Cancer: Heading for Home
By Marlene Gallagher and Kathy Cottier
Whether you’re a man or woman, whether you’ve just been diagnosed or are years away from that awful news, whether you can tell a baseball from a tennis ball, this is for you. It is also for the medical community. Never underestimate the impact a simple act of kindness vis-à-vis a smile, a friendly word, or a hug can have on a cancer survivor coming in for a routine exam. It won’t change the outcome, but it will help wash away some of their gut-wrenching fear.
Six years to the day after I was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer, and 5 years and 10 months after I completed treatment and was told, “Go live your life”, I realize there’s a parallel between cancer and baseball. I can’t actually take credit for that correlation. My friend who survived Stage 1 colon cancer made the point during one of our “therapy” phone calls. Four years after her diagnosis, and now in good health, Marlene said, “No matter what, once you’ve had cancer you never feel safe again.”
Think about it for a minute. As often and, in as many ways that your medical team tells you “You are fine," you still struggle. You’ve rounded the bases (surgery, treatments, check-ups all good) but you never quite reach Home Plate. Because before you know it there’s another check-up and you’re right back to where you started, waiting, in the on-deck circle for your turn to either hit a home run “Your tests are fine” or strike out “We see something...”. It made perfect sense, as Marlene so often does.
I grew up in the 1950s, a suburban New Jersey community 20 miles outside of New York City. In the shadow of three Major League Baseball teams at the time: the Yankees (Bronx Bombers), the NY Giants, and the Brooklyn Dodgers. We were Dodger fans. A couple members of the team lived in our town: second baseman and power hitter, Jim “Junior” Gilliam, and starting pitcher, Don Newcombe, the first African American to win the Cy Young Award. I was an only child, a girl, but that didn’t stop my father, an avid baseball fan, from introducing me to the game. He liked to reference that the year I was born, 1947, was the year Jackie Robinson became a Brooklyn Dodger, the first African American to play in the Majors since the late 1800s. Whether it was lobbing balls for me to hit in the backyard, or talking about the various players as they came up to bat, I became acquainted with the game early.
When I was seven, my father took me to my first game at Ebbets Field. We watched the Dodgers play the Giants. The excitement of seeing a live game was second only to the runner rounding third, and to the screaming cheers of the fans, sliding into Home. Now, I want to slide into Home.
Slim to none. That’s what the pundits said about the Chicago Cubs’ chance of getting to and winning the 2016 World Series. Marlene and I, die-hard Cub fans, rejected that outright. In spite of the doubters, it was their time, no more Billy Goat curse or any other mythical reason for their continued “close but no cigar” chances at the pennant. They were going to beat the odds and they were right! The Cubs won their first World Series since 1908 in the 10th inning of a game of the ages with a score of Chicago Cubs 8 and the Cleveland Indians 7. They did indeed beat the odds.
The expression "slim to none" has taken on an entirely new meaning, for Marlene. As she put it, “The doctors will never use the word ‘cured’ when it comes to cancer. I get that. But now when its time for the next check-up and fear and anxiety begin to cover me like a blanket, I recall that historical win, how the Cubs beat the odds, and whisper those reassuring words, "slim to none."
So, as cancer survivors, maybe it’s our focus that has to change. After all, is anyone safe? Were we ever safe from what Life can pitch in our direction? I think we thought so. But cancer changes that, forever. I think that once you’ve had cancer you are forever fragile. A certain look on the face of the technician doing your scan can send you reeling and your blood pressure to new heights. Whereas a kind word or a smile from the receptionist as you walk into your oncologist’s office somehow offers hope. While this may seem like a small thing it makes all the difference to the person who may feel broken, abandoned and alone.
Many in the medical community understand that today, but, none more so than my wonderful radiologist. Before my first six-month mammogram and ultrasound I wrote him a letter introducing myself, explaining that I was coming in for my first test since diagnosis, and I was terrified. You know, kind of preparing him for however I may react in the office. I was really worried I’d cause a scene. A few days later I received a phone call from this doctor, who had been so highly recommended to me. I was stunned. We talked about five minutes. He assured me he understood my anxiety, said it was natural and normal, and that I should try not to be too upset. I thanked him profusely for taking the time to call (who does this?) and told him how much his kindness meant to me. At that first visit when he said, “You are fine," we talked. He promised it will get easier as time goes by. I had serious doubts, but he was right. His compassion and understanding was the first base in my emotional recovery.
Marlene had a similar experience with the anesthesiologist for her colon surgery. Numerous surgeries beginning at five years old, many complicated by the side effects of anesthesia, Marlene is no novice when it comes to anesthesia. In 1996, prior to her diagnosis, she was facing yet another procedure. It was then Marlene met her 'angel,' an anesthesiologist who listened to her litany of horrific experiences; heard the panic in her voice. The doctor assured her this would be a different experience, and it was. No nausea, vomiting or vertigo! Is this what surgery is supposed to be? I was determined that any future surgery would have to be at this hospital, with this same angel.
Eighteen years later, Marlene was facing colon resection surgery. The shock of diagnosis was second only to the panic at the thought of anesthesia. She asked her surgeon if this anesthesiologist is still practicing medicine and implores him to contact her and explain the situation. "She not only called me, she called me three times prior to surgery, to reaffirm I would be okay," Marlene said. “The day of my surgery she stayed with me until I was wheeled into the operating room, all the while speaking comforting words. Her compassion was exemplary. I will never forget her name and her kindness”.
Marlene and I still commiserate. About our shared experience with cancer, as well as a host of other topics. There was a time when I couldn’t speak about what happened. Couldn’t say the word. Now instead of hyperventilating two months ahead of my next test, I manage to make it to two weeks, sometimes two days. The next exam, the next turn at bat. Am I going to hit a home run, or strike out? Good news! And I begin making my way around the bases. Again. Heading for Home. But rather than a place, maybe Home means I’m still in the game. And with luck, it’ll go into extra innings.YBBII Celebrates 18 Years of Service & Remembering Buddies Departed
March 9, 2018
It was March 9, 2000; a Thursday evening when the first support group meeting of Your Bosom Buddies II gathered with only a handful of women. Every year since, this extraordinary group has grown; changing the lives of so many victims of breast cancer. In 2004 YBBII incorporated to become a non-profit organization to better help buddies in need of financial assistance. Through many fundraisers and donations from local businesses, YBBII has been able to help over 85 buddies; giving over $50,000 to women and men in need during costly treatments.
THANK YOU, to ALL the local businesses and organizations that have supported YBBII over the last 18 years including thinkPinkKids, Brighton Collectibles (Wellington), Diagnostic Centers of America, Plastic Surgery of Palm Beaches (Wellington), and Palms West Hospital (where support group meetings take place).
And THANK YOU to ALL of those that have supported YBBII over these past 18 years!
I am so honored to be recognized as a Co-founder of this incredible Support Group, Your Bosom Buddies II,
founded in March of 2000. We started with a handful of survivors as just a support group, but as time passed, we saw the need to help women and men, financially. Thanks to our amazing Board of Directors and the many local organizations, we are so blessed to be able to say that we have made it easier for so many going through this journey. A big thank you to Palms West Hospital
(our host hospital) ThinkPinkKids
, Brighton Collectibles
, Diagnostic Centers of America
, Plastic Surgery Center of the Palm Beaches
, Dr. Katie Minnick ( who is always at our meetings to offer support), all of our guest speakers who are too numerous to mention, and a special thank you to Linda Burrowes, my dear friend and Buddie, who started the original Your Bosom Buddies
Support Group in Miami. Thank you to our fabulous Board of Directors ~ Lorna Johnson, Marie Phillips, Abbe Felton, Andrea Mattes, Donna Gray and Linda Ireland. You make it all happen!
Happy 18th Birthday, Buddies!
I started with YBBII 18yrs ago. I didn’t know anyone who had ever had breast cancer so one of my Doctors suggested I check out YBBII. At that time we were a small group (7) of woman sharing our stories & offering support. As our group began to grow we saw there was a “need” for financial support as well. In 2004 we became a not for profit organization. Our goal now in 2018 is to support, educate & offer financial assistance. I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this amazing group, YBBII, Inc.
Some doctors I would like to give a shout-out to are:
-Linda IrelandIn Memory of those Buddies that have passed.
Mary Ann Gathard-Beck
Tee Franzoso, President & Founder of Your Bosom Buddies II, Inc
. with Linda Burrowes, President & Founder Your Bosom BuddiesLorna Johnson: 2016 Palm Tran Pink Bus
Lorna Johnson, Vice President of YBB2, is pictured on the Palm Beach County Palm Tran pink bus design
Every January for the past several years, Susan G. Komen affiliate Komen South Florida and Palm Beach County Palm Tran reveal a pink bus design that is used on Route 1, the busiest route which travels from Palm Beach Gardens to Boca Raton via US 1. The “pink” bus is designed to promote breast cancer awareness and educate the public on the facts that may reduce the risk of breast cancer.
This year the bus has two themes: One side is dedicated to the local nurses, surgeons, radiologists and oncologists who fight breast cancer from diagnosis to bringing wellness. The other side of the bus is dedicated to local breast cancer “Warriors” who represent eleven local breast cancer survivors during the race each year. Lorna is a two time breast cancer survivor, 11 and 19 years past diagnosis and she is also the Vice-President for PBC local chapter of Your Bosom Buddies II, Inc. support group.
For the past 25 years Komen South Florida sponsors local events throughout our area to promote finding a cure to end breast cancer. The Pink Palm Tran bus makes its ultimate appearance at the 2016 Race for the Cure being held downtown West Palm Beach on January 30, 2016.
Lorna Meade-Johnson with her husband Joey J. Johnson. Photo by Lois Spatzhttp://annieappleseedproject.org Annie Appleseed Project on FacebookNews About Natural Cancer Strategies
Oil of Cloves, Eugenol, and Cancer
The most exciting and promising research on clove essential oil relates to its anti-cancer benefits. Most of the researchers who study clove essential oil for any length of time agree it has great promise; not only for its ability to kill cancer cells, but as a natural chemopreventive (cancer prevention) agent. Clove essential oil has been found to have cytotoxic (cancer cell killing) properties against a line of breast cancer cells known as MCF-7. These cells are invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) with both estrogen and progesterone receptors (ER+/PR+). A 2014 study investigated different clove extracts, including water, ethanol, and essential oil and found that the essential oil provided the most cytotoxic activity against the MCF-7 cells. Researchers stated, “Cloves are natural products with excellent cytotoxicity toward MCF-7 cells; thus, they are promising sources for the development of anticancer agents.”
How Can you Boost your Lymphatic System?
(excerpted from an article by Breast Cancer Authority)
There are three ways you can boost your lymph system:
1.) Proper Nutrition Boosts your Lymph System
· Certain foods can improve lymphatic flow, including:
· Citrus fruits such as limes, lemons, tangerines, oranges, and grapefruit
· Berries, specifically cranberries
· Sunflower and pumpkin seeds
· Chia, hemp, and flax
· Herbs and spices such as black pepper, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric
· Seaweed and algae
There are also foods that you should avoid, including:
· Dairy foods
· Processed foods
· Sugary foods
· Oily foods
2.) Development of Positive Habits for a Healthy Lymph System
There are some habits that can produce a positive impact on your lymph system (and prevent the development and spread of cancer):
· Get regular massages - Massages are great for stimulating lymph drainage
· Properly hydrate your body - Drinking water helps your lymph flow along with flow in other major bodily systems. Forget the eight glasses of water everyday rule. Shoot for drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water per day. So, if you weigh two hundred pounds, drink one hundred ounces of water.
· Breathe deep! - Fill your lungs completely and don’t move your shoulders
· Swish oil in your mouth - Swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth clears your sinuses which helps with lymph flow
· Attain proper alignment in your body with chiropractic care - Proper alignment in your body helps with better drainage of fluid
· Take advantage of regular spa days -Time in a sauna is a great way to remove toxins from your body, which revs up your lymph system, too
· Enjoy a clay bath - Clay baths provide a great way for you to detox and enjoy a thorough skin cleanse, both of which are helpful for your lymph system
· Hold your liver sacred - your liver produces lymph, which is critical for the rest of your lymph system
· Experiment with dry skin brushing - rubbing a dry brush across your body opens up skin pores and, as a result, stimulates your lymph system.
3.) The most important habit you can adopt?
Get moving and exercise!
Your lymph system doesn’t have a pump to stimulate lymph movement; therefore, you have to get that lymph moving manually.Gorgeous Fruit Papaya
Make sure that you have some as often as possible.
From The Desk of Robin Tay
Interior Design Consultant
Certified Wellness & Nutrition Consultant
Certified NLP Trainer
Certified Therapeutic Massage Trainer
Papaya was the only studied food found to halt breast cancer.
Scientists studied 14 plant foods commonly consumed in Mexico to determine their ability to halt breast cancer cell growth. These included avocado, black sapodilla, guava, mango, prickly pear cactus (nopal), pineapple, grapes, tomato, and papaya. They also evaluated beta-carotene, total plant phenolics, and gallic acid contents and antioxidant capacity. They found that only papaya had a significant effect on stopping breast cancer cell growth.
Papaya is a store-house of cancer-fighting lycopene.
The intense orangey-pink color of papaya means it is chock full of cancer fighting carotenoids. Not only beta carotene, but lycopene is found in abundance. The construction of lycopene makes it highly reactive towards oxygen and free radicals.
Scientists at the University of Illinois think this anti-oxidant activity contributes to its effectiveness as a cancer fighting agent. Epidemiological studies have indicated an inverse relationship between lycopene intake and prostate cancer risk. They showed that oral lycopene is highly bio available, accumulates in prostate tissue, and is localised in the nucleus of prostate epithelial cells.
In addition to antioxidant activity, other experiments have indicated that lycopene induces cancer cell death, anti-metastatic activity, and the up-regulation of protective enzymes. (The experiment report on cancer cells, Phase I and II studies have established the safety of lycopene supplementation in done on October 8, 2008).
Prostate cancer was the subject of a study in Australia that looked at 130 prostate cancer patients and 274 hospitalized controls. The scientists found that men who consumed the most lycopene-rich fruits and vegetables such as papaya were 82% less likely to have prostate cancer. In this study, green tea also exerted a powerful anti-cancer effect. When lycopene-rich foods were consumed with green tea, the combination was even more effective, an outcome the researchers credited to their synergy. (Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2007).
Isothiocyanates found in papaya restore the cell cycle to eliminate cancer.
Organo-sulphur compounds called isothiocyanates are found in papaya. In animal experiments, isothiocyanates protected against cancers of the breast, lung, colon, pancreas, prostate, as well as leukaemia, and they have the potential to prevent cancer in humans. Isothiocyanates have shown themselves capable of inhibiting both the formation and development of cancer cells through multiple pathways and mechanisms. (International Journal of Oncology, October, 2008).
Researchers in Japan - clarified the mechanisms of action in a type of isothiocyanate found in papaya known as BITC, which underlies the relationship between cell cycle regulation and appropriate cell death. When cancerous cells die on schedule, they are no longer a problem. The researchers established that BITC exerted cancer cell killing effects that were greater in the proliferating cells than in the quiescent cells. Cancer cells that are proliferating are much more dangerous than cancer cells that are in a state of dormancy. (Forum of Nutrition, 2009).
Enzymes (Vinegar) from papaya digest proteins including those that protect tumours.
The fruit and other parts of the papaya tree, also known as the paw paw tree, contain papain and chymopapain, powerful proteolytic enzymes that facilitate chemical reactions in the body.
They promote digestion by helping to break down proteins from food into amino acids that can be recombined to produce protein useable by humans.
Proteolytic enzymes protect the body from inflammation and help heal burns. They do a good job of digesting unwanted scar tissue both on the skin and under its surface.
Being a proteolytic enzyme, papain is able to destroy intestinal parasites, which are composed mostly of protein. To rid the body of intestinal parasites, half a cup of papaya juice can be alternated each hour for twelve consecutive hours with the same amount of cucumber or green bean juice.
Research has shown that the physical and mental health of people is highly dependent on their ability to produce proteins they can use effectively.
However, as people age, they produce less of the enzymes needed to effectively digest proteins from food and free needed amino acids. They are left with excessive amounts of undigested protein which can lead to overgrowth of unwanted bacteria in the intestinal tract, and a lack of available amino acids.
Eating papaya after a meal promotes digestion, and helps prevent bloating, gas production, and indigestion. It is quite helpful after antibiotic use to replenish friendly intestinal bacteria that were the casualties in the war against the unwanted bacteria. When the intestinal tract is well populated with friendly bacteria, the immune system is strengthened, and can protect better against flu and cancer.
Papaya contains fibrin, another useful compound not readily found in the plant kingdom.
Fibrin reduces the risk of blood clots and improves the quality of blood cells, optimising the ability of blood to flow through the circulatory system. Fibrin is also important in prevention strokes.
Proteolytic enzymes containing fibrin are a good idea for long plane rides to minimize the potential of blood clots in the legs. People who sit at a desk all day might want to use proteolytic enzymes too. Proteolytic enzymes are able to digest and destroy the defence shields of viruses, tumours, allergens, yeasts, and various forms of fungus.
Once the shield is destroyed, tumours and invading organisms are extremely vulnerable and easily taken care of by the immune system. Undigested proteins can penetrate the gut and wind up in the bloodstream where they are treated by the immune system as invaders.
If too many undigested proteins are floating around, the immune system becomes overburdened and unable to attend to the other tasks it was meant to do. Proteolytic enzymes can digest these rogue proteins, freeing up the immune system.
Let's ensure a slice of papaya every day in our diet. Papaya juice will be great.
Have a great day.....along with a slice of papaya.Natural Remedies To Reduce Cancer Risk
Posted December 23, 2011
On Sept. 26, 2009, Your Bosom Buddies II hosted a Free Educational Event at Wellington Regional Medical Center. The topic, Natural Strategies to Reduce Cancer Risk, attracted close to 50 people interested in learning about Lifestyles, Nutrition, Chinese Medicine, Stress Reduction, Exercise, Detox and more. Speakers for the morning seminar included Ann Fonfa, President of The Annie Appleseed Project, George Love, Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Jill Schneider, Director Circle of Life Holistic Programs, and Viana Muller, PhD, Founder, Whole World Botanicals.
Corporate Partners: Maitake Products, Inc, Tishcon, Cris Notti, Whole World Botanicals, Natural Soap Formulas, Raw Revolution Bars, American Biosciences, Inc, Spa Zen and Kangen Water all participated by giving samples and information on their products in Giveaway bags. Snacks were provided by Whole Foods Market in Wellington. Brighton Collectibles, who has partnered with Your Bosom Buddies II for the month of October, also participated by provided bottled water for each of the attendees. Connie, from Brighton Collectibles, was our first speaker announcing to the crowd that Brighton this year has chosen Your Bosom Buddies II as the recipient of a portion of each breast cancer bracelet and lanyard sold through October 31st.Your Bosom Buddies II, Inc.: Celebrating 12 Years
Posted April 17, 2012
The Board of Directors of Your Bosom Buddies II, Inc. would like to wish all of our Buddies and their loved ones, a very Happy & Healthy New Year! This March, We will be celebrating our 12th Birthday.Throughout these years, there has been many changes in our group. We started out in a small trailer and slowly progressed to Conference Rooms (large & small). Our meetings back then consisted of 7 or 8 survivors. We now average 30-35 survivors per meeting. We are so happy & grateful to Wellington Regional Medical Center for allowing us to meet in the Wellington Cancer Center, a very comfortable and personal place to meet.
Some of our Buddies come for support while going through their journey and when their journey is complete, they move on. We hope you know our door is never closed and you are ALWAYS welcomed back. Others stay on to offer support and to give back. These buddies are the shoulder for others to lean on. We even have buddies that love to come to socialize and visit with friends they don’t normally see during the month. Our group prides itself on being a caring, sharing, breast cancer support group and throughout the years we have done just that. We try hard to provide interesting, informative and fun guest speakers, and encourage our buddies to give us ideas on what they (you) would like to do at our meetings This group belongs to ALL of us and your opinions are important.
Last October we kicked off Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a Brunch/Fashion Show to honor our members. It was quite the success and we will be having another one like it on October 6, 2012. There will be a small fee for the tickets.We plan on continuing our Fundraising Event “Pink Ribbon Gala” which will be held in 2013. Date will be announced in the future. Throughout 2011, Your Bosom Buddies II provided financial assistance to many breast cancer survivors in Palm Beach County totaling over $10,000.00 Our goal is to be able to raise our Grant amount in order to offer more assistance to those who need us. We are looking forward to a very prosperous year and we need your help to make it happen. All we ask is that you please stay involved.
Thank you to all of Your Bosom Buddies II who attended the 2011 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, The 2011 Race For The Cure and the 2011 American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Those of us who participated in the Flash Mob in City Place had a blast and we are looking forward to the next one. For those of you who weren’t able to be at any of these events, we truly missed you and hope to see you in 2012.
We are asking all of Your Bosom Buddies II to please check out our new & improved website at www.yourbosombuddies2.org and our Face Book page. These are great ways for you to keep informed with our (your group) As always we will keep you updated via emails and Newsletters. How about sharing with your buddies when you reach a milestone in survivor ship: a wedding, anniversary, grandchild on the way, going on a trip, birthday? Is there someone in the hospital or ill at home that we need to know about? All you have to do is email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do the rest.
We look forward to seeing all of our Buddies at our next monthly meeting!
Tee, Lorna, Mariem, Abbe, Claudia, Pat, Susan, and CarmenMaking Strides Against Breast Cancer
Posted December 23, 2011
On Saturday, October 17, 2009. YBBII joined over 100 other survivors in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk at Okeeheelee Park in West Palm Beach, Florida. We all met at 8 o’clock in the morning smiling and ready to do our walk in spite of the extremely hot and humid weather. We collected our bags from the American Cancer Society that were filled with goodies just for the survivors, and stood around like beauty pageant queens assembling our “Survivor” sashes which we wear with great pride. From there it was time to “loosen” up with some fun exercises.
We were entertained by a beautiful choir and then listened to our very own buddie, Genienne Navarro, tell her story. There were many smiles, tears and hugs between survivors, husbands, wives, children, and friends. I couldn’t tell you exactly how many people were there, however, the line of walkers went on for miles. There is no better feeling than getting to the end of the walk and knowing that YOU have just overcome one more challenge.
For those of you who were not able to walk this time you were missed but not forgotten. Hope to see you all at the Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure.
Abbe FeltonCommunity Service Day
Posted December 23, 2011
On October 4, 2009, the Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida located in the western communities held a Community Service Day where Your Bosom Buddies II was invited to participate along with 12 other non-profit organizations such as Hugs & Kisses, Locks of Love, Forgotten Soldiers, Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League, Oasis Compassion Agency, etc. The focus of the day was to teach the Girls Scouts about the value of Community Service, a little about each agency, and for them to have an opportunity to help each of the 13 agencies in some way. Several of the girl scout troops worked, with our help, to stuff and sew arm pillows for us to take after the event.
The afternoon was delightful with Cindy Johnson, one of our buddies, explaining BOSOMs to the girls, and talking about breast cancer support and why we are so grateful for the pillows that were finished and bagged and stuffed in our cars! The Community Service Day was held at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Headquarters in West Palm Beach, and was organized by Carolyn “Ocean” Friedman, Volunteer Program Manager for the Western Communities and Susan Rizzolo, Volunteer Service Manager. The event was sponsored by Cadette Troop 20961 and Senior Troop 20960.
Thank you girls and leaders for making and donating over 150 arm pillows for our Bosom Buddies!