Livestrong: Exercise after DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction

Livestrong: Exercise after DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction Yesterday I began my Journey with the Livestrong program as a breast cancer survivor and to increase exercise after DIEP flap breast reconstruction.  I found out about the program when I switched oncologists in early April this year.  My oncologist discussed my overall health. I expressed my concerns about being on an AI (aromatase inhibitor) and the side effects it can have including bone loss. I told her I wanted to remain strong and fit and do what I could to maintain or increase my bone density and overall strength. She handed me a pamphlet and with a smile on her face expressed her support of the Livestrong program at the local YMCA.  I called Annemarie, the Vice President of Corporate and Community Partnerships, at our local facility to get on the list to start the program. It took a couple of months Continue Reading →

My #Tweet Story from Science Camp

My #Tweet Story from Science Camp This is my #Tweet Story from science camp, otherwise known as Project LEAD you will not believe what happened.  Before I get to that part of the story let me back up a little and fill in some details. Years ago, when I started my Twitter account I was attempting to bring more attention to a non-profit.  I was a board member and wanted to spread the word about what we did.  I mainly followed on local businesses with hopes of finding sponsors.  I soon learned Twitter was for more than finding sponsors. Twitter is a wealth of knowledge in 140 words or less, commercials of sorts that did not make noise.  I could browse and tweet without anyone knowing.  No noise and a cancer diagnosis brought me to the new reason I was on Twitter.  There were positive quotes and cancer information.  New Continue Reading →

My Experience as a LEAD Graduate

My Experience as a LEAD Graduate I want to share my experience as a recent LEAD graduate and patient advocate. Project LEAD is part of the National Breast Cancer Coalition.  The Project LEAD Institute strongly supports the education and involvement of patient advocates in both research, action, and the education of the community they serve both locally and nationally.  You can read more about it here.  This is a portion of a statement from the web page giving you a sense and focus of the LEAD graduate program: The Project LEAD® Institute is a six-day intensive science course for breast cancer advocates covering the basics of cancer biology, genetics, epidemiology, research design and advocacy. I learned about the program through two fellow breast cancer survivors, Michael Singer, a male breast cancer survivor, and Terry Arnold, an advocate for the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Community.  I met them both at SABCS, San Antonio Breast Cancer Continue Reading →

International Day of Yoga

International Day of Yoga June 21 was proclaimed the International Day of Yoga by the United Nations in December of 2014.  I am certain there will be many celebrations across the globe practicing various levels and difficulties of this popular practice for mind, body, and spirit. The benefits of yoga are many for all ages.  I remember with great fondness the days I brought my kindergarten students in from recess when they were all wound up from being on the playground and practiced a bit of yoga with them before we would start a lesson.  We would sit quietly on the rug in circle, legs crossed, thumbs touching the middle finger as the back of the palm laid gently on the top of their knees.  I would ask them to close their eyes and take deep breaths and slowly breath out with a gentle, “Ohmmm”.  It refocused and quieted them Continue Reading →

When the Seemingly Fearless become Fearful

When the Seemingly Fearless become Fearful The title of this blog, “When the seemingly fearless become fearful”, was etched out of a discussion I had with a fellow cancer survivor.  Stephie is a childhood cancer survivor and donor heart recipient, but most importantly, a dear friend.  We became friends through social media and the patient advocacy work we do.  Our phone chat earlier this week centered around my fear.  This was my week to have blood work for tumor markers.  I am still on a four-month protocol cycle for these since my second breast cancer diagnosis in 2014.  I am grateful they have all been within the normal range since my second diagnosis.  However, these events do not pass without triggering my PTSD about recurrence. Stephie is such a great listener and encouraged me that this week’s blog should be about “when the seemingly fearless become fearful. Breast Friends on Continue Reading →

Fairness in Reporting, Breast Reconstruction

Fairness in Reporting, Breast Reconstruction An on-line article was published on October 31, 2016, in The New York Times entitled, ‘Going Flat’ After Breast Cancer.  This is my commentary on that article after having survived breast cancer twice and choosing to reconstruct my breasts with my own tissue.  I want you to focus on the words “reconstruct my breasts”.  They are my breasts.  Every part of my breasts are me, my own tissue, my own blood source, my own skin, my own nipples.  My own breasts that contained cancer cells have been removed through the skillful hands of a breast surgeon and rebuilt by the skillful hands of a microsurgeon. The breasts that I had before breast cancer were mine.  The breasts that I now have after breast cancer are mine.  Once my breasts had cancer.  Now, my breasts do not have cancer.  Therefore, I respectfully disagree with the last Continue Reading →

My #REASONS2STANDUP

My #REASONS2STANDUP? What are my #REASONS2STANDUP?  Tonight is the #StandUp2Cancer telecast.  According to a live interview today on Facebook with Katie Couric, this is an effort of collaboration among scientist and not one of competition.  She was seen with a colon cancer patient and Dr. William Nelson, Director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.  This is a night to support and honor all those facing cancer. I was actually told about this movement from my oldest son soon after my second cancer diagnosis in May of 2014.  I have to say I was a bit misty-eyed when I received a text from him asking me if I was following the group on Facebook. This is my #REASON2STANDUP!  Two years ago, we were in doubt if I would ever see his then unborn son, my grandson.  Two years ago, I watched my youngest son describe my 2nd Continue Reading →

Baldness During Breast Cancer & Chemo

Baldness During Breast Cancer & Chemo Baldness during Breast Cancer & Chemo is not an easy side affect for most women. You could walk around for weeks, months without anyone knowing you have breast cancer unless… wait for it… you’re on CHEMO, especially the type that causes hair loss!!! The sight of a women who is bald is a forgone conclusion and truly screams, “I’m on chemo and have cancer!” It’s just not an easy pill to swallow, excuse the tongue in cheek. Many forms of chemo cause hair loss in women. It did for me and the brave women who volunteered to use their photos to be in this blog post. They all willingly shared their pictures for a reason. We did it to support another woman who is going through chemo as I write this blog. But, whether you have been through chemo, are currently going through chemo, Continue Reading →

Breast Cancer Patient Education Act Passes into Law

Breast Cancer Patient Education Act Passes into Law Today, December 18, 2015, the Breast Cancer Patient Education Act was passed into law by Congress. It is truly difficult for me to contain my enthusiasm. This bill will work to educate and inform other women about their breast reconstruction options.  They will have the same advantage that I did at the time of a breast cancer diagnosis. I was fortunate that I was told about my reconstruction options by my skilled breast surgeon, Dr. Michele Ley, the day of my diagnosis. I soon came to find out through research and talking to many women that they are not given this information. They did not know about the options available to them to rebuild their body, restore their confidence and move on with life after hearing they had breast cancer or carried the BRCA gene mutation. It has been exactly one year Continue Reading →

Benefits of Exercise after Breast Cancer

Benefits of Exercise after Breast Cancer It is #WorkoutWednesday and I’d like to share a comprehensive video from John’s Hopkins Medicine on the benefits of exercise after Breast Cancer. Take ten minutes out of your day to view it and then I encourage you to move at your pace and ability to improve your health.   Cancer diagnosis, treatments, surgery as well as breast reconstruction surgery take a lot out of our bodies. We may have gone into either of these situations being very healthy. I often hear this from other women. This is definitely to your benefit and will help with recovery. However, after treatments and surgery you are then left to pick up the pieces from the assault on your body. Where do you move forward from there? Whether you are walking, running, dancing, doing Pilates, yoga or another form of movement, know that you are providing great Continue Reading →