Category Archives: Cancer Resources

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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Your Opinion Please: All clergy, or anyone that wants to share a thought!

24,000 women under the age of 45 will be diagnosed this year with breast cancer.  When women have breast cancer under the age of 40 it is almost always invasive and travels faster.  A woman’s survival, if diagnosed under the age of forty is less than a woman who is post-menopausal.

Community was really important during my breast cancer journey.   I’m working on a book and one chapter is focused entirely on the benefits of  Christ-centered community.  So I’m throwing a question out to all my twittering, blogging and facebook pastor friends.  If a young couple came to you (and I’m focusing more here on young mom’s with small children) and she had been diagnosed with cancer and was going to be going through a long year of treatment, and she had no significant community in her life, what would you tell them and what could your church offer them?

No right answer here….and tell me honestly if your church has nothing to offer.  Super short and super long comments accepted!

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Do I Really Need to Come Up With a Title…..

There’s something nostalgic about going back to the cancer center.  Some people probably run and never turn back.  That isn’t me.  I think God has sort of carved out a little niche for me with cancer and I think I need to be ok with that. 

Last week, when Jeremy was home and could watch the kids I went back to the chemo room in hopes of locating some ladies who always had herceptin infusions on the same day as me.  The difference for them was that they were on herceptin for life because they were metestatic, whereas I was only on it for a year.  And last December, my oncologist decided I was done.  That was that.  I never went back to the chemo room.  So I wanted to go back and say hi to Kim and Ardeth.  Unfortunately, they had changed the days they get infusions.  I know….I worried you when I said “unfortunately,” didn’t I.  I was worried a bit too.  I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to go back a year later to check on someone who is having chemo for life.  But I did it anyway, in hopes they were still doing well.  I did find out they ARE doing well.  But I also got to see two special people who I hadn’t seen in a while as well.  The massage therapist, Karen, who always gave me foot massages (sometimes 2) when I was getting infusions and my favorite nurse Stephanie.  I could tell they were really happy to see me.  They oohed and aahed about my hair and how great I looked and it felt really good.  I bet it feels really good to see someone come back recovered after cancer.

So then today I had my 6 month appointment.  Which went fabulous.  I am doing great.  Not one itty bitty concern.  I’m so thankful. 

So I had a good talk with my oncologist about helping out at the cancer center, and I was excited because she seemed really positive about it.  So I’m hoping to dig in to that a bit more.

And my dear friend Kim, who does web design, has agreed to help me improve on my little wordpress blog.  So I’ll be excited to see that evolve in to a little bit more of a resource for young women going through cancer with a spiritual emphasis.  So watch out for her artistic touch!  She’s very good at what she does!

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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.


Cancer Tip: Skip the Wine

People ask me all the time what I do to prevent recurrence.  The two big things are: lots of raw fruits and vegetables, (I also eat cooked, but I always try to have several raw during my day.  And I eat lots that are high in antioxidants like brocolli and any close relative of the broccoli, like Kale or cauliflower.),  And then I excercise at least 5 days a week.  What I don’t do is drink alcohol.  I know, you’ve all heard health benefits, but with a history of breast cancer I stay away from it.  Here’s why.

Partners in Pink

ribbonFor all you Michiganders who hail from the Kalamazoo area.  I’m happy to announce a new “support group!”   Starting October 7th, there is a new support group for women who have been impacted by breast cancer.  It will meet at the Portage Free Methodist Church the first Wednesday of every month from 6:30-8:00 pm.  Here’s a really cool thing too….there’s free childcare!  As a young woman with breast cancer I totally love that!  Call the church office if you need more info:  (269) 327-5312.  I’ll be there!


Good Overload

I just got home from my second Willow Creek Leadership Summit.  Once again I feel like someone has removed every living brain cell in my head and I’ve been left with mush.  I will collect myself in the coming days.  I never know weather to cry, dance or take a nap after these two intense days.  Yesterday, after my 8 hour leadership infusuin, I went running.  It may have been my most powerful run yet.  I probably should have (blush)…..oh….ya know.  Something about being inspired makes me feel like I have to get energy out.  Either that or it was sitting all day. 

But really.  How can I sum this up for you.  So much great info, so little time.  Here are my thoughts at the current moment, tomorrow may be different….lol!

1.  There are some people who are doing amazing things where they are.  I don’t know if they’re doing it for Jesus, for themselves or for humanity.  But the way they’re helping people is incredible.  I’ve had to question what I’m doing and who I’m doing it for. 

2.  And back to that whole breast cancer thing.  I can’t help wonder what God has saved me for.  Maybe it was for my kids.  I don’t know.  I don’t have anything profound to say about that other than it moves around in my brain a lot.  I suppose if I could choose to do anything, now that I’m recovered, is email my oncologist at U of M, Sophia Merijver and see if she can pack me away in her suitcase on her next trip to Northern Africa so I could do something for the outrageous number of women who are getting Inflammatory Breast Cancer.  I don’t know what I’d do there, maybe I’d just hug them and cry with them, tell them I’ve been there too.  I’m still working that one out in my mind.  I suppose writing her would be OK, but I might get in the way.  I need a better plan.  I’m taking a class this fall at our local community college to see if I can make it in to nursing school.  I can get a second BA in a year and then midwifery in the next year.  It would be two years full time.  Maybe then she would pack me in her suitcase?

3.  My favorite speaker was a young woman who was cute and young and giggly and girly and super smart.  You gotta love it.  This is where our churches just DON”T GET IT!  Women……crazy……but true……can be great leaders (and they don’t have to look or act like men to do it either)!  Not only that but the world is waiting to see us equally partnering in ministry across the board.  Thank heavens an amazing place like Willow Creek who is changing the face of Christian leadership GETS THIS.  Because unfortunately most churches out there don’t.  (Yes this is my little soap box).  So it wasn’t surprising that one of the most amazing interviews they did was with a young woman named Jessica Jackley who helped start KIVA.  If you haven’t heard of this organization, you should check it out.  You an I can lend as little as $25 to people in third world countries so they can start businesses.  Pretty cool, pretty easy, yet the money goes so far.  She shared how one woman was able to send her daughters to school.  And these aren’t big things, these are small businesses, like buying beads to make necklaces they can cell or making peanut butter. 

So those are some of my thoughts.  I have more, but I can’t remember right now.  It’ll probably come to me later.

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Lanolin: Save the Skin (part 2)

It’s become apparent to me that lots of people are out there searching for relief from the pain of radiation.  The reason being is that my post on “save the skin” gets the most hits of anything I’ve written….lol!  WordPress gives you your top posts daily and that one is the one that gets the most hits usually.  The second one is the boob cake from my “bye-bye boobs party.”  Not sure about that one, but it is what it is….lol! 

So after I posted the “save the skin” post I realized I hadn’t included my very favorite moisturizer that I used regularly throughout radiation.  Even now I use it almost weekly on my reconstruction scars. 

When I was nursing my children I discovered a product that would heal my cracked nipples over-night.  If I was ever getting sore I just dabbed some on and by morning, whatever soreness was completely gone.  Lansinoh is basically pure lanolin.  It’s ultra gooey so I would only put it on at night before bed and I only used it a few times a week.  But it is probably the best moisturizer out there for dry skin.   It’s pretty thick but if you put a glob on your skin and wait a few minutes it will soften from your body heat and then you can rub it in to your sore radiated skin.  Go ahead and do it thick, it will soak in by morning. 

You can get it at Target and it looks like this

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Support Relay for Life

Well,  I’m going to be walking in my first Relay for Life next weekend.   Last year I had a great experience taking Charis and finding the luminaries someone donated on my behalf.  I don’t know if you remember but as we drove down to Schoolcraft, we saw a full rainbow.  It felt like God was giving us a sign of hope for things to come.

I remember feeling so overwhelmed as I walked around with Charis that night.  Not wanting for Charis to see me cry, I had to fight tears a lot that night.  I was on the verge of finishing chemo and wondering if it had done it’s job, and I remember feeling so grateful to all the people who have taken the time to help me get better…..even the ones who just walk and raise money once a year for cancer research. 

So this year I’m joining in.  If you want to help me make an impact, you can go to the donation page listed below.  Thanks.

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