The Jinshanling Section of the Great Wall
We're home from the land of Chinese food and bad, I mean real bad, drivers. I spent most of my time with my hands over my eyes as our driver honked his way through impossible tight lines of traffic, aiming the vehicle in the direction he wanted without any regard to street lines or on-coming traffic. And everyone else was doing the same thing. The funny part is there were no accidents and everything seemed to run rather smooth. When I watched, that is.
So China was everything I had hoped for and more. Great hiking, great people, food, shopping and interesting things to see and do; the three day hike on the Great Wall being the best way to really absorb the immensity of it all. The five days of exploring the Yellow or Huangshan Mountain tightened every last buttock muscle after climbing up and down thousands of stairs to the Sea of Clouds. I always feel closer to my Mom when I'm as close to the sky as I was.
I wonder if she was impressed with how healthy I looked?
But by far the greatest news I can tell you is that two weeks ago while in Vancouver, I had yet another MRI. A mere 6 months since the last one. There was a slight shadow in the left breast that could have been from the removal of the inciting pea lump or... it could be something else.
It's a long time to hold your breath for- the six months it took to finally get the test. And today Dr. Vestvik phoned and told me to come by for some good news. I have a photocopy of the test results which I feel like framing. It tells us there are no growths, nothing suspicious, that everything, for the first time in 2 years, looks fine. I am cleared of breast cancer as far as they're concerned.
So now I am officially a breast cancer survivor! After 2 years, almost to the day I have walked away with 1 and 1/2 breasts, a better hair style even if the hair is courser, a few scars and other bothersome side effects of the surgeries, plus a whole new outlook on living.
Most important, I've learned to slow down. To appreciate, not sweat about every little thing. I don't squish spiders anymore. Why did I ever do that? I want to live and let live. Some days I feel like I am glowing with life and I want everyone out there to feel the same way.
It's in you to do it.
I've learned to relax and trust in my close friends and family. To let myself lean on them when I need to. They will and always have been there for me, as I will always be for them.
I've learned not everything in life goes the way you want it to. That the bumps in the road are there for a purpose, so we can learn and grow both spiritually and emotionally. Getting breast cancer changed my life for the better. I really mean that even after all I've suffered through and continue to suffer through.
But I've also learned you have the ability to increase your chance of never getting cancer in the first place. That you can fight against this invisible disease every day whether you realize you're doing it or not. And you can do that through your diet.
A simple adjustment of cutting out bad fats and using coconut or olive oil. Using brown rice flour instead of white flour. Of drastically cutting back on alcohol, processed foods, fast foods and baked goods. Take a multi-vitamin, extra Vitamin D and eat lots of anti-oxidant foods like blueberries, ground flax seeds and green tea. Quit smoking.Quit eating sugar. Start exercising.
None of that sounds too hard, does it? Okay, so eat your pizza and chocolate bars once a week. But the rest of the week, you're on the salads, vegies, whole grains and healthy proteins. It's easy if you let it be. Pre-planning your meals will help. So, think before you pop food or drinks into that black-hole beneath your nose: will this item turn on or turn off a cancer cell?
There are people who think they are immune to getting cancer. Maybe they don't realize we all have cancer cells in our bodies. Our immune system fights them off ever day. But cancer cells are tricky and can disguise themselves or hide. When you feed them sugars and empty caloric foods stored as fat cells, they can multiply at an amazing rate and before you know it, you'll be the one in the waiting room with the persisting headache, or the strange lump or the burning stomach, waiting to hear what you won't want to hear.
I thought the same at one time. I was too healthy to get cancer. I didn't know that 64 women every minute in BC discover they have breast cancer. Many of them "healthy" just like me.
Knowledge is key. Get yourself better informed. Like right here with the Alphabetical Prevention Of Cancer blogs I have been writing and will resume writing in June.
It's good to be back in the writing chair again.
Stay healthy. Be happy. And avoid getting cancer with everything you have! Because when all is said and done, having cancer sucks! Big time.