If you have a minute (okay an hour), please listen to my guest spot on the Love, Trust, Pixie Dust radio show! We talk about ways to increase your overall health and wellness!
During the most difficult times in my journey away from breast cancer, walking on the Trinity Trails was my saving grace. On those walks, I traveled through the complete spectrum of emotions. I cried. I made the most difficult, life-altering decisions. Undeniable realizations were brought onto my path, and walked by my side, until I could face them. I was literally brought to my knees on those trails. I felt a more powerful inner strength radiating from my chest than I have ever felt before!
Walking is therapeutic, especially in nature. It is good for the body, heart, and soul! Take my hand and walk with me!
Nancy L. Baskin Michlin, M.Ed., C.H.C
After yesterday’s back-to-back-to-back-to-back doctors’ appointments, my fears have been put to rest….as much as possible without a crystal ball! My anxieties for the up and coming surgery and I are having a stare down. I will win the face off. I am mighty. I can do this, yet again.
See post Mirror, Mirror On The Wall for further detailing of my fears
Dr. Laidley, my breast surgeon, reassured me that cancer recurrence is not increased from the number of surgeries one endures. Other doctors may disagree with her. Heck, I may disagree with her. I know surgeries stimulate cancer cells and decrease the immune system. Not a good combination to have simultaneously. I train for surgery to get my body in tip-top shape and combat that those effects as much as possible. But at least I know, in her very busy 20 year practice, she has not seen a rise in recurrence from increased surgeries. There is a lot to be said for empirical evidence.
Furthermore, now I also know, this next surgery is not just cosmetic. Dr. Laidley pointed out that Rylee is too wild and free. She slips down the outer side of my torso too much when I lay down. Without re-positioning her now, I would face issues down the road. I am all for putting this behind me (or more appropriately stated, “firmly in front of me!”) sooner rather than later.
Dr. Hodges, my plastic surgeon, reassured me that I will have the same full range of motion and mobility that I have right now. I let him know that my priorities for the surgery are as follows:
1) Mobility and Motion
2) Symmetry between the girls
Dr. Hodges will literally and figuratively have his hands full in this surgery! He estimates 2.5 – 3 hours on the table for me. Ugh. Lots of work to be done: exchanging both implants, re-positioning each of the girls, anchoring them in place (double ugh!), prettying up their scars, extracting tissue for the nipples, creating an internal crease below the underside of Lexi; removing internal scar tissue, and transporting fat cells from the side of my thighs for cleavage. Recovery is going to be tedious.
I must say, in the past almost year since my last surgery, I have very much been enjoying having my life back! It has been a thrill to easily get out of bed or off the couch, sleep on either side (not just on my back), breathe and laugh without discomfort, drive, walk, jog, lift weights, go to work, cook dinner, yada, yada, yada! You know, living my life! All the normal, simple, everyday actions we all take for granted. This too shall pass!
Surgery is set for Friday, September 6th at 8:00 am CST.
The countdown has begun. I am savoring the days before the surgery; engaged in winning the face off; exercising six days a week to hone my lean, mean, fighting machine; and looking forward to being on the Other Side of the surgery!
Nancy L. Baskin Michlin, M.Ed., C.H.C.
Night before surgery thoughts: Tonight I ponder. I have never felt so alive and vibrant! Tomorrow, I go under the knife…once again. I feel so strong and healthy. It is amazing to me that there is a beast inside of me that needs to be slain. The music of Terri Hendrix and Lloyd Maines rocks my soul. I am strong. I feel great. The counter balance of the yin and yang. It is the treatment tomorrow which will bring me down; yet not for long. I will survive! I am alive and vibrant! Nothing can stop me!
Yesterday’s surgery was successful. The Uterine Polypectomy went smoothly. The only surprise was the three polyps seen on the ultrasound were actually one big polyp. Remove that bad boy…check! The original biopsy showed it was benign, so I am assuming the post-op pathology report will confirm those findings.
There was one hitch in the surgery. When she went to perform the ablation, the machine she uses did not work. No one likes to hear about equipment malfunctions while they are on the operating table. Luckily, I was under the deep blanket of anesthesia. I was none the wiser until post-op. She was still able to do the ablation. They had to revert back to older methods. As long as it was successful, I am a happy camper.
Recovery has been easy. No pain. No cramps. Just some minor discomfort and grogginess from the anesthesia. I have some exercise restrictions for the next couple of weeks as not to hemorrhage.
More health news. I had my bone density checked. It has been a year since I was diagnosed with osteopenia and a year on tamoxifen (which has a known side-effect of bone density loss). As reported on past posts, I am not on any of the drugs prescribed for osteopenia/osteoporosis. I have done a lot of research on them, and the risks are far greater than the benefits. I won’t put those drugs in my body. I have chosen a natural route for bone building.
I eat lots of leafy greens for calcium and take a calcium supplement. I have been walking (now jogging) regularly for a year and a half, and I jumped up my game when we joined the gym. I have been focusing on weight bearing exercises for about eight months. Turns out, muscle is built much faster than bone density. The improvement was not as significant as I was expecting, yet there was an improvement! On my vertebrae, I had two-tenths greater density and one-tenth on my hips. Since I’m on a drug which depletes bone density, I’m happy with any gain I get!
Nancy L. Baskin Michlin, M.Ed., C.H.C.
More and more articles are confirming what I’ve been shouting out four the last almost 1.5 years! Read on to see why I’ve changed my diet and exercise regularly. You too can use nutrition and exercise to better your health!
This is why I exercise six days a week!!
“Dr. Andrea Cheville of the Mayo Clinic said exercise offers significant benefits for cancer patients. She cited in particular a 2005 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association which found that breast cancer patients who walked briskly for three hours a week had an almost 50-percent reduction in their risk of breast cancer recurrence.
“That’s honestly as good as any drug we have,” Cheville said.
Read article here:
Exercise Can Reduce Cancer Recurrence Risk!
My next two surgeries are scheduled. Monday, July 8th is the Uterine Polypectomy and Ablation. To recap the need. For peace of mind, I had a uterine sonogram. Good thing I did! There were three polyps. They biopsied one of them. Great news is it was benign!! With my being on tamoxifen, there is an 11% chance it could turn to cancer. You can be certain that is an 11% I don’t want! Begone polyps! Begone all uterine lining! I don’t want to go through this again!
Lexi and Rylee (my left and right breasts respectively) are back in the limelight for the next surgery on Friday, September 6th. Their story was paused before completion, because they needed time to heal! Six surgeries in seven months was a bit excessive for them. Now that they’ve almost had a year since their last stint, they are ready to reach the finish line. The nasty infection Lexi had to endure was a game changer for her overall look and feel. We’ve known since the last surgery that they would be on the table again. They are not symmetrical, and Lexi still needs a lot of TLC. The surgery will include new implants, nips, tucks, repositioning, and relocating a little bit fat. My exercise must be paying off! Today, my plastic surgeon had to really search for a place on my body with enough fat to remove and relocate a smidgen!
After both surgeries I will have physical restrictions. Driving will be one of them. I am hoping I’ll have a little help from my local friends! **Hint! Hint! Hint!** Thank you!
In the meantime, I am containing my treatment. My diet is clean and nutritious. On the average, I exercise six times a week. I get Vitamin C and aloe IVs once a week. I’ve also gotten two antisense injections, a formula made partially from my own cells which is designed to kill cancer cells. Once I’ve had three of these injections, I’ll retest my blood in Greece to determine the drop in circulating cancer stem cells.
Next week, I have a bone density test. I am very interested in the results. Part of the reason I am exercising so often is to build my bones! Exercise does a body good!
Interestingly, even when diagnosed with osteopenia, and taking tamoxifen which has a known side-effect of pulling calcium from the bones, my mineral metabolism specialist at the highly respected UT Southwestern Medical Center, recommended I get a bone density test only every two years. One would think it is critical to know if the treatment I’ve chosen is working or if it needs to be modified, especially during the first year. The bottom line, as she told it to me, is that my insurance will only pay for the test every two years. Her medical recommendation was based upon my insurance not based on my medical need. Incredible! I would think a doctor’s treatment plan would be based on the patient, with the caveat of insurance coverage.
In any case, testing at two years was not acceptable for me. I need to know if my efforts are having a bone building effect, so I can either continue what I’m doing or modify my plan. Paying for the test outright at UT Southwestern is $250, while it’s only $125 at Radiology Associates! In research options, I called my insurance company and found out that they will indeed cover the test any time that there is medical necessity!
I tell you all this because it is a great example of why we need to be our own health advocates! I had asked that doctor on several occasions if my obvious medical necessity would change the insurance coverage. She said no unequivocally. She never even brought up the option of paying for the test outright. Her vision and treatment recommendations are wrapped around and blinded by insurance coverage. It took my tenacity in knowing I needed to be retested, no matter how the test was going to be paid, to find out that indeed medical necessity can sometimes make a difference. We need to listen to our healthcare professionals, and then follow our own inner guidance.
There you have it. The down and dirty! The up and clean!