5 Things I Learned from A Naturopath

5 Things I Learned from A Naturopath

It’s no secret that I am freakishly in-tune with my body and that I also value knowing exactly what’s happening behind the scenes of my symptoms. Even before I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I knew something was off with my body, and I’d started to research root causes and naturopathic/functional medicine approaches to help me with some things I’d been experiencing. Then, cancer came into my life and between the 85 million appointments (not exaggerating…), I decided to hold off on seeing yet another practitioner.

Now that I’m approaching the end of active cancer treatment, I decided it’s time to get some additional support and testing done. A few things I was concerned about include the health of my digestive system, support for my thyroid, and restoring equilibrium for my female hormones. I chose to see a naturopath (ND) based on recommendations from friends and based on her experience level and social media content (never underestimate the power of social media!). Here’s a few things I’ve learned after my initial consultation and lab work:

Get that Good Gut Health

Chemo is designed to destroy cancer cells which are typically rapidly dividing and multiplying in our bodies. Well – guess what else rapidly divides and multiplies? Healthy cells in our digestive tracts! Side effects from chemotherapy tend to hit the GI tract hard and can include mouth sores, nausea/vomiting, heartburn, and diarrhea or constipation. Seeing as I had several of these symptoms during my 16 rounds of chemo, I knew my gut was going to need support and healing.

First of all, the GI tract is full of trillions of happy, healthy bacteria typically referred to as the gut microbiome. These bacteria help us to digest food and maintain a strong immune system. It’s all a bit complex honestly, but a lack in diversity of these bacteria can lead to a whole host of health issues, including mental health concerns.

My ND recommended a few important things to get me started: a good probiotic to promote microbiome diversity and a drink called GI Revive which supports the intestinal lining and promotes regularity. It’s also crucial to eat a diverse, supportive diet that includes plenty of fiber, vegetables and whole grains, and fermented foods.
*Side note – if I’d known GI Revive existed, I would have started it during chemotherapy. However at that time, I did use L-glutamine supplements which helped me prevent issues in my mouth and lower GI tract.

Altogether, I feel like things are coming back around to normal after chemotherapy with this added support. I imagine that the more my gut heals, the more I’ll see my immune system improve and I’ll be able to maintain low levels of inflammation in my body.

Clarity on Chemopause

I started chemo on June 9, 2020, and that was also the first day I received a Zoladex injection. Zoladex is a hormonal therapy designed to stop the ovaries from creating follicles which release estrogen. The ovaries have a high rate of cell turnover like the GI tract, so chemotherapy can lead to infertility if not protected by hormonal therapy. Modern medicine is truly incredible, and I’m grateful that as a 30-year-old woman going through chemo, I had the option to try to save my fertility in this way.

Joke’s on me though, because after 6 months of this hormonal therapy, I am officially in chemopause (a medically-induced menopause), and I have all the symptoms to show for it. I specifically asked my ND for post-chemo baseline labs for my estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels. No surprise here, but my labs confirm I’m in a menopausal state and that explains the hot flashes, joint pain, dyspareunia (learn more here), and amenorrhea…

Now, true menopause means a woman has had no menstrual cycle for >12 months. Being only two months out from my last Zoladex injection, I’d say there’s still hope for my ovaries to bounce back. Most women who’ve been on this type of treatment have seen their menstrual cycles return after 5-6 months on average. In the meantime, I need to be supportive of my body! I attempt to exercise 3-5 times per week (walking, resistance training, and stretching) to relieve joint pain and both my ND and OB/GYN have recommended vaginal moisturizers to prevent vaginal atrophy until my estrogen levels improve. (If this is TMI for my family & friends reading this – sorry, but it’s just #RealTalk!)

I’ll continue to monitor my labs every few months to be sure things are trending in the right direction. Chemopause isn’t necessarily permanent, so here’s hoping my body can pull through!

The Thyroid Needs to Thrive

About seven years ago, while I was deep in PT school, I began having unnatural fatigue. I ended up being diagnosed with an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). The thyroid gland produces hormones which help regulate our metabolism, and if the thyroid isn’t functioning optimally, you can have symptoms like fatigue, dry skin, hair loss, weight gain, constipation, or feeling like you’re always cold. Every body system relies on the thyroid so it’s a priority to take care of it!

Trying to find the root cause of my thyroid dysfunction has always been something I was curious about before my cancer diagnosis, and after treatment I wanted to know if there was: a) any additional support needed for my thyroid after chemo, and b) if there was an underlying cause for my hypothyroidism. After running a full thyroid panel, my ND diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition in which my own immune system is attacking my thyroid. She educated me that Hashimoto’s is actually the most common cause of hypothyroidism and affects about 5 in 100 people.1 It seems that Hashimoto’s is a combination of genetic factors and environmental factors such as food sensitivities or heavy metals toxicity.

My next step is to try to determine what may have triggered this autoimmune condition. The more I know about my condition, the better I can treat it or avoid any sensitivities that may make my condition worse. It might seem like I am seeking out more health problems, but my intent is really to understand my own body and how I can best support it to remain healthy and cancer-free. I will likely always have to be on thyroid medication, but I’d like to try to prevent the condition from progressing as much as I can (I plan on living a long life, you know?!).

Sometimes You Just Have to Supplement

In all honesty, I’ve never been a fan of supplements because I just can’t remember to take them every day! I now understand, however, that there are certain vitamins and minerals that I’m unable to get enough of through a vegan/vegetarian diet (like vitamin B12 which is only found in animal products), and also, based on my recent lab work, we found that some others (like my vitamin D and zinc levels) were significantly depleted for me during chemotherapy.

There are certain supplements I need to be cautious taking during radiation therapy as high levels of antioxidants (like those in vitamins A, C, and E) can interfere with the treatment itself. For now, I am supplementing with:

  • B vitamin complex to improve my energy levels and cognitive functioning
  • Vitamin D3 which promotes bone health and has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer metastasis
  • Omega-3 which helps to reduce inflammation and supports brain and heart function
  • Zinc which supports the immune system
  • A probiotic and the GI drink I mentioned earlier for gut health

It sounds like a lot, but I’m currently finding it very worthwhile. Some of the brain fog that started during chemo has lifted since I started supplementing more regularly, my GI system is more settled, and my hair is growing back much faster than I anticipated! Maybe eventually I won’t need so much supplementation, but I feel now is the time to be very supportive of my body and it’s healing.

The Cost of Collaborative Care is: Priceless.

I know what you’re all thinking – this all sounds expensive! And it is to some extent. Supplements can be pricey & aren’t covered by insurance like most pharmaceuticals. When providers don’t contract with insurance companies, the costs can add up. I don’t need to explain myself, but I just want to let you all in on my thought process at this point.

Seeing an ND and using supplements and acupuncture to support my healing have brought me immense benefits and peace of mind both before and after my cancer diagnosis. I personally feel that seeing a fee-for-service provider is excellent because they are not held to unreasonable standards that insurance companies often dictate. These providers can spend more 1:1 time with their patients, can recommend tests and treatments that can be run through insurance companies, and can provide a more holistic approach to your care. I personally feel it worth every penny to have this kind of care.

If you don’t have your health, you have nothing. This year my body has been through the ringer and besides feeling physically unwell, I saw my mental health and my relationships challenged. I was hardly able to concentrate on anything besides getting through treatment and managing my symptoms. My husband became a “caregiver” and most of our life revolved around what I could and couldn’t do with friends during a pandemic when you’re immunocompromised. I haven’t been able to treat patients for almost a year and so my sense of purpose got a little muddy at times.

Now is the time for me to heal from all of that. I am beyond grateful for good health insurance that got me through treatment without any debt, family and friends who contributed to my GoFundMe so I can seek out alternative care options as I continue to heal, and for my super-supportive coworkers who’ve donated time off and kept me in the loop at work so I don’t feel like a complete outsider. These things may seem small, but they can mean the world to someone living with a complex illness.

Again, my purpose here is to share my journey in case someone else going through this can benefit from what I’ve learned. Much of this info is very personal, and I choose to be open about this. I’ve said this before, but just because someone is considered “cancer-free” doesn’t mean they’re not still experiencing some of the long-term effects of treatment. We use fire to fight fires in cancer care and there are often side effects of side effects!

Please be kind! If you know someone in treatment (or if you know someone who may just need a little extra help), reach out today and see how you can support them – we’ve all got to have each other’s backs.

Aloha ❤

*This post is not intended to provide medical advice or recommendations. I am simply stating what has worked or been recommended to me on my personal journey. For more information, read my full disclaimer here.

Stronger than Cancer

Stronger than Cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute, as of January 2019, the United States had 16.9 million cancer survivors and estimates that number will increase to 22.2 million by the year 2030.1 Although I’m still technically in active treatment until I complete radiation therapy, I’m now considered NED (no evidence of disease) a.k.a. “cancer free,” a survivor. While it would seem that being a survivor is just one big party, I’ve found myself seeing from a perspective that people who haven’t gone through cancer may not consider. Today, I have a few thoughts on survivorship that I wanted to share – it’s a long one, but an important one so get comfy…

Survivor or Thriver?

In the true sense of the word, a survivor is someone who’s overcome hardship or who copes well with the challenges they’ve been given. For some of us who’ve lived or are living through cancer, surviving doesn’t quite describe what it’s like to take on a complex illness and somehow maintain a semi-normal life. That’s why many in the cancer community now prefer the term “thriver” because they choose to continue to not only survive, but thrive through and beyond a cancer diagnosis. It’s not about getting through it without complications, but rather just living as normally as possible during treatment. Being a thriver means rolling with the punches, accepting what you have to do to get through it all, and getting to live how you want despite your diagnosis.

Being a thriver takes on a whole new meaning, though, for someone with metastatic/stage IV cancer. As of now, there’s no true cure for Stage IV cancer and treatment continues until the cancer doesn’t respond anymore. However, many people live for years on palliative treatment since research and treatments continue to advance all the time (#StageIVNeedsMore). In the meantime, there is always normal life running parallel to someone’s diagnosis. The world doesn’t just stop turning. I bring this up only to remind you that everyone’s diagnosis is different – not everyone can be cured, and it seems unfair to put “surviving” on a pedestal when, honestly, what it takes to thrive after a cancer diagnosis is so much more honorable.

If you’re interested in donating to support Stage IV breast cancer reseach, click here.

Mental Health after Cancer

Despite much stigma around mental illness in the past, I think the narrative about mental health issues is gradually (thankfully) starting to change. Many of us experience some degree of mental health concerns throughout our lifetime, but there are a few specific things that someone with cancer may go through after diagnosis and especially in the years after someone may be considered NED.

Scanxiety is the term used by cancer thrivers to convey anxiety around pending imaging (mammogram, CT/PET scans, etc.) or about the results of them. Imaging is the first stop on the cancer diagnosis train and so repeating this process every six months to a year can bring up a lot of emotions, even if it’s expected the scan results will all be normal. It’s important to recognize these feelings are normal and expected (especially in those first 5 years after diagnosis when the likelihood of recurrence is highest), and this would be a good time to throw your toxic positivity out the window. Here are a few ways to be there for someone preparing for follow up scans:

Don’t say….

“Everything will be fine…”

“You have nothing to worry about…”

“It’s just an MRI/CT/mammogram…”

“Stay positive – negative thoughts only lead to disease…”

Instead try….

“I know you’re worried about your tests/results, do you want to talk about it?”

“It’s ok to feel [insert emotion here] after all you’ve been through.”

“Do you want to go for a walk/coffee/other activity to take your mind off all of this for a bit?”

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, another anxiety condition, is widely publicized as something that combat veterans get after serving in war. Fun fact – anyone who has been through any kind of trauma can get PTSD. After being diagnosed with cancer, there are so many things that can trigger anxiety and panic attacks. A few of my triggers include hearing of someone young who died of cancer, upcoming medical appointments (particularly with new doctors or doctors that don’t know my recent medical history), and especially blood draws, but other events or news may trigger someone differently. Please be kind and allow space for others to feel their stress and anxiety.

Another thing I’d like to address is actually the first thing I experienced after surgery confirmed I was NED. Survivor’s guilt. I was surprised that I felt this since I was very confident in my doctors and myself that I would get through this (I guess when you’re doctor writes on your FMLA paperwork that your cancer is “curable” it leaves you mostly hopeful). But this “guilt” hit me hard and unexpectedly and so I’ve taken some time to sit with it and understand it.

Truthfully, I don’t actually feel guilty that I survived cancer. I know many other survivors and have met many amazing women this year who’ve overcome a breast cancer hurdle, and they never talk about feeling guilty to be alive either. So I came to the realization that what I’m feeling is actually empathy for those still in treatment and compassion for those who will always be in treatment or for whom treatment didn’t work. Being a survivor is a strange position to be in, but I’m hoping that my experience will only make me a better friend and clinician when I have the opportunity to support someone going through a similar experience.

Expectation of Transformation

The one last thing that’s been on my mind is this idea that because I’ve survived cancer, I must be a changed person. Cancer is eye-opening in many ways, that’s true, but it’s not like Cinderella putting on that glass slipper. I don’t suddenly have this new lease on life, and I don’t feel newly inspired to pick up the torch and run wildly toward some new life where every experience is profoundly meaningful and joyous. That’s great if someone else does have a big transformation, but for me (and likely many others) it’s just not the case. Instead, I feel a bit more reserved. I want to live a simple, mostly happy (sometimes messy) life focused on loving the people I surround myself with and learning as much as I can with whatever time I have left here on this Earth.

I don’t strive to be an inspiration and I hope everyone can recognize that a diagnosis isn’t a definition. I had cancer. I am not defined by that or limited to that. I share my experience because I hope it can help someone else who’s going through it. While I’ve learned a lot, I’m not going to dwell on the experience. Instead, I’ll take what I’ve learned and get back to my life, applying that new knowledge whenever I get the chance. I hope you’ll all hold me accountable to that.

Aloha ❤

Cancer, Sex, & Intimacy

Cancer, Sex, & Intimacy

Cancer isn’t pretty. Besides generally feeling unwell, the hair loss, body composition changes, aches and pains, and hormonal fluctuations are not exactly sexy. Having cancer (or loving someone who does) can certainly challenge intimate relationships. It’s important for cancer warriors to know this isn’t unusual and there are plenty of ways to maintain healthy relationships with their partners ❤

Some cancer- or treatment-related challenges that may affect someone’s sexual function, sexuality, or intimacy with their partner can include:

  • Chemo side effects including fatigue, nausea/vomiting, weight loss/gain, or infertility concerns (etc, etc, etc….)
  • Post-surgical or post-radiation considerations like:
    • pain or restrictions from scar tissue or irradiated tissues (especially with cancer of the reproductive organs)
    • decreased sensation around the nipples after mastectomy
    • urinary incontinence or erectile dysfunction post-prostatectomy
  • New medications that reduce desire or arousal
  • Hormonal changes resulting in low libido, vaginal dryness, or painful sex
  • Body image concerns including attractiveness to self or partner
  • Depression, anxiety, or PTSD surrounding a cancer diagnosis and treatment

There are many ways that pelvic floor physical therapists (PFPTs) can help support both men and women during and after cancer in this realm. PFPTs can treat the physical changes that come with cancer including post-surgical rehab or prescribe general strength/aerobic training. We can treat incontinence after surgery or radiation. We can recommend sexual positions or devices to reduce or eliminate pain with sex. And sometimes, we help our patients find new ways to connect with their partners when they’re not ready to be sexually intimate yet.

Often, seeing a licensed counselor or psychologist for individual and/or couples therapy can be very helpful to maintain or restore intimacy. Remember, cancer is not pretty, and there is no shame in asking for help! If you’re having concerns or challenges in your relationship, please reach out to me to see if pelvic floor PT or a referral to a mental health professional might be right for you.

Aloha ❤

*This blog is part 3 of Pink October’s Pelvic Floor Series, a way to raise awareness of pelvic floor problems during cancer treatment and discuss sex & intimacy after a cancer diagnosis.

Round 12

Round 12

Well, another week or so has passed! I had my 12th (8th taxol) treatment last Thursday and that means I’m 3/4 of the way through chemo. I am getting ahead of myself a little bit with the countdown and keep finding myself saying things like “only 3 left after this week,” but who can blame me?

By the time I’m done with chemo at the end of October, I’ll have been in treatment for a full 5 months. Everything goes fast and slow at the same time. I’m going a little bit stir crazy working from home, working out at home, getting most of my social interaction from home (thanks, FaceTime & Zoom) as I know most of you are, too. I’m thankful we’re starting to re-open beaches, trails and business this week so I’ll have some more opportunity to get out of my dang apartment! Island fever is a real thing, and I’m really looking forward to travelling again when my health and the COVID situation is more stable.

For the past few weeks I’ve been having some rib pain on my left side. My physical therapist brain feels that it’s postural from sitting so much, but my cancer patient brain tells me to be more cautious as it could be one of several other things including bone pain from my zarxio injections, a rib fracture (although I didn’t specifically injure my ribs, all the weekly steroids and injections do put me at risk for lower bone density), or, in absolute worst case scenario, a metastasis to my ribs. My oncology APRN and I agreed to monitor it and if pain becomes worse we’ll do a new scan. It’s getting better with stretching and doing more standing or lying flat so I think all is going to be okay.

FYI – “cancer pain” (pain from a tumor or metastasis) typically follows a unique pattern. Often, pain is worst at night or will wake you up in the middle of the night (for some people, it wakes them at the same time every night). Cancer pain is not resolved with changing your position or stretching typically. Over time, cancer pain usually becomes consistent or unrelenting. Anyone with active cancer or a history of cancer should be aware of pain anywhere in their body and consult their doctor as soon as possible if the pain follows any of these patterns. You can see my other post here about cancer warning signs for other symptoms that might accompany pain.

Always something to be grateful for!

Also, in the past few weeks I’ve been diving a little deeper into the Native Hawaiian practice of Ho’oponopono which translates to “to make right twice (with self & others).” I stumbled upon this after doing a tapping meditation based on Louise Hay’s work. Louise believed that cancer can be related to a deep resentment held in the body and she suggests healing your relationships with others as part of a cancer journey.

Ho’oponopono is the ancient Hawaiian way of resolving conflict and issues within a family but also applies to government or individual relationships. It is the process of forgiveness and making right relationships that have gone wrong. The process of Ho’oponopono can be done with a mediator who is the go-between for the two individuals or parties, but it can also be done individually with mindfulness and meditation on the relationship.

As part of my tapping and meditation, I’ve been using the common Ho’oponopono meditation which is as follows:

I’m sorry.
Please forgive me.
Thank you.
I love you.

I envision the person with whom my relationship requires healing as I’m meditating. This process has been very freeing and beautiful to me. I urge you to try it and to read this article and this article to learn more if you’re interested. Having cancer has put me on a journey to learn more about myself and I think Ho’oponopono is one of the most healing practices I’ve learned so far.

On a fun note, my hair is slowly starting to grow back in, although it’s only baby hairs. At the same time, my eyebrows and lashes are pretty much gone now. I’m looking forward to all of that renewal post-chemo, too! Hope you all are having a great week! I’m looking forward to posting a lot more PT and breast cancer content in October as it’s both National Physical Therapy Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month so STAY TUNED!!

Aloha ❤

Finding Support during Cancer Treatment

Finding Support during Cancer Treatment

Hi everyone! Just wanted to give a little update on how the past few weeks have been. I am on a two-week break from chemo after completing my AC treatments, and honestly, I really needed the extra time before starting the next thing. The 4th round of AC hit me pretty hard on top of what was an already very emotional week so I was kind of a mess!

Fortunately, my body’s recovered a bit more now, and I’ve been able to get back to doing some walking and Pilates. Earlier in the week, I had been having a few days where my heart was racing (even lying down) and I was retaining some fluid in my abdomen and feet. According to my oncology APRN, this is relatively common during chemo, and he gave me a new medication to help offload some of the fluids. This helped my body (& mind) significantly. One of the major concerns with the adriamycin/cytoxan regimen is cardiotoxicity (heart failure) and I’ve learned that I have a lot of fear around that (understandably)!

Waikiki staycation time! Read on for details…

In fact, I’m learning new things about myself daily. Fears, strengths, priorities…cancer is the best self-help bootcamp anyone never asked for. I’ve been working with a psychologist to help with coping mechanisms and anxiety around all of it, and I continue to work on mindfulness practices as often as I can.

Normally, there would be local support groups I could attend to buddy up with other women in the community going through the same thing, but unfortunately those have been put on hold due to COVID as well. I have found a few helpful Facebook Groups, though, which I’ll link below for fellow warriors needing a resource.

I’m thankful to family members & friends, former patients, and new Instagram friends who are survivors and thrivers that have shared their stories with me and who keep checking in on me too! It’s SO important for anyone going through cancer to find your “team” who lifts you up and kicks your butt into gear on your cancer journey. If you’re reading this, and you need help finding your people – reach out to me!

I really have to give a shameless shout-out to my husband who has risen to the challenge of being the best caretaker, chef, chauffer, calmer-downer….ok I can’t think of any more words that start with C… (I really tried)! But seriously, he is amazing and he doesn’t have to do as much as he does for me, even when I can tell it’s taken a toll on him, too.

We were able to take a little staycation in Waikiki this past weekend with the only goal to rest and put our responsibilities aside for a few days. We walked, laid by the pool (with sunscreen, of course!), and ate really good takeout so I think we both feel recharged and ready to take on the next big thing!

View from our room!

I’ll start paclitaxel/carboplatin on Thursday and as far as I hear, the side effects are usually significantly less than AC so I’m hopeful. Later this week, I’ll update you all on a clinical trial that I’ll be part of during this regimen, too!

Take care of yourself!

xo

Resources for support during cancer:

Nancy’s List: Nancy is a cancer survivor who has put together an amazing list of practitioners and centers nationwide to support cancer warriors with anything from financial support, psychological services, reiki, exercise classes, and other integrative therapies.

Facebook Groups: There are a broad array of Facebook groups now so you may have to search for those that are most applicable to your diagnosis, age, etc…
I have found the most support and guidance in these two groups:
1) Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation
2) Young Women with Breast Cancer
There are even groups for people with BRCA+ cancers, for those who are pregnant and going through treatment, and for those starting families after beating cancer! Find groups that resonate with your “vibe” and spend time looking for groups that are more specific to your diagnosis so you can get the most out of it!
*PRO TIP: Advice given in these groups is not intended to be used as medical advice, BUT sometimes people will post about new research or treatments that you can run by your doctor!

BC Healthline App: This free and awesome app (available for iPhone and Android) connects women nationwide with others who have similar breast cancer diagnoses or staging. There are frequent guided chats about hot topics like new diagnosis, treatment, lifestyle, and living with metastatic breast cancer. It’s an easy and informative way to connect virtually!

Mindful Breathing

Mindful Breathing

Happy Aloha Monday!

Photo by Naman Nayar on Pexels.com

Just a quick update today – It was a busy weekend with having my chemo port placed on Friday and my egg retrieval procedure today. Both went as well as possible and I’m so thankful the recovery has been really smooth.

I’ve been finding myself needing to take more “mindful minutes” to myself in the past week since starting chemo next week has me a bit anxious. In this video, I’ll teach you my favorite mindful breathing exercise to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system when you only have a minute or two during your busy day.

Feel free to add in your own affirmation with each breath or you could even do some EFT tapping as well! Some of my favorite affirmations are:

  • I am grounded & safe.
  • I am loved and cared for deeply.
  • I choose to live with joy and love.
  • I am enough.
  • I can heal my body.

P.S. June 1st means it’s time to do your monthly breast self-exam!! For more info on how and why to do a self-exam, check out my earlier post here. #EarlyDetectionSavesLives

xo

Welcome

Welcome

Today, I’m out on my lanai drinking my favorite Yogi tea, and sitting down to write out some of what’s been going on in my life over the past month.

To give you a little background, I grew up in Butte, Montana, attended college at University of Montana and achieved my Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Eastern Washington University. Since then, I moved with my husband to Honolulu, Hawaii. In the past 5 years, I’ve grown in my practice as a pelvic health physical therapist. I’ve also learned the true meaning of ALOHA which I hope to carry with me through all life’s adventures.

I wanted to start this blog for multiple reasons. Primarily, so my family and friends can stay updated on my medical journey, but also so I could share my knowledge with others.

As a pelvic health physical therapist, I’ve had the unique privilege of working with breast cancer patients to help them maintain independence and wellness during their treatments. I have more to give than to just tell my story and leave it at that, so this blog will contain updates on my personal journey as well as physical therapy tips for patients with breast cancer, pelvic floor concerns, and orthopedic conditions.

I hope that my perspective will be unique and helpful. Thanks for following along!