An Incredible Story That Has Much to Teach

The woman's name is Anita Moorjani.  Anita was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and doctors told her family she was just hours away from death. It was at this point that she “crossed over” and then returned again into this world with a clearer understanding of her life and purpose on earth. This understanding subsequently led to a total recovery of her health.

Anita was born in Singapore of Indian parents, moved to Hong Kong at the age of two, and has lived in Hong Kong most of her life. Because of her background and British education, she is multi lingual and, from the age of two, grew up speaking English, Cantonese and two Indian dialects simultaneously, and later learned French at school.

She had been working in the corporate field for many years before being diagnosed with cancer in April of 2002. Her fascinating and moving near-death experience in early 2006 has tremendously changed her perspective on life. Her work is now ingrained with the depths and insights she gained while in the other realm.

This is the original NDE description that Anita Moorjani submitted to The Near Death Research Foundation in August 2006. 

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EXPERIENCE DESCRIPTION:

I had end stage cancer (Hodgkin’s Lymphoma), and was being cared for at home. I was connected to an oxygen tank, and had a full time nurse. But on this morning, February 2nd 2006, I did not wake up. I had fallen into a coma.  My husband called my doctor who said I needed to be rushed to hospital.  The senior oncologist looked at me and told my husband that it was now the end, and that my organs were now shutting down.  I would probably not make it beyond the next 36 hours.  However, the oncologist said he would do whatever he could but prepared my husband that I would most likely not make it, as my organs were no longer functioning.  They determined this because my body started to swell up, and I had open skin lesions. They started me on a cocktail of medication on a drip, and poked me with tubes and pipes for nourishment, drugs and oxygen.

I thought that I was drifting in and out of consciousness during this time, because I was aware of everything that was going on around me. But it was confirmed to me later by my family and the doctors that I was in a coma the whole time. I saw and heard the conversations between my husband and the doctors taking place outside my room, about 40 feet away down a hallway. I was later able to verify this conversation to my shocked husband.  Then I actually “crossed over” to another dimension, where I was engulfed in a total feeling of love.  I also experienced extreme clarity of why I had the cancer, why I had come into this life in the first place, what role everyone in my family played in my life in the grand scheme of things, and generally how life works.  The clarity and understanding I obtained in this state is almost indescribable.  Words seem to limit the experience – I was at a place where I understood how much more there is than what we are able to conceive in our 3-dimensional world.  I realized what a gift life was, and that I was surrounded by loving spiritual beings, who were always around me even when I did not know it.

The amount of love I felt was overwhelming, and from this perspective, I knew how powerful I am, and saw the amazing possibilities we as humans are capable of achieving during a physical life.  I found out that my purpose now would be to live “heaven on earth” using this new understanding, and to share this knowledge with other people.  However I had the choice of whether to come back into life, or go towards death.  I was made to understand that it was not my time, but I always had the choice, and if I chose death, I would not be experiencing a lot of the gifts that the rest of my life still held in store.  At first, I did not want to come back, because my body was very sick, and I did not want to come back into this body as the organs had already stopped functioning and I had all these open skin lesions. But it seemed that almost immediately, I became aware that if I chose life, my body would heal very quickly.  I would see a difference in not months or weeks, but days!

I then started to understand how illnesses start on an energetic level before they become physical.  If I chose to go into life, the cancer would be gone from my energy, and my physical body would catch up very quickly.  I then understood that when people have medical treatments for illnesses, it rids the illness only from their body but not from their energy so the illness returns.  I realized if I went back, it would be with a very healthy energy.  Then the physical body would catch up to the energetic conditions very quickly and permanently.  I seemed to become aware that this applies to anything, not only illnesses – physical conditions, psychological conditions, etc.  I became aware that everything going on in our lives was dependent on this energy around us, created by us.  Nothing was real – we created our surroundings, our conditions, etc. depending where this “energy” was at.  The clarity I felt around how we get what we do was phenomenal!  It’s all about where we are energetically.  I somehow knew that I was going to see “proof” of this first hand if I returned back to my body.

It felt as though I was drifting in and out between the two worlds, this physical world and the other side, but every time I drifted into the “other side”, I seemed to go deeper and experienced more “scenes”.  There was one where I saw how my life had touched all the people in it – it was sort of like a tapestry and I saw how I affected everyone’s lives around me.  There was another scene where I saw my brother on a plane, having heard the news I was dying, coming to see me (this was verified to me as when I started to come round, my brother was there, having just got off a plane).  I then saw a glimpse of my brother and me and somehow seemed to understand it was a previous life, where I was much older than him and was like a mother to him (in this life, he is older than me).  I saw in that life I was very protective towards him.  I suddenly became aware he was on the plane to come and see me, and felt “I can’t do this to him – can’t let him come and see me dead”.  Then I also saw how my husband’s purpose was linked to mine, and how we had decided to come and experience this life together.  If I went, he would probably follow soon after.

In addition, I seemed to understand that, as tests had been taken for my organ functions (and the results were not out yet), that if I chose life, the results would show that my organs were functioning normally.  If I chose death, the results would show organ failure as the cause of death, due to cancer.  I was able to change the outcome of the tests by my choice!

I made my choice, and as I started to wake up (in a very confused state, as I could not at that time tell which side of the veil I was on),  the doctors came rushing into the room with big smiles on their faces saying to my family “Good news – we got the results and her organs are functioning – we can’t believe it!!  Her body really did seem like it had shut down!”

After that, I began to recover rapidly.  The doctors had been waiting for me to become stable before doing a lymph node biopsy to track the type of cancer cells, and they could not even find a lymph node big enough to suggest cancer (upon entering the hospital my body was filled with swollen lymph nodes and tumors the size of lemons, from the base of my skull all the way to my lower abdomen).  They did a bone marrow biopsy, again to find the cancer activity so they could adjust the chemotherapy according to the disease, and there wasn’t any in the bone marrow.  The doctors were very confused, but put it down to me suddenly responding to the chemo. Because they themselves were unable to understand what was going on, they made me undergo test after test, all of which I passed with flying colors, and clearing every test empowered me even more!  I had a full body scan, and because they could not find anything, they made the radiologist repeat it again!!!!

Because of my experience, I am now sharing with everyone I know that miracles are possible in your life every day.  After what I have seen, I realize that absolutely anything is possible, and that we did not come here to suffer.  Life is supposed to be great, and we are very, very loved.  The way I look at life has changed dramatically, and I am so glad to have been given a second chance to experience “heaven on earth”.

For more, click here.

You Create Your World Every Moment

I wish there was a fool-proof formula we could all follow to move 'out' of ourselves, to float above this vehicle we call our body, and observe ourselves act and react to mundane, fleeting, mostly unimportant events in our life. To see how we take things far too seriously, including ourselves! I wish we could REALLY see, FIERCELY believe, that it is the programming of our minds that creates chaos and negativity or hinders peace and happiness in our lives.  And that if we spend just a handful of weeks working consciously to change our reactions and attitudes, we can intentionally generate a new program.

I wish we listened, quietly, with inner stillness to what others are 'saying' before we allowed our ever-churning brain to start preparing our response to justify what 'we' think.

I wish I could help you understand without a shadow of doubt that you house in your heart Divine Light that is clouded over by falsely thinking that you are separate from the Universe, from all Humanity and from Truth.  And that if you sat quietly for just 10 - 15 minutes each day, and let go of everything during those minutes, focusing on 'seeing' the Light flickering in your heart, and imagining it growing until if filled your being, after a while your perspective, your attitude and your knowing will be informed by that Light and life will begin to change.

What is going on with this body, in this life is a Gift intricately planned to present us with situations designed to help us learn specific lessons, (if we allow them to).  These lessons invariably expand our understanding of Who we are, Where we are going and Why it's necessary to cultivate Acceptance and Awareness.

Without a positive attitude and strong faith in the power of our mind, we can't heal.  Negativity changes your body chemistry, physically.  It takes hours to neutralize the toxins that negativity releases in your body. That alone should deter you from giving in to such a response. Stop, breathe and consciously choose a reaction before you say or do something you'll regret.

It's not easy, but practice is the only way to make it a habit.  No one is going to walk into your life and make everything better. You have to do that.

This moment is all you have.  How do you want to spend it?

Unhappy?  Fearful?  Worried?  Frustrated?  Bitter?  How about choosing to be Happy, Brave, Accepting, and Grateful?

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Vow to live your life as if today is the all you have...this moment the only moment. Join the abundant Joy that resonates in every aspect of Creation, and don't let anyone shake your determination to feel good.

Excerpt taken from The HuMan Handbook

"Change is what happens when the pain of holding on becomes greater than your fear of letting go. You are using up enormous amounts of life force energy holding on to your pain and past.

Change your habits and you will quickly change your life. It only takes three weeks to “birth” a new habit. The Universe ...will express anything you make into a habit.

You are the architect of the reality that you are experiencing. Forming new habits is how you will manifest what you want. Creating habits is the key to your success or failure.

Consciously creating new habits for more than 21 days is a small price to pay for what you want to manifest."

"When things change only two things can happen with one being obvious and the other being extremely subtle. The obvious thing is that you will manifest what it is that you want to experience. The not so obvious thing is that you will surface what it is you need to heal, so that you can manifest what you want."

E-mail your first and last name to SabrinaRose@HolisticLearningCenter.com, subject line- The Human Handbook to receive a copy.

It doesn't matter where you are in your journey...this human handbook is a guide to mastering the inner you!

Cafes, Challenges and Grace: Our menu

Why do we get pushed to the edge at certain points of our life?
 
Why are we forced to face difficult situations that seem in the moment hopeless, or intolerable, or confusing, or maddening, or frightening through no fault of our own?
 
Many of us try hard to live our lives with integrity and understanding.  We do our best to be kind to others, to be sensitive to other people's feelings, to be conscientious in our work, and yet... in spite of our efforts, we get curve balls: our boss is a jerk or is unreasonably demanding, our job is eliminated, our children don't appreciate what we do for them, our spouse neglects our emotional needs or is abusive, or  some turkey runs into our car in the parking lot and doesn't leave a note.

Screamin

Where is the justice we grow to expect from a world led by a Benevolent Being? Good deeds should be rewarded with good results, and bad deeds with consequences... and yet losers get away with so much, and we get taken to task for a tiny error.
 
Well, at a certain point in our lives, we realize that our definition of 'justice' or 'good' or 'bad' has little to do with the Universe's.  Man's terms and perspective are just that...they are not the standard by which the Universe operates. Events are neutral... they serve a purpose...therefore no matter how we view them, they are not 'bad'.
 
A wise and enlightened mentor once said to me, "The only sin man can commit, is not living up to his/her best knowing." Beside that omission, one we should be able to control, all else fades.  If I am unable to live and act based on my BEST knowing, I shouldn't expect anything or anyone to be any better.
 
There have been times when a situation has asked every ounce of tolerance, of understanding, of patience or of perseverance from me.  A situation I didn't see coming, didn't ask for and couldn't have anticipated.

A Collaboration Disguised as a Cafe

When I opened a Cafe two years ago, I hired young men who needed the work to do some of the labor... painting, sheet rock, installing cabinets or shelving.  I was over budget already, thanks to the City of Berkeley and their unreasonable requests for very specific improvements and many fees. I was at my wits end, watching my savings dwindle, and a process that should have taken 3 months, turn into an ordeal that took 6 months.
 
And then to top it off, the contractors I hired lied about their skills and tried to charge me way more than the job warranted.  One of them made 4 trips to Home Depot to buy and return materials, because he couldn't estimate what he needed or how much he needed, and wanted to bill me for his 4 two-hour long shopping sprees on top of the cost of materials we didn't wind up using!
 
Sit back. Breathe deeply. Rise above the situation and look down.  What's really going on?  Why did God very tangibly show me that I was meant to open a Cafe by sending not one, not two, but multiple signs that is was to be...and then put me in a situation where I doubted the whole thing and my ability to pull it off?
 
Without taking the time center yourself and literally rise above a situation, you cannot and will not see why it's happening.
The Director who hired me to be a Team Manager at AT&T once told me, "Sometimes it's not about you.  Sometimes you're participating in someone else's learning." At the time I didn't want to hear that, but over the years I've brought that piece of wisdom to mind, and found it be crucial in understanding what was going on, and then finding the right response.
 
In the heat of the moment it is impossible to think clearly. Stepping back means allowing for space to fall between you and the situation you're facing.  Taking a deep breath means not reacting in the moment, until you understand what's going on. Rising above, gives you perspective and allows the petty reactions to fall away.
 
Only at that point can you fill the space that was created with the right response.
I found myself yelling at the workers, unable to tolerate their lies and ineptitude.  I wrote a biting letter about the delay tactics, excessive red tape and unreasonable requests of the Berkeley City Planning office, and a local newspaper published the letter. My landlord fluctuated between being understanding and pushy when I didn't open on schedule. I thought I'd lose my mind.
 
After I stepped back, took a deep breath, and surveyed what should have been a happy process (For 15 years I talked about owning a small Cafe, and now life gave me an opportunity to fulfill that dream), I realized that everything worthwhile has a price.  It needs to. Even if it seems too high, like this one did, and those young men learned a harsh lesson in dealing with me.

You see God practically pushed me into this. Here is how:

  1.  My daughter owned an Art Gallery across from UC Berkeley
  2.  The Candy store two doors up suddenly became available
  3.  She called me and begged me to come look at it, because it was so cute
  4.  I told her I was not leaving my well-paid job at AT&T even though I have talked about wanting a Cafe
  5.  I went to look just for fun
  6.  I loved the space.  It was indeed adorable and a great location, and the address was meaningful to me
  7.  For kicks I devised a menu, talked to the landlord (who also owned the Gallery space) and figured that maybe a family member could run the Cafe during the day and I could take over the last 3 hours if I indeed took the plunge
  8.  The landlord wanted too much rent, and since my bf told me I should be able to get a better deal with so many vacancies in the area, I walked away
  9.  The landlord called me 10 days later to say he'd accept my low offer since he loved my menu and concept, and how cool to be near my daughter
  10.  I negotiated and signed the lease
  11.  TWENTY FOUR hours later, I received a call from a Director at AT&T telling me I was part of the latest layoffs!
  12.  My severance pay was enough to finance my living expenses for a year, and provide a reasonable amount towards the many improvements needed for the Cafe
There were even more signs, but my goodness these were big.

So why did I find roadblock after roadblock when I started the Permit process?

I was very much a participant in the learning experience of several people in City Planning. The head Engineer, who was featured and named in my letter, hopefully learned that you can't lead customers on, and not do what you promised.  And that you can't live in your cushy bubble and ignore the needs of an individual who is trying to open a business for their livelihood, and drag the process out by asking for outlandish things like drawing the location of lights and the wattage for light-bulbs and the type  of light-bulbs on the plans... the location of the light switches and which one controls which lights...the degree of slant of the threshold to see if wheelchairs can go over the bump... and on and on and on. The Candy store would have provided all that info, and I wasn't changing those things!
 
But you see my error was in getting caught up in the details. What I mean by that is my focus was captured by the mundane.  I forgot Who was running the show.  I should have remembered every step of the way, that if God wants something to happen it will happen according to His timetable, His plan, and His will. Events in my life have made this very evident.

Nothing would have changed except my attitude

And guess what?   Most of the time THAT's what it's all about. Remember Job? Attitude.

If I had continued to move inside the Grace that was showered down on me, I wouldn't have lost perspective and I would have been more aware of the choices I made.  The amount of stress I put myself through would have been shaved down to a minimum.  This wasn't my project alone.  This was OUR project. And the proof was the amazing hand-picked people who became my loyal customers, and the relationships I built with many of them.
 
My Cafe became a haven for my regular customers. They would come for advice on treating symptoms, for help with finding work or a place to stay, for celebrating a success or milestone, to talk about someone they were interested in dating, and ask for special meals due to dietary restrictions.
 
An adorable 89-year-old woman came in one afternoon, and had tea.  It was slow, so we talked...and after a few minutes we were hugging. She shared that her son was losing a battle with an illness. A couple of weeks later he passed away, and she came back for another hug.  She said she had been very depressed the day she first stopped by my Cafe, and felt a ray of sunshine bathed her when she walked in. We still get together for lunch now and then, and we write or call each other.
 
My bf would laugh and ask me what other restaurant in the world people would feel comfortable going into and asking for something to help with an upset stomach or a sore throat?  Or if they could get a specific meal that wasn't on the menu?

I asked a good friend, who is an artist and took Arabic lessons from me, to make a 5' wood plaque that would go over the door in the Cafe ... he created a beautiful piece of art mimicking Arabic Calligraphy with the two words I wanted... In Gratitude.

So no matter what life has in store for you, no matter how dark things look in the moment, know in your heart that...

  1.  There is reason and it's usually a demand for inner growth
  2.  All things pass, and the sooner we let go of our self-pity or rebellion the sooner it will do so
  3.  If we can muster up acceptance and trust in the powers that be, we learn to weather the inevitable challenges in a mature and helpful way
  4.  It's not always about you! But you still have to play your part.
    Meditate
Perhaps in time I can learn to feel grateful for the privilege of being a participant in someone else's growth
St. Francis prayed: "Lord, Let me be an Instrument of Thy Peace."
Meditation, even for just 15 minutes a day, will help put each day's events in perspective.
Meditation is inviting that SPACE I spoke of. 
 
In stillness, answers come. 
In silence, Grace descends.
 

London and Beyond in Pictures

Traveling is a wonderful way to leave your worries and stress behind.  I find it energizing and relaxing at the same time.

In 2006 my daughter and I headed for London, where one of my sisters lives. This was our second trip together, and my sixth, so we didn't do much that was traditional.

London

One of the most exciting, take that any way you like, moments was finding ourselves on a bus that took us too far out of London before we realized we'd missed our stop.  The good news is that the bus driver told us how to get a free ride back, since we seemed like dopey US tourists!

While on the bus, we passed this cute back yard garden with its own castle and gnomes... about an hour out of the city.

A Garden outside Brighton '06
A Garden outside Brighton '06

After that detour, we went to the beautiful National Gallery.

National Gallery London
National Gallery London

And at the end of the day, we did what most Londoners would do... and stopped by a Pub not far from my sister's flat for a pint and fish n chips.

London Pub 06
London Pub 06

Notice the Desserts on the blackboard...

  • Apple Pie
  • Spotted Dick
  • Choc Fudge Cake
  • Sticky Toffee Pudding
  • Ice Cream

Which would you have ordered?

Jess in Pub2 London '06
Jess in Pub2 London '06

Brighton

We spent 3 days in Brighton, a first for both of us.  I had to visit the city that one my favorite British authors, Georgette Heyer , featured in so many of her wonderful novels.

The weather was not very cooperative. We had rain one day, and every afternoon the winds blustered and turned icy cold.  Brighton seemed very eclectic with a huge mix of people.

Jess -
Jess -

Of course the Royal Pavillion was a must see.  We took a day tour and went by later that night, when we captured its exquisite architecture against the dark sky.  It was built for the Prince Regent, later King George IV, in stages between 1787 and 1823.

"It takes its unique character from the man for whom it was built, George IV, and its magnificent interior is a reflection of his personality and Regency reign. It was conceived as a monument to style, finesse, technological excellence and above all pleasure. It remains unequaled in its colossal ambition and glorious sense of joie de vivre.

George was determined that the palace should be the ultimate in comfort and convenience.

Particular attention was paid by his architect and designers to lighting, heating and sanitation, as well as to the provision of the most modern equipment of the day for the Great Kitchen."

Read more here.

Royal Pavilion, Brighton 4_06
Royal Pavilion, Brighton 4_06

After resting for a day in London, we took a bus to Oxford...our mission, visit Christ Church where many scenes were shot in the Harry Potter films.

Chirst Church U of Oxford2 '06
Chirst Church U of Oxford2 '06
Chirst Church Oxford '06
Chirst Church Oxford '06

We got a quick bite to eat, and walked to the Church just as the doors were being closed for the day!  We couldn't believe our luck.  So we took a walk through the magnificent University,  did a little shopping and headed back to London.

Oxford2 4_06
Oxford2 4_06
Oxford 4_06
Oxford 4_06

Leeds

A bus tour took us to Leeds and Dover.  We both fell in love with Leeds Castle. It was built in 1119 by Robert de Crevecoeur as a Norman stronghold.

The last private owner of the castle was the Hon. Olive, Lady Baillie, a daughter of Almeric Paget, 1st Baron Queenborough, and his first wife, Pauline Payne Whitney, an American heiress. Lady Baillie bought the castle in 1926. She redecorated the interior. During the early part of

World War II

Leeds was used as a hospital where Lady Baillie and her daughters hosted burned Commonwealth airmen as part of their recovery.  The castle was opened to the public in 1976.

Leeds Castle '06
Leeds Castle '06
Leeds Castle2 4_06
Leeds Castle2 4_06
Leeds Castle 4_06
Leeds Castle 4_06

Dover was quaint, a typical fishing / Port town in many ways...except for the Castle!

Cyclelife -

I hope to make a similar trip with my son next summer.  Thank you for reminiscing with me! 

What Every Woman Needs to Know

Early detection is the most successful way to treat and heal Cancer.

Here are four important steps you should take:

  1. Know your risk and lifestyle factors (how much exercise, foods you eat, stress)
  2. Educate yourself.. learn how to prevent breast and colon cancer
  3. Get regular screenings and do breast exams
  4. See your doctor if you have any of the symptoms

Breast Cancer Quick Facts

More than 80% of breast cancercases are discovered when the woman feels a lump, 26% would not have been visible by Mammogramy!

Early breast cancer usually doesn't cause symptoms. But as the tumor grows, it can change how the breast looks or feels. The common changes include:

  • A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area
  • A change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling or puckering in the skin of the breast
  • A nipple turned inward into the breast
  • Discharge (fluid) from the nipple, especially if it's bloody
  • Scaly, red, or swollen skin on the breast, nipple, or areola (the dark area of skin at the center of the breast). The skin may have ridges or pitting so that it looks like the skin of an orange.

Other Imaging Tests

There is a little controversy around the safety of exposure to radiation from mammograms.  The proof is that a woman's age and recommended frequency of breast screening has changed.

Personally, I think MRI's should be the method of choice. Now that I have had breast cancer I will not have mammograms.

Look into your insurance, and talk to your doctor about your concerns and options.

  • Ultrasound: A woman with a lump or other breast change may have an ultrasound test. An ultrasound device sends out sound waves that people can't hear. The sound waves bounce off breast tissues. A computer uses the echoes to create a picture. The picture may show whether a lump is solid, filled with fluid (a cyst), or a mixture of both. Cysts usually are not cancer. But a solid lump may be cancer.
  • MRI: MRI uses a powerful magnet linked to a computer. It makes detailed pictures of breast tissue. These pictures can show the difference between normal and diseased tissue.

Before starting treatment, you might want a second opinion from another doctor about your diagnosis and treatment plan. Some women worry that their doctor will be offended if they ask for a second opinion. Usually the opposite is true. Most doctors welcome a second opinion. And many health insurance companies will pay for a second opinion if you or your doctor requests it. Some companies require a second opinion.

Biopsy

A biopsy is the removal of tissue to look for cancer cells. A biopsy is the only way to tell for sure if cancer is present.

You may need to have a biopsy if an abnormal area is found.  In this case, doctors can use imaging procedures (such as a mammogram, an ultrasound, or MRI) to help see the area and remove tissue.

Your doctor may refer you to a surgeon or breast disease specialist for a biopsy. The surgeon or doctor will remove fluid or tissue from your breast in one of several ways:

  • Fine-needle aspiration biopsy: Your doctor uses a thin needle to remove cells or fluid from a breast lump.Please be wary of procedures that cut through or make a hole in a mass. I believe the risk is greater than any medical practitioner is willing to admit, since it is costs the Insurance company more to allow a surgical biopsy.  You have to assess the risk you want to take: 1) the risk of spreading the cancer if indeed it is malignant, 2) the risk that comes with any surgery.
  • Core biopsy: Your doctor uses a wide needle to remove a sample of breast tissue.
  • Skin biopsy: If there are skin changes on your breast, your doctor may take a small sample of skin.
  • Surgical biopsy:Your surgeon removes a sample of tissue.
    • An incisional biopsy takes a part of the lump or abnormal area.
    • An excisional biopsy takes the entire lump or abnormal area.Colon Cancer Quick Facts

Risk Factors

  • Not eating enough fruits and vegetables
  • Being overweight
  • Eating too many foods with high fat content
  • Not getting enough exercise
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Smoking

Recommended Tests

  • Fecal occult blood test
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy (flex sig)
  • Colonoscopy

Treatment

1. Surgery for early-stage colon cancer If your cancer is small, localized in a polyp and in a very early stage, your doctor may be able to remove it completely during a colonoscopy. If the pathologist determines that the cancer in the polyp doesn't involve the base — where the polyp is attached to the bowel wall — then there's a good chance that the cancer has been completely eliminated.

Some larger polyps may be removed using laparoscopic surgery. In this procedure, your surgeon performs the operation through several small incisions in your abdominal wall, inserting instruments with attached cameras that display your colon on a video monitor. The surgeon may also take samples from lymph nodes in the area where the cancer is located.

2. Surgery for invasive colon cancer

If your colon cancer has grown into or through your colon, your surgeon may recommend a partial colectomy to remove the part of your colon that contains the cancer, along with a margin of normal tissue on either side of the cancer.

3. Chemotherapy Chemotherapy uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be used to destroy cancer cells after surgery, to control tumor growth or to relieve symptoms of colon cancer. Your doctor may recommend chemotherapy if your cancer has spread beyond the wall of the colon or if your cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. In people with rectal cancer, chemotherapy is typically used along with radiation therapy.

4. Radiation therapy Radiation therapy uses powerful energy sources, such as X-rays, to kill any cancer cells that might remain after surgery, to shrink large tumors before an operation so that they can be removed more easily, or to relieve symptoms of colon cancer and rectal cancer.

5. Targeted drug therapy Drugs that target specific defects that allow cancer cells to proliferate are available to people with advanced colon cancer, including bevacizumab (Avastin), cetuximab (Erbitux) and panitumumab (Vectibix). Targeted drugs can be given along with chemotherapy or alone. Targeted drugs are typically reserved for people with advanced colon cancer.

Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the cervix.

The cervix is the lower, narrow end of the uterus (the hollow, pear-shaped organ where a fetus grows). The cervix leads from the uterus to the vagina (birth canal).

Risk Factors

Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn't mean that you will not get cancer. People who think they may be at risk should discuss this with their doctor.

Infection of the cervix with human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common cause of cervical cancer. Not all women with HPV infection, however, will develop cervical cancer. Women who do not regularly have a Pap smear to detect HPV or abnormal cells in the cervix are at increased risk of cervical cancer.

  •  Giving birth to many children.
  • Having many sexual partners.
  • Having first sexual intercourse at a young age.
  • Smoking cigarettes.
  • Using oral contraceptives ("the Pill").
  • Having a weakened immune system (Keep up your antioxidant intake!)

Symptoms

There are usually no noticeable signs of early cervical cancer but it can be detected early with regular check-ups.

Have regular check-ups, including a Pap smear to check for abnormal cells in the cervix. The chance of recovery is better when the cancer is found early.  A doctor should be consulted if any of the following problems occur:

  • Vaginal bleeding.
  • Unusual vaginal discharge.
  • Pelvic pain.
  • Pain during sexual intercourse.

Treatment

1. Surgery (removing the cancer in an operation) is sometimes used to treat cervical cancer. The following surgical procedures may be used:

  • Conization: A procedure to remove a cone-shaped piece of tissue from the cervix and cervical canal. A pathologist views the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells. Conization may be used to diagnose or treat a cervical condition. This procedure is also called a cone biopsy.
  • Total hysterectomy: Surgery to remove the uterus, including the cervix.

2. Radiation - There are two types of radiation therapy. External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer. Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer.

3. Chemotherapy may be given at the same time as radiation therapy (chemoradiation). Compared with radiation alone, chemoradiation improves survival. It is usually used as the primary therapy or after a hysterectomy.

The Theme of Divine Presence; Being Who You Really Are

For many year I have been reading and studying the writings and lives of several mystics. Inayat Khan is one of those.  The insight and awareness I developed over the years has nourished my vision of life and my attitudes.

It is this new awareness that helped me understand, learn from and move through many trying experiences... a forced separation from my first home and country, the passing of my parents followed by the passing of a sister and brother-in-law, my divorce, the process of reinventing myself, the loss of my dearest friend and mentor, and cancer.

There are principles at the heart of every system of faith that echo one another, and it is these common principles that Inayat Khan touches upon in his writings.  He speaks from personal experience, from a life devoted to self-knowing and awareness.

It is with calm Grace that one must strive to face each new inner lesson offered by life, and it is with Awareness that we must inform our reactions and actions.

I hope you are able to gather a few drops of gold from the passage below, to store tenderly in your heart, and to draw upon them as life unfolds.

I included the link to the entire Chapter in the title below.

Inviting Divine Presence into Your Life

Consciously invite the Divine Presence into your life!

The wonders of Divine Presence are always available to everyone, but Divine Presence will not force itself on anyone. We are free to be asleep. We are free to be ignorant. We are free to be selfish. We are free to be as foolish as we choose. And we pay heavily for such misdeeds and lack of understanding. Yet the Divine Presence is always there, just waiting for us to awaken from our slumber.

In order to enjoy a life of love, harmony and beauty, one must align one's outer life (worldly life) with one's inner life (spiritual life). In other words, the most pressing need of mankind today is to re-unite body and soul.

The wonders of spiritual life will not be fully embodied in one's own life until one awakens to the presence of Divine Presence and allows it to be the very foundation upon which every aspect of daily life is built,  thereby bringing the wondrous blessings of love, harmony and beauty into every situation.

Life should be a joyful journey, and living in harmony with the ideals of Divine Presence is the key.

If you do not yet feel that wondrous Divine Presence deep within, then (for the time being) simply strive to allow your life to be centered around great ideals such as loving-kindness, generosity, compassion, gratitude, and joyfulness.

Whenever anything else arises, calmly observe whatever has arisen without undue reaction, and return as quickly as possible to embodying those great ideals such as loving-kindness, generosity, compassion, gratitude and joyfulness.

In this simple manner, one can gradually begin to reprogram the sub-conscious mind, and thereby more fully live in harmony with the Divine Presence.

Girl blowing hearts

Be Beautiful!

In every moment of every day, the central theme of Divine Presence is simply this: Be Beautiful!

Each of the beautiful attributes of mankind, such as loving-kindness, generosity, compassion, grace, and joyfulness, all arise from the wondrous Divine Presence which exists in the calm pure depths of the heart.

The beauty which any individual exhibits truly glorifies the Source of Beauty, and will hopefully invite others to turn, in their own way, toward that same Source, like moths toward the flame.

What does it mean to be beautiful?

  • To be beautiful is to let our thoughts, words and deeds bring Divine Presence into the world.
  • To be beautiful is to greet each and every being with grace, with love, with compassion, with joyfulness.
  • To be beautiful is to see the ever-present Divine beauty everywhere.
  • To be beautiful is to express joyful gratitude for all that we receive.
  • To be beautiful is let the Divine radianceof your inner light shine upon all beingswithout any of one's own hindrances or preferences whatsoever.
  • To be beautiful is to expect nothing in return.

That which is truly beautiful always arises from the depths of your own loving heart. That is, you will be most beautiful when you are living in harmony with your own highest ideals and greatest aspirations.

One cannot be an expression of true beauty when trying to be like someone else.

Follow your heart!  Be beautiful in your own way!

~~~~~~~~~~~

Compassion international

The important thing is not to think much, but to love much; and so, do that which best stirs you to love.

Saint Teresa of Avila

What If? - Why Statistics Shouldn't Scare You!

One of the most routine pieces of information that the medical industry, for it is an industry, throws at us is a Statistic. Statistics are there to show you how likely you are to contract some disease, to have a boy or girl, to getting a divorce, or find a new job.  There seem to be so many studies that we now have a statistic for everything...including how many times you're likely to blink in a minute! How could we go on without that piece of data?

We have to be honest though; we like them. We quote them to others to deter them from some decision or action. If they favor us, we advertise them.

Statistical tables

Well, one thing I surely learned from taking Statistics in Grad School, is that if you manipulate data just right...you can come up with a number of statistics... and not all will agree.  In other words, much of data can be manipulated to show the statistic you are after.

And yet, without statistics we're loathe to trust information lest it merely be opinion.

Let's think about that for a minute.  I'm going to go out on a limb and ask... is there anything truly that is more than opinion?To be tagged a trusted statistic, the number must be based on factual data... that may or may not hold up in time.

How much time is long enough? 5 years worth of data? 20 years? Up until such time as new data is discovered?

Some of you are going to gasp in horror, shake your heads in dismay, and remind me about all the theories we accept as truth since they are based on scientific FACTS! You know the proven, repeatable, unbiased, honest-to-goodness, theories.

Bar Graph

Hmmm... can you think of something we believed to be true for decades that was later dis-proven?  I mean besides the Earth being flat, and that the Sun rotates around the Earth.

How about:

There are 109 Elements in the Period Table New information: Since 1994, six new elements have been discovered.

or:

The first mammals evolved about 155 million years ago. New information – “The shrew-like animal would have run under the feet of dinosaurs at the start of the Jurassic period, nearly 195 million years ago … Hadrocodium wui pushes back by another 40 million years its first appearance in the fossil record.”.

Here are a couple of sites just for fun...

1. Medical Facts that Have Been Proven to be Wrong

2. What Scientific Laws or theories have been proven wrong?

All this is to say that as we add new information to our data, our statistics or theories have to change.  With me so far?

Ok, here's the "WHAT IF"...

Let's go back to the Medical Industry... that slow to move, slow to assimilate new information, give me 3 - 10 years of similar data before I can make a decision, industry.

  1. Medical statistics in the West are based on Western Medicine's view of valid data.  Yes?
  2. In the U.S. and even more so abroad, many, many people incorporate "alternate"  methods into their every day or healing regimen. Yes?
  3. When a patient visits a traditional medical practitioner, their condition is assessed from a "symptom" and "data I learned about that symptom" perspective. Yes?
  4. A patient is hardly ever asked what their eating habits, supplementation, attitudes and belief's are as part of the standard, one size fits all data sheet they fill out.  Yes?
  5. A diagnosis is based on those symptoms (I am trying to distinguish these from causes of illness) and on scientific data, clinical that is.  Yes?
  6. You are then given a statistic if relevant to your situation, and with Cancer patients, boy are we happy to quote statistics.  Yes?
  7. You leave programmed with the belief that you will fall in one of those statistical groups, and left to wonder which it will be... because you really have no control over that...it will depend on how your 'disease' responds to treatment. Yes?

Here's my belief and something you should think about seriously

To make things simple I'm going to choose two people to illustrate my theory. We're going to name them B and K.

B and K have recently had mammograms that show a small mass in one of their breasts. B and K are informed they should have biopsies.

B is conservative, has not done a lot of thinking about health trends or a lot of research about cancer treatment approaches.  She is a believer in Traditional medicine and trusts that her Oncologist has all the answers.

B opts for a needle biopsy, since she is assured they are safe.

K is progressive, she is a hiker, has acupuncture for benign symptoms and  is very interested in nutrition and Eastern medicine. She immediately scours the Internet for the latest news in Breast Cancer research.

B doesn't want a needle biopsy.  She can't believe it's 100% safe, since in her mind there is no way that pulling a needle filled with cancer cells isn't going to leave a few of those microscopic cells along the needle path. She opts for a lumpectomy.

They have the same type of cancer, and their Oncologist suggests the traditional Chemo drugs for that type, followed by a course of radiation. The statistics are shared with each of them... since they were both caught early there is a 78% chance that nothing will develop, and a 22% chance of recurrence. Chemo adds another 5-6% benefit.

For our example, they both choose to have Chemo.

They both meet with the resident Nutritionist who tells them about foods and supplements to avoid during treatment, and how to modify their diet for cancer prevention.  He gives each a handout about Chemo side effects and some suggestions to alleviate them (most are drugs to take).

K leaves feeling down, a little overwhelmed by the information and the changes she has to make.  Her husband is supportive and upbeat, and her sister is distressed, a little worried about her own fate now. K's home is comfortable, clean and in a suburban neighborhood. K has two children, 14 and 16, and a small dog. Her brother has left her a message on her answering machine encouraging her to talk to a Doctor he trusts before making a decision.

B leaves feeling anxious to get home so she can initiate a search for a Complimentary Therapy practice.  Her boyfriend sends a few emails to solicit info from friends.  They live in a two-story condo and have custody of his 12-year-old son. The house is a little messy, but furnished tastefully.  Flowers stand in a vase in the living room, and a parakeet in a large cage near the patio door. Two of B's friends are waiting for her when she arrives...each has brought a gift from the Farmer's market.  They cook lunch together while she tells them what her approach is going to be.

K and B go through the same treatment cycle.

I m not sure...

K

takes the suggested meds for side effects.  Eats well and tries to be positive. Her husband goes to most of the sessions with her, alternating with her concerned sister.  K suffers from fatigue, has a rather emotional reaction to her hair loss, and is cautiously optimistic.  She walks for 20 minutes most days and tries to act brave in front of her sister so as not to worry her.  Her kids are taking things well and help around the house.

No one suggests she have alternate types of care during the course of her treatment. She's not sure she trusts acupuncture, when a friend mentions it.

B

finds and consults with a Nutritional Oncologist. She immediately starts on a long list of supplements each specifically targeted to either support her immune system, help the Chemo be more effective by unmasking cancer cells, or counteract the side effects. She continues acupuncture to move the toxins out as quickly as possible and alleviate nausea, and joins her two friends in a Yoga class twice a week.

Her boyfriend sets up a rotating meal prep schedule with some of their friends, so that for the 4 days after Chemo they don't have to worry about cooking.  They give each cook an approved ingredient list. He makes sure B has plenty of uplifting books to read, is ready with an amusing story when he gets home, and the three watch funny movies after dinner and homework are done.

Pretty woman

B meditates, is determined to move through this process and into a healthier body, and goes out with the girls to shop for a crazy wig when her hair falls out.

Outcomes

A year and a half later, K has a recurrence almost in the exact same spot as her previous tumor. She opts for a mastectomy and new course of treatment. She mostly sticks with her diet, and takes a few standard vitamins.

B on the other hand, is an active volunteer in the Cancer Wellness Community 3 days a week after work. She has completely changed her lifestyle and eating habits and continues with a maintenance Supplement regimen per her Nutritional Oncologist.  Her friends, inspired by her, have cut out some of the bad foods they used to indulge in. She has one more scan in 6 months and will proclaimed Cancer-Free.

And What do the Statistics Say?

K and B's Oncologist, ignorant of all the ingredients that went into each woman's healing process, chalks one person up as benefiting from the XYZ Chemo combination, and one woman needing a second round with XQW treatment, and per statistics not as good a prediction for long-term cancer-free survival.

Where are the Stats that take into account the needle biopsies vs. lumpectomy?

Where are the Stats that traces eating habits and the effect of well-studied supplementation?

And where are the Stats that show how one's attitude and faith skew the odds in one's favor?

Where are so many of the potentially high-impacting variables accounted for in the Medical Industry data?

No where.

And so from my heart I say:

  1. You are not a Statistic.
  2. You are in charge of your healing process.
  3. Educate yourself and be open-minded.
  4. Surround yourself with happy, positive people.
  5. Don't mess with the recommended Cancer Diet, it's Medicine!
  6. Cultivate an unshakeable faith in your ability to heal
  7. You are NOT your illness... it is passing.
  8. Laugh, laugh, laugh... It really IS the Best Medicine!

~ Be Well. ♥

How and Why to Get Moving - and an Introduction

 In my post titled How My journey Began - Part 1, I mentioned a number of outstanding CAM specialists that I had the good fortune to consult with about treatment, nutrition, supplements and lifestyle changes necessary for good health and healing.

One of those practitioners is Dr. Moshe Frenkel, who is the founder and  director of Integrative Oncology Consultants.

He is a clinical Associate Professor at the University of Texas and board-certified family physician with extensive experience in complementary and integrative medicine. In addition, he serves as the Chair of the Clinical Practice Committee of the Society of Integrative Oncology and is faculty of the Center for Mind Body Medicine.

Prior to directing Integrative Oncology Consultants, Dr. Frenkel was the medical

Director of the Integrative Medicine Program at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston Texas. Dr. Frenkel founded the first Integrative Medicine clinic in this center.

My phone consultation with him was preceded by filling out a form that gave him insight into my feelings, my goals, my fears and my current state of health. In other words, he was going to speak to me as a whole person, not as an illness. That fact alone raised my faith in the relevance of our dialogue.

Dr. Frenkel's clinic is overseas, but he still does phone consults.  If you know anyone facing treatment for cancer, please consider leading them to his website.  There are instructions to initiating a consultation there.  He was kind, thorough and generous with his time.
Feel free to mention that I, Hoda, referred you.
The following advice if directly from Dr. Frenkel's website.  I can't encourage you enough to get moving.  God knows I struggle with getting out of the house, but am thankful I did every single time I finish my 25 - 30 minute walk.
~*~*~*~*~*~

People touched by cancer or a chronic illness are often advised by their doctor to avoid physical activity and rest as much as possible. But for cancer patients and survivors, regular moderate exercise can be a key in improving their quality of life. Recent research shows that exercise can benefit survivors throughout the cancer continuum.

It is important for a person with cancer to remain as physically active as possible. Not enough movement can result in loss of strength, function, and range of motion of the body. Exercise will help keep muscles functioning as well as improving energy levels and quality of life.

Exercise can also help during recovery from chemotherapy. While it may not be the first thing you want to do after chemo, research has shown that exercise helps battle cancer related fatigue.

The Dance

Use the following tips to help you get started and keep you going.

  • Choose an exercise you enjoy.It’s easier to stick with a program if you enjoy it. Enjoy the outdoors? Start walking in parks around your neighborhood. Like to dance? Register for a ballroom dance class that gets you moving several times a week. Even if you can’t imagine yourself enjoying the exercise itself, do the exercise that has other rewarding attributes. For example, work out with friends so you can enjoy the social aspects of exercise.

    Girls Swimming Underwater 5
  • Start slow. The U.S. Surgeon General’s Report recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity on most (5 or more) days of the week. Moderate intensity is the intensity of a brisk walk. Your heart rate is elevated and you’re breathing faster than usual, but you’re not working so hard that you get worn out after a few minutes. When doing moderate intensity exercise you should be able to talk, but not sing.
Don’t begin by exercising for 30 minutes all at once. Start with shorter exercise sessions and work up to longer sessions gradually. You start with sessions as brief as 5 minutes. As you get stronger and develop the exercise habit, 5 minutes can easily become 10 minutes, then 15, and so on.
  • Break it up. If you feel like you don’t have time or energy for your full exercise session, divide it into shorter bouts. Three 10-minute exercise sessions are just as beneficial as one 30-minute session, and may be easier to fit into your schedule. Once you start though you may surprise yourself and want to continue going
Sawbo weekend 2
  • Set short term, specific, and realistic goals. Remember that it takes many steps to get to the top of the mountain, and everybody has to do it one step at a time. Set realistic short-term goals for yourself, like exercising for 15 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday this week. You can use these short-term goals to build up to longer term goals.
  • Monitor your activity. Many people find that it helps them to monitor their progress in writing. This can be as simple as keeping track of the days you exercise on a calendar posted on your refrigerator, or creating a graph of the amount of time you exercise each week so you can view your progress.
  • Don’t forget to reward yourself!  But lay off that ice cream as your reward. (Unless it's my recipe for Ashta Ice Cream!) As we listed exercise has numerous benefits, but many of them are longer term so they don’t reinforce behavior change right away. Identify some rewards you can give yourself when you accomplish your goals.
It’s probably easy to think of things to buy as a reward – you could put off buying that new CD, book, or new exercise outfit until you achieve your exercise goal. But your rewards don’t have to cost money. For example, you could reward yourself by taking time to call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while, or setting aside time to do an activity that you enjoy.
  • Don’t give up if you miss one or two session. Starting an exercise program, or increasing the amount of exercise you do, is an important step in developing a healthier lifestyle. However, making a lasting change in your life isn’t easy. Some weeks you will make your goals; others you might fall short. It is important to be persistent; if you don’t make your exercise goal, don’t se e that as a sign that you are not an "exerciser."

Examine your goals to make sure the

Running morning

y are realistic, then make a plan for the next week. Whether you want to do a 5-minute walk or a fifty-minute walk, one of the most important habits you can acquire is planning when this walk will occur.

How much should I exercise?

The more intense an exercise, the shorter amount of time you need to exercise to get the same benefits. Similarly, you can do a lower intensity exercise for a longer amount of time to get the same benefits.

The table below lists some common exercises, their intensity level, and how many minutes per week you would need to engage in that activity for good health. If an activity is not listed, the average amount of time to spend Marathon Rotterdam 3on a moderate intensity activity is 150 minutes per week.

Activity Intensity (how hard) Duration (how long per week)
Walking About 3.5 mph 150 minutes
Jogging Light (about 5 mph) 90 minutes
Swimming General (not lap swimming) 90 minutes
Dancing Ball room 180 minutes
Dancing Fast, modern 110 minutes
Aerobics Low impact 110 minutes
Water aerobics Regular 135 minutes
Stationary cycling Light effort 180 minutes
Cycling Outdoors (about 10-11 mph) 90 minutes
Tennis Regular doubles 80 minutes

Pick Up a Colored Pencil, Open a New World

A few weeks into my Chemotherapy, I remembered that the Anthroposophic doctor I had seen the week before hosted painting classes for some of her cancer patients.  She herself had amazing drawings she created when battling illness. For those unfamiliar with Anthroposophical medicine, it is a complementary approach to medicine that integrates the theories and practices of modern medicine with homeopathic medicines, physical and artistic therapies and biographical counseling.

The medical approach has its foundation in a spiritual-scientific understanding of the human beingthat regards human wellness and illness as biographical events connected to the body, mind and spirit of the individual.

Anthroposophical medicine uses a holistic approach ("salutogenesis") that focuses on factors that support human health by strengthening the patient's physiology and individuality, rather than solely addressing factors that cause disease. The autonomy and dignity of patients is a central theme; therapies are believed to enhance a patient's capacities to heal.

This system was founded in the 1920s by Rudolf Steiner in conjunction with Ita Wegman as an extension to conventional medicine based on the spiritual philosophy of Anthroposophy.

....

Up to that moment I used to spend the first few days after Chemo reading stacks of books by my favorite authors, taking my 'round the clock list of supplements, attempting a short walk in the afternoon, and doing light cooking till my son and bf came home around 4pm.

sharpie-ultra-fine-point-permanent-markers-profile.png

Based on that recollection of art as therapy, I felt the urge to try to paint, so my daughter brought me some paints, a few small canvases and brushes.  As a teenager, I dabbled with my father's oil paints, but enjoyed drawing a lot more.

I attempted an abstract painting, but didn't like the medium, so I asked J to buy me a drawing tablet on his way to work the next day, and he gave me a huge box of colored pencils. I ordered a rainbow of Sharpies from Amazon too.

In the early 70's I loved drawing psychedelic pictures, and actually had a couple that my Mom thought to bring me from Lebanon on one of her trips here in the early 90's.

HAC_love_small
HAC_love_small

Below is the template of one of them done in pencil that I decided to redraw in color.

A World of Colors

This began a journey that wove a thread from the past into the present in a lovely healing pattern.  I was addicted to cranking out a picture every 2-3 days.  Since I have never really 'grown up', I brought my favorite animated or cartoon characters into surround, and asked them to join me in this play with shapes, color and images.

The focus, the colors, and the call to be creative in a world of fantasy, helped me ignore the raging battle inside; my body dealing with the onslaught of Chemo drugs (I was on a dense-dose regimen with a treatment every 2 weeks), trying to cheerfully weather the awful taste in my mouth for 6 days after treatment and still eat well, and the stunning transformation of my hair into a brittle patch of falling squiggles, and the inevitable a drop in energy. (I shaved my head not long after that very disturbing experience began!)

HAC_ipod
HAC_ipod

My family had fun being surprised by each new creation, and made suggestions for the next picture.

HAC_record
HAC_record

Since my boyfriend J is in the music business, and we all either play an instrument, sing, or are avid music lovers... I had come up with a tribute to the what is essentially the backdrop of our lives.  Remember, my creativity was dampened more and more each week by the Chemo doing a number on my brain cells.

I laughed that these were worthy of a child's portfolio!  But I was having a blast, or as much of one as I could during this amazing process of rebirth.

HAC_mushrooms
HAC_mushrooms

Conclusion

I framed the originals, three were gifts, and made good quality copies of the rest, since my family thinks that I should make them available for purchase!  Cute people, aren't they?  :)

Art is a meditation, it reduces stress and summons creativity... as side many of us may not nurture enough.

So next time you're dealing with an overwhelming situation, whether you think you have talent or not (it didn't stop me!), pick up some colored pencils, crayons or markers, and Go WILD!

~ In Good Health!

It's a Blustery Day, KitKat

It's a cool 55º in the Bay Area today.  The wind is whipping around the neighborhood, shaking leaves and knocking the pollen out of every flower's head. A bird decided to build her nest under the awning of my kitchen window a couple of weeks ago.

Brave move since I have 4 outdoor cats! She and hubby have been busy sitting on the egg, but every time I pull the shade up or down, they skedaddle, and then I worry about the egg.

 

 

Like today, with the cold blustery wind, I want to reach out the window to put a warm boiled egg in the nest every time she flies away!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our sweet KitKat turned 20 this year!  She has lived outdoors most of her life, gave us an adorable litter of 5 kittens when my daughter was 7 years old, that made their way to family, and provided us with so many fond memories.

Now, 19 years later she is as light as a feather (no weight to her aged bones), deaf as a door knob (but manages to sense when I fill the cat food bowls), and a bit wobbly. She has a little tumor growing under her cheek... but I refuse to put her through surgery at her age.

She still adores laying in the sun. And her favorite spot is in my mint patch.

 

She's our little granny, and we love her dearly.

 

 

In her heyday, when large dogs  innocently wandered into our back yard, they never knew what hit them.  She sprang from nowhere and attacked like a wild cat making them run frantically to find the gate. They couldn't get out of there fast enough! :)

Now she watches the blue jays and skunks eat her food with perfect complaisance.  We are more accepting and generous as we age, aren't we?  I picture her with a lacy cap on, sitting in a rocking chair on the back porch, knitting.

When she meows, it's a hoarse and very loud sound, since she can't hear herself anymore. Sometimes she isn't even looking at us, but out into the yard when she meows.  It's so cute and sad and funny and adorable.

It's been shown time and again that people with pets live longer and are actually healthier than those who don't care for an animal.   For nearly 25 years, research has shown that living with pets can help lower blood pressure and lessen anxiety. Interesting that they give us so much in return for giving them a home.

And on this blustery day, she's curled up on the grass, nose tucked in, dreaming of butterflies and the chase.

Here's to you KitKat.  For the joy you've given me, my children, our family who know you so well, and the friends you've nuzzled, scratched, rubbed against and hissed at!

~ In Gratitude

Hoda's Clip Watch 2 - A Grand Surprise!

True Love...one of life's greatest inspiring emotions.  It gives birth to sacrifice, selflessness, creativity, generosity, service, and romance. I'm not talking about the inferior emotions we mistake for real love... you know those: selfish love, manipulative love, co-dependent love. Sit back and share the overwhelming joy one human being created for another in this video, motivated by his love.

Best Wedding Proposal Ever !! (The Americana at Brand, Glendale, CA)

"All for You".

Hoda's Clip Watch 1 - Copenhagen

Clip Watch is a series of video clip posts meant to lift your spirits while they entertain you.  They can be music videos (foreign or domestic), ads, TV show or  movie snippets. Get your glass of green tea, and enjoy the next 8 minutes!  Copenhagen Central Station - FLASHMOB - Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

Flash Mob on the Underground Train- Copenhagen

Undercover Orchestra 'Bolero' classical flash mob 'kinda'

Flash Mob and Ravel - Copenhagen

 

Send me clips that make your heart smile.

Accupuncture for Chemotherapy Side Effects

Personal Experience

I made sure to set up Acupuncture appointments 4 days after each Chemo session.  The reason for the delay was to wait until I was no longer 'glowing' or toxic! :)

According to my Oncologist, I went through Chemo treatments much better than many other patients. I attribute that to the supplements I took and specific foods I ate that targeted the side effects, to acupuncture and to massage therapy sessions, as well as walking 20 minutes most days.  My nausea was minimal and only lasted 24 hours, with only one dose of the meds.

I still have acupuncture once a month.  It helps my liver stay happy and the toxins to keep moving out of my system, as well as removing any energy block.  Be sure to ask for a referral to a TCM trained acupuncturist.  Mine is a wonderful woman who apprenticed with a Chinese doctor in China.

What is acupuncture?

  Acupuncture applies needles, heat, pressure, and other treatments to certain places on the skin to cause a change in the physical functions of the body. The use of acupuncture is part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). TCM is a medical system that has been used for thousands of years to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease.

Acupuncture is based on the belief that qi (vital energy) flows through the body along a network of paths, called meridians. Qi is said to affect a person’s spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical condition.

How does it Work?

According to TCM, qi has two forces, yin and yang. Yin and yang are opposite forces that work together to form a whole. The forces of yin and yang depend on each other and are made from each other in an unending cycle, such as hot and cold, day and night, and health and disease. Nothing is ever all yin or all yang, both exist in all things, including people.

Many of the major organs of the body are believed to be yin-yang pairs that must be in balance to be healthy. When a person's yin and yang are not in balance, qi can become blocked.  Blocked qi causes pain, illness, or other health problems.  TCM uses acupuncture,  diet, herbal therapy, meditation, physical exercise, and massage to restore health by unblocking qi and correcting the balance of yin and yang within the person.

Acupuncture may cause physical responses in nerve cells, the pituitary gland, and parts of the brain.  These responses can cause the body to release proteins, hormones, and brain chemicals that control a number of body functions.  It is proposed that, in this way, acupuncture affects blood pressure and body temperature, boosts immune system activity, and causes the body's natural painkillers, such as endorphins, to be released.

Which Side Effects Can it Relieve?

1. The strongest evidence of the effect of acupuncture has come from clinical trials on the use of acupuncture to relieve nausea and vomiting. Several types of clinical trials using different acupuncture methods showed acupuncture reduced nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, surgery, and morning sickness. It appears to be more effective in preventing vomiting than in reducing nausea.

A study of acupuncture, vitamin B6 injections, or both for nausea and vomiting in patients treated with chemotherapy for ovarian cancer found that acupuncture and vitamin B6 together gave more relief from vomiting than acupuncture or vitamin B6 alone.

A study of acupressure for relief of nausea and vomiting was done in women undergoing chemotherapy. The study found that acupressure applied to an acupuncture point with a wristband helped to decrease nausea and vomiting and reduced the amount of medicine the women used for those symptoms.

2. In clinical studies, acupuncture reduced the amount of pain in some cancer patients. In one study, most of the patients treated with acupuncture were able to stop taking drugs for pain relief or to take smaller doses.

3. A randomized study of patients with cancer-related fatigue found that those who had a series of acupuncture treatments had less fatigue compared to those who had acupressure or sham acupressure treatments.

4. Hormone therapy may cause hot flashes in women with breast cancer and men withprostate cancer. Some studies have shown that acupuncture may be effective in relieving hot flashes in these patients.

5. Human studies on the effect of acupuncture have shown that it changes immune system response.

Source: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/acupuncture/patient/page1

Exercise and the Development of Cancer

Move, move, move...

Researchers have known for years that people who are active and trim are less likely to develop cancer. And survivors who exercise and keep a healthy weight are less likely to relapse.

Only recently, however, have scientists begun to untangle how staying active helps keep cancer at bay.

While exercise may not change the inner workings of a tumor cell, physical activity may change the cell's neighborhood — the surrounding tissue, blood vessels and immune cells — known as the "microenvironment," says Patricia Ganz, a breast cancer specialist at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"It's a new frontier for cancer research," says Pamela Goodwin, professor of medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, University of Toronto.

Healthy neighborhoods are as important to cells as they are to children, says William Li, president of the Boston-based Angiogenesis Foundation, which funds research in cancer and other diseases.

He compares a lone tumor cell to a "bad kid" living in a good neighborhood. Even an aspiring juvenile delinquent won't be able to cause much trouble if he's surrounded by watchful parents, neighbors and local police. Exercise helps improve the neighborhood, keeping cancers in check, Li says. Failing to exercise — and putting on a lot of weight — damages the neighborhood, making it easier for cancers to wreak havoc.

In particular, exercise helps to prevent chronic inflammation, a process that can fuel cancers by changing the neighborhood around a tumor cell. Exercise helps lower levels of both insulin and sex hormones, such as estrogen, which release growth factors that let tumor cells survive and spread, Li says. And, as Doria has learned, exercise also helps relieve psychological stress, which may further reduce inflammation, Ganz says."

Read full article here.

~ Be Well!

Bring the Divine into Your Home and Your Heart - The Rose

Flowers ...

they're common, they're everywhere.

But have you stopped to think about their role on Earth? The amount of energy needed to create a tightly wound bud, the force needed to unfold its petals and the magic that releases its fragrance.

And all that work to attract our attention, to give us pleasure...to offer us a glimpse of the Divine at work.

pink rosebud
pink rosebud

The variety of delicate, or striking hues and subtle shading that roses offer is simply astounding.   A rose's capacity to bring a smile to our lips and joy to our hearts cannot but be the Divine Will at work.

blushing rose
blushing rose

No wonder the Rose is the flower of love.

How Apt an Expression . . 'Stop and Smell the Roses.''

I often wonder how we can take so much of creation for granted, missing nature's invitation to appreciate and be grateful for  the infinite care that went into its design. All for our enjoyment.

magenta rose
magenta rose

As I walked in my garden I stopped by each rose-bush, looking earnestly at the blossoms and the incredible beauty each held. I noticed that my breathing slowed down, my mind stopped its incessant chatter, and a smile forced its way from my heart to my lips.  "How exquisite you are!"

blush roses
blush roses

These pink blushing roses melted me...I thought of weddings and fairies and sunrise and angels. How could I walk by and not stop to pay homage to the Creator of this delicate flower...impossible.

Cut flowers in a room raise the energy.  They are unique in the way they lend their aid when used in a meditation arrangement, complimenting objects or pictures that inspire you to focus on inner peace.

The Flowers of a Greater Garden

WE are no less beautiful, when we let go of ego based actions and reactions, when we stop trying to 'win' or impress, when we let the fragrance of our love embrace those around us indiscriminately, when we prevent ourselves from judging others...remembering that we are not perfect... then we too are roses in the Garden of the Divine, and we too bring a smile to His lips.

Resolve to be a rose. Share the light hidden in your heart with everyone you meet... whether through a smile, a kind word or a small gift. All you give returns to you tenfold, that is Love at work.

~ In Gratitude. ♥

Tea for Two? As Long as it's Green!

Two recent large population studies have shown that cancer patients who drink ample amounts of green tea have significantly longer survival rates. No other beverage contains this level of antioxidants. You can replace some of your water drinking with chilled green tea, add lemon, ginger or mint for variety, or add a Chai or Earl Gray tea bag.

Did you know you can cook with green tea?  What a great way to get the recommended amount in your diet.  Replace water or half the liquid called for in a recipe with green tea... for example in baking, soups and stews.

Green tea is unfermented, unlike black teas. White tea is harvested before the leaves are fully open.

DRAGON WELL is the ultimate green tea. It is distinguished by its bright green color.  It has a brisk, full-bodied flavor. The leaves can be added to soups and stir-frys. This tea will cost a little more than other green teas.

GUNPOWDER leaves are rolled in tiny balls that look like the old gunpowder used to. This reduces its exposure to oxygen so it stays fresh longer than other teas. It has a somewhat strong grassy flavor. I like to add almond milk and a bit of Stevia to my tea.

MATCHA powdered tea is made from hand-picked, high-grade Japanese green tea leaves.  Whisk it into warm (not boiling) water) to make it frothy. Matcha works as a dessert ingredient. Scientists at the University of Colorado have found that Matcha has 200 times the concentration of EGCG* compared to commercially available green tea!

Scientists have identified at least one of the mechanisms by which EGCG seems to work to fight cancer: it inhibits a key “signaling pathway,” called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which is responsible for transmitting instructions at the molecular level to cancer cells, prompting them to grow and multiply.

SENCHA is the most popular of the Japanese green teas. It has a lightly astringent yet sweet taste. Lesser quality Sencha is called Bancha.

How to Brew:

  1. Never brew your tea in aluminum pots...actually I don't use aluminum against ANY foods or beverages...acids will break aluminum down. )If you wrap pizza in foil and wait a few hours, you'll see holes in the foil it contacted the tomato sauce!)
  2. Use filtered water
  3. Remove water from heat when it starts to stir, but before it boils
  4. Allow it to cool for 1-2 minutes before pouring over tea
  5. Use 1 teabag or 1 tsp. leaves per 8 oz. cup
  6. Cover to exclude oxygen
  7. Allow to steep for 2-3 minutes if bags or cut leaf, and 15-20 minutes if loose, whole leaf
  8. Strain and remove bags
  9. You can use a tea bag twice
  10. Brew a pitcher at a time (3-6 cups), so you can drink it all day,  or brew a pitcher at night and refrigerate for the next day

*Note: EGCG  is a naturally occurring compound that is found mainly in Green Tea. It is a powerful antioxidant and makes up about 30% to 42% of the content of green tea. Catechins like EGCG are much more powerful than vitamins like A, C and E in defending your body against "free radicals", which do all kinds of damage to the body; speeding up the aging process, causing cancer, triggering Alzhiemers disease and other chronic diseases.