The Ultimate Reset: Review from a Cancer Survivor/Post Chemo

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If I could recommend one thing to every cancer patient who has finished chemo and beat cancer, it would be the Ultimate Reset. During chemotherapy, cancer patients spend months filling our bodies with chemicals to fight the war on cancer. When it was all over, there is nothing I wanted more than to purge my body of all those chemicals. Just a few months before I finished chemo, I read about a product being released called the Ultimate Reset. I read the results of this amazing 21 Day Cleanse and I wanted to do it. Right then. But doing it during chemo is a horrible idea! All of the toxins are playing an important part in the battle going on inside you. I decided to wait until I had the results from my post chemo PET scan, and once I got the all clear, I would give it a shot.

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So, 1 month post chemo, I went in for my PET scan. One week later, I got official word that my body was cancer free and the following Monday, I started the Ultimate Reset. Let me tell you a little bit about what this product is and what it does.

It is a 21 Day Cleanse that takes you through three phases, Reclaim, Release, and Restore.

Reclaim

In Phase 1, you Reclaim your body, balancing its inner chemistry and preparing it for change—much like soap loosens grime.

Release

In Phase 2, you Release the toxic compounds that are clogging your cells and stored within your tissues—like a purifying surge of clear water that flushes away years of impurities.

 

Restore

In Phase 3, you Restore your metabolism to maximum efficiency, while fortifying your body with the nutrients, enzymes, and probiotics it needs to maintain healthy performance in the future.

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My Experience:

Three days into the cleanse, I started waking up early. I am not a morning person. I am a sleeper. But I was hopping out of bed at five in the morning, without an alarm, full of energy and ready to start my day. By the time I finished, I literally felt the best I have ever felt in my entire life. So many people were asking me “How’s it going? How do you feel?” And with a huge smile on my face, less than two months post treatment, I could tell then that I had never felt better. All of the toxins, including the cancer, were out of my body and I was completely restored. I was reset.

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Ultimate Reset FAQs

Will I be hungry all the time during the Ultimate Reset?

No. You’ll eat three healthy, satisfying meals every day. Most participants found the meals provided them with plenty of food. Just in case, though, we also give you a list of tasty snacks you can eat while still maintaining your Reset.

What’s the difference between the Ultimate Reset and most cleanses on the market?

During the Ultimate Reset, you’ll eat three healthy, satisfying meals every day and take supplements. You won’t starve, drink only juice, or eat only meal replacements. You’ll become familiar with delicious new foods and recipes that will help you maintain your health gains beyond these 21 days. In other words, the Reset isn’t a quick fix. It’s a path to real, long-term change.

Will I lose weight on the Ultimate Reset?

Probably. Most Reset participants have lost weight. However, they’re even more excited to have acquired new, healthy habits and released unhealthy ones. They’ve eliminated cravings for sugar and caffeine, learned delicious ways to prepare fruits and vegetables, and grown more aware of how different foods affect their moods and energy levels, making it easier for them to continue eating healthily.

Can I work out during my Ultimate Reset?

No, for the 21 days of the Ultimate Reset, we suggest you refrain from strenuous exercise. The Reset is already giving your body a serious internal workout. After your Reset, you’ll be ready to resume your Beachbody® workout program and benefit even more from your efforts.

I’m on medication. Can I do the Reset?

Check with your physician before beginning the Reset to make sure that it won’t react negatively with any medication you’re taking.

I’m pregnant. Can I do the Ultimate Reset?

No. Your body’s systems are already working hard. Wait to do the Reset another time.

What if I have questions, or need help understanding something in the Reset?

Don’t worry! You’ll have the support and guidance of ME every step of the way. And because I’ve already completed the Reset, I’ll know how to answer your questions from experience.

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My first post chemo ponytail!

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#throwbackthursday

My first post chemo ponytail! How many of you can relate?  This picture is from about 9 months after my last treatment.  I’m still amazed at how fast my hair has been growing – thanks Shakeology!

Homemade Laundry Detergent

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Post-chemo, one of the things I became a fanatic about was cutting out chemicals from my life.  No, no one knows what causes the type of cancer I had, but since my treatments, I have done everything in my power to ensure that if it does come back, I won’t be able to blame myself.  So for me, that includes soaps, bug spray, medicines, cleaners, fertilizers, etc.  If there is a natural way to do it instead of automatically going to chemicals, I have sought it out.

Now I make all of my cleaners, including all purpose cleaner, window spray, granite cleaner, laundry soap, etc.  The only one I haven’t been able to find a good substitute for is dishwashing detergent but trust me I am looking.  This post will be part one in a series of the cleaning products I am currently using and I am very happy with the results of.

The recipe I use for laundry soap is dry – I don’t know about you, but trying to find space to store mass quantities of liquid in my house with three kids is precarious at best and a disaster at its worst.  The recipe is pretty simple – just 3 ingredients. It is low sud so it does work in HE washers.

  • One bar Fels Naptha soap, grated
  • One cup Borax
  • One cup Washing Soda

I’m a little extreme, so I made an extreme batch – I used 10 bars of soap, 10 cups of borax, and 10 cups of washing soda, mixed it all up and then put it in a pretty glass jar with a pretty label in the laundry room.  I have no idea how long it will last.  For my family of 5, I’ve been using this batch since July (so over 6 months now) and I’m still not halfway through it… so I’m hoping if I make up this much at a time, making laundry soap will be a annual event.  I use one tablespoon per load and I am very happy with the results.

The only issue I would mention is there is no smell.  This doesn’t bother me – if my clothes are clean, they don’t need to smell good – but I know some people prefer that their clothes have a scent.  I don’t use fabric softener or dryer sheets (again, the crazy fanatic no chemicals thing) but I’m working on a way to use essential oils to scent my clothes in the dryer (so far, I haven’t had any luck but I’m not giving up yet).

 

Product Review: Biotene Gum

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Product Review:  Biotene

I don’t typically chew gum, but I just about invested stock in this company while going through my treatments. I don’t think my dry mouth was as severe as it could have been, but these products are amazing. I personally used the gum (almost every day), the toothpaste, and the mouthwash. I strongly recommend having them on hand to use for the dry mouth associated with chemotherapy.

Here is a link to purchase the product on Amazon. (I don’t get any kick back from this, so feel free to use it or not! It’s just here for convenience).

Product Review: Nioxin

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Product Review:  Nioxin

 

If you have read any of my story, then you probably know that I didn’t lose my hair during cancer. You can watch more about that in my YouTube video. But my hair did thin out quite a bit and so to combat that, I used a product called Nioxin. It’s just a shampoo/conditioner/scalp treatment for thinning hair, but it helped me tremendously. It thickened my hair and stimulated hair growth in the areas where it was most thin. You can get it from a beauty store like Ulta for just from Amazon. I highly recommend #6 which is specially formulated for thinning, chemically treated hair. Even if you have never had a perm or had your hair colored, go for the chemically treated one because you have so many chemicals in your body from chemotherapy.

 

Here is a link to the product on Amazon (I don’t get any kick back from this, so feel free to use it or not! It’s just here for convenience).

Overdoing it

Okay, I can’t be the only oneIMG_0498 who does this. As soon as I found out I had cancer, I was scared. I was scared that I wouldn’t be there to raise my kids. I was scared that my two boys wouldn’t remember who I was. I was scared that someone else would help my daughter get ready for her wedding or be the one to hold my grandchildren.

So I overdid it.

If something happened to me, I wanted to make sure that I went out with a bang. I wanted to create memories that even if the boys didn’t remember, they could at least look back at the pictures and think of me. I wanted to take my daughter to her first concert, even through she was only eight because what if I wasn’t there to do it when she turned fifteen. I wanted to take my son to meet his favorite person in the world, Mickey Mouse. I wanted to dress up like The Incredibles for Halloween because we had the perfect family for it and what if I wasn’t there next year to do it with them? I wanted to create the biggest, best birthday parties my kids had ever had because what if it was the last one I had with them? I wanted to be there to see them do everything.

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And so I overdid it. Really, in just one short month, before I even started my chemotherapy, I packed it in.

I took Madison to her first concert, Taylor Swift. It was a surprise for her eighth birthday. We got makeovers and sang along at the top of our lungs.

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The whole family got in the car and drove to Disneyland so Mason could meet Mickey Mouse and have one last family vacation before starting what we expected to be a miserable six months. 

We didn’t dress up like the Incredibles that year. I ordered the costumes but the sizes didn’t match up… it just wasn’t meant to be in that time. But the costumes were bought and I let my husband know that they needed to be the Incredibles the next year if I wasn’t around. But I was. And we were.

IMG_9521 I had the BEST birthday parties ever. And I had always been a little extreme with cakes, but this year, I went over the edge. I set the standard high – I’m going to have to dial it back in over the next few years.

And do you know what positive thing came out of this? We lived. People always ask “What would you do if you knew this was your last day?” We lived like these were my last days. We created memories. And the experience taught me to appreciate life, to not take any time for granted, to not think that one day we’ll get around to it, to do it now before it’s too late. Each day is a gift. Unwrap it. And then go ahead and make the most of it.

Product Reviews: Shakeology

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Product Reviews:

There are so many products I use, things I’ve discovered by trial and error and I wish someone would have just told me from the gate… so this is the first post in a series of products I would recommend to someone going through cancer treatments.  These are products I used, I loved, and I depended on during my treatment.

 

Shakeology

 

Shakeology is a nutrition supplement. You can add it into a normal diet or use it as a meal replacement. In my opinion, it is the best on the market. It is 100% natural, no artificial ingredients or sweeteners, and it contains more than $40 of fruits and veggies in each glass.

It also has over 70 super foods, including many that are associated with cancer fighting or cancer prevention (check out my board on pinterest for some of the ingredients that are thought to fight or prevent cancer and what they do!!).

 

I initially ordered Shakeology to lose weight after my youngest son was born. When I found out I had cancer and started chemotherapy, I decided to keep drinking it as a nutrition supplement. There are so many days that you just don’t feel like eating and I always felt that even if I didn’t have anything else to eat that day, I would feel good knowing that I had all those fruits, veggies, vitamins, minerals and super foods already in my body.

 

As I went through chemo, I realized that Shakeology seemed to be helping me deal with the side effects typically associated with treatments. Let me give you some examples…

 

One side effect of chemotherapy is constipation. On days of my actual treatment and 2-3 days after, I didn’t drink Shakeology. I developed an aversion to everything I ate on those days. And during those 2-3 days, I could not go to the bathroom. My nurses prescribed a stool softener for me but it didn’t seem to make any difference. I soon realized that as soon as I had my shake on Day 3, I would go to the bathroom within 30 minutes. It wasn’t a fluke. It happened every time. Even my husband noticed and when I would complain about constipation, he would tell me to go drink my shake. And this makes total sense! One of the things that Shakeology does is improve your digestion and regularity.

 

Another place I noticed reduced side effects was in my hair loss. One of the ingredients in Shakeology is Maitake mushroom (more on that in another post!). It is thought by the American Cancer Society to reduce hair loss during chemo (link) and it is in Shakeology! You can read more about my hair loss journey here or watch my YouTube video here but to sum it up – I didn’t lose all my hair! Over the course of 6 months, I only lost about 1/3 and kept enough that I never had to shave my head. And the rate it has come back in has been phenomenal. I’m not going to lie. My hair has always grown fairly fast, but since starting Shakeology, it’s growing at about twice it’s normal speed – almost an inch each month. And that’s not just my opinion. I’ve brought this up numerous times and my fellow Shakeology drinkers agree – it significantly speeds hair growth and improves the health of your hair.

 

I experienced very little nausea. I was given a nausea medicine via IV prior to starting each treatment. But I was also sent home with additional nausea medicine that I never had to take. And I think Shakeology might be part of the reason for that. The Maitake Mushroom among other ingredients is thought by the American Cancer Soceity to reduce the side effects of chemo, including nausea. And guess what. Yep, that’s right, it’s in Shakeology.

 

Finally, there’s the energy factor. Shakeology fuels your body with the food you need and the difference it makes in your energy level is amazing. I felt tired for 2-3 days post treatment but once I was back on my shake, my energy shot back up. I literally had more energy during my treatments than I had had for the four years prior. And I still had a newborn baby waking up several times a night!

 

This product literally helped me so much, I wanted to share it with everyone I knew. I signed up to be a health and fitness coach through the company who produces the product so I that could continue to share it with my friends and family as well as other people who are going through cancer treatment. It’s a product that I fully believe in and have been drinking daily for a year and a half. And the way it makes me feel is so amazing, I will continue drinking it for the rest of my life.

 

*Just as a disclaimer – Drinking Shakeology did not cure my cancer. I believe that was caused by completing my treatment plan and through the power of prayer. But I do believe that Shakeology lessened the side effects of chemo because mine were significantly less than anyone else I know. I also believe that changing your diet will decrease the chance of cancer returning in the future. I AM NOT A DOCTOR. I am just an ordinary person, sharing my personal experience. You will have to decide what is best for your future.

 

Read more about Shakeology here!

 

Foreshadowing

I’ve noticed a trend in my life. Anytime I start to get complacent or cocky or think “that could never happen to me,” that exact thing happens to me.

 

For example, I watched Super Nanny one time – remember that show? And I remember thinking “I’m so lucky; my daughter would never act that way.” And later that day, she acted exactly that way, throwing an outrageous fit in front of my friends. Completely embarrassing.

 

Another example. I was at church one time, listening to someone asking for prayers because of a situation going on in their lives that required a lawyer. I specifically remember thinking how lucky I was that in my life I never dealt with situations like that, and that same day, I ended up needing a lawyer.

 

Seriously. This happens to me a lot. And when it happens, it’s like I need a lesson in humility.

 

A few days before my youngest son was born, my mom called me to tell me my grandfather had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. We had a long conversation about what his treatment options were. I thought he shouldn’t even attempt chemo. I had seen what it does to people, especially older people, and I didn’t want to see him go through that. I thought he should just enjoy the rest of the life he had left. My mom disagreed. She thought he should have chemo and fight it, prolong life as long as he could.

 

I clearly remember thinking “I’m so glad I don’t have to make this decision.” I knew what I would do. I would fight. I had two (almost three!) kids to raise. They would need to know their mama. I didn’t want someone else to be their “mom.” But I never thought I would have to make that decision within a few months. I never expected to be going through chemo with my grandfather and comparing out war stories and our port scars. It was like a smack back to reality – don’t get too comfortable. Don’t get too cocky. Because that’s when the hard lessons have to be learned.

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Symptoms

You know how people say when you are sick, the last thing you should do is search your symptoms? Web MD is going to make it sound much worse than it actually is… Well, here is some irony for you. When I found the lump in my neck, of course I googled it. I found this crazy type of cancer called Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I read all the symptoms for it and I had them all! But my husband convinced me that I was just projecting – like how when someone talks about your eyes watering, they actually start to water? Or when someone mentions chest pains, you automatically have chest pains? So I didn’t pursue it. I ignored my swollen lymph node, sure that I was overreacting and didn’t need to worry about it. I probably just had an infection, and besides, I didn’t fit into the group that makes you “more likely” to have it. The only thing I had in common with those people was my age!

Luckily for me, I had a persistent doctor who referred me to a ENT specialist. He took my symptoms seriously and now, the symptoms that I had had for several years, things I had just accepted as a part of my life, are all gone. And because I think there are people out there who would also be tempted to ignore these things, I just want to share a bit about how my symptoms appeared and how they felt.

Itching

In retrospect, my most obvious symptom was severe itching. It’s a very common symptom for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. And when I say severe, I am not exaggerating. It started in my legs and I was pretty sure it was the weather. I started buying a special exfoliator to use on my legs and shaving more and more frequently. It didn’t help.

I was convinced it was a dermatology issue, but I didn’t really have ready access to a dermatologist in Japan. So I self-prescribed treatment – I changed soaps, I changed laundry soap – to no avail. I googled it and read that it might be caused by soda, which I no longer drank, or by silver amalgam fillings. So I didn’t worry about it. All the while, it was getting worse and worse. My husband told me I would scratch in my sleep to the point it kept him awake and I literally would scratch my legs every time I sat down. I was at the point that I didn’t even notice anymore; it was just my life.

The pinnacle of my itching came when we moved to Arizona. This was about three weeks before my youngest son was born, about six weeks before discovering the lump. We bought a new bed and new sheets and when I went to bed that night, my whole body itched, I couldn’t sleep. I jumped out of bed and tore the sheets off, washed them in the hottest possible water on allergy mode, dried them and while I was waiting for them, I took the hottest shower possible, shaved and did the “treatment” I typically did on my legs – shaving, exfoliation, nothing extreme. No relief. When I laid down again about two hours later, I was still just as miserable as I had been.

About two months into my chemo, my itching went away completely. My husband was the one who noticed. I quit scratching in my sleep and don’t even worry about my exfoliation that I couldn’t live without before. It’s pretty crazy how much that was affecting my life and I didn’t even realize it any more.

Fatigue

This was my least obvious symptom. When I first started experiencing fatigue (about the same time my itching appeared!), I was pregnant with my middle child. Shortly after he was born, before he was even sleeping through the night, I got pregnant again and miscarried. A few months later, I got pregnant again with my youngest son. So over the course of the four years, I was pregnant, nursing a newborn, getting very little sleep, and then doing it all over again. I just thought it was normal to be that tired. So for about four years, I went to bed around 8/8:30 every night unless I had somewhere to be. And regardless of how much sleep I got, I woke up tired still. I honestly thought that was normal but it is not. About two months into chemo, my fatigue went away. Completely. And I still had a newborn to get up with every night and take care of AND I was going through chemotherapy. And I was less tired than I had been in over four years.

Night Sweats

This was one of the last symptoms that appeared for me and I attributed it to being pregnant. But after my son was born, I was still having night sweats. It literally was like I was in menopause but I was only 28. I would wake up at night completely drenched in sweat. I started wearing fewer clothes, not sleeping under covers, turning the AC down, turning on the fan but it didn’t matter how cold it was, I was waking up completely drenched. This is actually considered one of the more aggressive symptoms, which makes sense since it showed up about six weeks before I noticed the lump and about the same time that the itching because completely unbearable.

Swollen Lymph Nodes

This is the most obvious symptom and the one I eventually went in for. Both of the lymph nodes in my neck were swollen, one felt about as big as a nickel (what I could feel) and the other about the size of a pea. They were hard, almost like rubber, not soft at all. I honestly just thought I had an infection, probably strep throat because my throat also hurt and that’s why I scheduled a doctor’s appointment.

When I had my surgery to remove the largest node and have it biopsied, it was about the size of a golf ball, much bigger than it had felt on the surface. The PET scan also discovered four other large spots as well as many small spots forming that I couldn’t feel. Common places that you will notice swollen lymph nodes are in your neck or under your armpits and if you feel any, I strongly recommend that you get them checked out, especially if you are experiencing any additional symptoms.

Other symptoms I didn’t have

  • Fever and chills that come and go
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss that cannot be explained

Due to the nature of the symptoms with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, people rarely go to the doctor before they discover a lump. Most of the symptoms are not ones that you would expect to accompany cancer. And as a side note, all of my initial blood work came back perfectly normal. If my doctor hadn’t been persistent, I wouldn’t have worried about it and just gone on living in denial because I had normal blood work. Take it seriously. The sooner it is diagnosed, the better the prognosis.