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Survivors who had chemo etc and are into Complementary medicine

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suzieq60
suzieq60 Member Posts: 1,422

This thread is for those who had chemo/surgery/rads etc and who do stuff like eating organic, taking supplements, doing acupuncture etc.

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  • Ang7
    Ang7 Member Posts: 568
    edited June 2011
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    Thank you susieq58~

    I appreciate you starting this thread.

    Count me in...

  • 1Athena1
    1Athena1 Member Posts: 672
    edited June 2011
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    Great idea, Susie. Hope this is a great thread.

    I am sure that a lot of us who are past the active stage of treatment are now relying more on complementary approaches than anything else to prevent recurrence. I can sum mine up easily enough: regular sleep, 10,000 IU of Vitamin D3/day (yes, very high, but believe it or not my levels are still at just under 100), no smoking and very regular exercise. Oh, and filtered water, which I refer to as "anticancer" water.

    I try to be sensible and not to go overboard. For example, I only buy organic milk and eggs, but I don't nitpick for every single dairy product I eat. My approach is to change my lifestyle. Diet to me is secondary. 

  • kira1234
    kira1234 Member Posts: 754
    edited June 2011
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    Good idea for a new thread.

  • DiDel
    DiDel Member Posts: 733
    edited June 2011
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    Nicely done!

    I eat organic as much as possible (I did before BC) but now even more important as my tumor was 95% ER+ 90% PR+. I enjoy acupuncture and have a very good friend who actually comes to my house as needed. She is awesome. Acupuncture got me through the joint pain cause by chemopause and I do "maintenance" every now and again. I am always looking for advice on supplements or foods that will help me regain my body and hair post chemo.

    Thanks for starting a new thread!

    Diane

  • Titan
    Titan Member Posts: 1,313
    edited June 2011
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    I'm here too!  Ok..what is everyone doing?  I'm 27 months out from surgery..I'm also TN...I've heard that exercise is very important for TN's..and other breast cancers as well..so I have taken up jogging..I even run in 5K's now..I love it.

    I also try to eat alot of fruits/veggies..organic and not organic. and take alot of vitamins also..try to get a good nights sleep too...I still have a few bad habits..need to give them up but just haven't yet.

    Trying to get my life back to "normal" isn't easy but I'm working on it...

    Would appreciate any studies on anything at all that will help us prevent BC to reoccur...

  • suzieq60
    suzieq60 Member Posts: 1,422
    edited June 2011
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    Took me ages to get a title that was within the limits of characters allowed.

    I eat only free range or organic chicken and take lots of things like D3, Caltrate, Glucosamine, Fish Oil and Kelp supplements (yes I rattle).

    We now also eat only hormone free meat as one of our major supermarkets here has stopped selling any meat with hormones.

    I do still have one very bad vice and think I'll need to be locked up to stop!!

    Sue

  • DiDel
    DiDel Member Posts: 733
    edited June 2011
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    I try  to jog a couple of miles a day with my puppy...but he's a herding dog and makes it very difficult to run a straight line..unless...he decides to go full force to which I can hardly keep up,..he is more dragging me around the trail..it has to look ridiculous...but at least I am out there! I have been leery of weight lifting but have tried yoga poses to replace the weights. I still am a long way from pre BC body.

    Diane

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 47,262
    edited June 2011
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    Here's a post I submitted in March about vitamins:

    I went to a very interesting speaker the other day. She is a doctor, nutrition specialist, and an eleven year breast cancer survivor (having had chemo, rads and finally a stem cell transplant). Here are some of her tips for staying healthy:

    1. We all know we should eat more fruits & veggies, whole grains, less red meat, processed food etc. so I am not going to go into any of that.

    2. EVERYONE should be taking a multi-vitamin. Make sure it says ‘Complete' on the label. Make sure it contains iodine, Vitamin K, selenium and folic acid along with all the other good stuff. Interesting facts about why multi-vitamins are important:

    * older women with the lowest levels of vitamin B-12 were at the greatest risk for breast cancer

    * taking acid-blocking medications make you less able to absorb B-12

    * she recommends 400 mcg of folic acid a day. It works with the B-12 (studies have found that folates may help to make chemo more effective and decrease side effects)

    * B 6 is important in lowering the risk of breast and colon cancer

    * she recommends 90 mg of vitamin C

    * 30 iu of E

    3. Omega 3.....either eat oily fish twice a week or use fish-oil supplements (make sure it says EPA and DHA approved) 1000 mg a day. It's associated with decreased risk of cancer, heart disease, inflammatory disease, depression and more.

    4. Vitamin D....a big deal.....she recommends getting it tested (should be between 40-50 ng/dL). She recommends 2000 iu a day to maintain a good level. Many, many conditions are associated with low vitamin D; heart attack, cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, muscle weakness, asthma, diabetics, multiple sclerosis etc. etc. etc. There are over 200 different body tissues that have been identified so far that have receptors for the vitamin D hormone and they need it to work properly.

    * adequate Vitamin D levels has been shown to reduce the side effects of taxol based chemotherapy

    * Adequate Vitamin D has shown to reduce the side effects of aromatase inhibitors

    * start with a multi-vitamin, drink milk, eat yogurt (check and make sure it has vitamin D added), and most people will also need a supplement to keep that high of levels

    5. Vitamin K, should get 100 mcg a day. Check your multi-vitamin, not all of them have it added.  Inadequacy leads to an increased risk of various cancers, heart disease, osteoporosis and kidney problems.

  • 1Athena1
    1Athena1 Member Posts: 672
    edited June 2011
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    Susie - that's interesting. I an not TN but I am weakly hormone positive - er 10 percent and pr only 1 percent. I know that this makes me like TNers in some respects and I have wondered if it means that the exercise issue might apply to me to that same extent. I do both cardio and weights. What do you do?

  • suzieq60
    suzieq60 Member Posts: 1,422
    edited June 2011
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    Athena - you got me mixed up with Titan.

     I forgot, I am also taking Melatonin to get to sleep at night which added to the D3 is supposed to help prevent bc.

  • 1Athena1
    1Athena1 Member Posts: 672
    edited June 2011
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    Yikes - typo - so sorry. Yes, to Titan.
  • gutsy
    gutsy Member Posts: 26
    edited June 2011
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    Here is what I try to do, I sometimes screw up. My tumor was highly ER and PR positive

    Supplements: Vitamin D3, Omega 3 salmom capsule, green tea extract capsules, multi-vitamin, tumeric, Coenzyme Q10 tablets

     Try to go to bed by 10:00 pm, use Melatonin to help me sleep

    Exercise

    Walk, swim, run, gym 5-7 days a week for 45 minutes

    Diet

    3-5 cups of Japanese Green tea a day 

    5-7 servings of vegetable and fruit a day, try to eat Broccoli, spinach salad, broccoli sprouts, cabbage when I can

    Fruits, berries in spring and summer organic, oranges, bananas

    Wild Salmon, no poultry, no red meat

    No dairy, almond milk, yes

    Filtered water

    once in a while dark chocolate 80% cocoa

    Organic almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, raisins

    Whole grain bread or rice flour pasta

    Starting yoga for women who have finished active breast cancer treatment, this is a study I am participating in

    What I need to work on is time for relaxing and peace of mind. This is a struggle for me as my life is so busy with working, children, etc

     I did acupuncture a few days after each chemo infusion

  • Ang7
    Ang7 Member Posts: 568
    edited June 2011
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    gutsy~

    I also struggle with the relaxing and peace of mind.  With 4 kids my mind and my body are constantly going.  I'm afraid that has not changed since my before BC time. 

    Will keep working on it...

  • Sharon789
    Sharon789 Member Posts: 8
    edited June 2011
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    Thanks for starting this thread!

    I'm almost 5 months PFC and currently on Tamoxifen and effexor (for hot flashes).  I've just started acupuncture to help cope with the crazy hot flashes but can't seem to get off the effexor without the hotflashes increasing.  I took a workshop on meditation and stress reduction but have to admit I haven't been doing it regularly (although I believe it helps). 

    I've been using the EWG skindeep database to help to choose cosmetics, etc. with fewer bad chemicals.  That has been a challenge because I live in Canada and some of the products are hard to find.

    Right after my surgery I was totally trying to eat healthy...even green smoothies.  However, now I'm off the charts re: eating poorly.  I have to get back to it.  I've gotten back to pilates and need to start running again but have not been very good about that.

    Anybody have any suggestions for a natural therapy for hot flashes the does not have an estrogenic effect on the body?

    Thanks,

    Sharon

  • 1Athena1
    1Athena1 Member Posts: 672
    edited June 2011
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    Sharon - there is actually a thread that was started just yesterday on hot flashes. I had awful ones while on Lupron. Really, the only thing that helped were ice packs and freezing cold drinks and fans. Exercise was impossible during that time.

    Certain medications can help. Some oncs prescribe the antidepressant Effexor (Venlafaxine). Another one is the antidepressant mirtazapine (Remeron). Clonidine (anti-hypertensive) is sometimes given.

  • ebann
    ebann Member Posts: 1,474
    edited June 2011
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    I have changed things considerably. I am stage 4 and was doing things before my 2nd dx but got cancer again. I did do exercise 5  times a week. With the bones mets have had to deal with a lot of pain and just had surgery for a broken hip and my femure the cancer was eatint it away. So now I am in recovery doing physical therapy 3 x a week along with daily exercise for the upper strength in my body, I am actually addicted to exercise and have grown to love it. I am also TN as will.

    I eat no sugar in my diet avoid it for cancer loves to feed on it. I drink and eat goat's milk, sheep products they are better on the digestive system. I eat hormone free meats and lots of veggies and fruits keeping portion control in mind.

    I take many supplements, vitamin D, C,  B12, iron, multi vitamin specialized for bone strength., blessed thistle for memory and brain function.I take a stool softner so I stay regular as well. Just because of all the meds I am on. (especially pain meds for the bone mets), germstein, mervia, malatonin,  I also do chia seeds which is very high Omega 3's, fiber, magnesium, antioxidants, protein and iron. I have a glass everyday. I also drink greens with all the green veggies and fruits together. Great stuff.

    Chia Drink

    1 tbsp of chia seeds, 1/2 med lemon, 1 tbsp of agave nectar, and 8 to 10 oz of water. Let set and gel for about 5 minutes. The seeds gel and there is a little taste to them. It is a very addicting drink. Sometimes I even have a 2nd glass. You can buy chia seeds online or in a health food store. Like Whole Foods, Henry's, or Sprouts. The seeds last up to 2 years. Try it! I highly recommend it.

    I make sure I get 8 hours of sleep. Basically go to bed between 9 and 10pm.

    I am active in my church, have dates with my friends and family.  Have a support group I coordinated for BC. We meet once a month and plan fun activities about every 6 months.

    I make sure I get regular check ups and keep my dental hygiene and care up. I use all natural make up and hair products.

    I see a naturopath and I will be starting high doses of vitamin C in July after my SSDI begins. Expensive but I feel it is will worth it.

    Thanks for starting this thread. I will enjoy getting to know you sisters.

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 47,262
    edited June 2011
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    (My cat just deleted my post so I'm going to try again!)

    Besides the vitamins I listed above, here is what I do to stay healthy:

    1. Try to eat more fruits and veggies, less processed, fatty, and sugary foods (with limited success Frown).

    2. I make sure every day that I eat: 2 servings of calcium/vitamin D rich food along with my suppliments, a bowl of oatmeal (fiber & cholestreol), a serving of prunes (colon health & strong bones) and 1-2 ounces of at least 70% cocoa dark chocolate (lowers blood pressure and cholestreol) and I eat fish twice a week.

    3. a low dose asprin every day

    4.keep my weight in the correct range for my height

    5. I rarely drink alcohol and then never more than 1 or 2 drinks

    5. Exercise, exercise, exercise. From what I've read, exercise is the single biggest thing we can do for ourselves to prevent recurrence. Years ago I heard Richard Simmons say that a person needs 4 hours of aerobic exercise and 3 hours of toning a week to be healthy....so that is what I do. It doesn't have to be intense, but it does have to be done consistently. Besides lowering the recurrence risk, exercise also lowers the risk of many other diseases and conditions. Exercise also helps you look better, feel better, and I know it helped me bounce back faster after I was done with chemo.

    I'll see if I can get this sent off before the cat pounces again!

  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Member Posts: 1,017
    edited August 2012
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    YEAH! 

    Thanks for starting this thread.  Two of the biggest changes I've made since starting Arimidex 4 years ago are: 1) eating gluten free.  Has almost completely stopped the joint pain and inflammation I was having.  Tested & do not have celiac disease, but it was explained to me that many people are "sensitive" to wheat gluten and it can contribute to inflammation.  Went from taking 10 Ibeprofen a day to none.    2) Also now dairy free ( but don't get any where between me and a piece of cheese or I might knock you down trying to get to it!) this has helped me lose quite a bit of weight.  I also found my hay fever, sinsus problems, are much milder this allergy season too.

    As for vitamins, I think Ruthbru probably covered my list.  The Vitamin D3 took me from a blood test reading level of 17 up to 48!  Lots more energy.

    I'll save ACUPUNCTURE for another post.  I LOVE IT. 

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,290
    edited June 2011
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    Hi ladies:

    Lots of information about healthy living and lowering your risk in these sections of the main Breastcancer.org site:

    http://www.breastcancer.org/risk/

    http://www.breastcancer.org/tips/nutrition/

    Judith and the BCO team

  • suzieq60
    suzieq60 Member Posts: 1,422
    edited June 2011
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    I might take supplements and eat hormone free meat/poultry but I'm a very naughty girl when it comes to lifestyle - I do SO love sweets/cookies/chocolate etc. and a glass of wine with a nice meal.

    Sue

  • suzieq60
    suzieq60 Member Posts: 1,422
    edited June 2011
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    Hi Judith - do you like our new thread? Thanks for the links.

  • claire_in_seattle
    claire_in_seattle Member Posts: 2,793
    edited June 2011
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    I fill my fridge with so many veggies I have to eat a ton so they don't go bad on me.

    And I exercise my butt off. (However, it's still there.)

    Other mostly as Ruthbru says.

    Cheese.....don't tempt me.  Local supermarket has hand-pulled mozzarella on sale this week.

    Do the fun stuff on my list.

  • Lynn18
    Lynn18 Member Posts: 284
    edited June 2011
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    ruthbru:  Thank you for that post--that looks like a good list.

    I take 2000  iu of D3 daily; my levels were still low at my last visit. 

    ebann:  Your chia drink sounds good!  I will look for those.

    Susieq58--Thank you 

  • gutsy
    gutsy Member Posts: 26
    edited June 2011
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    Ok, gluten-free, I may look into that.

    Ruthbru, I also heard that exercise is very important but in combination with a very healthy diet. I read that it is the combination of the two that helps in the reduction of recurrences.

    Basically saying if you exercise 5-7 days, but still eat the typical Western Diet it does not appear to make too much of a difference.

    I really like Dr. David Servan Schreiber's book: the anti cancer diet. There are also some great presentations on line that he has done.

  • thats-life-
    thats-life- Member Posts: 169
    edited June 2011
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    im really liking this sue, and ladies...good practical lists to get going on, or research more, thanks.

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 47,262
    edited June 2011
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    Exercise to excess and moderation in every other area is probably good advice. And as  we work on getting & staying healthy....lets not forget to have fun and enjoy life.....if that includes an occasional glass of a really good wine, a really good steak or an ice cream cone....have it, relish it, and then jump back on the health wagon!

  • AnnNYC
    AnnNYC Member Posts: 236
    edited June 2011
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    And folic acid may mitigate negative effects of that glass of wine!  (Edited to say "may" -- some studies say yes, some say no) 

  • DebRox
    DebRox Member Posts: 141
    edited June 2011
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    This is a great thread. And what ruthbru just stated is bang on. We can still enjoy indulgences every now and then without feeling guilty. Moderation is the key!



    I'm looking forward to that nice glass of cab or 2 when I'm done chemo, well a few weeks PFC! 2 down and 2 more to go.

  • suzieq60
    suzieq60 Member Posts: 1,422
    edited June 2011
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    Great to see there are no silly pictures appearing here.

    DebRox - I think I had one or 2 glasses of wine while doing chemo - definitely the day I had my head buzzed!!!

    Sue

  • PattyS
    PattyS Member Posts: 194
    edited June 2011
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    Sue....you wrote:  I do still have one very bad vice and think I'll need to be locked up to stop!! Enquiring minds want to know what your very bad vice is? Lol!