Brighter Magazine 2022-Q3

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Chondrosarcoma USA Pickleball player Jamie Elliot Shuey chose flexibility when cancer took away her ability to feel strong on her feet.



for sun safety



Gracefully going gray

A magazine for women affected by cancer

Editor’s Letter

Live. Learn. Shine.

Hello and happy summer from Brighter. It is with great excitement that we get to share what is going on with us. The IRS recently confirmed our status as a 501c3 organization, which means all donations to Brighter Magazine are now tax-deductible. This is significant news because it is only through the generosity of our donors that we are able to produce a high quality publication that delivers encouragement and education, distributed free of charge to survivors. We are excited to see how this status helps us reach farther. We are also thrilled to share that we are now mailing to 18 states and 3 countries. In addition to individual subscriptions, we are distributing quantities of 50-200 issues to various hospitals and medical facilities around the nation and we have big dreams to continue to grow over the coming months of 2022. Our goal is to be in all 50 states by the end of this year. Please consider helping us reach our goal. You can do so by introducing us to survivors and medical professionals in your community. You can also donate to Brighter magazine online at With as little as $28 you can provide a years worth of magazines for a women affected by cancer, and for $5,000 you can fund the printing of one issue. We are so excited to help this underserved population have a Brighter outlook on life.


Table of Contents

Education Love and Light


The Blame Game




Babies after Treatment


Summer Hydration


Subscribe to Brighter magazine at Advertise to expand your reach. Contact us at Donate to support Brighter on our website or save fees by mailing a check to: Brighter Magazine 3950 Royal Lane Ste - E 161 Dallas, Texas 75230

Empowerment 7 Summer Must-Haves


Nature as Meditation


Sparkling Silvers


Brighter Magazine, a Texas nonprofit Corporation, 501(c)(3) Tax Exemption status pending.

Information in Brighter magazine is to provide you with encouragement, awareness and education. The articles reflect the opinions of the authors and are not to take the place of professional medical advice. There may be a variety of perspectives on the subjects covered in Brighter. Tips, treatment and advice that is found helpful for some may vary based on the person. All of us at Brighter suggest that you talk to your medical team before making any changes to your lifestyle or daily living.

The magazine for women affected by cancer

Encouragement No Awkward Phases


Life after Treatment


Jamie Elliot Shuey


Sitting in Sadness




and Light

Caring for Others in Treatment By Carol Goglia


As you’ve likely already experienced, now that you’re a part of the cancer club, people will ask you for advice on what to say or do for their friends who are going through cancer treatment. I always tell them that it depends on where they are in their journey of treatment. If they’re just finding out and still in shock from diagnosis, wanting very few people to know, then they may not want as much said or done as when they’re in the depths of chemo despair. But in any case, as for what to SAY: I recommend saying a prayer and letting them know you love and care about them. Describe the light that they bring to the world. Those are good things to say at any time to anyone. As far as gifts of time, talent or treasure go, I recommend giving LOVE and LIGHT, and don’t forget to CARE for the CAREGIVER!

LOVE Tell the person you love them through words, deeds or small gestures.


Nothing brightens your day like a card! It doesn’t have to be fancy, funny or really anything remarkable. Just a quick note to say you’re thinking of them means a lot. Cards are easier than email because you aren’t compelled to reply. And, cards are great from the very beginning to the very end—I had a 12-month treatment plan and received a card from one of my mom’s friends almost every month (wow!). But even one card or note is quite memorable.


Fuzzy blankets, comfy pajamas and Barefoot Dreams robes. We spent July 4th with our cousins every year, so I was especially thankful for the soft American flag blanket that my sister-in-law sent to me when I couldn’t travel to be with her that summer!

Time Away

Give your friend a gift certificate to a restaurant so they can have a night out with their spouse to connect without the kids around. Or maybe invite the kids over to swim or play while the parents get to stay home and hang out in the quiet house. Have a lake house? Invite your friend out for a visit.

The magazine for women affected by cancer


I loved any kind of music---running tunes, crazy 80’s soundtracks, mellow meditation music, spa music, country music for back patio BBQs, mixed tapes rock! Any kind of music helped me savor good times, relax or get pumped up. Songs reminded me of the friend who recommended them, which helped me feel connected to them. Ask a teen to show you how to create a Spotify playlist. It’s easy!


Flowers felt too serious to me at the beginning, but by the time I’d had my surgery and was into chemo, I really appreciated receiving flowers. Orchids or succulents are especially great because they don’t have a strong scent and don’t need to be watered often–even artificial flowers could be nice in that regard!


I especially loved when people sent old photos from high school or college, photos of their children with my children, them with me, anyone doing fun things or of beautiful mountain views, sunsets, etc. I was especially thankful for photos or videos of my children if I had to miss games or school plays. I REALLY appreciated it when people sent me photos of my kids in action. I still appreciate this, even when I’m not sick! Another thing that would be neat is to hire a professional (or amateur!) photographer to take a family photo before your friend loses her hair (or after!)


Are you great at something? Make-up? Ironing? Cooking? Scrapbooking? Databases? Maybe you could help them do something they need. (See “lightening their load” below.) You can help not just the patient but also their support team. One friend’s son was a lacrosse whiz, and, at his mom’s recommendation, he came over to do lacrosse drills with our kids in our backyard. What a great idea!


Anything you can do that shows you’re on their team. Wear their favorite color. Drink their favorite drink. Get matching bracelets. Make team t-shirts. Run a cancer support race in their honor. Create a group text with supporters and friends. However–make SURE you have their blessing before doing this. NOTE: Be VERY careful about doing anything public before the person is ready, especially with social media. Don’t create a hashtag before they’re okay with it! One friend was keeping her diagnosis secret, but someone “surprised” her with team t-shirts for their whole office. This did NOT


go over well. However, another friend’s book club did the same, once the diagnosis was already public, and it was amazing. Perhaps at the beginning, you simply wear their favorite color. Note also that people are particular about colors. Often they prefer you choose their favorite color or a school color instead of the color of their disease, as many don’t want to be defined by their disease.


This is tricky because sometimes the person feels so bad that they really don’t want visitors—definitely respect that. However, when they’re up for visitors, that may be the best gift you could give them. You don’t need to bring anything. Go on a walk with them, drive them to a doctor’s appointment or sit with them for chemo. Your presence is your present.

LIGHT Cancer is heavy, so anything light can be relief.

Lighten the Mood

Once I understood the heaviness of cancer treatment, I loved anything funny or whimsical or any kind of levity to take my mind off of it. One friend texted me a random photo of a horse smiling. Hilarious! Others suggested funny podcasts. Send a Batman t-shirt, a Wonder Woman figurine, a silly card, meme or a joke of the day. Seasonal décor is always fun—decorate their house for Valentine’s Day! Give them a pack of Halloween

plates and napkins. Put up encouraging posters! Funny pictures or memories from old friends were especially great mood-lifters.

Lighten the Load

Help with logistics. Come over and wash dishes. Pick up produce from the farmer’s market. Drop a kid home from practice. Help clean out a closet. Organize their Christmas card address list. Take notes at the school speaker event. Find out what medicine or random things they need for their treatment and get it for them. Buy them a long charging cord for their iPhone to reach the plug from their hospital bed. Shop for a scarf to cover their bald head. Find a good calendar or journal for marking down all their medications, side effects, and notes before/after/during doctor’s visits. Buy the teacher appreciation gift for them. Order a pizza or Chinese to be delivered.

Lighten the Spirit

I loved healing stones, Clinging Crosses, devotional books, the Headspace app, funny glow in the dark nun figurines, bookmarks with Bible verses, music with hymns to calm me while lying in bed, meditation CDs, pocket crosses, a deck of cards with notes or quotes of inspiration, a note that someone had lit a candle for me in a chapel while they were on vacation, a prayer bead/ shawl, etc. Stick post-it notes all over their bathroom mirror or office desk with inspirational quotes or reminders that you love and appreciate them! Remember to CELEBRATE SMALL WINS! Anything and everything counts.

Share Carol’s Love and Light list with others.

Use this QR code if you have been recently diagnosed and people are asking what they can do, or share it with others who are going through or affected by cancer.



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7 Summer Must-haves for Sun Safety By Dr. Jennifer Gill, M.D., Ph. D.

So many of us look forward to the start of summer, when the days get longer and we can spend more time outdoors, cooking on the grill and enjoying the lake or ocean. While those bright rays of sunshine can be SO good for our souls, it’s important to protect our skin in the process. In addition to causing skin cancer (and wrinkles!), the sun can lead to major issues for cancer patients who are receiving certain medications or treatments. If you are going to be spending time outside, it’s important to be prepared and maximize protection for your skin. Below is a sun safety checklist with some of my favorite must-have products. (NOTE: These are not sponsored! Links for all recommended products can be found using the QR code.)


Of course, every sun safety checklist must start with sunscreen. Make sure you choose one with an SPF of 40 or greater and broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) coverage. If you are going to be sweating or on the water, choose


a water-resistant sunscreen and be prepared to reapply every 60-90 minutes. If you have sensitive skin or are swimming near coral reef, choose a mineral-based sunscreen with physical blockers (for example “titanium oxide” or “zinc oxide” as the active ingredient). If you prefer something easier to rub in, you can choose one with chemical blockers i.e. avobenzone or octocrylene. Spray sunscreens can be effective, but make sure you apply it close to the skin and try to minimize the mist! Some of my personal favorites include: - Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen Stick SPF 50+ - Blue Lizard Active Mineral-Based Sunscreen SPF 50+ - Elta MD UV Sport SPF 50 - La Roche Posay AntiHelios Cooling Water Sunscreen SPF 60


Gone are the days where less is more. As people are becoming more conscious about protecting their skin from the sun, many companies are now making rashguards, swim shorts, swim dresses and even full bodysuits. Look for a “UPF” rating, which is essentially like an “SPF” for clothing. Some online stores with lots of options include Coolibar, Athleta, Lands’ End, Nike and Everything But Water. One of my personal favorites is Nike’s Hydroguard Swim Shirt. With its quick-drying, light-weight feel and UPF 40+, you won’t get overheated.

with a UV umbrella, canopy chair or even beach tent. You’ll find that it’s also a quick way to make friends, as others will want to share in a nice cool spot. These items are easy to store in your car or trunk, making them great investments for times when you might not have been expecting to need it. GCI Outdoor has a great beach chair with a moveable canopy to adjust based on the sun’s position.


For those who get tired of constantly applying sunscreen (I get it!), let UPF clothing do the work for you. Nearly all athletic and outdoor stores now have lightweight, UPF-rated clothes to keep you cool and protected at the same time. Consider investing in UV arm sleeves, which can be an easy addition when you are wearing a short-sleeve top and need more coverage. Alternatively, purchase a light-colored, loose-fitting UPF blouse to throw on over a tank. The Columbia button-up is super breathable and keeps your skin feeling free.


Hats are an important part of any sun protection plan. In addition to providing shade for our face, they are an opportunity to protect our scalp, ears and neck. This is especially important because these are areas which see a lot of sun and often get missed by sunscreen. While visors and baseball cap styles are okay, try to find a hat with more coverage. Make sure the weave is tight so that sunlight doesn’t sneak in. Like swimwear and clothing, some hats have UPF ratings, which will help ensure that you are getting maximum protection. Check out Solbari, Coolibar, Target and Nordstrom for a wide range of cute choices! A Solbari hat is linked.


Don’t forget your eyes! Skin cancer can occur on your eyelids and even the eye itself. Choose sunglasses that block 99-100% of UVA/UVB, and consider polarized glasses (which help minimize glare) if you are going to be on the water. If you want bonus points from your dermatologist, you can also consider sun shields, which are essential sunglasses for your entire face. Whether you choose something chic, sporty, fun or quirky, sunglasses don’t need to be expensive to do their job. Some cute Goodr sunglasses are linked.

Watch (and Timer!)

It’s easy to lose track of time when you are having fun, but it’s important to be mindful of when and how long you are out in the sun. If you can, try to avoid the times of the day when the UV index is highest (between 10am-4pm). Set a timer to remind yourself to reapply sunscreen or go inside for a break from the sun. Some of the worst burns I’ve seen are when people simply lose track of time, forget their sunscreen or fall asleep on that beach chair. By incorporating the items in the above checklist, you can help protect your skin this summer from sunburns, rashes and potential skin cancers. Remember that a layered approach is always best, and practicing these habits gets easier over time! I promise your skin and future self will thank you later! Use the QR code below to find links to the products mentioned in this article.


It’s always great to find a shaded area, but sometimes it’s just not an option. Be prepared to create your own

The magazine for women affected by cancer


Awkward Phases By Sarah Zhou


Growing your hair out can be difficult, especially when you enter that awkward phase. You may not know what to do or what look you want. Here are a few tips:

Talk to your hairstylist.

Setting a clear goal can help your hairstylist get your desired look. They can also help you figure out hairstyles that can best fit your face shape and goals. Work with your stylist to figure out how many steps it will take to get from your current style to your goal.

Less is more.

Try not to overwhelm your hair with heavy products. Instead, stick with shampoos and conditioners that are paraben and sulfate-free. Avoid alcoholbased hair sprays and products that have a sticky and tacky texture. You can also try dry brushing your scalp to remove the leftover radiation from your hair follicles.

Go for coverage, not length.

Hair grows in several phases, so at any given point you’ll have hairs growing in and falling out. Instead of trying to go straight for long hair, maintain a shorter hairstyle until you get a thickness you like to ensure maximum coverage.

Embrace your new looks.

Shorter hair means a chance to accessorize and highlight your face! Try scarves, hats or a little lipstick. Welcoming this new length may help you discover something you like. If you want to try chemical treatments, work with your oncologist and hairstylist to find something that works best for you. Life after cancer treatment looks different for everyone. Your hair may be a different color and texture, but try to embrace the change. Starting with short hair can allow you to explore all different sorts of styles. This is an opportunity to experiment and showcase your beauty in a new way, so have fun with it!

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Licensed Massage Therapist MT119695

Oncology Massage Specializing in

Helping you be as relaxed and pain-free as possible.

The Blame Game By Miranda Jeffreds

What do you do when someone makes an assumption about you before hearing your story? Do you become defensive? Angry? Upset? These reactions, though natural, don’t help to solve the problem of misjudgments and stereotypes; they only propagate it. For many cancer patients, assumptions about their diagnoses are frequent. When sharing their diagnosis, patients and survivors often receive reactions from friends, family and peers that blame the cancer on the patient. Questions and comments like “Did you wear your sunscreen?” or “Were you a smoker?” provoke feelings of guilt in the patient, even if they took measures to protect their body from cancer. These miscalculated judgments towards survivors only intensify the emotional rollercoaster that a cancer diagnosis brings, so handling these situations with compassion and kindness is of the utmost importance. Clarifying misconceptions about cancer can eliminate harmful stereotypes around diagnoses; commonly, cancer patients and survivors face assumptions that they mistreated their body or did irrational things that led to their diagnoses. Though risk factors like smoking

The magazine for women affected by cancer

and sun exposure can increase chances of cancer, inherited genes contribute to 5-10% of all cancers. A person can do everything “right” and still be diagnosed with cancer because of genetic traits, so it’s crucial to keep an open mind when conversing with a cancer patient or survivor. You could be inadvertently placing blame on them and making them feel as though their diagnosis is their fault. For cancer patients and survivors, as well as those surrounding them, learning how to navigate these assumptions isn’t easy. To tackle discriminatory stereotypes, both sides must be open to discussion to find ways to clarify misconceptions in a compassionate, educative manner. In order to alleviate the assumptions and stereotypes pushed onto patients and survivors, both parties must not be afraid to speak their mind, learn new things and treat others with kindness. Defensiveness does not help the problem; compassion does.


Life After Treatment By Debbie Norris

When I finished chemotherapy for ovarian cancer in September 2013, I was left with a big question. After surgeries, labs every other week, chemotherapy and seeing my gynecologic oncologist every three weeks I now felt like I was on my own. Who was going to check to make sure I was ok? Who was going to check to make sure the cancer was still gone? How was I going to survive until December when I would get labwork and a physical examination? I know I’m not the only one who experienced this momentary panic.

Who am I now? What do I do with the gift of a second chance at life? I slowly began to get involved with the ovarian cancer community. I joined a few groups on Facebook, found my local organization and started telling people all about my cancer. The major turning point came when I went to my first national ovarian cancer conference. I was surrounded by women like me, some still going through treatment, some done with treatment and some who were many-year survivors. I met a vibrant sisterhood of women just like me.

Aside from the medical fears, there were other questions. I was never going to be the person I was before cancer. I was never going to be pregnant. I was never going to feel “normal” again. After taking a deep breath and crying for a few days, I started to realize the “now what?” was the rest of my life.

That first conference started my desire to educate, advocate and raise awareness for my type of cancer. My purpose became clear: I was to become a voice for for women in this community. Those who were consumed with treatment and recurrence. Those who were no longer with us.


So, now what? One of the activities that excited me was educating others. The local ovarian cancer alliance participates in a national program called Survivors Teaching Students, Saving Women’s Lives®. Becoming involved with this program allowed me to work through the process of writing out my story and sharing it with future doctors. I get to go into local medical schools and talk with third year medical students. I tell them my story, with a group of other survivors, and give a face to what they learn about cancer patients in their classes. Survivors Teaching Students has become one of my favorite things as a survivor. It’s empowering and cathartic. Several years after becoming a presenter for medical students, I was approached by a company to become a patient ambassador. This meant my husband and I would get to share our story with people all over the country. We did some training and met more survivors. Once again, I wrote out my story, and my husband got to write out his as a caregiver. We were sent out with a Nurse Educator to workshops for people who wanted or needed more information about ovarian cancer. We really enjoy these workshops. We see immediately how our experiences help and impact others going through the same thing. Another way to make the most of life after treatment is getting involved in advocacy. Part of my first conference experience was an Advocacy Day. That day survivors, medical professionals and caregivers dressed in teal and took to the halls of Capitol Hill. I was able

to share my story and the importance of funding for several programs with my elected officials. I recently became an Advocate Leader participating in meetings on Capitol Hill twice a year. As survivors and others in the advocacy program, we have the opportunity to develop relationships with our elected officials, not just making a difference for ovarian cancer but also other gynecological cancers. Advocacy has given me a feeling of purpose and power, a feeling lost when I was diagnosed. Other things you can do after treatment include things you never would have done before cancer. My husband suggested a “Things to Do After Chemo” list. On this list, I put things like do a mud run, run a 5k, go camping and ride the big slide at the State Fair. These are activities I would NEVER have done before my cancer journey. I figured if I could face the thought of dying and come out on the other end, I can do some other scary things too. I’ve learned to not waste any moments, spend more time with family and friends, travel and do all those things I was putting off until “someday.” If you’re just finishing treatment and wondering what’s next, take a few moments to cry and wonder. After that, take this new chance you’ve been given and LIVE. Find a group or two with a similar cancer, and talk with other survivors. Find out how you can educate others. Do the things you always wanted to or never thought you would or could. Enjoy your life like never before.

Follow Debbie’s example and create your own

“Things to Do After Chemo” list. A mud run, A 5K, Go camping, Ride the big slide at the State Fair. Include activities you would NEVER have done before cancer. If you can face the thought of dying and come out on the other end, you can do some other scary things too. Don’t waste any moments, spend more time with family and friends, travel and do all those things you were putting off until “someday.”

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Keep moving I am strong

I enjoy effort

I am healing

Peace a

Keep moving


I am strong Peace and strength I am healin eep moving I enjoy effort Keep moving Peace Peace and strength

Nature as Meditation By Lisa Coyle, RYT, HHC, AYS Illustration by Khloe Steele


and strength

am strong

ng I am healing

e and strength I am strong

Spring has sprung, and with it often comes the impulse to get outside and enjoy the sunshine and warmer temperatures. After a cold winter, the first signs of spring can make us feel almost like a kid again. We yearn to get outside, to feel as alive as the natural world that is bursting with new life. However, for those of us dealing with the effects of cancer treatments, we may find our energy lower and feel restricted in the activities that we can do. If this sounds like you, remember that you are in a time of healing and that there are other ways to get out and enjoy the substantial health benefits of sunshine and fresh air. Sunlight is the best source of Vitamin D, essential for good health. Circadian rhythms tell us to get sunlight first thing in the morning if possible. Viewing sunlight early in the morning sets our “clock” for the day, enabling us to fall more easily asleep at night. Remember to apply sunscreen if you will be in the afternoon sun. Breathing in the sweet, fresh air of springtime encourages us to breathe more deeply and imbues us with a sense of wellbeing. Whether you are feeling a bit tired or full of energy, practices such as Walking Meditation or Mantra Walking can be just the thing for renewing a sense of peace and happiness. To practice a Walking Meditation, simply begin by going outside and setting the intention of keeping your attention on the beauty around you and allowing yourself to walk slowly. Remind yourself that you are not exercising! Give yourself permission to go slow so you can savor each moment. Start by feeling your feet on the ground, and listen to the rhythm of your steps. Feel how your feet roll from heel to toe as you move forward. Feel the breath coming in and out in an unbroken circle of movement within the body. It’s preferable to breathe in and out of the nose, if possible. The nostrils are designed to filter the air, and nasal breathing encourages us to breath more slowly. Of course, it is spring, so allergies can

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make this uncomfortable. If necessary, go ahead and breathe slowly in and out of the mouth, being conscious of any tendency to rush the breath. Feeling your feet on the ground and the breath in your body, begin to expand your awareness of the blue of the sky, the new green leaves in the trees, the chirping of birds and flowers that may be coming into bloom. Experience the explosion of life all around. When intrusive thoughts come along (and they will), simply acknowledge them and turn attention back to your feet, your breath and the world around you. Mantra Walking takes the practice above and simply adds a mantra – or phrase - to your walk. You can choose anything that is meaningful to you, but phrases that are short and concise are most useful. You will repeat your mantra over and over, seeding this idea or quality in your heart and mind. State your mantra in a positive way that encourages you. Some examples may include: I am healing. I am strong. Peace and Strength Keep moving. I enjoy the effort. Some people have specific sayings or pieces of scripture that they find meaningful; these can be wonderful. Just make sure they are short and easy to repeat over and over. What about those days where you are just too tired to walk? If you can, get outside to a place where you can sit comfortably, even if it’s in your own backyard. You can do these practices sitting still. Just sit and feel the earth beneath you. Feel your breath coming and going. And look around you. You are part of a beautiful world that is renewing itself before your very eyes. You are experiencing renewal. Soon, you will undergo your own springtime, your own time of rejuvenation and healing.


Lymphedema By Jayna Dave

What is lymphedema?

In simple terms, lymphedema is swelling. The term refers to tissue swelling caused by a build-up of lymph fluid. A proteinrich, liquid, lymph fluid is typically drained through the body’s lymphatic system. However, cancer treatment can damage or remove lymph nodes, blocking the drainage of lymph fluid and causing lymphedema.

What is the lymphatic system?

A part of the immune system, the lymphatic system helps protect against infection and disease. It also collects lymph fluid from body tissues, moving it into the bloodstream. The lymphatic system consists of three key elements: vessels, fluids and nodes. Lymph fluid is a colorless fluid that surrounds all body tissues. It contains proteins, salts, water and white blood cells, which help fight infection. Lymph vessels are a network of tubes that connect to lymph nodes. They help to transfer lymph fluid across the body and control its flow. Some vessels are located directly under the skin, meaning they can be easily damaged. Lymph nodes are tiny glands, no bigger than the size of a bean. They filter out and break down harmful cells found in the lymph fluid.


When body tissues contain extra lymph fluid, the fluid flows into the lymph vessels. Then, the fluid is filtered through the lymph nodes before it drains into the bloodstream. If the lymph nodes are damaged, the lymph fluid will not pass into the bloodstream. Instead, it will build up, causing visible swelling in the body.

Causes of lymphedema

Although lymphedema can occasionally result from inherited conditions, it is most commonly caused by cancer and cancer treatments. Cancer: Cancer cells can block lymph vessels. For example, if a tumor near a lymph node or vessel was large enough to block the flow of lymph fluid, lymphedema would occur. Radiation: Radiation therapy can damage lymph nodes or vessels. Cancer surgery: Lymph nodes are often removed during cancer surgery. However, removing lymph nodes does not always lead to lymphedema. In addition to these causes, obesity and older age are risk factors for lymphedema.

When to See a Doctor

As it worsens, lymphedema can have permanent effects. While the earlier stages of lymphedema are reversible, the later stages do not respond to treatments as well. If you notice persistent swelling in the arms and legs, no matter their angle or position, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Furthermore, if you have already been diagnosed with lymphedema but see a sudden increase in the size of your affected limbs, contact your doctor.

Non-Surgical Treatments

Although there is no permanent cure for lymphedema, treatment can help to control and reduce swelling. Lymphedema therapists can assist in managing and treating the condition. In cases of severe lymphedema, your doctor may want to surgically remove some tissue to mitigate the swelling. Below are common methods of lymphedema treatment. Exercise Gentle movements in your affected limbs can help to push out excess fluid. Focus on movements that squeeze or contract your muscles. In addition, activities that increase your heart rate can also reduce swelling. Bandages Wrapping bandages around the entire limb encourages lymph fluid to flow away from your limb and towards your torso. This treatment method also prevents fluid from reentering the limb after it has left the area. Compression Garments Similar to bandages, compression garments put pressure on your limbs, causing fluid to flow away from the affected area. Examples of compression garments include sleeves or stockings. Wear compression garments when exercising and flying, as higher altitudes can worsen lymphedema symptoms. These garments may need to be professionally fitted to ensure that they are tight enough.

Sequential Pneumatic Compression Device This device is a sleeve or boot that fits over the affected limb. The device connects to a pump that inflates and then deflates the sleeve. This cycle continues repeatedly, systematically pushing the lymph fluid out of the limb.

Surgical Treatments Lymph Node Transplant A surgeon transfers lymph nodes from a healthy area of the body to the area affected by lymphedema. Those with milder cases of lymphedema often see improvement after this surgery. New Drainage Paths This surgery is also for more moderate cases of lymphedema. A surgeon creates new pathways between the lymph network and the blood vessels, providing an alternate channel for the lymph fluid to drain.

Signs and Symptoms Lymphedema signs and symptoms can range from mild to severe. In some cases, lymphedema caused by cancer treatment may not occur until years later. The following are some common signs and symptoms of lymphedema.

Swelling in the arms and legs, including fingers and toes Skin feeling heavy or tight Skin feeling harder in texture, looking red or feeling hot A restricted range of motion due to reduced joint flexibility Trouble fitting your arms or legs into clothing Collars, watches or jewelry feeling tight

Manual Lymph Drainage Massage Therapy This type of massage therapist varies from a standard massage and should be done by a trained professional. Manual lymph drainage involves light pressure in order to move the lymph fluid into an area with fully functioning lymph nodes and vessels.

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Removal of Fibrous Tissues In severe cases of lymphedema, body tissues in the limb can harden, becoming fibrous. By removing some of this tissue, the limb’s function will improve.

Coping with Lymphedema It can be frustrating to know that lymphedema has no cure. However, you can take measures to maintain your physical and mental health during the condition. Stay Informed Find out everything you can about lymphedema. This will increase your awareness of your symptoms and make it easier for you to communicate with your doctor and any other professionals. Take Care of the Affected Limbs Be sure to clean and moisturize your skin. Regularly check your skin symptoms like cuts and cracks, and contact your doctor if these symptoms increase or worsen.

Take Care of your Entire Body Keep a healthy diet and exercise daily, if possible. Be sure to get enough sleep and reduce your stress, as this will provide you with more energy and faster healing. Get Support from Others Lean on your friends and family. Talk to others who are also experiencing lymphedema through support group meetings or online message boards. No matter how you choose to receive support, it helps to talk to others in a similar situation.


Don’t Let Cancer Steal Your Dream Dr. Satin Patel, M.D.

As cancer treatments are increasingly more successful, having the life you dreamed of after cancer treatment may be linked to the decisions you make before you start. If having a biological child of your own someday is important to you, it is essential that you have an honest conversation with your oncologist about your desire to have a child and how the cancer treatment might affect your ability to do so. When dealing with the overwhelming uncertainty and anxiety of a cancer diagnosis, some patients and their loved ones may not realize that certain cancer treatments (including chemotherapy and radiation), while effective in treating many cancers, may result in permanent sterility.

through the fallopian tube into the uterus, where it may implant and develop into a pregnancy. Of course, a wide variety of factors may impact the process of fertilization and implantation and as such, a pregnancy is not a guarantee. The same is true when fertilization happens via in vitro

Not to mention, when a woman receives a cancer diagnosis, she may not yet have even begun to think about having a family. But suddenly she must decide if she wants to attempt to preserve the option to have a biological child later in life. And of course, time is of the essence, as her oncologist may recommend starting treatment right away. Thankfully, we live in an age where there are options, hope and great successes. Here’s what you need to know about preserving female fertility before cancer treatment so you can protect the possibility of a family post cancer treatment. Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have. However, eggs must go through a maturation process prior to fertilization. In a normal menstrual cycle, the ovaries mature and ovulate, or release one egg that can be fertilized by sperm. Once fertilized, an embryo forms and travels


fertilization (IVF). Every egg may not be capable of producing a pregnancy. As a result, egg freezing entails preserving a sufficient number of eggs to best maximize a woman’s chance of reaching her reproductive goals.

Once you have made the decision to freeze your eggs, the process can typically be completed in less than a month. Your fertility specialist will meet with you to discuss your goals, perform diagnostic testing and formulate treatment recommendations. Some patients choose to freeze unfertilized eggs, others have them fertilized with their spouse, partner or donor sperm prior to freezing. Your fertility specialist will help you determine the treatment plan that best suits your needs. The first step in the egg freezing process is to stimulate your body into maturing as many eggs as possible. This is done through a series of simple injections that your doctor will show you how to do at home. Over the course of two weeks, while you do the injections, you’ll also visit your doctor’s office for intermittent ultrasounds and blood tests to monitor the growth of the eggs. When the time is right, the fertility specialist will retrieve the eggs during an inoffice procedure. On the day of the egg retrieval, your fertility doctor will perform a minimally invasive, office-based procedure. Given that conscious sedation is used, there is typically minimal pain or discomfort during the process. Upon completion, your fertility specialist will be able to tell you how many eggs were retrieved. Those eggs are then assessed by a team of embryologists who will examine each egg using a high-powered microscope to determine how many are healthy and can be frozen via vitrification. Egg freezing opens a world of opportunities and options for women. Frozen eggs can remain viable for more than 20 years. It allows you to stop the biological clock and retain the ability to have the baby of your dreams. Dr. Satin Patel is a partner and double board-certified fertility specialist at Fertility Specialists of Texas. He has more than 10 years of experience helping patients successfully freeze their eggs and achieve pregnancy. A California native, Patel has graduated with honors from some of the most prestigious universities and medical programs in the country. He is known by patients for honestly and sensitively communicating the complexities of treatment. To learn more or to connect with Dr. Patel, visit or call 214-618-2044.

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Jamie Elliot Shuey Brighter Spotlight By Maddeline Muller Photography by Erin Schreyer

The magazine for women affected by cancer


Instead of running from trials, Jamie wheels herself through them. It all started with a slip on ice that led to an x-ray, which identified a mass. A CT scan and a biopsy labeled the growth a cancerous tumor. Doctors diagnosed Jamie with chondrosarcoma. Chrondrosarcoma, a rare cancer, occurs in the bones and the soft tissue surrounding them. Even rarer than the cancer itself was its location in Jamie’s body - on her rib. Chondrosarcoma typically occurs on the long bones, such as the arms and legs, and can then warrant amputation. This cancer does not usually react to chemotherapy or radiation. Although doctors are not sure what causes chondrosarcoma, it’s possible that damaging a bone can “awaken the monster” and trigger the disease in that location. Jamie’s fall on the ice and then subsequent rib tumor may be evidence of this theory. Before cancer and throughout her life, Jamie had always loved sports. But she took a particular liking to pickleball, a sport similar to tennis with solid paddles and a smaller court, around 2010. She competed nationally about a year later and has continued to do so since then. Cancer has drastically changed the way she plays, but it hasn’t stopped her. In an attempt to fight Jamie’s disease, doctors removed four of her ribs and shaved down part of her vertebrae. In just four months, Jamie, determined to recover, was back on the pickleball court, winning a silver medal in the Seniors’ National Olympics in 2018. She said, “I thought, ‘Great, I’m back in recovery, back playing and doing what I love.’” While competing, she continued to get CT scans and MRIs every


three months. Even though it may have seemed like Jamie’s fight with cancer was over, she had only gotten over the first hurdle. In December 2018, doctors found a growth on the shaved vertebrae. Months later, with a team assembled, Jamie had an 8-hour surgery. Technology had advanced since the original diagnosis, so the doctors implanted radiation plates to radiate the parts of the tumor they could not reach. The surgery was long and messy; her neurologist compared it to an octopus shooting blood out of its tentacles. “That’s how devastating these types of tumors are,” Jamie commented. After the surgery, 5 rounds of radiation for 33 days followed. “Believe it or not, but having four ribs removed, compared to this last tumor, was nothing,” Jamie commented. This surgery paralyzed Jamie’s legs. She could not wiggle her toes or cross her legs, much less walk. After living a life of such mobility and athleticism, she had to be hoisted into her wheelchair or onto the toilet - a drastic change. Jamie said, “That was the most devastating, not that my legs were paralyzed, but what I was having to go through.” But Jamie pushed through and remained positive. She told us, “I really believe, inside your body, cancer feeds off negativity.” She saw an occupational and physical therapist regularly. Soon enough, she found a new way to enjoy her new favorite activity: wheelchair pickleball. Jamie named her wheelchair ‘Barney’ after pickleball founder Barney McCallum. Barney (the wheelchair, not the founder)

enables Jamie to move around the court and hit the ball back to her competitor. “He’s become a part of me. I hate to say pickleball has saved my life, because I have a very strong faith in God, but Barney gets me out of the house everyday,” Jamie told us. About a year after her second surgery, life handed Jamie another challenge. She developed lung nodules from the metastatic chondrosarcoma. Her doctors prescribed an oral chemotherapy medication called Tibsovo that shrunk the nodules. Then, a spot on her liver appeared on a scan. A biopsy revealed that the spot was indeed chondrsarcoma, and doctors performed an ablation, a treatment that destroys tumors without removing them. The ablation was successful. In November 2021, doctors applied radiation to three lung nodules that did not respond to the earlier chemo treatment. Thankfully, the nodules seem to be shrinking and calcifying, so Jamie hopes she will not have them forever. Of course, living with cancer has changed Jamie’s life. “My calendar, which used to be full of golf, pickleball and luncheons, now is full of CT scans, MRIs and lab work.” Scanxiety, or scan anxiety, can plague Jamie during her scan days. “The hardest thing is getting the lungs radiated,” Jamie says. During this procedure, Jamie has to repeatedly hold her breath for 15 seconds at a time while the machine circles around her “like StarTrek,” in her own words. Jamie must remind herself that “it’s a good thing” as she says her prayers under the machines.

Jamie’s story, even before cancer, inspires us. She says, “I’ve had a wonderful life. I really have.” Jamie worked as a stuntwoman for about 30 years, beginning in 1985, in films like RoboCop and Free Willy. Before this, she traveled the world as a flight attendant. Jamie did not let cancer end the adventure that is life. She makes new friends and competes nationally with wheelchair pickleball, experiencing things and meeting people she never knew before.

“I hate to say that pickleball has saved my life, because I have a very strong faith in God, but Barney gets me out of the house every day” Jamie is grateful for so much. Jamie wants to thank her family and friends for their endless support throughout all her trials. She also wants to thank her awesome care team at UT Southwestern, including Dr. Chan, Dr. Bagley, Dr. Nwachukwu, Dr. Homsi, Dr. Avila, Dr. Childs, Dr. Klakeel, Dr. Sharma, Dr. Rice and Dr. Folkert. Jamie said, “It has taken this team, together, to get me where I am. I’m still not cancer free, but my body, with the help of these highly skilled and caring doctors, is fighting the good fight.” Additionally, Jamie has a strong faith in God that has kept her going this whole time. She told Brighter, “God has more use of me to spread His love, to show others to love, to give and to never give up.” Jamie is also sponsored by Chicken N Pickle, an entertainment complex that combines casual dining and pickleball, among other games. They are also a community outreach company, sponsoring pickleball tournaments and helping with fundraising. Jamie, who promotes play at their locations, is their first sponsored athlete in wheelchair. Because of her involvement, their pickleball director, Laura Kemp, has ordered 2 sports chair to keep on site for anyone with disabilities to use. Check them out online or at one of their six locations, with three more to come in late 2022.

Despite all her hardship, Jamie’s humor shines through. She told Brighter, “I’ve named both of my tumors. The first one was Earl from the Dixie Chicks song.” (By the way, the singers kill him in the song.) “My second one was Jack. Hit the road Jack, and don’t you come back,” she said. She said, “You’ve gotta have a good outlook on life, and you’ve gotta have fun. Because something’s gonna get you, so you might as well be happy and keep moving forward.” The magazine for women affected by cancer

As Jamie says, “When there’s a wheel, there’s a way.” Jamie has rolled through all the challenges that life has thrown her way. Of course, there have been bumps along the journey, but none too big for Jamie and Barney to tackle together.


Sparkling Silvers By Heather Nemec Photography by Heather Nemec


As a freckled, fair-skinned brunette, I always yearned for auburn hair. So as my color began to transition, I found myself caught up in the habitual routine of visiting my colorist (whom I adore) every few months to achieve the perfect ginger color in an effort to hide my gray roots. It became a perpetual cycle. Then Covid hit, shutting down all salons. One month later came a double diagnosis of non-Hodgkins lymphoma then breast cancer. I resigned myself to forgetting about maintenance. First came the short pixie with fun, temporary colors followed by “the shave.” Baby shampoo became the only item in my hair arsenal. After completing chemotherapy, sprouts of virgin hair evoked both excitement and apprehension. I quickly realized that my Irish genes were exerting their dominance: there was more salt than pepper shining through. That summer I celebrated my 50th birthday, grateful to be alive and gracefully accepting the changes brought on by age and survivorship. I officially became a member of the Silver Revolution. You have probably noticed that gray hair is on a redemption tour. Some may even consider it cool or trendy, so much that girls in their 20s are paying serious money to mimic the silver. No one can deny the double standard that persists between men and woman growing out the gray. While men are characterized as distinguished, women are often criticized for “letting themselves go.” The reviews to my curly, salt/pepper pixie were mixed. Men loved it and affirmed my decision to embrace the natural me; women, on the other hand, supported me but admitted that they weren’t brave enough to make the change themselves. In their eyes, it’s courageous to go gray in a culture that values youth and beauty above all things (especially when you live in Texas). I view aging as letting go of the need to look a certain

way to please others. Saying goodbye to the “shoulds” and focusing on the joys of life are far more significant. In the wise words of Mark Twain, “Do not complain about growing old. It is a privilege denied to many.” While combating cancer, I put more emphasis on healthy living (although I thought I already had a good head start). I was introduced to an Instagrammer named Lisa (aka This Organic Girl) who talks about her journey going gray. Her advice about what not to do if you want to go gray resonated with me. These were her list of “don’ts”: Don’t self doubt. Don’t look for external approval. Don’t think your gray isn’t a “pretty gray.” Don’t tell yourself you’re too young. Don’t tell yourself you’re too old. Don’t create false expectations, like “it won’t look good on me.” Don’t think it will make you look older, ugly or less than. Don’t worry how it will impact others. Don’t let your spouse, kids, friends or coworkers sway your decision. Don’t set a goal age like “I’ll do it when I’m 60.” There is no “right way” or “time to go gray.” Since I lost my hair due to chemotherapy, there was no difficult transition. I think fear is what pushes so many women to not ditch the dye. My friends frequently comment, “You look fabulous with gray hair, but I could NEVER pull it off.” Initially I tried to convince them to give it a try, but soon realized they will ALL know when they’re ready. “The word ‘anti-aging’ needs to removed from our vocabulary. I am pro-aging. I want to age with intelligence, grace, dignity, verve and energy.” –Jamie Lee Curtis

If You Want to Go Gray.... Don’t self doubt. Don’t look for external approval. Don’t think your gray isn’t a “pretty gray.” Don’t tell yourself you’re too young. Don’t tell yourself you’re too old. Don’t create false expectations, like “it won’t look good on me.” Don’t think it will make you look older, ugly or less than. Don’t worry how it will impact others. Don’t let your spouse, kids, friends or coworkers sway your decision. Don’t set a goal age like “I’ll do it when I’m 60.”

Summer Hydration By Michelle Hamilton, M.C.N., RD, CSO, LD


Importance of Hydration

Water is a major component of your health. Not only does it keep you refreshed throughout your summertime activities, but it also benefits your body internally. Within the body, water helps remove waste and toxins, transport nutrients and oxygen, control heart rate and blood pressure, regulate body temperature, lubricate joints, promote saliva production and protect organs and tissues, such as the eyes, ears and heart.

How Much Do I Need?

It is recommended to drink 8-10 glasses, or 64-80 ounces, of clear fluids throughout the day. Water is often the first thing that comes to mind when hydration is discussed, but fluid is not exclusive to water! It comes in many shapes and sizes, including both foods and drinks.

Fluids Water Sparkling water Club soda Clear fruit juices Clear sports drinks Caffeine-free soft drinks Weak brewed or caffeine-free tea Clear-liquid nutrition supplements

Foods Flavored ices and fruit pops Clear soups or broths Gelatin Fruits: Melons, strawberries, pineapple, & grapes Vegetables: Peppers, broccoli, celery, & cucumber

Tips for Staying Hydrated

There are many ways to practice adequate daily hydration. Whether you’re relaxing at home or on-the-go, carry a water bottle. Not only does this serve as a helpful reminder, but it also ensures easy access to a fluid. Drinking fluids before or after meals can help establish a mindful routine of drinking when eating. Other helpful reminders can be as simple as leaving a written sticky note on the fridge or setting an alarm on your phone. Adding variety can also promote adequate fluid intake. Liquid and powdered flavorings, as well as fruitinfused water, are a quick way to incorporate a range of flavors while still maintaining water consumption. Fluid needs increase in the presence of vomiting and diarrhea due to loss of fluids and electrolytes, specifically sodium and potassium. These electrolytes work together to balance water and its numerous functions in the body. If you experience vomiting or diarrhea, replace lost sodium with high-salt foods and fluids, such as broth, sports drinks, saltine crackers and The magazine for women affected by cancer

pretzels. Replace lost potassium with potassium-rich foods and fluids, such as baked potatoes, bananas, orange juice, coconut water, tomato juice or melons. Because water is such an influential component within the body, your body will give you signs if it does not have enough. Symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration include increased thirst, dry mouth, decreased urine volume and frequency, darker urine than normal, feeling tired, dry skin, dizziness and few or no tears.

Reading Labels

When choosing a source of fluid, the composition matters. Caffeine and added sugars are commonly placed into drinks. Although caffeine-containing fluids do not cause excessive fluid loss or dehydration, they can have a mild diuretic effect, increase occurrence of headaches and cause difficulty sleeping. When consuming caffeinated drinks, moderation is recommended. According to the 2020-2025 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 10 percent or less of added sugars should be consumed in a healthy dietary pattern. Added sugars contribute calories to the drink but provide no essential nutrients. They are often placed in fluids such as soft drinks, sports drinks and fruit juices. The best way to determine if a fluid exceeds the recommended amount is by reading the nutrition facts panel, typically located on the back of the product. You may notice that total sugars and added sugars are both listed. What is the difference? Total sugars include both sugars naturally present in the products as well as any added sugars that are in the product. Added sugars are exclusive to sugars that were added during the processing of the product.

Cucumber water This quick and easy drink tastes like summertime relaxation in one sip! Slice ½ cucumber into thin rounds Add 8 cups cold water Combine in container of choice Refrigerate for 1 hour!* *Flavor may develop in as little as 10 minutes. No worries if you are in a rush! Storage: Fresh for three days in the refrigerator This recipe is transferable to a variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs such as cucumbers, lemons, strawberries, oranges, berries, mint and basil. Mix and match to your flavor preference and enjoy!


Sitting with Sadness By Meredith Mitstifer, Psy.D Licensed Clinical Psychologist Ovarian Cancer Survivor & Advocate

This past week, two very dear friends of mine made the decision to enter hospice. As an advocate, friend and sister in our community of survivors, these are the times that are most conflicted. We have laughed together, cried together and shared such vulnerable space together. Bonds beyond words are shaped, crafted and solidified. Research suggests time and time again, that support circles and resources play a crucial role in our physical, mental and emotional health. Watching women conquering great challenges in the midst of horrific treatments, surgeries and side effects is truly awe inspiring, and the relationships formed are incredibly precious. Why is this circle of survivor support so powerful? Shared vulnerability. Survivors of all different stages, types, prognoses, fears and strengths rally for hope together, aware of their differences, sharing their traumas, fearing possible outcomes and, similar to this week, feeling anguish that lurks under the surface… I hate grief and don’t particularly care for loss either. I find the current climate of our obsessed “be positive” culture unsupportive in times like these, and as a result, I see people disengage instead of embracing the power that can be found sitting with sadness. Sitting with sadness may sound intimidating, as no one enjoys heartache and pain, but when you refuse to honor your own sadness, you disconnect from vital opportunities for growth and emotional versatility in taming your grief. I know it may be hard to sit and feel, when most of your life you want to do anything but. However, giving yourself consent to experience those emotions, without judgment, is a way to honor ourselves and those we grieve. Sadness can be overwhelming and devastating. The most helpful ways to process these emotions are to feel them, journal them and talk about them. Sometimes we just need to stop what we are and recognize the chaos brewing in our minds. Sitting with sadness doesn’t mean you are giving in to OR wallowing in sadness. Rather you are providing attention,


time and sacred space for all your emotions and thoughts. How does one begin to engage in sitting with their sadness? People tend to label their physical sensations easier than their emotional ones. Identify where in your body you feel something. For example, where does it feel tingly? Does any part of your body feel tense? What shape does it take on? Does it feel heavy? Allow yourself to be present and take notice of how your feelings are presenting themselves. It’s ok to feel the feelings, but be mindful of how long you remain here. The rabbit hole can be dark and deep. Show yourself compassion by acknowledging, “Yes self, I see you, and I feel you.” When we sit with the intention of allowing sadness to move through us, I have found, in time, it can leave you at a new beginning. Being a survivor and advocate for almost 20 years, these moments are inevitable. A friend once said to me, “Maybe if you didn’t always hang around cancer survivors, you wouldn’t be so sad at times.” I know this friend was well intentioned, trying to offer support as I was grieving and angry with lives being taken. However, while dreading these moments of loss, the benefits of membership in a survivor rally powerhouse, will always outweigh the consequences. I have personally witnessed the strength, empowerment, inspiration and permission that holding sacred space with other survivors can have on its members. This is what drives me to continue such advocacy. A fortune cookie of mine once read, “The cure for grief is motion.” After feeling quite cheated on this type of “fortune,” I realized the power it actually held. We have choices. We can try to avoid these situations to the best of our ability, we can choose to keep emotions close and let grief control us, or we can find a way to sit with our sadness, name it, feel it and then use it to change the world for the better. I choose motion – motion of continued advocacy, friendship and support…. and I will do it for those that no longer can.

Thanks to those who’s work made this issue possible, and to our donors for giving us the ability to produce this publication. Graphic Designers Helen Bowles Venieca Kusek Graphic Artist Khloe Steele Editors Helen Bowles Madeline Muller Erin Schreyer

Writers Helen Bowles Lisa Coyle Jayna Dave Dr. Jennifer Gill Michelle Hamilton Dr. Meredith Mitstifer Madeline Muller Heather Nemec Debbie Norris Libby Warren Photo Credits Erin Schreyer pg. 2, 23, 25 The family of Jamie Elliot Shuey pgs. 24 Heather Nemec pg. 26 Adobe Stock Photos

Are you or is someone you know a writer, photographer, blogger, web designer or podcaster? Do you work with cancer survivors and have knowledge and wisdom to share with our readers? We would love to hear from you. Brighter magazine is always looking for people to help us with our mission. If you are interested in lending your talents and giftedness, please reach out to us today at



S I N G . DA . N AY


JAMs Everyone needs a good list of JAMS for a chemo session, a car ride, a walk or maybe a run. Check these out.

Rise Up - Andra Day

Roar - Katy Perry Fighter - Christina Aguilera If you’d like to submit your idea for a future JAM list go to and submit your favorite songs. The magazine for women affected by cancer


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