The Sun Makes Me Sing

Brood X male cicadas are vigorously singing their little tymbals out, calling in mates so the cycle of life can continue.

To me, their drone is the beautiful music of summer, having formed one of my first firm memories of warm Kansas days.

Now they represent far more to me.

Cicadas spend more than a decade underground—in the case of Brood X, a seemingly endless seventeen years in darkness and silence. Then they crawl to the surface, break through their shells, warm up in the sunshine, and fly with golden-tinged gossamer wings.

They live only a few weeks in the sun. During this time they crawl and fly, sing and flick, dance and mate. When they are done with their shining moments, their legacy continues in their gifts of fertilized eggs, food for songbirds, and nitrogen for forest floors.

Just like we humans who choose to transform our lives. When we have late-stage cancer, we spend a long time—sometimes more than a decade—in the Underworld. For me it’s been 12 years since my end-stage cancer diagnosis. This darkness involved two years of medical treatment, and then continued through the collapse of my marriage, multiple moves, dealing with my son Brennan’s years of drug addiction, the death of my father, and then Brennan’s overdose death at age 19.

Years of suffocating in the terrors of human Hell.

And now—a dozen years and dozens of processes later—I am finally emerging into the light. Into dancing. Into joy.

Just like the cicadas, I am spreading my own golden gossamer wings and learning how to fly. Nourishing others who also want to sing again in the light of the sun. And leaving my own legacy for future generations.

Would you like to join me? I offer cancer survival coaching for those who want to thrive and fully embrace life again. Contact me at

heidi

(at)

thriversoup.com

I look forward to talking with you!

Source for title:

Frédéric Mistral from Provençe, France, coined the phrase, “Lou soulei mi fa canta,” Provençal for “the sun makes me sing.” https://www.thenotsoinnocentsabroad.com/blog/la-cigale-why-the-cicada-became-the-symbol-of-provence

Cancer Survival Coaching

Are you looking for a little more guidance regarding cancer survival for yourself or a loved one?
Or maybe some suggestions for how to better manage a chronic illness?
I’ll offer short Cancer Survival Coaching sessions Sunday at the Universal Energy Expo, Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington.
For a 50-minute session, including a discount on a copy of Thriver Soup, please feel free to contact me
.

Simple satisfying recipe: Roasted radishes with leeks

Sometimes I just want chips, dang it. Ever feel that way?

I don’t buy them except on rare occasions, so I make my own, thanks to a great tip Kathy Nace gave me a few years ago.

You can use pretty much any root vegetable. Add a leek, olive oil, salt and pepper, and it gets delicious.

All root vegetables are buried treasures, virtual storehouses of potassium, vitamin C, and other minerals. I don’t think I’d get any of those goodies from a bag of chips.

Last week,  I picked up some beautiful purple radishes at a local farm and decided it was time to bake with leeks.

 

 

 

I sliced them evenly for even backing and preheated my oven to 350 °. 

 

 

 

 

I mixed them in a bowl with olive oil. I am very picky about my oils. The seals on this bottle’s label tell what I look for when at the grocery store. You might have to hunt to find a bottle showing the California Olive Oil Council Certified Extra Virgin seal on the left of this label.

I added salt and pepper. You can try adding a variety of things to change up the flavor–herbs like thyme, spices like cumin, and garlic is yummy … this time I just wanted something quick and simple.

I spread the roots on a baking sheet.

 

 

 

 

I roasted them for about 30 minutes, stirred, and roasted for another 20 or 30, until crisp-tender.

Mmmm!

Source: Thriver Soup, pg. 143-144.

“Thrive Global” interview on cultivating well-being

Heidi Bright of ‘Bright Concepts’:
“Exhale slowly through your right nostril”
Photo by Laura Dague Dailey

When I feel good, I find it much easier to eat nutritious foods. When I feel like crap, I am drawn to crappy food to self-soothe, but it always backfires and I end up feeling worse. One way to circumvent this tendency is to allow myself a small amount of the junk food — like a small handful […]

Brain Hackers and I discuss “brain training” to manage emotions

Two-time Guinness Record holder for greatest memory, Dave Farrow, and I discuss

  • how to manage emotions from a brain perspective;
  • managing stress; and
  • reducing inflammation

in this 18-minute episode. Enjoy!

Episode 123 – Heidi Bright – Author Thriver Soup

How to Make a Delicious, Cancer-Fighting Valentine’s Treat

Valentine’s Day gives rise the urge to eat sugary treats. Unfortunately, processed sugar causes inflammation, which is not good for those dealing with cancer.

Here’s a satisfying way around the sugar shackles that I enjoy. It’s naturally sweet, creamy, quick, easy, nutritious, and even color-coordinated.

And best of all, it can help fight cancer.

All it takes is a high-speed blender with a pusher, some frozen red berries, and a banana.

I consider my high-speed blender a vital part of my anti-cancer lifestyle. I use mine daily for green smoothies, and sometimes I’ll use it three times in one day. I am fortunate that my brother Walter gave me a Vitamix after my diagnosis. I believe using it provides my body with access to fresh, vital nutrients I might not get any other way.

Red berries are nutritional powerhouses. They boost the immune system and provide cell-protecting antioxidants. Raspberries and strawberries contain especially high amounts of ellagic acid, a phytochemical that interferes with cancer development. [1]

Bananas contain vitamin B6 (good for dealing with neuropathy), fiber, potassium (especially important during chemo, I found), magnesium, vitamin C, and manganese.[2]

Cut your peeled banana in half and stick both halves in the bottom of your blender.

 

 

 

 

Measure out 2 cups of frozen berries and pour them on top.

 

 

 

 

Turn on your blender and use your pusher to get the fruit to mix.

 

 

 

 

Viola! A delicious, sweet, creamy, frozen dessert for Valentine’s Day.

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!

 

Sources:

[1] Thriver Soup, pg.  117

[2] www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/bananas/

Total Health: How We Can Optimize Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing

My quote in Authority Magazine:

“When I feel good, I find it much easier to eat nutritious foods. When I feel like crap, I am drawn to crappy food to self-soothe, but it always backfires and I end up feeling worse.

“One way to circumvent this tendency is to allow myself a small amount of the junk food — like a small handful of corn chips or a piece of chocolate. Then I sit down and do nothing — no talking, no reading, no listening — and instead only focus on each morsel. I extract as much pleasure as I can from it. This way I don’t feel deprived. Then I get up and refocus my attention.”

https://medium.com/authority-magazine/total-health-heidi-bright-of-bright-concepts-on-how-we-can-optimize-our-mental-physical-fdc9fac77464

Releasing scars

My father liked to say that scars are signs of a life well lived. As an Eighth Air Force B-17 navigator during World War II, he would know. He flew 32 missions over Europe, well beyond the “Lucky Bastard Club” level of surviving 25 missions.

I must have lived my life really well because I’ve got lots of scars to prove it. I have a long one on my bikini line from a C-section. Eleven years ago it got a connecting scar that runs all the way up to my sternum, a life-saving gift from my first cancer surgery.

I look like I have a big anchor on my belly. It reminds me of medieval anchoresses, who lived in deep seclusion to seek out their greatest possible happiness. My anchoress status bought me not only life, but a whole new life that includes deep and growing joy. And the scars don’t have to limit me or weigh me down anymore.

What to do about all that internal scar tissue? I have lost several non-essential organs and am lucky to still have my bladder. But my insides are packed, nevertheless, with loads of scar tissue.

I found the answer in fascia (body-wide connective tissue) release, which involves compression and then extension of scar tissue. My practitioner is Lauren Clark Cadman, who I met at a HIME wellness event in Cincinnati two years ago.

At the time I was looking for another option for healing my hand that had been broken in three places after falling off a galloping horse. Physical therapy was unable to help me with the long-term inflammation and swelling. I could not curl my hand, and typing was a painful issue—especially because writing is my “thing.” Lauren cleared it all up in eight sessions and I regained full, pain-free use of my hand again.

I decided to let her work on my abdominal scar tissues. I learned that during each session, it’s best to lie quietly, breathe deeply, and listen intently to my body while she’s working.

Recently she was compressing around my bladder. While she held one spot for a long time, I saw an image of a donkey nose. I chuckled and told her what came to me. As I talked, the scar tissue relaxed and let go. It was being stubborn like a donkey until it was recognized and given the attention it wanted. Then it no longer needed to hold on so tight. I could feel blood flow going down to my toes, loosening up more tissue.

During my most recent session, she was again working around my bladder and intestines. The right side of my body gave a big twitch. After the session, I went to my car and soon found myself crying. I cried off and on for the rest of the day. I understood more deeply how emotional pain is stored in the body, and it’s this kind of pain that can create digestive issues and chronic dis-ease. Lauren quotes a common saying that “the issue is in the tissue” because the subconscious mind stores painful memories in fascial tissue. It’s a way for the brain to protect us until we can safely process our feelings. When we are no longer in fight or flight mode, the body is able to let go of the pain. Crying is a normal and healthy result of this treatment.

I’m not expecting the visible scar tissue on my skin to disappear, but the internal holding is letting go, giving me more space on every level.

I now have more freedom of movement in my entire body–also in part because of practicing tai chi daily during the past couple of years. I used to be much more stiff and had to put a lot of effort into getting in and out of a saddle. Not anymore.

I ain’t done yet, though. This week I woke up from a dream in which I was taking the wooden covering off a mummy. Oh no, my cover’s been blown! More wrappings of myofascial scar tissue in my abdomen need to be released.

It’s time, I’m ready, and so is my body.

Anchor’s away! I’m sailing into my bright new life with good health.

Clearing Chemo Brain

Do you have difficulty with simple mental tasks and short-term memory? Do you feel like your brain is all fuzzy and foggy? Like you’ve got glue between your synapses and the thoughts can’t make the leap into clarity?

I struggled with this for a long time after 42 days of chemotherapy infusions spread out over two years, not to mention anesthesia from seven major surgeries. When I finished my final chemo treatment, I could barely string three sentences together.

A lot of this furry focus cleared up during the first year, but it still persisted. A friend of mine, who only had six treatments, was told she went from being very, very smart to being very smart.

Not good enough. I am a traditionally published author. I need to be able to think and make connections. I need clarity and focus.

The first helpful idea, thanks to Julie Loewenstine, was to take a teaspoon of Brahmi leaf powder (water hyssop) every day. After a year of faithful supplementation, I made noticeable improvement, but I was still frustrated with that gluey sensation gumming up my synapses.

Less than a year ago I talked to my medical Qigong practitioner, Lani Lee, in Columbus, Ohio. She recommended a full month of eating two cups of organic parsley or cilantro every day. I had read that these herbs help pull heavy metals out of the body, and my brain probably had a lot of platinum stored in it from my eight cisplatin treatments. (I call myself the million-dollar miracle woman because of how expensive these treatments are—and I’m worth every penny!) And who knows what else was sticking around in my noggin. So I ate lots of Mexican dishes with cilantro piled on top and drank lots of chicken broth with parsley stirred in.

That helped tremendously, but I still wasn’t there yet.

During the spring I discovered, from reading about how to recover from trauma as part of my research for my next book–Grieving an Addict–that neurofeedback can help. So I started with Kristin Wooten during the summer. It involves sitting in an easy chair with electrodes on the head and listening to music from a computer that is designed to help the brain see what it’s doing and self-correct. Each correction is noted with a blip in the music.

After about twenty sessions, I found this was helping me make that last jump into being able to fully think once again. I am enjoying how my writing flows much better than before, and also has greater clarity.

Of course, many other aspects of my life have helped me clear out chemo brain. And for my writing, my editor, Mary Langford, has made a huge difference. She worked with Master Storyteller Sidney Sheldon for five years and he told her that, in some areas, she was a better writer than he was. I feel most fortunate to have access to her skills through grants from the Ohio Arts Council.

And I feel deeply gratified that I finally have my brain back.

Another advantage of neurofeedback has been its help with persistent insomnia. The local sleep clinic was unable to help me. I haven’t arrived where I want to be yet, but I’m moving in the right direction.

What have you tried that helped you regain your brain?

Clearing chemo brain is a crowning achievement. Photo by Judy Peace while we were celebrating my nine years free of cancer.