Category Archives: Me and Healthy Living

Komen

I’m starting to think pink. It’s taken me a while. I now own a lot of pink stuff. Pink shirts, pink socks, pink bags. This year I decided to have fun with the Komen Race in Kalamazoo. Last year I was the first place finisher but this year I’m proud to say I was 5th! Some amazing 40 year old survivor rocked the race in 21 minutes. And it was 95 degrees. When I was checking out the results I met the 4th place survivor and she was 65! I love it! We totally high fived!
I tried to stay upbeat this year. It was pretty emotional for me. But I know deep in my heart that my friends who passed this year from the Motherswww.motherswithcancer.com with Cancer Blog would want me to live and laugh. But sometimes it’s still hard.

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Bucket’s of Saturated Fat for the Cure

A few days ago I noticed a tweet that gave me a reason to pause and think.  It bothered me to say the least.  It reminded me of a game you play with your kids….what two things don’t go together.

See for yourself.  Can you pick out TWO things that should not go together?

If you said a breast cancer research foundation and fried chicken, you were right!  Here’s why…

Current research says that obesity is linked to cancer.   As much as I don’t like it, it just is.  We know estrogen is stored in fat and cancer grows on estrogen.  I’ve known plenty of thin people with cancer so this isn’t saying this is the ONLY way to get breast cancer, but it’s a sure link.  The more estrogen you have in your body in your life span, the higher your risk. 

Then there’s that recurrence risk.  Obesity is a clear risk for recurrence of many kinds of cancer, not just breast cancer.

So here I am, two years out from breast cancer, running 4-5 miles 4 times a week and trying to do yoga and weight lifting 1-2 times a week.  I eat as healthy as I possibly can.  I’ve never been super thin, in fact, I regret the weight gain that I allowed to sneak up on me during my pregnancy years.  I’ve got three kids under 9 and a life I want to live fully, so I watch the research and I try to do what I can to keep from recurrence.  It is very clear that a healthy diet and exercise are key. 

So I have to say as a breast cancer survivor, it was like a slap in the face, it was a blow to everything we work for as a breast cancer warriors to see the premiere breast cancer research foundation teaming up with the premiere fat-laden fast food restaurant (see announcement for double-down sandwich).   It just seems to me if I work hard to do the best I can do, Komen would consider the current research as well.  Ummm…..they are a “research foundation” now aren’t they?  Hmmmm.

This was a sell-out Komen.  Did you ask anyone with breast cancer how they would feel seeing that big pink greasy bucket of chicken?  Was someone going to lose their job if you didn’t raise cash quick?  I really don’t get it?  Research also shows smoking and alcohol consumption are clear links to cancer, so why not team up with Marlboro or Bud Beer?  It’s not just about money, and quite frankly, don’t raise money on the backs of research that is clearly linking to cancer promotion.  Please!

So I was excited to run in my local Race for the Cure coming up in April.  This is the first year I’ve been healthy enough to do it since my diagnosis in 2008.  But now I question my support of Komen. 

Now you know how I feel, how do YOU feel about it?

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Black Bean Brownies

Yes, you heard that right.  Black bean brownies.  Someone told me about these back when I was on the Daniel Fast.  I was intrigued.  Jeremy groaned.  He isn’t very fond of me adding vegetables to a dessert and beans, well, that is just too much for him to comprehend.  I do this quite often so at some point he will adjust.  Not sure when, but someday soon I hope.  I like being a sneaky chef.  I do it so my kids will eat more vegetables, but I also do it for my husband and myself, because quite honestly, I like food, but I don’t like empty food.  I love feeling like I’m fighting cancer with the food I eat.  So I’m going to start telling you about the happy food I eat that is also good for you.  How’bout that!

 Black Bean Brownies:  With sugar here, and with agave here.  I’ll be honest, the agave is going to be better for you because agave is unrefined and natural.  But it’s also expensive.  So I made the sugar one with less sugar and made it with half agave. 

Here’s why these are so good for you (and tasty too!)

1.  Black beans are loaded with antioxidants!  They are considered a antioxidant superstar along with grapes and cranberries.  The darker the coat, the higher the antioxidant level!

2.  Fiber, fiber, and more fiber: black beans and other beans are useful foods for people with irregular glucose metabolism, such as diabetics and those with hypoglycemia, because beans have a low glycemic index rating.  So eat your chocolate and sugar with black beans….what a plan!

3.  Black beans have cholesterol lowering fiber.  You know what to do with those brownies then…..dig in!

4.  Here’s something extra special, and near and dear to my heart.  I ate two when I read this:

“A study published in Food Chemistry and Toxicology suggests not only that black beans may help protect against cancer, but that whole foods naturally contain an array of compounds that work together for our benefit. When researchers fed laboratory animals a 20% black bean diet to see if it would cause any mutagenic or genotoxic activity, not only did black beans not promote cancer, but a clear reduction in the number of pre-cancerous cells was seen, even in animals who were simultaneously given an agent known to promote cancer, the mutagen, cyclophosphamide.”

Have I given you enough reasons to make black bean brownies as a treat?  I hope so.  And do tell me what you think.  I love sceptics!  And if you’ve read to this point…..yes….it was a thumbs up for Jeremy!

*health info from whole foods web site.
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An Asprin a Day Keeps Breast-Cancer At Bay

Wow!  Here’s a study that looks interesting.  I may need to add asprin to my daily regimen.  Or maybe an every other day regimen.   I’d definitely be thinking about this study if you have family history of breast cancer.  Check it out.

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World Cancer Day 2010

I can’t believe it.  How weird is it that my diagnosis cancerversary is the same day as the World Cancer Day.  And I didn’t even know it?  Not that I was thinking about this two years ago when I got the phone call?  But how did I miss this last year?

So I think it’s so nice because I get to tell you WHY there is a World Cancer Day and I will do this every year on the day of my diagnosis.  So you wanna know why?  To help reduce these cancer causing risks:

  • Stop tobacco use and avoid exposure to second-hand smoke

  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure
  • Maintain a healthy weight, through eating healthily and exercising regularly

  • Protect against cancer-causing infections

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Water Park Adventure

Jeremy keeps bugging me about going to visit a fitness center outside of town. It seems they keep luring him to come visit with tickets for our family to the new water park adjacent to the club. This is a good way to entice my husband because if it involves amusement + rides + water, then he will figure out a way to get me there. I would be all about this equation if it weren’t for the fact that it was only 24 degrees outside and I’m cold all the time. I won’t thaw out till mid-April. Until then I prefer doing nothing with anything that will make me wet. I also refuse to shave my legs unless absolutely necessary, and, well, this would be one of those times.

But we have three children who will complain if we don’t go do something and it is January and more often than not, we have nothing to do, so when Jeremy got another call offering a tour and free water park passes, I knew I wasn’t going to get out of it.

So off to Pirates Island at S.W.A.T Fitness we went. We had a nice tour. Very low pressure. They even allowed us to leave without a committment. Here’s the plus for me: they have trainers on duty at all times, no extra charge and they don’t charge extra for classes. Which is nice since our old fitness center charged extra for classes. That and the cost is the same as what we were paying with free childcare. So I’m thinking about it. I’m trying very hard to be committed to exercise since this is my only weapon against cancer returning.

And I managed to make it through my water park experience. It was actually fun…and I did get wet. They kept the air at a balmy, comfortable temp. And whenever I got too cold I jumped in one of the hot tubs. It wasn’t overly crowded and there were plenty of slides for the little ones. 

In the Kalamazoo area, where there is virtually nothing to do from December to March other than go sledding, I was impressed. I think we’ll be back before the end of winter. And who knows, we just might join for the fitness center too.

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Hot Chocolate 5k

030I did it!  I ran my first official 5k today in Chicago.  It was the Hot Chocolate 5k downtown.  I did pretty well.  I decided to position myself with the 10 minute mile folks, which was a huge mistake, because after about a half mile I spent the next mile dodging walkers.  Maybe because I ran track and cross-country in high school and college I know the rules of running, but common sense would tell you to MOVE TO THE SIDE if you stop and walk.  My time was right at 30 minutes, but I’m pretty sure it would have been better had I not had to do the dodging.   At about a mile-and-a-half I found a couple girls who were going just a bit above my pace so I decided to stick with them.  One of them fell back a bit, but the other I was able to follow till about the last half mile.  She was good at the fast little bursts around people and I couldn’t keep doing it, so I lost her at the end.  But to the woman with the green Fleet Feet t-shirt (I had plenty of time to read her shirt….lol)….thanks for the pace:)  Anyway.  I got a really fun jacket but I traded my brother-in-law for the sweatshirt which says “will run for chocolate” on the front.  I love it:) 

Here’s my sweaty, tired and happy self taken by Jeremy after the race:)

 

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Take Another Look….

My oncologist at U of M told me to get moving when I was completely done with treatment and I have not taken her wisdom lightly.  I have been running.  I have actually recently strarted training for a 5k.  I think it’s been about 10 years since I ran a road race and my T-shirts from those races are falling apart so I figured it was about time to get off my duff and start collecting them again. 

I wish I could tell you I’m training for a really meaningful race, like a “race for the cure,” but alas, the race I have chosen is called the Hot Chocolate Run somewhere in Chicago.   Jeremy registered us.  He’s been running too at work with some guys during lunch because I won’t let him run with me.  Don’t ask me why I won’t.  He doesn’t get it either.  I think it’s something sacred with me.  Like “I have to do this by myself” mentality.  Either that or I’m afraid he’ll see how really slow I am, and I’m accepting that I am not the runner I was in my early 20’s.  But the race looks like a hoot.  Anything that comes the day after halloween and we’ve all gained 50 pounds from raiding the plastic pumpkin after the kids go to bed has to be fun.  I….will…..be…..nice…and…..slow…..thanks…..to…..all…..the….snickers…..and twix….I…raided…..from…the….kids….

The kids always wonder why their candy is gone so fast.  I try to tell them it isn’t good for them and I threw it away, when really half of it was gone that very night thanks to mom’s love of chocolate.  I will admit that I am only 90% crunchy and this is the very reason why I never buy pop or candy because if it is in my house I WILL EAT IT!  I am not like my other crunchy friends who say “I’ll give you $20 for that bag of candy” and then throw it away.  I just eat it and make it look like my kids did it.

I digress, so my sister just moved to Naperville, IL and happened to invite me to come run it in the same week I finally went to Hal Higdon’s race training site with the hopes of getting around to eventually running a race.  So I am doing it.  And today I was out doing short distance intervals.  I did 6×400’s.  Up and down the street I went.  And a weird thing happened.  I had this funny sensation in my breast.  I wear sports bras when I run because I actually can feel pain in these numb breasts.  (can’t feel my husbands touch but I can feel them bouncing around when I run…..now is that fair?)  And I don’t want my new foobs to get too saggy.  So I had this pain in my right foob, which I have now and again and I’m assuming it’s from necrotic fat buried in there that I suppose will just absorb in to my system eventuually.  But it was a mysterious little shoot of pain that so reminded me of the pressure you get in your breast when you have a let-down from breastfeeding that while I was sprinting along on my 400, I actually reached up to grab my breast just like I did when I was breastfeeding and wondering how full I was and if I needed to feed on that side.  And for a very split second I actually thought….I need to feed someone (one of my babies of course, not just anyone ya’know….lol).  And then I was quickly brought back to reality that I, in fact, do not have a single mammory gland in my body and the sensation is not from full breasts but from reconstructed fat tissue, and I had a little chuckle and was seriously glad no one was around to see me grab my breast.  Because as a mom who breastfed for almost 6 years, I was caught one to many times grabing a breast thinking….”boy, do I need to get home to that baby or someone better get me a pump!” 

And if this sounds like a sad little post, it’s not really.  I had a laugh and it brought back some good memories of when my breasts were working right and my babies were little.  And once again I’m thankful for the 6 wonderful years I had nourishing my babies through my breast and I’m so thankful I’m out pounding pavement and am healthy once again.

Jeremiah 33:6 from the Message says this: “But now take another look. I’m going to give this city a thorough renovation, working a true healing inside and out. I’m going to show them life whole, life brimming with blessings. I’ll restore everything that was lost to Judah and Jerusalem. I’ll build everything back as good as new. I’ll scrub them clean from the dirt they’ve done against me. I’ll forgive everything they’ve done wrong, forgive all their rebellions. And Jerusalem will be a center of joy and praise and glory for all the countries on earth. They’ll get reports on all the good I’m doing for her. They’ll be in awe of the blessings I am pouring on her.

Every day that I run, every time that I look at myself in the mirror naked, every time that I pick up one of my children and it doesn’t hurt, I am seeing and being reminded that God is bringing restoration to me.  He is slowly bringing healing both physically and emotionally.   I am being restored through my daily walk with Jesus.  Just knowing Him and His constant companionship is my blessing.  Through my ever present (and what seems like daily) failures and my ever needing reliance on Him, I am under rennovation, and I’m quite OK with that.

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Sigh…..

Do I really need to know this?

Watch-out kids, post-cancer mama is now going to be even more anti-candy!

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Daniel Fast

Two weeks ago we started something called a Daniel Fast.  The fast is based on the account of Daniel in the Bible.  He basically lives on fruit and vegetables to prove to the King that his diet (as commanded by God in the mosaic covenant) would make him stronger and healthier than the Babylonian diet.  And it did. 

So I weaned my self off coffee and have been living on only fruits vegetables and whole grains. I can’t have animal products, sugar or chemical sugar substitutes or yeast.  The combination of these three things makes it rather difficult to eat in our culture.  It’s virtually impossible to eat out on this fast.

Overall I’m feeling health.  I’m surprised I don’t feel like I’ve lost much weight.  I thought I’d notice by now.  I don’t feel starved….just never full.  I try really hard not to just fill the space with another kind of food.  Like at night, I want chocolate….so sometimes I make popcorn. But I’m trying to remember WHY I’m fasting and pray instead.  It’s been good for me.  I’m actually surprised at how well I’ve done.  I can’t believe I haven’t had coffee for two weeks!

I get to break from my fast tomorrow though.  We’re heading to Florida for two weeks. I’ll probably post while I’m gone. I’m looking forward to getting to warmer weather and my first vacation since I’ve been better:)