My mother – thanks God is still with us. She is maintaining reasonable lifestyle and is relatively happy. However, the chemo made her arthritis worse. As a result she is not very mobile and stays at home most of the times. If she goes out, it is only for short walks. She needs a stick to support herself and lost confidence to do longer walks. She stopped taking most of the supplements and I suspect that she is back to her old diet – which is mostly vegetarian but does not include much of fresh veg. Psychologically it is not so wonderful – up and down. So all in all we are happy she is still with us but the quality of her life is not that fabulous. I think the main problem is that she is slipping in the old lifestyle – she always wants to help and do everything for everyone and tries to do it even now. That means her own wellbeing is not her priority anymore.
If I would make one note to anyone reading this – it would be – don’t go back to your old ways. Make changes for better and stick to them. Stay focused on yourself. Don’t try to save other others all the time, don’t try to be perfect, don’t be scared of not being perfect and be more selfish. You don’t need to sacrifice yourself for your family. Instead thrive and they will thrive with you. At the end – everybody will benefit from your strength although in a different way than you imagined. The household can wait, kids and husbands can be more independent than you think 🙂 Good luck to everyone xxx
Update: I have noticed more visitors coming to read this post. What I want to say is this – stay focused on yourself and think about your life in a great detail. What can you change? Make the changes today and don’t put them off – like giving up sugar, upping greens, taking more rest. Delegate things that you do for others – share the tasks. You don’t have to carry everything on your shoulders. My mum always felt guilty about resting or even about thinking about herself and her needs – don’t do this! This is your life and no one is going to live it for you.
I realized that when I was writing about my mum I forgot to mention two supplements that were recommended to her. One she used and one she didn’t.
The one she did not use is called Ovosan. We did find positive reviews for it but at the end my mum decided not to buy it. The main reason was the price. Also you need to talk to the consultant about the dosage. She was hesitant about that. And last but not least, she found that the product was made from chicken embryos which she did not like. I would never push her into something she is not completely comfortable so we abandoned the idea. Having said that, I think if you don’t mind the price and the other things it might be worth checking out.
Later on, another friend pointed us towards different supplement – Penoxal. It is not cheap either but it is made from mushrooms and the dosage is more straightforward. She did not use it right from the start but during her chemotherapy as her immunity suffered lot more than expected. Once she started taking it she seemed to have more resistance.
I am delighted to write these lines…the operation went well and my mum is now cancer free. The recovery stage has started. Physically she is lot stronger. People are commenting on how good she looks. We are convinced it is due to all the herbs she took to support the treatment. Psychologically she is still fragile. I think she is still worried that the cancer might come back. The disease drained her on mental level – there is no doubt about it.
However, we all are trying to be positive. It seems that she will not have to go through more chemos which took so much of her energy away and instead she will be undergoing some hormonal treatment. She will be told the detailed treatment after her blood tests come back. The worst is definitely over. What’s next for her? I don’t know. Will she change her life? Go on long holidays? Do something out of the box? Probably not. My guess is she will slip back into her quiet routine. I think that she can do anything she wants. The main thing is she stays with us for many more years…
Update April 2017:
My mum is in great spirits but she is still on hormone therapy which she does not like. She is convinced it is causing her mood swings. Her arthritis also got worse and she suspects it is due to all the radiation she was exposed to. She has some tests ahead so we will see if she can drop the hormonal medicine.
Update February 2019:
Mum is stil in good spirits. She is still taking hormonal medicine – I think it influencing her moods a bit. She is treated for arthritis and osteoporosis. Has trouble to walk and stays at home most of the time. We had a conversation about all these problems – but agreed that it is better to stay alive even with all these difficulties.
At the moment my mum is in the middle of the treatment. Went through a series of chemos and now the date of the operation is going to be decided. It is hard to say that she is doing well. I would rather say she is keeping up the brave face. She is sick of it. I have no doubt. We knew that the chemos will undermine her immunity but we did not know how much. I can honestly say that we underestimated it. Basically after every chemotherapy she has a cold, cough, runny nose, fever, nausea, loss of appetite. Her blood test were not good. Once it was red blood cells then it was white blood cells. On the top of it she had an allergic reaction to antibiotics which caused a bad rash all over the body. She lost her hair but that is probably the least of her worries. I think the chemo is such a big hit. Of course she continues with all the supplements, herbs and juices. It gives her an extra boost and protection. She thinks /and I tend to agree/ that without the extra herbal help she would in a lot worse state. My heart goes to everybody who is going through this…
Update: 2019 – now a distant memory. My mum says those days were very unpleasant but were bearable. She is convinced that the supplements and herbs helped her to minimise the side effects. The doctors often commented on how well she is healing.
We are not doctors but did not want to leave everything to doctors.
Here is my mum’s routine since being diagnosed:
2/no white flour
3/ supplements and herbs from our favourite herbalist – supplement from Silybum marianum 3x day, 15 minutes before and after chemo tea from Silybum marianum, massage with Calendula officinalis – 3 or 2x day
4/ later on for increasing of the immunity we have added – extract from Pleurotus ostreatus
5/ Coenzym Q, B -complex vitamin, oil from Oenothera biennis
6/ breathing techniques, positive affirmations
7/ Nutribullet drink – at least once a day, mix of greens and fruits
That’s all. My mum says it seems to work for her. She did not have to take any medications, yet. She only complains about tiredness and light nausea. Her hair started do fall out but that it is least of her worries. All in all her she is in good spirits and that is probably the most important thing at the moment.
Update: 2019 – My tries to keep the diet as healthy as possible. Minimising sugar and meats. Loading on vitamins and living plants.
My main impression from all this at the moment is that there is not psychological support for the patients and for their families. In my opinion, once diagnosed, one should have an access to a professional, who will explain basics about the disease, give some statistics, nutritional advice etc. It does not have to be a doctor. I know they are busy with their scientific stuff. It should be someone who is not going to be uncomfortable talking about the topic, some one who will not be rushing you out of the door because next patient is waiting, someone with an optimistic and caring nature, ideally a cancer survivor… Person who is willing to meet not only with the patient but also with relatives and friends. Do I ask too much? Too me, this seems common sense. People who pay taxes whole their lives should be entitled to the appropriate services. Not to be left to their own devices, internet searches and feeling of despair. I know it is going cost but so what? Why can’t we expect that? It is 21st century after all. I hope that one day it is going to be like that. Worldwide…
Update: 2019 – I have noticed that people are more willing to talk about problems like these however the support structure is still not there. Create your own support structure and don’t wait for the system to offer you one. Reach to groups and people who are willing to share and help.
When I started this blog I did not think that breast cancer will be one of the topics. Well, I was wrong. It has been on my mind for a while now. I did turn to internet – searching all
possible answers. It became clear to me how important if not crucial is to keep mum in a good spirits. How to do that, I was not sure. The first week I myself needed a help from my dear family and lot’s of tear was shed. I did not hide my pain as it seemed pointless. I did say to my family: “I knew she has to die one day – but not like this. If she is to go I hope it is going to be in sleep, having a lovely dream with a feeling of fulfilled life. That I can take. But like this…” Many people thought that my mum’s reaction is strange. Basically she did not talk about it. Only bare minimum she had to say. It seemed that she is more worried about us. It was the first thing she said to me: “ I am sorry I have to worry you all.” That is very her. Thinking about others first. From outside it looked that she took the news without big emotions. My sister-in-law asked me: “Does she even want to fight it?” My mum avoided that subject and never said the word – cancer – once. Here and there she would break into tears but it always had to do with seemingly unimportant things. Broken glass, mess in the kitchen…I was thinking what is better for her – to avoid speaking about or let it all out? I did not find much help online on this topic and I suppose it is very individual. First few days I also pretended as if nothing happened…
Most of the articles I have read said one thing: “it is important to keep the person in a optimistic state…people who embrace it with optimistic attitude generally do better…” O.K. at least one thing to start with. I looked online for facts and statistics. Found that breast cancer actually has good chances of survival. I pulled out the numbers and showed that to mum not knowing how she would react. When I showed her the statistics her face lit up: “so there is a chance…” Everything she has been bottling in came out. All her anger, worries, disappointment. I could hear relief in her voice. After that the word cancer was not a tabu anymore. Mum showed me the lump and talked about her feelings openly: “If there is a hope it is worth trying…” It did not take long to think through a strategy – she will take the traditional route with Western medicine but at the same time she will take all the other help she can take – positive affirmations, herbal support, dietary changes and some yoga.
So first steps were made – discovering hope and laying down a plan.
Update: 2019 – having a plan worked psychologically. It brought some structure into the day and had some concrete steps. I recommend to write down things on paper. What can be done today? What can be done this week? What changes I need to make? Food plan etc.