Uterine cancer is also called endometrial or womb cancer. People don’t talk about it enough… perhaps because it mostly happens to older women? Perhaps because women are not sharing their grief with this diagnosis? But uterine cancer can also happen to younger, body positive, fearless women like me. […]
Still managing to keep my head in a good place. I have these passing panicked thoughts about surgery and incisions and losing part of my body to cancer. I am getting pretty good at setting them aside. The mind is a funny thing, you can play honest […]
My goal is to heal and regulate my energy with food and behavior as much as possible. Here’s my working plan. I am sure I’ll adjust it along the way. You are welcome to give recommendations for good books or links, but on this topic, I prefer advice from fellow radical hysterectomy or cancer survivors. Thanks.
- Eat for energy
- Get my vitamins via food rather than supplements
- Walk for about 25 minutes a day
- Weight train (learn how)
- Stretch and do yoga
- Sunshine 15-30 minutes a day
- Seek good sleep
- Create routine and ritual
- Massage once a month
- eat 3 times a day
- 2 fruits a day
- 2 starchy vegetables or grains per day
- pair carbs with healthy fats
- 148g protein per day
- record food to ensure I am balanced
Drinks: water, coconut water, green tea
Greens: kale*, bok choy, collards*, swiss chard, mustard greens, beet greens, spinach, broccoli rabe, escarole, dandelion
Vegetables: asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, peppers*, celery*, spinach*, green beans*, carrots, cabbage, peas, corn, onion, tomatoes
Fruit: cantaloupe, raspberries, cherries*, strawberries*, pomegranates, pineapple, mango, grapefruit, peach*, oranges, banana, blueberries*, apples*, watermelon, pear, grapes*, kiwi, dried apricots, dried figs
Healthy Fats: real butter, avocado, yogurt,
Protein: fish, nuts, beef, chicken, eggs
Carbs & Starches: oats, brown rice, quinoa, millet, barley, kasha, lentils, potatoes*, sweet potatoes
Added Nutrition: bone broths, miso soup, flax seeds, chia seeds, soy sauce, ginger, raw cacao
Avoid: sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup, corn syrup, fruit juices, agave, artificial sweeteners, processed foods, alcohol, fizzy drinks
I am a dumb workaholic who tries to do too much every day, hence this note to my future self. I’ll add to this and refer to this to try to keep myself from being an uncontrollable nut after I have my surgery. Wish me luck!
- Rest some more
- Accept help
- Drink water
- Don’t lift anything heavier than ten pounds
- Don’t open heavy doors
- Take pain meds on scheduled (I hate medication.)
- Write it down when you take pain meds so you know what the fuck you are doing
- Don’t shower alone in case you need help getting in or out of the shower
- Shower, wash insition with antimicrobial soap and pat dry insition. No baths. (Damn. I love baths.)
- Call doctor if pain gets much worse, fever over 101 for 24 hours, nausea, difficulty breathing, unusual bleeding, and/or leg pain
- I’m probably feeling better, but don’t rush things
- Life will wait, rest if I am tired
- Accept help
- Don’t lift anything heavier than ten pounds
- If tummy hurts or is swollen, I am overdoing it
- Go slow, watch movies, do art, sit still, nap, read, internet
- Engage with your post-menopause wellness plan
- Walk but not too far from home
- Don’t go in to the office
- I can make a simple dinner or fold laundry, but no vacuuming or gardening
- Keep listening to your body
- Be sure to actively work your post-menopause wellness plan
- Doctor should schedule an appointment around week six
- Ask her about working out and sex
- Ask for copies of pathology and surgical records
My surgeon said no sex for six weeks. I made her qualify that by asking, “No penetrative sex, right?” She said, “Yes, nothing in your vagina.” Ok. I can deal with that. Y’all know sex is an important part of my life. Affection is equally important […]
I am still waiting for my surgery.
In the meantime, I do art. I use these beautiful markers that have tips like paint brushes. I have two crochet projects. I catch up on TV show in chunks. Thankfully my husband has a real knack for knowing when I fell asleep during any given episode of any given show. The next night he will pick it back up where I left off. May sound simple, but you have no idea how awesome that is! I never lose a storyline. It’s good for my brain.
In other news, I have a million tests and appointments this week. My job has been so cool about letting me bank my hours and use my days to get to these appointments cared for. I’ll be getting a CT scan of my pelvis, a mammogram, blood work, urology consultation, medical clearance for surgery, and finally, I developed a swollen lymph node this weekend so get to see if that is something horrible or maybe just an infection from the last surgery. WTF? This little body is in peril.
Last week I got to review my pathology and learned I have a genetic syndrome that makes me 80% more likely to have pelvic cancer. Oddly this made me feel better. I was sort of kicking myself about because I was thinking perhaps I did not care for myself well or some such shit. (I know, it’s all bologna. The conversations we have in our head are not always logical.)
I have my brainiac sister doing research on what I can do to better care for myself after the surgical menopause comes on. It’s a little scary. Nature would have allowed my body to go through menopausal stages when the time was right. I mourn the loss of that natural process. I seek to just do the best I can to take good care of myself. Without the option of hormone replacement therapy, my options will become pure holistic means– like exercise, food, and herbs I think. My sister is the most intelligent researcher in my family so having her help is a blessing.
I am also having all sorts of normal but difficult feelings about sex. I have the most amazing partner and the best sex of my life with him. I know I am lucky to have this kind of relationship. We are brutally honest with each other. He lives with chronic pain so our sex is this amazing combination of rough and compassionate. Every time we have sex I have thoughts on how this may be the last time sex will feel like this. My body is going to change and I fear the unknown. I try to recognize these thoughts, acknowledge them, and then shake them off. It’s all speculation and speculation is a horrible waste of my mind right now.
Due to the never-ending wait, It looks like I will have one last cycle before I lose my uterus. I’m very private. It’s awkward writing about it but I feel like I want to tell you everything. I want future and past survivors to know the truth about uterine cancer.
When I was younger I had a true hate for my cycle. It interrupted “my life.” The pain, the products, the expense. In my early 20s I read a book called Cunt: A Declaration of Independence by Inga Mucio. While I did not chime with everything the author had to say, there were some lovely messages about the female body and its cycles that really resonated with me.
Loving, knowing and respecting our bodies is a powerful and invincible act of rebellion. -Inga Mucio
I grew to appreciate my cycle and listen to my body. I became more kind to myself. (Every woman deserves to have that kind of love and care inside herself and for herself.) I grew to understand that my cycle was not interrupting my life, it was simply part of my life. Making peace with my body made my cycle much easier. I had less pain and brighter days.
I think the day my last cycle arrives I want to celebrate. Maybe I will get a velvet red cake, red balloons, and solicit all red images and gifs from all my friends. It will be my chance to celebrate this little uterus while she’s still with me.
(Photo of my inner left arm, with the words “Force of Nature” written in script.)
Last week I publicly shared my cancer diagnosis. That was scary as fuck. Since then my husband and I went to a follow-up appointment with my first surgeon. He set us up with the next surgeon. She is supposed to be good, uses robotics and is as […]