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The Truth About Vaccines – Are They Safe?

http://MarnieClark.com/the-truth-about-vaccinesThe Truth About Vaccines – Are They Safe?

An argument is raging across the globe, and it may get worse before it gets better. Parents and grandparents are up in arms fighting with each other, their friends, doctors, and even legislators. It’s a subject so controversial for some that it eclipses political events, the world economy, and the healthcare debate itself. People want to know the truth about vaccines and whether or not they are safe.

Vaccine safety and news about increasing adverse reactions, both in adults and children, is a very real concern. Medical doctors are increasingly being confronted with parents who want to diverge from the recommended vaccine protocol, asking to vaccinate selectively (or sometimes not at all).

Parents and grandparents are asking –

– How do I know for sure that vaccines are safe for my child?

– Is my child at high risk of having a bad reaction?

– How often should we administer vaccines? Can we space them out?

– How MANY vaccines are really necessary?

– Should we vaccinate at all? Are there alternatives?

– Speaking long term, are we doing more harm than good?

And much more. In my humble opinion, the biggest problem facing the vaccine controversy today is that there’s too much noise. Too much propaganda and emotional arguments. Too many opinions and too few facts.

Just like other “hot button issues”, everyone has an opinion (factual or not), and there’s BIG money at play to try and tip the hand in one direction or the other.

How To Know What’s Best?

How do you know what’s best for you and your child? Not only are we facing the questions about vaccine safety and integrity, now we’ve got to deal with, “Who decides what’s best? Me or the government?”

California entered the fray when it passed a mandatory “forced vaccination” law in 2016, much to the outrage of many of its citizens.

How would you feel if your government mandated that you MUST vaccinate (or must NOT), even if it goes against your religious or philosophical beliefs?

What does it say for freedom when the government starts making major medical decisions for you and your children? Where do we go from here? How did we even get to this point?

Way back in 1796, when Edward Jenner somewhat accidentally cured a child with what was then known as “cowpox,” it was a major medical breakthrough. People in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s were dying from diseases that could be controlled by vaccines, and with that the race was on.

These days, we’re vaccinating our kids against literally everything, but we still don’t know how many of these newer vaccines react in the human body over a period of time.

Did you know that in many cases, the double-blind placebo safety studies have not been done like they are for other pharmaceutical drugs? The vaccine companies themselves have immunity from the government. That means you cannot sue them if something goes wrong, and your child is injured from the vaccine. Couple that with the rising anger on both sides at the thought that “the other side” is reckless and ignoring the facts, and you have an issue that’s just about reached boiling point.

We owe it to our children and our grandchildren to learn as much information as we can (good and bad) about vaccines, so that we can protect them and give them the best chances of having a vibrant, healthy future — free from disease in this modern world.

Fortunately, Someone Has Done Something About This Issue

Even though the debate is contentious, one brave team has decided to do something about it. Filmmaker, author, and health freedom advocate Ty Bollinger, the man who produced the record-setting documentary “The Truth About Cancer” (now seen by 10 million people), has an epic new series about to be released. Ty and his team traveled the world to interview over 60 of the best vaccine experts on the planet, on both sides of the debate. Scientists, researchers, doctors, clinicians… the list is huge.

Their goal with the series is to bring some facts and sanity to the heated vaccine debate. To investigate both sides and separate fact from fiction, so parents can make their own decision about what’s best for their family. The result is a new 7-part documentary series called “The Truth About Vaccines.”

The reality is, no matter whether you’re a staunch vaccine supporter, or you believe they should be eliminated completely, your voice matters, and the health of your children and grandchildren matter too. You deserve to learn all you can about the science and statistics behind vaccines, to weigh the benefits and the risks for your own family.

Ty and his team reject the idea that you have to “pick a side” and approach the vaccine safety topic the same way they did cancer – interview the best experts, collect the facts, look at the science, and then pull it all together to find the real truth – free from speculation, hype, and emotional bias.

On April 12th at 9pm Eastern US time, “The Truth About Vaccines” premieres, and the answers will be revealed. 7 episodes in 7 days. It’s the biggest, most comprehensive documentary series on vaccines ever released, and the whole thing is completely FREE.

Click HERE to get a sneak preview and register to watch the entire series free of charge. It’s a one-time event. It’s your chance to join the debate in a positive and meaningful and very powerful way. Your health of your children and/or grandchildren depend on it.

GET MY BEST TIPS on healthy ways to beat breast cancer and prevent recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right. You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates. I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

Meditation Benefits and 4 Quick Tips To Assist You

http://MarnieClark.com/meditation-benefits-and-4-quick-tips-to-assist-youMeditation Benefits and 4 Quick Tips To Assist You

One of the things I teach newly diagnosed breast cancer patients is that meditation is wonderful for helping us to heal our bodies. For the majority of people going through breast cancer, learning meditation is one of the best things you can do, for so many reasons.

First, for stress relief (and going through cancer is NOTHING if not stressful). Another powerful reason is that when you are undergoing the various tests and treatments (some of which can also fill you with anxiety, like MRIs, CT-scans, bone scans and the like) knowing how to calm your mind and focus on something else is absolutely vital. That’s just scraping the tip of the iceberg.

Going back to the stress issue, research tells us that meditation is one of the most effective methods to relieve stress. If there’s one thing I hear about all too often from women going through breast cancer, it’s stress. Most tell me that in the lead-up to their cancer diagnosis they were struggling with some form of unrelenting stress. And this, they feel, is what let cancer in the door. It was the same for me.

So why is meditation so powerful?

According to the latest research, meditation can help you “rewire” your brain, so that you are less stressed, you have improved focus and ability to concentrate, less anxiety, more creativity, and your memory can also improve! How great is that!

Do you need some help getting started? If you’re anything like me, I didn’t really know where to begin. I struggled. My mind would NOT shut up. Here are four quick tips that will help you.

Step 1. Prepare for meditation.

Set aside some time – it doesn’t have to be a long time, perhaps just 20 minutes. If you only have two minutes, take two minutes. Those could be the most important two minutes of your day! Get a drink of water. Go to the bathroom if necessary. Shut the door so you can have some quiet time. Find a comfortable position (but not too comfortable or you might fall asleep). Loosen tight clothing. If you want to have meditation music playing in the background, put it on. You could also breathe in essential oils to help you focus your mind if you wish (frankincense, lavender or sandalwood are helpful). These things are helpful, but definitely not a requirement. When I worked in an office, I would just sit in the ladies room and meditate for a few minutes – it was the only place I could find some relative peace and quiet.

Step 2. Relax.

Once you’re in a comfortable position, allow your body and mind to relax. There are many techniques to help you relax and what works for one may not work for another. If you need some help finding a good relaxation technique, click here. Allow your mind to just let go. Let there be no effort involved with this. If you find yourself thinking about something, just let it go by like a cloud floating past in the sky. Try not to feel irritated with yourself, just let it go.

Step 3. Mindfulness.

One of the ways you can utilize meditation is with something called mindfulness meditation. Without getting into too much detail, begin to focus your mind on your breath. Just feel it moving into and out of your body. Be aware of your body in time and space. Allow for stillness. Be present. If your mind wanders off, gently bring it back to the present moment.

Step 4. Notice.

Just begin to notice your mind growing more and more still. Look for the gaps between your thoughts. As one meditation guru puts it, those gaps are where the magic happens. It can’t be described, you just have to wait for it, experience it yourself. It may not happen immediately, but increasingly the stillness of your mind becomes more familiar to you. You may notice that as you sit quietly in meditation, your cold hands or feet get warm – this is a lovely reminder that quieting the mind helps the energy, the chi, flow through you better. I sometimes see swirling colored lights behind my closed eyes, rather like the aurora borealis. I notice my nervous system quieting and calming. Meditation is like a healing balm for the nerves.

I hope that helps, but if you still have questions, I created a series of 7 videos answering questions about meditation. Check them out, your question might be answered in one of them.

Why Should I Meditate?
How Do I Keep My Mind From Wandering?
How Do I Find Time to Meditate?
How Do You Know You’re Meditating and Not Just Sitting There?
What Is the Best Meditation Technique For Beginners?
Can I Use Meditation for Healing?
Teaching You How to Meditate

From Ian Gawler, cancer survivor, author, and meditation/health teacher:

Having prepared well, we relax.

Relaxing more deeply, we become more mindful.

As our mindfulness develops, the stillness naturally reveals itself.

We rest in open, undistracted awareness.

There is nothing to do. Simply be aware. Open. Undistracted. Aware.

It is as simple, and as difficult as that.”

Need Help With Your Meditation Practice?

Back in 2004 when I was going through treatments for my breast cancer, I knew that meditation could hold the key to my struggle with stress, and thus possibly the key to my healing.

But I had a very hard time finding a good guided meditation for cancer patients that would lead me through a series of calming visualizations and help me to focus my mind. There were lots of meditation CDs available (no downloads then!) and I tried most of them, but each one had something that drove me crazy – it would be intrusive background music or the person narrating it would have some annoying trait. I finally decided to create my own how-to-meditate course, called Change Your Life Meditation Course (click that link to find out more).

I created it for people who lived in small towns without access to meditation classes, for busy people who just wanted some help and guidance with their meditation practice. If that sounds good to you, click here.

Not sure? Want a free sample? Check out my free guided meditation. This is the very meditation I used each and every day (instead of radiation, but that’s a whole different story).

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right. You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates. I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

Good Massage Oil Recipe For Lymphedema

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net / Praisaeng

Image source: freedigitalphotos.net / Praisaeng

Good Massage Oil Recipe For Lymphedema

Further to my article Lymphedema Diagnosis? Some Helpful Alternatives I have put together a good massage oil recipe for lymphedema, for those of you struggling with this condition.

For a good explanation of lymphedema and what it is see reference 1 below.  See also my article above.  One day, modern science will finally come to the conclusion that excising lymph nodes only creates more problems than it cures. In the meantime, while there is no cure for the secondary lymphedema caused by lymph node removal during breast cancer surgery, there are certainly a number of things you can do for yourself to ease the symptoms and severity of it and I discuss many of those options in my article referenced in the first paragraph above.

The focus of today’s post is to share with you a really excellent massage oil recipe which helps to ease the pain and swelling of lymphedema.  Here it is:

Lymphedema Massage Oil

In a dark glass bottle, combine 2 oz/60 ml organic carrier oil (this can be almond, fractionated coconut, olive, or hemp but make sure it’s organic) with 5 drops each of the following medicinal grade essential oils :

Lemon – has antiseptic properties, is excellent for improving microcirculation, and is anti-tumoral (yes I have research on that if you’d like to see it)

Rosemary – has anti-bacterial properties, it improves circulation, helps with liver detoxification

Juniper – cleans the blood of toxins, removes extra water from the body through the urine (natural diuretic), increases circulation

Cypress – reduces inflammation, increases circulation, discourages fluid retention

Copaiba – has antiseptic properties, is one of the most potent anti-inflammatory substances on the planet, helps to reduce pain, is also a gentle diuretic

Place cap on bottle, shake lightly and use this oil daily, massaging it into the affected area using light strokes towards the heart. Shake bottle gently prior to each use to combine the oils.

A Little Info About Essential Oils

Essential oils have long been recognized for their wonderful healing properties and they have been used for centuries. There are many references to essential oils in the ancient Judeo-Christian religious texts. Essential oils are created from a variety of plant constituents including flowers, leaves, roots and bark, and the oils are extracted through specific distillation methods.

Although not oils in the sense that olive oil, almond oil or coconut oils are oils, “essential” oils are termed this because they have the distinctive scent or essence of the plant from which they are derived. They are also essential to life (both ours and the plant’s!).

References:

1.  http://www.medicinenet.com/lymphedema/article.htm

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right.  You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates.  I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.   

Your Breast Surgery Recovery: Using Arnica To Minimize Bruising and Swelling

 

Arnica Montana
Arnica Montana

Your Breast Surgery Recovery: Using Arnica To Minimize Bruising and Swelling

When I was anticipating my lumpectomy in 2004, I consulted a friend who was a trained naturopath and she strongly recommended that I start taking homeopathic arnica 2-3 days prior to my surgery and continuing for 5 days post-surgery to minimize the pain, bruising and swelling.  She said it also helped to recover from anesthesia.

I took her advice and was very happy I did.  I found arnica to be extremely effective for post-surgical bruising and swelling.  So was my plastic surgeon – in fact, he was so impressed, he thereafter began recommending it to his patients and had it sitting in a prominent place on his reception desk!

What Is Arnica?

Arnica montana is a perennial herb found (according to Wikipedia) widely distributed throughout North America, in Europe from southern Iberia to southern Scandinavia and the Carpathian mountains, and all the way to Siberia.  For some reason, it doesn’t grow in the United Kingdom, in Italy or in the Balkan region. 

Arnica’s favorite habitat is nutrient-poor meadows, moors and heaths and grows as high as 9,800 feet above sea level (3,000 metres).   The flowers and roots are used in herbal medicine and homeopathic remedies, typically in remedies applied directly to the skin.

How Arnica Helps

The active components of Arnica montana include sesquiterpene lactones and flavonoids which are known to reduce inflammation and ease pain. It also contains thymol, an infection-fighting essential oil, and carotenoid, a powerful antioxidant.

The proposed method of action is by stimulation of white blood cells and dispersion of fluids that accumulate around surgical sites.  The cumulative effect is a boost in immunity, acceleration of healing and anti-inflammation.  The thymol component also helps the body combat bacterial infection, which is important when you’re sitting in a hospital working on breast surgery recovery.

The Science

Several studies have found Arnica montana to be no more effective than a placebo in relieving pain, swelling, and bruising.  Maybe they were not using the proper strengths – who knows?

For myself, I found it to be extremely effective and everyone I’ve recommended it to felt similarly.  Homeopaths have used arnica for more than 200 years to treat injuries, in particular swelling and bruising, with great results.

I did find some positive studies:

(1)  In a 2007 study of 190 adults having their tonsils removed, scientists discovered that those taking a homeopathic dilution of arnica had a small but significant decrease in pain compared to patients assigned to a placebo.  Robertson A, Suryanarayanan R, Banerjee A. “Homeopathic Arnica montana for post-tonsillectomy analgesia: a randomised placebo control trial.” Homeopathy 2007 96(1):17-21.

(2) A 2002 study of 37 people undergoing surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome found that taking a homeopathic dilution of arnica and applying arnica ointment also produced a significant decrease in post-surgery pain.  Jeffrey SL, Belcher HJ. “Use of Arnica to relieve pain after carpal-tunnel release surgery.” Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 2002 8(2):66-8.

(3) A 2006 study of 29 patients undergoing face-lifts found that patients taking perioperative homeopathic arnica montana exhibited less bruising.  Seeley BM, Denton AB, Ahn MS, Maas CS. “Effect of homeopathic Arnica montana on bruising in face-lifts: results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.”  Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2006 Jan-Feb;8(1):54-9.

Dosages

I strongly recommend that you consult a trained naturopath or homeopath to get the dosage correct for YOU.  Having said that, I do have a homeopathic protocol that comes highly recommended:

Homeopathic Arnica Protocol

  • Three days prior to surgery take one dose of Arnica 30C
  • Two days prior to surgery take Arnica 30C two times per day
  • One day prior to surgery take Arnica 30C three times per day
  • On the day of surgery take Arnica 30C four times before surgery commences.
  • Post-surgery take Arnica 30C every 15 minutes as soon as possible in recovery during the first hour.
  • After the first hour repeat Arnica 30C every hour for the duration of the day.
  • One day post-op take Arnica 30C every four hours for the duration of the day.
  • Day two post-op take Arnica 30C four times per day.
  • Day three post-op take Arnica 30C  three times per day.
  • Day four post-op take Arnica 30C two times per day.
  • Day five post-op take Arnica 30C one time per day and continue until full recovery.
As you will notice, the protocol increases the frequency of repetition of doses leading up to surgery and then after surgery, the repetition increases significantly, then starts to decrease as the body heals.  This protocol has been highly recommended, but please check with your health professional prior to commencement.
 
Check out my Useful Links page to buy arnica from recommended sources.
 
If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

My Favorite Blog Lately…

flower, redWhile writing my blog articles, I do a lot of Internet surfing and I see a lot of different sites.  My favorite blog lately is http://thesilverpen.com so I thought I’d share it with you today, especially since my latest blogs have been pretty heavy going.

Written by Hollye Jacobs, a fellow breast cancer survivor, Hollye describes her blog as being “a way for me to document the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and oftentimes hilarious journey through, with, over and around breast cancer. One year later I’m still in recovery but now on a journey to find Silver Linings in all aspects of life.”

I love that – Silver Linings.  A wonderful way to look at life.

Every time I head over to Hollye’s site, I’m in awe.  It has an elegant feel to it – you might read an inspirational thought from Seneca, or a discussion of a book that she liked, or there could be something about gardening or stillness.

Today’s post is about Oscar de la Renta’s gardens in the Dominican Republic and there are some gorgeous photographs – the kind you can lose yourself in.

Head over there and take a look (you can use the link at the top of this page).  Thank you, Hollye.  Love your work and your words of wisdom.  I even love the occasional “f bomb”.

If you’d like to stay connected, sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

If You Are Contemplating Chemotherapy, You Should Know About the Chemosensitivity Test

chemo drugsHere in America, if you are contemplating chemotherapy, you may or may not be offered the chemosensitivity test.

In Germany, chemosensitivity tests are routinely conducted in order to determine which chemotherapy drugs should be utilized for a specific cancer patient.

Because some tumors may resist certain chemotherapy treatments, some oncologists are choosing to test tumor cells in advance of treatment rather than prescribe a standard chemotherapy combination without knowing whether it would be effective for your particular tumor.

Tailor-Made Treatment

The tests, called chemotherapy sensitivity and resistance assays (CSRAs) are relatively new  and are carried out for many types of cancer.

The CSRA is a laboratory test that is done on a single cell in a test tube (in vitro) or on a clump of tumor cells (in vivo), usually taken from a biopsy tissue sample.  The test assesses how many cancer cells are killed by a particular drug, or by a combination of drugs, and how many cancer cells are unaffected by the treatment.

When your oncologist examines these test results, he/she can then treat you more effectively, knowing which chemo drugs your cells respond to.  Two more added benefits are that you don’t lose any time being blasted with drugs that don’t work for you and you don’t have to be debilitated by the side effects of drugs that won’t kill your cancer.

There Are 5 Qualifying Factors

As of writing this article, I am aware of 5 qualifying factors before you will be considered for a chemosensitivity test.

  1. You have to find an oncologist that will order the test
  2. You need to be strong enough to undergo chemotherapy
  3. You need to have access to a lab or facility that does the assay
  4. You must have a solid or fluid tumor
  5. You must be willing to undergo a new biopsy to get a fresh tissue sample for testing

Insurance Companies and Clinical Trial Results – Two More Problems

Not all insurance companies will cover the cost of the chemosensitivity test, which as close as I could tell runs around $800.  Aetna Insurance considers chemosensitivity assays “experimental and investigational because there is insufficient evidence that these assays influence management decisions such that clinical outcomes are improved.”  I guess Germany doesn’t count.

It appears that independent clinical trials are still underway here in America and because of that this test is not standard, and it will not be offered to every patient until doctors are convinced of its accuracy and value.

It’s Just My Opinion, But…

If the chemosensitivity test assists oncologists to tailor make a chemo regimen that is going to be the most effective for our specific cancer, why wouldn’t the insurance companies pay for this?  It could conceivably lead to less chemo treatments and a patient who is actually ALIVE at the end of the treatment regimen (as opposed to one who won’t be paying any more insurance premiums due to being 6 feet under!).

I think that if toxic chemotherapy is going to continue to be the standard of care (which many consider outdated and prehistoric) they need to step up the clinical trials and get these results back as quickly as they can so that ALL can be given these tests and ensure they have the best response rate to the chemotherapy drugs and the greatest chance at beating cancer.

Finally, take 7 minutes out of your busy day and watch this interesting You Tube video – Burton Goldberg interviews Professor Michael Geising, a German Molecular Oncologist from Munster, Germany.  Dr Geising advises “only 15-20% of chemotherapies are successful. The other 80% not only don’t work, but 60% of them actually make the cancer more aggressive by allowing it to develop resistance mechanisms.”

Research strongly suggests that when patients receive the most effective treatment, matched to their cancer profile, they survive longer.  Ask your oncologist about the chemosensitivity test.  In fact, insist on it.

References:

http://www.aetna.com/cpb/medical/data/200_299/0245.html

http://breastcancer.about.com/od/newlydiagnosed/a/chemosensitive.htm

http://csn.cancer.org/node/237389

If you’d like to stay connected, sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

I Have Always Said Breast Cancer is Caused By More Than One Thing…

 

breast cancer cells
Breast Cancer Cells

After watching my mother and grandmother go through breast cancer, reading more than 80 books and countless research articles on the subject and then going through it myself, I have long felt that breast cancer is caused by more than one thing.

So I was really interested to read a recent article in the Huffington Post entitled “Breast Cancer is 10 Different Diseases Landmark Study Finds“.

Landmark British Study

The study was carried out by researchers from the University of Cambridge, Cancer Research UK, the University of Columbia, Canada and a number of other institutions worldwide. It was funded by Cancer Research UK, the British Columbia Cancer Foundation and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and published in the scientific journal “Nature”.

The study examined variations in DNA in nearly 2,000 breast tumors in what was the largest such study of breast cancer tissue in the world, the culmination of decades of work.

The Familiar 4 Subgroups of Breast Cancer

The researchers decided that the term “breast cancer” should be an umbrella term for what appeared to them to be at least 10 quite different diseases.  Up until now, breast cancer had been classified into four subgroups:

  1. Double positive cancers that had high levels of both estrogen and progesterone receptors on tumor cells
  2. Tumors that exhibit high levels of either ER or PR receptors
  3. Double negative cancers that had neither estrogen or progesterone receptors
  4. Tumors that exhibit high levels of HER2, a protein discovered in the 90’s that appears to drive breast cancer in some women

More Articles…

The Huffington Post article was rather disappointing to me because it did not list the other 6 new subgroups, leading me to search further afield.

Britain’s Daily Mail had the article as well and I got a few more tidbits of information:

  • because further research was required, it would be 3-5 years before women with breast cancer would start reaping the benefits of more targeted treatments
  • researchers were pleased because they were closer to their goal for women to receive tailor-made treatments specific to their particular type of breast cancer
  • researchers hoped to speed up the search for more targeted therapy for triple negative breast cancer

The Daily Mail article said “The ‘exquisitely detailed’ analysis also revealed several new genes that drive the growth and spread of the disease. This opens the door for the development of drugs that counter their effects. Knowledge of the genetics of each type of the disease will also speed the development of drugs, allowing women to have treatments tailored to their tumor. A handful of such ‘wonder-drugs’, including Herceptin, are already in use.”

Still no mention of the other 6 subgroups.

Finally an Answer

I spent a few hours reading articles and finally found the very best one that described the 10 clusters or subgroups of breast cancer.  Click here to read this terrific article, written by Henry Scowcroft of scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org. It’s a long one, but worth reading.  Scroll down the page to the paragraph titled “The ten clusters”. There’s no point in my describing the other 6 subgroups of breast cancer when he’s done such a beautiful job of it.

I loved the fact that the researchers were making it a priority to focus on the links between the immune system and cancer, something I’ve felt for a long time should be a primary focus when treating breast cancer.

I would also like to see research being done relating to how stress plays a part in the development of breast cancer.  Nearly every single survivor I’ve spoken to has admitted to me that stress was a huge factor in their lives leading up to the discovery of their breast cancer.  It was the same for me.

So – we’ll have to wait awhile for the results of this study and it won’t help the women going through breast cancer right now, but certainly future generations will reap the benefits.

One other question comes to mind – while I’m grateful to Britain’s researchers for doing this kind of work I do wonder why it’s so frequently British and Australian researchers that are making great strides in breast cancer.  What the heck is going on in American research labs?

Resources:
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/04/19/breast-cancer-cancer-research-uk-disease-10-categories-dr-harpal-kumar_n_1436498.html?ref=uk#slide=831773
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2131616/Breast-cancer-treatment-British-study-classifies-disease-10-different-types.html
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2012/04april/Pages/breast-cancer-genetic-diversity-mapped.aspx
http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2012/04/18/increasing-the-resolution-on-breast-cancer-the-metabric-study/

If you’d like to stay connected, sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

Everything Unsettled Now? It’s Not Your Imagination.

cosmosIf you are feeling that everything is unsettled right now – from your relationships to your health to your financial affairs – it’s not your imagination and you’re not alone.

Even the calmest of my healer friends is saying things are intense right now.  I’ve gathered information from astrologists, one who works with angels, another who blogs about the metaphysical and all are in agreement – we’re having a shake-up.

I don’t confess to understand it – words like “the Moon in early Cancer completes a cardinal grand cross with Mars, Pluto and Uranus” mean absolutely nothing to me!

And I confess to being somewhat skeptical.  It all sounds like a lot of mumbo jumbo to me.  Still…

What is undeniable is that we ARE going through a major shift of some sort.  My husband and I don’t argue much – after 36 years of marriage, we are pretty much in accord and know each other’s minds inside and out.  But there have been some major arguments lately – loud, rip roaring arguments!  Afterward I ask myself “where on earth did that come from???” – perhaps I should be asking “where in the cosmos did that come from?”.

We’re not the only ones, either.  Friends, family, my blog subscribers – everyone seems to be noticing the “unsettledness” of their lives right now. Also feelings of being tired, even lethargic, of having lost focus, and feeling frustration are not unusual.

Today’s blog at http://planetwaves.net – the top astrology blog according to “Blogrank”, has this to say: “You might feel varying degrees of anticipation/pressure/frustration, something associated with the Cancer Moon picking up so many planets so different from itself; you might experience a sense of relief, vulnerability and a sense of newness — even confidence — as the week progresses.”

That’s good to know – there’s hope in sight… ?

Coping With Unsettled Times

With thoughts of my friends who are going through breast cancer right now AND dealing with these unsettled times, here are some suggestions for coping:

  1. Be aware of your feelings – if you’re feeling overwhelmed, meditation often helps.  Take some time out for yourself.
  2. Try not to dwell on negative feelings – positive affirmations help immensely.
  3. Maintain a normal routine – there is a feeling of security in routine that helps you when you are dealing with unsettled times.
  4. Get out of your head – seeing a movie, listening to music, or reading a favorite book can help make you feel less gloomy.
  5. Take care of yourself – go get a massage, or indulge in some aromatherapy – both are very calming and centering to the nervous system.
  6. Do something positive to help others – contributing to the community helps us feel more in control and gets us focused on something else.
  7. Limit your television time – while it is important to stay informed, watching endless war coverage is likely to heighten your anxiety.

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Favorite Inspirational Quote #6

Today’s favorite inspirational quote comes from Dr Bernie Siegel, whose knowledge and understanding of the capacity for humans to heal is truly remarkable.

In “Healers on Healing” Dr Siegel prefaces the comment below about telling his patients of the importance of living as if they were going to die at any moment.

I learned to live this way after my breast cancer diagnosis, and it seemed as important to me then as it does now, 8 years later.  Once you’ve had cancer and faced your own mortality, the things that used to weigh you down don’t seem to matter so much anymore.

I learned that every single day is a treasured gift and I began looking for that special moment within each day (I call it my “TSM” – today’s special moment) and I keep a journal of them.  I digress.

Favorite Inspirational Quote #6

Dr Siegel states: “Of course, there is always grief when we lose a loved one.  But we must learn to take that pain and to love others with it.  Consider those who have lived ninety, ninety-five, or one hundred years.  They may have lost their spouses, their children, and many other loved ones.  Yet after such terrible losses, people find the strength to go on, because they learn to love others.  We cannot outlive everyone we love if we choose to keep loving new people.  This is what survivors do: They roll the love on continuously.  Thus healing, like love, becomes a never-ending process.”

If you’d like to stay connected, sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey.

The Healing Power of The Kiss

The Healing Power of the Kiss

I came across an interesting statistic today that fired up my imagination: I read that a kiss stimulates 34 muscles and lots of hormones and chemicals known as neurotransmitters.

So I decided to investigate.  According to researcher Dr Andrew Scholey (wouldn’t you love to be a kiss researcher?  what fun!) senior lecturer in psychology at Northumbria University, the reason kissing feels so nice is because of the disproportionately large area of the brain dedicated to lip and tongue movements. He stated that “Only finger or hand movements occupy as much brain space.”

Apparently, a multitude of changes is going on in our bodies when we kiss – here’s the breakdown.

The Electric Moment

The moment your lips meet is often described as electric, and apparently that’s exactly what it is.  Studies using electrodes on people’s lips during a kiss showed electric currents flowing along the nerves from the brain to all of the 34 facial muscles. Hence, those tingly sensations!

A Flood of Hormones and Neurotransmitters

Kissing stimulates the primitive part of the brain involved in automated functions (the four Fs: feeding, fighting, flight and, um, mating).  “As you kiss, signals received by nerve endings in the lips are sent to the limbic system, which releases hormones that tell the pituitary glands to produce gonadotrophin.  This hormone attaches itself to the ovaries, causing the release of estrogen and testosterone, which increase sexual excitement,” says Dr Scholey.

Another hormone released at this point is oxytocin (which is also secreted during breastfeeding and orgasm, and promotes caring feelings towards your partner or baby – sometimes referred to as the “bonding” hormone).

Your growing excitement causes a rise in the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline and adrenaline causes blood to switch from the stomach to the limbs, ready for fight or flight and turning off digestion.  As your heart rate increases, blood rushes to the surface, making your body warmer and creating a rosy glow!  It also causes your whole body to receive more oxygen than it does when you’re just standing around.  At rest, your heart beats about 60 to 80 times a minute, but mid-kiss this accelerates to over 100 (unless of course you’re kissing your mother…).

As adrenaline increases, levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin fall – this keeps you focused and less likely to want to break off to go feed the cat.  As serotonin drops, so do your inhibitions, making you more impulsive.

Once your kiss reaches its peak, your body is working overtime – it makes you feel nice by releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine into the brain, which intensifies your desire.

That light-headed feeling is from the release of endorphins, the brain’s natural opium-like substances.  Endorphins produce the euphoria most people feel during a good kiss – they make us go all gooey.  Do you ever wonder why you feel better after a long run, a good laugh or a great kiss? It comes from a release of endorphins.

So – wow!  More oxygen (always a good thing), dopamine and endorphins that make you feel good.  I think we should incorporate kissing into our healing plan – what do you think, girls?

If you’d like to stay connected, sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey.

Putting the Memory Back In Memorial Day

My lovely father

I just found out that Memorial Day started off as “Decoration Day”, which originated after the Civil War to commemorate fallen Union soldiers.

Regardless of your feelings about war and its horrors or the policy makers who promote them, this weekend is a time to honor the men and women who have put their blood, sweat and tears into keeping this country safe.

My father served in the Pacific in World War II and my grandfather served in the trenches of World War I.  Both of them were very good men and neither of them much given to talking about their war experiences, except for just once.  My dad once told me how music had saved his life and I’d like to share that story with you.

My dad was in the US Navy and while I don’t know which ship, he told me he had a friend in sick bay.  Every afternoon, it was his routine to go and visit his sick friend and they’d sit and talk for awhile.  On this one particular day, however, rather than going to sick bay, my dad was really itching to have some time with his guitar – a small one that he’d brought along with him on board.  While he was sitting and quietly strumming his guitar, a Japanese kamikaze plane hit the side of the ship, killing and injuring just about everyone who was in the sick bay.  If he’d been there, he would have died as well.

That story really made me think.  What if he’d denied himself that little bit of time with his beloved guitar?  That story still serves as a reminder to me – the biggest thing I took away from it is how precious our time is, how we really shouldn’t deny ourselves little pleasures, how listening to that inner voice serves us so well.

I never got the chance to say “Thanks” to my dad for his Navy service, but he probably wouldn’t have expected it.  He was a great father, he died in 1996 in his 80’s.  I still miss him.  I still miss my grandfather too, another amazing man.

So to all of those service people I’d like to say a hearty thank you for all that you do.  It doesn’t go unnoticed.  We appreciate you.

Portrait of a Breast Cancer Survivor – Artist’s Journey

artist
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and Idea go

I was so inspired by this lovely story – a portrait of a breast cancer survivor named Victoria Behm, who is a NYC artist.  She was diagnosed at the age of 57 with the exact same kind of breast cancer I had.

She made an illustrated notebook of her nine-month journey through breast cancer treatment – see her whole story HERE, along with some of her amazing artwork.  I loved this story because it brought such an element of personal triumph over her breast cancer diagnosis.  I loved her artwork (some of it will make you laugh, especially slide 9) and I especially loved that she’s a survivor.

Enjoy the story and for those of you actively fighting this disease, remember the words of Winston Churchill:

If you’re going through hell, KEEP GOING“!!!!!!

I send my love to everyone taking this journey right now. If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.