Sunday, December 18, 2011

Another thing I picked up at the doctor's office

I know there is a lot of chemo info out there but this looked promising, I found a flier for it at MSKCC.

A mysterious pink card

So I was at the surgeon's office and I saw this cool little pink card. It is a "cheat sheet" for women facing breast cancer surgery. I went to the website:
I am still not sure who is behind it, but I am impressed.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cindy's Hope Chest Filling Up

Sweet story about how one woman's quest to help her fellow breast cancer patients landed her on a hit national television program.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Betty Crocker Cancer? Or the best book I never meant to buy

So I opened up a package one day at work and was totally surprised. I occasionally have been known to order a book late at night, and this time I had made a mistake.

The book was the Betty Crocker Living with Cancer Cookbook!

Honestly I was kind of caught off guard. Betty and cancer seemed like an odd combination.

So I turned the book in it's Amazon packaging upside down and used it to prop up my keyboard for about a year.

I finally took it home and opened it up, and I was actually impressed!

It has a lot of recipes that are geared towards people in treatment, and it even takes into consideration the fact that a patient may not have much energy to cook. It also has great little tips from an oncologist with almost all the recipes.

It is not a diet cookbook, some of the recipes are geared to help patients gain weight, something most breast cancer patients are trying to avoid, but it has a nice combination of simple and very simple dishes.

Oh yes, you can even buy it via our Amazon store! (Heck they have it used!)

They even have a pink version, but again I bought this by accident, and even I am not that good.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

New Website for Y-ME

I kind of wondered what happened to Y-Me. (I thought they changed their name?)
But there are still here offering round-the-clock help, and they have a new website.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Wrap-up

This year's breast cancer awareness month ended with snow for some of us.

It was an interesting month.

Personally, two years out, it was a bit easier to take.

It also seemed a bit less merchandised. (A bit, not a lot.)

I was very pleased the see New York's AG go after "pink ribbon scams." Phony charities, and pink ribbon products that are misleading.

Here is an idea.

Stores, don't sell pink ribbon merchandise if at least a respectable percent of profits do not go to a reputable charity.

Seriously, consumers are not the only ones who need to "think when they pink." Retailers can take a big role as well.

Target? You are in Minnesota! You have the most media-friendly policy of a retail chain. I love you for that! Wanna bite? Take a pledge?

I do think that the pink ribbon backlash became a hot topic this year, and while I am not personally anti-pink, any thoughtful debate of the issues benefits us all.

Metastatic breast cancer seemed to get more press in October of 2011. At work I got one press release offering a MBC Satellite Media Tour.

I realize for some of you, nothing short of cutting the pink ribbon will be enough. But I also think there is a middle road, and we took some important steps on it this year.

One last thought. A few months ago I saw "The Normal Heart", a play about the birth of AIDS activism. That movement wasn't always pretty.

For those of you who feel we need something more direct than BCA month, there is a whole year ahead.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Don't miss this blog

I love everything about it. The graphics, the writing, the spirit, and the message.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One more better pink purchase

I found it really touching that someone would do a tie-in for the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation.
It is just nice to see a company that gets it.
Go Rebecca Taylor!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pink promotions: the wheat from the chaff

So I have seen a few pink ribbon promotions that are "bettter than average"
Ann Taylor Loft has a deal where your can buy a 20% off coupon for $25. 90% goes to BCRF.

I think this is smart, first of all BCRF uses a very high percent of donations for research, also except for the card and folder, it does not require manufacturing special pink items. Smaller carbon footprint perhaps? I bought a skirt and jeans that I would have bought anyway.

The also have a line of special shirts, but they were not quite my cup of tea. They had some special fashion jewelry as well.

I still wonder who will take my challenge to have a FRESH VEGETABLE pink promotion. Seriously Komen, pick up the phone and call the broccoli guild or cauliflower growers. Go for it!!!!

Till that happens, there is a Komen Green Giant promotion.

Komen does offer fresh flower bouquets that include a donation at at least some Weis Markets.

On the flip side, I am surprised that Hard Rock Cafe is using the name "Pink October" for their promotions. Isn't that kind of our little derogatory term?

Friday, October 14, 2011

a thoughtful pink cheerleader

OK, so I was watching "Five" on Lifetime last week, when I commented, "I wish someone with breast cancer had been involved in the writing or at least looked at the script."

One of my fellow viewers said, "Maybe somebody did but they were a big pink cheerleader."

Ouch! You don't have to scroll down far to know that I am willing to wear pink a few times a year, and do not have a zero-tolerance policy on pink ribbons. (Except the Walgreen's cap. I HATE the Walgreen's cap.)

I hope that the pink has not eroded my brain so much that I can not tell the difference between a sincere show of support, and exploitative merchandising. It is possible to support a pink cause and still have a thoughtful understanding of breast cancer.  So I guess my new self-description is "a thoughtful pink cheerleader."

It's interesting, I now bring up the "pink ribbon controversy" to people at the breast cancer events I speak at, and to be honest, it's not really a mainstream topic, even with women's health care professionals. I do tell people that pink ribbons are a negative to some women with breast cancer, and there is a growing backlash.

Which brings me to some other thoughtful cheerleaders.

I actually have no problem with these gals and their, "Feel for lumps, save your bumps" t-shirt. I mean it actually is kind of catchy.  It's age appropriate as well. While it's true not every breast can be conserved, and not every cancer locally controlled, for teenage girls I think it's an OK place to start.

AND...the article moves on the the whole pinkwashing issue. Honestly I think the segway is a little random, but it is interesting to see our debate is becoming sort of a standard "nutgraf" to a breast cancer article.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Oct 13:Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day

Underneath the "pink" vs. "un-pink" debate is an issue that is more compelling to me. Where does metastatic breast cancer fit into awareness campaigns?

I truly believe that a crucial part of being in this community is lending support to women who have received this diagnosis. Putting our early-stage heads in the sand benefits nobody.

I have been saddened to see how many women with MBC feel marginalized. They believe not enough research and resources are directed towards women who are fighting to stay alive. Some feel that it is becoming an us vs. them situation.

Nothing about breast cancer is simple. Many women do endure treatment and go on to live healthy lives, others do not. It is so completely unfair.

Somehow we have to find room for both truths. Not everyone likes the word survivor, but I remember what one woman with MBC said to me at the Young Survivors Convention. "Every day you are here, you are a survivor."

Anyhow please take a look at this article by one of the very first Loop contributors Pamela Beth Grossman.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Crossing the Border to Fight Breast Cancer

You want to know a really geeky secret about me? Having NOTHING to do with breast cancer!

I am a geography geek. I love maps. I really love "How the States Got Their Shapes."

This summer the hubster and I finally visited Niagara Falls. When I got there my mind could not help but thinking, "I just checked this off my 'bucket list'."

But as grating as the touristy towns surrounding the falls can be, the falls are amazing.

So I loved this next "pink" article.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A breath test? A vaccine?

This is not the most in-depth story, but it is intriguing. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Airports prove turbulent for breast cancer survivors

I guess not everyone is aware.

This is a blog post from a woman who was treated very poorly by the TSA at JFK.

I have never been through anything close to this, but I have had my own awkward moments. Back when I was Kineso tape queen a screener asked me what it was and almost started crying when I told her.

On the way home from YSC a friend with a head scarf got an odd comment from the ID checker.

At one point in my recovery I really did need the extra minute to get on the plane, and I was sort of brushed off by the gate attendant.

Perhaps one solution is to find out the most pink ribbon sweatshirt you can. So far the terrorists don't have a partnership with Komen.

BTW the TSA was quoted in the NYT as saying they work with breast cancer groups. 

I would love to know more.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

My shiny, happy, pink day

I have thought a lot about the whole idea that Breast Cancer walks undermine the concept that this is a deadly disease. And I am not dismissing it.

However, for thousands of years people have dressed up in costumes, participated in ritual, and celebrated being alive. Kind of like mummers?

So here is my pink postergirl photo from my local Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Hunt for Pink October

I finally had a chance to go shopping today, and I am seeing a lot less breast cancer awareness merchandise.

I realize some of you will feel good about that, and some will be distressed. I am just surprised. I wanted to grab a few things since my Making Strides walk is tomorrow.

Sears: Nothing

Wal-Mart: only some pink ribbon scrubs. They may have had greeting cards somewhere.

Target: Nothing I could see

Old Navy: a few Komen T-shirts. Some exercise clothes with pink trim.

Kohl's: nothing

Michael's Crafts:  two displays of pink ribbon merchandise, only the duct tape was endorsed by Breast Cancer Research Foundation

CVS: Komen Sunglasses, 20 cent donation for each item.

Even the Estee Lauder counter did not have pink ribbons to give away.

The Hallmark store had a miserable little display, almost none of the items indicated any charity relationship. (The I Love Boobies bracelets are the only possible exception, and I consider them to be more like the ACLU now.) Honestly it looked like last year's leftovers.

So what happened?

Is this a good thing?

Friday, September 30, 2011

How did Debbie Woodbury get so smart?

Here is a great blog, full of information for survivors.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Masterpiece!

My totally true crazy cancer diagnosis story, acted out on stage!

Savannah's Sticky Situation

Am I getting old?

Am I becoming a prude?

I mean I am the blogger who royally pissed of brainy @whymommy when I tweeted about an owl-theamed craft project. (It was really cute, honest, just a little pair of owls on a bra.)

I don't have a problem with saving ta-ta's or second base. I don't really love I love boobies bracelets, but I am all about the first amendment.

So why am I not up in arms about Savannah's decision to keep a local charity from stringing bras across several intersections? I mean I am all about keeping it sassy!

Here in upstate New York a charity is doing the same thing this Friday and it kind of made me cringe. The fact that they are doing it on Yom Kippur Eve made it a double cringe. Do we really need to string bras down the street on my holiest day of the year?

Don't get me wrong, I actually would have allowed the Savannah Bra Stringers to do their thing.

 I am all for keeping breast cancer awareness fresh. I love pick dump trucks, and fire trucks, and garbage trucks, they give me a lump in my throat.

But at the end of the day we want to do things that are moving, not cringe-inducing, and "bras across America" may not be the way to go.

image from

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Disturbing link between demographics and dissection

Call me crabby, but this is awful. Especially when you consider the expense of dealing with lymphedema.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pink Eye


In my real life I have just spent the last two weeks covering Tropical Storm Irene damage, and terrible tragic flooding in New York and Pennsylvania.

So perhaps I am not in the right frame of mind to write this post.

But I just read this and find myself deeply torn.

Most of the bloggers I respect want off the pink ribbon wagon with a vengeance. Heck even the mighty Peggy Orenstein feels that way.

Don't get me wrong, I get pink cringe too. Especially on the NFL players for some reason. Oh, and that pink bubble wrap. And worst of all the pink Walgreen's cap.

So here is my flip side.

A few months ago a attended a benefit for a woman with metastatic breast cancer. I was kind of surprised because there were pink ribbons everywhere.

They seemed to give her comfort, something that was unexpected because most of the MBC bloggers I know would have gagged.

Heck, they even had stuff from the kind of tacky and oh-so-controversial defenders of the first amendment the "Keep a Breast Foundation".

Go figure.

Perhaps this woman who has had breast cancer for 15 years, and lives in a rural area didn't get the memo that pink has "jumped the shark."

When Deb designed our logo, our pink ribbon symbolized a woman looking for community. And that community seems to now be having a bit of a culture war.

When I first dreamed up this website it was not to have a bully pulpit. It was for unity. One place that you could check out bloggers, charities, and even a little peek at pop culture.

So I am going to admit a couple things.

I have a team in this years American Cancer Society's Making Strides walk. Though my cause of choice is really the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, I did want to do something to participate in a community event.

My friend who is co-team leader made a very fancy logo for our team, and it is a great big pink ribbon.

With our names on it.

I gulped and decided to see it for what it is, a bold and touching show of support for my two-year cancerversary.

I guess what I am saying is that I can still put on rose-colored glasses and see the good in pink. The fact that is an instantly recognizable symbol, and radiates hope to a lot of women.

So now I am gonna go out on a big pink limb for Save the Ta-Ta's.

Before I had BC, all I saw in the movement was a big sad scary pink haze. Honestly even as a reporter I kinda covered my ears and went "la-la-la" when it came to the subject of breast cancer.

For me, the tart humor of the "Ta-Ta's" t-shirts is just the sort of thing that would have cut through the fear.

I am listed as one of their blogging buddies.

When I was going through radiation they sent me a big box of t-shirts. I begged them not to, as a journalist, we really avoid anything that smacks of conflict of interest.

But to be honest, their nice soft shirts and tanks were about all I could wear towards the end of treatment.

Their humor helped me and my husband get through a tough time. I wore their "Kiss me I'm a survivor" shirt to my first fund-raising walk. When I was feeling really cranky, my black "Bad-ass Ta-Ta's" shirt cracked up a nurse or two.

It also bought me some street cred in the Northeast Wisconsin biker community, but that's another story.

So where does that leave me. Am I out of touch? Pink-washed? Passe?

Why do I find myself feeling that I need to hide my tolerance for a pink ribbon from the smartest women online?

After a week of looking at muddy water, a pink ribbon just doesn't look so bad.

Image from

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cancerversary #2

Last year I was hoping my husband would send me flowers on my first cancer-versary. The year I survived had been rough, and a little celebration seemed in order.

This year I don't think he will even remember. I almost didn't. It kind of snuck up on me when I was living my life. Don't get me wrong, I have not had a day yet where I did not think of cancer. I hope someday I can have one. 

While I know this "versary" is a celebration of survival, it's hard for me to think of it as a happy occasion. It takes me back to the shock of my first mammogram that went south so quickly. My wait though Labor Day Weekend for the biopsy results. Trying to make peace for a week with that tiny tiny chance it could be something else.

Don't get me wrong, there were some positive moments.

My famous setting off of the nuclear radiation detector at the US Open following my PET scan.

The fact that hours after the bad news, I made my husband cook out with me on a weekday giving us our choice of grills in the park.

And of course, since I had to wait for results through Labor Day Weekend, I squeezed in a bucket list trip to Opelousas, LA for the Zydeco Music Festival.

But while I am grateful for ever year I survive, I still haven't figured out how to make September 2nd a fun day.

Maybe a Dairy Queen cake would do the trick?

Image from cafepress

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What are doctors really thinking?

#HCSM hashtag chat on twitter lets you find out!

9 PM EST on Sundays.

Also do not forget @JodyMS and @Stales #BCSM chat Monday evening!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I wish that I were Nancy Drew

This story made me mad. To use the precious good will and dollars of people who want to save our lives as a scam. A big scam.

Not a few hundred bucks by some desperate and deluded soul, but an organized cynical big bucks scam that took hundreds of thousands of dollars that could have and should have gone to breast cancer research.

I do not roll out the word evil much, but is seems to apply here.

I also feel a bit guilty. I was a journalist on Long Island. I wish I had caught them.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pink Daisy Project Blossoms

I was very happy to see the Pink Daisy Project get some national attention from CNN.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

And we're back!

Big sigh of relief!
Blogger is back up and running!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Any woman under 50 who had their breast cancer caught on a mammogram kind of wonders what all the fuss is about. Are we disposable? There are at least in NYC a decent size group of us.

So today's news that a major medical group believes mammograms starting at 40 is the way to go is a bit of a relief.

Still mammograms are not enough, they are especially imperfect in younger women with dense breasts.

But it's something.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Taiwan's Pet Scan Setup

I never knew Asian women had denser breasts! Interesting article.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Action, Action, We Want Action

A-C-T... clap clap clap.... I-O-N

Remember that cheer from the high school basketball sidelines?

Apparently Komen is changing breast cancer awareness month to breast cancer action month!

It's kind of a savvy move, and shows that Komen is picking up on some subtle changes in the breast cancer community.

Some might say they are simply co-opting the sharper message of other cancer groups.

A few weeks ago I saw "The Normal Heart" on Broadway.

The play is a fascinating look at the beginning of the AIDS crisis, and was especially poignant, because the performance I saw took place as the New York State Legislature was just days from legalizing same-sex marriage.

But I digress, what it really showed me was how intense and fractious the fight for any sort of AIDS awareness was in the 1980's.

So here is the thing. I don't think all breast cancer survivors and organizations have to be on the same page.

If some women feel a more political organization suits their attitudes, that's a good thing.

Stirring things up is probably to the benefit of all of us. But, I still think some of the traditional events and campaigns also have a place.

So what sort of action do you want to see?

The Pink Haze

This is a pretty darn interesting article, suggesting that the traditional feminine rose-colored breast cancer PSA's may actually make women turn the other way.

It's interesting because until now, the pink vs. no pink debate has been mostly theoretical.

While I get overwhelmed by all the crazy pink products, and for some reason the NFL pink really pushes my buttons, I also appreciate the simplicity of the symbolism.

I appreciate that at least there is awareness of our disease. Having something that is unknown really isn't easier.

Plenty of women I respect have stronger opinions, and wouldn't mind seeing every pink ribbon go away.

I suppose some tasteful moderation is too much to hope for?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How do you get away from it all?

This is the longest I've been without an update.

I have been busy with work and some summer fun.

It's funny, I was in the middle of a fun social  moment, and a discussion of cancer came up. My sweet hubby tried to change the topic, wanting a bit of a holiday from cancer chat.

Perfectly reasonable, and something I need to be aware of.

However for me, especially as I struggle through the "lymphedema summer" there is really never a break.

While I don't constantly obsess about recurrence, I am constantly watching my arm, protecting it from heat, bugs, scrapes, the works.

So cyber-friends does the cancer watch never stop, or have you discovered ways for your mind to escape?


image from

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

Great Breast Cancer Retreat in Beautiful Wisconsin!

Breast Cancer Recovery announces an Infinite Boundaries® retreat
July 21-24, 2011
Madeline Island Music Camp, La Pointe, Wisconsin

Please share this with women who might be interested.

FEE IS $400

Based on the belief that the journey to recovery and survivorship involves the total woman – mind and body – the retreat will help women find inner strength, gain courage and experience the hope needed to live each day beyond the boundaries of breast cancer.  Created by breast cancer survivors, the retreat offers a four-day program that features discussion on topics such as living with the fear of recurrence; creative arts designed to promote healing through self-expression; physical wellness through body movement and a kayak experience which has always been a highlight for the women who have attended over the years. This activity is designed to be accessible to everyone. We paddle on a pristine back water lagoon.

You will stay at the Madeline Island Music Camp Lodges. Each two-story lodge is constructed of rough hewn wood, with a cozy screen porch, small kitchenette, and seven private and air-conditioned bedrooms. Each lodge contains dormitory-style bathrooms, consisting of four sinks and four enclosed showers and toilets. Nestled among a lovely wooded area with birch and pine trees, you might see blue heron, crane and deer during your stay on the Island. You will enjoy delicious, nutritious meals prepared by Chef Jonathan Berthel.

Located on beautiful Lake Superior, the Music Camp is created to embrace nature:  aromatic pine air, sparkling clear water, and brilliant night skies. An escape for the mind and body, the setting is ideal for our Infinite Boundaries retreat concept of “healing in nature.”

The fee for the four-day, three-night retreat is $400 due to the many generous donors who help to underwrite a large portion of retreat expenses.  The retreat fee includes all meals, lodging, program materials and activities.  A non-refundable $100 deposit is required to reserve your spot in this retreat.  Breast Cancer Recovery offers scholarships which help to make Infinite Boundaries retreats affordable to more women.  Additional information about this and other Infinite Boundaries retreats can be found at, by calling 888-821-1140 or by sending an email to


Register by phone:           888-821-1140
Register online:      

Please stand by

Sorry I have been so quiet this week. My laptop appears to have gone to the big server in the sky!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

ASCO:Primary care doctors say they want and need more training to help cancer patients!

Woo-hoo! I rarely get giddy about a study from an oncology conference, but this one makes me happy. I have wondered for a while why there are not internists who specialize in working with cancer survivors.

Most oncologists are busy fighting cancer, so we really need doctors who can be the hub of our medical care. I have always wondered why these folks are not around.

Now a new study out at ASCO confirms what I, a lowly blogger have been saying.

"PCPs seem aware that there is something else they should be doing for their patients, but are unclear as to what that "something else" is."

Adorable! Firefighter goes pink to battle breast cancer and flames!

 This made me smile.  See real men do wear pink!

Image from WTOP Radio

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Balancing Cancer and Your Career

I think this conference in NYC June 17 sounds fabulous!

Read all about it!

Doctor and Breast Cancer Survivor Opens Online Shop for Patients


Melanie Bone, MD, was not yet 40 years old and had four young children when she was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer. “Even though I am a doctor and surgeon, I learned firsthand about the side effects of cancer treatment,” said Dr. Bone, a nutritional gynecologist. “I was too sick to work, so I spent time thinking about how to make the cancer experience easier for future cancer patients.”
Dr. Bone’s careful consideration of this question, drawing on her experiences as a cancer patient, has culminated in Cancer Shop USA , a unique online store offering patient-requested and physician-approved products to alleviate side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, and to address physical, emotional, spiritual, and practical issues related to cancer and its treatment.

 Read More

Monday, May 30, 2011

Of Pills and Bills

A new study shows that women with higher co-pays are more likely to miss their meds.

Monday, May 23, 2011

R.I.P. @CleavageCreek Robert "Budge" Brown

This is so sad. I was always touched by the Clevage Creek story, and Robert was an early twitter buddy.


Vintner Robert "Budge" Brown Dies in Plane Crash

California farmer dedicated his Cleavage Creek winery to the fight against breast cancer
Augustus Weed
Posted: May 23, 2011
Robert "Budge" Brown, a longtime California grapegrower who purchased the Cleavage Creek winery in Napa and devoted the label to the fight against breast cancer, died May 18. Brown was flying from Minden, Nev., to Tracy, Calif., to pick up a friend when his single-engine plane crashed in the El Dorado National Forest. The Amador County Sheriff’s Office found the wreckage of the plane this past Friday. Brown was 78.
Brown was a businessman and farmer in California for over 50 years. He founded his own winery, Tulip Hill, in Lake County starting with the 2001 vintage. He later moved the winery into the Bartlett Springs bottling building on the North Shore of Clear Lake. In 2005, Brown lost his wife of 48 years, Arlene, to breast cancer. When he learned about the Cleavage Creek brand in Napa he decided the name would be a clever way to promote the fight against breast cancer and purchased the winery.
In honor of Brown’s wife, Cleavage Creek donates 10 percent of its gross wine sales to breast cancer research. The winery uses fruit from its two estate vineyards, one in Pope Valley and the other in the Tracy Hills AVA. Each wine features a photo of a breast cancer survivor, including TV host Carson Daly’s mother, Patricia Daly Caruso. The winery produces around 2,000 cases a year and has donated more than $82,000 to various organizations such as the Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa, Calif.

Financial Help for Reconstruction Travel

Now that I spend a decent amount of my time in a fairly rural area, I have a new appreciation of the travel that patients must face. If I want to go to a expert lymphedema fitter I would have to drive almost 2 hours.

For women looking for expert reconstruction, travel is an important option if the can not find what they need at home. I mean we live with the results of these surgeries day in day out.

Here is a link to information about a travel program for reconstruction patients headed to Texas. There are a lot of other helpful links on the site as well.

They emailed me to let me know they were out there! Thanks!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Share your favorite breast cancer blog, article, or link!

Every once in a while I wonder how to make this blog more relevant. I have been blogging for 18 months now, when I was in treatment it was almost a full time job. Now that I have a full time job, it's more of a hobby.

I feel like I used to find great stuff via web searches, now everything looks the same to me. I loved having contributors, but nobody writes for free forever for someone else's blog.

I still believe there is a future out there in a electronic news site for women with breast cancer. I noticed a really snazzy site called "The Fix" for people with addiction. Maybe someday Loop can be like that. Perhaps someone else will do it, but I still believe in having a publication of some sort that covers all the breast cancer charities, activities, and stories out there.

We also have an amazing archive of stories...and I promise to work more on that in the future. They are listed on the "Best of Loop" page.

So my email is Feel free to send your favorite blog, website, or even an article.



image from

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Great blog for breast cancer research news

I really like this blog I just found.
Instead of seeing one headline at a time on google news, it puts them all together.

Friday, May 20, 2011

New test helps predict whether chemo will work

I thought this was really interesting. This test help predict how women will respond to a common chemo.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Bare Truth Project

Nicely done story by Maine TV station on a "scar photography" project.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Parsley is the "good for BC" ingredient of the week

 Sometimes I wish someone would just go out and buy me all the cancer fighting foods and put them in my fridge. Still parsley is ok, and it counters garlic breath!

image from

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Breast Cancer Walk Marks Mother's Day

It's a funny time of year here in the Northeast. Still cold and wet. But this Sunday pink will be in full bloom.
I know Twin Cities Komen has it's walk on Sunday at the Mall of America. (I went back when it was at Southdale.)
Here is a link to another walk in Lockport, N.Y.
Please feel free to post about your event in the comments section.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Check out this inspiring article!

 I think this was one of our best posts ever. It has thoughts on spring from some great writers!

Friday, April 22, 2011

"Celebrate Life" cruise aims to raise survivor's spirits, funds

This sounds like a good time. A "Celebrate Life" cruise designed to give survivors and families a chance to have some fun. The event also raises funds for Komen.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A new trend: Programs to help survivors heal

 I am so glad to here that these are emerging. My personal belief is that post-oncology care needs to be a new specialty.
It's also something people who are just diagnosed may want to ask. What kind of care will you have for me after I am done with active treatment?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Alright Tit / "The C Word" Review

So I have kind of reached the point where I thought I knew about most of the breast cancer books that were out there. Then somehow while browsing Amazon on Ambien I bought a copy of "The C Word."

I know I keep thinking the title sounds like a cross between the Showtime programs "The L Word" and "The Big C."

So this tattered, British, cancer book that I don't even remember ordering shows up in the mail. I put it on a shelf for a few weeks, and grabbed it before I left on a 5 hours trip via Greyhound.

I loved it. I read the whole thing before I even hit traffic for the Lincoln Tunnel.

So right off here is a link to the authors blog, hey she ever writes on blogger just like me!

So here are the two reasons I loved Lisa Lynch's book.

One the fact that it is set in the UK. I know she would cringe at "Bridget Jones gets breast cancer," but it's the most economical way I could put it. It is kind of fun in an odd way to see what this dreadful experience is like in another country, with different foods, and so forth.

Now there are plenty of books that do a good job of describing surgery, chemo, and radiation. (Which the Brits describe as radiotherapy, which I think sounds much healthier, like a dose of Groovin' Oldies or Urban Contemporary could cure you.)

What I loved was Lynch's focus on the confusing muddle of life after treatment. While her treatment and diagnosis was different than my own, I really recognized the confusing world that follows breast cancer treatment, especially when you are young.

I even read on her blog that the BBC is developing a TV show based on the book. So if you are looking for the perfect beach book about breast cancer, I do not think you will be disappointed.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sweet Sign

I found this article and this sign touching.
It pays tribute to a Tulsa police officer who lost her life to breast cancer.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Cali Considers a Breast Density Bill

"Like concrete!"

I can't remember which doctor made this comment about my poor breasts.

But I do remember running into one of the radiologists who did my wire insertion. She didn't recognize me dressed without a wire sticking out of me. I said "It's me, really dense breast tissue lady?"

Her face lit up with recognition.

Nobody had ever really talked about breast tissue density with me, I mean apparently I had tissue so dense Ted Drewes could name a dessert after me.

I guess dense tissue is a risk factor, and now a bill before the California State Senate would require a woman be told her density at a mammogram.

What do you think?  Are we just gonna freak out the dense but B-9 among us? I think if I had known this was a risk factor I would have started screening younger.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rene Zellweger, Tommy Hilfiger create groovy purse for BC charity

Ok time for a little celebrity news. Rene Zellwerger and Tommy Hifiger have teamed up to created a groovy bag. 100 dollars from each purse will go to a charity that provides financial assistance to women living with BC.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Breast Cancer Survivor to head DNC

Reports say Florida Rep. Debbi Wasserman Shultz will be the next head of the Democratic National Committee.

She is a breast cancer survivor and spoke last year in Atlanta at the YSC.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Reducing anxiety in breast cancer survivors

Oncology is an interesting business. I don't know why patient mental health is not a key part of the whole "you've got cancer," experience.

I realize oncologists are busy killing cancer cells, doing research, and all sorts of paperwork.

Most cancer centers have social workers, but most patients do not get help unless they specifically ask for it.

I really think everyone who is diagnosed should be offered help right off the bat, and this next study kind of shows why.

It points to which woman have anxiety about recurrence. Communication is key in reducing anxiety. Management of side effects is also key.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Breast Cancer Recovery Can Grow in a Garden

Interesting study about the healing properties of gardening for breast cancer patients.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cancer Survivors Head for Everest!

What an inspiring story!
I want to give the reporter props for the nice writing and production.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fear itself

FDR's famous quote came to me when I read this next article. I'll be honest I didn't think it would say anything new, until I read the end.

I sometimes wonder what the barrier is to good aftercare. My YSC chapter just started separate groups for women who are done with treatment, and that made me happy, it's a step in the right direction.

I dream of opening a post-oncology clinic that focuses on physical therapy, primary care, emotional support, all the things we need post treatment.

Your thoughts?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Woman's dog sniffs out her breast cancer?

Love this story. Woman claims her dog found her breast cancer, saved her life.
Give him a bone for all of us!

Friday, March 25, 2011

My first post that's not about breast cancer

O.K. so this post breaks all of the Loop rules. It's about a man and it's about boxing, but it's also about a cancer patient fighting to live his dream.

Charles won't go down without a fight

By Kevin Iole, Yahoo Sports

Anyone who has followed boxing for any length of time knows that fighters just can’t quit. There is something in the ethos of the sport which brings them back.
Joe Louis. Muhammad Ali. Sugar Ray Leonard. Floyd Mayweather Jr. They quit, and then they came back. As if lured by a Siren’s song, they always come back.
The latest exhibit is Nick Charles, as tough a fighter as there is. Charles can’t find it within himself to quit, to give up, to stop chasing the dream.

Read More

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kat blogs about Lymphedema

When I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer I got a lot of great medical support, and hope for a cure.

Lymphedema, not so much.

Sadly many breast surgeons seem in denial about the risk and just how much the condition impacts our quality of life.

Heck my spell checker doesn't even recognize the word!

Sorry to whine, but it's been tougher than cancer in a lot of ways.

Anyhow I happened upon this blog when the author posted a comment in a really great new series in the New York Times. I'll post about that soon.

She seems to really like to write about shoes as well...but still it's the first lymphedema blog I have come across.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Breast cancer comedy made me LOL

So I was able to check out Pam Murphy's "The C Word" in New York City on Friday evening. The show was at the popular Upright Citizen's Brigade Theater in Chelsea.

When I hear "one woman show about breast cancer," I get a little nervous. But Pam's show was really, really funny, and went by almost too quickly.

My favorite moment was when in about 2 minutes summed up the challenges of choosing surgery. Describing bi-lateral mastectomy with implants, she channeled a car salesman-like character saying, "One, Two, buckle my shoe it's titty time!"

Like "Seinfeld" Pam's play has no hugging and no learning. The show is not exactly a window into her soul. However she does find a way to bring the awkward, ironic, humorous moments in her "journey" to life.

Some breast cancer women love to find the comedy in their situations, others take offense. I have even gotten criticized in the Twitter-verse for having the occasional silly headline. It's not so much that cancer is funny, but there is humor in the abrupt way our lives are changed.

I give Pam a lot of credit for being honest and open enough to share the funny moments in her unique perspective. Her riff on trying to explain her fertility situation to an imaginary date is a perfect example.

What was so impressive was that most of the audience was young people including a lot of men. Pam is able to take her experience and do more than preach to the choir. She is able to take a touchy subject and make it universal.

As much as I enjoyed it, the play still felt to me like a work in progress. The ending felt slightly abrupt, and compared to the other play it was paired with, it seemed a bit short. On the other hand she incorporates the song "Love Train" which is always a good thing.

Pam did mention to me she hopes more survivors get a chance to see the show. I can't imagine anyone who has been though this not enjoying it and getting a much needed laugh.

There are some links to her venue information in the previous post.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Viewer Mail

Here is a piece of viewer mail that caught my eye!

Hi there!

I found you through Save the TaTa's site.  I'm a comedian and a breast cancer survivor, so a wrote a funny, frank show about it that I perform in NYC and I'll be performing it in LA this month.  It was named The Best Solo Show of 2010 by Time Out NY magazine and I was nominated an ECNY (Excellence in Comedy New York) award for Best One Person Show. (I'll find out on Monday, if I won!)  I would really love for other survivors to come to the show.  I'm really trying to get the word out to them.  I was hoping you could post something on your site.  

here's a link to the NY show page which has reviews and a short clip of the show
here's the LA show page

I saw the show was really really funny. The audience was not really cancer people either, so it's great that Pam is reaching a larger audience. I will write more soon.


Breast cancer husbands suffer higher rate of depression

 It's not easy to be the well spouse. A new study shows our spouses suffer a higher rate of depression.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

"Lottery Ticket" proposed to raise money for breast cancer

I kind of like this idea from Floriday..people are going to play the lotto, why not have some of the money help women with breast cancer.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Kimberly Estrada's Big Pink Wedding

I was just watching "My Fair Wedding" and was touched by the episode.

Vice-Principal Kimberly Estrada was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, at the age of 30,  and wanted her experience reflected in her big, pink, rose filled wedding.

I give her a lot of credit, I'm not sure I would have been comfortable with breast cancer awareness as the theme of my wedding, but she is a great spokesperson for the fact that breast cancer happens to young women.

I really did tear up as during her vows, she talked about her treatment and how her love is the reward for all the pain she went through.

Another moving moment was when arrived at a wig store to get a really lovely new wig. I am guessing that she was one of the women who never gets back all her hair after chemo, since she says that she is six years out from treatment.

WE TV has a nice page about breast cancer including links to information on depression and employment rights.

Kimberly and her husband and now pursuing surrogate motherhood. Here is her website.

Kylie Minogue tells it like it is

In the 80's Kylie Minogue was the Britney Spears of Great Britan. Australia as well.

Now as a breast cancer survivor she shares her struggles in a different way from almost any other celebrity with an early stage diagnosis.

It often seems that celebrities often talk about breast cancer in a way that I don't recognize. Perhaps they had an easy time with their treatments, or maybe they are putting up a brave front.

I mean Martina Navratilova played doubles in the French right around when she had radiation for DCIS.  More power to her, but that's not my experience.

So Kylie my dear, cheers for letting it all hang out and not being afraid to show it's hard.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

#c4yw Page Above!

I put links from some of last years articles all on one page...if you want to take a look!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The good kind of pressure

I still remember how crazy tired I was during rads. This article talks about a study that says acupressure could be helpful.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Former beauty queen puts breast cancer in focus

Here is an interesting story out of Venezuela. A former beauty queen and news anchor and her photographer husband have written a book chronicling her breast cancer journey. Apparently it's a hit and has really increased the number of women who are seeking screening. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Pain management in breast cancer patients or "My dark night of the soul"

Another great post from Hollye.

I too had terrible pain management in the hospital. In the AM when the surgeons made rounds I was on the drip. It was all good.

Then after having the IV removed it all went to hell. I called and pushed buttons. No help.

I called my surgeon's office sobbing. I waited agonizing hours for the doctor who had more important cases. Exciting surgeries. Why worry about some boring breast cancer patient.

I suspect they felt...oh it's just her breasts, no big deal.

So here is the only magic word I know.
Page the supervisor.
In fact ask for the supervisor's name before you need it.

My worst memory is the first night at home.

I remember waiting all night, wondering if I would go to shock before 5 AM. I wondered if I would live.  I didn't want to wake up a surgeon in the middle of the night who would be operating the next day. Miraculously I fell asleep at 4 A.M. and woke, still alive at 7 A.M.

Why our pain is so disregarded I will never know. Ask your surgeon how your pain will be managed. Who to contact if the nurses do not do their job. Anne, the author of 
had a similar experience.

Enough is enough.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Donna's Day

Today is the running of the 26.2 with Donna National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer.

I feel a personal connection to the event. Like myself, Donna Deegan is a news anchor, and ironically in the hours before my diagnosis I was even applying to work at her station.

I'm no marathoner, but the Jacksonville, Florida race does remind me that just one survivor can give hope to others.

This is an especially nice story from the local newspaper in Florida.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The node knows

I knew this information was out there, but something about the front page of the NYT makes it real. It's hard not to look back and wonder how things might have been different for me.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A bra that can detect breast cancer?

This sounds like something from the Bionic Woman!

According to a story from the Medill School of Journalism, researchers are trying to develop a bra that would use thermography to detect tumors or even tell how well chemotherapy would be working.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Looks like some BC survivors could be at high risk for hip fracture.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Meet Hollye

There are all types of breast cancer bloggers out there, but every so often someone's voice just grabs me. It's usually a writer that I could enjoy on any topic, but they are in this darn cancer boat with me.
I loved this blog post by Hollye Harrington Jacobs. Enjoy!

Monday, January 24, 2011

My silver lining

I'm not one of those people who are keen on finding cancer's silver lining. I just have too many physical problems to stick with the "valuable life lesson" storyline.

I don't begrudge anyone else's positive attitude, but I am not usually so happy this happened to me. For me cancer is almost like a car crash, I have pain and scars that are not going away.

Except for one thing. I don't complain about getting old.

Today is my 44th birthday. It's a number that to me symbolizes middle age. No longer am in in my dainty early 40's, I am in my mid 40's. Once upon a time this might have been a milestone I dreaded, fearing it marked a new watershed.

But there are too many women who didn't make it to 44, who would be thrilled to have a birthday banged-up but NED.

Last year I was just getting into the tough part of radiation, and my birthday party had a sad tinge. This year I am away from my husband working, I won't really have much of a celebration but that's ok.

Having a birthday be no big deal is kind of a good thing.


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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Black, White, and Pink

New article on the mystery of racial disparity and breast cancer outcome.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Personality + Reconstruction = Quality of Life?

I am really interested to hear what y'all think of this next article.

It says certain personality types have better quality of life after reconstruction.

Apparently there is an up side to being "self-centered!"

Maybe it all made more sense in Italian?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Komen Karma

First of all my disclaimer.

I recently signed up to be a Komen volunteer. I have greatly enjoyed participating in Race for the Cure and other Komen events. Also the charity supports conferences and retreats that have been life changing for me and my fellow breast cancer survivors.

The flip side.

For all the amazing things the organization does, it's seems to have a blind spot to how they look to the public.

I was not as outraged as some over the KFC promotion, but it was not good press, and the commercials kind of made me cringe. There is no real reason having a perfume is wrong, but to me it just kind of feels a little bit off.

Now there is the whole, "For the cure," trademark dispute.

I'm not sure where legally I stand on this. The phrase is kind of associated with Komen, so I could see a legal argument that they have a right to trademark it. But I think there is a larger issue.

For the second time in a year the organization is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. I'm not sure that keeping the phrase is the best thing to do even if it's legally feasible. I think sometimes when you are a charity you have to just decide to take the high road.

For some reason charities can have a blind spot when it comes to dealing with the media. I see this as a reporter time and time again. I am not sure why this is a recurring issue with Komen, it's not like they can not pay for professional PR and media relations staffers. But someone needs to start looking at how their decisions will shape public opinion.

Like it or not, Komen is so big, what they do reflects on all of us. See below.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Behind the scenes as a new breast cancer drug is developed

 I tend to go kind of light on the science articles on here, but this article from the WSJ is fascinating. It tells the tale of how a sea creature became the latest treatment for metastatic breast cancer.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

5 years clear for Kylie Minogue

You had to live in Great Britain or Australia to understand how big a star Kylie Minogue was in 1989. Hannah Montana or maybe Britney Spears would be the only comparison in the USA. It's hard for me to imagine she is in her 40's now, even though she is actually younger than me by a year.

One reason I like how she has handled her breast cancer is that she has spoken about the hard parts of treatment.  Other celebs seem to have such an easy time of it, but Kylie has spoken of her struggles with the side effects of Tamoxifen.

So cheers to Kylie on 5 years cancer free!

Stop and say Hi!

It's been nearly a year I have been working on this blog. When Deb and I started we were both not working and in active treatment. I was about 2 weeks into radiation. I put about 6 hours a day into the site and we had lots of new original articles.

Since then we have both started working full time, and the site has slowed a bit. I still try to post about 3 times a week. I write, or link to what I find interesting. On average about 35 people a day visit. Still enough I think, to make my efforts worthwhile. But if you could stop and post a comment and let me know what is useful, it would be a big help!


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