Thursday, July 7, 2022
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Chrissy Lomax (Breast Cancer Survivor)

Chrissy Lomax (Breast Cancer Survivor)

About me

My name is Chrissy Lomax. I am originally from Ontario, Canada, and currently live in Southern California. And I have spent my life being a musician and also a fitness professional, a Pilates instructor. I am a personal trainer helping people get fit and healthy. In July of 2017, I had an interruption in my life when I was diagnosed with HER2-positive breast cancer. Everything changed on that day. I really went through a lot of changes in the last 5 years since diagnosis and even wrote a book about it to help everyone.

Symptoms and diagnosis

I always thought about going for a mammogram. I never expected anything because there’s no breast cancer in my family. My mother died at only 41 years old from colon cancer nine weeks after she was diagnosed. There are a lot of cancer cases in my family but not breast cancer. The day I was scheduled to go for my mammogram, I just stood in front of the mirror and raised my arms up and down. I saw something different on one side. When I raised my arms, they changed shape. 

So going into the mammogram, I was suspicious about it. I had no pain or other symptoms. On Monday morning, UCLA asked for more images. Those images would determine if I had to go for biopsies. After having a very aggressive and painful mammogram, I had to go for biopsies. After seven days of waiting and wondering I finally got a call saying that I had breast cancer. 

Treatments underwent

I had chemo treatment first. The surgery was performed after my six rounds of chemo followed by radiation. My chemo was six rounds of four drugs, carpal, platinum, Progettaxote, and Taxotere. Septin was the targeted therapy. I would have hydration to handle the side effects a lot better from the chemotherapy. It would keep my body hydrated. I would also have on day two, a shot called new Lasta to boost up my white blood cells. But there were side effects from that new last shot as well like bone pain. 

Alternatives

I changed my diet completely. I eliminated added sugar from my diet. I don’t take wine or anything that is not worth it. I want to live this toxic-free lifestyle to keep my cells as healthy as possible. I exercise a lot as a personal trainer. So I live a sugar-free, cancer-free life and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. I live mostly plant-based. I think of food as medicine, and my relationship with food really did change because I lost a lot of weight. I lost a lot of weight because of the way I changed my lifestyle. I love making shakes with berries, spinach, and kale. Food is medicine. I used to live to eat, but now I eat to live.

My support system

My husband was there by my side on every appointment. He was supporting me all the way. I had family arriving because we have a little family here. And my sister came from Hong Kong. My nieces came from London, England. Everybody came from all over and it was just great to have everyone here. 

Experience with the doctors and other medical staff

I was so lucky because I had the dream team. I had the most amazing team. My oncologist Dr. Ashuri at UCLA was one of the oncologists, one of the research scientists on this Herceptance. He was on the team for HER2 substance and my radiation oncologist. Doctor Paul Miller was also on the team for HER2 substance.

Things that made me happy

What made me happy were funny TV shows and my pet. I have an African Grey parrot Stewie, and he was by my side the whole time, and he’s very funny. Then having my family and my friends visit. And during my good days, we would go out and sit outside and laugh a lot. I’m a singer and a songwriter. When I had the energy, I recorded some vocals. Music is healing. I also enjoyed Acupuncture for the first time. 

Nutrition is a huge part of getting the emotions better as well. Positive energy helps us heal. I would have a notepad beside me. There are many challenges you go through like from nosebleeds to your hair falling out. You can do a few things but when it was overwhelming, I used to write about it.

Message to cancer patients and caregivers

My message to survivors and caregivers is everybody thrives today. We have to remain in the present and focus on what is happening for us now and never give up on our dreams. Always keep doing what you have dreamed to do. Always. It’s so important. I am 62 years old, and next month I’m going on a rock and roll tour. We just have to look at what we are doing. Let’s do what we really are supposed to be doing right somehow. 

Positive changes

Cancer has changed me in many positive ways. I realised that everybody’s cancer journey is different. And I learned what not to say to a cancer patient because of things that were said to me. And I learned to never dismiss a cancer patient by comparing them to somebody. Never dismiss a cancer patient. It’s a fight. 

The support group I joined

I did visit our cancer support community centre. They did an event there. And during my healthy days when I felt good and I was excited to put on, I wore wigs because it was so much fun. So that was my support community. 

Cancer awareness

Awareness is very important. I’m a Pilates instructor, and it’s about body awareness. When we become more aware of our bodies, we have better postural alignment. When we have better postural alignment, everything works more efficiently in our bodies. Awareness of cancer is so important. Know your body, know when something’s not right, and go for your checkups. And I really encourage the 3D mammogram and ultrasound, especially if you were like me and had dense breasts. Get that body into shape. I always say some people are more concerned about the gas and oil they put in their car rather than what they’re putting in their bodies. Read your labels, and see what’s going on in that body. We can do whatever we can to stay healthy.

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