Orchards have shared their treasures,
The fields, their yellow grain,
So open wide the doorway—
Thanksgiving comes again!

–Old Farmer’s Almanac

Delicious autumn!
My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird
I would fly about the earth
seeking the successive autumns.

– George Eliot, author

And time remembered is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.

–Algernon Charles Swinburne, British poet (1837–1909)

Winter’s done,
and April’s in the skies.
Earth, look up with laughter
in your eyes!

–Charles G. D. Roberts (1860–1943)

“I pray this winter be gentle and kind —
a season of rest from the wheel of the mind. “

–John Geddes

Study Shows Hair Dyes & Chemical Straighteners May Cause Breast Cancer

Study Shows Hair Dyes & Chemical Straighteners May Cause Breast Cancer

A study of nearly 47,000 cancer-free women published in the International Journal of Cancer indicates that women who use hair dye and chemical hair relaxer/straighteners could be increasing their risk of breast cancer by up to 60%.

“If women are worried about their breast cancer risk, hair dyes and chemical straighteners may be one exposure they could avoid. However, hair is very important to many women.

Dr. Anne McTiernan, M.D., Ph.D.

Epidemiologist, Public Health Sciences Division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle

Many hair products contain endocrine-disrupting compounds and carcinogens potentially relevant to breast cancer.


Do Hair Dyes Cause Cancer?

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is part of the World Health Organization (WHO). Its major goal is to identify causes of cancer. IARC has concluded that workplace exposure as a hairdresser or barber is “probably carcinogenic to humans,” based on the data regarding bladder cancer. (The evidence for other types of cancer is considered mixed or inadequate.)

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) is formed from parts of several different US government agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The NTP has classified some chemicals that are or were used in hair dyes as “reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens.”

Are Hair Dyes Regulated?!

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the safety of cosmetics, including hair dyes, but there are limits on what the FDA can do. The FDA does not approve each ingredient used in hair dyes before it goes on the market, and in general the responsibility for the safety of products and ingredients falls to the manufacturers. Yes, the companies that make hair dyes self-regulate the safety of their own products.

  • The FDA can take action only AFTER cosmetics are proven harmful or in violation of the law (such as being mislabeled).
  • This only applies to new ingredients used in hair dyes as the older ingredients still in use in hair dyes were excluded when the FDA was given the power to regulate them.
  • If cosmetics (including hair dyes) or their ingredients are found to be unsafe, the FDA can request that the company recall the product, although it can’t require a recall.

So should I limit my exposure to hair dye?

Cancer.org says: more studies are needed to help clarify this issue.

Cancerzen.com says Yes! Yes, you probably should. But, if its that one thing you can’t do without – so be it. If you make every effort at clean living in the other areas of your life, you are well on your way. And eventually, there will be newer hair dye products that are vegetable based and less dangerous available.

Stay well!

Read the article at Forbes. Originally posted on Dec 4, 2019, by Victoria Forster, cancer research scientist, childhood cancer survivor, and healthcare contributor at Forbes.


Read the study originally published on Dec 3, 2019 at the International Journal of Cancer 

What Causes Cancer: Hair Dyes at Cancer.org

Known and Probable Human Carcinogens at Cancer.org


Potentially dangerous microbes in common makeup items

Cancer-causing chemicals in nail salons

@k80denight and @albertolopezphoto via Twenty20

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn’t show.

Andrew Wyeth, artist

Are Americans the World’s Lab Rats?!

Are Americans the World’s Lab Rats?!

Food products made in the USA use ingredients that are banned or labeled as a possible concern in other countries. The same products that are made with toxins and chemicals here in the US are made in other countries with better ingredients, because those countries demand better.

“If it was dangerous for me, they wouldn’t sell it in the grocery stores!”

This was the thought process of my 12 year old daughter, and most of her friends. And my 16 year old son, and his friends. And, sadly, most of my adult friends.  It’s just not true!

How infuriating is it to learn that in the US there’s consistently a bunch of shady chemicals in the same foods that are made better elsewhere. What happened to “America First!”?  And being “the greatest nation in the world!”?? Why, when we have the capabilities to do better, do we not?

Why do we have pesticides that cause cancer and GMOs designed by cancer-causing pesticide companies embedded in our food? Don’t we have enough scientists who know better, ready to protect us in the USA the same way scientists from other countries do for their citizens?

You see, Europe takes a precautionary approach towards food additives that are potentially risky. They ban or at least add warning labels to these additives for their citizens. While the U.S., with all our freedom, takes the opposite approach. We do not remove additives from our food supply until they have been irrefutably proven dangerous. 

This means Americans are literally the lab rats.

I read an awakening article at foodbabe.com where Vani (aka the Food Babe) had friends overseas send her product labels for many products that they sell both overseas and here in the states. Across the board she discovered that companies who make the global products will use fresh foods in one nation, and chemicals in another (i.e. the U.S.).

Companies like Kraft-Heinz, Kellogg’s, PepsiCo, and Quaker sell safer, better products oversees while making inferior versions to sell to Americans.

Here are a few examples: 

In the United States, Quaker Oats Strawberries & Cream doesn’t have ANY strawberries.

Instead, Quaker uses dehydrated apple pieces dyed with Red #40, and adds artificial strawberry flavor

In the UK, Quaker uses actual freeze dried strawberries and raspberries, without the artificial petroleum-based colorings and chemical artificial flavors. Why?

Mountain Dew gets its bright yellow color from beta carotene (from carrots and other plants) in the UK. In the US, PepsiCo artificially colors Mountain Dew with petroleum-based dye Yellow #5, which has been linked to multiple health issues. And only the U.S. version of Mountain Dew contains brominated vegetable oil (BVO) – a flame retardant! – an ingredient that’s  banned in Europe, the UK, Japan and many other countries. 

American Doritos are covered in artificial dyes made from petroleum (Red #40, Blue #1, and Yellow #5) which can contaminated with carcinogens, such as benzidine. In the U.K. these dyes require a warning label that says “May Have an Adverse Effect on Activity and Attention in Children”, so instead they color Doritos with paprika extract and annatto. The Doritos in the U.K. are also non-GMO, while the American versions are made with GMO corn contaminated with glyphosate weed killer. Gross!

Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in winter. Who would think that those branches would turn green again and blossom, but we hope it, we know it.

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer. 

Setting the Baseline before I heal myself

Setting the Baseline before I heal myself

For my first 35 years I was generally healthy; I exercised and ate a strict vegetarian, often organic diet.

Age 36, I’m diagnosed with Stage 3B breast cancer. Scared for my life, I endure half a dozen surgeries, dose-dense and super aggressive chemo regimen, 45+ days of radiation, and medications prescribed for the rest of my life. But every moment of every day is filled with tremendous, torturous pain. I cannot leave the couch. I cannot cook. I cannot help my children with their homework. I am miserable.

After 5 years I quit the toxic and destructive  pharmaceutical route, and shift to a more con preventative diet: still vegetarian, now almost entirely organic, also making sure to get the most important cancer prevention foods every single day. I also remove all toxins and known carcinogens from my environment – like polyester and BPA plastics. I’ve stayed cancer-free, and better… started healing!

5 years to the week later, I am now jumping in even deeper. I am now fully vegan, fully organic, educating myself on mind-body techniques to bring even more healing to my body.

I feel like the best way to document this healing and transformation is to start with laying out the baseline – documenting all of the horrible side effects I have been experiencing.

Here’s the list of my side-effects, which I will continue to add to until it is complete. And then one by one, I plan to check them off the list as resolved. I am done with this sickness, it no longer serves me and I am ready to put it behind. 

My Positive Manifesto

My Positive Manifesto

My Positive Manifesto

Write out your priorities so you can refer back to them later.

Sometimes it is so hard to manage everything you need to take control of in your life. For me, I had to stop everything one day, sit down and write out my priorities. This way, I could share them with my family, so we are all understanding the same expectations.

I could also refer back to them, anytime I feel like my life is slipping out of whack, or if I am struggling to make a decision based on what is best for me. In times like these, I just check back in with my list, and make sure what I am choosing reflects my priorities. 

I also grew tired of hearing about how the perpetrators of hate crimes all had a manifesto where they spewed all their hate. I thought we need more POSITIVE manifestos. So, this is my positive manifesto:

  1. ME
    1. My Physical and Mental Health Includes activities such as sleeping, eating, resting, visiting doctors and integrated healing partners, exercising, getting outside for fresh air, meditating, stretching, yoga, physical and occupational therapy exercises, strength training, and any other associated activities deemed necessary by Me.
      1. healing and strengthening current physical or mental ailments, and
      2. preventing cancer and/or other future ailments.
    2. My Spiritual and Emotional Well Being
    1. My Children
    2. My Husband
    3. My Extended Family
  3. MY COMPANY Despite it being a smaller part of my life, if I don’t help keep it sailing smoothly, it can and will become a problem in maintaining items 1 and 2 above.
  4. MY FRIENDS I am blessed to have friends like those I have now. Whenever possible, I will help them as they have helped me.
  5. MY HOME I spend almost every minute of my time here; it needs to be a place I am comfortable and happy in.
  6. TRAVEL I want to see the world and meet its people. I want my children to as well.
  7. THE WORLD I took an oath to make the world a better place. I do this by Being a Girl Scout Leader,  and by speaking out against hate and for social justice. Every – single – time.

Feel free to copy.paste and make your own. It feels good to have a clear understanding of your priorities and to have them available to reinforce to you that yes, you need to TAKE CARE OF YOU first.



Duke, the puppy my mom got when my dad died of cancer, has died of cancer.

Duke, the puppy my mom got when my dad died of cancer, has died of cancer.

If love alone could have kept you here, you would have lived forever.


OCTOBER 10, 2010 – APRIL 26, 2019

Duke was so loved and a huge part of the family. He was diagnosed with Doggy-Cancer, Lymphoma, just days ago. He passed away this morning being held and loved by my mother and brother. They got Duke right after my dad passed away in 2011. He has been a steadfast companion to them both for over 8 years, and I know he’s left a great big hole in their hearts.

How Duke came to be a Ridley

My dad died of lung cancer

My dad was an artist and liked to paint quirky, folksy art. He painted this mural on the side of the shed/workroom when he and my mom bought their home in 2007, to make it look like the outside of a Mexican jail. That’s my dad. 🙂 Sadly, he died of lung cancer in 2011 (while I was going through breast cancer chemotherapy treatments).

Right after he passed my brother took my mom to get a rescue dog to help keep her company, and they adopted Duke right then. They picked this sweet pup in particular because he was all white. My father was known for his bright white head of hair, which had been solid white since he was 16, in the 50s. They named the dog Duke, after my dad, whom my brother’s swarms of theatre friends had affectionately called “Papa Dukes”.

It wasn’t until months later, when the weather was warm again, that they noticed the image of the pup on the side of the shed was an almost perfect rendition of their newest addition, Duke.

Bob's painting and our Duke. Bob painted that in 2007, we didn't rescue Duke until 2011, after Bob passed.

Bob’s painting and our Duke. Bob painted that in 2007, we didn’t rescue Duke until 2011, after Bob passed. The resemblance wasn’t seen till months later.

Whoa! Right?!

It was obviously meant to be, and Duke was a very special part of the family.

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Here are some parting images. #thatunderbite

Trevor Smith Cures Bladder Cancer with Plant Based Diet and Cannabis Oil

Trevor Smith Cures Bladder Cancer with Plant Based Diet and Cannabis Oil

Cannabis oil helped cure cancer of UK father Trevor Smith given 18 months to two years to live

Trevor Smith, 54, was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2012. Doctors told him that without immediate surgery to remove his bladder, prostate and lymph nodes – followed by chemotherapy – he would be dead within two years. But worried about his quality of life after such radical surgery, he decided to try alternative therapies – and began taking cannabis oil after learning about it online.

He claims that 10 weeks later, despite doctors’ warnings about delaying treatment, the cancer had not spread to any other organs. This meant it could be lasered away in a far less invasive procedure – and he the father-of-three has now been cancer-free for a year. (As of 2014).

When doctors told me I had gone into remission, I was lost for words, I almost couldn’t believe it.’

Scientific research does suggest that cannabinoids – the active chemicals found in cannabis – possess anti-cancer properties which help stem the growth of malignant tumours.

Mr Smith’s wife Carol, 55, said: ‘So many thoughts rushed through my mind all at once when Trevor was diagnosed. All I could envisage was I was going to lose the love of my life. ‘We knew we had to try a different approach to save his life.’

While a healthy diet and alternative medicines, such as Essiac tea and vitamin supplements, were successful in improving Mr Smith’s overall health, he was still in excruciating pain as the cancer continued to spread. Mr Smith claims that 10 weeks later, despite doctors’ warnings about delaying treatment, the cancer had not spread to any other organs

It was then that they resorted to using cannabis oil to treat his cancer – risking prison by possessing large quantities of the drug. The couple, from Derby, made the controversial decision after discovering a popular pro-cannabis film called ‘Run From The Cure’, which claimed the class B drug could be used as a cure.

Research published last month by the University of East Anglia found THC has been shown to help combat the growth of cancerous cells.

‘It wasn’t a case of I had no respect for the law, I was fighting to save my life.

‘At that point, I would have risked everything to beat the cancer. ‘These options have always been there, even in the UK, but the medical system has kept it from everyone.

His wife, an artist, added: ‘I would have done anything to give my husband the treatment he needed.’Even if I was caught, what would they do? Send me to prison for trying to treat my dying husband? ‘The only thing in my mind was saving my husband from chemo, radiation and radical surgery – not my freedoM.

Research led by Dr Wai Liu, at St George’s University in London, suggests that cannabinoids possess anti-cancer properties which help to stem the growth of malignant tumours. He said: ‘Mechanistically, both THC and cannabinoids work by switching on cell killing processes that are found in cancer cells. ‘The idea is that by switching these on, cell death can be engaged leading to reductions in tumours.

‘Similarly, actions through these signalling cascades could actually make the cancer cells more sensitive to other forms of therapy – I suppose cannabinoids and THC could act by laying the foundations for other therapies to work more effectively.’

I feel indebted to the oil and its medical properties, there are alternatives to chemotherapy but people just need to open their eyes to it’


How Processed Food Is Different from “Real” Food (and why it matters)

How Processed Food Is Different from “Real” Food (and why it matters)

You’ve heard someone say they avoid “processed” foods, and maybe you’ve even said it yourself. But how do you know if you really are avoiding processed foods? What determines if a food product is considered processed or not?

Some people, like those who follow the teachings of Dr. Sebi, consider a very short list of foods (foods that exist today exactly as they existed hundreds of years ago) to be fit for consumption. Others follow the more relaxed guideline of shopping primarily from the perimeter of the grocery store, leaning heavily towards produce and refrigerated foods.

Like most things, rather than try to define an exact set of rules, I like to think of it as more of a sliding scale. Also as with most everything in health and nutrition, making a small shift towards “better” is better than changing nothing at all. So, naturally, I’d recommend sticking to food that is as close to its original form as possible.

An apple is a fruit, not a flavor.

What makes a food considered processed

There are many ways a food product can be processed and modified, ranging from removing nutritional benefits to adding potentially harmful chemicals and additives to the food.

For example, consider an apple. Just as nature made it, it is perfect, and best suited for consumption. With the skin on, adding fiber to help slow the sugar spike from the fructose. It has nutrients like vitamins, plus the phytonutrients that help protect from disease.

Next we can look at processing that removes nutrients and benefits of the original food, like applesauce, or worse, apple juice. Sure, they still provide basic elements like vitamins, but they’re lacking phytonutrients and, without its skin, the spike from the fruit sugar is steep and quick leaving you less satisfied long term. At this point (as long as it is organic) the food isn’t going to do harm, it just isn’t as nutritionally valuable.

Going even further… extreme processing. I’m talking to you, apple-stuff in a toaster strudel and apple flavored candy. Not only are these items void of any nutritional benefits from apples, they also have added sugars as well as potentially toxic chemicals. These only serve to cut costs for the producer but can cause serious concerns for your health.

>>> Don’t eat these, these aren’t food! Only eat food!

A professional’s opinion: Technical Differences Between Natural and Processed Foods

I recently came across an article about an editorial published in the JAMA Pediatrics Journal, written by Dr. Robert Lustig, a longtime childhood-obesity researcher, and author of New York Times bestseller Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease. In the Journal, Dr. Lustig discusses common differences between natural and processed foods, and how the processed foods affect your body differently than actual food.

Dr. Lustig explains that processed foods are defined in terms of the food engineering that goes into making the products. To him, processed food meets many of the criteria below.

You can bet your food is processed if:

  • It’s mass-produced
  • It’s consistent from batch to batch
  • It has a long shelf life or freezer life
  • It stays emulsified (meaning its fat-based and water-based components stay mixed together, rather than separating),
  • It uses specialized ingredients (especially anything you’ve not heard of as being food: apples, cinnamon and sugar are food. Di-phosphate-mono-something-or-other is not!)

How processed foods affect your body differently than natural foods

⇒ Not enough fiber

Fiber is important to health because it plays a key role in how food is absorbed in the gut. In the intestines, fiber forms a gelatinous barrier that coats the intestinal walls. This barrier slows the absorption of glucose and fructose into the blood, which helps prevent blood sugar levels from spiking.

⇒ Not enough omega-3 fatty acids

The body converts these fatty acids, which are found in foods such as fish and nuts, into docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, both of which have anti-inflammatory properties.

⇒ Too many omega-6 fatty acids

Conversely, these fatty acids, though similar to omega-3s, are converted in the body to a proinflammatory compound called arachidonic acid. Lustig noted in the editorial that the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the diet should ideally be one to one; however, the typical U.S. diet has an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 25 to one, which favors a proinflammatory state. This inflammation can cause oxidative stress and damage to cells in the body.

⇒ Not enough micronutrients

Processed foods contain too few vitamins and minerals, known as micronutrients, many of which act as antioxidants, which help prevent cellular damage.

⇒ Too many trans fats

Trans fat molecules are structurally different from other types of fats, such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Because of this difference — a double bond found in the molecule — the body is unable to break down trans fats, Lustig wrote. Instead, the trans fats end up in a person’s arteries and liver, where they generate damaging free radicals.

⇒ Too many branched-chain amino acids

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. The “branched-chain” in the name refers to the chemical structure of the amino acid. Several amino acids that the body needs, including valine, leucine and isoleucine, have branched chains, Lustig wrote.

And although branched-chain amino acids are needed for building muscle, when a person eats too many of them, the excess molecules go to the liver, where they are converted to fat, he wrote.

Main article and images by Susan Lawrence
Portions of the summary of Journal Editorial originally posted by Sara G. Miller, Staff Writer at livescience.com
Data based on content in the JAMA Pediatrics journal by Dr. Robert Lustig.

Life is mostly froth and bubble;
Two things stand like stone:
Kindness in another’s trouble,
Courage in your own.

–Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833–70)

Chris Wark of “Chris Beat Cancer”

Chris Wark of “Chris Beat Cancer”

Chris Beat CancerAnother one of my heroes – Chris Wark of “Chris Beat Cancer“.

He beat cancer without chemo, and it’s kinda a big deal. If you haven’t seen his website, stop what you’re doing now, and check it out. He has a lot of great info and support on his website, including a whole slew of survivor stories of his own. He also has books and coaching services available in addition to all of his wonderful free content. This website is what finally gave me the courage to stand up to big pharma and begin work on nourishing myself instead of breaking myself down and missing out on my life.

Here’s the summary of his book, titled, naturally, “Chris Beat Cancer”

Two days before Christmas and at 26 years old, Chris Wark was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. He had surgery to remove a golf ball-sized tumor and a third of his colon. But after surgery, instead of the traditional chemotherapy, Wark decided to radically change his diet and lifestyle in order to promote health and healing in his body. In Chris Beat Cancer, Wark describes his healing journey, exposes the corruption and ineffectiveness of the medical and cancer industries, and shares the strategies that he and many others have used to heal cancer.
These strategies include adopting the Beat Cancer Mindset; radical diet and lifestyle changes; and mental, emotional, and spiritual healing, as well as advanced integrative therapies. Dually packed with an emotional punch and extensive healing solutions, Chris Beat Cancer will inspire and guide you on your own journey toward wellness.
If Chris Beat Cancer – You Can Too!
Tamoxifen: prevents cancer. Also Tamoxifen: causes cancer.

Tamoxifen: prevents cancer. Also Tamoxifen: causes cancer.

How do you know what’s helping and what’s hurting?

My oncologist would tell me about medicines available to increase my odds in fighting or preventing cancer. Every option was weighed, and even a small increase was considered a must-have. But then later I’d read that the same drug that upped my odds 12% came with an 8% risk of causing a different cancer! That’s only a 4% net gain! Is 4% worth all of the misery and other possible side effects?! Ugh!

Tamoxifen is the one drug I fully refused. Several others I have taken were just as gnarly, but for me, I couldn’t throw the dice with Tamoxifen. Even at my last oncologist visit, it was suggested. Eight years out. Still not interested.

I will leave you the with this random collection of possible side effects. Everything below was directly copy and pasted from Tamoxifen’s official website.


Tamoxifen may cause cancer of the uterus, strokes, and blood clots in the lungs. These conditions may be serious or fatal.

If you experience any of the following symptoms during or after your treatment, call your doctor immediately: abnormal vaginal bleeding; irregular menstrual periods; changes in vaginal discharge, especially if the discharge becomes bloody, brown, or rusty; pain or pressure in the pelvis; leg swelling or tenderness; chest pain; shortness of breath; coughing up blood; sudden weakness, tingling, or numbness in your face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of your body; sudden confusion; difficulty speaking or understanding; sudden difficulty seeing in one or both eyes; sudden difficulty walking; dizziness; loss of balance or coordination; or sudden severe headache.

Keep all appointments with your doctor. You will need to have gynecological examinations regularly to find early signs of cancer of the uterus.

Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • increased bone or tumor pain
  • pain or reddening around the tumor site
  • hot flashes
  • nausea
  • excessive tiredness
  • dizziness
  • depression
  • headache
  • thinning of hair
  • weight loss
  • stomach cramps
  • constipation
  • loss of sexual desire or ability

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • vision problems
  • loss of appetite
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • fever
  • blisters
  • rash
  • swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, throat, hands, arms, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • thirst
  • muscle weakness
  • restlessness

Tamoxifen may increase the risk that you will develop other cancers, including liver cancer. Talk to your doctor about this risk. Tamoxifen may increase the risk that you will develop cataracts (clouding of the lens in the eye) that may need to be treated with surgery. Talk to your doctor about this risk.

Symptoms of overdose may include:

  • uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
  • unsteadiness
  • dizziness

Hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness are common side effects of hormone therapy. Hormone therapy also disrupts the menstrual cycle in premenopausal women.

  • Risk of blood clots, especially in the lungs and legs
  • Stroke
  • Cataracts
  • Endometrial and uterine cancers
  • Bone loss in premenopausal women
  • Mood swings, depression, and loss of libido
  • Risk of heart attack, angina, heart failure, and hypercholesterolemia
  • Bone loss
  • Joint pain
  • Mood swings and depression

The most common side effects caused by tamoxifen are hot flashes; vaginal dryness, discharge, or irritation; and reduced interest in sex. These side effects are not usually serious, but they can be bothersome.

Other side effects are rare but are more dangerous. These include:

  • Overgrowth of the lining of the uterus (endometrial hyperplasia) and cancer of the lining of the uterus (endometrial cancer).
  • An increased risk of blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) and the lungs (pulmonary embolism). Changes in the blood’s ability to clot have been reported in patients receiving tamoxifen.
  • A small increased chance of stroke.
  • Ovarian cysts.
  • An increased risk of cataract formation and the need for surgery for cataracts.

Because tamoxifen can cause changes in the lining of the uterus, women who use it should have yearly pelvic exams and should be evaluated further if they experience any abnormal uterine bleeding. Tamoxifen may not work as well if a woman is also taking some types of medicine to treat hot flashes or depression. If you take tamoxifen, talk with your doctor about any other medicines you are taking.

If you are thinking about taking tamoxifen to reduce the chance that you will develop breast cancer, you should talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of this treatment.

You and your doctor will decide whether the possible benefit of tamoxifen treatment is worth the risks of taking the medication. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Ring the bells that still can ring,
Forget your perfect offering,
There is a crack in everything,
That’s how the light gets in.

-Leonard Cohen

EU approval of glyphosate weed killer based on ‘plagiarized’ Monsanto studies

EU approval of glyphosate weed killer based on ‘plagiarized’ Monsanto studies

Regulators in Europe were considering whether or not to continue to allow sales of Monsanto’s Round Up, a glyphosphate-based weed killer, in the EU. The European Food Safety Authority reviewed the assessment from Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, and based on their findings in this report, they determined that glyphosphate was safe.

Turns out, the assessment provided by Germany was heavily plagiarized, literally copy-and-pasted from Monsanto’s own agri-chemical industry reports! The scale of plagiarism was extremely alarming; more than 50 percent of the chapters were plagiarized, including whole pages of text.

The World Health Organization has classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to outlaw it completely in France by 2021.


For the full story, head over to RT.com where it was originally published. For a recent scientific study on the evidence of cancer causing effects of glyphosphate, visit sciencedirect.com. 

Organic Food Proven to Prevent Cancer

Organic Food Proven to Prevent Cancer

Many of the horrific drugs I took were only to give me 5 or 10% better odds. And they were horrific. Organic foods taste better, are better for you, and give you a 25% better chance at avoiding cancer.
You don’t like vegetables? Try chemo! Veggies are so much better, I promise.

Organic’s too expensive? Try chemo! Not even the same ballpark. I promise.

This is so simple, so easy you will kick yourself if you regret not doing it. Please, at least learn the “dirty dozen” list, eat ’em clean or don’t eat ’em!

Health’s contributing editor and registered dietician Cynthia Sass breaks down what clean eating is and how it’s different from other diets that restrict calories or eliminate certain foods. Watch the video below for her tips for clean eating.

Read the full story at USA Today

My First Lymphedema Arm Bandaging

My First Lymphedema Arm Bandaging

How hard could this be?

So, last Tuesday I go in and have my OT Angie (who I’ve seen on and off since the beginning, almost 8 years ago) take a look and discuss some possible plans.

We decide to try bandaging, to get my arm size down some, take some new measurements, and start fresh with some new exercises and therapies.

Here I am learning the new rules >>>

I can generally keep my lymphedema under control with a 30 minute self-MLD every morning, some mini-drains as needed during the week, and a biweekly appointment with the magical Dave Henderson – notorious lymph-taming & fascia-busting hero.

But with all the pain and other issues I’ve been having recently, a visit to the Outer Banks Hospital Outpatient Rehab center was in order.

Learning the new rules
Feeling like I've got a log stuck on my arm.

Bandaging itself went well. I wore the bandaging home and was fine throughout the day.

By fine I mean I felt as though my entire arm from fingertips to armpit was stuck, lodged in an empty log.

One that weighs 50 pounds, and itches. =/

Sleeping at night was rough, having an itchy 50 pound log stuck around my arm and unable to bend my elbow, but I managed through the night.

I felt pretty good walking back into the OT office the next day, and thrilled to find out I’ve lost multiple centimeters of diameter across my arm. We took new measurements and I’m buying some fresh new sleeves!

lymphedema woes
lymphedema woes

I’m loving how light and compact and generally “good” my arm felt. So, my husband Scott & I ventured for a walk! I don’t know if it was the weight of the arm, plus the additional weight of all the bandaging, or the movement, or the heat…  but 10 minutes into the walk my arm feels like it’s about to explode through the bandaging, like The Hulk shedding his regular man-sized clothes.

I grab hold of my swollen left arm with my right arm, and carried it home. I lay down in bed with some cool ice on my shoulder and try some manual lymph drainage around the bandage and some deep breathing just trying to stay cool, and carry on. This, too, shall pass.

A few hours later and I’m doing my recommended therapy “exercises” and stretch my arm over my head to stretch out my damaged left side. I feel a pinch or pull in my skin of my upper arm that feels like it’s been ripped open … it’s the only way I can describe it, just a little snag and then like an unzipping feeling. I expected to see blood.

Immediately I’m feeling my elbow and upper arm area begin to rush with heat and flush turn red and swell. The swelling soon became intense, like it was earlier when I was walking. I roll down the top of the bandaging to take a peek and saw that my skin was turning red below the bandaging. Red and bumpy and blistery, hot, and sore.

lymphedema woes
lymphedema woes
lymphedema woes

I started pulling the bandaging off and examine my arm. It didn’t stop swelling for quite some time – I had bumps and hives and scratch marks without having touched my arm. Parts of the skin was hardening, and parts blistering, and all of my arm was burning hot. So, yeah. 🙁

The burning sensation in my skin would not go away. As much as I hate medicine I caved and covered my arm in a Benadryl gel, which I use in emergencies on the hives that I experience since chemo. Sometimes the hives get pretty intense and so I coat them with the Benadryl gel which immediately stops the burn and itch.

Not this time. I resort to taking two Benadryl antihistamine tablets and calling it a night.

lymphedema woes

On Friday we decide to try again so after another treatment for the fascia pain in my ribs, we commence to another wrapping of my arm. For a while it is doing well: uncomfortable, inconvenient, but not too painful.

Until around 2 am, when I wake up to fire and brimstone in the bandaging. I just took off the bandage and set my arm free.

Immediately I noticed in the side of my elbow a series of creases – I must have had my elbow bent maybe while I was sleeping, causing some creases in the fold of my arm, and maybe cutting off circulation some.

lymphedema woes
lymphedema woes

Immediately after the bandages are off my skin just starts swelling and burning itching and you can see my veins struggling, you can see them through my skin and now a series of what look like pin pricks have run down my arm along a vein. They are sensitive to the touch, and sensitive if I twist my arm or pull my skin.

For now, I’m keeping the bandages rolled up neat and tidy. I’ll be back at OT this week, and see how we go from here.

Hopefully, this is the end of my lymphedema bandaging experience.

Meat & Dairy Causes Cancer

Meat & Dairy Causes Cancer

Celebrated Cornell University professor T. Colin Campbell Phd, presents the overwhelming evidence showing that animal protein is one of the most potent carcinogens people are exposed to.

This is the FULL 45 MINUTE talk from Dr. Campbell’s appearance at the 2005 VegSource Healthy Lifestyle Expo.

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Butternut Squash Apple Leek Soup

Butternut Squash Apple Leek Soup

I will be the first to admit there was a time I would have refused to eat a soup if I knew it had squash in it. Or, really, any other vegetables. There is zero chance I would have tried a bite of your butternut squash, leek, and apple soup. No. Way.

But one of the amazing women who cooked for me while I was sick is such a phenomenal cook, that when she served it to our family at dinner I knew I had to give it a taste. I have never, ever, been so pleasantly surprised. What a delicious soup!

I asked my friend for the recipe, which led to my second good fortune of stumbling upon this super amazing healthy living blog called My New Roots. The author Sarah B. says she started the blog “because I wanted to share the incredible knowledge I had received through my education in Holistic Nutrition. I discovered so many things that I believed needed to be public information, not just for those who can go to school to study in this field. I wanted to set up a non-biased space for people to come and learn about how to take better care of themselves through diet and lifestyle, as I have seen immense changes in myself since making little, positive changes every day.”


As you can see I skipped the croutons, but doubled up on the pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and some green onions on top

So the recipe… can be found on this sweet holistic nutrition blog. I have made this 3 times in the last month alone. I cannot get enough. It is so satisfying, it just hits every note and I cannot believe *I* made it. And it’s not even that hard! I usually take two nights to make it, but that’s not necessary at all. For me, it’s convenient to chop and roast the vegetables while I am cooking dinner one night, and put them in the fridge overnight. The next night I can just blend it all up and heat it through and get right to eating!

Final thoughts:
  • This recipe is crammed full of nutrients your body will LOVE you for eating
  • This is also a perfect meal to bring to someone going thru cancer treatments right now. Don’t bring a big mac. Bring something nourishing, made with love, and delicious.
  • You will have leftovers. Easy lunch for a couple of days or dinner the next night.
  • The flavor is unbelievable. So fresh, and rich, and just perfect. Don’t skip the apple cider vinegar, or the seasonings. I couldn’t find my anise, so I used some extra cracked pepper. You can substitute somewhat and adjust the ratios, but don’t skip them entirely or else you will just have funky squash-applesauce.
  • If you try it out, comment below. Did you change anything? How did the family like it? Will you make it again?
Dr. Brynzynski Offers Cure for Cancer; Meets with FDA

Dr. Brynzynski Offers Cure for Cancer; Meets with FDA

The FDA meets Dr Burzynski from Burzynski Cancer CURE Center.

This is a must see clip from the film on how cancer is completely cured with no radiation therapy or TOXIC potions from big Pharmaceutical industries at all. 100% success rate, and the lengths the FDA have gone to to try to put Dr Burzynski in jail

Watch Full Movie Here

Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski received much deserved publicity with the release of the 2011 film, Burzynski—The Movie. Eric Merola’s award-winning documentary showcased Dr. Burzynski’s remarkable cancer discovery for all the world to see, and explained how he won the largest and possibly the most convoluted and intriguing legal battles against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in American history.

Dr. Burzynski’s story now continues in the compelling follow-up film: Burzynski—Cancer Is Serious Business, Part II. This second film details his continued struggles and victories, and explores the current status of Antineoplastons’ clinical testing—now (finally) sanctioned by the FDA.

Dr. Burzynski’s Cancer Treatment

By Dr. Mercola 
Dr. Burzynski, trained as both a biochemist and a physician, has spent the last 35+ years developing and successfully treating cancer patients suffering with some of the most lethal forms of cancer at his clinic in Houston, Texas. The treatment he developed involves a gene-targeted approach using non-toxic peptides and amino acids, known as Antineoplastons.

I personally interviewed Dr. Burzynski about his treatment in the summer of 2011. He coined the term “antineoplastons” and defines them as peptides and derivatives of amino acids that act as molecular switches. However, as genome research blossomed and science progressed, Dr. Burzynski discovered that antineoplastons also work as genetic switches. They actually turn off the genes that cause cancer (oncogenes), and turn on or activate tumor suppressor genes—genes that fight cancer.

His treatment strategy, which he refers to as “Personalized Gene Targeted Cancer Therapy,” includes mapping the patient’s entire cancer genome. This involves analyzing some 24,000 genes in order to identify the abnormal genes. Once they’ve determined which genes are involved in the cancer, drugs and supplements are identified to target those specific genes. Antineoplastons work on approximately 100 cancer-causing genes, but traditional oncology agents (including chemotherapy) may also be used, typically in combination with antineoplastons. This expanded direction of “personalized gene-targeted treatment” has permitted people who would otherwise be denied access to the still-unapproved antineoplastons to benefit from his treatment.

The War on Cancer Cures
So the FDA backs Monsanto and big pharmaceutical that is poisoning our people our children and this doctor that is trying to save people’s lives he gets punished? What’s your take? Comment below.

A Salt Lamp Makes Everything More Beautiful

A Salt Lamp Makes Everything More Beautiful

Try to take a few minutes when you can to rework something in your life for the better. The returns are long lasting.

<blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BiYcHDOjwC-/" data-instgrm-version="8" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"><div style="padding:8px;"> <div style=" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50.0% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;"> <div style=" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAABGdBTUEAALGPC/xhBQAAAAFzUkdCAK7OHOkAAAAMUExURczMzPf399fX1+bm5mzY9AMAAADiSURBVDjLvZXbEsMgCES5/P8/t9FuRVCRmU73JWlzosgSIIZURCjo/ad+EQJJB4Hv8BFt+IDpQoCx1wjOSBFhh2XssxEIYn3ulI/6MNReE07UIWJEv8UEOWDS88LY97kqyTliJKKtuYBbruAyVh5wOHiXmpi5we58Ek028czwyuQdLKPG1Bkb4NnM+VeAnfHqn1k4+GPT6uGQcvu2h2OVuIf/gWUFyy8OWEpdyZSa3aVCqpVoVvzZZ2VTnn2wU8qzVjDDetO90GSy9mVLqtgYSy231MxrY6I2gGqjrTY0L8fxCxfCBbhWrsYYAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;"></div></div> <p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BiYcHDOjwC-/" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_blank">I took an hour last weekend and reconfigured my little space in my room. I had a tall bookshelf next to my bed but that left me without a place for my medicine or my phone, or my jewelry... and I couldnt see any of my special personal items. I set the two bookshelf halves side by side and ☄️ it's a new room! I put a new lightbulb in my salt lamp and set teeny buddha on top. 💫 It's a great spot to park my water bottle and CBD oil for the night, and a salt lamp just makes everything more beautiful. 💛 Try to take a few minutes when you can to rework something in your life for the better. The returns are long lasting. + #healing #bewell #youreworthit #soulsearching #theartofslowliving #nothingisordinary #embracingaslowerlife #inbeautyandchaos #dothework #makeithappen #happiness #wordsofwisdom #lifelessons #saltlamp #saltlife #cbd #cbdheals @cancerzen cancerzen.com #cancerzen #cancer #zen</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A post shared by <a href="https://www.instagram.com/cancerzen/" style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px;" target="_blank"> cancerzen</a> (@cancerzen) on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2018-05-05T04:11:03+00:00">May 4, 2018 at 9:11pm PDT</time></p></div></blockquote> <script async defer src="//www.instagram.com/embed.js"></script>

I truly recommend...

These are the exact products I have, use. and lve.

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The beach is healing.

The beach is healing.

Just before we moved to North Carolina’s Outer Banks I told my husband that the beach was the place where I would heal. Almost 10 years before I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Whether we wake, or we sleep.
Whether we carol, or weep,
The Sun, with his Planets in chime,
Marketh the going of Time.

–Edward Fitzgerald (1809–83)

artificially colored food & candy causes cancer

artificially colored food & candy causes cancer

Food dyes are one of the most widely used and dangerous additives, yet are openly marketed and sold in the US despite proof that they are carcinogens.


The three most widely used dyes, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, are contaminated with known carcinogens … ☠

Another dye, Red 3, has been acknowledged for years by the Food and Drug Administration to be a carcinogen, yet it is still in the food supply.

In their 58-page report (PDF), “Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks,” The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) revealed that nine of the food dyes currently approved for use in the United States are linked to health issues ranging from cancer and hyperactivity to allergy-like reactions.

The European Union has recently placed regulations on labeling food dyes to inform consumers of the health risks. The United States has no such requirement.  🇺🇸 Per Usual.

I’m not even saying outlaw them entirely. Just make it known on the label, so we can make an informed choice ourselves!


Chlorpyrifos causes cancer

Chlorpyrifos causes cancer

Chlorpyrifos - Dow Chemical CorruptionChlorpyrifos is a chemical from Dow Chemical Company. It came from the Nazis. It is a nerve agent that does irreversible brain damage. It was supposed to be banned this year, but Trump decided to let it be used on our fruits and vegetables, after Dow gave him $1 million dollars.

Pure Organic CBD Oil

Pure Organic CBD Oil

CBD oil, ancient healer.

Some of you know I recently started taking CBD Oil and OMG I have had my mind blown with the results! I think just being on so many meds and having so many “treatments” – I didn’t want to add anything else to the mix. And I really didn’t have hope that it would work better than the (crazy expensive!) pharmaceuticals that I’ve already tried.

*drum roll!*

So I have now COMPLETELY ELIMINATED one of my pain med prescriptions, and am in the process of reducing and hopefully weaning off another. Mercy!!! I cannot believe it myself. I’m taking things one day at a time, like I do, but I cannot tell you how freaking phenomenal it feels to NOT feel like I’m walking on razor blades all day long. Seriously, I stare at my feet in amazement that they are not in fierce stabbing pain all day long. It has been 7 years I have been living with this nerve damage pain and peripheral neuropathy. 

I’m still struggling with the deep bone and joint pain, and the lymphedema, and all the other side effects from the cancer treatments… but I’m getting there! And being able to stand and walk more will only lead to the next steps of becoming more and more healthy. I finally feel like I am building UP my body and spirit instead of knocking it down and breaking it apart. YAY!!

This was new to me, and it’s all a little crazy since the products are unregulated… so I did my research and tried a few different companies and finally found CDBPure. I love that it’s organic, and processed in a way that retains more of the beneficial elements. It is independently tested and it’s 100% pure. 

So, I’ve been singing the praises of CBD oil and a few of you have asked me where you could get it, so I am linking below. This bottle is for one month, and it is a low dosage – only 3.3 mg per day. They also have 10mg/day and another one even higher if it works for you you can step it up.

You put a dropper full under your tongue each day. Putting it under your tongue makes it go straight into your bloodstream where it is utilized best. Swallowing it would put it through your digestive system and not get used as much as it can. I don’t know what else to say about it but I’m super happy to answer any questions if you have any just ask! 

Oh – if you don’t already know – this is from Hemp – the same plant as marijuana is from. But! They are 2 different components. Pot has THC in it, which is the psychoactive part that gets you high.

There is NO THC in this stuff, it’s the nerdy brother, CBD. Totally not psychoactive, totally legal, won’t show up as THC in drug tests (because it doesn’t HAVE THC, of course!) You can drive, handle machinery, and there’s ZERO negative or “sometimes fatal” side effects. If you want to know more about how it is made or how it works or what CBD is check out their site for info.

Seriously, if you have pain, or seizures, or stress, or “nerves” or anxiety, or fatigue – I highly recommend it! And if you do try it please comment below to let me know how it works for you!!

Eternally thankful for Ginger Kombucha 

Eternally thankful for Ginger Kombucha 

Sometimes I cannot believe the many resources I have available to me.  I was told Kombucha might end the hives I was experiencing daily, due to my chemo treatments years earlier. And, it worked! Thankful for that knowledge, thankful for the acupuncturist who told me to try it. Thankful for Kevita for crafting such refreshing and delicious and healthful kombucha. And thankful to myself and my husband for working hard and earning enough to pay for such a valuable treat.

Lori O’Neil

Lori O’Neil

My neighbor. Stage 4 lung cancer. 6 beautiful children.

Lori Ann O’Neil, 47, of Kill Devil Hills, NC died at her home on Monday, July 24, 2017, of cancer. Born in Louisville, KY, she was the daughter of Linda Elkins Dionisio and Felimon M. Dionisio of Williamsburg, VA. Lori was a member of Holy Redeemer By the Sea Catholic Church.

Along with her parents, Lori is survived by her husband, Jon P. O’Neil; three daughters, Mary Maison, Brigid Ita, and Tara Rose; three sons, Conan Patrick, Brian Dennis, and Kevin Joseph; and a brother, Steven Patrick Dionisio.

Jean Sherwood

Jean Sherwood

Jean Isabel Sherwood of Southern Shores, June 9

Jean Isabel Sherwood of Southern Shores fought a short but brave battle with cancer and passed peacefully in her sleep, surrounded by family Friday, June 9, 2017

A Real Estate Professional for Carolina Designs Realty. She loved spending time with family, dogs (especially collies), jazz, beachcombing and advanced Lego construction.

Noelle Breit

Noelle Breit

Noelle Yan Breit, 10, of Kitty Hawk passed away on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughter in Norfolk, Virginia. Born on November 9, 2005 in Hunan, China, Noelle was adopted by Barry Andrew Breit and Deborah Lynn Crandell Breit on August 21, 2006 at the age of 9 months.

A Kitty Hawk Elementary School 5th grader, Noelle was very active in a variety of activities. She loved arts and crafts, riding her bike, and singing and dancing when no one was watching. She also played soccer, basketball and softball with Dare County Parks and Rec.

Full obit here

Señor Ramón Sánchez

Señor Ramón Sánchez

Ramón Edmundo Sánchez
Born June 22, 1944, in Managua, Nicaragua
Throat cancer, Lung Cancer. Age 72.

Ramón was a graduate of James Madison High School in Vienna, Virginia. He then went on to further his education at Central American Institute of Business Administration, a branch of Harvard University, receiving masters degrees in both business administration and marketing. Ramón taught Spanish within the Dare County public school system for 25 years and was the owner and operator of the Sánchez Family Rum Distillery and Farms in his home country. A talented concert pianist having performed with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, he was also declared the ping pong champion for Nicaragua and Dare County.

Ramón is survived by his wife of 39 years, Teresitá Sánchez; five children, Michelle Sánchez and partner, Alexis, Ramón Sánchez and wife, Rachel, Andrew Sánchez, Edmundo Sánchez and wife, Evania and Jeanette Sánchez; and five grandchildren, Evaine Claire, Ramón III, Silvia, Ivan and Victoria.

From daughter Michele:
My father, Señor Sánchez “The Best in the World,”was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer about a year ago.  My dad has always been the one everyone goes to whether it would be for advice, help with Spanish, or anything that comes your way. My dad would do anything and everything he could to help his students, friends, family and even strangers.

Many of you know Señor Sánchez, He has been a beloved teacher in Dare County for over 25 years he may have been either your Spanish teacher or your child’s. As he always says “The Best in the World.” 

I still remember having to leave my birth country (because of communistic persecution directed towards our family) where we had an abundance of wealth. My family literally went from having everything to having to leave it all behind and start from scratch in a new place with a different language, my dad was the only one who spoke English.

My Dad became a teacher when a friend told him that with his Masters he could be a teacher as long as he gets his certificate. The next two years my father did not sleep. He would drive to Plymouth and teach, then he would go to Greenville 4 times a week, and when he would return back to the Outer Banks he would go clean St. Andrews by the Sea Church where he was the Janitor. He would get home around 3 in the Morning and do it all over again.

My brothers and I grew up watching my parent’s perseverance, courage and strength. They were always thankful and humble for the opportunity to work. They never asked for help. Even when we didn’t have much my parents still were able to help other family members get on their feet when they came to the Outer Banks, some even lived with us in our small home at the time. My parents were always helping others, I still have memories of them helping the poor and bringing them into their home even when we lived in Nicaragua.

So you see, my parents raised me to be self-sufficient, to be courageous and perseverant. They taught me humbleness and grace, showed me how to love, protect and care for those you love and even those you don’t know. I am a strong person of good morals and character in many aspects of life because of them and everything they went through for my brothers and for each other.

Almost 4 years ago my dad, Señor Sánchez was diagnosed with Throat Cancer. He took the news rather well. His mental perseverance never wavered. Through Chemo and radiation treatments for about a year, dad had a hard time speaking and had to get a feeding tube because the inside of his mouth and throat were burnt from the radiation treatments. He fought hard and caused the Cancer to go into remission, it went a way. Dad would get tested every 3 months to see if the cancer was still gone and for about a year it never showed up.

About a year ago Dad had a really bad cough that just wouldn’t go away, but my dad doesn’t like doctors so it was hard to get him to go. When he finally went, our family doctor told him that he will treat him for the cough but if it doesn’t go away within a week, then my dad would have to go have a cancer screening on his throat and chest. Well the cough did not go away. My dad went to get his screening and about a week later we received devastating news. He has stage four lung cancer. We haven’t even finished paying off the bills from the first cancer and then this is brought before us.

It was a very difficult time for the entire family and this time it hit Dad extremely hard because he had lost his mother at age 16 from lung cancer. He knew what he was about to go through and he knew what his wife and children were about to endure. It shattered him. Yet, my dad took on the treatments the doctors recommended. The treatments completely changed his physical appearance but never took away his Strength to NOT GIVE UP.

About a month ago the doctors informed us that the treatments where not working and that the lung cancer was growing…… Once again another hit to the heart, another hit to our family, to my dad. It was about a week it took to get another game plan, so now dad is going to Duke University to be part of an experimental treatment that has shown major progress and amazing results. We are praying that this program will add some more years to his life. Dad is on Oxygen now and cannot work; he cannot do much, which he hates. He has always been a very active person and not being able to do his normal everyday things is extremely bothersome. .


I’m so sorry to say but Dad has passed. He went peacefully listening to some of his favorite songs with Ramon holding one hand and I holding the other. He will always be remembered and he will always be the Best in the World! I love you Daddy! We will update on funeral arrangements as soon as possible.
Chip Hedenburg

Chip Hedenburg



spiritual gangster

Do not live too far in the past or the future. Live now.

Very happy to be living here at the beach. Thankful for my many friends.

Quit his day job and opened “Shiva’s Drum” yoga and spiritual shop.

Died so quickly. I am so, so sorry Chip. I have been through this, and I should have been more support for you. I couldn’t even bear to see you wither away while I was still living. I am sorry. I think of you often.

Danielle James

Danielle James

High School teacher, wife, mother of four young girls.

We shared a breast-cancer-sisterhood hug just days before she passed away.

She was my neighbor; I used to see her going for walks in our neighborhood. When she was in treatment, she was not walking. She had started walking again after treatment, with more frequency and more strenghth.

We had just commented that she was getting better.

I didn’t know her then. I just knew her as the high school teacher that was fighting cancer. Many of my teacher friends knew her and always spoke extremely highly of her. But I didn’t know her.

Our paths crossed through a mutual friend, very briefly. Just long enough to share the most sincere hug I’ve ever experienced. At the time, I didn’t even realize she was the teacher that I would see walking our neighborhood.

And then 3 days later she put her beautiful daughters on the school bus, returned to her bed, and fell asleep until she no longer felt the pain.

She died on my birthday.

She is sorely missed by the Outer Banks community and Dare County schools.

Her Tribute in the local Outer Banks Voice. 

Magic Mike

Magic Mike

My daughter, Giana, with Magic Mike at a friend's birthday party.

My daughter, Giana, with Magic Mike at a friend’s birthday party.

Longtime OBX entertainer ‘Magic Mike’ Stoffel pictured here with my daughter Giana. He made so many children smile.
Liver Cancer.

After nearly three decades of bringing joy to generations of children on the Outer Banks, “Magic Mike” Stoffel died this morning in his Colington Harbour home after battling liver cancer. He was 62.

Stoffel was best known in the community for his clown performances during birthday parties, fund raisers and other special events. Over the years, he brought smiles to the faces of thousands of local children with his entertaining magic tricks and balloon animal creations.

Read his local obituary at The Outer Banks Voice

A little bit at a time

A little bit at a time

Some periods of time are just too stressful or painful to keep track of. Just keep going. Pause, then keep going. It will get better.

The Fruit Salad Guy

The Fruit Salad Guy

There was this kind man who had undergone treatment for cancer at the same oncologist as me. I suppose he noticed that the food that was available for us to snack on during treatments was not at all healthy.  So once he was better and recovered from his treatments, he started preparing a delicious fresh fruit salad, every week, and brought it to the chemo treatment room every Thursday, to share wholesome fruit salad with anyone getting chemo that day. I loved chatting with him and was so comforted to hear of the gratitude he had for the success of his cancer treatments. And then one day, he was gone. I asked the head nurse, and sure enough, he was gone. It came back.

It gets everyone. It got the fruit salad guy. 🙁


April, the Lab Receptionist

April, the Lab Receptionist

Receptionist at my Bloodwork Lab during my treatments.
Ovarian Cancer.

I knew April as the warm and friendly lady at the front desk of the lab where I had my bloodwork drawn for my own cancer treatments. One say, she told me a secret. She was wearing a wig and was also going through chemotherapy and treatment. She told me to keep strong, that it would all work out OK.

We discussed her wig each week, and how much she hated wearing it and couldn’t wait to go without it. I told her to rock her super short hair. Next appointment, there she was grinning. She said it was her first day without the wig. I told her she looked spectacular.

As my own treatments came to a close I would start going to the lab with less frequency. Every week went to every month then once per three months, and then down to only twice a year. I didn’t see April for a while, and then, when I was getting my every 6-month preventative and “maintenance” chemo, I was shocked to see April in one of the chemo chairs. She had a remission and was fighting the good fight again. She looked, understandably, tired. Somehow in my naive mind, I thought she’d pull through.

The next time I went to get blood drawn, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I asked the new front desk lady “Where’s April? She’s ok, right?” and the look I got back was all the answer I needed. I cried in the waiting room. I hate cancer.

From April’s obituary:

April Truitt MacDonald, 63, of Colington Harbour, passed away July 2, 2013 after a long battle with ovarian cancer.

What brought April the most joy was spending time with family and friends; whether here in the local community, down on Ocracoke Island, or anywhere good fellowship and company was to be had. April loved nature, especially bird-watching from her deck or camping with her family. She will be remembered most as a loving wife, dedicated mother, and loyal friend.

See her obituary here.

Markie Cocsa

Markie Cocsa

It is with great sadness to announce that our beloved Markie passed away peacefully yesterday morning. At the time of his passing he was surrounded by his loving family. Our beautiful, perfect boy will always live on in our hearts and we take comfort in knowing Markie is now watching over us from beyond.

Through Markie’s journey your love, support and prayers have been such a comfort to him and our family. Words can never truly express what your kindness has meant to us.

Goodnight Our Hero

To be brave is to cry
But still to fight on,
And that’s what you did
Our hero, our son.

The battle was hard
We thought we had won,
But still you fought on
Our hero, our son.

The happiness you brought
To the lives you have touched,
Will live on forever
As you are loved so much.

when we close our eyes we can see you,
When we whisper your name we can hear you,
And when we reach with our hearts we can touch you.

Goodnight our hero, our son, our Markie,
You are just a child
But you have died a man.

Markie Cosca Jr. Tribute Video 1

Markie Cosca Jr. Tribute Video 2

Markie Cosca Jr. Tribute Video 3

Without a doubt – the most difficult tribute I’ve ever made. He was so, so pure and full of love and light. I am honored to have met him. And sometimes feel guilty – how did I make it through, and he did not, when he had SO MUCH MORE to give. It is just not fair. 

Alex Lassiter

Alex Lassiter


October 2, 1989 - March 12, 2013

Alex was a sage and thoughtful person, wise beyond his years. Artistic in nature, his life on the Outer Banks was reflected in his music, surfing and most of all his painting.

Alexander A. “Alex” Lassiter, born October 2, 1989, was an Outer Banks native and graduate of First Flight High School.

On March 12, 2013 Al succumbed to a rare form of cancer after a long and courageous fight.

Saying Goodbye

A memorial paddle out is the way the surfing community says good bye to fellow surfers that have passed. Eric Gardner and Alex Lassiter were two local surfers, both passed earlier this year. It was chosen to wait till this date, giving the water time to warm and favorable conditions. It was perfect.

you taught me to live and love freely and I am forever grateful. time goes quickly but the heartache never gets easier. miss you Al 💕
– Chandler

Sometimes in my tears I drown, but I never let it get me down.
So when negativity surrounds, I know some day it’ll all turn around.

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Thankful Thanksgiving

Thankful Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving all. I am so very thankful to be alive today. I am thankful also for my loving family who carried me through this past year. And my fabulous extended family and friends.

This last year has been hard but the blessings that came along with it will last a lifetime and I am thankful for that as I look toward the future. Thank you everyone who touched my life this last year. It’s been humbling. I love you all!

Sarah Elizabeth Lindsey Gupta

Sarah Elizabeth Lindsey Gupta

OCTOBER 27, 1980 – NOVEMBER 6, 2011

In January 2010, Sarah began having mysterious medical problems that were diagnosed in April of that same year as Stage IV Adrenal Cortical Carcinoma. She underwent a seven-hour surgery at Duke Medical Center and returned to teaching with six weeks, determined to beat the odds of this dreadful terminal cancer. There were no chemotherapy drugs known to be effective, yet she approached her challenge with such a positive attitude and a decision to research all her options, and did all in her power to think “outside the box.” Her desire to return to teaching – the desire of her heart – helped her keep up the fight against cancer. Unfortunately, none of the clinical trial drugs proved effective against this aggressive and rare form of cancer and Sarah Lindsey Gupta left this world on November 6, 2011. Her beauty, positive attitude and grace in the midst of trials, taught everyone she touched both how to live and how to die.

See the tribute website for Sarah.

Stayin’ Alive!

Stayin’ Alive!

Third Place Winner at SOS contest at the Baum Center. Made by my friend Nancy Proctor’s sister Michele while visiting last week. And dedicated to me! as I posted today that I am cancer-free.

Ah Ah Ah, Staying Alive! Staying Alive.

It is made up of mirror tiles surrounded by little lights. Will look great hanging over your dining room table! (hahaha) How cool is that!

In a Pickle turned Pink

In a Pickle turned Pink

So my husband’s cousin owns (the best) breakfast spot in Boston, In a Pickle. This year he had his staff paint his restaurant pink! What an honor to be included. Thanks, Tim!

Hi Susan We recently painted the walls of ‘The Pickle’ pink to help raise awareness and raise funds for Breast Cancer. We are asking customers and staff to write names of family and loved ones on our wall to support or memorialize them. I wrote your name up there. I thought you might want a photo of it. Best Wishes and Good Luck! 

Outer Banks Community Supports Us

Outer Banks Community Supports Us

I had the most wonderful day ever today! Family, friends and Rubber Pants! Good times!! Thank you so much to everyone who came out. We are humbled and overwhelmed. … now for a much needed nap…

Start with Today

Start with Today

I have in all honesty been either focusing on the very core elements of battling cancer (pain management, symptom control, simply keeping myself alive by breathing in and out and sometimes nothing more) or… When the chemo fog begins to lift … Getting myself back I to work any hour I can spare – keeping my nose above the water and trying to stay ahead of the bills. a VERY close second is spending some time with my family. It generally comes in little spurts but I do try to spend some one on one time with each of them as often as I can. It’s hard to fit it all in – I’ve got about a week of dealing w chemo and then a week of work/family and I’m exhausted. And then back to chemo.

Long Haired Scott

Long Haired Scott

This sweet husband of mine. My family offered to shave their heads as support for me while I went through chemo. My thoughts were “That’s Crazy! I HATE bald heads right now. I don’t want to see you or anyone with a bald head. No… in fact., I’ve always wanted to see you with long hair.” Which to my husband is a huge hassle – washing and drying and combing – who needs that mess?

But he agreed, and so did my sons and daughter. No one in the family had a haircut for a year. I loved all of it; they all had long hair for me. They’re all so handsome. But, none of them liked it like I did – so it was hard to get a picture.