Honor Your Breasts (and Your Body)
Living Truth Inquirer
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2010. While doing a self-breast exam, I felt a lump. I wasn’t too concerned because I knew my mom had had several benign lumps and figured it was probably the same. I scheduled a mammogram appointment thinking if anything it’s a fibroid. I was prepared for a letter asking me to call and schedule another appointment because "something looked abnormal." On my second appointment my radiologist made it clear, we would have to do a biopsy and they would call me in the morning with the results. The next morning my doctor called saying "I am so sorry. You have breast cancer, Invasive Ductile Carcinoma stage 1A. I lost all the feeling in my body. I couldn't move, I couldn't speak, was this really happening?
No one ever thinks it can happen to them, but it can. About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12.4%) will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Breast cancer can’t be prevented, but you can take important steps to educate yourself and others about breast cancer. Also, being a family member, partner, or friend of someone with breast cancer can be very difficult. Cancer isn’t predictable and it isn’t pretty. Whether you have breast cancer or supporting a loved one, I’m here to share a few simple ways to take care of yourself and others.
Lead by Example
Perform monthly self-breast exams, this helped me to detect the lump that lead me to see the doctor. Get knowledgeable about your body, and schedule regular mammograms. Make sure you schedule a clinical breast exam with your primary care physician, too. Set a good example for the loved ones around you by incorporating healthy practices. This can include, starting a garden, eating an organic based diet, exercising regularly, and packing healthy lunches for your kids.
Talk to Your Family and Friends
Teach your children about self-care and good breast health. Tell them about the health risks that come with smoking and alcohol. Talk with your kids, siblings, parents and grandparents about your family’s health history. Family health history can help doctors determine your screening plan. Consider talking to your sister, mom, or best friend about getting a mammogram - or go together!
Give a Meaningful Gift
Go out of your way to show someone you care. If someone close to you is struggling with cancer, offer to get their groceries, cook them a dish, take them to a doctor’s appointment, or just be there for them when they need it. A gift doesn’t have to involve money or the purchase of a material item. A sentimental trinket is nice, but having compassion and showing care for someone going through something really difficult is worth so much more. Compassion from my husband, family and friends was my motivation to fight this cancer. Support is the best gift to someone dealing with cancer. Consider raising money for a good cause, attending a local event, or starting your own fundraiser during the month of October. Plan a breast health workshop or class in your school, organization, or community. Get involved and make a difference.
Take Care of Yourself
Put in the effort to take care of yourself avoid processed foods and adopt a healthy eating regimen. Implement an exercise routine, and curb any habits that negatively affect your health. Replace them with good ones. Turn your 10 minute smoke break into a 10 minute walk break. Avoid staying up too late, try hitting the sack 20 minutes earlier. Studies have shown that massages offer both physical and emotional benefits for women with breast cancer. Schedule a massage to lower your stress levels and regain a state of peace. Massage can be received during cancer treatment periods and as maintenance after treatments with your doctor’s permission. [www.diamondsweetness.com]
It’s all about little changes to make small steps toward health. Breast health goes beyond routine breast exams, it starts with the food you eat and getting outdoors to everything in between.
My life has changed, but for the better. Yes, I battled chemo and radiation. Yes, I lost my hair, I was beautiful with it and without it! Life as I knew it prior to breast cancer is not the same, but has become even more special. Every day is a NEW day. I have a NEW outlook on life because I was given a "second chance." I survived breast cancer because of all the positive people that surrounded me. I encourage you to stay positive and surround yourself with supportive people that will lift your spirits.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month I challenge you to spread the word about mammograms, raise awareness about the importance of self-care and good breast health. If you are a survivor, I challenge you to share your story. Many women are scared and need support from those who’ve experienced the process too. Until we have a cure always remember we have each other.
No food or diet can prevent you from getting breast cancer. But some foods can make your body the healthiest it can be, boost your immune system, and help keep your risk for breast cancer as low as possible. I will share with you one of my favorite dishes that I enjoyed during my treatments.
This dish is not only delicious but is full of cancer-fighting phytochemicals. It is known that many phytochemicals, when kept in their natural food forms, can protect us from cancer as they interact with other phytochemicals and the cells in our bodies. Also, many breast cancer patients gain weight as a result of treatment.
Tip: Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. Eating frequent small meals will ensure your body is getting enough calories, protein, and nutrients to tolerate treatment. Remember to eat healthily during and after breast cancer treatment. If you need assistance with meals there are companies that will deliver cancer-fighting food to your door. (www.diamondsweetness.com)
Curry Rice and White Bean Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, minced
3/4 cup uncooked arborio rice
1 carton (32 ounces) vegetable broth
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregan
1/4 teaspoon crushed black pepper
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
Pitch of Kosher Salt (tt)
1 package (16 ounces) frozen broccoli-cauliflower blend
1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1 Lemon (optional)
In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; saute garlic and onion for 1 minute. Add rice; cook and stir 2 minutes. Stir in broth, herbs and seasons; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until rice is al dente, about 10 minutes.
Stir in frozen vegetables and beans; cook, covered, over medium heat until heated through and rice is tender, 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in spinach until wilted. If desired, serve with Lemon Wedges.