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Topic: Survivors who had chemo etc and are into Complementary medicine

Forum: Complementary and Holistic Medicine and Treatment — Complementary medicine refers to treatments that are used WITH standard treatment. Holistic medicine is a term used to describe therapies that attempt to treat the patient as a whole person.

Posted on: Jun 27, 2011 11:55AM

suzieq60 wrote:

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

2nd diagnosis October 2010 - IDC 5.8mm node negative - missed on mammogram in October 2009 Dx 10/13/2009, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Jun 27, 2011 11:59AM Ang7 wrote:

Thank you susieq58~

I appreciate you starting this thread.

Count me in...

Very pleased Penguin Cold Cap user Dx 5/25/2009, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jun 27, 2011 12:02PM 1Athena1 wrote:

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. 

Anyone diagnosed with cancer should learn to have a healthy disrespect for statistics. Statistics are maths. It's the science which still eludes us. Dx 3/2009, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 3/8 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 27, 2011 12:02PM kira1234 wrote:

Good idea for a new thread.

Dx 6/1/2010, ILC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/10/2010 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel Radiation Therapy 8/3/2010 Hormonal Therapy 10/5/2010 Aromasin (exemestane)
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Jun 27, 2011 12:02PM DiDel wrote:

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

Dx 11/12/2009, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/8 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 12/23/2009 Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 3/17/2010 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 8/15/2010 Dx 10/28/2015, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/9/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 2/1/2016 3DCRT: Chest wall
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Jun 27, 2011 12:06PM Titan wrote:

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...

Dx 3/18/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jun 27, 2011 12:08PM - edited Jun 27, 2011 12:09PM by suzieq60

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

2nd diagnosis October 2010 - IDC 5.8mm node negative - missed on mammogram in October 2009 Dx 10/13/2009, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Jun 27, 2011 12:10PM DiDel wrote:

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

Dx 11/12/2009, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/8 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 12/23/2009 Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 3/17/2010 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 8/15/2010 Dx 10/28/2015, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/9/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 2/1/2016 3DCRT: Chest wall
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Jun 27, 2011 12:11PM ruthbru wrote:

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.

"Invisible threads are the strongest ties." Friedrich Nietzsche Dx 2/2007, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/11 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Jun 27, 2011 12:12PM 1Athena1 wrote:

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?

Anyone diagnosed with cancer should learn to have a healthy disrespect for statistics. Statistics are maths. It's the science which still eludes us. Dx 3/2009, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 3/8 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 27, 2011 12:17PM suzieq60 wrote:

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.

2nd diagnosis October 2010 - IDC 5.8mm node negative - missed on mammogram in October 2009 Dx 10/13/2009, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Jun 27, 2011 12:21PM 1Athena1 wrote:

Yikes - typo - so sorry. Yes, to Titan.
Anyone diagnosed with cancer should learn to have a healthy disrespect for statistics. Statistics are maths. It's the science which still eludes us. Dx 3/2009, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 3/8 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 27, 2011 12:26PM - edited Jun 27, 2011 12:28PM by gutsy

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

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Jun 27, 2011 12:29PM Ang7 wrote:

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...

Very pleased Penguin Cold Cap user Dx 5/25/2009, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jun 27, 2011 12:31PM Sharon789 wrote:

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

Dx 8/23/2010, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 27, 2011 12:37PM 1Athena1 wrote:

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.

Anyone diagnosed with cancer should learn to have a healthy disrespect for statistics. Statistics are maths. It's the science which still eludes us. Dx 3/2009, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 3/8 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 27, 2011 12:47PM ebann wrote:

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.

Elizabeth (EB Ann) Dx 4/10/2008, IBC, 6cm+, Stage IV, Grade 3, 3/16 nodes, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jun 27, 2011 12:54PM - edited Jun 27, 2011 12:56PM by ruthbru

(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!

"Invisible threads are the strongest ties." Friedrich Nietzsche Dx 2/2007, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/11 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Jun 27, 2011 01:17PM - edited Aug 11, 2012 06:10AM by del4

This Post was deleted by del4.
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Jun 27, 2011 01:35PM Moderators wrote:

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/

www.breastcancer.org/tips/nutr...

Judith and the BCO team

To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...
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Jun 27, 2011 01:36PM suzieq60 wrote:

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

2nd diagnosis October 2010 - IDC 5.8mm node negative - missed on mammogram in October 2009 Dx 10/13/2009, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Jun 27, 2011 01:37PM suzieq60 wrote:

Hi Judith - do you like our new thread? Thanks for the links.

2nd diagnosis October 2010 - IDC 5.8mm node negative - missed on mammogram in October 2009 Dx 10/13/2009, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Jun 27, 2011 01:37PM Claire_in_Seattle wrote:

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.

Completed all treatment (AC +T, lumpectomy, radiation and 5 years of AIs - anastrazole). Now celebrating every single day for the wonderful life I have been granted. Dx 8/2009, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/21 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH)
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Jun 27, 2011 01:39PM Lynn18 wrote:

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 

Dx 4/30/2010, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jun 27, 2011 01:39PM gutsy wrote:

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.

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Jun 27, 2011 01:49PM thats-life- wrote:

im really liking this sue, and ladies...good practical lists to get going on, or research more, thanks.

It is the opportunity to build what one loves into something permanent that makes this very difficult game worthwhile. mets skull, rib, hip, spine. Dx 8/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 27, 2011 01:55PM - edited Jun 27, 2011 02:03PM by ruthbru

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!

"Invisible threads are the strongest ties." Friedrich Nietzsche Dx 2/2007, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/11 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Jun 27, 2011 01:58PM - edited Jun 27, 2011 02:05PM by AnnNYC

And folic acid may mitigate negative effects of that glass of wine!  (Edited to say "may" -- some studies say yes, some say no) 

Dx 3/9/2007, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 27, 2011 01:59PM DebRox wrote:

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.

Dx 3/18/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 27, 2011 02:47PM suzieq60 wrote:

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

2nd diagnosis October 2010 - IDC 5.8mm node negative - missed on mammogram in October 2009 Dx 10/13/2009, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Jun 27, 2011 02:51PM PattyS wrote:

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!

Patty Dx 6/17/2008, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-

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