14 Helpful Ideas To Cope With Cancer During The Holidays

Treatment is coming along but it is my first Holiday Season living with the knowledge that there is this aggressive invader in my body. What am I to do? Sound familiar? Identify?

Living with a cancer diagnosis is not for the faint of heart. And the Holiday season only amplifies the reality that you have come face-to-face with your own mortality. This diagnosis like none other slaps you into the reality that life is not forever for anyone, especially your life, as you are actively fighting for it. I found it helpful during my treatment to keep my life as “normal” as possible. So here are a few to-dos that might be helpful.

  1. Do decorate but do not go overboard. Your energy is needed to heal.
  2. Do buy your favorite foods even if they don’t taste quite the same.
  3. If you are one of those who loves to cook or bake then choose a favorite and make it.
  4. If you send out a Christmas letter then focus on the positives of the treatment process and use the letter to tell them what you need to hear from them this coming year. The reality is no one knows what to say and often say nothing in order to not say the wrong thing. So include a little paragraph that says something like this:
      “I know the C word makes everyone nervous and afraid. Thank goodness Cancer is not contagious and you can’t transmit it by talking about it. Do not be afraid to ask me, “How are you doing?” Don’t be afraid to ask me, “Do you want to talk about it?” Or “What do you need?” I have good days and bad days and often times I don’t know what I need but it feels good to be asked. And what I need to hear from you most is: “I don’t know what to say or ask, but I am wanting you to know you are important to me, what can I do?”
  5. If you love shopping, go off times when everyone else is at work.
  6. Listen to great Christmas music and if you get bored or teary with it, then switch to music you really love. Don’t be afraid of your tears. Tell your journal how you are feeling and what you are experiencing.
  7. Watch holiday movies. Go to a play or live performance.
  8. Get outside. Bundle up and walk around the block or drive to a park. A change of scenery always feels good.
  9. If you are too weak to drive have someone take you to see Christmas lights.
  10. Buy an adult coloring book to color in as the days turn into weeks and weeks into months. Coloring can be a useful and fun activity that keeps your mind from worrying so much.
  11. Drink tea. It is a wonderful healing ritual.
  12. Wear your favorite and most comfortable clothes.
  13. And if you are traveling for the holiday on trains or airplanes consider wearing a mask in addition to keeping hands clean to help protect from others’ germs. These are not full-proof measures but the extra steps to help.
  14. And, best of all, give yourself permission to NOT do anything you don’t want to do. If you hate wrapping presents, switch to gift bags only. If you hate cooking, order your holiday meal. Pamper yourself.

Create new memories for next year. Having cancer is a real bummer but do not let it control you and your mood. You are still alive right now and use this time to make the most of it with your loved ones. None of us are immortal. We will all die. We do not get a choice about that. But we do get a choice about how we live and what we create while we are here. Never allow self-pity to steal your joy. Find something to enjoy every day. Give back. Call a friend who is down and cheer him/her up. Look for ways to make a positive difference in the lives of people around you. You may have cancer but that does not mean your entire identity has changed. Don’t let cancer own you. Live your life the best possible way and get determined to enjoy this Holiday Season regardless. Turn up that music now!

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Dr. Robin B. Dilley’s Books:

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.

In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey With Breast Cancer Book Review

Breast Cancer Authority Blog Bestseller Book Review! – In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer

In A Moments Notice - Breast Cancer Authority Bestseller

About The Book

This book is the culmination of Dr. Robin B. Dilley’s poignant journey to wellness after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999. Dr. Dilley’s story offers a unique voice, blending her clinical insights with spiritual awakenings along her journey. She describes in detail her emotional struggle to make sense out of the disease and the medical world while showing a strong and solid reliance on her profound spirituality. Her journey introduces amazing characters that she encountered along the way as her life took on new meaning, including the development of her friend and ally, the Tiger.

From the Author

In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer  Finally, I have finished my book about my eleven-year journey with breast cancer. When I was going through treatment I wanted to read someone else’s story, but could not find a book that talked about the ups and downs of treatment and how this disease drastically as well as subtlety changes your life and the lives of those around you. I read thousands of articles, and medical reports, but at that time, I could not find a single book that would talk to me about what it was like. I have now written that book and you can order it now.

About the Author

Dr. Robin B. Dilley is an Arizona licensed psychologist in private practice.She received her doctoral degree from Union Institute in 1992 and has been practicing as a clinician in the field of psychotherapy since 1978. “Psychotherapy for Personal Growth and Redirection” is the heart of Dr. Dilley’s practice, so regardless of what the problem is, there is a solution. The solution is found in the journey, not in the destination.

Natural Killer Cell Therapy and Cancer Treatment

learn-about-natural-killer-cells-nk-cells-for-breast-cancer-treatmentNatural killer (NK) therapy involves using natural killer cells derived from peripheral blood samples or cord blood samples as a treatment for cancerous diseases. It may be used as a treatment for those cancers that have failed to be eradicated by stem cell transplant treatment.

One article (1) looked at the use of natural killer cell therapy and the treatment of cancer. It studied ways in which NK therapy can be an effective way to kill cancer cells. They found that natural killer cell therapy directed specifically at cancer cells can preferentially kill cancer cells, leaving normal cells alone. The mechanism of action appears to be antibodies directed at cancer cells, which activate natural killer cells that go on to kill cancer cells.

They noted that this type of therapy is currently very expensive so it isn’t yet sure that it can be a cost-effective way to treat cancer.

Source: 1.Klingemann H. Challenges of cancer therapy with natural killer cells. Cytotherapy. March 2015; Volume 17, Issue 3, Pages 245–249.

Dr. Adem Gunes

Dr. Adem Gunes Dr. Adem Gunes has built the world’s largest database of scientifically tested natural substances with proven effects in cancer treatments. In 2009, he was appointed as the Chief Physician of ProLife Clinic in Innsbruck, Austria, and played a key role in the establishment of the research laboratory. He is also the co-founder of the first Austrian hyperthermia center. Now, Dr. Adem works closely with cancer patients from around the world (including Germany, Thailand, Dubai) to recommend them a complementary cancer clinic or to create a personalized care plan for patients to follow at home.

Why are women at a higher risk of leukemia after breast cancer treatment?

leukemia after breast cancer treatmentResearchers have been trying to determine ways to prevent the complications in the breast cancer survivors to reduce the occurrence of a relapse. The breast cancer treatments that include radiation therapy and chemotherapy target the malignant cells in the breast tissues and destroy them.

However, these treatments also affect the healthy cells, which results in an increase in the risk of leukemia in the future, the researchers said. They are conducting studies to determine the factors that may cause an increased risk of leukemia after breast cancer treatment.

The possible factors that are believed to contribute to the risk of secondary malignancy are the family history of cancer and an inherited gene mutation.

The research involved a follow-up of 88 breast cancer survivors who were treated for breast cancer and developed leukemia at a later stage. It was found that the women had a family history of cancer, which suggested a genetic susceptibility to develop cancer like leukemia.

About 20 percent of the women in this study group had an inherited gene mutation, which can increase the risk of breast cancer.

“This is expected to enable the scientists in determining how these genes affect or modify the breast cancer treatment-related leukemia risk. It will also help to understand whether any specific treatment causes a higher risk based on the inherited genetic make-up of a woman,” said Dr. Jane Churpek, the study leader from the University of Chicago.

This will help the oncologists to have a patient-specific conversation about the potential risks of radiation and chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer.

It may be difficult to determine the exact role of breast cancer treatment in the development of leukemia. Hence, it is important that the breast cancer patients are uniquely positioned so that the true frequency and the causative factors of subsequent leukemia can be ascertained.

American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Cancer Society have issued guidelines for improving the survival rates of breast cancer patients. The breast cancer survivors are advised to undergo routine physical exams and mammograms to check for any new tumor.  They do not need additional lab tests or imaging unless there are significant symptoms suggesting that a malignancy may have returned.

The guidelines include recommendations in five key areas, which include:

  • Regular surveillance for the recurrence of malignancy by physical examination and the patient’s cancer history
  • Regular mammographic screening
  • Management and assessment of the psychosocial and long-term physical impact of breast cancer treatment
  • Care coordination and practical implications
  • Promotion of a healthy lifestyle

With regular follow-up and monitoring, the occurrence of complications following breast cancer treatment is expected to decline. This will increase the life expectancy of breast cancer survivors and also improve their quality of life.

1. Leukemia Risk After Breast Cancer Treatment
2. ASCO and ACS Issue Guideline on Breast Cancer Survivor Care
3. Organizations issue joint guidelines for breast cancer survivors

Featured Photo: HealthyWomen.org

Dr. Adem GunesDr. Adem Gunes has built the world’s largest database of scientifically tested natural substances with proven effects in cancer treatments. In 2009, he was appointed as the Chief Physician of ProLife Clinic in Innsbruck, Austria, and played a key role in the establishment of the research laboratory. He is also the co-founder of the first Austrian hyperthermia center. Now, Dr. Adem works closely with cancer patients from around the world (including Germany, Thailand, Dubai) to recommend them a complementary cancer clinic or to create a personalized care plan for patients to follow at home.


A Woman to Woman NEW YEAR Resolutions: Wants vs Needs

A Woman to Woman NEW YEAR Resolutions- Wants vs Needs“Kat, what is your New Year’s Resolution?” a friend asks over lunch. “Mine is to give up cigarettes and sugar” she says, while shaking a packet of sweetener substitute into her coffee.

“Mine’s to not give up anything and to put myself first,” is my answer. “Then I’ll refocus on implementing the difference between wants and needs in life.”

My friend stops stirring her coffee, peers over her sunglasses, and asks, “What do you mean by that?”

The concept of “care-giver first” and the difference between want and need were clearly alien to her. For the longest time they were to me, too.

Crisis can re-prioritize your life.
These concepts introduced themselves during radiation therapy while battling breast cancer recurrence. The side effects of emotional emptiness were more severe than treatment burns in some women because they were unaware of the importance of soul self-care.

Unfortunately burn-out is an equal opportunity state of emotion that affects men, too.

Statistics show that women worldwide are the main care-givers in life who share unconditionally until there is nothing left. Their inner well runs dry. Lately, an alarming pattern of self-induced emptiness has emerged during these uncertain economic times.

Part of the problem is not distinguishing between wants and needs.
Families have many wants, and care-givers try to meet those wants as needs; a terrible burden to carry. Care-givers are burned-out from giving so much of themselves to those who want more than is available. The result is nothing left to give to people who truly need help, including themselves. Weak emotional boundaries crumble under the weight of want. Medication and psychotherapy fills the void and dulls feelings of frustration and failure.

When the spirit suffers the body cries out with symptoms of dis-ease. Listen to yourself.
Breast Cancer Authority Blog New Year 2016Now is the dawning of a New Year. Here are three resolutions that are antidotes to emptiness. They are written as choice-affirmations that complement and empower the people who choose to live them.

  • “I will choose to love and embrace myself.”
  • “I will choose to put myself first and give myself permission to be number one in my life.”
  • “I will choose to build strong defined boundaries using the power of “NO!” as a tool.

Saying “no” to others is difficult because care-givers love to please, and will go without so others may have more. Some of this is care-giver conditioning. It may be time for retraining.

Recondition yourself. Say “Yes!” to you, which can automatically so “No” to imbalance.
When going through chemotherapy, my psychotherapist armed me with a powerful mantra as an aid through the uncertainty of treatment. “You are number one. No one and nothing is more important than you.” She was right! As a cancer hotline phone counselor and mentor, that mantra is still important, today. How can an empty counselor give to others?

Fire up your heart with self-love. You want to be embraced but need to hug yourself first.
Intention powered by the flame of loveThe importance of the mantra was even more evident during the Stitch-n-Bitch (as we liked to call ourselves) radiation therapy group. Women who had been the sole care-givers of their family were suddenly discarded when circumstances shifted and they needed care. These women said that without the love and devotion of their lovers or significant others, they were nothing. They lacked the power to survive.

Breast Cancer Authority Blog New Years 2016Their chances for a full recovery were challenged by their depression and feelings of emotional emptiness. Our little group spent hours discussing wants versus needs. So deep were these discussions that the nurses, radiologists and counselors listened in and took notes.

We came to some profound conclusions.
We want others to love us, but we need to love ourselves. We want a big beautiful house, but we really only need a roof over our heads. We want to eat in fancy restaurants, but we just need nutritious food. The lists of wants versus needs were endless. Realizing the difference between them, however, was the first step in becoming emotionally, physically and financially fulfilled. Trying to meet the endless demands of keeping-up-with-the-Jones’ is expensive on so many levels. The reality of trying to keep up with Reality TV can be emotional and financial bankruptcy. Understanding this truth is the first step to teaching it to our family.

Putting reality into practice will help us, as care-givers, become aware of our limitations.
It has been easy to fall back into old habits and become lax in practicing what that little group preached during those difficult times, so many years ago. Now, it is time to put want-versus- need back into daily practice.

When something seems enticing, the question will be, “Is that truly needed, or just wanted?”
This New Year, focus on inner-balance. Embrace being kind and forgiving to you first, then practice good-will toward others. As you step out of your comfort zone it might feel odd, which may be validation that you are creating a new empowered habit. Seek out and join a community; a “sister-hood of women” (or men), as your support system. Their strength will keep you from feeling alone during times of despair and their resources will help you meet the needs of your family and friends.

Here is an example of an empowering statement to repeat that can help you settle into this new habit. “When my body is fatigued, I will rest. When my soul is tired, I will meditate. I will surround myself with things I love like positive friends, pets, plants, music and fragrant candles while immersed in healing waters from a bath or shower.”

Too many of us have lost a part of ourselves and are experiencing a void. Enjoying your favorite things will fill your soul with joy.
As with the Chinese yin and yang, which are seemingly opposing forces bound together, intertwined, and interdependent in the natural world, we are complex creatures comprised of body and soul. These two diabolically different parts must be in balance as a duality for complete health of body and mind. Like yin and yang, male and female, your body and soul are a dynamic equilibrium duo. If one disappears, the other must fade as well, leaving emptiness.

When one part of self is full it flows into the other.New Years 2016 on Breast Cancer AuthorityIt is time to face forward into a New Year of balance comprised of yin and yang, love and self-love, and forgive mistakes we cannot change. We can learn from our past to build a positive future. The good news is a sisterhood or brotherhood of women and men is only a phone call, post or tweet away to help you refill yourself with the love you deserve and NEED.

Balance yourself. Take care of your soul and it will take care of you . . . then help others.

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

Breathing, Yoga and Cancer

Breathing Yoga & Cancer

By: Jean Di Carlo Wagner: Owner of Yogabeing.net E-RYT200, E-RYT500 Certified Yoga Therapist with Yoga Alliance.

Breathing and yoga are powerful and have immediate benefits for cancer patients:  Together they offer the power to gain some control over anxiety, a restless mind, and the whirlwind of change that comes with a cancer diagnosis.

From my own experience of cancer, and being a caregiver to my middle sister and mother who also experienced cancer, I learned a lot of what is truly important.  I felt such a lack of control over myself during cancer treatment  that I began to control my environment to an unhealthy extent. Did I really want to use up my precious energy in cleaning? Didn’t being a good mother include cleaning, laundry, dinner and quality bedtime routines?  None of my usual touchstones of health were in place. And at one point, the dust balls in the corner seemed to mock and taunt me. I couldn’t keep up.

Dust balls are not that important, but our minds might replay messages of ineptitude about how we are coping with cancer. My mind told me that those dust bunnies were evidence of a person who was not performing her household duties and was failing physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Surveying our bodies and our breath, we take inventory of what is happening right now. When we focus our energy, we begin the process of letting go of everything else.  We are not our diagnosis.  We begin to see and feel our bodies, our emotions, and our spirits.  The breath carries us within and connects us to a greater truth.

Here’s a way to find your truth:

  • Settle into your surroundings.
  • Draw your focus to your heart center.
  • Feel your heart beating.
  • Feel your breath moving in and out.
  • As your focus becomes centered on your heart, let your heart open with each breath.
  • Listen and breathe.
  • Feel and enjoy.

I know that my students come to yoga class to invest time in themselves and their wellness.  It is a huge effort of energy and time and I don’t take that for granted. The room is set up to be inviting, relaxing, calming and accepting. We freely hug and greet one another. We take time to talk about where we are in our life’s journey or cancer journey. We do not judge ourselves or others. We simply come to place of “being.”


Jean Di Carlo WagnerAbout Jean Di Carlo Wagner: Owner of Yogabeing.net
E-RYT200, E-RYT500 certified with Yoga Alliance
Yoga Therapists 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

THOUGHTS…Thinking, reflecting, musing

THOUGHTS…Thinking, reflecting, musingBy: Dr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer and a licensed psychologist.

THOUGHTS are funny because they seem to have a life of their own. During the night, sometimes it seems impossible to turn THOUGHTS off. Strangely, at other times it seems hard to turn THOUGHTS on. What are your THOUGHTS? Have you bothered to get to know them?

As a person who has encountered cancer, I know thoughts can also be fairly harassing. Thoughts like, “Am I going to die?” “Will it come back?” “How will I know?” “What can I do?” Look at those thoughts. They really are not thoughts, they are questions. Questions need answers and the funny thing about the brain, almost any answer will do, because we seek closure. The cycle needs to come full circle so the brain can stop asking the same question over and over again. The answers to the above, (once you stop being terrorized) are quite simple. “Am I going to die?” is answered, “Yes.” “Will it come back?” The answer to that question is, “I don’t know. Maybe, but I will deal with that when and if it happens.” “How will I know?” “If it comes back, I will know. If it doesn’t come back, I will know that too. I am not symptomatic now.” The last question, “What can I do?” will be answered when and if it comes back. Questions are the entrance to a great ocean of worry, if we don’t take the time to answer them. But it is often a terrorizing cycle. We don’t answer the questions because questions create anxiety and anxiety creates fear. Fear immobilizes our brain and we become more afraid. Learning to stay with the question until it shifts and we can let go is the key to turning our questions into reflecting and from reflecting to musing.

Reflection is the art of slowing down the questions and thus redirecting our thoughts toward truth. Truth is not always absolute but in some cases it is. For instance, the answer to the question, “Will I die?” is “Yes.” We all will die as no one gets out of this world alive. And if we die of cancer is that any better or worse than other ways of dying? Reflection allows us to normalize scary words like dying. Normalizing anxiety is like taming a herd of cats. Once you get one question answered, usually a million more will follow. Thus, again taking the necessary time to stay with the question will allow you to come to a resting point. Staying is a quality of meditation and reflection becomes the outcome of staying. You may feel powerless over the outcome of your treatment, but you are not really powerless over your thoughts about it. However, in order to experience empowerment you will have to teach yourself to stay with the question until it abates and washes out to the horizon where you can no longer see or feel it until next time. Here is a little model that I use that you may find helpful. Notice I said, “Stay with the question until it abates and washes out to the horizon where you can no longer see it or feel it until next time?”

One question I have wrestled with, breathed into, transcended above, journaled about, colored about, gestalted, and used any number of other techniques to get it to go away, is the question, “Will it come back?” Thus, this question has taught me the art of staying.

Now, when I first notice that nagging question running on default software in the back of my head, I begin a gentle dialogue with it. I sit with my journal and say, “You are back, my good friend. You must need some of my attention. Are you trying to tell me something I need to know? Do I need to adjust my diet or change my exercise routine? Is there anything that I need to be paying different attention too? In order for me to get into this sort of abstract dialogue I allow my question to take a believable form, such as a scared child, an ugly deformed monster, or even a small pesky mosquito. I am a visual person, thus I need to see who I am talking to before I can hear a response. Once I address the question with more questions, I allow myself to freely write the answers to what the image is trying to tell me. If, the image has brought me information, I thank the image and then tell it that it must go for now and I use my breath to watch the image take the next wave and continue to assist the image with my breath until it disappears over the horizon. I go about my day unafraid, making any necessary adjustments that have come to my attention. However, more times than not, this question, “Will it come back?” has nothing useful to offer me. I believe the question is part of the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that a cancer survivor lives with. By staying with the question until it abates I am allowing my brain to create new pathways, endless options, thus gaining insight and courage each time I stay with that pesky question.
The art of staying includes:

  1. Stop and take time to be with the question.
  2. Create an inner image of the question. (What form does the question take?)
  3. Dialogue with the question through journaling or active imagination.
  4. Advising the question (image) that is now time to go.
  5. Assisting the image with your breath until it is completely disappeared over the horizon.
  6. Greet the question with acceptance when it returns and repeat.

Since thoughts are going to come and go, you can either continue to be harassed by them or learn to stay with them until they become manageable. Taking time for yourself is the most important tool of self care, so spend some time with yourself today learning to stay with your thoughts until the inner fear dissipates. Enjoy your creativity as you become your own best healer. Healing is within you, not out there somewhere.

“May you awaken those parts of you that have fallen asleep, open the parts of you that are thirsty, and discover anew the magic of growing.” rbdilley

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.

Learn How Yoga Offers Relief From Cancer-Related Fatigue

Breast Cancer Yoga Pose

Angela Strynkowski, E-RYT 500 Happily Doing “Legs Over Bolster” Yoga Pose

Author: Diana Ross, E-RYT 500, Posted By: Breast Cancer Yoga Staff.

Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is very common. Fatigue can often be confused with tiredness, but there are differences between the two conditions. For one, tiredness happens to everyone, especially after certain activities or chemo – but  fatigue is less common and an excessive whole-body tiredness that is not relieved with sleep.   This debilitating condition can impact your quality of life.  It can be acute (lasting a month or less) or chronic (lasting from one month to six months or longer). The precise reason for this intensive tiredness is unknown, but practitioners believe it may be related to the process of cancer itself or chemotherapies and radiation treatments. (CRF) is one of the most common side effects of cancer and its associated treatments. Usually, it comes on suddenly, and does not result from activity or exertion. It is often described as “paralyzing.” It may continue even after treatment is complete.

If you’re a cancer survivor and feeling tired or even worse, even long after treatment, you are not alone. But you can do something about it.

About one-third of breast cancer survivors experience CRF for anywhere from a year to several years post-treatment. While there’s no conventional therapy to resolve it, studies are increasingly showing yoga can help.  Patients with different cancers report relief with exercise, specifically yoga.

Yoga designed especially for breast cancer survivors is helping women to catch a second wind.

In fact, a recent UCLA study found that three months after beginning this practice, women with post-treatment fatigue were still feeling more invigorated than before they began the exercise program. Not only do women become more energized, but they see improvement in mood and sleep; they are typically more relaxed, more aware, and more accepting of what life brings to them. All these attributes are so critical as we work toward continued mental and physical well being, and ultimately, our healing.

How does Breast Cancer Yoga target physical and emotional fatigue?

Breast Cancer Yoga helps relieve taxing fatigue by encouraging deep breathing, which increases oxygen consumption.  This deep breathing is then tied into each gentle flowing yoga movement.  Each pose is supported with props to allow for comfort and support.

Begin a yoga practice, slowly, and before long you will begin to experience positive energy, increased flexibility, and less pain.

Studies show that breast cancer survivors who practice restorative yoga poses regularly, sleep better, have less joint pain, more energy, mental clarity, increased range of motion (ROM), strength, increased resistance, and lower stress.

Exercising to gain energy and strength can be a catch all; it’s hard to exercise if you’re tired and weak but what’s nice about yoga, particularly restorative yoga, is that it doesn’t take the strength and stamina required to go out for a run or bike ride. Restorative poses can be done either in a reclined position or a supported seated position.

Technique and pacing are important.

Please don’t over do it, especially when you get started. Rather, gradually implement a daily yoga practice. Work to maintain a positive attitude and know through time and practice you will see improvement. You will actually find that recovery can be a positive, “feel good” experience. Please speak to your health care provider before starting an exercise program of any kind. For more on restorative yoga and to see more poses demonstrated, visit http://www.breastcanceryoga.com/

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.

Eco-friendly Ways to Decorate and Improve Your Home

By Linda Williams, a breast cancer survivor and author of several non-fiction books focusing on science and the environment.

So you or a loved one has won the battle with breast cancer. Speaking from experience, the next question is, “What can I do to keep it from coming back?”

Building and construction materials
Actually, there are lots of things you can do in your living space. The one with the biggest impact is to make sure your next home is built by a LEED certified builder with as many sustainable, low impact materials as possible. It’s good for the environment and your health too!

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings, homes, and neighborhoods.

You can also look for an older home with hardwood floors that have had years to release toxic fumes from construction glues and other materials. (Just make sure lead paint and asbestos are not present.)

If you want sustainable bamboo flooring, choose finishes that are water-based, solvent-free and don’t off-gas toxic chemicals. They may cost a bit more, but you’ll be better off health wise.

Garages are part of a healthy home too. Detached garages keep carbon dioxide (in auto exhaust) out of the home. If your dream home has an attached garage, leave the garage door open for a while after arriving home to allow exhaust fumes to vent away. It’s also better if your bedroom doesn’t share a wall with the garage since you spend so many hours sleeping.

To increase home venting, get your screens repaired or replaced so you can open the windows and exchange some of the stale indoor air for fresh (Skip it if you live in a metropolitan or highly polluted, industrialized area.)

I’m lucky enough to live in a city that is militant about keeping its water pure. Our tap water is divine, but those with poor water quality might consider a water purifier or a filtering pitcher that cleans tap water before you drink it.

Along these same lines, consider using glass for pitchers and storage containers. Plastics exposed to high heat (dishwasher, microwave) release toxic chemicals into their contents. There are a few safe plastics, but you almost have to have a chemistry degree to find them. To be safe, choose glass for around the house and low reacting silicone for carrying a drink.

If you already have a home that is relatively non-toxic, you can keep it that way when painting and decorating. Choose paint with low or zero VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). Your sinuses will applaud you during painting and you’ll avoid toxic paint fumes that can linger for weeks and months.

While you’re at it, choose stimulating colors like yellow or red for kitchen and dining areas to boost appetite. Go with calming grays or blues for the bedroom. Cancer takes advantage of a stressed immune system, so appropriate colors can update your home and boost your mood too.

Cleaning products
Try switching your cleaning products to tried and true DIY home cleaners like vinegar or the growing number of natural products that use enzymes to clean instead of harsh chemicals. You can find these products for everything from dish and laundry soap to kitchen cleaners for eliminate grease and grime.

So you’ve assessed your home environment and tried some of these eco-friendly home ideas. What’s next?

Healthy décor
Healthy décor includes natural products such as cotton bed linens and wool blankets. Organic cotton pillowcases and sheets haven’t been treated with pesticides (while the cotton was growing in the fields) or harsh chemicals (at the manufacturing plant). There is also organic cotton fabric available to make custom curtains, slip covers, and other home items. It’s fun discovering all the home DIY projects possible. (Pinterest has tons.)

Not domestic? The cost of organic linens are dropping as the big box stores pick up the eco-friendly challenge and offer a variety of organic choices.

House plants are great additions to home decor (unless you have plant-eating cats like I do). In 1989, NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) published a study that showed how common houseplants such as English ivy, spider plants and philodendrons remove pollutants from indoor air.

Plants are natural air purifiers that boost your health by pulling toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene, tricholorethylene and others from the air. If you already have these botanical wonders in your home, you know how they create a natural and relaxing vibe. Definitely a healthy win-win!

So whether you make a few or several changes to your home environment, you can be confident you’re embracing a healthy future.

For more design tips and tricks, head to Modernize.com.

Breast Cancer Survival Vegetable

Breast Cancer Survival VegetableBy: Dr. Michael Greger, Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.

A half million Americans are expected to die this year from cancer, equal to 5 jumbo jets crashing… every day. The number of Americans who die from cancer each year is more than all those who have died in all US wars combined. And this happens every single year.

After a cancer diagnosis people tend to clean up their diets. About a third to a half of breast cancer patients, for example, make healthy dietary changes following diagnosis, such as increasing in fruit and vegetable consumption and decreasing meat, fat and sugar intakes. Does it actually help that late in the game? Well, the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living Study was undertaken in few thousands breast cancer survivors to determine if a plant- based, low-fat, high-fiber diet could influence breast cancer recurrence rates and survival.

Previously they famously reported that simple changes—5 or more servings fruits and veggies a day and just like walking 30 minutes a day 6 days a week was associated with a significant survival advantage, cutting risk nearly in half. Note I said fruits and veggies and exercise. Here’s the proportion of women with breast cancer surviving 9 years in the study if they had low fruit and vegetable consumption and low physical activity, or high in one and low in the other. But here’s the survival curve, of those high in both.

And it worked just as well in women with estrogen receptor negative tumors, which normally have twice the mortality… unless, you eat a few fruits and veggies, and taking a few strolls. The “high” should really be in quotes, I mean you could eat 5 servings in a single meal and certainly walk more than like 2 miles a day.

Imagine, for a second, you have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Imagine sitting in that chair, in the doctor’s office, as your doctor gives you the news… But, there’s a new experimental treatment that can cut your chances of dying in the next few years from like 16% down to just 4%. To quadruple their survival rate many women would re-mortgage their homes to fly to some quack clinic in Mexico, would lose all their hair to chemo, but most, apparently, couldn’t stand the thought of eating broccoli.

And indeed that’s what the latest report from the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living Study found, fruits and vegetables may be good, but cruciferous vegetables may be better. For women on tamoxifen, for example, if one of their 5 daily servings of fruits and veggies was broccoli or cauliflower/collards/cabbage or kale, the risk of cancer recurrence may be cut in half.

Michael Greger M.D.About Michael Greger M.D.
Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous “meat defamation” trial. Currently Dr. Greger proudly serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.

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