As you know, I suffered from Stage IIIb Breast Cancer. Thanks to research sponsored by the Koman Foundation and the National Breast Cancer Foundation, I survived what would have killed me a mere five years before.
October is national Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Zenni Optical is giving one dollar to Koman and one dollar to the NBCF this month. How sweet are these glasses? They come in two sizes – small and medium. You can check out the frames here or by clicking the picture above. The Frames are $29.95, Single vision lenses are FREE!! With anti-reflective coating at $4.95, the total (plus shipping of your choice, of course) is $34.90! I have ordered from Zenni before and haven’t had any issues with their glasses. Even my progressive lenses!
Watch for other October goodies with donations given to the Foundations this month.
Now, I need another pair of glasses like I need a hole in the head . . . but……
(The book is free on Amazon, but if you find it funny, touching, and uplifting, won’t you make a donation to breast cancer research?)
Sitting Pretty In Pink Ribbon is a funny and honest chronicle of a young woman’s battle with a breast cancer diagnosis at just 29. Her endless search for love, stability, and balance make for an inspiringly hilarious and heartbreaking story of a confused survivor trying to make sense of the world and her place in it. Written like an unapologetic heart-to-heart session with your best girlfriend, Gigi will have you both feeling for her and laughing with her.
100% of the proceeds from this book go to breast cancer research and organizations that provide treatment to BC patients and survivors that cannot afford them.
I don’t actually remember how I first met Renee Robinson. I think it all started when some unmitigated ‘Ho wrote a cruel review about her writing, and I jumped to her defense. That sounds about like me. Anyone who could write cruelly about someone who does what Renee does with her life deserves a smack-down. Of course, I have never met her in person, but I have been corresponding with her for a while. Renee is a Terminal Cancer victim, who just received the dreaded “There is nothing else we can do” message, a message I never received myself, but feared nevertheless.
You see, Renee is the author of Captain Chemo: Out Cancer, Out! (Captain Chemo and Team Book 1). It is a poem, a poem designed to help children who are going through chemo to build courage and remain positive through the horrors of chemo. And believe me – chemo is horrendous. The pain, the vomiting, the weakness – it is all more than even adults can sometimes handle. Now, think about a small child going through the same thing – the horror of it all beyond their understanding. Renee’s book helps. Maybe not in any “this is going to make it all go away” sort of way – but it provides hope for the little ones.
Tracy Townsend with Healthsource 10 interviewed Renee on July 23. You can watch the video here:
A limited edition art book put together for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, September 2013, containing the poems “Mrs. Albuninah”, “Memory Fractured”, and “Marrow”. Dedicated to Kyle Dean Smith, August 27, 1998 – August 1, 2010, and every child who has had, currently has, or will ever have cancer. 100% of the proceeds go to St. Jude’s Hospital to fund research to find cures for childhood cancers. Each copy is hand numbered. There will be only 100 copies. Books are available for sale on Ebay.
About the Author:
Internationally published poet, writer, book reviewer, photographer, guest blogger, songwriter. and sketch artist. See bio for links around the web.
Sabne Raznik is an internationally published poet, writer, book reviewer, photographer, guest blogger, singer/songwriter, and sketch artist with two poetry collections – full length “Following Hope” and art book “Marrow”.
Anyone who follows or knows me knows that I had two extremely hard years after being diagnosed with Stage III Breast Cancer. The cancer could have killed me, but for a while there I was pretty sure that the treatments are what would REALLY kill me! Hence, my encouragement for you to purchase this book. ALL proceeds go to the V Foundation for Cancer Research!
Below is the blurb for the book.
For millions, there is no word that inspires more fear. It is about time to give some payback. Enter a cadre of talented authors with a common purpose: to SCARE cancer to death.
Okay, the premise may seem silly, but the truth is that these writers have all given their stories freely in hopes that you will be enticed to come check out this anthology. Every penny generated will be given in a quarterly check to the The V Foundation for Cancer Research. So, when you purchase this book, you are tossing your hat in the ring with people who are out to eradicate a killer that has touched far too many lives.
OK, first you must realize that I am a Stage IIIb Breast Cancer survivor. TWO YEARS! WOOOO HOOOO!!! During my excruciating journey through devastating chemotherapy, radiation therapy, several inpatient hospital stays, and vicious complications, I came out the other end pretty sound overall, and happy to be alive.
During that time I did a LOT of research on breast cancer. Everything statistical, of course, from race makeup (I am Native American and Caucasian), percentage of cases that metastasize, rates of remission, types of treatment, length of post treatment mortality, you name it. I asked it all, researched it all, and made sure that I understood why my body had turned against me and what I could do to help it repair itself. And yes, I read books. MANY books. Some good, some not so good. In some cases, the books were not so good in that they were written for a rather broader cancer base than mine – I really wasn’t interested in colon or testicular cancer, just breast cancer. For others, they weren’t really as technical as I would have wished (I have a medical background) but would be perfect for the less technically oriented.
And then we get to this little missive.
DON’T BUY IT
Especially if you have breast cancer, have a family member who has breast cancer, a friend, or even a dog who has breast cancer (yes, your dog can get it too if you don’t have her spayed. It is kinder all the way around not to force your pet to go through heats and breeding. There are enough unwanted animals in the word already. OK, off my soapbox.)
This so-called book is a collection of, well, you can’t really call it “knowledge.” It is more like a middle school kid sat down in detention with a stack of books in front of him (notice the “him”) and was told to write a 30 page essay on breast cancer before he can go out to play. Grab a sentence here, one there, smooch them all together, and BLAMO! Now you can go out to play with all the other boys! Sooooo…. useless. Totally. Completely. Useless. Looking at the publication list of the “author” (and believe me, I use that term loosely) he woke up one morning and decided that, since he had problems in his life, he was going to take advantage of that fact and write “books” (I use that term loosely also) to “help” (loosely, anyone?) others with problems. And that truly, Truly makes me want to scream and throw things!
Whew. OK. Calm down. Deep breath. Big yoga stretch. There, Isn’t that better? Now. Here is what you want to do. If you have breast cancer, or even SUSPECT you, or someone you know or love is at risk, DON’T PLAY AROUND. There are many, many resources out there from clear cut, intelligent, EDUCATED PROFESSIONALS (and free of charge, may I add) that are better, clearer, better written, and more helpful than what is found in these few pages. Some of the statistical information within the book is even highly questionable (where in the heck did the under-forty population go? Do they not get breast cancer? Uh, WRONG. One of my ‘cancer partners’ was in her early twenties, several only a bit older. Additionally, women under the age of 30 who get breast cancer have a very poor prognosis for survival past the five-year NCBD timeline, which this particular pamphlet doesn’t even mention.)
If you feel that you are at risk for breast cancer, don’t delay, and don’t let some cocky GP convince you that just because you are young, you can’t get breast cancer. Any time a medical professional blows you off, blow them off. There is someone better out there.
Do breast exams. Get checked out every year by a, and I can’t state this seriously enough, CARING physician. Once who listens, and is educated in the way a woman’s body really works. Yes, there are smart, educated male physicians out there, just like there are uncaring, uneducated women physicians. Medicine is just like any other profession – it is run by humans, and humans are in no way, shape or form infallible. Go with what feels right for you, not for what other people say should feel right for you. It’s your body. Listen to it. If you want real, useful information, there are many sites on-line. There are also local groups, agencies, and facilities who are more than happy to answer your questions and ease you into the process of understanding what is going on with your body.
Just don’t forget – there is help, excellent help, for breast cancer related issues. Whether you are a friend, family member, or fear that you are at risk, reach out for help. This isn’t your grandmother’s medical system any longer. You can find help. You don’t have to rely on this type of, dare I say, predatory marketing. Instead, check out the free professional information below. And, if you want to chat? Are afraid or uncertain? Look for local breast cancer support groups. And if all else fails? I am always here. Drop me a line. You are not alone!!!
While I was going through my cancer treatments, I did all the “Western Medicine” stuff. ATC chemotherapy. Radiation therapy too. The ATC caused internal bleeding, heart damage, and a full year in bed, unable to walk or do anything else without help. The radiation was a breeze after the ATC. But I also did acupuncture and acupressure for the pain (and believe me, there is pain like you could not believe), as well as aromatherapy, vitamins and supplements, and massage. My Oncologist, Dr. Kovachy, is brilliant at what she does, but she is also quite comfortable with the use of all sorts of natural treatments like acupuncture in conjunction with chemotherapy. With all my pain, and yet unable to hold anything down, (I lost 60 pounds over the treatment period) acupuncture was the only thing that kept me going. Thank you again, Dr. Robin!!!
Editor’s Note: THE GOOD FIGHT: A STORY OF CANCER, LOVE AND TRIUMPH IS a book about love and cancer … mostly love.
Book Description: An inspirational memoir by two doctors about their experience with a rare, deadly cancer. While following standard medical treatments, they also pursue the non-traditional, including acupuncture, supplements, and prayer. An amazing primer (containing charts and supplement doses) for patients and families looking for alternative — and healthy — complimentary treatment, The Good Fight is also a story of discovery and love.
Author’s Inspiration: How To Help Yourself While on Chemotherapy by Natalie Mitchell
Get this inspiring memoir FREE on your KINDLE on 2/20!
I only have one problem with this book. It wasn’t published soon enough. I have, you see, gone through Breast Cancer myself. Not like Margaret’s – hers was Stage IA, a very mild form of Breast Cancer, while mine was Stage IIIB, the last stage before becoming metastatic (spreading to other parts of the body, such as the liver, lungs, etc.).
This is not to say that I in any way am belittling Margaret’s mild cancer. Rather, I applaud her for her strength. Other than a very few friends, I had no family. She, on the other hand, has a loving husband and, at the time of her first bout with cancer, a two-year old son. She had a lot more to lose than I. And that is what matters in all cases, isn’t it? Our loss as it affects our families.
It felt as if I were walking to the gas chamber or gallows.
In December of 1999, when her son was two, Margaret had her first bout with breast cancer. The terror must have been horrific, even if she bore it well and doesn’t make a big deal of it in her book. She had a lumpectomy and radiation, and then lived a normal life, enjoying her husband and child and life itself, until 2012, when a ‘possible’ lump showed up again in the same breast that had given her trouble before. Now, things were different. Now, some serious issues would have to be addressed, and things would be different. It was time for the breasts to vacate the premises. And so begins her story of her diagnosis, treatment, and reconstruction.
Sometimes the only way to deal with horrific things in life is through a dark sense of humor. – Margaret Cho
The thing I truly admire about Margaret’s story is how she lays it out in a humourous manner. Oh, believe me, this story is not a funny one. The fear, pain and nausea, the surgeries and drains and pain, (oh, and did I mention pain?) is terrifying. At times, it is horrifying, and at others simply humiliating. I am right there with her on the nurse who looks at you like you are a bug to be squished on the floor for asking for a bedpan when you are too drugged and too agonized to make it to the bathroom. I was fortunate – I had the services of some of the best doctors and nurses in the world, at Littleton Adventist Hospital in Littleton Colorado, for my chemo treatments and multiple hospital visits (nothing like internal bleeding and constant vomiting and fainting to land you into a bed with multiple wires and tubes sticking out). I never had a single nurse or doctor treat me with anything less than compassion and respect (well, except for one doctor, and I think he was just a jerk, no matter what. Well, he was the one sticking the tubes up my bum and down my throat to find the bleeds. I suppose if I worked with people’s bums all day, I would be bad tempered too…)
Sometimes I say the medication is even tougher than the illness. – Sanya Richards-Ross
While some parts of cancer treatments can be different, interesting and ‘cocktail party worthy’ (take baldness, now I found that funny in and of itself, and never wore a wig. Hey, might as well laugh at yourself, right?) what isn’t funny or fun or anything even remotely pleasant is the chemotherapy. Sitting in a lounger for hours at a time while poison was being pumped into my veins was sure to send me into a full-blown panic attack, even at my weakest. Bring out the knock-out drugs! I told you, I had the Best. Chemo. Nurse. EVER.) Chemo is not fun. It leaves you weak, sick, tired, unable to eat or drink without having it come right back up again. Margaret covers the issue with her usual kindness and panache, pointing out the problems, but refusing to let it drive her down into the dark lands of her psyche. I admire that. I mostly just slept. For days and days. . .And that whole “you are going to go into menopause at the speed of the Shinkansen (the Japanese High-Speed Train System)” complete with hot flashes and weight fluctuations? So not fun. Margaret didn’t say how much weight she lost – I lost 60 lbs. Now, if I could have kept off about 30 of those! LOL
One of her nipples was lying on the bathroom tile.
The part that Margaret went through, that I didn’t, was the reconstruction. I was 53 at the time, and hadn’t had a lover for over 20 years – why did I care? (We could get all up in the childhood and later sexual abuse, etc. but that doesn’t fit here.) The point is, I have to admit – the double mastectomy, in my case, was much easier than her reconstruction! I still had the pain, and the drains, but she went five months getting doses of saline injected to ‘stretch out’ her tissue, building new breasts. Nah, I will take my ‘barely there’ scar, the occasional odd look, and some ongoing tenderness across the chest. Hey, I can at least sleep on my stomach these days! When I was a D-cup, that was so not happening….. Her story of the reconstruction was sort of creepily fascinating to me, as I didn’t have it done. And of course, hearing the story of her friend who had reconstruction, and then one of her nipples fell off when she was toweling after a shower? (You have to read the book just for that part of the story.)
Overall, if you have the slightest interest in what your friend, family member, coworker, etc. is going through, you have to read this book. If you have the possibility of Breast Cancer yourself, are going through treatment, or have had cancer previously, you have to read this book. It is by turns scary and funny, but always compassionate.
http://www.cancer.gov/ The home site for the National Cancer Institute, a part of the National Institutes of Health. There is Breast Cancer information here, but also research and information regarding a large number of different types of cancer.
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/druginfo/breastcancer Another segment of the NCI website, you can find information about different chemotherapy medications. Margaret was on Tamoxifen. I, on the other hand, had ATC therapy. A combination of Doxorubicin (Adriamycin), Taxol (paclitaxel) and Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan). You can find additional information on any of these drugs at: