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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 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 took my son and his friend with me to the breast clinic because after the exam I had to take them to their HS Sophomore registration, The exam took much longer because 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 scheduled for August 25, 2006... I looked forward to it because I just wanted to get this "cancer" out of me before it had more of a chance to invade my body... I had a lumpectomy or modified mastectomy and an axillary dissection [lymph node removal], 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....

~ MY NUTRITIONAL PLAN: Low Carb/Keto Paleo/primal ~


- June 2018: Starting weight: 178lbs

- July 2018: 162.2

- August 2018: 157.8

- Sept. 2018: 157 [… surpassed my 10%, 160lb goal by 3lbs]

Starting blood work:
Cholesterol: 237
LDL: 167
BP is higher than I would like ... varies
Diagnosed with pre-diabetes by 1 point


EXERCISE: Les Mills On Demand... Pump [barbell], kickboxing, etc.
Body Groove [Misty Tripoli... movement]
Cathe Freidrich & Kelly Coffey-Meyer dvd workouts.... et. al.

PAST information [... keeping for reference & proof that the program works if I follow it!!!!]

... about 3 years ago, starting in August 2011. I was sold on this lifestyle because lost weight, almost effortlessly, and improved blood work:

Lost weight: from 168 to 154
LDL: reduced from 122 to 107.
Cholesterol: reduced from 187 - 162
Triglycerides: under 50

Unfortunately, I gained it all back over the 2011 Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays.

~ NOW: 2014 ~

From APRIL - JUNE 2014, I followed:

CHRIS KRESSER PERSONAL PALEO CODE 30 DAY RESET [... please check out his web site for more information if interested in finding out more about this reset]

Following this reset I reached my 1st 10% weight loss goal:

Starting weight: 176
Current weight: 158

A total of 18 pounds. I have maintained this weight loss to date, about 3 months.

I am now doing my 2nd, 30 (... or more days) reset:

START DATE: September 1, 2014 - weight loss goal is reached

... I will be doing the reset month to month until I reach my goal because it is structured and keeps me mindful of what and how I am eating.

** NOTE: If anyone is interested in trying out the paleo lifestyle, I highly recommend Chris Kresser's book, it is an easy read, user friendly with loads of information. His approach allows you to "personalize your "paleo plan/lifestyle" so that you will get the results based on specific health conditions and other goals that you want to acheive. He also includes a 7 day meal plan with recipes.

... I was successful in my weight loss because I eliminated:

SUGAR: (... I have a ferrocious sweet tooth) I now look as sugar as a toxin and use fruits and occasional 80% dark chocolate for a sweet treat.

CAFFEINE: (coffee): I drank over 10 cups per day and I added cream. As a result I consumed many "empty calories", and the dairy was also stalling my weight loss.

After the reset I slowly re-introduced the following back into my diet:

CHEESE: I eat in moderation, mainly in recipes and so far does not appear to be causing a problem.

COFFEE: 1 cup per week

DAIRY: I find that I can have cream once a week in coffee without a problem.

Adding heavy cream to recipes does not appear to stall my weight loss (YAY), however, I mainly use coconut milk, coconut cream (... and other coconut products) as well as almond milk in recipes.

Grass fed butter: KERRY GOLD... love this butter... I can use with no problem!!!!!

White potatoes: I eat these sparingly during the week with no problem.

White rice: I basically use riced cauliflower for recipes that require rice. I sometimes add about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of rice to the riced cauliflower when I want to eat it.

** NOTE: I eat more or less starch depending on my energy needs for a particular day. **

I follow a hybrid of both the Primal & Paleo lifestyles... "the best of both worlds!"...

Basic Primal lifestyle guidelines: [... based on The Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson]

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

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


WALKING: Daily 35 - 60 minutes, weather permitting

Cardio: 3 - 5 days per week, alternating, HIIT & steady state

Strength training (rotating weighted and non-weighted body weight only exercises)

- Full-body and split workouts


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

Learn more about meditation & yoga so that I can 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)))

Member Since: 1/11/2008

Fitness Minutes: 54,402

My Goals:
1.) To lose enough weight or equivalent inches, this year to decrease my BMI to 29 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:

Low carb/keto hybrid of Primal /Paleo lifestyles


Strength: 2 -3x's/wk
Full and split workouts

Cardio: 5 - 6x's/wk

I have a home gym that includes:

- an adjustable weight bench

- Bowflex adjustable weights (5 - 52lbs)

- barbell set with weights up to 175lbs & factional wt plates to micro-load

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

- aerobic step
- Urban rebounder
- hula hoop
- Fluidity barre
- pilates reformer
- Pilates Arc
- BAS: Body Action System (heavy bag)
- stability ball
- medicine (6 & 8lbs), playground and small weighted balls(3 & lbs)
- kettlebells: 5 - 15lbs
- Cathes Turbo Tower
- SCHWINN IC PRO spinning bike

DVD's: close to 200 dvd workouts

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... Tamoxifen/Arimidex 5 years after radiation... So far so good!!!...

... my goal is to try to prevent a recurrence of breast cancer & other health problems through diet and exercise.

Other Information:
I have a 30 year old son, who has had Type I diabetes since 7 yrs old... College grad who is currently an driving OTR as an owner-operator. He recently married Jennifer on August 9, 2020.

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

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

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