October was Breast Cancer Awareness month, as if I needed a special month to remind me of breast cancer. It was more than five years ago in 2007 that I discovered (and it was soon verified) that I have breast cancer. And not just any old kind, no-oooooo, I’m in the 5% of breast cancer diagnoses which are metastatic from the get-go. Now, at 5 years “out”, I’m in the 20% of metastatic breast cancer patients who are still among the living. So that’s a good thing, right? Well, yes, but with some caveats. It isn’t easy living with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer.
But first I have a little rant I want to share with you. Forty thousand women (and 400 men) die each year from breast cancer. And they all had metastatic breast cancer, because you don’t die from earlier stages of BC. You die when it spreads to your brain (a favorite place for my kind of cancer) or your lungs or liver or bones (which is where my cancer had spread to when I was diagnosed) or some other less common site.
SO, to get to my rant, if we want to prevent women from DYING of breast cancer, then we need to find a CURE or, barring that, GOOD ways to treat it as a chronic condition so that we can live comfortably. That has happened for a lot of people who have HIV/AIDS if they take their drug “cocktail” faithfully (and have access to it). And they got that cocktail because loads of money and many researchers spent gobs of hours looking for a way to treat that dreadful disease. Continue reading Gwendie Rants and Raves: 5 Years of Living with Metastatic Cancer→
It started over a week ago when a dear friend in New Jersey e-mailed me a link to an article that was being discussed on “Coast to Coast,” a radio show that airs on more than 560 stations in the U.S., as well as Canada and Mexico. The show boasts nearly three million weekly listeners from 1-5.a.m. (Paula, I didn’t know you were an insomniac).
The topic on the show was breast cancer and how to prevent it “naturally.” The article in question claimed that there was an increase in breast cancer rates between women who wear bras versus those that who do not. It said the odds of getting breast cancer dramatically increased with bra-wearing over 12 hours per day. My friend, like so many of us, is not a fan of the bra when at home. Always ready to forward health info, I sent the article to a group of women over 50, and within minutes, it sparked a flood of comments, such as:
Nedra: I don’t know what to think but who really wears bras at home? I only wear mine when I go out period. Never at home, hate them! When I wear a bra, I like Spanx, get them on-line.
Sadhvi: Interesting article…now, all I need to do is find some kind of undershirt that will bring some kind of support for my 42DD size! Let me know if any of you know of something.
Marjorie: Hi all, this missive has been around for a long time. Given the fact that probably 99% of women wear a bra, I think the statistics are ridiculous. You can buy a wire-free, front closing sports bra at Kmart for $7.99. It is comfortable and will give you some support so your tee tees don’t hang down to your belly button! Now for my 2 cents. Here is what I think causes cancer (since I have it, I feel I can be bold and pontificate)!
1. Stress….which causes our immune systems to make mutant cells and while most people can throw them off, it’s like getting the flu, sometimes your body can’t ward it off. I believe that childhood trauma is where it starts. Of course not everyone will get cancer who was abused, but cancer is a long process. You don’t wake up one morning and say, “Oh, I got cancer” like it just happened overnight.
2. Diet….all I will say about that is get a hold of the movie “Healing Cancer from the Inside Out”. I don’t know if it’s on Netflix, but I went to see it last night and believe me, if I had seen this right after I was diagnosed, I would NEVER have done radiation. I opted out of chemo immediately, but the radiation is just as poisonous. All of the doctors in this film are MD’s they are not crazy quacks. If nothing else, stop eating meat and dairy products. I just started using coconut milk in my coffee and it’s really good!
3. The American Cancer Society, The National Cancer Institute, the drug companies, the hospitals and all the “so called cancer information we get” is a huge hype. It’s like the wars in Iran and Iraq, so much money has been poured into making them right, there’s no turning back. And, here’s the big one……the incidence of people who are living longer because of these barbaric treatments is slim to none. The numbers are being padded because if someone lives for 5 years after treatment, they are considered “cured”.
So, please don’t get caught up in the bra vs. no bra story. Please watch this movie before you are prodded along like cattle to make decisions fast once you (God forbid) are diagnosed. Also read the China Study….it’s a little on the academic side, but scientifically proves why diet can cause cancer.
Believe me, I’m not perfect. It will take me awhile to get on a totally plant based diet, but I’m really trying. Hope some of this gives you some “food for thought”.
Minda: Reading The Main Street Vegan by Victoria Moran? Really good for beginners. Not that I’m going vegan but also want to eat more of a plant based diet. Experimenting with greens this weekend.
Lisa:Hi ya’all, I too was diagnosed with cancer (way too early) and believe wholeheartedly it was stress and diet oriented, not to mention genetics as I have the same cancer my mother and her sister have but I got it twenty years earlier.
The easiest way to get lots of greens in is to blend them into a smoothie with berries and stevia-flavored drops to sweeten it up. Cucumbers are excellent. This morning I even have fennel in my smoothie. If I miss one of these in the morning, I really feel the difference. Plus, check out the super foods: maca, lucuma, etc… they come in powder form. Chia and hemp seeds are great for a wide variety of reasons. Dr. Brian Clement, who runs Hippocrates Health Institute has a new book either coming out or already out called KILLER CLOTHES.
Marjorie: I got a juicer on Amazon….not the super duper best, but it does work well. I do kale, chard, beet greens, and any other organic greens I can get. Oh, carrots and ginger too, and it’s really delicious. Check out the “Juice Guy” on YouTube. He is pretty hysterically funny but you get the idea of the juicing!
Based on the flurry of comments, I decided to do some of my own fact-finding. According to theScientific American,those ideas have been circulating since the late 60’s. A leading researcher, Dr. Sherry Marts, Scientific Director of the Society for Women’s Health Research, says it’s more urban myth than science. The legend was perpetuated in the 1995 book by Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer entitled, Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Bras and Breast Cancer. According to About.com, Women Health sites review of the book, Singer and Grismaijer claim that they surveyed over 4700 women and discovered that “100% of women with breast cancer wear bras.” The authors hypothesized that bras inhibit lymphatic circulation, which leads to a buildup of cancer-causing “toxins” in the breast. Apparently, it just ain’t so. For more info go to Snopes.
The Philadelphia Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, teaming up with over 130 NFL Alumni Philadelphia Chapter Cheerleaders and UnitedHealthcare of Pennsylvania, invite the world to help “Team Ra-Ras Kick Breast Cancer.” To encourage viewers to share the video with others and increase breast cancer awareness, UnitedHealthcare will donate ten cents ($.10) per view to The Philadelphia Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure up to a maximum donation of $100,000. Check out the wonderful video at this link:http://www.komenphiladelphia.org/Video>
Janet lives in upstate New York with her husband, Jerry. Together, they created The Valley Table, a wonderful monthly food magazine for the Hudson Valley.
On June 26 & 27, I walked 39 miles from Keystone to Breckenridge Colorado as part of the Rocky Mountain Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I walked alongside my 27-year-old niece, Claire. On our backs, we wore a small walker’s flag declaring, “I’m walking for….”
My flag read: “my sister, Nancy (a three-year survivor), Jane N, Ruth N” (my husband’s mother and stepmother, both of whom lost their lives to breast cancer) “and Grandma P” (my mother’s mother, who lost her breast to cancer). My niece walked for her Aunt Nancy and her friend’s mother Jeanne Fame. We walked with 1100 others—mostly women and a number of men–each donning a flag celebrating loved ones who had survived the beast or remembering those who hadn’t. The slogan for the walk was “In it to End it.” I confess, when I first committed to do the walk with my niece in February, I was getting in it to keep in shape, to force activity during New York’s long, cold winter. My niece had just had a break-up with her boyfriend, and she was getting in it to get over it. It took months of training—incrementally adding miles to weekly walks, meeting up (Claire from Manhattan, me from the Hudson Valley) to walk together, gearing up (running shoes, really good socks, shorts, tanks—we were walking advertisements for the Under Armour brand), shouting out to friends, family, workmates and anyone else for fundraising (the entry was a commitment to raise $1,800 for the Avon Foundation), fretting over whether I was really in shape to complete the walk, whether the altitude would affect me, whether I could keep up with my fit and athletic niece. And then there we were at the beautiful Keystone Resort along the Snake River, with snow-capped mountains surrounding us–all assembled at 7 a.m. in the brisk mountain air. Ready.
I came to the walk prepared. But there was nothing that could quite prepare me for the raw emotion of the gathering of people standing for a common cause. At the opening ceremony, we learned we had collectively raised $2.6 million that would be distributed to local organizations; we heard from fellow walkers—a young woman “walking for her mom,” a husband “walking for his wife,” a survivor walking “because she could.” And then we were off, walking. I noticed the woman in front of me: “I’m walking for my mother, 1957-2003,” the same birth year as my sister, just two years older than myself. The tears flowed forth. Thank goodness I had 39 miles ahead and scenery to distract. Continue reading Beautiful Women Over 50: Janet’s 39-mile Walk for Breast Cancer→