It must be my birthday soon, I’m being more introspective than usual.
I’m having a tough time, mostly around abstract-yet-relevant concepts of ‘health’. Seven years ago (give or take a day) I was told that I have breast cancer, and my world ||SHIFTED|| in an instant. I’m still uncovering the changes, like an archeologist on a tidy and clean site (no dust in my corners!) who keeps unlocking hidden compartments.
I am very pleased to announce that today, exactly, I am five years cancer-free.
Blessings and gratitude to everyone who was there, physically or in spirit as I went under the knife and gave my sacrifice to the Big C. Its been an interesting journey since then, and I’ve come a long way.
I’m healthier than I have been since my teens, and doing well in every area. You have been a part of that journey for me.
This year, Thanksgiving will have very special meaning for me.
Today, February 4, is World Cancer Day. As someone in the midst of the freaking wild ride known as cancer, this is a day to mark. I am celebrating the day by going in for my Oncology Orientation. Isn’t that beautifully ironic?
This year, the theme is ‘Cancer Can be Prevented Too’ and it is a position I heartily endorse. Most illness, including cancer, can be prevented if each of us takes three steps: don’t smoke, eat well, and walk 30 mins a day. That’s it. Everything else is a flourish on the basic plan and I freely acknowledge that you can spend a lot of time discussing what ‘eat well’ means. For me, it means all foods are viable, but limit anything processed and try to stick with local, in season produce. (If the 1st ingredient is ‘enriched,’ its processed.) I will gladly sit down to a grass-fed steak dinner with salad and baked potato and butter. I’ll even have a glass or two of good red wine. But I don’t do that every night. In fact, most nights my meal is 2/3 vegetables.
Not smoking is a major factor. As an ex-addict I know exactly how hard it is to quit. Try. Try it again. Keep trying until you quit. You don’t want to end up like me, who could only stop when she needed cancer cut out of her body.
Walking every day is entirely possible. Get an iPod or (old school!) Walkman, and go for a walk. Get a friend or drag your partner up from the coach and go. Walk in the rain, the snow, and sun. Walk. I’ll eventually be allowed to do something more, but even then I will continue my regimen of waking every day. If you are really super busy, walk 15 mins and do it twice a day.
Cancer is preventable.
I’ve been managing to not worry too much about the biopsy, which was scheduled for several weeks after my second mammogram. But the night before it all hit me pretty hard and I was (for me) very upset. I managed it by having a very good workout (30 mins of cardio and strength training combined), a hot shower, a couple of videos, a glass of wine, and a very good book.
I got a pretty good nights’ sleep and had a light breakfast before I left. I considered skipping breakfast, but realized that I’d probably get VERY shaky if I let my blood sugar drop too much. So, toast, ricotta and jam it was.
NOTE: I’ll be pretty blunt and graphic in this next part, so if you will feel like a voyeur, or get queasy at medical procedures, do NOT read any further.
ok. you were warned. no squeamishness.
This is a follow up to my previous post about getting a mammogram.
Quite a few women need to go back for a follow up mammogram screening. This is usually not a cause for concern — our breasts have lots of odd bits n pieces of tissue in them, including fatty deposits, ropey fibers, and liquid-filled cysts. Your first screening is viewed with specific care so that any questions about the non-usual can be seen to quickly, mapped out, and then they become part of your future screenings. “Is that something over towards the left?” “Yeah, that’s a little nodule — had it forever.”