So it’s been about 14 days since the big “news”, and so much has happened since then! Where to start?
I now have an official support website: www.kathypotwincancersupport.com
And I started a CaringBridge site as well: www.caringbridge.org/visit/kathypotwin
Treatment is going well! My tumor has shrunk a lot, as to be expected, so that’s good. Good riddance! I only have 6 more radiation treatments left, my last day being September 4th. The down sides are that my throat is getting pretty sore (it feel like when I had my tonsils taken out) and I have to be a steroid medicine during treatment to reduce the tumor swelling. The steroid can make me anxious, jittery, and it’s hard to focus. I accidentally drank caffeinated tea the other day and oh boy, was I WIRED!! It was awful. I had to start taking a sleep medicine to counter act the side effects. And a little fatigue. But compared to what I am used to going through, this treatment isn’t bad at all. I can do a day-to-day “normal” routine, and as long as I feel good mentally then I feel good physically.
Speaking of feeling good physically … today also marks 2 weeks of totally vegan, plant-based clean eating for me! Woo hoo! I’ve been meaning to take the plunge to vegan for a while now, and after I found out my cancer spread I decided to change mr lifestyle for good and never look back. My diet now consists of mostly raw foods, vegetables, some fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds, sprouts, tofu and tempeh, some fun meat substitutes (ha ha) and seawater plants (seaweeds and stuff … super cancer-fighting!). I base my diet off of Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet and some tips from of Alicia Silverstone’s book The Kind Life. There are a ton of people who have reversed their disease with a plant-based diet. Not just cancer, but diabetes and heart disease as well! Watch the documentary ‘Forks Over Knives’ if you have the chance. It will blow your mind!
Now, I’m not banking on the fact that my new diet will cure my cancer (but of course I am always hopeful, heh) I just want to give my body the most nourishment and power to fight the disease. And I have years of crap to clean out of system! I mean, I was a processed-food/sugar-junkie/Starbucks/fried-food FREAK for almost 25 years! And I was getting right back into it as I was preparing to be “in the clear” of cancer and back to a “normal life”. Talk about something good coming out of something bad: because of my new diet I feel AMAZING! People say I glow, too. I have way more energy (even while going through radiation!) and I don’t crave crap or sugar anymore. And I don’t stress or think about food nearly as much as I used to, even at all (no more constant self-bargaining, guilt, and “I deserve this ice cream, dammit!”). Stress and anxiety feed cancer, so my my lifestyle change has done wonders from my mind and spirit as well.
And get this … no sweets or processed sugary foods in 2 weeks either. I only drink one glass of wine or champagne no more than once or twice a week, and it’s just socially. That is HUGE for me! The old Kathy would tote around a Soy Caramel Macchiato everywhere and have at least one piece of candy/chocolate per day, and most definitely one or two drinks with dinner. Dessert was always a must when going out to eat. Well it’s true what they say, people: once you give it up, you don’t crave sugar anymore! I promise! And it only gets easier. If I can do it, you can do it, too. The hardest part is the first couple of weeks of restraint and discipline, but the rewards are so worth it. Your body will thank you by making you feel AMAZING! And losing weight, of course. Which I have. 🙂 But don’t worry friends, I will definitely let myself indulge in a vegan dessert on special occasions. I know a little sugar is not going to kill me! And you better believe that when I am sitting in a cafe with my husband in Paris that I will enjoy a French macaron or two.
Friends have asked me if switching my diet was hard. For me, it was not. The “2 year” thing was a big enough reality check and shock to my system (but let me remind you that it was just one opinion of one doctor, who wasn’t even my doctor). But if it was not for that, I would be struggling like crazy (and I was!). Now I am totally converted! If you are looking to clean up your eating, my biggest advice is to dedicate time to educating yourself and getting support. I am happy to be diet buddies with anyone, so hit me up if you need inspiration! I would love to help.
On another note, my husband and I were able to get away last weekend to our family vacation home at Black Butte Ranch. Even though it was only for a few days, it was so relaxing! We really made the most of our time there. We got spa treatments, laid by the pool, nature walks, and lots of lounging. I got to get away from the “craziness”, fully relax and came to a lot great epiphanies. I re-read Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor (she is so totally my cancer guru) and it changed my life. Here are some new mantra’s I brought home with me:
• I will live a beautiful, fulfilling, brilliant, and amazing life even with cancer.
• Disease cannot thrive when I am at ease.
• I love and accept every single part of me, even my cancer cells and tumor. But I will be happy to see them go. 🙂
• I am not striving to be cured. I just want to live the best quality of life as possible, for as long as possible. And if I am cured one day – then hallelujah!!
• I’ve taken up daily journaling, meditation, and spirituality. Everyone has their religious cup of tea, and Buddhism seems to be doin’ it for me! I still draw a lot of inspiration from biblical texts as well.
• Everyday I write down 20 things that I am grateful for, even if my day isn’t that great or exciting.
The only other update I have is that my husband and I were able to book a much needed vacation to Hawaii, and we are leaving in 2 weeks! Thank you thank you thank you to our wonderful family for making this happen for us. Alex will be finishing his crazy-intense six month EMT program next week, and I will have a break between radiation and chemotherapy. And our one year wedding anniversary is coming up on September 24th, so the timing couldn’t be better! I can’t wait to relax and zen-out on an island. That sounds like Heaven right about now. 🙂
And thank you to all of you, my friends and family, for your kind words of support and encouragement! They really keep me going. The more positive, the better. I know the news was really shocking, and I know it can make you sad, but please know that I am in a very happy place right now. I am so blessed with amazing people in my life and surrounded by so much love. And I am finding so much inner peace. I have learned that you really don’t need much more from life than that.
Ending this post with my favorite new quote!