I am happy to report that as of halfway through 2010, I am stronger than I ever remember, which isn’t saying too much since these days I don’t remember as much as I used to. Still, I bought a house that has steep stairs to the second floor, more stairs to the basement, and a nice little hike out to the studio. I have been doing things I can’t remember (again, who knows?) ever doing, like mowing the lawn, shoveling a substantial driveway, hefting boxes of books and 40-pound bags of fertilizer. Good grief! I never thought it possible.
It’s been four years since I finished my treatment for breast cancer—long enough for me to forget to be on high awareness mode and always take a friend when dealing with the world of hospitals and labs, even if things look relatively straight forward. After all, for four years, my routine mammograms had been clear.
Yes I am, thanks to early detection (I found the lump myself), an excellent surgeon who left me intact, the usual course of radiation, and a changed lifestyle. Because the usual post-op treatment Arimidex) froze up my joints, I have ignored Big Pharma (saving over $200 a month) and opted instead for a healthy diet (mostly vegetarian) and exercise. Today, four years later, I feel better than ever and find myself living every day as fully as I can, and thankful thankful thankful. So I am celebrating life, creativity, adventure, friends, and new opportunities.
The answer to that is mostly, NOT. For details, go to my blog for February 2.
Two days ago I got such a craving for a tuna fish sandwich that I just up and made one: 1 can of light tuna in water, plus some Smart Balance mayonnaise, celery and green olives, all on my favorite bread, Brownberry (now Arnolds) Natural Wheat bread. It hit the spot. I’m not aiming for 100% vegan….more like 10% of my protein can be animal protein. Especially fish.
It can be hard to get past the eewwwww! factor when trying a new way of eating, but I’ve had plenty of practice. I have choked down horse meat in Switzerland, goat meat and cassava in Nigeria, seaweed and raw fish from Japan, and buffalo hump in Pakistan, and you know what? Once I got past the eeewww! factor, those were all pretty tasty. Lucky thing too: In every case, an easily-offended host was watching.
What fun! I went to four ethic groceries today—two Indian, one Asian, and a Mediterranean—and a health food store. I came home with quite a few interesting possibilities: two kinds of lentils (red and yellow), a spice mix, a small block of Thai-spiced baked tofu, L’a’rabars, a tub of Better Than Cream Cheese, tubs of green and Kalamata olives, quinoa (a grain I’ve never tried), whole wheat tortillas, and a box of protein powder.
Last month I called a dear friend I’ve known for 60 years (who has survived breast cancer for 20) to wish her happy birthday, and she told me she’d become a vegan—no meat, no dairy. Good grief, I thought. She’s gone off the deep end.
I just read The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, probably the most highly credentialed researcher who has ever studied the correlation between animal protein and the diseases of affluent societies: Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and many others. This man has worked from MIT, Virginia Tech, and at the top of our government health agencies. What he has to say about animal protein and breast cancer is going to make a vegan out of me.
Also perusable will be my 200+ page illustrated breast cancer blog begun after my diagnosis in October, 2004, and continuing to the present. It can be read online as well, beginning with Mary’s Breast Cancer Blog, on my website, continuing for a year elsewhere, and recently returning to my own website at beaverislandarts.com.