A Life Less Cancery

I stumbled across this article in Cure by Jen Sotham and thought this beautifuly summarized, well, making your life a little less cancery! This is a great read!

She writes, "A cancer diagnosis and treatment can take over your whole world. Here are a few ways to reclaim parts of your life and ease some of the emotional stress that cancer brings."

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5 Strategies to Fight Insomnia

1.   Avoid sugar after 4 p.m. to prevent an increase in blood sugar before bed.


2. Eat a healthy portion of protein for dinner to calm your system. (Eggs, Artichokes, Nuts, Grass-Fed Beef, Chicken, Greek Yogurt, Peas, etc.)


3. Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. Consistency is key!


4. Do some flexibility exercises, yoga or meditation 2-3 hours before bedtime to relax your body.


5.  Write down all your worries in a journal before bedtime.  That way you don’t have to dwell on them and they will be there waiting for you the next morning!

Prayer to St. Peregrine

The Patron Saint of Cancer

O god, who gave St Peregrine

an Angel for his companion,

The Mother of God for his Teacher,

And Jesus as they Physician of his malady.

Grant we beseech You through his merits

that we may on earh intensely love our Holy Angel,

the blessed Virgin Mary

and our Savior, and in Him bless them forever.

Grant that I may receive the fabor which I now petition,

healing of the cancer that is in my body,

strength and courage to endure the treatments that are before me

and the assurance that I am doing the will of the Lord.

I promise to take the knowledge that I have learned 

and share this and the hope of a new day with other survivors.

I ask this through the same Christ our Lord.


Chemotherapy and Your Nails

Nail Changes are a common side effect of chemotherapy. You may notice:

1. Your fingernails and toes may look bruised, indented, thin or brittle. They may even lift from your nail bed.

2. Your hands and feet may become dry, itchy and chapped.

3. Nail changes can increase your risk of infection which may compromise your immune system.

The good news is there are ways to manage the symptoms of chemo nails.

1. Keep nails trimmed and clean.

2. Use nail hardener to keep nails strong and prevent dry, brittle nails.

3. Use a glass file when filing nails as it is gentler in nails.

4. Never bite or tear nails as it could cause infection.

5. Wear gloves for cleaning and gardening, as well as in cold weather.

6. Use solar oil on cuticles to keep the moist and prevent infection

7. Keep hands and feet moist with coconut oil.

Common drugs that can cause nail changes include but are not limited to Adriamycin, daunorubicin, doxil, Isempra, mitoxantrone, taxotere, and tamoxifen

For more information on treating chemo nails, contact Suzy Johnson at Katie's Spa at 810.664.2727.

The 10 Commandments of Survivorship

I. Thou shalt believe in thyself and thine ability to survive. 

               The foundation of survivorship is trusting in your own ability to cope with cancer.  You can find strength you never knew you had!

II. Thou shalt surround thyself with medical professionals in whom you believe and with whom you feel comfortable.

               You must believe in your doctors as much as you believe in yourself!

III. Thou shalt seek knowledge about thine illness

               The most well-armed survivor is the one who knows as much as possible    about    the illness he/she is battling!

IV. Thou shalt join or form a support group.

               It has been medically proven that women who belong to a breast cancer   support group live longer than those who don't ...sharing is surviving!

V. Thou shalt dust off thine sense of humor and use it often

               Spend time with people who make you laugh and uplift you...keep those    endorphins hopping around and you are healing yourself!

VI. Thou shalt keep as active and as busy as thou art able.

               Find something you really get excited about and do it as often as you can.               Fill life with positive thoughts leaving less space for fear and         self pity.

VII. Thou shalt count on friends and family.

               Let people know what they can do to help.  It'll give them purpose and a    way to show their love for you!

VIII. Thou shalt reach out to other cancer survivors

               If I can help one person to laugh, smile, or gather courage to keep fighting,             it gives me one more reason to stay excited about life!

IX. Thou shalt allow thyself to cry

               We can't enjoy the peaks if we don't descend into the valleys just don't let                yourself stay down there too long.

X. Thou shalt love thyself and be good to thyself

               Always remember you are a unique and special person.  Cancer cannot       take that away from you.  It's easier to love others if you love          yourself...            and love is one of the most important reasonsto survive!


Maggie Gray 6/96...Sparrow Regional Cancer Center

Why the Hummingbird?

Why the Hummingbird? Author, Alberto Villoldo, in his book entitled “Courageous Dreaming”, discusses what Hummingbird Courage and hummingbird consciousness is. On page 100 he states, “in hummingbird consciousness, we engage life from the level of the soul, just as that tiny birdfinds the valor to take his monumental journey, we can discover the courage to perceive ourown lives as a journey of growth and discovery, of spiritual maturation. We don’t fuss aboutthe details of our flight…we’ll make it to our destination.”

He continues on with “the hummingbird isn’t even supposed to be able to fly given the shapeand weight of his body. Likewise some of feel that we weren’t made to soar…but despitethinking that we don’t have enough …..”wings”, we each have a great journey that’s availableto us should we choose to accept the invitation from life and respond to the call”.

These words spoke volumes to me. When Alberto talked about how hummingbird courage “canempower us to rewrite our stories” and “look at life as a journey of discovery and growth”, itbrought tears to my eyes. That is what being a cancer survivor has been for me, a journey ofdiscovery and growth.

After the shock of the cancer diagnosis, I struggled through the world of decision making andquestioning every step of my journey, completed surgery and recovery, waited for the phone callto tell me whether I had cancer in my lymph nodes, prayed and prayed and prayed for help andcourage and then spent five years dealing with side effects of hormonal therapy to preventcancer recurrence.

I kept reading on and Alberto stated that “as determined hummingbirds willing to trust that we’ll have all we need on our journey… we can start to paint a very different picture of who weare and what the events of our existence mean”. I did just that. My new journey began with mydiagnosis. Along this journey I have met some amazing people that I would not have had theopportunity to meet otherwise. What a blessing for me.

But Alberto didn’t stop there, on page 102, he states “the saga of a loss or illness can now be one of initiation into the tribe of survivors, who can wisely guide others through this passage.” Iknew that I had a purpose in life and that I could use the skills and knowledge I had acquired asa physical therapist and educator to help in the fight for quality of life for cancer survivors.

My dear husband has always kept a hummingbird feeder at our home during the summer. Mymother had given me a hummingbird feeder that hangs outside my office window. Here I’vebeen surrounded by signs of hummingbird courage and didn’t even realize the power that it hadgiven me. I do now.

I challenge you to accept the invitation from life, respond to the call….

Embrace your Hummingbird Courage!