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chemotherapy

Cat Bordhii and the Vaquero Felfs – Proceeds to Breast Cancer Research!

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Photo and Book are copyright Cat Bordhi 2013. The photo is used only to encourage purchase of Cat’s 70-page e-book, “The Art Of Felfs” and all rights are reserved by Ms. Bordhi.

I just purchased The Art of Felfs by Cat Bordhi.

I am taking a class on a Sunday in December at Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins in Boulder on making felted boots, known as Valenki Boots in Russia. The pair they show in the shop are DARLING, and I am really looking forward to the class. Yes, I took a morning off and ran around – it was actually WARM this morning, unlike the rest of this summer, which apparently we skipped and went straight to fall. . . cold and rainy! I am looking at a grow light bulb for my tomato and pepper plants, I seriously doubt that they will ripen before we get our first frost, the way things are going!

So, flipping through Ravelry.com I saw that Ms. Bordhi, the Queen of Everything Knitty, is giving all of her proceeds to Dr. Krag at the University of Vermont Medical School to help fund research into sentinel lymph nodes for a new, less destructive, method of fighting breast cancer. You can read all about it below. If you are interested in a technical treatise on sentinel lymph nodes click here to read more on breast-cancer-research.com. If you want to know more about Dr. Krag, click here. So, if you are a knitter, check it out. And if you aren’t a knitter (but know one) remember, the holidays are just around the corner! What a wonderful gift for your favorite knitting pal – and your pals who are going through, or have been through (like me) the horrors of chemotherapy will love you for it!

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Cover photo courtesy of Cat Bordhi, copyright 2013, all rights reserved.

 

All proceeds from this 70-page ebook by Cat Bordhi are going directly to the research lab of Dr. David Krag at the at the University of Vermont Medical School. Dr. Krag, who pioneered sentinel node location, which has been used by over a million women with breast cancer, is now on the cusp of starting clinical trials for a cancer treatment that will replace chemo with a method as gentle as chemo is violent, and likelier to result in a complete cure. Let’s all join together to make that happen sooner rather than later! To learn more, visit Felfs.com.

Vaquero Felfs are one of the 15 styles in Cat’s ebook, THE ART OF FELFS: Felted Footwear for Families. Once finished, all styles appear to have been knit in the round, but are actually knit flat in garter stitch in simple shapes which are then folded and sewn before felting.

Extending or trimming one underlying shape transforms the basic Felf into thigh-high boots, ballet shoes, cowboy boots, moccasins, and much more. Fitting any style of Felf to any foot is simple enough for a young child to do yet Felfs capture the imagination and passion of advanced knitters as well. The ebook includes instructions for felting without a washing machine, so anyone can make them.

Although Ewetopia is half super wash, it felts into a nubbly, luxurious felt that is pliant, and can be felted to various degrees of thickness. The super wash strand creates the texture as it rumples into the embrace of the regular felting merino. Ewetopia is an exceptionally bouncy, cooperative yarn that is ergonomically kind to obsessive knitters.

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Review: Meridian Qigong by Tevia Feng

meridianHarmony makes small things grow, lack of it makes great things decay. – Sallust

 We have finally started to notice that there is real curative value in local herbs and remedies. In fact, we are also becoming aware that there are little or no side effects to most natural remedies, and that they are often more effective than Western medicine. – Anne Wilson Schaef

Qi (chee) is Chinese for air, or energy, while Gong is “work.” One moves and harmonizes life energy, moving through universal energies, balancing and healing the mind, soul and body. Through meditation, exercise and harmony of mind and body, Qigong applies the energies of the mind and body to ensure health and wellness.

While Western Medicine claims perfection using chemicals and invasive treatments, Chinese medicine is a much older, wiser style of medicine, going back millennia, through the Daoist and Buddist traditions and further. This is not to say that Western medicine doesn’t have it’s place. As a Stage IIIb cancer survivor I was not adverse to using every bit of Western medicine I could in order to overcome the horrors of cancer. Of course, the Western medicine was horrible in and of itself. But it did the job, for which I am eternally grateful. But meditation, massage, acupuncture and other, older forms of healing also played a big part in my healing. And honestly, though Qigong was not part of my healing, if I had found this book sooner, I feel very much that this too would have helped immensely to provide balance and help me to manage my pain and weakness during my chemotherapy.

I spent quite some time reading though Meridian Qigong and was very comfortable with the practice. Now, honestly, I intend to keep this book on my Nook and start actually practicing Qigong, with the help of Tevia Feng’s lovely little book. Only 120 pages long, the book is a wonderful introduction to Qigong. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Check it out – the practice of Qigong may be perfect to help you to balance your mind and body.

I received this book form the publisher in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

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Review: Julia’s Chocolates by Cathy Lamb – 10-Star Review

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Highly Recommended!!!!

I left my wedding dress hanging in a tree somewhere in North Dakota.

I don’t know why that particular tree appealed to me. Perhaps it was because it looked as if it had given up and died years ago and was still standing because it didn’t know what else to do.

That is, by far, one of my favorite opening lines to a Contemporary Women’s Literature book ever. And then I read the book. And it touched me, ripped my heart, soothed my mind and eased my soul in so many ways that one moment I was laughing hysterically at the antics of the four main female characters, the next sobbing uncontrollably over the pain and fear that women and children face – the innocent and the damned.

Growing up unloved and neglected is horrific. Not only because your parent doesn’t love you, but because you know your parent doesn’t want your love. You learn that your love is inferior. Unneeded. Worthless. You’re inferior, you’re unneeded, you’re worthless.

I grew up as the child of a sociopath. I know from growing up unloved, unneeded, being told every day I was worthless. How awful is it that Julia’s life make my own look like a walk in the park with ice cream and flowers? The daughter of an alcoholic meth head, Julia spent her early life beaten, neglected, starved and repeatedly raped and abused by her mother’s “boyfriends,” a collection of alcoholic, meth head pedophiles and violent criminals.

But Julia perseveres, gaining her degree in art and working in a gallery in Boston, pulling her life together and trying desperately to forget from whence she came. Desperate to feel ‘worthy’ she accepts the advances of the wealthy, entitled Robert Stanfield, the latest scion of a wealthy Boston family. At first thrilled to gain the attention of such a man, she soon learns the truth. Robert is a true psychopath – a vicious and abusive rapist who slowly comes to swallow up Julia’s life, pushing her into a cycle of fear and abuse that soon drains the very soul from her body. Blaming herself for what he does to her, as victims do, she takes his abuse, hoping that he will change, that things will get better, that she really can look forward to a good life with this monster. But finally, on her wedding day, with her face broken and eye swollen completely shut, she flees the monster that is her fiancé and takes off across country to her aunt in Golden, Oregon. Like Julia, the town itself is broken by the closing of the mills and factories, leaving the citizens who stay impoverished but still proud. Still rallying around one another. None so much as four very special friends.

Gaining the safety of her Aunt Lydia and her friends in Golden, Julia soon settles in. Though she still has violent, terrifying nightmares, and fears she suffers a “Dread Disease” that causes her to have attacks which leave her breathless and exhausted, she slowly begins to feel safe in the company of Lydia and Caroline, Lara and Katie, a diverse group of women with their own issues and agonies, laughter and pain. Caroline, tiny and poor, living off vegetable sales and psychic readings. Lara, wife of the town minister whom she adores, but who is over stressed and underappreciated, the daughter of a cruel and arrogant minister who preaches hellfire and damnation to all who don’t bow down before his wrath – including his own tormented children. And Katie, who runs her own cleaning business and raises her four children while her useless, abusive drunk of a husband steals her money, terrorizes her children and steps out with other women to her face. Together, they make up a band of some of the strongest, most eccentric, most lovable characters I have ever “met.” As others have said, you can certainly compare the book in many ways to The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. However, in my mind this book is much more. These women have come together from diverse backgrounds, meeting at stages of their life where they are each fighting their own personal battles of the soul.

But don’t let me lead you to believe that this is a “Debbie Downer” of a book – not at all. As I mentioned earlier, I literally laughed till tears ran down my cheeks at the antics of these women and their friends. Who can’t get a kick out of “Breast Power Psychic Night?” And while as a whole they may not have any reason to hold any affection for men (well, except for Lydia, who has been courted by the same man for the last twenty years) there are some wonderful male characters to offset the true monsters of the tale. Yes, there is horror to be had by the boatloads. Sanctimonious ‘church ladies’ with spiteful, viperous tongues, filled with gossip and sanctimony. Cruel drunks. Child abusers, alcoholics, drug addicts and pedophiles. All make their appearances, and affect the lives of our beloved ladies. But Lamb uses a deft hand in her development of the friendships of this little band of women into something that brings not only joy and laughter, but also a bright light of hope into some very dark places. There are dark moments – but the bright soon overcomes the dark, pulling these wonderful characters together into a book that no one, even the testosterone powered, should miss.

I. Loved. This. Book. I really did. It hurt sometimes – I have a lot in common with these women, and truly felt their pain, down deep where I have packed away my own. I pulled these people into my heart, and though it did hurt in spots, it also made me feel wonderful to meet this rowdy, broken bunch of women. I was interesting to me that other reviewers “didn’t connect” with the characters. I suppose they should be happy that they didn’t – anyone who has no experience with how truly horrific life can be at times should thank their lucky stars that this is so I suppose. As I watched Julia, with her huge boobs, wild hair, and horrific background grow into her personal power I urged her on, watching with great happiness as she opened herself up to not only her own faults, but to her power as well. As for me, I can’t recommend this book highly enough. There is great love and joy to be found – the love of self, of friends, of children and of life itself. I came to Ms. Lamb’s work late (this book was originally published in 2007) but now that I have found her work, I will be looking forward to reading more!

Review and Warning: Don’t Give This Book A Second Look

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I am not going to encourage you to waste your time with this. No links to Amazon, or anywhere else for that matter. “Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!” ™

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!!!

Breastcancer.org – Includes an exceptionally good “Breast Cancer 101” class

Breast Cancer Facts and Figures – 2011-2012

Trends in Breast Cancer in Younger Women

CureDiva.com – Just because you are bald, doesn’t mean you aren’t beautiful!

National Library of Medicine – You want simple? This even has photos and diagrams of EXACTLY what is happening, and will happen, to your body.

The National Cancer Institute – Everything from genetics to approved clinical trials for new and coming medications and treatments

Male Breast Cancer Information – Yes, men get breast cancer too

National Cancer Institute – Afraid you have, or do have, another form of cancer? Go here first.

For information on Breast Cancer Support Groups in your areas, here are great places to start:

You’ll also find an active on-line support community at the Breastcancer.org Discussion Boards.

The Good Fight: A Story of Cancer, Love and Triumph

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!

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