Orange-Mango Kale Smoothie

I just made the tastiest kale smoothie! I’m trying to have my 2-4 servings of fruit and 4-6 servings of vegetables everyday. I’ve never been one to eat tons of vegetables, always had trouble with that but I have to say I’m doing a pretty good job! Putting certain things in a smoothie is definitely easier, especially when it comes to things like kale. OR if you want it in the morning when you’re not going to be eating a salad! Below is my recipe.

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ORANGE-MANGO KALE SMOOTHIE

1 C water
1/2 C mango chunks (or mango purée)
1 C kale
1 orange

Put everything in blender. I use the Blendtec blender in which my smoothie comes out smooth and creamy in less than a minute. I love it!!

#kalesmoothie #breastcancer

Let It Go

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I was in Edmonton last weekend visiting my cousin. The above is a picture of the skating rink inside of West Edmonton Mall. Yes I did do a little shopping. 🙂

Her girls are preschool age so love the Disney movie Frozen and the song from the movie Let It Go. So … We watched the movie which I’m sure they’ve seen 20 times already and listened to the song about 20 times over the weekend. It’s a cute movie and actually a pretty good song. I came home and the song was still in my head. I then had to find it on YouTube and found myself listening to it almost everyday. My 3 year old niece came over a few days ago and wanted to watch the video of the song over and over and I really didn’t mind (haha). Had to remind myself that I was 43 and not 5! Ok but seriously I think it’s because when I actually listened to the lyrics parts of the song really struck me. It just resonated with me.

“LET IT GO” (Idina Menzel)

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation,
And it looks like I’m the queen.

The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I tried

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door

I don’t care
What they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway

It’s funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can’t get to me at all

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free

Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You’ll never see me cry

Here I stand
And here I’ll stay
Let the storm rage on

My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back,
The past is in the past

Let it go, let it go
And I’ll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone

Here I stand
In the light of day
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway

Made it to the Island

It’s funny how you learn a lot about people and about yourself when you go through something like this. It’s not only life altering for you and your family because of the physical devastation but because once you’ve made it through treatment and can see the light at the end of the tunnel, the tunnel itself has changed. Your view of life and all things in it are now perceived differently. You’ve changed by the time you’ve come out on the other side. Maybe some have changed with you. I remember when things looked so dark I couldn’t see the shore of the ocean and it felt so far away. I’ve now finished treatment and made it to shore. I’m adjusting and learning to live on this new island. I’m still recovering from everything but I’m here, I made it.

Are there others here on this island with me? Some have shared my journey and will be with me always. Some who I thought would be there, took the first few steps and jumped ship. Some that I didn’t expect to be there, stepped up and have made my heart smile. Some didn’t know as I didn’t have the energy to go out of my way to tell people beyond my closest friends and family. Even that happened in phases as I felt ready to share. If someone called and I felt comfortable enough I’d tell them. Being so sensitive and emotional during that time I couldn’t handle anyone being insensitive. So I felt that it was best not to tell everyone because you really don’t know how people will respond. You’re already overwhelmed with so much that anything else can put you over the edge. I also only told the friends who reached out to me and kept checking up on me even though they didn’t know exactly what was wrong. During that time I had consultations, tests, treatment, more tests, more treatment, follow ups, and it continues. Your brain can only handle what’s happening at that time. Not only that, physically the treatment (referring to chemo) makes you feel horrible … Nausea, fatigue, mood swings, thrush, heart palpitations, fever, bone pain, immune system compromised and let’s not forget the mental anguish that goes along with all of that. You’re at the height of vulnerability.

Now there are a few friends that know through reading my blog. One of the friends called. I appreciated the phone call, he made the effort to reach out. I think that all anyone wants when they’re going through something like this is to know that they are loved and there are people who care and are willing to make the effort, even if it’s just a phone call to say a kind word. There’s usually one caregiver (my mom) and the rest are there to support and help in different ways. Some days I just needed to hear that I’d get through this and be fine. Fortunately I did hear it. Positive, supportive words can do wonders :).

… Made with Love. Part 1

Lori who I mentioned before is now also done her treatment!!! Yayyy! She’s the one who sent me the adorable pink sock monkey that she made. It made me smile. So sweet and thoughtful. Other people gave me cards, flowers and thoughtful gifts. All of those things meant a lot, but it was really nice when people who came to see me … as long as I was up to it. The cards had a lot of uplifting words and all of it helped. Especially during the months I barely cracked a smile.

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I had also been making something for her, just took me awhile since I couldn’t start until I had somewhat recovered from surgery and the never ending cold I had for a month! Anyhow it’s done and I sent it today as a ‘congratulations you’re done treatment’ gift! I hope she likes it. We shared our journeys with each other and coincidentally the timelines were close. Was nice having someone to share with who understood and was positive and supportive as well. And simply just asked how I was feeling throughout.

Makeup bag with goodies in it! It’s my design and I truly enjoyed making it!! … Made with Love.

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Keep moving

Today was another day at the hospital. My ct scan as a final check. I’m praying that all comes out clean. Exhale. Thinking positive and I will know the results next week Monday. This is gonna be a long week. Oh and my right arm inner elbow veins are bruised and scarred and have been since October. They just never get a chance to heal so today’s needle for the contrast dye hurt! And I cannot use my other arm because of the lymph nodes having been removed. Not to mention that I cannot get my cuticles done on my left hand either but I’m gonna double check that one. Lymphedema is a pain but oh well, as long as I’m living I can live with the minor inconveniences. Moving on …

After my ct I attended an info session run by my oncologist. I walked in a bit late and caught the end of my oncologists presentation. She was speaking about brain fog which is very real! I have blanks in my short term memory and difficulty focusing. I’m just not as quick and sharp as I was before. She did say that it gets better but can take a few years. She gave me a hug after she was done speaking which was very nice! I’m going to another info session later on specifically on chemo brain fog, maybe they’ll give pointers and more detail on how to help recover quicker. After that segment we moved onto exercise and how to incorporate it daily and why it’s important. We also then did 20 minutes of stretching and moving. It was great!!

Again I forgot my notebook to take notes. Blame it on the chemo brain fog! Below is what I remember but what I also know having taken a personal training course a few years back.

REASONS TO INCORPORATE DAILY EXERCISE

1. Will help to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight since it’s very easy to gain weight during treatment.
Studies say that a healthy body weight can reduce the risk of recurrence (and my surgeon mentioned this as well).

2. Helps reduce fatigue and increase energy. Helps with sleep as well, however if you are having difficulty sleeping exercise earlier in the day.
The fatigue is horrible but it’s part of treatment and recovery. My energy level is slightly better than before but I’m still tired a lot of the time. Can’t wait to have more energy!

3. Reduces stiffness and/or joint pain.
This can easily happen while going through treatment since a lot of time can potentially be spent sitting or lying down.

4. Boosts self esteem and improves self image.
Look good feel better! That’s the name of one of the programs at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. During cancer treatment with losing your hair and maybe a breast or two it’s close to impossible to not have your self image affected.

Note on serving size:
I recently wrote a post on eating well after cancer and wanted to clarify what a serving size is for fruits and vegetables.
1/2 cup chopped fruits/veggies = 1 serving
1 cup of leafy greens = 1 serving

I’m going to do 20 minutes of stretching and moving everyday. My surgeon told me that I’d have to always stretch otherwise the muscles on my mastectomy side will easily tighten up. I have almost 100% range of motion back on my left side but it still feels tight. Regardless, I’m happy that my arm feels close to normal again!

Sharing stories

I woke up late again as usual but not a big deal, did t have to be anywhere until 2:45pm. So ate breakfast and got ready, sans wig but eyelashes and makeup. Wore a cute outfit and felt pretty good. I was just taking my car to the dealership for my first service appt, which was free! Got there and the girl at the reception desk remembered me. When she asked how I’m liking the car I told her I loved it and proceeded to tell her that I had just started driving again recently due to surgery/breast cancer treatment. She said I looked great and asked how I was doing. I’m a survivor? What does that mean? I made it through the treatment (chemo, surgery and radiation) which is hell OR that I survived a potentially fatal diagnosis. I say both!!

I then went to sit down in the lounge area after going to the service area and leaving my keys. I realized I hadn’t brought my iPad or my book to read. My memory is totally off half the time and I have many blonde moments … I blame the chemo 😉 . While sitting down this older gentlemen kept looking at me and a salesperson kept walking and smiling. Didn’t think anything of it but later the sales guy came and sat down. Offered me some cookies … Chocolate oatmeal they were sooo good! I’m allowed to splurge every now and then. Anyhow me and this gentleman started talking and it turns out that he had a brain tumour two and a half years ago and is now doing well. Its funny how once you start sharing with people you find out how many people had some sort of cancer. It’s crazy! We had a lovely talk, he told me I looked beautiful and thought my super short barely there hair was my style :). He also told me that if I wanted to talk I could call him and no he wasn’t trying to hit on me. I won’t be calling him but that was nice.

I still have to call the barista from Starbucks who shared with me as well.

Eating well after breast cancer

I walked into the room 5 minutes late. The slide show had already started and everyone else was already seated and taking notes. Taking notes?? I just assumed they would give handouts. Oh well, we’ll see how much I can remember. The dietician is talking about servings of fruits and veggies per day, she then starts going over whole grains, proteins etc. Overall it was pretty good. It was the info session on eating well after cancer at the hospital, that I mentioned previously.

Here’s what I learned:

1) have 4 servings of vegetables – have a variety of colourful vegetables like spinach, broccoli, bell peppers, etc with the exception of white veggies like onion, cauliflower, etc. those are good for you and have other nutrients

2) 2 servings of fruit – again a variety of colourful fruits which includes berries

3) less red meat and keep having chicken and fish

4) more brown grains – flour, bread, rice (less white)

5) instead of buying fruits that are out of season and have to make the trip being flown here, buy frozen as they’re picked and frozen ripe

6) juicing separates the fruit or vegetable so it loses some of it’s nutrients. putting the fruits or vegetables in a blender is better.
Good thing I bought my Blendtec blender, I love it!!

7) have low fat milk like skim or 1%. that goes for yogurt as well, low or no fat

8) almond milk is great but has less protein than regular milk so make sure you get your protein from other sources if you have almond or rice milk

9) have more good fats like olive oil (salads) along with avocado, nuts and seeds. flax seeds also being a good source of omega 3.

10) last but not least, cut down the alcohol. no more than 1 drink per day with a maximum of 3 drinks for the week. if you haven’t had anything all week you still shouldn’t have more than 2 in one day.

The above is from one of the dieticians at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

She also stated that it’s important to keep yourself at a healthy weight along with some exercise, whatever is manageable. All of this is supposed to reduce the chance of recurrence by 1/3. (My surgeon mentioned the point about weight as well recently. It was from a recent study that he read).

I knew most of the above already but it was good to have it reconfirmed.
I made some yummy smoothies which I will share later. Happy healthy eating!