JAZZID   39,285
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~ Motivation ~

Breast cancer survivor, Yulady Saluti ~ Photo by Robert Sturman ~

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It may sound strange, but in some ways I look at my breast cancer as a blessing. It has helped me to put my life into perspective, by teaching me not to worry about the future, but instead, embrace each day and to live "IN THE MOMENT".. Of course there are things that I want to accomplish in my life, but I am not obsessed with ...
Welcome to my Spark Page!



It may sound strange, but in some ways I look at my breast cancer as a blessing. It has helped me to put my life into perspective, by teaching me not to worry about the future, but instead, embrace each day and to live "IN THE MOMENT".. Of course there are things that I want to accomplish in my life, but I am not obsessed with reaching a certain milestone, within a certain period of time because that would not only stress me out, but more importantly, it would prevent me from enjoying the blessings I have "TODAY".. So, I am savoring every moment of my life and appreciating just "BEING".... everything in my life is richer, everything! TO LIFE!


On July 7, 2006, I was officially diagnosed with breast cancer.

My journey began one evening while I was doing step aerobics, my right arm kept hitting a sore area, right next to my right breast. At first I kind of brushed it off as being sore from the previous days strength training, but something just didn't feel right, so bright and early Monday morning I made an appointment with my PCP.

When my PCP examined my breast, she didn't feel anything unusual while I was lying down; the area that was sore seemed like it was underneath my breast but we couldn't pin point exactly where. She had me to stand up and raise my arm while she examined my breast and she detected a round like lump, not hard, or pea sized, but it had more of a cyst-like feel to it... She wasn't too worried about it and felt that since I had just had my mammogram in January/2006, that it was probably a cyst, and no enlarged lymph nodes could be felt, so she set me up for a diagnostic mammogram....

On the morning of my mammogram I had to take my son and school mate of his with me because I had to register them for the school year, so they waited patiently for me in the waiting room... meanwhile, after the mammogram the radiologist saw a very pronounced lump and informed me that it looked suspicious and would I agree to a biopsy... "that day"... They said that the breast cancer surgeon was in the clinic and would be happy to do the biopsy right away... of course I said yes...

It is amazing what you can actually endure when you have to because I hate needles... the biopsy is similar to aspirating fluid from a cyst, except they are removing actual cells instead ... anyway... it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be... They did 6 passes, 3 samples from the tumor and 3 from the lymph node that was swollen... that is what was causing the pain... They actually tested the cells right away and confirmed the diagnosis to be cancer in the tumor and in the lymph node that they tested... I asked the breast surgeon, Dr. J. "does this mean that the cancer has spread throughout my body?" and she said that "no", it just means that the cancer was metastatic to the lymph nodes...I also had an ultrasound right after the biopsy... The ultra sound was painless and I could see all angles of the tumor... it was perfectly round, but solid... that's what ruled the cyst out... ... Dr. J. ordered me to have a breast MRI within the next 2 weeks... Life goes on... after the mammogram, biopsy and ultrasound I took my son and his friend to school for registration, but I didn't mention it to my son... he was 15, soon to be 16 in August...

I had never had an MRI and this was a weird experience, as you have to lie face down, with your breast hanging over a table... My PCP had prescribed an Ativan to take right before the MRI to relax me... I actually fell asleep during the test... I went home and Dr. J. called me later on that day to tell me that the test showed that I had no other suspicious areas in either breast and they found nothing on my chest/ribs... next step ...surgery...

My surgery was scheuduled for August 25, 2006... I looked forward to it because I just wanted to get this "cancer" out of me before it had more chance to invade my body... I had a lumpectomy or modified mastectomy and an axillary dissection, 3 out of 27 nodes were positive... I stayed overnight and was released the next morning and given instructions on how to care for the drain that was inserted by my breast on the right side and a video with exercises that I would eventually have to do to help me rehabilitate my right arm... About 4 days after surgery Dr. J. called, very upbeat.. initially she thought my tumor was over 3cm's which would have put me at Stage III, but it was 2cm which put me at Stage II, PR+, 3+nodes...she also mentioned that pathology was amazed that the 5cm lymph node (the soreness I felt) showed no signs of having infiltrated to the outside of the lymph node, so it did what it was supposed to do... contained the cancer... had I waited to see my PCP who knows how long it would have contained it...

Two weeks after the drain was removed and I returned to work, I started my arm and shoulder exercises and although painful, I worked through it and regained pretty much all the mobility in my arm again... I wanted to feel in control, and I was determined not to let "cancer" alter me anymore than it already had...

I started chemo in September/2006... 8 rounds... 4 of AC and 4 of Taxol. The Taxol caused some neuropathy in my hands (slight numbness) and in my feet... burning, mostly at night after I have walked for a long period of time & sometimes for no reason at all!... I absolutely hated AC because it would give me a killer headache and horrible pressure on the bridge of my nose about 15 minutes after my treatment ended, every single time... I would have to take tylenol and sit and wait until it was over, about 20 minutes... the nurse told me that it was the cytoxan that caused it. I didn't get a port, so I dreaded having chemo... remember my fear of needles... but I was more scared to get a port because my mother had one and developed a blood clot... However, if I ever have to go through chemo again, and I pray that I don't, I will get a port the next time... I pretty much ran out of veins in all the conventional places so the Phlebotomist had to be creative... she was very good... I had radiation for 37 weeks and I didn't have many problems with radiation, minor skin irritation and itching, but no major burns. I am blessed to be working within walking distance from the hospital and I worked throughout all my treatments... I would take days off as needed...

About 3 weeks after my radiation treatments were over I started on Tamoxiphen a medication that is taken to help prevent recurrences of breast cancer in women who are ER/PR+, or positive with one or the other, I am slightly PR+... In October/2007, I had a hysterectomy due to a prolapsed cervix and started Arimidex another anti-cancer drug for menopausal women...


I want women to be aware of the following:

~ Mammograms are important, however, I had had a mammogram January/2006 and no tumor showed up until July/2006. It was a fresh tumor because pathology did not find any dead or old cancer cells... Dead cells would have indicated that the tumor had been there for awhile.. This is where "self-examinations" become essential please keep in mind the following points...

* Do a breast self-exam "every month", even following a mammogram because tumors can pop up virtually overnight...

~ When I examined my breasts lying down with my arm raised, I never felt anything and I performed the "self-exams" every month... The only way I and my doctor were able to feel the tumor was either in an upright position, "standing or sitting"... with arm above head, like when you are lying down...

... so in addition to examining your breast lying down, perform additional exams:

* standing up with arm up and down

* sitting with arm up and down

~ Don't ignore seemingly unrelated symptoms... as I mentioned earlier, I didn't feel any swollen lymph nodes under my arm, or a painful lump in my breast, but I had a slightly sore area, that I only felt when I would move my arm in a certain way... {this turned out to be a lymph node underneath the breast, near the outer quadrant area... }... I could have easily brushed this off as minor soreness from a previous workout... I really believe it was "divine intervention" ... if that lymph node had not been sore, I wouldn't have called my pcp because I hadn't felt anything abnormal during my previous monthly breast exams.... "God is good"...


I cautiously began following 2 new nutritional/fitness programs in June 2011:

- The Primal Blueprint
- The Paleo Solution

In August 2011, I had lost from 168 to 154 and my LDL level reduced from 122 to 107. I felt great. Unfortunately, I gained it all back over the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays.

New start date: January 2013

I am doing a hybrid of the Primal Blueprint diet by Mark Sisson and the Paleo Solution by Robb Wolfe, based on how our paleolithic ancestors ate, but adapting it to modern day. The goal is to:

� Protein: Average .7 � 1 gram per pound of lean body mass/day � depending on activity levels (more at times is fine).


50-100 grams/day (or less) = accelerated fat loss.

100-150 grams/day = effortless weight maintenance.

Heavy exercisers can increase carb intake as needed

Fat: Enjoy freely but sensibly for balance of caloric needs and high dietary satisfaction levels.

Avoid Poisonous Things: Conventional Wisdom�s dietary guidelines promote fat storage, type 2 diabetes, inflammation and obesity!

Eliminate: Sugary foods and beverages, grains (wheat, corn, rice, pasta, breads, cereals, etc.), legumes (soy and other beans), trans and partially hydrogenated fats, high-risk conventional meat and produce, and excess PUFA�s (instead, increase omega-3 oils).

Modern Adjustments: Some modern foods that Grok didn't eat can still be included in a healthy diet

Moderation: Certain high glycemic fruit, coffee, high-fat dairy products, starchy tuber vegetables, and wild rice, "peeled" white potatoes, and even "white rice!"

Supplements: Multivitamin/mineral formula, probiotics, omega-3 fish oil and protein powder.

Herbs, spices and extracts: Offer many health benefits and enhance enjoyment of meals.

Sensible indulgences: Dark chocolate, moderate alcohol, high-fat treats.

... following the 80/20 to 85/15% rule


Cardio: 5 - 6 days per week, alternating, HIIT, steady state and low intensity long walks

Cardio workouts will include (my favorite workouts):
- kickboxing/boxing, HIIT, step, hooping, rebounding, etc.

Strength training (rotating):
- Full-body and split workouts

... aiming for order in my life, I want to:

Learn more about meditation, and incorporate it into my daily life

... strive for balance in "ALL" things



A Favorite quote, something I strive for ...

"The goal in life is living in agreement with nature."

~Zeno, from Diogenes Laertius~


Peace & Blessings (((HUGS)))
Read More About JAZZID (Updated September 1)



My Ticker:

 Pounds lost: 11.0 

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Member Since: 1/11/2008

SparkPoints: 39,285

Fitness Minutes: 49,123

My Goals:
1.) To lose enough weight or equivalent inches, this year to decrease my BMI to 25 or less ... and to gain muscle definition

2.) To be consistent with my exercise and diet program

3.) To consistently track meals/workouts in my Spark "Shared Food/Fitness" tracker's

My Program:

Primal Blueprint
Paleo Solution
Free the Animal


Chalean Extreme
~ 1/6 - 4/13 ~
- 3X's per week -

Cardio: 5 - 6 days

I have a home gym that includes:

- an adjustable weight bench

- Bowflex adjustable weights (5 - 52lbs)

- barbell set with weights up to 140lbs & factional wts

- weight bench system with lat pull-down & leg ext. attachment

- aerobic step
- Urban rebounder
- hula hoop
- Fluidity barre
- pilates reformer
- stability ball
- medicine, playground and small weighted balls
- kettlebells: 5 - 15lbs
- Cathes Turbo Tower
- SCHWINN IC PRO spinning bike

Personal Information:
I live in Chicago, Illinois

I was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer in July/2006; had surgery, Aug. 2006; chemo/rads until 4/2007.. So far so good!!!..

I am now physically able to re-start my exercise/fitness program.

Other Information:
I have a 23 year old son, who has had Type I diabetes since 7 yrs old... now on the insulin pump and is a junior in college; we have a 14 year old Dalmatian/Setter mix dog named, Jazzi...

I love to exercise; my passions include: art, music, preferably jazz, reading detective/mystery novels, trying out new recipes, movies. learning photography, talking for hours with friends.

I would love to travel to Kuranda, QLD Australia, my maternal great-grandparents birth place and to Cuba where my paternal grandmother's parents were born

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Member Comments:
8/23/2014 8:42:07 PM

Hey Dee - sorry to be absent again - I had computer issues and have had to reinstall everything so I wasn't online until today.

I haven't worked out for the past couple of days but will get back on track tomorrow.

Hope all is well with you!


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8/16/2014 8:23:15 AM

Hi ;)
I wanted to come by and emoticon Again for all the great tips you gave me. I have lost about 6 pounds in the last two weeks! emoticon

I do have to say one of my favorite Paleo receipes is a cauliflower pizza from the sparks receipes. Yum!

I do love the nomnompaleo you suggested too! emoticon

I keep going back to your comment because you left such a good amount of information for me.

Thanks for taking the time to share. I really appreciate it!

Julie emoticon

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8/15/2014 9:17:03 PM

Hi Dee - hope everything is well with you! It's Friday!

I had the day off but had to go to the dentist and get two cavities filled. Not fun.

Today was a rest day for PiYo but I felt like doing something so I tried out Janis Saffell's Slim Sexy Fit Kickboxing. It's a new workout that is on her streaming site - you can just buy individual workouts to stream instead of subscribing. I wasn't sure if I would like streaming so I just bought the kickboxing and tabata one to try out. The kickboxing one was ok - basic but good. I think I need to add in more cardio as I seem to have lost some of my endurance and found the workout harder than it should have been.

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8/14/2014 7:34:35 PM

Hi Dee! Sorry to hear you have a lot of soreness after PiYo. I have noticed more soreness this week than before especially in the shoulders and triceps.

That would be so cool to work together and exercise together too!

So happy to hear your day was better yesterday. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will last. I have the day off tomorrow (yay!). I really need it too because I was just feeling so stressed again and too much going on. Although the only down part about tomorrow is that I have to go to the dentist. emoticon

I'd love to see pics of your rides with your son!

Hope you had a great day!

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8/13/2014 8:19:17 PM

Hi Dee - just checking in with PiYo: Core completed today. It was my first time doing the Core workout and it was tough. Definitely have to modify some moves but I liked it and the time just flew by.

Hope everything is OK with you - check in when you get a chance!

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