8;1 For Women ONLY – One Hot Mess #BCAM

There is one more pathway just for women going through cancer that I’d like to share with you especially since it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  One HOT mess is when you are on “the juice” which refers to steroids but you are literally hot from the chemicals used during chemotherapy.

Please read on with caution!

If you are going through almost any form of cancer therapy just know that you can go through what is called CHEMO PAUSE.  This is where you can stop menstruation for a period of time.  It could be a year or a few years but just know that you CAN get your period back. It’s all dependent on you, your body and the therapy you are currently going through.

For instance, when I was going through five rounds of chemotherapy that were administered once every three weeks, I had a period that was heavy and lasted for about ten days and then I didn’t have a period for about a year.  This is when you feel as if you are going through MENOPAUSE but it’s really just Chemo induced-menopause.  That’s why it’s called Chemo-Pause. Because when you are done with chemotherapy, many women resume menstruation.  And some women don’t, depending on your age.  Please check with your doctor about how you are doing throughout your therapy.

I would wake up at night in a puddle of sweat.  And since my cancer was estrogen positive, this was a welcome side-effect so that that less estrogen would be available in my cells.  And even once I started Radiation Therapy, I still did not have a period.

After chemotherapy and radiation therapy, I started on Tamoxifen and still did not have a period for quite some time.  I’d even gone from taking Tamoxifen to Femara and felt much better for a while until one day I got my period! My Oncologist at the time wanted to confirm that is was just break through bleeding and ordered a uterine biopsy to check for cancerous cells, which proved negative.  It was just my body working to get back to normal, if you ask me years later. Because I feel so much better and even lose weight when I’m menstruating.  During Chemo Pause I got sluggish and sad and started gaining weight from lack of exercise and consuming to many comfort foods.  Yet everyone is different!

I met a lady during a breast cancer support group that was on Tamoxifen and even had periods when she found out that she was pregnant.  So the big question is whether you want to have children or not so that you can be proactive during your therapy if you are ever diagnosed with breast cancer.  Many women are freezing their eggs BEFORE they start any therapies so that they are not damaged in the process.  Many women found out to late that they could never have children once they were finished with all their therapies.  Or, I was told that I could think about having kids only after I had been on Tamoxifen for at least five years.  But remember, it depends on your body so listen to yourself first, ask more questions, find a specialist and then decide how to proceed.

7;7 Advocacy for Life for Wellness+Happyness #advocacy4life

We come to the end of our journey and it’s been a great ride.  As the final pathway is realizing the community, Advocacy for Life is something you and I do every day but most just don’t realize it.  Advocacy is advocating for those that don’t know what they don’t know.  You and I don’t know what we don’t know, but someone in our path does.  And when you see with new eyes, because you’ve experienced something special or different, then you will find others that have that may not want to know just yet, but soon, or even need it now.  THAT’s when you advocate for them by sharing your own experience so that they can take what they need and continue on their own journey.  It’s a give and take.  You are experiencing new ideas every day and you also take what you need to know.  Nothing is permanent and nothing is YOURS.  It all belongs to US.  WE are part of a fabric that weaves us all together and passing it on is a blessing.  Don’t hold anything back!  That only hurts you in the end and it’s only your ego trying to make you feel super special, when deep down inside you already KNOW that you are special.  And the more you can share, educate, speak, do and just be yourself, the more you are advocating for a better life for the planet.  OK – to big.  Sorry, let me back up.

In the micro environment, it’s all about you and sharing  your gifts with others.  Invite them to join you.  Share the details you’ve experienced.  Be open and honest.  For example, I get messages from friends I’ve met once years ago who need to connect their friend who was just diagnosed with breast cancer to me.  And I lovingly gladly accept the opportunity to meet with them, talk to them, text with them hope and love for their upcoming journey giving them insight and wisdom I’ve gained through my experiences, education and scholarship.

If we all reached out to each other in situations besides the life or death ones, then the world would be a better place.  So, my job is being close to intense situations and life altering experiences and I gladly accept.

Now on the macro level, more and more people are put in these positions as the levels of cancer incidence rise.  So, for each person that is diagnosed with cancer, they represent an entire community and the transformation that this person typically takes will reach numerous others for the rest of their lives.  Life situations reveal your true depth and your truest self which is centered on love.  The faster we can all accept that we are 99.9999% the same the faster we can transform the world.  Starting with your self, your love, and your life is the where you can join the river of love.

7;6 Awareness & Engagement for Wellness + Happyness #7happypaths

Awareness and Engagement for Wellness and Happyness is when you find a tribe or nonprofit or group of people in the community that feel comfortable to be around and you feel that they understand you.  You have become aware of an issue, say Breast Cancer and have become engaged with a nonprofit that promotes healing through connection.  My example continues today as there are so many different nonprofits that all serve one separate degree of difference between each other but yet are so vast in their offerings that I can’t HELP but be engaged!  And that engagement promotes my own internal wellness and Happyness.  Let me try to pick some top examples for you!

Since I was diagnosed prior to turning forty years old, I naturally gravitated towards other young women who were having the same experience and that led me directly to the Young Survival Coalition.  Plus, I wanted to share the knowledge that all the other nonprofits had but no one knew about to other young women.  I was also volunteering with the Girl Scouts and soon was introduced to the program director for the Aeros Indoor Hockey League and they were looking for a nonprofit in which to make a donation.  That’s when I proposed that YSC be the recipient and together we created a festival of breast cancer nonprofits to share and promote awareness to the people attending the game.  There was even a silent auction, VIP sponsorships and Road Trip Tour on the bus, a Pink Gloved Survivor Flash Mob, and the largest Pink Gloved Hand Dance ever in the Toyota Center during the game!  Plus, the night before I served as the advocate with a big crown hat while Roberta, one of the original founders of YSC served as the Healthcare Representative and Mom as we gave a presentation to a large group of young girl scouts during their sleepover to promote awareness of young women getting breast cancer.  Together we raised funds to help support YSC in their efforts to create and send free of charge educational materials to those that were newly diagnosed, metastatic and survivors.

Once you become AWARE of a nonprofit that has helped you or seen it help someone you know, then it’s up to you to ENGAGE in their offerings.  They always need funds, volunteer support, advocacy support, board support, attendance at their events, or even a share on FB to get to the people that need them the MOST.

What do YOU care about the most?  Children? Animals? Research? The Forest?  Find a nonprofit that has a mission that you can grab onto and then see what they are like by sending a starter donation of say $10 or $100 or go and attend on their events and meet the others that also care about their mission.  Growing through this community path starts with YOU, but it ends with WE. Together WE can do more.

Before you know it, you are so engaged with helping others that you are becoming more and more well and happy!  Of course, there is balance in life so take your time.  Researching is fun.  Attending cool events is great to meet others like you.  And remember your TIME is more valuable then any donation.