Can we talk a bit about breast health?
I’m almost 53 as I write this, and at this age it’s a bit scary to find 3 new lumps in your breast. I say new because I have multiple fibroadenomas and cysts in both breasts. When I say multiple, I mean there are approximately 14 fibroadenomas on one side, and in my “busy” breast, we have closer to 20. I also have very dense breasts (Category C for those in the know), which makes it very difficult for anybody to find anything in there. I’ve been developing these lumps in my breasts since I was in my late 20’s (thanks very much low-fat vegetarian era).
Oh, and did I mention that my mother had breast cancer twice? Combined with multiple fibroadenomas (which is a risk in itself), this factor puts me at a statistically greater risk of acquiring breast cancer.
So yes, new breast lumps are scary for me. Especially when there are 3 of them.
Earlier this week, I took myself to the Breast Clinic to check these new guys out. This clinic keeps all the maps of the goings-on in my breasts, and their lovely staff went about their business with the mammogram and ultrasound in a very professional and caring way. Every single fibroadenoma and cyst I have is measured and mapped so they know if I have anything new happening, and so that they can measure the growth in each of them. This takes a while.
In my mind, I was laying there thinking, "This is it. This time it’ll be cancer for sure."
Thankfully, this clinic gives you the results of all your scans and biopsies the same day you visit (I KNOW, RIGHT???) so there’s little time spent wondering and worrying whether or not you have cancer. This is great for those of us who frequently go through this procedure due to finding lumps on a very regular basis.
After the scans the surgeon called me in to discuss the findings of my “new” lumps. Turns out those new lumps are actually old fibroadenomas that have shrunk! (Now you know that when fibroadenomas shrink, they feel very different compared to the way they feel when they’re growing!)
Now, you might be wondering if it's normal for fibroadenomas to reduce in size, and the answer is no. It's actually quite unusual. The surgeon said that about 10 years after menopause starts, breasts begin to become less dense and then sometimes fibroadenomas get smaller, but it’s rare. My breasts are still Category C as far as density goes, and the surgeon said that it’s very unusual to see the kinds of reductions in measurements seen in these scans compared to the ones I had done 18 months ago. She can’t explain it.
What happened 18 months ago to induce such a change?
18 months ago was probably around the time that I committed properly to the ketogenic diet. 18 months ago I had my last mammogram and ultrasound mapping done. In the time since, my fibroadenomas have shrunk to the point that the radiographer decided to make completely new maps for the next radiographer. (I don’t know if that means anything, but I thought I'd put it here because hey, I have new maps now!)
There is some nutritional strategy to the way I do keto because of the number of crazy health issues my body has thrown my way, but this particular issue has been at the forefront of my mind and it shows that due diligence in dietary decisions is really important.
A carefully constructed and strategic ketogenic diet may have helped me shrink some more benign tumours in my body. Hooray for keto! This is why we push so hard for our clients and groups members to commit 100% to this lifestyle. It's true that your health doesn't take a holiday, and had I decided to take a holiday from my Ketogenic lifestyle, I might not be able to share this exciting, positive turn in my own health today.
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I want to give a shout out to my Ketogenic Lifestyle Coach, she has been amazing at helping me continue the journey and meet my goals. Thank you for all of your help and wisdom! Getting a coach to help me has been my favorite choice of self care so far!
Group coaching helps you not feel alone in your keto journey. I started out with one on one coaching and it was extremely beneficial, but I feel like I am learning even more from group coaching. It's great to hear the things others are going through and help provide support while learning how to navigate a situation like that in the future, and of course to have others there to celebrate in your successes! I plan to utilize the coaching services until I reach my goals. I don't think I would be moving in such a positive direction without coaching.
I don’t know if I can adequately express how much has shifted for me since working with Keto Coach Michelle Hurn, R.D., L.D! Initially Michelle helped get me on track by clarifying the appropriate amount of food I should be eating (and in what proportions) for my active lifestyle. But the real magic was further along – when Michelle kindly but clearly helped me challenge long held, rigid disordered eating beliefs and behaviors that I didn’t even realize I still had. I am beyond grateful to have separated from old beliefs and behaviors that were holding me back, even when I was compliant on the ketogenic meal plan. I am able to be more emotionally present for myself, my family and my professional life in a way that has brought me tremendous peace of mind. I am enjoying my meals now, but hardly thinking about food at all anymore - and that is a true miracle in my life!