Pomegranate: Pomegranate fruit contains phytochemicals, that blocks aromatase, an enzyme which convert androgen into estrogen  that prevents breast cancer.
Avocado: Avocados include its ability to boost heart health, improve digestion, prevent cancer, enhance liver health, and help in weight management.  It is a rich source of good fats, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytosterols.
Kiwi : Kiwi is a good source of potassium and magnesium, vitamin E. Kiwi fruit has Vitamin C content twice as orange. Kiwi block the formation of nitrosamines thus prevents cancer formation in our body.
Goji Berry: The health benefits of goji berry include its ability to strengthen the immune system, improve eyesight, and control diabetes. Goji berry also provides improved liver health, cardiovascular protection, potential anti-cancer impact, and protection of brain cells and skin from UV radiations.
Grapes: Grapes contain phytochemicals such as resveratrol that affect the cancer. Daily intake of Grapes in women mainly cures breast cancer formation.
Mangosteen:  Mangosteen berries destroy cancer and stop tumor development at each stage of the cancer forming process.
Citrus Fruits: Citrus Fruits such as lemon, lime, kiwi, orange – rich in vitamin C ,which is an important  property that prevent cancer and enhance immunity for long time period.
Soursop: Soursop is mainly used to treat all types of cancer and tumors, as well as depression, fungal infections, high blood pressure, and parasites. In addition to its amazing cancer-killing properties, soursop also contains vitamins C, B1 and B2, calcium, and significant amounts of phosphorous, potassium, and magnesium.
Dragon Fruit: Dragon fruit, rich in nutrients and low in calories may be beneficial for fighting chronic illnesses, improving gut health, and boosting immunity. It is high in fiber as well as various vitamins and minerals. Health benefits of dragon fruit  weight loss, control diabetes, lower cholesterol, and boost energy levels, it may also be protective against certain cancers.
Blueberries: Blueberries work by inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory molecules, which is the genesis of the formation of all malignant tumors. The berries also help stop oxidative stress, DNA damage, and cancer cell proliferation.
Noni Fruit: Noni fruit does appear to have antioxidant, immune-boosting and tumor-fighting properties, and is hailed as a general health tonic.