Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Why me?

Why me?  This has probably crossed the mind of every cancer patient.  Why me, why now, why this? 

At the age of 20 I believed that I had already survived more than a lifetime of bad things.  A troubled childhood, molestation, suicide attempt, bulimia, being bullied, a car accident and severe case of mono.

It's not that I thought the rest of my life would be easy, I just though that I had already passed the test of survival and inner strength.  Nope.  Not a chance.

By 30 I had survived more, including another car accident and a psycho fiancé who tried to strangle me to death.  I had achieved the Wonder Woman badge of honor. 

"We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God." (Acts 14:22)

Well if according to Acts 14:22 then I am good to go, and could probably go and come back a few times with all I have been through!

Why is it that we have to experience bad things? There are a lot of theories out there about this, my personal belief is 1) all experiences are learning experiences whether good or bad, 2) we have to experience the bad to truly appreciate the good.  But that doesn't stop us from questioning why me, why now, why this, why, why, why?

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 at the age of 35 I was devastated, absolutely destroyed.  But I knew there would be something good to come out of it.  That in my heart it would be used for God's glory.  Believing in this gave me some comfort and strength, but my cancer journey was still very difficult and I still found myself questioning why at times.

Why did I have to go through another big ordeal?  Why did I have to survive something else?  Haven't I been through enough?  Haven't I proven myself as a Christian yet?  If this sounds familiar then I completely understand and you are not alone.  We are never alone when we have Christ and when we have fellow cancer survivors who are struggling just as we are.  Going through cancer it is easy to feel alone, even when you have family and friends who love and support you and you have faith it is still easy to feel alone when dealing with a life or death situation.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Boobs...a love-hate relationship

Boobs, breasts, tits, jugs, etc.  so many names for the same balloon of fat body part.  The infatuation with breasts has been around since Adam and Eve.  Hollywood has made millions, trillions even, doctors have made millions, Victoria Secrets is considered the guru in the bra industry. 

I have always had a love-hate relationship with my breasts.  In my twenty's I did some modeling and tried to get into acting, but because my bra size was 38DD most of the work that my agency was getting for me was too risqué for my comfort zone and I didn't want to be defined by my breasts. Don't get me wrong, I am not a prude, and I didn't hide my breasts, they were a fact of my life and my grandmother always said, "If you got it, flaunt it" so I dressed my breasts in a way that I was comfortable, just right to get me out of any speeding ticket that I may happen upon, but covered enough so I didn't look like a prostitute. 

Growing up and living in Orange County, California about an hour and a half from Hollywood I was proud that my DD's were real.  In a time when it seemed everyone was getting implants for bigger breasts every day and going to high school with girls whose graduation gifts were either a new BMW or implants I was quite proud of my all natural girls.  However finding clothes that fit right was a pain.  I have to have button down shirts altered because of my breasts, or put up with always having to wear a tank top or camisole under button down shirts and never being able to button them all the way up, but having to leave an open shirt.  I have tank tops in just about every color to go under button down shirts.

When I lost my right breast to breast cancer the thought of karma catching up to me did cross my mind, more than once.  Losing my right breast was a necessity, I had no other option, believe me I tried convincing the doctor otherwise, but in the end chopping it off was better for my survival.

 I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 at the age of 35 and by this time my breasts were an E or DDD.  Happily married with 2 beautiful children my world crashed down when I heard the words, "You have cancer."  And after dealing with breast cancer for 4 years now, all I have to say is, "boobs are more trouble then they are worth!"  Seriously!  I have had 3 reconstructive surgeries trying to get my body back to a "normal" state with my breasts.  Pain in the butt!!  And I am STILL lopsided and have to have at least one more operation to even out my breasts.  I haven't been able to wear a regular wire cupped bra in almost 4 years, but have been living in bra tops, sports bras and the like because of my physical irregularity.  Such a pain.  I know I shouldn't complain, but then again I have every right.  For about 18 months I had to live with one breast and at an E this was VERY noticeable and made me feel like a circus freak.  I was specially fitted for a prosthetic breast, and can I just say that is a whole different experience that feels very weird and surreal when you are going through it.  I tried to make light of this new and weird experience as part of my way of coping with it, but in my heart I was bothered by it all and had a hard time getting past the "Frankenstein" feeling and way of looking at myself.  Because of the pain and scaring from radiation on my right side of my chest I rarely wore the prosthetic breast and most of the time I would just stuff the "pillow" breast into my bra or top when going out in public as it was much more comfortable.  By the end of the 18 months I would go to the store without using any stuffing or prosthesis.  But I am much happier now that I have two breasts again, I feel more "normal".  My breast reconstruction surgery to build me a new breast was 10 hours long, and required 4-5 days in the hospital.  There was the same worry of rejection similar to organ transplant, as my surgery consisted of taking belly fat and skin and creating a new breast, what was special about this was my doctor transplanted blood vessels from my belly into the new breast and connecting through the chest into blood vessels in my sternum.  This was a crazy surgery and only 100 doctors in the country are able to do this, I was lucky mine was one of them and we were incredibly successful.  The key to this blood vessel and breast transplant working is in the acceptance of both the tissue and blood flow.  There was risk that my body would reject this and we would have to either start all over again or go another route.  The weirdest thing was having my doctor and his team stand around my bed every single hour to place a Doppler on the transplant and listen for heart beats.  Yes that's right I said heart beats, there were 3 major sites where the blood vessel transplants were that the doctor would listen for the heart beats which indicated successful blood flow.  If there wasn't blood flow then the new breast would die.  It was so weird hearing "heart beats" coming from my breast, like having triplets in the womb and I would crack a joke about my alien breast and it's heart beats.  I don't know if it was the morphine or my off beat sense of humor but I got through it and I have a real boob now that jiggles and everything. 
That was over a year ago and since then I have had two more surgeries trying to achieve "normal" alignment and I am still about 1/2 a cup size in difference and I still find myself stuffing my bra to achieve "normal" breasts.  When will this end?  I just want to be normal, what ever that means, and what ever "normal" can be for me living with breast cancer.  After all the scars, all the damage, all the pain and the suffering from cancer treatments and medications I have had to endure over the past 4 years I think a decent body is not too much to ask for.

Sometimes I just want to tell young girls not to put so much effort into their breasts on display and making a big deal about implants and push-up bras, that boobs are more trouble then they are worth and take care of them, because one day they might just turn on you!

Friday, January 9, 2015

How I've survived Cancer

I survive cancer by being tough.  Cancer is not fun and it is not pretty, it is tough, the key is choosing to be tougher than the cancer.

People look at me and are shocked that I have been dealing with cancer for 4 years.  I do not look like a typical cancer patient.  Well that is because I am metastatic and most mets do have their hair and look somewhat "normal".  But we deal with cancer every single day and are in constant treatment and monitoring by our doctors, just trying to lead a new "normal" life.  I have survived thanks to God, without a doubt it was through His grace.  In that grace I listened to my body and what it needed to heal, I researched how to make myself stronger to fight the disease and survive the side effects.  I ate cancer fighting foods, I drank green tea like it was going out of style, I am a soy Nazi and stay far away from it.  I significantly reduced soda, and sugar, and other chemical foods.  I reduced my fast food intake and when I do eat it I make healthier choices.  I do yoga and meditation, I have been learning herbal medicine and I stayed in school and worked.  (not totally because I wanted to financially I had to) I tried to keep my life full of goals and ambitions as if the cancer wasn't an issue partly to keep me focused on life and as a coping mechanism and also for my children.  They were and are young to have to deal with mommy having cancer.  It is bad enough I lost my hair and was horribly fatigued and sick from chemo, but luckily I was strong enough to put on a brave face and try to minimize my side effects to give them more "normal" days then not. 

My key to surviving cancer is in complimentary treatments along with traditional medicine.  I truly believe it is through faith, nutrition, yoga, meditation and herbal medicine that I have been able to be as strong as I have been and will continue to be.

I am strong because I am a fighter.  I do not know how to be anything else.  We don't have control over who gets cancer or when or if it will happen to you, but we do have control over what we put into our mouths.  I choose to put strength in, I choose to put what will help my body protect me from my cancer, what will help it defeat my cancer.  I do yoga to help me with my stress and to help the blood flow in my body, I had 22 lymph nodes removed and that puts me at risk with a compromised immune system on top of the cancer and so I have to help my circulation do it's job since a chunk is missing forever there is also the benefit of yoga that improves the immune system and helps in the muscle aches from chemo, radiation and surgery.  I am lucky to have 100% mobility in my mastectomy arm.  That is almost unheard of, the norm is most women only retain up to 75% mobility and I regained it both times after surgery and radiation. 

I survived cancer, and you can too.  Which is why I created  and became a certified nutritionist, yoga instructor, personal trainer.  I want to help others survive too, that is why I survived.  God carried me through my cancer with His grace so that I can help others do the same.  That is my purpose.  All you need is the desire to fight to start to survive your cancer.  Good luck and God Bless.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Berry Banana Pancakes :)

Berry Banana Pancakes

You can use fresh, canned or frozen fruit or compote for these, we have done this as a treat and have a variety of toppings for top your own pancakes.

Serves 4

Prep time: 15 min, cook time: 20 min


1 large banana, peeled and sliced

1 cup complete pancake mix

½ cup water

Nonstick cooking spay

1 cup unsweetened frozen strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, thawed and sliced

2 tablespoons orange juice


  1. Place bananas in a medium bowl and mash with a fork
  2. Add pancake mix and water, stir until blended
  3. Spray a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium heat.
  4. Pour ¼ cup batter for each pancake into hot skillet.  Cook pancakes for about 2 minutes per side until fully cooked.


  1. Spray a pan with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium heat
  2. Cook berries and orange juice for 3 minutes or until the berries are soft
  3. Spoon topping over pancakes and serve
****Very yummy and a great way to get kids to eat fruit, load up on vitamin C to boost the immune system, also mild enough if you are feeling nauseated from chemo.

Taken from the Cancer Cutie Cookbook available to buy on or directly from our site,