Coping with Emotions During Radiation Therapy | Battling Bertha 18 | #BlogBoost

For me, radiation therapy is the most difficult of my cancer treatments.  It doesn’t hurt physically.  It is over rather quickly.  If you close your eyes, you barely know it is happening.

Oh, but the emotions!

Emotions During Radiation Therapy

If you have breast cancer and will be receiving radiation therapy as part of your treatment plan, here is what you need to know:

Coping with emotions during radiation therapy takes imagination and humor.

Coping with emotions during radiation therapy takes imagination and humor.

  • Half a dozen people will see your breasts, while you are awake and alert.
  • You will hear everything  they say and be required to carry on conversation, while your breasts are exposed.  More than half a dozen people see your breasts during surgery, but you are asleep and you never see or hear them.
  • Your hands and feet will be bound so that you can not move.
  • They will use paint pens to draw x’s and o’s on your body.  This will make you look like a football play book.  The marks remain on your body for the entire course of treatment and need to be reapplied if they fade.
  • Before your first actual treatment, you go through a CT Simulation to ensure you are aligned correctly for treatment.  This means that not only will your hands and feet be bound, but you will also be inserted into a tube the size of a torpedo bay.

The cumulative effect of all of the above is emotions.  Humiliation.  Lack of control.  Embarrassment.  Self-pity.  Humor.

I am a rather happy go lucky gal.  During my CT Sim, with my hands uncomfortably positioned above my head, my feet bound, and a torpedo tube making clicking sounds all around me, tears began to roll down my cheeks.

As we were leaving the appointment, my husband, who had been in the waiting room during the procedure, asked how it went.  I choked back more tears and replied:  “I don’t want to talk about.”

Coping with the Emotions

Everyday, around one in the afternoon, George Clooney makes sweet, sweet love to me.  I share the details of our torrid affair in the following video:

 

 

I use my imagination and a lot of humor to make it through my radiation therapy.  Heck, it’s what is getting me through this whole ordeal.

What are some of the ways that you cope with emotions during radiation therapy, or any awkward, uncomfortable or just downright frightening situation?  Leave a comment.  Your suggestion just might help someone who is struggling right now.

Radiation Relief Cream Reviews | Battling Bertha 13 | #blogboost

Today, I completed my 9th of 36 session of  “radiation therapy.”  Seriously.  They call it therapy.  I have 27 treatments to go.  Treatment.  Also not the right word.

In the realm of too-much-information, here are some intimate details about my boob.  Radiation is not a boobs’ friend.  My nipple and areola are swollen, red, hot and sore.   I have tried several remedies for relief and in today’s video I give a candid review of three radiation relief creams.  You will be quite surprised when you see which is my favorite.

 

 

CAUTION: Do not use any product on your breast or armpit in the three hours prior to your radiation therapy. The radiation could react with the cream and that’s not good. Also, you should not shave your armpits until you have completed all your treatments.

Aquaphor Healing Ointment by Eucerin Review

Aquaphor Healing Ointment by Eucerin

Aquaphor Healing Ointment by Eucerin

When she saw my bright red swollen breast, Shanta, one of my radiation techs suggested I use Aquaphor Healing Ointment by Eucerin and gave me a few samples. Aquaphor is very thick, with a petroleum jelly consistency. It leaves a layer of “grease” on your skin so you can only use it at night.

Although several women in my online breast cancer support group swear by Aquaphor, I personally did not like it for use on my breast.

Plus, I did a little research and discovered that Aquaphor is 41% petrolatum.  Petrolatum is petroleum jelly, which comes from petroleum, you know, crude oil, the black sticky stuff that comes out of the ground and is then turned into gasoline and water bottles.

I wouldn’t put gasoline or water bottles on my skin, so why would I want to put petrolatum on the area of my breast that was designed (or evolved, either way you look at it, the point is the same) to feed babies? Oh crap, here I go, better put that darn soap box in the attic or I might get myself into trouble. My days of a being a militant breastfeeding mom are long over. Boobs will be boobs.

Now that that’s settled.  Let’s try something else!

Miaderm Radiation Relief Review

Miaderm Radiation Relief Cream

Miaderm Radiation Relief Cream

The radiation oncology nurse suggested I try Miaderm Radiation Relief and again gave me some samples with instructions to use it three times per day.  The cream is absorbed by your skin very quickly and it is not at all greasy.  I liked it, so I went ahead and purchased a tube and have been using it every day.  Miaderm is pricey, about $25 per tube.

According to the literature the pharmacy provided, Miaderm was developed by radiation oncologists specifically for patients undergoing radiation therapy.   It contains aloe, calendula and lanolin plus a host of ingredients I can’t pronounce.  I am not a big fan of putting stuff in or on my body that I can’t pronounce.

I have been researching Calendula, and chatting with Kelly, my favorite aromatherapist, about creating a custom blend with Calendula essential oil.  Calendula oil has anti-inflamatory and wound-healing properties.  If we come up with something, I’ll be sure to let the world know.

While Miaderm is good, it does not provide relief from the sunburn type pain that I feel on my nipple.  So, I put 2 and 2 together and tried:

H-E-B Solutions Aftersun Aloe Vera Gel with Pure Aloe Vera Review

HEB Solutions Afersun Aloe Vera Gel with Pure Aloe Vera

HEB Solutions Afersun Aloe Vera Gel with Pure Aloe Vera

Aftersun Aloe Vera Gel was designed to soothe and cool sun burn, so YES, it cools and soothes my red, swollen breast! Gloriously, I might add.

H-E-B is a Texas based chain of grocery stores. I am sure that any Aloe Vera Gel brand will provide the same relief as this one.

Aloe Vera is actually the 7th ingredient in this formula. While it contains WAY fewer hard to pronounce ingredients than the Miaderm, the first ingredient is alcohol – which probably accounts for the cooling effect, but isn’t very good for the skin. It is also a very unnatural shade of green.

My search for the PERFECT radiation relief cream is far from over.  Expect a second, or even third, video review in the near future.

If you have personal experience with radiation creams and would like to share your favorite, leave a comment below. If I end up using your suggestion in a video, I’ll give you a shout out and send you a free gift, if you are into that sort of thing.

Chemo Head Wrap Instructions | Battling Bertha 12 | #blogboost

When I lost my hair, I went to YouTube and searched for a great tutorial on how to wrap a head scarf. I watched many and found that Ester Grabow’s “How to tie a headscarf tips” is by far the best.

Yesterday I alluded to my secret head scarf technique. It’s not really a secret. It’s a t-shirt. It’s very hot in Texas and the t-shirt head wrap I learned from Ester has been my go to look for the past several months. The t-shirt soaks up the sweat! Plus, it’s easy. Take a t-shirt, cut it across the body just below the sleeves and voila! You have a chemo head wrap.

Watch the tutorial to see how Ester inspired me:

PS – Thank you to Gail at G & W Photography for the featured image!

Ultimate Blog Challenge | October Recognition Holidays | Battling Bertha 11 | #BlogBoost

Keep Calm and Fight Like a Girl

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Click the card to send a card to someone fighting Breast Cancer today. It’s free (on me).

Ultimate Blog Challenge

Welcome to Day 1 of my Ultimate Blog Challenge! It is my intention to blog every day for the entire month of October, and even throw in a few videos and podcasts!

I plan to share some intimate details about my boobs and my breast cancer journey, including some funny, or not so funny, stories about chemo, surgery and radiation therapy. I’ll even take you wig shopping!

Don’t worry, I also have marketing and business tips to share! So, there will be a little something for everyone this month.

National Make a Mistake Day and other October Recognition Holidays

You have 22 fantabulous reasons to send a greeting card and gift in October and here they are:

  • October is, of course, Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
  • It is also Pharmacist Month.
  • October 1 in National Make a Mistake Day.  You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be nice!
  • October 2 is National Custodial Worker Day.
  • October 3 is Techie’s Day.
  • October 4 is World Smile Day.
  • October 5 is Do Something Nice Day.
  • October 5 is also World Teacher’s Day.
  • Emergency Nurses Week is October 5 – 11.
  • Customer Service Week is October 6 – 10.
  • National Physician Assistant’s Week is October 6 – 12.
  • October 6 is Physician Assistant’s Day.
Time to Get Healthy

Celebrate physician’s assistants, emergency nurses and medical assistants this month with a thank you card. Click the card to send one FREE today (on me).

  • October 8 is Emergency Nurses Day.
  • October 11 is World Plumbers Day.
Let a Plumber Fix It

World Plumbers Day is October 11. Send a card to your favorite plumber for FREE (on me) by clicking the image.

  • October 12 is Farmer’s Day.
  • October 13 is Clergy Appreciation Day.
  • October 14 is Columbus Day.
  • October 16 is National Boss Day.
  • Medical Assistants Recognition Week is October 20 – 24.
  • October 22 is Medical Assistants Recognition Day.
  • October 23 is TV Talk Show Host Day.
  • October 24 is United Nations Day.
  • October 31 is Halloween.
On Halloween You Can Be Anything You Want

October 31 is Halloween. Click the image to send a Halloween Card for Free (on me).

Any day is a great day to send a real paper greeting card.  Your first card is FREE, on me!

V030 Gratitude Geek Goes to Space City Con

Family Fun

Space City Con at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas is one of the smaller, better run “geek” conventions. In this video, filmed on January 4, 2013, I interview author Diana Botsford on the evolution of women in film, learns Amtgard style sword play, receives a rudimentary introduction to Warhammer 40K and plays a heated game of Heroscape.

Diana Dru Botsford co-wrote, Rascals, one of my top 5 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, where Picard, Keiko, Guinan and Ro Lauren are returned to their 12 year old bodies in a transporter incident.

Sporks taught me how to LARP (live action role play) the Amtgard way. Amtgard is a world-wide organization of role players. They play with padded weapons and authentic costumes.

Warhammer 20K is a table top war game played with models that are built and painted by the players. Cowboy Kenny hosts a podcast about game strategy called The Heroic 28s.

Heroscape is a ready to play board game by Hasbro that is no longer produced. It is still a blast to play. Lindsey Long hosts a bi-monthly game at 8th Dimension Comics & Games in Houston.

 

I highly recommend attending a Comic Convention at least once. It’s fun!

Be Who You Want to Be

Foraging Wild Edible Plants with Dr. Mark Vorderbruggen 002 V029

“The human mind is designed to be stimulated by touch, smell, taste, feel. All these sort of things that you don’t get sitting on a couch.” – Dr. Mark “Merriweather” Vorderbruggen

Tips for Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

Dr. Mark Vorderbruggen foraging a wild edible plant.  I ate it.  It tasted like lemon.

Dr. Mark Vorderbruggen foraging a wild edible plant. I ate it. It tasted like lemon.

Just Kidding . . . Not Really.

Recently I met up with Dr. Mark Vorderbruggen at Spring Creek Greenway Nature Center in Spring, Texas for an episode of my Coffee & Cards Conversations video series. Our converstation ran a little long for the video. The info is just too good not to share so we decided to turn the long version into podcast.

Dr. Vorderbruggen, also known as Merriweather, is a research a chemist by profession and wild edible & medicinal plant teacher, outdoorsman, and family man by preference. Originally from the north, he now lives in the greather Houston Texas are with his family. He enjoys permaculture; backpacking; kayaking; car camping with the family; fishing; suburban farming; conservation; Renaissance festivals and is, in his own words, a rabid maker of stuff.

Merriweather offers Wild Edible and Medicinal Plan workshops monthly at the Houston Arboretum and occasionally at Spring Creek Greenway Nature Center.  Merriweather’s next Wild Edible Workshop at the Houston Arboretum is January 19, 2014.  Visit ForagingTexas.com for a complete list of classes, foraging resources and a searchable database of over 150 Texas edible plants.

Be sure to watch episode 29 (below) of Coffee & Cards Conversations for additional content plus Merriweather’s take on the benefits of foraging.

 

Coffee & Cards Video 029 Transcription (verbatim):

Kandas:   Kandas Rodarte of GratitudeGeek.info sitting here with Dr. Mark “Merriweather” Vorderbruggen. He is a caveman who can eat off the land and he’s going to teach us a little bit how he does that.

So tell me about foraging, what is it?

Merriweather: Foraging, this is simply like you said, eating off the land. Eating the foods from the plants around us that have not been domesticated, have not been planted as a food source but for thousands and thousands of years they were a food source for humans. This includes mainly wild plants but also some landscaping plants.

Dr. Mark VorderbruggenKandas: Landscaping plants. So how did you learn about foraging?

Merriweather: Through my parents. Both of them were children of the Great Depression, growing up in a small dairy farm up in Central Minnesota, and at that time there was no money for anyone. And why would the family has got buy when there was wild animals around them? My parents continued to be forages and we grew up and continue to forage around us.

Kandas: So what drives you to teach other people about foraging and wild edible plants?

Merriweather: There’s a world around us that people have forgotten and I love reintroducing that to them. There are not many places left to explore for just your average Joe to go. I mean, we can’t go to the moon. So by showing them the food around them it’s a new world that they didn’t know is around them.

Kandas: There’s no food on the moon.

Merriweather: Jeez.

Kandas: Okay, so tell me some benefits of foraging. Why should we do it?

Merriweather: Well, obviously, there’s nutritional benefit but there’s a lot of other things that people don’t realize. There’s been a lot of studies that show if you get kids out in the woods, out in the wild, off they even actually in the woods for at least a half hour a week, their attention deficit disorder pretty much disappears. The human mind is designed to be stimulated by touch, smell, taste, feel. All these sort of things that you don’t get sitting on a couch. On the other hand, there’s one other thing for older people. They find that walking on uneven ground a lot helps stave off dementia because the mind is still in… it’s like mental exercises.

Kandas: Wow!

Merriweather: Those are the two.

Kandas: Those are the two. While you’re out foraging, you’re doing those two things. It’s very groovy. Okay. So if we wanted to have wild edible plants in our own backyard, how would we do that?

Merriweather: This is ways to lure a bird into your backyard. What I did with mine, I just have a basic suburban backyard and I tore up parts of the earth. I had piles of dirt. Put some branches for birds to perch and put a bird bath. No bird feeders. If you put bird feeders the only seeds you’re going to get are what the birds ate from the bird feeder. So the birds will be eating all the wild plants and they’ll come and they’ll deposit the seeds and your piles of dirt as they perch on that stick. And then you just identify as they come up which weeds are edible and which aren’t. The ones that are edible you keep. The ones that aren’t you get rid of.

Merriweather's Guide to Wild EdiblesKandas: If a person wanted to learn more, do you have some books that you recommend?

Merriweather: Certainly. First obviously is the Peterson’s Guide to Edible Wild Plants (affiliate link). This is probably the most comprehensive plant book out there of wild edible plants. However, it’s not really designed to find the plants. It’s designed that once you find the plant and identify the plant, you look up here and actually see if it’s edible or not.

Kandas: Okay, so you can’t identify. You can only find out if it’s edible.

Merriweather: Correct.

Kandas: Okay.

Merriweather: Now for actually identifying edible plants Samuel Thayer is my favorite author. He has two books: The Nature’s Garden and The Forager’s Harvest. In his book, he actually has multiple pictures of each plant, the leaf, the flower, the bark, the whatever and at different times of the year so you could really get an idea of what it looks like so you can hunt it down and find it.

Kandas: Gee, what about you? Do you have a resource that you offer?

Merriweather: I have… yes, I have a website with over a hundred and fifty, maybe a hundred and sixty different wild edible plants in Texas on there. This website is www.foragingtexas.com.

Kandas: And are they Houston area plants or are they…?

[Crosstalk 03:49]

Merriweather: I try and cover all Texas. I’m mainly located in the Houston area but the plants I try and cover all the different edible plants from East Texas all the way up to West Texas.

Kandas: And if people wanted to learn more from you, how would they do that?

Merriweather: I offer monthly classes down at the Houston Arboretum. That’s the park next to Memorial Park downtown Houston. The next one there is January 19th. It’s actually a fund raiser for the Houston Arboretum so you do have to register through their website and they do charge a fee for it but I teach there once a month. I also do private classes and other classes all over Texas.

Kandas: So your next class at the Arboretum is the 19th?

Merriweather: The next one at the Arboretum is the 19.

Kandas: January 19.

Merriweather: Yes.

Kandas: And if you could recommend just one plant, one edible plant indigenous to Texas to grow in your own backyard what would it be?

Merriweather: Yaupon holly.

Kandas: Yaupon Holly.

Merriweather: The reason being Yaupon Holly is the only naturally occurring source of caffeine that grows in Texas and it’s available all year. It has all the benefits of green tea so it has all the antioxidants and all the caffeine and it taste wonderful.

Kandas: And so if there’s ever a zombie apocalypse and we run out of coffee from the grocery store, we will continue to fill the feed our caffeine addiction.

Merriweather: Yes.

Kandas: I love it. Yaupon Holly. If you’re afraid of the zombies, plant some Yaupon holly and you’ll never have to worry about caffeine ever.

Merriweather: And you’ll never have to sleep.

Kandas: Well, this has been great. Thank you very much.

Merriweather: My pleasure.

Kandas: I’m going to post some links to your website in a [indiscernible 05:14]. I may even put link on the page. I don’t know. Whatever he does. He’s the magic guy, the magic guy behind the camera. He makes a lot happen.

Merriweather: Hey, magic guy!

Kandas: Thank you so much.

Merriweather: I like his magic hat.

Kandas: Yes, such a very groovy hat he’s wearing today. So be sure to visit my website gratitudegeek.info and we’ll see you next time on coffee and cards conversation.


on-target-speaking-jpg-image

On Target Speaking: Breaking the Ice Workshop

Join me, January 25, 2014 from 9 to noon at the Power of Pink Studio in Conroe, Texas. I will teach you the trick she used to wow the CEO of a highly sought after retail brand when I was just 23 years old. In this 3-hour hands-on, intensive workshop, you will learn three powerful ways to introduce yourself and your business to others. You will leave the workshop with three unique and personalized scripts that perfectly describe your products and services. Register Today!

V019 Time Management Tips from The Busy Woman

In this special Coffee & Cards Conversation, Susie Glennan, THE Busy Woman, answers time management questions from 5 work at home moms.

 

 

The Questions:

Kim:  How do you self-motivate?

Reeshemah:  “Do you have a structure that could work for any WAHM?”

Cynthia:  “How do you continually shift from mom to work and back?”

Kerri:  “How do you get everything done you need to do everyday?”

Diane:  “How do you best juggle?”

 

Susie Glennan, Owner of The Busy Woman, Inc.

Susie Glennan, Owner of The Busy Woman, Inc.

Connect with Susie Glennan:

 

VIDEO: Highlights from the Houston SOC Road Tour with Steve Schultz

Steve Schultz, President of Field Operations, fired up the packed crowd at the Houston SendOutCards Road Tour on November 2, 2013. In case you missed it, or you just want to experience it again, we’ve condensed the 3 hour event into seven minutes for you.

 

 

Some key thoughts from the attendees:

“I signed up as a distributor because I knew there was going to be a web address on the back of the cards I sent and I wanted that URL to be mine.”

“I drove from San Antonio and it was worth it.”

“I cancelled plans to be here.”

“Let’s get to work.”