Things You May Fondly Remember After Cancer Treatment

Since I am now 14 months out from active treatment, it has absolutely shocked me that some days I actually miss certain things about cancer treatment.  You don’t miss it like you want it to happen again, you miss it in “oh gee, that wasn’t so bad”.  For example, during chemo when someone would cut me off in traffic or was driving crazy, I would flip off my wig and expose my bald head instead of being tempted to make finger gestures!  The looks I got were PRICELESS!!

If you are in the middle of active treatment, believe it or not, no matter how awful, grueling and horrible it all is, you may miss and or fondly remember some of the things you are now experiencing!   Here are some thoughts from some gals that I’ve known from the beginning of their treatments.  They have become friends to me and I value their comments!  I know you will too!  Some of them will make you laugh!

From Katie B -. I kinda miss the “chemo spa” experience. My girlfriends would take me. I had one friend that would bring me lunch on China with linen napkins and we would watch “Sex and the City”. The nurses were always bringing me nice warm blankets. I got to know Candace, who was getting chemo too. I wouldn’t recommend chemo for fun, but looking back it wasn’t so bad, in fact a lot of pretty cool things came out of it. I still go every 3 weeks for my Herceptin infusions but I go to the little “chemo spa” where people get the fast infusions. It’s not as fun.

The “nuclear plant”  (radiation) people are very nice but you’re in and out so you don’t have as much time to form any good relationships. My first day of getting nuked was a little disconcerting because I walked in with a pretty pink robe on and there were two young, kinda cute guys, waiting for me to disrobe so they could nuke me. I laughed and said I felt like I was getting ready to make a porn movie.

From Michelle – I was so focused on how difficult chemo was that I never thought ahead. I never worried about the cancer coming back or even the risks associated with having cancer. I was just immersed in my own personal nightmare… focused only on getting through it. After I finished my treatments and began to feel better, thoughts of the cancer coming back began to occupy my mind.  I don’t dwell on those thoughts often but I do think about it. I miss feeling safe. I miss being able to live my life without worrying about health issues. I also miss the comfort in knowing that the chemo and the radiation were killing all the cancer cells. I would visualize the chemo running through my body eating all the cancer cells like Pacman… just chomping away.

From Kelly – I think during my many, many weak moments, I miss being able to hibernate.  Especially right now while I have so much responsibility being piled on me.  Nobody expected anything from me during treatment because everybody has heard the chemo horror stories.  When chemo was done, everyone expected me to be back to normal, both physically and mentally, and it just hasn’t happened.  I’m tired to the bone right now, both physically and mentally, but I can’t hibernate to recuperate.  I don’t miss “having” to hibernate and vegetate, but I miss having the “right” to do it.

From Jeanie –  I’ve thought and thought about it, and have come to the conclusion that there is really nothing I miss about cancer treatment.  It was so difficult and disruptive and damaging.  Yes, I had extremely kind nurses and techs and brilliant oncologists and surgeons, but I am very happy to be away from all of them.  I am still struggling with the aftermath of treatment:  low energy, neuropathy in my feet, bad hair, chemo-brain, dry eyes, scars, fear of recurrence…oh yes, every twinge and ache gives me pause.  My fingernails and toenails have grown back to almost normal.

My way of dealing with the whole ordeal is to move completely past it, and I have resumed my former life as much as I can. . .Every morning when I wake up, I look outside at the trees and consciously appreciate how grateful I am to be in the land of NED today.  How grateful I am for my many blessings:  love, safety, warmth, food, friends, access to life-saving medical care and so much more.  And the cancer card has become a permanent part of me.  My energy is getting better but is still not anywhere near what it was, and people are now used to me opting out.  And, surprisingly, I am happy to do so.  I love being at home.

And from Melissa who always makes me laugh — I miss the nurses and the patients I used to BS with in the waiting area. I miss the big, fat buck-toothed fish I watched while waiting for labs. I miss sleeping from IV Benadryl.

Broccoli Sprouts to Prevent Recurrence of Breast Cancer?

So why amgrowing broccoli sprouts in my kitchen and eating 1/2 cup every day?  Trust me, in order for me to do that, there is a lot of evidence that it can help stop breast cancer recurrence or prevent breast cancer and other cancers.  Enough evidence to inspire me to do it.   I’ll explain my new broccoli sprout addiction!

Eating 1 ounce of broccoli sprouts contains 30 to 50 times the cancer-fighting compound,  Sulforaphane, found in mature broccoli.    You get as much in 1 ounce of broccoli sprouts as you would eating 3 pounds of fully grown broccoli.  I like broccoli, but not 3 pounds a day!

The studies below convinced me to grow and eat broccoli sprouts!  I must clarify I am not a doctor, a scientist, or a medical researcher.  But common sense prevailed in my research that convinced me to do this.  There is so much out there, but these studies changed me from an outside flower gardener to an inside broccoli sprout grower!

1)  I first heard about broccoli sprouts at the University of Michigan Breast Care Center where I received breast cancer treatment and now ongoing care.  One of the things I most appreciate about University of Michigan is their research is always ongoing and widespread, and often out of the box of traditional thinking.  And they tell their patients about it! They did this study about broccoli sprouts preventing breast cancer recurrence in 2010:

This article is on the University of Michigan website about their findings:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A compound derived from broccoli could help prevent or treat breast cancer by targeting cancer stem cells — the small number of cells that fuel a tumor’s growth — according to a new study from researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The study tested sulforaphane, a component of broccoli and broccoli sprouts, in both mice and cell cultures. Researchers found sulforaphane targeted and killed the cancer stem cells and prevented new tumors from growing.
“Sulforaphane has been studied previously for its effects on cancer, but this study shows that its benefit is in inhibiting the breast cancer stem cells. This new insight suggests the potential of sulforaphane or broccoli extract to prevent or treat cancer by targeting the critical cancer stem cells,” says study author Duxin Sun, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the U-M College of Pharmacy and a researcher with the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.
I contacted the lead study author for more information.  He sent me about 50 pages of research about testing done with broccoli.  I’ve read most of it, and it is fascinating!
2)  Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York is currently recruiting, as of September, 2013, for a clinical trial with broccoli sprouts for women with Estrogen Positive Breast Cancer.
http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT01753908   This is very exciting news because getting a clinical trial to the public, you need evidence to proceed with all the government standards!
3)   This short less than 2 minute video is definitely worth watching!  It explains how researchers at Johns Hopkins found how quickly eating broccoli sprouts get into breast tissue:
4) Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, one of the top cancer hospitals in the country, has been doing research for years about broccoli and broccoli sprouts.  Here is a fascinating article.  http://www.jhu.edu/jhumag/0408web/talalay.html
Could there be anything bad about growing broccoli sprouts?  Well, yes there could be.  It is IMPERATIVE that sprout seeds are ORGANIC otherwise bad things like salmonella and E Coli could happen.  And make sure you do some of your own research about this.   If you don’t want to grow broccoli sprouts, many major vitamin and supplement companies sell Broccoli Sprout Extract.
I am refraining from selling these items in my store  www.hellocourage.com  because I do not want to give an endorsement to any particular company.  But the research is out there and easy to find.  I wanted to bring Broccoli Sprouts to your attention.