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Sunday, December 28, 2014

~Cancer Free and 60 years old. My anti cancer diet.~







     I just turned 60..yes, this is a recent photo.
 I stay on an anti-cancer diet. No white food, processed food and  I don't eat meat except Bison and antibiotic free organic meat.   I believe that there are no diets really, only a lifestyle. I maintain my weight because I learned how to cook  Mediterranean style and I incorporate the meals my Italian Grandmother and Father taught me.  It's simple really.  I can teach you too.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

** Don't let anyone take away your sparkle **



I have always been Superwoman
At least that was what everyone thought..
 I never thought much about my energy level since I had to juggle work, single motherhood, school. 
Than my father said one day that if he owned a business he would make me CEO.
I was organized, never tired and I just was that type A woman.

Than after my last cancer surgery I lost my energy.  I lost my appetite.  I couldn't sleep well.
I have been trying to figure out why with my doctors.
Fibromyalgia, anemia,. I just thought it is something else. I didn't give up
I barely made it through the day..oh it must be depression.  All the diagnoses and pills and still I didn't feel like me.
I knew that my energy was gone but also I didn't feel happy and I was always irritable.
Finally I walked to my car last Friday and could barely make it out the door.
I was pale and my eyes were blurry. 
Driving was concerning. I just had to have some answers. 
I have been too tired to shop! I actually ordered my groceries and picked them up at the curb.
How was this possible?
I had been clutching my throat thinking for the last few months for some reason 
I got to my doctor's office and they said your appointment isn't until Tuesday.
I said please look at my face ...I  need blood work now.  My doctor had already ordered them
On Monday I got a call from my PCP.  I knew from the past when the doctor calls you listen.
The first thing she asked me was how I was feeling. I said lousy, really tired..
Than I heard what I have been trying to determine , a true diagnosis.
Do you have heart palpitations she asked..I said yes I do 
I heard her say that is because you have a hyperthyroid condition.
I slid off my bed and started to cry. Finally a disease that explains all my symptoms.
I have apparently had a low TSH for five years! 
I want everyone to know that stress can bring on a myriad of complications including medical and emotional.  I know that I have been half dead with exhaus since 2009.
I have been to so many doctors and hospitals telling them how sick I feel.
At last an answer.
I plead with all of you to listen to your bodies.  That is why I was clutching my throat and I didn't know why?  Amazing how our bodies tell us what is wrong.
 I have opted to stay on medication for a month and than have my blood rechecked.  I might be faced with surgery again.   
When you are hurting and exhausted all the time there has to be a reason.  Do not give up !
If you are tired and irritable, exhausted and losing weight, have your thyroid checked.
I have been sick since 2009.
Finally there is a diagnosis and a plan.
 I fell through the cracks even when I was tested over and over.  
I thought I am not imagining this!
I am still in shock that I knew that my body was fighting something.

I CAN NOT WAIT TO BE STEPHANIE AGAIN!
My Dad said Never give up until you have answers.
Thank you Dad.
I want to fly through the air again. I can't wait to run around Italy in a few months.
Never Give Up. 
I fell through the cracks even when I was tested .
I was forgotten for five years.




Thursday, October 2, 2014

it's that time again~Breast cancer awareness month

I just had great news.  I have been having regular six  month ultrasounds and MRI's once a year to check on a node that has been bothering me under my implant. I am happy to say that it has shrunk in size!  I believe that this is because of my anti cancer diet which I will be posting .  I learned how to eat a MEditerranean diet since I grew up in an all Italian family and heritage.  It turns out that all the veggies and small amounts of sugar and meat has really helped..I will be posting and concentrating on diet  on next blog post.
 My Grandma and my Dad were right..we did not eat processed food and we ate many bright vegetables.  I also learned that frozen vegetable and fruit can be used and in many cases much healthier than fresh.  We don't know how long the produce has been sitting and with frozen food they are fresh when packed. Stay away from anything that has allot of words you can't pronounce. I do eat pasta with only semolina flour and no I will not give that up. Whole wheat pasta just doesn't compare.  I am praying for all my sisters fighting this battle.  Laughter, love and do what makes you feel happy...It's a simple rule, but keep the negativity out of your life..it is not healthy. Namaste..Happy Eating...

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Exercise proven to be helpful with Aromatase inhibitor side effects



                                                                             
Recently I started back on Aromasin and I am experiencing once again, pain and night sweats.  I saw this article and wanted to share it with all the women experiencing these debilitating side effects. I decided after talking it over with my oncologist, that it would be better to go back to this aromatase inhibitor after the five year suggested therapy I ended last year.  So yes, I am looking for answers and hopefully exercise will help with the side effects.

Much research has shown that exercise, a healthy diet, and counseling can help women feel better, both during and after breast cancer treatment.
A new study has found that exercise eases joint pain that can be a side effect of the aromatase inhibitors, a type of hormonal therapy medicine.
The study, “Randomized trial of exercise vs. usual care on aromatase inhibitor-associated arthralgias in women with breast cancer: The hormones and physical exercise (HOPE) study,” was presented on Dec. 12, 2013 at the 2013 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium 
After surgery, women diagnosed with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer usually take hormonal therapy medicine to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back (recurrence). Hormonal therapy medicines work in two ways:
  • by lowering the amount of estrogen in the body
  • by blocking the action of estrogen on breast cancer cells
There are several types of hormonal therapy medicines. Tamoxifen, a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM), is one of the most well-known. Tamoxifen can be used to treat both premenopausal and postmenopausal women. In 2005, the aromatase inhibitors:
  • Arimidex (chemical name: anastrozole)
  • Aromasin (chemical name: exemestane)
  • Femara (chemical name: letrozole)
were shown to be more effective at reducing recurrence risk in postmenopausal women and are now used more often than tamoxifen to treat women who’ve gone through menopause. Aromatase inhibitors aren’t used to reduce recurrence risk in premenopausal women.
Hormonal therapy usually is prescribed for 5 years after surgery.
Still many women -- about 25% -- who are prescribed hormonal therapy to reduce recurrence risk after surgery either don’t start taking the medicine or stop taking it early, usually because of side effects.
Joint pain and stiffness are common side effects of the aromatase inhibitors (doctors call these pains “arthralgias”). Up to 50% of women taking an aromatase inhibitor have joint pain or stiffness. Less common but more severe side effects of these medicines include heart problems, osteoporosis, and broken bones.
If doctors can find a way to ease the joint pain caused by aromatase inhibitors, it’s likely that more women would stick to their treatment plans and take the medicines for a full 5 years.
In the HOPE study, the researchers wanted to see if exercise could help ease joint pain caused by aromatase inhibitors. The study included 121 postmenopausal women diagnosed with stage I-III hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer who had been taking an aromatase inhibitor for at least 6 months. All the women said they had at least mild joint pain and weren’t exercising when the study started, though they were physically able to exercise.




Thursday, March 6, 2014

Happy Birthday to my new breasts and my life!


Six years today I had a double mastectomy with reconstruction.  I am truly blessed and I am still going strong....Living my life and looking forward to a much needed vacation. One thing I learned the last six years is to start saying no.  I have been taking care of everyone my whole life it seems ...started when I was nine and my sister was born. I was a young single parent of two, on top of that.  My Dad and Mom were also part of my care giving lifestyle.  Now, I have stepped back. We need to take care of ourselves and we forget sometimes. I didn't even realize I had cancer when I was caring for my father since all I did was run run run...
I do not regret any of the time I have spent being a caregiver but now it's time for me.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

New news..New tumors .

Hi everyone. Life has a way of throwing curve balls.  I just had one thrown directly between my eyes.
I recently had my annual PET testing and CT scan and I was told that a small node was found on my right lung .  I asked my oncologist for more testing and he said I could "wait another six months".  I refuse to take that course and I am following up
With a new oncologist and thoracic surgeon .
My father passed away from lung cancer .  The word "wait" does not exist in my vocabulary.
It's time for action.

An update..I went for my colonoscopy last week and the biopsy shows that  I have four nodes, one is precancerous.
They removed them  and I pray that it was in time ...I eat very well but stress is a huge component ..I didn't stress about my breast cancer but I have noticed that I have not been taking my life day by day.  I stress about the future. Time to stop that behavior since it only hurts me.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

"To everything turn, turn turn ~there is a season ....I swear it's not too late"




March 6th is my new birth date ;
six years of cancer free living ~On that date I had my
Mastectomy and reconstruction birthday ..( I just hit my eight year lumpectomy surgery this week.)
It also happens to be the day my daughter, Cara Podenski is scheduled to give birth to her first child ... I see this as a sign . A miraculous beginning . I have called my daughter over and over, left messages and she has never returned or answered my calls. over the last 5 years.
I do not block my number because I am not giving up hope that she will answer . I do not know of anything I have done and I have no answers.. I was even told I would be arrested if I came to her Wedding. Although I keep trying, I can't be the only one to mend this relationship between mother and daughter. What could I have done so terrible to deserve this exile. Nothing.
I just know that I am to be a Grandmother, and I earned that right, but I also want my daughter to exorcise her demons for her mental and physical health. Unless she accepts that I'm not going away, she will be hurting her child and he/she deserves to have me in their life . I deserve that, and I won't stop trying .
I'm not perfect, but I am human and I hurt. I need to conjure up all my strength this coming month... I hope no one experiences this... It is so painful ..I will never accept that she has "Forgotten" her own mother. I will never forget I have a daughter.