puppy fix

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Yesterday I visited my friend Wendi who has a beautiful litter of Labrador Retriever puppies. She snapped this while I was getting a puppy fix. Spending time with puppies, my own two wonderful dogs, and animals in general never ceases to  work its healing magic.

I am feeling great and working hard to get back to my water aerobics classes three times weekly. It’s been more of a challenge than I expected because I am still tender in the area where the lymph nodes were removed. So I am cautious when we do upper body work.

I continue to research the aromatase inhibitors, and am more and more convinced that I will not take the drug form of AI. I’ve started eating a variety of foods which act as natural AI’s, and I am now ready to start investigating specific holistic AI supplements.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!

. . . and so it is

 

 

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research and deliberations

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I have been doing lots of research and thinking about aromatase inhibitors (AI) since my appointment with Dr. Mehta on Tuesday. The reach of this blog has grown beyond my circle of friends, so I’m hopeful that what I have learned may be of interest to others.

AI’s inhibit estrogen manufactured in the ovaries, liver, and in the fatty tissue under the skin (dangerous dioxins). I learned that there is bad estrogen as well as good estrogen, which is important for heart health and other bio-functions. There are numerous side effects of the drug form of AI’s, and they affect both the good estrogen as well as the bad. Because drugs are treated as a foreign substance in the body,  they must be detoxified through the liver. This places additional strain on it which can possibly lead to liver cancer or liver disease.  Because they are a foreign substance, the body’s immune system interprets them as invaders and mounts a defense against them, eventually rendering the drug ineffective. Drugs compromise the health of the immune system.

Being overweight and obesity are both linked to breast cancer; aromatase enzymes reside in fat cells. It is important to be weight conscious and embrace some form of regular exercise appropriate for you. Insulin levels should be kept under control by avoiding processed and chemicalized foods.

I have been pursuing links which touch on natural forms of AI’s and have discovered that the most effective one is Chrysin, a flavonoid from the passion-flower. It has been found to be equal in potency to AI drugs. Research has shown that Chrysin will block the suppression of NK (natural killer) cells which are an important part of the immune system. The inclusion of Piperine (black pepper) enhances the bioavailability of Chrysin in the body.

Scientists have discovered that the most potent natural compound is Indole 3 Carbinol (I3C) — it is a wonder compound! Along with Chrysin, it includes:                                                                                                                                                   Phytoestrogens found in green vegetables, fruits, chick peas and beans                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Quercetin found in garlic, kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage, apples, and onions                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Resveratrol found in the skins of red grapes and black/red berries

Another great flavonoid is Apigenin which is found in parsley, celery and chamomile.

The general recommendation is that alcohol should be avoided as it feeds the aromatase enzymes; however red wine in moderation does have therapeutic benefits due to resveratrol.

I plan to continue reading and researching as well as look for quality, plant-based supplements as an effective alternative to a drug form of an aromatase inhibitor.

NOTE:  Nothing in this post represents medical advice. I have compiled this information solely, after extensive research as a seeker of an alternative to aromatase inhibitors.

. . . and so it is

aromatase inhibitors

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Yesterday I went to Holy Redeemer Hospital to meet with Dr. Pallav Mehta, MD who is on staff in the hematology/oncology unit.  The purpose of this meeting was to discuss follow-up drug therapy since my tumor was strongly positive for estrogen/progesterone receptors. Dr. Mehta started out by reviewing my breast cancer history and told me that my prognosis is excellent with a 95% chance of remaining cancer free. He reiterated that my tumor was non-aggressive, very small, and caught early.

However, because of the tumor being hormone driven, he recommended that I go on an aromatase inhibitor called Arimidex for five years. The side effects include possible joint pain due to the drug drying up synovial fluid and a loss of bone density. He said that if I go on the drug I increase my chances of remaining cancer free to 97% but cited only a 25-30% success rate of the drug performance.  Naturally, I asked him if he could recommend a more holistic approach. He brought up diet and nutrition and mentioned soy.  He was not familiar with any plant-based supplements, so as soon as I got home I started researching online. I found an excellent blog post by Elyn Jacobs that discusses “natural alternatives to aromatase inhibitors.”

Based on my early research and excellent prognosis, I am strongly leaning towards a nutritional approach to managing the “bad” estrogen so that I do not lose the positive health benefits of the “good” estrogen. I will keep you posted on further findings and my final decision.

In closing, I send belated Hanukkah good wishes, Christmas greetings, and warm wishes for a happy and healthy 2013 to all.

. . . and so it is

will it ever be over?

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I had a follow up visit with Dr. Beth DuPree on November 27th.  The first thing she did upon walking into the exam room was express her regret and apology for the difficult catheter removal. My post-op visit was uneventful, and I was released with flying colors. I was also given permission to return to my water aerobics, which I did the very next day.

However, it’s not over. . . I was directed to set up an appointment with a medical oncologist, Dr. Pallav Mehta, at Holy Redeemer Hospital to discuss whether I need to go on medication to suppress estrogen and progesterone since my tumor was hormone driven. I’m hoping if I need to take this route that we can find an effective natural, plant-based supplement as opposed to a drug.

I was also directed to set up a mammogram in 3 months and return to see Dr. DuPree in 6 months. I walked out wondering if this will ever be over? Will I always be under close scrutiny?

. . . and so it is