what i did to survive . com

what i did to survive breast cancer

March 26, 2012
by Rhonda

What should I do? Lymphedema and Air Travel

I need your advice, opinion and experience.

Seven years since I had all my lymph nodes removed.  I was told at the time that I would eventually get lymphedema.   Not a question of “if”, but a question of “when”.

I haven’t had any signs of it so far… (despite a stupid and horrible accident where I burned my arm in two places, plus a few cuts, bruises and insect bites.)

Ok, now for the big test.  I am taking a 5 hour overseas flight.  Conventional wisdom says cabin pressure changes  can/will cause lymphedema in women who have had lymph nodes removed.

My Questions:

Do you think I should wear a compression garment on the plane?

Or maybe just bring one, and if my arm feels wierd, put it on?  Or will that be too late?

Any other advice?

Thanks you for your help!


February 20, 2012
by Rhonda

Dandelions as Cancer Treatment

Dandelion tea is being studied in Windsor, Canada as a possible remedy for cancer.  A patient got better, who wasn’t supposed to, and he atributed his success to dandelion tea.  A private donor gave money to his oncologist to do further studies. Effective way to treat acne from the first time – take Accutane Online.  The test group will be about 24 patients.  Money and expertise going towards natural and simple therapies is the real news story here.

Dandelions cleanse the liver and has some chemicals  that encourage cell death to cancer cells, but do not harm good cells, the roots contain 40 naturally occurring chemicals.  Dandelion are rich in vitamins and minerals.



Dandelions (Taraxacum)  are found worldwide.  They are edible and medicinal. The leaves are common in salad, steamed or stir fried,  the roots can be made into a coffee substitute, and the leaves and flowers can be made into tea.

Susanna Moodie  writes about this in “Roughing it in the Bush” in 1852, a book that has inspired me since I was a kid.


Dandelions grow everywhere.  In north america people use large amounts of herbicides to destroy dandelions.  If you are going to harvest the plant make sure you find a garden, or field where no chemicals have been used for many years.  Please watch out for people who lie about using herbacides, I know at least three people who say that they don’t, but do.


The spring is a better time to harvest the leaves.  I add a few tender ones to salad.  You can add a few leaves to soup stock.  The dandelions that grow in well toiled and fertilized soil often have the most tender leaves.


The fall is the best time to harvest the roots for coffee.  They can get quite thick…about the size of your thumb.  It is quite a bit of work to harvest enough to make dandelion coffee.  Dry them, cut them the sizes of coffee beans, roast them, and then grind them.  Boil the grinds to make coffee.  I like the flavour.  One night I drank two cups, and I have to saw I had extremely weird dreams.  I’m just telling you the truth. You can buy the roots already dried and roasted…but they call it tea.


Use the leaves to make tea.  You can use fresh or dried.  You can even throw in a couple flowers. Or buy it…it’s still winter here!


January 27, 2012
by Rhonda

Does The Pink Campaign Suck?

Now that there is so much money in breast cancer donations, what motivation is there to find a cure or prevent it?
Why are more and more women are getting breast cancer? Watch: Pink Ribbons, Inc.

The website thinkbeforeyoupink.org claims to be the only breast cancer foundation that does not accept funding from big pharms, and their prime objective is to monitor the pink campaign.:


October 24, 2011
by Rhonda

Top Thirteen Health Myths

These common “Healthy Lifestyle’ untruths can make you very sick.

  1. Sunshine is bad
  2. Fat is bad
  3. Meat is bad
  4. Salt is bad
  5. Eggs are bad
  6. Butter is bad
  7. Raw milk is bad
  8. Wine is bad
  9. Marijuana is bad
  10. Chocolate is bad
  11. Whole grains and bread are good
  12. Skim milk is good
  13. Soy is good

September 20, 2011
by Rhonda

Wheat Belly

Cardiologist, William Davis,  observed his patients get better when they stopped eating wheat.   Davis explains  in Wheat Belly how wheat has been rudely manipulated and changed over the years, how wheat causes surges in blood sugar levels, making you tired and hungry, how it causes disease, aging,  high pH, celiac diseare, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and weight gain. If you are fighting cancer you don’t have room in your diet for wheat products.

This trend towards omitting wheat is not news to some. Other authors have approached this subject in compelling ways, such as Sally Falon in  Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition , and Gary Taubes in Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health, and Mark Sisson,The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss.


June 24, 2011
by Rhonda

Un Grande Courage

Fanny Burney 's account of her mastectomy.  Copyright 2011 Rhonda Abrams

1811 Mastectomy

In 1811, Frances Burney undergoes a mastectomy in France.  Her experience is recorded in a letter to her sister.

Although a bit gruesome and heart wrenching, her courage and her ability to withstand the pain is inspiring.  With only a glass of wine to calm her, she is conscious through the whole three hour operation, except for a few moments of fainting.

She lives another 29 years.









June 20, 2011
by Rhonda

More Proof : Low Carb – less Cancer

Another study shows that a low carb diet reduces cancer risk.

Why?  The  cancer feeds on sugar and sugar weakens your imumme system.

If you are fighting cancer, or just want to avoid it, one of the most important things you can do is quit grains (bread and cereals) and reduce sugar.





May 25, 2011
by Rhonda

Medical Marijuana expo? An Interview with the show’s founder

I am very curious about the Treating Yourself expo that  takes place in Toronto on June 3-5 in Toronto.  Marco Renda, the show founder, generously agreed to answer my questions. I am so glad he did because it’s hard for most of us to get the real inside info on what’s going on with medical marijuana in this country.  It’s still a bit of a taboo.

Me: As a teenager in the 70’s I never imagined one day there would be a whole trade show for pot.  I know it’s legal, with a prescription.  Is this something that you just ask your family doctor for?

Marco: Yes you can go to your family doctor and ask them if they would be willing to fill out the Health Canada forms to allow you to use cannabis as your medicine.  Your Doctor will need to fill out these forms every year as the permits are only valid for one year.

Me: During chemo and many treatments, I thought about asking one of my many doctors for a prescription for marijuana, but I feared I would lose the respect of the Doctor, and therefore, I would put myself at a disadvantage.  It’s a very vulnerable time.  Do you think doctors judge you when ask for a medical marijuana prescription?

Marco: Yes I do believe that some Doctors do in fact judge you when you ask them for prescription for cannabis.  The majority of the Doctors here in Canada WON’T sign the forms as they DON’T want to be the Gatekeeper.

Me: Does marijuana really help chemo patients? Are there any negative side effects?

Marco: Yes cannabis is an extremely effective medicine to help cancer patients deal with the side effects of chemo.  The only side effect that I am aware of is having an appetite which is what you are after any ways as with the side effects of chemo you don’t want to eat food.

Me: I’ve heard of the so called “the munchies”.  So it’s important to have healthy snacks on hand…

When chemo is over, do patients get to keep their prescriptions for the rest of their life?

Marco:  Yes I have known several patients to continue using cannabis well after they stop chemo.  As a matter of fact most patients that I have come across swear that they have never felt better as the side effects from chemo lasts well after the patient has stopped taking it.

Me: I have to agree with that.  The effects of chemo last for years.

What other types of illness and disabities do doctors prescribe marijuana for?

Marco: There are several ailments that dr recommend cannabis use: HIV/AID , HEP C , Fybromialgia , Epilepsy , ADHD , PTSD , MIGRAINES , plus many more.

Me: Can you actually buy pot at the Treating Yourself expo, if you have a prescription?

Marco: NO! Cannabis sales is strictly PROHIBITED at the TY Expo.

Me:  OK. That’s clear.

How about seeds?  What kind of paperwork do you need to buy seeds? And to grow marijuana?

Marco: Yes you can purchase seeds at the expo.  There isn’t any paperwork needed to purchase cannabis seeds at the expo.  To be able to grow medicinal cannabis legally you have to either be a licensed patient or a Designated Grower.  Both the patient growing their own as well as the Designated Grower who grows for patients that are unable to, have to reapply every year as all permits are only valid for one year

Me: Is there a difference between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana?

Marco:  Well actually it’s the same but the quality can be different as those who purchase cannabis for recreational use buy it from the Black Market and they are only interested in moving product not interested in the quality of the cannabis that they are selling.

Me:  What sort of venders will be at the Treating Yourself Expo?  And what will your average chemo person like about the show?

Marco: There are over 100 vendors displaying goods such as vaporizers, seeds, clothing, nutrients, grow equipment, Compassion Clubs, publications, etc.  While there really isn’t a way for me to  know who is a chemo patient and who isn’t,  I can tell you is that those who attend vary in age from  early teens coming with parents to senior citizens looking for alternative medicine.

Me:  I wonder if your average chemo person will feel comfortable at the Treating Yourself Expo?  In your estimation, what  percentage of people attending are patients, and what percentage are recreational drug users?

Marco:  Every patient that attends the Treating Yourself Expo will feel EXTREMELY comfortable as the event is geared to them and their needs.  I would have to say that 70% of those attending are patients and or caregivers and the balance being recreational users and curiosity seekers looking to get educated on the benefits of cannabis as medicine.

Me: Are there any legal implications, or other dangers to people attending Treating Yourself?

Marcus: No!  At last years expo we had all kinds of undercover police roaming around and NOBODY got harassed or arrested.  The police are only interested if people are distributing cannabis at the expo which it isn’t

Me: Do you see pot’s future in medicine beyond treating symptoms?  Current studies suggest that marijuana may contribute cancer prevention.  What do you think?

Marco:  Absolutely!  Cannabis is being researched by many scientists in other countries.

Me: Do you think pot will ever be legal in Canada?

Marco: Absolutely! 








I guess we need to find an understanding Doctor… and attend the Treating Yourself Expo! Thank you so much Marco for answering my questions.

April 22, 2011
by Rhonda

Borscht (beet soup)

This is a beautiful pure red soup.  The ingredients are simple and curative.  I don’t know exactly what makes it taste so good. It has a lovely rich complex flavour.beet photo by r.abrams

Health Benefits:

  • Beets – full of anti oxidants, anti inflamatories and plant pyto chemiclas such as betanin and vulgaxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin,  that prevent and fight cancers and heart disease, and aid in eye health
  • Cabbage – lowers cholesterol, and contains polyphenols and vitamin k
  • Caraway – anti oxidants
  • Bone broths – provide easy to absorb minerals, and  repairs the digestive track
  • Onions – contains quercetin, lots of minerals, increases bone density, anti bacterial

photo by r.abrams


  • 3  large beets – peeled and grated, (you can use a mandolin, hand grater or food processor, or cut it up into 1/4 inch match sticks by hand)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 Tbsps butter
  • 1 cup of thinly sliced cabbage.
  • 5 cups of stock (beef, chicken, or duck)
  • pepper
  • 3 Tbsps vinegar
  • 2 tsps caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp or more of salt
  • sour cream or yogurt


Melt butter in large pot.  Add onins and fry on medium, until wilted and soft.  Add the rest of the ingredients, except sour cream.  Cover, and simmer until the beets are tender 20 – 50 minutes.  Taste for seasonings.   Serve with a big spoonful of sour cream or yogurt.

Makes 6 bowls