It’s a Good Hair Day

Hair. It’s one of those crazy subjects like cars that everyone relates to.  Bad hair days.  Thank goodness for the parents who think it’s so cute when their child has a cowlick. Not my reaction to myself walking around all day with my hair whipped up by the wind, the finger-in-the socket effect and no one said anything.

Are there different standards for men and women? We seemed to think that boys and men should have short hair, to be considered to have a promising future, but with the new generation of entrepreneurs, all rules are off.

Image for girls and women on the other hand seem to have intensified.  It’s hair yes, and anti-wrinkle cream, and ideal weight, and being able to dance, sing, and play the piano (I’m all for that, of course).  Having the coolest bag and shoes and jeans and jacket occupies minds and conversation.  The popular girls set the norms. I wonder if popular means they base their looks after celebrities. Externals become the measurement of who we are if we let it. Hair is sometimes that first impression.

The way you wear your hair can be helpful. If you’re into athletics, sports, fitness, even piano recitals having hair that you can pull back out of your face.  My Granddaughter’s dance troop called the Starcatz are so professional.  They all have ponytails, heavy makeup, and have to pass intensive tryouts to show the skills. They meet before school twice a week and have a system of merits and demerits. The whole family showed up yesterday to the 8th grade volleyball game to watch two dance routines done in between the games.  At first it was hard to see which dancer was my Granddaughter.  They all tend to look alike, but her petite size helped me find her and do a short video.  I think Jade liked having her moment of attention and it was fun to hang out with family, too.

Having long hair was my trademark. With short hair, more than once, people would stop me in the street and ask if I was Ann Barry.  For me long hair was just easier to take care. Utilitarian. Although I never looked good in a ponytail.

When I decided to cut my hair, it was like a cutting-off-my-arm decision.  I needed a plan, a goal and luckily my friend and hair stylist, Kay, walked alongside me offering suggestions and commiserating and allowing a trial and error time until I could be okay with shorter hair.  At one time, my son Marc, tried to use persuasion.  “You know, Mom, if you cut your hair, you’d look younger.” But it was because I was spending so much money and putting Kay through so much to color over the grey that I decided to go shorter.

The biggest motivator was for my Granddaughter, Midori, who has alopecia and I had enough length to save it for a future wig if she wanted it.  Both Kay and I nearly had a heart attack as she put the shears to give me my first spike cut. I did that for several years, luckily my hair grows faster than most and I could do an annual cut until the quality of my hair had shown a problem from the over processing with dyes. We graduated to more natural dyes but the gray had become too stubborn and my hair was straw-like.   I decided Midori’s future possible wig had enough hair and I was going to stay short and go white.  Kay knew how to do that but I simply can’t accept it yet and she introduced low lights back in.

During all this I asked Kay to help me with a color accent.  We change it off about every 4 months and she knows how to blend colors to get the best result.

It helps that she is an actual artist, oils, chalk, sketches and makes purses, scarves, blouses, and tapestries from her art through VIDA.  Mainly guys say, “And why do you do that?”  Mainly young girls say, “I love your color.”  Each of my grandkids, grandsons included have experimented with kool-aid type of hair color. I’ve done it for almost 8 years so we don’t really talk about it, but I like it and that’s really what counts.

Bad hair days alluding to when things don’t go as planned, I admire Midori, for so taking on the world and for her acceptance of alopecia. She just asked  for dance lessons.  I know that things are expensive, but the dance rates and policies are what is expected today and my piano studio income doesn’t compare.  I hope to help her wish come true.  She has a birthday next month. 

This is a good hair day.

Health Update #18 12.16.09


December is already 1/2 gone, we are in the midst of truly arctic weather here. Things around me feel a bit scattered because of end of year, Christmas, harsh weather, hustle and bustle is in the air, hospice being called in for my high school friend Jane, so it’s a constant refocusing

Just wanted to check in to say how great I’m feeling. Calm, sleeping well, thinking clearer. I am so grateful for my spiritual mentor, Connie. In our study this past Monday night I latched onto the reflections we had on hope, peace, and love. 

Tonight, I also felt extra blessed as Dr. Jamie, whose GP background and head of Shaklee’s Health Sciences took 45 minutes of her time to talk with me about some of the questions I’ve had. I asked her about Rimidex, about vitamin D, about scoliosis connection with the movement inhibition following the cancer surgery, my life long history of inflammation. I asked Teresa to listen with me. 

Dr. Jamie agreed that with the clear node, clear tissue, small size of the cancer and both breasts removed, that doing Rimidex wasn’t a “need to do” circumstance.  That was the estrogen receptor inhibitor recommended by the oncologist.

I learned from her that anyone who doesn’t have a BMI of 25 or lower might be more prone to breast cancer. Mine came in at 22 last week as I did my first wii fit trial that James bought me for my birthday.

Also, taking 6-9 Omegaguard is not a choice with my amount of inflammation. Vivix also helps. Although Dr. J. said that 1 tsp of VIVIX is what should be taken, there just aren’t enough studies to know if more helps.  Dr. J said that if I wanted to experiment over a 3 month period with different amounts to see how I feel, especially with energy and the achyness if I do better on more. Right now, I am feeling less achy, and I’ve dropped about 2 lbs. that I needed to.

The soy protein has a protective effect against cancer which is NOT what the media is saying (except I did hear on GMorning America last week a medical doctor saying that).  I have stepped up to larger amounts, but we never addressed that except to say she recommended 2 CINCH protein shakes a day and I explained that I feel better on the Energizing Soy and Physique combination than the CINCH, which I still do about every 3rd day.  She said I was getting more D on the CINCH than the other.  I explained that EZ Gest was a necessary item when doing CINCH, and I do a couple with each meal. we didn’t get into digestive dysfunctions but on the Lagoni call last night Dr. Christensen made a good case about gastrointestinal issues causing a myriad of health issues, among them depression which I suffered with severely years ago.

About Vit. D, Dr. J. suggested that I take another D test in Jan. or Feb. when I would apt to be the lowest due to the Iowa winter.  Her feeling is that 2000 a day is a safe amt. to add to the 1800 or so one would get from Vitalizer Gold, 4 Osteomatrix (more is not recommended because of the calcium), and 2 servings of the CINCH shake.   She was supplementing for D with a product made by Synergy that had K in it as well which compliments D and brought her numbers from 32 up to 48.   I will continue to monitor the D because of its association with cancer, sleep, and memory.  I was at 40 which is considered excellent by the medical establishment, Dr. J. says 50-60.  Dr. Bevacqua said 80 – 105.  I’m monitoring it with Dr. Gelband, and right now I’m needing very high amounts of D.  Dr. J. didn’t feel that kineseology is an accurate test for D, but I do plan to do a blood test in a few months anyway.

And as for the structural side effects from the scoliosis with the breast surgery, she seemed to think that the protein and omega amounts that I’ve stepped up would only help. Scoliosis can inhibit lung function due to the movement of the ribs and is complicated with the surgery scarring.  Amy, the physical therapist, was able to loosen up movement on my right side last week and I see her again tomorrow. It’s really strange to feel so numb still. So on my own I have started to add 6 B complex to see if those nerves will regenerate.  Also, Amy gave me exercises with a band, and I’ve stepped up my exercise regime by using the power plate at Dr. Wilson’s office often.  Walking and pilates will be part of the new year’s plan.

Eating organic fruits and veggies 7-9 a day has been shown to lower breast cancer risk.  Not gaining excessive weight is also a deterrent.  Lean proteins, increased antioxidants, avoid chemicals, stepping up omega 3 fatty acids, having a positive support system and being aware that one tumor means that a 2nd one can appear any place.   It seems pretty common for reoccurrances with breast cancer, and my belief is to be aware, enjoy the health journey I’m on and grateful for the chance to be healthier.

The question in my mind that Dr. Jamie dialogued with me was why do I feel so much better?  Was it that I just stepped up my amount of supplements?  And she pointed out ….with the same conclusion that I had come to, that having the cancer gone has provided for the body to regroup.  It’s not just that I’m grateful for a 2nd chance.  It’s truly a sense that is hard to explain, but feeling this way is new to me.  I have probably been in a physical desert for awhile and pushing through had become a way of life causing mental and emotional stresses. 

May you each find that place for yourself prior to any huge health trauma because the desire for it and the work that it takes to get there and maintain it is worth feeling great.

Health Update #17 12.6.09

Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009

Between yesterday’s Birthday cards (I turned 62), and Thanksgiving Cards and Get Well Cards, the card industry is doing quite well.  I received postings of numerous Facebook entries, but I haven’t opened that since before Mexico. So thanks everyone for your patience.

This will be quick. Thursday,  I saw Amy at Physical Therapy Partners. Ann P. went with me. It was an incredible appointment. Amy explained about posture, rounded back muscles extended and weakened, caved-in chests tighten and become weakened. She said most breast cancer patients come in with jackets covering up. She suggested we ALL walk as if we had a direct line from out sternum to our higher power. She explained that every women needs to go to a good bra fitter (Teresa called me with her recommendation), because as much as 5 lb. can make a difference in your posture. She described the structure of scars and how the skin reacts and what our responsibility for breaking the fibers up enough so that our nerves upon regenerating won’t have to find deadends to have to go around. She explained that the searing pain in my armpit was shortened muscles and that actually, I’m not too bad and says that I won’t have to have too much work done.  She gave me homework–exercises to do which everyone would benefit from in the home and workplace.  Every hour (every half hour between students), roll the shoulders back.  Do 3 standing pushups with elbows up against the doorstops or corner of wall.

Between that and Billy who teaches the Alexander Technique and came yesterday to my home, teaching the body awareness, habits, and ease of  being, I feel like I’m breathing better already.   I’m a little sore but that is from slightly overdoing on Friday to help James move.  Their home is already in good shape, I went over yesterday with the leftover food from my piano student’s classes and spent the afternoon enjoying the grandkids. Josie actually spent time with me in Jace’s room “reading” her books (shes’s 2 1/2), while I put the boys’ books away. They ordered supper from the Brown Bottle and I blew out my 62 candles on a brownie pie. 

Finally, Dr. Bevacqua’s stuff arrived. I explained on my Thurs. night conference call about her Ph paper for acid/akalinity.  Zimotol which is to be taken w/o food,  iodine  and D which Dr. B. tells me there are not so good products of those out there and so I trust hers.  I don’t know if it’s that or the product that Dr. Gelband has me taking which was indicated due to foggy thinking, but adding them all to my good Shaklee regimen is definitely helping my energy level.

Thank goodness for all the experts in their fields being willing to help me find my way in this maze of information and helps.  My best to you,  Ann.

Health Update #16 12.2.09

December 2, Tuesday, 2009

Hi, Everyone!

Hope you had a good Thanksgiving. Always a good time to give thanks for the many blessings we have. Looks like retailers were glad that shoppers were able to spend some money.  For me it’s always good to give thanks and then prepare myself for the Christmas message. It fills me with optimism and hope for you, me and a better life for everyone.

Much has happened with my search for aftercare and deciding not to do drugs. The surgery was the bump in the road, the choices I make here on out weigh heavily as life and death.  But it is a journey and I’m finding a lot of quality help when I ask and the support continues with patience and understanding because I’m a bit slower in accomplishing things still.

I’ve seen Dr. Gelband again in Chicago and truly believe that he is a gifted healer. I recommend him to anyone that is wanting to do a healthy check up. He uses kineseology and can tell immediately if something isn’t working and when something he has tried does or doesn’t work. Then he tests for toxins, nutrients, heavy metals, structural, emotional, allergies and his fixes are many and varied. He knows if what he just did tests strong. This time in his work on me, I’ve gone from subconscious thoughts of apathy and despair to grief and regret. I say that to you a bit incredulous because I don’t see myself as apathetic or despairing, but then, who would believe that I’d get cancer?

My friend and downline Shaklee leader, Harriet, put me in touch with her friend Ray, a farmer with grass-fed beef and quite a bit of experience in raising healthy veggies who uses a refractometer to test on the brix scale. The meter he bought is about $89 and tells you a higher number if the fruit or vegetable is more nutritious. Ray is sharing that maple syrup and baking soda and about the paw paw plant being helpful for cancer. He’s a follower of Dr. Mercola who is in Chicago as well.  I enjoyed meeting Ray and Jean this past weekend and we promised to learn from each other in future discussions.

While in at Dr. Gelband’s I bumped into Liza who as a former mold remediation specialist helped me find Dr. years ago. We talked a bit more on the possibility of the mold being a catalyst for my and any cancer. She’s searching her old computer files to see if she can find the lab report showing that the cornet case was 4400 ppm with a possible 5000 ppm of mold.

Today at my business networking meeting,  Stan who is with Young Living Oils suggested “thieves” as being a good addition to everything else I’m considering. He has agreed to bring me a bunch of his product so I can take it with me to Dr. Gelband’s next trip to have him test me on them. Stan was so surprised to learn about the cancer and immediately went to the question of why and at my suggestion of mold, he pulled out a book with studies on how his product helps that.  So…another research path for me.

Meanwhile, Dr. Bevacqua sent me the good vitamin D product (so many bad D products out there), iodine, good pH strips for testing acid/alkaline, and Zymitol which is a broad spectrum enzyme product.  If anyone missed one of the early updates explaining about Dr. B, her health story is a miracle and she found Shaklee products helped her get her life back and she uses it along with the best products she can find in the world and has the blood testing followup to verify it effectiveness. She has had a clinic in Tucson, AZ for years and her expertise is in the area of molecular biology and what improves the blood. A consult with her is about $400 but is well worth the money for improving your blood chemistry to get to optimal health.  It is about the total picture ultimately anyway, cancer is just one bump that happens.

One of the commonalities of health challenges I’m finding in my talking with others is having digestive and elimination issues. So normal is the ability to enjoy foods without gas, diarrhea, constipation or a burning in your chest.  I’ve spoken with those recovering from cancer and it seems a common thing that things with elimination and digestion were not normal. So Dr. B has put me on an additional enzyme.  Dr. G. suggested to me 5 EZ-Gest of Shaklee plus 3 optiflora pearls which is acidophilus/bifodos which seems to help also with my carb and lactose sensitivities. 

Another similarity is when we’re on a good road to healing, we are famished, really truly hungry and don’t seem to gain weight when we’re eating more than what we normally are used to.  And we’re truly energized by the food instead of having a loggy feeling.

The reason I’m mentioning those symptoms of acid reflux, diarrhea or constipation, or bloating or no appetite is that these are things one can notice and do something about before they become bigger issues. Pay attention. And act.  Today I saw a friend at the business mtg. who has started a CINCHnotherapy program and she has lost 16 lb. and looks terrific! Truly. She says this program is truly a lifestyle change without effort.  Let me know if you want to know more and I can point you in that direction. Another former piano student called today to say her harpsichord isn’t playable by my students like I had hoped and at the end of the conversation I told her about the cancer. She told me about her father and brother having died in the last 15 years with cancer about Christmas time. She said that she wants to lose weight and stop smoking.  I applaud the awareness of taking steps now. I’m sure the cancer for me was lurking for years and my healthier lifestyle kept it somewhat in check and will now translate for me to being more proactive with what I already know to do.  It would be tougher if I wasn’t already liking fruits/vegetables, using the protein powder and taking world-class quality Shaklee supplements.  I can’t afford to be not be proactive.

Speaking of affording, everything costs money. So I wanted to suggest that you look at your health insurance. I have mine with Farm Bureau and Jill was able to move me to Blue Cross Alliance Select and a $2100 deductible as opposed to a $5000 deductible that I had before. Thank goodness. 

I’m pleased to say that the difference in the healing of my surgery lines is so much better this week. I credit time, and the Shaklee C +E cream. Also, I appreciate having something really soft and so the undergarments  help keep from irritating the area. Connie bought me a leisure bra from Von Maur and which has a side opening to slip in the puffs that I had gotten from the prosthesis center.  I am starting to address some of the body shame that comes from the disfigurement of such a surgery. It is somewhat more pronounced due to the scoliosis and I’m hearing some degrading tapes playing in my head about body image.  That’s probably why reconstruction is such a universal choice … not my plan.

A final suggestion to read this which is a summary of a 58 page article that says that resveratrol helps fight cancer. My choice for that is VIVIX which has been having remarkable results. It has been part of my wellness program stepped up from the recommended 1 Tb. a day, to 3. I think everyone who wants wellness would benefit from it and you can find out moreabout VIVIX by going to and clicking on Product Information and clicking on VIVIX.  Please contact me for the 58 page document. I think this conclusion may be enough:

Talk to you again. I sent out a 3rd wave of thank yous this past week. The support I’ve gotten from so many people  has made the recovery from surgery and the walk towards a life-giving health program feel possible and successful.

Thank you,


Health Update #15

Sat. Nov. 21.                                                                                                                                Hi, everyone!  Realizing with everything that’s happened and being gone, I’ve lost a sense of where we are in the month. Some of you are beginning to share with me where your angst is, having shielded me. Thanks for letting me have a respite and also for letting me reenter gently.  I just sent my story into Oprah but more for the story of my high school friend, Jane, who is hospitalized right now. Please direct your thoughts and prayers to her as she is dealing with internal bleeding and the long haul of a rare form of cancer(since May 2007) and hopes to be home for Thanksgiving. Two of my Alamosa High school friends (we’re all part of the bracelet gang), are cooking Thanksgiving meal and taking it over to Jane and family in Parker, Co. I’ll be spending it with James, Jeni, and my 3 grandkids at Jeni’s sister’s home, so that will be great!

Just wanted to share with you that yesterday I spent some research time on rimedex, the drug that Dr. Sangha suggested. Called my friend, Sue, who has been on it. She’s questioned why I had both breasts removed, and was very forthright in standing behind my decisions. Her side effects from the drug have been hot flashes, a bit of trouble sleeping, and joint pain. She uses other drugs to manage the side effects. I spent time on the internet reading about it and tamoxifen understanding more that rimedex reduces the amount of estrogen output and tamoxifen inhibits estrogen production. When I went into Dr. Sangha, he asked me to ask him all my questions, which I did and he methodically researched everything, asking for reports, calling up the path lab, and drawing out for me the size of the cancer tumor. He and I had a good exchange, a real dialogue, and he never at any time questioned my choice to not use the drug at this time. He said that he would be glad to see me in the future, and he or Dr. Duven should stay in touch with me every 6 months for 5 years.  The negatives he confirmed were: hot flashes, joint pain, and bone loss.  And then he added, that it’s very expensive. $350 a month and hopefully insurance would do a co-pay.  Sue hit the donut hole on hers and said something about $1300 for her. 

As we said the other night at my sharing my cancer experience in front of some of local Shaklee builders and leaders, and a colleague who has had cancer 3 times, that you pay sooner or later.  Buy the darn supplements now, bit the bullet, because the costs of drugs, surgery, and repeated Dr.’s visits will get ya later.  I truly feel at peace with my decision to not do the drugs. The percentages of possible improvement of risk of nonreoccurance of cancer is under 10% over a lifetime.  I know I have to be very dililgent and proactive with a program of treatments I can continue until I’m 121.  (I told Dr. Sangha I would come and wish him a happy 122nd birthday when I’m 121–you gotta mind your elders). I was doing research up to 10 minutes before I left for his office. I had hoped he would say something that would clearly show I needed to do what everyone else does. I feel like a pioneer without a scientific roadmap to follow. “Would he be interested in what I do?” I asked. “Have there been other studies done on doing natural alternatives?” He clearly stated there’s no drug company that would do a study if there’s no money to be made. 

So, I spent a couple of hours last night reading up, and I’m overwhelmed with the hype and claims laid out there.  Almost a hate-mongering chat on the internet.  I don’t hate drugs and Dr., I’m grateful for the advancements being made.  I don’t believe that Shaklee alone will cure me, but I lay great faith in the science of the products and the heart of the company and besides it helps my own business by my using my stuff.  But I want to live, which means I have to do a lot more than rely on just supplements.  So that’s the roadmap to chart that is doable with my life demands. Being self-employed, and single I have me to depend on for economics.  

Guess, I keep a journal of what I do, think, eat.  And from that, I can lay out a roadmap to regain total health from cancer.  Suggestions?  I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed but truly excited to pull together all the resources from friends and people that have suggested things. 

Well, off to hear my 7 students play piano before 3 very wonderful teachers, and then a facial this afternoon for a high schooler and her mom. 

Be well!

Love, Ann


Ann’s Health Update #14

Tues., 11/17/09

Hello. Hope you’re doing well. I know everyone is stretched, so appreciate your taking the time to stay updated.  Hoping something in my journey will help someone else.

Today Dr. Duven drained fluid from the front left breast area (no sensation for me) and from the left side slightly above where the elbow rests– about 20 cc. (It was pinchy, but I didn’t want to have him numb it). Had to sit up as the fluid disappeared from the screen when I was laying down.  The tape strips he had put on last Monday the 9th where the staples were,  were still on, but he removed them, saying the skin was healing beautifully, let him know if there’s anything with pain, temp and he’ll see me in 6 months. He told me to be aggressive about the scar tissue and that I have a year’s window to regain my full range of motion. I asked Niki, the nurse about some PT for the restriction of motion I’m having with my arms and she set up with an Amy who specializes in aftercare for breast surgery. I’m hoping Ann P. will come with to watch as Niki says Amy will recommend certain massage motions. I am not playing piano as well right now and that’s an impetus for me.

Yesterday while at Dr. Gelband’s in Chicago, he helped to do some protocols that strengthened a very trembly raised right arm while I was laying down.  I was thrilled that is has taken away the pinching I was feeling under the arm. I drove home being able to steer the right arm around turns over the top of the steering wheel.  What I’m most pleased about was due to yesterday’s visit, I feel more myself as he worked with the balancing of the right/left brain with what time he had left.

So, Friday is Dr. Sangha, the oncologist. I have some research left to do before I’m clear about what I plan to do. As you know, they always want to do something reminding anyone with cancer that you are never cancer free. There’s no such thing as they got it all.

Twelve of us in the Barry Shaklee Family enjoyed an all expense paid trip to Mexico.  We left on Tues. 5 am and got back Monday at 1 am. Getting ready for the trip seemed like too much work and it was Wed. am before I could honestly begin to enjoy my time there.  Today got off my phones the saved messages for orders and callbacks from before surgery which was Oct.26. So I hated leaving so much undone. But truly it was just what the doctor should have ordered. Away from cell phones, computers, warm weather, beautiful palm trees and deep blue water, delicious food (esp. vine ripened fruits and vegetables full of flavor) already prepared and you could eat anytime….no deadlines.  Monday, I reentered home for a few hours and left town again, got home late last night exhausted and today I realize how much there is to do.

Somehow, though, I feel so much lighter than the 20 cc’s of fluid gone. I talked a long time this morning with my brother, Larry, and we both are at a place we know what to do, it’s getting ourselves organized to do it. I shared with him all the suggestions about cancer (Larry’s is prostate) that I learned on the trip from such amazing gurus of health there, but he like many people knows what he wants to do and that’s it! So more power to him and all of you.

I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned and hopefully you’ll have an openness to hear it.  Jim Burke was a cancer specialist and his recommendation of 8 oz. of Shaklee Energizing Soy Protein and 9 NutriFeron comes through Marty and Lynn Fredricks whose friend went from Stage 3 pancreatic cancer in 4 1/2 months later being told there was NO SIGN OF IT!  Elena tells me the magic is taking 6 NutriFeron at night.  This, of course, is along with your other supplements, no sugar, enough sleep, good exercise to a sweat, detoxifying, getting good hydration with good water, destressing, and eating raw fruits and vegetables as a foundation of your nutrition. Dr. Bevacqua highly recommended juicing from a previous blog I left.  While in Mexico, Suzanne and I ate so regularly and healthy and I took my protein and had my additional supplements to the Vitalizer like clockwork!!

I also relearned while there thanks to Suzanne, Jessica, and Marissa, how to really laugh until you cry. I told them if laughter cures cancer, I’m cured!

So, Monday I’m back in Iowa.  It was 11 am before I ate breakfast and took my first installment of protein and vitalizer, I then ate in the car to Davenport and once there after the meeting had an apple and a protein drink and realized I had forgotten my baggie of supplements. Linda offered hers, but I just took another Vitalizer instead. The next morning we had hot oatmeal and I did more protein powder, went to visit a friend who offered me a salad, nuts, seeds, raisins for lunch, and on the way to Chicago, I drank a protein drink and cinch tea.  Grabbed a mid afternoon meal at my favorite restaurant by people from Hong Kong there in Chicago, and followed with protein powder in water.  On my way home I had my 4th protein drink and once home was able to get most of the supplements down that I had wanted to take on Monday. I was a tired puppy last night. Fresh raw was the apple, lettuce and the protein powder for both Monday or Tuesday which was about 1/2 of a meal in Mexico! It’s reality, and I gotta plan and work harder at doing better.

Today has been absolutely excellent. Full of energy. And although so much to catch up on, Dr.’s visit and much to do to get ready my studio ready for my seven students playing in Festival Saturday coming for a group lesson, I’m thrilled with the staying power of energy that I’m feeling.

In no small part due to the wonderful conversations I had with so many of you by phone and email today. The fact that Jean and Jennifer raked my yard today and saved me $50 for the city to vacuum it up is also a huge part of it. I got to see Lori and we made plans for me to resume exercising with her tutorage.  E-talking to my high school friends that I got to show off the bracelet in Mexico and tell the story to so many of my Shaklee friends. I sent the bracelet off to Jane yesterday while in Chicago and today we’re told she has been hospitalized with a blood clot before they were able to resume chemo.  I was supposed to send the bracelet to a different person, but I had a strong sense that Jane was supposed to get it out of order.

So, word for the day, follow your senses, go on vacation even if everything inside you is screaming—-ya gotta get stuff done, laugh alot,  and even though you intend to do a plan perfectly, do it—-even imperfectly as consistently as you can.

Thanks to James for posting Fun with Suzanne. Here’s a close up of so you know this Mexico trip was therapeutic.

Love, Ann

Ann’s Health Update #13 – 11.06.09

Hi, Everyone,

*So many cards, plants, helpers, healthy meals, vacuuming, laundry, washing my veggies, milkingthe drain tubes, massage, advice, taking care ofShaklee call duties, changing the water in my plants, doing dishes, taking packages for me to the post office, picking up supplies. All has brought me along well.

Thank you so much!

*Helpers: Monday 26th – Vicki, Anita, Jennifer B., Marc. Jessica, Kristi G., Jill, Ronnie

*Tuesday – Vicki, Mary, Scott, James, Marc, Midori, Jade, Jennifer B., Kathy P., Ann P., Jeni, Jax, Jace, Josie

*Wed.-Jeni, Laura, Jean, Jacinda, Marsha H, Kay C, Joan, Esther J., Ann P. James, Marc.

*Thurs. – Ann P, Diana G., James, Marc, Loren, arriet, Francy, Jessica, Linda, Bek, Anita, Jennifer B.

*Friday -Ann P., Kathy S., James, Marc, Christy, Sally, Mary, Kathleen, Harry

*Sat. – Ann P, Kay M, James, Jeni, Jax, Jace, Josie, Linda, Esther,

*Sun.- Kim, Connie, Diane O., Doug, Tony, Solveig, Paula, Loren, John, Sharon, Jean, Laura, Delores

*Mon. 11/2- Kristi G., Linda, Midori, Jade, Marc

*Tues. –Jerry, Jessica, Jennifer B

*Wed. – Suzanne, Marlo, Kristi G., James, Shirley, Jennifer VG

*Thur. – Laura, John, Paula, Loren, Alana, Bob, Mary Lou, Nicole, Ann P., Larry

*Frid. –Carole, Marc, Jean, Teresa, Penny, Crystal, Jennifer VG

Please know that if I left your name off in my haste to get this posted tonight, I do appreciate your understanding.

*Today the staples were all removed, so I won’t be setting off any alarms at the airport next Tuesday on the way to the Mayan Rivera Shaklee trip. Jessica, Marissa, Suzanne, Kristi, Aaron and their 4 kids, John and Terri, and Christy and son are all part of our Shaklee family who earned the trip. Last year in Hawaii, I think there were 800 of us. Looking forward to it!

*The drains are still in, too much fluid yet, they’d like the amount to be under 20 cc. I think the difficulty is that the compression bra doesn’t compress well due to the torque caused by my scoliosis. Now that I’m aware of it, I’ve been adjusting the fit more often as it shifts. I’ll see Dr. Duven and his amazing nurse, Kathyon Monday and that gives me about 3 more days so pretty sure they can be out. If not, then to Mexico and if it’s ready to be removed there, Kristi G. is willing to do it there. We’ll be rooming next to each other on the trip as I’ll have a couple of the Gonzalez kids in my room, too. I’m not sure what to plan for clothing…at least with the cooler Iowa weather I can wear bulky that covers up the two collection bulbs.I’m just going to pack tentatively this weekend as if the drains were out and have to figure out the flat front look with skimpier warm weather clothing.

*Saw Dr. Sangha, oncologist this morning. Kathy had said to me that I live under a lucky star (and I agree) as she was able to schedule me to see him in the same week. Basically due to checking the lymph node out (he said that many women don’t opt for that. Huh???) having both breasts removed, clear tissue around, andthe small size of the tumor, he said I reduced the risk of reoccurrence by a large percent. Taking his suggested protocol at 5 yr. would be about 2% improvement, 10 yr. about 4-6% and lifetime probably no more than 10%. The drug is a estrogen receptor inhibitor and the side effects are mainly joint pain (knees mainly and sometimes wrists), and bone loss usually at 3%. I’ll see Dr. Sangha in 2 weeks with my decision, which I’ll ponder while on warm weather beaches.

*I had asked Dr. Duven before I left his office earlier what he would recommend if given an improvement percentage, and he said if 2%,”I probably wouldn’t do it, if 30% I would.” Kathy said that the breast cancer cells like to metastasize to the brain, liver, and I think she said kidney.

*In books I read about the difficulty people have going to cancer care centers hundreds of miles away, and to coordinate records and all that. We are blessed here in the Cedar Valley area thanks to Dr. Duven starting this breast care center that everything is so easy access and local. I drove a half a block to the blood disorder center to Dr. Sangha’s office after first going home in between to get my tape recorder so I could relisten and take notes. He needed some additional records and they were faxed to him within minutes.

*Have a nasty rash only on my throat. It looks like a burn— pink, and darker places, very wrinkly and very itchy. Confirmed by my anesthesiologist and Kathy that because of the breathing tube, they were lightly cleaning the antiseptic solution area off, thorough otherwise so just the throat has reacted. That’s really been worse than any pain or recovery otherwise. Happy that today it’s beginning to heal thanks to Shaklee Calming Complex serum, and Basic H, and the Diaper Rash Cream recom. by Kristi G. for the zinc oxide.

*Learned a new technique of getting laundry baskets downstairs to the washing machine since carrying things esp. up and downstairs is ill-advised. Toboggan style works!

*Spoke tonight with the one person I mentioned in an earlier update who had opinions about my lack of faith and Shaklee vit. and eating healthy. We have to cross paths due to our circles and this time her tone of voice was reprimand-ing about not calling her back for her Shaklee order. I tried to explain her answering machine wasn’t on, but, of course, she had to be right which was fine. She’s been the only grouchy person in the last week for my being behind, there were 6 others who were forgiving. Tonight, I’m finally getting caught up. Yay! Business is brisk and I’m very happy to see it! We, self-employed really understand and appreciate those who understand the buy local concept.

*It’s a lot happening with extra appt’s., learning not to faint at the sight of my blood 3 x a day (milking the drains), and negotiating the backlog of communication, directing them to the blogsite. I feel a bit like a penguin, too, so things take longer to dress, to cook, to carry things, even walking is uncomfortable.

*I’m so grateful that my piano studio has been so willing to allow me to makeup, catchup, and teach ahead so we have Nov. covered. We are doing 4 recitals in College Square Mall for the Festival of Trees, and I have 7 students in Festivalwho will be practicing extra hard while I’m lounging. When Solveig helped me get my forms ready, she said, “Gosh, I don’t even have that many doing Festival!”

*Jennifer VG called tonight to thank me for letting her help me. She said she felt like she really made a difference, and she really felt good and praised me for asking for help. Well, the fact is it has taken an army to have this miraculous last 2 weeks even work. And we ain’t done yet…..

*I feel like I’ve landed tonight. It’s like hitting a breathing space after swimming in a black abyss. And all you can do is keep swimming believing there’s land out there because there is so much to do. It’s like a never ending tide. And then we get here, stop and look back and marvel at the teamwork, the outcome of the surgery couldn’t have been better. Now the work begins. To figure out how to be so healthy those cancer cells can’t take up shop again. I’ve already had to field “Don’t die on me”, “Don’t do chemo—it killed my sister, “Do chemo—my sister didn’t and it killed her.”

*Not to single out anyone too much, but I am so proud of my sons, Marc and James for holding their own during my trials. James got an offer on their home the night he got me back after the surgery and there’s been a lot on he and Jeni’s plate with normal birthdays, Halloween. Marc was working his two jobs with very little sleep time. Thank you, both, so much for being there for me. I love you!

*And thanks to all of you. I’ll check back in a little tanner!

Marc signing off and thanks

I’m adding a quick note to say that I’m so happy that my mom has had a very steady and speedy recovery over the last week. I spoke with her last night and besides the normal post-surgery logistics, she seems to be in good health and spirits. I’m overwhelmed by the support all of you have shown her as it’s helped in ways you’ll never know. I’ve corresponded directly with many of you and I appreciate the care, support, candidness, well-wishes and love you have for her.
I spent last Tuesday pacing in circles until I was able to talk to her. This event has launched me into a deep appreciation for the parent-child relationship and has offered context into my own relationship with my kiddos. There is no relationship like it. I’ve always been close to my mom, regardless of how many miles separate us and this latest chapter only strengthens that bond. If you can believe it, my mom was able to get a Halloween card in the mail for my girls, Midori and Jade, the day after her surgery! They opened it yesterday and we’re so happy. Midori immediately grabbed my iPhone, found Grandma Ann’s contact and called her to thank her for the card. This happened without a single prompt from me (or instructions on how to call her). I swear she knows how to use this phone better than me! 
We’re looking forward to seeing her and the whole Barry family at the end of December as Midori, Jade and I will be spending the Christmas break and New Years in Iowa. Nothing puts my current residence in context like the last week of December in Iowa, that’s for sure!

Thanks again for your care and love for my mom. She’s on the road to feeling like herself again; a path is seemingly much shorter with your thoughts and prayers!


Health update #12

Mom called me today and had me listen to a message from her doctor’s nurse. The tests from samples taken during the surgery and the pathology report all came back good. Nothing in the lymph nodes and the 2 types of cancer cells they found in her right breast were in very early stages. The tests from the left breast showed some cellular changes, but were benign. It seems to me that she made the right choice with the double mastectomy. My brother said she looks better today. She went for a massage this morning and she’s feeling very good. She’s a little stiff on the left (I think, or maybe it’s the right) but whichever-other side has better mobility. She’s still getting the hang of the post-surgery maintenance, but she has help and it’s getting easier. I would suppose that as she heals, it’ll be better, but I’m so glad she has the friends she has to help her recover at home. She’s continuing with the homeo pain relief and is managing to stay away from the doctor-prescribed pain killers and she’s introduced her Shaklee regimen back into her body this morning. The supplements and protein has helped her feel like herself again.

Here’s a blurb from James: “Just heard that they got results on tissues they tested from the surgery, and lymph node looks good, removed right had cancer in it (obviously), but remaining tissue showed no residual signs, left side she removed as well as remaining showed no cancer. So, real good news. I’m sure she feels relieved. I stopped in this morning and she was doing well, she had just got back from taking the trash out, driving a couple blocks to her massage therapist, had a massage, and has a couple piano lessons lined up for today.”

Many of you have e mailed me to ask when my mom would start accepting e mails and calls and I think she’s still a few days away from full-contact correspondence. Please feel free to post comments here and I really appreciate your replies to me as well. I’m forwarding them onto her and I think she’ll have the energy to read and talk in a few days.

She read off a list of people she wanted to thank and as you know she’s someone who likes to recognize all for their special traits and actions, but to be honest, she said them so fast I couldn’t write fast enough! So, I apologize if I’m missing anyone (or destroy proper nomenclature) as it’s completely unintentional! She wanted me to say thanks to the Connect Care team at Orchard Hill Church, her cousin Ronnie for the flowers, the many friends and family who have stopped by with flowers and cards and James’ co-workers for their flowers, too. As I’m physically removed from all of the goings on up there in Iowa, I truly appreciate all of you for your thoughts and prayers. This blog was created and instituted by my brother, James and I want to recognize him for this. It is a great idea to keep people informed and a great way for everyone to instantly know how the recovery progresses. I hope you are all well and thanks again!