As usual I have been away from this blog for waaaayyy too long. I have had a ton of stuff (good and bad) going on in my life, but in the end I always come back to you guys to share and inspire. What do you want first the good news or the bad news? Ok bad news….
Well part of the reason I have been away was because my mom went into the hospital right after Thanksgiving and into December. Everything is ok now and she is home and recovering, however, it did add stress to not only the holiday season but to my last semester in college. All this stress affected my health and my blood pressure was super high all through December which caused me to have my own health problems… which leads me to the good news…
I found out I am pregnant the beginning of November!!! Which is my little miracle due to the fact I was told by my oncologists 15 or so years ago that I would never have children (I’ll discuss this more below). Yet, as said before between my moms health issues and my last semester in college my blood pressure was around 150/90 most days which was a big concern of my OBGYN for myself and for the baby. After a few ultrasounds and an echocardiogram I can happily say mommy and baby are doing fine!
I started this blog to connect with others who have/had cancer and chronic illness. I myself had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at 12 years old and went into remission when I was 14. I remember the experience like it was yesterday, however, the issues with reproduction didn’t start effecting me until I was in my early 20’s. Currently the mainstream treatment for Hodgkin’s is a chemotherapy combination called ABVD. Depending on what stage you are, more advanced cases are generally treated with a few rounds of radiation. However, I had a brutal treatment called BEACOPP which completely and utterly rendered me a zombie at 12 years old. This treatment is not typically used to treat cancer anymore due to new science and medicine but it is one of the main reasons I was told at 12 years old I would probably never have children. But what choice did I have? My parents wanted to do anything to save my life and if that meant no grandchildren than so be it.
As I said before, the issue of infertility didn’t really hit me until I was about 19 or 20. I had already met my husband, then my boyfriend, and I began to wonder..”how do I know if I am infertile? Will this man still want to be with me down the road knowing I can’t bear his children?”. I decided to see an gynecological specialist who specialized in reproductive cancer. Although I did not have a reproductive type cancer he still knew exactly what tests to order in order to find out if I was truly infertile. Unfortunately, I do not remember exactly what tests I had, but it was a series of blood tests and uterine ultrasounds. After the results came back he told me the good news….All the tests showed I was able to bear children. It was a relief and also eased my mind regarding my future. I truly recommend anyone who is going through chemo or has gone through chemo during your reproductive years to get all the facts and get an excellent gynecologist to help you through all your concerns. Chemotherapy is a bitch, I’m not going to lie, but it also is not the end of the world. Yes, many treatments effect fertility in both men and women, but get all the facts and see if there are other measures you can take, such as saving your eggs or sperm. I was never given those options, maybe because I was so young, but I also didn’t thoroughly discuss with my oncologists exactly what effects the treatment had on other parts of my body.
As I’ve shared on here many time I developed fibromyalgia later in life and was told by my neurologist that is was most likely brought on by the harsh chemotherapy I had. (Yes, I am pregnant and cannot take anything for my fibromyalgia, but that discussion is for another day.) At the time, when you are diagnosed with cancer, many will tell you that you go into a state of shock. Questions such as the ones I brought up do not usually come up right away or EVER! You really go into survival mode and do whatever it takes to start to save your life. I learned later on that preventative measures such as vitamins and nutrition can not only help you recover but prevent secondary side effects of cancer treatment. This is something you would have to be committed to on a daily basis for the rest of your life. I was not the healthiest in my late teens but in my early twenties I got very into holistic healing and nutrition and have stuck with it ever since. My body still had plenty of healing to do 5+ years after remission. Grass-fed protein and organic vegetables are especially important in anyone’s diet who have had any type of lymphatic or blood cancer. You want to stay away from soy/ corn fed animal meat , as well as, any meat with nitrates as this is bad for the whole body and has been linked to cancer related illnesses. All vegetables and fruit should be organic and pesticide free, as again, these chemicals have been linked to cancer.
Below is one of my favorite dishes I like to meal prep for the week. It is super easy to make, 100% grass fed and organic, and only contains 250 calories.
*This is a great meal for anyone who is on chemo and/or going through neutropenia & for those with chronic illness who are trying to stay gluten free or paleo.
Thai Peanut Chicken Lunch
6- 4 oz organic free range chicken breast
3 large organic sweet potatoes
6 cups chopped organic broccoli
6 Tbsp of Sky Valley That Peanut sauce (or any glutenfree peanut sauce you can find in your area- there are also recipes online to make a homemade version)
You want to marinate the chicken so place all the breasts in a large bowl with the Thai Peanut Sauce, cover, and place in refrigerator anywhere from 2 hours – overnight. Do not marinate more than 12 hours to ensure no bacterial issues.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken and marinade in a large cooking pan, at least 2 inches deep, and cover with foil. Place chicken in oven for 45 minutes.
I really don’t like using the microwave for longer than 5 minutes but if you don’t own a stovetop steamer you can place the sweet potatoes in there for 15 minutes. Otherwise place sweet potatoes in stovetop steamer and steam for 45 minutes.
Same with broccoli, if you must, place in shallow cooking bowl with 2 inches of water, cover, and steam broccoli for 10 minutes. Otherwise steam for 15 minutes on stove.
When all the food is done let it cool down. Place one breast, 1/2 a sweet potato, and 1 cup of broccoli amongst bpa free or glass containers. You now have 6 days of healthy meals.
Prepping meals like this has made my life easier whether I’m in school, at work, and now in my pregnancy. There are so many other healthy meal prep options online besides this one. Whether you are into nutrition for weight management, health conscious, or need an easy meal plan you can take on the go, I highly suggest prepping healthy meals for the week.
As always, thank you for letting me share my experiences with you guys & please feel free to comment any of your stories or feedback below! Miracles do happen!