Tag Archives: uterine sarcoma

How Can We Help Protect Ourselves from Covid-19?

How can we help protect ourselves from Covid-19 when our bodies are already vulnerable because of cancer?

Almost every disease in older adulthood is made worse by inflammation in our bodies, according to Chris Fagundes, an assistant professor of psychological sciences at Rice University. [1]

Inflammation appears to play a role in Covid-19. This virus turns deadly when the body overreacts to the invasion and creates a “cytokine storm.” According to Randy Cron, M.D., Ph.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham, “Cytokines are inflammatory immunologic proteins that are there to fight off infections and ward off cancers… But when they are out of control, they can make you very ill.” [2]

Therefore, perhaps a good defense against Covid-19, and cancer, is a good offense: reduce inflammation in the body.

In addition to my 26 tips for improving immunity to help prevent contracting the virus (which you can find on my blog, all from my book, Thriver Soup), I will next be offering dozens of tips for reducing inflammation in our bodies to help us all stay a little healthier.

Here is a primer on inflammation, which is one of hundreds of reflections I offer in Thriver Soup:

“When threatened by wounds, irritation, or infections, cells inflame to assist with the transition back to health. A molecule called nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kB), which normally resides in cell cytoplasm, moves into the cell’s nucleus (hence the name ‘nuclear factor’) and generates redness, heat, swelling, and pain. When the body heals, the NF-kB molecules return to the cell cytoplasm.

“NF-kB, however, also provokes the genes involved in creating chronic inflammation, which generally does not help the body heal. Instead, long-term heat and swelling becomes an open invitation to cancer. One-sixth of all cancers are directly linked to chronic inflammation. Most, if not all, cancers have unusually high levels of active NF-kB. This protein is considered their missing link. Researchers, for example, found that NF-kB regulates the inflammatory cascade necessary for breast cancer cells to proliferate and metastasize.

“Fortunately, inflammation can be smothered through diet and supplements. NF-kB can be suppressed by phytochemical-rich spices, vegetables, and fruit. Antioxidants can block the proteins so they don’t move into cell nuclei. Vitamins C, D, and E, curcumin (found in the spice turmeric), the herb ashwagandha, pomegranate extract, garlic extract, ginger root, green tea, omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, and isoflavones found primarily in beans can be effective cellular firefighters. I found such a diet helped reduce my discomfort during treatment, decreasing my need for pain medications.

“When brought back under control, NF-kB provides the body with important healing mechanisms…. Keep the chronic flames doused with an anti-inflammatory diet to help preserve your internal landscape.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

“Ask your doctor to measure inflammation markers in your blood (C-reactive protein and albumin). ‘Patients with the lowest level of inflammation were twice as likely as the others to live through the next several years,’ according to long-term studies by oncologists at the Glasgow Hospital in Scotland.

“Talk to your oncologist about what anti-inflammatory foods and supplements work well with your treatment choices.”

Thriver Soup, Pg. 174

Other sources:

[1] [https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2018/10/30/new-research-on-inflammation-shows-how-extreme-emotions-can-undermine-health/#4bc491af56f5]

[2] [https://www.forbes.com/sites/claryestes/2020/04/16/what-is-the-cytokine-storm-and-why-is-it-so-deadly-for-covid-19-patients/#6b77ed6460fc]

NLMSF’s “Tackling Leiomyosarcoma” at The James in Sept.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here is another informative slide:

 

 

 

 

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

Wrestling a 24-pound Turkey

“Ask and it will be given to you…”

Matthew 7:7, Christian Bible

I have come to believe when we put forth effort in certain directions (though not always), and ask for assistance, the Divine tends to step in and support us. It’s sort of a “God (sometimes) helps those who help themselves” perception.

I’m in my mid-50s and had never, before this year, cooked a whole turkey on my own. Recently my friend Cynthia Wells sold me her freezer so I knew I would have space this Thanksgiving to store leftovers.

I drove to Red Sun Farm in Loveland, Ohio. There, I could see white heirloom turkeys roaming a field of sunshine, and I signed up for a whole gobbler.

Shortly after making my deposit, I got a postcard from La-Z-Boy offering me a free carving set because I had purchased a replacement chair from them. I wasn’t expecting much, but my beautiful new large knife and fork have ceramic handles. I was all set to slice meat with my new poker and sabre.

Or so I thought.

Right before Thanksgiving I drove to the farm to pick up my poultry.
Kind of.
The bird weighed more than 24 pounds. 
Mind you, I had two broken fingers from falling off a galloping horse a few weeks earlier. (With two fingers taped together, I am in training to “Live long and prosper.”) And I’m also not supposed to carry heavy loads because of all my abdominal surgeries, including for uterine sarcoma.

I barely managed to pick up the box anyway and lug it to my Prius trunk.

Thanksgiving morning, I got out the roasting bag and read that it was only for meat up to 24 pounds. My turkey was bigger than that. Still, I managed to clean up and wrestle that weighty gobbler into its bag. And close the tie.

Once in the bag, I had a new problem. My pan was not big enough for a 24+-pound fowl. What to do?

I asked in prayer: Any ideas? You got me this far, please keep it coming.

Ten minutes later the answer popped into my brain. Use aluminum foil to form a basin.

I made the foil fowl bowl and managed to plop my big-bird-in-a-bag onto it. Into the oven it went. Whew.

After it finished baking, my son and I agreed it was too heavy to pull out, so we cut open the bag and left it in the oven. My nice new carving set made slicing so easy.

I felt so supported making this turkey. My freezer now contains bags of organic, free-range meat and multiple jars of deeply nourishing turkey bone broth.

The broth is perfect for making my hearty “thriver soup” with local organic Napa cabbage and onions from Earth-shares CSA in Loveland, fresh local potatoes from Harvest Market in Milford, and Shiloh Farms organic lentils I am sprouting (available through Jungle Jim’s in Eastgate), all in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

It would have been easy for me to assume the idea to put the turkey in an aluminum foil bowl was my idea. I think, however, because so many details had lined up before this request, I was being supported by an idea from the Divine. I gave thanks.

If you ask for information, pay attention to your thoughts. An idea might suddenly arise. It probably will be easy to miss, or dismiss, but if you are paying attention, you might recognize it as a gift and give thanks.

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

Discover 3 Kick-butt Keys to Thriving Despite Cancer

Discover 3 kick-butt keys to thriving despite cancer. Important attitudes, behaviors, and major life choices are explored in this episode of Breast Friends Cancer Support Radio network. Listen for tips on managing chemotherapy, the difference between being healed and being cured, reducing pain levels, and getting out of the hospital early. Find genuine hope and practical options to improve outcomes.
https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/97339/3-keys-to-thriving-after-cancer

 

Sharing my Story with the Northwest Sarcoma Foundation

Click here for my brief story

The Northwest Sarcoma Foundation provides hope, education, and support to sarcoma patients and their families in the Pacific Northwest while investing in research to improve cure rates for sarcomas.
Its CARE values are
Compassion — Providing comfort through a sympathetic awareness.
Advocacy — Promoting accurate diagnosis, research, and treatment options through  investment in research
Responsibility — Providing timely, accurate information and reliable resources.
Education — Providing educational materials for patients and families about this disease.
Its vision is better treatments for sarcoma patients and increased cure rates.

Psychosocial Support in Cancer Care

Psychosocial support in cancer care was addressed briefly Oct. 8 at the National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation patient symposium in St. Louis, Mo.  This was one of several cancer treatment topics that I have been reporting about.

Dr. Yasmin Asvat, clinical psychologist at the Siteman Cancer Center, said, “What is a healthy emotional response to a diagnosis? All emotional responses are valid and appropriate. They’re human responses.”

Initial emotions can include sadness, anger, shock, disbelief, denial, and for a few, acceptance.

“Our bodies are looking for balance to be restored,” she said. “If we are not getting to adjustment and acceptance, how can we live well through this journey?”

Thirty percent of patients experience chronic distress after a diagnosis. “To what degree is the distress interfering with the ability to cope effectively?”

Normal feelings like sadness, fear, and vulnerability can become disabling feelings like depression and anxiety.

“Distress can be experienced throughout the cancer care trajectory,” she said.

Dr. Asvat sees her role as partner in balancing patients’ goals with fears. She tries to provide physical interventions and strategies for fatigue, pain, insomnia, and developing a healthy lifestyle.

Advances in LeioMyoSarcoma Surgery

Advances in LeioMmyoSarcoma surgery was addressed briefly Oct. 8 at the National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation patient symposium in St. Louis, Mo.  This was one of several cancer treatment topics that I am reporting about during the coming weeks.

Jeffrey Moley, associate director of the Siteman Cancer Center, said LMS can occur anywhere in the body and has a 50 percent mortality rate. It most commonly is found in the extremities of the body. Nineteen percent of sarcomas are LMS. High-grade LMS has a greater than 50 percent chance of metastasizing; low-grade has a less than 15 percent chance.

Sarcomas are the only cancers that are graded.

During surgery, the doctors always try to get a negative margin. To avoid amputation, one good option is to do limb-sparing surgery followed by radiation. This decreases the chance of a local recurrence by 30 percent.

MRIs and CT scans give pretty much the same information to the doctors.

The definitive treatment is complete surgical resection.

For abdominal and retroperitoneal tumors, sometimes repeat operations can be very effective, especially for low-grade sarcomas.