Friday, April 30, 2010

Favorite Quotes . . . Do You Have One?

When I was writing my memoir Breastless in the City I was already thinking of the quote I wanted for the beginning pages of the book. I wanted something to inspire but also speak to the life I have lived so far. So I decided on a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson. . . "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."

Most recently this quote by Miles Davis resonates with me . . . "Do not fear mistakes. . . there are none." I have always felt as though everything that has happened in my life was for a reason. Believe it or not . . . even the bad stuff.

The Serenity Prayer has helped me many times. My Dad taught it to me when he learned it through Alcoholics Anonymous. . .

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

I think that quotes and prayers can help us in countless ways when we are going through tough times. They can inspire us, speak to us, and make us look at our situations differently. At times even lend much needed perspective to help us see through the darkness.

I could go on and on here because there are so many great quotes but now I want to hear from you guys!

Is there a quote has really resonated with you in your life?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Kathy Griffin's Public Pap . . . Did She Go Too Far?

I think it is great when celebrities draw attention to various causes. But I have to say I was a little startled when I heard about Kathy Griffin's "Smear Campaign". She had a pap smear done in public that was filled for her show "My Life On the D-List" to raise awareness for cervical cancer.

Now don't get me wrong, I love Kathy Griffin, watch her show all the time and have see her live twice. I think she is a hysterical comedian. That said I couldn't help but wonder if she went too far with this public pap. Although I do like her statement "Tell Cancer To Suck It!" I am not sure if people watching her get a pap was really necessary. Maybe she did it for publicity? I understand that her original intention was to raise awareness however, I think it borders on bad taste. But that is just my opinion. Then again, wasn't it Katie Couric who started this whole "publicize your cancer screening test" by airing her colonoscopy on TV?

Read the article about Kathy Griffin's "Smear Campaign" in the Huffington Post.

What do you guys think? Are you in support of celebrities airing their cancer screening tests on TV? Do you think that is more effective that just speaking out about it in order to help raise awareness?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Amoco Man Lets Me Know He Was There . . .

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I drove out to PA for a speaking engagement at my alma mater Misericordia University. I was very excited at the opportunity to share my experience with the OT students there. As an OT myself I felt as though I had learned a valuable lesson during my cancer experience being a patient for the first time. That is what I felt would most benefit the students I was speaking to.

It was a great night but I couldn't help but think about my life 20 years ago when I first left home to go to college. And then I thought about my Dad and how proud he was of me even though he didn't always let me know it. I thought about how he would have liked to have been there that night to hear me speak. Then I wondered if he was in some way.

On the ride home my wondering stopped when we pulled into a gas station to fill up. It was a no name station but my husband the mechanic always tells me it doesn't matter. . . all the gas is the same. As he was filling up the car I caught a glimpse of a car that was the same car my dad drove with one of those obnoxious CB antennae's attached to the trunk lid. Dad had one of those too.

As I started to chuckle Lou hopped back in the car and said
"This is an Amoco station. I asked the cashier when I was paying."
"You're kidding me right?"
"No, why? What's the big deal?" he responded with a puzzled look on his face.
"When I was little my dad's CB handle was Amoco Man and the one he gave me was Rose Bud Marie. He worked for a short time pumping gas at our local Amoco station. That's just weird don't you think?" I said after telling him about the car that drove by earlier.
"Yeah, that is weird."
"Well, I guess he was here after all." I said hoping it was true.

When we got home and Lou showed me the pictures he took during my speech we both noticed something weird in a few of the photos. Some weird watermark looking circle on my shirt (see top photo) and that same circle hanging out in midair in another photo (see photo below) I have heard of strange stuff happening in pictures like that and wondered if it was a spirit of some sort. And I thought of Dad again.

Am I crazy or has anyone else heard of this type of thing happening?

I like to think that it was my Dad hanging out around me during my speech.

One thing I know for sure is that if he were alive he wouldn't have missed it for the world. The Amaco man would have been proud of his Rose Bud Marie. . .

What do you guys think? Have you ever felt as though you got a message from the other side? Have you had spirits show up in pictures?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Free Spa Services For Cancer Patients

When I was going through my cancer treatments I tried to keep up with my weekly manicures. Even though I had to be more careful of cutting my cuticles with the new risk of lymphedema I still enjoyed my girl time. For those moments I felt more normal, and calmed. It was something that made me feel better and something I did just for me. And believe it or not it helped with my body image which was all but in the toilet during that time. Certainly a massage would have done wonders with all the stress that I just about carried around via boulders in my neck muscles.

I was excited to recently find out about a great charitable organization that provides free spa services to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Angie's Spa funds hospital programs across the country with the purpose of providing those free services to patients. It is an all volunteer organization with 100 percent of donations raised going toward hospital programs.

Angie's Spa is named in memory of a young breast cancer survivor Angie Levy who battled breast cancer for 9 years and passed away at only 36 years old. You can read more about Angie's story here.

Become a fan of Angie's Spa on Facebook and help spread the word!

What did you do during your treatment that was just for you? Did your hospital offer spa services during your treatment? Do you have a story to share about Angie's Spa?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

KFC's "Healthy Grilled" Chicken NOT So Healthy. . . What Was Komen Thinking?

The Komen/KFC saga continues. Not only is the whole partnership disgusting to make it more ridiculous new information was just released about KFC's allegedly healthy addition to the menu. . . the grilled chicken. The Physicians Committe For Responsible Medicine(PCRM) recently released results of testing that found "substantial amounts" of a carcinogenic chemical in samples of the KFC grilled chicken. So now on top of the unhealthy greasy fried chicken in the bucket that you can buy to save some boobs is the "healthy grilled" chicken that could cause cancer. And these results are not new, they were released in June '09. So how did Komen miss that one?

And lets do the math. . . 50 cents of the $20 bucket o' fat goes to Komen. That is only 2.5%. As I said in my last post. . . KFC is going to make out a lot better on this deal and may even contribute to the cancer epidemic that Komen has been fighting for years.

Were you surprised to hear about the grilled chicken? What do you think of this next chapter in the KFC/Komen partnership?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pink Nausea Hits Fast Food Market . . . KFC Teams Up With Komen to Save Some Boobs

When I heard about Buckets for the Cure it turned my stomach much like fast food fried chicken would. What kind of a toxic combo is this anyway? Ummmm.....yes lets encourage people to consume fried chicken that is unhealthy in order to donate 50 cents to Komen and fight a disease linked to poor nutrition. Eat some fried chicken and save some boobs. Its just that easy! Please Komen be kidding me!

I think this is disgusting on many levels. I am sure that KFC will make tons more money than Komen will ever see. Yet another example of pink washing . As a breast cancer survivor I would much rather see people show their support by donating to an organization such as Breast Cancer Action whose Think Before You Pink Campaign brings much needed awareness to pink washing or to the Im Too Young For This! Cancer Foundation which is a great non profit supporting young adults with cancer.

Have you heard of this new campaign? What do you think? Will you buy a bucket to support breast cancer?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Rescheduling My Annual Mammo . . . Why Does It Feel Like I Committed Crime?

As 2009 drew to a close my boob started to hurt. It happens like clockwork each year as my annual mammo draws near. It was scheduled for March 2. That and a followup visit with my breast surgeon.

In an effort to put myself first and explore new creative interests I came upon a flyer for a painting class at my local arts council. I have always wanted to learn to paint. I am a creative person. Being creative helps ground me and deal with fear. At times fear seems to be my daily companion. The painting class certainly peaked my interest. And then I saw the date of the first class. It was of course the date of my annual mammo. Now when I make these followup appointments it is 6 months ahead of time as I leave another appointment. Who knows where you will be in 6 months. I was pretty bummed. Then I had a thought. . . Why don't I just reschedule? Seemed simple enough at the time. Until I called and found out that I would have to wait 6 months to get one. I have to say that I was shocked the wait was that long.

What did I do? Well, since it had been over 8 years of remission for me without missing one single followup test or appointment I decided to give myself a break so that I could take the art class. I figured that 6 months would not make or break me and the art would help heal me.

I have to say though that I felt as though I committed a crime. That I somehow broke the unspoken rules. I hate feeling this way. I can't live my life in between medical appointments as if that is the only way I will feel ok. It is a hard habit to break. It is the fear that hangs over my head all the time. . .

Have you ever rescheduled a followup test? Ever felt guilty or scared about it? How do you handle your post cancer checkups?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Revisiting The New Mammography Guidelines

I shared my view of the new mammography guidelines on this blog back in November when the USPSTF issued the changes. As most of you know these changes caused quite the stir in both the medical community and those living with breast cancer especially younger women.

I recently had the pleasure of cowriting an article for The Source, a quarterly newsletter issued by Breast Cancer Action (BCA). BCA is a national organization that "challenges assumptions and inspires change to end the breast cancer epidemic." I have often referred to them on my blog in reference to their great Think Before You Pink Campaign. BCA is one of the few in support of the new mammography guidelines. You can read about where they stand on the issue here.

Check out Screening and Mammography: The Real Story written by myself and Angela Wall the Communications Manager of BCA.

Then come on back and share your thoughts!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

OT Relates Experience As A Patient. . .

That is the title of a piece by Josephine Campbell from the Times Leader that I am featured in today. I will be speaking at my alma mater Misericordia University in Dallas, PA this Thursday 4/8 at 6:30 pm about my cancer experience and my transition from OT to patient. I will also be doing a book signing. If you are in the area please come on over! Would love to see you there!

To read the full article and get more details on location check it out here.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Talking To The Dead . . . Do You Believe?

In a recent post "My Doggie Sees Dead People" I wrote a bit about my experience growing up seeing dead people in my room at nite. I got to thinking about the topic again and wanted to share some thoughts about mediums.

As I grew older those visits from the dead slowed down and eventually stopped. If a dead person visited me it would be in my dreams. Possibly that was the only way I could handle it. The only way it wouldn't freak me out. And then I started seeking out mediums who could talk to the dead for me. When my husband died I really got into it. I so wanted to still feel connected to him from wherever he was in the afterlife. I have always believed that our souls live on after we die. I believe that we are all energy and it is our energy that moves on to the next phase of existence.

In May of 2000 I went on a trip to Barbados. It was a psychic retreat headed by none other than John Edward. It was before he blew up and his career took off like a rocket. I feel very lucky to have had that experience. I met many great people looking to connect with loved ones as well as a group of wonderful mediums including Suzane Northrop. There were group readings with Suzane and I had a private reading with John. It was amazing. I know there are many skeptics out there but the things I was told were so specific there is only one place the messages could have come from. . . my dead people.

Since then I have made an annual trip to a medium to hear from my lost loved ones. It is a gift I give to myself. Although they say that each one of us has the ability to communicate with the dead I have too much swimming around in my busy mind to ever be able to hear them. I do get messages in dreams and songs I hear on the radio at certain moments. I know I am always connected to them and it makes dealing with the loss a little easier.

So this Sunday on what would have been my dad's 62nd birthday I will be thinking of him and missing him. I will light a candle that I hope he will see. In a whisper I will tell him I love him. Somehow I know he will hear me. . .