Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

From Loop!!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Twin sisters with breast cancer face metastasis and remission together

Since I started this blog I have read gazillions of articles about breast cancer but never one like this. These sisters show an amazing grace as they come to terms with different fates.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1342530/Breast-cancer-twins-discover-die-tell-moving-story.html

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Beautiful Blooms Benefit Breast Cancer Research Foundation

On I personal note, I really like this fund raiser. I grew up surrounded by hydrangeas, and they were the flower theme at my wedding. Now a special pink one will benefit the BCRF.

http://www.invincibellespirit.net/

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

From Loop!


Greeting card from Zazzle.com

Friday, December 17, 2010

I heart boobies. A ridiculous court case over a plastic bracelet.


So the Easton Area Middle School/ACLU "I heart boobies" lawsuit has reached federal court.
And even though this blog specializes in pop culture and breast cancer, I couldn't care less.

I am just fine with sassy breast cancer awareness messages. I will admit before I was a survivor I found the whole pink haze around BC overwhelming and preferred to never think about it. I was just the sort of person that Save the Ta-Ta's or "Feel Your Boobies" was made for. The first makes very comfy T-shirts, the second does some of the best graphic design I have ever seen.

The pink bracelets from the Keep a breast foundation? Not my taste, but hey it's a free country. Or so we thought.

The irony is that the kids will grow up. But the adults who turned this into a federal case literally, probably not. Instead of making this into a teachable moment, the school and the kids' parents lawyer up.

How about this?

Stop fighting over a pink plastic bracelet, acknowledge that women are suffering, women are dying. and do something about it!

Easton Area Middle School...how about making a different bracelet that raises more money for a local hospital or the Breast Cancer Research foundation?

Instead you are using public money to litigate against 7th graders for being silly?


Here is the story that the Associated Press posted online:

Pa. girls fight 'boobies' bracelet ban in US court
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — In a test case of whether breast cancer fundraising bracelets that proclaim "I (heart) boobies!" can be banned in public schools, one district is calling the slogan a sexually charged double entendre.
The free-speech case involves Easton Area Middle School, whose seventh-grade principal struggled on the witness stand Thursday when asked if T-shirts with the words "breast cancer" should be permitted on the school's Breast Cancer Awareness Day.
The middle school, a 90-minute drive north of Philadelphia, suspended two girls in October for refusing to remove the colorful rubber bracelets, which have become wildly popular among teens across the country.
Some school officials are far less enthusiastic. But the Easton Area School District is the first to try to defend a ban in court, according to the Keep A Breast Foundation, the small Carlsbad, Calif., nonprofit that sells the bracelets to engage young people in breast cancer awareness.
In U.S. court Thursday, a school district lawyer asked the suspended girls, Brianna Hawk and Kayla Martinez, if they wore the bracelets as fashion statements or simply to make waves by defying a school rule.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

New technique may help prevent lymphedema!

Sadly it's too late for me on this...but if I was newly diagnosed I would pursue this!

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20101211005006/en/Imaging-Technique-Reduce-Lymphedema-Breast-Cancer-Patients

Now PLEASE somebody help those of us who already have it!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Elizabeth

There has already been a lot written about Elizabeth Edwards and her death from breast cancer. Here is a link to a story that really described her best qualities.

http://swampland.blogs.time.com/2010/12/07/elizabeth-edwards-r-i-p/

Here is a link to a really interesting essay by a cancer survivor.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steven-petrow/elizabeth-edwards_b_793499.html?ir=Politics

I am hoping that someone makes this a teachable moment about metastatic breast cancer
I watched several network reports tonight that said she died of cancer, but barely mentioned the word breast.

I really do think that there is some confusion about the fact that BC can move out of the breast into the rest of the body, and that is when the disease can be fatal.

What Elizabeth's passing shows is that that being famous, or smart, or powerful is no protection against this disease. We have seen so many prominent women overcome breast cancer recently, but the truth is that this disease can kill any of us.

Edwards didn't want to be described as "losing her battle with cancer," and I give her a lot of credit for this. It is a tired metaphor.

Cancer is not a prize fight that can be won with a punch. Some of us have cancer that responds to treatment well, others are not as lucky.

Edwards wanted to be remembered for how she lived not how she died. I don't blame her.



  

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Speedos and freezing weather are the perfect match for breast cancer benefit

This story has a ton of local color.
Hats (and everything else) off to the organizers for coming up with a unique fund-raiser.

http://pahomepage.com/fulltext?nxd_id=163377

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Is the reality of breast cancer too ugly for social networking

I thought this article is interesting. So many women feel that BC gets prettied up with pink ribbons. Here is one woman doing the opposite.

http://www.onlinesocialmedia.net/20101124/facebook-breast-cancer-u-turn-helping-awareness/

more from the U.K.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1332311/Facebook-angers-breast-cancer-survivor-removing-offensive-pictures-scar.html

Happy Thanksgiving

From Loop!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Making Money for Breast Cancer with Breasts

O.K. this story is a little on the silly side. And it's much more salacious than the owl-themed craft project that raised @whymommy's ire last year.

But hey, why shouldn't a topless bar raise money for breast cancer.


I only wonder why this station did not post the video.

http://www.cbs12.com/news/cancer-4729675-breast-club.html

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The problem with Peggy's point

I like Peggy Orenstein. Two of her books sit on my shelf, I have met her in person. We both have spent part of our lives in Minnesota.

But as much as I think she is one of the leading feminist writers, I think she did a disservice to young survivors in her recent New York Times article.

I actually agree with her on the odd looking NFL pink football gear.

But her point seems to be that breast cancer is mostly an issue for old ladies and women who are dying. This makes any edgier, sassier, breast cancer awareness campaign a hollow reflection of a misguided society.

Now don't get me wrong, I know a lot of the breast cancer awareness campaigns strike a sour note with women with metastatic disease.

But Orenstein seems to take issue with the fact that early stage breast cancer survivors could portray ourselves as strong, vital, and even sexy.

I don't have to tell most of you that whether you have a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, this disease can be a sledgehammer to your sexuality. It can steal your hair, your body image, and your confidence. The road back is a fight. A long fight.

So the aspirational image of a cancer survivor who is strong, sexy, and has her sense of humor intact is an important one.

It's hard to remember that in the civilian world, most healthy women in their 20's, 30's, and 40's would rather not think about breast cancer. It's hard to blame them. Before I had breast cancer the issue was a pink haze that I tried to avoid thinking about. After all I had a 7 in 8 chance that it wouldn't be me.

Honestly, an awareness message with an edge or a sense of humor would have had a better chance of reaching me. If I had not put of my first mammogram to 42 I might have a better prognosis.

Orenstein also dislikes the idea of the breast cancer "ass-kicker". However the image of a warrior-princess is not a new one. It can make us feel like an empowered person, not a perpetual patient. Maybe it's a false hope, but it's still hope.

While dealing with a frozen shoulder and lymphedema prevents me from "kicking ass" many days, the idea that there is a archetype out there, one part wonder woman and one part anime helps me to keep fighting.

In the days after my diagnosis, I toted the book Cancer Vixen with me like a security blanket. The fact that it was a cartoon allowed my brain to absorb it, despite the shock. I needed to not feel like an old lady or someone who's life was ending.

So here is the irony.

It's true there is nothing fun or sexy about cancer.

But being a fun and sexy woman is still within reach, even if reaching is a little tougher these days.


 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

This article is beautiful!

For a nurse this lady is sure a great writer. Don't miss this lovely essay on the nature of recovery.
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/10/seeing-a-patient-outside-the-hospital/?src=tptw

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pink-lash?

I have to wonder if there is an emerging trend of backlash against breast cancer awareness month pink.
While I truly appreciate the support, a few the pink items in the NFL look kind of silly. Others look better.

I wonder how the players feel about wearing them. Are they thinking of a mom or aunt, or are they saying I can't believe I have to wear pink socks on national television?

About 8 years ago, I was required to wear pink one day a month, and to be honest, it felt like an imposition. This was long before I actually had breast cancer of course.

A few weeks ago there was a dustup over pink whistles at a Washington State high school football game. And now this:

 http://www.usatoday.com/sports/preps/football/2010-11-10-pinkcleats10_ST_N.htm

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Finally science and bling fight cancer together!

I don't blog a whole lot of science articles, but this one is...pretty? Gold covered nano particles can help fight breast cancer according to a new study.

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/nov/08/health/la-he-tumors-gold-20101108

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Maryland nursing home does the pink glove dance!

 I actually participated in the "official" pink glove dance sequel. It was fun but I wish they had showed more of the NYC shoot, which they put a great deal of effort into.
This next video is quite a bit more "home grow" but it's really really cute!!!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiUgEqRVLWw&feature=player_embedded#!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ok this makes me MAD

Pink whistle blowers might be penalized

Referees who blew pink whistles to raise breast-cancer awareness might have to give up game checks for working out of uniform.

Penalties might be coming for dozens of referees who used pink whistles at high-school football games Thursday night.
Referees from the Pacific Northwest Football Officials Association used the colorful the whistles to raise awareness for breast-cancer research, and donated their game checks to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
But Todd Stordahl, commissioner of the Washington Officials Association, said they didn't ask for permission.
"They chose not to ask for permission, not to go the right route," Stordahl told KING-TV, saying the move set a precedent.
"It sends the wrong message to kids that are playing the game. 'If they broke the rules, why can't I do the same.' "
Stordahl said the WOA might keep the pink whistle blowers from officiating two playoff games as a result. That means the referees could lose two game checks.
There was a fundraiser at the Inglemoor-Garfield game Thursday night to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Inglemoor coach Frank Naish lost his sister to breast cancer this year.
They were pleased by the referee's effort.
"I think it's perfect. It's great," Naish's wife Teri told KING-TV. "I think it's a shame (if they're penalized). The message we're sending is simple. We're looking for a cure for breast cancer."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Who the F*** would want that?

That is what my husband said when I told him about this next article. Thanks Chemobabe for pointing it out. You can now have breast cancer in second life!

http://cancerculturenow.blogspot.com/2010/10/virtual-breast-cancer.html

Young Survivors Conference becomes C4YW

If you scroll back in time Deb and I covered the Young Survivors Conference extensively both here on Loop and for CureToday.com. I thought the convention was an excellent experience, but I realize that their efforts at media outreach were only partially successful. Also there was confusion because the YSC conference and the YSC organization actually have different names.

Now the conference will have it's own new identity. The C4YW. Check out the new website www.c4yw.org

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Play about young woman with breast cancer

I will write more about this soon, but I wanted to put it out there while it is still running!
If you are a young woman with BC, you will want to see this!
http://coyotereptheatrecompany.blogspot.com/2010/05/new-normal.html

4 Sisters, 4 Survivors

Very inspiring!
http://journalstar.com/news/local/article_03d1a30a-da5d-11df-9395-001cc4c03286.html

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The cost of cancer

Today I sat in HR at my new job trying to decide what to do. I can stay on my husbands insurance via cobra or we can join the plan at my job. It's kind of funny, going through cancer gives you a whole different perspective on medical bills.

Here's an excellent article from Chicago.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/ct-met-breast-cancer-costs-20101014,0,5804048.story

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day

 One of the most heartbreaking threads I have read on breast cancer message boards is by women with stage 4 breast cancer who feel overlooked and ignored by breast cancer awareness month.
Today is MBC Awareness day, to learn more use the following link.

http://www.mbcnetwork.org/page.aspx?nm=mbc_awareness_day_02

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Wire Story

Anyone who has had a lumpectomy knows the wire insertion is emotionally and physically painful.
I thought this article about an alternative was pretty interesting.
http://abclocal.go.com/wjrt/story?section=news/health&id=7719994

Choosing a Breast Cancer Charity

There are a lot of good breast cancer charities out there, and some not-as-good. From BCRF to YSC to Komen, how do you choose where to put your dollars.

The gazillions of pink products this time of year make it even more confusing. This is an excellent article from the Chicago Trib looking at the variety of charities.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/la-he-breast-cancer-pink-20101004,0,5033635.story

Live chat with patient navigator

http://www.latimes.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-breast-cancer-chat-20101012,0,7759778.story

Fantasy Bras

A cancer fighting bra?

I guess it gave the folks at the Los Angeles times a good chuckle.

I have even read on the web about a bra that doubles as a gas mask.

I guess if I were reporting in a war zone, I would think about it.

Suzanne

Monday, October 11, 2010

Row for the cure

I thought this was a neat idea and a snappy website.
http://www.rowforthecurect.com/

Lingan?

I don't know much about Lingan, but according to a study it could be beneficial.

http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/Nutrition/Phytochemicals/lignan_reduces_risk_of_breast_cancer_death_1110100745.html

Monday, October 4, 2010

Thinking about pink

Last year breast cancer awareness month nearly overwhelmed me. My surgery was on October 13. In the weeks before, it felt like the world was conspiring to make me think about breast cancer 24-7. Even watching football was agony, why did every player, coach, and goal post have to be decked out in pink?

This year my feelings are more ambivalent.

I know some women float through the month on a pink cloud, lifted by the fact that so many people appear to care and be supporting a cure. I know others look at pink products and suspect that they are being exploited by promotions that only channel a tiny fraction of proceeds to breast cancer.

Personally I am somewhere in between.

There are times seeing a landmark lit in pink truly lifts my spirits. I got a lump in my throat when I saw the pink lights on the George Washington Bridge.

I have seen great work done by pink-pushing charities. I really enjoyed participating Komen's Race for the Cure. I know women for whom the pink stands as a sign of hope that they are not forgotten. And to be honest if anyone wanted to do all this for lymphedema, I would be overjoyed. Having an orphan illness is even harder than being the "flavor of the week."

This website is for everyone. Yes, our logo has a pink ribbon. Yes, we cover charity events that include a lot of pink. But I also try to give voice to women who have something else to say. Here is a post that has a very different point of view than my own.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/fran-visco/why-im-not-celebrating-br_b_749128.html

Now on to the products. The best way to fight cancer is to give directly to a charity that funds research. Another option... do something in your community to help people with cancer.

When it comes to products, I have no problem with a company just making a straight up donation, instead of having some tiny fraction of products sold benefiting breast cancer charities.

York Peppermint Patties gives $250,000 to the Young Survival Coalition. Works for me. I can buy or not buy their candy. 

Some tie-ins are not so clear, and I hope corporations will re-think them and be more generous before using our suffering for seasonal sales.

So for this year I am at peace with pink, most of it at least. But if you can't wait for all the pink to go away...I've been there too.

Suzanne

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Breast Cancer Survivors do the Pink Glove Dance

 If you watch very, very carefully, you can see me dancing my offbeat salsa in the Times Square segment.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEmkvxfXfjg&feature=player_embedded

Go Deb Go!


Our own Deb, co-founder of Loop is on the "Tour de Pink" right now! It benefits the YSC, one of our favorite causes! They go from Hershey, PA to NYC, and I am so glad the weather has cleared up a bit!
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hersheys-bliss-chocolates-kicks-off-breast-cancer-awareness-month-with-220-mile-charity-bike-ride-2010-10-01?reflink=MW_news_stmp

The story behind the pink GW Bridge



O.K. I am being such a New Yorker here. There are pink landmarks all over the world but I am obsessed with the GW Bridge in pink. These photos are from the New York Times, and here is their article on the man who turned the bridge pink.

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/02/a-bridge-goes-pink-for-breast-cancer-awareness/

Friday, October 1, 2010

Pink and Green

NEW going pink
There is a lot to blog about this month. Here is a link to an article from my former home town of Green Bay, Wisconsin.
http://www.fox11online.com/dpp/news/local/green_bay/new-going-pink

Landmarks lit in pink signal the start of breast cancer awareness month


   Love or hate it, October is here, and all the pink that goes with it. Last year I was still in shock at my diagnosis and the pink kind of rubbed me raw. But tonight when I saw the GW bridge strung in pink light, it kind of gave me a lump in my throat.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tierney's breast cancer recovery continues with new role

I caught Maura on "Kimmel" a few nights ago. She looked great. Cute cropped haircut, great arms.
I have not seen the new show, "The Whole Truth," but the reviews are not the best. I am still sad she had to give up "Parenthood" which is a pretty creative program.

Here is a new article on Mara's journey.

http://www.stltoday.com/entertainment/television/article_9d5120c2-731c-5c51-85ac-639a422d61a6.html

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

More debate over mammograms

Just in time for October, a new mammogram study.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/23/health/research/23mammogram.html

I will have internet and be back up to speed soon!

Suzanne

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Race for the Cure in NYC

I don't know why I dragged my heels about participating in the Race for the Cure. During the Revlon walk I felt a bit overwhelmed by the crowds, and I was worried this event would be worse. I have not been that involved with Komen in the past, and I have even occasionally cringed at some of the organization's marketing partnerships.

All that being said, they put on a heck of an event. I had a great time, felt included, valued, and inspired. I will be back next year and my goal is to run, baby, run!

I decided to participate foremost to support my friend Darlene. Darlene is a remarkable person, a jewelry designer, and a uber-survivor. Her aggressive stage 4 Her2+ breast cancer has gobbled up much of her body, she has endured bone and joint replacements, along with ongoing treatments. She always looks beautiful, dates, and gets about NYC. I complain about my physical aches and pains all the time, Darlene does not. She truly celebrates life. It wasn't comfortable for her walking all those miles early in the morning but she did it. So go Darlene!


The best moment was when heard a squad of cheerleaders rooting for Team DarStar. It felt like something out of a movie.

After walking with Darlene and her friends for 2 miles, I decided to challenge myself to pick up my pace. I even ended up jogging the last 1/3 of a mile, and that is when they snapped the photo. I can't wait to see it. The event has a special start slot for survivor/runners and next year I would really like to be one of them. To be honest cancer has taken away a lot of my ability to do some of my old recreational activities like social dancing, so I look forward to having a new challenge.

I even made it to the opening survivor ceremony. Compared to the Revlon walk I felt like the survivors were really valued and cared for at this event, with plenty of food and beverages and just a friendly encouraging vibe.

I got to chat with celebrity spokesperson Gabrielle Union, who could not have been more down-to-earth. She spoke quite movingly of her friend's five year battle with cancer, and how this was the first year she would be walking in her friend's memory.

Not to go all US Weekly, but I really think Gabrielle may be the prettiest movie star of her generation. I'm not one to have my picture taken with celebrities, because who looks good standing next to a covergirl, but I made an exception.



I give Komen a lot of credit, the event was not just about raising funds, it was really about raising hope. I want to be back there next year, stronger and healthier. In fact I can't wait.

Here is the link to Komen's Web site for the NYC race.

Suzanne

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sore Feet:Happy Heart

Just got home from my first NYC Race For the Cure. I will do a proper post ASAP. It was a lot of fun, very well run. (No pun intended, my running is anything but good.) I was impressed and I will be back again.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Beth Gainer Guest Post:Mind Games

A month ago I injured my foot while walking on uneven sidewalk.
Instead of seeing a doctor, I saw the pain get progressively worse.
People without prior or current health issues might be unfazed by such a minor injury and just go see the doctor.

Cancer survivors like me tend to panic.

I am so happy and lucky I survived breast cancer. However, my very
survival has come at a steep price: unlike the pre-cancer me, I can no
longer tune out every ache and pain that plague me. A body ache can
mean my cancer has returned or never left me in the first place.

That’s why my foot injury has me on shaky ground – even though I am a nine-year survivor. The statistics being in my favor do not comfort
me. When one is in pain and panicked, numbers simply don’t add up.

I really love my general physician, but from my perspective, it’s one
more doctor added to a list of follow-up doctors I have to see.

The first year after treatment was a difficult roller coaster of
emotions and fears. Since then I’ve kept my inner turmoil and mind
games at bay in spite of the normal aches and pains that assail my
body from time to time. For the cancer survivor, being years out of
treatment is not always reassuring.

This week, thanks to the tough-love support of my friends, I finally
picked up the phone and made an appointment with my general physician.

My appointment is tomorrow.

I am doing my best to stave off panic for at least another day.

This experience has reminded me that, while my physical fight against breast cancer is over for now, the mental fight perhaps never will be.

I am making strides toward overcoming my fears, one mental battle at a time.


My PhotoBeth L. Gainer has had numerous publications, including an essay in the anthology Voices of Breast Cancer. Her popular Calling the Shots blog at www.bethlgainer.blogspot.com. offers information and advice on how to navigate the medical system. She is a contributing member of Medpedia and Navigating Cancer.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Happy Cancerversary to Me

So it's today.

I struggled with the whole cancerversary concept. Did I really want one? What day should it be? My "you've got cancer" mammogram, my biopsy results, my surgery?

I decided I did need a day to mark. It would somehow free me a bit.

To tell the truth, I picked the day I found out. Last August I had my first mammogram at a downtown NYC hospital. It was an awful experience. A group of us, braless and in robes were lead down the a hallway the length of a city block like some pathetic chain gang. The technician was rough with me.

I said I was never going back.

Then two weeks later I got a call I needed more mammograms. I can't tell you what I expected. But I chose September 1st for my follow up.

The date was after a short vacation and a journalism convention I planned to attend. If I was gonna have cancer, I wanted those two trips first. At the convention I had a surprise chance to dine with my personal hero and role model, the amazing Boyd Huppert of KARE-TV and I thought that evening in Indy, at least I am getting to do this before I have cancer.

I waited for my biopsy results through Labor Day weekend, my surgery was in October, but September 1st was the day my life changed. And I picked it, I did. So here we are, one year later.

The date seems to fall in the middle of an emotional minefield. After the anniversary of Katrina, before 9-11, and just around the Jewish holidays when it is believed the "book of life" is open. Of course there is also the big pink October cloud on the horizon. While some of these occasions put my own experience into perspective, it seems like a time when we are reminded how epic and unpredictable life can be. At least the weather is nice.

Some people mark these dates with a celebration, and I respect that. They are doing the happy dance to be alive, and maybe in future years I will do the same. Perhaps at least I will have a few drinks, maybe a "pink lady?"

The day I found out, my husband left work early, and ironically I took advantage of cool clear evening to cookout. At that point I wasn't sure how many chances I would have remaining, and I had always wanted to have a barbecue in New York City.   Maybe that will become my tradition.

But for this year the day feels solemn. Not sad, just solemn. I am happy to be alive, and to have a good prognosis. I still struggle with some physical problems and that is frustrating. I told my husband to send me flowers, we'll see what happens. I'm not holding my breath.

So life goes on. Thank God.

Suzanne

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Really interesting story from Atlanta

This article was so interesting and quaint in it's old-school newspaper style. But they make a point; other movements take back terms for empowerment, breast cancer awareness is so different. Queer is hardly a slur anymore it now refers to social consciousness about homosexuality.

http://www.ajc.com/news/cobb/slang-is-common-at-601559.html

S

Pink Gloves in Times Square ( Now with photo)


Hi all, I got to go to the PGD2 shoot today. It was fun and very quick for a multi camera shoot. I think the new video will "drop" in September. I took my pictures with film, so I have to develop them before I post them. (I know some sorta blogger I am.) I believe the final product will have hospitals and survivor groups from all over the U.S., but you can not beat the look of Times Square on a crisp day.

S

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Correspondent back on the job after breast cancer treatment

 Congratulations to Jennifer Griffin! This video clip may have you in tears, but they will be happy tears.
 http://www.mediaite.com/online/watch-shep-smiths-tearful-exchange-with-fncs-jennifer-griffin/

Take this duck and......

O.K. you don't get a whole lot of angry posts from me but here it goes. Yesterday the rep from a "supplemental" insurance company visited my workplace. One of the things they offer is cancer insurance. If you get cancer it helps pay for little things like time lost at work, transportation to treatments, etc. I was a freelancer and the past year it would have been good to have.

So I go into see the rep, I say I am interested in cancer insurance.

The rep starts blabbling to me about how awful cancer is, and how many people he knows died of it, and on and on. To shut him up I say, "I get it I had breast cancer last year."

Rep: Oh because of what you just shared with me,we can't insure you for 5 years. But if your husband would like a policy.....

So I am told how awful and deadly my condition is, therefor they will not help me. Nice!

Oh no supplemental disability for me, no life insurance for me, not from them at least. I really wanted to tell him what to do with his plucky mallard mascot.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Chutes and Ladders

Something Chemobabe posted on Facebook got me thinking, For those of us a year or so out from early stage breast cancer the ups and downs can take some getting used to. We are back in "the real world" doing our thing, then a twinge of pain, or a slipping foob, or a look at a scar takes us back to cancerland.

I think this is one of the things that is tough about lymphedema. You have to keep one foot in cancerland when you see a bug, or get a scratch, or for some unknown reason you are out having fun and your arm starts looking like a pool toy.

I hope and suspect these ups and downs are a "normal" part of recovery, and that we will learn to manage them better as time goes on. The ladders will get easier and the landings will get softer.

Suzanne

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I still miss Izzy

I became attached to "Grey's Anatomy" back in 2006. I was dealing with a painful breakup, and the Meridith's heartbreak seemed to mirror my own. For an hour every Sunday I was not alone in my grief. I also worked at an ABC station at the time and I was proud network television could still be as compelling as cable or the cinema.

The show was never quite as great again. The storyline of Meridith's pain was so well written and acted it was hard to top. The show's weakness I always thought was a propensity for putting it's own character's in the hospital. I felt bad when, according to rumor, the writers gave Izzy cancer in retribution for Kathrerine Heigel's complaints about in adequate screen time.

Then somewhere between the cliffhanger finale when the chief decided to try to save Izzy, and the season premiere when she returned as a perky survivor, I got cancer too. All of a sudden Izzy's goofy wigs and determination to overcome her illness were personal. What seemed like just another soap opera twist, became a source of inspiration.

Sadly Izzy took off for parts unknown, and a string of mediocre rom-com's. Too bad, it was nice having her in the club.

Now however prime time has another stage 4 cancer patient, played by Laura Linney. Hopefully she will make better choices than Walter White in AMC's "Breaking Bad."
(Why is everybody so keen to knock off a dying man anyway?)

Here is an article about the new program on Showtime.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Breast cancer patients can win a luxury silk scarf from Hermes

Interesting column from Sun-Times writer and breast cancer survivor Mary Mitchell. She recalls how much a really nice scarf meant when she was going through treatment. Now Hermes is giving 31 scarfs to readers who submit an essay. The link is below. Good luck!
http://www.suntimes.com/news/mitchell/2591216,CST-NWS-mitch12.article

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

We did it! 1000 followers!!!!

I still remember when deb and I had oh....half a dozen followers. Now we have 1000 followers. A grand, 1K, how ever you want to slice it!!!!
Thank you!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

"Breaststrokers" paint and paddle to fight breast cancer

Cute story from canada about a charity event which included boating and breast-painting. Yep I made that a verb!
http://www.timescolonist.com/health/Breast+cancer+survivors+leave+mark+artwork/3374010/story.html
Suzanne

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Samantha,"Sex" and breast cancer

So in one of those only in NYC moments I found myself in an elevator with Kim Catrall of "Sex and the City." Since I have briefly met SJP and Cynthia Nixon, I joked to her, "All I need is Kristin Davis and I have a matching set."

We had an elevator-length chat about Samantha's symbolism as a breast cancer survivor, and I mentioned that I found that plot line in the TV series finale reassuring when I was diagnosed. She said she had heard the same thing from women all over the world and credited the writers with handling the development well. She added that I looked nice and healthy now and wished me well. All in all it was as nice a chat as you can expect with a random celebrity meeting.

But I wanted to say more.

While I liked the movie sequel more than most people I know,  I thought the producers threw breast cancer survivors under the bus.

I could understand a decision to not mention breast cancer at all. Perhaps cancer does not,"test well," as they say in show business. But the movie had Samatha behave in ways that made no sense for a survivor.

Not only did the plot have Samantha blithely jumping on a 14 hour flight with out the slightest lymphedema precaution, the running gag in the script was how Samantha was consuming and practically bathing in any phytoestrogen she could find to fight menopause. Wallowing in wild yam puree, for example. It made no sense, most likely someone in their 40's would have been kicked in to menopause by chemotherapy, 6 years earlier.

I didn't say any of these things because of course, Catrall was not the screenwriter. However, to add insult to injury, Cynthia Nixon who plays Miranda is a breast cancer survivor in real life and was a Komen spokesperson.

I'm not saying the movie needed to be "Sex and the City 2: Samantha's Recurrence," but somewhere along the line, somebody should have at least silently respected the fact that one of our generations most memorable symbols of sexual liberation was also a breast cancer survivor.

Suzanne

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Serviceman calls "Attention" to breast cancer with pink ribbon buzz cut

Great picture of a California man who really is using his head to fight breast cancer.
Here is a link to the article.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

More athletes try to beat breast cancer

More interesting stories featuring athletes raising money for breast cancer charities.This one is about a mixed martial arts fighter auctioning his pink cast.
http://mmajunkie.com/news/19825/rich-franklin-raffling-autographed-ufc-115-arm-cast-for-breast-cancer-research.mma

This one is about fast pitch softball!
http://www.nfca.org/news/?id=3520

Hoping you are playing hard this summer!
Suzanne

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Christina Applegate's life after breast cancer

Y'know it's funny I had trouble finding a verb for the above headline. Do we "move on" from cancer? "Recover"? "Graduate'? I know survivor is a handy noun, but as a verb it kinda seems like gruel at the banquet of life. Anyhow good news from BC women is always nice to hear, and with celebrities it takes on a symbolic aspect.

So...Congratulations Christina on your new love and pregnancy.
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/celebritology/2010/07/after_divorce_and_cancer_chris.html

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Sunny Side

Something funny happened the past few weeks. My life took over my attention from cancer. With a move, a new job, and summer activities, cancer (and more specifically my late side effects,) sometimes take a back seat.

It's both exciting and scary. If I forget about fighting cancer, and start enjoying ice cream and beer, am I risking my life? It's kind of like the war on terror. Most of my fellow New York City residents no longer wonder if a passing plane is headed for a skyscraper, yet clearly the risk still exists.

Chemobabe posted today about the post-treatment depression so many of us go through. I am a big fan of special support groups for post-treatment patients, but they are hard to find. Also Hester Hill Schnipper's book, (located in the Amazon widget to the right,) is a big help and a good place to get started.

Much like the weather, my sunny skies are still vulnerable to pop-up showers of fear and concern. But some days....cue the music...I can see clearly.


Suzanne

The Article

I met for tea with a group of cancer survivors and the hot topic was the New York Times article about misdiagnosed DCIS. Will this article cast a shadow on screening? Will the standard of care for DCIS now include a second pathology report?

I wonder how I would feel if  someone told me my cancer was all a mistake?

I once spoke to a doctor who said that the earlier the stage, the MORE emotional stress a woman goes through. This makes sense, DCIS patients sometimes have an overwhelming array of options and opinions about their condition.

Suzanne

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Green Bay residents show true grit during breast cancer fundraiser

I remember covering a parade in Northeast Wisconsin that took place in the rain. Folks there are tough, and as you could see the rain also could not prevent them from raising money for the Breast Cancer Family Foundation.
Suzanne

http://www.fox11online.com/dpp/news/health/Bicyclists-battle-rain-to-promote-breast-cancer-awareness

Friday, July 16, 2010

Jersey girls feel the need for speed

Sorry I have been a little slow on the blog front. I recently moved and our internet connection is slower than molasses. But speaking of speed, this event looks really cute, there are race cars, dancing, and all manner of festivity to raise money for breast cancer charity projects.
http://www.njmp.com/babesburninrubber/tshirt1.html

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fired from job, breast cancer patient wins settlement

I'm not sure if this story makes me happy or sad. I am glad this woman found justice, but sad she was forced to turn to the legal system for restitution. 
Suzanne

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/835195--woman-awarded-20-000-for-being-fired-after-revealing-breast-cancer?bn=1

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July joy

Gosh, something about this holiday really makes me aware of the passage of time. I was diagnosed last summer, 4th of July weekend may have been the last vacation I had "innocent" of breast cancer.

Anyway, here is a link to a special story about hope, the holiday, and breast cancer from KARE-TV, one of the best local tv news departments in the USA. The video player is on the center right of the computer, it's a little tricky to find it.

http://www.kare11.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=856667&catid=391

Suzanne

Friday, July 2, 2010

A sister speaks out.

Read @JodyMS's candid post about why she got off the Tamoxifen train.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Not fair! Student on bike dies during breast cancer fundraiser

I know life isn't fair, but this next story about a student being killed during a breast cancer charity bike ride is heartbreaking.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/student-john-anczarski-hit-by-car-during-cancer-charity-ride/story-e6frf7jx-1225884052982

Friday, June 18, 2010

My breast cancer/sports report

O.K. just like in my TV news days, it's time now for sports! (Somehow it works better when you have a cute sportcaster to exchange witty banter with.) Let's go to the...links?


First up, I'm giving Fox Sports props for their support of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The organization doesn't have the highest media profile, but they do great work and devote a very high percentage of their donations to research.
http://www.foxsportssupports.com/index.php

Next up, great little story about a ball game between legislators and reporters to benefit the Young Survival Coalition, another terrific charity, and one that has personally helped me.
http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_15321775

I loved this "behind the scenes" article about Marina Navratilova, still red from radiation, playing and broadcasting at the French Open.
http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/french10/columns/story?columnist=ford_bonnie_d&id=5233703

And finally, I've met Deanna Favre several times, she is extremely gracious, and I have to say I got a kick out of the Pink Ribbon Edition of the Madden football video game, which benefits her breast cancer foundation.


So, keeping with the newscast theme, I'll kick this with video of water skiing squirrels.
Suzanne

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Very creative breast cancer awareness video from Komen North Texas

"Team on Message" sent me a link to their video, it's well worth a click. They found a way to make the breast cancer awareness message fresh and upbeat. Enjoy!
Suzanne
http://www.itsonmessage.com/teamOnMessage/

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Berry good news

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_4JyjQ7TPYHo/SVfHraqYxgI/AAAAAAAAAng/nZccTfCOWSo/s400/berries.jpg
O.K., it's a blog I'm entitled to the occasional pun. Interesting article from U.S. News and World Report about research into the cancer-fighting potential of berries. And hey, it's a good time of year for berries. I will ever share my kitchen secret, I "macerate" strawberries and blueberries with a bit of balsamic vinegar and sugar. It makes them extra yummy with yogurt or anything else. It's my 4th of July dessert tradition.

By the way, I just do it by eye, but here is the original recipe from Martha Stewart.com. I use frozen yogurt and granola instead of biscuits and creme fraiche.


  • 12 ounces assorted berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • One 8-ounce container creme fraiche
  • Amaretti biscuits

Directions

  1. Combine berries in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and vinegar. Let sit, stirring occasionally, until berries soften and start to release juices, about 30 minutes.
  2. Layer berries with creme fraiche in parfait glasses. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 3 hours. Just before serving, sprinkle with crumbled amaretti biscuits.

Suzanne
Image from gritsglamour.blogspot.com

Monday, June 14, 2010

Maura Tierney's comeback takes her to new ABC legal drama

More good news for one of our favorite celebrities, Maura Tierney. The former "ER" actress had to drop out of NBC's "Parenthood" to undergo treatment for breast cancer. I've always felt it was kind of a shame because I think Parenthood is a pretty good show. I did get to catch Tierney's performance on stage here in New York City in the Wooster Group's "North Atlantic. Here is a link to my review.

I saw the show at a time I was really struggling with some late side effects and seeing her full of energy on stage gave me a boost.

According to published reports, Maura's new show is called "The Whole Truth" and will co-star Rob Morrow, best known for "Northern Exposure." It's scheduled to debut in the fall. You go girl!

Suzanne

Saturday, June 12, 2010

My radiation oncologist gets some ink

My medical oncologist gets plenty of press, but this article from ABC News uses my radiation oncologist as a source.
(I know it's not really ink when it's web copy from a network.)
Too bad though about her opinion. I have been interested in the "one blast of radiation during surgery" procedure since I was diagnosed last year.
Suzanne

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A big pink truck named Geraldine

I was on the way home from one of my doctor's appointments and I found this parked on my block! A big pink truck belonging to the Metropolitan Recycling Company. I spoke for a moment with the driver who told me the truck was named after the owner's mother, who had breast cancer.

I'll say this, it made me smile to see the combination of recycling and breast cancer awareness.

Suzanne

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Study says: relaxation and coping skills help patients with breast cancer recurrence live longer

I have a deep admiration for people who can learn not to sweat the small stuff after cancer. However I am still a work in progress. As much as my husband would like me to be as serene as a yoga guru, I still get worked up from time to time. So I have mixed feelings about the following article from the Columbus Dispatch. On one hand anything breast cancer women can do that helps their survival is a good thing. However I must admit, it's a lot of pressure not to get stressed out!

Suzanne

Sunday, June 6, 2010

"Walkers for Knockers" and more

Cute sidebar from the Washington Post about the lively lingo on T-shirts at the Washington D.C. Komen fundraiser.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

mo' better mammograms?

A new study suggests that breast cancer survivors may live longer with twice yearly mammograms.
http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/AdditionalMeetings/20091

Anything that saves survivor's lives is worth pursuing. Still, it's hard to be really gleeful because most of us, if a recurrence is found, will need a mastectomy. I also suspect I am not the only one not thrilled at facing test-time anxiety twice a year.

Besides that, have a happy holiday weekend!

Raise money for breast cancer and cut clutter at the same time!

Here is a great way to raise money for a charity and get extra room in your home. Have a tag sale!
http://www.thehour.com/story/487068

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Canadian study shows breast cancer takes a toll on bodies and bank accounts

I participate in a message board that includes American and Canadian women, among others. While the Canadians do not fear losing their insurance the way U.S. women do, this study shows, there is still a steep cost to having breast cancer. Here is the link to a summary of the study.
http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/May2010/27/c6976.html

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Unique program uses basketball to help women recover from breast cancer treatment

I am always looking for unique opportunities to help women recover from breast cancer. I got this note about a program that uses basketball to hep women get moving after surgery.
Suzanne
My name is Amina Gilyard and I am the Education Specialist at the George Washington Cancer Institute. We currently offer a free program to breast cancer survivors in the DC metro area called Healing with Basketball (HwB). The clinics are designed to help survivors regain upper body strength and recover range of motion after treatment, as well as provide them with a strong support system of fellow survivors.  Healing with Basketball clinics take place one Saturday a month from 1:00-3:00 PM at GW's Mt. Vernon campus. They are run by survivor and psychotherapist Lynn Grodzki who also founded HwB and is the volunteer program manager and Andrew Weiss, coach and CPT.
Recently, we were featured in the health section of the Washington Post.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Minnesota women create "Rapunzel Project" to help pay for cold caps.

It's a little tricky writing about "cold caps" for breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. I have heard from people who swear by them, and I have heard from people who say they don't work. My personal oncologist does not support their use, but one of my surgeons says she has seem good results. Still, this next article from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune was interesting to me, It's about two Minnesota women who started a charity to help women pay for cold caps.

http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/94666214.html?elr=KArks7PYDiaK7DUHPYDiaK7DUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUUr

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Breast cancer patient copes with treatment and civil unrest

When I was doing my first searches on the web after diagnosis, I remember reading somewhere about what to do if a natural disaster strikes while you are going through treatment. It was probably written post-Katrina, but I can not imagine how scary it would be to have a flood strike following surgery or during chemo or radiation.

Two of our followers have been dealing with extraordinary obstacles. Chemobabe has had to deal with flooding in Nashville during her radiation, and now feistybluegecko writes of having to work around political protesters and curfews in Thailand.

http://feistybluegeckofightsback.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/bunkered-down-bangkoks-breast-cancer-correspondent/

Suzanne

Charity focuses awareness on dense tissue and breast cancer risk

One of my memories from my time in the hospital is hearing several medical personnel comment that I had exceptionally dense breast tissue. I think the word concrete was used. It's almost funny, I ran into one of the radiologists who did my wire insertion and she did not recognize me until I said, "I was the one with the really dense tissue?"

"Oh yeah, I remember you!"

Since that time, just last year, more information has come out pointing to dense tissue as a risk factor. It also makes screening trickier, especially for many young women.

Today I discovered a website and a charity dedicated to raising awareness on just this issue. It's got a cute name, and they even have a music festival fundraiser.
http://www.areyoudense.org/

Suzanne

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Psychology of Prevention

Whether you are concerned about preventing breast cancer, or preventing a recurrence, the number of factors to consider can be overwhelming. Lifestyle changes can improve your odds, but you can do everything right, and still come up short.

I thought this article from Psychology Today was interesting. It looks at why high-risk women, who have not had cancer usually decline Tamoxifen as a preventative treatment.
http://www.psychologytoday.co/blog/beyond-apples/201005/why-is-pill-prevent-breast-cancer-so-hard-swallo

Suzanne

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The babe is back...new and improved!

ChemoBabe! Logo
One of our favorite bloggers is Chemobabe, and she has redesigned her blog to be bolder and badder than ever. I admire here sassy courage to put it out there.

She's actually now going through radiation which is sure to add to her superpowers.

Suzanne

Martina Navratilova plans to swing at title during breast cancer treatment

Wow.

Many of us mere mortals struggle with getting back range of motion after a lumpectomy and radiation. But Marina Navratilova plans to play in senior doubles at the French Open while she is getting zapped.

I'll admit a little part of me wonders if she knows what she is getting into, I got TIRED during radiation, but if she can pull it off, I'll be cheering for her.  And if she can't, I'll still be cheering for her.
Suzanne

(link here)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thermal imaging being studied as breast cancer screening tool

While I am not a science expert, I feel as if any news is good news when it comes to the study of new types of breast cancer screening.
Suzanne

Here's the link.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1279215/Scan-spots-breast-cancer-like-heat-seeking-missile.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sexy art show raises money for breast cancer

I kind of like it when somebody stirs things up, to raise money for a breast cancer charity. I think it brings new people to the cause. Also from a media point of view, keeping things fresh is important. Journalists get tired of covering the exact same story every year.

One of the goal of Loop, is to show the variety of ways people can raise both money and awareness of breast cancer charities, big and small. Maybe something you read on here will inspire you to try something new in your community. That said, check out this next article.

Suzanne

http://www.theprovince.com/health/Breasts+canvas+auctioned+help+fight+cancer+Vancouver+fundraiser/3026731/story.html

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Radio host talks her listeners through breast cancer

O.K., I admit I am a little fascinated with broadcast journalists who have breast cancer, and what they reveal or don't. Since I happened to be newly unemployed at the time of my diagnosis, I never had to make that decision. But I found this story of Cindy Simmons and her journey to be worthwhile. Who knows someday we may form our own little charity, broadcasters with breast cancer.
Suzanne
http://www.11alive.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=143999&catid=3

Conflicting advice about breast self-examinations: what's a woman to do?

No wonder women are confused. I was doing my daily web search on breast cancer news stories and the two articles at the bottom of this post were right next to each other.

The first, a story from Michigan, encourages women to take action when they find a lump, and make sure they are properly examined and tested. The second, from New Zealand, quotes a prominent doctor who believes BSE's are not effective. Now before we rip him to shreds, he does advocate for mammograms and ultrasound from the age of 40, which he feels is a more effective method of early detection.

Personally, I have a tough time advising women not to consider BSE's. They are free, and you can do them even if you do not have access to health care.

Here are links to both articles.

http://www.mlive.com/living/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2010/05/misdiagnosed_lump_turns_out_to.html

http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/wellbeing/3695964/Self-breast-checks-pointless

What do you think?  Post your opinion in our comments section.

Suzanne

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Real Housewives of New Jerseys' catering hall hosts "In Living Pink" breast cancer benefit



Take a great cause and add a little reality TV rubbernecking, you've got me at hello.

If you have watched the Real Housewives of New Jersey, you may recall that Dina and Caroline's husbands own The Brownstone, a fancy catering hall located in Paterson.

When I heard the Northern New Jersey branch of the Young Survival Coalition would hold their annual fundraiser there, I was determined to make it across the Hudson River.



Sadly, I did not see much of the Manzo family featured in the TV program.  At most I may have caught brief glances of Caroline Manzo's son and daughter, but that was about it. Sorry to say I have no inside gossip, except for the fact they have a big tray of black-and-white cookies in the office, and I was too timid to grab one.  I would be useless at the National Enquirer.


Meanwhile, hundreds of people were on hand to help YSC NNJ. Guests spent their time bidding on silent auction prizes and participating in a raffle (the necklace in the picture was made by my friend Darlene).

On to the food! Of all the "Real Housewives" franchises, the New Jersey series is the most fixated on eating. While the women of Orange County try to avoid eating, and Bethanny Frankel of New York City has written a best selling diet book, the Jersey girls are often shown in the kitchen, making red sauce, meatballs and so forth. So it's safe to say I came hungry. Catering hall food is often a letdown, but everything on the buffet was tasty. The beef short ribs and the penne were my favorites, along with the mocha ice cream dessert.

While the food may have helped bring in a crowd, the star of the evening was pro golfer Val Skinner. The athlete and philanthropist has a breast cancer foundation which, much like YSC, focuses on serving younger women. She gave an emotional speech, talking about her friend and fellow golfer Heather Farr, who died of breast cancer at 28.


It's always interesting to watch the faces of my fellow survivors during this kind of speech. Some are overcome with emotion, some are withdrawn. I was touched by the tabletop decoration, which is the YSC logo in candles. It's always tricky finding a way to make a serious point about breast cancer without overwhelming the audience. I thought the candles hit just the right note.

All in all it was a festive evening. It was nice to be able to indulge my appetite and curiosity, while helping an important breast cancer charity. Thanks to some new friends, I got a ride back to the city, arriving just in time to watch the Real Housewives of New Jersey on TV. Too bad I did not have one of those cookies to munch on!

Suzanne