I hope this article not only inspires you to know your family’s health history, but to start paying attention to what you are putting into your body. Food should be thought of as fuel and if you aren’t fueling your body properly, it isn’t going to run efficiently.
My first daughter, Parker, was not planned, not to say she is not the best thing that ever happened to me. She just happened to come at a time in my life, when everything was chaotic. When I found out I was pregnant with her, I was nothing short of elated. You see, I always knew one thing for certain, from the time I was a little girl, I wanted to be a mama. So finding out that I was pregnant with her made all of my other problems seem pale in comparison. It made me feel like my life had a purpose and direction. It helped too, that I was having a baby with the love of my life and someone I knew would be the best father. God works in mysterious ways. I feel like he knew my desire to be a mother and what my future held and decided that although it wasn’t planned, now was the right time.
Breast cancer is prevalent on both sides of my family; my paternal grandmother was diagnosed in her 20s and passed away in her 30s, two of my aunts were diagnosed at an early age, and the one that hit home the hardest was my sister at age 37. I remember I was pregnant with my second baby and my sister was going through a divorce. I spent a lot of time with her during that summer and I was with her when she found the a lump in her breast, got the biopsy, and I can remember vividly being at Target and her getting the phone call that it was in fact cancer. She cried, I cried, and I don’t think the crying and pain has stopped yet, 4 years later. You have to understand all that comes with a diagnosis, the helpless feeling she felt, the worry, the surgeries, the bills, and the medication. It was a long road to remission, but seeing her go through all of that I made the decision, I needed to know my future. Thanks to genetic medical advances we now have the option to know some of the diseases we are predisposed to inherit.
I was getting ready to attend nursing school (and coincidentally volunteering in a Chemotherapy clinic) when I found out that I was a carrier of the breast cancer gene, BRCA1. You may have heard about this particular gene in the media over the last few years because of stars, such as Angelina Jolie, who have gone public with the fact that they too are carriers.
Although it is not a death sentence to have the diagnosis, it does put things into perspective and force you to plan a bit more. I see a breast cancer specialist every 6 months for an exam; I also have yearly mammogram tests. The specialists as well as my OBGYN suggest, but do not require, a double mastectomy and oopherectomy when my husband and I are finished having children. Having the gene gives me a 60-90% chance of developing breast cancer and a 40-60% chance of developing ovarian cancer. I have done a lot of research on the subject and I know that a double mastectomy and oopherectomy is the right thing to do for me. I need to be finished having kids before either surgery, because nursing my babies is very important to me and having my ovaries, well that goes without saying.
I started school and soon realized the immense amount of stress it was taking on me. I wasn’t sleeping, I was drinking giant energy drinks to stay awake and study, and I was starting to have panic attacks. I knew something was going to have to give and it was either going to be my health or nursing school. I cried, because I knew how hard I had worked to get to this point, but I also knew that having a big family was something I always wanted and I didn’t want to wait any longer. I had this fear that I would go to school, my health would be put second, I would get cancer, and there goes my hope for more children. Once I decided to leave nursing school, I wanted to not only start making more babies, but I also wanted to share my experience and spread the importance of staying active and healthy with others. I became a fitness coach and love to share my knowledge of eating clean and teaching others that through their food choices and activity, they can prolong their life and maximize their health.
So how can you help prevent cancer? Start with that you put in your body! FOOOOD!
Ten Foods For Cancer Prevention:
Avocado – contain carotenoids that protect your body from free radical damage.
Garlic – inhibits the growth of tumors. Especially effective in the prevention of colon, skin, and lung cancer.
Tomatoes – contain lycopene and they reduce the risk for prostate, breast, and pancreatic cancer.
Onions – contain sulphur compounds that encourage neutralization of carcinogens.
Artichokes – contain three different types of cancer fighting molecules.
Brazil Nuts – contain the highest natural amount of selenium which protects against many forms of cancer including prostate and breast.
Spinach – contains 13 different flavanoid compounds to prevent cancer.
Dark Chocolate – contains a large amount of antioxidants that aid in cancer prevention.
Olive Oil – contains phytochemicals that can prevent the spread of cancer
Green tea – contains catechins that prevent cell mutation.
:: How many of these do you eat? ::
What a great way to turn such a scary situation into something positive that will not only help you but others with all spectrums of cancers; those that are prone, those that have survived and those living with it. Best wishes to you and prayers for a healthy long, long life.