Guest Blogger: Honour Mission

Sunday, August 30, 2009

My Mum, Honor Mary, died of Oesophageal Cancer on Febuary 23rd 2008. My Dad took care of her up until that day. The Macmillan nurse, who would visit once a week, was quite often, the only other company my Mum and Dad had, apart from each other. My Sister and I would try and visit as often as we could but they lived so far away...

My Mum was so weak, she would sleep most of the time. She couldn't eat so we watched her starve, which broke our hearts.

There wasn’t really a lot the nurse could do with this sort of cancer but she tried to make Mum as comfortable as possible and she was always only a phone call away to reassure and advise my Dad.

Mum had always been the kindest, most glamorous and mischievous lady you ever could meet! Everybody loved her. Including all the medical staff.

At the same time my Mum was terminally ill, My older Sister 'Jacks' discovered that she had breast cancer. I recently sent Jacks a few question's concerning this traumatic time and the reply was a very positive one.....

Honour: So 'big sis', tell me about your 'bout' with breast cancer. I know Mum insisted on calling you and having a good talk about it. What were some of the words of wisdom that she passed on to you? Because it suddenly gave you an incredible strength.

Jaqueline: Even when she was suffering massive pain with her own cancer, she found the strength to call me and was always telling me to stay strong, not to crumble, be brave and keep going. I have reccurring dreams of when Mum taught me to swim at Woodall Spa, I was about 3 years old, she was at the far end of the swimming pool, calling me and telling me not to be afraid to swim and to keep going. So that’s what I am still doing………!

Honour: You were in hospital for the mastectomy op within days, how did you feel to have two boobs one week and one boob the next?

Jaqueline: After the op I felt like Cyclops, but a good bra fitter at Debenhams sorted me out with my first mastectomy bra and I didn’t look too different in my usual clothes. My breast care nurse gave me a ‘softie’ for my bra after the op and I brought my breast prosthesis from Amoena and later a swimming suit and swimming prosthesis from Nicola Jane. No one can tell the difference.

Honour: Then came the dreaded chemo... You tried the ice cap but unfortunately it didn't work and your gorgeous thick wavy hair (which has come back since even more lustrous) all fell out. I remember our phone conversations and you would sound very poorly sometimes. Although, when I came to visit, you looked a picture of health with a full head of hair!!! How the hell did you manage that?!

Jaqueline: I took my wonderful hairdresser with me to choose a wig at the hospital. I was determined not to have the NHS ‘shiny bob’ sort and so she chose a really funky choppy mid length wig, in a colour called Cappuccino, in fact it was better than my own hair and so easy to manage. SHAKE AND GO. In May, my hair finally grew back and it was too hot to wear my wig, (thicker and more curly than before), so people who didn’t know I’d had cancer thought I’d gone a bit bonkers and had a boyish haircut!
Like Mum, I always try and put a brave face on even when I am feeling low and, because I was in the beauty business, I always put my make up on regardless of how ill I’m feeling. I hope to write a 'Look Good Feel Better' beauty handy hints (for breast cancer patients) book with lots of tips and tricks I’ve learnt that I want to share with other cancer patients.

Honour: Now a year later, you have had your first reconstruction operation. Tell me about your 'stack' as you like to call it. I must say, the shape of your boobs make you look even younger Jacks!

Jaqueline: When I saw my surgeon and we discussed breast reconstruction, I said I wanted to go as large as possible and that I would be holding on to this dream through my dark days of Chemo. When I saw him again I said, I’ve had my Chemo and I’ve come for me bosoms – only the very largest will do please! Here’s what my surgeon did.

Op 1. my flat right boob (mastectomy) was given an inflatable implant that was injected weekly (8 weeks) until maximum size. Two months later, Op 2. my left bosom was given a ‘nip and tuck’ and raised slightly with a small implant. Op3. my right boob (full mastectomy) was given the largest implant he could use. Next stage – nipple reconstruction or tattoo? I can’t decide on what tattoo to have – Geryln Lucas (Author of 'Why I Wore Red Lipstick to my Mastectomy') had angel wings and a heart, but I think I might go with the nipple tattoo….. I’ll keep you posted.

Honour: I understand it's not over yet. You recently had an allergic reaction to Tamoxifen...

Jaqueline: After my ops in June, I had to restart taking Tamoxifen, and unfortunately had a major allergic reaction, in the form of urticaria (red skin hives), followed by massive anaphylactic shock. I was rushed to A&E twice over two days. The NHS staff were fantastic at looking after me. At 5.30am, I had to wait for the drunks and druggies to leave before I could get a bed and I was feeling sorry for myself in the heat covered head to toe with an itchy rash, swollen face, hands and unable to breath. Mum used to say whatever your troubles there is always someone worse off than you, and in the A&E ward was a woman my age who had been brought into A&E by the police, she had been found wandering the town in the nude apart from her high heels. She was an alcoholic had cirrhosis of the liver. I kept thinking of something Bette Midler once said “Please God, don’t let me be found wondering the streets with a fried egg on my head” Somehow I felt better.

I am now taking Arimidex – I am hoping to stay well on this. Although I only took Tamoxifen for one year it has given me Osteopina (Osteoporosis), Arimidex also has the same side effect.

So there you have it folk's. Up until two year's ago, cancer was always something that happened to someone else, now I realise just how common it is and how ongoing support is needed....It really does make the world of difference to peoples lives. Including me.

Honour Mission is a Brighton based burlesque performer and will be performing for BABC at The Ocean Rooms in Brighton on October 16th. Honour lives at:

Cynthia, Nick & Elizabeth Need Your Support

Saturday, August 29, 2009

For those of you who are visiting Spirit Jump for the first time please click HERE to read about our organization.

As most of you know Spirit Jump sends out two Spirit Jump Request emails a week (Wednesdays & Saturdays). We have been growing quickly and receiving many emails from people battling cancer asking to be included in these requests. On average we have 6-10 individuals per week who need their spirits lifted. This means we need more Spirit Jumpers (those who receive the emails and send out cards & gifts to lift the spirits of those in need).

If you are not yet a Spirit Jumper and would like to become one its easy. On the right side of this page you will see, in hot pink, Join Spirit Jump. Simply type your email address in the space provide and click "join". You will then receive a Welcome Email which will explain, in detail, how our organization works. If you would like to read this Welcome Email now CLICK HERE.

As a Spirit Jumper you will receive two emails a week with names, stories and pictures of people in need of having their spirits lifted. If you read a story that touches you, you reply to the email and ask for that persons mailing address. You can send a card/gift to every person in need, just one person or none at all. You can also read all the Jumpee Stories at any time on our website under Jumpee Stories - CLICK HERE to read them now.

Along with needing new Spirit Jumpers we are also in need of donations to keep up with our growth. Your donation is Tax Deductible and goes towards purchasing Spirit Jump gifts, cards, mailing costs, operating costs and much much more. Please help us continue to help those battling cancer by clicking on the Donate Button located on the top right of this page. Ever dollar counts!


Sunday Morning 6:30-7am Meaghan will be on South Florida's 107.9 Country. If you would like to listen to the live stream visit between 6:30-7 am EST.

Sunday starts our week long Big Book Giveaway. We will be giving away lots of books, some autographed by the author. Stop by our site all week to find out how you can win one!

Tuesday 7-9PM EST The Spirit Jump Show with Founder Meaghan Edelstein.
This week our guest is author & cancer survivor
Darren Neuberger. Darren's book, Let�s Talk About It, and his personal battle with cancer will be the topic of our show.

You can watch the show LIVE, call in with questions and live chat this Tuesday 7-9PM EST

Isle of Style

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I remember as a child being told that when you get older time starts to race. Of course at the time I thought it was the usual rubbish thing that grown ups would say to placate you when you're bored. If only I had realised how true it was!

It's been a couple of weeks since my last bit of backstage chatter and life gets infinitely more frenetic with every passing week.

The performance crowd are a superstitious lot by history. All that 'break a leg' sort of stuff. Some performers find that certain things happen at the same nights over and over again. For example they may always have trouble with one of their acts at a certain night or their music never works properly at another, and so on.

I may very well be doomed to leave something behind every time I work one of DJ Suave's nights! The first time when it was Annie's Bar Burlesque it was my CD wallet with all my precious music, this time it was at The Glitter Room two weeks ago.

Not only did I leave my CD wallet but half my costume! I was in such a rush to make my train home I didn't even realise till Honey Wilde called me.

Honey, 'Hon, are you missing something?'

Me, 'Oh S***, my music!'.

Honey, '...and your bra, and your dress!'

Honestly, leaving things behind can be an expensive mistake to make. Thankfully the lovely Honey posted them back to me first class in time for my next gig!

Last weekend, I had all the luck to be performing at the Isle of Wight's 'The Cream Tease'. Oh how I love a big beautiful stage! The very cute Lady Catalina and Stuart run this very professional night. If you are bound for the Isle of Style or are lucky enough to live there I would urge you to make a point of searching it out. Top class performers in a fabulous venue make for a very, very good show.

I met the Darlings Divine: Miss Cherry Pop and Miss Fan-Teasy, saw Banbury Cross again (we performed the week earlier at The Glitter Room) and The Divine Miss Em who I met back when Glitter Room was Annie's Bar Burlesque!

We all sweltered away in the dressing room as we primped and preened, discussed Colleen in the latest goss mag and the merits of latex clothing, and avoided costuming up until the last minute to avoid decidedly unglamorous sweatiness and bra marks.

I had such a fabulous time. I have my fingers crossed to perform there again soon, although next time I intend on staying the night in one of the sweet B&Bs nearby and really enjoying the Isle. The shame of travelling for work is that I don't often get to see much of the surroundings! If you have any suggestions of what to see when I'm there next then by all means drop me a message.

It was the virgin flight of my revamped costume for 'Na Touche Pas' and from the audience's response I can only imagine it was a great success.

Speaking of costumes, you might have noticed recently that there has been a little change to my website. There is an exciting new tab at the bottom of the menu.

'Whatever is this tab for?' I hear you ask.

Well, over the next few months you will begin to see newer and more fabulous costumes than you've seen from me before, and you know I already love a little Razzle Dazzle. It's all due to my collaboration with the Curve Couture label. Chrissie Nicholson-Wilde is the talented designer behind the label and her skill as a costumier has me very excited!

Ladies...she has a talent for making THE most flattering shapes to grace a woman's curves and makes exceptional occasion wear, wedding gowns and corsets so make sure to click on the Curve Couture tab and see what it's all about. Naturally, I will have pictures of my new costumes up as soon as humanly possible!

I have to say I'm having great fun revisiting my collection of old musicals, vintage couture books and researching hairpieces from the various eras. I've also been converted to the dark side that is genuine Swarovski crystals. I've finally had to admit to myself that nothing really compares to their sparkle and despite the cost I am drooling over the colour chart as we speak.]

Bella de Jac has performed for Burlesque Against Breast Cancer and will do again at The Ocean Rooms in Brighton, on October 16th. You can see more of her at

The Healing Power Of CranioSacral Therapy & Tuesdays Guest Kimberly LaRue

Sunday, August 23, 2009

This week I was lucky enough to try CranioSacral Therapy and I LOVED it! So I decided to invite Kimberly LaRue to be this Tuesdays guest on The Spirit Jump Podcast Show (Tuesday 7-9EST

Kimberly is a licensed Massage Therapist, CranioSacral Therapist, Yoga and Meditation Instructor, Holistic Cancer Therapist and Lecturer. Kimberly strives to encourage and support people in their discovery of their own natural healing ability, leading to a greater sense (awareness) of well-being and overall health.

I had the pleasure to meet Kimberly and benefit from a CranioSacral Therapy session. It was amazing and I am shocked I had never heard of it before. After my session I felt lighter, less stressed and just plain better. My first thought as I was walking out of the center was "I wish I had taken advantage of CranioSacral Therapy earlier".

As a cancer fighter I have endured many types and levels of pain. For the past two years I have tried almost everything including more pain medications than I care to mention (Fontanel patches, lolli pops, diloted, hydrocodone, oxycodone, oxycoton etc...) All these pain meds did was numb me. I still had pain but I cared less about the pain.

Yoga, Meditation and CranioSacral Therapy are wonderful ways for people with cancer to heal both emotionally and physically. I encourage you all to stop by, watch, listen and call in this Tuesday to learn more about the healing power of a gentle touch!

You can read more about Kimberly and her amazing work by visiting Shade Tree Yoga and Wellness

Spirit Jump Live Podcast Show Tuesday 7-9 EST

Monday, August 17, 2009

I have some fun and exciting news, I have my very own podcast show! You can see me, chat in the chat room and call in every Tuesday 7-9 EST. I am also looking for guests to interview on the show. So bookmark the site and tune in. The call in number is 561-228-4020

We talk about all sorts of things from what its like to be a person battling cancer, how you can help others battling cancer, interviewing authors, other non profits and all sorts of fun stuff. Just like my charity Spirit Jump there are no boundaries!

This week I have two guests:

Cindy Papale

Cindy is the
author of The Empty Cup Runneth Over. She is also a breast cancer survivor and associate producer - Board member to The Kristy Lasch Miracle Foundation
You can visit her website to see all the amazing things Cindy has going on:

AND....on the show Cindy will be giving away one of her autographed books to a lucky caller

My Second Guest Is~

Paula Holland De Long:

Cancer survivor, life coach, speaker, and founder of What�s Next For My Life, Inc., Paula Holland De Long is an authority on how the lessons of survivorship can bring joy, passion and purpose to anyone's life. Her workshops for survivors are offered at cancer treatment centers and support organizations. Her women's teleconference action groups attract participants from around the country. What�s Next For My Life?�, is launching two new products in October, 2009. The �What�s Next For My Life? Survivor Companion Journal and DVD. To learn email or visit

You spin me right round baby, right round...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lately I've been feeling a bout of serious 80's inspiration. Watching Ghostbusters last night was the catalyst. But I'm getting ahead of myself, let's start at the beginning.

I have been rather quiet on the blog front for a few weeks as I've been enjoying some down time. Fitting in so much can be very exhausting and it's great to have a rest.

Even so, there's much more to burlesque than gigging. I've had a choice opportunity to re-evaluate a few of my routines, consider a few very exciting new possibilities, rehearse, perfect, meet with the dress maker, contact the prop makers and generally plot and plan like an evil nemesis out of a Bond film.

For the next month and a half my red angel routine is temporarily out of commission while it is revamped. Fear not, with it's sparkly relaunch it will be a knock-out headliner.

Additionally Living Doll and Na Touche Pas! are experiencing a fixer-upper however will still be available for bookings while work is being done.

I've also had time to sketch out some potential new costume designs. As is the case with many performers I have pages and pages of ideas for acts and shows. However I subscribe to the school of thought (and this is a personal preference, not a dig at anyone else) that it's better to invest in props, costumes and time for rehearsals for a few great acts, than to have lists of acts that are thrown together in a minute.

For my own comfort I feel better onstage knowing I've put everything I possibly could into making this one act as great as it could possibly be. Unfortunately this does mean that I end up with many potentially fabulous acts locked away in my head clambering for attention and I wish I could realise them all. So it's very exciting when I'm finally in a position to start looking at plucking one of the wriggly little ideas out of my head and fleshing out the fantasy!

Unfortunately as my circus skills are still limited my fabulous trapeze ideas will have to wait, but I am looking at three different idea from very different era's. I'll keep you posted.

So this weekend....

Yesterday morning I went on a photo shoot at two contrasting locations and was very lucky to encounter a genuine 1930's motorcycle called a Red Indian.

I got back home in time for a quick rehearsal of a Boston version of my Psycho GoGo Wipeout act, and a bit of last minute tassel stitching. A Boston or Sunday School version is a toned down version of an act to make it appropriate for a more 'family' audience or back in the day was what the girls did when they knew the police were in the house.

I was rehearsing my Boston version for a private gig at a partnership wedding that night and simply involved not taking my bra off. However in such a fast paced act a fair bit of extra choreography was required to fill the time, hence the rehearsal.

Ultimately I like this version so much that I'm going to extend Psycho GoGo Wipeout to fit the new choreography in. More bang for your buck!

The wedding gig went brilliantly, the guests were lovely and the grooms looked absolutely radiant with happiness. Anyone who opposes gay marriage must have flies in their brain. Something that can create so much joy should be celebrated, and celebrate they did!

My taxi arrived as I heard the first bars of 'I heard it through the grapevine' and with my pay in my purse I was itching to hit the town. I did, of course, resist. My night's earnings are my deposit for the dressmaker. Besides which, it was unlikely I would find a club playing the kind of music I wanted to hear. If anyone knows of regular club nights in Brighton playing 60's music please tell me! Born Bad and Da Doo Ron Ron are only once a month.

Well that's my weekend. I arrived home to watch Ghostbusters where I triggered on some fabulous 80's inspiration and went to bed far too late after sketching away at some costume designs. The lack of sleep caught up with me this morning when I woke up (with difficulty) at midday. Hmm, half the day gone, but then what are Sundays for if not recovery.

Till next time, keep it glamorous. I for one am going to get out of my dressing gown and into my warm-up gear, work on some choreography then bake a chocolate and beetroot cake. I'll let you know how it turns out!

A Wonderful Spirit Jump Gift & Help Support Us

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Spirit Jump Blossoms From DK Designs
$5 donated to SJ for each sold

Cheer up and lift the spirits of those in need with the little gifts of beauty and hope. Handmade clay flower arrangements are the perfect gift to give to a Jumpee because they not only lift their spirits with a realistic, yet beautiful everlasting flower, but each little votive also has a inspirational message (i.e. "hope", "faith", "love", etc). The initial launch of flower votives will contain either single bloom of pink rose, pink ranunculus or purple hydrangeas. More flower types will eventually be available.

Many times cancer patients who are in critical care are not allowed to have fresh flowers in their rooms so these little gifts are perfect and will definitely lift their spirits.

You may ask why Diane of DK Designs decided to create these little arrangements on behalf of Spirit Jump. The reason is simple, she herself has been affected by cancer (her mother died of breast cancer over 21 years ago and her mother-in-law currently suffers from an aggressive form of bladder cancer). She was moved by the premise of what Spirit Jump stands for and what we do to help cancer patients and wanted to give back. Thus, the little flower spirit jump was born!

Spirit Jump Blossoms
Price - $30.00
Shipping - $5.00
Amount to be donated back to Spirit Jump - $5.00


These note cards are perfect to send to someone who needs a little spirit lift. There are 8 different note cards in all different color combinations. Half of the cards are more masculine in design and 4 that are more feminine in design. Each come with a powerful message "faith" or "hope" charm tied with some beautiful complimentary colored ribbons.

Each note cards comes with an ivory envelope with a postage stamp making it that much easier for you to send a spirit jump to someone in need! Of course these cards would be great for anyone who needs a little cheering up. The pewter charm can be attached to a necklace chain or bracelet so the recipient can carry these words with them whenever they need a little hope or faith!

The note cards come packaged in a re-usable muslin bag. Some note cards may require the use of a metallic or opaque pen.

Also note, for every purchase of the Spirit Jump Inspirational Cards, $5.00 will be donated to Spirit Jump!

About DK Designs

DK Designs specializes in custom, handcrafted clay floral designs, as well as tropical and Asian-inspired wedding stationery. Clay flowers are created utilizing CLAYCRAFT� by DECO� Soft Clay, formerly DECOMAGIC Soft Clay.

DK Designs was founded in 2002 by Diane Katsuyoshi-Phillips in San Jose, California, helping brides make their wedding days uniquely their own. In November 2003, DK Designs became accredited by the DECO Clay Craft Academy headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii and its instructors are now able to share with others this beautiful craft developed in Japan.

In 2005, DK Designs moved the business to the island of Oahu. During that time Diane worked hard to expand her destination wedding business, working with her brides-to-be and helping them create their own custom wedding theme. It was definitely a great opportunity to work with so many wonderful people (both from the client and industry professional perspective) on the islands!

In late 2007, DK Designs made a move back to the Bay Area. It's been non-stop since the move and Diane is busy designing new custom wedding and event stationery as well as clay floral creations for her clientele! Diane is also actively teaching the Deco Clay Craft Academy courses to share her knowledge and art of Deco Clay with others! Diane still enjoys working with destination couples and continues to return to the islands, her home away from home!

Diane Phillips of DK Designs was recently featured on the Martha Stewart Show on April 1, 2008. She showed Martha Stewart how to make hydrangea flowers out of CLAYCRAFT by DECO Soft Clay. Click here to watch the video segment. Diane's work has also been featured in several bridal magazines both online and in print.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Watch our video about our Summer Giveaway Fundraiser & Read How You Can Enter HERE

What's A Good Way To Participate In Spirit Jump

Friday, August 7, 2009

Please Help Support Spirit Jump, Participate In Our Giveaway ~ CLICK HERE

Many people ask us "what should I send as a Spirit Jump?" You can send whatever you like from a store bought card to a handmade gift or flowers. To make things easier we have decided to put together little videos about Spirit Jump with suggestions on how to participate. Check out this weeks entitled: "Buy A Box Of Cards"