Friday, September 17, 2010

Round #8 completed -- I'm Done with Chemo!

Yesterday marked my 8th and last round of chemotherapy--an ordeal I dealt with over 16 weeks, beginning June 10. I still have the side effects of the Taxol chemo drug to deal with, and there's still a bi-lateral (double) mastectomy surgery for me to cope with/recover from in a month, but for now I am celebrating the end of my chemo--what I hope to be my first and last chemotherapy treatment ever.

And so I'll just leave you with two things--a plug for my friends Greg Massa and Raquel Krach of Massa Orgnics. I first met Greg and Raquel at UCSB. In fact, I first met Greg when we were both freshmen living in the same dorm. I had the pleasure of visiting his family's rice farm one summer and was taken to a yummy Basque restaurant in the Chico area.

When Greg found out I had breast cancer, he put a carepackage in the mail to me filled with yummy, nourishing, and healing/organic food: brown rice, brown flour, almond butter, and my all-time favorite, ROASTED ALMONDS. The day I received his package was during my first round of chemo when I had just lost my taste buds and everything tasted like cardboard. For someone, like me, who not just loves to eat but who lives to eat, this was one sad state of affairs. So when I opened up Greg's gift, I didn't have much hope that I'd be able to taste anything. But LO AND BEHOLD! When I popped an almond in my mouth I experienced the sweet and nutty and roasted taste of one this almond which makes it HAND'S DOWN THE BEST ALMOND I'VE EVER TASTED IN MY LIFE.

And during the next few weeks, whenever I felt nauseous, I would pop almonds in my mouth--Massa almonds I mean--and they had both a calming effect on my stomach and also tasted good. A magic combination for anyone going through chemotherapy. I ordered 2 more pounds to make it through to the end of my chemo and am on my last handful as we speak.

But the other reason for me to plug Greg and Raquel on this blog is that theirs is truly a family that knows what the phrase "Mixed Race America" means:



This photo of the entire Massa-Krach family is taken from their farm's website, and as you can see, they are a beautiful family. What may or may not be evident is that all five children are adopted (and I'll be writing more on adoption and my own thoughts/feelings/experiences with this in posts to come). For me, Greg and Raquel's family is an inspiration--so between their responsible farming techniques, the yummy organic products that they sell, and the emphasis on sustainable living that they embody in all aspects of their lives, I just want to say that while I normally don't plug businesses on this blog, in this case I think you should at least take a look at their website--and if you end up ordering their rice or flour or especially some yummy almonds, you won't regret it!

Finally, let me leave you with a PSA from the National Breast Cancer Coalition, an advocacy group that is highly rated on Charity Navigator, who works not just to educate people about breast cancer but to ensure that research funds are being spent on actual scientific research AND they help lobby congress, especially to address the environmental toxins that contribute to about 80-90% of the cancer diagnoses in the U.S.--most people think it's genetic, but for women with breast cancer, only 10% carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene--and even if you think another 10% is genetic based, that still means that 80% of us developed cancer because we live in a very technological, industrialized nation where the air we breathe and the water we drink and the plastics our food sits in could be contributing to cancerous cells growing in our bodies. I know that sounds scary, but I if you are interested, please read this article about breast cancer's link to the environment.

4 comments:

Lesboprof said...

Jennifer:

Congrats on finishing the chemo! I am glad for you. I know you have a lot ahead, but this is one hoop down.

I am sending good thoughts your way!
LP

Mommela said...

Brava! What a relief it must be to be done with at least ONE thing on your kicking-cancer's-ass to-do list. Thanks for the Massa link; I'll add their almonds to the enduring-treatment packing list. And as one intimately touched by transracial adoption, I can't wait to read those posts. (Now, if only I could do something about these rampant hyphens...)

Continued progress!

Jennifer said...

So glad you've finished chemo! I look forward to your thoughts on adoption. Jennifer

Jennifer said...

Lesboprof, Mommela, and Jennifer,
Thanks for sticking with this blog during my irregular period (and period of chemo/healing and now surgery.

I was hoping to get to the adoption post before surgery, but I realized that it's really, potentially a post series, and given how provocative this topic could be, I thought it'd be better to wait until I can moderate and respond to comments--not sure how I'll be doing that post-mastectomy surgery, but I have high hopes that the month of November sees me doing some more regular blog writing!