The feeling appears on the heels of a breast cancer diagnosis so quickly I think the doctor delivering the “It is cancer” news should in the same breath say, “For the rest of your life, prepare to surrender any assumptions that you ever held even a modicum of control over your health, you foolish woman.” Certain you’ll never regain your equilibrium, you search desperately for the first thing that hints even slightly as an option to ground and balance you. For many women, that “first thing” is food. Unhealthy, unsustainable dieting habits all start somewhere and unfortunately, fad diets constantly cycle through the breast cancer community.
Two years ago, I had the sincere pleasure of attending my first oncology nutrition symposium, a biennial event hosted by the Oncology Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Nutrition science ruled at this event, and “voodoo nutrition” based on conjecture, personal opinion, philosophies, and miracle cures was denied a seat at the table.
I remember the shock I experienced when I learned about lymphedema, a chronic condition with no cure that I would be dealing with the rest of my life. I was at a high risk for it as I had stage III Inflammatory Breast Cancer and I had all lymph nodes removed from my left arm pit. Twenty-five rounds of radiation to my chest and upper back also put me at a greater risk.
Vitamins are tiny organic compounds with a massive impact on your general health and well-being. Vitamins can be obtained from your daily diet, or they can be sourced from the sun (only vitamin D). More so, they have a say in almost each and every aspect of the digestive system. The best part is that as essential as they are, your body only requires them in small amounts.
Cancer related fatigue is so much more than just feeling tired from a long, hard day. Your cancer treatment can cause you to experience what feels like full body exhaustion. You’re so exhausted that you can’t get out of bed and no amount of rest will give you back your energy.