My name is Kim Heger, wife for 24 years, proud mother of a 22-year-old son and a 20-year-old daughter and I am a breast cancer patient. I am surviving but more importantly, thriving during a time when my life has been turned upside down in a matter of minutes. I will never forget, Aug 29, 2018 when I received the call...all I heard was “You have Cancer” - “What? That can’t be true”. I have worked hard my entire life to live a healthy lifestyle, exercise religiously, eat a well balanced diet, and I thought I managed my stress to the best of my ability, and not to mention, no family history of cancer and never missed an annual mammogram. Well, the truth is, Cancer attacks all types of people. In fact, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and over 250K new cases diagnosed each year, check out these staggering stats. The good news is with increased awareness, early detection and better treatment options, WE can conquer this disease and thrive.
My hope is to educate and inspire people to take action NOW to live the most healthy and fulfilling life possible. Cancer is a life transformation experience and it will continue to be a journey of growth and learning for me. My mission is to reach as many people as possible in hopes of preventing one more from being a part of the statistics mentioned above. It’s been 5 months since my diagnosis. I had a double mastectomy in September and completed 8 rounds of chemo on Jan 23rd. My treatment is in no way complete, I have Stage III Invasive Ductal Carcinoma that spread to my lymph nodes and left me with a positive margin on my chest wall after surgery. Radiation is recommended but I am exploring options and getting a second opinion. I was diligent about my annual screenings and they were completely clear in 2016 and 2017....WOW! Believe me, this information is hard to swallow and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about what I could have done differently to prevent it.
A few reflections from the past five months:
Taking care of myself is my #1 priority. I only get one body and I must treat it like a temple and that starts from the inside out. Practice the Mix of Six every single day - read all about this in Anti-Cancer Living. We have the power within to prevent disease by 1) eating a plant based diet, 2) moving our body, 3) practicing meditation, yoga and other stress reducing activities, 4) a social support network is key to healing, 5) be aware of the chemicals in our environment and how they create chaos inside of our body and 6) commit to restorative sleep every night. I am not just treating cancer, I am treating my whole body and creating an internal biological environment where cancer cells have no chance of survival. #slayit
Gather information and be your own advocate. Being diagnosed can be the hardest part. I immediately felt my life was out of my control. Things were happening fast, appointments and treatment plans were scheduled before I had enough time to understand what was really happening. I took a time out, did my own research, asked a ton of questions, delayed chemo by one week to seek additional options that would compliment my treatment. I am so thankful because this is when I began to learn what was truly going on in my body.
Don’t underestimate the power of positive thinking and Integrative medicine. Regardless of where I have been on this journey, day one to recovering from surgery to first or last day of chemo. I wake up everyday with a smile on my face, take three deep breaths and thank God for the time that I have right now. Our actions are a direct result of our thoughts. Living everyday to the fullest by seeing, doing, feeling, saying, touching, smelling, tasting - there’s no victim in my situation, it’s up to me to do my best even on my worst days. I made a choice to include Integrative options into my treatment plan. I had acupuncture and cupping after each chemo treatment, I changed my diet, eliminated alcohol, practiced yoga and mediation almost everyday, I take supplements to help balance my internal energy. I have experienced minimal side effects from chemo, no nausea or vomiting, some fatigue and bone pain toward the end but all very manageable. I’m committed to this plan, I lost 10 pounds, gained muscle strength, energy and mental toughness that I had no idea was even possible given my circumstances. This is not by chance and not something my medical team prescribed so don’t leave your health and well-being solely in the hands of medical professionals. We are more in control of our healing than we give ourselves credit. I am more in-tune to how my body feels than I have ever been. Mind body connection is key to healing and preventing recurrence.
Cancer is a beatable, treatable, survivable disease. Self-awareness is step one, according to the National Institute of Cancer Research, 40% of all cancer can be prevented. Take action and live a healthy lifestyle and remember cancer can happen to anyone at anytime and WE are survivors the day we are diagnosed. Cancer is not a death sentence, it’s a second chance to live your best life ever. #cancerprevention