Confessions of a sugar-holic

Confessions of a sugar-holic

You hear about alcoholics “hitting their bottom.” I think I hit mine after being away three weekends in a row and indulging in an enormous amount (for me) of sugar. Cookies offered at meetings? I’m in! Dessert at dinner? Of course! Then we went to my in-laws to surprise them for their 80th birthdays (they were born a day apart). I noticed it after my two servings of cake and ice cream. We were taking a walk and I actually felt dizzy. I could just feel that sugar zooming through my bloodstream like a drug. The day after I got back, I watched the documentary Are You Fed Up? on Netflix, which explores the food and beverage industry’s sugar-laden role in childhood obesity. It inspired me to eliminate sugar from my diet. Luckily my daughter has...

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Putting on my advocate hat for the Komen VIP Blogger Summit

Putting on my advocate hat for the Komen VIP Blogger Summit

My mission has always been to instill hope and information to others battling advanced cancer of all types. It has been more of a personal message, which has evolved over time. Take care of yourself, be your own advocate, don’t give up hope. Yet I cannot dismiss the dark side of the issue as I connect with more and more people living with this disease. There are too many people dying, many of them young parents and single women who were robbed of the chance of parenthood — and that is unacceptable. More than 40,000 women and men continue to die from stage IV breast cancer each year and 20-30 percent of all cancers will become stage IV at some time. Yet, according to a thorough landscape analysis by the Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) Alliance (of which...

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Talking about Mets in NY — No not the baseball team

Talking about Mets in NY — No not the baseball team

I’ll make this quick because I am so busy this week. I just returned from NYC where I was a participant of the Novartis’ Advanced Breast Cancer Advisory Panel. This is the second time I have done this, and I have to say I’m very impressed with the company’s interest in listening to the views and needs of those of us with metastatic breast cancer. It was an interesting discussion with some powerhouse bloggers and advocates. I felt honored to be among them. They gave us plenty of time to express our views/experiences. One question prompted us to share bad experiences with doctors, and we all had our stories to tell. It was agreed that doctors need to spend more time with patients and be more empathetic. And if a patient isn’t...

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Happy birthdays: Advances in metastatic research providing more?

Happy birthdays: Advances in metastatic research providing more?

  Birthdays have always been strange for me. I realize what an attention ham I am! Despite the hundreds of Facebook birthday wishes (thank you all, by the way!), an upcoming girls night out, and a card and Amazon gift certificate from my husband, the day felt a little empty. My husband was tired from work when we went out for dinner and my daughter couldn’t come because of her first day of work for her first job. It was mostly an ordinary day. I know, I know … what do I want? A parade? Maybe my childish desire for more of a fuss stems from seeing another birthday as a major deal. It’s nothing short of a miracle. You see, if you look at statistics, I shouldn’t be celebrating another birthday. According to the American Cancer Society,...

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Developing cancer cures hits home for researcher

Developing cancer cures hits home for researcher

Irony (noun): a situation that is strange or funny because things happen in a way that seems to be the opposite of what you expected. – Miriam-Webster Well, sometimes it’s not funny at all. It was a little ironic that I spent my career in healthcare (public relations) and developed breast cancer. Even more ironic is to actually be a cancer researcher looking for a cure, only to be diagnosed with advanced cancer. That’s what happened to Tom Marsilje, who learned he had colorectal cancer (CRC)– the exact same day a major conference announced the positive clinical trial results of a (now FDA-approved) cancer drug he helped discover. Tom contacted me after reading my first book, From Incurable to Incredible, and kindly listed it as one of his...

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The Grace Project: A portrait of beauty, courage in face of cancer

The Grace Project: A portrait of beauty, courage in face of cancer

“Mom’s posing naked!” my husband Mike jokingly shouted out to my daughter like a bratty little brother. Those are three words I never think I’d hear, but it was true on some level. This weekend I was inspired by a photographer and group of women who bravely bared their mastectomy and lumpectomy scars for an amazing exhibition called The Grace Project, led by award-winning photographer Isis Charise. Inspired by the iconic Venus de Milo and the journey of a close friend who passed away from breast cancer, Isis’s mission is to help breast cancer survivors feel beautiful and whole because, not in spite of, losing parts of themselves to cancer. At a special cocktail hour and exhibit, which also featured wonderful author and screenwriter...

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Spring, a time of hope

Spring, a time of hope

Spring is my favorite time of the year. To me, it’s the metaphor for one of my favorite 12-step recovery slogans, “This too shall pass.” Like most of the country, here in Ohio, we experienced a rough winter. It seemed like it was never going to end, but it did. Snow has given way to beautiful daffodils, fragrant hyacinth, blooming magnolia trees and the sweet sound of chirping birds after a cleansing spring rain. Like the weather, my winter had some rough patches. Actually it started in the fall when I learned my targeted treatment was no longer working and began my crazy ride of trying to get on a clinical trial for Palbociclib, now called Ibrance. Thanks to my amazing online community, I found a trial that was within driving distance (in...

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