Continuing the Fight – Now that the breast cancer treatment is over (mostly)

It’s been awhile. Remember the post about technological frustration? About a month after that my laptop crashed. Thank goodness all of my photos were able to be recovered! I’ve been lying in wait for the upcoming tax-free weekend to purchase its replacement, so I’ve been sans computer. Tonight I’m using Ken’s Compaq Presario PC tower, circa ___?

1 day before crash

Anywho, now my cancer treatment is finalized and my doctors have begun the process of releasing me back into the wild. You know, not being stuck with needles, not having heavy equipment dangling over me, not having people huddled behind lead-lined walls while radiation is shot at me from various angles. My last doc appointment was July 18, and aside from the BRCA testing, I don’t see anyone for another few months. It felt weird at first, like I left the house without my phone, but I’m adjusting nicely.

However, as I mentioned a couple of posts ago, when all the fanfare is over, one might wonder what to do next. It’s a bit of a letdown. There’s no more commotion being made of curing you. How can this be? What can I do? What can I do?

Well, like I said before, diet and exercise. Although I’ve been blessed with a freakishly high metabolism my entire life, and as wonderful as that has been, it has allowed me to survive on a diet of junk. It also has allowed me to skate by with little to no exercise. My metabolism was an enabler! Neither of these lifestyle factors are healthy, and both can increase your risk of cancer. So today we’ll talk diet; next time exercise. Don’t worry, I’m not lecturing, just sharing my journey 🙂

When I say diet, I don’t mean restricting my intake, I mean eating fabulous food that is not junk. And that’s no oxymoron. I drastically changed my diet from the get-go (diagnosis). It’s not a special cancer diet – it’s the diet we are all supposed to be eating anyway. I know, groan groan. Lots of fresh fruit and veggies, minimal red meat, more chicken and fish, and here’s the big one: no more than 25g of added sugar per day. Ugh. That one hit me like a wrecking ball. It was tough at first, but once I got used to it and learned what glorious foods I could eat, I’ve been doing just fine!

From what I understand, research is showing that some cancer is fueled, in a round-about way, by sugar (more specifically by the insulin your body produces as a result of consuming sugar and how your body processes that insulin). There is more science to it than that, and it is becoming clear that it is more complex than initially thought. Sugar does not necessarily equal cancer, but there is a connection, and after talking with a licensed dietitian, I’m sticking to the 25g/day regimen.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on tv. I am a secretary. I work in an industry that continues to use the term secretary. I am in no way making any recommendations to you about your health or how to manage it. I did lots of research and then I took that information and resulting questions straight to my doctor and dietitian and got the plan for me. Tax, title, and license fee separate. Batteries not included. Etc.!

Now I limit my sweets to two squares of dark chocolate per day, which has become a truly decadent treat. I buy 85% or higher cocoa content (the higher the cocoa, the lower the sugar) and I have two moments every day – after lunch and after dinner – when I am absolutely lost in the enjoyment of chocolate. Before, I ate chocolate like it was sustenance. A full-size chocolate bar and/or a cupcake per day were pretty much standard. Inhaled. Phoebe, my sweet furry doggy daughter (but we call her Puppy Brother because of the AT&T commercial – ha!), sometimes swallows treats like pills and I’m baffled at how she can possibly enjoy them. Well, that’s how I was treating sugar. No mas! I used to be addicted to sugar; now I have a healthy appreciation for and savor sugar.

One of my favorite chocolates.  Don’t
worry, I still had a cupcake on my birthday!

At first I lost a few pounds, but my weight has leveled off back to pre-diagnosis. Once I figured out all of the yummy foods that were available to me, I quickly put the weight back on. I love food, and have always loved food. I don’t know that I could ever “diet” in the sense of restricting my intake. But when choosing healthy foods over unhealthy foods, I have learned that I can often have more of it and thus, enjoy the deliciousness even more!

And let’s talk quality for a minute. For someone who appreciates food, I would much rather have an entire fried egg, avocado, and cheese on a whole wheat English muffin than a 1.7 ounce bag of Reese’s Pieces. There is so much more to savor, so many more flavors, and – here’s the bonus – I feel full afterward. The Reese’s Pieces, Kit Kat, or whatever I previously had my mitts on, would last less than a minute and did nothing to make me feel full. I felt kind of used. Now I’m eating real food, enjoying it, and feeling full (usually; I can still be a bottomless pit at times). I feel like someone pulled the curtain back and gave me the secret to enjoy food even more!

I’ve been finding some awesome recipes for delicious, healthy foods and am excited to share them with you! I’ll throw one in every now and then and I hope you’ll give them a try. Some are full-fledged recipes for those who like to cook (my hand is raised!), and others are quick and simple little fixes if you’re not into all that “I want my own Food Network show” kind of stuff. Here are a few of the quick dishes if you’re in a rush or just don’t want to fuss:

Leftover asparagus, scrambled eggs, and Havarti
grilled in a whole wheat tortilla. Season as you wish!
Who doesn’t love a salad? Red leaf lettuce, avocado,
blueberries, sunflower seeds, and naked goat cheese.
And a good book to go with it!
Breakfast for dinner. Nuff said.

Next up is exercise. Who out there knows I hate it? Well, as Mr. Dylan astutely noted, “The Times They Are a-Changin,” and so am I!


2 thoughts on “Continuing the Fight – Now that the breast cancer treatment is over (mostly)

  1. It was such a pleasure meeting you tonight. I will enjoy keeping up with you. I am going to put you in Bloglovin, but I will also give you a new little person on your sidebar….but now that google has done away with google reader, not many people follow that any longer.

    Let me know how I can help you. Great chatting.

    I will have to go to some other posts. I am hoping that you are cancer free at this time.

    1. Leigh, I’m pretty mortified that I didn’t respond to you over a year ago! I have recently changed from blogger to wordpress, am going through each post to reformat, and realized you left this super sweet message for me. I don’t know how I missed it, but needless to say, it was great meeting you too and I’ve enjoyed keeping up with you and your travels over the past year!

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