The Gap: An Important Mindfulness Technique

I had the pleasure of listening to Pema Chodron (Buddhist Monk and author) and KD Lang (Musician, singer, songwriter) in a conversation this morning on Live Stream. I was struck by several things, but the one that stood out for me is the concept of the Gap. I want to share the concept of the Gap with you, the reader.

The Gap is that in between space where you come to understand the presence of NOW. It is that moment when you look up from a hiking path and notices the sky, the tree, or the bird. The Gap is a sacred space within, when you realize you are part of the outer world.

It seems to me that as people living in the world of cancer, you can use the practice of the Gap regardless of where you are on your path. For instance, fall is my favorite time of the year and I am so excited about its arrival. that I know I will have many Gap moments when I see beautiful leaves dropping the magic of their colors on the ground as they leave naked branches ready for winter. What Gap moments might you look forward to this fall? What magical part of the day will you practice breathing into the Now. The Gap is that space within you that allows you to breathe deeply from the inside out.

As people experiencing cancer life can become very ugly and painful as rancid smells and nauseating waves of emotion run askew inside of your inner darkness. It is important that you do not live in the darkness. Pema Chodron might say something like, “Don’t run from the darkness, touch it, explore it and move on past it.” The practice of the Gap is a tool to help you move past the darkness into the NOW.

Looking for something good and magical in your day will help you practice the Gap and stay in the Now. If you can’t see magic in your day then create magic in your day. If you are irritated with not getting the results you want with your health care, then focus on something else that you have control over. For instance, purchase some fall flowers. Take time to have a Gap moment with those flowers. Smell them, touch them and notice how each one is uniquely different from every other one. Have you ever noticed that no two flowers are exactly alike? Notice the nuances in the shades of the colors, notice the stems. Notice each flower as you arrange it in the vase. These flowers traveled from rich fertile soil and were “harvested” for your delight. All cut flowers will die. But each flower has its own elegance, story, and purpose in your life today. That purpose is here to bring you joy and to put a gentle smile on your face. Enjoying flowers is a Gap moment. Take a breath and look up and see your room come to life because you placed a vase of flowers on your night stand or kitchen table. You took the time to create a Gap that brings you delight.

As you learn to experience Gap moments, be the Gap in someone else’s life today. Pick up the phone and call a friend and tell them how much they mean to you. Send a card to someone who needs a connection. Smile at the clerk in the grocery store and tell them, “I hope you have a really good day,” as you look them in the eye. Be the Gap in other people’s lives daily and you will experience more Gap moments in your day-to-day life that is full of the necessary medical appointments, follow-ups and tests. I even imagine your health care team will respond to you more positively if you are practicing Gap moments in your life.

See you are not cancer. You are not your disease. You are a person with many roles and facets to your life. Don’t let cancer define you. Smile, in spite, of the cancer. Bring smiles to other people’s lives. Make a difference today and you will be happier because you did.

For more information and exercises for cancer patients read Breast Cancer: A-Z Mindful Practices.

Dr. Robin Dilley

Dr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.

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5 Easy Ways to Detox While in Cancer Recovery

5 Easy Ways to Detox While in Cancer RecoveryAuthor: Diana Ross, E-RYT 500, Posted By: Breast Cancer Yoga Staff.

I want to share 5 easy ways to detox your body while in recovery, or anytime. These are the things I did, and continue to do that makes a difference in my health and I hope will make a difference in your health.

It is nothing new to state that breast (cancer) has touch so many lives. Either a family member, friend or neighbor may fall on this list. It is also not uncommon that cancer patients choose allopathic medicines and treatments.

These treatments usually involve potent drugs, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, or both. These treatments can leave the patient exhausted and emotionally drained. The cause of this fatigue is from the body being subjected to poisons, which indiscriminately attacked all the body cells over time. Knowing that detoxing the body is so important for better health and for recovery; it would be very beneficial to adopt a detox routine.

You can do it once a month, once every two months or when you feel the need to detox. It is as simple as developing a routine. Here are my ideas for better health for mind, body and spirit.

Dry Brush Method -Dry brushing stimulates the skin and circulates lymph fluid which is vital for overall health. The skin is the largest organ in the body and is responsible for a quarter of the body’s detoxification. The ability of the skin to excrete toxins is of paramount importance. Dry skin brushing helps to shed dead skin cells, which improves skin texture and cell renewal. Dry skin brushing increases circulation to skin, encouraging your body’s discharge of metabolic wastes, which greatly aids the lymphatic drainage of the entire body. When the body rids itself of toxins, it is able to run more efficiently in all areas. Dry skin brushing stimulates the lymph canals to drain toxic mucoid matter into the colon, thereby purifying the entire system. This enables the lymph to perform its house-cleaning duties by keeping the blood and other vital tissues detoxified.

Drink Water -Water Detoxifies. The quality of your tissues, their performance, and their resistance to disease and injury are linked to the quality and quantity of water you drink. The daily cleansing of wastes from each cell, the flushing of the alimentary canal and the purifying of the blood are all dependent on our water consumption. This helps to scavenge free radicals and reduce the oxidation of your body, in turn slowing down the aging process and overall health. Drinking ionized, or alkaline water has smaller molecule clusters than regular water. These small clusters are able to permeate your body’s cells and hydrate much more effectively. This makes the water and minerals better able to be absorbed in your body and flood out the toxins within. Good quality steam distilled water can pickup mineral deposits accumulated in cells, joints, artery walls, and remove them out. Distilled water cleans out impurities and replenishes the essential nutrient required for human life.

1 to 3 Day Body Detox Diet -Our body is exposed to numerous toxins daily as in air pollution, over processed foods, chemical cleaners and pesticides. A detox diet is when you lighten your daily food intake and provide your body the opportunity to rest, which then helps release toxins. A one to three day detox diet may range from simply focusing on whole foods to an all-out fast. Most detox diets ask that you eliminate items like caffeine, alcohol, added sugar and refined flours. For example, a fresh fruit diet emphasizes a healthy and easy way to digest the fruit and to assist in elimination. You may add protein powder to the fresh fruit which offers a high content of water, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Eating just fruit, or just veggies help to dissolve toxins, enhance liver function and create better energy levels. Juicing is also a great way to feel light and to receive nutrients for the body which assist in detoxification.

Himalayan Pink Salt For Breast Cancer DetoxTake a Himalayan Salt Bath -To feed the body with healthy minerals and trace minerals take a pink Himalayan crystal salt bath. This rock salt is fuel for balancing and increasing energy. Your skin is an excretive organ that mirrors the condition of your intestines. When you take a salt brine bath, the salt minerals penetrate your skin with ions. This ion absorption will stimulation natural cell growth in your living cell layers. Bio-energetic weak points will be balanced and your body’s energy flow will be made active. Bathing with Himalayan salts will stimulate overall circulation, hydrates the skin, increases moisture retention, promotes cellular regeneration, detoxifies the skin, and helps heal dry, scaling, irritated skin. Salt water bathing reduces inflammation of the muscles and joints, relaxes muscles and relieves pain and soreness.

Breath Properly –Breathing properly detoxifies and releases toxins. Your body is designed to release 70% of its toxins through breathing. If you are not breathing effectively, you are not properly ridding your body of its toxins, i.e. other systems in your body must work overtime which could eventually lead to illness. When you exhale air from your body you release carbon dioxide that has been passed through from your bloodstream into your lungs. Carbon dioxide is a natural waste of your body’s metabolism. To improve overall well-being take 5 or 10 minutes a day to sit quietly and breath. This helps release toxins by full oxygen exchange. It also balances the stress hormone, cortisol and increases GABA levels.

Look at each of the 5 ways as opportunities to improve your lifestyle and diet. They will foster deep, and lasting transformation, and I promise you they will make you feel renewed.

Diana RossAbout Diana Ross:  E-RYT 500 restorative yoga teacher, survivor that cares and founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Diana is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Do You Enjoy Pushing Yourself?

Dr. Kate Master Swim Meet - Breast Cancer Survivor StoryWhat did you do this last weekend? I spent the whole weekend at a Masters swim meet. Sounds super fun doesn’t it. NOT.

I almost didn’t go, but my husband was going to be away, and I figured instead of a weekend at home, my daughter and I could take a trip to Boston. She could play with her cousin, and I could go to the meet. Even still, multiple times I wondered why I bothered to drive to Boston, arrange childcare for the whole weekend, and then spend my precious days off in a pool room.

Truthfully, I have thought about going to this meet for years, but it never worked out for me to go. Or I never wanted to commit to three days away from my family to do it.

I consider myself a swimmer. Swam in high school and college. I dabbled in master’s swimming as an adult. Enjoyed the practices, went to a few meets about ten years ago. Then the practice times changed, and it was harder for me to get there. And, as I mentioned, with a young child, it never seemed to make sense to take the time to go to any meets.

Last fall I decided to focus more on swimming. I have had some issues with fitness and overtraining. Of all sports or fitness programs, swimming is what I know best. I thought it would be a good place to start as I tried to figure out what kind of fitness regimen was going to work for me.

I planned to swim at least three times a week and entered some meets. It was more than a little depressing to see how much slower my times were, even from ten years ago. But I wanted to have some gauge of where I was at and something to shoot for.

I decided to enter a regional meet in Worcester, MA last December. I thought I had been swimming enough and that my fitness had recovered enough so I could expect to improve on my times.Dr. Kate Regional Swim Meet - Breast Cancer Survivor Story

I was wrong. I performed terribly. More importantly, I felt tired and worn out. I was gasping for air on virtually all of my races. It was so disappointing. I wondered if my breast cancer medication (tamoxifen) was interfering with my ability to improve. Or, in addition to forcing menopause upon me, did chemotherapy do some damage to my heart and that’s why I was so winded.

Not that I could do anything about those things. So I stopped thinking about the things I could not control and instead considered what I could do differently. I decided to make some changes. I did not have more time for working out. Instead, I needed to work out smarter.

I changed my swim workouts a little and added more consistent strength and conditioning (CrossFit). Seems to have worked. In fact, I think I spent less time working out in the last few months. Another reminder that more is not always better.

I know I spent less time swimming which was another reason I almost didn’t go to the meet. I figured how could I expect to swim faster when I haven’t been swimming much. I didn’t want another example of my aging body and declining fitness.

But then I decided I’ll never know if the changes I made are making a difference if I don’t test it. If I wait until I know I’m in great shape to go to another meet, I’ll never go. So I signed up. Not right away, but within a few days, I started to regret my decision, started doubting myself.

Why am I doing this? I kept asking myself that question, without a good answer. When I arrived at the meet on Saturday morning, I sat in my car for a few minutes to wrap my head around swimming and the meet; and, to try to answer why I am doing this.Dr. Kate's Breast Cancer Survivor Exercise Story

It’s supposed to be fun, right? Yes. Pushing yourself is fun. Get out of your comfort zone. See what you can do. And it was fun, because I did well. For this meet, I felt strong. I wasn’t winded. I performed well in all of my events.

So different from the meet in December. However, it is because of the meet in December, and my crappy, disappointing results, that I made changes which produced better results. If I didn’t go to the first meet, I wouldn’t have known I needed to do things differently, and if I didn’t go to the second meet, I wouldn’t know that it worked.

So that’s why I compete. Pushing yourself is fun. It’s fun to see positive results. Clearly not all results are positive, though. But better things can come from disappointing results. Poor or mediocre results are not that fun, but are useful nonetheless and can be the reason for success down the road.

Put yourself out there. Be a little (or even a lot) uncomfortable. If you fail, learn from it, make a change and come back to try again. You’ll either enjoy the ride or learn something, and that’s a win-win.

Dr. Kate KilloranDr. Kate Killoran is a board-certified OB/GYN with 15+ years of clinical experience and a breast cancer survivor. Medical school, residency, and clinical practice educated her thoroughly about disease. What her medical education failed to teach her was how to be healthy and well. This she learned from her breast cancer diagnosis.

She practices what she preaches using her knowledge of health, wellness, and disease to help other women be healthy, happy, and well. She sees patients both in her office in beautiful Camden, Maine as well as online at www.drkatemd.com.

For more information or if you’d like to contact Dr. Kate, please visit drkatemd.com.

How To Get Yourself Back After Cancer Treatment

How to get yourself back after cancer treatmentThis past weekend I ran a 10-mile race. I realized afterward that it has been exactly three years since I received the call that changed my life. I remembered this same race, the Mid-Winter Classic in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, three years ago. I did not compete, but my husband did. That year the race was a few days earlier, and I didn’t know what was coming.

I had a mammogram and ultrasound, done two days before, which were both “reassuring”. I distinctly remember waiting for my husband to finish and thinking I had nothing to worry about.

I was wrong, and four days later I knew it. Because of the timing, in my mind, this race will always be associated with my cancer diagnosis. I competed this year for the third time. It is a great race. Well organized, good course. Big enough to be fun, but not so big that the logistics become difficult (making it less fun.)

The first time I ran was two years ago. I had just completed my treatment three months before; and, I had a great day. The weather was warm, for February. I ran well, finished strong and felt good. Since I had lost a lot of conditioning during treatment, I had no real expectations about pace or time and was pleased with an 8:39-minute/mile pace. I even ran the last mile, which is mostly uphill in an 8:08-minute pace. I have never been a fast runner, usually in the middle of the pack. The 8:39 put me right where I wanted to be.

I had come full circle. It had been a year. My treatment was behind me. I felt strong, was able to push myself. I had gone from thinking all I would need was a biopsy, to surviving the full monty of breast cancer treatment and now thriving enough to run a 10-mile race in a respectable time.  I felt like my old self.

After the race, I kept training and pushing myself to get faster. I did another 10-mile race two months later and ran faster. I did a few sprint triathlons and continued to feel strong, fast and improve with every race.

Until sometime in July, when the wheels came off the bus. I was tired and sore all the time. I did some more races. Instead of feeling strong and getting faster, I felt awful and got slower and slower.

In October, I ran a half marathon that was almost a minute per mile slower than I had run in April. I then realized my clothes didn’t fit, and I had gained ten pounds! I was exercising vigorously every day, and yet I had lost fitness and gained weight.

getting back to good health after cancer treatmentI am still figuring out what went wrong. So far I have come up with a few theories. I overtrained and did not let myself recover. I needed to back off, give myself some time to rest, both from my workouts as well as the long year of treatment.

I did not do any strength training. We all lose muscle mass with age and all the training I was doing, without any recovery, accelerated that loss.

Or maybe it was just too much for my poor body which had been through so much with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

Whatever the cause, I was out of shape and overweight, despite working out all the time. What should I do now? I needed a new plan. More exercise, or, at least, more aerobic exercise, was clearly not the answer. But what was?

Some discomfort and soreness during and after a workout are good, which is part of what helps you to improve. Knowing when you have crossed the line from a challenging workout to an overdoing it workout is hard. I usually think more is better, now I know that it is not. Frequently, but not always, I can tell when I am doing too much. I listen to what my body is telling me because it does tell me.

It also seems that I needed more strength training. Strength used to be an afterthought. I more or less thought it was a waste of time, and it was the first thing to go if I had time constraints or flagging motivation. Strength and conditioning are now a priority that I make sure to do at least two if not three times per week.

Happily I can report that these changes seemed to have worked!

I ran the race this year 10 seconds/mile slower than I had two years ago. I think that’s a win. Pace aside, I felt strong, I finished well and had fun, which of course should always be the primary goal. So often the fun part gets lost, especially when you have a goal time in mind. This race reminded me that pushing yourself to perform is fun, even when it’s hard, and sometimes hurts.

The last 12-18 months were frustrating after realizing what I did to myself. I learned that my body has changed, I am sure cancer treatment caused, at least, some of that change, but so does age. The good news is that you can still improve even when you are getting older, and even if you have had to suffer through cancer treatment.

Listen to yourself, you can learn a lot.

What obstacles did you have getting back to good health after cancer treatment? Let me know

Dr. Kate KiloranDr. Kate Killoran is a board-certified OB/GYN with 15+ years of clinical experience and a breast cancer survivor. Medical school, residency, and clinical practice educated her thoroughly about disease. What her medical education failed to teach her was how to be healthy and well. This she learned from her breast cancer diagnosis.

She practices what she preaches using her knowledge of health, wellness, and disease to help other women be healthy, happy, and well. She sees patients both in her office in beautiful Camden, Maine as well as online at www.drkatemd.com.

For more information or if you’d like to contact Dr. Kate, please visit drkatemd.com.

A Cancer Christmas Story: The Gift of Community

A Cancer Christmas Story on Breast Cancer Authority

THIS CHRISTMAS WILL BE disheartening for many of us. Our unstable economy, dwindling financial security, home foreclosures, and job losses will not pause for the holiday season. Add health issues to that equation and the result is few, if any, gifts beneath the Christmas Tree. However, there is a bright star in our dark night: community support.

We are bigger than the sum of our problems.

We belong to the community of mankind. Fellowship and help networks filled with resources and hope are available to everyone. So are sympathetic shoulders on which to cry.

As a phone counselor for the R.A. BLOCH CANCER FOUNDATION, I recently received a call from a woman I’ll name Lisa for this blog. Lisa was calling from California. It soon became apparent that this woman, who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer recurrence, needed a whole lot more than just a shoulder for support.

Cancer Christmas Story - Community Filled With Resources

“I can’t start my cancer treatments!” the hysterical voice on the phone cried. “I have to pack all of my belongings because the bank is foreclosing on my home. I’m being thrown out into the street and I have nowhere to go! And, I think I’m dying.”

The sound of the phone dropped to the floor was followed by loud weeping.

My heart sank. I wanted to cry with her but that wouldn’t help either of us. So I patiently waited for Lisa to retrieve the phone and resume her woeful tale. Sometimes listening is the first step in helping.

“I’m the last of my family,” she sobbed. Her father and brother had died of cancer last year. Her mother died two years ago.

Lisa’s dog was her only companion and she was running out of dog food.

“If I start my cancer treatments, I won’t have enough energy to pack, and my things are all that I have left of my family. How can you possibly help me!” she demanded. Good question! How could I assist a woman in such a severe crisis living on the other side of the country? If stress is a killer, why is this poor woman still alive? Is it any wonder she has cancer, again?

“I don’t want to live anymore!” she moaned. “No one can help me.”

I encouraged her to take a deep breath and reassured her that there are indeed resources and contacts available to help her. While still speaking with Lisa on the phone I scanned the internet and found the toll-free numbers for the director of the Cancer Legal Resource Center in Los Angeles, and the name of an attorney who is a two-time cancer survivor and co-founder of a legal network for cancer patients.

Before giving Lisa these phone numbers, I contacted the organizations to be sure they could meet her needs.

The voice that had answered the phone said, “Have her call us. We can help.”

Two days later, I followed up with a call to Lisa, and discovered she had contacted the attorney, and Legal Resource Center. And, a community animal organization had donated food for her dog.
She sounded much better as she prepared for her treatments. We spoke of the statistically increasing chances of surviving cancer recurrence, due to new treatments, with better results, and fewer side effects.

“Call me if you need me again,” I said. “I’m here for you.”

“Will you pray for me?” she asked in a tiny voice?

“Yes, I will.” And I did. The power of prayer is incredibly strong. Ask and you will receive.
I was reluctant to let Lisa go, but realized I had to trust in God, and respect Lisa’s ability and desire to empower herself with these resources.

Unfortunately, Lisa’s story is not the exception during these trying times. Holidays do not take time off from crisis.

Fortunately, her story, has a silver lining. It is the uplifting message that community support is available during times of strife. Just ask.

As a community, we are our sister’s, daughter’s, brother’s and son’s keepers.

A few days after Lisa’s call, I overheard an interesting conversation while standing in a grocery store check-out line.

One lady with a cart full of groceries complained about her financial problems to a second woman who responded with, “If you want to change the way your problems appear, change the way you peer at them.” What a remarkable answer! It reminded me of the movie Dead Poets Society, in which the late Robin Williams played an English Professor who encouraged his students to stand on top of their desks to gain a different perspective on life.

Another helpful way to achieve this change is by not looking at your problems alone.

Like the students in the movie, sometimes we need a guide to help us process challenges differently. A second set of eyes may not be distracted by the smoldering smoke of crisis.

Getting back to holiday basics, and viewing them from a different perspective by remembering the true message and essence of Christmas may also help reduce this season’s stresses.

Cancer Christmas Story - A Message of Hope

Christmas is a message of hope, joy, love and survival against all odds, in the form of a new beginning based on faith; a homeless infant born in a barn during extreme life threatening crisis who has only a manger for a crib and barn animals for physical warmth. His parents have little more than the clothes on their back. However, they are all blessed with the cloak of faith that hides them in plain sight, keeps them toasty on cold nights, and embraces them with credence. Their needs are met.

Christ did not receive piles of expensive gifts like X-box or the latest I-phone. He received a roof over his head, and one small heartfelt gift from each of three wise men.

In keeping with the true tradition of Christmas, my husband and I have decided not to exchange Christmas gifts this year. We have all we need, and want for nothing. Instead, we are going to give gifts to children in need within our community like the Shelter for Battered Women. Most communities have at least one, because this problem is so prevalent.

This year try something different to get back to the basics of this holiday; dare to view Christmas from a different perspective, that of the Wise Men, and discover if it is truly better to give than to receive.

The internet is rich in local and world-wide resources for anyone in crisis. And it is at your fingertips. If you know anyone in crisis, please share this article to help them during the holiday season and beyond.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Kathleen O'Keefe-Kanavos Breast Cancer Authority ContributorKathleen (Kat) O’Keefe-Kanavos is a TV Producer/Host of Wicked Housewives On Cape Cod and Author/Lecturer of the award winning, International bestseller, Surviving Cancerland: Intuitive Aspects of Healing which promotes dream therapy for wellness and patient advocacy and connecting with inner guidance for success in health, wealth, and relationships.
(all photos are owned by the author)

Joni Aldrich and Chris Jerry: Advocacy Heals U!

Joni Aldrich and Chris Jerry- Advocacy Heals U!By: Kathleen (Kat) O’Keefe-Kanavos,  a TV/Radio Producer/Host of Wicked Housewives ON Cape Cod.

Are you a caregiver or grieving the loss of a loved one and looking for answers that may be too difficult to even be formulated? On the Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos Show from 6-6:30 EST on July 8th (on Wicked Housewives On Cape Cod Radio) Joni Aldrich and Chris Jerry shared tips, information and their heart with you. They understand your pain and grief because they have been where you are, now. Their new book, Advocacy Heals U is due out in the fall of 2015. Read it before you need it so you are prepared for life.

Click the LINK  to LISTEN:

During the radio show Joni shares 2 of the 15 keys to fast track results and emotional fulfillment and details their importance in advocacy:

  1. Step back and realize what 1 person can do.
  2. Now has never been a better time to be an advocate.

While every road to advocacy is different, there are similarities. We may think, “There is nobody else like me,” but Joni and Chris show you how we are all connected and interconnected through love.

Our connection goes beyond grief into love. We love those we’ve lost. Advocacy heals loss.
It wasn’t until Chris and Joni met face-to-face that they realized some amazing parallels between their own personal experiences.

Joni’s Gordon and Chris’s Emily both died in 2006.
Chris and Joni made major steps towards their advocacy mission in 2009. They were brought together in 2012 to advocate for advocates through Advocacy Heals U, the radio program, and now through Advocacy Heals U, the book.

Welcome to this special introduction to Joni and Chris’s wonderful new book that will be available later in 2015:

ADVOCACY HEALS U, 15 Keys to Fast Track Results and Emotional Fulfillment, and dedicated to the advocates of the world.

What or who is an advocate?

Advocates are normal people who achieve abnormal results through a passion that burns from within.
While others may travel through life on a buddy pass bypassing human needs along the way, advocates focus on lending a hand in the darkness. Maybe they are the caregiver for a beloved parent. Maybe they are proof positive that someone can survive pancreatic cancer. Maybe they offer food to the hungry because they were once hungry, or shelter in the cold because they were once homeless. Many advocates are driven by a deep-seated need to honor and/or support loved ones, or to pay it forward. Advocates are the catalyst for change in this world, and the voice for so many that may not have a voice.

In this…the only complete book that focuses on advocacy from the Event to emotional healing.
Authors Joni Aldrich and Chris Jerry bring advocacy into the much-needed spotlight through their combined twenty years of advocacy experience, and the experience of guests on Advocacy Heals U, the radio program. The Event can leave you devastated, but it also exposes the Need. The Call may lead you to ask, “Who me?”

Chris and Joni want you to get past the objections and answer, “Why not me?”

There has never been a better time to combine networking, the ripple effect, and social media tactics to meet your advocacy objectives on a local, national or international level. Even more important is the personal fulfillment…Joni and Chris want you to realize that advocacy does heal U!

No advocacy too large; no advocacy too small. Advocacy heals U! Until you reach healing, remember: You are not alone.

(I wish to thank Joni and Chris for sharing their press kit with me for additional information . Much of the information in this blog was taken from portions of Joni and Chris’s Press Kit. Contact Joni Aldridge or Chris Jerry for more information or the complete Press Kit.)

Advocacy-Heals-U Radio Show InterviewBio: Joni Aldrich is Co-Owner and Producer of W4CS.com The Cancer Support Network, author of six books on surviving cancer, caregiving, brain illness, and grief. http://www.W4CS.com (The Cancer Support Network), offers 24/7 cancer programs for the “whole” cancer patient, their caregivers and families. After her husband died from cancer, Joni gave up the corporate world to become a worldwide advocate to help patients, families, caregivers and friends get through a life crisis such as a cancer diagnosis, a caregiving challenge (including caring for a brain illness patient), and surviving the grief process. Learn more about Joni @ Joni@JoniAldrich.com

Kathleen O'Keefe-Kanavos Breast Cancer Authority ContributorAbout the author of this blog: Kathleen (Kat) O’Keefe-Kanavos is a TV/Radio Producer/Host of Wicked Housewives ON Cape Cod and Author/Lecturer of the International award winning and bestseller, Surviving Cancerland: Intuitive Aspects of Healing which promotes patient advocacy and connecting with inner guidance for success in health, wealth, and relationships. She taught Special Education and Psychology.

Labyrinth’s for Physical and Emotional Healing

Labyrinth’s for Physical and Emotional Breast Cancer HealingBy: Dr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer and a licensed psychologist,

During my journey with breast cancer treatment I found a very powerful symbol of healing in the Labyrinth. The labyrinth is an ancient symbol that has managed to stay present into the 21st Century. If we can tap into the labyrinth’s significance we can use it on a regular basis as part of our healing. This blog is about finding solace as well as empowerment by taking a walk, a walk to the center and back.

Breast cancer is a journey. It is not a journey that we have chosen, but a journey that is here and it is important to find ways to cope with it, manage it, and come out the other side of it thriving as humans.

As Dr. Lauren Artress says in her book, WALKING A SACRED PATH , “Walking the Labyrinth has re-­‐emerged today as a metaphor for the spiritual journey and a powerful tool for transformation. This walking meditation is an archetype, a mystical ritual found in all religious traditions. It quiets the mind and opens the soul, evoking a feeling of wholeness.”

Transformation is the process of evolving from what is to something different. It often appears to happen all of a sudden, but in reality transformation is an extended process over time. Words that come to mind when I think of transformation are words like evolution and metamorphous.

Psychotherapy is a conduit for change. Spirituality is a path of change. They both have elements of relationship and together they are a lifestyle of daily transformation for self and for other.

As a person who has experienced breast cancer our life lessons parallel that of a Hero/Heroine’s journey. The Hero’s journey is that which requires that we master the unknown, overcome dangers, and defeat obstacles as we move toward the healing challis, the prized object of our journey. A Labyrinth walk mimics that of the Hero’s journey. The Hero or Heroine enters the journey to find the precious “challis.” Once the precious challis is obtained the question becomes “Now what?” The hero or heroine must make it back out to the world with the challis to bring the power of healing to others.

Take this virtual labyrinth walk

Click on labyrinth to take a virtual labyrinth walk

As people coping with breast cancer in all of its many phases of pre and post treatment, where mortality has broken the illusion of immortality the simple but influential process of putting one foot in front of the other is an amazing feat. As a people who have experienced breast cancer, life as we know it has come to an end and now the process or recreating a new one is an ongoing journey. Walk in for your inner world of peace walk out for peace for every person experiencing a potentially terminal illness, and especially kindred spirits with breast cancer. If you cannot find a labyrinth near you to walk, take this virtual walk at The Labyrinth Society.

I hope you have found this an interesting start to your emotional and spiritual health as a hero/heroine on your journey.

You can follow me at https://www.facebook.com/inamomentsnotice Or visit me on my web-­‐page www.psychotherapyunlimited.com

Enjoy the moment. Dr. Dilley

Dr. Robin DilleyDr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.

Special Thanks To Breast Cancer Yoga Family Members

Cathie Paulino Williamson Walking For Breast Cancer Yoga Family Member ValerieA special thanks to Breast Cancer Yoga family members Jessica Williamson and Cathie Paulino Williamson who walked to honor Valerie Hodenius.

By:Cathie Paulino Williamson.

Want to say thank you to everyone who supported Jessica Williamson and I. It was amazing and probably one of the hardest things we have ever accomplished. The walk started at 7 am. Pretty much as soon as we turned the first corner, mother nature opened up the sky and it down pored. Thunder and lightning.

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We walked approximately the first 10 to 12 miles in the pouring rain and thru the mud. Then came the very hot sun. We preyed for shade. Every mile we accomplished we high five each other and said piece of cake. As we got closer to our goal the high fives got a little lower and the piece of cake came out in whispers. Finally mile 26.2, and 10 straight hours of walking, bruises on the back of my calves, both of us with blisters the sizes of silver dollars, ache bones and sunburned, WE DID IT! It was worth every step. Thank you Jessica for being next to me every step of the way.

The Ultimate Journey in Life is Going Within

The Ultimate Journey in Life is Going WithinBy: Jean Di Carlo-Wagner, Owner of Yoga Being.

The diagnosis of cancer pierces the dense illusionary promises of ‘tomorrow’. In a moment, we stand naked with ourselves, vulnerable and raw. We have immediate decisions to make. What will be my path? What will be my outcome?

Just two days ago, an acquaintance I have known through friends and through music making, was diagnosed with late stage ovarian cancer. “Jean, I’m thinking of going to Mexico for alternative types of low-dose chemotherapy. I’m thinking that I need more time to make a decision. I am afraid the chemotherapy will kill me. And that it will kill my immune system. Will I be able to play the piano if I get neuropathy? Playing the piano is my life.”

No one has answers for anyone else. I can share my experience and what I’ve learned from other cancer patients in the twelve years since my own colorectal diagnosis. But the journey one takes is within to find their answers. Cancer is a fierce foe, and can be unrelenting in its onslaught. Pain can drive our minds to dark and fearful places. If we go within, what will we find? Beyond pain, is there stillness within?

Escape is not an option for those of us with a late diagnosis.
Time is of the essence.
What we choose can determine the length and quality of our lives.
Only we know our values and preferences.

However, they can be difficult to discern in the midst of devastating health news. Only we can decide, and if and when, we say, “Enough, I am done with cancer treatments. ”

The polar opposites of life and death seem rigidity clear. Our earthly self cries out: “I choose life!” The question sparks an internal journey: life on what terms? My mother was very happy to sit in her easy chair; the patio garden provided hours of satisfying gazing. Was she meditating? Yes, to me she was. When I asked her, “Mom, what would you spend more time doing, if you had to live your life again?” She looked up at the hummingbird feeder, then caressed the budding flowers with her eyes. “I’d spend more time with you, doing this: talking and looking out the window.”A hummingbird for Jean's Mom

It was a simple, but profound answer: a Truth. Words that I use as a compass through the rough waves of my life. I reflect on my choices. Am I doing the things that make me feel happy? Am I taking joy in simple pleasures? Am I in this moment? In my mother’s answer lies the very basic truth of being. She spent three years in her easy chair. I spent many hours beside her. Together, we journeyed along a footpath to her final days. We had a long good-bye. Ultimately, cancer claimed the final blow to her health.

She was offered chemotherapy. She refused. She chose to return home and live out her few short weeks without treatment. Her decision came from within. I believe the hours of dancing with birds and blooms gave her an inner wisdom. My mother knew the cycle of life and rebirth. Her garden flower blooms spoke of their brief joys and whispered of a new beginning. The hummingbirds heartbeats move their chests and wings. “I will come to visit you as a hummingbird and a Monarch butterfly”, she told me. And she does.

I take time to look and listen for her. When I am at my lowest, one or the other avatars appear.

Blessings,
Jean Di Carlo-Wagner
Owner, Yoga Being
Only Online Advanced Yoga Training
For Cancer Survivors

Jean Di Carlo WagnerAbout Jean Di Carlo Wagner: Owner of Yogabeing.net
E-RYT200, E-RYT500 certified with Yoga Alliance
Yoga Therapist with International Alliance of Yoga Therapists
Atma Yoga Teacher Training, certified 500 hours Los Angeles
A Gentle Way Yoga, certified 200 hours
Silver Age Yoga, certified 200 hours

Four words…“You have breast cancer”

I am Cancer Free - Beverly McKeeBy Beverly McKee, LCSW, founder of BreastCancerWarrior.org.

My life was turned upside down with one phone call nearly two years ago. Waves of overwhelming emotion flooded my brain…fear, anger, uncertainty about the future. Imagine how differently I would have felt if I had known that there would be beautiful rainbows in the midst of the storm of treatment. Perhaps the most important lesson I learned is that the rainbows are always there waiting to be discovered, even on the darkest of days. All I had to do was look for them.

I found my first rainbow in a stark white oncology office. My oncologist was discussing treatment options, referencing five year survival rates with each option. Those words, “five year survival rates” echoed throughout my brain. My little boys wouldn’t be able to drive in five years…I promptly interrupted my oncologist. “With all due respect, Dr. O, I don’t care about five year survival rates. What do I need to do to survive breast cancer for forty years?”

We agreed to take an aggressive approach to treatment. That evening, I did something rather unexpected. I planned a party. Forty years into the future on the anniversary of my diagnosis: October 17, 2052. I call it my “40 Year Survivor Celebration”. This party set the course for my approach to treatment and life beyond breast cancer.

I continued to search for the rainbows, finding them in the most unexpected places. Chemotherapy was not easy, but it created the opportunity for my boys to enjoy special time with their grandma (my mom) while I rested after every treatment. Initially devastated when a chemotherapy treatment coincided with my son’s field trip at school, I was delighted to hear about the lifelong memories formed as my husband enjoyed his first field trip as a parent. I found a new appreciation for my hair, eyelashes and eyebrows. Best of all, I created a website and social media sites where breast cancer survivors from around the world inspire and offer support to one another every day.

Breast cancer treatment changes our bodies as well as our minds. A total of five surgeries left me with eleven new scars. But I learned that my body is stronger than I could have ever imagined. I no longer took for granted those days when I was strong enough to walk miles through the woods or stroll on the beach. I also gained a deeper empathy for others who are recovering from illness, surgery or facing a serious illness.

Determined to continue my quest to find the rainbows, I reframed my twenty eight radiation treatments into “28 Days of Inspiration”. As the radiation beams sought out rogue cancer cells, I created an inspirational quote for my followers on social media. I enjoyed those moments of solitude on the radiation table and could often be found in the changing room composing that day’s inspirational post.

As I approach my “Two Year Survivor Celebration”, I’m beyond excited to be in the editing phase of a book that was inspired during that first oncology visit. I poured my heart and soul into finding women around the world who are “Celebrating Life Decades after Breast Cancer”. It invites the reader to allow these forty women (one for every year until my big party) to inspire them by sharing personal stories about surviving breast cancer between twenty and nearly fifty years. The book will be released in the near future. Their experiences and unique journeys to “find their own rainbows” changed the way I view breast cancer and they will offer great hope throughout the world.

My life changed forever the day that breast cancer boldly interrupted my life nearly two years ago. But as my scars fade and the details of treatment become less pronounced, the many rainbows continue to shine bright every day. I encourage you to find your rainbows through the storm and share them with us on our social media sites. If you’re having a rough day, send us a message and enjoy support from survivors all over the world. Join us via email to keep updated on the release of “Celebrating Life Decades after Breast Cancer” to find comfort and HOPE from women who have enjoyed long, beautiful lives decades after diagnosis. We hope to hear from you soon at www.breastcancerwarrior.org.

Beverly McKeeAbout Beverly McKee:  A licensed mental health therapist by training, writer at heart, Beverly McKee has an unbridled passion for empowering others to live their best life, even in the midst of crisis. A dynamic, results-driven executive with 20+ years of leadership, public speaking and business development experience. Visit BreastCancerWarrior.org or email at

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