PitTastic are aware that people with breast cancer come to us to purchase our bars due to the non toxic load for thier bodies. We wanted to hear from our cherished customers what they are expereincing and hope to share more with you all.
Andie kindly gave us at PitTastic some of her time to shaire her open and honest story told by Andie herself on her journey through breast cancer. Last year we came together in the woods of East Devon to talk, photograph and celebrate us as women. Where we have come from. what we have battled, what we still go through on a daily basis with our bodies changing, hormones all over the place!
I was 38 years old when I found the lump in my left breast. Within a month, it was confirmed as cancer.
My children were young; 10 and 8 years old. It hadn’t been confirmed that I would be receiving chemotherapy and I thought at first that perhaps the children need not know if it turned out that I didn’t need it. If I did need the treatment, it was inevitable that I would lose my hair and so I would have to explain it to them then. But at the same time, I felt I didn’t want to be that parent that keeps things from the children to “protect them”. It inevitably ends up with them growing up feeling like they are not trusted. So before my operation, we sat the children down with some colouring books, and whilst they coloured in their pictures, my husband and I explained my diagnosis. Whilst ensuring we were sensitive and careful, we didn’t mince our words either. We used the words “breast cancer” and “operation” and “illness”. We needn’t have worried about them though. I knew they were going to be okay with it all from the moment we said “Breast cancer” and my 8 yr old son sniggered behind his hand and laughed, “ you said ‘breast’”… He found humour in what was a scary time of our lives, and that set the tone to how we moved forward with them. For me however, the fear was very real.
I had a lumpectomy and radiotherapy which saw that cancer off, before being putting on a 10 year course of hormone treatment in the form of a daily tablet to keep it at bay. But the true journey was about to begin.
For that moment, when I was told it was cancer, I remember my world fell apart…but just for a moment. Because then, I did what I had learned to do in my twenties after being hit with problem after problem in life and business. I tried to find a solution.
I read book after book and medical research papers from clinics worldwide to find the reason why I had got cancer in the first place. After all, I wasn’t an obvious candidate. As I had pointed out to my consultant; “I’m under 50, I’m not overweight, I was vegetarian for 17 years, I breast-fed both my children and I am so flat-chested, the walls are jealous”. His answer was “ Some- times, it just happens”. For me, that wasn’t good enough. I became fixated on a paper I had read, about how breast cancer cells “feed” on fat particles in the bloodstream. Well, it had to be that surely, because there was no other obvious reason. So I turned my attention to my diet. I cut out fat, good and bad, from my diet. I reduced my carbohydrates and started eating raw vegetables and prawns and pretty much nothing else. Over the space of a year, I lost a stone and half and dipped to a childhood weight of 7 stone 4lbs…. I’m 5ft 6inches. I spent days keeled over in agony due to my raw diet but that had to be better than having cancer, right? Energy levels waned, moods swung back and forth, sleepless nights became the norm. But it was OK. Because I didn’t have cancer. Friends conveyed their concerns about my weight, but all I could see was that those life-sucking cancer cells had nothing to feed on from my body if they ever came back. Fear has a way of warping your mind in a manner that makes everyone else seem like the crazy one.
More recently, after the sale of a very difficult business 2 years ago. I took a step back and looked hard at where I was going. I had put on some weight again (that kind of body torture is just not sustainable) and I was feeling healthier physically, but mentally I had lost my way. All that energy I had put into finding solutions for things that “just happen” for no reason, had chipped away at my mental health.
Meditation, breathing and mindfulness. I applied all those to my lifestyle this past 2 years and I finally came up with the answer. That there is no answer. Those years of searching for a solution was just a coping mechanism, I realise that now, 9 years later. Friends and family called me “brave” because of the way I handled it on the surface, but when I look back now, I wouldn’t call it brave. I just needed to feel I was in control.
Last year, I turned my attention back to my body, but with a much kinder attitude. I avoid unnecessary chemicals on my skin, especially on my armpits and around my breasts. I also qualified as a Personal Trainer and continue to study as a GP referral exercise trainer with a focus on obesity and weight control for long term health. It may not be the answer to everything, but it helps to have a strong footing if we are to deal with any health crisis in our future, surely?