Speaker and Integrative Cancer Care and Wellness Coach Eileen Fuentes on how triple-negative breast cancer connected her to her cultural roots. Eileen also included a recipe below!
Wellness and healthy living has become very trendy. It seems as if everyone is sipping on smoothies and doing yoga. While I have always been health-conscious, the messages I was receiving in the media confused me about what to eat and how to live. Like many women, I thought low-fat anything, artificial sweeteners, and highly processed foods were good for me.
It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) at 34 years old that I made it a point to really understand how to eat and live in order to reduce my risk of recurrence. What makes TNBC unique is that there are no targeted therapies to treat it and it has a poorer prognosis as compared to other breast cancer subtypes. While I’d agree with you that this cancer is definitely “negative”, the name actually refers to the fact that the cancer is estrogen receptor negative (ER-), progesterone receptor negative (ER-), and HER2/neu negative. This disease also disproportionally affects premenopausal women and those of African-American and Latino heritage.
The fact that I fit into both categories and had no family history motivated me to look closer at what I could do given my limited medical options. Below are 5 lifestyle changes that I made that were beneficial:
- No matter how I felt, I always exercised regularly including simple movements like walking or more vigorous activities like qigong.
- I began my spiritual journey to learn more about myself, my purpose, and to seek guidance on my post-cancer life.
- I maintained a journal, which later turned into a newsletter for my loved ones, and ultimately a blog.
- I stopped using toxic products on my body and reduced the toxic thoughts I allowed to entire my mind.
- I used to food to reduce the side-effects of cancer treatment and to connect me to family/caregivers.