“Loving through the Pink” – Healing Tools

I was looking into the “macrobiotic diet,” after having picked up Meg Wolff’s book on “Becoming Whole” at the Harold Leever Cancer Center in Waterbury, CT.  Wolff is a two time cancer survivor who firmly believes she healed herself with this diet and lifestyle.
 
I was having a grand old time discovering and rediscovering ingredients which include: whole grains like brown rice, millet, barley, couscous.  I had also never really worked with sea vegetables like wakame & kombu, to name a few.  Of course I was familiar with soy products, however, was excited to try incorporating things like miso paste, tempeh, rather than just the old standby, tofu.  What a satisfactory feeling, to be intentional about carefully selecting, and lovingly preparing nourishment that is so beneficial and to the most detailed degree.
 
Here’s some more basic information about the diet, from one of my go to online resources:
I found it absolutely fascinating. A diet/lifestyle like this certainly takes effort and intention. I was proud of myself for becoming “obsessed” over something that was actually benefitting vs. harming me. I tend to throw myself completely into whatever projects I have on hand.  I’m happy to say that, this time, the main recipient of the project was a healthier me. That’s progress from a serial neglecter of the self and the self’s needs.   Sound familiar to anyone out there struggling to lover herself/himself for some time now, for whatever reason?  
 
As much as I enjoyed exploring the diet, I recently learned from some blood tests ordered by my Naturopath, and a visit to the Midwfe, that I have a pretty raging case of candida. This is not surprising, considering all the antibiotics and pain medications I have been on, since my double mastectomy & reconstructive DIEP Flap surgeries, pneumonia complications, a second “clean up” surgery in September, a recurring hematuria (bleeding from the urethra) and UTI infections since May this year.
 
Since I too am choosing to heal with supplements and diet – especially because I am on the gold standard preventative medication Tamoxifen – I have had to back off of the “macrobiotic diet” and look into a “candida diet.”  I’ve got to get my foundations cleared up, healthy and well balanced again.  I don’t want to host and happpily feed any of these out of control fungi within my body any longer.  It’s time to get my gut back into it’s most idyllic state.  Who knows how long it’s been out of sync, despite all the best efforts to live a healthy enough lifestyle.  
 
As carbs (that turn into sugar) and fermented foods are avoided while on the “candida diet,” this knocked off much of what was on the “macrobiotic” foods list.  No matter. I have decided to be just as diligent with this diet so, eventually, I can go back onto exploring the fascinating macrobiotic world.  Or, not.  Time will tell.
 
Meanwhile, in my research efforts, I’m finding there is a lot of discrepancy out there as to what foods should and should not belong on that “candida diet” safe list. Because candida affects OVER 70% of Americans, some unknowingly, I’m sharing my favorite resource so far.
 
Check it out! There are some creative and safe recipes, as well as easy to read information on this site.  There is also a cookbook available:
 
Are any of you suffering from candida or, if you look into it, the common sypmtoms?

One Part of the Chapter is Closed

I should have been elated, right?  It was my last visit with the Reconstructive Surgeon, unless I have worsening issues with my abdominal bulge in the next six months, year… This means, officially, everything that had anything to do with my breast cancer diagnosis and surgeries is over.  Not everyone gets to say that.  It’s over and I got to walk away from it.  Emotions are like roller coasters when it comes to situations like these and you never know how you might feel at any given moment.  It’s OKAY.  Pay attention.  Let yourself feel whatever you feel.  Let it out.  Keep moving forward.

4 WKS Post Op – Bilateral Mastectomy & DIEP Flap Reconstructive Surgery

4 WKS Post Op – Bilateral Mastectomy & DIEP Flap Reconstructive Surgery and…

 

  • … she can soon be off daily aspirin, so off all meds until medical oncologist visit in 2 days and receives instruction on 5-10 year meds, based on results from tests on tumors from mastectomy!
  • … her cough is all but gone.
  • … all four drains have been removed!
  • … she can start using beautiful c-section scarring cream, sent by a friend, on her abdominal surgical site and “new” belly button.
  • … she can wear a lined 3 panel abdominal binder to support her abdominal muscles which may have permanently distended (possible premature torn stitches from force of coughing post op, which may need repair at another surgery.)
  • … she is increasingly mobile prior to fatigue waves.
  • … has started doing light chores which also encourage day to day range of motion exercises (loading top of dishwasher, folding laundry in fragments, light reheating/easy cooking, wiping down counters, stove, and made coffee a couple times!)
  • … showers by her big girl self and has learned how to blow dry her hair, minimizing fatigue, by resting her bottom on the vanity.
  • … continues to drink water heavily to stay super hydrated and stays committed to eating lots more fruits and veggies.
  • … walks at a faster pace than last update and even more upright – almost all the way upright, though not quite.
  • … still feels she has to catch her breath after standing, talking too long or just at the random times fatigue hits.
  • … should wait another two weeks to:  sleep on her side or fully prone on her back.  So still on recliner overnight.
  • … should wait until further notice before doing ANY abdominal exercises, but is okay to take short walks.  Must stay away from any bouncing exercises or weight bearing activity.
  • … has received some in person help and visitors.
  • … managed to SLOWLY & WITH PLENTY OF BREAKS roll up rugs, wash living room pillows, blankets… when she was without hubby and big kiddo, and puppy had scary rash that might have been from a tick or, highly contagious to humans, ringworm!
  • … took a ride with a friend to the vet to resolve that.  Hooray!  NOT ringworm but collaretes – not contagious & went away on own – but, hey, puppy shots due so that worked out great!  Mindful not to hold puppy on leash herself, so as not to risk him bolting and straining her abdominal region.
  • … received an out of state college best buddy, who offered to keep her company while big guys were on an overnight backpacking trip and also so all three guys could attend an end of homeschooling year gathering… said buddy brought her delicious home made pesto, farmers market burgers, made her lie down in the afternoon, shared stories about her favorite people, hit the grocery store, the post office and even registered the dog for us at town hall, as puppy now had all his shots!
  • … received a local visitor and her lovely daughter, who brought much needed bandaids and itch cream, to help with our little guy’s barrage of bug bites, he couldn’t stop itching, flowers and a sweet breast cancer awareness key chain that says “Celebrate Life.”
  • … received help from friends to pick up boys and take them to places she can’t yet drive… the homeschooling end of year gathering(s,) weekly music ensemble, IOWA tests (end of year homeschool tests we opt to have boys take to assess where they are at academically,) pick up and drop off of Mom from train station from the city/NJ.
  • … has been out to lunch with hubby and kids when between doctor’s appointments and starving and didn’t do too badly.   Again, carefully paced herself with walking to and from car and made sure to sit comfortably and stay plenty hydrated.
  • … notices her body getting back into itself as when she is hungry, she is HUNGRY!  Whereas, it might have been a more gradual sensation before surgery.
  • … has less swelling between her breasts and the bulging abdominal muscles.
  • … managed to nurse back to health our little guy, who did catch a cold, with homeopathic remedies, honey lemon water and diffused essential oils, without catching cold herself!  Woo hoo!
  • Has no idea when she’ll return to her entrepreneurial endeavors and will allow time to take as long as it needs, for her to fully recover.
  • … is learning more and more that God is not only in the mountain high moments, the valley low moments, but the day to day ups and downs along the way and that’s pretty much all that matters, no matter what.

(Flowers from friends!)

Cool story on the blue flowers:  There was a possibility that I would leave the mastectomy without my own nipples. Thankfully, due to the placement of the tumor(s) and my surgeons’ skills, that was not the case.  Either way, I had discussed with a very good friend that I would tattoo blue roses (without having looked up their meaning) instead of tattooed nipples or no nipples…. or a butterfly on one and a dogwood flower on the other side I could animate when bored (joking)… She found me the most unique blue rose in the last photo.  We’ll still get our blue roses tattoos later! The paper blue rose was a gift from a 15 year old homeschooling friend of ours.  Cool coincidence!

The peonies are from another close friend’s garden who is endlessly dropping off, picking up – I can’t even count on my fingers!

The potted flowers are from my sweet friend who has no idea those were our wedding flowers!

There was another set of flowers, a basket of daisies that just wouldn’t give up on life.  They finally did but I didn’t snag a photo.  It was early in the recovery and from a very cool homeschooling dad & family.

You know the story behind the blue flowers!