Entering the Cancer War Zone
Since her diagnosis in October 2009, Griffin has been candidly blogging about her fight with cancer. What started as a way to keep family and friends updated has turned into a support system for the people across the country who read it. "I don't recommend secrecy," she says. "Tell your friends, tell your children, tell the school right away. Children can handle this information; they take their cue from you."
In her first entry, she blogs about the visualization exercise she uses to mentally fight the war within: "I'm the Commander in Chief. Al Qaeda cells have taken over parts of my body, and I have signed the Execute Order and sent in the Navy Seals with a shoot to kill order."
To describe cancer as a war zone is a fitting analogy; triple negative is aggressive and fast-acting. "It's the kind of cancer that grows in between mammograms," Griffin says. In general, this type of breast cancer has one of the worst survival rates.
However, a diagnosis of triple negative is not hopeless—Griffin was treated with 17 rounds of chemotherapy and an experimental drug called carboplatin, which is normally used to treat colon cancer. She was given a complete pathological response—meaning she is now cancer-free.
Fighting Back with Diet and Exercise
Griffin wanted her immune system to be as strong as possible so that she would get the maximum benefit from chemotherapy. "My plan of attack was to control everything that was going into my body," she says. "I made sure I had a very detoxed, clean diet." Some of the nutritional changes Griffin made included removing processed foods from her diet, eating cancer-fighting foods like broccoli and cabbage and cutting out alcohol completely.
Read about the cancer-fighting foods Griffin swears by.
Turning a new leaf and opting for a healthy lifestyle isn't just for cancer patients—Griffin says it's vital for everyone. "We all have cancerous cells in us," she says. "It's a question of whether they go haywire or not. The question is whether your immune system can sweep them away or whether you have a broken gene that then allows something to click. If your system gets overwhelmed with toxic food, environmental factors or stress—that's what allows cancer to grow."