Monday, October 25, 2010

When Your Fear Becomes Reality

What do you do when your worst fear has become a reality?  My mom just got the results from her surgery and she has breast cancer.  It's hard to even type the words.   How ironic is it my mom gets diagnosed with breast cancer in October, breast cancer awareness month?  It's times like these that you realize we really have no way of protecting the ones we love.  We can only show our love for each other and hope for the best.

When I was a little girl my biggest fear was my mom would get sick.  I'm sure every child has this fear.  You wonder who would take care of me?  I knew there was nobody else would take me in and if they did i'd become like Cinderella and the ugly stepsisters.  Now this fear has become a reality.  I'm an adult and can take of myself, but everyone wants their mom to be healthy.   

She followed what they say to do - breast feed, mammograms for years, eat a healthy diet, stay away from harmful chemicals (she never dyed her hair), have children when you're young.  Yes, breast cancer runs in my family, but even those who don't have it in their family run a high risk.  Environmental factors are increasingly becoming a culprit.  It seems like a lot of people have cancer right now.  Is our medical system really working for us?  Are there things we can do now to prevent illnesses/disease?

I'm happy that family has been and will continue to be a priority in my life. I don't have a lot of family members, but the ones I do have I'm extremely close with.  I'm trying to be grateful that they caught it early enough for her to get surgery and get better.  My mom has always been on top of her medical exams and she always had the feeling she would one day get breast cancer (call it a woman's intuition?).  My two grandmothers had breast cancer, my aunt, and now my mother.  My thoughts and prayers go out to all cancer patients and their families.

Tips for choosing cancer-fighting fats and avoiding the bad

  • Reduce your consumption of red meat, whole milk, butter, and eggs, as these are the primary source of saturated fats.
  • Cook with olive oil instead of regular vegetable oil. Canola oil is another good choice, especially for baking.
  • Check the ingredient list on food labels and avoid anything with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, which are usually found in stick margarines, shortenings, salad dressings, and other packaged foods.
  • Trim the fat off of meat when you do eat it, and avoid eating the skin of the chicken.
  • Choose nonfat dairy products and eggs that have been fortified with omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Add nuts and seeds to cereal, salads, soups, or other dishes. Good choices include walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, pecans, and sesame seeds.
  • Use flaxseed oil in smoothies, salad dressings, or mixed in snacks such as applesauce. But do not cook with flaxseed oil, as it loses its protective properties when heated.
  • Limit fast food, fried foods, and packaged foods, which tend to be high in trans fats. This includes foods like potato chips, cookies, crackers, French fries, and doughnuts.
  • Eat fish once or twice a week. Good choices include wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, herring, and black cod. But be conscious of mercury, a contaminant found in many types of fish.

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