October is breast cancer awareness month. My mom has been battling stage 4 breast cancer for 4 years and I have been with her every step of the way. Throughout these last four years we have learned a lot about the disease, so I thought I should share 4 of the more interesting facts we know about breast cancer and ways to cope. I am in no means a doctor, but I hope it helps anyone who is sick or someone who is helping a loved one fight this terrible disease.
Is there an interesting fact you know about breast cancer that you would like to add to the list?
There are different types of breast cancer and some of them can’t be found on a mammogram. My mom has lobular breast cancer which wasn’t found on her mammograms. She had a mammogram every year because my grandmother passed from breast cancer, so she made sure to have an examination done on a regular basis. About 10% of invasive breast cancers are lobular breast cancers. We found out she had cancer because it has metastasized to other parts of her body making her very, very sick.
Lobular breast cancer is very sneaky. It likes to metastasize to parts of the body that are hard to get to or see. My mom’s cancer has recently metastasized to the orbital area behind her left eye. We recently heard a story about a woman who has been living with breast cancer for 11 years with it metastasizing to different places all over her body, sometimes more than once, but she has been able to survive because of chemo, radiation, hormone replacements and her will to live.
There are several treatments making it easier and easier to live with breast cancer. When my mom was first diagnosed with cancer she did a nasty round of chemo for about 6 months. She had to get chemo once a month for 6 months and it made her very sick, but after the chemo she was able to take hormone replacements. She was on the first combination of hormone replacements for almost two years before they stopped working and she felt great! There are many different hormone replacement therapies to help patients live with breast cancer. One of the drawbacks is after you use one and it stops working you can’t go back to it, so you have to move onto the next combination and keep going until you have no more combinations to try. My mom has had another dose of a different type of chemo and has tried other hormones these last two years, but nothing has worked better than then first combination.
More and more foundations for breast cancer and other diseases are being formed. My mom and I just found out about a foundation for women who are battling breast cancer in our area called Image Reborn. This foundation provides no-cost healing retreats to women diagnosed with breast cancer to empower them to live fully beyond breast cancer. It is a great way to meet people who are going through what you are going through and gain support from each other all while having fun.
Many people have asked us how we keep going and we tell them we try to stay positive everyday. Some days are harder than others, but the important thing is to think of everything we have to be grateful for. My mom was told she had 9 months to live from the first doctor, but she is here 4 years later and plans to keep fighting.
Did you know heart disease is the number one killer of women? Heart disease and stroke causes 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, which mean it kills approximately one woman every minute. Fortunately, most cases can be prevented with education and action, so that is why Go Red For Womenasks that you wear red on National Wear Red Day (Friday, February 5th) and donate to Go Red For Women. Your donation goes towards programs to increase women’s awareness and research to discover more about cardiovascular health. If you don’t feel like you can donate money wear some red and educate yourself and loved ones about heart disease. You might be the one to prevent this deadly disease from affecting someone you care about.
A few ways to prevent heart disease is below. How are you going to educate your loved ones about heart disease?
Get Your Numbers -Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure and cholesterol
Own Your Lifestyle- Stop smoking, lose weight, exercise and eat healthy
Realize Your Risk- You may not think it could happen to you, but heart disease kills 1 in 3 women.
Educate Your Family- Talk to your family about the risks and make healthy choices for you and your family
Don’t Be Silent- Tell every woman you know that heart disease is the number one killer in women and educate them on how it can be prevented.
I have been feeling a cold coming on for two weeks now and was hoping I was in the clear when the Sundance Film Festival began, but because I have been burning the candle at both ends I am now officially sick. It is only a cold, but I don’t want it to turn into something serious, so I asked my doctor what cold remedies I could do at home. A list of 5 of my favorite home cold remedies are below and I hope they help you when you are sick.
What is your favorite at home cold remedy?
Drink Plenty Of Fluids
Liquids keep your throat moist, help break up congestion, and keep you hydrated. I know it can be hard to drink or eat when you are sick, but drinking plenty of fluids is an easy way to get the illness out of your body. Water, sports drinks and warm water with lemon and honey are all great drinks to help you get better soon.
Rest and Relaxation
I am always on the move and it is hard for me to take time off work, so this one is difficult for me. Your body needs to use its energy to fight off the illness, so the more energy you use the longer it takes for you to get better. Rest and stay warm as much as possible, so your body can use it’s energy to help you get well.
Steam It Up
You can loosen up a stuffy nose by breathing in steam. If you don’t have access to a steam room you can use a humidifier, hold your head over a pot of boiling water or take a hot shower.
Gargle With Warm Salt Water
When I was younger my grandmother told me to do this, so I know this remedy has been around for generations. It doesn’t taste very good, but it definitely brings temporary relief to a sore or scratchy throat. According to the Mayo Clinic, for best results, dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a full glass of warm water and gargle the solution for a few seconds before spitting it out.
Sip Warm Liquids
Drinking warm liquids can be soothing on the nose and throat and help ease congestion. Hot tea, apple cider or chicken broth are all great drinks to sip on when you are feeling sick.
Fitness is a way of life for me. I grew up playing sports and workout on a regular basis. I am not one to go to the gym and love to exercise at home. I get my cardio by going on daily hikes/walks with my dog and make sure to keep my muscles toned by doing different workouts everyday. I don’t like doing the same routine all of the time, so I am always looking for new moves to keep me from getting bored and couldn’t wait to meet with Heather Hagan, a personal trainer at Silver Mountain Sports Club to learn a few new exercises just in time for the Summer. Heather said most people like to get results quickly, so she wanted to teach me exercises that get a lot of muscles moving, burn a lot of calories and tones. To get fast results she recommends to get at least 30-40 minutes of cardio before you start these workouts and to do 3 sets of 10-12 reps of each. She also said about 75% off weight loss is your diet, so if you want to lose weight make sure you eat healthy as well as workout regularly. Below are the three exercises Heather taught me that I can’t wait to do at home.
What do you do to workout?
Begin by lifting your hips off of the ground, engage core and glutes to keep the ball balanced. Place your feet on top of the ball and your hands at your sides for stability. While keeping your hips high hinge one knee towards your chest and march one foot off of the ball with control. If you are unable to keep the ball in control you can place it against the wall or have someone hold it.
With this exercise you are simply transferring the ball from your hands to your feet. Lie down on your back on the mat with the ball in your hands over your head and legs straight out. Take a deep inhale to set core and lift arms and legs while exhaling and transfer the ball from your hands to your feet. Keep your arms and legs completely straight as your lifting a lowering. If you have lower back problems or would like to do an easier version you can bend your legs when you are lifting and lowering.
Start by facing the mat with your hands on the floor and fingertips nice and wide. Place your feet on the ball with your shoelaces down and lift your body up into a plank position. Engage core muscles and pull the ball in and then back out. Lift one leg and then do a push up. Pull the ball in again, back out, lift your other leg and finish with a push up. If you would like an easier version you can bend your knees on the mat for added stability when doing the push up or ask a friend to hold the ball while moving in and out.