Archive for the ‘quality of life’ Category
Registration is now open for Yoga on the Steps: Washington DC, the signature education and fundraising event for Haverford, PA-based nonprofit Living Beyond Breast Cancer. The event is scheduled to take place rain or shine beginning at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 13 on the northeast quadrant of The Washington Monument. The highlight of the event is a one-hour yoga class for all ages and skill levels designed and led by Yoga Alliance certified instructor and founder of Yoga Unites® Jennifer Schelter, MFA with Kirtan accompaniment by Yvette Pecoraro and other local area musicians. After the class, participants can enjoy refreshments while visiting a Healthy Living Expo where event sponsors, local area businesses, yoga studios and nonprofit organizations will feature products and services promoting health and wellness.
“While Yoga on the Steps is similar to other nonprofit grassroots fundraisers it really is a one-of-kind event,” explains Jenna Jackson, LBBC’s special events manager. “People are asked to register as a team captain or participant at yogaonthesteps.org and then fundraise for LBBC by asking family, friends and colleagues for donations. But instead of using a walk or run as our event’s centerpiece, we feature a yoga class. Jennifer has designed the class so that anyone, regardless of skill level or body type can participate. Yoga on the Steps is a unique and powerful education program in its promotion of yoga as an important part of a person’s overall wellness plan.” t is scheduled to take place rain or shine beginning at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 13 on the northeast quadrant of The Washington Monument. The highlight of the event is a one-hour yoga class for all ages and skill levels designed and led by Yoga Alliance certified instructor and founder of Yoga Unites® Jennifer Schelter, MFA with Kirtan accompaniment by Yvette Pecoraro and other local area musicians. After the class, participants can enjoy refreshments while visiting a Healthy Living Expo where event sponsors, local area businesses, yoga studios and nonprofit organizations will feature products and services promoting health and wellness.
What has grown into LBBC’s signature education and fundraising event began after Schelter’s friend and student, Courtney Kapp, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Kapp wanted to use her home as a place where women with the disease could form a support network through the practice of yoga. She asked Jennifer to teach the class and also introduced her to LBBC’s executive director (now chief executive officer) Jean Sachs, MSS, MLSP. Together, the three women founded Yoga on the Steps.
“Now,” says Sachs, “thousands of people, most with no formal training, annually attend Yoga on the Steps in different cities to raise awareness of LBBC’s resources, stand in solidarity with women diagnosed with breast cancer and honor the memories of those who are no longer with us.”
Studies continue to indicate a correlation between yoga’s stretching exercises, controlled breathing and relaxation techniques with stress reduction, lower blood pressure and improved heart function. “More and more studies we’ve been seeing, especially over the last few years, really confirm the relevance of Yoga on the Steps,” states Sachs.
A study conducted by UCLA researchers suggests that yoga can help women overcome post-treatment fatigue which is estimated to affect as many as one-third of women currently in breast cancer treatment. The research, which was published December 16, 2011 in the journal Cancer, discovered that after three-months-worth of twice-weekly yoga classes, “a group of breast cancer survivors in California reported significantly diminished fatigue and increased vigor,” Andrew M. Seaman of Reuters Health said. Cancer, Volume 118, Issue 15
In addition, at the 34th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium held in 2011, a study presented findings that women with metastatic breast cancer might benefit from the practice of yoga, as well. A small randomized trial was collaboratively conducted by yogis and physicians, including S.K. Gopinath, MD, from the Department of Surgical, Medical and Radiation Oncology at the HCG-BIO Super Specialty Center in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. The researchers found data that suggest the practice of yoga might reduce psychological distress and modulate abnormal cortisol levels as well as immune responses in patients with stage-IV disease. Medscape News Today
In 2011, LBBC began the implementation of a national Yoga on the Steps expansion initiative developed by the organization’s Board of Directors and senior staff as part of LBBC’s 2011-2015 strategic plan. “Yoga on the Steps is a low-cost, high-return way to introduce LBBC resources to communities that may not know of their availability,” explains Sachs. “We’ve established annual events in Philadelphia, Washington, DC and Denver with Kansas City, Missouri recently named as our fourth Yoga on the Steps host city.”
“The increasing popularity of yoga is a big factor in the growing success of the event,” she continues. “But more than that, it’s LBBC’s reputation of sound fiscal management and the trust our supporters have in us that energizes Yoga on the Steps participants to fundraise for LBBC at the grassroots level. We maintain the lowest overhead possible for the event ensuring our resources are always available to anyone in need.”
LBBC’s most recent annual report, released in July of 2011, shows that 86 cents of every donated dollar is used to fund services. For eight consecutive years LBBC has been awarded a four-star rating by Charity Navigator, the country’s leading organization that evaluates American nonprofits, signifying it exceeds industry standards and outperforms most other charities within its cause. LBBC 2011 Annual Report
Businesses wanting to learn more about national and local sponsorship opportunities and benefits are asked to contact LBBC’s associate director of marketing and corporate relations Kevin Gianotto, at email@example.com. General Yoga on the Steps and Healthy Living Expo questions should be directed to Jackson by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
LBBC provides services designed to help improve quality of life for women who are newly diagnosed, in treatment, recovery, years beyond their diagnosis or living with metastatic breast cancer as well as resources for family, friends and caregivers. National conferences, monthly teleconferences, regional community meetings, the Guides to Understanding Breast Cancer and a toll-free Survivors’ Helpline are examples of the services that are provided to help them make informed decisions for themselves and their families.
If you are or someone you know is living with a history of breast cancer, regardless of stage of diagnosis, age, race, religion, sexual orientation or ability to pay, LBBC can help. For more information, visit lbbc.org to download a free copy of Empower, LBBC’s general information brochure or call (610) 645-4567.
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 second submission to Living Beyond Breast Cancer‘s Writer’s Corner.
Excerpt from Greetings from CancerLand: Writing the Journey to Recovery
Fourteen years later and not much has changed. Not much. Not really.
Starting with the oncologist’s grand entrance.
He knocks twice, opens the door and hurriedly strides into the examining room. His energy speaks volumes (Places to go; patients to see. so many patients; so little time). I am sitting there, a veteran oncology patient, already changed, sitting on the edge of the examining table, a salmon-colored cotton robe wrapped around me.
As always, we begin by shaking hands. That’s our ritual. Then it’s my turn to smile and recite my opening line: so how’s my favorite oncologist?
Your only oncologist, to the best of my knowledge, Dr. C replies. There he goes – correcting me, reminding me of our running gag about his need for precision, his attention to detail. In CancerLand, Dr. C is a living legend with hundreds of patients’ medical records stored right in his head. He won’t take any notes during the exam and somehow never forgets a date, dosage or chronic complaint. Maybe that’s why I’ll never complain about any quirky personality traits of his. An oncologist who’s a bit obsessive is a good thing, don’t you think?
Any lumps, bumps or bruises? Dr. C asks, moving briskly into Act One: The Physical Exam. I lie flat on my back. He modestly opens the gown, uncovering one side at a time, keeping the opposite side hidden, and presses the tips of his fingers in a circular pattern. Then he says the word I’ve been patiently waiting for (perfect) as he finishes with the left side and moves around the table to begin his exam of the right. Twelve years of exams later and like an addict hungry for a fix, I inhale the word (perfect), and savor how good it feels (I’m okay, I’m okay).
But honestly, is this ironic, or what? After all, there might be a short list of politically (and clinically) correct terms that could be used to describe my post-treatment upper body (altered? revised? reconstructed?) But perfect? Hardly.
Does this doctor who deals with so many breast cancer survivors know the impact of his word choice? Or is “perfect” the word this particular oncologist has decided to use with his patients to indicate that there’s no sign of disease? All I know is that perfect is a lovely word, and I can’t wait to hear him say it.
The exam comes to a predictable conclusion with light banter about our personal lives and those acquaintances we have in common, and that’s when I suddenly think of a word that I have to add to our yearly check-up script.
So, tell me, Alysa, Dr. C asks, moving towards the door, ready to conclude the exam. Overall, how was your year?
I’m ready with the perfect answer.
Unremarkable, I say, my year was unremarkable. And I see the doctor cock his head with interest. I have never used this term in our conversations before. Over the years, he has, of course. To describe my CAT scans, bloodwork and Breast MRI results. To report that everything is normal, that there is nothing out of the ordinary.
An unremarkable year, I repeat. No surgeries. I’m hoping that next year turns out to be another unremarkable year. Unremarkable totally works for me.
It certainly does. And now that I’ve said it out loud, I need to step up to that challenge and day by day make it real until I’m in this examining room again, twelve months from today.
A disease-free reality; in my mind that’s the most remarkable thing I can imagine.
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 and future Writing the Journey creations. You can purchase your own copy of Greetings from Cancerland, on Amazon.com!
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.
During 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 Amazon.com!
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: 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!
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 atTheKickingKitchen.com.
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 www.MadeforMoreministries.com or like them on Facebook under “Made for More ministries.”