Archive for the ‘cancer’ Category

Lymphedema Treatment Act

The Lymphedema Treatment Act, HR4662, will be reintroduced in the next Congress. 

For the status of HR 4662 in Congress and to view the list of cosponsors visit

We support the Lymphedema Treatment Act of 2010 and will bring more information as it moves through Congress over the next year.


Lymphedema Therapy in Washington, D.C.

Looking for a lymphedema therapist or physical therapist in Washington, D.C. or the surrounding area? I’ve seen a BUNCH of them, and these are my absolute favorite physical therapists who I would recommend to any breast cancer survivor (or new mom, cough cough) in Maryland, Northern Virginia, or Washington, D.C.

Bretta FabianBretta Fabian. Bretta is my all-time favorite physical therapist. Her years of training and experience have helped her get directly to the root of the problem and know exactly what to do to help get the body back working the way it should be. Over the years, Bretta has eased the swelling in my arms, taught me manual lymph drainage techniques, stretched the cords of scar tissue running up and down my arms until they gently release (important both for lymph drainage and mobility), manipulated scar tissue on my chest (to relieve pain and unbind the muscles), put my back back in joint, and realigned my pelvis after childbirth (ooh, that was embarrasing to type. But if you’ve ever had that pain, you need to know there’s help out there, and it may only take one visit). Bretta is affiliated with the George Washington University Medical Center and works closely with their surgeons. The only drawback is that her practice does not take insurance or medicare, so you’re on your own. Bretta is at the Center for Wellness Solutions, 202-862-0770.

Vicki and Janice at The Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland. Adventist Rehab has five lymphedema specialists. I have been very happy with and can highly recommend Vicki, who trained under the founder of the Norton School of Lymphatic Therapy. Vicki helped me understand how the lymph system works, both verbally and by referencing the instructive posters that surround the treatment area. Vicki is a master at lymphedema wrapping, has instructed both my husband and me in manual lymph drainage techniques, and has a cheerful, supportive demeanor in all that she does. Vicki is creative and helped me find lymphedema wrapping materials when I was allergic to everything she’d worked with before. She also returns phone calls from current patients and aids in ordering lymphedema sleeves, gloves, and nightwear garments. Adventist Rehab also has a half-dozen or more physical therapists at each site who are highly skilled in a number of different hands-on and rehabilitative therapy techniques. Janice in particular is a real treasure for hands-on work including scar tissue manipulation, muscle-energy techniques, and rehab to restore everyday function. (Both Vicki and Janice are referred to here by first name only, as they don’t have a web presence of their own.) Adventist accepts many forms of insurance with a physician’s referral. 240-864-6200.

Katina Marinos is the chief physical therapist at a small practice in Rockville called Manual and Sports Therapy. Her specialties, as you may be able to tell from the name, are manual work and sports medicine, although she worked for years with an orthopedic medicine group and has an exhaustive knowledge of the interplay between the bones and muscles, making treatment comprehensive and effective. Katina is a physical therapist who can take you from couch to marathon, as both she and her 70-some year old father have run marathons in the past few years; she trains people of all ages and abilities to run well and without injury. This family-run, woman-owned business is a comforting, encouraging place to heal, and Katina has been able to work wonders realigning my bones, neck to legs in the past few years. If your bones or muscles hurt, she’s absolutely wonderful. Katina accepts some insurance with a referral. 301-770-1613.

I’ve seen at least five other physical therapists around the area in the past three years, in a quest to find one to relieve the pain AND take my insurance, but these are my absolute favorites and it’s not fair to keep them to myself any longer. If you live outside the D.C. area, to find a lymphedema therapist, check out the National Lymphedema Network. If you need help affording lymphedema sleeves, gloves, and/or gauntlets, try the Marilyn Westbrook Garment Fund. If you think that insurance should cover these garments that cost $100-$1000 each that are necessary for breast cancer survivors and other edema suffers, please let your Congresspersons know that you support H.R. 4662, the Lymphedema Diagnosis and Treatment Cost Saving Act of 2010, introduced February 23 by Congressman Larry Kissell (NC-8) and now cosponsored by Congressman Ron Paul (TX-14).


Lymphediva, maker of fashionable lymphedema sleeves and gloves, has released a limited-edition sleeve with a gorgeous print that will make you feel good in several ways:

  1. Lymphedema control. That’s the key, of course, and the first requirement for a sleeve;
  2. Cool wicking fabric that keeps you comfortable even though it’s an additional layer;
  3. Gorgeous designs!
  4. For every YSC sleeve purchased, Lymphedivas will donate $10 back to the Young Survival Coalition, in honor of their 10th anniversary conference that Sarah wrote about here last week.
  5. And if you order before Monday, this fun sleeve is only $65 — but on Monday the price rises to $90.

I wore another pattern, the black paisley armsleeve, at my big meeting last week and I have to tell you, I felt totally badass. It looked like a tattoo sleeve! You know, if you’re into paisley tattoos.

Anyway, I feel like I just discovered a fashion secret for those of us with lymphedema, and I wanted to share. Lymphediva sleeves (Class I and Class II compression) and gauntlets are available at, Lymphedema Products, and from other stores that sell products to manage lymphedema.

Disclosure: I have no marketing relationship with Lymphedivas or Lymphedema Products, and I was not compensated for this post. Lymphedivas was founded by two young breast cancer survivors with lymphedema, and I’ve been following the company’s success for several years. Now that they make Class II compression garments, I can actually own one. Or three.

The Body Toxic

The Body Toxic: How the Hazardous Chemistry of Everyday Things Threatens Our Health and Well-Being, is an eye-opener.  This book, by Nena Baker, is an investigation into the chemicals and chemical processes that Americans are exposed to through the simple activities of daily living.  The book was spurred by curiosity — Ms. Baker was curious what unnatural chemicals were in her own body, and a blood test showed that she had traces or more of more than 30 surprising chemicals, including DDT, which was banned several decades ago.  Her investigation, and what she found, is detailed in this new book, and it’s simply full of intriguing information.

Green moms, take note — this is a book full of research, written in a consumer-oriented way that feels like it was written by a friend.  From BPA to DDT, phalates to flame retardants, this is an important book that will surely be talked about for quite some time.

Just take my advice on one thing — don’t read it just before bed.  This is one scary book!  It may change your mind about avoiding toxins that you never considered before, and you may be moved to read more, to advocate, and to change your buying habits.  The Body Toxic is a straightforward, powerful read.

Disclosure:  The Body Toxic was sent to me for possible review and has been passed on to my local library. I am never compensated for reviews, nor do publishers, authors, or marketers have any control over what I write.

Hope is Beautiful

from the American Cancer Society’s Look Good, Feel Better website:

Look Good…Feel Better® is reaching out to program graduates and cancer survivors to share their stories of hope, courage, and determination for the “Women of Hope is Beautiful” campaign. The “Women of Hope is Beautiful” are women with firsthand Look Good…Feel Better experience who can demonstrate the emotional and physical transformation that the program offers.

Five women will be selected as the “Women of Hope is Beautiful.” They will be featured on the Look Good…Feel Better website, and will win a trip to the DreamBall at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel in New York on September 24, 2009 as well as receive a professional makeover. Visit the website for contest rules.

What an exciting contest!

Not Done Yet

Laurie Kingston is Not Done Yet.  She’s also Not Just About Cancer.  Laurie is one of my good friends now, one that I made through this cancer journey, and one that I will treasure as long as I live.

Laurie writes about her journey through breast cancer, from diagnosis to weekly maintenance chemo, on her blog and in her new book, Not Done Yet.  The book is a collection of her best posts from the past several years, and it tells her story as honestly and up-front as could be.  She talks about her cancer from diagnosis to testing to chemo to surgery to radiation and living with the changes that all this treatment has wrought on her body.  Her body is not the same as it used to be.  (But then, whose is?)  Her mind and spirit, however, will never be broken.

This is a brave, brave book, and I was honored to be asked to review it.  Laurie’s fighting spirit, and her fierce love for her children, give this book a passion that some may not think possible from “just a blog.”

But then again, there’s no such thing as “just a blog,” is there?  As we’ve seen in our corner of the blogosphere over the past couple years, blogs help women cope with infertility, with miscarriage, with babyloss. . . with abuse, with attacks, with cancer . . . with marital problems, and with redemption.  We grieve for those we have lost, and we rally to help those they have left behind.  We are entering a new era, an era of digital friendship and bearing the burdens of those we have never even met, in a hope-filled attempt to lighten the loads of those who are fighting. Those who are struggling.  Those who mourn.

Not Done Yet is one of the good things to come out of this new approach to living publicly, to letting the light shine in on troubles and illness, and it is a very good thing indeed.

Disclosure: Laurie and I write together at, and we served together on a BlogHer panel last year called Blogging Communities as a Healing Force.

Shampoo for tots

This just in: probable carcinogens found in children’s bath products. Like, a lot of them. More info at The Washington Post and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

Those of you who never, ever thought you’d see a reference to cosmetics on my blog may now laugh uproariously.

But then, let’s get serious about reducing our exposure to many of these cancer-causing chemicals, ‘k?