Inflammation & Digestive Health….

Inflammation is one of the key processes through which the body fights infection. When tissue becomes inflamed, white blood cells arrive to fight infection. Local inflammation causes redness, swelling, and heat. It can occur with injuries ranging from mild to life-threatening.7

As of one year following my last chemo treatment I am cancer free. When I was first diagnosed back in March of 2018 I was told I had Two Breast Cancer tumors. One tumor I had in my left breast was Triple negative, meaning that it is not influenced by hormones.  The other tumor was estrogen/progesterone positive (+) and her2 negative (-) and is influenced by the hormones of estrogen and progesterone. If you are wondering, no, I do not take hormone blocker medication.

Because Frankincense has been used over the centuries as a powerful anti-inflammatory, I have been using it daily during my chemotherapy treatments and continue to use it daily today on the area that used to house my tumors. 

There are studies listed below that do prove this anti-inflammatory claim.  So don’t just take my word for it – check out the links below.

You can also create your own 10ml roller and make it various strengths to suite your needs.

Image result for doterra frankincense touch

I took the old rollers and calculated a 10% dilution because I am actively fighting a condition that is caused by acute inflammation.  Normally if you are using daily you only need a 2-3% dilution but as I said my immune system is compromised right now so I upped it to 25%.  You can use what you feel is right for you. 

A 10 ml roller like the one shown above holds about 170 drops of oil total.  25% of this would be approx 43 drops.  (170x.25=42.5 drops) Just to make it easy I add 50 drops of frankincense oil to the roller and then fill the rest with a carrier oil. (use your own favorite carrier – Fractionated coconut oil works the best, has the longest shelf life and absorbs nicely.)  I roll this on the areas every morning after a shower and every night before I go to bed.  Yes I try and be religious with this application!!

Image result for doterra fco

And yes I did do this regiment along with my weekly chemo treatments.  My doctors were very supportive of oils through this journey.

Chemo & The Digestive System

Sounds like a love story right?

I am sure you probably assume that it is NO love story, and you are right.  But I have been able to make it a bit better by using some great tips and tricks.

And this can help for anyone who is dealing with constipation or other digestive whoa.

Yes some of the anit-nausea meds they give you when you do chemo are very rough on the digestive tract and can cause severe constipation too.  Here is what you can do:

#1 – drink half your weight in ounces of water.  YES HALF!  If you weigh 200lbs. then you need 100 ounces of water.  Yes you may pee more but it will be worth it.

#2 – During chemo I used a combo of GX assist and Senokot to help things get moving more naturally.  If it’s too much stop the senokot first.  If you are still to loosy goosy then stop the gx assist or lower the dose.

#3 – Use a good probiotic!!  I can not stress this enough.  You must replace good bacteria in the gut that the chemo or other drugs like antibiotics can destroy.  These come with an outer layer that help the probitotics get through the stomach acid to the intestine where they are needed.  There is also a granulated and great tasting probiotic called pb assist jr.

#4 – if your digestive enzymes are low – especially if you take an anti-acid or eat a high processed food diet, you may wish to help your food break down with the Terrazyme capsules.  This can help to avoid bloating and undigested food from getting into your intestines.

#5 – Digestzen, a blend of essential oils, is one of the BEST things I have found and can be used internally or topically to help anything with where the food goes into the body to where it comes out of the body.  I used it internally as it helped me the best if I was bloated or had an upset tummy and the anti-nausea meds just were not helping or if I wanted to avoid a bit of the constipation that comes with the anti-nausea meds.  It tastes like black licorice and I am not a fan of that so I take the gel caps and do not have to taste it.  I still use this on an as needed basis.

#6 – if I am feeling uncomfortably bloated or if there is a tightness in the gallbladder area I will apply some castor oil with a few drops of geranium oil in it to my belly and cover it with a towel and apply a warm compress on top of it.  Helps to soothe the area.  And a warm bath after can feel amazing with some epsom salts too.  You can find castor oil at any local pharmacy and most retail stores.

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Conclusions

To our knowledge, this was the first study of the biological activities of FREO in human dermal fibroblasts. FREO was significantly anti-proliferative to these cells. FREO significantly inhibited the production of collagen IIIIP-10, and ICAM-1. Genome-wide gene expression analysis showed that FREO modulated global gene expression. It also robustly affected signaling pathways which are relevant to inflammation and tissue remodeling.4

Resources:
1.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169115001446
2.https://www.doterra.com/US/en/blog/science-research-news-frankincense-study
3.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214008517300020
4. http://www.aromaticscience.com/biological-activities-of-frankincense-essential-oil-in-human-dermal-fibroblasts/
5.https://www.doterra.com/US/en/blog/bibliography
6.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2664784/
7.https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314366.php

Long Lasting Side Effects

It has been almost 10 months since my last chemo.

I never knew that chemo side effects can last for years. After all chemo drugs wipe out many good cells along with the mutated ones it is targeting.

Picture your body as a huge forest. There are beautiful trees and ferns. Now picture chemo like a huge destructive tornado. The tornado uproots trees, flattens the ferns and rips them apart and much of the vegetation dies. Dont expect the trees to magically reroot and go back to the way they were in a few months or even years. Even the vegetation like the ferns, can take months or years to get back to the way they were before the tornado.

So here I sit. Periodic short bouts of tingling in my hands, hair growing back in, painful surgery scars, knotted muscles in my chest and ribs and a still 1/2 frozen shoulder.

Add that together with the long treatment from last year, the risky decision of refusing radiation & hormone blockers, the fact that the chemo I had could give me another cancer down the road or give me heart damage. Then add in I had to close my office in Hortonville because of said side effects. Add in that I still have days when I am just exhausted and sleep for 12 hours. Then add in waking every 2 hours to shift positions from my shoulder pain every night for 9 months now. Then add in chemo screwing up your hormones and pushing you into permanent menopause – complete with hot flashes, headaches and mood swings all beyond your control. Add in 5 or 6 therapy and counseling appointments every week for months working around your spouses schedule and your special needs child’s schedule. As well as trying to earn some $ to cover what we lost during this whole nasty trip I call cancer and you can see how a person may be a bit stressed out! Things that were once not such a big deal become like a knife to a nerve. It becomes harder and harder to stay calm, be focused on positive things and keep your emotions in check. Especially when there are very few breaks from this lifestyle.

Imagine having a 2 year old in your home for 15 years 24/7. Very seldom finding a sitter to give you a break? Yes I love my son but one can only handle daily meltdowns, repeated cartoon episodes, consistent stimming and constant supervision so he doesnt get into anything he shouldn’t for so long.

Because of this there are no family vacations. Sadly we must be on constant call even when we do have a “sitter” because if anything goes wrong we have a moment’s notice to go pick him up. Do you know that for just 48 hours of respite it costs over $400. Luckily the county helps us or we would never be able to afford much.

So yes, I admit I do get angry. I do yell. I do get upset and sometimes cry over what seems to be something small. Its been a long trip and just because I didnt have it as bad as others doesn’t mean it hasnt been devastating to me in many ways. It has been no cake walk. Had I done all the treatment they wanted me to I am sure I would be worse.

When you know someone who has been through cancer don’t ASSUME that after the treatment is over that life just magically goes back to how it was before the cancer. IT DOESN’T. Not for most people anyway. Not for me.

Try and walk in their shoes. Understand that just because you are emotional that it doesn’t mean you need medication! Try understanding before you even think of suggesting that.

You see, cancer tends to wake up a person. What I mean is that you realize just how much you have ignored your own needs, maybe for decades, and never focused on taking care of you. You let things slide that were so very important to you. You gave up things because you didnt want to be seen as “selfish”. And now, now you realize that there are certain things you just cant live with or without anymore because its what made you sick in the first place. Of course when you begin demanding that things change for the good of all you are suddenly seen as a, pardon my language, a big bad bitch. No one likes this change in you. They liked the status quo. They dont want anything to change again. They want to go back to the days when you were quiet and didn’t ask or beg for anything. When you put them first while you put your needs on the back burner. So when you dont want to “go back” then you are told you must be depressed and you should take medication. Medication that has some severe side effects. But then this will help you be convinced by others that you really dont need change. Because, after all, YOU must be the problem. No one else needs to change. They dont “use you”, its just that its supposed to be YOUR responsibility to take care of everyone else. Then somehow you will feel fulfilled?

Taking care of yourself and not being “used” by others is the key to health. So try to understand that things in life will need to change after cancer. And if someone is unwilling to change then maybe they never really cared to begin with.

I have had to do a lot of changing and much of it was out of my control. But I know I need to work on things and I am trying to do that. And I am understanding that I am the only person I can change. I will do that whether other people like it or not. I am healing in many ways and it may take awhile. I need to do what is best for me – finally. Things are improving, slowly, but they are going in the right direction. And I will leave it with that. Have a great day everyone!

Ending my Trip

Yes for me, I am ending this trip.

The more I meet other cancer survivors and those still going through the treatments, I am more convinced that i made the right decision not to continue treatment.

Today a woman who went through treatment in the fox valley said a doctor in another area said to her “they tend to over radiate in the fox valley”. If doctors know this why does it still continue? Maybe this is why the opinion up here was for more body area as well as for 2 weeks longer than my 2nd opinion. Personally we all deserve better. My advice to anyone of you who would sadly have to go through this trip that you please get a 2nd or 3rd opinion before you make your final decision.

I met 3 people in the last 2 weeks that were misdiagnosed and one man almost lost his life because of it.

So even though both of my opinions recommended radiation I have decided not to do it. One woman today in my group said she is afraid of the hormone medication they have her on because it can cause osteoperosis and she is afraid she will lose her teeth from treatment. You see,, they recommend hormone blockers for hormone positive breast cancer. This is a tumor that is fed by hormones that the body produces. Such as estrogen, progesterone and her2. I can be one of them 2 or all 3. The current way to “treat” this is to give drugs orally that can block these hormones. There are many places that produce estrogen, including fat cells so even if they remove the ovaries or you go through menopause you can still produce hormones to feed cancerous tumors. One of my tumors was estrogen & progesterone positive. So even though there was only 1mm tumor left after chemo and they removed it with clear margins they still want me to take these drugs for at least a decade….or two. There are of course, many side effects that could happen and I don’t feel that blocking hormones that my body needs to stay healthy is the answer to prevent future tumors.

Of course, I realize I could be wrong, but this is my body and it really is my decision.

Sometimes I feel like this was all just a dream and that I never really went through chemo. I guess mainly because I was fortunate to not have many side effects which many people get severely ill from chemo and some so much that they are unable to complete treatment. When others talk about how they were so sick I almost feel guilty that I had it so much better.

Slowly we are trying to put our lives back together. I still have the frozen shoulder to deal with and it causes quite a bit of pain. So that is why I was forced to close my office in Hortonville. That was a really tough thing to have to do. Cancer takes so much from you even if you fight to hang on to it. Although my arm is getting better slowly I am still limited to what I can do yet. I have been working on intermediate fasting and cutting out sugar and processed foods to support my health. I have lost 23 lbs since the beginning of the year and 10 of it was in the last 3 weeks. I don’t think diet can completely prevent cancer but I do believe that it helps your body to keep a stronger immune system. And since fat makes estrogen it would be very beneficial to get rid of as much of it as I can.

Counseling is my main focus with my physical therapy right now. Cancer does a number on your emotional health and so does negative emotions from the past. So I am working on that too. Had my first base thermography done this week. This registers warmth in the body as tumors have blood vessels and show heat with blood flow. Each scan in compared to the one before to look for changes. You can do full body scans but I did breast scan only for now. It was $150 that insurance does not cover. But there is no radiation and that makes me feel safer. Plus I believe they are more accurate than a radioactive scan that is wrong 22% of the time.

I have some oil classes and events coming up so I can still enjoy sharing oils with others. I am still unpacking all of my office so it is hard to find things I need. It’s hard to put it all away without feeling defeated. So much work to do but I am still fighting fatigue that just seems to come out of the blue sometimes. So I take it one day at a time. Slow like a turtle. But at least I am moving.

Still using oils on the areas that have tons of scars from surgeries and they are slowly improving. Also some good news on more doterra supplements we began giving to Adam. I will cover more of that later.

A dear friend gave us a weekend stay at her vacation home for just Tim and I. It was so nice to reconnect and just calm the panic for awhile. I will forever be grateful to her. didn’t realize how much we needed it until we went. No wifi, no tv, just quiet.

Bills are getting a bit caught up. Amazing how they pile up when you don’t work for 2 months while you take care of your sick wife. But I could not have survived without him. I was just not capable of doing anything accept going the bathroom and even wiping was a bit tough. But I refused to have my husband wipe me. It was bad enough he had to do everything else like I was a child. Not something you want your marriage to shift into. Guilt is hard to fight during that type of thing. My hope is that it made us stronger. Maybe we can take that honeymoon we never had before our 25th anniversary. And before either one of us gets sick again like this. Don’t wait for things guys. Don’t wait for the “right time” or the “right year”. That time or year may never come. Don’t put things off.

Well it’s after 10 and past my bedtime. Tomorrow I get to go to the Live Strong program at the Y in the valley. It’s great to have free access (just because I had cancer) for 12 weeks to have a trainer go through all types of exercise modalities Finally I can build up some muscle I lost and get rid of some of the fat. A great program and it’s fun.

Maybe sometime I will see my oncologist again but I’ve been avoiding her because I don’t want to see the disappointed and frustrated look on her face when I tell her again that No, I don’t want radiation or hormone blockers. or a damn flu shot. tee hee.

By the way…my hair is growing back nicely. Its about 2 inches long in the spots where I lost it. No more bald spots just a bit messy in the morning is all.

Talk soon!

Change is good…

Yes it can be. And there has been a LOT of it lately around here.

My hair is growing back in and although it’s a bit frizzy in the morning it is looking pretty good and I don’t have to cover up bald spots.

I finished chemo on October 8th. I finally healed up from surgeries about a month ago. Of course the oncologist and surgeon were after me to start radiation as quickly as possible. I had clear margins and the hormone positive tumor was only 1mm when they removed it.

My feeling is that chemo did it’s job and I have been through enough. Besides the 2 opinions I got were quite different so I really am not to confident that they really know what is best for me or if it’s all just guess work. I prayed a lot from November through March and decided I will not be doing radiation. Now before you go thinking I am nuts about this decision please know that I am looking at the big picture here. Yes radiation is recommended. This is based on a study over 20 years old that did not take into account every woman as an individual. Some women may have had small tumors or large ones after chemo was done. Other than age and type of tumor nothing else is taken into consideration in a woman’s treatment. NOTHING.

Radiation can also cause burns on the skin, lung damage, heart damage, bone damage and more. It is not easy for some to do. Some go through it without many side effects but there is no guarantee of anything. As is with any medical procedure no one can predict anything. I am still quite irritated over the fact the MRI was wrong so this is really making me doubt other things as well. So know that I have made this decision after much thought.

I have also decided not to take the hormone blockers that they recommend for the hormone positive tumor. There are 2 reasons for this.
1. I am sailing through menopause now thanks to the chemo and it looks like it will not reverse since I am 51 now anyway.
2. I don’t believe that the answer is to just block hormones like estrogen and progesterone to possibly prevent the cancer from returning. I like the idea of finding out why my immune system didn’t control this in the first place rather than just blocking what my body is normally supposed to be producing. I firmly believe one main reason I had cancer to begin with was the fact of messing with my hormones for years using birth control. On top of this the medication they use can have very serious side effects. Side effects that I do not want to chance at all. And with my luck with drugs and side effects I think it’s best not to try it.

Plus they originally said the hormone positive tumor would most likely not respond to this type of chemo I had because it typically didn’t in studies. It started out at 2.5 cm (at least if the mri was correct that is) and after chemo it was only 1mm.

Understand that I have lost so much during this year in this TRIP. I am done calling it a journey. It’s like a bad trip more than anything. Plus I have no idea if I will develop side effects down the road from the chemo. I have recently had to close my office where I did hands on services like reflexology due to the fact that after 2 months in a recliner after surgery I have now developed frozen shoulder and I still have occasional bouts with neuropathy in my hands which causes numbness and tingling. So it just wasn’t possible to keep the office in hopes of recovering soon enough. My landlord was very generous with me in allowing me to have a break on rent while I was off and I could not expect them to continue to do this as they have bills too. So, even though it broke my heart, I cleaned out my office over the weekend leaving behind only the mural that my daughter painted on the wall. I think that bothered me the most because she spent so much time on that for me.

We have fallen behind on bills and are dealing with debt up to our eyeballs. Our marriage has had a lot of stress and it’s hard on a relationship when one spouse has to take care of the other like they are a child. The only thing I could do was go to the bathroom by myself. Everything else I had to have help with and there were no at home health care facilities to help me. At least nothing that insurance would pay for. So Tim has to take off nearly 2 months to care for me. I still feel much guilt over all of that. I miss my family and my friends as I have been too exhausted and in so much pain from my shoulder to do much with them. Yes, I still have days where I feel exhausted and they tell me that this could go on for a year or more after chemo. Fun huh?

The steroids during chemo helped me to gain 46 pounds so I have been working on changing my diet and doing the things I NEED to do in order to stay healthy. Creating new habits is never easy but I am down 20 pounds since the first of the year so I am on my way. Every day of chemo they offered lunch so I ate a chicken salad with this vinaigrette dressing with spinach greens and other greens. To this day it makes me want to vomit just smelling that dressing or looking at salad greens other than just lettuce. Makes me sad as I used to love it and it was good for me. So salads are a bit of struggle right now.

I have a ton of counseling that I will be doing to help get through emotional blocks and work on me. I am so tired of dr appointments. It seems like that is all I ever do anymore. Hopefully the orthopedic doc will have some good news about my shoulder this week. Doing PT and massage therapy but of course insurance will not cover massage even though I think it is one of the best things for my shoulder.

Using lots of oils yet and supplements that I know are helping so much. Hate to think how bad I would feel without it. I am still teaching classes and educating individuals on the benefits of essential oils so at least that gives me some time to enjoy without seeing a dr. I enjoy helping people and hopefully will be able to increase my work with oils sooner than later.

On a plus side of closing my office I brought home some black out shades I had on my windows there and Tim is enjoying them in the bedroom so he can sleep during the day when he works 3rd shift. I still have the task of rearranging my room upstairs and getting all of my office items put away in their proper spots. Yes there is still a LOT in my car. Today was a very slow day and I just remembered I forgot to have Tim help me put on my tens machine before he left. Not sure I can reach the spots on my shoulder blade. Oh well. Guess I’ll have to get it as close as I can.

Not sure what HIS plan is for me but hopefully I will figure that out. Until then I will just keep praying and trying to love on others like I am supposed to do. And keep reminding myself to not be sad. Easier said than done I know but I will try. Hopefully the counseling will help. I see a specific cancer counselor plus I will be learning some EFT tapping to retrain my brain and I have joined a cancer group through church where I can share some of this trip with others who totally get what I am going through and help remind me to rely on God for this.

I would much rather take a vacation with my husband but that is just not possible right now. It’s not in the budget.

Have a great night everyone. Thanks for keeping tabs on me and for your prayers and positive energy. I am so thankful for all of it. I could not have made it through all this without you.

Jeanne

Ticks!!! How to avoid them naturally…

I’ve recently received a lot of emails again asking me about ticks.

Did you know there can be dangers to commercially made bug repellents as I have shown below.  In fact Canada has banned the sale of any repellent containing more than 30% deet which is a synthetic chemical that can kill insects.  Even the U.S. has cautioned use of repellents in sunscreen as it could drive the deet further into the system.

For the last 6 years our family has been using a blend of essential oils to spray on us as well as the pets to effectively avoid ticks, mosquitoes, wasps, flies, and other biting insects and pests.  Easy to make and very affordable for even the largest families!  No worry of toxicity or damage to clothing or the environment.  Are you intrigued yet?  If not read the information below and judge for yourself just how safe the commercial brands can be.  No deaths or severe side effects have been reported with using our pure essential oils for bug repellents.

In the DEET Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) in 1998, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported 14 to 46 cases of potential DEET-associated seizures, including 4 deaths. The EPA states: “… it does appear that some cases are likely related to DEET toxicity,” which may underreport the risk as physicians may fail to check for history of DEET use or fail to report cases of seizure subsequent to DEET use.[21]

The U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has a page of reports in the U.S. of health problems in people after using DEET. Among the cases are two deaths in adults and three cases in which pregnant women who used large amounts of DEET gave birth to babies with problems. One baby died. As with the kids with encephalopathy, in the nearly all of the ATSDR-reported cases, it’s difficult to know if DEET was the culprit. Compared to how often people use DEET around the world, those cases are very rare. Researchers estimate people around the world put on DEET 200 million times a year.

I also noticed when I tried to look up ingredients on any OFF brands all it would list was 25% deet and 75% other ingredients.  What are the “other” ingredients??

As a precaution, manufacturers advise that DEET products should not be used under clothing or on damaged skin, and that preparations be washed off after they are no longer needed or between applications.[19] DEET can act as an irritant;[7] in rare cases, it may cause severe epidermal reactions.[19] Other symptoms that can occur are breathing difficulty, burning eyes, headaches.[20]

Citing human health reasons, Health Canada barred the sale of insect repellents for human use that contained more than 30% DEET in a 2002 re-evaluation. The agency recommended that DEET-based products be used on children between the ages of 2 and 12 only if the concentration of DEET is 10% or less and that repellents be applied no more than 3 times a day, children under 2 should not receive more than 1 application of repellent in a day and DEET-based products of any concentration should not be used on infants under 6 months.[23][24] Some experts recommend against applying DEET and sunscreen simultaneously since that would increase DEET penetration; Canadian researcher, Xiaochen Gu, a professor at the University of Manitoba’s faculty of Pharmacy who led a study about mosquitos, advises that DEET should be applied 30 or more minutes later. Gu also recommends DEET sprays instead of lotions which are rubbed into the skin “forcing molecules into the skin”.[25]

DEET is commonly used in combination with insecticides and can strengthen the toxicity of carbamate insecticides,[26] which are also acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. These findings indicate that DEET has neurological effects on insects in addition to known olfactory effects, and that its toxicity is strengthened in combination with other insecticides.

Though DEET is not expected to bioaccumulate, it has been found to have a slight toxicity for fresh-water fish such as rainbow trout[29] and tilapia,[30] and it also has been shown to be toxic for some species of freshwater zooplankton.[31] DEET has been detected at low concentrations in water bodies as a result of production and use, such as in the Mississippi River and its tributaries, where a 1991 study detected levels varying from 5 to 201 ng/L

Ready to try this proven blend now?

You can purchase these oils HERE.

Save 25% off retail when you click the JOIN & SAVE button!  No strings attached.  Save money, earn product points for shipping reimbursements and have your order shipped right to your own home.  No monthly orders required.  No selling of products required.  Just save $ with a wholesale membership.  You can purchase retail if you like but I thought I’d be sure to tell you how you can save $$.  I like to save whenever I can and free shipping is always good!

Here is the recipe:

BUG DOPE

15 drops DōTERRA Terrashield ® Repellent Blend
15 drops Lemongrass
10 drops Peppermint
10 drops Melaleuca (tea tree oil)
10 drops Arborvitae
12 oz. Witch Hazel

Place in spray bottle and shake well before each use.  Spray on clothing and skin – avoid eyes and other sensitive areas or broken skin.  Apply on hand and wipe on small children under the age of 2 years avoiding feet and hands – although oils are safe to ingest one should be careful with children ingesting oils under the age of 5.  Reapply after a few hours if bugs seem to be bothering again.

Spray on pets and rub into fur 2x per week or apply on cloth collar and reapply 2x per week.  You may use more often if you notice it is not repelling enough.

If you need more help making your own blend please message me!  I’d be glad to help.

 

https://www.popsci.com/article/science/deet-safe-use
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DEET

Not a Journey…just a Trip

I am warning you that this post is not a very positive one so if you choose not to read it I will understand.

I used to consider this whole cancer thing a journey but it has become a trip that I am not wanting to be on anymore.

Although I am still healing from surgery with two small open wounds yet on the right side, it has given me time to think and pray…ALOT.

Most of you know that making the choice for Chemo was very hard for me. It went against everything I believed about treating disease in the body. What I have noticed about modern medicine is that they tend to use scare tactics to get you to make a decision that they are happy with. Of course they don’t want to be sued for not giving you what they believe is an accurate treatment plan. The doctors told me that my tumor was 7cm according to an MRI which is supposed to be more accurate than a mammogram or ultrasound. What they didn’t tell me was that these scans can pick up simple inflammation and when read, the radiologist may believe that it is cancer when in reality it is not. I didn’t find this out until after my surgery to remove what was left after the chemo was completed. What they told me was still 3cm of cancerous tumor after the chemo was in reality nothing but healthy breast tissue. All removed and tested.

Oncology just kept telling me that the study they went by recommended certain treatment. I asked for the study and all I got was a paragraph of the abstract from it. No link for the entire study. I have no idea how many people were in it. What their diagnosis was, how old they were, where they were from. Nothing. I was just supposed to trust that these doctors knew what was best for me.

I went to see the radiologist in Appleton and she tells me that the recommended radiation is to radiate the lymph nodes – which I had no lymph involvement at all – and to radiate the entire breast areas for a total of daily M-F for at least 6 weeks. A week later I go see a radiologist in Madison and after consulting with the surgeon who did my lumpectomy she recommends No radiation to the lymph and only 4 weeks of M-F radiation to the breasts. Of course they minimize the side effects and tell you there’s really NOTHING to worry about. You see, radiation can cause cancer. It can also cause lympodema, heart damage, lung damage, damage and breakage of the ribs, just to name a few. Of course there are no studies on what it does to the immune system. If it damages it, which I am sure it does, then how many suffer with constant infections, MS, Lymphodema, diabetes, lupus or neurological disorders for the rest of their life? Where a common cold turns into bronchitis or pneumonia every time. Or that the immune system actually causes cancer to occur throughout the entire body? Of course no information on that because we don’t want people to know that chemo and radiation can cause immune system damage.

I was diagnosed on March 23rd, 2018. Since then I have had 16 chemo treatments, 2 surgeries (went from a DDD cup to a B cup) and am still recovering from the surgeries 10 weeks later. I spent 6 weeks sleeping in a recliner only able to go to the toilet and eat on my own. Then to only being able to sleep on my back in bed for another 3 weeks. Screaming in pain just to take a shower.

We went from being a married couple to being more like a parent/child relationship. To say it was heart wrenching is putting it mildly. Of course if you cry or show any unhappiness in a doctors appointment the dr will automatically go to drugs to help your mood. No discussion of side effects, which some of the drugs can cause suicidal thoughts and withdrawal symptoms similar to oxy’s. But its a “let’s just try it and see how it goes” attitude and if there’s side effects let’s just cross that bridge when we come to it.

Chemo caused menopause for me as it does for almost all women which brought on hot flashes for months now. It got so bad that I was barely sleeping at all because I was either freezing cold or sweating and needing a shower and bedding change. I tried several things and nothing really helped. In desperation I asked the dr for help 3 weeks ago. She put me on effexor normally used for depression and said it helps many women with hot flashes. It did help, unfortunately after a week I began to itch all over and even had hives a couple of times. Thanks for more problems to deal with. After 3 weeks they told me to stop taking it but offered no immediate help and said I would just have to wait 2 weeks until I could see my doctor. So enjoy your side effects from chemo is basically how that went.

I am just DONE. I can’t take any more of this. There is no guarantee that any of the treatments they offer will prevent the cancer from returning. They say that there’s a 30% chance of it returning now but would drop to 10% according to their study, if I have the radiation too. It is more like a guessing game and they are not sure of anything. I took pain killers and round the clock advil and tylenol at the highest dose for 2 months. Who knows what it’s done to my liver or kidneys but the oncologist has no concerns about it. Even though regiments like this have caused liver and kidney damage in people she has no concerns at all. We won’t know if the chemo will cause any heart damage until a year or two down the road as it doesn’t show up before that. Well it’s not her body is it?

Chemo also caused neuropathy in my hands and arms. After chemo my right arm went numb and stayed that way for over an hour so they checked to be sure I wasn’t having a stroke. The diagnosis was neuropathy and I should take more gabapentin. I was taking 300mg a day already and they uped it overnight to 1800mg a day. They never told me that this drug must be weaned off of as it can cause some very severe withdrawal symptoms. Again, advise a drug and offer no information to the patient on how it could cause severe side effects. I had not idea until Tim looked it up online because I was starting to have leg and arm muscle jerks all day long after I had been on it a few weeks. I was just going to quit taking it but that is NOT a recommendation at all. But my doctor never told me that.

Our marriage has suffered, our family life has suffered. My health has suffered. I still can’t open my office due to issues in my left arm from scar tissue and muscle loss due to all the inactivity for 3 months. Tim had to take off from work for over a month to take care of me because insurance would not cover any in home care and we couldn’t afford it on our own. We have suffered financially as a result and Tim has had to take a 3rd shift job so he can still keep his carpet cleaning business going during the day and on weekends. We applied for grants and only a few were able to help us with things like car payments. We have a broken water pipe to fix in the kitchen when it warms up due to the cold temps and insulation to replace.

And today I just found out that I can’t get mileage reimbursement for any of my Madison appointments so I will be canceling those future appointments as they were just follow ups on surgeries anyway. One trip is a full tank of gas. We’ve done wound care for the last 12 weeks at home anyway so might as well just do the rest on our own. It would have been nice of badgercare to tell me the mileage got denied back in December, instead I had to have a social worker dig for the information. But that is government health care for you.

I am just so tired of appointments and clinics and the doctors who don’t want to listen to my concerns. Minimizing side effects like they are no big deal at all. So with that being said I have decided I won’t be doing radiation or take any of the hormone blockers for 5-10 years like they are recommending. The blockers have horrible side effects. I want my life back. I want quality of life. I just pray that what I have done so far has not jeopardized my future quality of life and come back to haunt me later.

I never realized how lonely cancer is. How much it robs from you even if you try not to let it. How many beautiful things it literally destroys. And then our only hope from western medicine is treatments that can cause more cancer. How is this even fair? How can they sit and tell me at my first visit that they want to “cure” me when they have no idea if their treatment will cause more disease and more damage?

I envy those who never feel defeated through all of this. I envy their strength and courage because I don’t have any of that left. I want to laugh again. I want to be happy again. I want to enjoy life and not be sick every day with treatments and medications.

Is all that really too much to ask for?

Slowly but surely…

Hello all.

Unfortunately my body is recovering very slowly since my last surgery on Dec. 7th.

I went from a DDD to about a B cup so there was a lot done for reconstruction plus it was only 2 weeks after the lumpectomies.

My treatment is at a standstill until my wounds heal from surgery.  I saw my surgeon last week and he is telling me that it will be at least 4 weeks until I will be well enough to begin radiation.

I consulted with a radiologist last week as well up here and she is confident that I should have radiation on both sides and on the lymph on the left side where triple negative tumor was.  I will be getting a second opinion next week in Madison to see what the plan will be.

I can tell you one thing I am getting really tired of the 4 walls at home.  I am thankful I have a nice warm and safe home, don’t get me wrong.  But I am frustrated that I cannot do the things I need to do.  I did get out for a few hours to teach a class and it was soooooo nice to talk to other adults and friends and talk oils.  Talking oils is one of my favorite things to do.  Sadly, this class really wore me out.  I slept quite a bit the next day and had a bit more pain than before.  So, this means I need to do things sporadically and hopefully will be able to do more as time goes on.

I am still using some pain killers a couple of times a day.  It helps alot before we do dressing changes as that is still quite painful and so are showers.  Thankful that my husband is so patient with me and helps me do the changes as I cannot physically do them right now.  Just not enough hands.  Because of the pain killers I am unable to drive yet – plus I am not sure how well I could due to the limitation in moving my arms.  Some muscle was cut during surgery and it is going to take some physical therapy to get my range of motion back.  I have not driven a car since Nov. 20th!  It feels so weird.

So my plan is that hopefully I may be able to go back to my office by mid February but no guarantee yet on that.  Again, frustrating because I am a planner.  I need my ducks in a row and they are just scattered everywhere right now!

So I am trying to pick up a duck here and there and get something productive done here and there without setting myself back with my healing.

I find myself fighting off the question of “what if this comes back?”

The radiologist said it is odd that they see non-hormone and hormone positive – basically 2 different types of cancer at the same time.  Many times it is one type of cancer and then years later there may be another type of cancer.  So maybe my body got it all over with at one time??  That’s my hope anyway.

No one can predict the future right?  All I can do is try and focus on health.  Sadly I chemo helped me to gain about 40 pounds and my body is just wanting to stay in the “comfort food” mode.  Which means sugar and carbs is a fight every day.  I am getting more veggies and fruit in though so it is not a lost cause.  Yay me.  Exercise is not on the menu yet, at least not anything more than just walking through the house.  Water, water, water is what I need to push myself for daily.

Hair is growing like mad now, which is a good thing.  But I certainly did not mind not shaving my legs for 8 months.  Note to self DO NOT WAIT 2 MONTHS to shave your legs.  Ever. It took me 45 minutes and I felt like sasquatch before I began.  Tim said I should of used a beard trimmer first!  I think I agree. But I felt 10 times better after I was done.

I really miss taking a bath as I cannot let any of my surgery area soak in water yet.  Only showers for now.  Which are still pretty excruciating to take.  Just the water pressure is painful.  But I am able to wash my hair with warm water now and not worry about it falling out!  1/2 of my hair is now grey but I am unable to color it right now anyway so I have time to consider leaving it grow out or going back to coloring it again.  And boy are those Grimmer eye brows back with a vengeance.  Because I have to lay back in a chair to have a wax done I can’t take care of that until I am healed better.  I am usually pretty low maintenance but this NO maintenance is for the birds.

But for now know that I am ok and getting better.  It has just  been slow and exhausting.  But at least it’s the right direction.

Hey, one great thing?  I can make my own cup of coffee now!  Kinda sad when that is considered progress huh?  lol.  But I’ll take it!

Talk soon

Jeanne

 

LOOONNNGGGG Time No Hear….

I apologize for the long lapse in posts.  I am just now finally getting caught up with social media.

The first surgery on Nov 21st to remove lump and lymph was not to bad.  I was still very sore when I went in for the 2nd surgery to do a reduction.

I feel like a 7th grader again as I think Im a B cup now vs DDD BUT it is me so I dont mind the size change.

I am down to only 3-4 tramadol for pain daily.  I am controlling pain with advil, tylenol and copaiba oil.  I have been spraying the owie spray on the wounds and incisions.

So far I have 3 fairly sized wounds where breast meets chest under each one.  They tell me this is normal and I just need to keep it clean and avoid infections.  Even the water from the shower is excruciating for me.  So showers are slow and painful.  But on the plus side I am using warm water to wash my hair as no more of it is falling out! I am not sure if the curl will still be there tho.  I am crossing my fingers it will be.

Riding in a car (bumps) is NOT pleasant and I have only been to the dr 2 times since dec 15th as far as trips out of the house.  I am finally up to typing and writing while I sit and recover.  Catching up on old partridge family shows.  Reminds me of my childhood and my david Cassidy crush lol.

Right now I can get in and out of bed.  Make a cup of coffee.  Put on robe and slippers.  Toilet and wash fairly good in a shower.  And type and thats about it.  Everything else Tim has been helping me with.  He even gets up in the middle of the night to give me ibuprofen.  He has to take care of kids without me too.  I am sure he is exhausted.  And the weight of our finances is a burden on him as well.  He just tells me to focus on me and he’ll do the rest.  It is hard not to feel guilty.  I never imagined that my husband would be my nurse.

Sadly I have to cancel a morning class next Tuesday as I will not be physically able to do it.  My goal is to be prepared for a big class on the 12th and go from there.  Adding a little each day.

I know this may sound odd but I can’t wait until I can shave my legs AND wax my furry mammoth brows.

Tomorrow I see surgeon for follow up.  And a social worker to apply for another grant.  Pray for good results please.

Next week is appt with radiologist to discuss radiation recommendations from the pathology report.  Not really looking forward to that.

Someone on my cancer fb group described it like this:

Cancer is a tree that may have widespread branches.

Chemotherapy kills the tree and branches.

Lumpectomy removes the tree.

Radiation removes the stump and roots.

Thank you for all your prayers and those who have given me wonderful gifts along the way.

I will try and be more up to date with things in the future.

Please pray for my husband.  He has been through so much and has given so much to help me recover.  If anyone could do something for him I would so greatly appreciate it because for the last 6 weeks I have been unable to be there for him or my children.  He’s done it all and taken off of work to do this.  So many thanks to Ken Bartel who graciously offered to combine for a day.  There is still more in the fields but Tim has been here taking care of me.

My heart aches for him and all he’s given up for me.

Thank you dear friends.

May this be a new year with improved changes.  With many great things ahead.

Talk soon.

Jeanne

 

Oh Ice Pack, you are my friend, my buddy, my pal…..

On Friday Dec. 7th I took a very sore body to the operating room again.  This time to do a reduction.  Even though I was a DDD they did have to take out a rather large area of over 5cm from the left side.  For the first week it didn’t look so bad and they seemed to look the same size.  After the swelling began to go down I noticed that there was quite the divot appearing in the left breast.  And the surgeon said it would be more pronounced the more the swelling went down and once I started radiation as radiation can shrink the tissue a LOT.   I see the radiologist next week to go over the plan for that up here in Appleton.

So I sat in the pre-op having the anesthesiologist telling me that there is no other format they can do for this for my type of surgery.  So….I go through a painful marking procedure – with a green sharpie marker, not kidding – as he marks over some of the incisions I had from the surgery from 2 weeks before.

I go in to surgery at about 1:40 (that’s the last I remember anyway) for a 3 hour surgery.  Tim say’s it didn’t take that long and dr was out to talk to him around 3:45 or so.  I don’t remember anything until about 5:30.  I remember bits and pieces after that until about 11:30pm.  I was in so much pain that I didn’t sleep much all night.  BUT I felt ok enough to go home the next day!  which was a plus.  I had a drain tube sticking out of each side of the rib area and they went to little containers as big as my fist that I had to pin to my compression bra.  Still lots of leakage in left incisions areas, even today after they took out my drains.  But without the drains now the swelling will really be going wild.  So ice is my buddy for awhile now.

From Saturday til today I was in a lot of pain.  Oxy’s didn’t really help at all except to make me sick to my stomach and make me sleep.  So after much issue with dr and pharmacy they put me back on tramadol instead.  I was a basket case.  Once in awhile I could put on some oils on my incision areas when I changed bras but that was about all I could manage.  So Tim became my nanny and nurse.  Literally.  He put all my meds (had alieve and tylenol and gabapenton too) in a pill sorter.  He would set an alarm and wake me up at 11pm, 3am and 6 am to make sure I got all the doses of whatever was due at that time. Wasn’t hungry sometimes and that made my stomach hurt more and had to take something so constipation didn’t take over as some of the meds cause that to happen too!  UGH!

I am hoping to sleep in my bed again and maybe the pain will be better as time goes on and I get more sleep.  Recliners do not make good beds.

Now they told me to use anti-bacterial gel on my incisions – like neosporin.  So I will be using doTERRA’s CorrectX on it 2-3x a day.  You didn’t think I would use OTC stuff and not doTERRA did you?

I will also be using Frankincense again on my chest to help with inflammation and it can be used as something to shrink tumors – just sayin.  And of course I will use the immortelle blend around scar tissue to help reduce it.

Will have to have Tim take some “before” pictures tonight when I change my dressings again.

I missed a LOT of events over the last 4 weeks so I hope I can begin to get out more in the next 2 weeks.  But it may be until January before I really feel like it.  At least I hope so as I have a class scheduled for the first Saturday in January!  I see the plastic surgeon next Thursday as long as there is no sign of infection before then.

Time to change my ice pack again.

Thank you for all the prayers and good thoughts I really appreciate them.  I know that’s why I am feeling better.  Today was a really rough day as it is the anniversary of my mother’s death.  She has been gone for 26 years now.  I still remember the day like it was yesterday but like I said on facebook I feel sad because she has missed out on so much that has happened here.  She got to see Jasmyne for a few minutes because when I was released from the hospital she was just coming out of surgery to put a trachea tube in because the tumor in her throat was cutting off her ability to breathe.  The day she was born was the last day I heard my mothers voice over the phone.  2 days later she was trying to nod and smile while she looked at her new little granddaughter.  She would never open her eyes again after that.  13 days later she would leave here and go on to paradise.  I so wish she would have been able to see and play with all 6 of her grandchildren, to see my wedding, to give me insight during this journey but that is not what was supposed to happen.

So thank you for the prayers.  They really helped me today.  I felt more calm then I have in awhile.

Talk soon.

Jeanne

Last surgery

Tomorrow at 1:20 will be my reduction surgery in Madison.

Went off oxys to try and control pain with OTC and was having a REALLY bad time.  By Tuesday I broke down and they put me on tramadol and upped the gabapentin.  Both make you tired.  So I have spent most of the last 3 days sleeping.

Tim has been so great setting an alarm to get my meds when i needed them.   Thank God for him cause this nerve pain in my right armpit and arm is just killin me.

I hope it all goes good tomorrow but I am planning that the rest of December may be very slow and low key since the first surgery has not gone so well the last 2 weeks.

Hopefully I wont be too loopy so I can catch up on some of my reading.

Becca will have the tree decorated when I get home so I am excited!

Emy bought Linkin A Christmas sweater with little bells on it.  He likes it.  Silly dog.

Do me a favor…..if you know of anyone who wants to get in on the FREE Frankincense this month send them this link so they can enroll without having to wait on me.  Plus they won’t miss out on the contest for the free turmeric & myrrh if they order by the 15th.  Just want to help as many as I can to ebjoy free oils even tho I can’t help them personally right now.

Purchase doTERRA Essential Oils

Have a great weekend.  See you next week.  Hopefully I will be at the 2 make n take classes next week and I can see you there.

Jeanne