Great News!!

Hello everyone. I am writing this on July 12th one of the worst days of flooding I’ve seen around Hainesville and Grayslake in the 22 years I’ve lived here. Our wetlands behind our house are one big lake that moved halfway into our yard and flooded our vegetable garden. Bummer. I am certainly grateful that our house and basement are not flooded as many are. My heart goes out to those affected by the flooding.

A few cancer updates — I had a good week and expect this weekend to be great as well! Next week on Tuesday the 18th I will have my 3rd treatment with only one more to go after that. The good news is that last Friday, July 7th, I saw my surgeon and an ultrasound showed that my tumor has shrunk by about half!!! That is fantastic news for me and ensures that the chemicals chosen for my treatment have indeed done their job. Yes, they are killing the cancer and making me feel horrible for a week or so each time, but I do bounce back and I know that I will be able to build myself back up afterwards. So, with this news, last chemo is August 8th and then we are targeting August 31st for surgery.

/kēmōˈTHerəpē,ˌkemōˈTHerəpē/

noun

  1. the treatment of disease by the use of chemical substances, especially the treatment of cancer by cytotoxic and other drugs.

How many of you have ever googled any health issue, ailment, symptom, diagnosis, medical treatment for yourself, your sibling, your parent, your child, or other family member or friend?  Well yes, of course you have! So I google triple negative breast cancer often enough because there are studies and different research being done in this area of breast cancer (or at least there should be!!). Most of the time it is a study or trial for a new chemotherapy drug and its effectiveness on TNBC. Still not much good news on this front, unfortunately. Not much progress in 10 years which is so hard to believe. Anyway, when “googling” many different things come up about breast cancer and sometimes one click leads to another and another and before you know it you are spending way too much time at the computer, and you are no more knowledgeable than you were when you started! That’s the frustrating part… I did land on some interesting sites or groups and forums that talk about natural cancer remedies and forums where so many women decide that they won’t do surgery, chemotherapy or radiation because of the effects on the body. Heck they won’t do mammograms most of the time for the same reason. They may choose an ultrasound and a biopsy to confirm cancer. Then, they are off to treat their cancer with the help of YouTube videos and online info or an alternative care professional of some sort that they pay a lot of money for because insurance sure doesn’t cover it?!?! All western medicine is avoided, but the funny part to me is what they will do to try to cure themselves and boy oh boy some of the things are very barbaric and/or just plain silly to me and I can’t even imagine how these things could work. I’ve seen everything from coffee enemas (daily!!) to putting bloodroot black salve on top of breast to draw out the tumor. Okay, we are not talking about acne and drawing our pimples to a head here! Wow… so yeah, these tumors are just drawn out of the body and come right through the skin leaving a big gaping black hole. There are other things like medical marijuana and cannabis or hemp oil and studies that support the benefits of some of these things. I am not running out to purchase this myself (yet), but for those in a later stage cancer or for relief of pain, nausea, and many other symptoms as well as its potential to prevent cancer from growing… it can certainly be beneficial. I know that some who read this may believe only in natural treatments for many things, even cancer. Unfortunately with a diagnosis of “aggressive, fast growing, potentially fast-spreading” type of breast cancer… I really do not feel that I have that option. I also know that those who believe strongly in natural alternative treatments cannot wrap their head around how and why someone would use conventional western medicine and go through chemotherapy, radiation, major surgery, etc. So I think it’s just a matter of agreeing to disagree. Sadly, I even read about the miracle treatments that people fall for in Mexico and the Philippines paying 3,000 to 30,000 dollars only to live a few months longer and die. Family members are left to wonder if their loved one was just part of a scam (my guess… yep they were scammed). Sorry, but if there was a miracle cure for cancer we would all know about it. Some claims by alternative health experts would like us to believe that the doctors and pharmaceutical companies are keeping this information from us. And, I do not believe that all doctors nor big pharma are honest and have all the answers. I think we as consumers, as patients, need to look at all sides and determine what is best for us. I believe in integrative medicine over an all-natural alternative-only approach. Integrative uses treatments from western medicine such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy as well as more holistic treatments like nutrition, meditation, Chinese medicine, supplements, exercise, etc. I personally want to use an integrative, mind-body, approach that helps reduce stress and adds good nutrition including vitamins and supplements proven to help the immune system. Some of the things that I am looking into and or have started include yoga… meditation/visualization, vitamin D, turmeric, plant-based diet (or at the very least eating no processed foods, no processed sugars, etc.).  I really believe from what I have read that there is a high incidence of breast cancer for those who have low Vitamin D levels. This is very common for those of us who live through dark dreary winters. I had low D levels a few years back and took a prescription for awhile then maintained for a couple years by taking 2,000-5,000 units of D3 daily. I stopped at some point when I either ran out of a bottle or got sick with a cold and stopped taking and just never got back on the D3 wagon. Could a simple daily dose of D prevent breast cancer? Best to get out in the sun for 15 minutes a day, but taking a supplement works too. Well, I don’t know if it is the answer, but it sure can’t hurt. Caffeine and alcohol are other topics related to preventing cancer. Well I broke my daily 2 cup coffee habit after my first chemo treatment due to nausea and no taste whatsoever for coffee. Now, I am just having lemon and honey in warm water or green or chamomile tea. I have iced tea or cola out at restaurants. I am not a huge drinker of alcohol either and typically have a couple glasses of wine, or few mojitos or martinis every few weeks (or months) or so. I have read that eliminating all caffeine and alcohol could prevent recurrence of breast cancer, but I tell ya… no true studies were cited to convince me that this is really the case, so I will drink to that (mojito, anyone?). Everything in moderation. Sorry this is so long, signing off now… meanwhile I hope everyone in Illinois is safe and sound after the storms here.

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