Tag Archives: breast cancer

The Grass is Greener on the Other Side of Breast Cancer Survival

You always hear that saying about people looking for the greener grass, but they never find it. However, I’m here to tell you that I’ve actually found the greener grass. It’s on the other side of cancer survival. I’m a survivor and I don’t need a doctor to tell me that I am clean, I know it already and I feel it inside.

I say the grass is greener because before my diagnosis, I was just living my life, day to day. I would say I was happy, but I was only putting in half the effort. It’s like when everyone around you says you’re “on fire,” but you know down deep inside you the fire could burn better and brighter. No one can do anything about making the fire burn better but you.

Then you get this life-changing diagnosis and you think that you may die sooner than you expected, but you get a second chance and WOW! What a difference. (more…)

Opting for Chemotherapy: Have I Been Poisoned?

By Carol Dunlop at OptimumBodySculpting.com

When I first informed friends and online followers that I had been diagnosed with breast cancer and had decided to move forward with chemotherapy, I received so many opinions that I couldn’t think. In the end, I had to fall back on the old saying about opinions—everyone has one—then move on. Wow! I heard everything from “Wait, don’t do it!” to “you’re being poisoned and your body will never recover” to ”why?” It really took me by surprise as to how deep peoples’ opinions run. I also received a lot of positive feedback, but you always remember the negative more, don’t you?

So after I digested everything and scratched the rest, I opted for the temporary “poison.” I didn’t feel that pumping my body full of supplements with their own side effects was worth the risk of maybe not working. I can honestly say that the chemo has been …well, not that bad. Yes, I did get sick, so sick that I couldn’t get out of bed for a couple days, but of the five treatments, so far, to have just one like that has to count for something, right? And now I’m on my last one. Yeah! Double Yeah! I feel that I have been through the fire and back with this whole process. It really isn’t over because now I have hormone therapy to look forward to. (more…)

Winning Prescription for Breast Cancer Recovery: Keep it Simple, Stupid

When I first began my breast cancer journey, I couldn’t get enough input of what to expect and craved glimpses through the journey of others. I wanted to know what mine would be like. Now that I am finishing up the middle part—chemo—I have some room for reflection on my journey thus far.

Deciding to have the mastectomy was the easiest part of this journey, for me. I wanted to have the least possible chance of the breast cancer coming back and I figured it would be a great opportunity to sculpt my body. What woman wouldn’t want that? Dealing with the pain from the mastectomy and the reconstruction, now that was a whole other story of survival, whew! I have a high pain tolerance, but believe me; pills were in plenty of supply. The only thing that I had to worry about was taking too many or staying on them for too long, but my husband kept that in check.

Getting chemo was a HUGE stressor for me. I lost 10 pounds before the first treatment from stress and worry alone. Then I had the first one, gauged my body’s reaction, and moved on to the next and the next. Now, I’m at the end, the last one YEAH! (more…)

Breast Cancer Survivors Banish Depression with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

While the mortality rate of women with breast cancer is decreasing, the incidence of depression in women who have undergone treatment for breast cancer is on the rise. As many as 50% of all women who are affected with the disease will experience some kind of post-recovery melancholy. Thankfully, researchers from the Sinclair School of Nursing at the University of Missouri have brought to our attention a specific meditation technique, and suggest how it can help breast cancer survivors revive their zest for life.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a type of mindfulness training that uses the mind to combat anxiety and bring about a sense of wellbeing. It includes mental practices that heighten physical awareness, as well as yoga and time spent in quiet, reflective meditation. Developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979, MBSR helps people foster their own mind-body connection, as well as create a deeper awareness of how thoughts and feelings can affect physical and emotional health.

The MBSR program consists of eight to ten week group sessions including practice in meditation skills, stress response and coping techniques. The University of Missouri’s team of researchers gathered data from the participants during and after the group sessions. Measurements of blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate were recorded. Not surprisingly, the participants’ physical responses to MBSR were favorable. Blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate all decreased, suggesting a lowered stress response. In addition, the subjects said their mood improved and their level of mindfulness increased.

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Breast Cancer: My Search for Answers

Guest blogger, Carol Dunlop is certified through FiTour as a Personal Trainer and through the American Red Cross as a CPR, AED and First Aid Instructor. She has competed and placed in several Fitness America and National Bodybuilding competitions. Carol was diagnosed with breast cancer in the summer of 2011 and she is sharing her story of survival at DietsInReview.com. Check out her website, OptimumBodySculpting.com.

Are you aware that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer? That’s a sobering statement, but one that you may not really connect with unless you have a personal experience with breast cancer. I am the one in eight.

I have to admit that I was like most people, I heard about breast cancer, donated to the cause and sympathized with anyone that was diagnosed. However, I never had a personal experience with it in my family or any close friends, until I was diagnosed. My husband’s mother passed from complications from breast cancer, but that was long before we even met. Now, my outlook and my reaction to hearing that a woman has passed from having this disease is totally different. It hits me deep in my heart. (more…)

When Insurance Refuses a Breast Cancer Patient

Guest blogger, Carol Dunlop is certified through FiTour as a Personal Trainer and through the American Red Cross as a CPR, AED and First Aid Instructor. She has competed and placed in several Fitness America and National Bodybuilding competitions. Carol was diagnosed with breast cancer in the summer of 2011 and she is sharing her story of survival at DietsInReview.com. Check out her website, OptimumBodySculpting.com.

Can you imagine anything more devastating than being diagnosed with breast cancer? How about finding out that your insurance company is refusing to pay for your treatment? And that no one in the company can give you any solid or sensible answers as to why?

Now that you’ve gathered your breath from the shock, this exact scenario is what has been playing out in my life and breast cancer journey since I was diagnosed four months ago. (more…)

Consistent Physical Activity Aids Breast Cancer Recovery

Guest blogger, Carol Dunlop is certified through FiTour as a Personal Trainer and through the American Red Cross as a CPR, AED and First Aid Instructor. She has competed and placed in several Fitness America and National Bodybuilding competitions. Carol was diagnosed with breast cancer in the summer of 2011 and she is sharing her story of survival at DietsInReview.com. Check out her website, OptimumBodySculpting.com.

Weeks, days, and hours. My time is relegated to watching my calendar intently for the next procedure, appointment, lab work or medicine dose. As I have said before, I was healthy and could go months without seeing a doctor. Now, if I go a week without seeing one, something is definitely off. Not only are there doctor’s appointments for them to basically look you over and make recommendations, there are lab trips for blood draws and tests and procedures and shots. It can all be so overwhelming, if you let it.

I am getting through it by taking one day, one procedure, one medication at a time. Once I’m finished with the last dosage, I am looking ahead to what’s next. Then, I stop. I can’t allow myself to go any farther. Going farther just overwhelms me and causes me to feel anxious and powerless. When it’s just one thing on my plate at a time, I have the power. (more…)

Breast Cancer Isn’t What’s Going to Take Me Out

Guest blogger, Carol Dunlop is certified through FiTour as a Personal Trainer and through the American Red Cross as a CPR, AED and First Aid Instructor. She has competed and placed in several Fitness America and National Bodybuilding competitions. Carol was diagnosed with breast cancer in the summer of 2011 and she is sharing her story of survival at DietsInReview.com. Check out her website, OptimumBodySculpting.com.

Having watched the movie “Five” on Lifetime TV that depicts five different breast cancer stories and the impact that this disease has on everyone, including those around you, I have come to the conclusion that this disease isn’t “it” for me. I probably won’t know what “it” will be, but breast cancer will NOT cause my demise.

The movie starts with the story of a little girl wondering why her mom is in her room and wanting to know why all those people are in her home. It’s set in 1969, at a time when children were seen and not heard and neither were they told anything about “grown-up stuff” apparently. My heart went out to that child and I couldn’t imagine having my daughter in such a confused state when there was something obviously wrong with me. (more…)

I am Not My Hair, It’s Just an Accessory

Guest blogger, Carol Dunlop is certified through FiTour as a Personal Trainer and through the American Red Cross as a CPR, AED and First Aid Instructor. She has competed and placed in several Fitness America and National Bodybuilding competitions. Carol was diagnosed with breast cancer in the summer of 2011 and she is sharing her story of survival at DietsInReview.com. Check out her website, OptimumBodySculpting.com.

In 2006, Grammy Award-winning recording artist India.Arie released I Am Not My Hair as a type of ode to women, especially women of color, to our hair and the many ways we wear it and fret over it. I am certain that most women fret over their hair and agonize over what it will and won’t do, even when it looks the most beautiful. So, I’m sure that you can imagine the uncertainty that I felt when my doctor informed me that I would definitely lose my hair as a result of my chemo treatments.

I waited until I was certain that my hair was actually coming out. When I could feel the clumps in my hand, I knew it was time! My sweet soulmate and husband actually cut and shaved it off for me. There was actually no better, more sweeter or honest and intimate thing for him to do than that. I felt so close to him for sharing that moment with me. I will never forget it and always remember that special time. (more…)

The Accuracy of Mammograms Comes Under Debate

A review ordered by the British Department of Health concluded that women who get mammograms are at risk for “over-diagnosis,” according to a group of Danish scientists.

As many as 30% of all women who get a mammogram may be getting a false report, therefore enduring unnecessary cancer treatment such as chemo-therapy and surgery. They also found that for every 2000 women age 50 to 70 who are screened for 10 years, one will be saved from dying of breast cancer while several will have had unnecessary treatment. In addition, a survey suggested that out of 479 women, only 7% were aware that some cancers grow so slowly that even without treatment, it would not be of harm to a woman’s health, which had not been brought to the attention of women prior to their screenings.

Mammograms have long been a recommended procedure to detect breast cancer. It is worth noting that women in the Untied States are much more aggressively screened for breast cancer compared with women in Great Britain. The recommended age to begin screening for Americans is 40 and the frequency is once per year. British women are recommended to get their first screening at the age of 50, and not to  get them but once every three years. The aforementioned statistics could explain these differences.

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