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Vegan Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Ingredients

4 tablespoons coconut oil (or olive oil)
4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 large)
2 tablespoons mild curry powder
5 pounds butternut squash, peeled and (2 large if using whole squash)
1 1/2 pounds sweet apples, such as McIntosh (4 apples)
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups water or vegetable broth
2 cups apple cider

Directions

Warm the coconut oil, onions, and curry powder in a large stockpot uncovered over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the onions are tender. Stir occasionally, scraping the bottom of the pot.

Peel the squash, cut in half, and remove the seeds. Cut the squash into chunks. Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Cut into chunks. OR use precut squash and save tons of time!

Add the squash, apples, salt, pepper, and 2 cups of water or broth to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes, until the squash and apples are very soft. Process the soup through a blender or use an immersion blender to smooth.

Pour the soup back into the pot. Add the apple cider or juice and enough water to make the soup the consistency you like; it should be slightly sweet and quite thick. Check the salt and pepper and serve hot.
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People Get Cancer Not Corporations

RUP4Psm   Read about it!

Question the Status Quo What is Breast Cancer awareness? Corporate fundraising? We think it should be centered around the awareness that PEOPLE get cancer not CORPORATIONS.
Before you give money or buy PINK products be sure to ask some questions: Where do you want your money spent? What percentage of the money is profit? Where is the donation going?  Is this product healthy or contributory to disease?? Is this ‘awareness’ or just a way to make profits or up business for a corporate interest?

What percentage of our charity funding creates drug and corporate profits? Who are you thinking about when you give to a cancer charity or buy a pink product? Who is really benefitting, how much?

We want you to ask the questions before you donate or support ANY pink cause. You may want to be aware of where your money is going. We all dream of a cure, but would it be helpful to give relief too?

Side effects, co-pays, a year off work at least for chemo.  We ask. What percentage of the billions of dollars being spent on breast cancer really benefits the faces  of those like my aunt or mother or sister or even brother who went through this? Each year The Department of Defense provides 150 million a year for breast cancer, hundreds of trained survivors walk the halls of congress asking for that money. Yet 0% of the funding goes to help patients suffering now. Do you think a percentage of OUR pink funding should be earmarked to directly benefit people already diagnosed?

When you want to affect change or register your dissent, GIVE to an organization who works for people with cancer. Do your own research on cancer dollars and you’ll be surprised.

Direct, relief, now. Prevention tools forever. Hands on FREE help during the crisis. That could make a difference in the incidence and prevalence of cancer. So far nothing else has. Stop and think before you even consider pink.

Feed back directly to us if you’d like!

Angelina’s Mastectomy…. Mistake??

ImageDid Angelina Make a Mistake?

When Angelina Jolie came out to say she had a prophylactic double mastectomy after a genetic mutation was found and since she has a strong family history of breast cancer, I started to receive messages from people saying, “What is with people chopping off their body parts just in case?”  Then, in the media, I saw a great fear that women with early stage cancer that is not genetically predisposed will follow suit.

I find it might be helpful if people can see this from outside their individual perspective. Let’s really get into the shoes of someone early stage who has thought about this.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I wanted to treat my body with love and not fear. I was a healthy 35 year old. I didn’t have genetic risk factors. I took the most non-toxic path after lumpectomy surgery because I feared the chemical and radiation treatments even more than a cancer recurrence at that time. I had other tools for prevention and I had a lucky diagnosis.

Since 2005, I’ve worked as an advocate for integrative care and founder of You Can Thrive! In that capacity I’ve worked with around 450 women who have gone through every type of breast cancer. I want to say that after helping women navigate those journeys, and having multiple tests, biopsies and scares myself, I have considered the same option, even though I do not carry a BRCA mutation.

Yes it’s true. I even called a very well respected surgeon and asked if he could give me a perky matching set that would never have to be squashed and radiated or poked and probed again. He responded “It’s not your breasts that are the problem, it’s our diagnostics!” He went on to say that he can’t stand removing healthy breasts. He was direct and truthful.

BRCA mutation factors seem to show a pretty good indication that a woman will likely develop the disease. A woman who tests positive for one of the BRCA gene mutations can have as high as a 60-80 percent chance of eventually developing a breast cancer. Angelina stated hers was more like 87 percent. Add to that a mammogram every 6 months for “early detection,” which can increase risks and anxiety as well. Then enhance it with an increased risk of ovarian cancer, which is seldom found at early stages. That’s a heavy load. Now consider this:  you get this genetic mutation information and you’ve already seen others that you love, perhaps family members, go through cancer and it’s associated treatments. Maybe they died after a prolonged struggle. Maybe you have beautiful kids you want to see grow up. Suddenly, losing a body part can start to be insignificant.

Since my diagnosis in 2004, surgery methods have improved dramatically.  Most patients no longer have to lose their nipples or have weird unsightly breasts. But diagnostics have not changed one iota. It’s still the same faulty thing that brings me back each year. It wears you down.

When I asked the doctor about removing my healthy breasts, it was just after another yearly mammogram. I got a call back, and they now wanted to do three more biopsies. Two of these were on the breast that never had cancer. These biopsies turned out to be negative and they left my healthy breast scarred. They were also very traumatic, probably even more traumatic than the lumpectomy for the original cancer because I was awake. I believe this was the sixth biopsy for me.

So you see, every year leading up to the test, a woman deals with the same emotions. During the diagnostic test the same post traumatic stress of being diagnosed, or seeing someone else diagnosed comes back. Then, they squash and radiate some of the most radiation sensitive tissue in the body, exponentially increasing the risk.  For me inevitably, I received a call that they need biopsies of suspicious spots. Then the waiting and procedures begin, yet again. Had I been able to see this future, even without having seen all the women I work with go through much worse, I would have also considered prophylactic mastectomy at the time of my diagnosis.

During my initial diagnosis, I received a false negative mammogram when I had a large invasive tumor that had already been seen on sonography, and since then, multiple false negatives. MRI diagnostics give me the same false negatives. Since I know just how erroneous our diagnostics can be, I pray for the day we are focused on creating more accurate, less traumatic diagnostic methods. Until this happens more, not less women will be considering this drastic measure. In other words, if you want to ‘save the boobies’, you have to invest in something more accurate and less pressing than mammograms.

I have to be honest. The thought of never again having to get a mammogram, and at the same time decreasing my risks significantly, is pretty tempting. The thought of a future with less fear and to get a fairly natural looking, less psychologically traumatizing physique –I can definitely see the lure. This is a preventative measure, mammograms are certainly not.

I’ve changed. When I was first diagnosed as a healthy woman and a holistic practitioner, I was the woman who couldn’t even grasp this perspective.  Making pre-emptive strikes against my own body–unheard of!  But alas, that woman was someone who hadn’t seen what I have seen other women endure these past 8 years, hadn’t gone through that ‘gauntlet’ so often.  Angelina Jolie is a brave person who made a heart wrenching decision using the best information available to her at the time. Bless her and all the others like her and their circumstances.

For the Mothers with Cancer

christinejack

by: Christine Taylor

The moment I found out I had breast cancer will forever be frozen in time.  I was sitting at my kitchen table. My house was full with visiting family. My beautiful, blonde haired, blue eyed two-year-old was running around with his cousins gigglinig and screaming with delight as he played his favorite game, “chase.”  As the doctor said those words, “It’s a cancer,” I caught a glimpse of my Jack running by and my heart exploded. I allowed myself one brief moment to sit frozen in pieces.  Then, I took a breath and interviewed the doctor as if my life depended on it, because it did.  Not only did my life depend on it, but my child’s life depended on me being healthy and there for him as he grew up.  I had no choice but to live, and I had to do whatever it took to reach that goal. In about a minute, I had gone from a soft spoken, mild-mannered person to a tiger, unstoppable at getting the care I needed–immediately.

As a mother who has experienced cancer when my child was very young, I understand the issues and the struggles of being both a mother and a cancer patient. Cancer is difficult for anyone who has to face it, and each person’s experience is unique. Our challenges and fears as mothers are not greater, but they are different.  I remember that, on the day of my diagnosis, I couldn’t actually bring myself to be around my son. I know it’s not logical, but, for some reason, I felt like I had let him down.  The things we think and feel as mothers often defy logic.  Some of us are fortunate enough to have doctors tell us we have a good prognosis, or no evidence of disease, and we still lay awake at night wondering if we’ll be there to see them graduate high school or get married.  Will we see our grandchildren?  How will they possibly turn out OK without us?  Will they remember us, or will we fade with time? And, do we even want them to? Maybe it’s better if they don’t have a chance to remember or to miss us, so life won’t be so painful for them.  The fear burns through us.

Then, there are the practical challenges that go along with cancer and motherhood.  At a time when we feel sick and vulnerable and just want, and need, to sleep and to feel better, mothers need to balance things like child care, transportation, medical appointments, school and day-to-day parenting in order to care for ourselves and to provide as much normalcy as we can for our kids. For many moms with cancer, this means continuing to go to work most days so they can provide for their families.  Some lucky moms have a great support system to lighten the load.  But, what about the single moms who do not have an abundance of family and friends around them? Their road is a bit more treatcherous.

I spoke with Lynette Vanderhorst who founded Single Mothers With Cancer after being diagnosed with Gestational Trophoblastic Disease at age 24.  The challenges she faced as a young, single mom of a six month old gave her an insiders view of the unique difficulties of mothers.  After a cancer diagnosis she also found the calling to reach out and help others. Because single moms often have the added burden of being the only source of physical, emotional and financial nourishment for their kids, Single Mothers With Cancer aims to support single mothers in any way they may need during their cancer treatment journey.  This includes child care, medical expenses, education as well as patient navigation and day to day duties and expenses.

In my journey I found You Can Thrive! a foundation dedicated to supporting women with breast cancer by providing access to integrative modalities and education many survivors otherwise would not be able to afford.  As a client of You Can Thrive! I realized how important self-care is for getting through cancer, for longevity, for quality of life, and for being a better mother.  Taking the time to go to You Can Thrive! and exercise, receive acupuncture, nutrition counseling, relaxation modalities and education in a nurturing community helped me to be a better mother during treatment and beyond.  After going, I always felt physically better, emotionally balanced and uplifted. Not only do I know it improved my outcome and my quality of life in infinite ways, but it inspired me professionally to be there for other mothers and survivors and help them really understand that, as care-takers, we are imprinted to focus primarily on the needs our children and others, prioritizing ourselves last. I guess one silver lining in this cancer cloud is that, sometimes having cancer forces you to learn to love yourself.

The practice of self-nurturing has become integrated into my survivorship plan. Here are some coping strategies every mom can employ:

  • Once a week, take some personal time for things like a yoga or meditation class (check your local library for very affordable classes) or for treatments at You Can Thrive!.

  • Get a minimum of twenty minutes of exercise each morning.  This means waking up half an hour earlier. It’s totally easy and my mantra has become, “I can do anything for twenty minutes!”

  • Have a date night once a month with your partner or with friends.  It’s mandatory that you go out and feel special with adults you like to be around.

  • When the fear creeps in, just remember that fear is really just thoughts. Thoughts are not reality, and thoughts can be controlled.  Dismissing them is just like turning the channel on the TV! Remember, a thought can only lead to physical stress when it is replayed over and over. This is important, you have control in this area!

  • Practice gratitude each day by listing five things you are grateful for when you wake up.

  • When the kids are driving you nuts, take a breath and remember how lucky you all are to be together at this moment.

As women, we often say yes to everyone but ourselves. Cancer can teach you to say no with compassion for yourself and for your future with your family. “No, today I cannot go to soccer practice, I must meditate.”  “No, I can’t cook dinner tonight, I have an acupuncture appointment.” You learn to say yes to things like an offer of help from a loved one, or things like your own self-care regimen that you might normally prioritize last. You learn that you can’t be Superwoman all the time. Sometimes you have to be Zenwoman!

I once read, “treat yourself as if you are your only child.”  After my own experience of having cancer and now, as a health counselor working with women with cancer, I understand why this should be every mother’s mantra. We want our kids to grow up knowing how to love and respect themselves and experience all the wonderful things that life has to offer.  But, it’s through our own self-care that we teach our children to practice care for themselves.  It is through self-love, that our children learn to love themselves.  As mothers we lead by example.  And, as mothers who have had to deal with cancer, we should be proud of ourselves and of each other this Mother’s Day and every day at the example of strength and courage we have set for our children.

This is my cancer story. It’s about LOVE. – Luana DeAngelis

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Luana DeAngelis, Founder You Can Thrive!

In 2004, at age thirty-five, I was newly married and thought the biggest change in my young life had already come, until I found out that I had breast cancer.  I had no idea my life was about to be transformed for the better. 

While visiting my mother in the Pacific Northwest, I had a profound dream. I was standing waist deep in murky water, and on my left was a beautiful, silken haired woman emanating a golden light. On the shore was a dark woman veiled in mist. In the water between us was an alligator. I said to the woman on the shore, “Be careful, the alligator will bite you.” She began running around in fast motion, frightened and being chased by the beast. She yelled, “Look, you don’t have to let it get you. You can run from it!” The alligator slipped back into the swamp and swam towards the woman and myself. I warned her, “Watch out, the alligator will bite you.” She smiled calmly, and looked at me her eyes filled with love, then, at the alligator with his nose floating just above the surface of the water. She gently cupped the chin of the reptile, lifting his snout to her mouth and kissed him softly. As she released him, he chomped through her right thigh. Opening her arms wide she put her head back, and looked up, as if towards heaven, all the while smiling peacefully through the awful experience and projecting white light.

A few days later, my mother and I were in church witnessing a moving sermon on pain and spiritual growth. “When confronting pain, your first response is to curl up into a ball and tense against it,” he said –“but this makes it so much more difficult. If, at that time, you can remember to open your heart and let the pain wash over you, it makes it so much easier to bear. In other words, as an old Buddhist parable goes, may you have the strength to kiss the dragon and let it bite you.” My mother and I looked at each other with shock, for she was there when I woke from the dream.

Within weeks, I found a large lump in my left breast. After a long awaited “routine” sonar appointment, the doctor diagnosed me with invasive breast cancer. At the very moment when I was about to be overcome by panic, the face of that goddess came to me and calm encased my spirit. The memory led me to stretch my arms and heart wide open and say a prayer. “I know that if my feet are on this path, they are there for a reason. I know you will send me the wisdom I need to get through this with grace.” Perhaps the great mother came to me to share a secret. It is not what happens to you– but how you respond to it that makes all the difference. As that wise man in church had stated: “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional”.

Thinking back on that dream, I realize what the lesson was. The great leaders of history have acted just as that goddess did. “Everyone loves a man who smiles on a sunny day, but the true worth of a man is a man who can smile when nothing is going his way.” Facing the toughest moments with calmness and benevolence, even when facing one’s own mortality and pain, is the true test of a human.

Although there were certainly times when the world felt sideways and blurry, cancer taught me acceptance and gratitude. To struggle against unfolding events, to me, seemed a truly worthless cause. Remaining balanced in the face of adversity was its own reward–its own opportunity. This is a lesson that has truly freed me.

My experience with cancer transformed my vision of the world and my place in it. When seeking out resources to help me, I was rather shocked at the complete lack of access to anything outside of medical diagnostics for people with breast cancer. In the best city in the world, New York there wasn’t one breast cancer resource where I could receive access to services that were proven to improve quality of life for people with cancer.

I had come from a long line of women who were in natural health. I had always followed that path through working with others, and did the same in my own recovery. As a vocation, I was working as an artist, a project manager and musician. But cancer, and my gratitude for my own outcome, offered a drive to fully realize my ability to heal myself and to help others behind me. I now wanted to work for a cause, not for applause. So I set about dedicating myself to just that.

So, this is how I healed and regained my composure as a survivor. I had a lumpectomy in June 2004. I then used things that had the most scientific evidence behind them, and that I had experience with. From my experience in working with women, I think it is wise for a person diagnosed to consider ALL therapies and use them in combination for the best possible outcome.

In 2004, I asked questions about integrative medicine from my doctors, it was frustrating. There was mostly stonewalling and little consensus on what was acceptable practice in this area. I was met with a lot of resistance and ambiguity. It was my observation that it would be beneficial to patients to have a non-biased source of integrative services and consistent information, to create community unity in what we are telling people with cancer was good for them. I felt it was important to develop a path to help the women behind me obtain relief and education so they could focus on healing and transformation, because it was my belief that every challenge in life can be turned into a transformative experience with the right tools.

“Each story has power, each one of use can make a change I believe that wholeheartedly. Sometimes the catastrophe is really a blessing in disguise, I know it offered me the courage and vision to use my life in a way that otherwise may not have transpired.”

A huge part of my recovery was community service. We know that healing goes far deeper than surgery and treatments; healing is something that happens in an environment where you feel safe and embraced. Healing, is addressing the physical and psychological causes and effects of dis-ease.  It is impossible to talk about my healing journey without talking about the community service aspect of healing for me. I felt so strongly after my diagnosis that I would be a better stronger person because of this diagnosis if I could get outside the suffering and into the gratitude and pleasure of being of service to others, finding meaning. For me this was a big step to a higher state of healing.

I founded a non-profit in 2005 one year after my own diagnosis, and began with patient peer support and navigation. I attended scientific conferences and advocacy training creating a website and a presence with other survivors. By 2007 I had acquired space to be donated for acupuncture on Sundays. Mobilizing practitioners in the community who feel kindred to the idea of easing the journey for people with breast cancer, and asking them to give of themselves and their skills. Quite swiftly we were poised to make a real difference in after care and breast cancer support services. Since that first small center we have grown through three centers and now operate in a 10,000 square ft space in the most bustling part of New York City. We provide integrative therapies, navigation and education to people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer in order to reduce symptoms, relieve stress, obtain balance and implement healthy lifestyle practices. The ultimate goal is to empower other survivors to live healthy and transformed lives after being diagnosed with breast cancer by providing combined wisdom and real tangible support to get through it and not just survive, but thrive!

Everything needed to live healthier and create a survivorship plan was placed under one roof, so people with cancer don’t need to try to relax in the same buildings they receive treatment, or run around town getting a bunch of different integrative services from practitioners who don’t work together. For those who cannot afford services, donations from another thriver support their treatments, a truly utopian vision was born.

It is my belief that access to care should not determine suffering from a diagnosis, so I worked to give in service all the things people need to address the whole person regardless of income. A replicable program was born, a new movement in after care and survivorship, by the people and for the people. This is my cancer story. It’s about love….

“..Lifting love beyond a mere personal relationship and turning it into a large scale social force for good.” – Martin Luther King

What You Can Thrive! Means to Me

by Christine Taylor
“Compassion is a feeling deep in the heart that you cannot bear someone else’s suffering without taking steps to relieve it.“ Dalai Lama
Christine
What does it mean to me to come to You Can Thrive?  I am not sure I can put it into words and give it adequate justice, but I will do my best.  Here is my story.  I have a feeling that, if you ask any client of this special place, you will get many unique stories with the same thread.  When you come to You Can Thrive! you are healed, you are loved, you are empowered and you are changed forever.

What is the lesson to be learned when a health teacher gets breast cancer? I have always been interested and involved in natural health, nutrition and alternative medicine.  In addition to being a health teacher in public schools, I recently went back to school to become a holistic health counselor.  In recent years, I have become a “wellness worrier” against the increasingly toxic environment that we are inundated with, educating others on the importance of reducing their toxic load –from food, cosmetics, cleaning chemicals and bedding to construction material. This was my life well before I was diagnosed with cancer.   It almost seems as if I was preparing myself for the fight.

It was late April, 2011.  I had just put my two year old son, Jack, to sleep and was laying in bed with my husband. I scratched my chest and felt a large lump. I wasn’t too concerned because I was 32 years old.  I was not even due to have a mammogram for eight years.  Besides, if anyone was going to get cancer, it wasn’t going to be me. I knew how to protect myself, and had been doing it for years.

However, after several weeks of testing and waiting, I sat in my  kitchen and listened as my doctor reported my diagnosis. My life became a terrifying stream of appointments, procedures, sadness and grief.

I knew what it meant to have breast cancer.  I watched my  beautiful aunt Noreen’s eight year battle from the time she was diagnosed at 40.  I watched her illness slowly wore her down.  I put cream on the scar on her back, from when it spread to her lungs.  I saw her head stapled shut, from when it popped up in her brain.  I laid in bed with her the morning she took her last breath.  I watched them lower her into the ground.  I could not imagine how my family would be able to get through this again.  But, it’s amazing how brave people can be when they don’t have a choice.

In July, I had my right breast removed. I began an intense chemotherapy regimen in August.  I was handling it, but my body and spirit were broken. Although I felt, in my heart, that I would survive and be OK, the marathon of chemo is like swimming in a rough ocean.  You get through one wave and come up to find another one about to pummel you. It was the most physically and mentally drained I had ever been. I wondered if I would ever be as strong as I was before cancer. I needed more than my own will to feel better.

In October, I found You Can Thrive! through a dear friend and immediately contacted Luana. I had my first visit just a few days later.  The wellness center has a warm, calm and loving energy that is so powerful and healing, it is difficult to describe in words.  For the first time in a long time, I felt peaceful.

I sat with Luana to review my history, treatment plan, concerns and my symptoms.  We worked together to begin to create my Survivorship Plan.  Then, I was treated to massage therapy, Reiki and Acupuncture.  I was introduced to the power of essential oils.  I watched a presentation on nutrition and cooking.  I left feeling balanced, refreshed, calm and empowered–the best I had felt in months.  I should also mention that I smelled so wonderful that my family commented and my son nuzzled into my chest and laid there for hours.

The only motivation for a practitioner to come to You Can Thrive! is to share his or her gift of healing and to be part of this exceptional community.  In my opinion, the treatments are more powerful because they are done with a pure and focused intention.  The client receives powerful love and healing from every treatment she  receives.

It is incredibly important that a person healing from cancer learns skills and receives holistic treatments, not only to support their body’s own ability to heal, but also to counterbalance toxic side effects of certain treatments.   As soon as I began to receive weekly Acupuncture, many of my symptoms were alleviated.  I started sleeping through the night again.  Any medical person will tell you that sleep is critical to the body’s ability to repair and to manage stress.  Being able to get a restful sleep truly improved my quality of life.   Receiving treatments such as Reiki, Reflexology and massage is not only relaxing, but also shortened my recovery time between chemotherapy treatments.  I felt less tired and physically weak.  In turn, I was more able to keep up with my son and do things like taking him to the playground, to the library and for walks around the neighborhood.  For me, this was a tremendous gift. I chose to be a stay at home mom when I had my son so that I could enjoy these years with him.  Cancer was an incredible disruption and made it difficult to be an active mom.  Luana gave me back the ability to be the kind of mother I wanted to be, even through chemotherapy.

There is also an element to this program that focuses on building skills to help the client create a plan for long term health.  Some of the components to this are nutritional counseling with certified health counselors, personalized aromatherapy and essential oil consultations, including treats to take home and try and educational presentations on various topics.  Clients are also taught a skill called “tapping” that they are able to do any time, anywhere, and are given a free DVD to take home and literature on how to properly do it.  It is great for emotional balance. Once, when I was there, I learned from a raw food chef about the benefits of raw kale and how to incorporate it into my diet.  It was so easy and delicious, I have been making my own almond milk and kale smoothies for my family.  During Advocacy, I am able to talk about things that concern me and to ask questions about anything related to my personal health and medical plan.

Luana’s intention is to provide healing modalities when you “need it the most and can afford it the least.”  This was true for me. I have a lovely, generous friend who is a Reiki Master and a fellow breast cancer survivor.  She was kind enough to provide me with Reiki treatments once a week almost immediately after my diagnosis.  I would have loved to have also gone to a Reflexologist, a massage therapist, an Acupuncturist and a holistic health counselor.  However, paying privately for these therapies was absolutely out of the question.  I was unable to work my usual summer job because of the treatment regimen.  I had been counting on that income to supplement my husband’s and help pay for  bills and for the house we recently bought.  I was not eligible to receive unemployment or for disability.  All my savings had gone to the house and to the fertility preservation treatments I underwent after my diagnosis.  There is barely enough for mortgage and living expenses, let alone medical bills.  Being holistic minded,  I already knew these treatments would help me heal my body and mind but they simply were not within my financial means.

But, even if I had the financial means to pay for these therapies weekly, it would not be the same. There is something about coming to You Can Thrive! that brings a peace and healing into my soul that can not come close to being matched.  I think it’s the synergy of  so much healing taking place at one time, and the therapeutic aroma in the air and the empathetic environment where you know that whoever you are connecting with has “been there” in one way or another.  It is a true community of love and support.

I feel so fortunate to be one of the people profoundly helped by this organization.  At the same time, I am sad that a place like this is so unique.  Why isn’t there a You Can Thrive! in every city? Why is it that it can only be open once a week?  You Can Thrive! deserves a permanent space and a home every place where cancer exists.  Think of how world changing it would be, and the positive ripple effect that it would create.  I wish every person going through serious illness could experience something like this to help them along.  I know, from coming here, that my life is going to be even better than it was before I was diagnosed. I wish there had been a place like this for Noreen.  It might have given her the peace that can only come from being surrounded by people who really know what it is like to live with this diagnosis in your life. I wish she had been exposed to the healing modalities that I have been getting to know through this organization.  I wish I could rewind and show her all that I know about all that is out there.  I know I can not change her path.  I can only be grateful for mine.  The lesson when a health teacher gets Breast Cancer is that she can use all her knowledge and skills, old and new, to help others in a way that she couldn‘t before her diagnosis.  I can not tell you how much I look forward to coming to You Can Thrive! as a volunteer.

You’ve got something to say?

By Luana DeAngelis

Cancer sucks. It’s a simple two word sentence that says it all. When I see my beautiful young friends who struggle daily with issues that are WAY bigger then having/teaching babies and getting married/divorced/hooked up, fighting with others, bigger then who can help A.B.C. or D. Bigger then anything you can even talk about.

I see my beloved friends struggle with issues about how to be happy and still smile every morning when faced with one’s own stage 4 diagnosis, about how to wake up and never let cancer steal your joy.

How about on days when the scans and scares steal your breath, and your hope– HOW do how to steal it right the FU*K back? How do you do that? Thank you for doing that. For your courage.

What do you say to someone you love, when nothing you have is as important as what they have. Nothing can compare to their daily devotion to taking another step on the right path. You listen. You just try to listen and if you do it well… You learn. You live and you learn and you learn even more from the people who leave way too soon. And you hope and hope, that the sisters you love (the 4 of them that I think of as I write this)– those in the most critical situations, can see some happiness that they so rightly deserve in the midst of this struggle with the most deadly and unworthy adversary. Cancer sucks.

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