Three years ago today. Three years ago, I first discovered my lump. I recently shared my story with Tanya West of Go With West and she is featuring it on her blog. You can find it here: http://www.tanyawest.ca/survival-stories/Katie-leadbetter/
We have survived another trip around the sun and so begins 2017.
I always love a fresh start and as a teacher, it’s nice to have two fresh starts each year. As I look forward into this new year, I like to make goals for myself. I’m not a big fan of the word resolutions, but I believe it’s important to set intentions for positive growth in our lives. It recently dawned on me that not everyone continually makes personal and professional goals for improvement (sidenote: this boggles my mind!). In my adult life, I have always been focused on self-improvement, I therefore view making new goals or resolutions as a positive thing. I realize that not everyone agrees and that’s okay. I look back at my previous resolutions, and see that I have not met them all, and again, for me that’s okay. For example, in 2016 meditation was a daily goal for me. I didn’t meditate everyday, but I probably meditated about 1/3 of time. While that is less than ideal, it’s still more meditation than I have done in the past, so I view it as progress toward my goal of daily meditation. Which is why I see the new year as a time to reflect and recommit to myself.
It’s also great to have a written record of my past goals so that I can what was important to me, what I was successful with, and what was challenging for me.
- stretch daily ✅
- have more patience and kindness ✅
- exercise regularly
- work from 7:00-4:30 ✅
- go to bed on time
- limit social media use
- work from 7:30 – 3:30 ✅
- exercise regularly
- stretch every morning and every night ✅
- limit social media use
- drink water throughout the day ✅
- stretch first thing in the morning and before bed ✅
oil pull each morning ✅
listen to music in the morning to start off my day with a smile ✅
- meditate daily
- get enough sleep
- read before bed
hike weekly ✅
- swim weekly
In looking at goals from years past, I can see where I had success and where I had challenges. The ✅ indicate goals that I feel I accomplished. My goals have been similar and will be similar again this year. However, I’m going to put them in order of importance this year.
Along with the same idea of goals and resolutions, Gretchen Rubin (of the Happier podcast, The Happiness Project , and Better Than Before) asked “what’s your one word theme for the new year?” My answer is health. It’s a big word, I know, but I would like health to be the reason for everything I do this year. Move more, move better, eat well, drink well, meditate more, think well, act with intention, care more, and love more. Also the growing trend of “more social, less media” is included in my goal of overall health. Gretchen’s work has inspired me since 2013 when I was motivated by The Happiness Project. Check it out. Period.
One last thing to note here. You may have noticed the last and tiny goal on my list: Walk 2017 miles in 2017. In 2016, I was introduced to Katy Bowman of Nutritious Movement and I began listening to Katy and Dani Hemmat’s podcast, Katy Says. One of the episodes, The Ben Show, is about a gentleman, Ben Pobjoy, who, inspired by Katy’s work, set out to walk 2015 kilometers in 2015. He completed his goal, but that was only the tip of the iceberg.That commitment to walk 2015 kilometers literally changed his life. It’s a must listen episode. Inspired by Ben, Dani has decided to walk 2017 miles in 2017 and I’m going join her! It works out to an average of 5.53 miles each day. For me, my 5.53 miles have to come from going for a walk, hike or run, not just from my steps around the house/office/grocery store etc. I already get 3-6 miles worth of steps in my average day, so I feel like that wouldn’t have been much of a goal or challenge for me.
Do you make resolutions or goals? What are your 2017 resolutions or goals? Happy New Year!
Hugs and Health <3,
Second round of chemo is going a bit better than the first so far. Definitely tired, but maybe a bit less tired than before. Or maybe I’m just used to having less energy? Hair shaving party went well. It was a very emotional day for me, and considering that I’m quite the crier, I didn’t cry too much. 😉 I definitely had some second thoughts about whether to have the party. I had a lot of anxiety leading up to the party, but in the end, it was the right decision for me to be surrounded by #teamklb. I felt loved and supported and it was easier for me show my bald head to world after showing it to y’all first. Thanks to those of you who made it, and to those of you that were there in spirit. It truly means a lot. My hairstylist came and did my makeup first, which I think was a good decision for me. Thanks Laura! A good friend of mine took photos for me. Thanks Vanessa! Thanks for the food, the positive energy, and the gifts that I continue to receive – you are all too generous! I appreciate you all more than you will ever know.
I recently read Anticancer, by David Servan-Schreiber. Highly recommended by the way! He helps to bridge the gap between what your doctors are telling you and what they aren’t telling you – like what you can do to help yourself. This is what people diagnosed with a disease want to hear – give me some control and power when I feel like I have no control and no power over this situation. He is an MD and a PHD and a two time brain cancer survivor- so this isn’t quackery here! Main recommendations: 1) eat a diet similar to what we already eat – lots of plants, quality meats, low sugar, low refined carbs, low poor fats, 2) meditation 3) support groups, 4) exercise. This brings me to my “favors”. One, there are two support groups that I’d like to attend, but they’re on Tuesday nights in Palo Alto and I’m not driving much these days. If you’re interested and free on the first and third Tuesdays, let me know and we can talk details. Two, I’m interested in trying to go for a walk everyday -30 minutes is recommended, and I’d like a buddy to help me get motivated to get out when I’m feeling tired and to be there on the walks with me just in case I’m not feeling good and I don’t want to be far from home and alone. I’m thinking evenings to avoid the heat and sun (chemo drugs and sun don’t mix well). Again, hit me up if you like to be a regular walking buddy or an occasional buddy. I’m open to whatever.
Again, #teamklb, I’m eternally grateful.
July’s Clean Eating book of the the month: Anticancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PHD. In the wake of my Breast Cancer diagnosis in 2014, I read as many books on cancer as I could get my hands on. I’m sure I’m not alone here. Anticancer was by far my favorite. In this *five strawberry* book, Servan-Schreiber tells readers what they can do to help keep cancer at bay, keep it from coming back, or to surpass a not-so-optimistic prognosis.
Dr. Servan-Schreiber helps to bridge the gap between what the oncologists are telling patients and what they aren’t telling patients – like what cancer patients can do to help themselves. This is what people diagnosed with a disease want desperately to hear – give them some control and power when they feel like they have no control and no power over this situation. He is an MD and a PHD and a two-time brain cancer survivor– so this isn’t quackery here!
In Anticancer, Dr. Servan-Schreiber details his cancer story (or stories, I should say), studies about patients, and several main recommendations. Those recommendations are: 1) eat a diet that includes lots of plants, high-quality meats, low in sugar, low in refined carbs, and low in poor-quality fats, 2) supporting a healthy state of mind through meditation, 3) avoiding the fear hamster wheel by attending support groups, and lastly 4) getting enough exercise.
Servan-Schreiber tells readers that “[c]ancer lies dormant in all of us. Like all living organisms, our bodies are making defective cells all the time. That’s how tumors are born. But our bodies are also equipped with a number of mechanisms that detect and keep such cells in check.” This quote instills a bit a fear in me, knowing that cancer can be happening to all of us, all the time, BUT it also inspires hope because it empowers each of us to know that we have the power to make changes in our bodies and our futures.
A great read for anyone working to avoid cancer in their lifetime, anyone with cancer, cancer survivors, or caregivers. Anticancer gives readers the feeling of some control and power in battling this disease. Highly recommended for everyone!
I originally wrote this as a handout for my Nutrition Classes. I wrote up a Condition and Nutrient Report for Anxiety Disorder Management and decided to focus on Sleep for my Educational Handout. Since SLEEP is elusive for many of us AND since almost any health concern can be helped with a better night’s sleep, I thought I’d share it here on the blog. What tips help you to get a good night’s sleep?
Here it is!
It’s no secret that a good night’s sleep is good for you. It is your body’s time to repair and regenerate. But not only is sleep good for you, but it can also help with managing Anxiety Disorders.
Eleven Steps to Ensure the Best Night’s Sleep:
- Humans thrive on routine and having a nighttime routine can help to get your body and your brain ready to power down for uninterrupted sleep (Ramos, 2015).
- Reserve your bed for sleeping and making love. Avoid watching TV or working in bed because the brain will associate those things with the bed and have trouble powering down (Scott, 2010).
- Sleep in a room that is as dark as a cave by getting rid of lights from alarm clocks and other devices. In order to produce enough melatonin (and therefore serotonin), your body needs it to be dark. If you can’t get your bedroom pitch black, try an eye mask (Scott, 2010).
- Shower or take an Epsom salt bath before bed because it raises your body temperature. After, there is a slight drop in body temperature that signals your brain that it’s time for sleep (Breus, 2006). The Epsom salts contain magnesium, which is also relaxing.
- Noise can make falling asleep challenging. Being awoken in the middle of the night also makes it challenging to fall back to sleep. Try earplugs, a noise machine, SleepPhones with music or meditation music to help fall asleep or to fall back asleep when woken up in the middle of the night (Scott, 2010).
- Meditate for at least five or more minutes before bed to create a relaxed state of mind (Bauman, 2015).
- Keep your bedroom cool (Scott, 2010).
- Avoid technology (especially tablets and smart phones) for about an hour before bed. The lights emitted really disturb sleep patterns (Breus, 2006).
- Keep a consistent bedtime, preferably around 10pm (Scott, 2010).
- Try diffusing essential oils for relaxation. Lavender, Roman Chamomile, and Valerian can support relaxation and sleep (Higley, C. & Higley, A., 2013).
- Count backwards by threes (400, 397, 394, etc.). Dr. Breus (2006) suggests that this is challenging enough to keep your interest but boring enough to put you to sleep. I have also tried an “appreciation body scan” where I start at my feet and legs, thanking them for their hard work for the day and work my way up. I almost always fall asleep before I get to thanking my head.
Things to Avoid:
- Caffeine is a common sleep disruptor. Depending on the person, even caffeine consumed early in the day can disrupt sleep. It is stimulating to the body by raising cortisol and adrenaline levels and it depletes serotonin and melatonin (Scott, 2010).
- Alcohol often causes people to have disrupted sleep. It is best to minimize alcohol intake to improve sleep (Bauman, 2015).
Supplements to Try:
- Try drinking Calm – a magnesium supplement before bed. Magnesium is a natural relaxer and is stress reducing (Bauman, 2015).
- Tart cherry juice contains melatonin, which supports sleep (Breus, 2006).
- Melatonin is the precursor to serotonin, so supplementing with melatonin can help support a restful night’s sleep and less anxiety (Bauman, 2015).
- Vitamin B6 supplement can help to improve the quality of your sleep (Scott, 2010).
Bauman, E. (6/20/15-9/30/15). Personal Communication
Breus, M. (2006). Good Night: The Sleep Doctor’s 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health. New York, NY: Penguin Group Inc.
Higley, C. & Higley, A. (2013). Quick Reference Guide for Using Essential Oils. Spanish Fork, UT: Abundant Health.
Jacobs, A. (2012). Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Scott, T. (2010). The Anti-Anxiety Food Solution. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.
Ramos, M. (2015, September). Sex Food Therapy retrieved from: http://www.sexyfoodtherapy.com/