Snacking for Energy and Vibrant Health

By Annabelle Bondar | May 8, 2013

“Act as if what you do makes a difference.”
~ William James ~

To my family, friends and forest of readers,

The last several months have been so full of wonder for our family, birthdays, special times, health issues for some, and the latest, a new little baby boy, a boy cousin for Jonah, a nephew, a son for my kids, a brother for big sister Lily, and time for being together for holidays and special celebrations.

Everyone is so busy working on things that have meaning to them, hockey, soccer, statistics, business, family, cooking, wellness, travel, getting together to stop and say YES for a little while is both fun and challenging.

Even if there seems to be a lack of time to eat a full meal during some of the days that seem to be so hectic, packing healthy snacks is a for sure way to know you are getting nutrients and healthy food to give energy throughout the day.

To all of you who are moms, grand-mothers, sisters, friends, from It’s Me Annabelle Inc. HAVE A BEAUTIFUL MOTHER’S DAY!! BE a best friend to someone you love too!

As Always,
It’s Me

 


Snacking for Energy and Vibrant Health

 

There are so many things our bodies want to do to help us feel vibrant, energized and thinking sharply.

Here are FIVE scrumptious snacks that are not only easy to make, they also contain the things that keep us going all day long. They are full of fiber, healthy fat, and protein and help to keep our metabolism, mood and energy in high gear, all day long—balanced.

Healthy Snack #1: With a Smear
Celery and Organic Almond Peanut Butter

Healthy Snack #2: The Double A
Apple + Almonds

Healthy Snack #3: Berry Lean
Protein and Berries

Healthy Snack #4: Berry Cheesy
Berries and Organic Cheese String

Healthy Snack #5: Too Good
Turkey and Red or Purple Grapes

If you notice all these snacks are loaded with wonderful things to make you feel WELL!

We often talk about wellness in terms of the mind, the body and the spirit.

Our bodies want to be healthy, and feeding them with delicious snacks are just as important as breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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Berry Good News!

By Annabelle Bondar | April 18, 2013

Message From Annabelle

“Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

 

To my family, friends and forest of readers,

Have you heard the expression going with the flow?

Do you know that effortless being means a longer life?

EFFORTLESS being means to be natural, unforced and adaptive.
EFFORTLESS doing means not applying undue force or energy to things.

Many people go through life unnecessarily battering down walls instead of finding the doorway. Many exhaust their energy digging in dry, hard soil instead of softening it with water beforehand.

For example, in your relationships, if you try to control the outcome, do you see how the situation escalates?

Practicing effortless being will give you increased joy, flow, health and longevity.

Today, I would love for you to join me in recapping the last two weeks. There has been so much going on in the world, with unexpected events. This is part of the Chinese year, where things change quickly. In the world of sports, beautiful skating, the golf classic, hockey, the Boston marathon; the passing of icons; singers; Margaret Thatcher; our own King Ralph in Calgary, who served Calgary as mayor for so long; the unsettling of the markets in business, drops not seen in a year; flights canceled and changed last minute; tornadoes; flooding; snow and ice in the matter of a few minutes.

In the beauty of all of these seemingly unsettled things, we see the strength and intention of those who are part of this. The wife of Ralph Klein, the love of his life behind him, encouraging him, supporting him and honoring him. He was the mayor of our city for so many years. We see Margaret Thatcher in politics with her husband Dennis at her side for so many years. We see Jerome Iginla in hockey going to a new team from Calgary, scoring his 1100 goal last night, adapting to a change in his career. We see another hockey player scoring a goal, the first in 146 games, the door finally opened. We see the heroes in the Boston marathon, the families who in a split second have their lives changed, amputations, burns, in the city where a run has taken place for over 100 years. How about President Obama and wife Michelle, opening up the White House, the doorway to a welcoming place, sharing with the world. Michelle sets an example by opening the door to today’s women, a mother, a daughter, a beautiful wife and doing wonderful things with fitness and being.

I feel like life is so full! Sometimes we don’t see it, but taking time to really look and ask yourself questions, you will discover it!!

As Always,
It’s Me

Annabelle loves to inspire others and give them hope on the journey to wellness. She loves to speak to audiences with her special inspiration “Breast You Can.” For more information, please click here for more information.

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Berry Good News

It is a wonderful time of year to spring into action and try something new. There is a little market in an area called Parkdale, it is open in the afternoon. Yesterday after registering for Zumba, I saw a sign about a farmers market. Not knowing what was there, I treated myself to a few minutes to discover a place where locals come with their own tomatoes and cucumbers, peppers. They are so fresh. There was another booth where they brought their own grown carrots, and a huge bowl of freshly made guacamole, was being made. Healthy, healthy, avocados, olive oil, cilantro, lime juice, chopped onions, YUMMY!

There was the apple lady, all sorts of apples, dried ones too. Fresh nuts, almonds, coconut ones, spicy ones. There was fresh bread, baked by European artisans, soups. Will certainly go back again.

It is so nice after a long winter to benefit from berries too, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries. They all have antioxidant properties, ellagic acid in blueberries for cancer prevention. I love to make a little fruit salad or put them in a shake…

All the things that I share with you, pick and choose what is best for you to put in YOUR “MEDICINE CHEST OF LIFE and WELLBEING”. TO LIFE!!

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Strategies for Preventing Breast Cancer

By Annabelle Bondar | April 5, 2013

“There is more to life than increasing it’s speed.”
~ Ghandi ~

Message From Annabelle

To my family, friends and forest of readers,

Didn’t the time go by so quickly the last two weeks? Before we know it, it is already the first week of April.

The other day, I was watching my grand-daughter build blocks. We have three or four different kinds at my house, we seem to be lovers of puzzles and blocks. The first time she tried, she was so frustrated, the tower she started would fall over and her frustration would come out in different ways.

Yesterday she was so proud of her towers, she put all the blocks together in a style all her own and her eyes were sparkling with delight.

When I asked her about the blocks, she told me she wanted to keep working on her blocks all afternoon, a big change from the frustration of two minutes.

So the message is to not ever give up, there is hope, there is transformation, there is certainty along the way.

So spring is here, make your health a high priority.

I also have fallen off this winter, not wanting to exercise, but back at it this week. Don’t you feel like a bear coming out of hibernation, a bit? I know I do after a long, cold winter.

As Always,
It’s Me
Annabelle
Annabelle loves to inspire others and give them hope on the journey to wellness. She loves to speak to audiences with her special inspiration “Breast You Can.” For more information, please click here to visit our website.

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The Unlikely SuperFood

Did you know that Maple Syrup is a SUPERFOOD? Recently it has been discovered that there are many compounds in the syrup that have many anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory benefits.

In the process of boiling the sap into syrup, there is an anti-oxidant polyphenol created.

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15 Easy Ways to Reduce your risk of Breast Cancer

Do you know that the percentage of breast cancers and others can be PREVENTED by applying some simple practices.

  1. Avoid sugar, especially fructose. All forms of sugar are detrimental to health in general and promote cancer. Fructose, however, is clearly one of the most harmful and try to avoid it as much as possible.
  2. Natural vitamin A in foods like butter, chicken liver, raw milk, are also important in the prevention of breast cancer.
  3. Improve your insulin receptor sensitivity by exercising and eliminating sugar.
  4. Avoid drinking alcohol, or if this is something that is challenging, limit your consumption as much as possible.
  5. Avoid wearing underwire bras. Metal underwire bras are constricting and can heighten your breast cancer risk.
  6. Try to avoid electromagnetic fields, even electric blankets can increase your cancer risk.
  7. Drink a half to a whole quart of green vegetable juice daily.
  8. Be sure to have enough Omego-3 fats—Things like avocado, nuts and seeds.
  9. Maintain a healthy body weight. Over the winter we often gain weight , and it is a good time now to be more active—to avoid producing more estrogen..
  10. Avoid charring your meats- Charcoal or flame broiled meat is linked to increased breast cancer risk. Carcinogens are produced from charring your meat and is a risk as well.
  11. Lymphatic breast massage can help enhance your body’s natural ability to eliminate cancerous toxins. This can be done by a massage therapist or you can perform lymphatic massage yourself.
  12. Avoid synthetic hormone replacement therapy. Often breast cancer is estrogen-related, so avoid birth control pills, and other synthetic hormones.
  13. Optimize your vitamin D levels. If you have cancer your vitamin D levels should be between 70 and 100.
  14. Avoid unfermented soy products- Soy appears to work in concert with human estrogen and may increase breast cell proliferation. Unfermented soy is high in plant estrogens also known as isoflavones.
  15. Curcumin—This is an active ingredient in turmeric , a spice that shows immense therapeutic potential in the prevention of breast cancer.

The more your practice, the easier it all becomes.

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A Special Gift for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and I wanted to share a special package just for you.

Are you ready to set yourself apart from the rest in terms of your health? Or are thinking of a special gift for your mother, sister, daughter, friend or grandmother? This may be exactly what you are looking for!

Purchase these bundled items from the heart by May 1, 2013:

 

Purchase bothMessages From The Heart books $39 Purchase all 3 books for $57
Messages from the Heart: Learning to Love Cancer Messages from the Heart: Learning to Love Cancer

 

Messages From the Heart: Learning To Love Cancer is a beautiful hard cover book with a soft, silk bookmark, a book about ways to add years to your life and life to your years, full of messages written every week on my journey back to wellness. Sitting in the same chair in the beautiful mountains of Canmore, journaling and writing created a space for ideas, and being able to describe for all of you the journey, physically, emotionally, spiritually, as a woman who today is thirteen years cancer free. It is a transformational journey, with peaks and valleys along the way. ($30)

Messages From the Heart: Freeing the Butterfly Within is work I am so proud of. It encompasses the best strategies for wellness, including other peoples’ stories, who are living well and others who have had different outcomes with cancer. It talks about motherhood, the importance of knowing who you are and is like having your own health and wellness facilitator with you at all times to refer to. You are like friends to me and there are things in the book that I know will capture your spirit and your heart !!($20)

Butterfly Journals. We also have beautiful journals for you to write in. Beautiful Butterfly Journal with a handmade tile adorning the front cover. Many pages to write your thoughts, feelings, inspirations and insights. 3 colors to choose from. ($30)

Please contact annabelle@itsmeannabelle.com to secure your books today.

* Plus GST and Shipping

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Book Signing Event

I will be at Owl’s Nest Books on Saturday, April 27th from 2-4.

Owl’s Nest Books
815A – 49 Avenue SW
Calgary, AB T2S 1G8
403.287.9577

I would love to meet you and personally sign your books.

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Thank You!

By Annabelle Bondar | March 21, 2013

“A light heart lives long.”
~ William Shakespeare ~

To my family, friends and forest of readers,

You are amazing! It’s people like you who make it so important to share what I’ve learned as an author, mother, wife, friend, and cancer survivor. It is a privilege and I look forward to getting to know you even better, as we progress along our journey. So today I want to say thank you for being a valued part of It’s Me Annabelle Inc.

The butterfly looks at life in moments, it doesn’t count months. From the beginning to the caterpillar, it takes it’s beautiful life in stages until it is ready to fly. And the plant of the bamboo looks at life in years, where it takes several years to plant the foundation. Then the roots take hold and the tree blossoms.

For those of us who are celebrating the holidays of Easter and Passover, a new season, spring, is the beginning of blossoms, seeds in the garden, and time to reflect on what we appreciate and are grateful for.

In most families, the celebration of certain holidays involves participation in familiar rituals that help provide a sense of community, continuity and comfort, whether it is baking or cooking with children,or gathering with other family members for a meal or special service.

Some traditions are inspired by culture or religion. The practice of traditions serves to keep us meaningfully connected with our loved ones, even if we are separated by time or distance.

The beauty of tradition is that you can adapt or create or pass on or continue traditions based on what works well for you.

Giving back to your family, to yourself, to those present at your table this year for Passover or Easter, is a wonderful way to show appreciation.

That special recipe, flowers, or a favorite song, a little basket.

Maybe you are sitting next to someone at your holiday meal, using the good dishes that belonged to your mother or the recipes handed down from generation to generation. These are treasures. What it is that you are grateful for about that person, their warm smile, their friendship, that they came to your home because they are part of your family?

These traditions grow as families grow and spread their wings as well.

In terms of your health, for those of you are touched by cancer, a perfect time to feel gratitude for the things that are important in your life. Please write down some things you are grateful for, the sun, the holiday together, the choices you make towards wellness, the certainty there is hope in moving towards wellness with a firm foundation that you work at each and every day.. just like the butterfly and the bamboo plant, the discovery of your cancer is the beginning of your journey back to wellness.

To all of you from It’s Me Annabelle Inc., from my heart to yours, wishing you a Happy Passover and Happy Easter.

As Always,
It’s Me

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This Might Be The Most Important Thing You Read

By Annabelle Bondar | March 7, 2013

“A friend is someone who knows the song of your heart,
and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”
~ Anonymous ~

To my family, friends and forest of readers,

It is a blistery day here in Calgary, a freak snowstorm that is blanketing the city, and a great day to stay home and read, study, bake, relax, watch a movie.

For me I love to take some time on the weekends to look for the most updated information in regard to health.
In the US, women are still urged to get an annual mammogram starting at age 40, even if they are completely unaware that the science backing mammography is outdated and that more women are being harmed by regular mammograms than are saved by them.

Many also do not realize that the new and improved 3D tomosynthesis mammogram actually ends up exposing you to more cancer-causing radiation than the older version.

There is no way to tell if a simple spot on an x-ray is cancerous or not, and there are more false positives with the improved image technology. What is the benefit of finding these little tumors if the incidence of cancer is skyrocketing with increasing levels of radiation exposure.

Does it seem to you that breast cancer is everywhere, epidemic proportions. Perhaps this is something to think about before you expose yourself to high levels of radiation.

As Always,
It’s Me

 

Cancer Breeds in Repression and Stress

Nowhere is stress more directly linked to the development of a disease than in cancer.

Patients with cancer are more likely than the general population to have suffered severe personal loss at an early age or to have experienced strong, persistent feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.

People with type C personalities, those who deny and repress their own feelings are more prone to developing cancers.

 

How to Develop Love

It has been estimated that 70% of all disease is caused by emotion that is suppressed.
Regret, sorrow , and remorse tear down the cells of the body.
Thoughts of hate generally generate a deadly poison in the body.
All disease comes from the violation of the law of love.
Resentment and anger produce sickness and sorrow.

Love is an awakener.
It has been found that people who know how to express love are healthier; they tend
to get sick less and recover more quickly.
They age more slowly, have better color, clearer skins, better posture and circulation
Than do the depressed, bitter types of people.

Have you seen this in your family dynamic or in your circle of influence?

Thoughts of love cause a chemical change in the body.
Thoughts of love bring forth life, renew health, and change thoughts to those of life.

You can call it alive by focusing on love for yourself and others every day!

 

The Wisdom of Writing

A wonderful idea for life and the mind, body and soul. Think about it and write it.

If it’s on paper, it is a plan.
Even on a napkin created in a coffee shop.

Using your mind is a great way to solve and answer questions.

Your life is worth your time to write about.

Your life and wellness is worth action steps in writing.

Pick up your favorite pen and create.

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The Forgotten Pillar

By Annabelle Bondar | February 21, 2013

“If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade!”
~ Tom Peters ~

Getting sick can be depressing and hearing the two words IT’S CANCER can be devastating. It’s not uncommon for many patients with cancer to find themselves increasingly depressed or living a lower quality of life. But according to new research there may be a way to reverse that shrinking feeling.

If you have not heard of the ancient practice of qigong, it is a 4000 year-old practice which translates to “life energy cultivation-and can help women with breast cancer, by increasing the quality of life for women who choose to receive traditional treatment, or others who are looking for a way to calm the mind and reduce stress.

Qigong aligns the breathing rhythm, movement and awareness for exercise and healing. How easy to incorporate slow, repetitive breathing in unison, slow stylized repetitive movement, and a state of awareness and energy being guided through the body.

It is also great to have camaraderie in a group and a feeling of accomplishment.

Exercise is great for everyone, and being active in ways that are not taxing to the body are great ways to reduce inflammation and stay healthy.

As Always,
It’s Me

 

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

There are 3 pillars for good health. Nutrition, Exercise and Sleep. The first two are the most heard about and take time and effort.

Sleep is one of the pillars that seems to be forgotten.

Restful sleep is needed nightly by people of all ages. Children need sleep to maintain healthy growth. Students and young adults often put social liked and school activities before their sleep, which have have a detrimental effect on their memory and information retention, as well as open their immune systems to disease. Adults are the most likely to short themselves on rest, due to busy schedules, work, and especially new parents.

There are plenty of things you can do to help yourself get plenty of restful sleep, so you can feel alert and rejuvenated during the day.

  1. Routine is very important.
  2. Having a winding down period before going to bed gives your body clues that it is time for relaxing and preparing for sleep.
  3. Avoid stimulants like sugar and caffeine, or eating large meals within 4 hours of going to bed.
  4. Stimulants and an active digestive system can keep the body active when you are trying to rest.
  5. If you can avoid strenuous exercise within two hours of trying to sleep, or temperature extremes, it will make it easier to sleep.
  6. Meditation and mental relaxation techniques can also help.
  7. FIND THE ROUTINE THAT WORKS FOR YOU and have a good rest!!

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The Art of Patience

By Annabelle Bondar | January 31, 2013

“Cherish your visions and your dreams, as they are the children of your soul,
the blueprints of your ultimate achievement.”
~ Napolean Hill ~

To my family, friends and forest of readers,

I love writing messages of love and hope to all of you. You are the special part of healing that is so powerful, as you embark on a wellness journey, one step at a time.

Today, I just returned from a funeral of a dear friend, a quiet, gentle man, a man of kindness was mentioned by many who spoke about him. It was so interesting how one of the children has been studying the metaphysical world, spirituality for so many years and it was this being with her father in the last days of his life that taught her more about life than all the courses, all the travel , and all the searching. It was all about the patience that she came to realize as she watched her father go from the physical realm to the spiritual.

How many of you know someone who is very special, and kindness comes to mind?

Many of us are still in the age of the quick fix, when it comes to our health. We are losing the art of patience in our busy lives. We are losing the patience in the art of healing and looking after our bodies. It is so nice to sit in a quiet room either late in the evening or early in the day, when the lights are dim and imagine what our life would be like without the impatience of our high-speed culture, smart phones and tablets.

This shift towards impatience has made it challenging to wait in a line in a coffee shop, easier to lose our patience and be more prone to making mistakes that may have lasting effects.

In terms of our health, the system is stretching the care of doctors and nurses in hospitals. There are more mistakes made in hospitals because of impatience, not checking patient files effectively because we are impatient.

Have you ever thought of going for a nice walk in nature instead of being on your cell phone 24/7?

Where do you find the time to escape from the e-mails, phone calls, and daily meetings?

As we get busier, there is something in our day that is frantic and thinking that everything has to happen quickly.

January is a very reflective month for me, as I remember with love and gratitude my parents who helped to weave and shape my life in a simple way. Walking to school was part of every day life. Playing in the neighbourhood with friends who lived next door, looking at the beautiful flowers in the garden.

And this month as I enter my thirteenth year cancer free, I am so grateful for the importance of being patient in looking for the things that work to keep me well. Walking, writing and staying in touch with you, connections are my passion and a life-long journey…each of you have something special to offer to the world.

So can you remember the details of patience when you are in a quieter place?

Are you able to ask for what you want when you are in a place of gratitude and patience?

Taking care of your health is important as we enter 2013, and it does not have to be the fast-paced aerobic class for sixty minutes, it can be a ten minute walk, a yoga class, something that does not stress the body.

But the most important is to try something you love and can do it over and over again… anti-aging medicine.

Having to deal with so many family things the last few weeks has brought me to a place of slowing, appreciating that all my children are in different places in their lives, but we are all connected as a family unit.

Watching a family member go to a seniors’ retirement home with things that are special and leaving the rest behind, she said to me ,”they are only things.” I am ready. She let go of sixty years of things, things that had no meaning to her today. But she kept the special things to surround herself with. She was patient in waiting for a room that would best suit her, and it is beautiful to see.

So the art of patience is powerful in all areas of life. To all of you, thank you for your patience in waiting as I was patiently waiting for this message to share with you at the right time.

As Always,
It’s Me

Havens In Your Home

Do you have a haven in your home where you can take refuge from the everyday stresses of life- a place to enjoy some tranquility??

I love a quiet spot in my family room where the afternoon sun comes in through the window. The warmth of the sunshine revitalizes me.

It is important to have your own warm, welcoming space where you can unwind. There are things like rocking chairs, listening to the river on the porch, relaxing in a comfortable chair, these simple things are so soothing for our feminine spirit and for you men, it may be your man room, a hockey game, sports,music…

I remember my aunt used to hide in the closet for ten minutes to escape the bustle of her boys at home.

To reconnect with yourself at the end of your busy week, take one day to enjoy that haven in your home and leave your stressors behind.

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A Tale of Two…

By Annabelle Bondar | September 15, 2012

At It’s Me Annabelle Inc. we focus on the whole person, the mind, body, spirit connection to raising awareness about complementary cancer care and optimum health and wellness.

Things like surgery, radiation and chemotherapy are so damaging to the physical body, yet that is the treatment recommended in traditional medicine. It does not take the whole person into account.

Everyone is unique in their cancer journey and it is especially important to understand the root cause of your cancer.

Whether you choose to have mammography, digital mammography, or thermography, knowing the difference is important.

Here is a wonderful article from Dr. Christiane Northrup’s website.

A Tale of Two Exams                      
Is mammography or thermography better for you?
By Judie Harvey

I   recently had the most civilized medical test to scan the health of my   breasts called a thermogram. Perhaps the best part of having the   thermogram was getting the results. They told the tale of my unique body! Can you imagine that?

The   test results were clear and conclusive. I wasn’t a statistic or a woman   falling into a category who now required another procedure or treatment   because that’s the way “we” handle women with your condition. Can you   imagine that?

If you   can’t, or if you’re curious to know more, I hope my tale of two breast   exams—the mammogram and the thermogram—will educate and entertain.

The Mammogram

“Miss   Harvey, there’s an abnormal image on your mammogram. We’d like you to   come back for another mammogram and then possibly a sonogram to confirm   our findings.” Super! I really enjoyed getting the first mammogram. It’s   great to be in a room buzzing with radiation with a perfect stranger   who’s been trained to torture my body. The Spanish Inquisition would   have ended much sooner if there’d been a mammography machine available   to squeeze the living daylights out of someone’s breasts (or testicles).

But the first exam   wasn’t that bad. Sure, a perfect stranger touched my breasts, laying   them into a tray and squashing them a couple of different ways to see   just how flat she could get them. Unpleasant, but the only truly awkward   moment was when she asked me the date of my last mammogram. The   radiologists in this huge radiology practice in Bethesda, Maryland,   where they flatten at least 300 pairs of breast a day, like to compare   the films. I felt just the tiniest hesitation telling the technician it   had been twelve years. I knew she’d probably have to sit down to catch   her breath. I didn’t want her to flinch or twitch uncontrollably when   she pushed the button on the X-ray machine. It would only mean more   images for me to endure.

“Twelve   years? Why have you waited so long?” she asked, trying not to admonish   me. Simple. Every time I have this test, you find something because I   have lumps and bumps. And every time you find something, I have to have   it pushed and pulled like taffy and then stuck with needles and   biopsied. I responded, “I just know my breasts are normal and healthy.” I   had told my doctor the same thing. He appealed to me, wanting me to   know for sure, so I went.

She   looked at me like I had two heads and said, “You know that having an   annual mammogram is the best way to prevent breast cancer,” leaving off   the rest of the sentence—from killing you.

I   scheduled the second exam and got to wait in the special room with all   the other scared women. They looked tense and nervous, and I guessed   that theirs were extremely suspicious lumps. I figured mine couldn’t be   all that bad, since they’d waited three weeks to bring me in for a   follow up. In the radiology practice I go to, which is really quite nice   and very professional, you leave the office after your first mammogram   without knowing the results. When you get called back, you get to see   the radiologist, ask questions, and grin and bear it while another   perfect stranger mashes every single sensitive spot on your breasts   during a mammogram and sonogram.

Fast   forward. There are two lumps and a cyst, likely nothing because cancer   doesn’t typically present with “friends” (other breast anomalies that   are close to each other). But my doctor and the radiologist have to be   sure. I’ve started down the path, and now I’m on the assembly line. Next   stop—core needle biopsies.

On   the day of the procedure, I’m taken to a very clean room by the nurse   assisting the doctor. She explains the procedure: local anesthetic, lots   of jabbing with a spring-loaded needle. About what I expect, until she   tells me about the titanium clip (sometimes called a chip). Apparently,   they’ve just passed a new procedure in their practice mandating that a   small titanium clip be inserted into any mass that’s biopsied. The nurse   says not to worry, it’s the same material they use to make mechanical   hips and it almost never goes off when you go through security at the   airport. What a relief!

When   I tell her that I don’t really want the clip and would prefer to just   stick with what God gave me, I feel a little tension from her. Oh dear, not another patient that won’t comply is written prominently in her eyes. I know I’m probably going to have   to break out “the mommy stare”—a look I’ve perfected that has literally   brought grown men to their knees—in order to get out of the clip thing.

“But,   it’s required,” she said. “It’s part of the procedure. Then, after we   place the clips in your breast we’ll take you for another mammogram.” And how painful will that be? “We have to make sure the clips are in the right place. This is the   best way to track what we’ve done so you don’t have to have any   unnecessary biopsies.” Like the ones I’m having now?

I   told her again that I didn’t want or need any tracking devices—I’m not   an endangered animal in the wild. And I calmly told her, since she’d   obviously lost sight of the fact, that it was my body so it really should be my choice. She told me they can’t do the   biopsies unless I agree to the clips. I tell the poor woman, who’s just   following the protocol, that I am happy to leave without having the   biopsies.

We agreed   to have the doctor come in. And he made a good point. Having the clip   helps the breast surgeon zero in on cancerous tissue, which makes the   recovery process easier after a lumpectomy. But then he said that women   with lots of lumps sometimes forget what’s been biopsied. Really? Who are these women? I’m not likely to forget my last biopsy—even with a lot of therapy. It also helps the radiologist read your next mammogram and eliminate unnecessary stress for the patient. Can’t you just write it down?

I   looked into his eyes using the mildest version of my mommy stare. He   had a tray full of needles and other sharp objects, and was going to use   them shortly. One was a needle full of local anesthesia, and I wanted   that! So I explained that I didn’t want the clips and was prepared to   leave. He said I was lucky I hadn’t scheduled the procedure a few days   later (in 2009) when the procedure would be required. He also “let me   slide” because he was pretty sure that my lumps were nothing to worry   about. We went ahead with the biopsies. Darn, that felt good having you use my breast for a dartboard!

Of   course, I thanked the radiologist for his work when I left. He was very   kind, and I was sure he did a good job. I knew my OB/GYN would be happy   I complied. I put up with pain and extensive bruising for about a week.   Everything turned out normal.

Thermography

About   eight months later, I entered a cozy center near Baltimore. I was met   by my thermographer (thermography technician) and taken to a comfortable   room. I could tell right away she was caring and professional, and this   helped me relax a little.

I   knew about thermography. Thermography is a non-invasive procedure that   was approved by the FDA as an adjunctive breast cancer screening test in   1982. When you get a thermogram, the thermographer uses a thermal   imaging camera to capture the amount of heat on the body’s surface. The   test picks up anomalies or dysfunction in the body by measuring heat,   and it’s most commonly used to measure thermal activity in the breasts.   If there’s heat, this can indicate cellular change, cellular activity,   and inflammation—often the precursor to cancer. According to studies,   thermography doesn’t mistake fibrocystic masses with worrisome masses as   often as mammography does.1 This means you can improve the health of your breast tissue long before you would actually develop cancer.2

Given   my history of fibrocystic breasts, a lumpectomy at age 17, and multiple   biopsies, I was curious to see if there would be heat where these   masses were or had been. I, like most women, also have some spots in my   breasts that hurt from time to time, and I was curious to see if those   spots would be warmer than the normal tissue.

When the thermographer greeted me, she told me I would be having a thermogram of my entire upper body. What a nice surprise! Then a thermologist, an M.D. trained in thermology, would read the   digital images taken by the thermographer. The doctor would look at a   number of areas, including my sinuses, jaw, and gums; my thyroid and   lymph glands in the neck and armpits; the muscles in my back and neck;   my entire digestive system, including my gall bladder, liver, kidneys,   colon, and stomach; oh—and my breasts!

The   thermographer gave me very comprehensive medical history forms. In   addition to indicating my previous breast or other surgeries or   biopsies, she also had me indicate any area of pain or concern on a   chart. There were also extensive questions about the health of my upper   body. The information helps the thermologist better interpret the   results. What? No one incites panic in this model? Can this be real medicine?

Certain   things interfere with the test results. You’re told not to bathe,   shave, or use deodorants within four hours of the imaging, so I   showered, etc., the night before. You’re not supposed to use creams or   makeup on the day of the imaging either, but since I didn’t know I would   be having an image of my head I went there in makeup. Smelly, hairy, and makeup free? I don’t think so! Thankfully, perfume doesn’t interfere with the results. You’re also not   allowed to sunbathe or have body work, like massage or chiropractic   manipulation, within a certain number of days before the exam.

I   was taken to a dark room where I slipped into a gown, leaving my   clothes on from the waist down. When the thermographer returned to the   room, she took the images of my head, neck, chest, and back first, while   I remained clothed from the breasts down. I stood a few feet from a   machine that reminded me of an old fashioned camera on a tripod. When   the thermographer took a picture, the thermal image came up immediately   on a computer, with different colors indicating the intensity of the   heat. The thermographer told me not to be concerned by what I saw or to   try to make sense of it. Still, it did kind of make sense—and it was   fascinating.

Next, I   dropped my gown for five images of the breast and lymph in the chest and   armpits. Because it was dark in the room and she never touched my   breasts, I felt that my privacy was being respected. One of the images   required my putting one hand behind my head, elbow out. “I feel like a   pinup girl, but in a good way,” I joked. I was proud and happy to have   breasts, not terrified that they were unhealthy.

Finally,   she did the abdomen. She didn’t like the results at first and asked me   to stand with my arms away from my body so I could adjust to the   temperature of the room. She explained that it only takes about one   minute to adjust to the temperature in the room. She stepped out of the   room for a moment, and this was the only awkward moment for me. I felt a   little silly holding my arms up and away from my body, since I was   standing there half naked. While waiting, I noticed that the room was   the perfect temperature and nothing like the radiology group’s setting,   which can only be likened to a meat locker. The thermographer said that   they intentionally pick a temperature that’s comfortable.

The entire exam took about fifteen minutes.

A   few weeks later, the internist at the Wellness Center called me to go   over my results. Normally she just sends a letter outlining the   findings, however, I had arranged for a consultation. I was so impressed   with her knowledge, caring, and the practical, healthy solutions she   offered. Again, I felt like a unique individual rather than a random   pawn on a huge medical assembly line unable to move forward without   “their” stamp of approval. The thermogram provided insight into my health issues.

We   talked a little about my thyroid. I had had it tested recently, and it   was a little low. The doctor told me she saw dysfunction and asked me if   I had a history of thyroid disease. I had been taking medication for a   while, but stopped when it made me jittery. She recommended a different   medication and told me something very interesting: Thermography often   gives her better information on how the thyroid is functioning than   blood work does. So, if her patient’s blood work for the thyroid is   normal, but her patient is experiencing symptoms that would indicate   thyroid dysfunction, she’ll send them for a thermogram (with their   permission). The doctor said she often will see positive changes in the   follow up thermogram of the thyroid that never show in the blood work,   even when the patient has taken thyroid medication for a few months.

She   also explained that the thermologist looks for asymmetry from side to   side. For example, my right armpit had more heat than the other. This   can be explained by the detoxification and restoration process that   occurs in this area (the lymph). Because my right breast had been   biopsied, this explained the additional heat.

So   what about my breasts? Well, they are perfectly normal. Yahoo! There’s   no heat or indication of cellular anomalies at all where I have lumps or   have had surgeries. In fact, the doctor told me she is extremely happy   when test results show breasts as healthy as mine.

I   was so grateful to have had a test that was perfect for a woman with   fibrocystic breasts and absolutely no family history of breast cancer. I   would return for a follow up thermogram in three months to establish my baseline, and then once every year or so after that. It was such an empowering experience.

Reconciling the Results

Ah—but   that means the biopsies I had in December were unnecessary. So were the   mammograms I was told to have in my twenties and all the previous   biopsies, with the exception of the lumpectomy I had as a teenager.   Yikes.

What an awful   realization. In an effort to take the best care of me that they could,   my doctors put me through a lot of unnecessary pain, expense, and worry.   Plus, how can being poked and jabbed and squashed be good for breast   tissue?

Then   something happened I never would have expected. I went from being happy   that all of my breast tissue was normal to wondering if I could trust   the thermogram completely. Maybe I felt like a fool for having put my   body through all that. Maybe I was just programmed to think that my   breasts weren’t healthy until my mammogram said they were.

So   I talked to the doctor. She agreed that because our society places such   importance on the mammogram, it might be hard for some women to trust   the thermogram at first, even though the technology has been around   since the 1950’s and over 800 studies have been published proving its   efficacy. The doctor said that for these women, she recommends they use   the thermogram in conjunction with their mammogram until they can feel   completely comfortable. The doctor is sure that once a woman sees the   changes that the thermogram picks up from test to test, and how it is   completely unique to her, she will be both thankful and trusting of   thermography.

That’s certainly the way I feel.

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5 Reasons to Include Sweet Potatoes in your Meal Plan

By Annabelle Bondar | September 1, 2012

Sweet potatoes are a wonderful source of many vitamis and are very satisfying as a snack or with a healthy meal in the prevention of cancer. They are wonderful to use at Rosh Hashanahor when the days are a little cooler.

Not only are sweet potatoes  delicious and easy to find, here are other important things that they contain which promote overall good health:

1. Vitamin B6.  Vitamin B6  helps the production of antibodies that fight infection. Vitamin B6 is also important for the maintenance of lymphoid organs.

2. Vitamin C.  Vitamin C is important to help ward off cold and flu   viruses. It is also essential to helping us cope with stress. It even appears to   help protect our body against toxins that may be linked to cancer.

3. Vitamin D.   Vitamin D plays an important role in our energy levels, moods, and helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth, and has great benefits for the immune system.

4. Iron. The mineral iron is important to help provide  adequate energy. Iron also  plays other important roles in our body, resistance to stress, proper im­mune functioning, and the metabolizing of protein.

5. Carotenoids. Their rich orange colour indicates that they are high in carotenoids like beta carotene and other carotenoids,   which is the precursor to vitamin A in your body.  Carotenoids help    boost our immunity to disease, they are   powerful antioxidants that help ward off cancer and protect against the effects of aging. Studies at Harvard University of more than 124,000 people showed a 32   percent reduction in risk of lung cancer in people who consumed a   variety of carotenoid-rich foods as part of their regular diet.

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Tea!

By Annabelle Bondar | August 15, 2012

Today I want to share with you several reasons to drink tea.

1. Strengthen your immune system and reduce your risk of cancer

Tea contains catechins, an antioxidant that boosts the immune system.  It also contains flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that assists in the prevention  of cellular damage, cardiovascular disease, and DNA damage.

2. Prevent tooth decay and fight bad breath

The fluoride in tea assists in preventing cavities. The antioxidants help toprevent halitosis. Catechins kill bacteria in the mouth . Tea contains calcium and  magnesium, which work together to form healthy bones and teeth.

3. Build Stronger bones

Tea contains vitamin D, which helps build bones. The amino acids in tea helpform proteins in the body to build muscle, bone, skin, and hair,as well as combat bacteria and viruses.Those who are experiencing menopause are often told to eliminate coffee becauseit causes bone loss, however tea it beneficial as it does not contain as much caffeine .

4. Prevent aging and cleanse your intestines

Tea helps with the antioxidation of cells because it contains vitamin E and is beneficial in slowingdown the aging process. There are tannins in tea which help to calm the stomach and cleanse  the intestinal  tract.

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