Lightning's Flower

Striking Down Breast Cancer Through Awareness

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Let’s get Angry and light a fire


I’ve always been a supporter of the Army of Women. I mentioned before my participation in their research. Well, I recently read an article by Dr. Susan Love, founder of Army of Women. The article, “It’s Time to Get Angry” struck a cord with me. From the onset, she talks about the fact that 20 years later, we have not seen enough improvement in some areas. She mentioned DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ). That is how my mom’s breast cancer was initially diagnosed and what set her on a journey of lumpectomy, mastectomy, chemos, and radiation therapies.

I decided to use this site as a means of sharing information with you because I had to do something other than get sad or get mad, I had to get productive. Well, I’m challenging myself and you to light a fire under this whole breast cancer thing! We need a cure and prevention. Yes, living longer helps, but we need to live without the fear of what might come. The unspoken that many of us know and the false security we get when we see a loved one or a friend keep winning, then finally lose their battle. I know I was one of those people. I knew people died from breast cancer, but that was not my reality until one day it was.

So get angry, and get active. Do whatever you can. Support organizations, support those your love, support yourself. Demand we fight harder!

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Support and Strength


I was pleasantly surprised by a text from my aunt with a picture of her and my cousins doing a breast cancer walk this past Saturday. I wanted to do one this month, but didn’t realize there was one in Cleveland. It’s very special to see family support you. During this time, I find myself dealing with the loss of my mother, but also being reminded that others miss her and are honoring her as well. She still lives on in so many hearts.

My cousin walked in the Susan Komen 3 Day walk only a few weeks after Mommy passed. I was planning to walk and with all of the events leading up to August 2012, I didn’t really have time to train. Though I planned to cheer her on, the week before I knew I just couldn’t. Well, when she told me about the Go Dirty Girl Race, which donates to breast cancer awareness through an organization called Bright Pink, I said sign me up.

Fitness and health are very important. Being a healthy weight reduces your risk for breast cancer as being overweight is linked to increased cancer risks.. Being healthy means eating well, and exercising.

So join Team Lightning’s Flowers (with a “s” for all of us) to participate in the July 19, 2014 run in Cleveland. And sorry guys, it’s only for ladies, but maybe you can join us on other events in the works! Maybe you can be a Tough Mudder as I plan to join my husband the next time around!

So keep eating right, exercising, and staying healthy!!


1 in 8

Breast cancer treatment has been improving. In fact, the fact that my mom battled cancer for over 10 years may not have been the case in the 80’s or 90’s. But in reality, a surprisingly large number of people don’t know their risk. Did you know the overall lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is 1 in 8. This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but we shouldn’t wait for the pink reminders.

I participated in a breast milk study performed in connection with Army of Women. The study tests breastmilk in nursing mothers to further analyze the changes in breast tissue during nursing for any potential indicators. This particular test also requires a previous biopsy. I’ve had one because I have fibroadenomas. As a side note, you can sign up to join the Army of Women and see how you might be able to help in studies, which I highly recommend. Anyhow, along with returning milk samples you had to fill out a questionnaire. One question asks if anyone in your family is BRCA 1 or 2 positive. I actually never heard of it, so I marked ‘no’ and paid it little thought after.

Well after Mommy passed, I just so happened to have a doctor’s appointment. I inquired about it and subsequently saw a breast specialist for regular monitoring of my fibroadenoma as well as for the BRCA test. Since I was pregnant, the doctor decided against testing until I had delivered. Shortly after my little angel was born we went in. I say we because she was in my carrier accompanying me. I waited a few weeks and fortunately the result was negative. I told my husband and my tone confused him, this was a good thing right? Well yes it was, but it also meant Mommy wasn’t predisposed, she just was the 1 in 8.

So remember, don’t put off having your regular mammograms. If you have a family history, talk to your doctor about your risks. And most definitely, do your monthly self exams. If you feel something, ask your doctor. Take your health into your hands, not just this month, but every month.


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Go Mommy, It’s your Birthday!


This is the second birthday celebration we haven’t been able to share together. I think last year I was still in a daze, so I think this year has hit me a bit harder. It seems like it has been a lot longer than it really has, and the reality is that this feeling will continue as it really will be more and more time passing.

We were discussing Mommy’s birthday plans in the earlier part of 2012 because she would have turned 60. We talked about a cruise, a party, some sort of gathering…but nothing concrete. I think because she could throw together a knockout bash, it didn’t seem like something that needed a whole lot of planning since I know she was leaning towards the party. Mommy was always down for a big party! Last year we celebrated with cupcakes, I put a cupcake aside for her like she often did for egun, or our ancestors. The girls kept trying to sneak the icing, so I had to move it. This year, my oldest is aware of birthdays and the whole celebration thing so how will this year go. She will ask about visiting Grandma, which she always does when she comes up. I usually just tell her we can’t visit Grandma, but she loves you and protects you. At some point she will probably expect more of an answer, will she want to call her and tell her Happy birthday? Well, we will cross that bridge when we get there. But we will celebrate!

I realize my Mom meant something to a lot of people. She was a friend, sister, second mother, but for everyone, she was an example of courage. She fought hard and was positive the whole time. I remember her stories about her sharing with other women at chemo. She knew all her nurses by name, and was always offering to have them over for a meal.

So to everyone who will be thinking about their dear loved one and friend this October 6th, instead of saying I miss you, which I know I do, say Happy Birthday and set aside a piece of cake or a glass of wine.

Love you Mommy and Happy Birthday!!


Celebrating in October

October is known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You see tons if pink everywhere. I’m also a fan of donning my pink, not necessarily breast cancer specific, but pink. Nevertheless – while growing up October was birthday month. Not mine, but Mommy’s. She was known to celebrate the whole month, a dinner here, lunch there, all for her birthday!

Well in honor of her and the month, I wanted to bring those who knew her into the discussion. I must say that writing this is very cleansing and maybe it will be for you too. So here are two questions:

1. What did your relationship to Mable mean to you.

2. How did you feel/react when she told you about her breast cancer.

That’s all! Email me at

I’ll pull it together as part of her birthday celebration this month! And if you prefer to remain anonymous, just put it in your email (though it might be anyhow- haven’t figured out my format yet)

Peace love and laughs!!


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Mute, pause, off – just some quiet please!

I don’t know if its because I’m an Aquarius, INFP (for all you Meyers Briggs folks), or because I’m a mom and wife, but my mind is always going. I mean Always! It doesn’t rest. And I would love to say I am thinking of how I could improve relationships, end world hunger, or something superb. Instead, it’s all these little to do lists. I have tried to organize the chaos. I took a webinar, 2 actually, read up on it, many a thing, but my mind keeps creating tasks. The list is full of big ticket and little ticket items, order new dish washing tabs, get that masticating juicer I’ve decided I need, and get my foundation off the ground. The problem is I’m always putting out fires, working on the little items, and making lists that I don’t get to the big stuff. When I do, my mind is tired, I’m tired, or more lists start floating around.

My mom was big on meditating. She would call some mornings and say, I’m going to be praying and meditating today, so I’m not answering the phone. Just FYI. And that is just what she would do. She often told my husband and I we should be still, even for 10 minutes. Every time I try, my mind starts right back up. But meditation and calming the mind are helpful to the body and spirit.

Breast cancer is still so complicated that we have a lot of pieces of information, but they are more like improving your odds, not actually winning. At least not yet. But you can focus on doing things to improve your odds. I talked about eating, and want to add meditating. Letting your mind rest is also how you let your mind heal. I’m getting my mind around ways to do this. Monday, I will start the 21 Day Meditation Experience with Oprah and Deepak Chopra. I can’t say how it goes yet, but I will keep you posted.




I was putting up my daughters’ exam paperwork from their pediatrician visits a couple days ago. In the same folder I have the notes from one of my mom’s doctors from her CT scan. Mommy had them fairly regularly to see what was happening. At this particular time she wanted me to talk to her doctor because there was a lot going on and she wanted me to ask the doctor any questions. (As I mentioned before, she did that often) Plus, in general, it is always good to have someone else talk to your doctor- extra ears in case you miss something. Well, there were a lot of things that needed to be done. I try not to bash medical professionals because many do a great job, but there are so many pieces to the puzzle and so many actors that things get confusing. When you or a loved one is going through things, it can be a bit frustrating. We were supposed to make appointments with a cardiologist, a neurologist, and of course the oncologist. Meanwhile, every call to schedule resulted in the same rundown of questions, confusion on what was needed, and of course many many minutes on hold.

I must admit that I can’t share some ah ha moment, or some simple solution to how to deal with this. I can say that if possible, have someone other than the patient handle the calls and questions. Also, get a medical power of attorney. In a world of privacy and strict procedures it is very important. And just be prepared for a bit of frustration, but remain persistent. It will seem like a lot because it really is. And in all the stress, try to be nice. Yes, some people will not deserve it, but being firm and friendly are not mutually exclusive. My mom always said you get more with honey than vinegar. Sometimes I wondered why she would give people so much unnecessary information, or at least I thought it was unnecessary – but she was building relationships and often got that quick call back or extra something in a maze of craziness.

I’m not the most open chatty person, and maybe you aren’t either. But sometimes I think, What would Mommy do?” It’s usually the last thing I would think at that moment, but when it comes to someone doing that little something extra, Mommy sure knew how to have that effect on people. Probably because she was always doing something for someone else too. That’s another post all together, but stay tuned.

So again, WWMD, What would Mable do? Give you a long shpiel (or however that is spelled) and make a new friend/ally!



You Can’t Lose Me

I never was big into country music until I met my husband. In fact, country music was the only music I said I didn’t like. I have since changed, though I will say country music has a way of bringing the emotion out of you. There is one particular song, You Can’t Lose Me, by Faith Hill, that made me have somewhat of an epiphany today. It’s part of a playlist that we put together while in India for our oldest. It’s been in rotation lately and I always sing it to them. It was floating through my head tonight after putting them to bed, then it dawned on me- my mom was singing it to me!

It’s surprising how you don’t always make certain connections. The lyrics say “I am here and I will always be, just a wish away. Wherever you go, no matter how far, my love is where you are…” Her presence is why I have kept my mind clear on some of the cloudiest days. The smile I see when I look at my girls, or my youngest who already has the cutest giggle at only 4 months. We are so connected to this plane of existence we don’t realize how truly parallel others are.

As a parent, you say to your child I will always be here for you. I was a bit angry about that not long ago because I felt it was a lie. I say it to my girls and truly mean it, so I don’t know why it bothered me as it relates to me. Well, this hit me like a kick from a sleeping toddler. Completely off guard, but not painful. She is right there. The love a parent has for their child, and a mother has for the children she births into the world, doesn’t end if either leave this earth.

So with a peaceful mind I now know, I can’t lose her. As a mother of my own girls, that is a really good and comforting thing to know.


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Be your Advocate

This is a brief reminder of how important we are in our own care.The medical profession is very interesting. It is one service where we somehow don’t see it as a service. Meaning, often times we don’t demand the care we want. Now this is definitely not everyone, neither is it for all doctors, nurses, or other medical staff. I have had very good physicians of my own and encountered some very good doctors providing exceptional care to my mother. She had the frequent habit of having her doctors call me and explain what was going on or for me to ask questions. (As a side observation, though I don’t ask extensive questions in personal relationships, I always have a list a mile long for doctors.) Well this particular doctor would give me extensive detail to all my questions. I wish I could remember her name, and I can clearly see my mom trying to remind me as I write. Like I said before, I am now learning additional questions I could have asked, but that’s the point of this blog.

Well, my point is this. You are your advocate. We think that training means the doctor knows best, but you must ask for the best and not sit as a bystander in your healthcare. If you don’t like your doctor, get a new one. You are paying them a really high rate for a service, so very good service is what you should get!

With that, enjoy your Labor Day!

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Your Temple – Eating

We often make ideas of things to do, but constantly put them off for a later date. We generally know what we need to do to live healthier, but its the getting there part. Healthy eating and exercise are key to a healthy body.

What we eat has become a huge topic and a big business. My mom was eating wheatgrass and juicing before it was popular. She is where I get that “granola” edge from. Shortly before coming to visit us in Mumbai, India my mom had a bout of chemotherapy that was so toxic to her body that she was in the hospital for a month. Her white blood cell count had been so devastated her oncologist told me she would never be able to have chemotherapy again as he didn’t believe her body would recover enough to meet the baseline. See, before receiving chemotherapy, blood work must be performed to make sure white blood counts are high enough for the treatment, which usually depletes WB cells. Well, in India my mom embraced a new way of eating.

A large percent of the Indian population are vegetarian. We had just started eating a vegetarian diet, and with the access to so many fresh produce, it was easy to do. My mom loved to cook, so she enjoyed experimenting with everything she found.

Going vegetarian can be an adjustment, but worth considering. At minimum eating more organic fruits and vegetables. The Environmental Working Group lists The Dirty Dozen, which is a list of the most pesticide contaminated produce. These should be your organic produce if nothing else.

Research continues to establish links between cancer and pesticides, other chemicals found in products we eat, put on our skin (which is our largest organ), and use in our household. Known carcinogens included Toluene, which has regularly been used in nail polish, and only recently has its use been discontinued by some- not all- companies. This is just an example. There are many more linked to cancer such as parabens and Bisphenol A (BPA). Now the last two are not considered cancer causing at this point, but they are linked because of how they present themselves in the body and studies continue to examine these effects in further detail.

You are what your eat. Think about how you are taking care of your temple. Are you helping it or hurting it. What can you do to make changes. Bon Appetit!