October 30, 2010

Interview on Q13 Fox

 Parts 1 and 2 of last week's young breast cancer survivors' interview with Angela King of Q13 Fox aired earlier last night. I speak in part 1. You can view the link here. (Further down the left side of that page is a link saying : "Related BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS PART 2." Click there to see the second half of the story.)
(This link takes you to part one of the four part story Angela told a few years ago in 2008.)

Here is the text that accompanied the video:

October - National Breast Cancer Awareness Month - is almost over, but a group of ladies we first introduced you to in 2008 is reminding everyone to remain vigilant year round.
Tammy, Jill, Katie, Nicole, Anna, Courtney are members of the Young Survival Coalition. The support group is made up of women who were diagnosed with breast cancer before their 40th birthdays (the majority of breast cancer patients find out they have the disease when they're in their 60's). 
When we first interviewed these six survivors two years ago, there were part of a group of 11 women. Some are doing well, others not so well, and unfortunately one didn't make it. But let's go back now ... to when they were all still here. The first part of this story is from one of the original stories that aired back in 2008. 
These are some of the members of the Young Survival Coalition.  This story is dedicated to the *one* who's passed on.

October 27, 2010

On recent deaths

In the past week I have attended two funerals and two shiva minyanim for three different people. One was a man who died at age 89 after escaping Nazi Germany in his late teens, arriving penniless in Seattle, rebuilding his life here, and becoming a leader in our community. The second was a Russian woman, age 79, whose four daughters, and eventually she and her husband, fled the USSR in the 90s for Israel and Seattle. The third death was a woman, age 68, whose ovarian cancer returned earlier this year.

The first two, that's the way it's supposed to be. You live a long, fruitful life; have the opportunity to tell the ones you love how much they love you and hear it from them in return; and move on to the stage of being. The third, who died from cancer -- that's NOT the way it's supposed to be.

What struck me most was how three different people all said the same thing about two of these deaths: how they left things unsaid and wished that they had written that card, made that phone call, before it was too late. One woman said as much in a eulogy she gave.

I know most people don't want to acknowledge that death is a part of life, that we should always maintain hope. But too many of us let our fears get in the way of telling people how much they mean to us. The woman who died of cancer? I believe she would have been overjoyed to get those cards and notes from the people who couldn't bring themselves to write. The young man who wanted to record his grandmother's stories admitted that he let small, unimportant things eat up his time.

Why can't we all tell those we love what they mean to us, as frequently as possible? There is no dress rehearsal for life, and when we let our fears or our busy-ness get in the way, we miss out on the authentic experience of loving and being loved. Isn't this what life is all about?

October 26, 2010

Hadassah and Komen

Hadassah is racing for the cure in Jerusalem with Komen. The city was awash in pink lights on the walls of the old city and on the Shrine of the Book (which many say resembles a giant breast anyway).

This is all a little too pink for me. I will be very curious to read the press coverage. Will they even mention women living with metastatic disease? The 40,000 American women who will die of breast cancer in 2010? Or will the press focus on prevention and early detection, both important topics, but NOT A CURE.

Why are we still racing? When will someone find a cure?

October 23, 2010

The "M" word

This article from the Huffington Post just came across my desktop. The author spoke with Musa Mayer, an author and longtime advocate for women with metastatic disease, who said that "It is as if these metastatic women are invisible, that they literally don't count," she indicated. "And when we don't count people's needs, we can't provide or plan for them." 

October 22, 2010

My "twin"

A friend told me to go look at a poster in the Wedgwood 8 Limbs yoga studio. She was sure it was a photo of me! I stopped by today, and the woman in the poster could be my twin. Chiara Guerrieri is a yoga instructor at the Phinney Ridge and Wedgwood 8 Limbs studios. She also has her own web site.

Don't we look alike?

Another article

A few months ago I was interviewed for an article on lingering effects on life after (or in my case, with) cancer for Health To You magazine (h2u). h2u is a membership organization providing "benefits and resources that support your health and well-being." The article came out recently and I received a copy of the magazine from the author.

The article is called "A lifelong journey: How cancer survivors pick up the pieces." Although I was not featured on the cover, the table of contents on page two shows a picture of Bobka and I (he's nosing my face) as the draw for the article on page six. There is also a cute photo of me with both dogs at my section of the article. In this one, Pumpkin is licking my face.

The article itself features four people: a man with advanced melanoma that has spread into his bones and liver; a woman with advanced, squamous cell carcinoma on her tongue; a woman who developed lymphedema after her breast cancer surgery; and me. The man and I are the only people interviewed who have metastatic disease -- cancer that has spread outside the original area of diagnosis.

I was happy to talk with the author and she did a great job of listening to me and telling part of my story in this article. 

Busy week

I have been so busy this week as I feel better and better on this chemo break.

On Tuesday I had my regular weekly meeting with the synagogue's senior staff.

Wednesday was the funeral of one of our shul's past presidents and longtime members. I also made sesame cold noodles for the meal of consolation. The family has one vegan and that mourner needed to eat as well.

Thursday was my monthly treatment with zometa, the bone-strengthening drug that I've been on for years. I went to Swedish's Ambulatory Infusion Center at the Cherry Hill campus this time and was happy to see two of the nurses who have been taking care of me for many years. Then I went to my support group, and last night there was a synagogue board meeting.

Today I will be interviewed by Q13 Fox as part of a group of young women with breast cancer. The same reporter did a story on us a few years ago and wanted to follow up now. I will post when I know the program will air.

My lymphedema is acting up again, and I have begun to wear my sleeve and glove during the day and my (new-ish) JoviPak arm sleeve at night. This may be a side effect of the Faslodex, or I may have increased edema for other reasons, but clearly my season of no garment during the day/compression at night is over for now.

October 18, 2010

Men Against Breast Cancer on Fox News

Not every woman with breast cancer has this kind of man in her life. Too many men leave their women during or after a breast cancer diagnosis. I am blessed that Rik is one of the good guys. He attended a national conference sponsored by MABC a few years ago.

Let’s Hear It for the Boy: Men Against Breast Cancer

By Colleen Cappon
Published October 15, 2010
Every October, the flood of pink ribbons and information about breast cancer can mean only one thing: Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
We hear about the 200,000 women who fight breast cancer every year, and we honor those who lost the fight.
What we don’t hear about are the men standing behind those women, who are just as affected by their cancer diagnoses.
Marc Heyison was one of those guys. In 1992, when he was 29, he heard what he calls the five most horrific words he had ever heard: “Your mother has breast cancer.”
Heyison is 47 now, but he still feels the agony of that day. He remembers that he felt like a little boy, scared that his mother, Gloria, was going to die. His family rallied around the woman who was “their foundation,” and they braced for the scariest ride of their life, doing all they could to be there for her.
“One of us was always there for my mom’s treatment appointments, and I thought that was the norm," Heyison told FoxNews.com. "But when I saw women there by themselves, I couldn’t understand that.” 
Heyison’s experience taught him how tough it was to provide the right kind of support for his mother. Seven years later, he started Men Against Breast Cancer (MABC), a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate men on their responsibilities as caregivers. Soon after, MABC became the first organization of its kind to receive a $1.1 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control.
“Men are incredible caregivers when given the opportunity. But they are underserved in education about support,” he said.
Since starting MABC, Heyison said he has been overwhelmed by the number of men who show a need for support for themselves, that they unfortunately find is not addressed in other places.
“It’s bittersweet, because I am proud of what we have accomplished, but there should be a thousand organizations like us, it should be the norm,” he said.
Dr. Cynara Coomer, Fox Medical A-Team member and chief of breast surgery at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City, told FoxNews.com that a spouse or partner’s support is crucial to a smooth recovery from breast cancer.
“Just as it is for the woman, it can be overwhelming for the partner to get diagnosed with cancer; and in addition to that have it be such an emotional decision in what kind of treatment to have,” Coomer said.
Coomer encourages counseling for her patients’ partners, especially if the treatment option includes amastectomy, which she said can hurt a woman’s self-esteem.
Chris Wrobel, of Prior Lake, Minn., found out firsthand how important his support was when his wife, Kaylynn, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer five years ago during a baseline mammogram.
Wrobel, 44, feeling shocked and lost, tried to find the help he needed for himself, and found the majority of the information was for patients, not the caregiver.
“At the clinic she went to, they said, ‘Here is some information,' and it was a tri-fold paper that said what to expect, and to be supportive," he recalled. "Well that’s not really enough. You need more than that. I tried to get help, but there was nothing there to go to.”
Kaylynn found out about MABC and told her husband he needed help dealing with her illness. He made the call, and five years later, he is on the board of directors.
“I felt like, I’m not by myself. All of these guys are in the exact same boat. We are all in this position together,” he said.
Wrobel met with other men who could relate to how he was feeling and could discuss the right things to do in the toughest situations.
“What destroyed me the most was the first day of chemo; holding her hand, saying, ‘Honey I love you, we are in this together,’ and knowing they were pumping her full of poison to kill the bad stuff, and that it was killing the good stuff too,” he said.
Wrobel and his wife made it through the chemotherapy and a double mastectomy. Now, he said, he wants to help other men realize that in order to help their loved ones, they need to help themselves.
“It’s frustrating that I have to watch my fellow man go through what I have gone through and not have help. People haven’t caught on. After it’s over, it’s not the same life you had before, it is different,” he said.
A common theme that both experts and men who have gone through cancer with a loved one can agree on is that generally, when men see a problem, they tend to feel like they can fix it. This is an issue when faced with supporting a breast cancer patient, where the caregiver must stand by them and let the treatments do the work.
Ask any breast cancer survivor, and they will tell you that their doctors scare the daylights out of them, but they are their lifeline, and give them hope.
In addition to regular checkups from a primary care physician, women generally see a breast surgeon, a radiation oncologist, and a medical oncologist. From that bare minimum of four doctors, there usually comes a second opinion from other specialists. Many women end up consulting with as many as 10 doctors—and that means a lot of appointments and even more scheduling issues.
“We teach men that they can be good about getting tasks accomplished — taking notes at the doctor’s office and making appointments, so she can concentrate on her treatment,” Heyison said.
Coomer said in her experience, one of the most important things a man can do to support a woman during breast cancer treatments is to make her feel beautiful.
“Remind her you love her for who she is and not what she looks like,” she said.
MABC addresses all different aspects of support for men, from sexual intimacy, to fear of death, and even when to just get out of the way.
“You don’t want to baby her. If she wants to cook dinner, you’ve got to get the hell out of the kitchen. It gives her a sense of power and normalcy,” Heyison said.
Overall, women need to know that men feel fear and helplessness, and are afraid they are going to die; it makes them feel connected to the person they love.
“A big step is just admitting the fact that strength isn’t necessarily making a muscle, but just telling her that you are scared,” Heyison said.
Russell Cooks found his strength when he learned that his ex-wife Celena was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 37. He said he knew it was God’s plan for him to step up and support her.
Although they were no longer together, Russell traveled 80 miles each way, every day, to her home in Atlanta to take care of Celena and their three children.
“The most difficult part was that she was in a place psychologically where she was not feeling like a whole person, not feeling as pretty; feeling like a part of her was gone,” Cooks said. “I went to MABC, and it helped me to be able to deal with that.”
At the end of her treatment, Cooks’ wife underwent a bilateral mastectomy, and he never left. Five months later, they remarried. Now Cooks, also a MABC board member, calls their fight against breast cancer a “family crusade.”
“For men, there is no way to avoid the fight; you are going to be part of it no matter what. The sooner we get involved, the better results we are going to have, and give women the support system they need,” he said.

October 15, 2010

Cooking up a storm

It's been a week of cooking. As I began to feel better after a week without chemo, my enjoyment in the kitchen increased.

Monday was broiled fresh tuna steaks marinated in ponzu sauce, vegetables and (okay, frozen) vegetable potstickers.

On Tuesday I made dinner for a local family (of, course, we ate a portion as well): roast chicken, cut sweet bell peppers, rice, and some parve chocolate chip cookies.

(I can't remember Wednesday.)

On Thursday I invited the synagogue's staff over for lunch to thank them for all their hard work and many hours during the recent holidays: pumpkin-peanut-curry soup, ramen salad, roasted chicken with zucchini and lemon juice, ginger-chocolate biscotti and dark chocolate bark with pecans and dried cherries.

Tonight's Shabbat dinner: more of the pumpkin-peanut-curry soup, homemade challah (from one of the dinner guests), spiced roasted onions, carrots, peppers and zucchini, turkey breast with garlic, lemon and thyme, mashed potatoes with garlic and olive oil, green salad, the rest of the biscotti and oven-roasted pears.

(We ordered pizza for dinner last night.)

October 13, 2010

National Metastatic Breast Cancer Day

Today, October 13, is National Metastatic Breast Cancer Day. The purpose isto educate the public that there is no cure for what I have. Read this Huffington Post article for more information. Or check out the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network.

Metastatic breast cancer is a different disease than early stage breast cancer. I am glad that  your aunt beat Stage 1 breast cancer, that your friends who had surgery, chemo, and radiation are now fine. I was fine for four years before my mets were found, the day I broke my leg.

Test results

My liver ultrasound revealed no change -- the liver tumors are neither bigger nor smaller. That means the Adriamycin appears not to have worked. Stable isn't necessarily bad news, but I have options.

I am going to have a consult with another oncologist my doctor respects to see if there is a clinical trial appropriate for me. I will likely see either  Georgiana K Ellis orJulie R Gralow at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

I can always go back on Abraxane, the first chemo I tried in May-June. We don't really know how effective it was, since my first scan revealed the presence of liver mets for the first time.

In the meantime both Dr G and I knew about the recent FDA approval of recent FDA approval of high-dose Faslodex (fulvestrant) for metastatic breast cancer, so I had two 250 mg intramuscular shots in my tush this afternoon. (I had Faslodex once for only a few months when it appeared to cause additional edema. Of course, the edema might have been unrelated. Either way, it's a risk I am prepared to take for an effective treatment.)

I have a follow up appointment with Dr G in a month, unless something warrants coming in earlier.

For now this means no more chemo! I can recover from the last dose of Adriamycin and maybe my hair will grow back more quickly.

October 12, 2010

"Pink" comics follow up

My letter to the Seattle Times about the pink Sunday comics has appeared on their website. They called it "Sunday comics colored pink - Pink cartoons won’t cure my cancer."

Blogging for free

Today I received a request from Woman's Day Magazine to write a short piece on why I blog about my cancer. Although I was flattered to be asked, I was frustrated that the request did not offer to compensate me in any way for my time. It felt that Woman's Day was taking advantage of me, a woman living with breast cancer. I think I did the right thing. 
Here is the letter:
Hi Jill, 
I hope you’re doing well! I’m working on a story for Woman'sDay.com  about Breast Cancer bloggers. I came across your blog and would love to include you in the piece.

I’m looking for a first person narrative (about 300-500 words) about your experience with breast cancer, and what blogging has added to your experience. I’d also love to know what sort of impact you’ve had on other breast cancer patients and the cause in general.
When it comes to tone, the more your personality shines through, the better. I’d love for your narrative to really evoke your own personality and give the readers and honest view of what you’re going through and have gone through.
Let me know if you’d be up for it! It would be ideal if you could have the narrative back to me by Thursday or Friday.
Thanks so much! I’m looking forward to working together.
Amanda Greene | Staff Writer/Editor 
1271 Avenue of the Americas, 42nd Floor • New York, NY 10020

Here's my response:

Amanda, thank you for your interest in my blog. I am currently in active chemotherapy and doubt I could meet your three day deadline. 
When it comes to for-profit ventures, I am happy to discuss appropriate compensation and other details. I do generously donate my time to a variety of breast cancer nonprofits.
If you want to continue this conversation, please feel free to be in touch.
I hope that Women's Day will find a way to cover women living with metastatic disease. Stage IV cancer is under-reported in the media and significantly under-funded when it comes to cancer research.
Take care,

And here is Amanda's response:

Hi Jill,
Thanks so much for your reply. I completely understand about not being able to make the deadline--it's quite a short one.
I agree--I think that there should be a lot more coverage in the media about women living with Stage IV cancer. It would make a good web piece for October and I plan to look into it.
Thanks again, and best of luck.

October 10, 2010

"Pink" comics

(I sent this to the Seattle Times this morning after seeing the "pink" comics in today's paper. We'll see if they print it in the letters to the editor.)
What is with the "pink ribbon" comics in Sunday's paper? I can't believe there is anyone in the USA who is not aware of breast cancer. Will pink coloring in the comics somehow cure breast cancer?
All the pink ribbon images in the world won't help me, a woman living with metastatic breast cancer since 2002.
"According to a FORTUNE examination of NCI grants going back to 1972, less than 0.5% of study proposals focused primarily on metastasis--trying to understand, for instance, its role in a specific cancer (e.g., breast, prostate) or just the process itself. Of nearly 8,900 NCI grant proposals awarded last year, 92% didn't even mention the word metastasis." (Fortune Magazine, March 22, 2004)

I believe there is only one USA nonprofit raising funds exclusively for research into metastatic breast cancer: METAVivor.
Where is the Seattle Times coverage of this issue?

October 09, 2010

GelClair update

After spending an hour on the telephone yesterday with various health insurance folks, I got good news about GelClair to treat my mouth sores.

Early in the day I sent an email to GelClair's manufacturer, EKR Therapeutics, asking about the problem of getting GelClair locally. I received a reply from Carol Shanik at EKR's Medical Information Services that "GelClair is still being manufactured and is available, however, some wholesalers do not stock it and tell their customers, incorrectly, that it is no longer available." She then provided me with contact information for Diplomat Pharmacy in Flint, MI, which does stock GelClair and will dispense it with a physician's prescription.

The two local pharmacies I contacted to get GelClair both use the same wholesaler, McKesson. One pharmacist asked their McKesson representative why McKesson no longer carries GelClair and was told that GelClair's manufacturer ships product too close to the expiration date.

I then called Diplomat Pharmacy and yes, they would be happy to provide me with GelClair. Of course, I had to contact my new health insurance company, Premera Blue Cross, to determine if Diplomat Pharmacy is on their list of preferred providers. Yes, they were -- but I also learned that Premera has a mail-order pharmacy (Medco) that stocks GelClair. They would ship me a 30 day supply for the same co-pay as if I had a smaller quantity prescription filled locally. 

Saving money is a no-brainer, and I go through three packets of GelClair daily while my mouth is troublesome. The usual quantity filled, a box of fifteen packets, only lasts five days!  So I called Dr G's office to have a new prescription faxed to Medco for the larger quantity of GelClair. It should be here in a few days.

Then I decided to call Premera to get the details on our new health insurance. I spoke with a wonderful representative who answered all my questions and was so helpful that I asked to commend her to her supervisor. Maybe this switch to Premera, even though it is costing us $150 more per month, and charges me 20% of the costs of chemotherapy (to a maximum of $1375 per calendar year), will be good in the long run.

After spending all this time on the phone, who should call but Carol Shanik of EKR Therapeutics? She wanted to be sure I could get the GelClair I needed. I checked the expiration date on my last packet of GelClair (February 2011, not exactly around the corner) and Carol told me that many wholesalers prefer to receive product with an expiration date of later than six months.

I was impressed by the excellent customer service I received yesterday, even though I had to spend more than an hour on the telephone straightening everything out. I will post again when the GelClair arrives.

October 08, 2010

Mouth issues

I am supposed to have my teeth cleaned on Monday and they always tell you not to do so while on chemotherapy. So off I went to Dr G to have my blood tested to see if my counts are high enough to permit dental work. After examining me and looking at my lab report, Dr G said yes. Yet one more medical appointment for the week, but hopefully I can have my regular dental appointment next week.

On the other hand, my mouth has been bothering me these past few days. I tried to refill my prescription for the mouth rinse GelClair, but after trying two pharmacies and getting the same response, it seems the manufacturer is  no longer making this product available. Last week I must have got the last box in Seattle. Even the drug rep to Swedish's pharmacy could not get her hands on a full box.

I hope that the anti-viral acyclovir plus the troches and gargling with salt water will be enough to keep my mouth sores from increasing. I will ask at Dr G's office today if there is anything else to recommend, and I will call my dentist too. You never know....

October 06, 2010

Day 3 of Adriamycin #5

Things are so far, so good - with the exception that my mouth sores are multiplying. I called Dr G's office yesterday to report another tender spot. Nurse J called back to say he wanted me to start acyclovir (an anti-viral medication) five times a day, in addition to the GelClair mouth rinse three times a day and clotrimazole troches (lozenges) five times a day. Not to mention gargling with salt water every hour or so.

The biggest news is that Dr G wants me to have three weeks of treatment followed by a week off. Since this past Monday was the third in a row, no treatment for me next week. Woohoo!

I hope that the acyclovir will keep the mouth sores at bay and that the rest of this week will go well. I am glad Dr G is being cautious about not exposing me to increased risk for infection etc. by treating me three weeks on/one week off. (Last year's four-in-a-row of 5FU put me in the hospital for almost two weeks. Read the posts from 4/27/09 - 5/12/09, or search on the Swedish Medical Center tag if you want details.)

So far the Adriamycin has been remarkably tolerable. Let's hope for effective! My next scan is on Friday, and I get the results next week.

October 05, 2010

2% to research B Ca mets?

I read today that only 2% of USA breast cancer research funding helps people like me, who live with metastatic breast cancer.

Then I read about one small nonprofit that funds research solely devoted to B Ca mets: METAVivor Research and Spport Inc, where I read about a 2004 study by Fortune Magazine which "found that METASTASIS RESEARCH RECEIVES ONLY ABOUT 1% OF THE $5 BILLION ANNUAL NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE FUNDING. Metastatic breast cancer research receives even less."

Here are some statistics from their web site:

*  In 2008, 40,930 Americans, including 450 men, died of metastatic breast cancer. (American Cancer Society – 2008 Statistics)  Worldwide, roughly 465,000 die annually of the disease (2008 Global Survey by Pfizer Oncology).
* There has been no reduction in the number of annual deaths from breast cancer since the late 1980s (Cancer World article by Marc Beishon).  
*  Five-year survival is generally said to be 27% and 10-year survival roughly 10% (Silent Voices, an LBBC publication).
* 2-3% are considered "cured" of the disease.  Most of these individuals fall into one of two categories:  1) young people who responded well to their initial BC mets treatment and never again recurred, and 2) persons diagnosed with a single, isolated lesion that was surgically removed and who never again recurred (Journal of Clinical Oncology - 2002).

So if you really want to make a donation to cure breast cancer, and you want to find a cure for people like me who have metastatic breast cancer, please donate to METAVivor, the only USA charity exclusively funding research into B Ca mets.

October 03, 2010


It's October and time once again for breast cancer awareness month. I hate all the marketing to get people to buy pink-labeled crap that either gives pennies per purchase to a charity, or gives no money whatsoever.

Both this and last week's newspaper coupons included the ubiquitous pink ribbon promotions "P&G brandSaver." Some examples:

Prilosec OTC: "Redeem this coupon and Prilosec OTC will help women by donating to the National Breast Cancer Foundation." In tiny type, "For every 9/26/10 (or 10/10/10) Prilosec OTC brandSaver coupon redeemed,  $0.02 will be donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc." Got that? Only 2 cents, only if you use this specific coupon.

Olay is somewhat more generous: "Olay will donate $1 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation with purchase of this Limited Edition Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream product." For how long will they make this donation? Is there a limit on how much Olay will donate?

SC Johnson lists many coupons,  with a promise of "partnering with the Kroger family of stores in Giving Hope a Hand to fight breast cancer." They don't say how much they're giving, or how the consumer participates. On the website I found this: "Giving Hope A Hand by investing $3 million for breast cancer awareness, treatment and research in the communities we share."

Here's one that really takes the cake - Precious Stringsters: "Save $1.00 on any Precious Stringsters or Stringsters Snack Cheese 8 oz. or larger. Look for our special packaging honoring Breast Cancer awareness Month." This company isn't giving one penny to a breast cancer charity! They're just fooling the consumer with pink packaging. DON'T BUY THIS PRODUCT if you value where your money goes.

Hershey: "Hershey's Bliss is donating $300,000 to support the breast cancer awareness efforts of Young Survival Coalition." That's only the Hershey's Bliss product. At least they say up front how much they're donating, and the coupon itself doesn't promise any additional donations when you buy the product.

Northland Dark Fruit Juices: "10 cents is donated for BCRF for every coupon redeemed.*" (In tiny print, below the asterisk: "Northland Products LLC will donate 10 cents per coupon redeemed between 9/26/2010 and 12/31/2010, up to $350,000, to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation." If you 
use the coupon to buy the juice after they've hit their donation cap, not one more penny goes to BCRF. They could hit the donation ceiling tomorrow, but the offer and coupon don't expire until December.

Bounce fabric softener: "Bring Women Together for Support." Pink ribbons everywhere, but not one word about Bounce making a donation if you buy the pink-ribboned product.

Swiffer: "With every coupon redeemed, P & G will make a donation to the National Breast Cancer Foundation to help educate women about early detection." How much money will P & G give? They don't say.

Don't get me started on Komen, the 600 pound "gorilla" of breast cancer fundraising and pink cause marketing. Read what Think Before You Pink has to say about Komen's partnership with Kentucky Fried Chicken, in which pink ribboned buckets raised $4.2 million towards a goal of $8.5 million.

And please, next time you go shopping, think before you pink. Better yet, just make a donation. Even if you give only one dollar, it's more than the two cents per product so many companies give.

Here are links to the donation pages of the breast cancer charities listed above:
Think Before You Pink
Breast Cancer  Research Foundation
Young Survival Coalition
National Breast Cancer Foundation
Susan G Komen for the Cure

October 01, 2010


It's been a busy week with the end of Sukkot and trying to stay on top of everything. I think I am finally slowing down, but I'm happy to report that I feel fine even after two chemos in a row. I've had a tiny bit of queasy tummy, and Zofran takes care of that.

On Wednesday I went for a long walk with a friend (and Bobka the dogka). Then off to a mets support group, and finally had my 27+ year blueberry allergy tested. No, I'm not allergic to blueberries! It took a blood test, scratch test, smearing 'em around my lips, swishing them like mouthwash and finally eating some, but apparently I am not allergic. Yippee!

Who knows what gave me head-to-toe hives when I was 20 and 22, but it must have gone away over the years. I've been tested for both penicillin and blueberries now, the supposed culprits, and neither caused an allergic reaction many years later.

I came home and crashed hard Wednesday after all the activity. (The allergist visit took 3 hours!)

On Thursday I led the yizkor service at shul, and because I arrived at just the right moment, was honored with the kohen aliyah. My dad would have been proud of that. My friend Charisse would have been proud of my singing. And I finally got a chance to thank the rabbi who taught me yizkor.

Then lunch with a friend and an outing downtown on a sunny, warm afternoon; off to the farmers' market for some fresh fruits and veggies; and cooked dinner. I was pooped again.

Today I hope to lie low, go to my yoga class, and take it easy. Our friends have invited us for Shabbat dinner, so all I really have to do is make dessert from yesterday's farm-fresh apples. Apple crisp, perhaps?