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.

 

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 is the “Survivor Secrets” ?

Empower Your LifeGai Comans – Personal Story.

I lived a full, but fairly ordinary life. I had a job I loved. I loved the people I worked with, as I worked with friends every day. We worked hard and had a lot of fun too. I had just been married to my long time partner and we were planning on a baby the following year. Life was sailing along nicely or so I thought.

Then the sudden diagnosis of breast cancer at age 38, just six months after we were married, rocked me to the core. Every aspect of my life was thrown in the air. It was such a chaotic time and I felt like I was juggling everything in my life just to keep my head above water and survive.

Endless streams of doctor appointments, decisions that had to be made in such a short space of time—it can be so overwhelming. It’s so difficult to shake the feeling of intense fear; you don’t want to make the wrong decision because your life depends on it, literally! Every day you just battle through to survive.

After the decisions were made and treatment started, I read a lot of books and stories about other women who had survived and that gave me the hope I could survive too. In a way, I felt elevated. It lifted my spirit to know that there was a community of women and men who had faced this disease and survived it.

During and after treatment, I was left to sort out the impact of the surgery and treatment choices. It was a very testing time and I felt ill equipped to deal with it and while hope helped, it didn’t give me the actions I needed to take. I have always been action-oriented. I wanted to know the actions those women took to get them through that period of their life. For me, it was a slow and painful process to work it out for myself.

Then the dust settled and as I reflected, there was so much that I wished I had known when I was first diagnosed, before the decisions where made, but there was such a short space of time to find the information and you don’t know what you don’t know! Perhaps, I may have made different decisions if I had insights from survivors at that point.

In essence, what was missing for me were two things. Firstly, the insights from survivors when they were first diagnosed, before the decisions were made to enable a feeling of control rather than just making decisions from a base of overwhelming fear. Secondly, the actions the survivors took to empower themselves through that period of their life.

Harnessing the insight of this community is so powerful, so we wanted to come together to save other breast cancer and cancer survivors of all types, the pain that we went through. Sharing our insights is one way to save other women and men some of the confusion and enable action, not just hope. This is our gift to the community, to elevate and empower other cancer survivors.

Gai Comans Breast Cancer Authority ContributorGai Comans
Integrating Mindfulness, Authenticity and Divine Feminine Power Into Your Life, Business and Career After Breast Cancer
http://gaicomans.com/empower

Topsy Turvy Travels – Lymphedema Journey

Lyphedema  ManagementTOPSY TURVY  TRAVELS by Lesley Ronson Brown: Yoga & Lymphedema Expert
September 2013

So what helps us through our lymphedema or cancer journey?  Whether our journey is dealing with lymphedema, chemo, radiation or some other treatment or test, we often travel through turbulent terrain.

The answer is different for each of us, depending on our personalities, needs, environments, etc.  But to safely traverse the minefields of cancer treatment and its side effects, which sometimes is lymphedema, we each need to figure that out.  Just like when we take a trip, it tends to go better if we have a plan.

If you aren’t the rustic type, you wouldn’t book yourself into a top of the Alps campground, sleeping perilously on a mountainside, next to a sheep that doesn’t even say “baa baa” in English.  No, you’d be at the Four Seasons or something as close to that as you could afford.  A charming B&B on a small Parisian street would be wonderful.  But if you are more outdoorsy, you might not be able to stand staying in more conventional lodging.Lymphedema Jpourney

So why don’t we take the same approach to traveling with cancer?  Traveling with lymphedema?  Why don’t we figure out what we need for a comfortable trip?

A big factor is that none of us really want to go on this journey.  We all find ourselves on this trip against our will.  We didn’t choose it.  We don’t want it.  But darn it, we got it.

So we can choose to pout or to put out.  Put out what we need to navigate this trip as comfortably as we can.  What do we do to move from merely surviving to thriving on this journey?  We do some soul searching, meditation, quiet thinking, maybe yoga, and then we bust out!!

Figure out what makes you tick and what you need.  You probably already know it. Look at how you like to spend your time.  Look at what brings joy to your heart.  Do it!  Look at what you can’t stand to do.  Don’t do that!

When I first got cancer, everyone wanted to drive me to chemo or sit with me while I was there.  But I really didn’t need or want that. If I had felt tired or poorly, I would have asked them for help with such things.  But I was able to drive myself and frankly, I liked having time by myself to read or to sleep.  So instead, I got them all to come over to my house and clean out my cabinets and closets!  That’s what I really needed.

But for many of us, it’s nice to have someone with us for chemo or a medical appointment.  They can get us water or coffee, or talk with us.  They can take notes for us when it’s hard to remember exactly what the doctor or nurse said. They can help us walk if we feel weak.  Ask for what you need, not what people think you need.Breast Cancer Lymphedema

When lymphedema started showing up, my friends encouraged me to delve into it to learn more. Because I like fashion and enjoy accessorizing just about everything, they accompanied me to find sleeves that were fun to wear, but also therapeutic, of course.  No one told me to just suck it up,
or be stuck with it in a way that would get me down.

When I first got cancer in 2006, a friend gave me a little ceramic plaque that said, “Put on a little lipstick, you’ll be fine.”  So I did.  And I was fine… most of the time. Now, we all know the lipstick didn’t actually make me better, but it made me feel better and look better. And that is what made me better.  It gave me hope.  It made me buck up when I didn’t feel like bucking up.  And lipstick does that.  So does eye liner and blush.  Do you know who knew that and built his company on that philosophy?  Charles Revson, the founder of Revlon.  Years ago, he told his employees that they didn’t sell lipstick.  They sold hope.

Even though the cancer has come back a time or two or three or four, in my mind, I am fine.  Not cured.  Not healed.  But fine. I put on my lipstick and am fortunate to be able to manage my various diseases with grace.  Like anything, that takes effort and determination.  I have chosen to use my energy to make my journey more comfortable.  You can, too.

Lesley BrownLesley Ronson Brown is a two-time breast cancer survivor and a three-time lymph node cancer survivor.  She has hadlymphedema since 2011 and has learned how to manage it through traditional and complementary therapies.  Lesley is a certified Yoga teacher, with a specialty certification in Restorative Yoga, and has taught for more than 15 years.  She also is certified in Pilates and Group Fitness Exercise. But her favorite thing to teach is yoga!  She currently is completing her 500-hour yoga teacher training and is writing a thesis on Yoga and Lymphedema.

Welcome The Possibilities

Laura at Selby Gardens Sarasota Florida

Laura at Selby Gardens Sarasota Florida

By Laura Sposato-Record

Most of us are familiar with the quote, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Its source is unknown but the meaning is clear. My lessons often come from the pages of books that literally jump off the shelf or someone has given me in a time of need. I own a library of books that have helped me evolve and ascend – the message was intended for me at the precise time and space. So it was with Ask and it is Given Learning to Manifest Your Desires, by Esther and Jerry Hicks. A good friend gave me the book after my second diagnosis of cancer almost six years ago.

For anyone not familiar with the authors, Abraham speaks messages of spirit and wisdom through Esther. During my treatment for breast cancer, this book became my best friend. I journaled every morning, reading passages, creating my own personal affirmations. Abraham spoke to me and I began to listen intently. I knew this journey had to be from a place of peace, harmony, and gratitude.
How would I get there?

You experience immediate emotions to help you understand the direction of your thought.

Any diagnosis of cancer is emotionally devastating and can send us into a tailspin of thoughts and emotions. We battle, fight, win, lose, succumb. We are called warriors and survivors. Our post-treatment is often fraught with depression, dread, and fear.

My quality of life was influenced by a pattern of thinking that reinforced anxiety and heightened adrenaline arousal.
It is physiologically impossible to be happy and sad, relaxed and tense, muscularly flexed and extended at the same time. The opponent-process system is how we maintain homeostasis or balance in the body. When we experience a cluster of positive emotions, the harmony creates a symphony of hormones and neurotransmitters that sing a song of positive vibrational resonance. Our immune system responds by creating a physiological environment to assist healing and gain peace of mind.

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

I began to write down all the words that elicited a sense of desire and well being. Words and phrases like welcome the possibilities, move towards well-being, and health is your birthright began flowing. Each morning I would recite these affirmations before leaving my bed. The constant adrenaline rush was slowly being replaced by an inner calm and a KNOWING when my thoughts needed redirecting. As I practiced and became more mindful, my emotional guidance system started to kick in. People in my life were noticing a shift in my vibration and it became contagious.

Vibrational shifting is usually a gradual process.

When we experience a shift in consciousness, a feedback systems prompts us to keep the stream of well being flowing through us. For most of us, change is gradual; two steps forward, one step back. Abraham describes a scale of over 22 emotions ranging from joy which is similar to a full tank of gas, as fear, grief, and depression indicates to us that we are far away from our Source or well being. Our progressive vibrational change is possible when we recognize the processes given to us by Abraham that help us manifest our desires.

My journey continues as I undergo treatment for a recurrence of ovarian cancer diagnosed 14 years ago. Today I meditate, practice restorative yoga, and use food as my pharmacy. Life is full of love, hope, desire, and passion for educating and mentoring. The medical/health team that treats me, uses positive, uplifting, healing statements. I have trained them that words are powerful. Dr. Drullinsky tells me, “Just keep doing what you are doing, Laura.” Roger that!

No one is ever promised a tomorrow, so today is my focus of attention. Direct your thoughts and life will unfold. Your lessons await you.

http://www.abraham- hickslawofattraction.com/lawofattractionstore/product/ASK.html 

Laura Sposato-Record
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