Category Archives: Cancer Research

The Pink Owl Project

What can I say…I have no time to write. For the past 6 weeks I lived and breathed nursing school, Pink Owl Project, and teaching at Spring Arbor. Jeremy and I have been living a bit like ships in the night. He started teaching at SAU as I finished last week.
But the most fascinating news with me is this crazy little Pink Owl Project. We had our first show at the Kalamazoo Art Hop on November 2. We were such a hit the Park Trades Center asked us to come back for the December 7th Art Hop!
I’m hoping that as I get my final nipple tattoos in December, my connection to breast cancer will take on a different form. I’ve been feeling healthier and stronger over the past few months and I’m excited to see if my passion for cancer research might take me somewhere….yes, there are some secrets up my sleeve…and I’ll be excited to share them if they happen!
Check out our site at:
Www.pinkowlproject.com
And don’t forget to donate to an awesome researcher at University of Michigan: Sofia Merajver.

Under Threat!

Looking forward to reading this book….check out this article and book and the threat/assault against our breasts!

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My Belly/Breast Cast. Seriously.

This story begins long ago, before cancer, when I was pregnant for Elijah.   Some of you might know that I loved childbirth.  Crazy, I know, but I did.  I wasn’t overly fond of pregnancy, especially the first and last trimester, so I suppose you might ask why I liked having babies?  It was the birth, all about the birth.  (I enjoy quick, extremely painful things, not drawn out low-grade pain. 

But I loved the miracle of birth.  Every one of my children was born naturally, and my last baby, Elijah was born at home during a cold January night.  Totally planned with a certified midwife.  It was beautiful. 

So as I was preparing to give birth to Elijah, it occurred to me that this was my last pregnancy and I should do something to remember it.  I had heard about belly casting, but always thought it would be expensive.  But I started reading about it and realized I could go and get paper mache materials at Michael’s and Jeremy could help me do it.  Actually, Charis and Meleah helped too.   A decision was made that we would do my belly and my breasts.  A decision I’m actually thankful for now.  Jeremy wrapped me in plastic wrap.  Something he’s always secretly wanted to do.  And the paper mache-ing began.  I remember it being a night of laughter and fun.  Me, 9 months pregnant, wrapped in paper mache goo.  And then I had to wait for it to dry….lol!

I didn’t realize how glad I would be to have that belly/breast cast. 

So when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and we knew I was headed for a double mastectomy, my sister said….”maybe you should make a cast of your breasts.”  I remember thinking for a moment about that thought…..but then remembered I had my pregnancy cast buried in the basement and cried “I already have one!”

So there it’s been, down in the basement waiting for me to pull it out, dust it off and do something with it.

But WHAT should I do with it?

I remember looking at pictures on-line of women who decorated their belly cast thinking….”I have to come up with something cool.” 

And then the second question now is “where do you put something like a belly cast with breasts?”

I mean c’mon people….even YOU would feel a little weird if I invited you over for dinner, and there, displayed over the dining room table was my belly/breast cast, of which I have neither anymore.  Ummmm…..awkward.  I’m pretty sure you would either bust out laughing or try not to look at it.  The question is, which would you be….lol!

So what do I do with it?

Here's the first thing I did with my belly cast. I put my sweet little baby Elijah back in it for a photo shoot.

Maybe I should coat it in outdoor paint and make it a lawn ornament....for the back yard of coarse...lol!

Maybe I could make i t in to a bird bath. I think I've read "Once Upon a Potty" one too many times.

Maybe I could just wear it around for the fun of it. I think my plastic surgeon should see this, no wonder my belly was so flabby. I was HUGE!

I really want to do something with my belly.  I joke about it, and it is kind of funny that I have this belly cast, but now that I’ve had breast cancer it takes on more value for me. 

What I’d really like to do is have someone else decorate it for me.   Maybe they could decorate my cast AND me, like Michael Colanero does here at Breast Cancer Awareness Body Painting Project?  Such a cool thing he’s doing there.  Check out this video.  This one is censored, but the other’s aren’t so be WARNED!

I wish some place like this would paint my cast for me! 

And what’s up with painting casts of women who don’t have breast cancer.  What would be really great is if they offered casts to women who were about ready to lose their breasts!  What a cool gift!  But I get it.  There’s not much money in gifting a breast cast **sigh**.  And the point is to raise money for a cure….which of coarse I am 100% behind as well.

Just wish I could find someone to do something cool with my cast!  Hint, hint!

So if I do paint this thing myself.  What should I do?  Maybe I can make it in to a fruit bowl?

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Bucket’s of Saturated Fat for the Cure

A few days ago I noticed a tweet that gave me a reason to pause and think.  It bothered me to say the least.  It reminded me of a game you play with your kids….what two things don’t go together.

See for yourself.  Can you pick out TWO things that should not go together?

If you said a breast cancer research foundation and fried chicken, you were right!  Here’s why…

Current research says that obesity is linked to cancer.   As much as I don’t like it, it just is.  We know estrogen is stored in fat and cancer grows on estrogen.  I’ve known plenty of thin people with cancer so this isn’t saying this is the ONLY way to get breast cancer, but it’s a sure link.  The more estrogen you have in your body in your life span, the higher your risk. 

Then there’s that recurrence risk.  Obesity is a clear risk for recurrence of many kinds of cancer, not just breast cancer.

So here I am, two years out from breast cancer, running 4-5 miles 4 times a week and trying to do yoga and weight lifting 1-2 times a week.  I eat as healthy as I possibly can.  I’ve never been super thin, in fact, I regret the weight gain that I allowed to sneak up on me during my pregnancy years.  I’ve got three kids under 9 and a life I want to live fully, so I watch the research and I try to do what I can to keep from recurrence.  It is very clear that a healthy diet and exercise are key. 

So I have to say as a breast cancer survivor, it was like a slap in the face, it was a blow to everything we work for as a breast cancer warriors to see the premiere breast cancer research foundation teaming up with the premiere fat-laden fast food restaurant (see announcement for double-down sandwich).   It just seems to me if I work hard to do the best I can do, Komen would consider the current research as well.  Ummm…..they are a “research foundation” now aren’t they?  Hmmmm.

This was a sell-out Komen.  Did you ask anyone with breast cancer how they would feel seeing that big pink greasy bucket of chicken?  Was someone going to lose their job if you didn’t raise cash quick?  I really don’t get it?  Research also shows smoking and alcohol consumption are clear links to cancer, so why not team up with Marlboro or Bud Beer?  It’s not just about money, and quite frankly, don’t raise money on the backs of research that is clearly linking to cancer promotion.  Please!

So I was excited to run in my local Race for the Cure coming up in April.  This is the first year I’ve been healthy enough to do it since my diagnosis in 2008.  But now I question my support of Komen. 

Now you know how I feel, how do YOU feel about it?

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An Asprin a Day Keeps Breast-Cancer At Bay

Wow!  Here’s a study that looks interesting.  I may need to add asprin to my daily regimen.  Or maybe an every other day regimen.   I’d definitely be thinking about this study if you have family history of breast cancer.  Check it out.

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World Cancer Day 2010

I can’t believe it.  How weird is it that my diagnosis cancerversary is the same day as the World Cancer Day.  And I didn’t even know it?  Not that I was thinking about this two years ago when I got the phone call?  But how did I miss this last year?

So I think it’s so nice because I get to tell you WHY there is a World Cancer Day and I will do this every year on the day of my diagnosis.  So you wanna know why?  To help reduce these cancer causing risks:

  • Stop tobacco use and avoid exposure to second-hand smoke

  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure
  • Maintain a healthy weight, through eating healthily and exercising regularly

  • Protect against cancer-causing infections

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Cocktails….A Good Thing!

OK, now that I have your attention.  You’all don’t want this cocktail unless you really need it.  And in that case….you REALLY want it.  Here’s why:

Science Daily article here:  herceptin with chemo a good thing =)

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10 Things That Increase Cancer Risks

Sometimes you probably get sick of me posting all the current research.  But this article is pretty good and worth a read.  Especially if you want to avoid cancer.

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Pink Overload!

OK, I admit it.  Given two bottles of soda (or crackers or yogurt or….well you get it, since everything is pink right now.), during the month of October, I will choose the one with the pink ribbon.  Even though I am skeptical about the use of the pink ribbon.  Looks like I’ve got reason to be skeptical.  Check out this article on “Pink Overload.”

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Sigh…..

Do I really need to know this?

Watch-out kids, post-cancer mama is now going to be even more anti-candy!

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