Oct. 4, 2007, Vol. V Issue 20
I have a confession to make. Life is different for me these days. I’ve been dealing with intense leg and knee pain all summer long, especially since our return from vacation in mid-August. I missed hiking so much this summer, that while we were on vacation in the Olympic Peninsula, I tried a short 3-mile loop. Jim wanted to kayak, and it was a great spot where he could take off in the boat and I could take off on the trail, thinking I could return if it didn’t work out. Besides, I rationalized that our dog, P.C. really needed a hike.
The short hike was, for P.C. , our sixteen-year-old Beagle mix, no problem. For me it changed everything. I made it back to camp, all right, but painfully, grimacing, and exhausted, I spent the rest of the day in a chair with a book (The Red Tent, by the way, is a fascinating read).
Regretfully, I was feeling even more and more crippled and tired when I returned home. I quit going to my regular Nia classes (5X week) and begged off taking P.C. on our daily dog walks in the neighborhood to the bank, post office and fruit stand. I have worked with several healers, all of whom I think are awesome and all of whom have been puzzled by my symptoms. I am learning from them all – chiropractor, internal medicine (regular doctor), osteopath who offers cranial osteopathic manipulation, acupuncturist, physical therapist, spiritual advisor (at least that one was fun!), drugs and advice about supplements and things like that. Did I forget anyone?
Until a couple of days ago, none of the drugs were working and I was in constant, intense pain. I’ve had MRI’s of my lower back and both knees and tomorrow I have an appointment with an orthopedist — one who does not do surgery.
So, there you go, that’s what’s happening in my part of the world. This is my healing journey. I must say business has been great this past few months and helping you find speakers for your events is a welcome diversion that feeds my soul and helps me pay medical bills right now! You’ll be hearing from me and about my experiences with the healthcare system as things develop. Thank you for your interest and support.
“Humor, Happiness and Hope”
Becky Olson, two time cancer survivor from Portland was the keynote speaker for the Susan G. Komen survivor luncheon, part of a huge health fair at the convention center here in Portland last Saturday. Becky’s topic, which she covered succinctly and with lots of laughter and empathy in just 20 minutes, was “Humor, Happiness, and Hope.”
“There’s no way breast cancer is funny,” Becky said, “and yet we must laugh to get through it. The funny moments are abundant if you’re willing to capture them and treasuring them will get you through the worst of times.”
She recalled her dread about losing her hair with her first round of chemotherapy. “My daughter, bless her heart, piped up, ‘Well, Mom, you always wanted to be a blonde, now’s your chance.’” She and a girlfriend went out and bought the secret ingredients.
“I could have rejected this idea, but what the heck, I mean, really, what did I have to lose? She and her girlfriend were first-timers at this, so they tried to dye my brunette hair, not knowing they should have bleached it first. As many of you who have been through your own comically transformative blonde experience … you might anticipate that much to my surprise and disdain, my hair turned ORANGE! Was I horrified? Well, yes and no. We’re on our way to bald anyway. Then, as my hair began to fall out, with the various colors we’d created underneath, I looked like some kind of weird calico cat. I remember this vividly — we lightheartedly laughed our way through it at the time and now it is family legend — I laugh about it whenever I bring up the memory. That is precious, to find that joy in this adversity.”
In her presentation, Becky also shared a slide showing her with her husband at her side in front of the Twin Towers in New York City. “When I found that picture,” Becky said, “it was a reminder that life can change in an instant. The change can come via a phone call, an unexpected visitor, or a weather disaster. It can change for the worse, or it can change for the better.”
She quoted Singer Tim McGraw’s song, “Live Like You Were Dying.” “We’re all terminal,” she said, “just some of us are lucky to enough to know it.” Learn more about Becky Olson and her programs or book Becky Olson for your upcoming breast cancer survivor or cancer survivor events, email me firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 503-699-5031.
Breast Friends’ Co-founders receive “Local Hero Award”
Besides speaking, people like Becky Olson have found ways to apply their business skills to the business of helping other breast cancer patients. Becky Olson, and her co-creator, Sharon Heifin, are being honored with this years’ “Local Hero Award,” here in Portland, Oregon.
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, in conjunction with Kuni BMW, presented this annual award to Becky and Sharon, both breast cancer survivors, as “community residents who have made an outstanding personal effort in the fight against breast cancer.”
Becky, a two time survivor, was diagnosed in 1996 and 2004 and also went through several surgeries, chemo both times and radiation. Becky wrote “The Hat That Saved My Life,” and she travels around the country and is a popular speaker for breast cancer events. Sharon Henifin was diagnosed in 1993, had several surgeries including eventual double mastectomy and 6 months of chemotherapy.
In August of 2000, after being friends for many years and sharing in the cancer experience, Becky & Sharon started Breast Friends. Breast Friends, an Oregon non-profit organization, is dedicated to helping women survive the trauma of breast cancer…one friend at a time. The women, along with many caring volunteers, work with newly diagnosed breast cancer patients and their friends and family, providing hope and inspiration. Becky and Sharon understand how important support is when going through a serious diagnosis like breast cancer. Many want to help, but don’t know what to say or do to show their support. Some simply say things like, “Call me if you need something.” Unfortunately most of us wouldn’t dream of imposing or asking for help even when we desperately need it.
To learn more, visit the Breast Friends website.
Sleep In For the Cure
I’d heard of Sail for the Cure, Bowl for the Cure and Art for the Cure — all great tie-ins from special interest groups. I’m sure there are many more. But — Sleep In for The Cure — is that great or what!? No excuses . . . Who doesn’t THAT cover? I think the creators of this idea were after people with excuses – like, they were out of town, or they had been unavailable the weekend of the race in their respective cities. And they also may have wanted to reach people like me, normally athletes, who are temporarily out of commission.
I wasn’t sleeping in on the morning of the Portland race last Sunday, but I had registered for Sleep In For the Cure. I’ll be receiving a T-shirt and race number in the mail, just like all the other race participants. The Sleep In was sponsored in Portland by Bedsmart. I noticed on the web, that in other markets, participants received a pillowcase instead of a shirt. Cool idea. I thought the sleep shirt shown here from Illinois was quite cute, too.
My goal, however, is to be a full fledged participant in next year’s Race for the Cure. Walking any distance beyond my mailbox is a notable goal right now. Stay tuned.
More Choco-holic News:
No Pudge! Fudge
In our last issue, I told you about Lulus’s chocolate in a jar. Here’s another one of my favorite chocolate treats. Have you ever tried, NO PUDGE! Fudge Brownie Mix? It comes in a bright pink box. I get it at Trader Joe’s. All you do is add non-fat yogurt, mix it up, pour into a sprayed baking dish and bake. You get yummy, yummy dark chocolate brownies that are 2 points on Weight Watchers. Well, that is, unless you add walnuts, which Jana Stanfield insists is the only way to eat brownies.
And, Zonya Foco, RD, agrees, that a handful of healthy nuts are a very good thing. If it’s too dangerous for you to have a tray of these sitting on the counter, you can cut them up into individual squares, wrap and freeze. Now, that’s what I call an easy, and smart way to plan a sweet treat. Also, you can mix them up and bake them in individual servings. The package includes lots of great serving directions. Find everything you need to know here.
Until next time, be good to yourself for your good health and those you love.