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.