I am not going to lie to you. Cancer is rough. Surgery. Medications. Chemo. Radiation. It’s not for wimps. But for those of you who need to have chemotherapy, here’s a few tips I’ve picked up along the way.
- When you get your diagnosis, if you haven’t done so already, build your system up. Take protein supplements. I mix my protein powder with coconut milk. It’s delicious and is a great addition to help prepare you for what’s ahead. I also build my system up with Ultimate Immunity.
- I’ve heard from patients and doctors alike, that for some reason, taking Claritin during chemo helps with bone pain. They don’t know why, but since it’s available OTC and it’s not a heavy duty drug, it may be something you choose to do.
- I recommend you find a great acupuncturist. Chemo throws your body out of sorts, and if you maintain an acupuncture regimen, you can stay more in balance. Plan to go a couple times before starting. Then as you have each chemo treatment, see how you feel and go for acupuncture to treat lethargy, bowel issues, scalp pain, etc.
- Protect yourself emotionally. This is an emotional ride. If you don’t want to listen to someone (even a family member you love) complain or give unwanted advice, TELL THEM. Leave the room. Don’t let anything or anyone bring you down. You deserve to do what’s right for you. If they are offended, trust me, they’ll get over it.
This is my advice for today. If you need an acupuncturist recommendation in the Dallas area, email us at our website (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll be happy to give you the names of my resources.
Meet Dr. Melissa Dunlap. She is my chiropractor but she’s also so much more than that. Before I go there, let’s talk about a little bit of history. For those that have studied the Bible, you surely remember that the three wise men brought the Baby Jesus oils of Frankincense and Myrrh. At that time, those were considered by many to be more valuable than gold itself. Why? Because they were used to heal many things. Let me give you a real life example in today’s life that will clarify. I was told by my aesthetician at UT Southwestern that I had a couple of precancerous spots on my face that my dermatologist needed to look at. Already being a cancer survivor, I take such input very seriously. The spots in question were on the bridge and the side of my nose. It took almost a month for me to get in to get these spots checked, so in the meantime, I put some essential oils known for helping with skin diseases on the bridge of my nose. The other one was close to my eye and not comfortable for oil. When I went for my appointment, the doctor could not find the spot on the bridge of my nose, only the one by my eye. Translation = essential oils helped with this skin issue for me. Now back to Dr. Dunlap. She is the one who introduced me to this whole new world I’ve been exploring. There are oils that can be used for almost anything. It’s very exciting to learn about and the best part is, there’s no bad side effects only good ones. Oils can be diffused, applied topically or even ingested. Its worth it to study to find what you can do to help with so many illnesses. I am constantly seeing benefits and now I help others as well. I encourage you to explore the world of essential oils so you can be blessed with the benefits they have to offer. You’ll be hearing more and more about this from me.
It’s always good to look for new ways to keep your body running smooth. I try several things that I believe help keep my body alkaline and detoxed so cancer is not welcome back. One of the things I do is drink Essiac tea every day. Just an ounce, a small shot, throw it back and you’re done for the day. Essiac tea was developed by a nurse in Canada nearly 100 years ago and has been shown to have beneficial effects for many health issues, including cancer. If you want to explore taking this, remember that the formula only has 5 ingredients. If you find a blend that has a lot more, it is not the true formula. You may want to do some research to see if this is right for you. If you decide to try it, let us know what you think!
We must share our good news! My Breast Choice Inc has hit a new milestone. We are now able to provide direct patient care in the holistic realm for patients who need it and can’t afford it. At this time we are providing acupuncture treatments to alleviate the side effects of chemo. This has been one of our longer term goals and is possible because of the generosity of our corporate sponsor, MD Martin Staffing. We are humbled that their CEO, Mr Mark Lee, believes in our mission to help us get to this next level. We are looking at other holistic treatments that can help with fear and the intimidation of having cancer. None of this would be possible without the generosity of this great company. From the bottom of our hearts we thank MD Martin Staffing and we ask that you keep them in mind for your staffing needs. Stay tuned for other great efforts that are possible because of their generosity!
I have written in the past about the benefits of massage, but we really haven’t talked about lymphatic drainage massage. The lymph system runs all throughout our bodies and plays many important functions. It not only acts as our internal drainage system, it also transports fatty acids from our digestive system and carries white blood cells to and from the lymph nodes and into the bones. While we don’t often think about our lymph nodes and what they are doing, we will be compelled to think about it if things aren’t working smoothly. This is why, especially after having lymph nodes removed, it’s important to get lymphatic drainage massage. These massages, when done properly, can alleviate the symptoms of lymph edema. Kathy Platt, MS, HHP is a medical masseuse and holistic healer. I see her a few times a year for lymphatic drainage massage. This particular day, there was fluid building on my left side, where my nodes were removed. I’d like to urge everyone who has had breast cancer to regard the lymph system and get medical massages periodically. You won’t be sorry you did!
I hear this all the time. So I finished chemo, radiation and surgery. Oops, I have a new pain. I have a new issue. Is it…? Could it be…? Cancer…. again!? What are we supposed to do about the fear. Fear of the unknown. Some of us are better at worrying than others. I think I have it mastered. So what pill do you take for fear. There is none. This is why I preach turning to holistic methods to get over things that Western Medicine doesn’t offer. There are tools such as meditation, holistic healing and getting rid of baggage from the past that can help with this. I used it during my journey to overcome fears of silly things. These methods are still relevant to me today and I ask that you be open minded and receptive to trying new uncharted territory. Don’t give up. Don’t succumb. Seek.
So which path will I take? The nice smooth one on the left, of course! Will you join me?
He may look pretty unassuming, but he’s full of knowledge. This is my teacher, my yogi, my supporter, Ricky Tran. In our yoga classes, he will impart knowledge to us through quotes, chants and readings. One recent quote was rather long and complex in the way it was written. Ricky boiled it down to something so simple, it stuck in my brain. He talked about expectations and disappointments and to not let this get the best of you. I agree, narrow goals can lead to disappointment. So instead he told us “Do your best, and leave the rest!”. He tells us these things while we are holding a pose, in a peaceful meditative state, and I think that causes it to sink deeper within us. Whatever your journey is, whether it be breast cancer, other challenges in life or a happy life, remember this mantra. It has broad applicability. For example, today I met with a genetic counselor. I did my best to recount my family history to see if insurance will cover the cost. At the end of our extensive conversation, the counselor said, “Don’t worry, we will see what happens.” My response was that I had done my best to provide her what she needed, and now I let go and let the process play out. I encourage each of you to continue learning and find guidance. Take pearls of wisdom to heart and improve your outlook and your life. We are never too old to learn. Thanks Ricky Tran!
Ok, so let me ask…. are any of you married to your doctor? . . . . . I thought not. So I will tell you, you don’t have to stay with a doctor you are not comfortable with. When vulnerable, we tend to accept what we are given and don’t think about any changes. There’s already too much going on to focus on that. But sometimes you must, if the feeling is strong enough that your patient/doctor relationship is out of whack. Case in point, today I went to an appointment with a new medical oncologist. I thought long and hard about this because it is never fun changing. But your relationship with your oncologist is a lifetime relationship. Once you’ve been given the “C-Card” you need to be on alert. To me, this relationship is an important one. What I had was a doctor who I felt rushed me and didn’t discuss things fully with me. I didn’t feel a connection. But today after seeing my new oncologist, I had robust discussion about my family history and how that might play into my case. I know more scientific facts about classes of medications and their impact. We talked about genetic testing, when it is warranted and what it may show us. I had a doctor who engaged with me and listened. When I left the appointment with additional follow-up for some of the things we discussed, I almost wanted to cry. I had made the right decision. My message to each of you is to really look at who is providing your care. Don’t settle. You need to engage in determining your path to recovery. I did and I’m glad.
Let’s talk about a topic most won’t touch. Intimacy. When you have breast cancer, should you put aside everything that is normal for you, like intimacy. I suggest that you don’t. But what if you’re in the process of having surgery, or your skin is red and irritated from radiation? There are still ways to keep this segment of your life alive while you go through the process, it may just be different. I would encourage women (or their husbands) to find a nice tasteful negligée to make you feel like you’re old self. Perhaps some organic creams or oils to address skin tenderness. Intimacy doesn’t have to mean sex, it can mean hugging, caressing and petting. I suggest you don’t shut your husband or significant other out. To the husbands out there, your wife is not broken and she can be hugged and caressed. Communicate about your needs. You WILL get past this. Happy Valentines Day to all my breast soul sisters out there!