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Cancer Journey/ HEALTH

My Oophorectomy Surgery Story | How To Prepare for Surgery

pillows on a bed for surgery

I’m going to write my Oophorectomy story in a couple different posts, to remember it as part of my cancer survivor story, and also to help anyone else that may be facing this surgery.

Having organs removed (especially ones that affect the entire endocrine system) is not a light or easy decision, and knowing what to expect or the story of someone who has been through it might be helpful.

I did a lot of googling and research before my decision to have an oophorectomy and really desired to read more personal stories of those who had been through the surgery and their experience. They were hard to find.

An oophorectomy is the removal of the ovaries. A Salpingo-oophorectomy removes both the ovaries and the fallopian tubes. This was the surgery I had and it was done laparoscopically.

Read this post for more details as to how and why we decided that an oophorectomy was for me.

This first post will be the story of surgery day, and I will end it with some tips for someone who will be undergoing an oophorectomy, too. I’ve learned a few things along the way!

There will be future posts to come on my healing journey, too. You can subscribe to New Nostalgia to have future posts delivered right to your inbox so you won’t miss them if you are interested.

surgery center

My Oophorectomy Surgery Story

December 2018 6:00am

We check in to our local brand-spankin’ new outpatient surgery center. It is just a 5-minute drive from our home and I was surprised at how happy I was that it was a new, modern and ‘pretty’ facility.

If you know me, you know that atmosphere matters to me.  I appreciate and notice how my surroundings make me feel. I loved the newness and esthetic of the building.

The parking lot was empty and dark, except for a few lingering piles of snow. My 18-year-old Teagan and my husband Todd woke early and came with me.

It touched my heart that my Teagan wanted to come. She is a first-year college student who wants to go into the medical field either as a nurse or a PA.

She was so grown up and supportive through all of this and I felt like I had my own little personal nurse, not just at the surgical center, but also the days of healing at home.

She often checked on me all throughout this past week, asking if I needed anything and how I felt. Be still my heart!

There was no one else in the waiting room that early, and they called me back within minutes.

Continue Reading…

Cancer Journey/ HEALTH

Oophorectomy Surgery Next Week {Cancer Prevention Update}

oophorectomy surgery

It has been a long time since I have written a post with ‘surgery’ in the title. I’m very grateful for that. My last surgery was in 2015, and I have always brought you along for the journey, so I am writing to fill you all in.

You have been so supportive and kind in this cancer story of mine, and it does my heart good.

I also write about it to bring a sense of purpose out of all of this. I’ve always said if my posts can help someone feel less alone or help cancer fighters make decisions with ongoing cancer prevention, then I will keep writing.

 

Getting Used to the Idea of Surgery

I remember a settled confidence about surgeries from 2010-2015. I was in warrior mode (especially the first 2 years) and just did what needed to be done.

I feel that confidence is missing now and frankly, it is frustrating.

Shouldn’t I be more grounded as I get older? I did just have a birthday (43 years!) and I’m so thankful for the years, but yet I feel a little nervous.

Why my apprehension?

 

Maybe because I was younger then.

Maybe because I had 6 surgeries in 5 years and all that practice brought an almost ‘normal’ to it.

Maybe because I am a 2 on the Enneagram and it is in me to be a helper to others, less in me to be the one being helped.

Maybe because back then anxiety was not as much in the picture…I think this one is the main reason.

Maybe because I hate adding to our medical bills and feel guilt over this, even though my sweet husband says we do what is necessary and is so gentle about this.

 

I think it is all of the above.

Not only was I younger then, but so were my girls. Now that I am thinking about it (processing while writing) I think this is also why this surgery feels different.

When they were young I could protect and hide pain from them to an extent.  I put on a brave face when they got home from school and tried my best to keep things normal.

Now they are old and smart and there is no hiding realities of cancer from them. They have been in this cancer world, and have loved the same people I do who have experienced great loss due to cancer. They know.

My oldest is studying to be a nurse and is learning how the body works. She will probably read all about the details of my surgery and maybe even watch a YouTube video of the surgery…eek!

She definitely has a medical brain that can handle this…but as her Mom it is my instinct to protect.

Really I just don’t want them to experience worry or pain because of me, but I know that is not realistic. That would make me a perfect Mom and this life a perfect life and we all know that is not the case!

I know a good God who loves them more than I even do and who has promised to use pain in their life for good so I will choose to believe Him in this!

As far as being out of practice and my anxiety…yes, these are two very real things contributing to my apprehension of surgery.

My oncology nurse asked me about depression and anxiety a few months back and told me that it is a very real struggle and that I can blame her and the very thing she held in her hand…a Zoladex injection.

These injections have shut down ovaries chemically for almost 4 years now, which shut down hormones that can feed my type of cancer. Shutting them down enables me to take a cancer medication that can only be taken if you are in menopause.

She said they shut down happy endorphins and make anxiety and depression a struggle in her patients. Her words help me feel less alone but very sad for others who are getting them too.

I struggled with these things before the shots, but not to the extent that I have (with anxiety) the last few years.

These monthly Zoladex injections are very, very expensive, (almost $2,000 per injection!) and the grant we received to pay for them ran out, so I had to quit them. I’ve had a 3-month break from injections and cancer medications and I have so enjoyed it!

It has brought some relief from joint pain, hot flashes and several other fun side effects that I will spare you from the details of.

But, it is time to become protective again. I always knew it was only a break. I have 3 more years of treatment.

Now, instead of shutting my ovaries down chemically, we are going to remove the ovaries instead, hence surgery.

 

Breast Cancer patient collage{2010 & 2011}

 

Cancer Prevention Surgery – Oophorectomy

There are several ways this surgery helps with cancer prevention. Like I said before, my cancer is fed by estrogen, so suppressing estrogen is important. Ovaries are a key player in estrogen production, so they gotta go. 

Also, in order to continue taking the aromatase inhibitor which is a cancer prevention medication I’m on (I take it for 10 years, and I am in year 7), one must be in menopause, so this surgery (Oophorectomy) will make this happen immediately.

Lastly, my ovaries have misbehaved over the years, causing us to try on different cancer medications and switch from Tamoxifen to Aromatase Inhibitors.

I constantly grew painful cysts on my ovaries while taking Tamoxifen and had to have regular ultrasounds to make sure the cysts were not cancer. We switched up my meds after 3 years of that.

I’ve recently had pain since being on my 3-month medication break, an indicator that my ovaries are misbehaving again, or trying to switch back on, which we do not want.

Stubborn little suckers! Makes me kinda proud…not really but sorta. 🙂

After much debate with my Oncologist and time in prayer, I’ve decided to submit to her strong opinion of just getting them out for good. I’ve always done what she has suggested and trust her completely, even despite my anxiety about it all.

 

basket of items used while healing from surgery

{remember this ‘by the bed’ basket post I wrote? To keep things within arms reach while healing.}

The Forced Slow of Surgery

One thing I am pretty used to is having surgery during the winter months. I had my mastectomy the week between Christmas and New Years in 2010, and have vivid memories of arriving back home on New Year’s Eve.

I had one of my reconstructive surgeries on Halloween—I remember being in and out of sleep when my girls kept coming in my room to show me their costumes and candy stash. Such precious memories…they were so young!

Another reconstructive surgery was in December before Christmas…my “special” implants got stuck on a plane in Texas because they got snow there and all of Texas shuts down when snow comes! Lol.

You..my readers, made jokes about where they were stuck because everything gets “bigger” in Texas. Ha!

I used that postponed surgery to do all my Christmas shopping in one day (online shopping was not the norm back then) and have precious memories of my sweet sister-in-law Tanya helping me wrap them all so I wouldn’t have to worry about it after surgery. 

It really was a God-kiss and perfect timing to have surgery postponed and get all my Christmas stuff done before surgery!

 

God’s Hand in the Midst of Surgery

Here is the thing. As I look back, I see God’s hand clearly on me and he has always guided my path. I know he will do the same this time, even if it takes my emotions some time to catch up to what my brain and heart knows. God’s got this.

I will be ok and I know I will find the strength within to be brave…because He is in me! I know I will use the “forced- still” of healing (4-8 weeks of healing they say) to really lean into the meaning of the Christmas season.

I will choose to see the gifts!  I will find my thankful and list the gifts…healthcare! A doctor I trust! Sisters who create meal trains and friends/family who bring meals! No surgeries in 3 years! No cancer for 8 years! So, so many gifts.

And yes, you better believe I will use surgery as an excuse to hygge!

Prayer Requests

Are you are one who prays for others? If so may I ask you to lift these things up?

  • That surgery would go smoothly, healing would happen quickly, and God would protect my people from worry.
  • Pray specifically for the protection of my literal heart. There are studies that show an increase of heart attacks in women down the road who have had this surgery. I already have a chance of increase due to chemo and radiation, so pray protection and a strong heart….and that I would be faithful in doing my part in this — meaning regular exercise and good diet!
  • Pray specifically that I will not react to sutures, bandage adhesive or anesthetic, (I have sensitivities and history of this) and that my lungs will stay clear after surgery….I got pleurisy after my last surgery and it was not fun.
  • Pray that my IV will take right away. I have a history of my veins being stubborn and it can take a bit. I also have a history of IV being blown right as they put me to sleep and it was very painful. Not a good way to fall asleep for surgery. I remember panicking for a few seconds, but then the sweet relief of sleep came as they quickly used my port instead…

As you can see, I have so many good memories of God taking care of me, but also have these memories that create anxiety in me, which is why I ask you to pray.

Again, thank you for the prayers, and always coming along with me.

Follow my Instagram stories for updates!


UPDATE: I had the surgery and am healing well. If you want to read about my oophorectomy surgery story and learn some tips and tricks for preparing for surgery, then see this post.


You might also like:

My Cancer Story

My Oophorectomy Surgery Story | How To Prepare for Oophorectomy Surgery

7 Years Surviving Cancer – A Slow, Steady, Apprehensive Dance Celebration

A Bump in the Road on this Journey of Breast Cancer

Cancer Journey/ HEALTH/ Sponsored

How My Circle of Support Changed My Journey With Breast Cancer

cell phone with cancer app, plant and coffee mug

Thank you Pfizer for sponsoring this post. Join Pfizer’s #InspirationLives initiative by sharing your story with the hashtag on Facebook and Instagram to support and inspire those who have been affected by cancer, and be sure to check out the LivingWith™ mobile app available via iTunes and Google Play!

 

Cancer Diagnosis – A Reason for a Circle of Support

Every person who has been diagnosed with cancer knows exactly where they were when they heard the words “you have cancer.” These 3 little words are so powerful that knees get weak and the wind is knocked right out of you. You lose your breath, your heart pounds, and all of a sudden your whole world becomes a fight to keep breathing.

I’ve heard these words twice in my life.

The first time, I was a young 22-year-old cosmetologist working at a hair salon. I was blow drying my favorite client and was called away for a phone call. It was my dermatologist with biopsy results from a freckle on my stomach that had turned darker and darker. I answered the phone and he said, “I’m sorry to tell you: it tested positive for melanoma. Please make an appointment to come see me right away.”

I had read enough to know that back in 1998, melanoma was very deadly if it was advanced enough to get into the bloodstream. I went back to drying my client’s hair, hoping the dryer was loud enough to block out the sound of my pounding heart. I didn’t tell her the words I had just heard, even though she was my favorite. I needed a moment to take it all in. I needed a moment to breathe.

The second time I heard the words “you have cancer,” I was 34 years old, a wife and a mom of 3 beautiful girls. It felt different: more serious. My doctor called. This time I was at home in my bedroom, my 3 girls and their friends playing downstairs. I wrote about the call in my journal:

The doctor comes on the phone, voice low and serious.

“Amy, I’m sorry to have to tell you that you have invasive ductal carcinoma.”

Silence . . . my breath taken, but my heart beating louder and faster.

“Do you understand what I am saying? That means you have breast cancer.”

I find myself in my closet, the phone still attached to my ear. I am having to concentrate on my breath, and I say the word “OK” 3 times. It is the only thing I can think of to say. My knees feel weird. Is this what they mean by “weak in the knees”?

With the words “you have cancer,” life instantly becomes overwhelming and everything feels different. Life feels out of control. Appointments, doctors, scans, medications, surgeries and staying alive become your new normal. There is a lost sense of stability, and you are faced with your mortality. Your entire life becomes about living, and you fight to just breathe and stay alive.

 

Breast Cancer patient collage

The Importance of Having a Circle of Support

This is a fight that must not be done alone. Some of the most beautiful life moments can happen in this unwanted new normal, and they often involve others.

In my fight, I challenged my 3 young girls to look for treasures in the midst of the hard. We had to find ourselves thankful even when life was spiraling. I knew this would make this new journey bearable, but I don’t think I realized just how much it would change it and not just make it bearable, but beautiful.

Treasures came from above through our circle of support.

We are made for relationships. We are made to give love and receive love. People fighting cancer find themselves doing a lot of the receiving, and that is okay. The key is being willing to. It can be an adjustment if you are used to being the one giving, but, oh, the beauty of receiving love! If you are a cancer fighter, learn how to receive.

My circle of support came around me and taught me so much. I’ve had a front row seat for an extended time to see how it is done. Receiving love and support from others changed my journey and made it a precious one. I now know how to better give support and love others because of how others supported me.

There are treasures to be found even in cancer, in the giving and receiving of love the most beautiful circle is formed. A circle of support.

Living with cancer app on iphone

 

An Easy Way to Reach Out and Form Your Circle of Support

You can form a circle of support through the LivingWith™ app. This app is part of Pfizer’s This is Living with Cancer™ initiative designed to help people manage their lives with cancer and stay connected to their communities. The mobile app is designed to help manage some of the daily challenges faced by people living with cancer and organize certain important information in one place.

I sure wish it was around at the time of my cancer treatment and fight. It would have been helpful to have all of my information in one place.

 

Living with cancer app

Living with cancer app

My favorite part would be using the Circle of Support on the LivingWith™ app to inform and connect with my friends and family.

The app helps you assign a proxy who can manage your account on your behalf if desired: Champions, who are the people you rely on the most for daily help, and Supporters, who receive updates and help where and when they can. You can schedule and organize your help right there in the app, staying in touch with your people and keeping everyone up to date.

coffee mug, succulent and a cell phone with a cancer app opened up on it

How My Loved Ones Supported Me During My Breast Cancer Treatment

Despite not having the app, I still had amazing support.

If you are a cancer fighter, I hope the following stories give you ideas on how to answer your loved ones when they ask “What can I do?” If you are part of a cancer fighter’s circle of support, I hope my stories give you some great ideas of how you can support your loved one.

 

FLOWERS
I had 7 surgeries in 3 years, and my recovery room at the hospital or at home was always brightened by flowers. A favorite I remember was an orchid from my sister-in-law. I also remember a simple sweet violet plant. My husband’s workplace sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers with a grocery store gift card attached to it. I loved all of them. You can never go wrong with flowers!

 

HANDMADE ART
A teacher who taught young people at our church gathered their homemade art and get-well notes and delivered them to me. Teens from the non-profit organization that my husband worked for took the time to write letters and sent them to me. These 2 art deliveries touched my heart so much!

Another amazing piece of art I received was drawn by my teenage nephew and delivered to my hospital room. It was a sketch of a warrior, and he said it was me. That image and his love helped me find my courage. It is to this day a treasured gift.

 

FUN FOR THE KIDS
My girls were 10-, 9- and 7-year-old. Seeing their mom fight cancer was hard on them, but they sure loved getting spoiled and were so well loved. One of their favorite memories was getting to go to an indoor water park called CoCo Keys. This was such a generous, thoughtful gift from a sweet friend.

 

KID DATES
My father-in-law would come on a Saturday, pick my girls up and take them to a movie. I tried so hard to be awake and ‘up’ while my girls were home, so having them gone for a few hours gave me permission to relax the tough girl exterior that I kept while my girls were around and take a nap. They remember those special Grandpa dates to this day.

 

COMFORT ITEMS
A reader of this blog sent me a homemade lap quilt. I could not get over the sweet generosity and the time I know she took to make it. I took it everywhere and it got lots of attention in the chemo room. It was a perfect size and so very beautiful. I felt so covered in love.

Another reader crocheted hats for my cold noggin. A friend knitted 3 hats for my girls and one for me too, we were all pretty cute in our lovely handmade hats!

 

OFFER TO TAKE NOTES AT DOCTOR APPOINTMENTS
I have a dear friend who I knew was wired to be resolute and could keep her emotions in check even when hearing hard things. She is so loving but also tough.

She is the one I asked to come with us to our first oncology appointment. My anxiety was so strong that I had to ask for a bag while we sat in the waiting room just in case I got sick. This was before knowing if cancer had spread, and the unknown was getting the best of me.

My husband and I needed someone to focus and take notes on the hard things that were said while our minds swirled, and her strong presence was what we needed.

 

HELP WITH OVERWHELMING PROJECTS
I remember while healing that the simple act of putting my Christmas decorations away was so overwhelming. I remember my sister and mom packing it all away for me as I sat in my jammies on our couch, so relieved when all the boxes were finally put away.

A sweet group of women offered to come and help me organize and add planters to beautify our front yard for spring. I still have those planters sitting out by our front steps, all these years later, a reminder of love every time I come home.

 

PACKAGES IN THE MAIL
So many sweet packages from loved ones, but as a mom, I especially loved the packages that came for my girls. I so enjoyed seeing my worried girls delight in things. It was healing for us all. One package I vividly remember came from a loving aunt and had teddy bears and candy for my girls.

So many cards were sent and I kept all of them. One from my aunt and uncle had some money tucked inside for groceries.

 

HOUSE CLEANING
Oh goodness, what a gift. My sisters often would come and fold laundry and clean while I slept. My mother-in-law arranged for ongoing house cleaning while I was in treatment. The woman who came regularly to clean my home ended up becoming a mentor to me—talk about a full circle of support and a treasure from cancer! I have such sweet memories of being in her home and soaking in her wisdom.

——

There are many more examples I could give, specifically in the area of FOOD and PRESENCE—both were huge for creating a circle of support around me. Notice I said presence, not presents. Both are great but the former is so, so important.

I will talk about these 2 things extensively and share more stories in an upcoming post!

So what about you?

  • Do you have stories of your own circle of support?
  • Do you have a loved one that you are surrounding with support right now? If so, send them this post and tell them about the app!
  • What are specific ways or ideas you have for showing support?

 

Are you a cancer fighter that needs a circle of support? If so, get the app!

For more information and to download the LivingWith™ mobile app, please visit www.ThisIsLivingWithCancer.com. Patients and their loved ones also can find the initiative on Facebook and Instagram.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Beauty/ Cancer Journey/ HEALTH/ Natural Products

My Every Day Health Decisions As A Cancer Survivor With Tom’s of Maine

My Everyday Health Decisions as A Cancer Survivor

Thank you Tom’s of Maine for sponsoring this post.

I am a cancer survivor. This is the 7th year that I can say those words and every year I grow more and more amazed at what a gift life is. I work hard at not taking it for granted.  Life is so precious!

Because I know life is precious, there are decisions I make every day to help me live a healthy lifestyle.

Whether it’s using my favorite yoga app, switching my deodorant to Tom’s of Maine Natural Deodorant, or taking turmeric capsules, I am passionate about making decisions to live my best life!

I am not in control of what my future holds and whether or not my cancer will ever come back, but I do know it makes a difference in my everyday life to pursue wholeness and health in different areas, and boy does it make a difference in how I feel every day!

 

Here Are 5 Of My Everyday Health Decisions I Make As A Cancer Survivor

Move My Body

I am not an exercise fanatic, but I have learned that it is important to keep my body moving. I’ve read over and over that getting exercise every day is a great way to stay healthy and cut my chances of recurrence.

I keep it pretty low-key and walk or do yoga every day. When the weather is nice, I will walk our neighborhood or around my favorite local lake. When it is cold, I’m a bit of a wimp and use our treadmill instead. Lately, I have been multitasking and answering email while walking on the treadmill–I really like how productive that feels!

I also love how yoga makes me feel. It has been super important to keep my body stretched and flexible, as the ongoing cancer medications I am on cause joint pain. Yoga makes a huge difference and I feel amazing when I am done, especially my back, neck, and joints! I use the Yoga Studio app on my phone and I LOVE it!

My Everyday Health Decisions as A Cancer Survivor

Supplements

I’ve taken several types of supplements throughout my survivor years, but the main ones I will not budge on are a Multi-Vitamin, Vitamin D, Turmeric, Fish Oil & Magnesium.

I take a Multi-Vitamin not to make up for a poor diet (because I eat quite healthy) but just as reassurance that I have covered all bases.

Vitamin D is something that most Americans are low in, and it is the one supplement my Oncologist was adamant that I take.

Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and is a miracle worker for keeping my joint pain to a minimum. Fish Oil is to make sure I get all those good Omega’s, and Magnesium is the calming mineral, which is a great way to keep any of my worries and anxiety at bay.

My Everyday Health Decisions as A Cancer Survivor

Slow Living

If you follow my Instagram & Instastory, you know I am big into slow living. I often snap my favorite slow parts of the day. Life is busy, but it IS possible to slow, even if it means just slowing your mindset.

Stress can be so hard on the body, and if I’m going ‘a mile a minute”, then I miss out on this precious life I have been gifted with. I find a lot of ways to slow down.

I meditate using the Calm App, I journal, pray, read, & listen to calming music. I light my favorite candle. I deep breathe during yoga and work hard at being aware and present in life moments.

I just started a daily journaling habit. It is called Morning Pages, and I simply put on some soothing music and write 3 pages in my journal. It can be absolutely anything, whatever is on my mind from deep thoughts to lists of things I want to get done. The key is not to censor and just write. I’m loving this practice so far!

I also make sure I get plenty of sleep. It is amazing with all that my body went through while fighting cancer–chemo, radiation, and multiple reconstructive surgeries; plus ongoing medications and treatments that I use to keep cancer away–that I still have so much energy. I believe this is largely due to the amount of good rest I get. I use essential oils (hello lavender!) and melatonin to quiet my body down at night, and I sleep like a baby most nights!

My Everyday Health Decisions as A Cancer Survivor with Tom's Of Maine

Natural Products

I have been quite thoughtful about using products that are part of a healthy lifestyle and have ingredients that I can feel good about putting on my body. As a cancer survivor, I am especially aware of this when it comes to products I use every day.

How often do you look at what is inside products you use every day? Is the ingredient list simple and do you know what the ingredients are and what their purpose is? It is important to ask these questions.

Examples of everyday products I use for a healthy lifestyle are Tom’s of Maine Natural Toothpaste, organic coconut oil as a body moisturizer, organic makeup foundation and Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting Natural Deodorant.

Let’s talk natural deodorant for a minute. I’ve made the switch to Tom’s of Maine Natural Deodorant. It is the #1 natural deodorant brand with a number of award-winning products among its deodorant portfolio–which contains 15 deodorants–in some of my favorite scents, including fresh apricot, wild lavender & tea tree.

Tom’s of Maine Natural Deodorant provides odor control in their aluminum-free formulas. That “aluminum free” part is why I love and am passionate about using a natural deodorant as a cancer survivor. I personally prefer not to have any aluminum in my deodorant.

There is controversy when it comes to what aluminum can do to your health, and I choose to stay way away from it.

My Everyday Health Decisions as A Cancer Survivor

A Note About Natural Deodorants

Staying away from aluminum means staying away from antiperspirants because FDA guidelines state that an antiperspirant must include a form of aluminum as an active ingredient.

Deodorants are not antiperspirants and do not provide the same wetness protection as antiperspirants. I’m fine with that and my body has adjusted to it.

If you are switching from a conventional deodorant to a natural deodorant, it will take some time for your body chemistry to adjust.

Trying the deodorant for at least 7 days, including testing out different scents (or unscented), can help you figure out what is the best fit for your body’s unique chemistry.

Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting Natural Deodorant uses the power of nature and fights odor using hops and natural fragrances, along with a blend of oils, organic aloe leaf juice, and other plant-based ingredients. It is free of petrochemicals, artificial fragrances, parabens, and preservatives.

I love and use the tea tree oil scent. I had a hard time deciding between the tea tree oil scent and the apricot scent–both smell so good. I often use tea tree oil in my everyday life for its antimicrobial properties. Bacteria on the skin can cause body odor, so I chose tea tree oil scent. It smells super fresh and clean.

My Everyday Health Decisions as A Cancer Survivor

Nourishment

Last but not least, I focus on nourishing my body every day. I drink lots of water & green tea. I focus on eating plant foods in all colors of the rainbow (especially berries & greens) and snack on nuts & seeds.

I use a visual food journal app called YouAte App, an easy way to keep me on track and visually see how colorful my food is. I stay away from fake foods or overly processed foods & excess sugar, especially when eating at home.

My Everyday Health Decisions as A Cancer Survivor

{FOR YOUR PINNING PLEASURE}

Are you a cancer survivor? What do you do every day for your health and what would you like to add to your health habits? Do you know someone who is a cancer survivor? Consider sharing this post with them.

Have you thought about the ingredients in the products you use every day? Is the ingredient list simple and do you know what the ingredients are and what their purpose is?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Cancer Journey/ HEALTH

Abs, Core & Pelvic Floor -Menopause, Pelvic Floor & A Health Update

I am in the middle of a 30 day Abs, Core & Pelvic Floor program and I am giddy. I have hope for the first time in a long time that broken areas of this body of mine can be fixed!

My abs definitely could use some strengthening, but what intrigued me the most about this program was the hope that it could strengthen my pelvic floor, where I feel most ‘broken.’

Do you have broken areas? Do you have a gap between your abs that now bulges from pregnancy? That is very common and called Diastasis Recti.

Do you wet your pants a little when you laugh, sneeze, cough or jump? Or like me, is it hard to hold it when you gotta go? Strengthening pelvic floor muscles can do wonders, and this program gives much better solutions than the typical advice of “just do your Kegels!”

I’ve had 3 babies. I’m 42. I’ve been in menopause since the age of 36 due to breast cancer treatment. All of these things have weakened my pelvic floor muscles.

Continue Reading…

Cancer Journey/ HEALTH

A Bump in the Road on this Journey with Breast Cancer – A Health Update

My Cancer Journey a Health Update

I will start by saying it was just a bump in this journey of breast cancer. I’m ok, no worries my friends!

I get why those who have experienced breast cancer (or any cancer for that matter) often call it a journey. It is.  I can only speak as one who has had breast cancer, and even now, almost 7 years out from diagnosis, it is still a daily part of my life.

The fear of cancer is not a daily part, although it does creep up and sometimes roars when lumps or bumps are found. Even when they are not found, there is a healthy fear that drives this cancer journey and helps one stay alert.

It would be so great to think about cancer as just a bump in the road, a “blip on the screen,” just a year or two of my life story, but that is not how breast cancer works. How I wish for myself and those I love on the same road to be able to put the past behind and never have to think about it again.

But that would be ignorant. Not wise. Life-threatening.

Continue Reading…

Cancer Journey/ HEALTH

Cancer Journal Night Before My Mastectomy

Cancer Journal - The Night Before My Mastectomy

I recently opened my cancer journal on my Caring Bridge site for the first time in quite a while. Thankfully, I was not opening it to start another entry informing you of sickness. I am healthy.

Yes, I am healthy, yet cancer is still very much a part of my world. I have ongoing hormonal treatment which keeps it in the forefront of my mind, nightly when I swallow down cancer meds and every 3 months when I get an anti-cancer injection.

Cancer is a part of my story and the story of many that I love. I have dear friends who have found remission and who are fighting to stay there, who allow me to enter in and be a part of their fight and stories.  I also have many of you who write me and tell me of your own stories, whether it is about you or your loved ones, you share with me and I pray for you.

Yes, cancer is part of my story and always will be, and that is ok with me.  It is a part that has brought many fears and tears, but also such sweet, sweet gifts; the most precious of these gifts in the form of some of my closest friends. Without cancer, I would not know them, and I would not want to walk this life without them in it.

I visited my cancer journal with the idea of consolidating the entries (along with many cancer posts I wrote for this blog) to create an ebook. I’ve had many people who are just starting out on their own cancer journey ask where they can read my story, and sending them to my Caring Bridge site has been the only answer so far.

I cringe every time I do because I know it is not an easy platform to read my words. You have to click on every entry to read, and it is easy to get lost in it. It is not a convenient way to read my story or leave my words for my girls to read someday. I’d rather have them in book form–one that I have control of– not a platform that could go away at any point. Hence my desire to write an ebook.

Looking back on bits of my cancer journal has brought on all the feels! I thought I would share the entry that I wrote the night before my mastectomy with you.


Cancer Journal - The Night Before My Mastectomy

Cancer Journal

The Night Before My Mastectomy

Surgery time is finally here.  I’ll be honest, I’m scared and nervous.  My way of dealing with it today has been to not think about it and focus on the house and my girls.  I’m about to watch a movie with Todd to distract me, then a sleeping pill, and before I know it, it will be 5:30 a.m and I will be standing in front of admissions at the hospital. I do have to shower between now and then, so I will have some time with God in there and say goodbye to my chest.  How weird.

My girls really struggled tonight.  We ate an awesome meal that was made with love for us, and watched a show.  Right when the show ended, all three girls started crying!  They knew it was time to say goodbye and go to Grandpa and Grandma’s house for a sleepover. They seemed to have a harder time with the idea of surgery than they even had when we first told them I had cancer.  It broke my heart.  I felt almost a sense of guilt as I saw them hurt, feeling it is my fault that they are hurting because this is happening to me.  I know that is all messed up thinking..

My in-laws are great.  They had us in and took time to read the Scriptures and pray with us.  That was so very comforting to us all.  Not heavy, just a few minutes to hear the truth of God’s Word.  Don (my father-in-law) read a couple of Psalms, and it was like a salve for my heart.  While he was praying, his words “Lord, we know she is in your hands”  rang loud in my mind and was the exact, simple truth I needed to cling to in those moments.

Kathy (my mother-in-law) had beautiful cupcakes sitting on the counter, which was the perfect distraction for my girls as we left. We got a message a few minutes ago that let us know they were not upset anymore and are doing fine.

I have so many, many people who have contacted me.  Friends, family and strangers–telling me they are praying.

So neat.

I had a lady I have never met email me today to tell me she woke in the night last night and I was on her mind, which caused her to pray for me that moment!  God is taking care of me through all of you.

I love you all.  I am so grateful.
Todd will update this site tomorrow and let you all know how it goes.

PS BY NOON TOMORROW I WILL HAVE CLEAVAGE!!!  Lol.  Hee hee.


I wrote that 5 years ago, and I am sitting here 5 years later with cleavage and cancer free! I’m so very thankful.

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