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Edward Holasek, my uncle, was an extraordinary American.  Born of immigrant parents, the youngest of nine children in Cleveland, he rose to teaching in a medical school with only a Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering degree.  This occurred because he was “nationally recognized as an authority on instrumentation design in the field of diagnostic ultrasound.  He supervised design and construction of the first hand held ultrasonic scanner ever used in any of the medical specialities.”  I made the decision to not separate his working career from his family life, so Uncle Ed’s story will be told in chronological order.

Edward was the baby in the Holasek family picture taken in 1928.  My dad, the eldest was age 20 (far left).  Grandma Theresa was 44 years old when Uncle Ed was born, and Grandpa Josef was 60 years old.

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As you know from my other family blogs, the family ran a grocery/butcher shop.  But although the older children talked about helping in the store, Uncle Ed never talked about it, and he was probably too young to work in the store.  These pictures of the youngest two boys are priceless. George & Ed sleigh

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Uncle Ed probably had his head buried in books.  His expertise was math and science.  At one interview in High School, he said he wanted to be a mathematician.  In his school paper, The South High Beacon, they interviewed Uncle Ed about his love of the outdoors.  

With a friend, he took a 100 mile canoe trip to Canada, and unfortunately while trying to cook while camping, they started a forest fire, and had to say and cut down 63 burnt trees.  He also took long bicycle trips to Medina, Akron, and to Garrettsville about 35 miles away to the family farm.  He worked at the Broadway Y after school, and enjoyed swimming and roller skating.  (two loves of mine). He was involved with the Y.M.C.A. all his life.  

Uncle Ed was in High School during most of World War II.  The school encouraged victory gardens and many of the graduates were reporting in from all over the world as military men.  In his yearbook was listed National Honor Society, Radio, and Social Committee.

Uncle Ed graduated from South High in January 1946.  (Cleveland had graduations in June and Jan.)  Upon graduation,  Uncle Ed said his goal was to be the head chemist at Dupont.  As it turned out, he combined his skills and interests and studied Electrical Engineering at Case University (Now Case Western Reserve University.)  But how was he going to get the money for college?  Uncle Ed had a plan.  He joined the Navy upon Graduation, and was at The Great Lakes Training facility by probably late January 1946.  

Now here is part of the story I wrote in my parent’s blog.  I was supposed to be born in March.  Everything was fine with my mother after my birth on February 16, when she passed her six weeks check up.  Then on April 22, Uncle Ed had a nightmarish type dream where he saw my dad crying.  When he woke up, he was called to the commander’s office, and he said to him, “Mildred, my sister-in-law died didn’t she.”  The commander said, “Yes.”  Uncle Ed never told me that story til I was well over 50 years old.  

Uncle Ed, finished his time in the Navy and went off to make his dreams come true at Case University.  Of course, there was no extra money for living there, so he commuted from Archmere, and did all his work in his bedroom which he shared with Uncle Joe.  I distinctly remember as a young child bothering him while he tried to study.  Uncle Ed always kept his electronic work lab in the basement of the home.

It was one proud June Day in 1952, when my Uncle Edward Holasek graduated from Case University with honors and became an electrical engineer.  Everyone in the family was ecstatic.  

His mother Teresa at this point was 69 years old, and this, as I said, was her youngest child.  Her child that encouraged her to speak more English when she talked to him.  Her final child that made her proud that she made that trip to America when she was just 17 years old with her sister, Mary.

My dad, Aunt Theresa, and Aunt Josephine also attended his graduation and I am sure his dad, Josef,  who died when he was 9, was smiling in heaven.

At this point in his life, Uncle Ed went to work for Designers for Industry where he invented several electronic appliances adapted for industry which I certainly do not understand.  At this point, he had also received several patents.

Uncle Ed’s friend, Wayne Jennings told me and Carol saw it, a device Uncle Ed made and was perfecting.  It was the first cardiac defibrillator.  However, Wayne said, the patent person really messed up and Uncle Ed lost out on big money with that invention.

Wayne also said, that while working for DFI, his team made a machine that could cut cloth into diapers.  (This was before the age of pampers) This was a tricky engineering feat because it involved various blades at angles and speed to cut through the material properly.

But Uncle Ed also used his knowledge of electronics to benefit his family.  We could not afford to buy a television set when they first came out.  That was no problem for the Holaseks.  Uncle Ed built us a television set, and my dad built the housing and there we were watching TV in the early age of television.

While my dad and uncles played pinochle every Friday night, Grandma, Carol, the aunts and I would be watch Milton Berle, one of grandma’s favorites.  After school, I was addicted to watching all the cowboys and Captain Video and the Video Rangers.

As I am thinking about my childhood, Uncle Ed knew how much I loved television and he took I think Carol and myself to a local show, Uncle Jake’s House.  He was so proud of me when I, as a little kid, asked why the elevator they put us in wasn’t really moving.  It was a prop of the show, and the people in charge didn’t know what to say because no kid had every questioned them about it.

These years spent living in the house with Uncle Ed and Grandma, dad, and all my aunts and uncles were the happiest of my childhood.  Life was predicable such as the pinochle on Friday to the picnics every Sunday in the summer, to our summer vacation once a year, and all the holiday dinners at that dining room table which can be seen in my other blogs.  

The above  picture is of one of the summer vacation fishing trips either in Maine or Wisconsin.  Uncle Jack arranged those trips.  We also travelled to Canada and National Parks.  The picture below was from 1949.

But some of the favorite times happened right in the basement where the family had friends over and played games, or Uncle Ed recorded the family singing which we have on tape, especially grandma singing, “You Are My Sunshine.”

Some of the Holasek family’s life long friends were the Anders and the Dzurnaks.  We would go to each of their homes every summer, and they would come to the Holasek picnic grounds near where there farm was in Garrettsville, Ohio.

This picture was taken in the early 90’s when everyone was well, and Will and Holly and I were visiting in Cleveland.

Getting back to Uncle Ed’s working career, you can see that he changed companies during his Electrical Engineering years. Wayne Jennings explained to me when Uncle Ed Started in electrical engineering it was semi conductor, tube based.  And those that could not make the transition to closed circuits and solid state, were out of a job.

When Uncle Ed adapted, he  went on to his defining work at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine in the Ophthalmology Department.

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Now here is where it gets interesting.  In the sixties, Uncle Ed was a ground breaker in the field of ultrasound.  In fact, when you read this letter which blew me away, this doctor says he practically invented ultrasound.  Uncle ed paperwork wordpress blog-1

Now the relevance of this letter in combination with his resume, shows that Case Western Reserve University hired him to teach and mentor in the Medical School only with a BS degree of engineering.  Not too many geniuses did that I would contend.

This picture shows Uncle Ed with one of his first ultrasound devices.

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Uncle Ed went on with others to make hand held device.

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You can see by his list of publications on ultrasound, that he is the lead writer in several.

With his work with ultrasound, Edward Holasek and Wayne Jennings have a patent for a device with a signal processing technique which converts ultrasound to color.  (The simplistic explanation).  Here is a link to the scientific explanation.  https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4613-2943-5_34.

Uncle Ed organized and was the head of a National Ultrasound Meeting, and I found this document in his paperwork.

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This is his work picture at the height of his career.Uncle edwordpress blog-20

He wrote a brief history of Ultrasound at Case Western Reserve:  Uncle ed paperwork wordpress blog-5But that was not the end of Uncle Ed’s work with Case Western Reserve.  The grants continued until after he retired in 1992.  He spent 40 years working in the field of Electrical Engineering, and most of his career at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.  The entire Holasek family is so proud of his accomplishments, and we didn’t know half of what I have written here while he was alive.

Well readers, take a deep breathe because that is just half of the story.  His spare time activities are a story, but mainly the  Holasek family was the other half, and his bravery and courage when facing a dire diagnosis.

Uncle Ed took up a sport in his mid fifties, Karate.  Now this was an activity he did in Akron, Ohio, with his much younger friend, Wayne Jennings.  Wayne told me it wasn’t a den that accentuated Black Belts, but Uncle Ed made an impression on the place, and his picture is still on the wall.

Apparently the den had learned a stick fighting routine, and the Den Master wanted a competition from older Uncle Ed, a beginner, and a seasoned Karate person that was a cop.  The Cop didn’t want to beat up on an older man, but the den master insisted.  Well, to everyone’s amazement Uncle Ed kept up with him the entire time, and “when the cop went full tilt on Uncle Ed,” my uncle amazed everyone watching.

Uncle Ed as part of the human family was always a consummate family man.  He never married, because the Holasek Family always came first.

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From the moment, Stacy joined the family, he was always treated as an honorary Holasek.  

Uncle Ed did spend time with another family when one of his navy buddies died young.  He was like a mentor and godfather to his friend’s children.

But the Uncle Ed I know was always there for all the Holasek family activities.  And he made it a point after my father died, to act along with the other Holasek uncles as a stand in as their “grandfather.”  The beauty of that relationship is my children never met their grandfather, Bill Holasek, but could catch glimpses of him in the Holasek male smile, the humor of Uncle George, the gardening abilities of Uncle Joe, and the attentiveness of Uncle Ed in my children’s lives.

He went out of his way when we visited, with Carol to take us to Cedar Point and one time to Put N Bay Island

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Uncle Ed over the years spent hours with Will teaching him to play chess.  I found so many pictures of them together, but I will share one and then the picture of the times Uncle Ed took him to drive in a parking lot under age. (This was probably Will’s first time behind the wheel of a car.)

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There were definitely some highlight family times.  One was Jonathan and Leslie Holasek’s wedding.  We all had such a grand time.  Uncle edwordpress blog-48

Another was an presumptuous idea on my behalf, Jonathan and Leslie hosting Thanksgiving at their first house in Poconos.  Now it was a long shot to get the Holaseks to come, but they did and we had a fabulous time.

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Uncle Ed came for Will’s graduation from High School, and Stacy’s 40th anniversary party, in 1994 and 1995 even though he was already living with a serious diagnosis.  

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So now we come to the hard part.  Uncle Ed was not feeling well, and with some tests, his calcium level was so high he was practically in a coma.  He saw a surgeon for probable parathyroid cancer, and the surgery was done. However the diagnosis came back anaplastic thyroid cancer.  

Now here is where Uncle Ed’s decision making came in handy when I applied it to save my own life several years later.  They recommended chemo and radiation and Uncle Ed said no.  If the diagnosis was right, he would be dead very quickly.  Six months later, he has a follow up and looked and felt great.  His family doctor suggested a second pathology report opinion, and it came back parathyroid cancer.  (I do not understand why the surgeon did not recommend the second opinion when high calcium is classic in parathyroid cancer.  However, I give the surgeon credit for continuing his original operation despite the frozen section with that dire diagnosis.)

Uncle Ed did well for a year, and his calcium started to rise again.  The surgeon suggested a second operation in which he did not get it all and recommended radiation and Uncle Ed consented.    He did well for another year and a half, but this time his calcium was on the rise again.  He came to Virginia to see an alt med person I knew, and we spent my fiftieth birthday driving in a blizzard to the health food store to start his new way of eating.

He knew he would probably never live to see Will and Holly graduate from college, but he was so proud that they went.  He visited them twice, once in Will’s first year, and then Holly’s second year when Will was a Junior.

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He got along with some dangerous drugs for his high calcium until 1997.  He was direly ill at this time in University Hospital.  He was in kidney failure from the drugs, and Will and I flew in to see him July 4th weekend.  He did NOT get good care in the hospital where he spent his career working.  I noticed him coughing when I visited and his friend, Wayne, asked about it too.  We assumed they would X-ray his lungs and treat him for possible pneumonia.  Uncle Ed went into respiratory arrest on a gurney, and was delivered to his room not breathing.  Carol is the one that noticed this, not the nurse.  (She was relying on the gadget on his finger and didn’t bother to look at the patient.) Uncle Ed died that day, which was several days after we returned home, and I returned to Cleveland to give his eulogy, and to see this family tragedy to its end.  Here are pictures of part of the family that is left after Uncle Ed died, and me carrying him to his grave.  I did the grave side service as well.Uncle edwordpress blog2-3

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His eulogy had three parts:  Courage as we watched him face his illness, Diligence in his school, work, and accomplishments, and of course his beloved Holasek family.

Here is what I said at the conclusion of his eulogy.  I read a piece of writing by Le Baron Russell Briggs:

Now and then we meet a man who seems to live high above the little things that vex our lives, and who makes us forget them.  He may speak or he may be silent, it is enough that he lives and that we are with him.  When we face him, we feel somewhat as we feel when we first see the ocean, or Niagara, or the Alpsm or Athens, or when we first read the great poetry.  Nothing is more like great poetry than the soul of a great man; and when the great man is good when he loves everything that is beautiful and true and makes his life like what he loves, his face becomes transfigured, for the soul within him is the light of the world.

We will always love you, Uncle Ed.

You can see how he fits perfectly as an example of that piece of writing.  Uncle Ed was a kind, accomplished, humble man.  The youngest son of immigrant parents that broke the bonds of his humble beginnings, with his education, and expertise, and accomplishments, made the world a better place for all.IMG_0390

After his death, he set up an endowment to Case Western Reserve for engineering students that need help.  Every year Carol and I get notes and pictures of the recipients of the scholarships.  Despite giving away modest scholarships, his endowment still has more money than the original amount.  Uncle Ed also got us started in the big time computer world.  He was always ahead of the curve.  I remember having a Commodore at the time.

He, of course, was also generous to his family like all of his brothers, But most importantly to all of us with Holasek blood running through our veins, he made our family world a better place. And I need to say it again, we will always love you, Uncle Ed.

 

 

 

This Breast cancer website speaks for itself. Feel free to share the link to anyone who needs information on breast cancer.

http://www.breastcancerstudyandsupport.org

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Not knowing when the dawn shall come, I open every door.  Emily Dickinson


Well, I already wrote about my first miracle which was being born in the first place to a mother with a severely weakened heart.  As I previously wrote, the fact that she and I survived the delivery was a miracle.   While talking to my 89-year-old Uncle George last week,  I happened to mention this particular incident.  He didn’t remember it,  so after I related the whole story to him, I thought it was worth writing down.

I was 9 years old and in the fourth grade, so it must have occurred in the early fall.  It was still fairly warm outside, and it was a rainy day.  I wanted to wear to school these linen type shoes, and my step mother said the bottoms might be too slippery for a rainy day.  But I talked her into saying yes and off I went.  We lived at the end of the street, and the cut off for buses was a mile at the beginning of the street.  So technically, I hiked a mile to school everyday.

You must remember this was a suburb of Cleveland and that hike was not pleasant in bad weather.  In those days, for example, they never closed schools even with lots of snow.  I remember walking and plowing through snow practically taller than me and having to rest by the curb on a pile of snow to keep on walking.

The trip to school was uneventful but the trip home could have killed me.  Like a lot of Holasek’s before me, we didn’t just walk; we practically ran through life, and I was running home with a friend.  A block from the school was a gas station, and my friend yelled stop, “a car is pulling in.”  I came to a screeching halt but my shoes slipped on the wet pavement, and I slipped under the wheel of a car pulling in.  It was a 54 Plymouth of all things.  Those cars were huge and heavy, and all I remember was having that car run half way up my skinny abdomen and roll back.

Then I saw all these people including a policeman getting gas surrounding me and the people were yelling, “She’s dead; She’s dead. ” And I yelled back, “I’m not dead.”  The ambulance came and took me to the hospital. My friend was so shocked and so upset she ran all the way home to tell her mother, and she didn’t know if I was dead or alive either.

While this was happening, they called my home to tell my step mother I was hit by a car, and didn’t say whether I was dead or alive.  She practically fainted.  When she got her wits back, and found out I was alive, she called my father at work on the other side of town, and told him in a gentler way.  I can’t imagine what went through my father’s mind rushing to the hospital, because he had lost my mother 9 years before.

They xrayed me from one end to the other.  I had no broken bones.  Then they observed me for hours, and there was absolutely nothing wrong with me except the tire marks on my abdomen so they let me out of the hospital late in the evening.

As a child, I didn’t mind all the extra attention.  Every relative (and I had a big family) paraded through our house praising God, and seeing those tire marks.  The poor man driving the car called constantly to check to see how I was doing. I had to go to court and there was a small settlement.  I frankly remember nothing about that because we certainly had not consulted a lawyer.

At the time, I just didn’t realize just how much a miracle it was.  But once I studied anatomy, I was absolutely stunned.  That car ran onto my pelvis without breaking it.  It ran up on half my intestines and didn’t rupture them.  (There had to be very little gas in them at the time for this to happen)  Imagine if it had been my chest or my head.  My internal reproductive organs were intact.  It’s almost like angels protected me from harm when harm was almost certain in this situation.

Since both of these miracles happened to me as a child, it took years to come to terms with the significance of both events.  To this day, I don’t know how I survived without injury from that accident.  However, both incidents had a huge effect on how I viewed my life, my faith, and my responsibilities.   By age 9, I already had 2 miracles, and little did I know, there were more to come.

If anyone wonders why there are angels all over the house, they are right at home here.  And they will be with me forever.  Written on Stacy’s and my grave is this:  “Be an angel to others as a way of thanking God for the help angels have given you.”DSC_0917

Healing Journeys was a bit late publishing my story, Independence Day, but it appeared in their newsletter this month.  This is the follow-up story to what appeared in The Free Lance Star at my diagnosis of breast cancer in 1996.  Only my family, friends, and internet survivor friends knew the details of this story.

The address to get the story is http://www.healingjourneys.org/resources/healing-stories/independence-day/

Let me tell you a little about Healing Journeys.  It is a wonderful foundation which enriches the life of anyone with a cancer diagnosis, their friends, or their families.  They present these conferences 4 times a year all over the country with lectures, wonderful inspirational music, and fellowship and it is totally free of charge. 

CANCER AS A TURNING POINT FROM SURVIVING TO THRIVING™ is the name of the conferences.

The only expense is getting to the conference and staying in the hotel.  They even provide food at the breaks.  I attended a conference in Charlottesville in 2010, and it was so inspirational.  Many people work so very hard to pull off these wonderful conferences, website, and so much more, but Jan Adrian has been behind it all.  One person has made such a difference in literally thousands and thousands of lives.  Here is the link to the explanation of her foundation:  http://www.healingjourneys.org/about-us/ and here is their homepage:  http://www.healingjourneys.org

In the words of Dr. Lawrence LeShan of the Advisory Board:

The person exists on many levels….physical, psychological and spiritual….and none of these can be reduced to any other. To move successfully toward health, all must be treated.

What do Mary Ball Washington, Rachel Carson, and myself have in common?  The answer is of course breast cancer.

What started as a simple blog about Mary Washington’s death from breast cancer, and to honor her with a wreath during breast cancer’s “Industry Month” has evolved into complicated and diverse topics that would jumble any writer’s mind.

Mary Ball Washington, the mother of George Washington, was an independent, gutsy woman who had a hard life from beginning to end.  (1708-1789)  Mary was a quintessential survivor whose parent’s death made her an orphan and whose husband’s death when she was 35 years old, left her with six young children.

Her son George, the eldest child, was only 11 when her husband Augustine Washington died.  Augustine was considered landed gentry.  Mary chose to remain a single parent so that the Ferry Farm planation and her husband’s  other land holdings would be passed on to her children instead of a new husband.  It is hard to comprehend that women could not own property in the 18th century.

Her whole life was devoted to her family’s well being.   One can instantly see how strong minded and independent she was, and this did not bode well for the history writers in years to come.  Of course she and her eldest son George did not always see eye to eye.  They were both very strong willed people.  She prevented him from joining the navy, and the rest is history.

George did not see his mother for 10 years during the Revolutionary War era. However, Mary prayed for him every day at Meditation Rock.  That is inscribed on the plaque.

George, during this time,  wanted her to move to the city of Fredericksburg to be nearer to his sister, and son-in-law, Betty and Fielding Lewis. He bought the land and the house was built. He was worried that something might happen to her if this area were overrun by British.  And she resisted as long as she could, but finally took residence in the city of Fredericksburg for the last 17 years of her life.

It is at this point that breast cancer invaded her life.  From studying her history, I am speculating that she had breast cancer the entire time she lived in Fredericksburg.  All cancer has doubling time from when it first starts.  Her doubling time was probably slow since she was older when she got breast cancer.  Even now the doctors say to that it can take a tumor 8-10 years to become palpable, which means it is able to be felt.

Breast cancer treated or untreated is a cruel death.  It has a propensity to go to bone, lungs, and liver.  When she was diagnosed, her family did consult with Dr. Benjamin Rush in Philadelphia, and with her advanced case he recommended comfort measures.  It was inoperable.  Genevieve Bugay was interviewed by Jim Hall of The Free Lance Star and he wrote this on the 223th anniversary of her death in August:  Dr. Rush advised comfort measures.  Apply poultices of opium and camphor,  and wash the infected breast with a solution of red clover, and give her cocktails of wine and bark.  Mrs. Washington’s breast was apparently swollen and discolored, and the tumor may have broken through the surface of the skin.  She was probably in pain.  The fact that she lived to be 81 is quite miraculous.  But she would have suffered greatly.

Contemplating Mary Washington’s breast cancer in the context of medical history revealed a much deeper and important question of causation.  Cause is a question mostly survivors ask when diagnosed.  And 240 years later there are still no answers.  If anyone looks up breast cancer on any major medical website, the only thing that is talked about is risk factors.  Well, the only risk factor Mary had was older age at diagnosis.  She had her children fairly young, breast fed all of them I would imagine, got plenty of exercise, sunshine, radiation machines did not exist and she was not involved with pesticides.   So what caused her breast cancer?

Well, I can only speculate on this and the only clues are environmental.  In 18th century America it was not an easy life.  All heating was done with burning and that left everyone breathing a lot of smoke.  Now, Mary might have smoked herself since she grew tobacco.  She also would be given calomel for ailments from doctors which is mercury (a heavy metal that is stored and damaging to the body)  She would have been exposed to a lot of lead even in her china.  They used pewter a lot–more heavy metal and also tin.  If someone had cancer brewing certainly all that extra iron in the cooking pots did not help her either.

Okay, so now fast forward to the 20th century.  My father and Rachel Carson were born the same year, 1907.  During their lifetimes, cancer rates were increasing dramatically and there are no answers as to why.  Then came a scientist, Rachel Carson, who suspects environmental causes of cancer.  She wrote Silent Spring 50 years ago.  She was not against all pesticides, but she said back then that their use should be controlled or plants would grow resistant to them.  The chemical companies went crazy.   DDT was sprayed on everything back then, in and outside of homes.  My friend’s mother had to spray for bed bugs because they lived in the country.  Her mother died of ovarian cancer 58 years ago.  It was used everywhere but extensively on Long Island one of the foremost breast cancer cluster areas.

From the writing and You Tube video The Fracking of Rachel Carson, Sandra Steingraber writes a graphic depiction of what Rachel Carson went through to not only write her book but fight the chemical companies, the press, and the politicians backing the chemical companies.

http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/7005

Silent Spring predated the nation’s cancer registry program, which came into being under Richard Nixon and mandated that all states track cancer incidence within their populations. Without registry data—and the information about the changing rates of cancer they provide—Carson was left with only case studies and mortality data to work with. She also lacked sophisticated geographic information systems (GIS) and computer mapping programs that can generate visually compelling pictures of potential cancer clusters and other spatial patterns for statistical analysis. In 1960, there were no right-to-know laws, pesticide registries, or Toxics Release Inventories. There were no statewide women’s breast cancer groups that monitor public and academic research. Carson painstakingly pieced together the evidence available to her—reports of farmers with bone marrow degeneration, sheep with nasal tumors, spray-gun-toting housewives with leukemia—and concluded that cancer was striking the general population with increasing frequency. She believed that she was seeing the early signs of an epidemic in slow motion. She was especially concerned with the apparent rise in cancers among children. And she was right.

Unfortunately for Rachel, she, too got breast cancer.  It was diagnosed in April 1960 but she didn’t find out until the next December when it had spread everywhere.  Medicine wasn’t into full disclosure in those days.  She kept her disease hidden especially because the chemical companies would use anything against her they could.

From the Orion article:  In the later portraits, Carson was dying of breast cancer. It was a diagnosis she hid out of fear that her enemies in industry would use her medical situation to attack her scientific objectivity and, most especially, her carefully constructed argument about the role that petrochemicals (especially pesticides) played in the story of human cancer. But behind her unflappable public composure, Carson’s private writings reveal how much physical anguish she endured. Bone metastases. Radiation burns. Angina. Knowing this, you can imagine her patience running out during the interminable photo shoots. The wretched wig hot and itchy under the lights. The stabbing pains (cervical vertebrae splintered with tumors) that would not, would not relent.

She was faithful to the end trying to get America to wake up to the coming tumult.  Cancer is now the second leading cause of death in America and is swiftly heading toward first place.  My father lived longer than Rachel, but he too died of stomach cancer in 1976.

So now let us look at me.  I was living a life I loved with my husband and children who were then in college, I was absolutely blindsided by that breast cancer diagnosis in 1996.  The first question out of my mouth to the oncologist was “what caused my breast cancer?  “Don’t worry about that,” he said.  That little cause question became my mantra.  I wanted right from the beginning to get to causation because medicine sure wasn’t interested in it.  And how do you prevent something when you don’t know cause?

Unlike Mary Washington, I had a lot of risk factors.  I had my children fairly old at 30 and 31.  I did not breast feed.  I did not eat a pristine diet being a sugar addict.  I foolishly consented to 20 years of mammograms on premenopausal breasts another hidden risk factor.  And what about the environment?  I used pesticides big time; I hand picked fleas off my dog and felt sick for 3 days because I didn’t wear gloves.  Also the house was sprayed indoors.  They said, “it was safe.” I also did not pay attention to the unknown risks of estrogen mimickers in the plastic all around the house.  Nor did I pay attention to the additives and food coloring in everything plus all that benzene in all that stuff to make the house smell better.  And what about personal care products and cleaning products?  I didn’t give them a thought.  After I started learning things, I felt I was lucky I didn’t get breast cancer sooner and it was caught at the stage it was.

Environmental concerns went to top priority in my home since 1996 with food and every personal and household product.

So now it is 2012 and what breast cancer activists view to be “Breast Cancer Industry Month.”  Breast Cancer Action has a great slogan which reads “think before you pink”  http://bcaction.org   Pink is everywhere and women are hopping and skipping and walking and jumping for breast cancer awareness, when everyone is already very much aware of the horror of breast cancer.  But the environmental links for breast cancer are not getting the press they deserve.

On top of that, Rachel Carlson is being beat into the ground yet again by the chemical companies and right wing fanatics and even some errant scientists.  They will defend the overuse of pesticides to the death all because of money and greed.

I wonder if they have a conscience at all or have ever had anyone die of breast cancer or any other cancer for that matter.  I guess it doesn’t matter to them.  But I hate to tell the big business chemical companies and those that run them In case you don’t realize it,  you can’t take your money with you when you or your loved ones die of cancer.

There are so many environmental concerns now all tied to chemicals.  The bees are dying.  The birds are dying yet again.  “Ever hear about the canary in the coal mines.” We are the canaries.  Our children and grandchildren are at more risk than ever before in our history.  Here is a few things that stand out”

  • Now they have put pesticides right into the DNA of our food.  So this makes GMO labeling ever so important if you don’t want you or your children having altered DNA and RNA from genetic modified foods.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?  v=Njd0RugGjAg&feature=player_embedded#!

  • Fracking which is currently being promoted is a possible environmental disaster.  While difficult to comprehend, I reiterate my recommendation of this website and You Tube presentation on The Fracking of Rachel Carson.  It made me want to start yelling to everyone in Pennsylvania to think about drinking filtered water.   Your contamination will have no end.  What is big business thinking? Have they no respect for Mother Earth?
  •  Spraying is done everywhere.  Now I call ahead and do not allow spraying and scents of any kind in hotel/motels where I stay.  All my chemical exposure have induced multiple chemical sensitivities.

So you see that studying Mary Washington has led to the biggest challenge in all of cancer:  addressing the area of cause when there are no genetic risks.   And I haven’t even gotten into the subject of treatment involving the introduction of more carcinogens of chemo and radiation.  Seems like a vicious circle doesn’t it?  And it won’t end until the day when Americans stick their head out their proverbial window and say “I am mad as hell, and I won’t take this anymore.”

At least in California a big vote is coming up which could hit a big blow to GMO’s.  I hope to God it passes. (It failed by the way–lobbyists)  For goodness sake, they won’t allow this stuff in France and Russia with the horrific  pictures of the rats fed GMO corn studded with tumors.  And it is not just about eating corn on the cob.  High fructose corn syrup is put into everything  and is bad for everyone, but especially children.

But back to the beginning with Mary Washington. The placement of a wreath at her memorial has taken on new import and urgency.

The autumn wreath, itself, at her memorial is a facsimile of plants that she might have grown in her garden and on her plantations. The organic plants in her time would have been harvested in the fall and are a multitude of fall colors, shapes and sizes and they are NOT PINK.  Even the gourd on the wreath would have been made into bird homes for the winter.

Breast cancer strikes mostly women but men too all over the world.  Breast cancer does not discriminate and the ages of the BC victims are getting younger and younger.  The young ones as I call them have a much more aggressive disease.  Any one who has watched a loved one die of breast cancer, or any cancer knows  just what a horrendous disease this is.   But until medicine addresses the environment and epigenetics, which is the way genes interact with the environment,  this scourge on humanity will just continue to grow.

At this moment The American Cancer Society is funding a 30 year study to “attempt to identify the genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors that lead to cancer.”  Does anyone else but me see how ludicrous this study is?  Imagine how many billions of dollars the cancer machine can rake in before this study is completed.  People are suffering and dying now from the diagnosis and barbaric treatments.

Just today I heard of a stage four 26 year old with breast cancer.  She needs genetic tests and targeted therapy which is so expensive that her insurance won’t cover it.

And the efficacy of these newer treatments is not known long term.

The bees, canaries and all of us don’t have another minute let alone 30 more years of study what we already know.  Because of good old fashioned greed, we live in a toxic soup that is limitless.   Newborn babies are born with over 200-300 chemicals in their body. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=newborn-babies-chemicals-exposure-bpa

http://www.nrdc.org/living/pregnancy/cancer-panel-warning-babies-born-pre-polluted.asp

From Mary Washington, to Rachel Carlson, to all of us, history’s echo of the suffering from cancer calls us to action.

The future is now.  As Abraham Lincoln once said, These dead shall not have died in vain.  Our new birth of freedom must include our protection from toxic chemicals.

The babies and everyone else deserve no less.

Here is what is written on the Wreath:

This October wreath is placed in memory and honor of Mary Ball Washington who suffered and died from Breast cancer.

This spunky independent mother of George Washington  deserves this honor for a life well lived.  She “fought the good fight and kept the faith”.

This wreath has also been placed to honor all those who have lost their lives to breast cancer.  And, most especially, this wreath is dedicated to those who are now struggling with metastatic breast cancer for which there still is no cure and no definitive cause 240 years later.  And, lastly, this wreath honors all survivors who struggle with the lasting effects of having had breast cancer, and are so very grateful for their lives every day.

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My life has been intertwined with the name Mary Washington for many years.  I am proud to say I spent 5 years part time for an undergraduate degree and 4 years part time for a graduate degree at Mary Washington College now The University of Mary Washington, http://www.umw.edu

“Today the university is the only public, coeducational college in the United States named after a secular woman.”

Mary Washington Hospital http://www.marywashingtonhealthcare.com/locations/mary-washington-hospital is where my husband delivered babies and did OB-GYN surgery for 44 years.  Both my children were born there, and my breast cancer surgery and adjuvant surgery were done there.

If you are inclined to do so, you can join The newly formed Preservation Virginia in Fredericksburg to support Mary’s  house and 2 other historic Fredericksburg properties.  http://preservationvirginia.org/visit/historic-properties/mary-washington-house

http://www.kenmore.org is The George Washington Foundation maintaining Ferry Farm and Kenmore, the house of Fielding and Betty Washington Lewis.

The City of Fredericksburg, Virginia lovingly maintains The Mary Washington Monument, Lodge and property.  The Monument in memory of Mary Washington was the first monument in the country conceived, bought, and paid for by women.  http://www.kenmore.org/genealogy/washington/monument.html

The Memorials Advisory Commission in Fredericksburg with the leadership of Jim Paytes is involved in safe guarding this property.   http://www.fredericksburgva.gov/Departments/boards/index.aspx?id=140  My husband started this commission with the suggestion of the mayor of Fredericksburg after he retired from city council.  He served for 18 years.  After his death, I became a member of this commission.

Peter D’Adamo ND for information on genetic diets and epigenetics.  My doctor who has been a Godsend http://dadamo.com

Breast Cancer Study and Support List on Yahoo groups–http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/bcStudyandSupport/   “Our focus is on the exploration and use of alternative therapies to help all breast cancer patients.”

The Annie Appleseed Project started by Ann Fonfa which  “provides information, education, advocacy, and awareness for people with cancer and their family and friends”

http://www.annieappleseedproject.org

Dangers of High Iodine Supplementation in Pregnancy

Marilyn Holasek Lloyd RN MALS

 A study was released last week from the Journal of Pediatrics, showing that high dose iodine in 3 infants caused hypothyroidism.  Now as studies go, this was a small study, but as it turns out probably a ground breaking one.

Here is a copy of the abstract and a link to the full study

http://www.physiciansbriefing.com/Article.asp?AID=667037

All prenatal vitamins contain iodine because it is a necessary supplement for the well-being of a baby’s neuro-cognitive development.  This has been known for years and years.  Everyone needs iodine and especially now since iodine was removed from the making of bread and replaced with bromide years ago.  Bromide displaces iodine in the body.

But how did this happen that a supplement that was so needed by everyone ends up potentially hurting some babies?  Simply because iodine became a cottage industry:  Iodine books, Iodine articles, Iodine loading tests etc.

This is a good thing in the area of breast cancer prevention. There is great validity to the theory that iodine might play a vital role in breast cancer prevention, but the jury is out on the dose.  Some practicing alt meds and physicians have been recommending huge doses and have thousands taking them.  This is fine for consenting adults to be guinea pigs for the accepted doses of iodine, but it turns out to be potentially dangerous for the most vulnerable, the babies.

And simply put, the iodine craze filtered down to pregnant women.  Women who wanted their babies to be “smart.”  So they stepped outside the bounds of established obstetrical advice and started taking extra iodine without their OB’s knowledge.   The shame here is that the “iodine-literate” docs probably never studied the effect of iodine in neonates and newborns and didn’t disseminate a warning about excess iodine to pregnant and lactating women.

Frankly, my dear OB-GYN husband would have been appalled that this could happen.

Now, I think, in light of this potentially medically setting precedent, medical professionals will need to attach a warning on excess iodine in pregnant women.

And in my personal life, well-meaning people in the iodine community even recommended that my pregnant daughter (at the time) take iodine   I knew better than to interfere with obstetrical practice.  But that is why I am so passionate about writing about this.

Going back to the three infants in the study,  the mothers took 12.5 mg of iodine daily.  This seems like a minuscule amount compared to the doses proposed for breast cancer prevention and for breast cancer survivors.  (but it is over 10 times the recommended daily allowance)  But that amount caused major problems for these 3 babies.  When you view the full study, the first baby might have a messed up thyroid for life.  The other two babies were twins and their thyroid’s recovered.  The head physician of this study,  Dr. Connelly, writes: the immature thyroid glands of fetuses and newborns have not developed this protective effect and are more susceptible to iodine-induced hypothyroidism. Although infants recover normal thyroid function after acute iodine exposure (e.g., a few days of topical iodine application), continuous excessive iodine exposure to the fetal and neonatal thyroid gland may cause long-term harmful effects on thyroid function.

How did the doctors find this thyroid problem in the babies?  By routine screening of the newborns thyroid function.  It is such a well documented article with all of the tests the babies had including analysis of the mother’s breast milk.

Now here is what is really scary.  The first mother’s breast milk was loaded with iodine.

So this is a cautionary tale for both pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers not to take extra iodine.  A good prenatal vitamin which lactating women take along with their food (if they don’t go overboard with seaweed) will not give their baby’s this problem.

What makes this such a ground breaking study is this might be the tip of the iceberg.  My guess is that newborn thyroid screenings are going to show more of this problem.  At least all 50 states have a thyroid screening test.

How many well-meaning women are thinking they are doing the right thing by supplementing all that extra iodine, when it could be potentially  considered the wrong thing?   Dr. Connelly seems to be worried about this and this would include all obstetricians and pediatricians.

The take home message for all of these doctors is to get a straight answer out of their patients of exactly what supplements their patients are taking.

In America it seems, more is better,  but in the case of iodine supplementation, it has been shown to be dangerous for pregnant women and breast-feeding women to take overdoses of iodine.  The poor little baby’s thyroids can’t handle it.

A Book Review

You Did What?  Saying “No” to Conventional Cancer Treatment

By Authors Hollie and Patrick Quinn

Last month I attended a Advances in Cancer Strategies Symposium in Stamford, Connecticut which was sponsored by Healthy Medicine Academy.  At this conference, I had the distinct pleasure and honor of meeting Hollie and Patrick Quinn.  Hollie gave me her book and I started reading it when I arrived home.  This is an astounding book for so many reasons.  Not only are they wonderful and profound writers, but also they illustrate not only in statistics, but in Hollie’s survival of an aggressive cancer, that decisions in cancer treatment are not as simple as they appear.

Here is an example of the profound writing in the first paragraph of the book.  In August of 2002, the forces of life and death knocked on our door simultaneously.  When we opened the door, there they stood.  Our beautiful new daughter, Cassie, and cancer together.  Cassie, on the doorstep in the tight swaddle that she seemed to love being in; and those perfect lips of hers.  And cancer–dark, full of fear and despair, beckoning us into its abyss.

It is such an anomaly of being 38 weeks pregnant with a diagnosis of breast cancer.  Hollie age 27 at the time literally went from diagnosis to delivery in the same day with induced labor.  Less than two weeks later she had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy.  (As a breast cancer survivor myself, I cannot imagine the colliding of two separate worlds one of life and one of possible death and all within weeks of the other.)  Then she had to recover from surgery and make all of those simply awful cancer decisions while caring for a newborn.

Hollie and Patrick took matters into their own hands and did something I did as well:  Research.  Research. Research.  She was recommended to have chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and radiation.  And in the end, she said No to everything which was an incredibly brave decision.

In this book, they are very precise on explaining the statistics for the treatments offered by some of the best physicians on the West Coast.  They explain those statistics in the terms of Dr. Susan Love, the breast cancer expert:  For every 10 women who receive chemotherapy, (similar to Hollies) seven would remain healthy without it, two would have had a recurrence anyway, and one would be spared a recurrence due to chemotherapy.   

Viewing that statistic, 90 percent of women are incorrectly subjected to the rages of potentially deadly chemical treatments–is not being revealed in this book for the first time.  It’s widely known.  

In fact, I wrote about this myself for Redflagsdaily in 2002 and how chemotherapy statistics are manipulated to get the person to say yes.  It was done to me.   If a doctor says you have an 8-10% reduction of risk of recurrence (the statistics for stage one), the ordinary person thinks okay, my risk is 30%, and now it could be 20%.  WRONG.  I didn’t even figure this out until 7 years after my decision to say no when I wrote about it.  The correct math and absolute survival statistics works like this:  You need to take 8-10% of the risk of 30%, so the absolute benefit for poisoning oneself is 3% for a premenopausal patient, and .9% for a post menopausal patient.

What makes Hollie’s decision so brave indeed was written about in chapter 7.  Hollie’s cancer was ER+ and PR-. . . .but it was also HER2/neu Positive.   These cancers are more aggressive and have a poorer prognosis.

I just can’t do this book justice in a short book review.  This story is about saying no to the financially driven cancer machine on one hand, but more importantly, it is a story of survival concerning her decisions and what she did do to prevent a recurrence.

While they were doing all the research, they had  one of those angelic connections in life. A neighbor  pointed her to an Oriental Medicine Doctor in Santa Monica, who took off of her shelf the book Herbal Medicine, Healing and Cancer by Donald Yance a renowned herbalist.  They write:  And in that moment, our neighbor had cured Hollie’s cancer.  

Donald Yance had a clinic in  Oregon called The Centre for Natural Healing.  And they called immediately.  Again the angels intervened because her chemo was rescheduled and the clinic found an opening.  She was already on steroids to mitigate the damage the chemo would do to her when she had that first consultation one day before her chemo treatment.  The Centre asked her to delay chemo a week.  IT IS NOW TEN YEARS LATER.

In their book, Hollie and Patrick explain a lot about not so common information about the Proof or Spoof?  The Case against Conventional Cancer Treatment.  One of the most  astounding recommendations for Hollie was the tamoxifen which is showed in several medical studies to actually increase the risk of recurrence for someone HER2 positive.  And that ER+ and PR- tumors are less sensitive to tamoxifen.  Apparently, none of her  oncologists paid attention to that critical research.

So Holle and her husband Patrick went with the protocols recommended by Donald Yance.  And then they changed every aspect of their lives from the food they ate, to their immediate environment, to cleaning products, to  pure water.  (This is by the way the same thing I did with changing everything).  So what is Hollie’s response to survival by conventional medicine?  SHE WAS LUCKY!  Lucky?  How arrogant!  How wrong this is when someone is alive and well with the decisions and treatments she chose.  It is more than lucky!  And have any of her conventional doctors ever asked her what she did do?  Of course not.

Saying that Hollie was lucky is merely another way of saying that she didn’t need the harmful treatments being recommended so strenuously to her in 2002.  It’s just another way of saying that those treatment prescriptions were medical mistakes, and that there was another, safer, smarter option that our doctors simply missed. . . .

These doctors ignored the wisdom that underlies the botanical and nutritional science of Hollie’s traditional medicine treatment protocol.  The logic behind Hollie’s treatment is simple–change the body’s biochemistry to make it inhospitable to cancer. . . . with targets synergistic and safe natural medicines, together with comprehensive lifestyle changes all built upon a solid foundation of nutritional science is the result of 5000 years of accumulated wisdom from a wide variety of medical disciplines.

Chapters 9 and 10 in the book compare medicine’s view of fighting fire with fire as opposed to their view of fighting fire with water.  In those chapters they compare the two approaches to prevention and to monitoring and finding breast cancer through the use of thermograms versus mammograms to mention one thing.  They are comprehensive chapters on these controversial issues.

Hollie and Patrick’s writing is so grounded in science and references to back up everything they say.  They are not Pollyannas but are realistic researchers who happened to have found a better way to confront Hollie’s cancer.  And by the way, as Patrick mentions in the book, he helped Hollie research.  She came to her own decisions.

What a profound picture of Hollie from the beginning of the book finding out she had cancer and being curled up in a corner of the closet, to this brave courageous woman and couple who did their homework and found a better way for them.  And survived and thrived to write and talk about it.  As the last chapter title, She Got Well Again is quite an understatement.  Not only did she get well again, but their second child was born in 2006.  The arrival of Michaela was an important hallmark of Hollie’s health overall, since her cancer had initially developed during her pregnancy, such that there was a chance that, had her body still been susceptible to cancer, it may well have developed again during her second pregnancy.

Meeting Hollie and Patrick was one of the highlights of that conference.  Reading their book of decisions and survival in many ways reflected my own decisions and was quite profound.

But this book You Did What?  Saying “No” to Conventional Cancer Treatment, makes a bigger mark than one person’s survival.  It clearly shows all of the flawed thinking, lists all of the statistics, and really gives anyone in the midst of cancer decisions something to think about.  They are not saying that everyone should follow Hollie’s path.  They are saying that there is much more to consider when considering poisoning one’s entire system to survive a life threatening disease.  It gives one pause that CancerLand has almost everyone marching down the road like sheep to the slaughter.  But this book shows that there is another way.  Or at least if there isn’t another way, there are still things that can be done to mitigate some of the damage done by conventional treatments.

It’s not only a good read, but  also shows a remarkable path of inquiry leading to a “Road Less Traveled,”  for any newly diagnosed cancer patient.  I applaud both Hollie and Patrick on writing this book and showing this path.

The best way to end this review is in Hollie and Patrick’s own words: Our lives today are admittedly a blissful arrangement of health, happiness, and deep-seated serenity.  Our journey began where most cancer journeys start–in a thick and dark forest of fear, where you can’t see the forest or the trees.  We slowly but surely cut a healing path to an almost unbearable lightness of being.  Our focus now is on creating more and broader paths from illness to wellness, so that others might find a safe passage, as we did. We leave you with a wish, offered with all the energy we can possibly muster, that you and yours get well again too, and whatever it is that ails you, and whatever path back to wellness you choose.  And if your intuition is telling you that there’s a safer and smarter way back, then we promise you there is.  Hollie found it, and you can too.

The Whole-Food Guide for Breast Cancer Survivors by Edward Bauman and Helayne Waldman came out last month.  This book is A Nutritional Approach to Preventing BC Recurrence.  Now after the initial treatment usually involving surgery and then adjuvant treatment, the breast cancer survivor always asks themselves the big question, “Now what do I do?”

Being honest though, some breast cancer survivors never ever ask those questions.  They go on with life as usual thinking that medicine took care of their problem.

I of course was in the former group and would have loved a book like this as a guide after my surgical treatments.  I did see someone and follow a wellness plan for about two years, but in retrospect he knew little about breast cancer, and he actually recommended some very dangerous things.  His high dose vitamin therapy hurt me, and I had to dump him at year two of diagnosis.  Then I found an integrative doctor in New York and a month later Dr. Peter D’Adamo who I have seen ever since.

My journey would have been different if there were such a book as The Whole-Food Guide because it is so specific for breast cancer.  The authors cover  “Traditional and Emerging Risk Factors, Eating for Health, Avoidable Exposures, a lot about all aspects of nutrition including sufficiencies, efficiencies, glucose, weight, immunity, inflammation and lowering toxic burden, and hormone harmony.”

This guide is a starting point for breast cancer survivors who want to change but don’t know where to start.  It is food for thought and  to see which points resonate and which points deserve more study.  Not everyone who sees an ongoing integrative doctor to prevent breast cancer recurrence will agree with everything said in this book.  However, the most important thing is that all of these very important points act as a guide.  You know a guide is never set in cement.  They just help you traverse the abyss.  And I’m telling you, breast cancer is an abyss.

For starters, most people don’t realize that breast cancer can be deadly two, five, 10 or even 30 years down the breast cancer road.  When I realized that fact, I wanted to change everything in my life to give myself a better chance to live.

Breast cancer is an abyss because it robs people of their peace of mind.  Any cancer does that.  And that is usally known only to survivors, hence all of the various support groups.

What a wonderful tool this book would be for a breast cancer support group.  I had to find my own cancer support group, because the hospital based ones were still munching cookies and chips and didn’t have a clue about cleaning up one’s state of health.  I ran from that group never to return.  I found a wellness group of a few women, and started another support group of women wanting to change.  Each woman was motivated to a holistic approach improving body, mind, and spirit,  giving ourselves the best chance to live.

All of that was in my real life.  But then there is cyber space.  I couldn’t just join any support group there either, because the medical ones were only interested in drug support, and saying no to chemo put me out of traditional groups.  I found an Amazon Alt Med group that was perfectly suited to supporting change in just about every area covered in this book.  We would have loved to have this book as a guide when I joined 14 years ago.

One of the beautiful things about This Whole Food Guide is that several of my friends from Amazon are quoted at the end of 4 chapters.  Each chapter has a survivor make a comment which is wonderful.

Because this book covers so much wellness territory, I do not want to go on about the specifics, but I encourage any breast cancer survivor, or friend of a survivor, or a support group, or family member of a survivor to buy this book.

Again, I must say I have a prejudicial view because I wrote the 3 page Afterward.  This piece of writing pretty much says that fear was highly motivating for me.  And that “fear, faith, family, and friends” helped me greatly in my breast cancer journey.  To sum up, my last sentence says, “I can’t say the cancer walk is easy, but I know that if someone like me can change, then anyone can change.”

But the book doesn’t end there.  It is followed up with recipes, resources, and references.  Edward Bauman and Helayne Waldman did an excellent comprehensive job.  It is well written and easy to follow. And as I said, every breast cancer patient fears the dreaded word recurrence.  This book is a major step to empower women to do everything in their power to prevent one.  The rest is in God’s hands.

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When you read my afterword, I want to restate that I did not see Dr. Peter D’adamo the first two years, but the last 14 years.  In the realm of medicine, I credit my surgeon, Dr. Richard Thompson and Dr. D’Adamo for saving my life.

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The Amazon Alt Med online support group is transitioning to a Yahoo Group.  Reconnect with this blog and I will give you the new address.

Late last year, A Book of Miracles by Dr. Bernie Siegel was released for sale.  The By-Line says “Inspiring True Stories of Healing, Gratitude, and Love.”  This book lives up to its title.

Dr. Bernie Siegel is no stranger to miracles, he has been writing about them since the time he was a practicing surgeon, and when he started a support group in Connecticut called Exceptional Cancer Patients.  All of his early books have stories of miracles in them.  Some of my favorites have been the gardener who had a terrible cancer and refused treatment and said it was planting season.  He saw Dr. Siegel years later for gall stones, and Dr. Siegel couldn’t believe he was still alive.  Another story from his older books was the story about the woman who was practically on her death-bed when her daughter asked her what she wanted for her birthday, and she said an expensive spring purse.  Instead of her daughter saying to her mom that she is not supposed to live til spring, the daughter bought the purse and her mother lived and used the purse for 15 years.

This Book of Miracles is different because it not just Bernie’s miracles, but a collection of miracles from all over the country.  And I had the honor and privilege of having one of my stories appear in his book.  My friend Barbara Kimberlin has seen 3 miracles and maybe more in her 18 year bout with carcinoid cancer.  I described her second miracle in this book when she went to Moffatt Cancer Center, and they saved her life.  The story printed like it happened this fall, but it actually happened a number of years ago.

Dr. Siegel, actually he wants to be called Bernie,  not only has written a slew of books for cancer survivors, but also conducts his seminars all over the country, and also has done a collection of meditation tapes.  I can happily say that I have experienced every aspect of Bernie’s work since my diagnosis of breast cancer almost 16 years ago.

The first time I met him was at a conference the first year after my diagnosis.  My fear level was so high that year, and I used his tapes to help me sleep.  I experienced my first seminar with him  and went up to him  to thank him for “Letting me sleep with him.”   At least cancer hadn’t taken my sense of humor.  At that time, I actually looked terrible.  The first alt med I went too believed in these cleanses and I had lost 20 pounds.  I looked sick.  But at the time, I was desperate for anything that would prevent breast cancer recurrence after my medical surgeries were over.  He thoughtfully listened to me and then I walked away.  He called me back.  He then said, “You know I didn’t help you, you helped yourself.”  That is the perfect example of Bernie.

The next time I went to one of his conferences it was much longer and we had time to experience all Bernie had to offer including drawing pictures of our cancer experience.  That night there was a room full of alt med practitioners and doctors from all over the country talking to each other, networking away.  And there was Bernie, sitting at a table with a line waiting to sit next to him so this wonderful doctor could help explain our drawings.

I must have been to at least 5 such seminars and even if some stories were repeated, I thoroughly enjoyed everyone.  And I must say that my drawings of myself  were getting better and better!  Any cancer patient that has the chance to participate in these workshops and seminars should take the opportunity to do so.  There is something so comforting, down to earth, and healing about this doctor.

The last time I saw him was a conference at Virginia Beach.  I met him checking out at the hotel.  I stopped and asked him how could I keep my health up while caring for my husband that was so ill?  He empathized with me and it was very comforting, because at times he also knows what it is like to be a care giver.

To me, Bernie is a wonderful Doc!  Not only because of all the miracles he has seen and written about.  And not only because of his latest book on Miracles which can uplift anyone, but also he is a miracle himself. In his own words he said in his latest book, “When we decide to make a difference in the world and create peace, love, and happiness for all living things… that will indeed be a miracle.”  And Bernie you are a miracle because you have devoted your life to doing exactly that.

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BERNIE can be found all over the internet, and you can even find him on utube.  Just do a google search of his name–Bernie Siegel

He maintains a support group online http://barrybittman.websitetoolbox.com/ and he can also be found on facebook  http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1603570256

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From Bernie 2/24/12

marilyn
thank you and i have web site where people can send me comments or questions
http://www.berniesiegelmd.com and can connect with ecap from there too and order the book    blessings to you__________________
bernie siegel

Naturopathicphobia

First Published on Dadamo.com in 2005

 My state suffers from naturopathicphobia.  Our local medical society is so proud of sponsoring a candidate who blocked a bill to study the possibility of naturopaths coming to Virginia.  I have come to the conclusion that there are four possible reasons for this.

For one thing, I do not think that Virginia allopathic Western medical docs have a clue as to what a naturopathic physician is or does.  I’m sure they don’t understand their education or training.  Naturopathic physicians are well trained and have great knowledge of medical physiology.  See this link for a description of naturopathic physician.

http://www.naturopathic.org/content.asp?contentid=60

Secondly, there are people in Virginia that call themselves naturopaths who have an online education.  I think the physicians are getting confused by the title.

Thirdly, I think they are just plain threatened by what THEY don’t know.  Most of Western medicine docs are very intimidated with the knowledge of herbs that naturopaths use.  Western docs prefer synthetic drugs, because the FDA is totally trustworthy and only interested in the welfare of the patients.  (Did you ever hear of “gallows’s humor?)  I have repeatedly said that medicine as we know it has sold out to the drug companies.  It has been going on for 50 years plus.  And it is very insidious.  The university studies financed by the drug companies also supply the doctors to teach the required continuing education classes.  So the doctors feel they are up to date, when in essence they are being fed the drug party line.  Certainly the horse urine pills as estrogen replacement are a good example.  Given for 30 plus years, but never tested correctly, countless women have been harmed.

Lastly, when I taught my stress seminars, I always said that middle jobs were the most stressful.  Teachers and nurses are middle workers.  Having to answer to above and be responsible for the below employees takes a toll.  But now, with the big insurance debacle facing all of us, doctors now find themselves middle workers as well.

The insurance companies dictate how the doctor practices medicine including what procedures and drugs to prescribe.  This is affecting the doctors’ self esteem and their pocketbook.  Mal practice insurance is killing medicine especially in OB.  And the patients below are more informed and some don’t just line up and do everything the godlike doc says.

So basically this squeezes a physician from all angles.  You can see how doctors would not stand for an extra threat on their own upper middle tier by naturopathic physicians.  This would be an invasion to their new middle ground.

For me, it’s a darn shame that naturopaths are so feared in Virginia.  Maybe that is why I travel 400 miles to see a doctor.  But there are good reasons for those of us who choose naturopaths.  Some of us are more comfortable NOT taking synthetic drugs unless absolutely necessary.  Some of us don’t want to go like sheep to the slaughter for serious diseases.  When an illness strikes, some of us want to be understood and inside and out as an individual not as a disease diagnosis.  And a lot of us are interested in cause of disease in order to get to cure of a disease.  Western medicine deals with a DISEASE system and is not much interested nor has time for prevention.

However, it is very hard when common problems arise that would have fairly simple solutions, but I don’t want to go to the doctor and come out with a drug.  I have said to some, “Just give me a diagnosis not drugs.”

My Gyn doctor who was trained in Ireland is retired.  He compassionately took care of just about everything for me.  Besides the gyn stuff, he ordered all the blood tests I wanted even the far out ones.  He checked my chest wall as a surgeon would for breast cancer follow up.  He always encouraged me to do what I’m doing since it is working.  He understood my fear of some of his colleagues.  His partner took over, and I am very grateful for that.  I also have an open minded oncologist, and I had a very good surgeon before he retired.

So what can I do about this naturopathic phobia?  I can educate any physician willing to listen to me.  This is an almost impossible task and one that makes me shudder.  Having been educated in nursing school over 40 years ago, we were the nursing students who stood up and practically saluted a godlike doctor when they entered the room.  We gave them our seat, and bowed in their presence.   However, I’m stronger now.  I have more knowledge and a much bigger mouth.  I’ll see how it goes. . . .

________________________________________________

The above essay was written for dadamo.com in 2005.  Let us see what has changed.  Naturopaths are still not licensed in the state of Virginia.  I still see Dr. Peter D’Adamo in Connecticut, and credit him with keeping me alive all these years. With age and other conditions, he continues to be the only doctor I trust to treat me holistically, body, mind, and soul.  When my Ob-Gyn husband first met him in 1999, he said, “Dr. D’Adamo is a genius.”

I agree with that statement for sure.  But not only that.  He is kind, considerate, and a great human being.  I am blessed to have him for a doctor.

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