Brighter Magazine 2023-Q3

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A magazine for women affected by cancer

Proton Therapy: Therapy: Targeted Radiation Treatment

Boost Your Immune System!

Finding Yourself Again Post-diagnosis

Ovarian Cancer Community, hope and paying it forward with the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

Doctor suggested sunscreens for summer

Founder’s Letter

Live. Learn. Shine.

Pictured above is our amazing group of summer interns. Top row: Ella Schreyer, Ariana Wang, Ensley Pounds, Haley Janacek. Allie Rose Olmstead. Second Row: Gretchen Jones, Anika Proddutoor, Jessica Chung Third row, Gracie Little, Samantha Wu, Harper Tagg. Fourth row: Alexandra Dassopoulos, Caroline Bush, Bella Duarte, Gabriella Gaona. Standing are our college interns: Ashton Mitchell and Jayna Dave

Summer is here and the new Brighter office space is in full use. In May we brought on a fantastic college intern to help with graphic design. Then in June, we welcomed 15 new high school interns who are selflessly donating their time and talents this summer to help strengthen the Brighter foundation. Over the course of this summer, these young women will create a catalogue of content for us to share with readers in our pages, on our website and across our social media platforms. These young women recognize the importance of early detection and awareness and are committing 10 hours a week to help us encourage, equip, educate and empower women in all things related to a life affected by cancer. They know that some day they or their friends may need the support they are giving to others today. Our interns are making a difference in the world and we are honored and thrilled that this is the place they’ve chosen to impact! In return for their time, these young women will be given training and exposure to the cancer community and also many aspects of running a young organization, including marketing, design, business management, organizational, and financial development skills. We are thrilled to see the work we acomplish this summer carry us through to the summer of 2024. These girls are creative, highly intelligent and dedicated to making Brighter shine!




WELCOME TO THE BRIGHTER OFFICE Take a look at our new digs in Dallas! The Brighter workflow is full speed ahead this summer as we gratefully utilize our bonafide office space. Supported by the generosity of our donors, this move was achieved without using funds earmarked for Brighter’s mission. This beautiful space accommodates our staff and interns dedicated to improving lives of women affected by cancer.

COMING IN AUGUST! Join us as we celebrate survivorship and the cancer community navigating difficult diagnoses. Celebrations Campaign 2023 kicks off in August with enthusiasm and determination to secure donations that will elevate our ability to encourage, equip, empower and educate women affected by all types of cancer. Brighter magazine, a cancer companion, offers our audience connections and hope, free from isolating effects of treatment. It is our privilege to provide publications at no charge to our subscribers, but is dependent upon the gifts we receive from generous donors and sponsors as our outreach grows. Our mission to serve the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing of all women affected by cancer expands with every monetary gift. Please share the Celebrations Campaign with others in your circles to help us continue improving lives in all stages of survivorship.


“Thank you so much for the Brighter magazine. I read it cover to cover several times and then passed it on to friends who are in their own journey with various cancers. I have found the articles to be helpful and comforting when I read about something I have or am facing. I especially appreciated the article about survivorship and the odd feeling of aloneness when chemo is finished. Comforting to know it’s normal to feel this way. I always look forward to the magazines. Thank you again.” - Monte Dalton, Reader The magazine for women affected by cancer


DONORS, SPONSORS and SUPPORTERS EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTORS Founder, Publisher Helen Bowles Editor-in-Chief Erin Schreyer Board of Directors Erin Schreyer Helen Bowles Rebecca Walden Shari Johns Suzen Stewart Editors Helen Bowles Jayna Dave Ashton Mitchell Erin Schreyer Summer Interns Writers Cara Price Debbie Norris Teresa Peterson Erin Schreyer Heather Nemec, LCSW Sheila Broadus Jennifer Gill MD Ph.D. Jennifer Looney Jamie Hess Ariel Brown Rebecca Walden Meredith Mitstifer Psy. D Rondi Prowell ARRT, RT, (R)(T) MBA Brittany DeLaurentis Eileen Byrnes Graphic Design Helen Bowles Ashton Mitchell

OPPORTUNITIES 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 Subscribe to Brighter magazine at Advertise to expand your reach. Contact us at Donate to support Brighter through the QR code below, on our website or by mailing a check to: Brighter Magazine 7616 LBJ Freeway Ste - 510 Dallas, Texas 75251 Brighter Magazine is 501c3 nonprofit, all donations are tax deductible.


Photography Teresa Peterson Sheila Broadus Erin Schreyer Rebecca Walden Jamie Hess Meredith Mitstifer Adobe Photos

Information in Brighter magazine is

Cover Photography Erin Schreyer

the place of professional medical

Advertising Jennifer Looney Jennifer@brightermagazine. org

of perspectives on the subjects

to provide you with encouragement, awareness and education. The articles reflect the opinions of the authors and are not to take advice.

There may be a variety

covered in Brighter. Tips, treatment

Distribution Liz Pounds

and advice that is found helpful

Financial Development Jennifer Looney

person. All of us at Brighter suggest

Hospital Liaison Liz Pounds Corporate Donations/ Sponsorships/Grants Jennifer Looney

for some may vary based on the that you talk to your medical team before making any changes to your lifestyle or daily living.

Caroline Ackerman Erika Anne Beverly D. Atkins Erin Attfield - Quinlan Valasie August Terry and Molly Babilla Kathryn and Robert Bagwell Karla Baumgartner Ora Bay Jerome and Lori Beard Cameille Berry Erin Boothroyd Cynthia Bowen The Ryan Bowles Family The Don Bowles Family Anonymous Andrea Braendlin Patrice Briggs Carolyn Brown Laura Bruck Renzelman Jessica Cai Mr. and Mrs. Mark Campbell Carolyn and Dr. Michael Chapman Yiming Chi Marcy Childers Lisa Christensen John Christner-Drake Carrie Cioni Meghan Clarke Ashley Coleman Laura Craig Christina Crain Dustin Croff Mr. and Mrs. A.B. Cruz Ava Danuser and Family The Dave Family Cheryl Davis Donald and Mary Dreger Heidi Ebert Jamie Elliot - Shuey Liz and Lane Farley Kristin Finch, BeautyCounter Andrea and Dr. Doug Flora Robyn Freeze Alma Friend Stephanie Friesen The Gaines Family Kari Galanos Lisa Gallagher Carm Gallo Cindy Gibbens Denise Giovinazzo Carol Goglia Bridget Goldman John and Teri Gordon Suzanne Goswick Kimberly and Aaron Graft Tricia Graft Tracey Green Christa Grim Tiffany and Mark Gross Wendy Hall The David Hardie Family Hardie’s Fresh Foods JoAnn Harris Kristy Harrod Lisa and Steve Henry Elizabeth and John Hoffman Van and Jeanne Hoisington Patricia Hudgins Tiffany Huffmaster Grear and Molly Hurt Dr. Dustin James Tim Johnson Melinda and Jim Johnson Leonda Kelley Arthis Kliever

Kathy Kuras Kathryn Lambeth Kristen Lauro Delores Letart Karen Lockett Robert Lowell Mary Maday, Jean’s Mom Glenda Majchrzak-Johnson Patricia Malone Georgeann Manfredonia Lois Manowitz Holle McSpadden Manish Mehta Zubin and Mamta Mehta Sarah Meyer Johnross Miller Spencer O. Miller, M.D. at Brain Treatment Center Dallas Katrisha Milligan Nicole Montgomery Drs. Matthew and Erica Muller Preeti Naik National Ovarian Cancer Coalition Jennie Nemec Kathy Nemec Michelle Nicoud Kathy Orsak Rick and Joy Osborne Cecilia Perez-Verdia Christine Reisel Krista Rekos Darcy Ribman Elizabeth Royse Lorraine Schlaghek Joan Schriger Ed and Erin Schreyer F. William Scott Cody Seabolt Sewell Automotive Companies Carol Seiber Tinsley Silcox Maria Slabaugh Christy and Steven Smith Sylvia Stadler Anonymous Mr. and Mrs. George W. Steele Cathy Stelzleni Kathryn Stevenson Kathleen Stewart Suzen Stewart Jennifer Stockwell Megan Sun Dr. Alec and Pam Tackett Linda Thomas, Perimeter Imaging Darla and James Thompson Annelise Thornton Angie Vaughan Basillio and Lori Villareal Tracy Voltin Neasa Waaler Krista Waitt Allison Watkins Bob and Linda Watson Clare Weber The David Weber Family The Whitaker Family Scott and Kristi Wilson Michael J. Wittgen Sophia Wix Genevieve and Doug Woodward Linda M. Wolfe Larry Young MaryAnn Zacchea - Stinton Lisa Zampolin Amy Zicarelli Cynthia and Terry Zimmerman

Table of Contents 06 Ovarian Cancer Awareness 08 Fashion: A Self Reflection 10 Boost Your Immune Health 12 Sunscreen for Summer 14 Shareworthy Recipes 16 In Your Corner 18 Eyeshadow Application 20 Pay It Forward 22 SPOTLIGHT - Ovarian Hope 28 Proton Therapy 30 Re-Discover Your Passion 32 Brighter Reads 34 Finding My “New Normal” 36 Reflexology 38 Her New Hobby 40 Activity Pages

The magazine for women affected by cancer


Ovarian Cancer Awareness Reaches Meredith Mitstifer, Psy.D Clinical Psychologist Ovarian Cancer Survivor & Advocate

New Heights

Written by Meredith Mitstifer Liscensed Clinical Psychologist Ovarian Cancer Survivor & Advocate

Cancer is a beast. When it rears its ugly face, it can rock our world. It never has good timing. It can alter both our outer and inner appearance and abilities. It tampers with our mindset. It can change relationships, and for many of my ovarian peers, it strips them of reproductive hopes and dreams. This is where my story takes a hard left turn. After years of infertility, I was diagnosed with clear cell epithelial ovarian cancer while four months pregnant. Yes, first and second opinions presented minimal options and a plethora of medical concerns. Research was sparse 20 years ago on the effects of chemotherapy while pregnant. Many “shot in the dark” opinions did not provide much comfort. This was probably the first instance when I realized I had much more to conquer than just cancer. I had to conquer myself. Fast forward to present time. My “baby” and I recently celebrated 20 years of life. It feels like yesterday I vowed to my son and to myself that should I live, I would forever


advocate. I believe I have done that, but what makes me most proud is that my son does too. Together we have presented our story nationwide, and watching his passion and willingness to advocate through a mother’s lens is indescribable. Yes. I’m a proud mother. I want future ovarian cancer survivors to have this same opportunity. I can’t imagine their grief when this option is surgically removed. As a mother and clinical psychologist, I have encouraged my son to apply the concepts of gratitude, living life with purpose and most importantly, seeking discomfort. Just when you think they aren’t listening, they prove you wrong. A month before his 20th birthday, and my 20th cancerversary, he informed me that we need to celebrate this milestone in a big way. I was excited about his enthusiasm and drive, and I assumed we were going to try to jog a 5K.

Here is where our story takes another hard left turn. He informed me that we are going to join the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition’s Team Teal, which is their endurance platform. I asked if we would be running, kayaking or riding a bike. He replied, “we are going to Africa in July 2023 to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, the largest free-standing mountain in the world.” I gulped in disbelief. I politely remind him that his 50-year-old mother is neither athletic, nor a mountain climber. His response, “well you won’t be able to say that too much longer.” He reminded me how I need to be grateful for my health and how this event clearly demonstrates living with purpose and raising awareness for our very personal cause. Most of all, he encouraged me (as I often did for him) to seek discomfort, as it allows us to not only experience new things, but to grow through them as well. This was the moment I questioned my parenting style.

Check out the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition Team’s Facebook Page!

Training has commenced and weekends are dedicated to hiking, walking and practicing breathing in different altitudes. It’s no secret that research reinforces exercise to improve our physical wellness, as well as our mental mindset. I would complain and share how my body hurts everyday, how my neuropathy is the worst it’s ever been, and how learning to use a pee funnel has been nothing but enlightening…but all this time with my college sophomore son will never be forgotten. Gratitude, purpose and discomfort achieved. We set sail in July. Am I fearful? Yes. Am I excited? Yes. Will I make it to the top? To be determined. Here’s what I know. Together, along with 13 other NOCC Team Teal mates, we are determined to wave the teal flag on top of the summit and take awareness to new heights. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to do this side-by-side with my miracle baby, and I hope others realize it’s not the cancer or the mountain we can conquer - it’s ourselves.

The magazine for women affected by cancer


Lemon Linen Dress by J. Jill

Fashion: A Self Reflection By Heather Nemec, LCSW Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma & Breast Cancer Survivor

If you’re on ANY social media platforms, you’ve likely noticed advertisements related to your preferences in the side bar. For me, those ads relate to all things COLOR. What do your searches say about you? “Fashion you can buy, but style you possess. The key to style is learning who you are, which takes years. There’s no how-to road map to style. It’s about self expression and, above all, attitude.” –Iris Apfel

something that has to give me long wear and utility, then I buy it for that. But, if it’s some frivolous thing, then it really doesn’t matter, I indulge myself.” During this uncertain time of life, don’t forget to treat yourself to something meaningful, special or even “frivolous.” As a teenager of the 1980’s, I was ecstatic to find a few favorite style trends make a triumphant return this summer season.

I am a minimalist at heart especially when it comes to furnishings and home interiors. I’m not prone to sentiment or attachment but instead yearn for my home to be a reflection of myself. At the young age of 100, iconic designer Iris Apfel, has learned that style is EVERYTHING. She believes that “dressing a house and dressing a person are one and the same. I think a house should reflect the people who live there.”

Like Apfel, I think my closet is full of JOY. I try not to put anything in there that I don’t like or have fun with. The lemon linen dress, for example, doesn’t fit any of the hot trends for the summer, but it reminds me to strut through it when life give you lemons!

My closet is an expression of my attitude and self expression. Retro cuts, textures and color inspire me. Like Apfel, “if it’s

“Fashions fade, style is eternal.” –Yves Saint Laurent


Be unapologetically you, with or without cancer, be true to yourself and your own sense of style.

ten top

summer trends for

Anything Maxi

Oversized Everything

Skirts, dresses, and all things flowy.


Loose fitting button downs with a partial tuck; the perfect solution for port flushes and lab draw days.

Metallic Accessories Do mediports count? If so, I don’t leave home without it. Chunky gold hoops are a personal favorite. This season is about mixing metals! Claws and Headbands Remember bald is beautiful. But, for those fighting with their chemo curls, claws will be your favorite accessories of the season.

Denim on Denim Chambray if you want to be technical. Another 1980’s throwback that I will fully embrace.

Cargo Parachute Pants I can’t think of anything more comfortable for cold treatment days than comfy pants with an elastic drawstring; the more pockets the better! Fisherman Sandals

Suit Vests and Jackets

Baggy Jeans No more skinny, thankfully.

Paired with shorts or wide leg pants. Probably not the go to outfit for chemo, but perfect for a date night. Plus, wide leg pants with elastic bands are perfect for the bloated belly.

Good support and toe coverage for those still awaiting their first trip to the salon.

Matching Print Sets Think FLOWER POWER. Now you’re speaking my language!

The magazine for women affected by cancer


Ways to


Your Immune Health




4 Ways to Boost Your Immune System Written by: Cara Price Photo by: karrastock

Summer brings us warmer days and more time to enjoy outdoor activities, but did you know that summer is also one of the best times of the year to boost your immune system? That’s because nature itself offers us so many ways to do so naturally during this season. Here are 4 ways summer gives you the extra advantage you need to encourage a healthier immune system:

1. A bounty of summer fruits & veggies – Eating a wide variety

3. More time to relax & de-stress – Cortisol is a stress

hormone that can build up in the body when we have too much stress, especially long-term, and it can deplete our natural ability to fight harmful viruses and bacteria. Longer daylight hours beg for more time to relax, which reduces cortisol levels. There is a scientific correlation to warmer weather and increased feelings of happiness, which also lends a benefit to reducing stress. This summer is a perfect time to take advantage of that extra time for rest.

of fruits and vegetables gives you the benefit of an array of nutrients and antioxidants. By stocking up on seasonal produce, you can fill your refrigerator with nature’s medicine. Though all whole foods, fruits and vegetables contain essential nutrients, some to select this season are cabbage, broccoli, and brussels sprouts to boost vitamin C; blueberries and blackberries for high doses of antioxidants; and spinach and kale to increase iron. Making veggie packed salads with a sprinkling of berries is a great way to ensure you get enough of these valuable immune boosters each day.

4. Increased desire for hydration – Since warmer weather

2. More daylight hours – You may already know that the

Summer provides us with so many natural opportunities to boost our immune system, so get outside, eat, drink and relax, and take advantage of summer’s bounty of resources.

sun plays an important role in maintaining good vitamin D levels, which the medical society tells us is highly valuable for our optimal health. But did you know that getting just 10-15 minutes of early morning and late evening sun can also help you sleep better? This is because when you let those soft rays into your eyes, your body begins to sync your natural Circadian rhythms and increase melatonin production to help you sleep better. So, get outside for morning and evening walks or sunny porch time for the double benefit of vitamin D and better sleep.

increases our body’s core temperature, we also naturally crave more hydration. Drinking more water just seems easier during summer months, so make the most of it by setting a goal each day for how much water you will drink. Add variety by including mineral water with a squeeze of lime, or augment the flavor of purified water with a variety of fruit. With the addition of fruit, you also promote your vitamin and mineral intake while meeting your body’s need for hydration.

The magazine for women affected by cancer


Selecting the Best Sunscreen for Summer Written by Ariel Brown and Jennifer Gill MD, PhD

Cabana Life SPF 50+ St. Pete Embroidered Cover Up $128

Say hello to the summer heat, brighter days, and consequently, a higher UV index. If you don’t already wear daily sunscreen, now is the perfect time to start. Those receiving chemotherapy or radiation will have especially sun-sensitive skin, so taking protective measures is imperative for good skin health (and skin cancer prevention!). Below are some considerations when deciding what sunscreen is best for you.

Physical versus Chemical Sunscreens

Physical blockers, or mineral sunscreens, use the active ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. They sit on the skin surface and reflect UV rays away from the skin, thus avoiding UV penetration altogether. Physical blockers are best for those with sensitive skin, but they tend to be thicker and more opaque than chemical sunscreens. Choosing one that is tinted and matches your skin color can help avoid a pasty or pale look. Chemical sunscreens use active ingredients such as avobenzone, octocrylene, octinoxate, or oxybenzone which absorb into the skin. The UV rays penetrate the skin, undergo a chemical reaction with the sunscreen in the skin, and are then released. Some people prefer chemical formulations because these sunscreens tend to feel thinner upon application and are less likely to leave a white cast. However, some of these ingredients (e.g. oxybenzone) have been associated with coral reef damage and are prohibited in places like Hawaii.

The best sunscreen for you is you like to wear! Enjoy Thethe UVone Alphabet spending time outdoors while protecting your skin. 12

UV rays come in two main categories: UVA and UVB. An easy way to remember the difference between the two is UVA is associated with “Aging,” and UVB with “Burning”. Each can ultimately lead to DNA damage in the skin, so avoiding them both is the best course of action. To cover all types of UV, seek out sunscreens labeled as “broad-spectrum” along with an SPF of at least 30 or 40 to provide sufficient protection. SPF 30 blocks 96.7% of UVB rays when applied properly.

Formulations and Proper Application

Sunscreens now conveniently come in a wide range of formulations including lotion, sticks, sprays, or powders. Regardless of the type you choose, proper application is key. To achieve the labeled SPF protection with a lotion, apply two tablespoons (about one shot glass) to the entire body and a nickel-sized dollop for the face. For sticks, apply to each area of skin using several passes and look closely to see no spots are missed. With a spray/aerosol sunscreen, spray generously until the skin glistens and then rub it in to ensure an even coat. Avoid applying sprays in windy areas, as the application may be reduced. Sprays can also be irritating to the lungs if inhaled. Sunscreen powders are mineral-based and can be applied to small areas, mainly the face and neck, with a built-in brush or compact. While lotions may provide better coverage, powders are ideal for re-application over makeup and for easily being thrown into a purse or car. All sunscreens must be re-applied every two hours, as its contents degrade in sunlight. Look for “water-resistant” formulations and re-apply sooner in the setting of heavy perspiration or aquatic activities.


Say No to Sunscreen Supplements

Sunscreen “pills” are high in vitamins and antioxidants, but the data is inconclusive on their benefits. More importantly, they may be problematic for those with advanced cancer since antioxidants may help cancer cells survive. Talk to your doctor before taking any pills or supplements.




1- Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+


2- Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch SPF 55


3-SunBum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Spray


4-Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen Stick SPF 50+



5-Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50

Water Resistant:

6-Elta MD UV Sheer Broad Spectrum SPF 50+

Tinted vs. Non-tinted

Tinted sunscreens are a personal preference and a great way to incorporate a facial sunscreen into your daily skin care routine. Some people prefer tinted sunscreens to more closely match their natural skin tone and avoid the white cast and opaqueness of mineral sunscreens. Others may opt for a tinted sunscreen to provide some coverage without applying a full face of makeup. Some use it as a “primer” under their normal makeup. Finding the perfect shade for you can sometimes involve some trial-and-error, but is well worth the process.


7-Elta MD UV Clear Tinted SPF 46 8-La Roche Posay Mineral Tinted Sunscreen for Face SPF 50 9-bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30

9 8



Non-Sunscreen Solutions

While sunscreen is a wonderful way to protect your skin, don’t forget about other photoprotective methods! Wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, shaded areas, and clothes with sleeves are all great options to protect your skin. There are even fashionable clothing brands made with UV-protective fabrics (UPF 50+). Cabana Life Coolibar Solbari

The magazine for women affected by cancer


Shareworthy Recipes Written by: Brittany DeLaurentis MPH, RD, CSO, LD Registered Dietitian Nutritionist UT Southwestern Oncology Registered Dietitian

Summer is almost here and so are the hot temperatures that come with it! As a dietitian, my secret to surviving those rising temperatures is to add refreshing smoothies into your daily intake. Smoothies are a cool and satisfying way to consume fruits, and they help satiate sweet cravings for frozen treats like ice cream or popsicles. You can even throw in some veggies like spinach or kale to really add to the nutritional value! The number one thing to keep in mind while making your summer smoothie is to be sure you’re including a good source of protein, whether it’s from protein powder or peanut butter. Protein is going to allow you to feel full and more satisfied from your smoothie, and it will help you meet your daily protein needs.


Summer In-Season Smoothies! Of course, you can substitute any of these ingredients with whatever fruits or proteins you may have at home:

Banana Kiwi Smoothie:

Peach Cobbler Smoothie:

1 banana 3 sliced kiwi 1 C vanilla Greek yogurt 5 ice cubes

1 container (6 oz) non-fat peach flavored Greek yogurt 1 C peaches (fresh or frozen) ¼ C rolled oats 1 ½ C vanilla flavored plant-based milk ¼ teaspoon cinnamon 4 ice cubes

Peanut Butter and Pineapple Smoothie: 1 C pineapple (sliced or frozen) 1 teaspoon natural peanut butter 1 C spinach (fresh or frozen) 1 banana 1 ½ C milk (cow’s milk or plant-based) 4 ice cubes

Cherry Berry Smoothie: 1 C cherries (fresh or frozen) 1 banana 1 C strawberries (fresh or frozen) 1 C blueberries (fresh or frozen) 1 C unflavored Greek yogurt 1 scoop vanilla-flavored protein powder

Happy Summer and Cheers! I hope you enjoy these smoothies!

The magazine for women affected by cancer


In Your Corner Written by: Jennifer Looney Head and Neck Cancer Survivor Brighter Development Director “So, what is your prognosis?” As a survivor, what I hear instead is, “So, when are you going to die?” Prognosis has become a dirty word for me. Maybe you can relate. Technically, it means a forecast of the likely course of a disease or likely outcome of a situation. However, among our social relationships, we do not generally quiz people about the outcomes of their medical visits. For some reason, people ask the darnedest questions when confronting a person with cancer. Let’s flip it. Have you ever heard an acquaintance boldly ask, “So, how long will you take high blood pressure meds?” How about this one? “So, what did your pap smear look like?” It’s as if the word cancer delivers an invitation to a VIP party of inappropriate, personal questions. Don’t get me wrong. Sharing details of our medical health during treatment and recovery is critical. The key is with whom we choose to share. Discovering that inner circle of support and strength is one of the most beautiful gifts of survivorship. It gives our soul permission to feel. Special friends and family leap beyond “acquaintances” and transform into springs of emotional wellness for a survivor. This is how we stay connected during the toughest days. This is where we find the healthy boundaries necessary to thrive. Our inner circles understand that it is difficult to nurture relationships when battling cancer. Let them do it for you. Our physical recovery is monitored, tested, and reported. What about emotional recovery? I’d like to think the emotional growth we experience from our physical diagnosis is our superpower. That power is inside waiting to be released. In the beginning, it resembles an undertow, like we are swimming laps in the insanity pool. Circling, circling, circling, and creating more fragility along the way. Eventually, as we accept help from our community of support, the emotional burden of cancer is shared. It is no longer clinging solely on our backs. Important, appropriate questions are asked, which leads to open communication in a safe space. This is where healing happens. We are, in fact, social beings and empowered by human connection. I know too well that embracing vulnerability and leaning on others is not always easy. Finding the courage to share with our nearest and dearest takes time, but it is definitely fulfilling. When the cringy questions continue to pierce our ears, know that they are easier to field with a cherished support system in your corner. Allow your sacred relationships to strengthen your emotional health while you revel in the fact that you are conquering cancer.



Picked The

Wrong Girl

The magazine for women affected by cancer


Bright and Beautiful: How to use color to show off your eyes

Written by: Jamie Hess Makeup Artist

If what William Shakespeare said is true and “eyes are the window to your soul”, then that’s all the more reason to dress them up and show them off!

Green/red, blue/orange, and yellow/purple are the 3 basic complementary colors. Generally, most eye colors are green, blue or brown (which often has yellow or gold within the iris).

Because of the complexity of the iris, eyes are the one part of the face where multiple colors are already present, so it simply takes a few complementary colors and a basic understanding of anatomy to enhance what’s already there.

To clarify, I’m not suggesting you wear a primary red eyeshadow if you have green eyes (but if you want to, more power to you!). Using this theory, a neutral shadow that has more of a warm, red base will be more complementary to green eyes than a neutral shadow that has a peachy, orange base, which would be a perfect complement to blue eyes.

Complementary Colors Complementary colors are found opposite of each other on the color wheel and when placed next to each other make each other look brighter.


When choosing eyeshadows, notice your eye color, remember the complementary color and this will give you a guide as to where to begin. The Anastasia Soft Glam eyeshadow palette is one that will work with all eye colors and has a beautiful mix of shimmers and matte textures.

Application Thankfully, there are no rigid rules when it comes to make up!



These instructions are for a basic “highlight and shadow” application using a light, medium and dark eyeshadow. The inner eyelid and brow bone are the high points of the eye area that are naturally bright and need to be highlighted and/or enhanced with color. The fold of skin above the eyeball is called the crease. The crease and the outer corner of the eyelid are the low points of the eye area that need to be shaded.



Purple 18

This basic “highlight and shadow” application, applied with eyeshadows that complement the color of the iris, will make your peepers pop and everyone wonder why your eyes sparkle quite like they do…and if Shakespeare is indeed correct, they’ll see into the windows to your soul.

Step by step directions for application


Step 1.

Taking the lightest eye shadow, sweep the color across the eyelid with the heaviest concentration of the color being at the inner 2/3 of the eyelid. (A favorite brush for this is the MAC 239.) *To add even more of a highlight to the eyelid, in step 1, use an eye shadow that has a reflective property to it.

Step 2.


Using the medium eye shadow, take a fluffy blending brush and make a windshield wiper motion with the brush as you blend the medium eye shadow into the crease. (A favorite brush for this is the MAC 217.)

Step 3.

Take the darkest eye shadow and blend this color on 1/3 of the outer corner of the eyelid. Depending upon the eye’s shape and personal preference, either brush used in Step 1 or 2 would work for this step.


*The most important thing to remember when applying these colors is to blend. There should be no harsh lines as the colors fade from one into the other.

Step 4.

Apply Eyeliner. Top Lash Line - Line across the entire eyelid close to the eye lashes, keeping the eyeliner thinner at the inner corner of the eye and gradually thickening as it moves to the outer corner of the eye.


Lower lash line - Place liner on the outer 1/3 to 1/2 of the lower lash line. It is a personal preference for the product used (dark eye shadow, pencil, gel, liquid, etc). *If you have hooded eyes, you may want to find an eyeliner that doesn’t transfer onto the skin in the crease. I don’t suggest using a powdered eyeshadow as it will transfer. Look for something that is waterproof or transfer-proof as a starting point, but depending upon your skin type (oily eyelids, watery eyes, etc) this may take a few tries to find something that works for you.


Step 5.

Add mascara to upper and lower lashes.

The magazine for women affected by cancer


Pay It Forward Written By: Rebecca Walden Interviewing Teresa Peterson

Motivational apparel designed by a survivor to serve survivors. After a 2019 triple positive breast cancer diagnosis upended everything normal in Teresa Peterson’s world, she did what all in survivor mode do. She fought, long and hard. Teresa’s situation was further complicated by the fact that her treatment was a four-hour drive (one way) from her home in Reno, Nevada. But as she learned early on, it’s critical to be your own advocate and to feel confident in who you choose for your care team. Her first meeting with a local oncologist wasn’t quite right. At the request of her best friend, Teresa sought a second opinion with physicians at the University of California, San Francisco. “The surgeon I met with at UCSF sat and cried with me, and I felt an instant connection with the staff at that big busy hospital,” Teresa recalls. “When the elevator doors opened, the front desk would always greet me by name.” There, she underwent not only the surgical procedure to remove three tumors and an area positive for DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ), but also two separate chemo regimens. Before surgery, Teresa received six rounds of chemo. Unfortunately, postsurgery results showed residual cancer, requiring an additional 14 rounds of chemo. Teresa finished active treatment the day before Thanksgiving in 2020. Fast forward to today, she is working hard to regain her strength, to shake off the chemo-induced brain fog, and to get her groove back! This has led to the launch of her Etsy store, Breast Cancer Chic. That is, when she’s not loving on her English Cream Retriever Abby, or spending time with her two boys, Will and Jack.


Brighter: What inspired you to open an Etsy store? Teresa: I have not returned to work yet. My recovery has been slow, the fatigue pretty intense, and my brain fog makes it hard to concentrate! I have been trying to work on my nutrition and strength and just got to a point that I decided to try a side hustle. Why not start selling sweatshirts and t-shirts? Brighter: How has the store been received so far? Teresa: It's new and I am still figuring out the details of how it works. It takes me a long time to design a new shirt because the learning curve has been steep, but I am hoping that soon sales will pick up! I have met some really nice people that have messaged me! Brighter: Where did you get inspiration for your designs? Teresa: I design things that I would want to wear, and I have had people reach out to me with ideas for what they wanted. I had a nurse from Georgia send me a message that she was looking for a sweatshirt to wear at work that was for the BRCA gene. We came up with a cute design and she passed the word on to some of her friends that also ordered. Brighter: Any additional products you are thinking about releasing? Teresa: YES! I really want to figure out how to help other survivors that are diagnosed with fundraiser ideas, but I am still working on that. The one thing cancer survivors have in common is that we are usually needing some extra help to pay our bills and make ends meet! I feel so connected instantly to strangers that have walked a similar path. It's a tough road, and it helps to have others look you in the eye and understand where you have been. It really keeps me going.

Scan the QR code to go to Teresa’s Etsy store!

Proton Therapy

Passing Time

continued from page 20

from page 40-41

The National Association for Proton Therapy. “National Association for Proton Therapy - NAPT.” NAPT, 4 Apr. 2023,

Word Unscramble Answers: Sea, Heat, Pool, Shell, Ease, Beach, Relax, Summer, Flowers, Hobbies, Popsicles, Vacation, Sunshine, Swimming, Flip Flops, Sunglasses

Håkansson K, Smulders B, Specht L, Zhu M, Friborg J, Rasmussen JH, Bentzen SM, Vogelius IR. Radiation dose-painting with protons vs. photons for head-andneck cancer. Acta Oncol. 2020 May;59(5):525-533. doi: 10.1080/0284186X.2020.1714720. Epub 2020 Jan 21. PMID: 31964199.

Trivia Answers: B, D, C, B, A, A, D, C

footnotes 1



Wordcross Answers: Down: 1. watermelon 2. fireworks 4. sandcastle Across: 3. Pacific 5. sunglasses 6. popsicle 7. Brighter 8. sunshine


“Proton Therapy for Brain Tumors.” Johns Hopkins Medicine, 19 Jan. 2023, health/conditions-and-diseases/brain-tumor/protontherapy.

The magazine for women affected by cancer


Ovarian HOPE Brighter Spotlight Written by Erin Schreyer Photography by Erin Schreyer


The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) held their annual Wellness Retreat in Dallas this year, highlighting a theme of hope throughout their programming. The mission of the NOCC is to save lives through the prevention and cure of ovarian cancer and to improve quality of life for survivors and their caregivers. Brighter is eager to bring attention to all forms of cancer, particularly those that garner less attention and funding than breast cancer. Komen and other organizations have made a significant impact in awareness, research and support for women with breast cancer, but other forms of cancer have not yet operationalized the same “machine-power” to accomplish similar benefits. Often, this leaves women feeling less supported and hopeful.

Shannon Poppito, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist

But the NOCC is taking that challenge head-on, not only through a variety of programs and services, but through a committed and passionate community of survivors who are eager to strengthen one another, advocate for their cancer and close gaps in awareness. Their work is critical, because surprisingly, there is no early detection test for ovarian cancer; a Pap test cannot detect the disease. So, women need know their bodies, be aware of the signs and take early action, which significantly affects prognosis. In their “Panel of Hope” general session, the NOCC invited several survivors to share their personal stories of hope led by moderator, Shannon Poppito, PhD who opened with a lesson in the seasons of hope for survivors. Brighter has found that while every cancer and woman is unique, there are often similarities in the challenges they face as a result of diagnosis. We are honored to have heard these stories and to highlight portions of them with you, our readers. We, too, believe in the power of community and sharing to lift us all and make us stronger together.

SUMMER: A creative time of bearing fruit (bringing something new into existence).

- Coming to terms with newness of cancer diagnosis and new self - Educate self re: diagnosis, treatment plan(s), CA125 levels, follow up scans, symptom management, potential next steps…

FALL: A falling-away time of letting go & release from that which no longer serves you.

- Relinquishing control / surrender - ‘Radical acceptance of what is’ - Advocate for self in the face of ‘falling’ into fears of cancer unknowns

WINTER: A necessary time of dying to an ‘old-self’, an old way of living, being, thinking. Relinquishing control of the uncontrollable. Preparatory grief & loss.

-Turn from sadness and anger at cancer’s distresses and disappointments to initiate new ways of being in life

SPRING: A re-generative time of re-birth, renewal, replenishment, and restoration Every person goes through seasons of life with cancer. These are typical cycles as people process their journey, and each phase can be beneficial as you deal with diagnosis, treatment and beyond.

Always remember: cancer has no power, except the power you give it. You can find hope by taking back your power through every changing season of life!

- Celebrate New Lease on Life by conquering surgery, chemo, radiation, fears & symptoms… - Motivate Self to be and stay healthy BODY (Diet, Exercise & Self-Care) MIND (Coping & Stress Reduction) SPIRIT (Meaning & Purpose) The magazine for women affected by cancer


Rachel Putman Survivor


After visiting my gynecologist and at a loss as to why we weren’t getting pregnant, we were referred to a fertility specialist as we had no signs or symptoms as to why this was proving to be so challenging for us. Our first fertility appointment in March led to my first ultrasound to see what was going on. After a litany of tests, the fertility specialist found a mass on my right ovary and quickly referred me back to my gynecologist to investigate further. My first laparoscopic surgery in April would uncover much more than my regular gynecologist was equipped to handle. As a result, I was referred to a gynecologic oncologist who quickly ordered my first CT scan, which not only confirmed an ovarian mass, but also a breast mass. And because breast cancer is leaps and bounds in its research, awareness, prevention and treatment above ovarian cancer, I was almost immediately diagnosed with stage 2A ER positive breast cancer after completing my first (and last) mammogram, breast MRI and simple biopsy in May 2020. But we weren’t done yet as my ovarian mass would not be so easy to diagnose. Soon after that, our world completely stopped as we found out my second diagnosis, Stage 3A low grade serous carcinoma ovarian cancer. Two cancers?! How could this be? After all, I had recently completed my genetic testing which showed I was BRCA 1 and 2 negative, even being of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. Typically, the relation between ovarian and breast cancer in Ashkenazi Jews is significant with 1 in 40 carrying the mutation, which is 10x greater than the general population. I was a cancer unicorn. While I was meeting with my [surgical] doctor, telling her about the last few months of my life, navigating the many ins and outs of this chronic illness, I asked her, “Who helps these older women who are battling this disease all by themselves?” “Who helps the people that I see at the cancer center or in my support groups?” The average woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer is 63, people who are in


a completely different time of their life than my husband and I. She turned to me and said, “Rachel, that’s why you have to!” And from that point on, I knew my new purpose in life and what I needed to do next. I’ve found meaning in advocating for my fellow teal sisters by building awareness for this incredibly personal and horrible disease and I will continue to do so until I no longer can. As Viktor Frankl says in his book, Man’s Searching for Meaning, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” Like so many of you, I had this picture-perfect idea of what my future would look like. I would be married with children, have a beautiful house of my own and live a long, healthy life, free from heartache and pain. Just as I was starting to feel sorry for myself about the sudden change in my future plans, a gift early on in my cancer journey would remind me that even though life may not have turned out as you had planned, it does not mean it has to be any less meaningful or any less fulfilling. The gift was a pencil with a beautiful note that talked about how we tend to write our lives in pen, trying to predict our fate and every step forward, but the truth is, we should be writing our lives in pencil. Life is dynamic and ever-changing and we can’t simply account for everything. But, if we’re open to it, really open to it, life can be just as beautiful, even if it doesn’t go according to your plan.

Rhonda Reeve


Here are some of my definitions of HOPE:

H – stands for Honoring your body. After surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, your body is never the same as it was before. But, your body wants to live – it needs to live. It will fight for life even when it has gone through extreme trauma. Your body is amazing. Even when you find yourself unable to participate in activities you’ve done in the past, you can pivot and find other things you can do.

O – stands for Optimism. It is scientifically proven that

having an optimistic outlook aids, especially mentally and emotionally, in your recovery and even during treatment. Am I saying that I am always optimistic? Absolutely not. I have days where I am circling the proverbial rabbit hole, or even falling all the way in. However, I’ve learned, with the tools I learned through counseling, that I need to feel the feelings, but don’t stay there. I can’t – it’s unhealthy for me to spend time feeling sorry for myself or being angry – I need that energy to do the positive things that help me each day. Recently I saw an interview with Michael J Fox, who most of you know has been battling Parkinson’s disease for over 30 years. He was asked how he still stayed optimistic. His answer was “With gratitude, optimism is with stainable”. I think that deserves saying one more time – with gratitude, optimism is sustainable. When asked to participate in this HOPE panel, I decided to look up its meaning. Hope is a desire accompanied by expectation of our belief of fulfillment. Fulfillment is a feeling of happiness and satisfaction. So, using these definitions, hope is a desire accompanied by the expectation of happiness and satisfaction.

P – stands for Patience. Oh, I’m still learning this even after

all these years – be patient when you go in for treatment or a doctor’s visit. Plan on it taking longer than you would like. Remember, when you see the doctor, you want him/ her to spend quality time with you as well. Be patient when you are not able to do certain things you could before treatment, as I mentioned before. Be patient with those around you – they are feeling helpless – know that they are just trying to help you.

E – stands for Encouragement and Experience. One of


the most effective ways for us to be of service to other teal sisters is to give them Encouragement. Share your Experience with others. Everyone’s journeys are different, but in many ways they are the same. Encourage one another to be their own best advocate – to enjoy and appreciate the small victories as well as the big ones. Encourage other women to pay attention to their bodies and be vigilant about their health.

The magazine for women affected by cancer


Dr. Stephanie Archer Survivor

When I first realized I (probably) had ovarian cancer I have to tell you that HOPE was not on my horizon. Plenty of other emotions – anger, mostly at myself for waiting too long and not recognizing that something was seriously wrong. Guilt – for having to put my loved ones through this and sadness. I had very few patients that had had ovarian cancer, and none of them did very well and I certainly didn’t know anyone personally. I also could think back to medical school and hearing “ovarian cancer is the deadliest of all the gynecological cancers. Survival rates are low because most women are diagnosed at a later stage” Which was true in my case – I ended up being 3 C. Yea, I knew what having ovarian cancer meant – at least I thought it did. After a few days of thinking that way, I started thinking as a physician again. What would I tell my patient in this situation? I certainly wouldn’t tell them to give up. I often tell my patients that you cannot always control what goes on around you or what happens to you - but you CAN control how you respond and act. I was going to choose to fight this cancer. Any thing that happened next – wasn’t happening TO me, it was happening FOR me. I felt a bit stronger after coming to that

realization. My faith helped in that resolve as well. I kept a journal and recently read it – I complained a lot about things – but I also was sure to try to write one positive thing that happened that day. Sometimes it was a visit from a friend or a card and sometimes it was celebrating that I got my laundry done. When you are going through cancer, simple things mean a lot. I also wrote in my journal reasons to fight this, seeing my niece and nephew graduate, vacations with Gene, buying a beach house etc. And I wrote about how I was sure that I was meant to survive ovarian cancer so that I could talk about it. In fact, one day in the hospital, Gene asked if I sometimes questioned why God let me get cancer. I started to say that I think it was so that I could do something about it, and just then a nun walked in and joined our conversation. Call it what you will, I took it as a sign I was on the right path. But I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it. But then – here’s another sign – my brother’s new manager was about my age and his wife, Rebecca, had just finished treatment for ovarian cancer! Like so many ovarian cancer survivors do, she was glad to reach out and talk to me. They took me to my very first NOCC Walk. Now – suddenly I had a friend who had survived ovarian cancer and I saw almost 100 women that day who were survivors. They had just gone through what I was about to begin. I was so excited, THIS was exactly what I was looking for, I needed to be a part of this…My army was amazing, but these women had lived though it and we all understand how there are some things only a survivor can understand. Unfortunately, I myself, as a family physician, didn’t recognize the symptoms I was having as ovarian cancer. Speaking more to primary care providers about ovarian cancer to increase their understanding of the risks and symptoms is goal of mine, one that I feel is very important and look forward to doing.

Pennsylvania 26

Gwendolyn Taylor Survivor

In October 2021, I was preparing to be ordained as an Elder in my church, I could remember that day so well. All of my friends and family would be there that morning to celebrate with me, as my Pastor and Bishop would install me into office, robe me and pray over me as, I answered God’s call over my life. But on that day I just wasn’t feeling well. My stomach was extremely bloated and I had been taking Gas X for weeks. Weeks before I had already called my primary doctor. He was on vacation. I went to the emergency room two times and they only gave me shot in my arm and sent me home. For weeks I could not eat or sleep, I was constantly tired. My stomach felt full. It felt like I had an ocean inside of me. But during my ordination.. it was intense so intense that I could hardly breath. And that day I went from Ordination to Hospitalization. Several doctors came in and out of the room. Finally, they sent me for an ultrasound. The ER doctor told me that they had seen a mass on my ovaries. I wasn’t even quite sure what that meant. He stated that fluid had filled my stomach and caused one of my lungs to collapse, so I couldn’t breathe. They told me they would have to transfer me to another Queens hospital for surgery. My family and church kept praying. I held on to hope, knowing that God would save me. I believed. My sister reached out to our family friend Tessa. Tessa worked as a nurse at Memorial Sloan Kettering. When she heard about me, she called and told me that I needed to come there. She had spoken to one of the surgeons she worked with, and they could take my case. She asked me to send the test results so she could share them with the doctor. Dr. Long and her team were ready. She drew on a small paper and explained to me what was happening in my body and what needed to be done. For the first time I had a clue of what was happening, and although I was scared, I had hope. I believed. In a few days following they scheduled me for surgery. I wrote my children names in my hand. I was so scared. I did not know how I was going to wake up or if I was going to wake up, but I held on to my faith and hope. By this time, I had not seen my son for weeks. The last time I saw him I told him that I would be right back. The night before my surgery I ask if he could come. Dr. Long arranged for my son to come to the hospital and I went downstairs and held him.

During one of my follow up appointments, Dr. Long asked if it would be ok if she introduced me to her mother, Nancy, who was an ovarian cancer survivor, too. I took her number, and I was scared to call, but I had to. I had come a long way, but chemo was more than expected. It was hard. Nancy introduced me to NOCC and sent a care package with literature explaining all the resources, songs, and scriptures. I became a part of the NOCC family. I joined the calls and met with other survivors just like me. People from every walk of life. NOCC was my lifeline. They filled in the gaps and gave me hope. Last October, I made one year as a survivor and traveled to Maryland to participate in the NOCC cancer walk. It was amazing. There I finally met Nancy in person for the first time. I felt a connection, I felt loved, and hope.

New Jersey

The magazine for women affected by cancer


Proton Therapy Written by Rondi Prowell ARRT RT (R)(T) MBA

What Is A Proton?

A cancer diagnosis is a place of uncertainty with thousands of unanswered questions. As a patient, you hope that your medical team will guide you to make the most informed decisions when it comes to the various treatment options available. If radiation therapy is introduced into the treatment plan, there is an abundance of information to consider as this modality can differ in many ways. Photon radiation therapy (Conventional Radiation) has been the most common modality and is accessible in most parts of the world. Proton therapy, less commonly offered, is a slightly different modality that utilizes a completely different particle to treat cancer. According to The National Association for Proton Therapy, there are currently forty-two Proton Centers treating in the United States. Protons are heavier particles with a mass and unique physics characterization in terms of energy deposition, which means they cannot be “controlled” as well as a proton. When a proton interacts with matter, the process of energy release is known as Bragg Peak. With the precise dosimetric calculations of the beam’s energy and dose, a proton beam can be formulated to treat a lesion with incredible precision, depositing its dose within the Bragg Peak and salvaging surrounding tissues. Both protons and photons enter a patient’s body, but what happens next is fascinating. Photons interact with an exit dose as they pass through the body and tumor. Protons, conversely, deposit their energy at an exact point, the tumor, and then stop.


This is achievable due to the profound world of physics and the makeup of this subatomic particle. The treatment of tumors in the realm of protons is known as “dose painting.” Proton therapy presents a lower non-target dose than that of photon radiation therapy. The tumor is treated in slices, similar to how a loaf of bread is cut. The proton radiation enters the patient’s body, depositing very little entrance dose, begins delivery of dose at a precise point, treats the tumor slice by slice until it has encompassed the entire treatment volume, then stops with elimination of exit dose. This is hugely advantageous to pediatric patients who have a long life to live post-cancer diagnosis. The ability to limit dose to critical structures surrounding the tumor is crucial to minimize latent side effects later in life for the patient.

A Proton Journey

Proton Centers are based on self-referral, as well as referrals from Oncologists. This allows patients the option to acquire treatment without the referral or consent of that doctor, if they practice from a facility that doesn’t offer this treatment. Not all hospitals offer proton therapy due to the expensive nature of the creation of the cyclotron or synchrocyclotron (the center of acceleration for the proton particles). The massive characteristics of the gantry that delivers the proton beam is also a contributing factor of cost. Bottom line, Proton therapy is a very expensive modality.

Once a patient secures a consultation with a Radiation oncologist at a Proton Center, they will discuss their unique plan to begin the journey into proton treatments. After the Radiation Oncologist confirms the patient is a candidate for proton therapy, a simulation is scheduled. Simulation involves the setup of immobilization devices to ensure the patient is comfortable while on the treatment table to minimize movement. The setup is created, and the patient is CT scanned to gather composite imaging for treatment planning. The patient will have marks drawn on their skin at this time for consistent replication of the position of the body. Usually, Tegaderm™, transparent film dressing, will be applied over the marks to protect them for the next couple of weeks before treatment begins. In this time, the physics and dosimetry team will work diligently to produce a treatment plan that meticulously customizes a dose regime to adequately treat the tumor in question. The radiation oncologist approves the plan, and the patient is scheduled to begin treatment. In most scenarios, treatment protocols range from 30 (hypofractionation) to 44 fractions.

Side Effects

Examine the figure presented by The National Association for Proton Therapy. Proton treatment plans can significantly reduce the overall radiation dose to surrounding structures. Sequentially, this minimizes side effects that accompany radiation therapy such as tenderness in the treatment area, targeted hair loss, fatigue, and long-term effects of organs in the treatment field. Tumors located near the eye, heart, and lungs can be more efficiently treated with proton therapy while conserving the critical structures adjacent to the tumor. As with photon therapy, there is a wide array of cancers that can be effectively treated with this modality. Contributing factors on how the course of radiation is planned by the medical team, include the histology, or type of cancer, where the tumor is located, the grade and stage that the Radiation Oncologist will determine, concluding the initial testing phase after diagnosis.

The Medical Team

The medical team at the proton center will consist of your Radiation oncologist, nurses, radiation therapists, and clerical staff. Most facilities function on a schedule of a weekly onsite visit with the radiation oncologist to oversee the patient’s status and address any concerns that may arise. The nurse will assess the patient and collect vital signs, along with weight. This allows the staff to monitor the patient’s progression throughout the course of treatment to prophylactically avoid unnecessary issues. Some patients with head and neck cancers may experience difficulties eating within the course of treatment. This is closely monitored to prevent drastic weight loss. Radiation therapists will be the medical team member that a patient will connect with daily. The therapists are involved with daily imaging for setup. This could include x-ray images or CT scans on the treatment table. These images are used to overlay the patients’ anatomy to get within millimeter tolerances of precise replication of the simulation CT scan. Treatment plans can consist of multiple beams where the gantry will move around the patient on the table. The beams are delivered as prescribed by the radiation oncologist on a Monday through Friday schedule.

Are You A Candidate?

There are some determining factors for proton therapy. Previous radiation in the area of concern can limit one’s chances of approval. Some tumors may need to be debulked, surgically reduced, before proton treatment will be effective. On the contrary, proton therapy is used to shrink some tumors so debulking surgery can be safely performed. Common areas of treatment include breast, brain, prostate, head and neck, lung, bone lesions, lymphoma, and multiple pediatric cancers. There may be a Proton Center near you to gather more information on this innovative modality. Footnotes for this article on page 35.

The magazine for women affected by cancer


Re-Discover Your


Written by: Debbie Norris Ovarian Cancer Survivor and Advocate

Once diagnosed with cancer, our lives can sometimes feel divided into “before” and “after”. Our focus and energy go into learning about the cancer, treatments, names of drugs and protocols. Often times, we lose ourselves, our dreams and goals. One of the things my husband suggested I do during treatment was write out a “Things to do after Chemo” list. He encouraged me to include things I would never have done or was scared to do before cancer. Anything I thought I couldn’t do or things that weren’t “me”. My list included activities like going down the big slide at the State Fair (I’m afraid of heights), participating in a mud run (I hate getting that dirty), shooting a gun, getting my writing published, writing a book and going camping (I don’t sleep outside with bugs); just to name a few. This list led me to renew some activities and hobbies I used to be passionate about growing up. Things I had put aside. Because my eyes had some focus issues during chemo, I couldn’t read books, but I decided to pick up yarn and a crochet hook once again. I began making baby items, hats and scarves. When I became involved with our local Ovarian Cancer Alliance, I met a fellow survivor who sewed. Together we decided to start doing craft fairs. I now crochet every chance I get and have even branched out to make crocheted stuffed animals.


Another passion I have is children and babies. The cancer I had took every chance I would have for biological children. When I lost my office job, I was able to go back to a position I knew was my passion and calling – a daycare teacher for infants. I’ve been back in this profession for 4 years now and have never been happier. So how can you rekindle your passion for hobbies long forgotten, diversions from a constant focus on cancer and treatments or move into the thriving part of post treatment? The first step can be as simple as letting yourself relax and thinking back to what your hopes and dreams were before diagnosis those things you were planning before cancer got in the way. Make your own “Things To Do After Chemo” list or even a “Things To Do During Chemo” list. What are some activities that make you happy or long-lost dreams you want to fulfill? The next step is taking a physical step. Is it going out and getting the craft supplies you’ll need? Is it opening your computer and just free-flowing your ideas? Is it booking a trip to some place you have always wanted to see? It could be as simple as buying a new journal or going to the library and checking out a book you’ve always wanted to read. Just do it!

Some other areas to consider include: • • • • • • • • •

Promote education, advocacy and awareness for your type of cancer Start a support group Launch a blog on an area of passion Create something where you’ve always seen a need Travel and write about it Change your career and follow a calling Finish or get a new degree Rekindle a hobby or learn a new one Teach a class

The third step is to do research and find where or how you can get started. For example, if you want to run a 5K or triathlon, check with your local YMCA. Many locations have a Livestrong® program. This program helps those who have been diagnosed with cancer go through 12 weeks of training to gain strength.

Do you want to raise awareness and educate others about your type of cancer? Check out your local organization and see what opportunities they have available. For every passion and dream, there are groups online and on social media. Use these as starting points. Every time you complete something on the list, it grows your passion. As you keep doing the things you thought were impossible before, you may also discover other deeply-buried interests. Passion for activities and life will keep you going and can give you an amazing sense of purpose. It not only offers something to do, but also keeps you from idle time that makes you prone to ruminate on “why me?” There is no limit to what your dreams and passions can be. No limit to where they can take you. You have a second chance. A time to do what YOU want and what can give your life meaning. Take this time and run with it. Make your mark on this world and truly enjoy your life.

The magazine for women affected by cancer



Book Recommendations from the Brighter Team

“The Daughter of Auschwitz” by Tova Freidman and Malcolm Brabant

“The Diamond Eye” by Kate Quinn

The Daughter of Auschwitz is an amazing recount of the youngest prisoner of the extermination camp but the author begins her story at the slow calculated constriction and suffocation of the Jews from her home town in Poland.

This book is based on a true story about a Russian female sniper from World War II. It's eye opening, thrilling and FULL of girl power. It is definitely hard to read in places, but I felt like I was on the war lines with the main character, Mila. She has such courage and stamina. This book has lots of great twists and turns! The ending is so so good!!! It will take you into a whole new world!

Tova recalls memories branded into her young memory and supports them with journal entries and photos from her father and other Jews determined to instill the beauty of the Jewish culture and faith as well as the horrific treatment of them by the Germans into the generations that would follow. This book is definitely not a light hearted read but an incredible look into the power of the mind over the body in times of crisis. - By Helen Bowles Founder, Publisher


- By Liz Pounds Administrative Assistant


“The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle” by Jennifer Ryan

“A Hobbit A Wardrobe And A Great War” by Joseph Loconte

After fashion designer Cressida Westcott loses her home and her design house, she has nowhere to go but back to the family she fled decades ago. She arrives with nothing but the clothes she stands in, at a loss as to how to rebuild her business while staying in a quaint country village.

A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War by Joseph Loconte is a unique combination of a history of World War I and a brief biography of two well-known and beloved authors who became treasured friends. The depiction of how the events of war impacted the creativity of Tolkien and Lewis brought to life the historical event they experienced and made my own imagination spark to life. I cannot wait to dive back into both of their works once again and revisit my old friends, i.e., Lord of the Rings and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, with this new insight of the suffering the authors experienced personally.

When Cressida appears at the local Sewing Circle meeting, she has much more to teach the ladies than just simple sewing skills. Before long, Cressida's spirit and ambition galvanize the village group into action, and they find themselves mending wedding dresses not only for local brides, but for brides across the country. And as the women dedicate themselves to helping others celebrate love, they might even manage to find it for themselves.

-By Teri Vedrenne Accountant

- By Cara Price Writer

The magazine for women affected by cancer


Finding My “New Normal” One Woman's Journey to Physical & Mental Wellness: 3 Things That Changed Everything for Me Written by: Sheila Broadus Breast Cancer Survivor and Advocate

As a healthy, active 30-year tennis pro who’d rarely ever been sick, the last thing I expected to hear after a routine mammogram was that I had breast cancer. Even after the lumpectomy and radiation, it was hard for me to wrap my head around the diagnosis. I kept having to say to myself “I am a cancer patient.” But then I found myself thinking: “How do I have cancer?” It’s the indent in my chest in the mirror and the 11 pills that I still take every night that remind me that I am, in fact, a person who has cancer. That, and the emotional toll that never seems to wane. The reality is that cancer affects everything - your relationship with your husband or partner, your kids and family...anyone who doesn’t have cancer doesn’t get it. They all saw me doing normal things post-lumpectomy and radiation and assumed everything was all better, that the cancer was gone. The truth is, it never really feels completely gone. Instead, it’s all about finding your new normal. Before cancer, I loved hot yoga and was on my feet hitting tennis balls and groundstrokes for hours at work. After I was diagnosed and went through radiation, it wasn’t that I couldn’t do either of these things – except for hot yoga, I was in treatment during COVID and it wasn’t safe. I was lucky, because my treatment was “lite” compared to most and I still had energy, just less of it. I even managed to fit my daily treatments in the afternoon break at work, then I kept going into the evening. Granted, I definitely “hit a wall” by day’s end. What I noticed more was the mental impact of my cancer – it blew me out of the water. About a year into my diagnosis,


when all yoga had stopped due to the pandemic, I was either on the court playing tennis, stuck at home, or at the oncologist. I think I reached an emotional tipping point. I was struggling. Crying all of the time. I just couldn’t find my way through the cancer journey. Then one day, as I left my oncologist’s office, I decided to walk through the red doors of the Cancer Support Community North Texas in my hospital – doors I’d passed many times before but never went in. A woman named Catherine, who ran the clubhouse, invited me into her office and I just fell apart. I told her about how abnormal I felt, how emotional I was, and how alone I felt even with my very supportive family. She was probably the first person who really “got it” – she just listened and reassured me that I was ok and that she could help me get the support I needed.

Finding my new normal continues to be a journey – and it’s tough. I have reflected on what is making the difference for me, though, and it’s three things:

1 Remind yourself to NEVER miss a mammogram. Plain and simple, it saved my life. Yes, I have cancer but they caught it early and I’m grateful.

And she did. I joined a support group of women with breast cancer – virtual at the time due to COVID – and suddenly I felt heard and free. It’s not my personality to let loose and tell people my story. The problem was that even though my family listened and supported me, they couldn't fully understand how your life and mental state change with cancer. I even felt guilty having to rely on others outside my family for support. But I needed to do it – for me and for my family. The support group helped me more than I can articulate. Hearing others’ stories and connecting with them helped me get out of my own head. The counselor leaders are wonderful and validate how we’re feeling. They share resources about different medications to try and how to handle tough insurance problems. I don’t have to be a mom or wife there, I can simply be the cancer patient who is frustrated with all the pills I have to take and the worry about recurrence. Then, I can return to my family and coworkers in a lifted-up state. I’m good-to-go until the next support group. Some of my friends in the group also take advantage of other activities Cancer Support Community provides, like Tai Chi, cooking classes, and book clubs. Unfortunately, my schedule doesn’t allow for much else besides group and hot yoga (I restarted just recently and it’s great for my mind and body), but I’m glad to know these activities are there. You’ve got this. But no, it’s not easy. I’m not sure it ever will be. My plan is to get up every day and focus on taking one next step, then lean on my support group as much as I need. Just put one foot in front of the other and know you’re not alone.

2 Find a support group and go early and often. Whether it’s Cancer Support Community (they’re free and have affiliate clubs across the country) or another organization, it’s so helpful to share your fears and concerns with people who “get” what it’s like to live with cancer. You’ll immediately feel lighter, more understood and less of a burden on your family and friends.

3 Focus on what’s in front of you and the next thing in your day. There are thousands of what-ifs that rattle around in your mind, but you can’t live in the what-ifs. I focus on what’s next in my day instead. It would be easy to let the cancer what-ifs take over. Find that extra strength inside you and tap into what keeps you in the present.

The magazine for women affected by cancer


Reflexology What is it and How Can it Help You Through Treatment? Written by: Eileen Byrnes, Certified Reflexologist at Solely Wellness, Sandy Hook, CT

When Susan Rooney receives reflexology, she isn’t thinking about her pancreatic cancer diagnosis, her treatment or her future. Actually, she isn’t thinking about much at all. Instead, she is in a deep state of relaxation. “I just don’t think about anything, which is great. It’s like a respite,” said the grandmother of eight, who was diagnosed in February 2022. A retired nurse, Rooney says she is a “nervous wreck” in the days prior to undergoing scans, but she says foot reflexology has helped decrease her anxiety. Reflexology is a non-invasive, holistic modality that applies stimulation and pressure to areas corresponding to glands, joints and organs. It brings a healing energy to those points and helps the body to come into a state of homeostasis, or energetic balance. It also helps with circulation, fatigue, nausea, and stress relief. However, for patients with deep vein thrombosis, severe bruising, or edema in the area to be worked, reflexology is not recommended. Feet and hands are the most common places for reflexology, although it can also be done on the face and ears. Reflexology is different than a foot massage. According to the American Reflexology Certification Board, massage is a manipulation of tissue to relax muscles, whereas “reflexology uses various techniques to support the overall health of the body’s system to function optimally.” Because most states do not offer a reflexology license, anyone can call themselves a reflexologist. There is, however, an important difference. A certified reflexologist knows where the points are mapped and is trained on how to work those points to move circulation and healing energy through the body. It is important for cancer patients to find a certified reflexologist. Before applying for certification, ARCB requires applicants to

have attended an approved school of reflexology offering at least 110 hours of classroom work and 20 hours of practical instruction. In addition, the applicant must submit documentation on 30 clients. Valerie Voner, a certified reflexologist for more than half a century, has been a witness to the benefit of reflexology for those living with cancer. She remembers a client she worked on in the 1970s who was once treated for breast cancer. Decades later, the cancer returned and had metastasized. After refusing additional treatment, the client who was in her 70s received reflexology five days a week. Voner says the woman lived a “full and rich life” for four years. Voner is quick to note that reflexology is not a cancer cure, though. She explains that it helps those living with cancer manage the effects of the disease. Additionally, she has experienced positive results with clients regaining feeling in their hands or feet after reflexology sessions. Vonner adds that an additional gift of reflexology for cancer patients with an uncertain future is that it keeps them in the present moment. Rooney agrees. “I am not ruminating over some horrible thing that hasn’t happened yet,” she said of the 45 minutes when she is receiving reflexology. A study conducted in 2018 by the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute at The Ohio State University found that aromatherapy and reflexology together helped to decrease pain, anxiety and symptoms in cervical cancer patients. The study also noted that participants reduced the amount of medication needed. “It’s nice to have something that really helps these patients that’s not another medication,” Lisa Blackburn, a clinical oncology nurse specialist and principal investigator of the study wrote. “Not only do these integrative therapy sessions have virtually no side effects, but the patients required

Treat your body with care. 36

“Reflexology uses various techniques to support the overall health of the body’s system to function optimally.” about 40 percent less pain medication than those who didn’t receive these therapies.” In 2012, Michigan State University published the results of a five-year study on the effects of reflexology on women undergoing chemotherapy for advanced-stage breast cancer. According to the study, participants who received reflexology cited a significant improvement in their ability to walk, carry groceries and climb stairs compared to the control group. Women in the reflexology group also had less trouble breathing compared to women in the control group. Several additional studies published in the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing also concluded that breast cancer patients receiving reflexology had a significant decrease in anxiety and pain. Deb Kortyna, a licensed massage therapist, certified reflexologist, holistic body work specialist and owner of Desert Wind Healing Arts in Tucson, AZ recommended

in a 2016 video that reflexology be done between chemo treatments. She said the stimulation of points related to the lymphatic system can help reduce fluid build up without touching the whole body. She also noted that reflexology is good for those experiencing neuropathy in their hands or feet. “It can reinstate that feeling of well being,” she said in the video. Voner said reflexology is “right up there with any other professional body work” and is becoming more recognized and accepted not only by the patients, but also by medical professionals. She asserts that holistic practices should be available to all cancer patients and covered by insurance. While medical professionals are trained to keep patients alive, Vonner says reflexologists are an important key to improving the quality of life for those diagnosed with cancer.

The magazine for women affected by cancer



Written by: Rebecca Walden Breast Cancer Survivor

1. Learn a new skill (presuming you’re not already an angler)

Even if you think fishing isn’t your jam, there is something indescribably magical about fly fishing, especially when it’s a Casting for Recovery retreat (open to breast cancer survivors and metastatic breast cancer fighters). The time spent preparing to be on the water, stepping into it and casting your line, is healing and meditative. And it’s also pretty cool learning how to tie a fly – kind of like crafting time for adults, except there’s no glue or dried macaroni and it’s completely optional.

2. Bond with other survivors

Casting for Recovery retreats are capped at a max of 14 attendees. That alone creates a fairly intimate atmosphere, where you will have lots of time to get to know each other through group sessions, over meals, and during free time. Most folks show up Friday late afternoon, a little uncertain and nervous about what to expect. By Sunday, people are tearing up saying their goodbyes, and many from these groups continue to get together regularly, long after the event ends.


3. Take a break from the daily grind

Just like a quick walk can lift your spirits, the Casting for Recovery retreat is an entire weekend of that. Say hello to a 2 and ½ day escape of whatever stresses you. Retreat hosts have thought of every teensy detail, and they spoil guests from the very moment they arrive. Time away from a medical setting, and even from the familiarity of home and however lovely that space might be, is restorative! Plus, guests are in the company of women who just get it, no explanations needed. And just like you, they are beautiful individuals with a lot of love and perspective to share, and you get to be a part of that. In other words, it’s the best slumber party ever. For more information, visit

How can you thrive in the midst of cancer?

Follow our Pinterest board for practical and stylish ideas!

The magazine for women affected by cancer


PAS SING TIM E Stuck in a waiting room, at home recovering or just need to exercise your brain for a bit? Try playing these games! Hint: all answers are related to content within this issue. Have fun and good luck!

Word Search

















Ice Cream





TRIVIA! When was fly fishing first invented? A) 300 BC B) 200 AD C) 1200 AD D) 2000 BC Where did eye make up first appear? A) The Cherokee Nation c. 1799 AD B) The Roman Republic c. 57 BC C) The Ottoman Empire c. 1350 AD D) Prehistoric Egypt 4000 BC Protons have a __________ atomic charge as opposed to photons which have a _________ charge. A) Positive; Negative B) Neutral; Positive C) Negative; neutral D) Positive; neutral

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How many minutes of sunlight in early morning and early evening can improve sleep? A) 10-15 minutes B) 20-35 minutes C) 30 - 45 minutes D) 60 minutes

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Who is the founder of Etsy? A) Pierre Omidyar B) Robert Kalin C) Godfrey Keebler D) Mark Zuckerberg

What is the scientific name for a peach? A) Prunus persica B) Vaccinium sect. Cyanococcus C) Prunus domestica D) Punica Granatum The lymphatic system…. A) Maintains bodily fluid levels B) Protects your body from viruses & infection C) Transports and removes waste products from the lymph D) All of the above YMCA stands for the…. A) Youth Ministry Cardiovascular Alliance B) Young Men’s Catholic Affiliation C) Young Men’s Christian Association D) Yankee Men Cultivating Athletics

Answers for activities on page 35.

The magazine for women affected by cancer


Ways To Care For A Friend Going Through Cancer Treatment

Scan the QR code to read Rebecca’s full blog post and other writings about breast cancer, survivorship and relationships.

Written by: Rebecca Walden Breast cancer survivor

Hopefully these examples will give you at least one idea you didn’t have before, so that you can demonstrate love and support to anyone in your circle who is fighting cancer.

1. Take the kids for a day 2. Leave a front porch (or front yard) happy

3. Pay for housekeeping or yard services

4. Surprise them with hats to protect that precious bald head

5. Load up a care basket with practical goodies


6. Share a specific prayer, a prayer

blanket, prayer beads, or a scarf

7. Use your hobbies/talents to make something unique

8. Send a spoonful of comfort 9. Make a donation in their honor 10. Don’t be afraid to spend time with them (if they are up for it)

Encouraged By This Issue?

Help us continue our work for women affected by cancer. August is our annual campaign, which helps to fund Brighter and equip survivors with our unique and uplifting content. Donate today by scanning the QR code, and know that your support is needed and appreciated by us and by women just like you.


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

Walking on Sunshine - Katrina & The Waves

I Ain’t Worried - OneRepublic Dreams - Fleetwood Mac If you’d like to submit your idea for a future JAM list got to and submit your favorite songs. The magazine for women affected by cancer


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A lifestyle magazine for women affected by cancer

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