Friends Add Color To Your Life

Yesterday was a long and wonderful day filled with great friends, old and new.

Friends add color to your life.

There is a beloved Girl Scout melody:

Make New Friends but keep the old.  One is silver and the other gold.

The more friends you have, the more colors. Not just silver and gold but purple, blue, yellow, pink, orange, red, the entire color spectrum.

You are never too old to make new friends.

Affordable Care Act Saved My Life

Hi!  My name is Kandas and the Affordable Care Act saved my life!

Yesterday I received my regularly scheduled doses of Herceptin and Lupron to keep that naughty Bertha away.  As I was sitting in the infusion chair, IV drip, drip, dripping protein inhibitors into my bloodstream, I was prompted to share the following message to Facebook:

Today is National Uncle & Aunt Day. Over 30 humans call me “Auntie Kandas”.

Today is also my tri-weekly infusion of Herceptin, the pharmaceutical marvel that is keeping Bertha away.

I am alive today because of the Affordable Care Act. The ACA doesn’t give me free insurance. We pay roughly $10k per year for the privilege of staying alive.

Not everyone can afford $10k per year. Does that mean they are less deserving than me? That their life is any less precious?

Social media trainers tell us not to share about sports, politics, religion or sex on our walls.

I am a rule breaker.

I believe health care should be a right and not a privilege. Compassionate societies care for their citizens.

So I am going to continue to remind anyone who follows me on social media that I owe my life to the Affordable Care Act, in hopes that enough people will feel compelled to tell their Representatives and Senators that this partisan bickering needs to stop. That people are more important than politics.

I am looking forward to more little humans calling me Auntie Kandas… And a couple even calling me Grandma… one day.

The ACA is keeping me alive.

I know these Facebook posts make some of my network uncomfortable, even angry. It’s an inconvenient truth that I will keep sharing. I have an 18-year-old daughter who needs me.

Fun Summer Holidays in 2017

Did you know that today, August 26, 2017, is National Uncle and Aunt Day?  There are a lot of super fun summer holidays to celebrate just about anything.  My daughter is excited about August 11, 12 and 13 because they celebrate her family.  She’s a daughter, I’m a middle child, and her dad is left-handed.

July 26 – Uncle and Aunt Day
July 27 – Take your Pants for a Walk Day
July 28 – Milk Chocolate Day
July 29 – Lasagne Day
July 30 – National Cheesecake Day

Let Your BFF know how much she means to you on Girlfriends Day.

Let Your BFF know how much she means to you on August 1st, Girlfriends Day.

August 1 – Girlfriends Day
August 2 – Ice Cream Sandwich Day
August 3 – Watermelon Day
August 4 – International Beer Day
August 5 – Work Like a Dog Day
August 6 – Fresh Breath Day

Send a card to celebrate Lighthouse Day.

Send a card to celebrate Lighthouse Day on August 7th.

August 7 – Lighthouse Day
August 8 – Happiness Happens Day
August 9 – Book Lovers Day
August 10 – Lazy Day
August 11 – Son and Daughter Day
August 12 – Middle Child Day
August 13 – Left-Handers Day

Strawberry Cheesecake, Creamsicle, Cookies 'N Cream, and Blueberry Cheesecake Fudge

Send some Gourmet Novelty Strawberry Cheesecake, Creamsicle, Cookies ‘N Cream, and Blueberry Cheesecake Fudge on August 14th.

August 14 – Creamsicle Day
August 15 – Pythagorean Theorem Day

Which days make YOU feel like celebrating?


4 Common Myths about High Cholesterol

For over three years now I have been in treatment for metastatic breast cancer.  It is currently in remission, though treatment continues with an Arimidex pill every day, Herceptin infusion every 3 weeks, and Lupron shot every 4 weeks.  I’ve shared in the past that the treatments have elevated my cholesterol levels.  I choose to use lower cholesterol without statins simply because I already take enough drugs, I don’t need to add another.

There are a lot of myths that surround the high cholesterol health condition. These myths are passed on through TV shows, through old books, even through out-of-date biology curricula.

Today’s leading health and science research has shown us that a lot of what we used to know about cholesterol simply isn’t true.

Here are a few of the most common high cholesterol myths.

Eggs Are Bad for Your Cholesterol Level

The health community used to recommend avoiding eggs due to their high dietary cholesterol levels. With over 200 mgs of cholesterol, it only makes sense that someone who wants to lower their cholesterol should avoid eggs – right?

Not so. Today, we know that only a tiny fraction of dietary cholesterol actually ends up in the blood stream. Eggs are actually a healthy source of proteins and contain twelve different kinds of vitamins and minerals.

It’s still not good to overdo it, but a couple of eggs a week won’t hurt.

There Is an “Ideal” Cholesterol Number

People often look for a target cholesterol number, as if there were a global ideal that’s right for everyone.

In reality, however, everyone’s body is a bit different. A smoker’s target LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels are different from a non-smoker’s. A diabetic’s target levels are different from a non-diabetic’s. So on and so forth.

Before you look online for “ideal” target levels, consult your doctor to get a target number tailored specifically for you.

Cholesterol Is Evil

Cholesterol is actually a necessary part of your body’s everyday processes. It helps line various kinds of cells in your body, including your all-important brain cells. Cholesterol also helps give cells more structural integrity.

To make a long story short, our bodies wouldn’t be able to function without cholesterol.

It’s only when LDL cholesterol levels get too high that we’re in trouble because of it.

Only the Elderly Get High Cholesterol

Another common myth is that high cholesterol is an issue mostly for the elderly.

In reality, kids as young as eight years old have been diagnosed with high cholesterol. This tends to happen in overweight, obese or sedentary kids.

Though it’s true that the rate of high cholesterol does go up with age, just because you’re younger doesn’t mean you’re safe. Make sure to get your cholesterol count from your doctor in your annual check-up, even if you’re under 30 years old.

These are a few of the most common myths that surround high cholesterol. Remember that medical information changes often as new research and data are discovered. The best source of information about high cholesterol should always come from a trusted doctor, and not through friends, family or even the internet

Cousins Day Flashback

Today, June 24th, is Cousins Day.  So I thought I’d revisit a conversation I had with my cousin, Tara.  Tara is the only female to complete more than 7 seasons of Black Marlin fishing on the Great Barrier Reef.

Tara and I have only met in person once, when we were both 3. But through the magic of Facebook we’ve gotten to know each other. She’s even shared our Korean grandmother’s recipes for kimchi and a family favorite we call “hot meat.” Tara was lucky enough to spend quality time with Grandma Sue, whom I only met a half a dozen times.

I love following her adventures as she travels the globe. She’s pretty groovy, as you will learn by listening to our January 2014 podcast interview:


Bringing Kindness to the Internet

“I was Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on a global scale almost instantaneously.” – Monica Lewinsky

Today is Monica Lewkinsky’s birthday. Lewinsky is a woman I deeply admire. Back in 2015, I shared her amazing talk at the Forbes Under 30 Summit about her experience as Patient Zero. She lifted herself out of the ugliest of situations and is now using her story to combat cyber-bullying.

Stories and Truth

I see much unkindness on Facebook, despite diligent unfollowing and unfriending of those I feel are unkind. In their defense, sometimes people are so passionate about a particular topic, that they don’t realize they are being unkind.

You see, I often post on Facebook in support of the Affordable Care Act, because it literally saved my life. I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer just one month after the discounted health insurance policy I purchased through went into effect. I have been in continuous treatment for what is now metastatic breast cancer for over 3 years. The ACA is responsible for my life. Literally. If I had not purchased that ACA subsidized plan, faced with a heavy financial burden my family could not pay, I would have chosen to allow the disease to take my life. Because I had the health insurance in place, I chose to fight. That is my truth, and I share my truth freely.

However, there are some who chose to ignore my truth, and to only believe their own story, or the story being fed to them by dogma. They do not realize they are being unkind when they respond to my support of the ACA with negative comments. They do not realize that those negative comments show they do not care that I am alive because the ACA made health insurance affordable for my micro-business owning family for the first time since 1998.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t think the ACA is perfect.  I know that upper middle class families who do not have the benefit of employer-paid health insurance are paying much more than they should for their policies.  I know that in many areas, there is a lack of providers accepting ACA plans.   Repealing the ACA would mean that I would once again be faced with the choice of placing my family in debt beyond our ability to repay to extend my life by an undetermined number of years, or allowing the illness to take my life immediately.  Knowing this, brazen anti-ACA comments under my Facebook posts are unkind and show a great lack of compassion.  Yet, it happens, almost every time I post in support of the ACA.

Compassion and Kindness

What does all this have to do with Monica Lewinksy?

Lewinsky is on a mission to bring compassion and kindness to the internet. Watch her TED talk on the Price of Shame, and then take some time for introspection. What can YOU do to help her cause?

There is a way to speak your truth and remain compassionate and kind. It starts with me, and it starts with you.  Be kind.  Be compassionate.  Listen to others when they share their truth, rather than asserting your own truth.  Post your truth on your own wall.  Celebrate others on their wall.

5 Summer Retreats for Relaxation and Growth

A couple of years back I attended a fun retreat hosted by my friend, event coordinator, Glenna Griffin.  It was a relaxing weekend of massage, vegan food, and professional development.

If you’ve been feeling a little stressed in your life, why not take this summer to go on a retreat? A retreat can be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks in length. It’ll help you recharge, help you relax, help you learn about yourself and allow you to enjoy nature all at the same time.

Here are five different kinds of retreats you can embark on this summer.

A Health and Spa Retreat

A health and spa retreat is perhaps the most relaxing and rejuvenating of all the retreat options you could choose.

Usually these retreat centers are located in nature, separate from the rest of society. You’ll usually be asked to turn off your phone so you have no contact with the outside world.

You get to enjoy delicious and healthy meals. There will usually be yoga classes, massages and often saunas. It’s a retreat dedicated purely to joy and relaxation.

A Meditation Retreat

A meditation retreat is much tougher. It involves sitting, standing or walking for many hours at a time, simply experiencing the present moment.

On meditation retreats, people often have profound realizations about life, who they are and what they want to do. Some retreats have a no talking rule, while others are very social.

A Yoga Retreat

Are you a fan of yoga? Do you find that stretching your body and deepening your breath helps you relax and find your center?

If so, you might want to consider a yoga retreat. These retreats consist of a lot of different activities, with a focus on yoga. You might do five sessions of yoga per day while socializing, cooking and doing various other activities for the rest of the day, for example.

Spiritual or Religious Retreats

The majority of meditation and yoga retreats are religion-neutral. However, if you’re religious, you might want to consider going on a religious retreat.

For example, go on a Christian Retreat if you’re Christian. You can discuss the Bible with others, pray together and deepen your relationship with God together.

If you’re Buddhist, you can meditate together, study Buddhist texts together and learn more about Buddhism together.

Go on a Vision Quest

This is perhaps the most intense of all the retreat options discussed in this article.

A vision quest is when you’re taken to a remote location, like a desert or a forest. You’re left alone there, with no food. Usually you’re there for a period of three to five days. You’ll be given a flare and/or radio for use if there’s an emergency, but otherwise will have no contact with others.

Not eating food puts you in an altered state very quickly. You’ll then be able to use this intensely lonely and focused state to think about your life. It’s called a vision quest because people often use these vision quests to try to figure out exactly what they want to do with their lives.

These are five different kinds of retreats you can go on this summer. Some are relaxing, others are introspective while others are extremely difficult. Which one(s) call to you most?

Improve Your Happiness Level by 14.1%

According to Randall Bell of Landmark Research and psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo, sending a heart-felt greeting card can give you a 14.1% improved chance of being happy.  I send real paper greeting cards everyday, from an app on my phone, and I’m a pretty happy chick, so I think they are on to something.

Bell and Lombardo also to share 5 other surprisingly simple and inexpensive ways to increase happiness in this July 2017 segment on the Today Show.