A Dietitian's Cancer Story Newsletter: Winter 2003

Greetings from Diana Dyer, MS, RD, author of A Dietitian's Cancer Story.

I was recently sitting in a Utah canyon when I saw a most memorable sight. A flock of ~ 50 crows plus 3 Bald eagles were flying together in a thermal updraft from the warm canyon rocks. As I viewed them all through my binoculars, I could see the crows pestering the eagles. The eagles put up with this annoyance for a while but then eventually turned as if to say to the crows, "You are only a crow. I am an eagle!" and off each eagle flew, each its separate way.

I was struck by how this real-life observation in nature resembles both our own real-life patterns and opportunities. How often do we find ourselves slowed down or bothered by the myriad of life's distractions or our own poor choices when we really do have the strength and ability within us to follow the better path; one of higher purpose and more meaningful outcome, such as healing our own spirit or that of someone else as just two examples?

Over time, many details from my recent trip will certainly fade. However, anytime I ever see a crow or Bald eagle in the future, I will remember that I have a choice in life; a choice to either hang out with the crows or soar with the eagles. My wish is that you will also find some meaningful aspect in life where you rise above the "I can't......" and "If only...." type of statements to "I did it!" I hope you take this opportunity to soar like the eagles after your cancer experience; to move from cancer victim to cancer survivor and then cancer thriver!

I. New books - 4 books on keeping your medical information organized
II. New web sites of interest
III. Sweet Potato Burrito Recipe
IV. The Great American Weigh-In (sponsored by the American Cancer Society)
V. Recall Information
VI. Book ordering info
VII. Removal Instructions


I. New Books - Four books or planners to help you keep all your cancer information organized. These will help to optimize your doctor visits, treatments, care, and your quality of life (reduce the stress of missed appointments or wasted time looking for lab tests, etc.) I wish I had had one of these, however it's never too late to get organized :-) In addition to one's personal use, they would make very useful and thoughtful gifts for anyone newly diagnosed with cancer.

CANCER AND CAREERS WORKBOOK - This 66-page workbook features content from the CancerAndCareers web site, including information on getting organized, gathering information, your legal rights, taking time off and returning work, and more. Plus tear-out charts, worksheets and checklists to keep track of health insurance, doctors' contacts and other paperwork. Available free. Ordering info on the following web site: http://www.cancerandcareers.org.

OTHERWISE HEALTHY - A Planner to focus your thoughts on organizing life after being diagnosed with Breast Cancer by Lynda Shrager, MSW, OTR, At the Pond Publishing, Slingerlands, NY 12159 (Phone/Fax 518-475-1792)

The author is a cancer survivor herself, plus the mother of a survivor AND the daughter of a survivor. This planner, with its unique Focus Sheets, is helpful for ALL cancer patients (not just breast cancer). Further information and ordering instructions are available at the author's web site: http://www.otherwisehealthy.com. Cost is $29.99 plus s/h.

MEGSWORK - A PATIENT MEDICAL JOURNAL - First created by 17 year old Megan Hayes before she died from Ewing's sarcoma. Now made available for general purchase by her parents Patt and Mary Helen Hayes.

An organizational tool that assists the patient, caregivers and medical staff in all aspects of the patient's medical care (separate journals available for either cancer or other general medical care). The Journal is designed with sections for the important paperwork the patient receives. Each section includes instructions on how to organize paperwork, plus helpful hints and a calendar to record appointments. Further information and an ordering form available at http://www.megswork.com/. Cost is $40 plus s/h.

PERSONAL HEALTH RECORD by Irene Berman-Levine, PhD, RD, and Karen Epsenshaed, RN, two health care professionals helping all patients optimize their health care.

The Personal Health Record provides a professional portfolio to share your medical history and concerns with your doctor. Easy to use forms are organized in a 3-ring binder to keep important medical information at your fingertips. Further information and ordering available a http://www.healthprogramplanning.com/PHR.htm. Cost is $45 plus s/h. (toll-free phone 1-866-248-9949)


II. Interesting, helpful, or just plain *cool* web sites I have recently found:

http://www.nourishyourlife.com/ - Would you like to change your life statements from "How do I get started?" or "I wish ... " to "I did it!" Personal coaching may be your answer. Janet Simpson, MS, RD is just such a person to help you achieve your life's dreams. Although not a cancer survivor, Janet's "been there, done that", a survivor in her own right. She can help you move from victim to survivor, and more importantly, beyond survivor to thriver! (ie, soaring with the eagles, not hanging out with those pesky crows - see my intro!)

http://www.backyardgardener.com/seedrec.html - I was searching for a pumpkin gnocchi recipe. Check out all the cancer-fighting pumpkin recipes (not just for October and November!) along with the cute pumpkins that follow your computer mouse. Truly, people are soooo clever :-) This web site had me smiling and chuckling!

http://www.mdhub.com - a free web site where you can send your doctor a non-urgent message to ask about such things as refills, appointment scheduling, referrals, test results. Usable for virtually every doctor with a full-time private practice. All messages are encrypted for security and privacy. There is no advertising and no data are collected.

http://www.foodsubs.com - when I ran out of vanilla extract and only saw a fresh vanilla bean in my pantry, here is the web site that told me how to do the correct substitution.

http://greetings.yahoo.com/cards/art-of-healing (sponsored by Ortho-Biotech, makers of Procrit - small ad on each card) Each card is designed by an artist who is a cancer survivor. Thoughtful words fill in the gap when people may not know just what to say.

http://www.chemocare.com - a new site devoted to providing reliable information about chemotherapy and managing side effects. Nice sections on diet during chemo along with thorough explanations and appropriate cautions regarding many alternative cancer diets. Sponsored by Olympic gold medalist and testicular cancer survivor Scott Hamilton, The Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center, and Ortho-Biotech Products.

http://www.cancersymptoms.org/ - includes an Ask the Expert section where individual questions will be answered by an oncology nurse.

http://www.brassicatea.com - the folks that brought us BroccoSprouts have a developed a new way to obtain the cancer-fighting molecules - SGS - that are so concentrated in the sprouts. Teas with added SGS are now available at many stores nationwide. I have tried some of the varieties, and they taste wonderful. Look for BrassicaTeas the next time you are shopping.


III. - Sweet Potato Burrito Recipe
(Adapted and reprinted with permission from http://www.BeanBible.com

I recently tried Sweet Potato Burritos in a restaurant and was horrified with the large amount of cheese and sour cream used. In addition, they even seemed to have been deep-fried to make it worse. I tried making up a recipe on my own at home, which was a total FLOP. However, I recently found this recipe on the internet, which I immediately knew would be wonderful.

I love recipes that combine so many aspects of healthful eating - the beans, onion, garlic, sweet potatoes, along with the spices and mustard all contain cancer-fighting molecules. At most, some fresh fruit, and maybe a great beer, are all you need to complete the meal. Enjoy, enjoy!

3 tsp. canola or olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced (do this 10 minutes prior to sautéing)
6 cups canned kidney beans, drained
1 to 1-1/2 cups water
3 Tbsp chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons prepared mustard
1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional, to taste)
3 Tbsp soy sauce
4 cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
12 10-inch flour tortillas, warmed (be sure to use fresh ones so they will roll up without cracking)
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (I use cheddar soycheese)
sour cream (optional as a garnish - use the low-fat or no-fat version)
green onions, chopped (as garnish)
salsa (as garnish)
guacamole (as a garnish - much healthier than using sour cream!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Sauté onion and garlic in hot oil in medium skillet until soft.
Stir in the beans, then mash them a bit. Stir water into the mixture gradually and continue heating until warm. Stir in the spices, mustard, and soy sauce after removing from heat.
Spread the bean mixture and the mashed sweet potatoes evenly onto the warm flour tortillas. Add cheese. Form into burritos by folding the tortillas.
Spray baking dish with cooking oil. Cover burritos with foil so they don't dry out. Bake for 12 minutes.

Servings: Makes 12 generous burritos.
Can be frozen individually and then reheated in the microwave for use as a quick meal in the future.


IV. - The First "Great American Weigh In" takes place on March 5, 2003 - Sponsored by the American Cancer Society, the first "Great American Weigh In" is modeled after ACS's long-standing "Great American Smoke Out." On March 5, 2003, the ACS is encouraging all Americans to determine their BMI or body mass index. A BMI over 25 usually indicates that you are overweight while 30 and over is considered obese. Determine your BMI by going to the following web site and typing in your height and weight. The calculation is automatically done for you. http://www.mcmc.net/wellsource/lifestyle/prevent.htm (not accessible on 04/05).

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) was the first organization to survey the public regarding their awareness of the obesity-cancer link. Distressingly few people could state that being overweight or obese is a significant risk factor for several types of cancer, including cancers of the endometrium, post-menopausal breast cancer, pancreas, prostate, kidney, and possibly for ovarian cancer as well. In addition, there is an indirect link between overweight and esophageal cancer. Increased abdominal fat is associated with gastroesophageal reflux, a condition that exposes the lining of the esophagus to damage, which increases the risk for esophageal cancer. You may read more of AICR's information on the obesity and cancer connection at their web site http://www.aicr.org/Obesity/.

Actions to take if your BMI is over 25:
1. Get off the couch or out of the computer chair! Take an exercise class, take a 30 minute brisk walk every day, take the stairs whenever you can, park on the outskirts of the parking lot, buy a pedometer and strive for 10,000 steps each and every day, start a new activity. I bought myself a new bicycle (if the snow and ice would only melt I could ride to my fitness center!). Actually, I also have an indoor exercise bike, stair-stepper, and strength-training cables. AND I have also joined a fitness center for those days when I really need to get away from my computer and see other people. :-)

2. Don't drink your calories, unless it is a smoothie recipe from my book or web site (http://www.cancerrd.com/recipe_page.htm#Sh and http://www.cancerrd.com/recipe_page.htm). I drink lots of water and iced green tea all day long.

3. Here is my secret dessert substitute for only 5 (yes only 5!) calories. I am absolutely crazy about the new Vanilla Caramel Tea by Bigelow. This is aromatherapy at its best, and black tea also has cancer-fighting phytochemicals.

4. Make an appointment with a Registered Dietitian (RD) for an individualized weight and lifestyle plan that will help you achieve your health goals. Check to see if your cancer center has an RD to help its patients with this aspect of comprehensive care and full recovery. (If they don't, please advocate for one or more RDs to be added to the staff of your oncologist or cancer center!) You may also visit the web site for the American Dietetic Association, type in your zip code, and find private practice dietitians in your location http://www.eatright.org


V. - Recall Information - Did you know that some brands of both soymilk and honey have had major recalls recently? Some recalls you hear about on the nightly news, and some you don't. What about other foods or dietary supplements you consume? Have any of them been recalled? This does happen for a variety of reasons, so it is important to know how to obtain access to this information. The following 3 web sites each contain this important information, or they can send you Email messages with these updates. Sign up today!

(1) ConsumerLab.com - http://www.consumerlab.com
(2) FDA - http://www.fda.gov - sign up for the Email newsletter at http://www.foodsafety.gov/~dms/infonet.html
(3) Safetyalerts.com - http://www.safetyalerts.com


VI - Book Ordering Information
Both editions of A Dietitian's Cancer Story, (1) the updated and revised 2002 edition published in April 2002 (new ISBN is 096672383X) and (2) the Spanish edition published in 2000 (ISBN 0966723821), can be ordered from any bookstore, library, Amazon.com, and directly from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) by calling 1-800-843-8114 or going to their web site http://www.aicr.org.

Discounts for orders of 10 or more copies are available for both editions by calling AICR at 1-800-843-8114; ask to speak to Angela Logan. Many cancer centers, health care professional offices, and places of worship have ordered books in larger quantities to have available to give as educational and support information or to resell.

Bookstores and libraries may order directly from the book wholesalers Ingram or Baker & Taylor.


VII - Removal from future Email updates from Diana Dyer

I know that life changes with time. Thus, if you are not interested in receiving future updates and announcements from me via Email or have other subscription requests, please Email that information to Newsletter@CancerRD.com.

(Special Note - Please use this Email address only for subscription information. I do not check it regularly, and thus any personal messages to me may not be read or answered in a timely manner.)

For those of you who choose to remain on this list, be assured that I will never share or sell your name or Email address to anyone.

I send my best wishes to all of you for health, healing, and hope! Spring will be here soon :-)

Diana Grant Dyer, MS, RD - Author
A Dietitian's Cancer Story (English and Spanish translation)
Available from AICR (call 1-800-843-8114)
My Website: www.CancerRD.com

"Information and inspiration for cancer survivors"

Proceeds donated to the Diana Dyer Cancer Survivors'
Nutrition and Cancer Research Endowment at the
American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).


>> Back to Newsletter Archives