In honor of breast cancer awareness month, I’m reposting this from my former blog: One of the biggest joys of entering the fabulous forties has been MAMMOGRAMS!!! Hooray. Ladies, check yourselves out, get your mammograms, get them regularly, and on time. Stay on top of it, but its no trip to Disneyland, that’s for sure. I had one late last year. I was not excited about it. You can’t help but be a bit nervous but I soldiered through. A few weeks later the results came back saying that, due to “dense breast tissue” on one side, the test was inconclusive and I needed to come back. Okay, well this was not the news I wanted, but it was clear I had no choice but to follow through. I was told they’d be able to tell me my results on the spot so I took the next available appointment. It fell on my son’s 6th birthday which I felt ok about because I told myself God was NOT going to let my son’s birthday be the day I got any bad news. So, I put on my big girl panties and went to handle my business. I purposely went alone with no hands to hold as my way of not giving any weight to fears that were trying to creep their way into my thoughts.
Now, a mammogram is not the most pleasant experience for any woman, but as my general practioner informed me with his very thick accent, “Oh no, mammogram is not the best test for you because your breasts are VERY small”. I mean, he really drove it home with the “VERY” small, too.
Okay…I get it, thanks Doc. Much appreciated.
He’s not wrong though. This poor woman had to start out with some deep knee bends to get ready for the work she was going to have to put in to get my “VERY small” boob up in to that vice. She eventually got’er in there, I waited patiently, and she returned only to tell me she needed to run the test again. Whaaaaat?!?!? So, we do the deep knee bends, hike the tiny boob back in the vice, and I wait again. She returns again to tell me they’re still not getting the clear read they want from the mammogram and will now do an ultrasound. Here’s the deal…as I understood it. If cancer is found in the breast it shows up white in a mammogram. If there’s a mass but it’s benign it shows up black. For me there’s a tiny mass coming up grey. Dense breast tissue makes it all kind of cloudy and hard to read, making the ultrasound a more accurate choice. Damn you tiny ta-ta’s!
A nurse escorted me into a different room, with a different tech. I was quickly losing my brave cover I had upon entrance and having a real come to Jesus moment in the exam room…on my son’s birthday, mind you. She performs the ultra sound. Thankfully there’s nothing to really worry about at this time, but I do have to stay on top of getting tested and it has to happen every six months for now.
When I went home and rushed to put the finishing touches on a little surprise birthday party for my son I realized even more the obligation I have to make responsible choices for myself, not just my family. I am very good about shopping “organic” and reading labels when it comes to the kids, but as a busy mom I can be guilty of not taking the best care of myself. It was time to adjust.
I’ve started by making some simple changes. One of them is switching to a natural deodorant. I’ve heard for quite some time the risks involved with deodorants and antipersperants containing aluminum, but had yet to fully make the switch. Trust me, there’s nothing like a couple o’rounds of inconclusive breast cancer screenings to kick you in to high gear. Aluminum really is just toxic for the body and we have no business just mindlessly slathering it on voluntarily every day. It’s linked to breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, kidney disease and bone disorders. This is an easy change, well easy-ish, at least. It’ll take a bit of experimenting to discover what works with your body chemistry but it’s worth the effort. Just take this as a starting place to doing your own research to make some healthier tweaks. I’d love to be one of those people who made it at home myself, but as of now, it hasn’t happened so until it does, here what I’ve found so far…
So, I’ve tried a few now. The first was the lavender scented store brand from “Sprouts” and I pretty much stayed on funk mode…not cute. Next, I tried “Toms” and it DID NOT agree with me, as I ended up with a bad rash and fire pits, REALLY not cute. The most recent is called “PiperWai”. I learned of it when randomly watching an episode of “Shark Tank”. I must say…I remain funk free all the day long! Even on those hot track meet days with the kids. It’s a bit pricey for deodorant at about $12, comes in a little jar and you rub a pea sized amount under your arms. That takes a little getting used to but it’s fine. It doesn’t keep me bone dry when it’s super hot but it’s fairly minimal with no stank which equals victory in my book. Now, I think it’s a good idea to have a few options in rotation so there are a couple other deodorants that have come highly recommended that I’ll be trying.
*Update: 10/17/17 I’m currently using “Schmidt’s Naturals” – free of aluminum, parabens, and is certified vegan. I purchased it at Whole Foods for about $8, and it’s been my favorite so far! I really dig that it comes in a stick, goes on clear, and yes, keep me dry and clear of funk as well…winning!
This all has led me to be more careful about the things I put on as well as in by body. There are so many things we use on a daily basis that include ingredients that are pretty much just poisoning us slowly. I’ve replaced most face and body products for things like coconut oil, aloe, and witch hazel. I’m far more diligent about checking what’s in our hair products and have been known to mix up some really cool concoctions using things out of the kitchen for the family curls. When you know better you do better, and that’s all I’m trying to do. The sooner the better, but it’s never too late. I’m back in the gym, making simple dietary tweaks and just all around trying to “do better” so that I can be the best version of myself for myself and my family. It’s a baby step situation, but at least they’re happening. That’s progress. I’ll keep you posted!
Have you made any tweaks in your routine in an effort to be take better care of yourself? Are you just one of those really together moms who already has it figured it out? Either way, please feel free to share tips, I could use the help!