Tuesday, March 27, 2018

BHT and why you should avoid it

In researching information on cancer prevention for my own fight against breast cancer I tend to come across latest fads and info about the newest links to cancers, theories, and products that are carcinogens.  Here in the U.S. it is astounding how many products and foods that are allowed in our country for consumption to the American people. 
I used to feel safer buying American products because I naively thought our FDA watched over the safety of the products and foods and that we held things to a higher standard than other countries. 
What a joke. 
I am not a big conspiracy theorist, or anti-American however I do believe that the powers that be and big companies are too blinded by greed of the almighty dollar that they lie to the American public and allow harmful products to be consumed in a snowball effect that ends up lining the pockets of big pharma.  
BHT and BHA are one such item. BHT or butyl hydroxytoluene and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) is a fat soluble synthetic compound which is commonly used to preserve foods and cosmetics to slow down the autoxidation rate of ingredients in a product that can cause changes in the taste or color.
When looking at the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for BHT they found the following:
  • Do NOT let this chemical enter the environment.
  • Combustible.
  • Ingestion causes Abdominal pain. Confusion. Dizziness. Nausea. Vomiting.
  • The substance may have effects on the liver.
  • The substance is harmful to aquatic organisms.
That is certainly concerning when we have it in our food and in our cosmetics!
The FDA have approved BHT for use in food, so it comes down to us to check ingredients.  And not surprising BHT is found in both kids favorite bright colored and fruity cereals to what are seemingly healthy adult cereals that look like a healthy alternative even saying, non-GMO, organic, healthy...... until you read the ingredients and find BHT as the preservative.
My kids hate going grocery shopping with me because when they want to pick out a new cereal we HAVE to read the box and look for BHT.  They know those 3 little letters mean a hard NO.  It's very disappointing!  For me too!  I have had to stop using one of my favorite shower gel and lotion combos from a leading bath and body store because their signature line contains BHT as a preservative.  This broke my heart!  I have to be extremely careful and read the teeny tiny list of ingredients for the items that don't have BHT.  It sucks.
But think about it.  Our skin is our biggest organ right?  Well if you are rubbing lotion into your skin every day or even a few times a week over the course of years, plus eating small to medium doses of BHT every day don't you think your chances of cancer would be elevated?  The correct answer is Yes.
For most of us cancer patients and survivors we are told our cancer is environmental, meaning the doctor's don't have one trigger point for it and as Americans there is so much fake, chemical crap in EVERYTHING that it is only a matter of time before our DNA is broken down and cancer can either be triggered or grow.

My advice.... don't be a blind shopper or consumer.  READ your products, make educated healthier choices.  You only have one life to live so make the most of it!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Side Effects Suck!

OMG can I just say how tired I am of dealing with side effects issues from cancer meds?!  This s*it sucks!  I have been dealing with cancer for almost 7 years now, and while I am grateful to be alive it's not really a good life.  Part of me feels like I have no right to complain, yet the other half says, "hell yes you do!"

As a metastatic breast cancer patient I am treated as a patient with a chronic disease that needs to be monitored and treated in times of "flare-ups" or growth or change.  This means that in order to keep my disease in a "stable" or even remission state I have to be on meds, meds that block estrogen and meds that block or attack the cancer.  These meds are a pain in the ass, and because I am so lucky not only to deal with this, I have the added bonus of not being able to tolerate most of the common medicines used by doctors for my disease.  Ibrance kicks my butt with severe bone aching fatigue along with seriously depleting my immune system and entire blood counts putting me at extremely high risk of anything contagious.  It does work in killing my cancer and allowing me a chance at being back in remission for my disease but the risk is to much to my body that the doctors try other meds.  Yay.  I hate playing around with medicines like a test subject of a mad scientist.

The doctors tried various doses of Ibrance over the past year in hopes that my body would tolerate it better but it turns out that the lower dose isn't strong enough to kill the cancer and if you know anything about cancer then you know if you give it an inch it will try to take a mile.  So after a year of playing around with Ibrance my oncologist decides Afinator is our next option as it is in a different class of oral chemo med as it attacks the cancer differently than the class that Ibrance is in.  Ok swell. 

My whole experience with Afinator has been a nightmare from the beginning.  A very common side effect is mouth sores and hideous headaches.  I'm talking severe blistering and canker sores so bad you can't smile or talk let alone eat.  Within the first 3 days I had horrible migraine like headaches that I couldn't go to work and my mouth erupted in sores.  The doctor knows this and puts in a prescription for something called "miracle mouth wash" this is $55 for 8oz that is not covered by insurance and only special compounding pharmacies can make for you.  It took over a week for me to finally get my little 8oz bottle and by that time I was miserable with mouth sores that it did little to nothing to help.  So the doctor lowered the dose, said to take a week off the meds and try again with the lower dose.  Yay we are playing around with meds again.  So.  Much.  Fun.  On the lower dose after a week I developed blistering sores all over my scalp as well as my mouth and this time one blister on the inside of my lip started bleeding.  The nurse says I needed to be taking this med inside of a gel capsule.  That the drug company won't make it this way, but that it is very well known in the breast cancer community that this medicine needs to be taken this way to help prevent the sores and that I can buy them anywhere, CVS, Target, Walmart, Walgreens, etc. anywhere with a pharmacy.  Ya no such luck.  I went to CVS, Riteaid, Costco pharmacy and nope they didn't sell them and didn't know who would.  So I figured maybe a vitamin supplement company like GNC would sell them.  Nope.  Ok internet it is, if you can't buy it on the internet then it doesn't exist right?  Thank goodness for Amazon.  (I love Amazon)  I have no idea what size of empty gel capsule to buy and they only have them in bulk so I buy the first one I find $7.99 and 1000ct. to be delivered in 2 days.  I am resigned to trying this although I really don't see how this will help my scalp, but if it helps the mouth sores it's worth trying.  The doctor has me on a 2-3 week break from these fun meds to completely heal.  We were hoping the newest blood test would show good results, and they were supposed to wait until after my 42nd birthday to share said results.  Nope 4 days before my birthday I get a call that there is cancer DNA circulating in my blood, and I need to get back on meds ASAP the day after my birthday, just as I was finally completely healed from all the sores.  Doctor suggests that we lower the dose again to the smallest amount and take them inside the gel capsules and let's wait and see what happens.  Fingers crossed that it works, and we can start moving back up the dose ladder so I can get back to a stable status.
It's now been 11 days and my mouth is pretty normal, sensitive to heat and spice but no blistering sores, however sores appeared all over my scalp again 2 days ago and are now starting to show up on my face and I've had a constant horrible headache for a week.  I don't like taking over the counter pain meds on a regular basis because of the damage to my liver and kidney counts and I only take my Dilaudid if I absolutely have to.  So I am feeling really peachy right about now.
No were in my internet research about Afinator does the scalp blistering appear, however I do find fellow patients complaining or reporting it on blogs and such and have tried steroidal treatments that help and some natural home remedies that work for the mouth sores that don't cost over $50. 
Why doesn't my doctor know about this?  Why do I have to do the research if she sees patients like me on these meds every week?  I am obviously not the only one, so why do I feel that way?

Because you have to be your own advocate.  This is a common statement in the medical community.  Sad but true.  Doctors are called practicing physicians for a reason.... they are still practicing to get it right!  Not to mention they are human and they see a lot of patients, especially with breast cancer rates rising.  

I get caught up in placing my trust in my oncologist and putting my life in their hands.  I need to remember to retain some of my own control over my health and treatments.  It's my body and my life.  I am a mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend and people depend on me.  No one will protect me or look out for my best interests like myself and I need to remember not to give total control of my health over to my "practicing physician" and look into options to minimize my negative side effects so we can kill this cancer.

I hope this blog helps those of you fighting cancer with me not feel alone, you have a friend in me.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Natural Remedies

Ok I want to say that I am not a "hippie" or a "witch" BUT, ever since I was diagnosed with my breast cancer in 2011 I got interested in natural healing.  Now I have an aunt who the family loving calls a "hippie" and she is all into natural/herbal/alternative stuff and tends to go a little overboard trying to push it on everyone in a flower child kind of way.  Please feel free if I make you feel this way because it's not my intention.

So, over the past 6 years of living with cancer I chose to treat it with Western medicine as well as natural medicines.  Working with my doctors I add vitamins, supplements, and oils to my treatment regime.  So far, it works for me, and in speaking with other patients and survivors who have done the same thing, they are happy with the protocol. 

Think about this.  Where did our modern medicine come from????? Nature!!!  Why do the Asian countries still use the same herbal medicines from thousands of years ago still to this day??? Because they work!  Why are super-bugs and viruses getting more resistant to our average medicines???  Because of the mass production of medicine in the US the actual medicine is more chemical than natural and therefore lost it's potency.  We need to go back to medicinal roots. 

There is so much available out there in the stores offering natural remedies, however you need to read the labels carefully and always check for interactions.  Personally I have seen how the herbal remedy has worked better than the doctor ordered steroid medicine in my own son.  He was 8 years old and having a bout of croop (horrific sounding cough and very hard to breathe) and I had been reading about an herbal remedy for coughs and asthma.  I brewed the list of ingredients up, added some honey and a cinnamon stick and he got used to breathing it in, then drinking 1/3 of a cup every 2 hours.  At first it was different and gross to him, but the next time he had a croop episode he asked for the tea not the steroid medicine.  One reason he wants the herbal choice is because it doesn't take 30 minutes to be digested before it starts working like a regular syrup or pill from the doctor.

I could spend pages talking about herbal remedies and why I love them.  But I want to hear from you.  Have you found yourself wanting to try herbal remedies or did you switch to herbal remedies after your diagnosis or treatment????

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Importance of Nutritional Supplements in battling chronic disease


When taken correctly, vitamins, herbal supplements and natural remedies are very beneficial to one's health, especially when so many cancers now are environmentally effected or triggered.

As a certified nutritionist I know the benefits of good vitamins, supplements and nutrition.  As a cancer survivor I am living proof that utilizing herbal remedies and vitamins and supplements to boost my immune system works.  I am a mother to two school age children, and anyone who knows kids know that school equals germs, and because of a compromised immune system from cancer I am careful about getting sick.  So I created my own immunotherapy protocol to add along with the traditional treatments from my oncology team.  I can say that it has made a Huge difference!

Adding a probiotic, echinacea, Calcium D3, B12, turmeric and alkaline water has made an important improvement on my both my general health and in my fight against cancer and withstanding treatments and side effects. 

Probiotics are valuable, living "good" bacteria that stimulate the gastrointestinal tract. Some of the important benefits of this association include the prevention and treatment of vaginal yeast, eczema, food allergies, irritable bowel, ulcerative colitis, diarrhea (including antibiotic-induced) and inflammatory bowel disease not to mention the overall general health benefits. 

As a cancer survivor I can attest to the amazing way I felt and the proof of better test results in my blood when I started adding a probiotic to my daily routine.  My side effects lessened and I felt better, I also wasn't getting sick as much when my kids got sick.  I have used echinacea for years as an immune system booster but combining echinecea with a probiotic has made a world of difference and I won't ever go back to not taking a probiotic!

Hard to believe up to 80% of our immune system, is found in our digestive tract, but it's true and makes it our central defense structure when it comes to illness.  If you are good to your body, your body will be good to you.

*Coming soon.  Herbal Remedy packages for sale!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Encouragement


In my research and personal reading I have found some great quotes from celebrities and historical figures about cancer, hope, and inspiration.  I would like to share some with you today.  We can always use encouragement in our lives for no reason at all and when we need it the most.
I don't think there is a professional athlete, or actor who doesn't like encouragement or "cheerleaders" in their corner supporting them to keep going and succeed.  Why should we be any different?
Bring on the encouragement!

      You Can Do it!
                              Keep on keeping on!
                                                                You are awesome!
                                                                                              You are stronger than you feel.
                                                                                                                                               Keep going!



Michael Douglas said, "Cancer didn't bring me to my knees, it brought me to my feet."  That sounds empowering to me and I admire that.  I like to be reminded of his quote when I have moments of doubt or weakness.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”-Eleanor Roosevelt

“Time is shortening. But every day that I challenge this cancer and survive is a victory for me.” -Ingrid Bergman

Former president Teddy Roosevelt," Believe you can and you are halfway there."

Even Kim Kardashian has said something encouraging, "No matter how long you've had a dream, it can still come true if you persevere."  


Encourage yourself, encourage others we are all in this life together on earth and should support and lift up each other. 

xoxoxox Kat

Please follow me on: http://www.twitter.com/wondermom76
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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Why do some die and some live?

Why do some die and some live?

A lot of cancer survivors ask themselves or even their pastor, therapist, or doctor; “why was I spared? Why did I live when others just like me die?”  I asked the same question, wanting to know why I was spared when my mother in law died of her cancer while I was fighting my own at the time going through chemo.  My mother-in-law was a good woman, she had a huge heart, loved God, a devote Christian, she saw the good in people, rarely cursed and was just a good person.  I too am a Christian but a very flawed one, and when I compare myself to her I consider her to have been a much better person and Christian.  So other than the obvious reason that I am younger and have 2 small children to raise who need me, why was I spared?  Well I may never really know the reason why until I am able to ask God myself, but I “know” what my heart and soul tell me, what I believe with all of my body, what the Holy Spirit put on my heart the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer. 

God has a plan to use my journey with cancer for good, for His glory and to help others.  I have a purpose and passion to use my cancer to help others.

I have struggled with this since I was diagnosed in 2011, as much as I want to give 100% of myself to the task God has given me I am also going through treatments, surgeries, recovery, side effects and tests for my own battle with cancer.  Not to mention I have a family, I am a wife, mother, daughter, friend and I am trying to maintain my life and my health.  This isn’t easy for someone who is stage 4 metastatic with two kids in elementary school and a husband in retail. 
"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus returns." (Philippians 1:6)
This verse helps to get me through especially when I am struggling with my survival guilt and questioning why was I spared. 
We shouldn't get caught up and dwell on the why we are spared from whatever tragedy we survive.  I know it is common to question, but we really shouldn't waste time on this.  Enjoy the fact that you are still alive and move on with your mission in life.  There is a reason why some die and others live, and we may not know that reason until we meet them in heaven.  Find your purpose, find your "why" you were spared, there is obviously something you are meant to do that hasn't been accomplished yet.  Share your story, share your struggle, there are those out there in the world who will be touched by it, who will be comforted by it. 
As survivors our duty is to share our story for those who aren't able to, we share ours and offer the world our hope, strength, and truth.  We are a bright light in a dark world, shine bright my fellow cancer stars.
Please stop by our website www.cancercutie.com or check out our Facebook page Thrive Cancer Support Services or follow me on Twitter @wondermom76

Monday, October 24, 2016

Rosemary Lemon Chicken- CancerCutie Cookbook


Rosemary Lemon Chicken with Vegetables

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 min Cook time: 20 min



Ingredients

½ Pound small red potatoes rinsed, cubed

1 ½ Cups baby carrots

1 Cup green beans, trimmed

2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved (about 1 pound)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

¼ Cup lemon juice (divided)

2 Tablespoons honey

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 Teaspoon grated lemon peel

¼ Teaspoon ground pepper


Preparation

1.        In a medium pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil

2.       Add potatoes, carrots, and green beans and cook for 5 minutes: drain and set aside

3.       Cut chicken breasts in half, place olive oil and chicken breasts in medium skillet; cook over medium heat for 5 min on each side

4.       Add potatoes, carrots, green beans, and all remaining ingredients to skillet, except 2 tablespoons lemon juice

5.       Cook over low heat for 5 minutes more or until chicken is fully cooked, add remaining lemon juice to taste and serve. 



 Recipe is taken from the Cancer Cutie Cookbook and can be purchased at www.cancercutie.com or www.amazon.com

* You can substitute rosemary for garlic salt or minced garlic.  Serve with whole wheat rolls