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Crazy, Sexy Cancer

21 Dec

One of the amazing women I have come to know (online at least) after being diagnosed of Breast Cancer is Kris Carr, a Stage 4 cancer survivor who has started her very own cancer battle almost a decade ago. After being told that there is no real cure for her cancer, Kris went on to search for alternative ways of healing and along the way she also made a documentary of herself (which regrettably I have not seen).

On her blog, you can find many posts on health, well-being and advice on food and diet. I find them inspiring, fun and really informative.

Here is a link to a post which feature some amazing women who gave short talks on their journey to empowerment:

Gabrielle Bernstein – Motivational Speaker and coach

Alissa Vitti – Holistic Health Counselor

Mama Gena – Teacher, author, mother

and one of my favourites from young:

SARK – Best selling artist & author



5 Ways to beat the post-cancer treatment blues

15 Nov

What has 30 Rock got to do with breast cancer?

After reading books and searching online for ways to overcome the inevitable blues after cancer treatment, here’s my little list of suggestions which I have found to work:

1) Exercise daily, if not, as much as you can. Find an exercise that you enjoy and set aside time for that. For me, I found swimming a great way to beat the heat in Singapore and the arm stretching also helps to prevent lymphedema. The sensation of being underwater, accompanied by the sounds of water and my own breathing is an effective way to calm my mind from random thoughts.

2) Make plans. It is easy to get stuck with an disinterest with your daily activities. I was sketching a lot more during my treatment days and now I hardly have any interest to pick up a sketch pen. Try to plan small projects which are achievable to get yourself going, and soon you’ll be getting the hang of it.

3) Meet friends. Social withdrawal is a common symptom of the blues. For many months, I mistook my social withdrawal symptoms as a preference for solitude. Buried underneath unknowingly is often a fear and a lack of confidence to meet people, having to deal with them or their reactions if they knew you have cancer. To overcome this, try to arrange meetings with people you enjoy hanging out with.

4) Eat wisely. A lot of the books that I have read point to food and nutrition as a tool to get better, emotionally as well as physically. As your body is healing itself now after the harsh regime of cancer treatment, try to stay away from foods that will kick you into mood swings. I stayed away from caffeine and sugar (only a tiny bit when I really want a snack) and substituted sweets with raisins, nuts and fruits. Those foods not only give you the nutrition that your body so badly needs, they also prevent you from getting a high, followed by an inevitable low.

5) Humour. As much as it sounds weird, it helps tremendously to laugh about something everyday. Try not to take yourself, or your situation too seriously and see the lighter side of things. When things go wrong, have a laugh… you’d be surprised by how you feel. Psychiatrists have often said that your actions determine your feelings (instead of your feelings determine your action). So to lighten up, smile to someone, tell a joke, remember funny stories. I kept a whopping 5 seasons of 30 Rock comedy in my MacBook and they’re always there whenever I need a pick-me-up.

The Big C

2 Nov

Sometime during my diagnosis, coincidentally there was a drama series called “The Big C” airing on TV. Featuring Laura Linney, one of my favourite actresses, the series is about a 40-something year old woman (Linney) who is diagnosed with Stage 4 Melanoma and she does not know what to do or how to tell her husband, her son and her bi-polar brother.

For a heavy topic like the big “C”, the writers have done a great job in showing the lighter side of cancer but at the same time digging into the psyches of cancer patients – how sometimes we just want to make fun of our own situation because it just makes dealing with it easier. There is a scene which just cracks me up – someone at a store tried to cut Linney’s line by saying, ” Sorry but I’m really in a big hurry” to which Linney replied, “Excuse me, it’s not ok. I’m in a big hurry too – I have CANCER.” and proceeds to dump her purchases on the cashier.