Archive for the ‘quality of life’ Category

LBBC to host 7th annual conference for women living with metastatic breast cancer

February 13, 2013



Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) has opened registration for its 7th annual conference for women living with metastatic breast cancer.  The event, Enhancing Your Health and Quality of Life, takes place Saturday, April 13 – Sunday April 14, 2013 at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel.

Breast cancer is considered metastatic when it spreads from the breast to another part of the body such as the lungs, bones, liver or brain.  There are approximately 152,000 women in the United States currently living with metastatic breast cancer and estimates indicate that advances in treatment and care will push that number to 164,000 by the year 2015.1

Previous conferences have attracted attendees from across the country by featuring leading national health care and wellness experts who present specialized plenary sessions and over a dozen workshops designed to address the complex medical, social and emotional situations many women experience when diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. As in past years, workshops for family members and caregivers will also be offered.

Conference attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions about current research and clinical trials, treatment options and quality-of-life concerns. Additionally, attendees are given the chance to meet, connect and network with hundreds of women facing similar challenges expanding their peer support network. Travel grants and fee waivers, provided by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, are available for those who qualify.

LBBC’s highly specialized programming for women living with stage IV breast cancer stems from the nonprofit’s 2006 release of Silent Voices: Women with Advanced (Metastatic) Breast Cancer Share Their Needs and Preferences for Information, Support and Practical Resources. In this extensive report, LBBC consultants Musa Mayer, MS, MFA, and Susan E. Grober, PhD, reported their findings from a survey of 618 women living with stage IV disease. The survey focused in great detail on their use of and preferences for services in three domains: information, support and resources. The data revealed insights on the information, support and practical needs of women living with metastatic breast cancer so LBBC could address the gaps in tailored resources for this population.

To do this, LBBC created not only their annual conference but a variety of other resources.  Since the report’s release, a special subsection of just for women with metastatic disease has been significantly expanded, free webinars and regional community meetings feature topics of appeal specifically to the metastatic breast cancer community and the LBBC Guides to Understanding Breast Cancer: Metastatic Series includes specialty titles: Treatment Options for Today and Tomorrow, Managing Stress and Anxiety, Symptoms and Treatment Side Effects, Understanding Palliative Care and LBBC’s newest publication, Guide for the Newly Diagnosed.

Visit to register online and download an event brochure. To register by phone or for additional information, call (610) 645-4567.

The conference would not be possible without the support of the event’s presenting travel grant and fee waiver sponsor Susan G Komen for the Cure®. Other event supporters include Title Sponsor Genentech. 

1 Data on File. 1006812. AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP. Wilmington, DE.


LBBC is currently seeking women living with metastatic breast cancer or their caregivers who would be interested in sharing their stories. Leading up the conference, we’ll feature these first-person accounts here on the LBBC blog and promote them via, Facebook and Twitter.  If you would like to tell others your story, or have any questions, please contact LBBC’s Kevin Gianotto via email at


Alysa Cummings: Spirit of Spring

February 13, 2013

Alysa Cummings, Group Facilitator for LBBC’s writing workshop series Writing the Journey, shares a seasonal excerpt from her recently published cancer memoir, Greetings from CancerLand,  in February’s first submission to Living Beyond Breast Cancer‘s Writer’s Corner.


Spirit of Spring

Excerpt from Greetings from CancerLand: Writing the Journey to Recovery

Six brown paper bags, stuffed almost to bursting, sit at the bottom of my basement steps. Long empty of groceries, each bag is filled with another sweet necessity entirely. I inspect these bags every time I pass by – even as I struggle with armloads of laundry on my way to the washing machine. I confess I just can’t help myself.

I think about what’s inside these bags and it always makes me smile.

These six brown bags have been hiding in my dark unfinished basement since early November. I remember packing them the night of the first fall frost, using sections of the Sunday Inquirer as insulation from the basement dampness. I look at the bags in my basement day after day, week after week, through the cold winter months and think the same thought over and over again: spring is coming.

It’s all about time, actually. Time passing. Looking forward in time. It’s quite intentional on my part. Ritualistic, even. You see, I look at the six brown paper bags and mentally project myself to springtime.

Maybe it’s just that time of year right now. All these months of cold, grayness and snow; oh yes, I’m more than a little winter weary. Somehow this brown bag ritual serves me, gets me through. Keeps me upbeat and hopeful, believing that spring will arrive and that I will be here to celebrate the season again.

Cummings-Alysa_mediumDuring the third week of March, these six bags will make the trip up the stairs, out of the dark, into the light, through the house and outside to the turned over and weeded perennial beds in the backyard. For the occasion, I plan to eagerly break out a fresh pair of gloves, slip into my most comfortable stained and well-worn gardening sneakers and (drum roll, please) break open the bags.

By mid-March it’s high time to check on the health of my collection of canna bulbs. Some will have rotted, unfortunately, but the majority will be pushing out pale green shoots; ready for planting in my garden. Early spring is the time to get these bulbs back in the ground so that, come July, there will be an amazing field of five foot plus high plants with wide tropical fronds and enough brilliant tomato red colored flowers to stop traffic.

I started this cycle of planting and digging up canna bulbs the summer after my cancer diagnosis. Now (happily) heading into year fifteen of my cancer journey, this bulb-in-the-basement routine is a conscious part of my survivorship strategy. I recommend it highly to my fellow green-thumbed survivors!

Until the buds start peeking out on the trees, until temperatures creep above 32 degrees, keep your heart and spirit as warm as you can. And as we all wait for the official arrival of spring on March 21st, please keep in mind the wise, often quoted words of Hal Borland, “No winter lasts forever, no spring skips its turn. April is a promise that May is bound to keep.”

Living Beyond Breast Cancer will host another Writing the Journey Series this Spring, hosted by Alysa Cummings. And the good news is that there will be two different Writing the Journey groups in Spring 2013 – one in Cherry Hill, NJ and one in Haverford, PA.  Check back to the LBBC Blog for more insights from Alysa Cummings and future Writing the Journey creations.  You can purchase your own copy of Greetings from Cancerland, on!

Rachel Pinkstone-Marx: Book Review and CONTEST GIVEAWAY!

February 1, 2013

Love the recipes from Annette Ramke, CHHC, cancer survivor and co-author of the book, Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen: The Girlfriend’s Cookbook and Guide to Using Real Food to Fight Cancer? Now it’s time share our OWN! Read this review and leave YOUR favorite recipe in the comments section of this post. Annette will pick a winner to receive a FREE copy of  Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen! (Be sure to leave your name & email)

Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen Series

Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen: The Girlfriend’s Cookbook and Guide to Using Real Food to Fight Cancer

Annette Ramke & Kendall Scott

(Review by your faithful blog steward, Rachel!)

When you flip open the cover of Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen you learn that this book is “THE resource for the woman who has been handed the cancer card—and for the one who never wants to get it.” However, as a reader and a writer, I think that it’s categorized even better in their dedication. This book is for:

All those who have faced a major life challenge and kept moving forward with determination, because they just have way to much living left to do.

As I have now had the pleasure to read this thoughtful cookbook and speak with both of the authors, I surely connect every word of this book to that purpose.  Authors Annette Ramke and Kendall Scott are both cancer survivors, so they come equipped with the needs and perspective of women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. In this sassy and insightful book of recipes and stories, they share real-life knowledge and experience about the healing power of food, along with a look into their journeys with breast cancer. These pages are filled with more than 100 recipes for living a healthy life while living with cancer and easing the symptoms of treatment. This should be considered a favorable resource for women, before, during and after treatment. It also doesn’t hurt to give it a read if you haven’t been diagnosed with cancer, but would like an in depth look at a healthy and disease-preventative diet.

Annette Ramke was 36 when she was first diagnosed with cancer, and while in treatment, became immersed in studying nutrition as a way to fight cancer. She felt better than she ever had, including before getting cancer, and decided to pursue further studies at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City, which is where she met Kendall. She is now a certified holistic health coach and works with those facing cancer and other diseases. She lives in Philadelphia, PA.

Kendall Scott was diagnosed with cancer at age 27. She then went from a meat & potatoes/ take-out pizza diet to leafy green veggies and whole grains in baby steps, and felt the improvement even while undergoing chemotherapy. After going into remission, she attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) in New York City. She is board certified in holistic health coaching through IIN and the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. Kendall teaches nutrition and cooking classes, leads webinars, presents at wellness events and writes online articles as a nutrition expert. She lives in Maine.

As you break the book down after your first read, you note that you can enjoy two large and very different sections of the book:  a “girlfriend’s guide,” where you learn about Annette and Kendall’s “ups and downs” with diagnosis and treatment, and then a thorough second half filled with recipes. The intentions of the book are to help and comfort woman dealing with the struggles and dietary mazes that come along with treatment, but–don’t get me wrong–Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen is a resource that  would definitely appeal to the health/diet-conscious person, whether they have cancer or not.

Focusing on the “cookbook” portion, the recipes range from being as easy as throwing a few ingredients into a blender for a “Gorgeous Green” or “Superfood” smoothie, to moderate difficulty for your “Seitan Strogonoff.” However, nothing seems out of a Beginner Chef’s reach.  Also, there is a handy section at the top of each recipe that starts you out with bullet points of  the recipe’s “healthy helpers” such as being  “detoxifying,” “immune boosting,” and of course, “constipation kicking!” Our authors also then provide a quick, yet informative introduction of the recipes healthy hints. Right in the center of the book is most likely where you will get lost, as you peruse the beautiful photographs of a selection of the finished products as you choose what meal to make yourself.

This uplifting cookbook/memoir will not let you down, as it is written like a guide coming directly from the heart: girlfriend-style. I’m sure you’ll find it hard to pick out just ONE recipe as your favorite!

Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen has received some amazing press, and it’s only right to let all of you hear what some of these acclaimed authors have to say:

“…a beautiful, delicious, and effective way to improve your health at any time—whether or not you have cancer or any disease. In fact, I recommend that all follow this sort of diet for optimal health!”— Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of the New York Times bestsellers: Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom and The Wisdom of Menopause

“An essential guide to using food as medicine and creating an inhospitable environment for cancer, while delighting your palette and invigorating your senses. Getting well has never been more fun or tasty!” —Mark Hyman, MD, author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller, The Blood Sugar Solution

Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen offers, in one engaging and comprehensive package, what others don’t – first-hand experience, nutritional know-how, girlfriend-style support and tasty recipes – all designed to help kick cancer or keep you healthy. A healthy diet is an integral part of healing and fighting disease, and Annette and Kendall join you, step-by-step, and empower you to discover how easy and delicious eating well can be – starting with your very next meal! —Dr. Steven G. Eisenberg, Co-founder of California Cancer Associates for Research and Excellence and author of Dancing With The Doctor (2013)

Now it’s your turn! Leave your best recipe in the comments section of THIS book review post (along with your name and contact email address) and Annette will choose a winner!

annette1Annette Ramke, CHHC, is a certified health coach and breast cancer survivor. She took an integrative approach to treatment and focused on a whole food, plant-based diet. She coauthored (with Kendall Scott, CHHC), Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen: The Girlfriend’s Cookbook and Guide to Using Real Food to Fight Cancer, released October 2. Learn more

Self-Care is Self-Love

January 11, 2013

Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen Series

We here at Living Beyond Breast Cancer feel it is important that no matter what stage you might be in–newly diagnoses, in-treatment, remission or recovery–health and nutrition are paramount.  Here today at the LBBC blog, we are thrilled to welcome back Annette Ramke,  certified health coach, cancer survivor and co-author of the book, Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen: The Girlfriend’s Cookbook and Guide to Using Real Food to Fight Cancer, as she comes back for her monthly installment providing our readers with her perspective on nourishing the body and soul.

So often we go through life running from one thing to the next. We are busy with work and family responsibilities, putting the needs of partners, children, friends and bosses above our own.

We believe we don’t have the time to take care of ourselves, whether it is moving our bodies with exercise, preparing and eating healthy food, finding moments of balance and stillness in our days or even taking a deep breath and appreciating our bodies for all they do for us day after day, month after month, year after year.


For many of us, a cancer diagnosis is a wakeup call in a number of ways. We have said ourselves, and have heard many of our cancer pals say, “I knew I was burning the candle at both ends. I knew I was stressed and wasn’t taking care of myself,” when speaking of the time prior to getting hit with the Big C news. Suddenly a diagnosis puts everything into glaring perspective. Now it’s not just about having low energy, flabby abs or edgy nerves. It’s about surviving, and the stakes are high.

And while we know that always eating poorly, never exercising or continuously functioning under stress doesn’t cause cancer directly, these elements do significantly affect our health and well-being. They do support or hurt the immune system. They do influence hormone levels. They do contribute to energy, strength and metabolism. They do impinge on our emotions and mental clarity. And they do affect the body’s ability to prevent and heal from disease and cope with conventional medical treatments.

Why not give your body, heart and mind some support, especially if you’re facing cancer?

If you are serious about getting healthy, then right now is the best time to get serious with self-care. You will feel renewed, refreshed, happier and stronger just from taking some time to give your body, mind and soul what it craves. No matter where you are in health and cancer, it’s time to show that amazing body some love!

Here are some of my self-care faves. What are yours?

Sipping hot tea


Reading in my hammock



Cooking wearing a fun apron

Green smoothies



Savoring a little dark chocolate

Singing in the car

Walking, hiking, bicycling – moving

Sunshine and fresh air

Taking a bubble bath


NEWS: The LBBC Blog will offer a review of Annette and Kendall’s Book, Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen: The Girlfriend’s Cookbook and Guide to Using Real Food to Fight Canceras well as a contest to win a your very own copy!

NEXT MONTH: Leave your best recipe in the comments section of the February post reviewing the cookbook, and Annette will choose a winner!

annette1Annette Ramke, CHHC, is a certified health coach and breast cancer survivor. She took an integrative approach to treatment and focused on a whole food, plant-based diet. She coauthored (with Kendall Scott, CHHC), Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen: The Girlfriend’s Cookbook and Guide to Using Real Food to Fight Cancer, released October 2. Learn more

Living Beyond Breast Cancer and Metastatic Breast Cancer Network Release New Publication

January 8, 2013

For Immediate Release:


MBCS: Newly Diagnosed

January 8, 2013; Philadelphia, PA | Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) and the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network (MBCN) have announced the release of a free publication to help address the needs women have in the first months following a diagnosis of metastatic (stage IV) breast cancer. The Metastatic Breast Cancer Series: Guide for the Newly Diagnosed is the newest title in LBBC’s growing library of Guides to Understanding Breast Cancer, free publications designed specifically to empower women with the information needed to make the best and most informed decisions for themselves and their families when facing a breast cancer diagnosis and considering options for treatment and disease management.

As someone living with metastatic breast cancer, Shirley Mertz knows firsthand of the physical and emotional impact of a stage IV diagnosis. Mertz, the president of MBCN, reflected on her personal experience and commented, “Most new metastatic breast cancer patients feel overwhelmed with anxiety and a loss of control over their lives. This new publication will remind women that knowledge is power, help them find courage to educate themselves about metastatic breast cancer and hopefully open the door to better treatment selection and outcomes.”

The Metastatic Breast Cancer Series: Guide for the Newly Diagnosed is designed to help women navigate the first few days, weeks and months after a first-time, stage IV breast cancer diagnosis or metastatic recurrence. The guide focuses on medical, emotional and practical concerns with the goal of helping readers to understand the biology of metastatic disease, form questions they may need or want to ask and provide available resources that improve emotional and physical wellness.

“Living Beyond Breast Cancer and the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network worked together to create this resource to help women become their best advocates,” said Jean A. Sachs, MSS, MLSP, LBBC’s chief executive officer. “This guide will help women understand the tests and treatments they may undergo and address the impact that metastatic breast cancer can have on emotional well-being.”

Nearly 150,000 people—women and men—are living with metastatic breast cancer in the United States and while a diagnosis of this type is life-changing, advances in research and treatment have made it possible for many to live longer, more fulfilling lives. LBBC and MBCN worked diligently to ensure that this guide was available to help bridge the gap between initial diagnosis and life beyond.

“I wish something like this had been available to me when I was first diagnosed, for my benefit and the benefit of family and friends who had—and still have—so many questions,” says Cindy Colangelo, a member of the consumer advisory committee that reviewed the guide’s content for accuracy. “Hopefully, this guide will help people acknowledge the elephant in the room that no one wants to discuss. Our goal is to provide a greater understanding of metastatic breast cancer and help affected women and families move forward by answering questions, providing information and giving hope.”

In addition to Colangelo and other women living with metastatic breast cancer, the guide was also reviewed by LBBC and MBCN staff, health care professionals, medical and surgical oncologists, social workers, nurses, researchers, and a palliative care specialist, led by William Gradishar, MD, of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.

“As a group facilitator, I’m excited to present this guide to patients who seek wisdom, guidance and support,” says Marie Lavigne, LCSW, OSW-CAs, an oncology social worker and a member of the medical review team. “As with all of LBBC and MBCN’s offerings, it provides a cornerstone to the essential needs of women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer – clear, honest information, hope and inspiration when they need it the most.”

The Metastatic Breast Cancer Series: Guide for the Newly Diagnosed is divided into six sections written in clear and easy-to-understand language. Individual copies of the guide are free and can be ordered online at or by calling (610) 645-4567. Larger quantities may also be ordered for a small shipping and handling fee. Additional resources can be found through LBBC’s Understanding Guides: Metastatic Breast Cancer Series and through MBCN. LBBC’s titles are: Treatment Options for Today and Tomorrow, Managing Stress and Anxiety, Symptoms and Treatment Side Effects and Understanding Palliative Care. MBCN’s titles are: Diagnosis: Metastatic Breast Cancer…What does it mean for you? and Get the Facts.

About Living Beyond Breast Cancer
For over 20 years, Living Beyond Breast Cancer has been providing educational resources and support services to women of all ages who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. LBBC helps improve the quality of life for these women by empowering them with the information they need to make the best and most informed decisions for themselves and their families. National conferences, monthly teleconferences, regional community meetings, the Guides to Understanding Breast Cancer and a toll-free Survivors’ Helpline are just a few examples of the services that are provided, always at little or no cost.

If someone you know has recently been diagnosed, is in treatment, recovery, years beyond their diagnosis or living with metastatic breast cancer, LBBC can help. For more information, visit, call (610) 645-4567 or download a free copy of Empower, LBBC’s general information brochure.

About Metastatic Breast Cancer Network
The Metastatic Breast Cancer Network, a national, patient-led organization, works to raise awareness of metastatic breast cancer within the breast cancer community and public. MBCN encourages women and men living with the disease to raise their voices to demand support, resources and more research for metastatic disease.
MBCN provides education and information to metastatic people and their caregivers. Visit or call (888) 500-0370 to access education, support and advocacy resources.

Julie Anne Mauro: “Strength in the Face of Great Uncertainty”

November 26, 2012

Sometimes getting out your feelings can be just the therapy you need. Living Beyond Breast Cancer offers a “Writing the Journey” Seasonal Writing Series that offers instruction and encouragement for women affected by breast cancer to use this creative outlet to express themselves. On this second installment of the LBBC Blog‘s Writer’s Corner, Julie Anne Mauro shares who own musing on diagnosis and LIVING with metastatic disease.

I Quit Cancer - April 30, 2012 – after an extensive month of tests and trying to get on a drug trial and finally getting on a treatment that is working.

I quit cancer

Seriously, I quit

It’s not a fun job

It certainly doesn’t pay well

And it just takes up too much of my time

I’m tired of Pink

I’m tired of Anti-pink

I’m tired of just being a number

Tired of being a patient

Tired of blood draws and infusions

Tired of looking in the mirror and not seeing myself anymore

Just the battle scars

Just the bitterness

Tired of thinking, will this be the last time I ……

*          *          *          *          *

Untitled – August  7, 2012

Can you do something more than just a prayer?

But fight for me

Fight for me

Show the world that I was once there

Fight for me

Oh fight for me

Let me know that somebody really cares

Fight for me

Oh fight for me

Show me there’s more than blank and empty stares

Oh fight for me

Oh fight for me

Even when I’m weary and on my last breath

Fight for me

Please fight for me

*          *          *          *          *

Julie Anne is a recent transplant to Arizona from New Jersey,  married, and a mother of 2 boys (8 and 14). In July of 2009, a week before her 44th birthday, she was diagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer. After chemotherapy, a bi-lateral mastectomy and radiation, in May of 2010 her came up clean. She “beat cancer.” One month later, she found a lump in her chest wall–her cancer had spread to the lymphatic system and she was diagnosed Stage IV.  Since then the cancer has spread to her lungs, but she is still here and living strong every day with Metastatic disease.  Her motto is “Strength in the face of great uncertainty.”  Writing has been a great release for her and a way to express herself living in a world of unknowns.

Visit the LBBC Events Page for more information on the “Writing the Journey” Fall Writing Series

Amy Hauser: Horses.Healing.Hope. (Part Two of a Two-Part Series)

November 19, 2012

Amy Hauser never considered herself destined to be an author. From her self admitted “life-long inability to properly start and stop paragraph formations, among other things,” to being busy raising two children full time, a book simply was not on the radar.  Until God said otherwise. Today, the LBBC Blog welcomes back Amy to tell her story of how her religion and horses helped her to survive.

My journey through breast cancer also left me with a deep desire to positively impact other women who were travelling down similar paths. I knew that the compilation of my life’s trials had brought me to a point of greater connection with God, including during the breast cancer fight, yet realized not all women were similarly impacted. I felt led to point others to Him in a unique manner, while sharing our common struggles. I also wanted to address the aspect of cancer that seems to go almost unnoticed by the medical industry, which is to help guide women through the process of living beyond treatment as they navigate the often isolating stage of the “new normal” – where hair is growing back, the phone calls and meals dwindle and the doctors and surgeons release you from care. Fear and anxiety so often enter the scene and can consume a woman as she is often unprepared for this stage – a stage she was looking forward to with so much joyful anticipation!

Horses.Healing.Hope. (HHH) was created to help women navigate the inevitable emotional phases encountered during the healing journey. HHH blends nature, the horse and equine assisted therapy in a relaxed, peaceful environment, allowing women an escape from the everyday surroundings of post-cancer life. Horses have an amazing ability to reflect our emotional states – to help each of us identify and get in touch with our true heart – and its related wounds.

Today HHH offers sessions that meet weekly for two hours, for seven weeks. HHH has been a huge success in the North Houston, Texas area and we are excited to see it grow. We will also launch a program for newly diagnosed women facing breast cancer and are creating connections to women who have gone before them, to learn how to heal and grow in their walk with Christ.  These are not riding programs, but rather creative healing programs that utilize the horse as a tool toward increased overall healing.

In following this internal desire to help others, I have helped myself. Taking the focus off of my own circumstances and looking beyond, I have healed a part of my soul that could only be touched through serving the needs of others. Maybe serving should be a written prescription for all of us as we navigate life’s trials!

It is our dream to see HHH one day become the foundation of Made For More ministries HEALING RANCH. These ideas have been planted in my husband Tom’s and my heart for some time – to have a refuge that not only reaches out to cancer survivors, but also a place for entire families to have a respite from the ever-present “C” word – a getaway retreat that hosts both HHH retreats as well as ongoing sessions.

If you would like to learn more about Horse.Healing.Hope., sponsorship opportunities, Made For More, or IN HIS GRIP, please visit Amy and Tom’s website at or like them on Facebook under “Made for More ministries.”

Annette Ramke, CHHC: Berry Almond Smoothie

November 14, 2012

We here at Living Beyond Breast Cancer feel it is important that no matter what stage you might be in–newly diagnoses, in-treatment, remission or recovery–your health and nutrition are paramount.  Today at the LBBC blog, we welcome back Annette Ramke,  certified health coach, cancer survivor and co-author of the book, Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen: The Girlfriend’s Cookbook and Guide to Using Real Food to Fight Cancer, as she comes back for her monthly installment providing our blog readers with a tasty recipe and the real life reason it worked for her.

Smoothies were my go-to food during chemotherapy when I was too tired to make a meal or felt too nauseous to get anything solid down. Before I began making healthier choices with food, my typical smoothie was actually a milkshake – a few scoops of ice cream and some milk in a blender. Once I learned that I could make smoothies that were creamy, yummy and nutritious, I never went back to the milkshakes. I wanted to give my body what it really needed, especially while enduring grueling cancer treatment and trying to kick cancer.

I’m excited to share one of our favorite, delicious and easy smoothie recipes from Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen – the Berry Almond Smoothie!

This smoothie is energizing, filling and super tasty! Bananas offer potassium to help replenish lost electrolytes, and berries give a boost of antioxidants, those awesome little cancer fighters. You get your protein and some fabulous nutrients, like iron, calcium and magnesium from the almond butter. Anemia is common for those undergoing chemotherapy treatment and in many other people, and iron can help to treat this. Almonds are also helpful in relieving constipation, a common side effect of cancer treatment.

Photo Credit:
Steve Legato,

Yield: makes 24 ounces

12 oz almond milk

1 banana

1⁄2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

1⁄2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries

3 tablespoons raw almond butter

Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix at medium speed for about one minute or until mostly smooth. If a thinner smoothie is desired, add more water or almond milk and blend for a few more seconds.

Annette Ramke, CHHC, is a certified health coach and breast cancer survivor. She took an integrative approach to treatment and focused on a whole food, plant-based diet. She coauthored (with Kendall Scott, CHHC), Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen: The Girlfriend’s Cookbook and Guide to Using Real Food to Fight Cancer, released October 2. Learn more at

Suzin Glickman: “Presently” Living

November 12, 2012

Suzin Glickman is a former Long Island girl, survivor, professor, lawyer, mother, wife and daughter who found writing and creative expression to be one of the most therapeutic and inspiring ways to cope and heal from her cancer diagnosis.  She is pleased to share some of her favorite original poems with the LBBC blog readers for our bi-monthly series, Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s Writer’s Corner.

Salad Bar Marred - April 2012

They all went to the salad bar

I stayed back

and watched from afar

A rush of emotion


Over me

Just from watching

Their backs to me

A seemingly insignificant moment

Then came that haunting

Once more

It comes as hauntings do

When you least expect them

Catching you quite unprepared

At a moment unaware

Shaking me at my core

Tears welled up in my eyes

Feeling queasy

Muscles and nerves reacting

My thought


How can this be?

The four of them

Will go on without me

I watch them move along the line

A outsider


Spying on them

Like a fly on the wall

Not accepting

I could be dying

We are out

Having family fun

And I

Have come undone

All because it is all about

I want to be part

Not apart.

*          *         *          *          *

Life’s Adjustments - April 2012

Let’s talk about life’s adjustments

The ones we have to make

When life

Gives us strife

And of our expectations

There is a breach

Our original plans

We realize

We might not reach

Those hopes and dreams

Upon which for years

We made plans,

Had aspirations

We will have to compromise

Economics, jobs, relationships, religion, family, health

At first, all these have their allure

Some people have luck

That is for sure

But few can escape some kind of kink

In what is planned, I think

Hopefully, one can find a cure

When life drops upon you manure

And endure

And so these adjustments

We do not always easily or happily make

Are life’s big message

Hanging on our door

( sarcastic, “oh, goody”)

We are now mature.

*          *         *          *          *

Suzin is now “presently” living in the Washington D.C. area with metastatic breast cancer and all that comes with it. Suzin started blogging in January 2012 after her re-diagnosis, occurring just at the 5 year mark since her first round of breast cancer. Suzin hopes to strike a deal with whomever it concerns in regard to living in this condition for a long time, maintain her sense of humor and be present for her family. Her goal is for readers of her poems get an “Ah Hah! Me too! “reaction and that the poems make them smile and touch a chord as well. To read more of her work, visit her Blog, Suz’s Muzes.”

Head to the LBBC Event Page for more information on our “Writing the Journey” Fall Writing Series.

Amy Hauser: In His Grip (Part One of a Two-Part Series)

November 5, 2012

Amy Hauser never considered herself destined to be an author. From her self admitted “life-long inability to properly start and stop paragraph formations, among other things,” to being busy raising two children full time, a book simply was not on the radar.  Until God said otherwise. Today, the LBBC Blog welcomes Amy to tell her story of how her religion helped her to survive.

My name is Amy Hauser and I am a fellow survivor of breast cancer.  Here is my story. It’s a simple story of an ordinary life and its challenges intersecting with an extraordinary God. With that, I think it is worth telling.

I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in May 2010 after discovering a walnut sized lump under my arm just two days after my annual well-woman exam.  What a mammogram was unable to detect, an ultrasound verified – that cancer had entered my lymph system. At 43, I began a six-month intensive chemotherapy plan, underwent a bilateral mastectomy and lymph node dissection, then a final reconstruction surgery. The entire process lasted roughly 12 months. During this time, God revealed Himself in mighty ways.

Before, during, and after my walk with breast cancer, my prayer was for God to show me His plan for my life, to show me how to use past trials (pre-cancer, that is) in unique ways that would bring blessing to others. The answers to those prayers has changed the course of my life as well as that of my family’s.

After the diagnosis, I reluctantly started to journal. I agreed it would be a way to streamline information, and keep me from getting tired of repeating my medical updates over and over again. The blogging quickly became an outlet for sharing my heart. God would prompt me to share something and instead of letting the fear of judgment from others rule, I would share my thoughts. Almost immediately, we were encouraged (and surprised!) to discover that others were gaining inspiration and that the insight channeling through the journal was powerful. That was God.

Several months after treatments had begun and as I began the process of getting life back up and running as normally as I knew how, I recall sensing God asking, “Just when are you going to start writing my book?”  I sorted through the doubt, heeded the lessons He taught me through cancer and that next week I began IN HIS GRIP…A Walk Through Breast Cancer.

IHG is a raw, open glimpse of a day in the life of a cancer patient and the story of God intersecting a life in progress. It is a story of how God works in the midst of our biggest struggles IF WE CHOOSE TO LET HIM. Not only will you get to know my family before, during, and after the cancer journey, you will see reflections that share what was learned after the fact.  This story shows how God worked not only on the struggles that were evident to the rest of the world, but how He worked in and through the cancer to heal deeper, more private wounds.

IHG was completed near the two-year anniversary of the lump discovery – a discovery that I initially thought would change my whole world.  Interestingly enough, it did change my whole world, but not as I expected.  While I thought breast cancer would rock me off my foundation, it did quite the opposite.  It cleared that foundation from clutter and allowed me to firmly anchor to what was lying beneath – the solid rock that was so readily available and intended for this purpose.  I just had to be willing to look and allow some of the clean up to take place.  Storms will continue to come. I don’t welcome them but I know they are inevitable – inevitable in ALL our lives, whether cancer or otherwise.  I know this story, His story, will be an inspiration for trials of MANY kinds.

God not only answered my cancer prayers, but my pre-cancer ones as well. From the inspiration to write IHG, to showing me how to “find my purpose and share with others through UNIQUE ways.”

Prior to the discovery of the lump, we formalized a ministry called Made For More, developing and sharing some unique women’s programs. Since the cancer, my husband Tom and I have fully launched M4M.  Several aspects have grown out of various trials in our own lives, cancer being only one of them.  An outreach program that I am excited to share is our newly developed HORSES.HEALING.HOPE. For Breast Cancer Survivors. It is an Equine Assisted Therapy program, currently offered in the North Houston, Texas area.

NO matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs, LBBC recognizes the strength that many woman find in their faith. Amy lives in The Woodlands, Texas with her husband, Tom and their two children, Ross (17) and Sara (12). Visit their websites to earn more about  HORSE.HEALING.HOPE for Breast Cancer Survivors and In His Grip:A Walk Through Breast Cancer.


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