What is Triple Negative anyway?

Someone asked me the other day about my type of cancer… they have never heard of Triple Negative before… I guess, neither had I until my diagnosis! And stage 4 nonetheless, so I got to know it pretty well!

Anyway, it got me thinking that I should share what I was told about it! And how Zero Negative was formed from that triple negative diagnosis…

Triple-negative breast cancer is an aggressive form of the disease. The difference is that all three types or receptors are NOT a factor with triple negative, making it a little harder to treat because there is only one option really, which is chemotherapy.

For example, some breast cancers have receptor cells that respond to hormones. There are three main types of receptors:

Doctors diagnose breast cancer by identifying which receptor is present. They run a series of tests for each of the three receptors, and these will return either positive or negative results.

When a person has breast cancer, but all of these results come back negative, doctors diagnose the person with triple-negative breast cancer. Also, in my case, I tested positive for the BRCA 1 gene, which means I had increased risk of breast cancer, increasing my risk of triple negative breast cancer.

(I remember when I was given the name, triple negative, I was like, this sounds horrible! Negative, negative, AND some more negative, how much worse can it get?! But it turned out that my type of cancer became a ‘gift’ in a way, because it gave me the name Zero Negative, and the story behind it all… it was such blessing in the end!)

TREATMENT: Many treatments aim to block one or more of the three receptors. When results for all three are negative, hormone-based medications are not an effective option. Instead, a doctor will recommend other treatments, such as chemotherapy.

(I was told that chemo was the ONLY medicine to treat triple negative…and even though it was the only choice, it was known to have a very reliable rate of success in diminishing tumors… )

As with other breast cancers, the success of treatment for triple-negative breast cancer depends on the size of the tumor and how pervasive it is.

(My tumor was really big, 7.4 cm, and it was so confusing and frustrating for me because I had HAD my mammogram 6 months ago, AND a check up with my gynecologist, and NO ONE had felt or seen this huge tumor growing inside of me. Soon after I learned that because I had dense breast tissue, I should have been having ultra-sounds WITH my mammograms…but no one told me this… crazy right? BUT at least I’m okay now, and hopefully I can make others more aware of this now!)

There are fewer treatment options for triple-negative breast cancer, and it is more likely to spread and recur than other types of the disease. More information can be found here:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324272.php

https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/triple-negative-breast-cancer

When I heard all of the characteristics of triple negative, I was scared. Very scared. And to make matters even scarier, my doctor at UCLA who I was meeting for the first time, Dr. Slamon, said that one of the positives about triple negative was if it doesn’t come back in 5 years, then it has a very low chance of ever coming back, but if it DOES come back within that time, then it will be more aggressive and very hard to treat. Basically, he was saying I would most likely die from it, IF it comes back. And, the statistics were very scary… 50% of patients end up cancer free forever, and 50% of the patients won’t, and there is no rhyme or reason of why, but THAT, in a nutshell, is the nature of triple negative.

‘UGH’ and ‘SHIT’, I remember feeling as I was sitting in his office. However, it was really strange and I remember this so well… as I was hearing the stats, basically hearing I had a 50/50 chance to live, I was weirdly starting to feel optimistic for the first time… I felt like I was stepping into my diagnosis, owning it in a way, AND, I was realizing how safe I felt with Dr. Slamon… I think I was finally accepting my prognosis, and then felt like, ‘Okay, if Dr. Slamon thinks he can do this, then I KNOW I can do this, and I WILL do this…I will be part of the 50% group that makes it past 5 years, and I’ll live a cancer free life once I get through all of this. And I’ll have perky boobs for the rest of my life, that’s cool no? And I’ll surrender to the whole experience, like a student, and see what happens… AND, in the meantime, I’m going to figure out how to raise money for his research at UCLA, because god forbid, if this DOES come back (or doesn’t go away), then I better be part of the team looking for a cure!’

https://www.uclahealth.org/dennis-slamon

And, so it was, in Dr. Slamon’s office, when I decided to turn stage 4 triple negative breast cancer into something positive, which makes me want to advise others of how important it is when picking your team of doctors…you have to believe in them so deeply, you need to be willing to put your life in their hands and trust their advice and treatment, so they can believe in you…it’s a gut thing, but, you know when you know, ya know? What I didn’t know then, was how relevant my type of cancer was in developing my company… and obviously, triple negative gave the idea for the name, Zero Negative, and became symbolic in it’s meaning, going from stage 4 cancer to cancer free (which, by the way, was only 4 months… I must had done something right?!).

(I didn’t know then, BUT I see it so clearly now, that I was planting the seed of ‘surviving’ in my head, in my body, in my being, telling myself what I was going to do, before doing it...hoping others can take this message and use it to their advantage!)

Of course, that day on Tuesday, December 20th 2016, I had no idea HOW I was going to accomplish any of this… BUT, I had a goal, a dream planted in my head, and I truly believe that paved way for my happy ending …to be continued…

#lessonslearned #havinggoalsDOhelp #manifesting

xo Jenn

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Have You Ever Asked, 'WHY'?

Recently, I started asking myself, WHY did I get cancer? As if the universe was putting me in a ‘cancer class,’ and I had to write my final report about it. Why did I get cancer and not my sister? Have you ever asked yourself, why? Why did you get cancer? Why did someone you love get cancer? Why did someone you know die from cancer? Just, WHY?

My sister Caryn

My sister Caryn

Well, I’ve been struggling answering that question for myself. I know cancer is a ‘disease’, but what exactly is disease?  If you break it down, it would be dis-ease…something that’s ‘not at ease’ within us, within me, within you.  It doesn’t need to be judged, and it might have been brewing since childhood, or even something passed down from my ancestors, but I see it as something that needs to be healed, and it chose ME, it chose YOU, to heal it.  WE are the lucky ones!

So, why did I get cancer?  Of course, it depends on who you ask.  If you ask my doctors, they might say, because I had the BRCA 1 gene, and the odds of me getting cancer were like 60% by the time I turned 60.  But I got cancer in my 40’s, so why then?  I went through a lot of IVF trying to get pregnant, that could have made it come sooner, but doctors also said that if I DID get pregnant when I was trying, the pregnancy would have killed me, making the cancer spread uncontrollably. Crazy right? Cancer saved my life if I look at it that way…I think all of these reasons are valid, but I also have another theory to add to it all, and whether it’s true or not, it’s the story that resonates most with me, the story I wish to tell, and the story that is my truth.

If you ask me, I would say I got cancer, stage 4 mind you (the universe knows how stubborn I am, and stage 1 or 2 wouldn’t have done much!), to teach me how to love myself, to teach me how to appreciate everything I have in my life, AND, to stop comparing my life to others.  To feel GOOD about myself, with all my failures, missed opportunities, AND with all my successes and experiences.  I didn’t have children in this life, and I really wanted some.  Of course, I can adopt one, but part of me feels too old to do so, and part of me feels like I have too many other things to pursue, too many other dreams to fulfill, and I want to go for them all.  Also, my husband is 16 years older than I am, so it seems selfish of me, of us, to take on a child at our age, but that’s it.  SO, I put that dream to rest, or should I say, cancer put that dream to rest, and maybe one of the reasons cancer came to me… to let go of having a child.  SO be it.

Also, cancer showed me what’s most important in my life.  I mean, I knew what was most important in my mind, but NOW, my whole being knows. And, my #1 thing is health, the MOST important thing, because without it, I couldn’t be free.  SO, now that I’m 100% healthy and cancer free, I can have a ‘bad day’, or a failed dream, or an empty bank account, and still be okay, really okay, because I have my health.  Period.

Cancer also taught me one thing that I kinda knew about myself, but now I REALLY know it… I am a really strong person, and when I set my mind to something, I am a force that can pretty much accomplish whatever I want.  And I am very grateful for my strength and tenacity, to be physically blessed with a strong immune system.  I mean, my immune system was strong even on chemo!  I remember being told, don’t be around crowds, don’t go to events where there’s a lot of people, all that stuff… I remember my family, even my husband, getting colds, some got the flu, and I never got anything!  And I was teaching all my yoga clients as I went through chemo, they would get sick, they would have to cancel, but I never got sick…so yes, my immune system is pretty freakin strong!

But other than health, my lessons were mostly about the importance of LOVE, being around love, doing the things I love, being able to receive love from others, appreciating love from friends and family, and not wasting time being around people or activities that don’t bring a sense of peace, or love.  Of course, we all need to do errands, or clean toilets, or go to events for others, or see a movie that your friend wants to see and you don’t, or change a diaper when you rather be sipping a margarita… that’s all normal ‘non fun’ stuff…but it’s important to be conscious and aware of how you are spending your time, who you are spending your time with, and what you’re giving your time to, because time goes pretty fast, and doing things that don’t bring us joy seems like a waste of time, no?  I mean, I can break it down like this… activities that bring more stress, more fatigue, more depression, more anger, more resentment, they are probably things you don’t love, or things that are unhealthy.… when we’re doing things we love, it can only make us happier, more joyful, and in turn, make us happier and more joyful to be around for others.

Lastly, one HUGE reason, I believe, I got cancer, was to develop Zero Negative, and be able to help the world in the way I’ve always wanted to help the world.  I have a message to give, one that I lived through and one that helped me, so I know it can help others. I was used in a way, used by the universe, to help shift the world, our perspective of how we live, of how we treat others…and the universe gifted me cancer to put me on this path.  It’s such a big task, one that I had to go through many doors to receive all the lessons, all the guidance, and now that I’ve passed a lot of the necessary tests, now I walk forward with Zero Negative, not knowing exactly how its going to work out, but knowing what I want to say, and it’s purpose.

And one more thing, I guess I can’t talking about how amazing cancer is?!  I might sound like a freak, but I am talking truth right now!  Cancer taught me that I need to be good to myself. Period, most important thing.  We need to love ourselves first and foremost, and then go out and love others.  If I don’t love myself, how can I expect someone else to love me?  And that’s usually what we go after, someone to love us and give us love because we don’t have it for ourselves.  But that puts us in a very ‘ungrounded’’ place, when we NEED that person to love us, when we’re not picky about who love us…that’s when we stay with people who don’t treat us the way we deserve. 

Anyway, I could ramble on and on about love, but I’ll end with this…funny, but I think cancer made me human.  Brought me back to who I really am, and made me aware of who we really are as humans. Brought me back to what’s important in life (to me), and how to appreciate and be grateful for it.  If I were to die tomorrow, I would be happy with everything that I have learned this lifetime…I would be bummed that I didn’t get to live another 50 years, knowing what I know now, but at least I would know I’m okay with how my life turned out.  SO, how can I NOT be thankful for cancer? 

And ultimately, it doesn’t really matter WHY, but it matters how we choose to deal with it. I dealt with my cancer with Love, Understanding, Appreciation, and Acceptance, believing it was here to help me grow. And I DID grow, a lot. Which makes me feel like I understand how to ‘get through things’ a little better, and that the stories we tell ourselves have a lot of power in them! SO, I’m choosing to view cancer as one of the best things to have happened to me thus far. My story, my perception, and my truth. So be it!

How do you perceive your cancer? Lemme know!

Jenn