About this stress thing …

About this stress thing …

Last week, I delved into why I take care of myself and how stress, if not handled properly is harmful for cancer survivors … and everybody else for that matter. I got a lot of great feedback from the post, and I thought this topic deserved a little more attention. Cancer advocate Heather Swift shared this interesting article about cancer and inflammationn from the Oncology Nursing Association’s news magazine. As the article states, studies show that 25 percent of all cancers are associated with inflammation. The body produces inflammatory markers in response to stress, and studies show that certain malignancies develop in tissues severely damaged by chronic inflammation. If you read on, the article suggests several things that can help manage stress,...

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Surviving guilt: Why taking care of yourself is not a luxury

Surviving guilt: Why taking care of yourself is not a luxury

It seems like there is a stigma in our western world about taking care of ourselves — especially for women. We are pushed to be the best mothers, the best daughters while juggling impressive careers, being/looking sexy for our husbands and having immaculate households. It’s called “having it all,” but really, who’s having the having? We become “human doings” instead of human beings. We are stressed and feel like we’re never enough, trying to meet the expectations of the outer world. And many of us come up empty-handed … and even worse, developing cancer. That was me about seven years ago. In my mind. I  was definitely falling short of the mark on all counts. I was in a job that caused me so much stress, I...

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Yummy recipes to give your immune system a boost!

Yummy recipes to give your immune system a boost!

My eating habits were less than stellar this holiday season. The sweets! The stuffing and potatoes! Let’s just say I had a good time. With the new year, I’m joining the hundreds of thousands of people who resolve to get back to a healthier diet. Whether or not you are in cancer treatment, the following American Cancer Society-approved recipes are packed with packed with powerhouse nutrients to help build your immune system. They’re designed to manage cancer symptoms and treatment side effects, and they’re tasty, too! Spicy Hot Apple Cider (Makes four servings) 4 cups pasteurized apple cider 6 cloves 5 allspice berries 1 cinnamon stick 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced 1 orange, sliced 1 to 2 tablespoons honey 1. In a saucepan...

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The mixed bag that was 2014

The mixed bag that was 2014

How you reflect on the past is a matter of perspective. I look at it this way: it wasn’t good, it wasn’t bad, it just was … and I’m grateful for that. It’s not saying happy or sad things didn’t happen. I just don’t want to judge it that way. Our family has been traveling a lot lately – a week ago to Chicago for my first trial checkup. By the way, my blood work was fine and I’ve been feeling relatively well!  We just returned from celebrating Christmas with Mike’s family and then up to Cleveland to visit The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We have had some good talks in the car and reiterated how age and experience has helped us look at the big picture. Some of the hardest experiences in our lives, we...

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Networking with survivors has saved my life: Tips to build your network

Networking with survivors has saved my life: Tips to build your network

My dear friend Banita and I had lunch yesterday, trying to figure out a way to reach and help stage IV breast cancer survivors in our community. Banita serves on the board of Pink Ribbon Girls, a local group that provides support and services to women affected by breast cancer. Several of our members have died recently, leaving behind husbands and young children. Because of what I do and my years of survivorship, many people come to me for advice and support. I’m not an expert and certainly not a medical professional, so I just offer my experience and a dash of hope. Unfortunately, sometimes it is not enough. I’ve noticed that several people have approached me for help when they are in the last weeks of their lives. They are desperate and willing to...

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Not taking the holidays for granted

Not taking the holidays for granted

Yesterday I was wrapping presents for our “Christmaskah” celebration. It felt a little indulgent, sitting by the TV and binge-watching The Tudors on Netflix as I wrapped. But I started thinking about the importance of what I was doing and how fortunate I am to be here to do it. Like many families, I, the mom, do all the shopping for our daughter Chrissy. I admit that I spoil her, but she is not spoiled. She appreciates and thanks us for everything. Part of the reason I do this is because when I grew up, we didn’t really celebrate the holidays. Yes, we were Jewish, but I was lucky to get even one gift for Hannukah. It was never wrapped and never a surprise and was given to be begrudgingly. The holidays were also a downer because when I was eight,...

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On the road with Miracle Survivors

On the road with Miracle Survivors

  Just a quick update from California. I started out on my mini book tour in Indianapolis with Krysti Hughett, my friend and 10 year-, stage 4 inlmatory Breast cancer survivor who is one of the amazing people inu book. From there, I flew out to LA. I’m having a wonderful time visiting with Lynda DeWitt, whose story is featured in Miracle Survivors. Not only is she a fabulous host; she is has help ed arrange three of my four book signings/talks here. It has been so exciting to share the book’s message of hope and meet longtime online friends for the very first time. I even got to meet a celebrity: Nancy Allen, who was in the original Carrie and all three Robocop movies! Nancy is now executive director of WeSpark Cancer Support Center, where I...

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