Well, it's that time of year again. Did you know that October is a month that's brimming with "awareness"? Take a look at the month of October on the Wikipedia page for the list of commemorative months and you'll find multifarious examples such as: National Country Ham Month; National CyberSecurity Month; National Toilet Tank Repair Month; Hunger Awareness Month, and many more. But none of them can hold a candle to the most heavily promoted: Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Or as I like to call it, Corporate Manipulation of A Trendy Disease Month -- and I include the big name nonprofits in this category.
In case you haven't heard, I have a bone to pick with the breast cancer industry and if you please - please don't ever buy anything pink in my honor ( for the back story read my post When Pink Stinks).
I'd like to dedicate this post to dear Kate's father who succumbed to PANCREATIC cancer -- a cancer for which there is little awareness. Did you know that November is National Pancreatic Cancer Month? Well it is. And purple is the color of the ribbon. Not that these are the things that truly matter.
My point is that breast cancer is the sexy disease that gets all the big money PR and it bothers me. A lot. I feel for those - and their family members - that have one of the less "popular" cancers. Would Ford Motors or Yoplait Yogurt attach Colon Cancer to their product? You know the answer. Don't encourage or support this scheming trend in consumerism, please. Stretch your awareness above and beyond the glossy media campaigns and don't be swayed by schmaltzy rosie colored adverts. For some good reading -- from my favorite alternative sports writer -- check out Dave Zirin's article, The NFL Is Thinking Pink.
I wish you all good health.
In the last episode of my 30 year migraine saga (as I wrote in this post) my hopes for pain relief were dashed yet again when my Cancer Doc nixed the natural hormone remedy. Well I'm starting a new chapter with my introduction to medicinal cannabis. It was prescribed to me by a board certified MD, who could have just as easily prescribed to me an FDA approved, highly addictive and highly toxic synthetic pain remedy. But I've tried ALL of those, some with incredibly severe side effects that sent me to the ER more than once. Enter The Capitola Cannabis Collective; a home delivery service!
I was interviewed by the local paper about my experience from a member's point of view, and I'm willing to write back to anyone who wants to learn more about this in general. And if you have any misgivings or doubts about the issue and are willing to keep an open mind I have some great talking points to share with you.
As for my pain relief, I tried the medicine for the first time this week. I had a bite of a medicinal food bar and enjoyed a most dramatic sunset that night (I checked with the family the next day and I hadn't imagined it, they saw it too, maybe not with the same intentsity). The migraine pain persisted for the duration that the medicine was in effect, but the next morning I awoke migraine-free. This is a major improvement as normally, once my migraine hits, there's no turning back and I'm in bed for three to four solid days, writhing in pain and vomiting, unable to keep food or water down.
I will have to see what happens in the next couple of months (these are monthly menstrual migraines). Here's hoping that it breaks a vicious cycle that's been plaguing me for my entire adult life. I must say thank you to the people who make it possible for pain sufferers -- people with cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and more -- who against great odds, amidst slander and negative profiling by some in the media, have persevered to bring pain relief by way of an organic herb.
Click HERE for a list of 21 other herbs that could potentially bring you some relief.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month feels like one long month of industry advertising. An industry of fear. Even the language is violent. I don't want to FIGHT breast cancer in an "ARMY of Women" (Avon and Susan Love's new project) in the WAR on cancer. I don't want to be labeled a SURVIVOR after BATTLING this mysterious disease that an industry presumes to know how to treat.
In fact, these days much of western medicine is fear based. I expect you to know me well enough that I don't need to go into detail to explain that I value medicine in specific circumstances, where it is cleary needed, where the benefit outweighs the risk, and that I do believe there are truly thoughtful and dedicated health-care-givers. Having said that, there is a very predatory side to the medical community and pharmaceutical companies. Never has it been more evident how very much like drug pushers they are as witnessed by the glut of magazine and television advertising designed to lure the populous into becoming users.
Now it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we see the myriad of companies that are gaining from others' misfortune. I'm talking about Pinkwashing. I will leave the details for you to discover if you choose to at Breast Cancer Action.
The trendiness of breast cancer disturbs me. It's far too much focus on one type of cancer, "... and coming up fast on the rail in second place it's testicular cancer in yellow." But what color ribbon would you sport for cervical cancer, brain cancer, or prostate cancer?
I'm weary from having been through the cancer mill. I've seen the dark side of the industry. It goes without saying that I'm grateful to be alive. I'm grateful beyond measure for so many kind gestures and well wishes. But I also believe that for every person who is alive in this challenging and tumultuous 21st Century, we are all survivors.
Sitting here at Stanford Cancer Center waiting to be seen by my Oncologist. It's a beleaguered and world-weary group in this overcrowded waiting room. Half of them are wearing respirator masks, their immune systems weakened by toxic drugs or by the cancer itself, rendering them defenseless to communicable diseases. Some are bald from chemo, some are waiting in angst for the results of biopsies.
I sit here, sometimes for hours, waiting to be called for an appointment that I don't even want to go to. Every fifteen minutes I tell myself, "If they don't call me in the next three minutes I'm leaving". While waiting I invariably find myself playing a game: guess the disease. Some are more obvious than others. Man passing by in a wheelchair, a large three-sided incision across the top of his shaved scalp: brain cancer. As they have seperate mens and womens exam rooms I wonder to myself if he's crossed paths with Patrick Swayze, who's being treated here for pancreatic cancer.
After two hours of waiting I've seen all of the artwork (they do have an impressive collection), read all of the old magazines, and even managed to eat lunch. It's a psychological roller coaster. I tell myself I don't belong here. I admit to myself that this is the reality, this is my new tribe. I feel sorry for myself, then I realize that many of these people deserve much more sympathy than I. This is the thought process in the waiting room at a cancer center. They try to make it a pleasant experience. They have plasma screens playing image loops of things like pristine mountain streams and perfect sunsets.
They even have a harp player. I can't shake the association of harps playing as one enters the pearly gates and I wonder if this is an appropriate instrument to feature at a cancer center (ha). They have free massage, which I couldn't take advantage of on this trip, being post-surgery I can't lay on my chest in the massage chair. They also have concierge service whereby a woman will breeze through the waiting rooms taking orders for coffee, tea, water, or hot cocoa. I saw hide nor hair of her today.
These are merely observations. I'm not complaining. I am grateful for all that I have. Truly.
I do have a complaint though! It has to do with "Pinkwashing". Please take the time to read these articles on the topic of poisonous companies and individuals using breast cancer as a means for profit.
Lately I've been writing Sylvie BC, meaning Sylvie Beyond Cancer. Tomorrow, Wednesday the 28th, is my mastectomy surgery. It's after 9pm and I still don't have my bag packed...and I have to get up at 4:30am!!
It's a strange world. Strange times. Strange and surreal feelings wash over me. I am suddenly at a loss for words. Keep me in your thoughts. My loving wishes, Sylvie
Marcel's photo of a sunflower at Stanford
So zippy in fact, that I almost made it disappear before I could photograph it. This is my variation on an acid-free recipe in the book The pH Miracle. It's organic basmati rice drizzled with olive oil and topped with avocados. I love the smell of morning now with the pot of rice cooking.
If you're just tuning in, I'm trying to maintain a low acidic diet for my health, including fighting off my cancer. It's a good path to follow if you're of a preventative mind. Western medicine for the most part follows the doctrine of Pasteur. That is, that disease is caused by germs that invade the body, therefore we must stop germs through hygiene and antibiotics. By great contrast the book The pH Miracle reveals that Antoine Béchamp, another Frenchman and contemporary of Pasteur, had been doing research which showed that unhealthy cellular conditions in our bodies could create bacteria from within, as well as make us more vulnerable to external bugs taking hold. This is why some people catch a cold and others don't; it depends on the environment in a given person's body. An acidic environment allows for ill-health and disease to thrive. Béchamp's was called The Microzymian Theory.
Béchamp's theory which is well-founded, was discarded in favor of Pasteur's, who was a plagiarist, master marketeer and lobbyist. I drive down Pasteur Drive to get to Stanford Hospital. medical centers are named after him. Western medicine builds monuments in his name. Med students are taught to accept his as the dominant theory. This, even after proof that on his deathbed Pasteur proclaimed that he himself was wrong and further stated that Béchamp's Microzymian Theory was superior.
Enough of medicating the symptoms. Enough of blind faith in a system built on lies. I tip my glass of wheat grass juice to you Monsieur Béchamp.
A customer came into the shop recently and started talking about how she was trying to achieve a healthy balance of the acid/alkaline in her body, and recommended it for my cancer. I have since been studying this subject, bought the book "The pH Miracle", and proceeded to try to cut the acidic foods from my diet. I say try because I do love vinegar -- cherry vinegar, grapefruit vinegar, pomegranate vinegar, and good old balsamic. I love olives, tea, wine, and beer (warm Guinness). But most of all, I love my COFFEE! I only drink one cup in the morning, but it's my religion. My ritual. My joy. I'm beginning to think that this pH thing is just a crock. What's wrong with a lil' acid? Ph*ck pH! Just to show you who's boss, I'm going to insert another coffee photo...
To be serious, there really is something to this overly acidic condition. I've noticed a difference for the better in the short time since I've eliminated certain foods and ingredients from my diet. And I strive to eat more foods of an alkaline nature. Your emotions and thoughts can also be acidic. Beware. Be aware. Having said that, I can't quite bring myself to give up that one cuppa joe. Not yet. Maybe, if someone offers me a modest little farmhouse in Tuscany, I might reconsider.
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy, when skies are grey...cheers!