Thursday, January 26, 2012

Clobbering Cancer

Another guest blogger, enjoy

Someone I love was just diagnosed with breast cancer.

I’m optimistic that she’s going to be just fine, but I know that she has a lot of decisions to make about treatment, both conventional and alternative, in the near future.

Since I’ve worked with cancer survivors for nearly a decade, and since I’m also a Holistic Health Counselor, I have a lot to say about cancer.

Namely, cancer sucks.

That profound statement aside, I’ve seen hundreds of women overcome this feared foe.

I’ve even seen many come out the other end better for it. That might sound cliché, but it’s true. Several cancer survivors I’ve worked with have told me that cancer was the best thing that ever happened to them… their cancer diagnosis helped them get their priorities straight. Sometimes it takes a kick in the pants to make that happen.

It’s unfortunate that we wait until we receive life-changing news to actually change our lives. What would happen if we treated ourselves the way we should be treated all the time…. Before we ever get sick?
Here are my top 5 tips for taking care of yourself… before, after, or during a devastating diagnosis.

1. Eat your veggies.
The first thing my loved one who was diagnosed said to me was, “I’m going to take out my juicer and start using it.” I think that’s great. I think it’s even better if we start treating our bodies with the respect it deserves before we receive a nasty diagnosis. No judgment here, friends… I’m just as guilty as anyone else. I’ve not only heard all the excuses, I wrote the excuses book. It’s too cold to juice. The store is out of cucumbers. That carrot cake counts as a vegetable. I’ve used ‘em all. Excuses can’t save our lives… but maybe cleaning up our diets can. For more info on this, please visit crazy sexy cancer survivor Kris Carr’s site.

2. Stop the stress.
This is a big one. Persistent stress wreaks havoc on your body. Stress is a mojo-massacring, spirit-stealing, health-harming enemy of the worst kind. Studies show time and time again that constant stress puts you at risk for all kinds of deplorable diseases. Stress messes with your body’s hormones, and it ravages your body’s natural rhythms. Don’t take this lightly, my pressured peeps. Remember this motto; “Too much stress and you’ll be a mess.” Do you like that? How about this one: “You can be tense at your body’s expense.” Pretty good, eh? Here’s one more… Humor me: “With all that worry, you’ll be sick in a hurry.” The point is, do what you have to do to reduce the stress in your life. Don’t make me rhyme again.

3. Don’t worry. Be happy.
We’ve already covered the “don’t worry” part. Now let’s talk about “be happy.” Research shows that, in general, happy people have a 35% lower risk of death than unhappy people. So what makes people happy? Psychologists have been trying to answer that question for centuries, but they’ve actually come close to figuring it out. Turns out happy people have some things in common, such as: they spend time with family and friends, they enjoy intimacy, they don’t compare themselves with their neighbors, they enjoy daily activities, and most importantly, they know how to forgive. For a reminder on the all-important forgiveness factor, I urge you to take a minute to read Your Groove on a Grudge.

4. Move it.
We all know it’s true, and in case we need a reminder, we can always re-read You Gotta Move if you Want to Groove. We know the physical benefits of exercise (controls weight, lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels, boosts energy), but added benefits include a reduction in stress, a better sex life, and increased mental focus. Additionally, recent studies show that exercise decreases the chance of cancer recurrence. That’s a pretty good reason to exercise right there, but in case you need another… Exercise lets cancer survivors feel in control of their bodies; which is incredibly empowering after you feel like your own body has betrayed you. I’ve seen this first hand. As the founder of Team Survivor Tri-State, an affiliate of the National Association of Team Survivor, I’ve seen how exercise changes lives. If you’re a cancer survivor, I encourage you to find an exercise program. There are so many wonderful programs exclusively for cancer survivors. Find a Team Survivor in your area. If you’re a breast cancer survivor in NJ, contact Moving On. Livestrong has programs through some YMCA’s. Now, go get ‘em. Kick cancer’s ass.

5. Live your best life… NOW.
Don’t wait until you’re facing a potentially deadly disease to live with purpose. Do you want to become a teacher when you’re currently a phlebotomist? Go take classes. Have you always dreamed of competing in a triathlon? Start training. Yearning to travel? Buy a plane ticket. Do it NOW. There is never a perfect time to do anything. You have to create the perfect time. That perfect time is NOW, because we don’t know for sure when we’ll get another chance.

Blog was written by Ronni Arno Blaisdell, Co-Founder of Improve Your Groove


Improve Your Groove is a virtual integrative wellness center specializing in nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle changes designed to help people benefit their bodies and satisfy their souls. The personalized program helps busy people lose weight, have more energy, and reduce their stress so they can lead healthier and happier lives without feeling deprived, hungry, or overwhelmed. For more information, please visit

About Ronni

Ronni Arno Blaisdell is a Holistic Health Counselor, and the co-creator of Improve Your Groove.
Ronni has worked for several cancer-related non-profit organizations, and is the founder of Team Survivor Tri-State, an organization that provides free exercise programs and healtheducation to women with cancer. Her work with guiding cancer survivors to overcome healthobstacles and leading them in accomplishing goals they never dreamed possible was a life- changing experience for her. After seeing how health, fitness, and lifestyle changes can affect cancer survivors, she began to research how those same changes may prevent disease from recurring… or from ever even happening in the first place. Ronni believes that health must be
addressed holistically in order to achieve effective - and permanent - results.

Ronni is also a writer and contributor to numerous health-related magazines, newsletters,
websites, and blogs.

About Elisa

Elisa Rodriguez is a registered and licensed dietitian defying lupus with simple meals, whole foods and alternative therapies while nurturing friends in quest to conquer disease. She created and co-created Improve Your Groove as paperless platforms to help people rediscover their missing mojo. Elisa thoroughly enjoys providing online nutritional solutions to clients all over the country.

As someone who lives with several autoimmune conditions and multiple food intolerances such as gluten, corn and soy - Elisa offers a unique perspective to those navigating the challenges that accompany illness in today's healthcare system. Elisa teaches people to seek empowerment through food and lifestyle choices with a plant-strong, holistic emphasis that yields incredible outcomes!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Those three little words...

That was my dinner tonight.  Pancakes and bacon.  Everyone loves bacon right?  And pancakes make everything better (well they do, especially after visiting the emergency room twice in one night a month after starting chemo.)

So I started thinking, if my dinner could make my cancer come back.

Not like that is possible.  No one really knows what caused my cancer.

"I'm sorry Mel," the doctor would say," you shouldn't have had that pancake and bacon dinner on January 18,2012You should have stuck to your regular diet of chicken or fish and veggies."

Of course its in the waayyy back of my mind about recurrance, but its always there.  Floating around like a little bubble, sometimes you see it, sometimes you don't.

I had the latest issue of Cure Magazine next to me.  The title was "What caused my cancer?"

"I don't know."

Those three little words that I have heard so often from my doctors.

Could my cancer have been caused by my biological grandmother having cancer? 

Was it living in the San Fernando Valley for 10 years with all that smog?

Or perhaps it was working at that fancy restaurant that used to be an old cement factory.

Maybe it was just dumb fucking luck.

"I don't know."

Who is more frustrated, me the patient or my doctor?

I expect my doctor to know everything, but after all, they are just people, but shouldn't they know everything? 

We think that when we are crying about our diagnosis, or upset about a new illness, possibly brought on by our treatment for cancer.

Yep, those three words.

Think about how hard it would be to say those words to someone, when they look to you for the answers and yet you have none.

That must be extremely hard.

How hard?

I don't know....

Check out my podcast The Cancer Warrior on Available on demand and also available on Itunes. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Help me pay it forward

If you are a subscriber to this blog, or just an avid reader of it you know that what I do is not for myself.  I do what I do, my podcast, my blog, speaking etc. to help others.  Its what I love to do is pay it forward.

So I am fundraising, Something I am admittedly terrible at, for a good cause, the Stupid Cancer organization, also known as I2Y or  the I'm too Young for this Foundation.  Yes I have written praises about the group several times before, something I only do if I believe in an organization.

When I was going through treatment I responded to a post requesting guest bloggers.  I guess Matt Zachary, the founder, liked my snarkyness because I was one of the bloggers that he picked.  Ultimately Matt and the organization  helped me find my voice through writing, which eventually led to my podcast. 

So I sing nothing but praises for Stupid Cancer (well not literally, no one wants to hear me sing.)

I was fortunate to go to the OMG stupid cancer summit in NYC last year, and even blogged about it on here

It was an amazing event.


Now I am asking for your help. 

I know times are tough. 

The economy sucks.

I was just at coinstar the other day cashing in the coins I had saved from my part time barista job.

But consider this:

A minimum tax deductible donation of $10 will help change a young adult survivors life. 

$10 bucks.. You could skip two lattes this week.  You wont miss it, and you will pay it forward

Someone like me, who felt so lost, so alone, thinking why did I get cancer?  Isn't this some old person's disease?

Its not a disease for someone who is healthy, athletic and in the prime of their life.

Sadlly though, it was.

Please donate to my fundraising page

Help me help others

Pay it forward.

No one should ever face cancer alone.

With your help, no one will.

Check out my podcast The Cancer Warrior on Available on demand and also available on Itunes.