Archives

Do You Believe In Soul Mates?

Valentine

What do you think of the concept of soul mates; the notion that there is that one perfect person out there who is meant just for you?  You can live a perfectly productive life, but without that person by your side, you always have the nagging feeling that something is missing.  Many people think that it is all a bunch of nonsense, after all, given the right set of circumstances you can fall in love with just about anybody.  Depending on where you are in life, and your degree of vulnerability, it is possible fall in love with the most unlikely of candidates!  That is certainly true.  But this love will soon fizzle and fade away.  The love you share with a soul mate however is different.  It may fade a little with time, but it can never go away completely.

I am no stranger in the love department.  I fell in love for the first time at 16 years old, and most recently at 44, with a few loves in between.  In those years, I have learned some things about love. For example, I have learned that the term “young love” is a misnomer.  Falling in love at 44 was just as magical as falling in love at 16.  My friend Ann, who is 81 and still in love with her husband, tells me that it still feels like “young love”, even at her age.  I have also learned that you are never too young or never too old to find your true soul mate.

How do you know if you have found your true soul mate?  The first sign is the instant connection that you feel with this person.  In most cases, falling in love is a gradual process.  With a soul mate, it is almost instantaneous.  They say the eyes are the windows to the soul, and you may find that the first thing you notice about your soul mate is his or her eyes.  When you look into those eyes for the first time, you feel a sense of recognition, as if you have known this person for a lifetime.   Your two souls connect like two long lost friends.

The second thing I know to be true about soul mates is that time and distance cannot break their bond.  The love that they share transcends the physical realm, and therefore cannot be weakened by the passage of time, or distance between them.

The third thing I believe is that soul mates can never really  “break up”.  Sure, soul mates can end their relationship, they may even move on to marry someone else.  However the love bond that they share can never be broken, and their souls will always find a way back to each other.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you……and of course to my soul mate!

If you are still looking for your true love, here is a prayer that I found called “The Soul Mate Prayer”:

Dear God, Loving Essence of all there is, please fill me with your sacred presence.

I ask for your Love and Guidance and for your blessings.

As I explore the deep reaches of my heart, I ask for your assistance in releasing that which stands in the way of true love.

My heart is pure; my intentions clear. Please bring to me my most perfect partner.

I seek a partner who enhances me by his/her very being,

who brings more love, joy, peace and prosperity to my life,

who I can love fully and who can fully receive my love,

who loves, honors and cherishes me completely, and always.

May my heart be open and my head be clear.

May my life be ready to welcome true love.

May I be embraced in a circle of your love

and uplifted by your grace.  And so it is

World Cancer Day

world cancer day

Today, February 4th, is recognized as World Cancer Day.   The theme of this year’s World Cancer Day centers around debunking the myths of cancer.  In particular, the message is focused on these four common myths:

We don’t need to talk about cancer.

-Cancer….there are no signs or symptoms.

-There is nothing I can do about cancer.

-I don’t have the right to cancer care.

It is the third myth….”There is nothing I can do about cancer” that really grabbed my attention.   When my treatments ended, I really believed that there was nothing I could do about cancer.  I felt like a helpless victim.  But not anymore!

A couple of days ago, I wrote about the “Radical Remission of Cancer”; those seemingly miraculous cures of “incurable” cancer.  You can read about it here.  Once thought a fluke of nature, and referred to as “spontaneous remissions”, researchers are now discovering common attributes among these miracle survivors.   I am very interested in reading Dr. Kelly Turner’s book, “Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds”, due to be released next month.  After examining more than a thousand cases of radical remission and interviewing survivors from all over the world, Dr. Turner has uncovered 9 common threads among these miracle survivors.   I cannot wait to learn about her findings!

In our book, “100 Perks of Having Cancer Plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving It”, we make reference to  a similar book by Tami Boehmer (“From Incurable to Incredible: Cancer Survivors Who Beat the Odds”) .   In her book, Ms. Boehmer  found 8 common characteristics among the people she interviewed.  These were:

-refusing to buy into statistics and the death sentences many of them were given

-never giving up, no matter what

-relying on support from family, loved ones, or support groups

-choosing to look on the bright side and see the gifts cancer brings

-giving back and making a difference in other people’s lives

-having a strong sense of faith

-being proactive participants in their health care

-viewing their lives as transformed by the experience

It will be interesting to find out whether Dr. Turner found similar characteristics among her miracle survivors.

My co-author, Susan, and I have our own theories on how to increase your odds of surviving cancer and reduce your risk of a cancer reoccurrence.   We believe that the most effective treatment focuses not just on healing the body, but also on healing the mind and the spirit.

Healing the Body

We believe that your fight with cancer does not end when your treatment ends.  Rather, it requires a lifelong commitment to healthy living.  Like Tami Boehmer, we encourage people to be active participants in their own health care.  We also promote healthy living practices such as exercise (which can reduce your risk of a cancer reoccurrence by as much as 40%) and eating a mainly plant based diet (which can reduce your risk by as much as 30%).  “100 Perks of Having Cancer Plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving It” talks about hundreds of other healthy living tips for cancer prevention.

Healing the Mind

We are also strong believers in the mind-body connection and through our research we have learned that your mental attitude can impact a great deal on your physical health.  Therefore working on healing your mental state is as important as healing your body.  There are actually exercises that you can do each day, such as practicing affirmations, which can change your mental outlook.  This in turn can have a positive impact on your physical health.

Healing the Spirit

Finally, we believe that true healing requires a healthy spirit in addition to a healthy body and mind.  Having a sense of hope and faith have been linked to improved physical health.   There are many other practices presented in our book, such as forgiveness exercises and mindfulness, which can promote a healthy spirit.

Cancer is a disease that not only wreaks havoc on the body, but can also leave deep emotional and mental scars and sometimes a broken spirit.  If your goal is to give yourself the best odds of surviving cancer, you need a plan!  This plan must address the health of all areas of your being: body, mind and spirit.

 

 

Radical Remission of Cancer

When my cousin was just 2 years old, she was diagnosed with leukemia and was literally “at death’s door”.  The doctors informed my aunt and uncle that there was no hope; cancer had invaded more than 90% of her body.  She was sent home to die.  Weeks later, her condition seemed to be improving and she was brought back to the hospital for a check- up.  Miraculously, without further medical treatments,  the cancer had completely vanished from her body and now, 35 years later, she remains cancer free!  She is one of thousands of documented cases of what was once known as “spontaneous remission”, and is now more appropriately named “radical remission.”

I have since read about and actually met other survivors who have experienced radical remission of cancer.  One of the most amazing examples is my friend, Sherry Bishop.   More than four years ago, she was diagnosed with incurable stage 4 breast cancer, and given a life expectancy of two years.  Today, there is no evidence of the disease in her body.  (You can read  her story here.)

How do we explain these seemingly “miraculous” cures of “incurable” cancer?  I just happened to stumble upon the work of Dr. Kelly Turner, PhD, whose book, “Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds,” will be published by Harper Collins in March 2014.  Dr. Turner has examined over 1000 cases around the world of the radical remission of cancer.  She prefers the term “radical remission” to “spontaneous remission” as the latter term implies that the remission is a fluke of nature.  The data that she has been collecting suggests otherwise.  It appears from her work, and the research of others, such as Tami Boehmer (“From Incurable to Incredible: Cancer Survivors Who Beat the Odds” ) that in most cases, these miraculous cures are not just happenstance.  There are common threads that run through them, and in most cases, these commonalities involve making certain lifestyle changes, or the use of alternative therapies.

So just exactly what type of lifestyle changes have been linked to higher survival rates, decreased risk of a reoccurrence, and even in rare cases, the radical remission of cancer?   I guess you will just have to wait until Feb. 4th, World Cancer Day when I tell you what my co-author, Susan Gonzalez, and I have learned from our research and experience!   (Please be cautioned however that making lifestyle changes does not GUARANTEE higher survival rates, and in no way am I implying that those people who do not “beat cancer” are doing something wrong.)

In the meantime, if you have a personal story to share about your radical remission of cancer, please go to Dr. Turner’s website.

Free Stuff!

Hey, who doesn’t love to get free stuff, right?  Well, when I saw this free webinar featuring top experts in the area of cancer, who will be sharing their best tips and tools, I thought, I gotta share this!   So to all of my survivor friends, if you are looking for tips and tools on how to THRIVE after cancer, you might want to check this out.

Morgan

FREE Ticket & over $1000 of FREE Gifts!

 

Mark your calendars! An exciting FREE event designed to help YOU thrive in your life after cancer launches on February 4th and continues for 20 consecutive days until February 23.

The event, “Tools To Thrive,” is the brainchild of Registered Nurse and Healthprenuer Morgan Toombs (from Toronto, Ontario, Canada). Morgan selected topics for the symposium based on what survivors – just like you – have identified as being important for them: sexuality, body image, energy medicine, nutrition, releasing fear, embracing the future and so much more!

This online event is a game changer not only because you can attend from the comfort of your own home but also because it embraces both Western and Alternative Medicines and it features 20 world-renowned experts in survivorship and thriving including: The Voice of Alternative Medicine” Burton Goldberg, internationally sought after sexologist and host of Playboy TV’s SWING, Dr. Jessica O’Reilly, Transformational Educator and Co-Founder of Access Consciousness, Dr. Dain Heer, as well as many others.

What makes this event so powerful is that each speaker is required to share a minimum of 3 action steps or “tools” that viewers implement immediately to really “take on” the content! This means that you will learn over 60 tips, tools and techniques to THRIVE just by taking part in the symposium!

Three incredible features of this event include:

1)    it’s FREE

2)    you don’t have to travel anywhere because all the video interviews will be available on YouTube

3)    you get over $1000 in free gifts when you register!

Claim your spot today by going to www.thevibrantyou.ca

 

 

 

 

 

Morgan

How To Survive A Crisis

There is something simply exhilarating about surviving a crisis, isn’t there?  Nobody wants to face a crisis head on of course, (although we all have done so), but when  all is said and done, facing that crisis like a survivor can really make you feel like the cock of the walk!

rooster1

This is how I would look as the “cock of the walk”.

You may assume that the crisis I am referring to is surviving cancer.  But you would be wrong.  You should never make assumptions.  That is the “third agreement” from the book The Four Agreements, which would surely change your life if you choose to live by the words of Don Miguel Ruiz…..but  I digress…. No, mes amis, the crisis I am referring to is not surviving cancer, but rather surviving  “hashtag Dark NL”!  (Yes, I do know that there is an actual hashtag symbol…duh, I have two teenagers ya know…)

For those of my faithful followers who are fortunate enough to live in a land far, far away that is devoid of snow, let me begin by saying, “You lucky B@#$%$#s”.   This year Newfoundland has been hit hard with “almost” record breaking snow falls and storms (not to be outdone by the dreaded winter of 2001).  And I dare anybody to say out loud, “This is the worst winter EVER!”  because I can guarantee you that the words would no longer be off your lips when some smart-“A “ will jump out of the wood work to remind you of THAT winter.   But once again I digress…..

As we were nearing the end of an extra-long Christmas break, I awoke on the morning of January 4th to the beeping of my fire alarm, which could only mean one thing:  a power outage.  Well, technically speaking it could have also meant a fire, but let’s not even go there, okay?  Naturally, the first thing I did upon waking  was grab my phone to check facebook, and it soon became apparent to me that this was no ordinary power outage.  More than half of the province of  Newfoundland was out of power!   ( To be politically correct, I guess I should say, the province of “Newfoundland and Labrador”………and while we are on the topic of politics, don’t even get me started on the “Kathy Dunderdale did this on purpose…Muscrat Falls” thing, because I honestly don’t have a clue what all of that means, and I just nod my head in agreement when my very intelligent daughter, Kaitlyn, starts voicing her political opinions!)  So back to my story…..

As soon as I heard that the power was out in places all over the island, I immediately jumped into SURVIVAL MODE!  After all, there was not only me, but also three kids to think about:  we need water; we need food; we need heat; we need wine (no, I’m sorry, I meant “I”….”I need wine”).  So obviously the first thing I did was dive under the Christmas tree to see if anyone had given me wine for a Christmas gift…just kidding of course, that was the second thing I did…the real first thing I did was try to light my fireplace, but the snow was so deep that it had covered the outside vent and the propane would not light, so I had to put on my snow gear and trudge through upwards of 12 feet of snow just  to get to the vent!  I am sure you would love to now hear about how I dug out the vent, kept my kids warm and made sure they were fed and entertained through a major power outage, but hey, as they say, a picture paints a thousand words……

DSCN4441[1]Cooking bacon for the boys on a little stove I made out of tea-light candles on a plate. 

DSCN4446[1]Kaitlyn dressed in many layers to keep warm.

DSCN4449[1]The boys sucking the last bit of power out of their devices.

DSCN4458[1]Getting ready for a game of cards by candlelight….the most fun I’ve had with my kids in years!

 DSCN4465[1]

 Cuddled down on a make-shift bed in front of the fireplace.

Absent from the photos:  ME.  Hey, what can I say, it was a no shower, no make up kinda day.   And now, my Newfie friends, let us make way for “hashtag wet NL.”

Me and Ben

DSCN2237

Me and Ben at the Sensory Garden which I designed for children with autism.

In order to sound grammatically correct, I guess I should have entitled this post, “Ben and I”, but doesn’t that sound just a little stuffy?  Sort of like, “Please join Ben and I for tea and crumpets.”  (Imagine that said with a posh British accent.)  Not that there is anything wrong with the Brits.  In fact, my little Ben happens to be half British himself, and has been to the mother country several times, which is quite a feat for an 8 year old who has autism.   An old friend of mine who has never met Ben, recently asked me to explain how Ben’s autism affects our lives.  So here goes…..

Ben was born a perfectly normal, and healthy boy on May 11, 2005.  As a baby, he reached all of his developmental milestones at the right time, such as smiling, rolling over and walking.  By the time he was two, I noticed that he was not talking, and I recognized that as a red flag for learning disabilities,   but I never imagined he could have autism!   When his father, a Paediatrician, hinted at this diagnosis, I freaked.  “How dare you suggest that Ben has autism?  You call yourself a doctor?”  But as time went on, I could no longer ignore the signs:  his fascination with the weather channel, his obsession with letters, his lack of interest in being around other people, and of course his poor communication skills and lack of eye contact.  By age three, Ben still had not spoken a word and was not responding to his name.   It was at this age that he was officially diagnosed and it was like a death to me.  I grieved for several months, shedding many tears behind closed doors as I tried to come to grips with a more realistic view of how Ben’s future might look.  While I had hoped that this little boy might grow up to be a doctor like his Daddy, now I had more pressing concerns.  Will he ever talk?  Will he ever have a friend?  Will he need me to care for him for the rest of his life?  (This was one of the questions that haunted me most when I was diagnosed with cancer.)

It has been five years since Ben’s diagnosis, and that time has been filled with many challenges, as well as many joys.  Perhaps the most challenging aspect of Ben’s behavior is his need for structure and routine.  When something changes in his schedule, or the internet is not working, watch out!   Ben will scream loud enough that I sometimes think there is blood trickling out of my ears.  But luckily, his melt downs do not last long and it is generally easy to distract him to something else.  Another challenge for me is his great Houdini skills.  Even though my house is locked up like Fort Knox, he continues to figure out how to escape the bolts and chains and has run away several times.   Since he has very little awareness of danger, he could easily be hit by a car, or wander off into the woods.  This is a constant torment for me.  (I asked God to give him 100 guardian angels to watch over him, and I believe he must have at least that many, since he has been kept out of harms way so many times!)

Another ongoing challenge is learning problems.  When Ben first started school, I insisted that he do the same program as the other children.  I figured that if the teachers kept their expectations high enough, Ben would eventually rise up to meet them.  I was wrong.  One of the main characteristics of autism is that it is a communication disorder.  While Ben is very bright in many ways (for example, he could read before he could talk, and he is a whiz on the computer!), his communication skills are weak and he sometimes seems lost in a classroom that uses language as the main tool of teaching.  I had to eventually allow his program to be modified so that he is now learning at his own level.

The other main area affected by autism, in addition to communication, is social skills.  You may have heard the expression that people with autism   “live in a world of their own”, and Ben does appear to be that way sometimes.  Most times, he would prefer to hang out by himself, rather than be with his family or other kids.  But sometimes he surprises me.  When I was diagnosed with cancer in 2011, my first concern as a mother was for my children, but mostly I worried about how my two older children would take the news.  I was not so much concerned about Ben.  At six, his language skills were severely limited, and I did not think he would even understand how sick I was.  Even if he did, I reasoned that being “in a world of his own,” he would not really be concerned with my plight.  But again, I was wrong.  Even though he could speak very little, Ben had learned to use the computer to type up and print off messages.  While I was going through treatments, I would find his type written notes around the house with messages like, “Mom is hurt” or “Mom is sick.”  This told me that he really did understand what was happening to me!   Other times he would bring me notes, with messages like, “Dear Mom, you are nice,” or “Dear Mom, I love you.”   This told me that not only did he know that I was sick, but he also cared enough to try to cheer me up in his own little way.    That is one of the many joys of being Ben’s mom.

????????????

Me and Ben when I was going through chemo.

Last week, I met a woman at a Christmas party and we were talking about our children.  When I told her about Ben, she said, “Oh my, and you can’t even put them away in homes anymore.”   I was so shocked by her statement that I could not respond.   If I had my time back, I would have said something like this: Ben has a home, and he shares it with me, his brother and his sister, all of whom adore him.  (Actually, he has two very loving homes since he spends a lot of time with his Daddy and Lily.)  He is smart, loveable, compliant, and very gentle.  He has never shown aggression towards other people or any living thing, for that matter.  Our home would not be a home without Ben in it.

Before getting cancer, I was obsessed with fixing Ben’s autism.  I figured that with enough therapy and prayers, he would someday be “normal.”   After facing my own mortality, I realized that my purpose in life is not to “fix” Ben, since he was never broken.  He is perfect just the way he is.  It is my job as his mother, to help him reach his greatest potential, whatever that may be.  Isn’t that the job of all parents?

Fall and Christmas 2013 514My beautiful children.

 

 

 

Christmas With The Kranks

One of my all-time favorite Christmas movies is “Christmas with the Kranks”.  In this story, Mr. and Mrs. Krank decide that they are going to skip Christmas for a year.  No cards.  No gifts.  No giant Frosty on the roof.  While I did not make a conscious decision to do so, up until December 21, you would have sworn that I, Florence Strang, was skipping Christmas this year.  There were no cards.  No gifts.  No giant inflatable Micky Mouse plugged in outside my door.  Yes folks, I had become Florence Krank!  It is not my fault.  I blame it entirely on my daughter, Kaitlyn.  She was away at University for the first time this year, and without her to keep me on my toes with her shopping lists, calendars and exceptional organizational skills, Christmas just kinda snuck up on me.  But lucky for me, Kaitlyn made it home just in time to save Christmas.   While rolling her eyes at me and saying, “MOTH-ERRRR!”, she whipped up a list for me with who to shop for and what to buy, cross-referenced with places to shop.  Thank you, Kaitlyn!  So armed with my shopping list, Shawn and I set out to the Avalon Mall on our second annual Christmas shopping marathon, which turned out to be pretty much the same as our first annual Christmas shopping marathon.  If you are in the mood for a giggle, you can read about it RIGHT HERE.

(One from the archives….The Christmas I was bald.)

 

Santa flo