Tag Archives: sarcoma blog

How to tackle your bucket list

If you have a bucket list of things to do before passing away, how are you doing on getting through your list?

Are you stopping yourself from fulfilling your dreams because you think you can’t do them?

Maybe you think you don’t have the funds. Or you feel like crap because of treatment and don’t want to leave home. Or you don’t have anyone to travel with.

For most of us, those are just excuses.

You know they are.

They are our fears trying to frighten us back into our old patterns.

Patterns that keep us stuck.

Yet your excuses and your fears can be faced and dealt with.

There are work-arounds to get your bucket list accomplished.

You have to have the courage to press forward.

And you can.

There are organizations and websites you can access for bucket-list funding.

If you can sit in a wheelchair it should be possible to travel, even if it’s on a cruise ship. In 2010 I scheduled my chemotherapy treatments around a cruise and took my anti-nausea medications with me. I had a fantastic time and checked one trip off my list.

And you can put out a call for a travel companion, or perhaps, if you feel up to it, travel alone. I just returned from an amazing trip in France—traveling solo, driving a rental car with no GPS (I couldn’t get it to work on my phone), and only able to say “Bonjour,” “Merci,” and “Parlez-vous Anglais?”

Why France? I wanted to pay homage to a woman who provided a template for healing my life. Her name? Martha of Bethany. Yes, the woman repudiated by Christ in the Gospels for her anger toward her sister, and for “doing” too much.

Martha healed after her contact with this Master Teacher. She changed her attitude from resentment into peace, and later served alongside her sister Mary. According to The Golden Legend, Martha later changed her behavior by refusing to die a victim on a rudderless boat adrift on the Mediterranean Sea. And she made a major life choice of focusing on “being” more than “doing.”

I love this woman and what she represents for me.

Why pay homage to her in France? According to the legend, Martha ended up in a small village in what’s now Provence. The community was being terrorized by a “dragon.”

Martha faced down that monster while barefoot, using only holy water and a cross. Can you imagine?

That’s not the behavior of a victim.

She courageously subdued that dragon.

Then the villagers killed it.

Through her transformed life, Martha demonstrated that I, through my own inner transformation, also could tame the cancer dragon in my body. I could use her example of changing my attitudes, reconstructing my behaviors, and making major life choices to help subdue my own cancer dragon. Then medical treatment could kill it.

Since this is my seventh year free of evidence of cancer and free of cancer treatment, I felt it was high time I made my pilgrimage to The Collegiate Church of Saint Martha in Tarascon, which purportedly houses Martha’s relics. It was the third most popular pilgrimage site during the Middle Ages. And it became my biblical Year of Jubilee cancer pilgrimage site.

I feel deeply gratified for the experience.

Do you want to feel gratified for having accomplished things on your bucket list? Do you still have things to do, activities that are waiting for you to take up the baton and start directing your own life?

Or are you making excuses?

Sometimes we have to face down our fears before we can take the leap into the dark.

Into the unknown.

Into joy.

Think about each one of your fears.

Write each one down.

Take a good, hard look at your list.

Are there ways to work around what scares you?

Are there ways to make your dreams come true?

Only you can change your life.

Make the most of it.

Get on your bucket list.

You’ll be glad you did.

How did 2 get into Radical Remission? Listen Saturday

Join me on the air Saturday at 7 p.m. EST with Marcia McMahon, in radical remission from stage 4 breast cancer. Marcia hosts the Peaceful Planet show at  Www.bbsradio.com/peacefulplanet. We’ll cover a wealth of holistic information on thriving beyond cancer, including spiritual approaches , diet, and traditional therapy.
Marcia is a creative artist and reiki healer. Visit her website at www.divineconnectionswithreiki.com
Peaceful Planet with Marcia McMahon

Free Dedicated Helpline Coming Sept. 1 for Leiomyosarcoma Guidance

If you or someone you love has Leiomyosarcoma, you will soon be able to call a new helpline offering free counseling support. The designated phone number will go live Sept. 1, 2018, and is a collaborative effort between the National LeioMyoSarcoma Foundation and the Cancer Support Community. Operating hours will be Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The phone number will be announced by Sept. 1. International rates apply.

Trained CSC professionals and counselors will provide information, counseling, and navigation services in both English and Spanish at no cost to callers.

Medical advice is not provided, and must be directed back to the patient’s oncology care team. Information provided on clinical trials and genomic/genetic testing must always be further discussed with your oncologist/oncology care team.

Cancer Support Helpline services include, but are not limited to:

  • Connecting callers to local or national resources, transportation services and other local programs where patients live, providing direct coordination support to patients
  • Short-term cancer counseling and emotional assistance
  • Treatment decision planning in support of the oncological care team
  • Financial navigation and counseling regarding the costs of cancer and its treatments
  • Specialized information on finances / financial planning guidance
  • Clinical trials navigation/information and search assistance
  • Genetic/genomic information assistance
  • Access to an online distress screening program, CancerSupportSource®
  • General information about the Cancer Support Community

For questions, please contact Annie Achee at annieachee@aol.com.

NLSMF also has created a new website about life changes: https://nlmsflifechange.wordpress.com/

Sublime and Slimy: Easter on April Fool’s

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying… she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus…. Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
John 20:14-15, New International Version (NIV)

Mary Magdalene, leader of Jesus’ inner circle of women disciples, looked at this “gardener” and did not recognize him—her beloved Teacher, a man with whom she had hiked and camped and eaten for months.
It’s kind of like having April Fools’ Day on Easter Sunday.
Oh, wait. That’s this year.
Both days happen to fall on April 1, 2018.
This hasn’t occurred since 1956, and you won’t get another chance at it again until 2029.
So take advantage of this delicious opportunity to combine the sublime with the slimy. After all, Easter is about maximum joy and April Fool’s Day is about maximum fun.
One small study has indicated joy is a predictor of survival among cancer patients (Thriver Soup, pp. 211-213).
One of my boys brought the two together on Christmas Day in 2003. I had given him a box of Harry Potter™ Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans. A few hours later I heard a tremendous roar coming from two floors down. My son dashed into my room, breathless with giggles. “I tricked Dad into eating a vomit-flavored jelly bean.”
Thriver Soup Ingredient:
This Easter Sunday, landing on April Fool’s Day, presents a perfect prank opportunity of innocently sharing some disgusting-flavored jelly beans for a good laugh. Bertie Bott’s bean flavors include Booger, Dirt, Earthworm, Earwax, Grass, Rotten Egg, Sausage, Soap, and Vomit. Or maybe opt for the BeanBoozled Spinner Jelly Bean Gift Box, which contains Barf, Booger, Canned Dog Food, Dead Fish, Lawn Clippings, Moldy Cheese, Rotten Egg, Stinky Socks, and Spoiled Milk. Both are made by JellyBelly.
Source:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/58/Gimbals-Jellybeans-Pile.jpg/256px-Gimbals-Jellybeans-Pile.jpg
https://www.christiancentury.org/article/critical-essay/when-easter-sunday-falls-april-fools-day

Sacred Journeys through Cancer

Find out how to identify ineffective cancer treatment products, how to deal with emotions, which supplements to prioritize, what I put in my green smoothie every day, whether to go to nontraditional cancer centers, how to do a body-centered sitting practice, and more.

This is what Beth Ann Gilmer and I talked about during her Sacred Journeys blog talk radio show Tuesday.

Listen to the interview from the beginning to 1:01:00, and then skip to 1:22:28 to finish it out: https://d1at8ppinvdju8.cloudfront.net/1/066/show_10668921_2018_03_21_01_05_29.mp3?cId=f647eb4c-8c6d-4867-b705-9a603583e167

Books: More Than a Treasured Wealth

Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden

It was a book lover’s dream. Only small wrapped tomes we had brought lay around the beautifully decorated tree.
About 15 children’s book writers and illustrators circled up. Before we picked out our packages, we were asked to give brief descriptions of what we currently were reading. How fun to hear people talk about the details of the writing skills of the authors—books they did, or did not, enjoy, and why.
Then we took turns selecting gifts. If we wanted to, on our individual turns, we could steal what someone else had already opened. In turn, someone could steal what we held in our laps.
Writers kept stealing a book about writing prompts and another about how to write for the screen. The most unique gift was an old book with the center cut out and a gift card and chocolate bar placed inside.
Interestingly, no one stole that gift, though the owner had squealed with delight when she opened it.
Clearly we were all bibliophiles.
My package contained a double delight, which I managed to bring home—How to Get Happily Published and Lemony Snicket Lump of Coal.
I’m grateful there are still booklovers among us—people who love the look and feel of a book, people who love to turn pages, people who know what makes for good writing.
Books helped save my life after I was diagnosed with highly aggressive end-stage cancer—especially Waking the Warrior Goddess by Christine Horner, M.D. They pointed to important studies that gave evidence for integrative practices I used to help my body return to health. They helped me understand what so-called solutions to avoid. And they helped me heal my life with insights and understanding.
The books I read during my journey back toward health are referenced in the back of Thriver Soup. For me, books are not only my treasured wealth, they also are life savers.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:
For a list of resources beyond Thriver Soup, see references used in the book on pp. 358-375.

Source:
Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817–May 6, 1862), American essayist and poet.

How to Manage Your Emotions

Enlightenment, peace, and joy will not be granted by someone else. The well is within us, and if we dig deeply in the present moment, the water will spring forth.

Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step

 

Digging deeply into the present moment can be enraging, terrifying, or sorrow-filled. That’s why many of us are experts at avoiding our feelings, at living in our heads, at focusing on thinking and doing rather than being.

When we are stimulated into raw emotions such as rage, terror, or grief, we experience uncomfortable physical sensations in our bodies—a red face, butterflies in the stomach, an ache in the heart. This happens because our brains are programmed to respond to threatening stimuli by dumping chemicals into our bloodstreams, according to Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD, author of My Stroke of Insight.

“It takes less than 90 seconds for one of these programs to be triggered, surge through our body, and then be completely flushed out of our blood stream,” she said.

Hearing this on her CD, I got my own jolt. She was giving a physiological explanation for what my psychotherapist had taught me, a practice called the map the emotions. Practicing the map provided me with enormous assistance for successfully navigating the traumas I’ve endured since 2009—end-stage sarcoma, then divorce, then the loss of my 19-year-old.

And suddenly the experience of grief rising, cresting, and crashing like ocean waves made sense.

During those 90-second surges, I had practiced staying with the physical sensations in my body without thinking about them, analyzing them, judging them, or making stories about them. I did not have a choice about what happened those first 90 seconds inside my body. I did have a choice how I would respond. I could observe and accept the sensations, staying in my body and in the physiological experience; or I could ignore the sensations and get stuck in emotional pain.

After the 90 seconds were over, I had another choice. Was I going to turn my attention to the source of that stimulation, allow my negative story-teller to re-weave a web of drama, get emotionally triggered again, and continue the pain?

Or was I going to live in the present moment, turn my attention away from the trigger, and choose to let the experience go?

Sometimes I allowed myself to be triggered repeatedly for more than an hour. Yet I stayed with the practice of experiencing the physical sensations with each surge of emotion. Finally I would want some peace and I chose to stop setting off my brain’s limbic system with my thoughts.

It takes practice, like any other skill. Allow time to develop these new thinking and behavior patterns. If you choose this practice, be gentle with yourself as you learn this new way of engaging your thoughts and emotions.

By practicing the map of emotions, I made a conscious choice. I became response-able. Taylor said, “If you re-channel those energies into being aware of what is going on in the present moment, you will be able to make a breakthrough and discover joy and peace right in the present moment, inside of yourself and all around you.”

You will be digging deeply in the present moment, and the water of life will spring forth.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

If you feel a sudden surge of emotion, focus on the physical sensations it creates. Notice how it moves around or possibly gets intense. Notice it lift after 90 seconds. Do all of this without engaging your mind. See if it brings you a sense of peace or relief, and watch your thoughts to see if they want to re-engage with the initial trigger.

Sources:

Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life (New York: Bantam, March 1, 1992), pp. 41, 42.

Jill Bolte Taylor, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey (Viking, New York: 2008), pp. 146, 148, 152.

Photo: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=5127&picture=breaking-wave

Heidi Bright awarded Champion in Cancer Care

Amy Ostigny nominated Heidi Bright for the Champion in Cancer Care award.

Heidi Bright, MDiv, Milford, Ohio, has been named 2017 Champion in Cancer Care by Cancer Support Community in Cincinnati.

The CSC gala on Saturday, Oct. 14, honored inspirational individuals working in cancer care.

Bright, in radical remission from highly aggressive end-stage sarcoma for six years, embodies the words Champion in Cancer Care—she champions genuine hope and hundreds of healing solutions for cancer patients, according to her nominator, Amy Ostigny, Executive Managing Director of eWomenNetwork Cincinnati.

As a national speaker and traditionally published author of Thriver Soup: A Feast for Living Consciously During the Cancer Journey, Bright emphasizes healing one’s life to open space for the body’s natural healing abilities to arise, said Ostigny.

“Her compassion shines through when speaking and writing because she knows the devastation of being told there are no more medical options and to get one’s affairs in order,” said Ostigny.

All proceeds from CSC’s signature fundraising event are channeled into free programs and services for anyone impacted by cancer. http://www.cancersupportcincinnati.org/Default.aspx