Saturday, February 18, 2012

So. I've Been Thinking.

I know-- you're all: What?!
But.  I've been thinking.
I went on an extra long walk with Dora The Explorer today.  We have been blessed with the most extraordinary weather this winter, and today is no exception.  It's been especially budget-friendly in terms of snow removal costs for us all.  That is, unless you are in the business of snow removal.  But I know those guys are looking forward to making up for it in all the early spring landscaping work that is heading our way.  I can just feel it.

But I digress.  I was walking and thinking about how my life has been lately.  How it's all become one big medical appointment.  How much I have to look forward to now that I am making some decisions about what I want to do for my Second Act.  How lucky I am to have my children, family, and friends who continually seek to do for me.  Just how very lucky I am.  Period.

I was thinking about my breast cancer diagnosis.  You can believe me when I tell you that, even though there was a small part of me that had an inkling there was something bad in those little calcifications, I was blindsided on the morning of December 14 at 9:06 am when my surgeon called to tell me I had cancer.  Blindsided.  That is the day my existence as one big medical appointment began.


Now I am preparing to begin my radiation treatments which I will have Monday - Friday for about six weeks.  They start on March 6, and I am so ready.  Both my medical oncologist and my radiation oncologist are reassuring to the point that there are times I feel like I am going to have super powers by the time they are done with me.  I am lucky.  Expect no side effects.

However, there have already been side effects to this disease.  Side effects of the soul-searching, taking an objective look at oneself, owning your bad habits kind.  It's been interesting.  And I am being somewhat facetious when I say interesting, but you probably already knew that.  I was a social smoker in college, quit for 15 years, and picked it up again in the late 90's.  I quit for good almost 10 years ago.  But there was a little nagging voice that wondered if that nasty habit had caused these cells to misfire.  It's no secret I like my wine.  Sometimes a little too much.  Did that do this?  Did the 3+ cups of coffee I drink every day do it?  White flour? Red meat? Bacon? Hair dye?  What??

The answer is that we don't know.  All of us are walking around with cancer cells in our bodies, and it could be any or none of the above that caused mine to spring to life.  And my busy cancer cells have inadvertently given me an incredible gift:  A wake up call that I need to stop taking my amazing body for granted any more.  If this Second Act is going to be as grand as I am envisioning it, I need to straighten up and fly right.  While I will never be that person who does an all-or-nothing type of lifestyle change, I am going to change some things for a while.  Well, with the exception of the smoking part.  That is a permanent nothing.  So done with that.

I have been collecting all sorts of food-for-cancer books and articles.  I have Googled myself into a tizzy.  I have gone to my appointments with lists of questions.  And I believe that I really don't have any more answers.  Medical answers anyway.  In that vein (pun intended), I've decided to do my own part to help kick this crap out.  I am going to treat everything I eat throughout all my treatment as my medicine as well.  I haven't formulated a specific plan.  I cannot do severe plans.  I have a little disobedient streak--it's called being an Aquarian.  So we'll see.  But cutting out dietary toxins and helping myself heal during radiation is my goal.  Any suggestions will be welcome.  I've thought about Daniel's Diet.  I like everything in it.  Although I would miss my wine, my coffee, and my cheese, just to name a few, I am looking forward to the challenge.  I'm starting to enjoy challenges.  Another little side effect...

 I don't want to miss my Second Act. 

Dora seems to agree.

25 comments:

Sherri O said...

Beautiful post.

You're going to kick this cancer to the curb, girl! :)

Country Girl said...

This post touched my heart because you're speaking from your heart, my friend. Cancer is not going to kick your butt. I felt that from the beginning. It is going to be your wake up call, and you've already figured that out. You are getting a second chance. And you are going to be ok.

Love you!! xoxoxo

Snooty Primadona said...

That's right! Fight like a girl! I've always thought there is strong reason to believe we're slowly killing ourselves with our diet in America. Dr. Oz talks about cancer fighting foods all the time, with data to back it up.

About a year ago, my B-I-L started us on something called NAC which is available through health food stores. It's an amazing compound overlooked by doctors mainly because if we didn't get sick or get cancer, what would they do for a living, right?

Dr. Oz recommends many things that you can read about here:

http://www.doctoroz.com/search?q1=best+foods+for+fighting+cancer

My B-I-L is really into all this stuff so I'll email you the info on NAC, which is mostly way over my head. Pretty amazing though. As a matter of fact, I'd be happy to send you a bottle of capsules. I have to get some more this next week, so I'll grab an extra for you if you'd like.

They also say your attitude is a great part of recovery as well, so at least you've got that on your side. ;-) Not to mention the fact that you have all of your bloggy friends pulling for you & praying for you...

The Incredible Woody said...

{{hugs}}

Karen Deborah said...

I'm so glad your on this track. As a retired oncology nurse let me tell you that when medical people tell you that diet is no factor----RUN the other way. Kris in Alaska did you ever visit her? (Grandma Tillie's bakery). Her mom had stage 4 colon which is a very ominous diagnosis/prognosis and she got her a "coffee" drink made from mushrooms which is delicious and it helped her a lot with the side effects and it also kept her blood counts up. The Daniel diet is a good diet for cancer. Juicing is very good especially carrots. Hallelujah acres has a lot of info.
But besides the technical stuff you express the heart of every cancer patient with so much clarity and heart.
Cancer uniquely causes this life and soul reflection and the people it touches come out on the other side with profoundly grateful attitudes.
It's a God thing baby.

joanne said...

I'm so happy to hear the confidence and courage in your words. I sometimes wonder why we have to go through so much before we are ready to make these changes. We must heal ourselves. Love and best wishes to you dear Mama.
p.s. that baby is getting a cupcake for real as soon as I can sweep her away for a few hours!!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Yes! The type and amount of food absolutely impacts how we feel and how we heal.

Please share what you learn on this journey, especially as it relates to diet. I think staying away from wheat and processed foods entirely is the way to go; hey, it worked for our grandparents, and if you look at any photographs or old TV shows from the 1970s everyone (or most) were thin and they were not taking any drastic measures to be that way. It was the food,their diet, or specifically the lack of processed and fast food.

Remember how great you felt when you went on that smoothie kick (I forget what it was called technically)?

Can't wait to hear about your journey. Mostly, I can't wait to hear about the Second Act, which is gonna be GREAT.

Sally said...

I love that you've shared your thoughts. In my opinion, you are the IT girl; you've got the intelligence and you've got fortitude. You're gonna whip butt, and take names later.

It's no secret that over the years we've beem told to change our eating habits; by "someone's new ideas" some to extreme and some not. But, I gotta tell you my grandmother lived to l04 1/2, dipped snuff, cooked with pure hogs lard. :)

I'm with ya l00%!

(hugs)

Annie said...

Hi Lauren...just a quick hello from Australia. Have been following CBW and Country Girl for a long time now, and nearly got to meet you when I was in NYC visiting my daughter and family ...with Daryl etc, but the kids were sick and I couldn't go unfortunately. I did enjoy meeting Daryl and spent a morning with her photographing her neighborhood.

Anyway, was shocked to hear of your diagnosis. Have often enjoyed checking your blog, but rarely comment..until now.


Becoming Whole by Meg Wolf, (lives in Maine)...she has written this book about how she beat breast cancer, (and something else), by going on a macrobiotic, whole food diet...lots of vegetables etc.

Her book:
http://www.becoming-whole.com/BWwithIPPYfromPATTYbutSHRUNKEN

Meg's blog:
becomingwhole2.com

Thought some of it might be of interest to you. She says that if you can't change over to the diet totally straight away, it is just fine to start off in little ways!

All the best ...
Annie from Australia

Paxie said...

Aquarians are better when they have a plan. The unknown will drive us looney. I agree with everyone else and have no doubt...you got this!!

When we get this scared, it does cause us to truly appreciate everything around us and be thankful for even the smallest things!

Loved this post Ms. LaLa ♥♥

Daryl Edelstein said...

I do believe this is the most personal most wordy post you've ever written .. its a perfect declaration of Mama's Second Act .. print it out, re-read it every week .. stay strong, know we're here to keep doin' for you and to celebrate with you. I could see giving up cheese but wine? Not so much .. the best diet is moderation .. I would suggest you find a dietician to discuss this with .. in the meantime .. keep strong ... we Aquarians are not just contrary and stubbon .. we're tough .. xoxox lurve you!

Maria_NJ said...

Nice post Lauren... it seems like you have the tools to feeling better...I was thinking of you the other day, I said that I would make my appointment to get my mamo done, and I haven't yet...I have not keep my end of the deal...soon...

Paxie said...

And....going on a long walk with Ms. Dora is one of the most important things. I truly believe stress causes illness.

So have a glass of wine and relax :)

Laura~peach~ said...

yes mama.... i really think a trip to georgia is in the mix of healing arts too! :) I cant totally relate to my life is a set of drs appts... but, in the end 90% or more is going to be what I end up doing as they still dont really know the cause of this issue in me.
back to the infectious diease dr this week and i am sure a ton more blood testing as dr marcus is pretty sure it is NOT caused by cat scratch fever... anyway am totally with you. love you

Pix at Under the Oaks said...

MPM I like hearing your fightin' words! You are on my mind and in my prayers every day. You are going to kick this cancer's ass. Diet~I already have to be moderate with all things food for my heart. Wine~I love my wine time in the afternoon and we always have 3 small thin bites of cheese on triscuits. I am constantly fighting an internal battle about wine. I know it is bad with respect to cancer of the breast and increases the percentage of getting breast cancer~the estrogen factor. I have shotgun pattern calcifications in both breasts that have been being watched since 1995 by the same surgeon that aspirated my first cyst. My sister-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1989. She is cancer free, healthy, happy and drinks wine. If I was told to give it up it would be a done deal and had to for a bit because of my heart medicine. But I missed it, I miss that afternoon time when CH and I sit down and watch the birds and sip a glass of wine, sometimes two. I wonder if denying something that makes us happy is worse than not having the thing that makes us happy. And that applies to the other things in life that are supposedly not good for us but make our hearts happy~within reason/moderation. Lots of power in happiness! I like Daryl's statement~everything in moderation. I'd tell you to have a nice Sunday, but I already know you are enjoying every minute! Have a perfectly wonderful Sunday MPM! {hugs}

Kathleen... said...

I'm sitting in a gym while my son is at PT. Choked up as hell. What a beautiful post....so thought-provoking, insightful and honest.

I'm such a MM fan. :) xo

Your Second Act will be one for the books....stellar....

TSannie said...

xoxoxoxox

Reena Walkling said...

The second act is gonna be awesome!

Joan Ibarra said...

Not only the second act, but the third...and on...

What a great post...so heartfelt and honest.

Prayers and good wishes from here....

Keetha said...

This is beautiful. I pray for you often!

Please keep us posted on what you decide to eat and all. I'm a big believer in good food = healthy body. Not that I necessarily follow it, I just believe it. :-)

imbeingheldhostage said...

Sounds like you've got this already beat MP. Attitude is everything and you've got such a kick a$$ outlook- cancer doesn't stand a chance.
It's natural to look back and wonder about every thing you've done, but you're right- we're all walking around with cells that could eventually betray us, it's all about how we take care of ourselves from here on.
Bring on March! Do you need books/movies whatever to get you through treatments?

Sassy said...

Sooooo beautifully written........YOU ARE SO SMART and I KNOW you are GOING TO BEAT THIS!!!!!!!!!


And I do NOT want you missing your 2nd act........NOPE NOT AT ALL!!!!!!

Donna said...

I am in a daze. I have not been paying attention and somehow missed this hugely important news. I am so sorry to hear that you have this disease. Dang, your world has certainly been put on a tilt.

But ONWARD! You are going to beat that thing silly!!! Get mad, get fighting. GET WELL! I am praying for you while you go through this journey. Oh, you're going to get a LOT of prayers, sweetie!

judi/Gmj said...

Yeah, what the others said.

Although, they are rather hostile, all the kicking, fighting and beating...

Anonymous said...

I have been hanging on to the quote about how we cannot cross an ocean without having courage to lose sight of the shore....embarking on the medical journey can feel like the shore has receded in the distance.
I can hear the courage in your writing and the stars are guiding the navigation. I think all the micro-nutrients in cancer- fighting foods are "floating nearby" as you cross the "sea". ( If you like Japanese food, sea vegetables have some of the most powerful nutrients of all--and I mentioned before the clinical trials in the UK re watercress--Southhampton Univ.)
I have followed CBW's post for a year, but have been moved to comment--you are phenomenal! XO XO LLC