Hair Care – The Magic and The Tragic

Coming from a person who lives with MBC, I can tell you….I’ve done a few bizarre hardheadthings and eaten some weird food, all in hopes of winning the war with cancer over my hair.  I travel the internet A LOT trying to discover the DO’S and DON’TS of diet, exercise, and lifestyle but mostly to find out what to do about hair loss. Curiosity says, ‘Try Me’ while Common Sense smacks me on the head and says, ‘Save your time and money’.  Well….sometimes I listen, sometimes I don’t.  Hard-headedness is hereditary from both sides of my family so there was no escaping it.

Losing one’s hair is traumatic, especially if you’re a woman.  In 2006 I went through chemo and lost all my hair so with my 2017 recurrence I assumed the same would happen and mentally prepared myself.  The only thing I did was make myself ‘mental’.  Currently I take Ibrance and Letrozole.  So far there has only been slight thinning and this is most likely from Letrozole which blocks estrogen.  I tried so many things when the thinning first started with no results.  For the past three weeks, in addition to 500mg cruciferous veggiesVitamin C and 5000mcg Biotin,  I have been using a collagen peptide supplement powder, 1 Tablespoon daily of walnut oil and eating A LOT of greens (recommended by my stylist).  In addition to greens (especially broccoli sprouts and mung bean sprouts) I have been consuming my fair share of ground flax, hemp hearts, pumpkin seeds and nuts.  The ‘shedding’ has reduced significantly which is great because West Texas winds are not ideal for wearing wigs.  Now, at the same time I was using ‘something else’ as well.

In my defense….I was in a panic.

At this point, if rattlesnake venom was said to stop hair loss I would have driven to the nearest snake farm and jumped naked into a pit of vipers.  igrowThat’s how desperate and delusional one can become over a few stands of lost hair.  Now for the best part…..drum roll please…..I bought an iGrow Hair Growth System with LED and Infrared Lighting to stimulate my sluggish hair follicles.  Not only does it appear to be signaling aliens but it looks silly. They were actually selling these at my sister’s salon but I igrow2found it online for way, way less.  I’ve actually been using it for a month now and it remains a mystery whether the shedding has ceased due to the collagen, oil greens combo or if this ‘transformer-like’ helmet has contributed.  Whatever I’m doing seems to be working. The photo was taken with the lights off so it would look more exciting.

Here is an extremely condensed version of things I have tried and my experience with them.

THUMBS UP:

  • Plantur 39 Shampoo (great for scalp stimulation 1-2 times per week)
  • LoReal Total Repair 5 Damage Erasing Balm (this stuff is awesome)
  • It’s A 10 Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin
  • Nioxin Thickening Spray
  • Big Sexy Powder Play
  • Coconut, Almond, Walnut or Avocado Oil (works great for dry ends)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (Pro:  Great Conditioner – Con:  Deters Husband)

THUMBS DOWN:

  • The Mane Choice Hair Oil (messy/no results)
  • Wild Growth Hair Oil (messy/odd smell/no results)
  • Doo Gro Shampoo (dried out hair)
  • Natural Honey as conditioner (colossal mess – I should have seen that coming)

The way I see it, it doesn’t hurt to try – even if WHATEVER it is fails to work – there is always the chance that it will.  My nutrition habits are evolving, a work in progress, and more and more leaning toward a mostly plant based diet.  Like I’ve said before, fish and eggs are my KEEPERS.  I feel proper nutrition plays a huge part in whether my hair decides to hang around or ride off  into the sunset.

Have a great day 🙂

 

 

 

MBC Project

Today’s mail brought the MBC Project kit I requested.  I feel that metastatic breast cancer researchers need all the help they can get to find a cure so I signed up.  Registration is saliva kitsimple, consisting of a few questions regarding cancer history, the kit was mailed promptly and it all goes back in the same box (I liked that a lot – less waste).  I personally prefer visuals so I’ve included a photo of the kit.  Please go check it out and see if it’s something you may be interested in contributing to.

To save some time I copied and pasted the information from the FAQ page. (Go to MBC Project Site)

“The Metastatic Breast Cancer Project takes a new approach to cancer research in which researchers partner directly with patients, who share their samples and clinical information in order to speed important discoveries. The project is being launched and funded by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard — a non-profit academic research institution with a mission to dramatically accelerate the understanding and treatment of disease — and conducted in collaboration with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as well as our advocacy partners.
Our goal is to reach out to patients with metastatic breast cancer throughout the USA and Canada in order to study their cancer using cutting-edge genomic and molecular research studies performed at the Broad Institute by allowing patients to participate in these studies regardless of where they live. We are also asking patients from all over the world to sign up so that we can collect information worldwide and eventually expand to additional countries.”

 

 

My Story

In the beginning….
It was April of 2006 and a tropical storm had me trapped indoors cleaning and organizing the house.  After working all day a nice hot shower sounded awesome.  Just as I was starting to relax I noticed an area of my left breast felt unusual and was painful as I traced it with my fingertips. Wonderful, I thought to myself.  Because of the weather there was no other option than to wait. This particular storm lasted two more days, at which time the search for a physician began and let me tell you, this wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. The first few physicians I contacted were booked months into the future and others weren’t accepting new patients. Despite informing the office staff as to the reason I was seeking consultation, they were firm turning me away. Desperate for answers I headed to the emergency room. Reception promptly checked me in and within a minutes I was being seen by the attending physician. After the initial examination a mammogram and ultrasound were ordered and performed that day. Within the hour we had results which showed a mass and received a referral. I was able to schedule an appointment the same week. The morning of my appointment I mentally prepared myself for the worst news possible. The physician was very thorough in obtaining my history, ordering a chest x-ray, EKG as well as complete bloodwork. He performed a core biopsy in the office that same day which was extremely painful and made me scream obscenities. He informed me that the results would be available the next day and so I scheduled a follow-up appointment.
It seems like yesterday (2006) hearing that I had breast cancer, or in more definitive medical terms, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) ER+/PR+. At first, the news was overwhelming but I entered ‘work mode’ and decided the best coping strategy was to make cancer my full-time job. I found an oncologist and hospital that made me feel comfortable, battled through chemotherapy (Cytoxan/Taxotere), radiation, lumpectomy with removal of lymph nodes, total hair loss, crappy wigs and five years of Tamoxifen. I made changes to my diet and lifestyle because I was determined to beat this disease. At first, it was easy to follow the strict goals I had set for myself but after a couple of years of having tests show no sign of disease, I started allowing myself occasional indulgences. We are all aware that once the ball starts rolling downhill it’s hard to stop it. I traveled a bit, did whatever I wanted, met and married my best friend and relocated to West Texas. This meant finding a new medical team which I did. A little over ten years had passed with no sign of disease, then in April of 2015, my routine chest x-ray showed bilateral lung spots and a lung biopsy was ordered. The procedure was explained and I was afraid for the first time. Again I mentally prepared myself and arrived for the procedure. A nurse gave me a mild sedative for anxiety, started an IV and went to let the doctor know I was ready. He entered the room and told me it would be risky to biopsy these spots as they were too small. His discharge instructions were to repeat the chest x-rays regularly to monitor changes in my lungs. A lot changed during the next few months. I was experiencing shortness of breath on minimal exertion, coughing and difficulty swallowing. I found a physician, made an appointment, further tests including a bone scan, CT of the chest and CT the abdomen were ordered which I did. Results of these tests revealed areas of concern on my hip bones, spine, lungs and liver in addition to pleural fluid on both lungs. I must say that this particular physician’s manner was dismal. While explaining my results to me he basically appeared amazed that I was able to walk into his office in my condition. He recommended thoracentesis to drain the pleural fluid. At that moment it was decided to change hospitals and physicians. After much research I debated on travelling back to the Houston where I’d been treated initially in 2006 but was lucky to have found a great team in Dallas that I am very comfortable with. After reviewing my records and test results, we scheduled thoracentesis and hip bone biopsy. When I returned for my follow-up visit she informed me that my cancer had metastasized to my hip, lungs, and spine. Fortunately, it was determined that the spots on my liver were nothing more spots. It was also determined to be non-aggressive at this point. Oral chemotherapy (Ibrance) and an aromatase inhibitor (Letrozole) were prescribed which I will take until it stops working at which time I will begin again with another drug as this disease is something that supposedly lasts forever.
My personal belief is that cancer doesn’t have to be a forever disease and can be treated naturally through healthy diet and lifestyle. I believe it can be controlled or reversed without the use of carcinogenic pharmaceuticals, however, those options are either unavailable to us, advised against or are illegal which is very sad.
IMG_5476 (1)Currently, I am working toward my Associates degree in Environmental Science: Health and Safety.  My days are spent feeling great, doing the things I love, spending time with my husband, painting, photography, writing, cooking, gardening and reading.  I have a small but awesome support system which is so important. Goals for the future include obtaining my Bachelor’s degree, traveling more, continue writing to inspire others and perhaps even write a book. I intend on living a long, healthy, positive life. The best advice I can give is to stay positive, live a healthy lifestyle, find beauty in the smallest of things and create something every day.
….A Happy Ending