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Health

Plantar Fasciitis Part 1

 

Have you ever been running and you start to feel stabbing pain on the bottom of your feet whenever you take another step? Does it feel like your shoes don’t really fit? You might have plantar fasciitis, or inflammation of your plantar fascia.

 

Freeze, before you start a GoFundMe, it’s very common.

 

This weekend, I was unable to run my favorite 5K, Run Jen Run benefitting Go Jen Go. Go Jen Go is a local Charlotte charity that provides monetary support to breast cancer patients. It’s a real way to impact the women around me in this city.

This 5K usually kicks of the running season for me. It gets a little warmer outside and days a little longer. This year was the exception to everything. It was getting painful to just stand and walk at work. So I knew I needed to rest. I still walked the race with a friend and it was a fun way to fit in a little exercise on a crisp March morning. The Sunday after the race, it snowed (…and then melted a few hours later #NCSpring).

 

So here are a few of the methods I found to self treat.

 

  1. The old trusty tennis ball trick.
  2. Grab a paper/plastic party cup and freeze water in it. Roll it under your foot, just like the tennis ball.
  3. Rolling out your calf when your foot is relaxed and flexed.
  4. Resting your feet and providing arch support during the day. I got these compression socks to help.
  5. Stretching before working out.

 

Number 5 is probably where I went wrong. Millennials, always on the go. Your body makes you pay. Take time to stretch, and maybe take that deep stretch yoga class instead of flow one day. It’ll do your mind and body good.

 

Beyond these tips, you will have to see a physical therapist or a doctor for other interventions.
Do you have plantar fasciitis? How did you self treat? I’ll update later to let you know how these methods worked!

Health

Sources of Vitamin D

Want something nerdy to talk about with your healthcare professional friends (…said no one ever)? Everyone is vitamin D deficient.

 

Your body doesn’t naturally make vitamin D (just like Vitamin C), so we have to either eat it, or your body will make vitamin D when exposed to the sun. Your body needs vitamin D for cellular processes and most importantly for bone health.

 

If you’re in your 20s, you should really be thinking about your bones now. Call it another investment in your future. Here are some sources of vitamin D so your level is >30umol/L the next time you go to the doctor.

 

Sun exposure: Obviously highly controversial because UV rays are harmful and you should decrease your risk for skin cancer as much as possible.

Food: Milk, Yogurt, Egg Yolk, fortified almond/soy/coconut milk

Supplements: Vitamin D2 or D3

You can find supplements over the counter or your doctor may prescribe a higher strength that can be filled at your local pharmacy.

The list for sources is quite small

 

P.S. Vitamin D is fat soluble, so your body will hold on to excess amounts, so you don’t want to overshoot too much. BUT…the likelihood that you’re deficient is higher, than not. Ask your physician during your annual wellness visit about vitamin D!

More info on vitamin D.

 

Health

Avocado Toast

I’m a progressive eater, I eat something right when it’s done cooking. So I have a hard time actually waiting for a main dish and sides to be done at the same time to eat a proper sit down meal. The only way I can put together a full meal and eat it at one time is if I multitask.

 

It’s either age or chemo brain, but I can no longer trust myself multitasking. Either something is overdone (aka burnt) or underdone (aka I didn’t turn on the stove). So eating food as they are done cooking is how I’ve learned to cope.

 

Avocado toast is a morning staple for me on weekends and when I don’t work until late afternoon. After a workout, it’s filling and full of healthy vitamins, without trying.

 

There are only a handful of ingredients: a slice of bread, half an avocado, 1 to 2 slices of tomato, and an egg. If you want to get fancy you can add cheese, beets, or any other vegetable.

 

The egg is the hard part. Do I fry or poach it? I made poaching a lot easier when I invested in these silicone poaching cupsSprinkle some salt, pepper, cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes and you’ve got a delicious, seemingly well thought out meal.

 

 

Rearrange your furniture, throw a tablecloth over the coffee table, and you’ve got yourself Breakfast at Tiffany’s!

 

Health

3 Tips About Vitamin C

(Orange you glad you asked your pharmacist about eating an orange)

A couple of weeks ago, I ate an orange in hopes it had magical powers to make the cold/major sniffles/death I had go away quickly. I was surprised to see it didn’t immediately work (#miraclesdohappen).

 

For reference, I would say in the past few years, that was the first time that I’ve actually been sick. Sure I’ve had the occasional stomach ache or headache, but I rarely come down with a cold requiring around the clock Sudafed and a steady supply of tissues. So I might be a little dramatic when it comes to how sick I was a few weeks ago.

 

When you’re down with the sniffles, the first instinctual place to turn is vitamin C (aka L-ascorbic acid). We’ve all somehow picked this up from somewhere (they say from a study done in the 70’s), and of course the pharmacist in me had to do some digging.

  • Our bodies do not naturally create L-ascorbic acid, but it is a necessary component in the every day functions of our body. We have to incorporate it into our normal diets, or take a supplement.
  • The average orange has 70 mg of ascorbic acid. The recommended daily requirement (set by the Food and Nutrition Board) is 90mg for men and 75mg for women (with higher amounts recommended during pregnancy and lactation).
  • The average over-the-counter (OTC) supplement has 1,000mg. Remember, OTCs are not controlled like prescription medications. There are a multitude of manufacturers and formulations. Which leads me to my next point.
  • After a quick literature search, there are no good articles linking vitamin C in preventing or treating the common cold. None of the results reached in a clinical trial were duplicated. Therefore, vitamin C supplementation remains controversial.

Here are my conclusions:

  1. Eating an orange is delicious, but it does not contain enough vitamin C to make a clinical difference.
  2. I am 80% (arbitrary number chosen to make a point) positive we all do not consume our daily requirement of vitamin C. Until they fortify pizza with vitamins, I really need to incorporate more into my diet. (See references for other sources of vitamin C.)
  3. While vitamin C supplementation for the common cold is controversial, this doesn’t mean it will not work in shortening the course of a cold or alleviating some symptoms. If you feel like increasing your vitamin C intake helps your cold, go ahead and take it. I would stay away from excessive amounts (but it is a water-soluble vitamin so your body should naturally get rid of excess).

For more information:

The Cancer Story, Thoughts

The Ultimate Surprise Happy Dance Party

My friends and family surprised me yesterday with a “No Chemo Party”! So much fun with an ice cream sundae bar and we got some great happy dance footage. Thank you to everyone who sent a message, video, or came to the party!

Here’s the mash-up I was talking about. Y’all it’s so much fun! Thanks! I feel so loved 🙂

TCupcake

The Cancer Story

#HappyDance

This post is coming to you in the middle of a steroid high (bless IV dexamethasone). Update: and edited post-steroid high. So. Get. Excited. I’ve been thinking about how I want to celebrate next week’s last day of chemo. That’s right, the journey from February 20th is almost over. Disclaimer: Although I will be “done with chemo” I will still be continuing the targeted chemotherapy, Herceptin, for another year. Due to the “targeted” part, the side effects are minimal (PTL). (See my friend Kristen’s blog for better explanation of Herceptin.) Look for an “ALL done with chemo” celebration next year! So you’re thinking, “Tiff, this celebration question is silly.” Yes, I know the answer should be, “Stuff myself silly with cupcakes”. But, see someecard below (thank you Ashley)…tis only a dream. (Sorry, that just got weird there).

Cupcake Someecard

New Celebration Plan: #HappyDance

Do this cancer survivor a favor and celebrate with me. It will make me so happy. Friends, you have truly been there for me and I want to thank all of you. Thank you for making me the most well-loved cancer patient (in my opinion).

Challenge: Send me your happy dance video!

Get. Happy. Y’all. I am not looking for perfection. I cannot dance. I know this. Mine is going to look ridiculous. It doesn’t have to be long. Not everyone can be as awesome at dancing as Kid President. It’s his thing. But I can try. So please, try, for me? Next Wednesday, June 19th is my last day of “chemo” and I would love for all of my friends all over the world to celebrate with me. Start sending me your videos then. There are so many options to get your video to me. You can email (tiffnam@gmail.com) or text me (if you have my number). Let me know if you are not comfortable with me posting them. Upload your video onto my wall. Tag me on twitter/pintrest/etc. @TarHeelTiff or #HappyDance. Don’t think you can make video? Please feel free to very descriptively tell me about your dance. This should be good, haha. Do not be like Chip. He is not excited about hearing what I have to say at 3-4 in the morning. Boo, party pooper.

Party Pooper Chip

Life’s short. Celebrate how amazing God has made you. And get your #HappyDance on.

HappyDance

TCupcake

The Cancer Story

BRCA Madness

No, it’s not March again (for all us college basketball fans out there)

6, going on 7 years ago, my Mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Her family history of her mother and grandmother having breast cancer prompted her doctor to order a BRCA genetic test on her. She was found to be positive for the BRCA1 genetic mutation. And I made the conscious not to get tested for the time-being.

The genetic counselor recommended whether or not I was tested, I have an oophorectomy (where they take your ovaries out) at age 35 (or when I was done having kids…which 35 probably in my mind always comes first) and a bilateral mastectomy ASAP if I tested BRCA1 positive. As a 19 year old, the timeline of my future life in my head was not on my side. So if I wanted at least 2 kids a few years apart, I had to be married latest by 28-30, obviously you have to date a little so the latest I could meet said husband was 25-28. I only had 6 years to find the right guy/get my life together.

So as a 19 year old, it was too much to be looming over my head (and to be thinking about having kids in about 10 years…terrifying). I made the decision to actively monitor my health with self-breast exams immediately, mammograms and breast MRIs starting at age 25, and get the genetic test at age 30. (I actually did assume I would be positive for the gene mutation.) I had time right?

25 became the new 30. I have breast cancer. I had failed in my first step of self-breast exams. My primary doctor, on the day she told me I have breast cancer, had asked the pathologist/oncologists whether she should have recommended mammograms and MRIs sooner and everyone said that Dr. Seth had taken all the right steps. There was no way to know. Dr. Frenette my oncologist had thought about not even testing me for the BRCA1 mutation my mom has just for the simple fact that if I was negative, that test is bogus. I had to be genetically positive for some mutation.

I am BRCA1 positive.

The news has been talking a lot about Angelina Jolie, breast cancer, and BRCA mutation. In the hype, and the fact that my baldness is an advertisement itself, I have considered wearing an, “I’m BRCA positive, have you been tested?” shirt. Obviously this greatly affects my family’s life. My family has lived in the BRCA mutation world for a while. We think it’s normal to be tested in a person’s life time and that everyone with cancer or at risk is genetically tested. But that’s not true. For statistics and such see this website.

My sister’s BRCA experience.

The hardest part about being 25, with a BRCA1 mutation, and having breast cancer is telling a BRCA positive breast/ovarian cancer survivor with a daughter around my age that I am BRCA positive. Most BRCA positive mothers and daughters have had the genetic test talk and are happy to have made the decision to live their life with active monitoring and testing at a later age. Their daughters are just starting their lives and it’s hard to think about getting a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction with or without oophorectomy.

I can’t say that if I could go back to 19, I would get genetically tested immediately. God has a plan and I’m happy to go along with it. I’ve met so many amazing and inspiring women I can now call my friends and sisters in breast cancer.

So sorry if this leaves you with more thinking and prayers instead of giving you a clear answer for what to do about your health/genetics. Above all things, God made our genes. And He made us perfect.

TCupcake

The Cancer Story

Sisters

Here’s an update first. I did do a victory lap to “Chariots of Fire” sans IV pole, thanks Mom for catching the victory jump at the end. Sorry to all the old folk who were confused as to what I was doing. So today I’m moving onto another set of drugs for the next 12 weeks.

Victory Lap

Last Wednesday, I was able to make the trip up to Chapel Hill and visit the Phi Beta Chi sorority house for chapter. For those of you non-Greek Life people, that would basically be the sorority’s required weekly meeting. I love going back, simply because of the fact of how much Phi Beta Chi impacted me when I was in college. The sorority is the beginning of so many things I could go on and on, but I’m going to focus on the aspect of sisterhood. I have a sister (pictured here, everyone with hair). She is awesome.

S&T Laugh for the Cure

But some people don’t have (awesome) sisters. And that’s ok. There are friends that can turn into sisters. And Phi Beta Chi is where I met a lot of my sister-friends.

Country Band Pic Flying 4 Seasons Football

Pike's

I know, we’re totes adorbs.

So being able to speak at chapter, I wanted to make sure these girls knew that of course, friendship is hard, especially when you graduate and your friends might possibly scatter. But sister-friendship is forever. Get invested. Work hard at friendship. I hope no one has to go through cancer as a hardship, but there are going to be some hard times. And thank goodness God made sisters. Because you can’t make it through life without them.

I’ve been praying the following verse over myself, all of my relationships, all my Phi Beta Chi sisters, etc. I feel like this is the way we should act at all times. This is what makes a good friend.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and early loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns  and songs from the Spirit, signing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:12-17

So go make a friend today 🙂

TCupcake

The Cancer Story

Celebrate!

A lot of people ask me how I can be so “peppy” about life. There are too many reasons to count, but one of them is because I celebrate every ridiculous thing in my life. Of course, we all have the major holidays and birthdays, but there are also the random milestones that require celebration. The past few months have been full of them.

There are the minor holidays such as the national food holidays @Foodimentary tweets about. These help in the preparation of themed dinners. Celebrating Stacy leaving for a month in Nicaragua (Mom will probably see her return as more of a celebration). We also celebrated a new job in the family (yes, with bowling)!

Bowling

Pickles

There’s the half-birthday. I make it obligatory for all of my friends to celebrate this holiday. Thank you Ashley for going out of your way to send me a present. Mom didn’t even want to recognize this eventful day.

For cancer survivors, there’s the day we become a survivor. March 6, 2007, Mom became a survivor and every year we like to do it big. So this year (her 6th year anniversary) , my sugar-hating Mom allowed us to go to Cupcrazed (featured on Food Network during Cupcake Wars) for a half-dozen of cupcakes.

Happy 6 years!

halfdozenGroup Picture candle

Tomorrow is my last cycle of AC (doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide). Is it acceptable for me to run around the infusion room with the infusion pump in a victory lap?

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