Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

A Photo Shoot for Gerdi

June 14, 2014

In February 2014, a few months after Gerdi McKenna was diagnosed with breast cancer, one of her friends organized a photo shoot for a (more…)

This Is What Beauty and Courage Look Like

April 14, 2014
Cancer patients Rylie, Rheann and Ainsley (photo by Lora Scantling)

Cancer patients Rylie, Rheann and Ainsley (photo by Lora Scantling)

This stunning photograph shows three-year-old Rylie, six-year-old Rheann and four-year-old Ainsley sharing a special moment. Incredibly, the three girls hadn’t met each other before the photo shoot.

Photographer Lora Scantling conceived the photo shoot to raise awareness about the struggle faced by children who are diagnosed with cancer. “I just wanted something that showed the strength and the bond and that they weren’t alone,” she told Oklahoma City’s KOCO News. Watch KOCO’s video report here.

As for the girls, Rheann is stricken with brain cancer, Rylie is (more…)

Michiko and Kimiko: A Love Story

February 17, 2013

Not long ago, I was reading a free weekly newspaper at Swami’s Cafe in Encinitas, California, when a photo jumped off the page and into my heart. The photo, which is at once both beautiful and heartbreaking, showed Michiko Lindsey cradling her cancer-stricken child, Kimiko. The accompanying story told of Kimiko’s battle with cancer and of Michiko’s battle to stay sane and strong in the midst of her fear and grief. Deeply touched by what I read, I contacted Michiko and asked her to tell me her story from the beginning. So here, in Michiko’s own words, interspersed with actual journal entries from her CaringBridge journal, is her love letter to her precious daughter.


Michiko Lindsey and Kimiko Lindsey-Schroder


I named my daughter Kimiko because in Japanese, “ki” means precious, “mi” means beautiful, and “ko” means child. She may be only one-quarter Japanese but she is a full-blooded precious, beautiful child. I’ve loved her ever since I first dreamed of her when I was fifteen years old, twenty-five years before she was born.

Kimi’s nurse practitioner had pronounced her perfectly healthy at her annual physical on July 29, 2010, a week after her fourth birthday. Six weeks later, on September 10, her daycare provider called me to say that Kimi was crying because her back hurt. I picked her up and took her to Urgent Care, where I was told that she probably had caught a flu bug. Since we were leaving for Japan later that month, I made an appointment with her pediatrician for September 17, just to make sure. On the 15th, I was thrilled when Kimi called from her dad’s to say that her back pain was gone. But later that day, after going to the movies with her Aunt Dee and Uncle Chris, her leg hurt so much that she couldn’t walk. When Chris called me, I said, “I’ll meet you at Urgent Care.”

Thank God that Chris had e-mailed me the night before. After doing some online research and talking to a doctor friend of his, he had recommended that I ask her pediatrician for a CBC (complete blood count) and MRI. He may have saved Kimi’s life because if (more…)

Stronger Because They Have to Be

May 7, 2012

Chris Rumble

This incredibly moving three-minute video by leukemia patient Chris Rumble derives its power from its simplicity. On the surface, it is patients and nurses at the Seattle Children’s Hospital lip-syncing and dancing to Kelly Clarkson’s hit song, “Stronger.” Oh, but it is so much more than that. It speaks volumes about the hope, resiliency and strength of the human spirit.

According to this story on by JoNel Aleccia:

A 22-year-old leukemia patient with a talent for video has turned the fight against cancer into an online anthem celebrating strength — and recovery.

Chris Rumble of Kent, Wash., spent Saturday filming fellow patients, doctors and nurses on the hematology/oncology unit at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Dancing, singing and holding signs that (more…)

Roger Ebert’s Triumphant Attitude Toward Life Itself

September 8, 2011

Roger Ebert, photographed for a 2010 Esquire magazine profile

On June 16, 2006, renowned film critic Roger Ebert underwent surgery for cancer. A section of his jaw bone was removed, which disfigured him and rendered him unable to speak. Instead of retiring and withdrawing from public life, Ebert joyously forged full speed ahead with his life and career. Not only is he continuing to review movies, he’s written a new memoir entitled Life Itself.

Says Ebert: “I will look the way I (more…)

How to Become a Cancer Pre-vivor

May 10, 2011

Merit Gest

I enjoy reading about people with positive attitudes who remain optimistic in the face of serious life challenges. That’s why I liked this essay by Merit Gest on Mamapedia Voices, a website featuring posts from up-and-coming mom bloggers and well-known mom experts. I’m impressed by the way Merit reframed her approach to maintaining good  health and viewing the threat of cancer, and I know her words will inspire others.

Challenging Assumptions. Creating Possibilities.

Ten yeas ago, the assumption was that to find your buddies from high school and connect with them you would have to spend a lot of time doing research by phone. Now, Facebook has created new possibilities to connect people all over the world in moments.

Going back a little farther in time, here’s another assumption that’s changing — and it’s definitely more serious. Twenty years ago, if your mother died from breast cancer, you may have assumed that you were more likely to die from the disease as well. Now genetic testing and preventative surgeries are giving women options to outlive their mothers.

As someone who faced a double threat from both ovarian and breast cancer, I ask (more…)

Earnie Larsen—”I See Wonderful Things”

April 23, 2011

Earnie Larsen

Earnie Larsen, a pioneer in the field of addiction recovery, passed away on 1/11/11. He was a nationally known author and lecturer who produced more than eighty motivational self-help books, tapes and videos. More importantly, Earnie was a trusted friend to the thousands of people he had personally coached to sobriety, and to the untold thousands more who turned their lives around through Earnie’s books and talks.

My friend, Tom Gegax, who counted Earnie among his very best friends, told me that Earnie was a saint of a man. After watching this twenty-three-minute video, there’s no question that Tom’s assessment was spot on. I only wish I could have known Earnie. You’ll feel the same.

I pulled this eighty-seven-second clip from the complete video because it profoundly captures the essence of Earnie Larsen—his outstanding attitude and love for life, which were only heightened in the last months of his life. If you only have time for a quick introduction to Earnie, this will tell (more…)

Juggling Living, Breathing Human Beings

October 1, 2010

A friend of mine sent me an update on her caregiving challenges that took my breath away, not only because of the magnitude of what she’s dealing with on a daily basis but because of the grace, beauty and wisdom contained in her final paragraph. With her permission, I am sharing her words so other caregivers can find hope and inspiration in her compassionate approach to dealing with loved ones who can no longer take care of themselves.

You may know that for seven years I’ve been caring for four elderly members of my family, in various states of illness and decline, and slowly cutting back [my workload]. Our 99-year-old died around the first of the year; a very good thing for her, as life was miserable.

My husband is now 91 and in seriously failing health, with congestive heart failure that we’ve not been able to stabilize, and advancing prostate cancer. The drs. are having a hard time finding the right balance of diuretics and beta blockers, and I’m concerned about adding two more serious drugs (that block testosterone production) for his prostate cancer.  He loses abilities from week to week, and you will understand that he is number one priority for my time.

In addition, I’m caring for my very (more…)

Journalist Mike Celizik Bravely Faces Cancer

August 22, 2010

One of reporter Mike Celizic’s first questions after being diagnosed with cancer: Would he be able to wear his trademark hat in the CT scan? (Photo courtesy of

I just read Mike Celizik’s three poignant posts about his battle with cancer on He is facing the end of his life with courage and grace. He loves life but has found some measure of peace in his final weeks. I hope you find inspiration in his essays as well.



Mike Celizic is’s ace morning news reporter as well as a sports columnist for He is known for his ability to write compelling, accurate stories at lightning speed, as well as for his trademark hat, which he never removes, even when appearing as a guest commentator on MSNBC.

This week Mike was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma. As a dyed-in-the-wool journalist, his first instinct was: Report on it. Thus he is sharing this cancer journal with and readers as he turns his reporting skills to one his most difficult subjects: himself.

“Sloan-Kettering? How do you spell that? What city is it in? It’s not showing up in our system.”

This is not the way I wanted to begin my Adventures in Cancerland.

The diagnosis had been confirmed on Monday. That big lump in my groin that the doctors insisted on calling a “mass” was not, as initially suspected, a hernia. It was instead an enlarged lymph node, a manifestation of non-Hodgkin’s T-cell lymphoma: cancer.

Now it’s Tuesday, and I’m calling my health insurance provider, UnitedHealthcare, to find out if they cover treatment at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

My doctor friends told me it’s the only place to be treated. It’s world-famous. So I’m more than a little flustered when the helpful representative keeps asking me if (more…)

Facing the Fear, Finding the Blessing

May 15, 2009

Laurie Baum in the Self-Realization Fellowship Meditation Gardens at Paramahansa Yogananda's ashram in Encinitas, California

My friend Laurie Baum, who, like me, follows the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi and founder of Self-Realization Fellowship, is a clairvoyant intuitive. I love the stories she’s told me about her angelic encounters and alternative healings, so I asked her if I could share them on my blog. To my delight, she agreed to write them up. Today’s post describes her physical and spiritual recovery from cancer. Click here to read how Laurie was protected, guided, and mentored by her angels.

I’d like to mention that Laurie is also a licensed psychotherapist and astrological counselor in private practice in California. She is a former newspaper and news magazine reporter who is profiled in the books Psychic New York and The 100 Top Psychics in America.

Laurie is the author of A to Z Acrophonology: Discover the Power of the Letters in Your NameEverything You Need to Know About Your Astrology Sign, Whispers from the Cosmos, Sacred Mysteries of Egypt, and Astrological Secrets for the New Millennium.

You can visit Laurie’s website for more information. For counseling appointments, click here to e-mail Laurie, or call her at (760) 753-7676. Thanks again, Laurie, for sharing your stories with me!

When the doctor told me the cyst-like lesion under my eye was skin cancer, I felt a wave of spiritual love and protection flow through me. I imagined everything would somehow be okay.

I remembered my Kriya initiation through Self-Realization Fellowship more than a decade ago, when I faced another health challenge. Still on a high a week after my spiritual initiation, I was in a serious bike accident in upstate New York. While flying through the air, about to land head-first on the black pavement street, I felt invisible hands reach (more…)

The Joyous Life and Wedding of Katie Kirkpatrick

April 19, 2009

Katie Kirkpatrick

Katie Kirkpatrick’s story is a powerful reminder that we can still find joy in the midst of suffering tragedy by focusing on and celebrating the present moment. The photos and text come from an e-mail I received and from which verified Katie’s story.

On Valentine’s Day, 2002, Katie Kirkpatrick, then a freshman at Rochester College (a small Christian college in Rochester Hills, Michigan), was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Undaunted, Katie strove to keep up with her studies, but she suffered another setback in 2003 when she was diagnosed with an inoperable lung tumor wrapped around her pulmonary artery. Nonetheless, in 2004 the resilient Katie took part in champion cyclist Lance Armstrong’s Ride for the Roses cancer fundraiser.

On January 15, 2005, twenty-one-year-old Katie—the girl “with a contagious smile and unrelenting optimism” who had been battling cancer for three years—married twenty-three-year-old Lapeer County sheriff’s deputy Nick Goodwin, her high school sweetheart and the love of her life, at Church of Christ in Hazel Park, Michigan.

Photos were taken by Romain Blanquart.


Katie Kirkpatrick and her fiance, Nick, rest prior to their wedding. Katie has terminal cancer and spends hours in chemotherapy. Here Nick waits while she finishes one of the sessions.


Even in pain and dealing with her organs shutting down, with the help of morphine, Katie took care of every single wedding plan. Her dress had to be adjusted several times due to her constant weight loss.


The Legend and Legacy of Jim Valvano

December 14, 2008

On March 4, 1993, former North Carolina State University head basketball coach Jim Valvano spoke at the inaugural ESPY awards, an annual sports award show presented by ESPN.

Valvano, whose team had won the 1983 NCAA championship, had been diagnosed with bone cancer the previous June. In July, he learned that it had metastasized. He (more…)

The Cancer Answer?

December 3, 2008

I wrote this article about Minneapolis investor and cancer survivor Bruce Hendry for the December 2008 issue of Edge Life, a Minneapolis-based spiritual magazine.


Bruce Hendry

In the dark days of December 2002, Bruce Hendry viewed his terminal cancer diagnosis as anything but a gift. Today, six years later and cancer free, he considers it a blessing. Indeed, Hendry’s brush with mortality not only brought more joy to his life, it may prove to be a lifesaver for countless other terminally ill patients.

Hendry learned he had cancer a week before Christmas. A few days later, tests confirmed the worst-case scenario — it was stage-four mantle cell lymphoma. Then, on successive days, he was told it had spread to his bone marrow and colon. “It was like getting punched in the stomach every day for a week,” Hendry recalls.

The prognosis? Three to five years. Ever the practical, efficient businessman, Hendry wasted little time feeling sorry for himself. “I was (more…)