Sharing with Friends - Spring 2015

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A newsletter for breast cancer survivors



    with Friends

    with Friends Improving the air we breathe at home. Our Expert: Wanda Lewis, RN, BSN

    Calendar of Events

    In This Issue:

    Beaumont Cancer CenterMailing Address:

    3577 W. Thirteen MileRoyal Oak, MI 48073-6710

    248-551-8585email: sharingandcaring@

    Improving the Air in Your Home

    You can make a difference

    Sharing & Caring is a non-profit

    organization devoted to the education and support of

    breast cancer survivors. Donations support

    programs for others who follow in the same

    footsteps and can be made by a check payable

    to Sharing & Caring at the above address.

    continued on next page...

    So much has been discussed about eliminating potentially toxic chemicals from our diets and our cosmetics, but what about the quality of air that we breathe day in and day out at home?Our homes offer us a cozy, sacred space to relax. When we surrender to those end-of-the-day deep, indoor breaths, however, we may be inhaling more than wed wish for.

    According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the air inside of our homes is often several times more contaminated than the air outside of our homes.When we begin factoring in all of the components that go into creating our modern homes, this shouldnt be surprising. Furniture, cabinets, carpets, cleaners, smoke, adhesives and mold are just a few things on the list of common household goods that contribute to the air we breathe. Its best and most effective to be mindful of what we build and furnish our living spaces with, opting for low- or no-emission building materials, paints, stains, furniture and flooring products.For those of us living in a home that we didnt design, however, below are eight natural and low-cost ways to improve indoor air quality.

    1. Bring in plants - Plants are so amazing. Most people are aware that plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen ... but, plants also absorb toxic elements in the air, including formaldehyde and benzene, and transform them into harmless materials.

    2. Open the windows - Getting fresh air into your home, even if its just a couple

    of windows on opposite sides of the home for some cross ventilation can dramatically reduce indoor air pollution.

    3. Regularly change your furnace and air conditioning filters - Especially after stretches when your furnace or air conditioner is sitting idle, its important to change the filter, as its likely collected all sorts of goodies that are best not cycled back into the home space.

    4. Avoid toxic cleaning products and air fresheners - Its never a sound idea to replace dirt on the surfaces in your home with chemically laden cleaning products. Water usually works just as well, and has the added benefits of being both free and safe! If you need a little extra cleaning power, white vinegar mixed with water makes a wonderful cleaning solution that also deodorizes as well. Baking soda can also be used to boost the cleaning power of the vinegar when scrubbing sinks. You can also consider steam there are many handheld steamers on the market these days that are very effective at melting away even the most stubborn messes.

    Similarly, most air fresheners lining the shelves of our local markets are impressively packed with chemicals. If you want to change the smell of your home, essential oils are a great, versatile option. There are many great options for essential oils, but look for therapeutic grade.

    5. Rethink your candles - Paraffin wax candles are petroleum based; aside from their toxic fumes, most commercially sold candles are artificially scented, containing many different chemicals. Instead, look for cleaner-burning soy-based or beeswax-

  • Improvi

    ng the Air in Your Home


    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to our spring newsletter. Sharing and Caring is going through a few changes in the New Year, but we are committed to our mission and excited about the opportunities ahead. My name is Sabrina Mayhew and I would like to introduce myself. I will be assuming the role as the new coordinator for Sharing and Caring. I will be taking over for our beloved Lorelei as she pursues a new position here at Beaumont. She will truly be missed and I hope to be able to continue the hard work she has done here with the breast cancer community.

    I am thrilled to have the opportunity to combine my personal experience as a breast cancer survivor and my professional experience in biomedical research, clinical trials and as a registered nurse. Having struggled deeply through my own cancer diagnosis and treatment, I am passionate about helping others navigate this difficult time. After my treatment was over, I began searching for ways to get involved within the breast cancer community. I had the opportunity to meet some incredible survivors who were passionate about making a difference. I shared their passion and was even more inspired to find ways I could contribute. Since my diagnosis, I have been an advocate for breast cancer survivors in the areas of research, public policy and support. I am currently a member of the Michigan Breast Cancer Coalition, a Gildas club class facilitator and a member of the University of Michigan Advocacy and Advisory Board.

    One of the things that truly helped me in my recovery after surgery was a hand sewn heart shaped pillow made by a volunteer. I was given the pillow after my double mastectomy and it was to be used to shield the new and tender incision site from the seat belt on the ride home from the hospital. I was very touched by the gesture. It was a wonderful and practical gift and it really lifted my spirits. Later, I began The Angel Pillow Project as a means to continue to connect breast cancer survivors together. We gather monthly to sew pillows, connect and share. I am excited to continue this program here at Beaumont as well as expand our existing programming with a few new events in the months to come.

    I am really interested in your input and finding out the best way to meet your needs as you navigate your way through your diagnosis. I continue to be passionate about helping breast cancer survivors find a community of hope and connection and Sharing and Caring will remain a resource for information, advocacy and support in the fight against breast cancer.

    Fondly,Sabrina Mayhew

    continued from previous page

    based candles with a cotton wick scented with essential oils.

    6. Vacuum regularly - On hard floor surfaces, sweep with a reusable microfiber pad to trap dust and dirt and, on soft surfaces, use a good vacuum that has a built-in filter.

    7. Use clay paint - Clay paint can contribute to better air quality in a number of ways. First, clay is nontoxic and hypoallergenic, making it ideal for those with chemical sensitivities. One of the reasons clay is so revered for cleansing is that it has the ability to absorb toxins from the air. Clay is also mold resistant, and it releases negative ions into the air which may naturally alleviate depression.

    8. Remove your shoes - Make a diligent habit of slipping off your shoes at the front door each time you come home. When you begin thinking about where your shoes have been during an average day, it just makes sense.

    Compiled from

  • Ask the Expert

    1. How am I going to feel while I am receiving the chemotherapy infusion? You should not feel anything at all. However, as with any kind of medication one puts into their body there may be a reaction, although it is not common. With modern time chemotherapy there are multiple medications given before the chemotherapy is started to reduce the risk of reaction to the chemotherapy. Many patients sleep through their therapy as a result of some of the medications given to reduce the risk of reaction. Your nurse will carefully monitor you throughout your therapy.2. When will I start feeling sick from the chemotherapy? With the strides made in chemotherapy today, physicians and nurses know one does not have to feel sick from the chemotherapy. Medications are ordered and given prior to the start of the chemotherapy to reduce the effects of nausea. In addition, if the chemotherapy is on the list to cause nausea or vomiting, the patient will have a prescription for an antiemetic to use at home for a few days after the chemotherapy is administered. 3. Should I wear a mask everywhere I go? Depending upon the chemotherapy there is a certain time period when the white blood cell count is lowest and you may be more susceptible to illness (this is called Nadir). You will want to avoid others who may be sick during this time and practice exceptional hand hygiene as well. If you have to go where there are large groups of people it would be prudent to wear a mask in case someone in the group is ill. 4. If I am not hungry do I have to eat? Yes! Sometimes the chemotherapy will alter your appetite. Your taste buds are a fast-turn over cell and can be temporarily affected by the chemotherapy. However, it is very important to eat in order to fight your disease and to help avoid illness. Eating 5-6 small meals a day will help with needed calories and supplementing with liquid meals is an excellent way to get lean protein. Another important factor is the consumption of water. Drink plenty of water to help flush your body of the chemotherapy and to help stay hydrated thus reducing fatigue and constipation.5. Will I lose my hair? This can be a frightening experience. The loss of hair is dependent upon the chemotherapy regimen. Although many chemotherapy regimens cause hair loss there are some that do not. The loss of the hair is only temporary and it will grow back once the chemotherapy is completed. However, there are multiple places one can obtain a wig and many patients opt for scarves and hats during this time. An excellent resource are the Resource Centers at Royal Oak and Troy Cancer Centers. Also, consider attending a Look Good Feel Better Program at Royal Oak, Troy or Grosse Pointe Hospitals; see back page of this newsletter for more information.

    Wanda Lewis, RN, BSNTroy Beaumont Ambulatory Infusion Center

    What Should I Expect Once I Start my Chemotherapy?

    Palmitate, retinoic acid, ethanol, oxybenzone, toluene...How are you supposed to remember all the qualities of these chemicals? Are they

    something to really avoid, or are they considered safe? If youre trying to purchase cosmetics and toiletries that have fewer and safer ingredients, you know how difficult it can be to know what to avoid. Thanks to the Environmental Working Group and their new app, Skin Deep you can have all that information about personal care products right at your fingertips! The Skin Deep database contains information on more than 70,000 products. In the store, you can simply scan the barcode (or type in the name of the product) on the item you are considering, and see the EWGs score! Its a simple- to-understand rating system and gives detailed information when you want it. Available free from both the Apple Store and the Android Store.

    Did you know? Theres an App for that!


  • 4ALL Sharing & Caring events are RESERVATIONS REQUIRED! Please call 248-551-8585 and let us know you plan to attend. If no one is available to take your call, a message with your name, phone

    number and which program you want to attend will complete your registration.

    Additional Programs

    Lymphedema: Symptoms, Management & Avoidance: Thursday, April 16th 7:00 pm Royal Oak BeaumontSome women will experience the buildup of excess lymph fluid that can occur during or after treatment for breast cancer. Find out if you are at risk for lymphedema, what you can do to prevent its development, and how to manage symptoms should it occur. This will be an interactive session presented by Dr. Justin Riutta, Director of Beaumont Lymphedema Clinic and Cynthia Tan, who is a specialized lymphedema physical therapist. The evening will begin with a brief lecture and will be followed by a demonstration of strength and resistance exercises as well as specific chest wall and shoulder stretches that can be done at home. Be sure to wear comfortable clothing and bring your questions. Meets in the Royal Oak Cancer Center 1st floor classroom.

    Annie Parker - Discovering the Genetic Link to Breast Cancer: Wednesday, April 22nd 5:30 pm Royal Oak Beaumont Hosted by Beaumont Cancer Clinical Trials, please join us to hear speaker Annie Parker tell her story, followed by the screening of the movie, Decoding Annie Parker. The award winning film was inspired by Annie, a three time cancer survivor and her work with geneticist, Dr. Mary-Claire King. The film tells the story of finding the BRCA gene mutation, which is considered one of the most important discoveries of the 20th century. We will enjoy hors-doeuvres and a discussion on genetics with Annie and Dr. Dana Zakalik. Meets in the Royal Oak Administration Building Auditorium. Registration is required. Please call 1-800-633-7377 or go online at to reserve your seat.

    Angel Pillow Project Sewing Morning: Monday, May 4th 9:00 to 11:00 am Troy Beaumont. The Angel Pillow Project was created in an effort to bring support and comfort to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. The pillows are used to soothe both physical and emotional pain immediately after surgery. Breast cancer is hard to face alone; these pillows let women know they are indeed not alone! Each pillow includes a pretty handwritten note of encouragement from a survivor. They are used as seatbelt support, underarm support, arm rest and for sleeping at night. We will provide sewing machines, material, scissors, ribbon and card supplies, but donations of these items are always appreciated! If you would like to participate and do not sew, please come anyway! We need help making cards, stuffing pillows and cutting material! Please rsvp so we know how many machines to bring to the classroom. Meets in the Troy Professional Building (east side of Dequindre, across from Beaumont Hospital, Troy) in the 1st floor classroom next to the Sterling Cafe.

    16th Annual Breast Cancer Symposium: Spring Cleanup - Planting the Seeds for a Healthy Survivorship: Saturday, May 9th 9:00 am The Village Club, Bloomfield Hills See page 7 for more information.

    Breast Cancer Support - Theres something just right for you!

    Breast Cancer Support Group: Mondays, April 20th, May 18th and June 15th 10:30 am Troy Beaumont The sudden and unexpected changes that go along with a breast cancer diagnosis can be difficult to manage. This small group discussion led by Oncology Social Worker Laurel Martinez, LMSW, LCSW, OSW-C, provides an opportunity for women to discuss the unique challe...