I’ve been so consumed with recovering from spinal surgery and radiation that I didn’t give much thought to the smaller surgery I’m having this week called a salpingo oophorectomy. In english that means removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries. All the doctors have said, “Don’t worry, you have been through much bigger surgeries, this one is quick and will seem easy”. Easy to call it easy when you aren’t the one having the surgery! ha! However I haven’t really worried. I’ve been told that getting this surgery will drastically reduce my chances of getting ovarian cancer and that sounds great to me.  What I didn’t really look at was the way I feel about losing my ovaries forever. I’ve been on a drug that puts them to sleep, but having them removed is different. Now on the eve of this surgery I feel like I need to say goodbye to them. Kinda weird, but true.

I want to thank them for helping me make my two beautiful daughters. They did the job they were supposed to do and I feel very lucky for that. I wonder how I will feel when they are gone?

Technically I will be pushed into early menopause with  hot flashes, more chance of osteoporosis, mood swings and the list goes on.  But I wonder how I will feel with such an important part of my female anatomy gone? I actually think I will miss them more than my boobs. I was able to have reconstruction for the boobs and although they are not the same as the real thing it is still something.  There will be nothing to replace my ovaries and all the important hormones they carried. I also will not be able to have any more children. My hubby and I don’t want any more kids but there is something to be said about having the choice versus having that choice taken away from you completely.

So today I thank my body for sticking with me through all that my treatment has put her through. There have been many changes in the past few years. She is a trooper and I love her. I will be sad to loose my ovaries but if it means I can be around loving life for  many more years to come then I will take it. I’ll let you know how it goes and what it feels like to be in menopause at 36.

Oh and one last thing – I know it sounds weird but take a moment to thank your body for all it has been through in your lifetime. Everyone has their own ‘stuff’ and we all go through different ups and downs with our bodies. Never take it for granted. Taking time to thank your body is  important to continuous healing and acceptance. She is going to be with you for the long haul so might as well make friends.

Jasmin xo

 

 

Lately I’ve been hearing about so many people practicing random acts of kindness like paying for the coffee for the person behind them in line, or even for the next ten people behind them in line. Those stories make me smile. I like that people are doing this and spreading the word about it. I caught myself wanting to do it today but then I chickened out. I all of a sudden felt shy and at the last minute didn’t do it. I wasn’t ready to break out of that comfort zone. So I found something else I could give, something free and easy. A smile.

So I decided to smile or say hi to the next 5 people I walked past. I was lucky because I am in Florida right now and people here seem to be much more inclined to smile and say hi anyway. Maybe it’s the sunshine and warm weather? Maybe lots of vitamin D makes people friendlier? Anyway I ended up saying hi to 15 people on my morning walk and they all said hi or good morning and smiled back. 15 beautiful smiles. Great way to start the day.

Back home in Toronto I might say hi to one person a week if even! Why? Why do we walk down the street so wrapped up in our own crap that we so often don’t notice the people around us and the opportunity we have for a brief connection?

You never know how a smile or a few kind words can possibly change someone’s day in a small way. After that walk I felt good, and really happy ( not only because I was walking down a sunny, palm tree lined street instead of on ice and snow in the freezing cold) I realized with each hello and each good morning I left smiling and so did the person who said it back.

Simple, easy and so often overlooked.

 That little moment of Namaste – acknowledging the light in a stranger walking down the street.

So as an experiment I’m asking you to give it a try. The next time you are out walking try actually looking at the people you walk past and smile or say hi.  Or if you go to a regular store or cafe smile at the cashier no matter whether they look happy or cranky. Just do it.Take note of how it makes you feel. Notice the expression on their face too.

Did you feel any different, even for a moment? Do you think you added a dash of good to someone else’s day with a simple good morning? Sometimes it really is just the small acts of kindness that can make a difference.

I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below – let me know if you try the smile experiment or have any other ideas on small ways to make change and bring a bit of light into someone else’s day.

I think I am going to continue this smile experiment for a while. I’ll let you know how it goes.

:)

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When I had my first spinal radiation treatment I realized I might be a tiny bit claustrophobic. Having a  plastic mask molded to your face and chest and then clipped on  tight so that you don’t move a millimetre  can feel incredibly restrictive.They do it because they need to you stay perfectly still and be able to mark exactly where the beam goes. I get it. The mask is important, but it still took some getting used to.

The first time they clamped me in I started getting anxious and could feel my heart racing. It was uncomfortable and felt like the longest 20 min in my life. Afterwards I had a headache and was tired and just felt awful – mostly I think from the stress surrounding it. I had 9 more days of it so I needed to find a better way to get through .

The next session I started to panic again and then I  decided to start deep breathing. Things started to calm down. Then I  added a mantra ‘Sat Nam’. I started repeating it on each inhale and exhale. It was a mantra I knew but didn’t  fully know what it meant. Wow did it work. My entire body felt at calm and peaceful within minutes. My heart stopped racing and my jaw relaxed. The 20 min session seemed to pass in what felt like 2 min. It was amazing. Meditation was my salvation during this incredibly uncomfortable and stressful situation. It worked on the spot, right away, just like that.

That night I went home and looked up the meaning of Sat Nam. There were many interpretations and  they all shared the theme of  ’truth’

Truth within – I am the truth – My true self – Universal truth – Bowing to the truth – Be your authentic self – We are all one

It reminded me of who I really am at my core. It gave me strength  to look straight at the truth of the moment and accept it. It made me feel connected to my life and to the universe.

Two years ago I had radiation for breast cancer and afterwards my skin was pretty tender but overall recovery was not too bad. So I walked into this round thinking it would be the same. I was wrong. They told me I might  have fatigue, get a sore throat and some back soreness. In my case that was an understatement.

A more true description would be:

‘Your throat will swell up so much and feel so burnt, kinda like swallowing shards of glass, knives and fire all at once. You will be unable to eat any solid foods for 16 days, and barely squeeze down liquids. You will lose 10 pounds, be unable to sleep from discomfort and basically lose your mind temporarily from hunger and exhaustion. Oh and you will do that while on medication that is putting you into menopause, with a sore neck from surgery  all while being a mother to two little girls.’

It was not fun.

I got a little desperate by about day nine as the pain, hunger and lack of sleep took over.  There were many tears, and then I thought of my mantra ‘Sat Nam’ . I tried my best to sneak in meditation whenever I could. It didn’t  make the pain go away but it relaxed the rest of me and reminded me that I could do this.

I can now eat solid foods again and have started sleeping again too! Food has never tasted so good and my body is getting stronger again. Things are looking up. It just took a little longer than I expected.

In addition to meditation here are a few other quick tips for getting through radiation:

  •  rest when you need too
  • take good care of your skin
  •  eat well when you have an appetite and whatever you can get down when you don’t
  •  tell your rads team if you have any pain or weird symptoms so they can try and help you – keep asking until you get some kind of help 
  •  if you can’t swallow solid foods try smoothies, green juices, protein shakes and yogurt
  • once you are done radiation both calendula cream and pure aloe vera are soothing and help the skin heal
  • protect that delicate skin from the sun at all times – cover up
  •  find someone you can talk to, either a friend or a counsellor. Someone you can talk to  about how you are feeling both – being heard is very healing.
  • be patient ( this was a tough one for me) your skin will heal up and your energy will come back
If you ( or someone you know)  is having a hard time with any part of treatment you might want to try meditation. If you already know how to do it just jump right in. If you don’t there are several wonderful courses offered at Wellspring and also at most yoga studios and even online. Find the type of mediation that works for you and give it a try. You will be pleasantly surprised at how it can help.
Sat Nam
Jasmin
xo

 

 

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When I heard the name of this tea I was intrigued. It had so many things that I liked just in the name – apple, ginger and mint. Yumm! So I had to give it a try. It is soft and subtle but with a great mint and fruit flavour. There is just the right amount of ginger to not make it too ‘gingery’ but still give it a bit of a kick. I wish I could add a scratch and sniff button the blog so you could smell it!

Organic Apple Ginger Mint Tea

This tea has some great healing properties too.

I like to have it after a meal because the peppermint, chamomile and ginger are all known to aid in digestion and calm the stomach. Chamomile is also a great flower for soothing stress so you might want to try this one in the evening as well – or whenever you get a chance to take a little moment for yourself.

The ingredients in this lovely blend are:

Spearmint, peppermint, rosebuds, hibiscus petal,osmanthus petals, chamomile, apple pieces, honey-bush and organic ginger.

If you have tried any other teas from the  Steeped Tea collection let me know in the comments below. I am always looking for feedback on great tea!

You can find Apple Ginger Mint and lots of other delish tea combos on my Tea Page  under the shop button.

Cheers!

 

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Ok so it officially feels like winter has been here too long. I don’t like to complain about the snow and cold because I live in Canada – hello – it’s not like it’s a surprise that the winter is freezing! But still after a while it starts to wear you down. The stomach flu ran through our house this weekend adding even more fun to being stuck inside.

So what is one to do to beat the winter blues and try and pass through the next 2 months with a little shred of hope, happiness and faith that spring will come…eventually?

Try some of these:

1. Get outside – skiing, skating, snowshoeing, tobboganing, tubing, making the biggest snowman you can – whatever works for you!

2. Add citrus to you diet – a little burst of sunshine and added Vitamin C

3. Essential oils – orange , tangerine, lemon, peppermint, lime  - add a few drops to your body lotion, bath , or  a room diffuser to help give you a boost physically and emotionally

4. Enjoy the warmth of comfort foods – what are your faves?

5. Indulge in winter naps under a cozy blanket – even better share a nap with your favourite person

6. Read – good time to get caught up on your fave books or learn something totally new with an online course

7. Bust out the board games – the cheesier the better!!

8. Take a day trip to a therapeutic waters spa to detox and improve your circulation. If you can’t take an entire day just book yourself in for a massage or facial. A little ‘you time’ can go a long way in lifting your spirits.

9. Lastly – my tried and true fave to kick up a morning when you are feeling blah – KITCHEN DANCE PARTY – put on a song that really makes you move then dance like no one is watching – even if you feel silly keep going eventually you will feel GOOD!

I’m sure each of you have some of you own little tricks to make winter seem sweeter and more enjoyable. Please share your best ways to beat the blahs in the comment section below. You will be helping us all!

Cheers

Jasmin