Please note that the contents of this article are the opinion of the wonderful Ariela. Please don't make any decisions about your cancer journey without consulting a medical professional.
Hi, my name is Ariela. I am 33, married and a mother of four beautiful children.
My story starts off three years ago when I first found out I am a BRCA carrier. I was the first from my family to get the genetic test (we have a lot of history in my family with breast cancer).
I took the news quite hard, but went along with the semiannual check ups. This includes blood work, breast and ovary ultrasounds, examination an MRI once a year.
Two years after finding out I am a carrier, in my annual MRI something was detected. When I went to the doctor for the results, she informed me that they had found something in the MRI, not in my breast but something close to my heart. The doctor told me I need to contact a cardiologist. Many phone calls later, blood work and a biopsy I got the results that I have Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
After weeks of waiting for doctor appointments and biopsy results, things suddenly started moving way too fast. A week later I started chemotherapy. With my husband and parents' company, I started on a new journey in my life. I knew I had to go through with this and I decided I might as well go in with positive feelings.
Throughout my treatments I tried to stay positive, some days were harder than others. Thank God I had a lot of support from family and friends. My community put together meals and help with the kids.
The nausea didn't start right away. I felt like every treatment got a bit harder as my body got weaker. When the nausea finally did kick in I was given a stronger anti-nausea pill to take before treatment, but I would still get nauseas.
By the third treatment I decided to try acupuncture to help with some of the side effects of chemo. Although I don’t know how bad the side effects would be without acupuncture, I noticed that it deed seem to improve how I felt throughout the recovery time after each treatment. I would usually have a home visit the day after chemo and then again the following week. I was back to myself three days later. The bad flavour in my mouth improved as well as the nausea, and I had strength to get back up and around. It also helped improve my mood and anxiety as well as my sleep. Of course I did have hard days. I don’t want you to think it was magic and all was well…
I can't say how acupuncture will affect others but I would definitely say it's worth a try. Before going with acupuncture I tried reflexology, which I was told can help with side effects. I didn't connect so much to that, but again, everyone is different.
In addition to acupuncture to help with chemo side effects, my sister bought me some Jennifer Young products to help with skin dryness. I fell in love with them. I would use the Shea Butter for my face and hands, it is so light and leaves your skin feeling so good. I still buy those products even though I am no longer going through chemo.
I am now over a year past my last chemo treatment. And thank God all is clear. I am still going to acupuncture, I just love it. I love how I feel afterwards. Acupuncture leaves me feeling refreshed and renewed.
I feel like my past is also my future. Going through chemo helped me look at life differently. I have grown a lot through my treatments, I defined who I am and how I deal with life. I wish you all health and strength to get through whatever life brings you. Keep that smile up : )