I am 34 years old today and so thankful to see this day! I just want to start my new blog off by saying thank you for your support and for reading! Sometimes I may get a little dark and deep, but that’s the juicy-ness and guts of cancer. I hope you all share my blog in hopes to help more people going through this. I want others to find more ways to stay positive, while living with a life long disease.
Staying positive is wonderful for your mind and body. Living with stage 4 breast Cx has been quite challenging for the last 3 and a half years. You can read about my first diagnosis in 2010 here. When I was re-staged and re-diagnosed in 2012, I no longer wanted to continue blogging on Caring Bridge simply because it reminded me of all I’ve gone through, only to have the cancer spread. It was a dead-end, and I needed a new beginning. So, I’ve been slowly getting myself prepared to start my own blog about, well, the rest of my life. I’ve been learning how to blog by reading a TON, I’ve been going to classes and groups to learn about social media on a deeper level, and even learning how to build websites like this one. I am currently working with 3 companies as a social media consultant (as well as my own), and a Pampered Chef consultant for income. I am also a Wildtree Representative for free organic food, a mommy of two small boys, all while beating breast cancer.
Ways to stay positive
1. Smile! (I know you think it sounds corny, but hear me out)
2. Keeping yourself busy and focused
3. clean diet
4. Listen to your body and try to relax
Staying positive is key, you hear this all the time, and I truly believe that my positivity has gotten me this far. I am always focused on the future because I believe that have one on this earth, no matter what the doctors say. Keeping a smile on my face has helped me handle the pain I endure on a daily basis, as I have tumors on more than 30% of my bones. Right now the cold is causing a lot of bone pain, my bones feel like cold metal all the time. I also have a hard time regulating my temperature due to the Faslodex which is a hormone blocker. Sometimes my teeth will chatter uncontrollably, or I will have the opposite effect where I get too hot and get sick. But, if I make a conscious effort to sit up straight, shoulders back, chin up, and smile as big as I can, it’s hard not to feel better. If it doesn’t work for you and you don’t smile a little easier, you’re doing it wrong 🙂 Smile like you just don’t care, because you deserve to feel good. Depression and fatigue are so hard on the body, making it that much harder to get through each day. So try your best not to let it get to you, keep your mind as well as you can so it can keep your body going. It makes it easier for me to get through things when I’m not feeling well. If I hadn’t kept a positive mind through all of this, I would not have been able to start my own social media business and keep my other businesses going as well. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish. But I gotta be honest, I’m not positive everyday. Sometimes I have days where I’m too sick to get out of bed. On those days, no can be expected to keep a smile on their face. But for the most part, I try to push through, and I’m always happy I did.
Stay Focused on Other Things
Another way I get though each day is by keeping myself busy with my businesses, and being a wife and mommy. My oldest just turned 9, he was 5 when I had to tell him I had cancer the first time. He took it very hard, it was so difficult to tell him. But I wanted him to look back and know I was always honest with him. I told him I would do everything I could to beat it. My youngest is 4 years old, he was 7 months old when I was first diagnosed. He has only known me sick, and for the following year after my initial diagnosis, his mommy was gone. I had to stop breast feeding, and start chemotherapy. I was not allowed to hold him during the 6 months of chemo I received due to transference, as well as radiation for 3 months. I’ve spent the last year trying to get to know my own baby boy again, and it’s been challenging but fun. My boys are both just as sweet as they can be. I am very lucky to have such easy going kids while dealing with cancer. They keep me going and they make me want to fight harder every day. I want to see them graduate high school, college, and I want to be here for all those big life events. Why do you fight? Focus on what makes you happy.
On September 5, 2012 I was re-staged to 4 when they found tumors on my bones and spine. I was told by every cancer center in KC that there is nothing they could do for bone tumors. I was not going to accept that, so I started asking around and doing some research. All arrows pointed to MD Anderson in Houston. They have the highest success rates in breast Cx, and my doctor is specialized in Stage 4 breast cancer in women under 40 years old. Can’t get more pinpointed. I have to travel to Houston every 3 months for quarterly scan and treatment. I am very happy to say that they have kept the tumor growth at bay for the last year! This is very encouraging for me and my outlook. I make wreaths and soaps to help fund my trips to Houston, and this also keeps my mind focused on other things.
Another way that I cope with the daily stress of cancer is with a gluten, dairy, soy and sugar free diet. I haven’t felt this good even before I had my first child. I have more energy and I’ve lost weight. When your body is getting the proper nutrition, you are just happier and it’s easier to focus. I wish I had removed these ingredients when I went through chemo and radiation the first time, as I would have been much healthier. I was seeing a holistic doctor as well, so I was getting the supplements and herbs, but should have been avoiding these ingredients.
I had diagnosed my older son with having a gluten allergy in 2010, right after I was diagnosed, because he was having breathing problems. We were having to do a breathing treatment every 2 hours which was time, money and energy, that I did not have. In my research, I decided to remove gluten and within 2 days, he was doing much better! So then I was on a role and decided to figure out what was causing his eczema. I removed dairy from his diet and guess what; no more eczema, and no more tummy issues. Then, the little one developed the same breathing problems around a year old and it was dairy and corn for him. My husband is g-free, dairy free, soy free, and tree nut free, and caffeine free. Since he removed those ingredients completely, he doesn’t have RLS, his knees do not swell, his back does not hurt, and he doesn’t need his inhaler. I am gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, caffeine free because of my cancer. Sugar and soy feed tumors and raise hormone levels which is not good for my hormone driven, fast growing cancer. Since I took these ingredients out of my diet, I feel amazing. I have so much more energy. To say it costs more money to eat healthy is silly when you look at the ailments all the junk people eat is causing them. Spending so much on inhalers and nebulizer meds, instead of putting it towards the food bill was insane. I would rather put nutrition into my body, instead of pills and chemicals. Keep telling yourself it’s only 30 days, and try removing these ingredients. You’ll feel so good, you won’t want to put it back into your body anymore.
Trust me, I know… I realize it sounds silly to tell my fellow Cx patients to relax. Let’s be real, it’s very scary to hear the “C” word. But it really helps when you make an effort to do what you like. Whatever makes you happy, this helps you to relax. Your body is on overload dealing with a stressed out mind and disease. If you don’t try to relax, you will very much break down. I know this from experience. As you’ve already gathered, I’ve got my hands full and I never took time to do anything for myself. I never stop working so I can keep an income, and I can’t afford to do anything for myself. Instead of listening to my body, I pushed through until I broke. I ended up in the hospital several times over this, and I finally realized it’s not worth running myself into the ground while battling cancer. DUH! So I stepped back and started making my soaps, writing my cookbook, and my blog. These things make me relax me and I feel better.
Of course, there are recreational ways to relax, as well as all the pills your oncologist prescribed, ha ha! I am happy with a glass of wine every once in a while. But if you are living with cancer, we have a right to do whatever the heck we want to, in my humble opinion! Since I found out I was stage 4, I have wanted to do all the things I haven’t gotten to do. This is a very long list of things that used to give me the willies, now I’m like “bring it on”!
I think all of these things keep me focused and positive. While living at the hospital 4 days a week, and having a home health nurse, I definitely needed other things to focus on. I can work on my websites and posts from anywhere, making it easier for me to stay positive. Do you have other ways that help you get through each day? I want to know, please comment. I am always looking for new ideas to focus on.
Thanks for reading. Next week I will talk about How to REALLY support your friends when they are diagnosed.
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