I finally went to the American Cancer Society’s Look Good, Feel Better class over at the Cancer Community Center on Halloween night. I have to admit, I was a bit of a Halloween Scrooge this year. Cliff was working until 8 which would have meant that I was all alone handing out the candy and trying to deal with the dogs. I could have put the dogs out back for a few hours I suppose, but it was in the 30s and I hate forcing them out back like that (yes, they are severely babied!). So no one was home for the Trick or Treaters. I feel bad but I’ll be sure to do it next year.
I didn’t expect the LGFB class to have a lot of people in it, but I thought (or hoped?) there would be more than just me and one other person. But that’s what it was. I met a sweet woman in her 50s who was also dealing with breast cancer and come to find out, we both have the same oncologist. So that was nice but I was secretly hoping to meet a woman around my age. I knew the chances were slim and I need to be a bit more outgoing in the “cancer community” here if I want to meet up with other young women breast cancer survivors. Through the Cancer Community Center there is a group of younger people who have gone through cancer that meet for dinner once a month. I haven’t gotten up the courage yet to go to one, but maybe in December. It’s on my to-do list.
Anyway, the Look Good class was cool. Since it was just two of us, we didn’t really follow along with the “program” that the class instructor is supposed to go through. We just looked at all the makeup we got and started putting it on. I wasn’t really looking for a lot of instruction on makeup application anyhow, I just wanted the free stuff. So mission accomplished! It really is a nice program for women who are dealing with the appearance-related side effects of treatment; who wouldn’t want some nice makeup from brands like Clarins and Merle Norman? Sign me up.
On a different note, I have a call into a Chinese Qigong doctor in Portland who has a reputation for working with cancer patients successfully. I heard about her when I went to my work’s Wellness Screening that is put on through our insurance company. Of course I had to be all “I was diagnosed with breast cancer” (ugh) when I was asked if there were any major medical changes since my last screening in April. The screener told me that her cousin was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer and went to the aforementioned doctor and is currently NED (No Evidence of Disease). Amazing! Now, I do not believe that eating a certain type of food can instantly cure you or that taking a special herb is the answer to getting rid of cancer; I don’t think the solution is that simple (contrary to ridiculous claims like eating asparagus will keep cancer away). But I do believe in alternative therapies and would like to meet with her and talk about what I can do so this stuff never comes back. I also believe that the body can heal itself when it’s in balance and that the immune system is the best defense. So in my perfect world, the surgery got rid of all the cancer (technically it did), the chemo destroyed any other cancer cells that may have been floating around in my body, and the radiation will get rid of any cancer cells that still might be hanging out in the surgical area. Then I will resume my normal life and it will never come back again. That is my perfect scenario (obviously) but unfortunately it does not work out this way for everyone. So why not try to do other alternative things to help myself the best I can? I’ve been going to an awesome acupuncturist every week since I started chemo and I will continue to go forever and into eternity. The acupuncture has really helped in alleviating some of chemo’s horrible side effects and I think I would have had a much worse ride had I not been doing the acupuncture. A big “thank you” to Jason!
So I am looking at it like this: When active treatment is over, I’ll be checked on a regular basis by my oncologist, I have my PCP (although she has been pretty useless thus far – I haven’t heard from her since I was diagnosed), I have my acupuncturist (godsend), and now I am hopefully going to be throwing this Chinese doctor into the mix. It makes me feel like I am covering all of my bases and actively “doing something” to keep this crap from recurring. I mean, of course I will eat well and exercise but let’s face it: I was doing that before I was diagnosed and got BC anyway.