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

Breast Cancer Authority Bestseller Book Review & Giveaway – Coconut Head’s Cancer Survival Guide

Holly Bertone's Survival GuideBy: Breast Cancer Yoga Staff.

Coconut Head’s Cancer Survival Guide – About The Book

Holly Bertone was diagnosed with breast cancer on her 39th birthday, and was engaged two days later. In 48 hours, those eight magic words, “You have breast cancer,” and “Will you marry me?” converged to change her life forever. Follow Holly’s year-long journey from diagnosis and engagement to being sick and bald on her wedding day. This is Holly’s story as she battles breast cancer and struggles with overcoming the subsequent self-esteem issues. The writing is raw – you will get an uncensored view of breast cancer treatment and what it’s really like. She uses humor and laughter to redefine beauty as she loses part of her breast, all of her hair, and is launched into early menopause. With pop culture references and her quirky sense of humor, Holly’s heartwarming story of love and strength is encouragement for all women going through cancer treatment. A percentage of sales will go to Holly’s favorite breast cancer charities.

Holly Bertone AuthorBook Review

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I used to work with Holly and had no idea that she had cancer. This book just reinforced how much respect and admiration I have for her. She is a brave and remarkable woman.This book also made me count my blessings. During the course of living our lives we get caught up in what we don’t have and forget all that we have been blessed with. I recommend this book to any woman who is facing a difficult challenge. I loved the humor Holly used to make the best of a very difficult situation. This book made me laugh, cry, and start appreciating and living life to the fullest. Tina Turner

About the Author

Holly Bertone is originally from Waynesboro, PA. She holds a Masters Degree from Johns Hopkins University, a Bachelor’s Degree from Elizabethtown College, and is a Project Management Professional (PMP). Holly is the CEO and President of Pink Fortitude, LLC, a company dedicated to promoting inspiration and positive self-esteem to cancer survivors and ALL women. Holly has published several books, including the heartwarming “Coconut Head’s Cancer Survival Guide – My Journey from Diagnosis to ‘I Do’.”

Personal Breast Cancer Story

I found the lump on my own and by accident.  I went immediately to my primary doctor, which started the process of a mammogram, biopsy, MRI, and numerous other tests.  I was healthy and had no risk factors or family history and was diagnosed with breast cancer on my 39th birthday. I was ER/PR positive, HER2 negative. I had a lumpectomy on my right breast. The artist formerly known as the tumor was 1.3 cm. I had four rounds of chemo – taxotere and cytoxin. I had 36 radiation sessions. I’m on 5 years of tamoxifen. I have three amazing doctors: a surgeon, a medical oncologist, and a radiation oncologist.  Plus numerous specialists.

My last treatment was on March 21, 2011 and our wedding was 10 days later on March 31, 2011.  I’m still recovering, both inside and out.

Book Giveaway Details

Like Holly Bertone’s book? You can have one, too!  Holly has generously agreed to give away a Coconut Head’s Cancer Survival Guide My Journey From Diagnosis to “I Do.” book, a ($9.95 value) to one lucky reader.  All you have to do is leave a comment below with your email address so we may notify the winner of our Breast Cancer Authority Bestseller Giveaway.  We will randomly select a commenter to receive one book, signed by the author.We will announce the winner on the Breast Cancer Authority Blog and on our Breast Cancer Yoga Facebook page.

Dawn Breast Cancer

About Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn 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.

 

Depression is Deadlier than CANCER?: 7 Ways to Survive Treatment (Part 1)

Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos Interview

Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos – R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation Hotline Counselor

By Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos, Cancer Hotline Counselor and Author of SURVIVING CANCERLAND: Intuitive Aspects of Healing .

Today, a statement made by a woman I mentor shocked me into silence. It also made me realize how devastating and emotionally defeating depression is as a mental illness.  No wonder Robin Williams chose to take his life rather than continue in a state of illness he felt was incurable.  His lonely death left us with many unanswered questions.

However, according to The World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, Robin Williams was not alone because mental illness is very common. One in five Americans aged 16-85 experience some form of mental illness in any year. According to WHO, lifetime prevalence rates for any kind of psychological disorder are higher than previously thought. This may be because people suffering from psychological disorders tend to keep them a secret either out of shame, fear, or their inability to communicate their symptoms to practitioners. These disorders are increasing in recent cohorts and affect nearly half the population.  Suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for all ages.

Every year, over 800.000 people die from suicide. This is an alarming statistic.  

One in two people or half the population in the world will suffer from some form of mental illness in their lifetime. One in three people will come down with some form of cancer in their lifetime. More people will have mental illness than cancer.

The most common mental illnesses are depressive, anxiety and substance use disorder. These three types of mental illnesses often occur in combination. For example, a person with an anxiety disorder could also develop depression, or a person with depression might misuse alcohol or other drugs, in an effort to self-medicate.  A third combination would be incompatible pharmaceuticals that exacerbate  mental illness during treatment for a physical illness. This was brought to my attention by the following story.  As an R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation Hotline Counselor, I mentor woman newly diagnosed with cancer who seek help through the HOTLINE’s center by calling 1-800-433-0464. The conversation I had today saddened me beyond words.

A woman recently diagnosed with stage 4 triple-negative breast cancer, a formidable form of  cancer, shared her sad story:

 “I was just released from a week long stay in the hospital after trying to commit suicide. I could not help myself. I have been dealing with severe depression most of my adult life and the Adriamycin/Cytoxan chemotherapy I began taking two months ago made it worse. My husband found me unconscious in the morning after I had swallowed seventy-five pills during the night when I got up to use the bathroom. I don’t remember doing that. I always remembered trying to kill myself before. This time I had no memory of it. ”

This was chemo-brain in action. Chemo-brain is a result of the chemotherapy on brain synapses and memory. It is described in my book, Surviving Cancerland: Intuitive Aspects of Healing in chapter 31,Sex, Drugs & Rock & Roll.

I asked her if she had attempted suicide because she felt she could not recover from the triple negative stage-four breast cancer.   “Oh, no. I know cancer is curable. Depression is not.  And I don’t want to live depressed anymore.”

That statement made me realize just how depressing depression truly is. When a patient facing advanced aggressive cancer is not afraid to die with cancer but afraid to live with depression, something needs to be done about how our society tackles BOTH illnesses because cancer treatment often triggers deep depression in patients who do not have a history of mental illness. Imagine what it does to those who are already battling it when the chemotherapy cocktail of pharmaceuticals mix with anti-depression medications. The result is an emotional roller-coaster-ride beyond comprehension.

This CancerLand ride is the focus of chapter 33 in my book.

If you are already prone to depression, or perhaps you are taking anti-depression medication or ever took medication for depression and are facing cancer treatment, here are 7 things you can do to survive depression while getting well.

1.Tell your oncologist about your previous experiences with depression, even if they are no longer an issue in your life.

2. Ask your oncology medical team for the name of a psychiatrist at your treatment center so that everyone can be informed about your emotional progress during treatment.

3. Journal your emotional journey during treatment to help you be aware of your progress during times of depression. This can be a light at the end of the tunnel.

4. Share your journal with your therapist or psychologist so they can monitor your emotions and watch for “red flags” or troubling behaviors before they become a dire situation. Creating an online journal will be easy to email to your therapist.

5. Most depression during treatment occurs five to seven days after chemotherapy. Do not be alone during those times. If you do not have someone to stay with, be sure to check in with your therapist often.

6. Have a family member or friend remove or hide all dangerous pharmaceuticals that you are not currently taking from your home during treatment.

7. Stay connected to your Higher-Power and belief system through dreams, prayers and meditation. This can be a guiding light in your hours of darkness.

Cancer AND depression are curable. Some medical practitioners prefer to say that cancer patients, after successfully completing treatment are in remission. They believe that with proper lifestyle adjustments that include a healthy diet and outlook on life, the cancer will remain in remission. Others prefer to say, “You’re cured!”  The same holds true for depression. The treatment regimen of finding medications that work at proper doses may not be easy, but the alternative is less so.  After surviving cancer three times, 15 and 10 years ago respectively I always say, “I’m cured.”  Join me and celebrate life.   In part 2 of this article titled Surviving Cancer & Depression: 4 Steps to Success we will discuss ways  to survive cancer and depression.

Kathleen O'Keefe-Kanavos Breast Cancer Authority ContributorBIO: Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos believes dreams diagnose your life. Did you have a déjà-vu or did your dream come true? Kat survived three cancers diagnosed by her dreams. International bestselling author, inspirational speaker, radio-host, columnist, blogger, Cancer Hotline Counselor; she has been featured on radio and TV, in magazines and newspapers, SURVIVING CANCERLAND: Intuitive Aspects of Healing is the first in her three book series on waking up to healing dreams. Kat taught Special Education and Psychology at (USF) University of South Florida. http://www.AccessYourInnerGuide.com   http://www.SurvivingCancerLand.com

In Two Short Weeks

Diana's Desk - Breast Cancer Authority BlogBy: Diana Ross, Co-Founder of Breast Cancer Yoga.

Last I shared on the blog I expressed an attitude of gratitude which now has to expand. Never did I think in the last two short weeks I would watch my big sister take her last breath, nor did I think I would be diagnosed with Stage 3 Lung Cancer but both happened. I don’t even know how to express all of this but I do know that I want to share everything on my journey to wellness. I will not let this cancer take my life. There is too much to do and to share. My sister, Valerie had a big obstacle to hurdle. She had Stage 4 Breast Cancer in her liver. She prevailed for over a year with changing her diet using the vegan Gerson Diet but ultimately the disease took her life.

I have a renewed attitude of gratitude in the sense that I have everyone on this blog who has gone through this experience and more sharing and caring. I am learning so much and so quickly. I feel it most important to share everything I learn with all of you. There are no cures necessarily but there are opportunities to expand awareness into how to heal yourself.

The first thing that keeps coming up is unconditional love. BIG! How does one love them self unconditionally? It is the key to wellness, and to happiness. Harboring resentments, remorse, guilt, shame and judgement is easy but it is unhealthy. It creates imbalance, dis-ease and then illness. In my heart I know where this all started so now I sit in a deeper seat of gratitude to figure this out so that I may be of bigger service. I want to love; really love myself, my family, my husband and my friends.

I want to thank everyone that has helped me learn that I am not alone and that miracles happen. Each week I will share what new approach to wellness I discovered. For example Louise Hay and her teachings of unconditional love and that words have power. Using certain essential oils specific for each organ of the body, PawPaw a herb of tremendous power, Vit C IVs, Ozone treatments, prayers for our food, music for our hearts and so on.

I hope this can be our moments of gratitude together.

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.

In Loving Memory of my Aunt Valerie

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By Dawn Bradford-Lange, Co-Founder of Breast Cancer Yoga.

My dearest Aunt Valerie passed Thursday July 24, 2014. She was the best aunt I could wish for. I am so fortunate that I got to have her as my aunt. Unfortunately she lost her battle against cancer.

When I was young I stayed at her house. I loved it there, she just let me be.  She helped me whenever I needed her, without judging me. She listened, and always tried to make me see the good things in others. I miss those days growing up in Harvard Yard. I hope that l am a little bit like her, because she made the world a better place for many people.

I still regret it that I couldn’t be there for her when she was dying. Her last days she spent with the people she loved and wanted to have surrounding her.

And to honor her, I will try to live my life the way she did, without judging people, and helping animals in need.

Read Valerie’s Article My Journey With Cancer, Read About Valerie  From Her Step Daughter And Dana Farber. Learn more about cancer treatment  and community out reach from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Dawn Breast CancerAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn 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.

My Story

Diana Ross Family PictureBy: Diana Ross Co-Founder Breast Cancer Yoga

Well our (me, my daughter, Dawn, and granddaughter, Desiree) first year anniversary for the authority blog is here. Unbelievable that the blog has turned out to be one of the most loving community based forums so I thought it fair and appropriate to share my own story about breast cancer.

My daughter, Dawn and I lived in Brockport, NY in the late 70s and early 80s. I studied at SUNY Brockport for a BS in Physical Education, Health Sciences and Holistic Health. Obviously I was well entrenched in health. Being vegan, on the Swim Team and an avid bike cyclist should spell out good health. Well one day I felt that lump in my right breast and boy was it painful. I did ignore it initially, after all I didn’t even have a doctor to go to. Finally a friend said check it out; go to Planned Parenthood. I did and sure enough they sent me to a breast surgeon and after a few tests it came back as cancer. Now comes the truth about my journey. I really didn’t connect with this cancer. Again, after all I was doing everything right and I just finished my education on how complementary therapies, a clean vegan diet and exercise are viable alternatives to the chemotherapy, radiation or worse both for the cure. I refused the offered treatments and believed that I needed to go deeper. I did feel that my breast cancer was a manifestation of all the painful events in my past. I know not all of you see it that way but I did suppress a lot of painful past memories. I knew I needed to release that pain and begin to forgive others as well as myself.

After my lumpectomy I then decided to become a raw vegan. Heck I got down to a approximately 5% body fat. I committed myself to a yoga and meditation practice, and I slowed everything up. I wanted to vibrate at the earth’s level. I was known to be a bit on the fast side so this in itself was quite the challenge. Dawn and I then moved to Long Island from Rochester. We stayed at a friend’s home by the beach while I slowly looked for a job. I was fortunate to have a friend that supported me, and I must tell you Dawn and I were happy moving to Long Island. It was like moving and living inside a terrarium. Paradise I tell you. All this helped me move on and heal. Back then there were no Pink anythings, no support groups and very little conversation. I refused to commit to my breast cancer. However, I did commit to myself and proved that how I lived and loved was the cure for me.

My sister recently shared her story. https://breastcanceryogablog.com/2014/03/22/my-journey-with-cancer/ She was diagnosis with Stage 4 but we talked about this commitment of staying healthy and looking at life a bit differently. She too is vegan. She believed the Gerson Diet was the way and she is doing awesome. Now my story is mine and not to be confused with anyone else’s. You need to do what your heart tells you to do. That is the answer: to believe and then to manifest health.

Even today it feels just like a story and not like it really happened. Something tells me I am not alone with that thought.

 

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.

Healing From The Inside Out

Pink Paper - Healing Journey With Natalie Palmer

By Natalie Palmer, Co-founded The Pink Paper – Master’s in Integrative Health & Healing, Certified Life Coach and Reiki practitioner.

“Healing from the inside out” is how I’ve come to describe my personal healing journey. Since receiving a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis 9 years ago I’ve understandably had healing on my mind quite a bit. Thinking about it, praying about it, crying about, raging about it and going within finally allowed me to come to an understanding of what healing means, for mind, body and spirit.

What is healing?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary lists the following definitions for healing:

  1. To make sound or whole
  2. To restore to health
  3. To patch up
  4. To restore to original purity or integrity
  5. To return to a sound state

These definitions are all wonderful, and depending on the context in which they are used, I’m sure they adequately convey what’s meant to be communicated. But … there’s more to this healing thing isn’t there? If you’ve faced the challenges associated with a physical illness or a devastating loss or a serious accident or chronic disease you know what I mean. You understand that there’s SO much more to healing than meets the eye. True healing takes place below the surface, in places we connect to when we are still, quiet and focused within. True healing reconnects our mind, our body and our spirit. True healing brings us back into balance with ourselves and with our divine source. True healing is all about connection.

Another more comprehensive definition then of healing might sound something like this,
“ Healing is when we return to our original stating of Being where we are whole, restored and connected in mind, body and spirit to our source.” This describes healing from the inside out. Create a definition of healing that resonates with you.

Finding Source

Deepak Chopra said, “Human beings are made of body, mind and spirit. Of these, spirit is primary, or it connects us to the source of everything, the eternal field of consciousness.”

What do we say when we feel overwhelmed, exhausted and burnt-out? We talk about feeling disconnected and alone. We are disconnected, we’ve lost touch with our source, our Higher Power, or what some of us call God. Establishing or re establishing our connection to “the source of everything” is the most important aspect of healing deeply.

There are as many ways to connect with source as you can possibly imagine. Mother Theresa believed God could be found in silence when she said, “ We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.” Buddha taught about cultivating a wakeful presence through meditation, “To awaken, sit calmly, letting each breath clear your mind and open your heart.”

When we open our hearts and quiet our minds we’re able to find source, our Higher Power, God or whatever name you give to that which is the creator of all there is.This connection we seek and crave is within ourselves. When Jesus was asked when the kingdom of God would come he replied, “ Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21) Connecting with the healing power of our Creator involves the ultimate of all journeys, the journey of going within, of discovery, love and complete acceptance of ourselves as spiritual beings first and above all else.

Ways to Heal

  • Pray
  • Meditate
  • Forgive daily
  • Allow goodness
  • Embrace silence
  • Nourish your soul
  • See God everywhere
  • Commune with nature
  • Listen with your heart
  • Cultivate inner peace
  • Appreciate the moment
  • Believe in transformation
  • Open yourself to miracles
  • Don’t judge yourself harshly
  • Remember we are all the same
  • Become a compassionate person
  • Accept yourself exactly as you are
  • Know you are loved beyond measure
  • Let go of that which no longer serves your highest good

This is truly a never ending list because there are SO many ways to allow healing from the inside out. Create your own list and begin to create your own healing.

“Then came the healing time, hearts started to shine, soul felt so fine, oh what a freeing time it was.”
– Aberjhani

Natalie Palmer Founder Pink PaperAbout Natalie Palmer: She is a reader, writer, vegan food eater and lover of light with a passion for helping others. As a way to “pay it forward” after a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis Natalie co-founded The Pink Paper – An online oasis of wellness information and inspiration. She also has a Master’s in Integrative Health & Healing and is a Certified Life Coach and Reiki practitioner.

 

 

 

 

What are you Growing?

By: Holly J. Bertone

Springtime brings a rite of passage when we venture out into the garden to watch life blossom out of the dead of winter. We shed the layers of ice and snow; and look to the earth to give us green and growth.

Cancer was my winter. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation targeted the tumor, but killed everything else. Everything inside of me was dying. I lost my hair. My nails were dead and brown. I ached from the inside of my bones out as the treatment worked at the cellular level to kill all things bad… and good. In death there is life, and as my body began to heal, everything started to grow back. As I marvel at the miracle of spring, I think about life and death. Gardening and cancer. Flowers and weeds. Sowing and reaping.

When we moved to the Homestead in 2011, gardening became my new obsession and therapy. It is a peaceful activity, and brings a new serenity to my life. We inherited some very invasive Boston Ivy with the Homestead. It’s pretty to look at, but it will kill a house and surrounding foliage and everything in between. Despite the ivy being everywhere, and being extremely invasive, it’s actually pretty wimpy. Give it a little tug and it gives up.

Gardening For Breast CancerOnward to a different part of the garden and a different kind of weed. I have no idea what this weed was called, but it had deep roots of steel. It didn’t budge. Even my super strong-muscled Green Beret husband struggled to remove these stubborn weeds.

These roots are like a cancer. Sometimes they are wimpy and simply need to be removed. Sometimes they are invasive and run deep, and are difficult to completely eliminate.

It was great to admire the garden completely empty. The weeds were gone and it was a blank slate; a chance to start new.

It was time to plant beautiful flowers. We planted Shasta Daisy’s, Cornflowers, Black-eyed Susan’s, and Phlox. All of these flowers are not only beautiful, but are perennials, and will grow back year after year. Ideally, these flowers will grow and bloom in the garden long after we are gone.

When you face mortality, it’s only natural to think about how you want to live. What is the cancer in your life? How deep are its roots? Are you committed to getting rid of it? How much do you want to start over? Are you ready to face a blank slate? What are you planting? What are you growing? How are you blooming today?
About the Author

Holly Bertone Breast Cancer Authority BloogerHolly Bertone is originally from Waynesboro, PA. She holds a Master’s Degree from Johns Hopkins University, a Bachelor’s Degree from Elizabethtown College, and is a Project Management Professional (PMP). Holly is the CEO and President of Pink Fortitude, LLC, a company dedicated to promoting inspiration and positive self-esteem to cancer survivors and ALL women. Holly has published several books, including the heartwarming “Coconut Head’s Cancer Survival Guide – My Journey from Diagnosis to ‘I Do’.”   You can follow Holly on her website and blog: http://coconutheadsurvivalguide.com/. She is passionate about reaching out to breast cancer survivors, and also volunteers for organizations supporting our Veterans.  In her free time, she loves to garden, putter around the house, hit flea markets, antique stores and yard sales, and drink a cup of coffee on her back porch. Holly is married to a retired Green Beret, is a stepmother, and lives in Alexandria, VA.

A Kindred Spirit So How Do I Help?

Kindred SpiritsJean Di Carlo-Wagner, Owner, Yoga Being Only Online Advanced Yoga Training For Cancer Survivors

“I been in a *German hospital for four days with a GI bleed,” said a rather pale man sitting next to me in the international airport to whoever was on the other end of his dying cell phone. “I thought I was better, but I’m still bleeding.”  My sandwich suspended midair, I contemplated what words to introduce myself. This is regular type of occurrence for me; since becoming a colorectal survivor and devoting my life to serving others. My prayer sent up, I began, “Excuse me, I didn’t mean to eavesdrop on your conversation, but I am an 11 year colon cancer survivor, on my way to Washington, D.C. to advocate for funding and prevention of gastrointestinal cancers. My name is Jean. “  *Dan told me that he lived abroad and had had a CT and colonoscopy in Germany; but nothing was found. A mysterious G.I. bleed can be fatal. We talked like old veterans comparing war wounds. He decided to get further testing in the States.

Believing that one’s dharma is supported by the Universe makes these encounters with people “normal” for me. Dan and I exchanged emails and I’ve been keeping up with his testing. Asking my network of “experts” what they would suggest and then writing detailed emails outlining the types of tests to request and how to be a ‘pain in the ass’ patient.  We must advocate for ourselves and educate others.  As I sat taking notes at the Digestive Diseases National Coalition advocates training the next day, I thought of Dan and the many others in his situation. It is part of what makes me keep fighting for prevention, awareness and funding.

Eleven experts in the field of digestive diseases spoke to us about the progress, problems, and the promises of research. New medication is making its way to market and networking. When you combine all the diseases of the digestive track, from mouth to anus, you have a total of cancers and diseases that outweighs any single part of the body’s cancers.  There is power in integrating the digestive track diseases into a coalition of advocates: the sum is greater than its parts. The main points that stick with me are 1) that it takes so long to become an expert in biomedical research, which effects all cancer advances. We have few young doctors choosing  to wait until 44 (the average age of the doctors getting  NIH grants) to get acknowledged in their field. This means the future is already compromised.  We should all be worried about this building gap in biomedical research. Of course in the meantime, 2) medical trials are expensive, labor intensive and burdened with government paperwork. This slow down means that new medicines are taking a very long to reach consumers. We all know how expensive new drugs are and there is legislation to expedite the process.  And, most critically, the reduction in the National Institute of Health’s budget for all medical research, in “real dollars” (those adjusted for inflation) means that the money  available is crucially important to increase this year, or we will fall further behind in all medical research.

After a full day of state-of-the-art training by the DDNC, the 50 patient advocates were pumped and primed for hitting the halls of the Senate and House of Representatives.  That’s when we heard that “due to snow” the government would be closed the following day. Our advocacy day was a bust.  Since when are snow days called the day before? Erika Hanson Brown, Mayor of COLONTOWN and I, and fifteen others, braved the snow and showed up, anyway.  I had flown across the country to speak my mind, and someone was going to hear me! I had Dan on my mind and five friends who have died from this scourge of a disease called cancer.  I was determined.

Stuffing gluten free brownies into my knapsack as rewards, I walked the Halls of Congress looking for an opened door. I found that South Dakota’s office was opened. I walked in and two of the nicest young woman listened to me rattle on about why I had come to D.C. and what we needed their Senator to support. Then I asked a question I always ask, ”Do you or anyone in your family have inflammatory bowel disease?”  I want to personalize the reason for the legislation, and in this case, one of the young ladies said she had Celiac disease.  “Yes,” I told her, “you have to have a colonoscopy at age 40.”   She looked stunned, but now she was informed. I had done one good thing.  It’s my minimum quota for the effort I put into advocating:  just help one person.

Ironically, California offices were opened, but they canceled all their meetings.  It was particularly disappointing to me that my own State would have its offices opened and still cancel all their meetings. Believe me, that’s another editorial that I will write.

I was able to advocate for integrative and alternative medical treatment.  While Dan and I were on the plane to D.C., he asked me about my work in the area of yoga and meditation for cancer patients.  I told him that he could change in his life in 20 minutes a day of a meditative practice, and gave him a magazine I had been reading encouraging all things meditative. While in New Jersey, I met with the founder of a nonprofit that offers yoga to cancer patients, at risk kids and soldiers with PTSD.  Kula for Yoga is a program in the Northeast, and serving underprivileged populations around my home town.  Their commitment to serving was just what I needed to get past the blow of not being able to advocate as I had planned in D.C.

Just today, *Dan texted me that he was on his way back to Germany with few answers. The possible answer for the bleed is that he had been using high doses of NSAID drugs for two years.  These have real risks and anyone taking them regularly should consider having blood and liver panel tests to see about their clotting time and their liver function.  For now, *Dan says that it is one BM at a time! Gotta have humor. Gotta have drive! Gotta have yoga and meditation to survive!

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

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