Chemotherapy: Stretches for Health

Chemotherapy: Stretches for Health

Before beginning any exercise program, please check with your physician or physical therapist! Not all exercises or stretches are appropriate for everyone – please read my full medical disclaimer here before trying any of the exercises listed below.

It’s no secret that it can be difficult to stay active during chemotherapy. While exercise has been proven to have many physical and emotional benefits during cancer treatment, some days it’s just difficult to get moving. I’ve designed this short stretching compilation to stretch the spine and major joints of the body to promote mobility and circulation on even the most difficult chemo days. Make these stretches part of your daily routine or use them to loosen up after a nap or before bed!

Watch the video for a full demonstration:

*Note: Video plays at 2x speed! Take your time when you’re stretching!

Child’s Pose

From a kneeling, or seated position, slide the hands forward until you feel a stretch in the shoulders and lower back. Hold for 30-60 seconds as tolerated.

Modifications: For greater stretch of the side body, walk the hands to the left or right.

Cat/Cow

Begin on hands and knees in a neutral spine position with hips stacked over knees and shoulders stacked over the wrists. Inhale and slowly drop the belly to arch the back, lifting the breast bone. The, exhale and round the back from the tailbone to the neck, broadening the space between the shoulder blades. Alternate moving into each position for 5-10 repetitions.

Modifications: Perform in a seated position, reaching forward as you round the back, and allowing the arms to reach behind you as you lift the chest.

Hip Flexor Stretch

In a kneeling position, square your hips and tuck your tailbone until a gentle stretch is felt across the front of the hip. Perform deep breaths. Hold 30-60 seconds as tolerated.

Modifications: Perform in a standing partial lunge position, hold onto something for balance. To increase the depth of the stretch, sidebend the body away from the bottom/back leg.

Hamstring Stretch

In a kneeling or seated position, stretch one leg out in front of you. Square the hips and straighten the knee as you hinge from your hips to deepen the stretch along the back of the leg. Try not to round the lower back to allow for the best stretch. Hold for 30-60 seconds as tolerated.

Modifications: Lie on your back and use a strap/towel to pull a straight leg up toward the ceiling. Flex your foot to deepen the stretch.

Butterfly Stretch

Sit with the soles of your feet touching and knees dropping down toward the floor. Perform deep breaths. Hold for 30-60 seconds as tolerated.

Modifications: Place pillows or yoga blocks under the knees to reduce strain on the hips, lean forward to deepen the stretch.

All stretches are designed to be gentle, but can be progressed if they become too easy. Stretches can be performed 1-3 times per day as needed.

Happy stretching!

Aloha ❤

The Final Round

The Final Round

Celebrating with tears of joy today after finishing my last chemo yesterday. 16 rounds over 20 weeks. Conquering the Red Devil and getting through taxol without neuropathy are major victories, and I’m feeling so relieved to be DONE! I could not have done it without all of your support.

There’s still more treatment ahead, but I’m feeling I can manage anything now that chemo is behind me. I am so grateful to God and for all of the love of my family and friends and this great little breast cancer community I’ve found on Instagram that have gotten me through the past 5 months.

Last infusion day!

I will still receive two GCSF injections to boost my white blood cells this week as my oncologist doesn’t want me too immunocompromised in this COVID life we’re all living in. Then, I’ll re-test my labs in two weeks including a thyroid panel and vitamin D screen that I asked for. My oncologist has been really great about letting me lead my care to some extent and not just telling me what we’re going to do each week. Honestly, I wish every doctor were like that. I am so grateful for her and my whole team of docs who’ve listened to my concerns and took action immediately throughout this whole process.

Next week, I am scheduled to repeat my breast ultrasound, mammogram, and MRI to see where I’m at post-chemo. I am still unable to feel the tumor, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still have a bit of “scanxiety” about the slight possibility that there’s still something there or that the tumor will grow again being off chemo for several weeks before surgery. Please send prayers for good results!

No more ice booties & mittens! Bye taxol. Not gonna miss you.

I’ll meet with my surgeon on November 9, and will hopefully be able to get in for surgery before Thanksgiving. I’m still leaning toward breast-conserving surgery (a lumpectomy) which means I’ll do radiation for several weeks after recovering from surgery. I’ve done a lot of research on different types of surgeries and, besides my intuition telling me not to go for the more aggressive approaches, the research actually backs me up on that decision. For women with similar early-stage cancer to mine, the 5-year survival rate is 94.3% for breast-conserving surgery, 93.3% for mastectomy alone, and 83.7% for mastectomy with radiation.1

I am also biased in that I know that recovery from a mastectomy is really challenging and the complications can be much greater. To have further breast reconstruction on top of that would take multiple surgeries, and honestly, I’m just ready to move on from cancer in so many ways. I know it will always be a part of me, but treatment can end sooner than later if I go this route!

Celebrating with a little lemon crunch cake from Diamond Head Market – heaven! Cute hair, huh?

For now, I’m going to rest and celebrate being done with the hardest part of this little bump in the road. My mom will finally be down to visit in a few weeks and I’m looking forward to that! I wrote down a few things I want to remember from this experience so far and I’ll share a few of them with you here:

  • Faith in God is all you need to conquer anything.
  • The people you love are the most important thing in your life – tell them you love them often and mean it.
  • Find the immense joy in your daily life – there’s no need to search far and wide for it.
  • Spend time in nature – in quiet, being active, barefoot if you can.
  • Know and trust your body. Know that it’s strong and demands to be respected and understood.

Learning you have breast cancer at age 30 isn’t in anyone’s plans for life, and being diagnosed with one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer doesn’t make it any easier. I want to remind you all that if you think something is off with your body, get it checked out. Don’t take no for an answer from your doctor. You’re not “too young.” You’re not overreacting. YOU are the only one that knows your body well enough to decide if something is off.

I love you all. Thank you for being with me on this ride.

Aloha ❤

Round 14

Round 14

Just wanted to give a quick update (for those of you who aren’t so interested in my pelvic floor posts)! I finished my 10th TC treatment today – my 14th chemo overall! Last week my white counts were so good I didn’t have to do any Zarxio injections, but this week my neutrophils were < 1.0 (which is normally the cutoff point to delay chemo until counts are more stable).

My wonderful oncologist called me to ask what I wanted to do. Obviously, neither of us want to delay chemo when I’m this close to being DONE. So we decided to re-test my counts this morning before treatment. Thankfully, my counts came back up to 2.08 (the power of prayer is real, my friends)!

So, we went ahead with chemo and so far all is well. I have two more rounds left. Still no signs of the tumor that got me into this mess. Repeat scans are scheduled for the last week of October, and I’m manifesting PCR (pathologic complete response – aka NO MORE CANCER)! Please say a few prayers for me if you will.

Once my scans come back, I’ll decide which surgery feels right to go forward with, and I’ll likely meet with a radiation oncologist to decide if radiation is necessary dependent on the surgery I choose. A more conservative surgery (lumpectomy or partial mastectomy) will likely require radiation, but potentially if I go with a modified radical mastectomy and there is no lymph node involvement, I may be able to do less (or ideally no) radiation treatments. As usual, I’ll have to weigh the pros and cons here. Wish me luck!

The steroids are giving me some chubby cheeks,
but life is good.

I will say that today I found myself reflecting on the past 4 1/2 months and realized that in all of the “getting after it,” I haven’t really given myself much credit for how intense this all has been and how much Justin and I have been through. I’m so thankful for my mom who calls everyday and my family and friends who check in and send cards and care packages. I’m so grateful for all of you, and I love you all so much! I honestly couldn’t do it without you.

Sending you all love and hope that you’re staying safe during these COVID times. Please remember to vote your little hearts out before or on November 3!

Aloha ❤

Chemo & Constipation

Chemo & Constipation

Chemo and constipation. Oh, poop! As a pelvic floor physical therapist and breast cancer thriver who is currently in the home stretch of chemotherapy, I can personally testify that constipation is no joke!

Having regular bowel movements during chemo is important to help detox the body of chemotherapy medications. In doing so, other side effects of chemo can be reduced. Backed-up bowels can contribute to or worsen nausea and vomiting. Unmanaged constipation during chemo can cause painful hemorrhoids or anal fissures that can put a patient at risk of infection while immunocompromised.

So how do we treat or avoid constipation during chemo? Well, let’s start with the basics and go from there…

What is constipation?

Typically, a person should expect to have a bowel movement anywhere from three times per day to three times per week. Stools should be soft and easy to pass (like #3 or 4 on the Bristol Stool Chart below). You may have constipation if your bowel movements are irregular (several days pass between BM’s) or your stool is very firm and is painful or requires straining to pass. Sometimes, it may feel that you’re not able to empty your bowels completely as well.

Borrowed from abc.net.au1

What causes constipation?

Generally, constipation is related to not getting enough water or fiber in your diet. It can also be from not getting enough exercise or from changing your routine when you travel. Unfortunately for some people going through cancer treatment, certain chemotherapy medications can cause gastroparesis (slow or paused digestion of food), which can lead to constipation.

How can you relieve constipation?

*Drink warm liquids (water, tea, coffee) first thing in the morning to kick start digestion and bowel movements, and be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day (aim to drink half your body weight in ounces of water).

*Exercise! Take a short 10-15 minute walk or try these gentle stretches to stimulate the bowels.

*Eat plenty of fiber. Try to eat 25-30 grams of fiber daily with foods like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, beans, lentils, oatmeal or whole grains.

*Practice good toileting habits:

  • Use proper pooping posture – place your feet on a stool or rest your elbows on your knees to make it easier to empty the rectum.
  • Relax your pelvic floor muscles & breathe!
  • Don’t strain – come back later if you’ve got to push!
Borrowed from MacMillan Cancer Support3

*Try supplements and medications if the above fail. Ask your doctor about magnesium supplements, fiber/psyllium supplements (like Benefiber or Metamucil), stool softeners, or laxatives that might be helpful.

Remember: When it comes to constipation – consistency is key! Don’t scale back on your bowel routine because things begin to lighten up. During chemotherapy, you’ve got to stay on top of things to stay comfortable. If you need help getting a routine that works well for you, ask your doctor about a referral to a pelvic floor physical therapist in your area!

*This blog is part 1 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.

Aloha ❤

Round 11

Round 11

Just wanted to leave a quick update today – I completed my 7th paclitaxel/carboplatin infusion yesterday which is my 11th cycle of chemo overall. I can now officially count down on 1 hand the number of infusions I have left. My white counts continue to be iffy and were a bit low this week so two more GCSF injections it is! Fortunately, with reduction of the paclitaxel dose and adding milk thistle supplements, my liver counts are improving so I’m thankful for that!

Otherwise, all is well. Trying to get enough sleep and exercise to keep my immune system as strong as possible. I probably should write a whole post on sleep at some point here…stay tuned! Also, our governor finally announced that he’ll be lifting the transpacific travel quarantine beginning October 15, so that means my family can finally come down to visit without the hassle of having to quarantine for 2 weeks! Looking forward to seeing my mama ❤

Justin and I watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix last week. I highly recommend it and would love to discuss it with anyone who has thoughts on the good and bad effects of social media on the people in our society. It’s an important ethical discussion and may make you realize why there is so much division in our nation right now. Let me know what you think!

For those of you still exercising at home, here’s a link to a beginner/intermediate Pilates class that I taught last week for my sister. Justin bought me the cute rainbow tapestry in the background so I was inspired to create a routine around rainbows! Enjoy!

Hope all is well and everyone is staying healthy! Please continue to wear a mask to protect your kupuna (elderly) and those with health conditions that put them at high risk. We’re not out of the woods with COVID-19 yet so please be considerate of those around you!

Aloha ❤

Saving your Fertility during Cancer Treatment

Saving your Fertility during Cancer Treatment

When the last thing you expect is to be diagnosed with breast cancer at age 30 (or under 40, honestly), your desire to have (or not have) future children becomes very clear suddenly. I may have been the person who was in no rush to have kiddos, but I took it pretty hard knowing I was about to start chemotherapy that would significantly affect my ability to reproduce, possibly even making it impossible to conceive naturally.

In all the rush of my initial diagnosis, I wasn’t able to write about options to preserve fertility during chemotherapy. Honestly, it was some of the most emotional decision-making I had to do at the time, so maybe I put it off because it was all very overwhelming! Ultimately, I made two important decisions in order to help save my fertility, which I’ll share below with a few other important concepts regarding fertility preservation.

Chemotherapy & Its Effect on the Ovaries

First, you may wonder how exactly chemotherapy affects your ovaries. Chemo medications are designed to target and kill rapidly dividing cancer cells. Unfortunately, those meds can’t differentiate between rapidly dividing cancer cells and rapidly dividing normal cells in the skin, digestive tract, and reproductive organs. Just as you’d expect to see some side effects like skin/nail changes or mouth sores, we expect to see some attack on the ovaries as they also have a known cycle of cell turnover (a.k.a. ovulation). Thus, if you’ve never had children, and your cancer is stable enough to delay treatment for a few weeks to a month, your doctor should recommend all of the fertility-preservation options they have available. If they don’t offer, you better ask!

Egg Preservation Prior to Active Treatment

I was referred to a fertility specialist/reproductive endocrinologist who was excellent. I had the option to extract eggs (unfertilized) or embryos (fertilized) which would be frozen by a process called vitrification until I need them at a later date. I chose to freeze eggs as research now shows no major difference in later IVF success rates whether an egg or embryo is used, per my physician.

The whole process is timed with the menstrual cycle, so specific hormones are injected during the follicular phase (when the ovarian follicles that store the eggs begin to grow and mature) beginning on day 2 or 3 of menstruation. The fertility specialists monitor follicle growth and count every few days with a pelvic ultrasound and bloodwork. As the follicles mature, indicating ovulation to be close, a different medication is given to delay ovulation until the mature eggs can be retrieved.

The retrieval process is done under light anesthesia in the fertility office. A needle is directed into each ovary through the back of the vaginal vault. Suction is used to retrieve the mature follicles, and after inspection of all eggs to determine which are viable, the eggs can be fast frozen (“vitrified”) and stored in an egg bank until needed. Voila! Now, I have a back-up option post-cancer if I’m unable to conceive naturally! Thank goodness for modern medicine.

Throughout all of that, the worst side effects I had were some moderate bloating and cramping after the egg retrieval. I was also given a separate hormone during the follicle-stimulating phase that helped to avoid an estrogen spike so my mood remained stable throughout (I’m sure my husband appreciated that I wasn’t a hormonal monster through it all). Despite having to delay chemo about 4 weeks to complete this process (remember, they like to time it with your natural cycle), I have no regrets on completing this first for peace of mind alone.

The Cost of Fertility Preservation

Whoever my future kids are, I hope they know I reallllllyyyy want them, because fertility options are not cheap! Most insurances do not cover egg/embryo preservation if you do not have a diagnosis of “infertility” even if you get cancer that you never wanted which might render you infertile… (I’ll refrain from saying any more). The egg retrieval process alone usually costs somewhere around $10k which doesn’t include the annual storage fee for the eggs (mine is about $700 per year).

Fortunately, there is a great option for cancer thrivers through the Livestrong Foundation. My fertility specialist had me begin paperwork to apply for their grant which covers about 1/3 of the total cost if you qualify (most cancer patients do unless your insurance covers). Ask your fertility doc if this is an option for you!

Only a Pelvic PT would have their very own pelvis model at home! #SaveTheOvaries

Options to Preserve Ovarian Function during Chemo

Besides the pre-treatment egg retrieval, my medical oncologist also recommended that I go on a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist called Zoladex during chemo. This is a monthly injection that essentially halts ovarian function by blocking GnRH (a hormone released from the hypothalamus in the brain that triggers the release of follicle-stimulating and leutinizing hormones which act directly on the ovaries). The cancer community “lovingly” refers to this state of no periods as “chemopause” because it is essentially a medically-induced menopause complete with joint aches and hot flashes. I have been lucky that my side effects have been mild, and I’m very thankful to give my reproductive system this brief pause while I kick cancer’s ass.

After treatment, once I get the ok from docs, I’ll still be able to try to conceive naturally. The chances of conceiving naturally are lower for those of us who’ve gone through chemo or radiation, but it’s definitely possible! If I need a little help, then I’ve got a few tiny frozen eggs lined up for further fertility treatments down the line.

It’s Okay to Be Concerned about Your Fertility

I’m thankful that my OB/GYN and oncology team were very supportive about fertility preservation prior to starting active treatment. For many women, hearing your plans for a family will likely have to change after cancer is devastating. I didn’t expect to be so emotional about this whole process, to be honest. I’ve always wanted kids some day, but I wasn’t a person who constantly planned my life around it. Even still, early into my diagnosis, I found myself mourning the loss of my potential fertility more than the fact that I could die from cancer. I don’t believe it does anyone any good to stop planning for the future and let cancer have all the control, so be sure to tell your doctors how important saving your reproductive health is to you!

My heart goes out to anyone reading this and going through the same decision-making process. My heart goes out to those of you reading this who are struggling to conceive even without a cancer diagnosis. I’m so thankful to have so many options to consider and know that, in the right time, children will be a part of my journey, too. For those of you just starting out on your cancer and fertility journey, be sure to ask your doctors what the best options are for you!

Aloha ❤

Round 10

Round 10

Happy Thursday, everyone! Chemo day has rolled around again, BUT today is another celebration! I am halfway through my paclitaxel/carboplatin treatments which means there are only SIX total chemos left for me. Six weeks seems so manageable after already having made it through 14 weeks and 10 treatments so far, and I am feeling some relief and lightness today that I haven’t felt for a while now.

The longer treatment goes on, the lower my energy levels go, so I’m really working hard to motivate myself to continue to cook healthy meals and exercise at least 3 days per week. I am still teaching Pilates on Zoom weekly on Wednesdays (reach out to me if you’d like to join us!), and I try to walk down to the closest lab to get my blood drawn every Tuesday.

My white count is still barely hanging in there after each treatment, so I continue to need 2 Zarxio injections to boost them back up again each week after chemo. I’ve been having them done in the oncology office, but I just found out I can do them myself at home which I am sooo stoked about…it’s the little things, my friends. Seeing as how I had to do many self-injections prior to my egg retrieval in June, this should be no sweat and will save me two trips each week. [P.S. more on that egg retrieval process coming soon!]

I’m still eating primarily vegan, but because my red blood cell counts have been low, I’ve started drinking some bone broth and eating a few eggs here and there to get more iron and collagen to build up my connective tissues and improve the oxygen-carrying capacity of my blood. We also like to cook in our cast iron pan which gives us a bit more iron as well. I personally don’t like to take iron supplements because I basically puke it back up, and ain’t nobody got time for that during IV chemo!

I am going to acupuncture weekly now, and I feel like this is my most successful tool during chemo. Each week my acupuncturist works on parasympathetic nervous system stimulation (rest and digest), liver support, lymphatic drainage, and peripheral neuropathy symptoms. Occasionally, I will leave chemo with tingling in my toes and once in my thumb and forefinger (yikes!), but each time I leave acupuncture it’s completely gone. How amazing is that?!

As I near the end of my chemotherapy, I’ll repeat my scans including ultrasound of both breasts and a breast MRI. I likely won’t repeat a CT scan or bone scan as there were no areas of concern prior to starting treatment. I will also consult with my breast surgeon and radiation oncologist after that to make a plan for the rest of my treatment. I definitely won’t be out of the woods completely with chemo out of the way, but I’m looking forward to the next steps.

Celebrating our 2nd anniversary at home (COVID-style!) – Love this man!

Having triple negative breast cancer is a bigger burden in the breast cancer world. There are no targeted hormonal treatments that doctors can use for long-term management or prevention of recurrence like they can use hormone-receptor or HER2 positive cancers. This means that I need to treat my tumor as aggressively as possible now to achieve the gold star — “no evidence of disease” — so I have less chances of recurrence in the future.

I am an eternal optimist as always (especially knowing that my tumor has significantly reduced in size based on my own diligent breast-exams), but it’s hard some days not to be fearful of what the future could bring. Having cancer has been my greatest lesson in patience and living in the present. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with daily stresses, but it’s honestly just not worth it. None of us can know what each day might bring, so look for the good in everyone and everything. Ok…I’ll get off my soap box now!

In other news, Justin & I celebrated our 2nd anniversary last week with a nice homemade dinner and music on our lanai (that’s a patio for you mainland folks). We re-watched our wedding video (check it out below) and went through some old photos together. The last two years have really been so eventful and wonderful for both of us individually and as a couple and I’m looking forward to a longgggg life of adventures with my guy.

Side note: We should’ve been in Yosemite and Sonoma last week, but seeing the photos with all that smoke from the forest fires really drove down my FOMO (“fear of missing out” in case ya didn’t know!). Please say extra prayers for those firefighters and the people displaced from their homes all along the West coast.

It was the best day marrying my best friend!
Video credit: Eterna Films (Bozeman, MT)

Our COVID stay-at-home order also got extended for 2 additional weeks so….I’ll be home if you need me! I have loved receiving calls, texts/messages, cards and gifts from many of you – I truly feel so grateful and loved. I hope all of you are doing well and staying healthy!

Aloha ❤

Round 8

Round 8

Today is an exciting day! I have officially completed HALF of my chemo, and I’m celebrating every little victory as you know! Eight more treatments to go sounds a bit daunting, but I think I’m figuring out the taxol and have most of my side effects well-managed so hopefully I can breeze through it.

While I sat in my infusion today (a little loopy from my benadryl drip), I couldn’t help remembering my friend Dana crossing the finish line at her first 100-MILE ULTRA MARATHON in January. Really? What a badass! She told us that at her half way point they started singing “Living on a Prayer” which is appropriate for today too, but now that song is stuck in my head…

A true 80’s masterpiece….

The human body is capable of truly amazing things, and so I look to Dana for inspiration that my body can heal itself just as she pushed hers to those extreme limits.

In more good news, my oncologist is recommending only one Zarxio injection to boost my white blood cells this week since my counts have been a bit more stable. Wish me luck that it stays that way!

Hawaii just began another 2-week shelter-in-place order so… if you need me, I’ll be at home! Truthfully, this is a bad sign because it means our hospitals are full and will not be able to care for all of our state’s critical patients if the trend in COVID cases continues. Please say some extra prayers that quarantine brings our numbers down significantly and that our frontline healthcare providers (including my wonderful coworkers) stay safe & healthy!

I have a few educational posts lined up for the future, but I wanted to know what you all would like to learn about most this week:

Sending you all love this weekend! Stay healthy and practice gratitude ❤

Aloha,
B

Round 7

Round 7

Hi, everyone! I took a little break from blogging last week because nothing too eventful happened honestly!

I finished my 3rd taxol (7th treatment overall) today – this means I’m 1/4 of the way through the taxol treatments (gotta celebrate every little victory)! After next week, I’ll be half way done with chemo ❤ So far this one is a piece of cake compared to the AC “red devil,” and I’m grateful for that.

I give attention, appreciation, and acceptance to everyone.

Deepak chopra

I have had some difficulty keeping my blood work normal. This isn’t uncommon, but I’m really competitive so I want everything in the normal range. My white blood cell counts came back low the past 2 weeks and my doctor lowered my chemo dose last week but decided to try that same dose again this week. With low white counts, I’m at a very high risk for infection, so I honestly haven’t left the house or interracted with anyone besides my husband and doctors in the past 2 weeks. Justin agreed to work from home for a few weeks until our spike in COVID cases improves to keep both of us and his immunocompromised patients healthy.

In order to boost my white count they gave me a series of 2 injections of Zarxio last week and I’ll also have 2 more tomorrow and Saturday. Zarxio is similar to the Neulasta/Udenyca injection I had after AC but is a “short release” versus “delayed release” action. We’ll see how it goes – if my counts don’t come up high enough, we may have to lower the chemo dosage again. These injections were a killer last week and gave me body aches, tailbone pain, and hot flashes – maybe I missed that with the Udenyca because I was so sick otherwise!

My red blood cell counts and hemoglobin/hematocrit are also low which puts me at risk for anemia. It’s not terrible, but I’d rather it not drop any lower. I’m keeping up with exercise and an iron-rich diet in hopes to keep it up as much as I can.

I’ve also seen my liver enzymes rising which my oncologist contributes to the chemo itself and not to any other medications or supplements I’m currently taking. My acupuncturist recommended a milk thistle supplement to help the liver clear those drugs out of my system, so I’ll give it a try. There is very little research to say it’s helpful, but a lot that says it doesn’t cause any harm, so why not? I’m also going to acupuncture weekly and this has been a lifesaver as she focuses heavily on my liver and kidneys as well as preventing any peripheral neuropathy.

Anyway, that’s all that’s new here. I’ve been working, watching a lot of Netflix, and took an excellent business training based on Human Design this week. If you haven’t heard of human design, I highly recommend you look into it! Check out my friend www.krystalewoods.com/humandesign (or @krystalewoods on instagram) to learn more!

I’ve been using guided meditations from Deepak Chopra the past several weeks and the quote above really caught my attention. I hope it can be a centering thought for you this week as it has been for me. Take note of all the beautiful people and things in your life and give them your attention, appreciation and acceptance. No one is perfect, but we all do our best.

Hope you all have a great weekend – stay safe and healthy! Sending you all lots of love.

xo

Round 4

Round 4

I had my final round of adriamycin/cytoxan last Thursday! It feels good to be able to celebrate not only surviving, but thriving, the past eight weeks. This also means I’m currently a quarter of the way through my chemotherapy as well! If all goes as planned, I’ll start my next phase of chemo – paclitaxel and carboplatin – on August 6 and will complete the 12 weekly treatments on October 22.

In excellent news, these first four treatments have been extremely effective. I can no longer feel my tumor and my oncologist said, “It feels like normal breast tissue.” Still no lumps in lymph node areas so I am so very grateful for all of your prayers and all of this medicine working its wonders. I will have to finish out the next 12 treatments, and then I’ll be able to do scans again to see exactly where I’m at post-chemotherapy.

This time around I’m taking my time to recover a bit more than I usually do. My motivation is a little low with losing our sweet Grandma this past week, and the fact that Hurricane Douglas is coming our way doesn’t exactly make me want to go for a walk outside. Hellooooo….2020? I think we’ve all had enough now!

Overall, I’m doing ok. I took an excellent course about oncology rehab last weekend and I’ll share some of that with you here soon, but today, I’m going to keep watching The Good Place and HGTV. Love y’all & stay safe my Hawaii friends!

xo