Posts from May, 2011

Ann’s Diary: Thank God For Mustard

I got some great news about my tumor markers this week–they’re so low they’re almost down to what they were when this whole metastatic mess started last October–and so I’m charging full speed into summer doing everything I’ve been doing these past 6 months to keep the breast cancer at bay.

I’m taking my meds, I’m exercising and I’m eating foods that I hope keep me strong and keep my body as healthy as possible–as healthy as it can be with cancer inside it.  That last piece of the plan for me includes a fairly veggie-laden menu with lots of fruits and nuts and tons of legumes and things like chick peas.  In order to starve the cancer in my body so that it doesn’t want to live long and proser in there, I’m not eating sugar or dairy and I’m following a mostly vegan diet.  The hope is that the metastatic breast cancer will think “dang this is BORING.  I’m outta here,” and head feet first from my system FOREVER. (Which would technically be a miracle, but hey–the squeaky wheel gets the grease.)

And since my markers are falling so low and I’m staying so healthy otherwise–I get checked by my doc every month and everything’s A-OK–I’m keeping on this path of spa-like sustenance for as long as possible.  I don’t care about what I’m missing out on—just get me well again.

But one of the things about eating the way I’m eating is I get sick of the same old flavors. My trimmed down menu means my choices of culinary  excitiement usually come from enhancements via the spice drawer. The trouble there is I don’t like to cook.  So unless someone’s cooking for me or I’m out to dinner at a hip restaurant that caters to my kind, I’m eating hummus and broccoli 24/7. And I get tired of it.

So yesterday I was at a sandwich joint and the vegen choices were nil.  I had to ask for the vegetarian sandwich without the chipotle mayonnaise and hold the cheese–which left a dry sourdough with grilled vegetables.  “How can I make this work?’ I drooled as the egg and turkey offering whisked by me wrapped to go for the laughing college kids behind me.

Then I remembered something in my fridge that has saved my taste buds more than once from this bland highway they’ve been put on:


Not only do I love the stuff, and not only can I smear it on almost all lunch and dinner menus that I used to smear ketchup on–but it’s also healthy for me.  I’ve seen it on the “CANCER FIGHTER” list of food items and though many of those shift from list to list, mustard is a solid stand out.

So I ordered up my veggie dish and as soon as I could I unleashed the saffron-colored accoutrements on top.  I bit into that thing like it was filet mignon and I loved every single bite of it. As I shoved the last morsel down my gullet I thanked the good Lord above for the simple things in my cancer life–

lowered tumor markers, great medicine, good food, potential miracles–and MUSTARD.  

Ann’s books ‘pink tips’ and ‘Words To Live By’ now available in the SHOP section of this website.

Posted May 29th, 2011 by
Ann's Diary: Thank God For Mustard
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Ann’s Diary: Cancer Casino

When I was little I loved the number 7. I’d heard it in conjunction with “lucky” so I adopted “Lucky 7″ as my favorite numerical digit.

When I got older, I loved the number 21. Like 7, it had a lucky connotation, as when someone is trying to get 21 in a card game in Vegas–which I never got by the way, as I’m not a gambler and any time I even dared play a slot machines, my spare change never got me more than cherry-lemon-BAR.

But as of this morning, I have a new favorite number: it’s numer 169. Kind of a random number to the outside world, but I’ll give you the story and then you decide.

I opened up my morning email and between a school meeting notice, a media update and word that my next book, Words To Live By, is in the proofing stages at Amazon’s, was a message from my oncologist. I opened it up with trepidation, as I never know what to expect from this venue of my life. Sometimes it’s not so good. But today, it was GREAT. Here’s what it said:

SUBJECT: Good News
Message: Your tumor markers continue to fall. They’re at 169. (They were in the high 300’s in January.)

And if you were anywhere within a half-mile radius of my home you would have heard my hoops and hollers at this fantastic, wonderful, kick-butt metastatic breast cancer news!

I plan to keep doing what I’m doing–the diet, the work outs, the medicine–the whole shebang. And most importantly, I plan to keep connecting to all you in my world whose good thoughts, prayers, chants, lit candles, emails, phone calls and texts remind me that I am loved and needed and that I must continue to be part of this living world.

In the casino of cancer, I think I just hit 7-7-7. Thanks to all of you for supplying me with the quarters to do it.  

Ann’s books ‘pink tips’ and ‘Words To Live By’ now available in the SHOP section of this website.

Posted May 26th, 2011 by
Ann's Diary: Cancer Casino
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Ann’s Diary: My New Book

I have a bucket list as I’m sure you do.  On mine are several things, including but not limited to:  see Paris again with my brother and his family, be in a movie (that has nothing to do with cancer), get on Oprah, win The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest, detail the inside of my kid-creamated car, and publish a book.  Not necessarily in that order.

Oprah is out–she’s closing down her network show and going to her cable network station, OWN.  (I hope it works for her and if she ever calls I’ll show up toot sweet, but like all things non-broadcast I am worried we’ll never hear from her much again. Remember how we used be bombarded with noise  about shock disc jock Howard Stern and then he went to Sirius Satellite? Now I can hear a pin drop.)

The Cartoon Contest—I enter at least once a month and so far nothing.

Paris I have a shot at–I’m holding out hope for 2013.

A movie?  Well I’m not joining a union at this stage in my life but if you’ve got a non-union script where I don’t come down with a potentially fatal disease I’ll read it.

My car—it’s possible but not until I find a detailer that uses haz-mat suits and won’t sue me for possible asphyxiation.

Which leaves me with a book.  Which I just published this week.

And before you ask “which publisher” I’ll answer the question with “none of them.  I did it myself.”  And I know that sounds like I’m pretending to be an author but these days, self-publishing seems to be the solution for us unknowns with talent.  I’ve considered self-publishing through the years but always felt like the loser who couldn’t get a book deal so she made one up.  Then earlier this year I was chosen among several other people to be published in a book called “Tales of the Revolution: Real People Poking The Box And Making a Difference, downloadable for free on Amazon’s Kindle.  It’s published through Amazon’s new self-publishing arm called “CreateSpace.”  Plus, it’s headed up by Seth Godin, a marketing guru whose books have sold millions via the established publication route.  But Godin’s jumping toward the self-publishing bandwagon now, saying it’s the wave of the distant future.  And I’m all for a good wave.

So my book, ‘pink tips. breast cancer advice from someone who’s been there’ is now available on line.  It’s something I’ve tried to publish through conventional channels and every time somebody wanted to make it funnier, more serious, longer, shorter, for cancer patients, for non-cancer patients, blah blah blah–it got way out of control.  Now it is what I hoped it would be–

50 of the best tips that helped get me through the worst year of my life.  It’s a book for anyone facing a similar diagnosis and for every one who loves them and wants to know how to help. And I sure hope it does some good.

Ann’s books ‘pink tips’ and ‘Words To Live By’ now available in the SHOP section of this website.

Posted May 24th, 2011 by
Ann's Diary: My New Book
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Ann’s Diary: What Metastatic Breast Cancer Looks Like

I have a friend who’s a photographer and she asked me to sit for her this weekend.  I said yes because a) she’s my friend and b) I love a good photo–but I never expected this.  

How’s that for a breast less, left-lung challenged, mother of 2, wife of 1, chronically-diseased, metastaic breast cancer patient? Just looking at this woman makes me feel strong and proud.  Hell, she looks like she could beat down anything–even breast cancer. And she’s me.

And let me say that there are some days I don’t feel like this, and I sure don’t look like it either.  But this photo reminds me that whatever dark cloud may be barging its way into my life on a sporadic, out of the blue way–like it did last week–that this lady in this photo is just waiting underneath it to punch through the negativity and shine like a spotlight on the good, strong, positive and hopeful side of a metastatic cancer life.

Thank you to VIP Studios for making it happen.  Now–off to kick some cancer butt!

Ann’s books ‘pink tips’ and ‘Words To Live By’ now available in the SHOP section of this website.

Posted May 23rd, 2011 by
Ann's Diary: What Metastatic Breast Cancer Looks Like
Posted in: Ann's Diary

Ann’s Diary: 24/7

Someone asked me yesterday how often I blog. I thought about it for a second–how often do I blog?

I don’t have a clock on the wall that chimes “time to blog!” at some hour of a day. Yet I think in the Blog-o-sphere Marketing and Consulting world the answer to the question would be something like “every day” or at least “three times a week.”  It would be followed up with statistics on how to keep readership, how quickly a blog goes into the cybernet-ether and how anyone who wants to make their blog mark in this world needs to do blah blah blah…

But the reality of my blogging doesn’t incorporate a kind of race-track-to-success.  I write when something’s happening in my world that brings me some better understanding of my life. And if I think there’s a chance it could make sense to you with your own life–a life that may or may not have anything to do with breast cancer, then I blog it.  That’s my big marketing and distribution plan. Which is why this blog will never be publicly traded on Wall Street, never mind even read there.

I’d love to enjoy that kind of success of course.  I mean, I didn’t grow up hoping to be an unknown writer whose film, though appreciated by thousands around the world, sits on my DVD shelf in a dusty case next to mass marketed films like Bridget Jone’s Diary and all 8 seasons of Will and Grace (I love that series).

But I did grow up hoping I’d make a difference and I hope that’s what’s happening with my blog.  I won’t write to the strains of a business plan or a detached body on a phone telling me that 3 times a week blogging is what supports a fan base to blahblahblahblahblah.  (Can you spell DISINGENUOUS?)  So my blogging is sporadic.  It’s random.  It’s once a week or it’s three times a day.

And while I can’t tell you when I’ll blog I can promise you that when I do it’s from the heart.

But if you still need a time frame, think of it this way:  no matter how often they’re up, they’re always here to read.  These blogs are meant to help 24/7–that’s all day, every day.

You can set your watch to that.

Posted May 22nd, 2011 by
Ann's Diary:  24/7
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