Stage III Breast Cancer Thriver
A few musings (could be considered rants) regarding lowering cancer risk….not very well written or edited I might add (it takes too long to edit..some entries take me three hours to write, which I do not have tonight!). Not to scare you away, I know you are busy! You may find some good info here.
First of all, the cancer and food thing. One study said that the survivors were the ones that ate tomato sauce every day, but a book says, definitely don’t eat tomatoes if you have cancer. Nothing smoked (there goes my smoked salmon!), btw some “experts” say NO (some say limited) animal protein (more studies say eat lots of protein, but don’t eat beans, but DO eat more fiber)…not much else except nuts (make sure they are not roasted–cancer causing). Definitely no dairy (except a small amount of yogurt), unless you are on the Budwig diet which says definitely cottage cheese four times per day with flax oil. I read something somewhere that said don’t eat avocado….avocado! What could be wrong with avocado? A bunch of sources say avocado lowers your risk for cancer, maybe even CURES cancer, but then I find that avocado is not recommended for breast cancer. The list goes on and on. What you can eat to lower your risk, may not be the same as what you eat to make it go away, and what you need to eat to support your body while on chemotherapy is not necessarily what you want to eat to lower your risk…..hmmm. Some people say no carbohydrates the day before, of, and after chemotherapy–it lowers efficacy, others say high carbohydrate load the day before chemo. I know one woman who fasts that day because she heard THAT was the secret!
So many dilemmas. Enough to drive one crazy, but I try to just trust my gut (literally) and I eat very healthy. Basic rule….TONS of veggies, especially broccoli, cauliflower, leafy greens such as mustard, kale dandelion, leeks, onions, garlic. Turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon are great spices which I add where I can. I make congees in a crock pot (very cooked rice=easily assimilated and digested) with anything added. I suppose the trick for me is that I was excited about and following the Paleo diet before my cancer diagnosis, so I still have a lot of those beliefs which eliminate grains and beans. I have added those back in (mostly in congee form) because if I am limiting animal protein I need to get protein somewhere! I do a bit of salmon, eggs, chicken and bone broth. All high quality obviously…you are what you eat is very important, particularly when one has cancer! I still juice with things like greens, apples, carrots, beets, lemon, and ginger (important to add for warming at least for my constitution). I am not saying everyone should, but I have completely eliminated processed foods and sugar, bread, dairy, and pasta. Maybe just limiting these for you and your family is all you need to do. My family still eats pancakes, french toast, cheese, pasta, etc. It would be nearly impossible to get my kids to eat like I do now, so I am taking small steps. I buy them less crackers for instance and make homemade popsicles from fresh fruit, among other things. Half to three-quarters of your plate should be vegetables (don’t forget veggies at breakfast!) and the place that remains can be your protein or carb. Yesterday was my 42nd birthday! My first birthday ever with no cake, but I did not mourn the loss, it was better for my whole family and we found other ways to celebrate. The three of them actually split a piece of cheesecake at our favorite japanese restaurant in Eureka, Kyoto.
I also just brought a sprouting kit and am about to launch into that so you will hear more about sprouting in future blogs. I met with a nutritionist at the Marin Cancer Institute, Sharon Meyer, a few weeks back and she is a wealth of information. Click on her name for a brief synopsis of her take on cancer and nutrition. That woman needs to write a book! She taught me about sprouting. It is the absolute best form to get the nutrients from these brassica family vegetables.
From what I have learned that makes sense the goal is to reduce inflammation, and the above diet should do that. I tell you all of this information so that YOU CAN LOWER YOUR RISK OF GETTING CANCER!!!
In addition to diet, regular exercise is key in reducing your risk (or in my case recurrence/metastasis risk). But, apparently running is not such a grand idea for me according to my TCM (traditional chinese medicine) doctors. From a TCM view, running is apparently draining and not replenishing, particularly in women over forty and even more particularly in someone with cancer going through chemotherapy and radiation which are really taking a toll on my organs and life force even if I don’t know it. I was excited about the half marathon in October and the full marathon in June next year, but I am needing to hang up my running shoes and grab my bicycle shoes and hiking boots. Things are always changing around here, but it is important for me to be in harmony with my healing process, and I am listening to people that I really trust, so that keeps me in harmony. My medical doctor, oncologist David Gullion is in concurrence–hang up the running shoes. I know that all you runners would love to tell me that you do get replenished from running–I know the feeling! It is a wonderful high. I hate that I have this new knowledge. It does, however, make sense for me right now going through such harsh treatments. I sort of knew that intuitively, but was waiting to see how it panned out…I had a feeling that either I would hit a wall with my energy or one of my docs would shun the idea. Maybe next year!
Obviously having a healthy emotional life is key in reducing risk form cancer and other illness. There is much to say here, but I am getting ready to go to sleep. Perhaps more later on this too. I will say that while no one knows exactly why each person develops cancer, there are some things that may point toward contributing factors. I believe that it is definitely a combination of factors. One thing might cause a little energy block (say an emotional situation/crisis or an environmental factor) and then things like diet or lack of exercise/movement/deep breathing/rest may take it to the next level. Once the cancer cells form a little mass, they eventually hijack your system and get blood supply to grow…things can get really out of hand. I do not believe we have complete control of not getting cancer, or even knowing exactly why it is caused and that is precisely why living a very healthy lifestyle is so key in reducing your risk. Also, being very healthy going into cancer helps so if you have been taking care of your system (your body is a temple) and not trashing your liver with too much sugar or alcohol or lungs with smoke (for instance) then you will be able to heal more effectively AND it will be easier to jump into good habits.
There is so much to say about where I am at on the emotional front. It is complex. Sometimes it is paralyzing to even think of writing a blog entry because I have so much new information every day. In addition to the wealth of information I get from my medical doctors and TCM doctors, I have also met with energy workers and most recently a woman named Jaqueline Chan who does such interesting work I cannot even explain it (click her name for her interesting bio). Her focus is Orthomolecular Medicine which is basically preventing and healing disease using nutrition, amino acids, etc. but she does much more than that. I may go into more detail in another blog entry. Her work is truly fascinating. I found out about her from my dentist Dr. Brian Smith who is also very cutting edge. My first appointment with her last week she did a lot of energy work and ran blood tests and I got the results yesterday. I have now added a bunch of homeopathics to my healing regimen as a result some of the tests she performed. This is exciting! I love homeopathy, and while I have been considering Iscador, a homeopathic remedy popular for cancer patients in Europe (apparently improves survivorship, and quality of life on chemotherapy and radiation–I am faring well on quality of life, but was going for survivorship–anything that will add years, right??) Iscador has been in my thoughts and I have followed a few paths toward that route, but my very open-minded doctor wanted to see some scientific studies (makes sense) so it slowed down a bit. He was game, but did not want me to be spending the money, etc if it was something that might not really add to what I am already doing which is chinese herbs/qi gong/acupuncture which I am a huge believer in too. So…..at any rate, some homeopathics have been added which will help clear liver, lungs, etc. from toxins resulting from chemotherapy.
OK, how was that for musings from a cancer patient? By the way…I believe my cancer is GONE! I am just going through the motions now to finish her off, clear out all the dead cells, and radiate the last of some weak cells left behind at the site. So I am herby officially a cancer SURVIVOR, and not only that but a THRIVER!
Lots of love, thanks for reading. Nicole