Yoga On The Steps 2015: Your Love Story

Yvette and JenniferWelcome!

We are excited to share our theme for Yoga on the Steps 2015Your Love Story.

When we say “Your Love Story” we’re not talking about romantic love, nor are we talking about love for family, or friends, which is all valuable and essential. When we say “Your Love Story” we’re talking about a theme for the Yoga on the Steps practice which features you at the center of your own love story, honoring your own experiences and journey. Because ultimately, self-acceptance, self-care and self-respect is the love story a yoga practice promotes.

What is your love story?

All love stories begin with something happening or not happening to you. Your expectations and world changes and your perception of “Who you are” is challenged.

There are 3 basic elements to process change:

  1. Choose a lens to view your experience. You have a choice. Do you choose to feel victimized? To fall into the trap of ‘worst case scenario’ thinking? Or will you choose to be the heroine of your destiny? Choose the lens, the perspective of yourself that empowers you.
  1. Advocate for your self-care and investigate what draws you fully alive. Will you reach out into your community for support and education? Will you love yourself enough to make yourself a priority and advocate for your personal care and joy? Choose your joy and respect your own process.
  1. Simplify and love. Clean house, unclutter, and eliminate what crowds or blocks you from doing what you love. Simplify and distill your life down to what really matters to you. Instead of talking about it, do what you love. Love is a verb, an action. You love baking, love dancing, love being with friends, love the outdoors, etc. Get engaged to what you love. Do what you love.

We invite you to come to Yoga on the Steps with the intention to empower Your Love Story in new and exciting ways.

We look forward to seeing you on the steps!

~ Jennifer Schelter & Yvette Pecoraro

Jennifer Schelter, MFA, is the founder of Yoga Schelter, Inc., and co-founder of our signature fundraising event, Yoga on the Steps. Learn more about Jennifer’s work at http://jenniferschelter.com/

Yvette Pecoraro is a singer, songwriter and Kirtan artist. She released her debut CD, “Into the Arms of Love,” in April 2010. Read more about Yvette and her work at http://yvetteom.com/

Mets Monday: Reflecting on Those Who Joined us for the Annual Mets Conference

This past weekend we held our 9th Annual Conference for Women Living With Metastatic Breast Cancer at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. More than 300 people from 42 states came and gathered information, connected for support—and voiced their concern that few in the general public understand the scope and gravity of living with stage IV breast cancer. We’ll be posting lots more about the conference in the coming days, but here’s a quick look at some of our participants during the event.

LBBC’s Hear My Voice volunteers organized a group to depict the need for greater awareness of what metastatic breast cancer really means and to gain insight and support from those around them.

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For others, the conference provided an opportunity to gain support from meetings others facing a similar diagnosis.

This #MetsMonday, we acknowledge the loss of 108* people every day to metastatic breast cancer. We will continue to highlight the needs and experiences of people living with this diagnosis, especially as we develop a public education and outreach campaign that will launch this fall. Together, we can make all the difference in our own unique way.
If you are inspired to share your thoughts on living with metastatic disease please add your voice here or to our Facebook page or Twitter feed.
*The 108 figure comes from the 2013 American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Facts and Figures. The number of estimated deaths from metastatic breast cancer in 2013 was 39,620. Divide that by 365, and you get 108. The number of estimated deaths increased to 40,000 in 2014.

Navigating Genetic Testing and Family Risk

Lise Marlowe blogs about genetic and family breast cancer risk and navigating the genetic testing process. Live in the Philadelphia area? Learn more about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer risk during our April 26 community meeting.

award picture 2 (1)My cancer “journey” began last June on a gorgeous spring day after my daughter’s confirmation at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel. I left my daughter’s confirmation service that morning filled with tears of joy and happiness; I didn’t realize that in a few hours, there would be different tears coming my way. That afternoon, I had a mammogram and breast ultrasound appointment. A few weeks earlier, I felt a small lump in the shower and wanted to make sure all was OK. As a busy mom, I honestly didn’t know the last time I had done a self-exam. I have since learned that most women find their breast cancer, not doctors. Early detection made my “journey” a little easier and according to my doctor, saved my life.

With dense breasts, the results of my mammogram turned out to be negative, but the ultrasound showed a mass in my right breast. A week later, the biopsy confirmed that I had stage I breast cancer. When I heard the words “cancer,” my whole world turned upside down. I was supposed to plan my son’s upcoming Bar Mitzvah, not have cancer. I called my rabbi and asked how to handle cancer and still be “mom.” She said “let your kids know that your job is to still take care of them, that doesn’t change with having cancer.”

The next day, I received a phone call from my primary doctor who was shocked to hear of my cancer diagnosis. He has known me since I was a teenager and knows I try my best to live a healthy lifestyle. I am a vegetarian, exercise every day and don’t smoke. After learning I had breast cancer, my doctor thought maybe I carried a BRCA gene and told me to get tested. If I was a carrier, my daughter, son, brother and nephew would have a risk of developing breast cancer, too. My heart sank hearing about this. I was already concerned about my family’s emotional health, and now I was worried about their physical health, too. Continue reading

Cancer Series Can Direct Focus on What’s Important

This editorial by LBBC’s Vice President of Programs and Partnerships Catherine L. Ormerod originally appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer on March 30, 2015.

Catherine-Ormerod 1When PBS’s three-part documentary based on Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer debuts tonight, the public will get to know cancer as a shadowy and deviously brilliant historical figure that has been killing and maiming men, women, and children since the beginning of recorded history. Understanding and finding cures for cancer has obsessed generations of healers, scientists, fund-raisers, politicians, and entrepreneurs.

As a patient advocate and someone who has watched cancer steal and forever change the lives of family and friends, I hope the film will help redirect some of today’s damaging conversations about, for example, which cancers are “better” to have and whether people with cancer ought to share the graphic details of their experiences publicly. Such conversations distract us from where we should be focused: on promoting research while showing compassion for all people going through treatment and its short- and long-term consequences.

While other diseases, such as typhoid and tuberculosis, have been controlled or cured by hygiene and sanitation, Mukherjee notes that cancer has been elusive because its processes are locked in our genes and in the complex interplay of genes and their environment. Progress, while very real, has been relatively slow and uneven. As we now know, cancer can’t be cured in one fell swoop. Cancer is personal.

Continue reading

Offering Support for the Newly Diagnosed: Tips for People Who’ve Been There

New LBBC blogger Joanne Hampton posts tips for offering the best possible peer support for people newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

joanne hampton photoMy journey has consisted of nine surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, and a positive diagnosis of BRCA1. I am an 11 year survivor. I have spoken at numerous events, sat on different committees, ran many successful fundraisers, and yet, I still feel awkward talking to someone who is newly diagnosed. They look up at me like I am about to reveal some great secret advice to get them through this. Tears begin to form in their eyes they ask me questions like “What now?”

Even though I, too, am a breast cancer survivor and have traveled a similar path, I don’t always know what to say. Because of this I was inspired to do some research for myself and other breast cancer survivors who want to offer that glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel for someone recently diagnosed.

I want to focus on some tips to think about when you are asked to speak to someone who is diagnosed with cancer. So that you can make it easier by giving them strength, make a difference by inspiring, and help by holding a hand.

Tip #1: Each person’s reaction is different.

This is very important. I can’t stress this enough. The most miniscule thing to one could be earth shattering to another. To me, losing my hair was the least of my worries. But, I have met a lot of women who were devastated and felt they had lost their dignity along with their hair. A person can’t always help or control how they feel. There’s no rhyme or reason, there’s no right or wrong but, they are real feelings and people will react differently, based on those feelings. Not all wounds are so obvious. Walk gently in her life.

Tip #2: It is not all about you and your journey or the journeys of others.

Be sensitive to her journey. Make sure you do not compare. Try and avoid saying things such as, “I know how you feel,” or “I know how hard it can be”. She needs to be herself and take her own journey. The secret is changing saying “I know” to “I understand”… because to an extent you do. As for comparing, most of the time people don’t even know they’re doing it. We don’t want her to feel bad if she isn’t living up to the expectation she sets for herself based on your experience. Continue reading

Discussing Fertility Preservation with Young Patients Diagnosed with Cancer

Kristin N. Smith, a patient navigator at Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, blogs about some fertility options healthcare providers could discuss with young patients diagnosed with breast cancer. Ms. Smith is the speaker for our webinar, Fertility and Breast Cancer: Educational Opportunities and Preservation Options. Register now for this program and discover more about how you can help young women learn about fertility after breast cancer.

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Providing care to young cancer patients who wish to pursue fertility preservation prior to initiating cancer treatment requires the collaborative efforts of oncologists, reproductive endocrinologists, nurses and many more within a short time frame.

Being able to effectively communicate and educate patients about the potential gonadotoxicity of cancer therapy, or damage to reproductive organs caused by treatment, and the available options for fertility preservation is essential to improve patient care. Many of the treatments we use to treat cancer for adolescent and young adult (AYA) women can decrease the likelihood of having biological children. High dose alkylating agents and pelvic radiation can destroy the ovarian reserve; radiation to the brain can harm the way the brain communicates to the gonads and surgical resection of reproductive organs can all make family building more difficult for patients.  Continue reading

Addressing a Gap Identified in Our Needs Assessment of Young Women: Discussing Fertility After Breast Cancer

Whether treatment will affect their ability to have children in the future is one of the most common worries among young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. LBBC’s Arin Ahlum Hanson, MPH, CHES, manager of the Young Women’s Initiative and YWI Program Coordinator Ingrid Mapanao blog about this gap, in anticipation of an upcoming healthcare provider webinar on fertility and breast cancer. 

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LBBC’s Arin Ahlum Hanson, manager of the Young Women’s Initiative (left) and YWI Program Coordinator Ingrid Mapanao (right).

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines recommend all premenopausal women diagnosed with breast cancer be informed about the potential impacts of treatment on their fertility and asked if they would like to have future pregnancies. LBBC’s national needs assessment of over 1,500 young women affected by breast cancer found that only half of the young women surveyed reported discussing fertility issues with their healthcare providers. Of those women who did discuss fertility impacts with their providers, the majority of those women initiated this important discussion with their healthcare providers rather than having their healthcare providers bring up the subject.

LBBC is working to close this communication gap by educating healthcare providers through an upcoming webinar. Healthcare providers participating in this webinar, Fertility and Breast Cancer: Educational Opportunities and Preservation Options , will learn about fertility preservation options available for young women and how breast cancer treatments impact fertility. The webinar will be held on Wednesday, March 18 from noon-1pm ET and the guest presenter will be Kristin N. Smith, a fertility preservation patient navigator at the Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University in Chicago.

Free CEUs will be given to the first 150 nurses and 150 social workers who register!

Our hope is that many healthcare providers join our Young Women’s Initiative’s commitment to strengthen and expand programs for young women affected by breast cancer. Healthcare providers can do this by participating in the webinar. If you’re a healthcare provider, register now to learn the roles you can take to educate your young patients about their fertility options.