Great news! My October annual X-ray shows I continue to be free of any evidence of disease. Eight years now, after being told to get my affairs in order!
To celebrate this year, I’ll be sharing healing options LIVE at 11 am this Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Valdez Main Library in Tucson, AZ. Come with your questions.
If you’ll be anywhere near Tucson on November 9, I’d love for you to join me for this conversation. Hope to see you there!
The ABC’s of Thriving in Life Saturday, November 9, 11 AM – 12:30 PM Joel D Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone Ave., Tucson AZ 85701
Discover 3 key ingredients you can apply immediately to thrive in every area of your life. Learn simple new ways to update your Attitudes, Behaviors, and major life Choices to assist with conquering dis-ease and feeling better—for anything from anxiety to cancer to what to do during retirement. This uplifting presentation includes a gentle guided visualization so you can discover your own clues for experiencing more vibrant health. https://pima.bibliocommons.com/events/5db0a83d75016939005ef066
The NLMSF.org symposium “Tackling Leiomyosarcoma: A Team Approach” was brief and to the point, held in Columbus, Ohio, during September. Here Floor Backes, MD, at The James, talks about ULMS. Thank you, Annie Achee and Mitch Achee, and all who made this program possible!
Joel Mayerson, MD, spoke about a surgical perspective on LMS of the limbs. Here he identifies the differences between benign and malignant tumors.
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.
Editor’s note: I went to see Lauren after breaking two fingers in three places this past fall. Physical therapy could not address the excess scar tissue in the affected joints. After eight myofascial release treatments, I now have full use of my fingers again. I am grateful for this healing modality and want to share it with you.
Do you have pain left over from a cancer procedure that physical therapy has not helped reduce? Do your scar tissues and the areas around them still hurt? It might be time to consider myofascial release.
“Myo” means muscle and “fascia” means connective tissue.
This safe and effective hands-on technique involves applying gentle, sustained pressure into areas of the body that are restricted, dense, and tight. This process decreases the tightness to alleviate pain, reduces the thickness of scar tissue, and helps restore normal sensation and motion.
Myofascial restrictions can be caused not only by surgeries to remove cancerous tissue, but also by chemotherapy and radiation.
Breast cancer patients, for example, undergo lumpectomies or mastectomies that leave behind scar tissue. Even without surgery, these patients may develop fibrotic tissue as a direct result of chemotherapy or radiation.
Scars also can grow inside the body like vines, reaching into other regions of the body, like the respiratory diaphragm and into the neck and shoulders. Patients may experience pain in the neck, shoulders, and upper back after treatment for breast cancer. Patients who have been treated for cancer in other areas may experience pelvic, back, and leg pain.
This tissue resembles what I like to describe as “a wet sponge drying out to a dry sponge.” The tissue feels thick, tight, and gristly when palpated or touched.
The trauma and inflammatory responses in the body create myofascial restrictions with tensile pressures of about 2,000 pounds per square inch on pain-sensitive structures. That’s a lot of pressure.
These restrictions do not show up in many standard tests (including x-rays, myelograms, CAT scans, or electromyography). Instead, they are detected using palpation, or touch.
Once scar tissue has formed, myofascial release techniques applied below and above the scar region can be helpful in eliminating the pain and softening the scar. It can be extremely helpful in improving tissue mobility, pliability, and hydration.
The time element in MFR treatment is vital. It is essential that the practitioner apply sustained pressure to the tissue for a minimum of 90 seconds. This low-load gentle pressure applied slowly will allow the connective tissue to soften and elongate.
Being free of pain and being able to move more freely can help provide emotional benefits for those treated for cancer.
Cancer treatment should not end with interventions to treat the cancer. Too often patients are left with residual problems, some of which can be addressed with MFR to help them return to more optimal health.
If you or someone you know has been down this road, consider adding myofascial work to the health care plan.
Balance the soft tissue, decompress the joints, alleviate the residual pain, and restore your energy.
Lauren Cadman, PT, Premier Wellness and Myofascial Release
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
The emperor thereupon ordered Xu Fu to gather a group of several thousand young boys and girls and set out to sea to search for the immortal men.
Records of the Grand Historian, translated by Burton Watson
Qin Shi Huang (259-210 BCE), who became the first emperor of China, longed for immortality. He ordered expeditions to follow up on legends of immortals. He probably swallowed mercury, believing it was the elixir of life.
Yet he also had been preparing for his death since he was thirteen years old. He ordered the creation of a massive terracotta army built for his huge mausoleum. When he did die, at age 49, his preparations probably were in order.
The emperor’s eternal army was rediscovered in 1974, and a small portion is on display at the Cincinnati Art Museum until Aug. 12, 2018.
Qin Shi Huang didn’t make his death preparations easy on his subjects. Are you making yours easier for yourself and your loved ones? It only takes four documents, not a huge clay army. Mine are ready, and I intend to live another fifty years. I hope I have to update them many, many times.
It is best for all concerned if you have an advance health care directive, a power of attorney for health care, a general financial power of attorney, and a final will and testament.
Instructions for how to create these are in Thriver Soup, p. 101-103, written by a top-tier lawyer. You probably can pick up some simplified versions of a couple of these documents at the front desk of a hospital.
Better to be prepared, like an emperor, because you can’t predict when the grim reaper’s chariot is going to run you over.
Thriver Soup Ingredient:
As you prepare your living will and health care power of attorney, it might be a good idea to consult with a hospice nurse about the advisability of some procedures.
A woman with stage 4 lung cancer was found dead in a wooded area in Kentucky, and investigators believe the motive for the murder—by her cousin with two accomplices—was to obtain her narcotic painkillers.
The suspect knew where she kept them, and she had just received another shipment of 120 pain pills on June 8. She disappeared from her home June 9, and her body was found six days later.
If you have pain killers, where do you store them? I tried locking things in a footlocker with a padlock. My teenager could crack into it within minutes.
I have talked with others who have had cancer treatment. Do they lock up their painkillers? Usually not. Like me, some don’t realize many painkillers are basically heroin pills and addictive.
Here is a list of opioid medications:
Do you have any of these? If so, are they effectively locked up?
“My child wouldn’t take these.”
That’s what I thought. My child did take them. And became an addict. And if he hadn’t, a friend of his might have found and taken them.
I found a digital lock box is the best solution for controlled substances in my home. It costs more, but I know only I can access the contents.
Other addictive prescription drugs to lock up: — Tranquilizers and depressants, including barbiturates and benzodiazepines, like Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium. — Stimulants, including Ritalin and amphetamines such as Adderall.
Thriver Soup Ingredient:
According to 2015 government estimates, more than two million people are addicted to opioids. Protect yourself. Protect your loved ones. Please put your medications in a digital lockbox.
Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they are dead.
Matthew 2:16-18, New Living Translation
Rachel was an early biblical character who died giving birth to her second son. She was buried by the road to Bethlehem. Bethlehem would later become the birth location for a king, according to Matthew’s gospel. And Herod, the jealous and frightened ruler at the time, sent his soldiers to kill all the male infants and toddlers near Bethlehem to remove this new threat. One cannot imagine the kind of imperishable grief such an act would produce on a vulnerable population.
This story is part of the birth narrative of Jesus. When was the last time you heard a preacher talk about this trauma in connection with the nativity story? It seems to me that mothers who grieve their children appear easily overlooked.
The world is full of Rachels who weep disconsolately for their deceased children. My friend Joan just lost her daughter to diabetes.
With the current opioid epidemic, mothers who are cancer patients need to be wary. I was told in 2011 to “stay ahead of the pain,” and was sent home with a month’s supply of what I now realize were heroin pills. Recently I talked with a cancer survivor who also had leftover opioids and a teenaged son at home. I urged her to get a digital lockbox or return the pills to a pharmacy. Even if her son doesn’t find or use them, a friend of his might. Then the treacherous slide into heroin overdose begins.
If I ever doubt myself as a mother fighting for her children, all I have to do is look at this Mother’s Day card my deceased son made for me about ten years ago. I’m seen as firm with my words and my sword… with a kind smile on my face, all centered in a heart glowing with love.
I’m hardly alone. Even my son’s memorial garden was just visited again by Rachel’s weeping. A mother bird in the sweet gum tree had fought valiantly for her eggs, evidenced by the circle of feathers; but her efforts simply weren’t enough. The nest fell to the grass and her babies were hungrily consumed.
Mother’s Day is approaching. Ugh. For me, and for perhaps hundreds of thousands of mothers, this time on the calendar is a terrible reminder of broken hearts and empty arms. Despite all we do, sometimes we still lose our children. Some mothers lose their only children—I know two such women who lost theirs to heroin. I have heard of one woman who lost all three of her children to heroin overdoses. Losing your children is bad enough. Add on the stigma of death to drugs and you have an unfathomable nightmare.
I am most fortunate that one of my brothers will be here and we will spend the day making and eating delicious meals our mother made when we were growing up—a time of innocence. My younger son will get to indulge with us. (He loves to tell me there’s no food in my house.) Foods I typically now avoid, yet that give comfort and solace to an empty heart. Corn fritters, hamburger pie, cheesecake, springerle. I’ll still be weeping for my child, as I do nearly every day, yet with social support I also will have some consolation.
Thriver Soup Ingredient:
Mothers fight for their offspring, though not always successfully. Many of these mothers are single. It can be such a lonely time, especially with the isolation that can come from losing a child to drugs.
On Mother’s Day, please pray for or send positive intentions to the Rachels everywhere. Those who have suffered heavy losses need comfort and love—a kind word, a simple text, a card—something to let them know they are not entirely alone.
If a bird’s nest chance to be before thee in the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young;
Deuteronomy 22:6, JPS Tanakh 1917
The compassionate act for a hungry person of ancient times was to take only the eggs from a bird’s nest and leave the mother. This created benefits: humans had food and birds could again reproduce, making more human food.
Fortunately I can walk to a store open 24 hours every day and get a variety of foods to eat. I don’t need the eggs in the nest by my porch to satisfy my survival needs.
The cardinal nesting by my side door probably is the one that tried to create a nest on my porch light. Hanging from this light fixture is the beautiful wind chime given to me by Kay so my deceased son could make it sing for me.
Perhaps the mother bird gave up when the door kept swinging open and shut, open and shut. So she moved to the tree next to the porch. As close as she could get without the constant disturbance.
Her nest cradles two eggs. I enjoy seeing her as I walk by.
How did those eggs get out of her little body?
How does she know to sit on her eggs? The sea turtle lays her eggs and abandons them, returning to the sea.
How does she know to leave the eggs alone? If she were human, I imagine she’d be neurotically inspecting the eggs, rolling them around, listening for any sounds.
Nope. She sits calmly, quietly, still as stone. Watching. Waiting. Being.
She makes me wonder about my way of being as a mother. I was anxious, wanting everything to work out perfectly for my two offspring. Instead, one turned to drugs, and three years ago lost his life.
Would I blame the bird if one of her eggs broke, or if a hatchling fell out of the nest, or if a creature ate one? Today I found a broken robin’s egg on my driveway, not five feet from the tree where the cardinal nestles. This is life. These things happen. We do not control outcomes, especially with terrible illnesses like cancer and addiction.
James Hillman (American psychologist, 1926 –2011), in his book The Soul’s Code, calls the inordinate self-blame of grieving parents “the parental fallacy.” It is false to think we have enough control to manage every outcome. We can try and influence, yet ultimately, it is not up to us.
Perhaps this is why the cardinal tried to build a nest right above my son’s wind chime and the robin lost her baby. Maybe it’s a message, like, “It’s not your fault, Mom. You did everything you could. Sometimes terrible things happen. And I am near you now, singing through the wind chime, watching you through the eyes of a bird nesting by your door.”
They are reminders to have compassion for myself, as I have compassion for these mother birds.