BRAVELUTE   73,814
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BRAVELUTE's Recent Blog Entries

Fecal screening test is NOT effective

Monday, March 04, 2013

The health news article here at SP that I just read seems to be making a case to have fecal screening tests instead of colonoscopies. And it tries to make me think the fecal screening is just as effective as the colonoscopy.

When I suspected a problem in May of 2007, I had the fecal screening test. It was negative. My doctor at the time insisted it was a hemorrhoid. In September, I switched doctors. He did a colonoscopy. It was a tumor 10 cm long. It required removal and resection, radiation, and 6 months of chemotherapy, 5 days at a time, every 5 weeks. PET scan in April showed cancer free. We celebrated and went on with life.

In November it was back, requiring irreversible colostomy, 6 months of chemotherapy 5 days at a time every 5 weeks. Then we switched to 1 day every week for 28 months. During that time I needed a 2nd colostomy because the 1st closed. I also had to quit teaching in 2011 because of fatigue.

So, please don't be lulled into thinking the fecal screening test is foolproof.

I know the prep for the colonoscopy is NOT pleasant. I slept through the procedure itself. Twice. And if they find a small polyp or other nasty looking spot, they can quite often snip it then, and that's then end of it.

Do we really want to trade one test for everything I had to go through because the fecal test did not identify the cancer? or because the fecal test is cheaper? or because the prep is just plain yucky?

I can tell you the prep was nothing compared with the 6 weeks of radiation, 5 days in a row of chemotherapy over and over again, or the weekly maintenance, to say nothing of the neulasta shot which I came to call the Monday after. It's job was to jumpstart my body into growing the white blood cells to regrow after the chemotherpy had killed of my supply. Very painful when those new cells line up and try to get out of your bones and back into the blood stream.

And while I'm doing pretty well managing the pouching system now, the little bit of grief you go through to prepare for your colonoscopy is NOTHING compared to the new life style an ostomate must put up with.

I would like to have the author or proponent of just doing fecal screenings show me the proof that it is just as effective.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANGEL1066 3/5/2013 10:25PM

    thank you for the valuable information. i too am sorry you had to go thru all that, but glad you are doing so much better now.Cancer is beatable, if we refuse to feed it.

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BUDDHA33 3/5/2013 5:35AM

    I am so sorry to hear about all the horrible treatment you had to endure, Bravelute. It seems they take cancer patients to the brink of death with the chemo, radiation.

But I am so glad you seem to be doing very well now and helping others avoid the pain you went through. I appreciate you stating so strongly your position on the worthlessness of this fecal test. We are all so at the mercy of doctors and what they tell us.

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POPSY190 3/5/2013 2:21AM

    Yes, I agree. I had to have a colonoscopy and the whole thing was horrible (I came to with the pain during it and they were holding me down ) but I would do it again without a second thought if there were a need. It's far better to endure one or two embarrassing or unpleasant procedures than to have on-going illness and even more unpleasant treatments.

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BRAVELUTE 3/4/2013 9:19PM

    Houndlover, agreed about the prevention. That's why I started the team, Eat to Defeat Fat Cells, Cancer Cells, and More . . .

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HOUNDLOVER1 3/4/2013 9:02PM

    I'm doing research on this issue as I am turning 50 this year and know that I need some kind of test to check for colon cancer. I just wanted to add that there is lots of evidence that sugar (and all foods that turn into them, meaning all carbs) will help cancer cells survive. Most other cells in the body can use other fuels, but not most cancer cells. Prevention is even better than early detection. I know because I've had cancer treatment too in the past.

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NELLIEC 3/4/2013 8:03PM

    I had not heard of fecal screenings. I do know that 20 years before I had my emergency surgery that gave me a colostomy, I had a colonoscopy where the doctor gave me scopalamine, a horrible medication which was supposed to calm my innards down while he did the scope. I had unbelievable pain. The student nurse commented that I seemed to be having too much pain. He said, don't worry, she won't remember a thing! Ha, to this day, I remember it. I swore never to have another colonoscopy. Fast forward those 20 years, and I suddenly started losing weight and then had horrible pain daily. I asked my regular doctor for a referral and hoped to get a merciful doctor. Well, the merciful doctor was unable to do the procedure (and she said she would never use scopalamine) because I was totally blocked. As it turns out, I am one of those peculiar people who innards get more active with that medication.

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JOYOUS1917 3/4/2013 7:29PM

    Gee, what a fun topic I thought. But, thanks to you I have learned some important information. Thank you!

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Ranting on Sugar, Salt, and Fat

Monday, March 04, 2013

Okay, I want you to go watch this video, first:

I watched this at least 10 times in the last 3 days and have kept a smile on my face. And have stayed away from sugar. And then I saw the spot on Dr. Oz about Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us with the author, Moss. And I have stayed irate, needing to watch the video again, just to add laughter back into the mix.

It is not in the vested interest of food manufacturers like Philip Morris to be concerned about our health, though I would think their kids want to eat these foods playing on our kids bliss point with the proper combination of salt, sugar, and fat.

But it IS in our interest. Because there is more to eating that weight loss or weight maintenance. There is more to health than calories in / calories burned.

I am very grateful I have found the anti-angiogenic resources at
I appreciate that they are presenting a lot of helpful information in a way I can understand it, and that they don't appear to have any vested interest in that information, other than to create a bunch of healthy people.

It just takes having one family member or close friend dealing with cancer treatments, pain of progression of the disease . . . to start looking for prevention. Screening for all the diseases isn't enough, whether it's diabetes, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and on and on. It's like we're playing Russian Roulette with our health.

We can say, I have a sneaking suspicion there's something about eating all this sugar, salt, chemical additives in processed foods, etc. But it doesn't seem to bother me. I can eat a donut and I don't gain any weight or have a heart attack, or forget where i put my keys. So I'll just keep on keeping on as long as I balance everything in moderation.

But it all adds up. The years of NOT giving our bodies the nutrients in the fresh fruits and veggies. The years of giving our bodies those things that we rationalize away as food as our inner child stomps and shouts, "I don't like water!! Give me . . ." until, yes, until we are overweight but those chronic illness have taken over.

And the children are trying to make the parents think they know best. Just shadow any family when you go in Walmart. See who is making the decisions for what goes in the cart. A family of four needs 5 fruits and veggies x 7 days x 4 for a minimum of fruits and vegetable servings. Check the carts. Do you see any carts with a minimum of 140 servings of fruits and vegetables? Probably only mine, and I'm only buying for me.

But I can guarantee you will see carts full of food, snacks and beverages filled with saturated fats, sugars, and salt. And no moderation either.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOYOUS1917 3/4/2013 8:33PM

    Went on Google and plugged in angiogenesis. Went to video of researcher who discussed cancer and obesity. One of the dangers of obesity is the building of excess blood vessels which in turn can feed cancers. The listing of veges and fruits and teas that diminished the potential negative outcomes was great. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JOYOUS1917 3/4/2013 7:33PM

    Thanks for sharing this info as well. I have known this for a long time, but getting my brain to conform to this information has been a real battle. I was raised to be a sugar, salt, additive baby....Getting off these addictions is NOT easy! emoticon

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BUDDHA33 3/4/2013 6:58PM

    I shop at walmart once every two weeks. Shop Lowe's foods more often for fresh veggies. But when I check out of walmarts, the food I see in other folks carts is outrageous. Orange soda, chips, pre-fab freezer food. This is what the cornucopia in America has devolved into. UGH! And the government backs the big companies that are destroying our food supply....

Just yesterday, I read that the FDA isn't going to do anything about the BPA food packaging. WHY the H not? But where are your gonna run to?....

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LESLIELENORE 3/4/2013 2:17PM

    Amen! I am grateful to my parents for feeding me good, organically grown fruits and veggies as a kid.

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BRAVELUTE 3/4/2013 11:52AM

    CBrinkley, we probably won't see each other in the grocery or produce markets very often!! I need to go there for fruit. We'll see how far I can extend my season into the heat of the summer.

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CBRINKLEY401 3/4/2013 9:49AM

    I read an article about the same thing regarding sugar, salt, fat, and the bliss point. Scary. Makes me more determined than ever to avoid processed foods at all costs and stick to the basics and make my own from scratch. That way I KNOW what goes into the foods I serve my family.

Of course, you aren't going to find lots of servings of veggies in my cart, at least in the summer, since I grow so much of my own organically.

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February 2013 Accountability, or how are those goals? Are you Resolute, Bravelute

Sunday, March 03, 2013

It's March already. My only excuse is that February always seems to fly by before it's gone. So it's time to check in on the 2013 resolutions or goals.

If you are interested in seeing my goals, here's the link to that blog: ge_public_journal_individu al.asp?blog_id=5184224

So, here's my accounting of how February went.

1. Be Healthy:
While I would have liked it to be a little more, I lost 3.5 pounds in February. I just emptied my closets and drawers of 5- 30 gallon bags of clothes to take to the women's shelter. I just weighed them. 74 pound of way-too big clothing.

Spark People could generate enough funds just by sponsoring a clothing swap once a year. Card carrying members could swap one for one for free. But others would pay for the privilege to participate. I wish there was a way to hook up my clothes with others who have arrived at size 20 - 24, 2X - 4x. Since I can't figure that out, I'll hopefully bless some women at the shelter.

Doctors were very pleased at February appointments with weight loss. I don't think they can believe it. Last blood pressure was 124/85. Due for a PET scan in March or April. If this one is still good, I think we switch to once a year. That will make me very happy.

2. Be a playful, responsible Adult
Playful activities: treading water in community pool daily. Thank God the pool was heated. With walking and swimming, I tracked 2465 fitness minutes in February.

Responsible Adult: I dealt with the problem of the Social Security Office sending me a letter saying they had overpaid me $6,977, and that I'd need to send them a check for that amount by May 1. I sat in the waiting room to see someone with the only thing to look at being smiling photos of the President and Vice-President. I left my paperwork, not feeling that I had accomplished anything. And then Mr. R________ finally called me back and he actually listened to me and said he could take care of the problem, called back the next day and said it was fixed and 2 days later, I received all my paperwork back. No letter saying it was all fixed. But we'll hope for the best.

And then I had to deal with the insurance company and the problem of medical supplies which I hadn't received on 2/21. It took 45 minutes on the phone, but the insurance representative was so helpful, and together, we got that straightened out. The needed supplies arrived today.

And throughout both of these very stressful situations, I stayed the course. I didn't resort to all of those bingeing foods. That was kind of easy, because I don't have them in the house anymore, but it would have been so easy to swing through the drive through on the trip to the Soc. Sec. office 35 miles away. Or to just drive the 3 miles to the nearest donut shop, but I didn't.

That might be why I've had to use my substitute fruit trick today. Because that was the other thing I used to do with food--reward myself.

3. Nurture Relationships

I have made new friends at the pool and in the classes at the gym. I continue to try to help a friend long distance, though that long distance is very frustrating. I make a big effort on Spark People to leave meaningful posts. I suppose a quick WooHoo is needed once in a while, but surely people want more communicated, so they know you actually read something they wrote.

4. Make My Spirit Soar

I don't feel like I have done much here, though I do listen to my morning play list and that definitely start my day off in a good direction. I went to a great concert in February, and I'm going to another next weekend (a Mamas and Papas group) and I signed up to try to get season tickets for next year.

I need to work on creative projects. I can feel depression setting in and I don't want to get back into the ole habits of just sitting in my recliner.

I have felt good about the Eat to Defeat team. I started it to mainly have a place to point people interested in nutrition toward the anti-angiogenic information. But our membership almost doubled in February. I think that's amazing, considering people can access our links without joining the team. Even coming up with the little challenges we're doing is fun.

I feel the need to be doing some kind of teaching. We'll see where that goes as the year goes on. No, that doesn't mean I want to come out of retirement and go back to work. There are many ways to feel fullfilled as a teacher. I just need to start experimenting with them.

All in all, I consider it a very successful month.
Yes, I'm still resolute.

Jewels helps. She's saying, "Okay, I've waited long enough!! Time for our walk"

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NELLIEC 3/3/2013 9:09PM

    I think our pets have some kind of telepathy since they seem to know how best to help us whether it is with a walk or with cuddling or a sympathetic ear (yes, I talk to my pets!)

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    Wow! Sounds like you are doing a super job with your goals! I am so proud of you! It is hard for me to put myself out there and make new friends, but I want to work on that goal too!!! Thank you for inspiring me! Have a great week!

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LESLIELENORE 3/3/2013 1:42PM

    Thanks for all your work on the team. It does sound like you had a successful February.

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POPSY190 3/3/2013 12:39PM

    I particularly like the way you dealt with no.2. Sorting out situations like these is very stressful and you did well to avoid the impulse buying of junk food. Keeping involved with interests and other people is also a good way to help keep the depression at bay. Take care.

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AGAWRITER 3/3/2013 11:58AM

    You've also nurtured a lot of relationships on these pages. I love the idea of a clothing swap. I know how frustrating insurance companies can be. Keep up the good work for March.

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BUDDHA33 3/3/2013 11:04AM

    Wonderful, Bravelute. I wish I could be as consistent and resolute as you are. I'm glad you have been treating yourself so well this past month, because you have certainly treated me very well and given me the signposts and tools to treat myself well, also. Thank you very much for starting Eat to Defeat!


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Assignment: What is your true motivation?

Saturday, March 02, 2013

I want to be healthy.
I don't want the cancer to come back a third time.
I don't want to be in pain daily.
I want to be able to be independent, taking care of myself.
I want to feel like I have contributed, paid it forward.

I use the tracker to be sure I'm eating nutrient dense foods that support healthy body functions.
I stay away from foods and beverages that have no health nutrients or that present them in unhealthy combinations like hydrogenated fats + salt + sugar in all its glory.
I find ways to move that keep the peripheral neurapathy away, and then actually do them.
I force myself to do the mundane daily household tasks when all I want to do is sit.
I give myself time for creative activities.
I try to spread the word about anti-angiogenic food choices to others.
I plan healthy meals, buy tons of produce, and prep it when I get home so It's ready to go for meals through the week. (also saves time on clean up, since I'm only chopping and cleaning up once, except for bananas and apples)

I am grateful for the SP Nutrition tracker, Fitness tracker and Route Mapper, and my teams.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MATTEROFHEART 3/2/2013 10:07PM

    Great motivators! I am so proud of you! You are a survivor!!!!

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NELLIEC 3/2/2013 7:57PM

    I know that when I joined SparkPeople, I was very impressed at the information feedback I was getting from the Trackers. It is especially helpful to keep my diabetes controlled.

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LESLIELENORE 3/2/2013 7:27PM


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CHRISTINASP 3/2/2013 4:55PM

    emoticon You are such a trooper and an inspiration.

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BUDDHA33 3/2/2013 11:43AM

    Didn't know you had cancer twice, Bravelute. I will send you healing (and staying healthy) thoughts when I mediate.

My own motivation is similar to your own. I would add that I'm trying to stay strong for my 2nd gen foodie mom, since I want it to be possible for me to be around for as long as she needs me to be. Think she may make it past 100....

Did you write a blog on how you get in a ton of veggies every day? If so, so you help me find it. Didn't get a chance to read it yet. Thanks!

Comment edited on: 3/2/2013 11:45:54 AM

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SAGELADY2 3/2/2013 10:29AM

    Good things to have there. I have noticed as long as I have healthy stuff here to eat/snack on I'm good for the week. Even though I know roughly the calories and stuff, I still use the nutrition tracker to keep me focused.

Sounds like you have a great game plan. emoticon

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Cutting My Self Some Slack

Friday, March 01, 2013

Sometimes it seems someone flipped a switch and I am productive, pushing, working hard to get things done.

But most of the time, I don't want to do anything. I'm happy as a clam doing nothing, letting the everyday things which should be done pile up. Sometimes I can overcome the "I don't want to"s. Like last night I didn't want to get ready and go to the classes at the gym.

But the other side of me didn't want to miss the last night the pool would be open, so I forced myself to get it together and only missed 5 minutes of class.

The "Get it done, NOW" voice doesn't come around very often, thank goodness. So I don't get too frustrated because I have a feeling I wouldn't get much accomplished if it didn't put its foot down once in a while.

Like right now, I need to get the newsletter typed, uploaded to the web site, the notice e-mail sent, then to the printer and post office with those that don't have modern tech recipients. I DON'T WANT TO. But that pushy side is going to take over and make me get this job done.

I cut myself some slack on these kind of days by "clearing my calendar," by putting nothing else on my to do list.

Sometimes I get involved in a big project which I WANT to do. Thankfully I have learned some skills which help me keep other areas of my life going so I have time to work on THE PROJECT. I know how to be super organized. I know the habits I need to be sure are still in place if I am going to
1. read a novel without stopping
2. paint a few pictures
3. become more fit
4. plan meals and shopping list for the trip to the farmer's market tomorrow
5. take a class that runs all day, every day for a week

You get the picture. And PUSHY ME really gets riled up or excited when I start more than one project at a time because that means that different areas of the house will be in the middle of a different project, all at the same time. PushMePullYou is probably having a fit right now because I AM in the middle of the newsletter, trying on and packing up the clothes that are way too big (on the 5th large garbage bag today), starting seeds, getting income tax filed.) But just for today, she will have to disappear because I am ONLY going to get the newsletter finished after my walk.

How do you handle letting yourself say no when you KNOW you've reached the saturation point?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOYOUS1917 3/4/2013 8:36PM

    I know I am "Johnny come lately" but I am really jazzed by your blogs.

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BUDDHA33 3/1/2013 8:38PM

    You are many wonderful things done for yourself and for others, Brave-one. Thanks for being a great example for us!

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 3/1/2013 6:24PM

    I have had some success in getting rid of some habits that I did not enjoy. Going out to drink with colleagues when I hate to socialize? It's over! Spending time schmoozing with people? No more.
I do like to read, write, and work out. And as long as I have enough time to do those things everything else can just fall away and I will be content enough. At least for the time being.

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SIMONEKP 3/1/2013 5:09PM


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LESLIELENORE 3/1/2013 4:44PM

    I give myself permission to let a few things slide occasionally. They will still get done... just not today.

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POPSY190 3/1/2013 3:04PM

    This could be me!! When it all gets piled up I ask myself: Which will matter tomorrow, in 10 days, next month, in a year? It sorts out the urgent for me and I deal with that. Works wonders for housework!! My answer to that is usually that it's better to do it once, at some vague future date, than several times immediately! But I have a newsletter to compose and send out and you are ahead of me there! Once done, I'll be pleasing myself for the rest of the day!! emoticon

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CHRISTINASP 3/1/2013 12:27PM

    I don't understand what 'the saturation point' means. Saturation of what by what?

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BRERRABBIT1 3/1/2013 11:56AM

:) I write myself a "Priorities" list. Then I go through a step system of 1. Sit (or flop), 2. Routine (or maintenance) work, 3. Exercise, 4. Priority (or project advancement) work. This helps me when I'm feeling lazy or unwell. I give each step 5 to 10 minutes max.


**You! Out of the gene pool.**

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IAM_HIS 3/1/2013 10:20AM

    You blog was a big help to me. I am overwhelmed right now with my family members and their unreasonable demands on me. Your blog helped me, thank you.

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LAURAAT 3/1/2013 9:44AM

    For me, I'm a big list maker. So when I start to get overwhelmed, I make a list. Then I sit back, and look at it, and decide what must be done, and what can wait. Then, I take a deep breathe. I try to organize things so that things get done in an order that makes sense, and don't allow myself to get overwhelmed by my cut-down list.

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CBRINKLEY401 3/1/2013 8:51AM

    Like a computer that slows down to a crawl when you have too many windows open and too many programs running at the same time, I tend to shut down when I think of all the different things I NEED to get done, and I end up getting nothing done. When that happens, what works best is to put my blinders on and just focus on ONE thing. Closing those other tabs that are open on the "computer" in my brain and dealing with one thing at a time helps me to actually accomplish something. And getting ONE thing finished motivates me to tackle something else afterwards.

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CYND59 3/1/2013 8:29AM

    Not too sure...Let me know when you find out. LOL!

I just say - Life is too short to worry about the small stuff. I try to take time to enjoy me!

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