A place where I can chronicle my family's journey through cancer. A place where WE can discuss our concerns. A place where WE can inspire each other. A place for hope.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Reach for the Stars

Hi Everyone!

Ok so I just wanted to let you guys know that i'm temporarily putting the Wellness Wednesdays on hiatus. I am barely keeping up with this M.A.M. event with my mom's new little adventure (lets call it that instead of a transplant shall we?) coming up. But I PROMISE it will be up soon. And if I have time, i'll definitely be putting something up :)

Also, just an update. In less than a week, we have more than 400 people who have joined our group!!! Ahhhh that is so incredible! The power of teamwork truly is beautiful and inspiring. We even have people from as far as FRANCE who have joined! And get this, the OPRAH show is now following our twitter account! Can you imagine the amount of awareness we could generate on a platform like that?! The stars are the limit! We're going to conquer the world my friends :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Monsters Against Myeloma


Anyone who knows me well knows that I am an AVID Lady Gaga fan. She is my mother monster and I, her little monster. She is just... incredible. A force to be reckoned with. So, naturally, when word got out that she was having TWO shows in my city, I lost my shit. GONG to the SHOW. I bought tickets, and that was that! However, shortly after we found out that my mom was planned to undergo an Autologous Stem Cell Transplant close to the date of the concert. This kind of procedure reduces your immune system to nil. To give you some perspective, it is shot down to lower than that of a newborn baby's. It takes about 6 months, on average, for a person to fully recover from a stem cell transplant. So, unfortunately, that meant that I had to give up my tickets for the show. Sold-out concerts and jam-packed venues do not bode well for those wanting to avoid germs... As much as I love my mother monster (Gaga), I love my mama bear the most. I love everything about Gaga. Her music, her fierce independence, her love of life and passionate drive. All this is reflected in her body of work, right down to the sequin placed strategically, and unconventionally, on somewhere like her nose. But as much as I love her, I know she will FOR SURE be touring again in the future. I will have more opportunities to see her do what she does best. So instead of giving away the tickets, I thought, why not create something good from something bad? Thus, the birth of "Monsters Against Myeloma", a contest where a pair of floor tickets to Lady Gaga's August 27 show will be donated to the person(s) who can raise the most money for the MMRF (Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation). Multiple myeloma is a cancer not typically of the young. But the tides are changing. I have seen and heard of people being diagnosed in their 40's (like my mom) and 30's, something that would have been unheard of twenty years ago. I figure, with this contest, not only can we raise money for a good cause, but also awareness. We can raise awareness in a demographic that is unfamiliar with this disease. Encourage and inspire others. When people come up to me, upon hearing about my mom, saddened with the news, I make sure they know not to be sad, but to be angry, to rally together and fight for a cure. Although it is saddening, it is also something we should be fiercely angry about. These rising rates of cancer are NOT acceptable, and we need to make sure the right people know that. Through this contest, I am literally trying to save my mom's life. But not only that, also the lives of all the moms and dads and grandparents, and sons and daughters out there so that they might be able to see their children get married, have kids, and live a life worth living. I have included a link at the bottom of this post to our Facebook group page. Please join, even if you do not want to compete in the contest. Please join to inspire and encourage others to join and spread the word. Who knows, maybe even Gaga herself will get word ;) And if you like, please donate to this great cause. Paws up little monsters, paws up.

PS: If you have any ideas in how to further promote this event, PLEASE share them!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Sometimes it's good to be just thankful. When I pray, I pray for a variety of things. I ask for my family and friends' health, hope, happiness, safety, and strength. I ask God to watch over us and help us get through our troubles. But sometimes, it's good just to send up your thanks. Even though you are in the midst of a war, it is good to always remind oneself that there is still much to be grateful for. Sometimes when I pray, I just say "thank you". Even though there are many things that I want to ask for, I feel obligated to show my appreciation for the things that I have. I say thanks for the fact that my family was able to share a laugh today, or that the sun was shining and the skies were blue. Because things like that, however small, sometimes matter the most. I say thanks for the fact that my mom has responded well with little side-effects to her chemo, or that we discovered my dad had 90% blockage in his heart before it was too late to do anything. I say thanks just because I am truly thankful. Whenever I do so, I am reminded of the fact that there is still a lot going for us, despite the unfortunate circumstance we find ourselves in. From time to time, it is always good to remind ourselves of why we love life. Why we fight for it. Even though my family has been afflicted with cancer, something that rudely makes you realize the value of life, we still fall into that daze of taking things for granted. Being in the situation we are in, you wouldn't think so right? But, as I have mentioned before, the abnormal becomes the normal, and so with it comes the staleness of a routine that often helps you to forget to smell the flowers and see the world through technicolor goggles. Remind yourselves of what it is that makes you get up in the morning. What are you fighting for? And always remember that just because the world seems dark, it don't mean the sun won't shine anymore. What are you thankful for?
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wellness Wednesdays: Wireless Edition Pt. 2!!!

How can you shield yourself from the radiation that, if you choose to live in civilization, is bombarding you at every turn?

24. According to Devra Davis, an epidemiologist and former director of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Environmental Oncology, "the most important thing you can do is use a speakerphone and an earpiece," which puts some distance between the phone and your brain. Strapping on a headset may make you look like a call-center worker, but for every inch the cell phone moves away from your body, you reduce radiation exposure dramatically. Lastly, "At no time should you - men especially - keep your phone in your pants pocket," Davis says. Even clipping a phone to your belt can damage sperm. What else?

25. Get a landline and use it at home. Stay away from cordless phones, which emit the same kind of radiation as mobiles.

26. Abandon wi-fi. Nobody likes being tethered to an Ethernet cable, but there are mounting concerns that wireless signals interfere with brain functioning (Germany has already advised its citizens not to go wireless). If you can't bring yourself to plug back in, at least place the hub far away from your head.

27. Dont' live next to a cell tower, if you can help it. When looking for an apartment, scout the neighbouring rooftops for clusters of antennas. "Major research still needs to be done," Davis says. "But there are already guidelines in place in other countries, and you'll be hearing more and more about the reasons for them"

Source: "Warning: Your Cell Phone May Be Hazardous to Your Health". GQ, February 2010

The article goes on to say...

- Though the scientific debate is heated and far from resolved, there are multiple reports, mostly out of Europe's premier research institutions, of cell-phone and PDA use being linked to "brain aging", brain damage, early-onset Alzheimer's, senility, DNA damage, and even sperm die-offs (many men, after all, keep their cell phones in their pants pockets or attach at the hip). In September 2007, the European Union's environmental watchdog, the European Environment Agency, warned that cell-phone technology "could lead to a health crisis similar to those caused by asbestos, smoking, and lead in petrol."

- Perhaps most worrisome, though, are the preliminary results of the multinational Interphone study sponsored by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, in Lyon, France... Interphone researchers reported in 2008 that after a decade of cell-phone use, the chance of getting a brain tumor - specifically on the side of the head where you use the phone - goes up as much as 40 percent for adults.

- Interphone researchers in Israel have found that cell phones can cause tumors of the parotid gland (the salivary gland in the cheek), and an independent study in Sweden last year concluded that people who started using a cell phone before the age of 20 were five times as likely to develop a brain tumor. Another Interphone study reported a nearly 300 percent increased risk of acoustic neuroma, a tumor of the acoustic nerve.

- ... At the vanguard of a new field of study that came to be known as bioelectromagnetics, he found what appeared to be grave nonthermal effects from microwave frequencies - the part of the spectrum that belongs not just to radar signals and microwave ovens but also, in the past fifteen years, to cell phones. (The only honest way to think of our cell phones is that they are tiny, low-power microwave ovens, without walls, that we hold against the sides of our heads). Frey tested microwave radiation on frogs and other lab animals, targeting the eyes, the heart, and the brain, and in each case he found troubling results. In one study, he triggered heart arrhythmias. Then, using the right modulations of the frequency, he even stopped frog hearts with microwaves - stopped the hearts dead.

The article is a bit lengthy, but it is a fascinating and informative read. I recommend everyone take a look at it and at least skim it over. You can read it here

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wellness Wednesdays

Avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry. Ethoxylated diglycerides? Cellulose? Xanthan gum? Calcium propionate? Ammonium sulfate? If you wouldn't cook with them yourself, why let others use these ingredients to cook for you? The food scientists' chemistry set is designed to extend shelf life, make old food look fresher and more appetizing than it really is, and get you to eat more. Whether or not any of these additives pose a proven hazard to your health, many of them haven't been eaten by humans for very long, so they are best avoided. Source: Food Rules by Michael Pollan

#20: Get out of the supermarket whenever you can. You won't find any high-fructose corn syrup at the farmers' market. You also won't find any elaborately processed food products, any packages with long lists of unpronounceable ingredients or dubious health claims, anything microwaveable, or, perhaps best of all, any old food from far away. What you will find are fresh, whole foods harvested at the peak of their taste and nutritional quality - precisely the kind your great-grandmother, or even your Neolithic ancestors, would easily recognize as food. The kind that is alive and eventually will rot. Source: Food Rules by Michael Pollan

#21: Eat more like the French. Or the Japanese. Or the Italians. Or the Greeks. People who eat according to the rules of a traditional food culture are generally healthier than those of us eating a modern Western diet of processed foods. Any traditional diet will do: If it were not a healthy diet, the people who follow it wouldn't still be around. True, food cultures are embedded in societies and economies and ecologies, and some of them travel better than others, Inuit not so well as Italian. In borrowing from a food culture, pay attention to HOW a culture eats as well as to what it eats. In the case of the French paradox, for example, it may not be the dietary nutrients that keep the French healthy (lots of saturated fat and white flour?!) as much as their food habits: small portions eaten at leisurely communal meals; no second helpings or snacking. Pay attention, too, to the combinations of foods in traditional cultures: In Latin America, corn is traditionally cooked with lime and eaten with beans; what would otherwise be a nutritionally deficient staple becomes the basis of a healthy, balanced diet. (The beans supply amino acids lacking in corn, and the lime makes niacin available). Cultures that took corn from Latin America without the beans or the lime wound up with serious nutritional deficiencies such as pellagra. Traditional diets are more than the sum of their food parts. Source: Food Rules by Michael Pollan

#22: Eat Slowly. Not just so you'll be more likely to know when to stop. Eat slowly enough to savor your food; you'll need less of it to feel satisfied. If it is a food experience rather than mere calories you're after, the slower you eat, the more of an experience you will have. There is an Indian proverb that gets at this idea: "Drink your food, chew your drink." In other words, eat slowly enough, and chew thoroughly enough, to liquefy your food, and move your drink around in your mouth to thoroughly taste it before swallowing. The recommendation sounds a bit clinical perhaps, but try following it at least to the point of fully appreciating what's in your mouth. Another strategy, encoded in a table manner that's been all but forgotten: "Put down your fork between bites." Source: Food Rules by Michael Pollan

#23: Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper. Eating a big meal late in the day sounds unhealthy, though in fact the science isn't conclusive. Some research suggests that eating close to bedtime elevates triglyceride levels in the blood, a marker for heart disease that is also implicated in weight gain. Also, the more physically active you are after a meal, the more of the energy in that meal your muscles will burn before the body stores it as fat. But some researchers believe a calorie is a calorie, no matter what time of day it is consumed. Even if this is true, however, front-loading your eating in the early part of the day will probably result in fewer total calories consumed, since people are generally less hungry in the morning. A related adage: "After lunch, sleep awhile; after dinner, walk a mile." Source: Food Rules by Michael Pollan

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Do you believe in omens? Although I am the religious type, I am not the superstitious kind. However, going through an experience such as cancer, having my mom be afflicted with cancer, my view of the world has changed. My opinions and my beliefs have been altered. I have found myself being more open to new things, new experiences, suggestions, etc. About a week or so ago, my mom was lying on the deck and saw two bright red hummingbirds flying around her, as if innocently playing and enjoying the sun. A couple days later, while my family was praying over dinner, I (for some reason) looked up to see a hummingbird through the kitchen door, looking at us, perfectly still in mid-air. Almost like it was watching us. And as my family woke up from their prayers, it flew away. And the odd thing is, we don't have any flowers on our patio either. Seeing that was very.... comforting, oddly enough. So, just for fun, I went online to see the meaning behind a hummingbird. In Native American folklore, a hummingbird is a very good sign. She is a good luck messenger that symbolizes timeless joy and the Nectar of Life. She is a symbol of accomplishing that which seems impossible and teaches us how to find the miracle of joyful living from our own life circumstances. She takes our prayers to the Great Creator. In addition, the hummingbird has the power to travel long distances under great odds and obstacles. The hummingbird opens the heart. Without an open heart, you can never taste the nectar and pure bliss of life. Is it coincidence that I saw the hummingbird while my family was praying? Regardless of whether or not you believe in omens, it is comforting to think that there is someone or something looking out for you, watching over you. That day I felt this great sense of calm and, almost as if someone had whispered in my ear, thought "everything is going to be fine".

Lift Me Up

Music, for me, heals. I thought some of you might enjoy these.

If you need any suggestions, I have a HUGE list! So don't hesitate to ask :)