Recovery

Yesterday (Tuesday 27th December 2016) was a significant day for me. I had the last of my chemotherapy related drugs. So today is an even more auspicious day … the start of regaining my strength and my health. I know that my approach to food and health gave me a very strong foundation going in to treatment but I am now completely running on empty  – at least this means the chemo has performed its sledgehammer role.

5 1/2 months ago I was in blissful ignorance. I decided it was time to have a career change and turn my passion for healthy living in to my new career. So I made the leap and handed my notice in at my place of work for the last 15 years.

Then…

June 17th – routine mammogram

July 6th – recall letter, ‘nothing to be concerned about…but bring a friend for support.’  I saw my unwelcome visitor clearly on the screen. Another mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy and a very frank radiologist made it clear that it was 95% likely to be malignant.

July 11th – results confirmed Grade 3 invasive malignant tumour.

July 13th – met my consultant and fully accepted that now was the time for me to put my trust in the wonderful team of medical professionals taking over my care.

July 29th – tumour removed and lymph biopsy

August 17th – only 2 months after the initial mammogram – met with my consultant to be told that the removal of all the tumour was successful but that cancer cells were found in my lymph nodes. Met with my oncologist to discuss my next treatment: chemotherapy; radiotherapy and drug therapy. Also to arrange a barrage of tests to check my body was strong enough for the onslaught of the poisons.

September 5th – picc line inserted and first chemo treatment. I must admit as I watched the red poison moving along the tube to my arm I did wobble.

Ahead of my treatment I thought chemotherapy meant hair loss and feeling a bit rough…I was so wrong – not about the hair loss which I actually have found quite liberating and of course have saved a fortune in hair products and time wasted washing drying and generally faffing. It has been grim – most of the time I have managed to remain upbeat but there have been times when I have felt so sorry for myself and wondered, ‘Why me?’ But of course the words of Paul Kalanithi (When Breath becomes Air), ‘Why not me?’have pulled me up sharp…I am still alive after all.

December 19th  – last chemo session – I made it without any sessions being delayed (a target I set my neutrophils 🙂  I got to ring the bell at Clatterbridge Cancer Centre. A place filled with laughter, positivity and hope and staff who are truly wonderful.

December 27th last injection and chemo related drug.

So here I am…

Whilst undergoing chemo I have not been able to eat many of the foods that I would choose – some would make my body fight back against the poison; some because of the risk of bacterial infection.

I am now looking forward to feeding my body the foods it is used to and the foods that I know will get me back to full strength rapidly. Afterall…as Hippocrates said, ‘Leave your drugs in the chemist’s pot if you can heal the patient with food,’ and, ‘Let medicine be thy food and food be thy medicine.’

 

Thank you to all my fabulous friends and family, without whom, the last few months would have been both unbearable and unmanageable. x

Advertisements

25 thoughts on “Recovery

  1. What a journey you’ve had. What an inspiration you are! Your daily postings of beautiful food on Instagram would make one think you are fit as a fiddle. With boundless energy! Sending many prayers for continued healing and may every day bring more strength and hope for beautiful tomorrows.
    ❤️
    ~ Kathy

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve always been impressed by your consistent, wonderful blogging, and now I’m in awe. What a storm you’ve weathered! So glad to hear the chemotherapy is over, and sending many blessings to you for the journey ahead and a speedy recovery!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for telling us about how things have been for you. You have done so brilliantly over these last few months and reaching yesterday’s milestone is just brilliant. Onwards and upwards, and I truly hope 2017 presents its niche for you so that you fluorish. I am looking forward to lots more recipes and uplifting posts from you.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I lost my sister to breast cancer, and survived melanoma myself (decades clear now), so I read this post with a great deal of admiration and empathy. While both of our cancers were caught before they were advanced, mine did not require radiation and chemo, and hers was complicated by the “brittle” form of Type-1 Diabetes, so neither of our journeys mirrored yours, however.

    Don’t be surprised to find there will be cognitive after-effects – chemo effects pathways in the brain that will need to be rebuilt before you return to your former functioning once more – memory, activation energy and mood especially. Although I’m sure you are already aware of the need to rebuild the gut biome for physical health, just as you would after a protracted course of antibiotics, pay attention to eating for brain health too.

    Serotonin production “begins” in the gut – and problems there have resulted in clinical depression that no antidepressant or course of talk-therapy can touch. I’m new here, so I don’t know your philosophy on probiotics, but I encourage you to consider including a GREAT one for about a year. You won’t be able to rebuild effectively with food alone, most likely. (btw- if it’s inexpensive, it’s not a good one, and some of the best must be refrigerated).

    I wish someone had told me this immediately after a long-term course of antibiotics! I could barely get out of bed for many months following and continued to struggle with depression no matter what else I did. An entire year later, still limping along, a friend at Columbia studying to become a therapist told me about it – JUST covered in one of her classes. A great many doctors and therapists are still unaware of the link.

    Post-chemo depression is frequently not as severe (or as likely to be recognized) as that following a long course of antibiotics, but why feel bad at all when you CAN feel good? A prescription-strength probiotic (also available OTC at most good health food stores) will begin to positively effect energy as well as mood *relatively* quickly (weeks vs. months). If your doctor will prescribe, you can include it as a legitimate health expense when you do your taxes. But, just like antibiotics for a sinus infection, don’t stop just because you are feeling better. Give it the time it needs to do its job completely – at least 6 months, most likely.

    You’ve recently visited ADDandSoMuchMORE.com (thank you!), so you probably have already noticed you feel like you’ve suddenly developed something akin to ADD. Well, you have – accent on “akin to” and probably not something you will have to live with for the rest of your life (at least not to the same degree). Please use my blog as a resource – that’s why it’s there – the explanations and tips do NOT apply “simply” to those with diagnostic ADD. No longer available from the sidebar, use the search box at the top of my site for “The Wisdom of Compensating for Deficits” – although the middle section on medication probably won’t apply in your case; you might want to skim over that part.

    Sending prayers your way.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    Like

    • Thank you so much for this 😀 I have reintroduced kefir in to my daily diet which will help my gut flaura and am eating a piece of 95% dark chocolate each day to help serotonin. Interesting to read about low mood…thought that was just me …so really helpful to read it is ‘normal’. Thoroughly enjoyed reading many of your articles. Thank you for dropping by. 😚

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome. Sending prayers too.

        When I saw what you just went through, I really couldn’t keep from sharing. You know better than I how to research food sources for gut flora and serotonin precursors (the latter won’t help much without the former, tho’) – and I encourage you to do much more than your first instinct in both cases for a while. What you describe seem to be maintenance doses. You need to restore.

        We’re taught to look at psychological reasons for low moods, but sometimes, even when we’ve been through a life event that makes that seem like a logical consequence, its actually biological. As YOU know, if your body is in great shape, you generally feel pretty darned great regardless of how much life knocks you around.

        btw, everybody thinks it’s “just us.” As those of us in the blogging community find out pretty quickly, it never is. We go through it in our own way, of course, but we’re not alone in our challenges.

        And thanks for the kind words about the articles on ADDandSoMuchMORE – I really appreciated it.
        xx,
        mgh

        Liked by 1 person

      • Your right…I hadn’t thought about about the importance of doing more – I am just on maintenance levels.

        Great to be reminded that I’m not alone…very easy to feel isolated.

        Have a great day. BTW,…you hav another follower 😀
        Xx Jo

        Liked by 1 person

  5. So much love out here for you and a fabulous shift recovery with you able to ring every bell on the way!! Amazing lady.. And from whom there is much to learn from.. Thank you xxx

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s