Inside: Here’s a glimpse into the cancer journey I feel led to share with you.
This story is one I still cannot believe is my own.
This is one Big Humongous Page with A Lot of info on it. Some of it my own experience and some of it designed to help others. I considered keeping my story private, but somewhere during my cancer journey this Bible verse stopped me in my tracks.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Gen. 50:20 NLT
So, if I can share something that will save the life of anyone, then I am 100% here for that. Here’s a quick video, please watch it before reading on.
On This Page...
- My story
- General facts about breast cancer
- How mine was found (it wasn't a lump!) and diagnosis
- My treatment, surgery, and reconstruction
- What you can and should do NOW
- My experience with Medi-Share (a Christian insurance co-op)
- How I kept my hair during chemotherapy (hint: I froze it!)
- My faith was my lifeline
- How you can show love and support to those going through this
- Books I recommend (or you can recommend) to those going through cancer
- Major life changes I made at diagnosis and beyond...
Here’s a quick breakdown of the timeline of my story.
December of 2018: I knew something was up. I kept retaining water and had about 15 pounds of water weight I couldn’t shake. I felt my body was signalling something, but I didn’t know what.
I went mainly gluten free and took something for a stomach parasite which helped briefly. (Interestingly enough, by about a week or two post diagnosis, all that water weight was gone and hasn’t come back).
Very end of January 2019: Noticed discharge in my bra, called my OBGYN to get an appointment, went in, she wasn’t worried, but suggested mammogram and ultrasound.
Late February: Went in for the mammogram and ultrasound, and was told the next day they were “highly suspicious” it was cancer.
Early March: Had biopsy which confirmed it was stage 1a invasive ductal carcinoma (the most common and most treatable form of breast cancer). Went to the nearest cancer hospital (which happened to be my alma mater, University of Florida) to meet with oncologists and surgeons. With the team, decided to do chemo first, before surgery.
Late March: Began chemotherapy, once a week, for 12 weeks. The first week, I had an allergic reaction and was “upgraded” to a new drug the next week. Began doing Cold Caps to keep my hair (see below). Rested a lot while my mother, husband, and mother-in-law (who’d flown in from Australia) took care of the kids and my home. I didn’t feel too bad, really, just more tired than normal.
Mid to late June: Finished chemotherapy.
Early July: Had MRI which showed the tumor to be completely gone. Decided to do unilateral mastectomy instead of bilateral since I tested negative for genetics and since my surgeon said my type doesn’t typically skip breasts, and since it responded so well to treatment (a personal choice made after a lot of prayer). Surgery still necessary since I had extensive pre-cancerous calcifications and those “don’t go away.”
Late July: Had unilateral mastectomy. Pathology showed no cancer in any lymph nodes, 0 cancer cells, and the pre-cancerous calcifications were completely gone. My surgeon said she’d never seen that before!
August: Had periodic appointments with my plastic surgeon for reconstruction purposes.
October: Had follow up procedure and “symmetry surgery”.
Breast Cancer Facts
This is what I’ve learned in my journey from the various medical professionals and peer reviewed articles I’ve read.
Let it be known, from diagnosis until now…. I DO NOT GOOGLE ANYTHING ABOUT CANCER.
I made a strict No Google rule. I will read medical studies, listen to my doctors, and talk at length with my friends (of whom I have quite a few, surprisingly!) who are fellow breast cancer survivors, but #thatsit. Occasionally I’ll ask a friend to Google something specific and report back. But I have stayed away from it to keep my own peace.
This worked for me.
This is my college roomie, Rainy, a breast cancer survivor and ophthalmologist serving veterans in West Palm Beach. Rainy was the first person that I texted when I got diagnosed, and through every day and week and month she was tirelessly there as an encouragement. She answered my questions. My repeated questions. She reminded me that God is bigger, greater, and the source of all peace. She gave me info when I wanted, and support when I needed it. I could NOT have gone through this without her. A sister from another mister and someone who was there for me in ways that I simply cannot explain.
- 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
- Breastfeeding can help minimize your risk of cancer IF the cancer is hormone fed. Mine was not. Hence, why feeding 5 babies did not prevent my cancer’s formation. I asked the surgeon at my initial consult why people were spreading this “pack of lies” about nursing, and that’s what they told me. ;)
- Survival rates for breast cancer have increased dramatically in the last ten years. Partly due to new drugs (like my HER2 ones) and partly due to doing chemo before surgery which helps doctors see how the cancer responded to treatment and gives them a chance to treat another way if the response wasn’t optimal.
- Genetics play a large part, but are not the final say. Just because you have a gene (like the BRAC1 or BRAC2) that predisposes you to cancer does not mean you will get cancer. And just because you do not have those genes, doesn’t mean you will not get it. Only one of my breast cancer survivor friends has the BRAC gene. I did not.
- Traumatic events are often precursors to cancer diagnoses. My father died 1.5 years ago and I learned many horrifying things about his early upbringing that brought up a lot of things for me. I was well and truly traumatized. It’s my firm belief that a lifetime (literally my whole life) of low level fear coupled with the traumatic event, put my body into such a stressed state that my immune system wasn’t able to fight off cancer cells. This combination makes up what many refer to as a “cancer profile” (aka: common characteristics of someone diagnosed with cancer).
- The younger the woman, typically the more aggressive the cancer. This is why if there is a history of breast cancer in your family, you should go in like TOMORROW to get a baseline (read more below). Worst case scenario, you’re out a hundred bucks or two with perfectly healthy breasts. On average, at least half of women diagnosed with breast cancer under 40 are diagnosed at stage 4. As with all types of cancer, the earlier you catch it the better.
- The average age of a breast cancer diagnosis is usually over 60 years old so it’s not nearly as common for younger women to have it, but it’s becoming more common.
This is a photo of me taking a pre-surgery x-ray. This is in the home stretch.
How mine was found
Just the other night at a party with friends, an old and dear friend said…
How did you find it? A lump?
The most common way people find breast cancer is, of course, feeling a hard lump.
I did not have a lump.
In fact, even after they knew where the tumor was… they could not feel it because it was so small. My tumor was 7 mm in size.
The reason I went in for a check up with my OBGYN was nipple discharge and a scab.
I saw something in my bra, then immediately made the appointment.
I was diagnosed with the most common type of breast cancer. Invasive ductal carcinoma which makes up over 50% of breast cancers. And I had what is known as Padgett’s disease which is the nipple scab. My dermatologist said it’s basically the tumor worked its way out onto the skin.
Padgett’s plus the invasive ductal carcinoma makes up only 1% of breast cancers.
The scab saved my life.
Here’s a quick video on some of the more common signs.
If in doubt, go to your OBGYN.
Treatment, surgery, and reconstruction
With most breast cancers, there are a mix and mash of treatments.
- Hormone therapy (pills, removal of ovaries, etc.)
- Natural and holistic treatments
I used a combination.
Some breast cancers that are small simply have surgery then a pill to take for 5 to 10 years that suppresses estrogen.
Some types – like mine – do a monoclonal antibody infusion – which targets specifically the thing that causes cancer to grow and flags it. Then the immune system sees the flag and kills it.
If cancer has spread into the lymph nodes, you are generally encouraged to have radiation.
This is me documenting my hair NOT falling out. I couldn’t wash it but once a week without chemicals, no heat, or pulling. Please excuse my messy closet (that needs organizing) and the crib which is where the baby slept while my mother-in-law (who flew in from Australia to help during chemo) slept in his room.
My treatment plan was as follows.
Chemotherapy first – Because my type (HER2) always has chemo as it has the monoclonal antibody (specific medicine that is highly effective thus my good prognosis), they will often do the chemo first to see how the cancer responds.
➡️ If the cancer responds well they are better able to give you an accurate prognosis.
Surgery next – After chemo, the MRI showed the tumor was completely gone. However, I had a lot of pre-cancerous DCIS which, my surgeon told me from Day One, never goes away. It doesn’t respond to treatment or go away on its own, so they want to remove it at surgery.
➡️ At the time of surgery, they removed breast tissue from my left breast (this is a mastectomy, they cut open the breast to remove the tissue then sew it back together) and not only did they find no cancer cells, ZERO, they found NO pre-cancerous calcifications. Which my surgeon said she’d never seen before. 😲
Reconstruction last – At the time of the mastectomy they removed my breast tissue then inserted an expander. This gives the breast its shape and you fill it until you reach the size you’d like. At that point, they’ll take the expander out, put an implant in (not the type associated with lymphoma!), and give my right breast a lift or boob job for symmetry.
➡️I opted for a unilateral in place of a bilateral because the tissue with the tumor had many irregularities and my right side was completely healthy. My surgeon said my particular type doesn’t really “jump sides” so I will monitor it regularly.
I was torn on this decision, but prayed extensively on it and felt great peace.
The week of my final scan and a few appointments (hence my eye bags), the whole family rented a house down in Gainesville (where my doctors and cancer hospital are) and we swam and had nice time. I took this photo the day before my post-chemo MRI which was to tell us if the cancer had responded to chemo or not.
What you can and should do NOW
Breast cancer is, unfortunately, quite common.
The average age of diagnosis is around 62 years old.
However, of the 1 in 8 women who are diagnosed, those who are younger typically have more aggressive breast cancers.
And, because we don’t get mammograms until around 40, around 50% of women diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 40 have Stage IV upon diagnosis.
A few months ago I felt a strong punch in the gut and thought… well… I am in a position to potentially save the lives of many people.
Hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions, of moms come to my site, read my newsletters, and see me on social media Every Month.
And, honestly, this story and all this info is hard to write and put out there in such a vulnerable way. I don’t want to be known or remembered by you as the blogger who had cancer.
So I hope you’ll see this, as my real life friends and family do, as part of my story, not my defining thing.
This is Sheryl, the godly lady who told me the day before I was diagnosed that, really, “It is going to be okay.” She’s a 6 time cancer survivor and was such an encouragement to me.
So here goes.
Here’s what you can do now to help prevent (or discover) breast cancer:
- Find out your family history of cancer.
- If there’s a lot of history of cancer in your family, go get a genetic test. If insurance won’t pay, negotiate a self-pay rate. (You can always get a steeply discounted self-pay rate if insurance won’t pay for this!)
- If you flag for any genetic cancer, you are now protected from insurance denying you screening and even prophylactic procedures. Flagging for a certain gene is not a death sentence, it’ll simply help you keep better tabs on yourself.
- If anyone in your family has had breast cancer – no matter your age – go in for a mammogram (or thermal imaging or a mammaprint) to get a baseline reading. One of my friends (whose mother had breast cancer when she was 8) said the lady at the billing desk agreed to file it as ‘diagnostic’ so it would be covered by insurance. If they won’t do this for you, again, ask for the self-pay rate and forget about your insurance. There are other diagnostic tools that are considered safer than a mammogram, so look into those as well.
- Stop worrying about what you “shouldn’t” eat and focus on eating the things you “should.” Kris Carr (has had stage 4 cancer for 16 years now and is thriving) refers to this as “addition instead of subtraction.” As in, eat lots of veggies and fruit. Don’t focus on restriction, so much as focusing on having A LOT of the good stuff. Research shows that having 5 cups of fruit/veggies a day plus exercises reduces the risk of cancer reoccurrence by HALF. This is huge. You can be on keto, but be eating super unhealthy stuff (#itstrue) so just focus on getting in good things. Fruits and veggies. And if you’ve done keto and now are worried about fruit, please just go here. If you’ll eat processed chocolate keto treats, but are scared to eat a strawberry… the world has gone whack.
- Go to a naturopath or functional medicine doctor and find out where you’re deficient. I actually did this a few months prior to diagnosis. I knew my body was signaling distress, but didn’t know why. If you are mineral deficient, fix it. If your hormones are jacked, try some herbs to remedy it. If you are not currently sick, but not really healthy, now’s the time to get healthy.
- Forgive, forgive, forgive, and release, release, release. If you are hanging on to pain, trauma, betrayal, or offenses of others… let it go. Act like it’s a matter of life or death because it literally can be. One of the Cancer Profile characteristics is unforgiveness. Unforgiveness goes with bitterness and resentment and these are like toxic poisons from WITHIN. I heard this and immediately was convicted of some serious unforgiveness in my life. I will tell you it was hard to conceive of fully forgiving for about 20 Mississippis and then I realized that ➡️ sins of OTHERS might kill ME if I couldn’t let them go and, well, that seemed stupid.
- Deal with fear. I say this will all humility… during my cancer journey I was delivered from all my fears (Psalm 34:4). The first 37 years of my life were in constant fear and – I’ve read this over and over – fear is a characteristic of a cancer patient. You must decide to trust that God will always be with you, no matter if something crappy happens. GUESS WHAT… one of the scariest thing a person in America can conceive of (getting cancer) happened to me, and God was a constant comforting presence. So fear is totally pointless. It didn’t prevent hardship and it can’t add an hour to my life. In fact, it lowers our immune system, raises our stress response, and literally makes our bodies a welcoming place to create cancer. So, fear not only does not prevent trials, it can bring them into our lives. Fear is not a choice in our lives… until it becomes a choice. It was compulsive for 37 years, and then it was a choice. And I chose not to host it any longer.
- Receive love. I was reading a book on trauma when I got diagnosed. This was no coincidence. As I was waiting to hear what stage I was in, I read a passage in the book about people who felt separated from love. Who built up walls to avoid receiving love. Who were hurt or wounded by abandonment, divorce, etc. as a child. And guess what? Nearly 100% of these people had disease. When we’re separated from ourselves, from others, and from God, disease forms. I decided to stop trying to prove I was lovable and just admit that I could lie on a couch the rest of my life and God would not love me any less. When I fully believed that, I was freed of A LOT of weird things I’d experienced my whole life. So much nervous energy went away. Instead of feeling like the world was a horrible place, I felt like the world is a beautiful place. Instead of seeing dust in a corner and berating myself for being a bad housekeeper, I’d say, “Ahh, someone needs to dust that!” Accept that God loves you just as you are, warts and all. That you never could be perfect and, that’s fine, because He’s made a way for that.
Look, there is so much more I have to share. So much so that I’m going to do a free bootcamp in January on the five main ways we (moms of little ones) can remain well (mentally well, emotionally well, physically well, environmentally well, and spiritually well) based on what I’ve gone through and learned. And what I didn’t know to do, and what I now do know. I came by it the hard way.
Honestly, some of what I’ve learned surprised me deeply and it will you too. I can’t wait to dive in with you!
Sign up here and I’ll notify you come January. We’ll use the New Year momentum to make some permanent changes!
This is my dear friend Jessica, a breast cancer survivor, with her mother. I met her in the waiting room on my first day of chemotherapy (a very emotional day) and she was a tremendous support to me throughout this whole process. It is amazing how God put her in my path.
My experience with Medi-Share (a Christian insurance co-op)
It is essentially an insurance sharing organization similar to a co-op. The prices are a lot lower than, say, Blue Cross Blue Shield, because the CEOs are not making tens of millions a year in bonuses.
It’s Christ centered, and works similar to insurance, with a few caveats.
Note: If you decide to switch your insurance to Medi-Share, tell them Rachel Norman sent you! I get nothing from this referral, FYI, I just want them to know I sent you.
I won’t go into how it all works here, but wanted to address a question I hear often.
Do you really think the insurance sharing things work in a true medical emergency? That’s what I’m worried about!
Welp, I’m here to say yes.
Yes, it has been a HUGE blessing.
Not only did I have no problems getting into a very well respected and prominent cancer hospital in my state, all my treatment was paid for and approved.
Even when I had an allergic reaction to my first chemo drug, I was promptly upgraded to another drug. The nurses said that many insurances will not approve this upgrade even after a patient has been shown to be intolerant.
My husband and I on my first day of chemo. This was right before I froze my head off with the Cold Caps and right after I met a (now) dear friend in the waiting room who went through the same thing last year. We overlapped at UF (Go Gators!) during one year and have since developed a friendship I really cherish. Also, I remember seeing friends photos during breast cancer and they were smiling and I thought… WHAT IS THERE TO SMILE ABOUT… but now having gone past it, I cherish these photos to see how far I have come.
Here are some ways that Medi-Share went above and beyond:
- An early aspect of treatment ran into an insurance snafu – since Medi-Share is not technically an “insurance” this office was reluctant to treat me. I was promptly fast tracked to the VP of negotiations. He called me directly and informed me that from that point forward, I had a self-pay representative. He paid for my treatments IN CASH (with a discount because cash = discount) and I never had another hold up, wait, or insurance “issue.”
- At least once a month if not more often, a lady from the Medi-Share team (Hi, Leah!) called me to check on me. She literally called me to see how I was doing. That’s it. And she prayed with me over the phone every time! Have you ever heard tell of such?
- I was told numerous times to focus on healing and let them handle all the payments. I actually had my own insurance comforting ME and telling ME they would handle their end. Usually, the patient is begging the insurance to cover their treatment.
Having had a huge medical event and used Medi-Share as my insurance alternative, I can say that I recommend them wholeheartedly.
Note: If you decide to switch your insurance to Medi-Share, tell them Rachel Norman sent you!
How I kept my hair
Not everyone who gets diagnosed with breast cancer needs chemo.
➡️ Basically, it’s not *necessarily* about how advanced or early the cancer is that determines whether or not you have chemo, it’s what your marker is. [/mffh-box]
Estrogen, progesterone, or – in my case – HER2
Because I had HER2 (the specific chemical that would cause my cancer to grow) they always give chemo. There are relatively new and hyper effective drugs for HER2 that are responsible for such a dramatic increase in survival rates overall for breast cancer.
So…. that first meeting with the surgeon, she told me I’d need chemo. The first thing I said was…
Will I for sure 100% lose my hair?
She told me that, in fact, I was the perfect candidate for Cold Caps.
Excuse the crazy filter, I’m sure my husband did it because he loves them and I hate them. But it did make the photo slightly more upbeat. ;)
Essentially, you use a gel cap kept in dry ice to freeze your hair follicles when you receive chemotherapy. This causes the hair to sort of contract and not absorb the chemo.
Therefore… your hair doesn’t fall out.
I didn’t lose any hair at all during my 3 month treatments.
In fact, I lost even less than normal. In the months afterwards I’ve shed quite a bit of hair, but no one would be able to tell.
This is a photo I sent to my friends after one of my initial treatments. We had to get a hotel this night. I didn’t want to take a photo and remember this, but had heard it was amazing to look back on all God has brought you through.
Pro Tip: Some cancer hospitals have equipment on site that does a similar thing. The pricing may be more or less expensive depending on how often you go in, but it’s worth asking about.
Insurance doesn’t generally cover this and they are not cheap, but there are many organizations that help cover costs associated with breast cancer for young moms, and you can always apply.
My faith as a LIFELINE
I wasn’t even sure how to write out how my faith in God got me through this time, so I share part of my story in the video below.
How you can show love and support to those going through it
At some point during my treatment, I decided to read the book Radical Remissions.
This book was written about those who had late Stage III or Stage IV diagnoses and who weren’t given much hope to live.
And yet… they are all cancer free years down the line.
One of the common factors that the thousands who were studied had in common… support.
- Text, call, or write | If you have a friend or loved one going through cancer or another health crisis, even quick, “I’m thinking about you” messages go a long way. It helps the person feel thought of. Feeling thought of makes you feel loved. Feeling loved releases happy hormones. Happy hormones are healing.
- Bring a meal | My church family (and my mother’s church family and longtime family friends) faithfully brought food to our family for nearly 4 months. FOUR MONTHS. I cannot tell you what an enormous blessing this was.
- Just show up | If you want to bring a care basket, some groceries, or anything else, you can always just show up. You don’t have to visit long (or at all!), you can leave it at the front door or taped to the back. The tendency is to withdraw to give the sick person space (and they may want that!) but they will truly appreciate the thought.
- Offer to clean | A group of friends (and my country neighbors) came over one evening during treatment and cleaned all my bathrooms and kitchen. It was AMAZING.
- Order on Amazon and ship direct | Various friends from various places sent me things throughout this journey. A great neck pillow, books, water bottles, hoodies, you name it. Amazon has made it so easy to get something to someone quickly.
- Keep up with family | If you feel the person wants privacy and you want to check up, but not intrude, then write your friend’s mom, spouse, or adult children. I had a LOT of people write my mom to keep up and she’d always pass the message along. That was nice as well.
This is a blanket my Italy roomies (we call ourselves The Baguettes) sent me. It has tons of pictures of us on it from all over the world from the past 15 years… I used it nearly daily and felt such love. :)
Books I recommend for those going through it
As a reader, it was natural for me to find encouragement and strength in books. I quickly found an author, Lynn Eib, a longtime cancer survivor and cancer patient advocate.
She’d written a few books that were extremely encouraging to me in my faith as I went on this journey. I recommend them wholeheartedly!
Life changes I’ve made since cancer
I loved my doctors, surgeons, and nurses.
I loved that their treatment path offered me a good prognosis (testicular, prostate, lymphoma, breast, and thyroid are some of the most treatable cancers out there if caught early) and I wasn’t tempted to skip chemo for that exact reason.
But I also wanted to heal and get into the best health of my life using natural methods as well.
So, I’m not suggesting that you do all of this, but simply that after much research and talking to a LOT of cancer survivors, these are some things that can help “cancer proof” you.
Note: I am not suggesting a perfectly healthy person go and do all of these. I took massive action to help my body heal and that’s why I’ve gone to such lengths.
I am simply sharing in case someone else is going through cancer (or you have a friend who is and may be encouraged) or in case there are certain aspects of this you want to add to your general health habits.
Detox became a focus
Our environments, the products we use, and the foods we eat all contribute to toxins in our body. And, if we aren’t in good health, these toxins can lower our immune system and prevent our body’s own natural defenses from combating threats.
There are about 1,354,234 ways you can detoxify.
I get whatever epsom salts I can find on my weekly Walmart runs and try to take a detox bath each night. Once, before I was diagnosed, I went into a floating salt pod (2,000 pounds of epsom salt) and after I got out I’d dropped 10 pounds of water weight. Salts work.
A major goal for me during chemo and now is to make sure my environment is as toxin-free as possible, and to focus heavily on detox. Here are some ways I do that.
Of course, I don’t do them all every day, but these are part of my home protocol.
I’m not linking to scientific studies, but instead to articles giving overviews and citing their own studies.
As always, do your own research, I’m not a doctor.
- Detox baths | Epsom salt baths are on regular rotation and are effective in detoxifying. (source)
- Castor oil packs | I’ve heard of castor oil my whole life. My grandmother gave my mom and aunts castor oil regularly 🤢 and they didn’t love it. A castor oil pack, however, you do not drink. Following this tutorial you can gently detox. I have used it both on my liver and the breast that had cancer. I won’t know if that helped contribute to all of my breast calcifications going away or not, but it helps encourage lympathic flow and that’s good.
- Supplements and herbs | While I have been focusing on nutrition (see below) and making sure that I’m eating copious amounts of fruits and vegetables, chemo depleted my minerals and I needed a boost. I try to take tinctures, oils, or powders that can be absorbed into water in lieu of pills that will be harder for my body to break down. Here are some good supplements for those going through cancer from a guy who beat the odds doing it naturally.
Here are a few of the liquid supplements and oils I take daily. Some of these I get on Amazon, others from Whole Foods.
Proper lymphatic drainage and flow – a MUST!
Here’s a quote that says it better than me.
The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials. The primary function of the lymphatic system is to transport lymph, a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells, throughout the body. (source)
Clearly, my lymphatic system needed some help or cancer wouldn’t have set in. So, I made lymphatic drainage and flow a major focus.
Here’s what I did (and still do).
- Lymphatic drainage massage | Somehow, even though I live in a small rural town with only 8,000 people… there’s someone trained in lymphatic massage. I started going towards the end of chemo and go fairly regularly. In fact, my surgeon said when she removed a lymph node during surgery (all of which showed NO cancer) that she’d only seen such fast lymph flow only once in her life! (Here’s more info on it.)
- Cupping | Cupping is another way to help promote lymphatic drainage and to stop sludge from building up. You may have seen it because Michael Phelps has done it. You can use the harder cups or the softer cups (I did softer) and it’s gentler. It was so effective, however, that I had a major detox reaction that evening and nearly threw up so… if you don’t have a real reason to do it it might be overkill.
- Rebounding | I got a rebounder (basically a mini trampoline) and you bounce on it which encourages lymph flow. The lymph system doesn’t have its own pump (like our heart does) so movement and exercise are pretty much the only way to stimulate it. You don’t let your feet leave the rebounder and you simply bounce. (Here’s more on that.)
- Dry brushing | This brushes the skin which encourages the lymph vessels directly under the skin to flow. There is a certain technique to it, but it’s highly effective. Here is a step by step (with pictures) demonstration.
I utilize Essential Oils as much as possible!
I’ve used essential oils for years and years.
When I got diagnosed, I was determined to reach for them instead of other things to get me through any sickness from chemo and to generally promote health and healing.
There are so many positive benefits to oils.
Note: I am not saying that oils are proven to cure disease, I’m simply stating how the properties in these plant derivatives work to promote healing, health, cleansing, and detoxification.
And they have for centuries.
Also, I diffuse them in each child’s room.
I’ve spent a small fortune on cute diffusers (I have an owl, a coral reef, a dinosaur, etc.) and we put them on in the evenings to go to sleep.
Basically, I use oils for tons of stuff, and I did during cancer treatment as well.
I threw out TONS of chemicals
Our body has natural systems to get rid of chemicals and toxins.
And this works… until it’s overloaded.
I knew my body was holding toxins for a while, even before diagnosis, because I could do a salt pod (like this) and shed 15 pounds.
And toxins are often stored in our fat cells.
So, to allow my body to heal, get stronger, and build back up my immunity, I decided I wanted as few toxins and chemicals in my body as possible. This will ease the burden on my systems to detox.
- I got rid of all nonstick cooking ware which leach chemicals into the foods cooked in them (source).
- I bought plant based or organic dish washing soaps, all purpose cleaners (I use the Young Living Thieves one), and dishwasher pellets.
- I ditched nearly all of my makeup. The thing is, makeup is not regulated by the FDA and it contains a lot of crap that is absorbed in your skin then directly into your blood stream. I replaced it with Burt’s Bees and clean makeup from Sephora.
- I could only use specific shampoos and conditioners (without parabens and other similar chemicals) during chemo, and am continuing that now. Of course, replacing everything you own at once with green alternatives can feel SO PRICEY, but I’ve done it gradually. A few things a month.
- I got rid of all air fresheners and candles, and just use diffusers for both function (odor absorption, for example) and for fragrance.
- Air purifier. For my bedroom (and eventually for the other areas in the home, one step at a time...) I got an air purifier. This isn’t the exact one, but similar. It’s important that the air quality in my own room where I sleep is as high as possible.
- Plants purify the air too. I have a lot of artificial plants in my home, but my plan is to get large hearty plants in each of our main rooms.
I started stuffing myself with the good stuff. While I ate a nearly 100% perfectly clean diet on chemotherapy (which may account for how well I did), I am not aiming for total perfection now, but at least 10 servings of fruits and veggies per day as well as juices.
I basically stuff myself with the good stuff.
Fruit smoothies (at least 2 cups of fruit) and flax seed and lots of supplements for breakfast.
A big fat salad full of spinach, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, WHATEVER on it for lunch. I try to make it be a lot of good stuff in one big bowl.
Dinner I will do usually some type of salad, veggie, or carb.
I juice celery, green apples, carrots, garlic, lemon, and sometimes cucumber.
Takeaway: Add in the good stuff instead of focusing on what you CAN’T have.
So there we have it, friend…
I hope to keep this page up and current, so please check back if you want updated information.
If you know someone going through breast cancer, particularly someone with young children as that is particularly traumatic, please send her this page in hopes it may encourage her in her healing journey.
Want to join me in my free bootcamp in the new year and talk more about the 5 pillars of being healthy? I’ve learned so much (the freaking hard way) and want to share it with you. It’s free and it’ll be a great way to start the year.
Listen to the video below for more info.
It has been a year, mama. I have cried more than ever before in my life. Yet, I’ve had more peace than ever before in my life. I am cancer free, hope to stay that way, and am so blessed that we share part of our motherhood journey together.