CT Scan Today

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I go back to the clinic today for my CT scan. I won’t get the results until my next oncologist visit in about three weeks. I’m not anxious enough to go and get them earlier.

On my last visit with the oncologist on Monday, I asked about H1N1 shots once again. This time she had some information. This year for the first time, the clinic will be offering free shots to the cancer patients.

Her first statement to me was that H1N1 could kill me. I was a bit shocked at what she said ... like I thought; did she really just say that to me? It was a bit of a reality check.

We then discussed the H1N1 shot. How the shot works ... a person needs 10 days for the vaccine to become effective. In my particular situation, because I’m on chemo, I can only get the shot after my blood work shows I’ve recovered from the last chemo treatment.

The big issue is that there isn’t 10 days between the blood work and the next chemo treatment. I get the blood work one day and chemo the next. If I get the shot and chemo the next day, the H1N1 vaccination is destroyed in my body by the chemo. It would not have time to immunize me properly and therefore making the vaccination ineffective.

My doctor does not recommend I delay chemo for the H1N1 flu shot because of the risk of my cancer growing. I was on the fence about getting the H1N1 shot and leaning to not getting it … so I guess that solves my problem … no flu shots for me.

Chemo Today

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I just got back from my chemo treatment and to be honest I feel pretty good ... just a bit weaker. Things went really well. I was in a room with two other beds. One person slept through his treatment but the lady next door and I chatted a bit. She was diagnosed at the age of 49 with leukemia. That was 30 years ago. She seemed pretty spunky as she was in Vegas just a couple of months ago. More recently she has needed regular blood transfusions which is why she was there today.

Instead of watching movies on my portable DVD player, I read magazines given to me by some friends. After I was done with them, I left them at the clinic for someone else to enjoy.

Well I still have some reading to do for my class tonight so I best get after it. I had far too much fun reading my gossip mags instead of my school stuff.

Guest Blogger: Beatrix Von Bourbon

I had an absolute blast performing at Ritual fetish club in Rome on Friday. The event was really busy and had a great party energy. I’d certainly recommend the club to anyone travelling to Rome.

Qube is a divine venue with 4 giant disco balls outside and copious amounts of gold glitter inside. Plus, the DJ booth’s surrounded by a small water pool! It was quite amazing!

I managed to snap a quick photo of the stage on my phone before the doors opened, but I’m sure many photos will be added to the Ritual Facebook Group in due course…

As the more observant of you may have gathered from my acts list, I will be debuting 2 new acts when I return to Stuttgart for 3.5 months at the end of this year.

For the past 9 months I’ve been slowly researching, creating, costume-making, out-sourcing and choreographing two new acts: Cinderella and Milkshake. But I must admit… Perhaps the *most* exciting bit for me is watching the prop for my milkshake act come together. My 6 foot tall milkshake glass is being custom-made by the team at Spur Creative in East Sussex.

And before you think about it, no, I won’t be bathing in chocolate milk! The exact content of the act will be revealed in due course…

Beatrix Von Bourbon is a top international model and performer and will be headlining for Burlesque Against Breast Cancer at Dirty Dicks in London on October 21st. For more Beatrix, visit www.vonbourbon.com

Blood Work/Oncologist Visit

Monday, September 28, 2009

My blood work looks good so I am good to go for chemo tomorrow. My weight is down a bit ... I’m at 70.6 kilos (155 lbs). I think I’m down about four lbs from last time. I notice that my weight varies quite a bit though. The oncologist asked if I was trying to lose weight or it was just happening. I said I am trying a bit because I want to feel better and I’d sure like to get into a few more of my clothes.

I mentioned to the doctor that my lower back and legs feel weaker but over all my other symptoms seem to be improving ever so slowly. Tomorrow will be my 20th Taxotere treatment. My doctor said that is really good. If the Taxotere symptoms i.e. the fatigue gets to be too much for me, our plan would be to stop the Taxotere completely as I am at the minimum effective amount already.

When I started chemo in August 2008 I also signed up for a study. It’s a double blind study with 2/3 of the participants getting the study drug and 1/3 not getting it. Because I have many of its symptoms, I feel I am getting the drug.

So back to my chemo regime ... if we decide to stop the Taxotere, I could potentially continue on with the study drug only or maybe try some anti-estrogen therapy as my cancer is estrogen-receptor-positive or we could try some other treatment (chemotherapy or study drugs). I guess the message here is that there are options and when we have to we will decide what is best for me.

I think the oncologist and nurses are quite impressed with my overall condition, especially with me taking an evening course at the college.

I’ll let you in on a secret ... for two weeks of the three week cycle, I’m thinking to myself, alright I cannot do this any longer, the next time I see the oncologist, I’m going to ask to have my chemo cut back ... but then I have a few good days just before my next treatment and my attitude shifts to one where ... OK I can do one more cycle and then we’ll cut it back.

A Day Of Fun And Gifts

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Yesterday was a quiet day. My mother and sister dropped by and brought some breakfast over. Very nice!! They had called prior to coming and asked if we wanted to go out but we had still been sleeping so we said no thanks. These days it takes me a good half hour and a strong coffee to shake the morning fog out of my head so that I can get moving. My mother had also brought over three different hats that I can wear. They will definitely come in handy with the cooler weather coming.

Later on, we went to visit our friends B and D. We had a nice visit looking at their wedding pictures from 1979. Everyone looked so young in the pictures ... where did the time go? We ended up spending the evening reminiscing, talking and snacking. It was very relaxing and enjoyable. And I walked out with a few Avon treasures ... how fun is that ... thanks D.

At about 11:00 pm, we’d been visiting for about 4 hours when my energy level hit the wall. I needed to go home or ... I said I’d be sleeping on their couch that night. I was fading fast so we headed home.

Today we’re off for lunch to my sister A’s and her husband’s place. We’re really looking forward to that. It’s been a while since we’ve seen them.

This week I spent a lot of time out and about visiting ... and it felt really good.

Next week is chemo and well, I don’t need to say much more than that.

September Burlesque Diaries

September has been a busy month for the Swoons and the Swoon bus.

Poor old Swoon bus, we had to fork out seven hundred quid on it last month at the MOT but it’s holding up well. When it’s not ploughing into ‘fields of barley’ or running over badgers, the Swoon bus enjoys travelling hundreds of miles taking me to various wonderful burlesque gigs across the country. First stop this month was Darkteaser’s Dark Side at The Victoria Biker’s Pub Coalville Leicestershire.

This was a challenging gig for me. I haven’t performed for six weeks which is the longest break I’ve had since starting burlesque nearly a year and a half ago. August was a quiet month and I was away on holiday, but I was also battling with a massive bout of depression and most of August is a complete blur. By September, I was ready and excited to leap back into back the saddle and looking forward to this show. It was also especially exciting because we didn’t know exactly who was going to be performing until we all turned up at the venue!

As soon as I got out of the car at the pub, I spotted the lovely Nicole A Lure, burlesque performer and Hourglass photographer. Absolutely lovely to see her again. We’d performed together at The Slippery Belle Leeds a couple of months before but we hoped this time we might catch each others acts! Also performing were comedian Al Grant from Derby, Angel LaVey who I hadn’t yet had the chance to see perform and Darkteaser herself. The compere for the evening was the fantastic Tobi James.

I had a lovely time performing, the crowd were loud (always good) and friendly. I scraped up my knees beautifully crawling across the stage with my rubber chicken planted firmly between my teeth during ‘Valhalla’ and my legs still held up for the high kicks during ‘Trumpet Player’. It was great to catch some of the performances. Al was delightfully crude, Nicole’s singing was amazing as always and I loved Darkteasers ‘I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts’ fan dance! Robin Lowe and James Thorpe took some amazing photos of the evening and Tobi held the whole show together beautifully.

Two days later, it was time to embark on our journey to The Glitter Room at The Black Sheep Bar Croydon. Mr Swoon installed the new Sat Nav; Croydon’s one way system was not going to beat us. If we can navigate Soho we can navigate Croydon. Nuvi (you’ve got to give your Sat Nav a name) was true to her word and we arrived after about 4hrs and parked easily in a side street around the corner from the venue for two quid – excellent.
It was a pleasure to perform at The Glitter Room. DJ Suave runs a tight ship and there was a great atmosphere backstage. Miss Doxy Moron did a great job taking care of all the performers and there was even a buffet provided too! I managed to catch quite a few performances and they were all fantastic. Compere Tempest Rose had me in stitches with her Camden Council routine and I also loved Daisy and Doris’s Cary Grant act which was hilarious.

Backstage, I caught up with Audacity Chutzpah and Lolo Love who I’d last met at the Valentine’s Varie Tease back in February, Ruby Fortune who I’d had the pleasure of performing with at BABC at The Book Club Boutique in July and Bea DeVile who I saw last when we were both shivering with fear waiting to perform at the LBF back in April.
After the show it was back to the trusty Swoon bus for the long haul back to Leeds. Nuvi who had been so reliable on the outward journey this time decided to take us on a magical mystery tour on the way home. I don’t know a great deal about ‘driving’, although you’ll be pleased to hear I do hold a valid driver’s licence (Fact, fans!) but Mr. Swoon explained something about one way systems and had faith as we drove around and around London village.


Eventually she directed us back to the trusty A1 and we even managed to find a twenty four hour service station open on a Sunday night. I do love a brightly lit service station after midnight. We rolled in back home at around 3.30am, our mood rather dampened after running over a badger that had darted out at us on a country lane – horrible. We were up bright and early at 8am for the kids first day back at school and my youngest Alex’s first ever school day. He looked very smart and very little in his school trousers that kept falling down. He settled in great and at 9.05am, I settled in great back under my duvet with no problem at all.

The following Saturday, we were off to The Candy Shack Burlesque at Oliver’s Bar Aston under Lyne. I first performed at Candy Shack in July of last year at their first ever burlesque night so it was great to go back and see everyone again. Joan and Jas are passionate about their night and even provided the performers with a V.I.P area to watch the show. Resident performers, Suzie Sequin and Dani California were fabulous as ever, I got to meet Lucy Lippstikk who I’ve not seen perform before and had the pleasure of driving home fellow Leeds burlesquer Nelly Plum home. She brought chocolate ├ęclairs for the journey and we ate them.

All in all a busy September so far. Back in October with another round up.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang xxx

Jubilee Swoon is a resident of West Yorkshire and has been performing burlesque for over a year at events all over the U.K including The Slippery Belle, The Wet Spot and The London Burlesque Festival where she won the Best U.K Solo Newcomer category at the Battle Royale. Not to mention for Burlesque Against Breast Cancer in London.

How Fatigue Affects Me

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I’ve often said that I have no strength in my legs for standing or walking. Well, today I wanted to share a few of the other ways constant fatigue shows itself in my every day activities.

Household chores such as washing floors, folding laundry, cooking, scrubbing pans, etc have become more than difficult. I have to constantly sit and rest while doing anything at all and to be honest ... I don’t do much house work anymore. Anything that requires physical effort just isn’t fun in the least.

Eating certain foods is difficult if not impossible. My jaw seems have no strength to bite down on some foods. For example; I have difficulty eating apples, fresh vegetables/salads ... raw carrots are out of the question. Sandwiches such as bacon and tomato or turkey or any type where the food is tough or chewy are difficult for me to bite through. So I usually avoid them.

Things like wraps are great for me because the food is already all chopped up. Last Wednesday when I went out for supper, I ordered Shepherd’s Pie which is ground beef with mashed potatoes. It was very easy to eat but I did experience something unusual for the first time. I had difficulty lifting the fork up to my mouth. Not sure if the outdoor table setup was an odd height or because it was an extra warm evening ... but my hand actually started shaking as I brought the fork to my mouth. I was so weak in my arms that evening.

Driving has become a bit of a challenge. Some days it feels like my car has standard steering instead of power. It actually takes effort to turn the steering wheel to turn a corner.

Brushing my teeth had become a real chore. But thankfully, my dentist gave me an electric toothbrush which cuts the effort by at least half. I now sit on the edge of the tub and let the toothbrush do all the work.

Applying make-up is no longer pleasurable. It requires too much effort so I don’t.

I can hardly believe I’m so weak.

At The Mall

Friday, September 25, 2009

Yesterday we stopped at the mall for coffee and a cinnamon bun. Good stuff!

Whenever I go out now, I’ve been wearing a hat instead of my wig. It feels so much more comfortable. People don’t really stare but I do think they look at me a split second longer at first. I’m kind of thinking to myself ... what took me so long?

We then headed to Sears to look at dishwashers and treadmills. I brought my Zuca bag along so whenever I got tired; I could just sit down on it. Like when the salesman was giving us the dishwasher spiel, I sat down at this dishwasher and then moved to another as he was talking. Easy breezy.

Out For Lunch, Out For Supper

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Being my good week, I try and book up visits with friends. Yesterday afternoon was our regular Breast Cancer support group coffee get-together. There were only a couple of us as two ladies where suffering from the flu and others were busy with other appointments and stuff. So S and I had a nice chat one on one.

I came home for a couple of hours and then headed off for supper to “Vi’s For Pies” with some fellow co-workers from a previous job. We sat outside on the patio because the temperature was still close to 30C (86F). It was a bit warm for me at first but after drinking a couple of glasses of cold water and iced tea ... I cooled myself down a bit. There was a water fountain not far away and trees and flowers decorating the patio that added to the atmosphere. It was nice to catch up on all the news and especially to talk about something else other than cancer. I wasn’t sure I would be able to make conversation but with all the surfing and television I watch, I had no trouble at all.

When I came home, I mentioned to D that I had a lot to eat that day and I was happy about that. It had been a very good day.

Smoochie, Smoochie

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I love travelling for my work. Getting to meet new people, other performers, is very exciting and a lot of fun.

But there is something very special about performing in my very own stomping ground of Brighton. Not only does it mean there's no late night train to catch, but I usually know everyone back stage and quite a few out in the audience!

Club Smooch is a Brighton institute as far as Burlesque entertainment goes. I have modelled for Curve Couture at a Club Smooch night but this was my first time performing at this night.

The atmosphere backstage was wonderfully exciting and friendly, much like when I was in high school and all the girls would congregate at one house to get ready for Friday night's party. There were girls and guys (don't forget the Dream Bears!) chatting and laughing, last minute snacking, dressing, glittering and hair spraying all over the shop.

I was debuting my new box (all puns aside please!) for my Living Doll act and it performed beautifully. Most importantly, it collapsed down at the end of the night so I could fold it into a bag, sling it over my shoulder and carry it off at the end of the night. An absolute dream compared to the cumbersome old prop I had before.

The whole night really felt like one big party really, and the best part of all was that BW came along for his first ever show! I'm pleased to report that he had a great time and brought another friend along who was also a burlesque virgin so to speak (BW has seen me rehearse so often he can sing every word of the songs).

They sat happily up the back with a colleague of mine from Pulp Press, Danny Hogan the talented writer of Killer Tease. By the end they were all looking very comfortable, whooping and clapping and BW has promised to come to the next one!

We all had ambitious intentions of heading downstairs for Born Bad, but with my plethora of props I decided I needed a cab and my bed for some well deserved beauty sleep.


Introverts and Extraverts

Renowned psychologist Dorothy Rowe divides the human population in to two categories; introverts and extraverts. What defines these two categories is our response to stress and how we recharge our batteries. Extraverts look outwards. They need to be around others to re-energise and in a stressful situation they will chat, giggle and need to express their nerves vocally and volubly. Introverts, on the other hand, look inwards. To restore their balance they need to be alone and when under pressure they become quiet, often sitting apart in a corner where they pray they will not be disturbed. Nowhere are these archetypes more visible than in the dressing room of a burlesque show.

As you might imagine, such places are often small, cramped and full of semi-naked women, stockings and glitter. The extraverts chatter away, the odd shriek piercing the tension, while the introverts skulk in front of mirrors and in corners trying to shut out the bustle and the noise. You might have guessed from this description that I am an introvert. When I arrive at a gig, the first thing I want to do is get all my technical checks done, hand over my music, and discuss my cue, set-up and pick-up. Then I want to find a corner of the dressing room, or a patch of mirror space and begin the ritual of putting on my make-up. I will listen to my music on my ipod, running through my act in my head and telling myself that all will be well and that I can do this. As my time on stage approaches, I get quieter, less communicative, more focussed on the task in hand.

But I worry.

I worry that everyone around me thinks I’m stuck-up, or unfriendly. I worry that the extraverts, who are all happily chattering away and making friends, think ill of me. I worry that I’m missing the opportunity to get to know people better. And I worry that I inadvertently snap or appear sullen when an oblivious extravert interrupts my solitude with their innocent high spirits.

That’s a lot of things to worry about when you’ve got a job to do. But I know that if I didn’t focus inwards, I’d fall apart.

So I began to look around me and I started noticing I wasn’t the only one hiding in toilets and corners. Then I mentioned it at a couple of shows and found colleagues who are also introverts, and who prefer to quietly prepare for their time onstage and not participate in the high-spirited buzz around them. And finally, I expressed the fear that I came across as moody and unfriendly, and was told that the opposite was true; warm, friendly and professional were the words used, which pleased me enormously, and set my mind at rest.

They say you will find all sorts of women in the dressing room of a burlesque show; the tall, the petite, the slender, the curvy, the blondes, brunettes and redheads. They all take their clothes off and bring a little magic to the stage but the rituals that get them there usually fall into two categories. Next time you watch a show, perhaps you will wonder who sat drinking white wine and laughing, and who hid in the toilet with an ipod and their make-up case.

Handrails Are Too Skinny

Yesterday I went to the clinic for my weekly PICC line dressing change. The chemo room was busy as ever and the nurse said, “Could you come back in about 10 minutes and take your time?” I said, “No problem, I need to go downstairs to physiotherapy anyway.” I needed to return the borrowed lymphedema sleeve as I had purchased my own a week ago.

On my way back, I was getting a bit tired and decided to use the handrailing that was mounted on the wall. Well as I slide my hand along the railing ... wack ... my fingers hit the mounting brackets. The handrails are too skinny and my fingers hit the brackets. Normally, this would be no big deal but this was one of my chemo fingers where the nail bed is lifting. Ouch!! It’s a bit sore today ... thank goodness it didn’t rip off.

So to all you handrail engineer reading this blog ... handrails must be fat like on escalators and not skinny ... otherwise, you wack your fingers on the brackets when you slide your hand along the railing.

There I feel better.

Ice Berg Feet

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

After sitting here with my coffee for a while, I decided to get dressed and put socks on, my feet are so cold right now. Chemo has given a whole new meaning to cold feet. D can attest to that ... they are definitely ice bergs.

That’s it for now ...

Settling Down

Monday, September 21, 2009

Had a quiet weekend ... blogged, read and relaxed. I went out for breakfast Sunday with my sister and mother. Coffee is becoming enjoyable again; this will be the week I OD on coffee.

Emotionally things are settling down a bit. I’m not as agitated and angry as I was last week. Sleep wise, I had a few intense dreams last night and woke myself up with this oddest sound that came out of my mouth. When I talked to my husband about it, he said it woke him up too and sounded like ‘metal’ clanging. I have these odd sounds that come out of me in the middle of the night ... it’s kind of bizarre.

I’m really hoping to feel good this week because it gives me the momentum I need to go into chemo next week.

This And That

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The other day we found a card from our neighbor in the mail box. Inside it said something to the effect ... if there was anything they could do to help. Yesterday, she dropped by with a Saskatoon pie and again reiterating that they would be willing to drive me to appointments if necessary. How nice is that?

Well it didn’t take long for me to open up that pie. I’m still struggling with my taste buds but you know with a little ice cream, I thoroughly enjoyed my piece ... and D his. It’s been a while since I’ve had Saskatoon anything. I grew up on a farm and back then my mom did a lot of canning. That was one fruit that was free and plentiful as the berries grew wild. There was never a shortage of canned Saskatoon. It brought back memories of the old days.

This week, emotionally I’ve been feeling very grumpy. Not sure what that is all about. I may have to give myself a good swift kick in the ass. I think some of it has to do with the fact that I haven’t been feeling the greatest. I’ve had a sinus headache for most of the week. In the mornings, I wake up and sit in a chair in the living room staring at the wall for about 20 minutes just to drain some of the fog out of my head. Usually after a coffee, I’ll start feeling better; I think it’s because hot fluids loosen up some the stuffiness. I’ve been taking Benadryl thinking its environmental allergies but it doesn’t really do much. I do feel a bit better as the day goes by.

Government Of Canada Issues Guidance On H1N1 Influenza Vaccine Sequencing

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Canada released new guidelines on who should be first in line for H1N1 pandemic flu vaccines.

As taken from the Public Health Agency of Canada website ...

The guidance identifies groups and individuals that will benefit most from immunization, and those who care for them. These include:
  • people with chronic medical conditions under the age of 65;
  • pregnant women;
  • children six months to under five years of age;
  • people living in remote and isolated settings or communities;
  • health care workers involved in pandemic response or who deliver essential health services;
  • household contacts and caregivers of individuals who are at high risk, and who cannot be immunized (such as infants under six months of age or people with weakened immune systems); and
  • populations otherwise identified as high risk.
Personally, I’ve never had a flu shot of any kind, so now comes the decision … to immunize or not?

Shout Out To Stand Up To Cancer

Friday, September 18, 2009

Taken from their Wikipedia Page:

Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) is a charitable program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) established by media, entertainment and philanthropic leaders who have been affected by cancer. SU2C aims to raise significant funds for translational cancer research through online and televised efforts. Central to the program is a telethon that was televised by three major broadcast networks (ABC, NBC, CBS) in over 170 countries on September 5, 2008. SU2C made over $100 million after that evenings broadcast.

Please visit standup2cancer.org.

Food Just Ain't Fun Anymore

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Yesterday was an alright day ... I stopped at the clinic for my weekly PICC line dressing change. The place was busy as ever. I stopped at the cafeteria to pick up a couple of cinnamon buns to take home for D and myself. They are usually pretty good but because my taste buds are off, I not only didn't enjoy it but my stomach felt overloaded afterwards.

Food has been a great friend of mine. I have always loved to eat and it has always given me a real satisfying feeling. Pre-cancer, first thing in the morning, I used to jump out of bed and have something to eat. That was priority. I used to always looked forward to the next meal. That is no longer the case. Now it seems I eat because my stomach says I’m hunger.

This being week two of the cycle which for me is the worst as far as taste buds go and stomach issues go. My eating regiment has included a fruit or some yogurt for breakfast and usually I go out for a simple sandwich. I really have to think about what I want to eat because sometimes I'll get something and it just tastes bad to me. Something as simple as bread can taste bad in my mouth. My favs at home are strawberry yogurt, cottage cheese and bananas. Coffee is awful right now. I just can’t really stomach much of anything in the fridge. It just turns me off.

I also find that my stomach tends to be highly reactive to what I eat. If my stomach doesn’t like it ... it just goes right through me.

These days ... food doesn’t give me the satisfying feeling it once did ... which kind of sucks.

At School Last Night....

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

At last night`s class we were to hand in a questionnaire the instructor had given out the previous week. The questionnaire included things like ... if we were part-time students or full-time students, if we worked in our field and so on. The last question was ...’is there anything I should know about that may be a challenge to your learning?’ I pondered this question a long time. I so did not want to play the cancer card. I wanted to complete school without getting any possible preferential treatment.

As I was considering my decision, I thought ... if this was a class where I could hide in a corner, I probably wouldn’t consider sharing the fact that I was under active treatment but this class is very interactive. I will be required to do presentations in front of the group and that scares me a bit. I wasn`t sure I could do it all without appearing a bit odd.

My decision was to tell her, the instructor, that I am receiving chemotherapy for cancer. I feel a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

Kick Breast Cancer's Butt Fundraiser

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Its Breast Cancer Awareness month starting today October 1. We want to help honor BC month & raise awareness by hosting a fund raiser giveaway with some really cool prizes. Spirit Jump is a grass roots charity that relies 100% on donations from our supporters. We would greatly appreciate any donation no matter how large or small! We help Breast Cancer fighters (as well as anyone battling any type of cancer) during their battle by sending cards & small gifts to lift their spirits! While raising money for research is essential we must remember those battling right now need our love, support and encouragement! To make it fun you could win 1 of these 4 awesome prizes:

PRIZE 1: Awesome CANCER SUCKS shirt with the Do Life symbol in Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness. This shirt is beautiful, edgy and inspiring. The Do Life brand was created by Victor after he lost his mother to Pancreatic Cancer. The retail value of the Cancer Sucks shirt is $13.00

If you cant wait to see if you win you can always order one by visiting Do Life

PRIZE 2: Beautiful Breast Cancer Awareness hat created by Do Life. This hat is 100% Polyester Twill with Pink breathable mesh sides, reflective safety stripes, 3D embroidered Pink Ribbon symbol on front with DoLife� symbol on back and velcro backstrap. Retail value $13.00

If you cant wait to see if you win you can always order one by visiting Do Life

PRIZE 3: Beautiful hand painted artwork by Carol Beck of Hot Wax Art This painting was picked out by Meaghan because of its beautify and all the purple used to create it. Purple is a healing color and that is what we all need when battling cancer. Retail value for this item is $50.00

PRIZE 4: This beautiful Angel with pink bordering is the perfect gift for someone battling breast cancer. We all need angels watching over us during difficult times and this piece of art can be hung anywhere in your room so that your angel is always close by. Approximate Retail Value $100.00

For each donation of $1 you will receive 1 entry for this week's drawing 11 entries for $10. There is no limit to the number of entries you can receive. This weeks Giveaway starts Thursday October 1 @ 1:00 pm EDT and ends Friday October 9 @ 11:59 pm EDT. We will draw 4 winner's for this week's giveaway.

E-Commerce Solutions

Spirit Jump Giveaway Official Rules:
No purchase necessary. For each donation of $1.00 made to Spirit Jump, donor will be assigned one(1) ticket for this week's raffle and 11 entries for each $10 donation. If you do not choose to donate but would like a raffle ticket at no charge, send an email with your complete name, address and telephone number to spiritjumpraffle@aol.com. All donations or email entries must be received by 11:59 pm EDT on Saturday October 9, 2009. Winner will be selected among all donations/email entries received in a random drawing. Descriptions of prizes listed above. Approximate retail value of Cancer Sucks Shirt $13.00, Breast Cancer Hat $13.00 Purple Art Work $50, Angel Art Work $100.00 All prizes will be awarded. Void where prohibited. Sponsor: Spirit Jump www.spiritjump.org

Not A Good Day

I’m still trying to recover from the effects of the chemo. The fatigue really makes me feel frustrated, agitated and full of negative emotions. Sometimes I rely on the Ativan to calm myself for the night time sleep but it makes me so groggy during the day that I don’t really like to take it either ... it’s a tricky balancing act.

Already feeling a bit down and depressed I watched the news last night only to find out that Patrick Swayze died from his cancer. Then shortly after that they announced a local lady who had been in the news quite a bit also died from her cancer. Then blogging in the evening I read one of my fellow cancer bloggers died. I was definitely worked up and I ended up having a rough sleep.

I’m usually pretty strong but yesterday was a tough day.

It's Better

Monday, September 14, 2009

The weekend was spent getting over last week’s chemo treatment. It was not a nice weekend.

Today as we start a new week things are improving ... the worst of the side effects are over and ... I just woke up from a two and half hour mid-morning nap. I thought I’d do some reading and poof ... I was out.

Once again it’s a beautiful day out here and my goal is to get out and enjoy it ... even if it’s just for a cup of coffee or to take care of an errand.

Sunday Inspiration

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Are You A Spirit Jumper???

I think we can all be Spirit Jumper's ever day of the week. Think about it, do you lift peoples spirits throughout the day? You can do this by opening the door for someone whose arms are full, smiling at a woman on the street who looks like she has been crying or calling your grandparents in the middle of the week just because.

While there are many ways to lift the spirits of those around you we at Spirit Jump have a very specific way you can help us lift spirits. Spirit Jump is always looking for men, women and children who can send cards to people battling cancer in order to lift their spirits. Its really that simple to be a Spirit Jumper.

When you join Spirit Jump you will receive emails from our team with names, stories and pictures of men, women and children battling cancer. If you are able to send a card to, one or all of them, simply reply to the email with the name(s) of those you want addresses for. Then its up to you to send the card, or small gift if you want. As a Spirit Jumper you can always visit our website and click "Jumpees" to see a complete list of names, pictures and stories of all those who are in need of spirit lifting. And, of course you can always email us and ask for any of these addresses.

You can also find Spirit Jump on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin

And of course we are always in need of Donations and you can donate by clicking our "Donate" button on this page top right corner.

Sporting A Hat

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I’ve been complaining about my wig for quite a while. It’s itchy and annoying. Well on Wednesday when I was getting my chemo, I was just fed up with it ... it kept shifting on my head and getting messed up. By the time I left I was so grumpy that I decided to stop at the store at the clinic and buy me a hat.

Thursday I went out and about taking care of some errands and stuff and guess what ... I wore the hat instead of a wig. I felt so liberated and comfortable. I will continue to wear that wig on certain occasions but people don’t be surprised if you see me sporting a hat more often.

Denied Due To Pre-Existing Condition

My name is Meaghan and I am the founder of Spirit Jump. As some of you may know I was diagnosed with 3b cervical cancer a few years ago when I was only 28. Given 20% chance of surviving my spirits were low. Not only was I battling for my life, having chemo, internal radiation, external radiation, numerous surgeries BUT I was also battling for my insurance. Thats right! Shortly after my diagnosis my insurance company, Mega Life, dropped me under their Pre-Existing clause.

I had to make a choice, battle for my life or battle for my insurance - I chose LIFE. But, now that I am alive I am dealing with hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical debt. I receive numerous letters from debt collectors daily, harrasing phone calls and ruined credit scores. I am unable to receive any insurance due to my cancer diagnosis which means I cannot just go to the doctors when I am sick, get prescriptions so I can get healthy etc.....

I AM NOT ALONE IN THIS and that is one of the reasons I started Spirit Jump. To help the many men, women and children battling cancer. Many of these brave people are also battling insurance companies much like I did. I want to help them remember that people out there do love them, are praying for their good health and rooting them on.

Chemo Clothing

Friday, September 11, 2009

Exercise in style and comfort.
Designed with loose arm openings to address issue of Lymphedema. All of our clothing is made from wicking material to help deal with perspiration.
Check out all of the Cool Chemo Clothing at www.confidentclothingcompany.com
Exercise is so helpful when dealing with Breast Cancer. Cool Chemo clothing helps you with our functional, stylish and comfortable clothing.
Confidently yours,

Tara's view of the world: Confident Clothing Company

Tara's view of the world: Confident Clothing Company A great review about Confident Clothing Company. These are great clothes for women dealing with Breast Cancer to use for exercise or going about their active life.

Lymphedema and exercise

So nice that the major medical world (whoever they are) has finally come out of the stoneages and stated that weight training is good for Lymphedema.
This is similar to the old information on Arthritis; don't move any more than you have to.

I did a previous post about exercise and how it actually helped my Lymphedema. Of course you must start slow and light and work up to lifting heavier weights. This is true whether you are dealing with Lymphedema, just starting out or returning after an injury.

I always think of our bodies like a piece of machincery; It you don't maintain and use it regularly it is going to get old, stiff and rusty.

So keep on moving your body will last longer.

Back Pack On Wheels

Last week I mentioned I was looking for a back pack on wheels to help me get around school with my books and laptop ... well my sister O came up with a wonderful solution. She found a Zuca Sport bag and purchased it for me. This is quite a unique bag because not only can you haul stuff around but you can actually sit on it. So for me that is just perfect ... it goes with me everywhere. I can now go shopping without worrying about looking for a chair because when I feel weak in my legs, I just sit down on my Zuca for a few minutes. I have gotten rid of my purse and just pack a wallet in it so I’m literally hands free. It weighs just 9 lbs empty so is quite easy to maneuver if I don’t overfill it.

When I’m out and about with it, I do get a few looks but mostly because it is unique looking and people are interested in it. I showed it to the physiotherapist on Wednesday and she was quite impressed with it.

For more details about the Zuca bags see zuca.com.

I want to thank my sister O for this thoughtful gift. I just think it’s the cat’s meow.

Tears from th sky....9/11/2001

Where have I been since April 2009? Working on health problems and hearing new diagnosis. I have spent time whirling around as I attempted to absorb the information I heard. I have met new doctors in the attempt to stop the spread of the cancer that seems to have an affinity for my body.

But today I am again sitting here watching the television as the 9/11 Memorial Service in NYC plays out. The names are being read and I hear them and occasionally I look up and see faces and ages and I realize that since 2001 I have lived and continue to live...while over three thousand strangers who are now friends in my heart and prayers are gone. How lucky I am to be alive!

To you my brave and courageous friends
Who lost your lives that one, bleak day
When America lost its innocence
And you lost your lives.

Some of you rushed in to help others
Wanting them to live and to survive
Some of you called home to say, "Goodbye and I love you."
And most of you lost your lives and we miss you all!

Today it is raining...tears from the sky
Tears that we all shed each year
As 9/11 comes around

Tears from the sky
There is no way to say goodbye.

We have tried to rebuild what once was
Buildings, lives, families
Small children have now grown
Husbands and wives hold you in their hearts
Families and friends tell stories about you.

So many lives lost
So many tears still fall from the eyes
Of family, friends and strangers alike
So many years have passed
And you are all remembered

God bless you all
God bless America
You are all at peace now
But I wish you had lived

Tears from the sky
Tears from our eyes

I took a pause to write the words above because I have no right to complain really...I am alive! Peace to all..........God bless our country, our military, President Obama.

I encourage all of you who read this to volunteer...Soldiers Angels. It is a group of volunteers who adopt military personnel who are stationed far from home in the war zones. I have adopted four soldiers and I write to them frequently and send packages once a month. Each one has said in his/her own way that it is a surprise that we at home care about them enough to write. This soldiers are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are often so young and could use our help and support and I must admit I get soooooooooooooo much from my contact that I believe I am the one who receives the gift! AMF

Yesterday Was A Busy Day

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Yesterday I started the day with a physiotherapy appointment at the Cross Cancer Clinic, the same day as my chemo. I remember making the appointment five weeks earlier saying make it a Wednesday because Tuesday I usually have chemo. Well it turned out I had chemo on Wednesday this time because Monday was a vacation day ... go figure.

The physiotherapist measured my lymphedema arm and said it was 10% smaller than that last appointment. This was quite an improvement but I have to mention that five weeks ago was week two of the cycle where my body was retaining the most fluid. Yesterday was just before chemo which meant the least amount of fluid retention ... we both agreed it has to do with fluid retention and is affected by my treatment.

She asked if I wore the sleeve everyday and whether there was any irritation caused by the sleeve. I told her that yes I wore it daily and it was not causing me any grief. The only issue we found is that fluid is collecting in my hand as the glove and the sleeve where causing a double compression at the wrist and wasn’t allowing the fluid to flow away. The physiotherapist has arranged for me to go to a medical supply store to get a custom glove that flares at the wrist and a similar sleeve to what was borrowed to me through the clinic.

If I remember it right, I am to come back and see the physiotherapist every four months for a couple of years and then once a year after that. She also recommended I replace the glove and sleeve every six months.

Regarding chemo ... my appointment was just before noon and went on for just short of four hours which made for a pretty long day. It was so busy in the chemo room that people where having their chemo started in the wait chairs and when a proper recliner chair or bed was available, they would get moved. Wow, there were people everywhere getting chemo. I was really lucky and got a bed right away.

I came home feeling tired and decided to take it easy for the remainder of the day.

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Lets honor this month by becoming aware and educating friends and family about Ovarian Cancer.

We at Spirit Jump have gathered some useful information, common questions and answers, as well as personal stories from those who have and are battling Ovarian Cancer. Please take a moment to become aware by reading this post.

Common Questions About Ovarian Cancer

  • What is Ovarian Cancer? ~Ovarian cancer is cancer in the ovaries. Women have two ovaries, one on each side of the uterus. Tumors found in the ovaries may be noncancerous tissue growths (cysts) or cancerous growths that may spread to other parts of the body.(this answer was found on WebMD)

  • What are common signs of Ovarian Cancer? ~Bloating of the abdomen (anywhere between the bottom of the ribs and the area between the hip bones {pelvis}, from side to side). Pelvic or abdominal pain. Trouble eating or feeling full quickly (also known as early satiety).Urinary symptoms as might also be experienced with bladder infection, such as urinating more frequently, having to go urgently, or having pain with urination.(this answer was found on WebMD Blog)

  • How is Ovarian Cancer Treated? ~The main treatments for ovarian cancer are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. In some cases 2 or even all 3 of these treatments will be used.(this answer was found on American Cancer Society Website)

  • Who is at risk for Ovarian Cancer? ~As with most cancers, the risk of developing ovarian cancer increases as you get older. Most cases are in women who have had their menopause. Apart from getting older, your risk of ovarian cancer may be increased by: family history of cancer, having breast cancer, being infertile or having fertility treatments, using hormone replacement therapy HRT, being over weight or tall, having endometriosis, using talcum powder, smoking, saturated fat ( this answer was found on Cancer Research UK)

  • How can I prevent Ovarian Cancer?~There have been no sure ways to prevent Ovarian Cancer and research is still being conducted in this area. Some suggestions are: use of oral contraceptives, dietary modification and exercise, pregnancy & breast feeding, genetic counseling, tubal ligation and ovary removal. (this answer was found on Oncology Channel Website)

If there are any questions or information not listed here that you would like to share PLEASE leave it in the comment. The only way we can become aware is by sharing our knowledge.

Jumpee's Battling Ovarian Cancer

Pamela K.

43yr old mother of 3 boys (16,13,5). Pamela was diagnosed in February 2006 with 3rd stage Ovarian cancer. Immediately she was subjected to multiple surgeries and 6 rounds of chemotherapy. Pamela then went into remission until October of 2008. Again she went into surgery and started more chemotherapy. August (2009) blood work confirmed the cancer was again active and growing. Now Pamela is facing surgery and radiation.

Crystal F.

Crystal is 26 years of age and has stage 3C Ovarian Cancer. She was diagnosed at 22 years old on Nov 15, 2005 and has been undergoing chemotherapy ever since.
On September 2nd Crytal was declared in partial remission. Her doctor said she will probably never be in full remission. Crystal will most likely need to be on chemo for the rest of her life, but with breaks in between.

Jenny M.

Jenny is a Spirit Jumper & Ovarian cancer fighter. Last month we received a message from Jenny that she is in ICU & her liver was failing. The doctors were very concerned that her liver would go into complete failure. Because Jenny has cancer she is not a candidate for a liver transplant. Jenny is out of the ICU and continuing to improve. However, her fight is not over and she is in and out of the hospital on a weekly basis.

Jessica L

Up until this point of the story, Jesica may sound just like many of you mothers out there - and she is, all while fighting a horrific battle with Ovarian Cancer. She was originally diagnosed in June, 2006 and has unfortunately had three recurrences since then resulting in Jesica having to undergo difference three surgeries as well as a hysterectomy. Jesica was recently informed that her cancer was terminal. You can visit Jesica's blog http://www.pixiemarierose.blogspot.com/

Diane R (in the center of photo)

diagnosed with stage 4 primary peritoneal carcinoma in May of 2008. It is a very rare and aggressive form of ovarian cancer. The prognosis for this stage of cancer is appx 1 year. The cancer started in the lining of her abdomen and spread to her right lung. She had a complete hysterectomy. Diane has had chemo. Her cancer was now end stage.

The above are only a few of our Jumpee's who are battling Ovarian Cancer. If you would like to read ALL Jumpee stories you can do so by clicking on Jumpee's at the top of this page. If you would like to send a card or small gift to any of these brave women please send us an email: spiritjumper@spiritjump.com

Chemo Today

I just got back from chemo and feel pretty good except for being a bit tired. It's been a long day ... so will make this a short post with more details tomorrow.

This And That

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

This past weekend we were away visiting family in Southern Alberta. The drive was enjoyable and the scenery beautiful as always. It was great to see everyone. We had a nice relaxing visit and before you knew it ... it was time to go back home.

In preparation of my chemo tomorrow, this morning I had to make a quick stop at the clinic to have my blood pressure and temperature taken. The blood work and oncologist visit from last week meant I could skip it today.

Tonight is the first day of school for me. I must admit I’m a bit excited. I like it because it keeps my mind busy and worrying about school stuff instead of cancer stuff.

I’m also excited because as far as television goes, this week a new season starts. I’m a bit tired of watching reruns. As a matter of fact, as I’m writing this post; I’m watching the first show of the Fall season of the View. I kind of like those spunky ladies and their Hot Topics.

Shout Out To N.E.D.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Here is a portion of the email I received that describes what N.E.D. is all about:

I thought you’d be interested to know about a new rock band with a purpose: N.E.D. The group is comprised of six musically talented gynecologic cancer surgeons hailing from all four corners of the U.S. (N.E.D. is an acronym for "No Evidence of Disease"- a phrase that every gynecologic oncologist hopes to tell a patient after undergoing cancer treatment.) The band's mission is to enhance knowledge about women's reproductive cancers, bring hope through rhythm for women undergoing treatment, and raise awareness & money for the fight against the disease.

One of the ways they will be doing this is through their six-song EP with styles ranging from indie rock, to arena rock, to jam/band to folk-rock. Net proceeds from the sale of the CD will be donated to the N.E.D. Cancer Foundation in association with the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation (GCF) to educate the public about gynecologic cancers and support promising research. Both the physical and digital EP include an informational booklet about gynecologic cancers entitled, “What Every Woman Should Know.”

The album is slated for release on September 8th to coincide with Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month.

Please visit the website: http://www.nedtheband.com/

Recording Your Life History

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Have you ever considered writing a book?

I have but had no idea where to start. I know if I was to write a book it would likely reflect my life experiences and especially my cancer experience. One day as I was surfing the net, I came across this bit of information.

It is a guide to Recording Your Life History written by Inova Health System.

I thought it was pretty good and therefore ... thought I would share it with you.

Remember in September

Spirit Jump wants to remind everyone that you can always send a Spirit Jump to any of our Jumpee's. All you have to do is come to our site, click on Jumpee's, look @ the pictures & read the stories. Then, if you want to send a Spirit Jump to anyone send us an email asking for their address......Its that easy!

We send out Spirit Jump Request emails every Wednesday and Saturday. These emails contain new Jumpee's with their stories and pictures. After we send out the email we also put these new fighters on our site under Jumpee's so you can always come here to read the new requests. You can also tell friends and family to visit us and read ALL the stories. We are sure there is at least one story that will touch everyone.

I should take a moment to explain what a Jumpee is for those of you who are new to our site. Jumpee's are men, women and children who are battling cancer and are in need of spirit lifting. It is difficult to battle cancer, painful, scary and often lonely. Receiving a simple card in the mail has the power of lifting spirits no matter how low they may be.

You can be a Jumper if you sign up with us. A jumper is a generous, loving and charitable person who sends cards to those battling cancer. Just a simple card with a stamp is all it takes to touch someone's life. You can become a Jumper by putting your email in the space provided under the HOT PINK Join Spirit Jump Button on the right side of this screen.

Our request this week is for you to read through the Jumpee stories and pick one or even all and ask us for their address so you can send a card and lift their spirits!

Welcoming a New Sponsor

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

We're very pleased to announce that a new sponsor has come on board the Burlesque Against Breast Cancer team.

Photos by Camille will give a percentage from her future work and sales to BABC and we hope to see her at some of our events in the future shooting all the action, plus all of the gorgeous performers.

Please have a look at her website.