Navigating Cancer Just Got Easier


I’ve got a cardboard box sitting in my bedroom closet, overflowing with breast cancer stuff. It’s been in its same spot for five years, and every now and then, I fish stuff out of it. Sometimes I rifle through for a pamphlet; sometimes I hunt for a business card of some nurse or nutritionist or someone else. On occasion, I grab my wrinkled-up pathology report from the box, and when I want a trip down memory lane, I flip through the little pink polka dot journal I kept for a few days, then tossed to the wayside. While my breast cancer storage system seems to work for me, it could be a whole lot better. It could be better organized, better managed, and in this day and age, it really should be electronic.

Lucky you if you’re in the market for navigating your cancer journey in a much more systematic way, because a new website has just been launched, and I’ve been checking it out. In a word, it’s — great!

Navigating Cancer (it’s free!), is specifically for cancer patients and their supporters who want to create and manage a secure patient health record, keep a daily record of their well being and side effects, and create summary reports that can be shared with their healthcare team. Patients can also connect with other cancer patients.

While you mull over whether you might want to join this site, take a peek at this sample organizer, check out some cancer resources and give yourself the grand tour of the whole site. I think you’ll like how simple and easy the interface is, and it’s a really friendly place, too — happy photos, soothing colors and an overall nice feel. It’s a whole lot better than my cardboard box, that’s for sure. And while I really, really hope I never again have a reason to use a place like Navigating Cancer, at least I know there’s a spot that can make life a whole lot easier in the midst of chaos and distress.

If you’d like to read what others have to say about Navigating Cancer, just click here.

Digging Deep for a Body Beautiful


Breast cancer made me fat. Well, not fat like being pregnant made me fat (yikes!), but it definitely left me puffy, bloated, soft and about 10 pounds heavier than I like. It’s why I took full advantage of a trip to Canyon Ranch a few years ago — I soaked up a bunch of tips and tricks for eating clean and exercising enough, made lots of lifestyle changes when I got home, and by golly, it worked. I dropped 15 pounds and found a number on the scale that made me happy.

And now, in an ironic turn of events, the very fitness that I’ve worked so hard for is making me fat. Well, not fat, but this 1/2 marathon training is making me thicker, bulkier and about 4 or 5 pounds heavier than I like. I know, I know, it might be muscle, but still, I don’t like it. I mean, I’m burning something like a thousand calories on my long runs, and, well, isn’t that supposed to help me maintain my weight? I know, I know, it might be muscle.

I think the point here is that I’m never entirely content with my body. Why is that? Well, I know partly why — OMG, all those impossible-to-attain media images. All skinny models and actresses aside, though, I’ve got to start loving what I’ve got. Like Danny loves what he’s got.

Six-year-old Danny is a lollygagger. He takes his own sweet time to accomplish anything. It seems like a pretty nice existence (low stress!), but when matters are urgent, his approach is a problem. Take school mornings: rolling around on the floor before he gets dressed and savoring each bit of breakfast just doesn’t work when we’re racing against the clock to get out the door. And today, the guy was in no hurry to brush his teeth and hair. He just stood, staring in the bathroom mirror, completely still.

“Danny, come on!” I urged him. “We need to get in the car!” And then he shared what I’ve been thinking about all day:

“Mom, I’m just checking out my beauty.”


“You are a beauty,” I told Danny, and I let him admire his image for a minute longer (but just a minute, the clock was ticking).

Sometimes wisdom comes wrapped in first-grade packages. Danny looks in the mirror and sees nothing but beauty. He doesn’t see his big tooth growing in all crooked, his messy hair or his clothing that rarely matches. He just sees good. When I look in the mirror, I see gray hair, wrinkles starting to crawl across my face, and the dreaded thigh-ulite. When I really dig deep, I do love my body — gosh, it birthed two humongous babies and beat cancer — but I need to do better at appreciating the goodness on a daily basis. That’s why, starting today, I’m going to take a little more time to look for the beauty.

I think you should, too.