Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Xeloda – Day 4

Friday, October 30, 2009

Well I’m glad to say I don’t have much to report when it comes to Xeloda side effects. The odd time I have a gurgle in my stomach but really that is all. I’m careful to eat small non-dairy meals and so far so good.

My biggest challenge has been to eat as soon as I wake so that I can take my chemo pills shortly afterwards. Prior to this week I’d probably have my first bit of food around 10:00 in the morning and even that might just be a fruit or a bit of yogurt. The pharmacist said I should take Xeloda within 30 minutes after a meal … and a fruit just doesn’t cut it as a meal.

Xeloda – Day 3

Thursday, October 29, 2009

When I brushed my teeth last night I had a little blood on my toothbrush so the gums are getting a bit sensitive. My eyes are still watering from the Taxotere and may continue to water from the Xeloda.

Today I had an appointment at the clinic to finish off the study I was on. The only concern I brought to the oncologist is that the top of my left foot was a bit swollen and sore. She looked at it and said ... let’s just watch it for now. It might just be a build-up of fluid from a pair of tighter shoes I’d been wearing, as my legs are still retaining quite a bit of water. On a positive note, since I’m no longer on Taxotere or the steroids, that swelling should go down. And that pouch of fluid under my chin should start disappearing too. My face will start returning to normal as opposed to the round faced I developed... and my chemo belly should also go down. I can’t even tell you how good that makes me feel.

My next appointment is almost three weeks away. Hooray!

"I love my boobs. I'm going to use them every day until they start to kill me."

Here is a great personal account on Nerve.com from Elisheva Wolfe about her fear of one day coming across breast cancer like the three generations of women before her, check it out.

DigiJeff Jumps Out Of A Plane To Support #beatcancer

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Spirit Jump was honored to be 1 of 4 charities involved in the #beatcancer mission to get the most shared messages on the internet.  This attempt was successful and got in the Guinness Book Of World Records!!  And ontop of that over $70,000.00 was raised to be shared between the 4 charities involved.

While this was only a 24 hour attempt the message continued on long after those 24 hours lapsed.  In fact someone even jumped out of an airplane to support #beatcancer.  DigiJeff, who works with Chamillionaire a multi platnium artist, had never jumped out of a plane before nor did he ever want to. But, he saw an opportunity to make a difference and took it.

Please take a moment to watch this video about DigiJeff's #beatcancer jump!

Xeloda - Day 2

Last night I had a light supper and 20 minutes later I took my Xeloda pills. I went to class and really felt no ill effects of the chemo. This morning I had some toast for breakfast and then shortly afterwards, my chemo pills. It’s almost four hours later and I feel pretty good. I know this is only day two  and I'm probably celebrating prematurely but I can’t help being excited about how well it’s going. I can only hope it continues.

Some of the side effects of the Taxotere are slowly clearing up ... for example; my nose isn’t all stuffed up and runny all the time ... and I’m thinking nose bleeds are a thing of the past. I have three boxes of Kleenex in the living room so that no matter where I sit, there is always tissue within arms reach. I might be able to get rid of a couple of boxes now. My watery eyes aren’t as watery. I’m not coughing near as much as I was say a week ago. And the absolutely best part is that I don’t have to take steroids ... so no nightmares this weekend. Yippee!

Xeloda – Day One

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

This morning I started my new chemo pills and about two and half hours later I felt a bit flushed and lite headed. Something was kicking in but I don’t quite know what. I’m being extra careful of what I eat and drink. I’m going to stay away from dairy products for a bit till I figure this thing out. My stomach gurgles every once in a while but not too bad. The only prescription I have to help with nausea and or stomach issues is Metoclopramide. I found it helpful when I was on Taxotere and I’ve been OK`d to go on this drug with Xeloda.

Last night I slept on my stomach for the first time in about a year. The reason I avoided sleeping on my stomach is because I had either a CVC on my chest or a PICC line on my arm and I was afraid I’d pull it out in my sleep. It felt really good sleeping on my stomach and very liberating not having any attachments.

This morning I went to the ‘living with cancer’ support group. At the end of it all, I asked if anyone would like to get together for coffee sometimes. Everyone jumped at the idea so I offered to take emails and organize it. Now to find a nice central location … with parking.

A New Regimen

Monday, October 26, 2009

Today I had my appointment with my oncologist to decide on my next course of action. We are going to go with XELODA® Capecitabine tablets. I will take five pills in the morning and five pills in the evening for two weeks straight with one week off making it a three-week cycle.

So here are pluses from today's’ visit …
  • My PICC line was removed. No more weekly visit to the clinic for dressing changes.
  • There will be fewer visits to the clinic. I only come in once every three weeks for blood work and a doctor’s visit. CT scans will now be once every three months instead of every six weeks.
  • The fluid around my lungs will go down because it was likely caused by the Taxotere.
  • The bone scan taken last Thursday indicates that cancer on my ribs is no longer visible.
  • The pharmacist said that the Xeloda was a popular prescription and that there were many patients on it. I thought that was encouraging. I also asked her about side effects as compared to Taxotere and she said Taxotere is one of the tougher chemos. She did not say this one would be easier but I just feel it might be. 

The clinic gave me this handy dandy pill organizer to make sure everything goes smoothly. I start first thing tomorrow morning.

Over all I’m feeling pretty excited with this new plan.

Inspiring Video

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Flirtinis BABC Brighton Oct 2009

Honey Moon BABC Brighton Oct 2009

Honey Moon from bob on Vimeo.

Stella Starr BABC Brighton Oct 2009

Bea DeVile BABC Brighton Oct 2009

Therese La Tease BABC Brighton Oct 2009

Honour Mission BABC Brighton Oct 2009

Bone Scan

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Yesterday I had a bone scan done at the clinic. For a bone scan, a radioactive tracer substance is injected into a vein in the arm. The tracer then travels through the bloodstream and into the bones.

Two different people made a total of four attempts to get this tracer into my veins. The problem was that after so many years of being poked and prodded, my veins have become so very fragile and kept exploding every time they stuck a needle in. Ouch! Never the less, they got enough in my veins so that they could see my bones.

While I was at the clinic I became really chilled. I think it was from the flu shot I got the night before. When I got home I wrapped myself up in blankets, head to toe. I ended up having a short nap and feeling better.

Last night I woke up at 4:00 am with a bout of diarrhea ... likely from the radioactive tracer that was making its way out of my system.

I'm glad this week is over.

Chemo School

Friday, October 23, 2009

On Monday when I saw the oncologist she figured I should go to chemo school because I had never gone and with a new chemo treatment starting next week, it might be helpful. So yesterday along with getting my PICC redressed, I went to class.

What did I learn?

  • That I should be aware of people who have shingles. The nurse said shingles could be infectious when the person is experiencing blisters. If the blisters are crusted over, I should be OK.
  • That I shouldn’t gulp down a drink of water or juice because it will stimulate diarrhea. That occasionally happens after I guzzle down my daily protein shake. Who knew that?
  • That when using alcohol-based hand sanitizing gels, have enough of it in my hands so that they are completely wet for 15 seconds. The RN said, do not use antibacterial wipes because they remove the good bacteria from your hands. Her preference is the baby wipes.
  • That I should stay two meters away from someone who has flu symptoms... to minimize my risk.

Otherwise it was just a good review of a lot I already knew.

On a side note, we also discussed flu shots at which point I realized I was on an extra week off from my chemo. I talked to the research nurse and she said I was good to go for the seasonal flu shot. So last night I zipped over to the health clinic and got it ... plus they ok`d me for a bonus pneumococcal vaccine for pneumonia.

I still have to deal with H1N1 flu shot when it becomes available.

Support Group

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Yesterday I meet with our breast cancer support group. It was especially nice to see the ladies this time because I felt I needed to be with people who really understood what I am going through. And meeting them meant I had to share my bad news. Sharing bad news is difficult because I know that my fear will instil fear in them. I know that the first thing I think of when I hear anyone’s bad cancer news is ... wow that could be me. But this time it is me. All the ladies were very understanding and supportive. They just have ‘the look’ and know what to say to make it easier.

And when it comes to support, I would like to thank everyone who reads this blog and has left comments. I know I am not alone. So many others have walked a similar path and truly understand what it feels like. The comments are so inspiring and give me support. They also make me feel so hopeful. I don’t know where I’d be without you.

So thank you very much ... I look forward everyday to reading everyone’s comments to my blog.

Our Trip To Vegas

As many of you know Spirit Jump had the honor and privilege to attend both Blogworld and Sitscation in Las Vegas.  It was an amazing experience and we met so many wonderful people, organizations and business.

Our founder, Meaghan Edelstein, was invited by Blogworld to be a speaker on the Kick Cancer's Ass Panel along with Jay Scott of Alex's Lemonade Stand, Drew Olanoff from Blame Drew's Cancer and Natalie Lent of Stand Up To Cancer. It was an amazing opportunity for Meaghan to meet some very influential, inspiring and brilliant people who fighting to bring cancer awareness to the forefront of peoples minds and hearts.


As many of you know Spirit Jump was also invited to Blogworld as 1 of 10 winners of the Name Your Cause contest held on Twitter.  This gave us an opportunity to have a booth at the Expo on Friday 10-1:30 where we gave out "swag" bags and encourage everyone around to sign up and become a Spirit Jumper.  All the items in our "swag" bags were donated by Spirit Jumpers like Live Life Solid, Do Life Now, Pinwheel Girls, Destiny, Amy B.- THANK YOU!

Spirit Jump was also involved in a charity contest called Charity Smackdown put on by PayPal & Ebay. We were the heavy underdogs and won by only $30. We could not have done this without all our amazing supporters who made this win possible! As the winners of Charity Smackdown Paypal will donate $2,000.00 to Spirit Jump!

Spirit Jump knew right away that we had to donate some of our winnings back to the other charities.  Each one of these charities raises money for important causes and were represented by amazing people who we fell in love with.  So, when Spirit Jump receives its $2,000 prize from PayPal we will be donating some of that to the following charities:

Here are some photos of the Spirit Jump team with some of the above charities:

(Jay & Melissa of Alex's Lemonade Stand)

(Meaghan with Noland & Bryan of Heifer Portland)

 (Rocky of Mothers Fighting For Others)

(Kerri with 3For5)

(Sally of Stepwise)

 (Bryan with two representatives of LA's Best)

 Spirit Jump was also very honored to be invited to SITSCATION and man did we have a blast with these ladies!

The amazing ladies at SITS threw a fabulous fundraiser party for us last Friday at the Venetian and it was so much fun!  I (Meaghan) met many of the women I have been looking up to for the past year and a half I have been blogging, I danced my butt off AND SITS raised over $900.00 for us that night!!!! This was just more than we could have ever imagined and for that we will be eternally grateful!

To top it all off SITS also hosted an online auction that very day and will be hosting a second one this Friday. We have been in such desperate need for funding and these ladies really pulled through for us....THANK YOU!

Spirit Jump was part of a Historical moment

Some of you may have seen the #beatcancer over the past few days.  This was an attempt by an organization called Everywhere to set a Guinness World Record for distribution of the largest mass message through social media. Four charities were chosen to be a part of this record setting attempt and Spirit Jump was one of the four which also included Stand Up To Cancer, Alex's Lemonade Stand and Bright Pink.  Along with setting a record over $70,000 was raised to be shared between the four charities involved.

We at Spirit Jump would like to extend a huge thank you to MillerCoors, Ebay/PayPal and Everywhere for making this possible and for including us in this important record setting message #beatcancer.

Class Last Night

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Class went well last night. I’m excited to say I got an A- on last week’s assignment. That is better than what I expected ... that is for sure. My next assignment, due in December, is a group project. It’s a training needs analysis for an organization. The truth is that I’d rather not be doing this right now but on the other hand it might just be the distraction I need.

Speaking of distractions ... I think I’m going to get busy with a few other things too. There are some Arts & Medicine support groups through the Cancer Institute. Yesterday a couple of the ladies were talking about a knitting group starting up this month and a watercolor painting group starting in November. I might just sign up for both.

A Few Deep Breaths

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Well I must admit, yesterday I had to take a moment here and there and remember to just ‘breath’. That is what we’re taught to do when dealing with cancer and the roller coaster ride it takes you on. Just stop and take a few deep breaths. As much as you try and prepare for the worst news with these CT scans ... negative news stills hits you like a ton of bricks.

I woke up at 4:00 am trying to wrap my head around how I’m going to cope with the latest news. After about an hour or so, I fell asleep and woke up feeling a bit more in control. I figure I’m going to cope with this like I do most everything else ... I’m going to jump in both feet and do what I have to. I’ll decide on a course of treatment and deal with it.

I was so happy this morning that I had my support group meeting. There were other folks there with advanced cancer who offered me the hope and support I need right now.

Blood Work/CT Scan Results

Monday, October 19, 2009

Today I had my blood work and visit with the oncologist. Blood work looks good but the CT scan results ... not so good. My lungs and bones are stable but my liver is not. The liver is showing new lesions with growth of the existing tumours. One of the smaller tumours grew almost a centimetre ... which is substantial. So the oncologist recommends we change chemotherapy as Taxotere and the possible study drug I was on are no longer effective.

Our next step is to choose between Xeloda and another study drug. I have been given a bunch of reading material from which I will be making my decision. Then we will start the new chemo next week. The reason we start the new treatment next week and not this week is to allow more time for my body to get rid of any toxins associated with the old chemo.

Good news is ... I’m done with the steroids. I don’t need to take them with the new chemo. Yippee!

Love My Sleep

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My sleeps continue to go well. I find Winter makes for better sleeps because of the darkness and the cooler nights. If you haven’t noticed, I’m all about a good night’s sleep. I’ve always needed oodles of sleep ... eight or nine hours a night. Ever since I was a child, my life seemed to revolve around a good night's sleep. I would rather go to bed early than stay up and watch TV or do whatever.

Because of that it seemed like I was constantly being razed by my friends for being tired and wanting to go home to bed ... from parties and such. People would often try and convince me that I didn’t need all that sleep. Well I did.

I often wondered whether that was a sign that my body was weaker than most other peoples and perhaps pointing to why I have cancer today.

Check out our interview with Blogworld!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


The beginning of this week, I was struggling with sleep. Waking up in the middle of the night and then up for hours. I really wondered what was causing this ... maybe too much coffee during the day, my allergies or the fact that maybe I was a bit agitated and wound up from the day.

Well a couple of days ago, the sleep issue switched for the better ... I had an afternoon nap then a great sleep during the night and another nap the following afternoon and again a great sleep last night. I’m glad to say that my sleep seems to be under control once again. And the good news is that I didn’t use any meds to make it happen. Trying to make sense of what is causing some of these issues can be mind boggling sometimes.

I just know that I want to be well rested for chemo next week.

Benadryl - My Buddy

Friday, October 16, 2009

The side effects from my chemo are flu like symptoms … so things like water eyes, stuffy nose and sinuses, hoarse throat, sneezing and coughing, sinus headache are all regular occurrences. Some weeks are worse than others.

I also struggle with environmental allergies which seem to have intensified since I started chemo. We’ve had quite a bit of wet snow here … so I figured no more dust and pollen in the air and no more allergies. Not! maybe changes in temperature and humidity also trigger allergies.

For about a week now, I’ve been struggling with really itchy watery eyes … so yesterday I finally pulled out the Benadryl. To be honest, I got relief pretty quick, way better than Visine.

I don’t really like to take medications … even over-the-counter stuff but I’m slowly changing my ways. Benadryl is my buddy.

Lymphedema Glove

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Yesterday I picked up my new custom lymphedema glove. You’ll notice it flares at my wrist. It was specially designed that way so that I wouldn’t have a double compression at the wrist ... from the sleeve and the glove. The glove is made from a very thin nylon/spandex fabric which makes it really comfortable.

So how do I feel about wearing the sleeve and glove? I’d have to say it’s not too bad so far. Once it’s on, I sort of forget about it. I do notice it is warm in the summer tho.

So is it working? I notice that the swelling in my arm goes up and down during the cycle so as long as I’m on chemo, I can’t really say it is getting better but I do think it is under control.

A Few Busy Days

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It was a great long weekend with turkey dinner at my sisters. Spending time with family was so very nice. The nieces and nephews are always a colourful bunch. And the food was outstanding ... both sisters are amazing cooks. I don`t cook at home anymore so I thoroughly enjoy a home cooked meal.

My brother-in-law P asked how my appetite was and I said it was down. Food wasn’t as pleasurable as it once was. I told him I wanted seconds of food but my belly said no. Then my sister who is a nurse said ... “You now probably ‘eat to live’ whereas you used to ‘live to eat’" ... that is so true. I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed food and the eating experience. Now, I eat because my belly growls and needs food.

Tuesday, I was at the clinic and attended a support group. There were about seven of us there and the majority were living with metastases. The first session is always emotional as everyone shares their stories.

After that, I zipped over to another clinic location for a PICC line dressing change. The usual nurse was there. She said, "You look stylin` today." I said, I`m feeling better these days ... enough so that I started caring about what I wear. I said for the first eight or ten months of chemo, I was so affected by side effects that I could care less about how I looked. I would only wear a couple of different outfits because firstly I had put on so much weight from the steroids and that was all that would fit and secondly, I didn`t have much energy for lots of laundry, so washing and wearing the same clothes was easier. The reason I’m feeling better these days is that we cut my dosage of chemo in the spring. It has taken a few months for me to start feeling better.

Later on, I worked on my paper that was due for class last night. It was a full day.

Guest Blogger: Khandie Khisses

My name is Khandie Khisses and I am proud to support Burlesque Against Breast Cancer.

I’m on my way home on a rather lovely Virgin train (first class, oo la la) on my way home from a fabulous burlesque war: Cold War Burlesque, to be exact. Among the fabulous sponsors was my dear friend Peski DeVille who owns Missy Changos and MonkeyBrand. Her performance of a Russian Bride was hilarious.

There were so many great performers. I will list them all once I checked spelling (burlesque names have some funny spelling not least mine). Candee Handful and Honey Wilde had me in fits of giggles with their acts from Thatcher to Adam Ant, what more could you want from a night?!

Whilst the Russian side defeated the British it was lovely to lose to such a talented lot. My fab moment for the night was the sound of the audience chanting my name. I was so taken back by it. You lot certainly know how to make a burlesque girl feel proud. Thank you.

My trip to Oz (Sydney and Melbourne to be precise) is looming and I can't wait. I have plans to shop like a crazy lady at all the corset/pinup shops and see as much Australian burlesque as possible. My own board treading is in Melbourne but more of that nearer the time. I feel sorry my poor folks who I am supposed to be visiting following their recent immigration. I mean they are gonna have to be dragged along to the shows. Though I am sure they won't mind. They like them. I think my folks are my biggest fans, my mom is forever talking about her
burlesque daughter.

Anyway I am going to have to speak to the lovely Jac Bowie to see what shows are on. Burlesque appears to be a universal language... LOL... I can't think of a
country that doesn't have it.

Monday is a modelling shoot, then Wednesday is Burlesque Against Breast Cancer, Dirty Dicks, Liverpool Stn, London. Come along and have a giggle.

Remember to donate generously as statistically one in three of us will get cancer at some point in our lives apparently. Some of us have been touched by it already and some have yet to be. The least we can do is help those who are suffering and make life a little easier.

Love Khandie xxx

Khandie Khisses will be performing for Burlesque Against Breast Cancer at Dirty Dicks, near Liverpool Street on Oct 21st. For more info, go to: www.khandiekhisses.com

Guest Blogger: Calico Cadillac

Tobacco, asbestos, arsenic, radiation, x-rays, sunshine, aspartame, benzene, lack of regular exercise, alcohol abuse...the list goes on, it seems you can't sneeze these days without getting cancer even if you are clean living.

Three years ago my Grandmother was sent to hospital, she had a strange rash on her chest and bizarre dimpling of the skin around the nipple. This had been something she'd noticed some time ago but had put it down to old age. A strong minded Russian woman and someone who had both of her children at home, she was the type to suggest honey and lemon for tonsillitis and a cup of tea for shock. Failed by the system, she'd never received sex education let alone been informed of the dangers of breast cancer or how to check herself. Stubborn, bossy and perhaps a little rude to hospital staff, she came in expecting to receive a course of antibiotics for what she assumed to be an allergic reaction. Little did we know how harrowing the years to come would be.

It emerged that she had breast cancer. For two long years, I watched a once strong woman go through rigorous chemotherapy and radiation treatments- one of the most painful thing was watching how ill both treatments made her. In that time we also lost my grandfather. I cannot begin to imagine how painful it must have been to lose one's life partner whilst trying to battle one of the biggest killers to date but she made it and fought every step of the way. It was hard to smile through tears when all of this was happening but her strength was inspirational, as someone who was meant to be there for her it was very hard to keep it together.

Three years on and a mastectomy, she is back and better than ever. As much as we moan about the health care in the UK, we have a lot to be thankful for. This year she went on a cruise on her own. She played a nun at a play touring the London Fringe Theatres and even sung at the Vauxhall Tavern, she is one of the lucky few who got a second chance and a fresh outlook on life. Not everyone is so lucky.

Breast cancer is now the second most common cause of death from cancer in women after lung. It remains to be a predominant cause of death within the human race. More must be done to raise awareness, it is lack of knowledge, research and funding that is failing us. I am massively impressed at the effort that has gone to organising this wonderful event, please think of these women and give generously.

Self Proclaimed fashionistas Ms Calico Cadillac and Ms Farrah Fontaine have been creating burlesque loveliness from the second they met. With Farrah's exquisite teeth and Calico's bountiful bosoms and oh so distinctive wiggle, together they hold the ingredients for a tantalising tease of a performance! Fontaine, a keen costume designer creates visual brillance beyond compare with every act holding something more special than the last. Teamed with Cadillac's strong focus on bringing classical burlesque and regency into slightly more out of the norm performce art; they cater for every sense and every occasion.

New Routines, Exciting Times!

Just in case I wasn’t busy enough with performing about six times this month and trying to sort out my post-university career, I also decided now would be excellent timing to sort out two new routines. I am so full of good and entirely practical ideas! Still, new routines are always fun to create, for the joy of being able to spend all your money on expensive sparkly underwear and soothe your financial conscience with the excuse that it’s for ‘work’ if nothing else….

I got my first ever pair of fans as a present from my parents for finishing my degree and used them for a seaside themed fan dance over the summer, but I decided with November rapidly approaching the likelihood of being booked for a nautical or seaside themed night is rapidly dwindling, so I’m busy reworking things for a slightly darker more winter-appropriate number.

This is really the first time I’ve done a ‘serious’ routine as I’m generally all about the ridiculous plotlines, props etc and I must say it’s given me a lot more respect for performers who do more serious acts. I’ve always thought that creating funny routines was a lot more of a challenge than just ‘being glamorous and taking your clothes off’, but working on my fan dance has altered my views on the matter somewhat! Not being able to rely on keeping people amused via the medium of comedy moustache disguises and pole dancing on hay bales makes keeping things entertaining and ensuring people don’t fall asleep half way through is quite the challenge.

I’m having to ensure I put a lot of effort into costume and choreography to make sure it’s still interesting to watch. On the plus side, I did kinda use the whole having to make sure the costume was interesting thing as an excuse to buy myself some lace print Atsuko Kudo latex I’ve been wanting for years, so that was something of a silver lining to the unforeseen challenges!

I’m also working on a new double act with the lovely Lena Mae which will see me firmly back in comedy territory. Working on double acts is awesome fun and I’m super excited to see how this one turns out, although also a little nervous, as due to the fact that Lena and I currently live a good couple of hours on the train away from each other we only have two full days to get the choreography sorted. Fingers crossed all will run smoothly!

Having said that, me and Lena’s double act performances have something of a history of being a bit of a shambles (injuries from hitting each other in the face, getting stuck in bras, the list goes on), yet always being a lot of fun and going down well, so I’m sure this one will be fine on the night!

I probably shouldn’t tempt fate by saying that, but still, it’s good to be optimistic…

Other than working on my new acts I haven’t been up to an awful lot burlesque related since I last wrote, however last Saturday I was in London for the afternoon to perform for ‘Naughty Sorts presents 1 in 4’, a charity event raising money for Mind. It was a great event and I was really happy to be a part of it, but unfortunately I was struck down by an evil cold of doom two days before the show, and spent most of the time before I went on feeling very sorry for myself and panicking that I was going to sneeze all over the audience. Stripping with a bright red nose and a hideous cold isn’t exactly the sexiest look, but thanks to a combination of an awful lot of makeup and some good old cold fighting on stage adrenaline I managed to battle through without looking too much like death, I think.

Later this month I’ll be hitting the stage in Bath for Club Cadaver on the 22nd and Ministry of Burlesque’s High Tease on the 30th, and debuting my new double act in Hitchin on the 25th, followed by burlesque style Halloween spookiness on Shoreditch on the 31st. After these I’ll be having a nice rested relatively burlesque free November getting my Christmas act ready for December’s shows, so come see me soon!

Miss Dolly Rose is a rising star in the UK burlesque scene. She has performed for BABC in the past and she can be found at www.myspace.com/missdollyrose

Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October is Breast Cancer awareness month and October 13th is Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

My journey with breast cancer started in 2000 when I was first diagnosed. After treatment I went into remission that year. In 2008 I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.

For information on Breast Cancer, please visit the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

For information on Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day, please visit the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network.

Here is a very short video explaining what metastases are …

Emily Breen: What performing for BABC means to me

Monday, October 12, 2009

For me performing at the BABC has been a fabulous, uplifting experience (boob pun not entirely intended). It is a celebration of the beauty of survival and of the female form in all her myriad shapes and sizes. I am touched to have been a part of BABC and so looking forward to the next!

Emily Breen is a columnist for Essex magazine The Edge and senior writer for film site HeyUGuys.co.uk. She is currently working on her second novel, How I Fell, seeking representation for her first and writing poems about boobs. The last time Emily read for BABC was the first time she has read in public since she was 14. She liked it so much she is doing it all again at Dirty Dicks in London on October 21st.

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

Survivor Stories

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Shopping For A New Cell Phone

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thursday, D and I went to a local mall to look at new cell phones and plans. My cell phone is 3 years old and starting to show its age. I`m trying to decide if I want a `candy bar` style phone as opposed to the `clam style` which I`ve always had in the past. The new phones have so many new gadgets to play with. I figure it will give me something to do while I`m waiting on doctor’s appointments. I watched people in the mall to see what type of cell phones they had. I think the majority of phones out there are candy style ... likely because they are easier for texting.

We ended up spending a couple of hours walking around ... well not really walking ... I would sit down just about every opportunity I could. Still, it was a couple of hours in the mall where I was more active than say if I was at home. Thank goodness there were a ton of cell phone provider stores and electronic stores to keep D occupied while I hobbled along.

During one of my rest stops, there was a gentleman sitting there and I could see from the corner of my eye he kept looking at me. I kind of wondered what I had out of place that kept him staring at me. Well he finally came over to talk to D and I. He had cancer and was in remission. He wanted to come by and share his cancer experience and wish me well. That was really nice.

We ended up stopping and having supper at the food court. I had some Chinese that went down pretty good. D had Italian.

The day I helped an old lady escape from a nursing home (a very dark humoured true story)

I was 15 and living in a small town for a while. I was rebelling against something, not quite sure what and needed money to get to Brighton's bright lights and party as much as I possibly could.

Nothing else mattered. Babysitting jobs took up too many evenings and there were no other jobs going in this limited town. A fellow rebellious schoolmate, a punk called Susan, got a part-time job in a local nursing home. She said there was a cleaning job going. That'll do me, I thought. Even though I couldn't stand old people, they were alien to me. They stank of moth balls and lavender and had no teeth and moaned all the time. Never mind, I thought. My job won't be 'involved' with them, I'm just going there to clean...

The nursing home was a large old detached converted house with a little drive up to the main entrance with hedges and trees along the front wall. On my first day I was told to go around the back and never to use the front door again. It didn't have a doorbell anyway because it might 'disturb' the residents. On entering through the back door, I found myself having to walk through the residents dining area, where the first thing that hit me was the smell. An overpowering stench of decaying humans and the weak watery boiled food that was being served to them. Then I noticed heavy drawn curtains, all windows were shut. There was a dark damp ominous feel to the room, even though it was a beautiful warm spring day outside. The residents looked pale, like ghosts with expressions showing they'd lost the will to live a long time ago...

Suddenly, a woman, the Matron who owned and ran this 'House of Fun' appeared! She had steel blue eyes and the most piercing stare I have ever seen. She must have been in her late 60's, thin with sharp features and very long silver hair swept up into a bun. She was from a different era and there seemed something...dare I say it ..Nazi about her.

She thrust a dirty old dustpan and brush into my hands and told me to clean the carpets throughout the house. I asked her where the hoover was, she looked at me like I had just shot someone,

"We do NOT have a hoover or any machinery in this house, the noise disturbs the residents!"

After a good 2 hrs on my knees and another 2hrs wiping old furniture with a damp old ripped up tea towel from the 1970s (she didn't believe in cleaning products), my back and my knees were killing me and I felt quite sick from the dust and the stagnant air. This little cash in hand job wasn't going to be as simple as I thought.

As the weeks wore on, I began to despise this woman. I was only 15 and I didn't really know what a sadist was, until now. One day, I was on my knees dustpan and brushing one of the bedrooms. All of the bedrooms had men and women sharing with no privacy. Right in the middle of the room was a woman crying. She was naked from the waist down sat on a commode,

"Help, help!"

I stood up to help her, then the Matron apeared and shouted,

"Leave her THERE! She HAS to learn!"

Three hrs later I could still hear,

"Help, help..." coming from that room. I peeked in and sure enough she was still sat there on the commode....

Alice, the one with severe dementia, would wander around in her nightie whimpering and cuddling a little rag doll close to her face like a scared child. She wandered into the kitchen one time when two fed-up auxillery nurses were propped up against the sink, arms crossed, sharing a fag. One of them said,

"Oh for christ sake Alice, SHUT-UP!"

The other said,

"We need to wash that doll"

They prized her fingers away from the doll and when her grasp slipped she screamed and screamed. They cracked up laughing, threw it on the floor and said,

"Oh have it then, FETCH!"

Now, when I took the mickey out of old people it was harmless. A generational thing. Just as one or two would take the rise out of my clothes, hairstyle, music etc. But this was something else! I did tell people about it but I'm sure they thought I was making it up. Well, I was a bit hormonal at the time and hardly ever at home, living a life of escapism.

Another character in the 'House of Fun' was The Major. He was quick off the draw, funny as hell and a randy old bugger! I would try to avoid dust pan and brushing with my bottom facing any door because he would come creeping in and 'THWACK!'

He would skip off laughing and I would be left with a smarting buttock, as well as what was now turning into the common victorian condition 'housemaids knee'.

My favourite resident was a lady called April. The reason why all the doors and windows were locked shut at all times was because of this minx. She constantly tried to escape and to be quite honest with you, I couldn't blame her. Now and again, day and night, a distant rattling could be heard. Well, that was April trying all the doors and the windows. Sometimes, she would put her coat on over her nightie and tell you she had to go and meet her husband. She would say (whilst pulling at a locked door to no avail)

"I have to meet my husband now. I'm late, he's waiting. Unlock the door please..."

Her husband died 20 yrs before. My loathing for old people was diminishing.
One day, the home was short staffed so we were all roped in to help serve lunch, which was some grey slush with a pink watery liquid running through it. Someone had burnt something in the kitchen, so for once they had to open a window. This was ground floor, front facing. I was told to go back and lock the kitchen window. When I walked in, there was April, trying to climb out but just too old and frail to succeed.

Something clicked inside my head. This suddenly felt like 'The Great Escape' or 'Papillion' or 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest', when a treasured moment of freedom is better than no freedom at all. I said,

"Do you need to see your husband, April?"

"Yes, please"

So, I lifted her gently out of the window and placed her on the front entrance outside. I was a big strong girl, so it didn't take much physical effort. I heard myself saying,

"Run April.... Run like the wind!"

As she shuffled off slowly down the drive, I saw her doing tiny baby steps in her nightie. I then locked the window and returned to the dining area. I felt exhilarated and I knew for sure (wherever distant land she would visit), she did too.

An hour later, she was found at the corner of the road sat on a wall admiring a garden. The next day, back inside, she quietly whispered to me,

"Thank you..." as she toddled off to go and try all the doors and the windows yet again. I left soon after, well walked out in fact after telling the Matron,

"Stick your dustpan and brush where the sun doesn't shine, you old cow!!"

A while later, I discovered that before I'd worked there, the home had been on a BBC complaints programme. There had been many bad reports about the place. The matron had defiantly carried on running it for a few years until she died there. Finally it closed. About bloody time too!

Strange how that job gave me a lesson in life, where my lifes adventures were just beginning.....

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: http://www.myspace.com/honourmission

Photo by Stan Keetley

Beulah Bell '2 Hearts'

My '2 Hearts' show for BABC was inspired by Kylie Minogue and her amazing X album after her battle with breast cancer. I wanted to show strength and hope to anyone who has been affected by cancer and raise awareness for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Beulah Bell performed for Burlesque Against Breast Cancer at the Book Club Boutique at Dick's Bar in Soho earlier this year. For more info, visit: www.myspace.com/missbeulahbell

Shout Out To Stand By Her: A Breast Cancer Guide For Men

Friday, October 9, 2009

I've been asked to do a shout out to Stand by Her: A Breast Cancer Guide for Men.

John W. Anderson had four women in his life go through breast cancer – his wife, his mom, his sister, and his mom’s best friend. . He realized that all his experiences, combined with other men’s journeys through “Cancer Land” could be of help to other men facing their own journeys.

So he wrote STAND BY HER: A Breast Cancer Guide for Men.

For more information please visit the website at: www.standbyher.org.

BC Support Group Coffee Meeting

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Yesterday afternoon we had our Breast Cancer support group coffee meeting. There was five of the six of us there ... S was vacationing in BC. J’s lymphedema was acting up and she had her arm wrapped in five tensors bandages, no sleeve. It looked heavy and bulky and uncomfortable. A, just came back from a mini vacation in Jasper and brought us all a bear-pin souvenir. That was very thoughtful. C, mentioned she was just over the H1N1 flu. In fact she had seen her doctor the day before and verified that it was OK to meet with me. We were talking about Google and Irm asked if I’ve ever been to Google ... we all laughed ... we are a diverse group.

I ordered a small OJ and sandwich. After eating half of the sandwich, I decided to put the remainder away because I was afraid of provoking diarrhea.

When we first arrived we all hugged each other as usual but after talking about the approaching flu season, we decided we’ll do the ‘elbow bump‘ when we meet in a couple of weeks.

Pilates for Breast Cancer Survivors

Pilates, in my opinion, is a wonderful way for Breast Cancer Survivors to get back to exercise after surgery.

The mat work is done on the floor so it takes less effort than standing up, which is less fatiguing.
It allows you to relax your body more. I like to take an inventory of my body and get in tune with all my muscles and see where I am holding stress. For most BCS this will be your neck, upper back and chest.

If laying on the floor is uncomfortable to you try laying on your bed to start out, or there are some thicker exercise mats you can get a sporting supply stores that will give you more cushioning.

You can start with simple breathing. Because of all the tension being held, this in its self is a good start.

Take your time and feel the stress relieving benefits of the Pilates exercises.

Please go to http://pilates.about.com for great tips on Pilates for BCS.

BABC in London