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The Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer – My Best Juicing Tips

Image source: stock.xchng
Image source: stock.xchng

The Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer – My Best Juicing Tips

To conclude my series of articles about juicing for breast cancer, this one is all about the best tips I’ve gathered over the past 15 or so years while juicing – a real grab-bag of “good to know” tips on juicing.

1. The produce you really should buy organically grown – because of the fact that they are highly sprayed and you don’t want toxic residue in your healthy drink –  are: apples, celery, bell peppers, strawberries, grapes, spinach, kale and other leafy greens, cucumbers, and blueberries. Everything else? Well, you’re always better off buying organic but if you need to keep your food budget down or it just isn’t available where you live, the other things are okay to buy non-organically grown. If you have to. See the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Regardless of whether you are using organic produce, always wash everything thoroughly. Even organic produce can have bacteria, road dust, etc on it.
2. Beet juice will turn your urine a beautiful shade of pink (it can happen with your poo too). Just be aware.  It’s not internal bleeding! Beet is a fantastic thing to juice though – see my page Diet And Cancer for the reasons why. The tops of the beets are also excellent to juice or in salads, they are high in potassium, iron, vitamins A and C.
3. Vegetable juices are generally healthier than fruit juices and won’t spike your blood sugar levels. If you’re sweet on fruits and really want to include them, use a blender. For more info on this, see my article The Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer – Which Juicer Or Blender To Use?. Juice mostly vegetables and then add a little fruit to improve the taste.
4. Fresh juices don’t last a long time.  It’s best to consume fresh juices within a half hour or so of making them. Some juicers create juices that can be stored up to 2 days, know whether yours will do that, Store them in the fridge in a glass container, filling it as full as you can (thus allowing very little air inside) and make sure the lid is very tight. This will keep your juice from oxidizing so quickly. Remember, it has no preservatives!
5. Save preparation time in the morning.  Just scrub and chop all your produce prior to putting it in the fridge, and then store it in really great containers (I like these).  This really cuts down the preparation time and the containers also help to keep things fresh a bit longer.
6.  Add a wedge of lemon or lime at the end of your juicing – after you’ve juiced everything else. It helps to clean your juicer of other things you’ve been processing and it adds a fresh, clean zing to the taste of your juice. Not to mention loads of vitamin C.
7. Keep the motor running… head out on the highway…. Seriously.  When juicing, keep the motor running for a further 10-15 seconds. You might be surprised at how much juice keeps coming out.
8. There are lots of things you can do with pulp.  If you are juicing, you may be dismayed to see how much pulp gets left. Don’t worry!  With some juicers you can pass the pulp through the machine one more time to get even more juice out of it.  You can also use the pulp to create your own super healthy organic vegetable stock (contact me if you need a recipe). Just strain the pulp out of the stock when you have finished cooking it.  You can also use the pulp in quiches, soups, stews, casseroles. Or – rather than throwing away the pulp – put it in your compost heap or bury it somewhere in your garden. Your plants will love it.
9. Wash your juicer immediately after juicing. This keeps it from getting stained by the vegetables you juiced, and the dried on bits of vegetable residue can gum it up and be hard to remove if you leave it for too long.
10. Ginger is divine to juice and its anti-inflammatory properties make it well worth adding to your daily juice regime. Begin by using just a little bit, however, because it is hot and spicy and less is more. As you get used to the heat and the flavor, then you can begin adding a little more.
11. Consume fresh juices on an empty stomach. This allows all of the plant nutrients and live enzymes to be absorbed by your body as quickly as possible. Don’t drink juice when you’ve already eaten something else, it may cause some digestive disturbances for you. A good idea is to wait at least 2 hours after a meal to drink fresh juices and wait 20 minutes after drinking your fresh juice to eat solid food.
12. Chew your juice! I know that sounds crazy, but the process of digestion begins in the mouth. Swish the juice around in your mouth, move your jaw up and down for a couple of seconds prior to swallowing – this releases saliva which contains within it the digestive enzymes which will help you get the nutrients into your cells.
13. Rotate your greens. By greens I mean spinach, arugula, kale, chard, etc.  Juice a different one every few days – this helps to prevent imbalances of vitamins and minerals within the body.
14. Be patient. If juicing is something that seems more like a chore than a pleasure, just know you are not alone. The health benefits are huge though, and I would encourage you to be patient and keep at it. Read my article The 12 Best Benefits of Juicing for Breast Cancer if you get too discouraged – that will help you to remember why you’re juicing in the first place!

If you would like to receive my best tips on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences, just  sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com). I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.  

 

The Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer – Which Juicer Or Blender To Use?

The Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer – Which Juicer or Blender To Use?

I am a huge proponent of juicing for breast cancer — it’s great for any sort of cancer, really — and one of the questions I get asked most frequently is which juicer or blender to use.

It’s a great question, mainly because of the baffling array of juicers on the market, the manufacturers of which all claim that theirs is the best and provides you with the most nutrients and enzymes.  The purpose of this article is not to compare juicers because there are plenty of websites that do that.  I would just like you to understand the difference between juicing and blending and then you can decide for yourself which is best for you.

As mentioned in a previous article, The 12 Best Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer, juicing is an excellent way to extract massive amounts of vitamins, minerals, plant nutrients and enzymes from fruits and vegetables for your body’s immediate use.  Whether to use a juicer or a blender to extract those nutrients, however, has become a hotly debated subject.

What began as a simple message about the benefits of juicing for health has recently evolved into a rather strict bunch of “juicing rules” that people are obsessing about.  What I’ve observed is that some people have stopped juicing altogether – or never start – because they’ve been told that unless they can afford a particular juicer that’s out of their price range, they are wasting their time!  Now that’s just a crying shame.

There are plenty of juicers on the market that are affordable and do a great job.  You can, of course, obsess about which one does a better job and indeed, I found an interesting 2007 study by Michael Donaldson, PhD of Hallelujah Acres Foundation (this was on Chris Wark’s website – thank you very much, Chris) comparing seven popular juicers, including the $2,400 Norwalk juicer.  Click that link to read the study, it’s pretty interesting.  While the Norwalk excelled in several aspects such as enzyme content when the juice had to be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days, it really wasn’t that big of a difference.

Please keep reading, then make your decision.  I think that we should be doing both – juicing and blending – and here’s why.

To Juice Or To Blend – That Is The Question

While both juicing and blending are healthy for you, the results are quite different.  Both juicing and blending will give you a great big shot of dense nutrients that your body can readily use, but there are some important differences.  They both make a valuable contribution to your health, be it in different ways.

http://MarnieClark.com/The-Benefits-Of-Juicing-For-Breast-Cancer-Which-Juicer-Or-Blender-To-UseJuicing, done with a slow speed masticating juicer, is designed to extract as much densely packed nutrition from your organic produce as possible by removing all the fiber (pulp).  This allows your body to easily assimilate all the nutrients without requiring too much energy from your digestive system.  That’s why it’s so great for cancer patients or people who have troubled digestive systems.  When you ingest a big load of vegetables and/or fruit in a meal or a smoothie, it can take hours to digest and absorb all of that fiber. With fresh raw juices that have no fiber, however, your body gets those nutrients in minutes.  That makes juicing ideal for cleansing and detoxification and gives the digestive system a rest.  It’s also ideal for people with cancer who are suffering from cachexia, or muscle wasting. The downside of juicers is that they generally take a little more time to clean up and some people don’t like that.  I don’t find it a problem, it really only takes a few more minutes.  My favorite juicer is the Omega J8005, it’s easy to clean, produces a wonderful smooth juice and isn’t terribly expensive.

Image Source: freedigitalphotos.net / zirconicusso

Blending, done with something like a Nutribullet or Vitamix or just an ordinary blender, works by splitting open the cellular wall of fruits and vegetables, releasing all of the nutrients – but it is much more like eating a meal since the fiber is retained (and that’s good for cleansing the colon and slowing the release of fructose, fruit sugar, when you are blending fruit).  You get better assimilation than if you ate the fruit or vegetables whole, but you don’t get quite the concentrated nutritional density of juice derived from a masticating juicer.  You wouldn’t be able to get as much produce into a blender container as you are able to process with a juicer.  Blenders are great for making smoothies, which tend to be more filling than juices and more satisfying if you are very hungry.  Another benefit to blending is that you can also add super foods and supplements to smoothies to increase the antioxidant hit or cancer-killing nutrients.  I frequently add a spoonful of maqui berry powder to get a big antioxidant hit, or you could add hemp or spirulina or chia seeds or flaxseed (get the idea?).  Doing this adds a lot of nutrition to your smoothies which you might not ordinarily do with a glass of fresh juice.

So the bottom line?  Which is better, juicing or blending?  As you can see each has its benefits and merits. The best one to use IS THE ONE THAT YOU LOVE USING!  If you buy a big expensive juicer and then it sits in your pantry because you hate cleaning it, it’s not doing you any good at all.  So get the one you think you’ll love to use and enjoy it.  Make juicing and/or blending a daily part of your wellness protocol.  For the list of the very best things to juice, see my article The Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer – What To Juice.

If you would like my best tips on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark Breast Health Coach) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond. 

The Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer – What To Juice

Image Source: rgbstock.com / Ayla87

Image Source: rgbstock.com / Ayla87

The Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer – What To Juice

In my last article, The 12 Best Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer, I gave you twelve very good reasons why juicing is incredibly beneficial for breast cancer and today, in part 2 of this 4-part series, I am covering what exactly to juice.  I know many people delay juicing because they don’t know what to juice.  Don’t worry about having specific recipes (although resources for those is found at the bottom of this article) — just get started — squish these things into your juice (the next article covers the best juicers to use) and adjust for your own personal tastebuds.  It’s all about experimentation and finding out what you like.

Note:  Always use organic produce wherever you can but if it’s just not available, get yourself a good quality fruit and vegetable wash and wash everything thoroughly before juicing.  You can also add a splash of white vinegar to a basin of fresh cold water and soak your produce to help remove any traces of pesticide, herbicide, wax, etc.

Kale

Kale is one of the most alkaline vegetables and packs a terrific wallop of omega-3 fatty acids, chlorophyll, betacarotene, vitamin K, vitamin C and calcium.  It is highly anti-inflammatory (and cancer is a very inflammatory condition), it helps to activate your immune system, it reduces the absorption of carcinogens (cancer causing things).  Tip: Wash kale thoroughly.  According to foodbabe.com, “To get the most out of your kale, run it through the juicer before the fruits and veggies with higher water content like cucumber and apple.”

Carrots

Carrots are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and beta-carotene, antioxidants that protect against cell damage.  Carrots also contain retinol which inhibits tumor promotion.  There are plenty of cancer survivor testimonies out there on the internet from people who heavily juiced carrots and eradicated their cancer.  Tip: Peel both organic and non-organic carrots prior to juicing because they do grow in the ground and the skins of root vegetables can contain trace amounts of arsenic.

Cucumbers

90% water, they are a wonderful base for any juicing recipe and are full of electrolytes, vitamins B, C and K, and potassium.  They have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  Additionally, new lab research (done only on animals so far) indicates that cucumbers contain plant lignans which are converted in the gut into enterolignans which have the ability to bind onto estrogen receptors on our cells.  They can have both pro-estrogenic and anti-estrogenic effects, depending on what is needed by the body.  A reduced risk of estrogen-related cancers, including cancers of the breast, ovary, uterus, and prostate have been associated with intake of dietary lignans from plant foods like cucumber (also flaxseed).  Fresh cucumbers also contain a group of compounds called cucurbitacins and researchers have determined that  several different cell signaling pathways required for cancer cell development and cancer cell survival can be blocked by activity of cucurbitacins.  Tip: If your cucumbers are organic, leave the skin on but if they are not organic, peel them due to the synthetic waxes that get applied to them, you don’t want that in your juice

Beets

Beets contain iron, potassium, niacin, copper, vitamin C, folic acid, zinc, calcium, manganese, and magnesium.  They also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are required for good eye health.  Beets must be fresh, not canned. Beets are one of the best anti-cancer veggies around, abounding in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.  They stimulate lymphatic function, enhance liver function, make a great blood cleanser, and good for cellular detoxification.  Tip: Peel both organic and non-organic beets before juicing.

Wheat Grass

Fresh wheat or barley grass juice is very alkaline, it is a very potent blood purifier and liver cleanser as it contains oodles of chlorophyll, which is similar in molecular structure to hemoglobin in our blood and helps transport oxygen to our cells.  Since cancer loves conditions where oxygen is absent, you can immediately see the benefit that wheat grass offers.  Chlorophyll has also been proven to be a more effective antimutagenic than any antioxidants.  Wheat grass also contains selenium and laetrile, and that makes it a superb overall cancer fighter.   Tip:  People with wheat allergies have nothing to worry about with wheat grass – although it is grown from grain, it morphs completely into a vegetable with none of the allergy proteins common to wheat.  Also, if you drink a lot of it, just beware because it can act as a natural laxative.  Which can be a good thing if you’re doing chemotherapy!

Apples

Apples contain flavonoids, which are phytochemicals that protect cells and DNA from damage.  They act as antioxidants and help to control inflammation.  They also contain quercitin which research indicates inhibits EGFR (Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor) and HER2 neu common in breast cancer.  Tip:  Most of the flavonoid content of an apple is in the skin, so don’t peel them and definitely buy organic apples whenever you can.  If organic apples are not available, wash them well in warm water and vinegar to remove the wax coatings and any chemical residue.  Just go easy when juicing apples as they do contain a lot of natural sugar.

Pineapple

Pineapple contains an enzyme known as bromelain which is a natural digestive enzyme and is helpful for cancer because it boosts cytokines, particularly interferon and tumor necrosis factor, which are very important warriors in destroying cancer cells.  Bromelain also decreases inflammation, helps the immune system, and according to mercola.com, bromelain is also involved with “Dissolving fibrin: Cancer cells hide under a cloak of fibrin to escape detection. Once the cancer cells are ‘uncloaked,’ they can be spotted and attacked by your immune system. It is also thought that fibrin makes cancer cells ‘stick together,’ which increases the chance for metastases.”  Tip: To tell whether a pineapple is ripe and ready for juicing, lift it, squeeze it, and smell it. The fruit should be heavy, which means it’s juicy; the skin should yield slightly to a gentle squeeze, and the aroma should be sweet.  Color also matters – if it’s too green, it will probably be slightly sour.  You want a pineapple that has a slightly yellow tinge on the rind.

Celery

Hugely anti-inflammatory and alkaline, celery is excellent for juicing.  Celery is full of potassium, calcium, vitamins C and K, folate, and antioxidants which help protect against oxidative damage to cells, blood vessels, and organ systems.  It is also full of important phytonutrients that are anti-inflammatory and protective of the digestive tract and cardiovascular system.  Recent research done on mice indicated that a key component of celery known as apigenin slowed cancerous growths and shrank tumors and reduced the blood vessels feeding the tumors, as well as restricting nutrient flow to the tumor cells, thus starving them of the nutrients needed for growth.   Tip: Keep celery for no longer than 5-7 days in the refrigerator before using.

Berries

Berries are all rich in vitamin C, bioflavonoids, fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulphur, silicon and iron. They also contain anthocyanins which are powerful antioxidants and bacteria inhibitors. Many also contain ellagic acid.  Blueberries in particular have been studied for their ability to help halt the growth and spread of triple negative breast cancer.   Tip: If you are juicing berries with seeds (like raspberries or blackberries), you will want to use a masticating style juicer to separate the seeds from the juice.  Or you can also strain the juice afterward.

Lemons

As we all know, lemons are loaded with vitamin C, which acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, aids the immune system, and is a potent antioxidant. Lemon is also a great source of folate and potassium.  Lemons help you eliminate waste, are a natural antiseptic, cleanse the lymphatic system, and are very potent little cancer-fighters.  Tip: Lemons are not acidic once inside the body – once they enter the stomach they are alkaline and promote a healthy body pH.  Juice organic lemons WITH THE PEEL as the peel contains limonene, a potent anti-cancer phytochemical.

Ginger

In studies on mice, ginger proved to be very effective in killing cancerous cells and it did this in two different ways.  First, ginger causes cancer cells to “commit suicide” (known as apoptosis) by destroying themselves while leaving the surrounding healthy cells untouched. Second, ginger tricks cancerous cells into eating themselves (known as autophagy).  In addition, ginger has long been known for its anti-inflammatory properties and this helps cancer patients in a third way – ginger helps to prevent tumors from creating the perfect scenario for growth. One study found that exposing ovarian cancer cells to a solution of ginger powder resulted in their death in every single test.  Tip: Peel your ginger and experiment with the size of chunk that you juice.  It adds a bit of heat and spice to the juice so start with small amounts and work your way up.  I use about a 1″ knob of ginger in my juice, I don’t mind the heat at all.  Ginger is also excellent for helping with nausea due to chemotherapy and radiation treatments.  You should not take ginger if you suffer from a bleeding disorder or take blood-thinning medications (such as warfarin or aspirin).

Broccoli

Broccoli is full of vitamins C and B, beta-carotene, folate, calcium, iron, selenium, phosphorus, potassium and sulphur and is one of the most highly regarded vegetables for breast cancer prevention. It has high levels of three powerful cancer-fighting phytochemicals – isothiocyanates, indoles and dithiolethiones. These special plant chemicals regulate the way in which cells respond to  environmental elements that can potentially trigger cancerous changes within the DNA of the cell.  The phytochemical indole has been found to increase the elimination of estrogen, which is great for those who have estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer.  Tip: Keep the stems for juicing and eat the florets raw or lightly steamed.  Broccoli can have a strong flavor which might take some getting used to, juice it with other things that you love the taste of!

Great juicing recipes abound on the Internet, check out a few of these:
myjuicecleanse.com
thebestofrawfood.com
chrisbeatcancer.com
choosingraw.com
foodbabe.com

For more information on what to juice, visit my page Diet and Cancer.  See also my article The Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer – Which Juicer Or Blender To Use.

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!

The 12 Best Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer

Image source: Freedigitalphotos.net / KEK064

Image source: Freedigitalphotos.net / KEK064

The 12 Best Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer

This is the first of a four-part series.  In this article I will share with you the 12 best benefits of juicing if you have breast cancer (and even if you don’t!), the second article will cover what to juice, the third article will cover the best juicers to purchase, and the fourth article will share some really great juicing tips to help you save time and money.

As a breast cancer coach, I am increasingly aware of the fact that although juicing seems to be a hugely popular health food trend, not many people are aware of the actual benefits of juicing.  There are plenty of reasons, particularly if you are fighting breast cancer and going through all of the treatments, but even if you’re not, there are some compelling reasons for juicing.

Let’s jump right in.

The 12 Best Benefits of Juicing for Breast Cancer

  1. The Number One Reason – many fruits and vegetables have nutrients that kill cancer cells and/or stop the spread of cancer.  See my page Diet and Cancer for the very best ones.  If you are not a huge fan of eating lots of fruits and vegetables, juicing is a fantastic way to get them into your body.
  2. Juicing allows you to consume a large amount of vegetables and fruit and the phytonutrients (plant based nutrients) they contain.  Could you sit and eat 6 carrots, 2 apples, a big chunk of ginger and a slice of lemon in one sitting?  Probably not.  But you can certainly juice them and get all of the super-charged nutrients and antioxidants which are more easily and completely absorbed by the body than when taking synthetic vitamins.
  3. Cooking food destroys 100% of all enzymes in that food.  Because you are juicing raw vegetables and fruit, you can take advantage of all the living enzymes within that fruit or vegetable.  Why are enzymes important?  Enzymes are substances which make chemical reactions possible.  The enzymes found in natural, “live” foods and also in your body are the “work force” of the body. They are needed for the production of hormones, to break down the food you eat, for nutrients like minerals and vitamins to work, and thousands of other processes.  There are believed to be hundreds of thousands of enzymes in the body and without them, life cannot exist.
  4. Juicing is great for impaired digestion.  By the time we have reached middle age, our digestion is less than optimal and this limits your body’s ability to absorb all the nutrients you take in.  Juicing helps to “pre-digest” these nutrients for you, allowing the highly concentrated vitamins, minerals and enzymes to rapidly enter the bloodstream so that you are able to absorb all of the nutritional benefits of the fruits and vegetables, giving your digestive organs a much-needed rest.
  5. You can enjoy a wider variety of vegetables and fruits in your diet.  If you worry that you aren’t eating a wide enough variety of fresh produce every day, juicing is a great way to remove that worry.
  6.  Juicing gives you more energy.  If you are going through treatments for breast cancer, you will be feeling the effects of those treatments.  I promise – you begin juicing and you will stop feeling this way.  Also, if you don’t have much of an appetite due to the treatment you’re on, sipping away at a lovely blend of juices in a glass helps you to feel better.  Just knowing each sip is full of potent cancer-kicking nutrients helps your peace of mind.
  7. Juicing helps to strengthen your immune system.  If you understand that our immune system is our number one defense against cancer cells, you will recognize the importance of juicing.  I’ll give you just one example of how this occurs.  Carrots are a great source of beta-carotene, a substance in plants that is converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A plays a very important role in regulating the immune system, it helps the body fight off infections, and helps keep enough T-cells, also known as fighter cells, in circulation. It also boosts the activity of white blood cells, which defend the body from foreign substances.
  8. Juicing helps to reduce your risk of recurrence.  It only stands to reason that if you are juicing regularly, building your immune system, taking in all of the lovely super-charged nutrients that enter your body through the juices, you are actively helping to keep yourself well and reduce your risk of recurrence.  Additionally, cancer loves acid conditions and juicing helps to keep your body more alkaline.
  9. Juicing helps to reduce inflammation.  Inflammation has long been associated with the development of cancer, as well as other diseases like arthritis, heart disease, stroke, allergies, asthma, Crohn’s Disease, migraines and on and on.  Juicing regularly helps to relieve inflammatory conditions to a huge degree.  For more information, read this article: Why Cancer and Inflammation?
  10. Juicing helps to detoxify your body.  After going through chemotherapy and radiation, you often feel like you are a toxic waste dump, that you might actually glow in the dark.  Juicing during these treatments, and especially afterward, helps your body detox and eliminate the chemicals.  Just check with your oncologist, however, as some won’t allow juicing during the treatments.  I think it is the belief of some oncologists that antioxidants from the juicing may disrupt the action of the chemotherapeutic agents.  I juiced all during my chemotherapy, however, and I’m still here to tell the tale!  I feel it helped me enormously to do it that way.
  11. Juicing regularly helps clear your mind.   It actually helps to increase mental focus and improves clarity of thought.  All those lovely little phytonutrients are so beneficial for the healthy functioning of your brain and nervous system.
  12. Juicing reduces junk food cravings.  I love this last one – whether it’s a function of giving your cells the nutrition that they are craving or because you are eating less sugar when you are looking after yourself and juicing, it’s definitely a great side effect.

Look out for my next article The Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer – What To Juice

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!

 

Fatigue And Cancer: How Long Is This Chemo Fatigue Going To Last?

Image source: freedigitalphotos.net / graur codrin
Image source: freedigitalphotos.net / graur codrin

Fatigue and Cancer – How Long Is This Chemo Fatigue Going To Last?

People who are going through chemotherapy are generally focused on one thing: making it THROUGH the treatments.  Once the treatments have ended, however, the next question becomes “How long is this chemo related fatigue going to last?”

They are ready to move on with their lives but feel that the fatigue is holding them back.  I know I certainly felt like that when I was finished with 6 months of chemotherapy treatments.

Is It Fatigue or Depression?

One thing I like to suggest is keeping a diary for one week to identify the time of day when you are either most fatigued or have the most energy.  Note what you think may be contributing factors.  You might be surprised.  Some have found that they feel fatigued after thinking about something that depresses them.

Depression often masks itself as fatigue.  If you think that it’s depression you are dealing with, please see a qualified therapist.  And don’t be embarrassed about it – you have been through hell all the way through from diagnosis to all those chemicals that were pumped into your system.  Depression is NOT unusual after all of that.

If you feel pretty sure that it’s just chemo related fatigue, however, read on.

How Long Is This Chemo Fatigue Going to Last?

The standard answer from most oncologists is that “it is not unreasonable that fatigue continues for months, if not for a year or year and a half” after the finish of chemotherapy (Tish Knobf, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., A.O.C.N, reference http://www.breastcancer.org/tips/fatigue/ask_expert/2008_01/).

The real answer depends on how you take care of yourself.  I’ve known women who were still suffering from fatigue FIVE years later (but I noticed they weren’t very proactive with their health either).

There are quite a few things you can do for yourself that will reduce the length of time that you are feeling the effects of chemo-related fatigue.  Here are my top 5:

  1. Exercise – Do you spend time exercising each day?  At least 30 minutes per day doing some sort of weight-bearing exercise, walking, or yoga are highly recommended by most doctors.  I pushed myself to go to the gym after finishing chemotherapy, partly because I was part of a study being done by an exercise physiologist who was studying the effects of exercise on women who had been through treatments for breast cancer.  But also, I was aware of the good effects on the body that exercise has – it’s crucial to the good function of your entire nervous system, immune system, and it has been proven to reduce your risk of getting cancer again.  It also has some good psychological benefits, feelings of depression are definitely eased after exercising.  Drink plenty of water during your day too to help flush out accumulated toxins (and drinks containing caffeine DO NOT count!).
  2. Take Transfer Factors – This nutraceutical helps to rebuild a strong immune system, which has taken a big hit during chemotherapy and/or radiation.  Having a depleted immune system can definitely create fatigue.  Not many have heard of this but it’s part of my product line – a very important part – and if you need more info on them, please contact me.
  3. Massage and Bodywork – Massage and bodywork, such as Reiki, can be very helpful to relieve post-chemo fatigue.  My own experience was that it also helped with those feelings of abandonment.  Many feel that they’ve been so incredibly busy and focused on their treatments that once they are done and left on their own to resume a “normal” life, they feel like they’ve fallen off a cliff.  Massage and bodywork help not only with the fatigue, but also with those “over the cliff” feelings.  Please be aware, however, that if you have had a number of lymph nodes removed, or if you have bone metastases, you will want to consult a massage therapist who has special training – an oncology massage therapist will know exactly what to do.  If you are considered “cancer free” (delightful words!) by your doctors, however, just ensure that your massage therapist is either licensed or certified.  Skilled touch is so beneficial at nearly every stage of the cancer experience.
  4. Good Nutrition – Eating well may have been difficult when you were going through chemotherapy, but now that you’ve finished, this is a really good time to start rebuilding yourself with some excellent nutrients.  See my page Diet and Cancer for recommendations on the best things to eat.  Juicing is an excellent thing to do for yourself for a variety of reasons.  See my article The 12 Best Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer.
  5. Get Plenty of Rest – It really helps to take little 20 minute “power naps” to recharge your energy both during and after chemotherapy.  It really helped me a lot and I didn’t feel one bit guilty.  If you can, balance periods of rest and work.  I also found it helped to work at a moderate pace than rushing through activities.

I hope that helps!  Feel free to contact me if you need help with any of this.

I send my love to everyone taking this journey right now. If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

8 Crucial Things to Reduce Chemotherapy Side Effects

8 Crucial Things to Reduce Chemotherapy Side Effects
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8 Crucial Things to Reduce Chemotherapy Side Effects

Anyone going through chemotherapy will know that there is a diverse range of side effects, ranging from mild to severe, and some are quite disruptive to your quality of life, hence today’s article.

I went through breast cancer in 2004 and although I initially chose not to have chemotherapy, a few things factored into my decision and led me to believe it would be beneficial for me so I went through 6 months of various chemotherapy drugs.  I have to say that the anti-nausea pills that are prescribed these days do a remarkably good job. I never once vomited during the entire 6 months of my chemotherapy regimen – that really surprised me!  I managed to stay incredibly well during the entire process and I’d like to share my list of the things that helped me the most.

Quite possibly you may have different results but if even only one thing on the list helps you, I’ll be happy with that result!

Here’s my list of the 8 crucial things that helped me reduce chemotherapy side effects:

1.  Meditation & Positive Thinking – the first thing I had to do was to quit thinking about the chemotherapy in a negative light – like it was something to be scared of.  I worked hard on this and managed to come up with a meditation that I would do each time I sat down for the treatment (if you’d like to sign up for my newsletters, I’ll share the exact meditation I did with you).  I envisioned the drugs entering my system as being a healing golden or white light (use a color that works for you personally) that moved through my entire body and eradicated any little weakling of a cancer cell (also important to think of the cancer cells as weak and easily overcome by the chemotherapy).  This was a very calming thing to do and helped with anxiety.

2. Juicing of Organic Fruit & Vegetables – I juiced in the morning before my chemotherapy appointments (and every morning afterward too) and took the juice with me in a stainless steel thermos.  I sipped it once I’d finished my meditation.  My favorite was a combination of carrot, beet (a potent anti-cancer veggie), apple and ginger.  Fresh ginger helps a lot with nausea and adds a spicy zest to the juice.  You don’t need too much, just about a 1″ knob of it.  I juiced every morning – for more information on the best things to juice, go to my page Diet and Cancer

3.  Supplementation – Certain supplements can actually increase the effectiveness of your chemotherapy, reduce the toxicity of it and help you to sail through chemotherapy without too much trouble. Contact me if you’d like a list of them.

4. Yoga and Walking – it is so important to keep moving!  If you’re tired, just slow down and do what you can.  Movement therapy helps you to detox, it helps your state of mind, it even helps constipation.

5.  Acupuncture   Believe it or not, acupuncture can help to reduce the side effects and toxicity of the chemotherapy. It can also help to reduce the chances of suffering with chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). If you begin your course of acupuncture at around the same time as you commence chemotherapy, it has the absolute best protective effect for your nerves.

6. The Power of Prayer – don’t underestimate this!  Tell your friends when you’re going for each dose of chemotherapy and have them spend 5 minutes actively saying a prayer for you to coincide with your appointment time.  You will be amazed at how uplifted you feel.  Powerful stuff.  I did this prior to surgery too.

7.  Laughter – I had a best friend who’d take along some kind of gag gift or joke book or something silly – she’d get the whole place chuckling.  Laughter is good medicine!

8. Massage or Reiki – get some bodywork regularly.  It makes a huge difference to how you feel when going through chemotherapy.

The combination of these 8 things got me through 6 months of chemotherapy with a minimum of side effects and problems.  I hope this helps you!

If you’d like to receive my best tips on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences, sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey.