making changes

As we embark on what seems an endless journey of “the waiting game” – waiting for test results that will determine the best course of treatment moving forward, I’m taking a “time out” from my CJ just to enjoy the Winter Break with the kids and M.

We took the guys to the 49ers game last night. The last game at Candlestick. We’ve had the season tickets in our family for 40+ years or so, and it was special that we got to use them for the last home game. And in a twist of irony, and despite the parkas, gloves, knit caps, scarves and fleece blankets we schlepped in to the stadium, the weather was mild all night and there was no need to bundle up. Candlestick – you confuse me! All these years of freezing, gale-force winds, and finger-tip-numbing weather, and the last game was….gorgeous.

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A couple of updates on the CJ front:

– BOOBY TRAP: My left breast (where the tumor was) continues to experience some complications with regards to fluid retention and swelling. I’ve had to go in to see Dr K every 3-4 days so they can drain it manually with a syringe. It’s not entirely uncomfortable as I’m still numb in that area, but the thought of a needle in my breast gives me the heebie-jeebies. I’m still taking antibiotics – my 3rd round – to avoid infection. I cannot move forward with reconstruction or fills until this issue is taken care of. Maybe 2-3 weeks?

– YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT: I’ve consulted with a nutritionist and we’ve begun the first steps in designing a nutrition plan for me. Given that my tumor was ER/PR+, it’s important that I avoid or reduce any foods that can aid in hormone production, or cause inflammation such as sugar, dairy and soy. For dairy, it’s preferable to avoid cow’s milk products and  opt for sheep or goat instead. So goodbye monterey jack cheese, and hello feta and chèvre! I’m told that yogurt is ok in limited doses because of the probiotics. There’s also the alcohol factor. It’s best if I can limit my alcohol intake to 2+ glasses a week, even better if I abstain. So until I get a full blood work panel done (have to wait because my last surgery likely caused inflammation which will show up on the results), I’ve started to incorporate some of these small changes into my diet.

– BEAUTY PART 1: I’ve also been researching personal care products. There’s a ton of information to sift through and I’m trying to be diligent about it. There are many chemicals in beauty products that it’s advisable for me (and anyone really!) to avoid as they are either found to be potentially dangerous or have links to cancer. For now, I’m avoiding the big 3:Aluminum (found in deodorants/antiperspirants) studies show breast cancer patients were found to have higher amounts of aluminum in their bodies than those without; Parabens (including methyl, propyl, butyl, and ethyl parabens found in cosmetics to extend shelf life) which are shown to be estrogenic and capable of being absorbed into the skin; Sulfates (like sodium laurel and sodium laureth) which cause skin irritations and rashes and are known to have a degenerative effect on cell growth. I’m also looking into the dangers of Synthetic Dyes (FD&C, or D&C),  Petrochemicals (derived from petroleum) and Hydroquinone (lightning compound).

Some of these changes will be easy to make, and some are not. And while I’d say the easyish part has been substituting new (albeit pricier!) organic, paraben-free, sulfate-free shampoos and body washes for our old stuff, the challenge will be getting this girl with a major sweet tooth off the sugar train.

Wish me luck!



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