Archive for: April 2014

Exercise is a Key Component in Cancer Healing

yoga_plein_air_plageThere are a few key elements that are always recommended in a cancer healing program.  They are meditation, journaling, diet and exercise.  Research also suggests engaging in exercise to prevent cancer.

Given that cancer cannot survive in an oxygenated environment, it makes sense that exercise would be incredibly important for anyone diagnosed with cancer.  Exercise oxygenates the body.

There are many ways you can incorporate exercise into your regime.

  • One of the simplest is walking.  You can adjust your pace and length of walk according to how you feel no matter whether you are in the treatment phase or post treatment.
  • Join an exercise class – yoga, tai chi, dance, gentle aerobics – and be encouraged by the social aspect and support of others.
  • DVDs – there are many programs available to be used in the privacy of your own home.  This gives you flexibility of time and can be done if mobility or transportation to a class is an issue.

The main thing is to get moving.  It’s easy to get stuck in a ‘I don’t feel well’ mode.  Getting out and moving your body will dispel this feeling and help you move through your healing program much quicker.  Having the company of a buddy is also great incentive and makes exercising more fun.

 

Are You a Coffee or Tea Person?

tea-and-coffee-mug_19-98262This is a topic with lots of inconclusive results and many opinions about which is better for you health-wise.  The cancer agencies are not giving a strong ‘go-ahead’ nor are they saying ‘don’t drink it’.  So what is a person to think?

Research, personal experience, and personal preference – tapping into your own body’s wisdom. If you’re like me, you know pretty soon when something you eat or drink does not agree with you.  Or if you can handle small quantities some of the time versus larger quantities on a regular basis.  It’s about balance.

I’ve found that when it comes to coffee and tea, going the organic route works best.  With coffee, I can handle my morning blast without jitters and palpitations if it’s organic.  After my morning coffee, I move to tea or hot water.

With tea, if I choose organic teas, my body can handle them better.  Still with herbal teas, some create an acid stomach.  You need to listen to your body to know what works for you.

They do say that green teas, all the different varieties, are beneficial and may be listed as a food that fights cancer.  Do your due diligence – research and listen to your body.

 

 

 

 

Mastectomy – Is There Another Option?

Having traveled the breast cancer journey, I want to share that a mastectomy may not always be necessary.  A second opinion can give you a different perspective.  A lumpectomy may be all that is required.

When I went in for my surgery, we discussed a lumpectomy as my lump was small.  In my research, I had learned that it was possible to have a clause written into the Surgical Release Form that you wanted to be woken up and informed if they felt a mastectomy was required.  I did this.

In the end, my surgeon would have performed a mastectomy which would have necessitated wearing mastectomy bras with inserts unless I chose reconstructive surgery.  He felt he didn’t get clear margins.  A follow up and second opinion with the cancer team indicated that my continuing treatment – radiation and chemotherapy – would get whatever was left.  So, I never had a mastectomy even though my small lump had spread to 13 out of 22 lymph nodes – and I’m still here with no recurrence – 23 years later and counting.

It pays to be informed and be assertive with your own treatment plan.  You can also find out more at our sister site – www.cancerhelphub.com.

Quick Headwear Tips for Pre and Post Chemo

If you’re treatment plan includes chemotherapy, in all likelihood it means losing your hair.  Not everyone does, but most do.  And, you what, it isn’t that bad. No, it’s not your normal look which can be disconcerting when you look in the mirror, but it can be your choice to make it an opportunity to experiment with different looks.

A few tips, though.

  • If you are going to get a wig, the best time to get it is before you lose your hair.  That way you can match hair color and style.
  • When hair starts to fall out, just shave it all off.  Less messy and gets the job done.  You won’t have the trauma of handfuls of hair coming out in the shower or bath.
  • Make sure you have some soft hats to wear.  You’ll want a basic cozy hat for nighttime.  Your head will get cold; hence you will feel cold.  Treatment often makes people feel colder than normal.
  • Have a variety of chemo hats, scarves and wigs to help you dress for different occasions.

Scarves are versatile and can be wrapped in very chic styles.  Chemo hats are quick and easy providing protection and often have hair pieces added so no one will know you have no hair.  Wigs are your normal look – or if you want to try a new look, now is the time.  Try out a few different styles.

Sprouting Grains for Health – An Old Idea Back

Green-Peas-WmkI remember years ago when my kids were young sprouting seeds which I would put in salads, sandwich fillings, casseroles, etc.  We had the jars with the mesh lid and the tiered sprouting trays.  I tried and used them all.

When my youngest was little, I used to fill up a cup with mung beans for his snack.  He thought they were awesome – fresh, crunchy and filling.  I didn’t tell him they were healthy.  Why ruin a good thing.

For a while, no one seemed to be doing this anymore.  You could buy sprouts in the superstores but they definitely are not as fresh and tasty as the ones I sprouted at home.  And, it was so easy.

Sprouts are a wonderful, healthy, versatile and nutritious food that fights cancer.  It’s easy, inexpensive and something your children could do as a learning experience. How about trying these organic sprouting seeds – alfalfa, barley grass, broccoli, buckwheat, French lentil, mung bean, radish, red clover, sunflower, sweet green pea and wheatgrass.  The sky is the limit.

Easy Solutions for Bandaging for Lymphedema Patients

tribute_fingertips_to_axilla_largeOver the years, I’ve heard many people talk about the length of time it takes to wrap their arm (or leg) for the night or during active therapy.  In fact, if you go to this video, a breast cancer survivor shares her experience with wrapping.  It is time consuming.

Is there another way?  Yes!  There are several solutions by different manufacturers which involve an inner sleeve with outer sleeves that offer compression and use velcro straps for ease of donning.  For someone who struggles with mobility which is often the case especially right after surgery, these are a godsend.

Another use of the compression garments is for those that are in active therapy to reduce the swelling.  This the stage when bandaging is the option until the swelling has stabilized.  At this point,  the therapist is able to write a prescription for a compression sleeve which can then be worn in place of the bandaging.

Lymphedema is never an easy side effect of cancer treatment, but more and more, there are ways to make this situation easier and more fashionable, if one can even imagine wearing a compression sleeve as fashionable.  And this applies to other extremities as well, such as the leg and the torso.