BCAM: October 13th

Most of us who have or have had breast cancer, especially if we are older when we are diagnosed, do not have to face Stage IV. But shouldn’t more be done for those lovely young women whose cancer has spread and they have no hope or seeing their children grow up? For husbands who have […]

BCAM: October 13th

The Color of Cancer

Strong reading from Iliene<3

For this the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness month, we the stage four terminally ill are allotted one whole day, October 13th. I was diagnosed de novo (from the beginning), as my genetics, dense breasts, and missed diagnoses led me to my prison cell on death row on March 25th, 2015 at 4:30 am. I […]

The Color of Cancer

My super motivational Fitbit watch

My previous post was pretty anxious and depressive. I wrote Trying to escape my cancer thoughts. My walking was in the beginning rather obsessive but I decided to continue with what has become a daily habit. To make my activities even more interesting I decided to invest in a Fitbit watch. To be honest it is super motivational and helps me proceed my work for a better health.

My super motivational Fitbit watch Fitbit charge 4 watch

I decided to subscribe for a Fitbit premium membership. It is rather expensive and it costs me kr 799 or approximately $ 80. But the membership is free until September, so I have time to decide whether I am going to continue my membership or not. The Fitbit watch comes with a tiny instruction book and a charger, and the set up is rather intuitive. You need a smart phone with Bluetooth and the app need access to your location because it is tracking your activities by using GPS. Because of this you may have to charge your phone often.

The Fitbit premium app

The app is really easy to use. The syncing between the watch and the phone seems to be automatic when the watch and the phone are close to each other. But you can easily swipe your phone when you are visiting the app and the syncing will start.

You can choose between different premium features like health and fitness stats, guided programs, challenges and adventures, workouts and last but not least mindfulness. Your chosen health and fitness stats will be shown at the watch.

At this early stage I am following the health and fitness stats. My watch tracks steps, pulse, REM sleep, hour slept, heart rates zones, skin temperatures, O2 saturation, calories and kilometres. The only thing you must manually log is the water and food you consume during the day. But that is totally up to you. More advance watches can also make an EKG.

My super motivational Fitbit watch
Guided programs

If you want to socialize with other Fitbit users, the app comes with a “community”. It reminds me a bit about Twitter.You can write and get private messages, and you can publish messages.


The Fitbit watch

I struggled a bit with the watch in the beginning until I learnt how to swipe the screen. I often forget to log the type of exercise I am doing but it doesn’t really matter, because it seems like the watch discover whether I am walking briskly or running, when I am in fat burn or cardio modus or not. You can choose between exercises like run, bike, swim, treadmill, outdoor workout and walk. When you “tell” your watch what you want to do, it will vibrate one time for fat burn, two times for cardio and three times for peak. You can turn these vibrations off if you like, because these vibrations use a lot of power and you have to charge your watch often. The vibrations can be turned off at the watch. In addition can you easily connect to Spotify.

My super motivational Fitbit watch

I needed a change in my life and I wanted to become healthier. My main goal is to prevent a breast cancer recurrence and my daily goal is to walk minimum 10 000 steps. Since I started to use the watch the anxiety and the depression are not that overwhelming, and I actually sleep better at nights. The anxiety and depression are still there, but easier in a way. I am often using the mindfulness feature to calm down, and I don`t struggle with fatigue in the same way as I used to. But that is simply because I have become more aware of my activities, nutrition and my water intake. And in addition I have discovered the nature and been to places I have never been before even though I have lived in this town for over two decades. So thanks to my super motivational Fitbit watch!


My BCT and sentinel node surgery

Shop Darn Good Yarn

Actions to Decrease Tension in to Handle Pressure and Positively Flourish on it — Stress Management

Among the typical methods to minimize stress is to understand the reasons for tension. Lowering tension is important if you intend to handle pressure. If you stop working to minimize tension, it can lead to heart disease, or other major illnesses. In addition, if you fail to minimize tension you can put the body at…

via Actions to Decrease Tension in to Handle Pressure and Positively Flourish on it — Stress Management

What is Darn Good Yarn?

What is Darn Good Yarn?

The company was founded by Nicole Snow in 2008. What started with a single ball of handmade silk yarn and a desire to be the most creative version of herself. She wanted to and help others do the same. Darn Good Yarn has now grown into a global creative community.


What do they offer?

The company  offers handmade yarn, crafting supplies, kits and monthly subscription boxes. The company also offer clothing and accessories such as sari and cotton wrap skirts. These are handmade by company’s employees in India.
I have previously written about how the company helps disadvantage people and veterans economically.


What is yarn?

By definition, yarn is a thread made of natural or synthetic fibers and is used for knitting or weaving. But yarn is more than just thread or fibers, yarn is a story. From the beginning of its story while it is still being woven by the delicate hands of the company’s workers, to the middle as it passes from their hands to yours.

The end of the story is what you decide you want it to be. Whether you decide to buy yarn and turn it into your own creation, or if you decide to buy a ready-to-wear item. Darn Good Yarn sells more than just yarn because they believe in products with a story. Darn Good Yarn has fabulous art yarns in many unusually unique fibers, the materials for spinning, doll-making, rug hooking, jewelry making, fiber art, mixed media projects and more! If you need amazing craft supplies and want to support a great cause, you’re in the right place.

What is my passion?

My passion is yarn. I collect them just like other collect stamps, and the balls are laying in my shelves until the projects are popping up. I mostly knit sweaters and socks, but I crochet and weave too.

To be honest I feel good every time I have purchased something from Darn Good Yarn, because of their social contribution and support.


It is time to relax…..

It is time to relax and when I do that I love to listen to nature sounds. I have found some weather recordings on Spotify, and use them every day.
When I got sleeping problems or just needs to calm down I put on my noisecancelling headphones. Gone is the noise from the traffic and neighbor’s dog….. Instead I can relax to calming waves, heavy rain, thunderstorms, birds or stormy weather. That is the best sleeping medicine.
If you struggle with the same problem, nature sounds may be the solution. It helps. Other apps like mindfulness may be helpful too, or maybe artists like Enya or Enigma. I have used Spotify for many years now. I find it hard to switch.
It is a great combination with wireless headset, Bluetooth and Spotify. Since the app can be used offline, I can play it everywhere where I do not have any WiFi connection. And I do not have to worry about mobile data costs.

Well, it is time to relax and it is time to go to bed….
It is time to relax

Choir singing is mental hygiene

Choir singing is mental hygiene because it improves the mental health. According to the scientists the oxygenation of the body increases, the muscles are stimulated and the endorphins and dopamine are released. The choir singer will get energy as well, feel more engaged and reduce stress. It is said to be a booster for “inter personal processes”. (Batt-Rawden, 2010).  
A choir singer can´t sing as he or she is the soloist, because each voices have to blend in to each other. The choir are supposed to sing with one voice even when it´s not unison. Every choirs need an income, and the members have to contribute in some way. Because the choir need money to pay the conductor and to buy original music sheets.

Choir singing, yoga and mindfulness

I compare choir singing with yoga and mindfulness because they all got some similarities. You got to focus on your breath, the tongue- and body position, and were you actually place the tone.
As in yoga there are some hard positions. For a choir singer it may be the position of the tongue, because the tip should lay almost glued to the back of the lower teeth. That is a “position” I find difficult. When you are warming up the voice, you are at the same time trying to release stress and tensions in your muscles. These tensions can have a huge impact on your performance as a singer.
When it comes to body position it is important to wear some comfortable clothes and shoes. Personally I like to wear shoes with a small heel so I don´t tilt backwards. I also try not to sing in jeans, because the give to much tension to my belly.
It is very interesting how your mindset can contribute to a quality tone or not, so positive self talk is actually of importance as a choir singer too. https://wp.me/pb4jAC-3d 
Some scientists say that singing in a choir may have a huge impact on the mental health in people, whether they got a psychological disease or not. (Clift & Hancox, 2010; Judd & Pooley, 2014). So if you struggle with depression or anxiety it may help to sing in a choir, or at least sing? And If you are not having any psychological problems it may prevent you from getting any? A Norwegian study shows that singing in a choir may give you an increased feeling of wellness and it does not matter what choir you sing in, level or the choir members background (Balsnes, 2009).

 A conductor´s impact

I have been singing in a female choir as a 2.alto for many years, and my conductor for 12 years has been Kristin Kostopoulos. She was a professional opera singer, vocal coach and most of all she had ambitions for my choir. Her ambitions for the choir inspired the choir members to work harder and practice at home.
As a 2.alto I guess I would be miming when we did Sour Angelica of Puccini if it was not for her.
Kristin used to say that you had to place the tone up to the front teeth/ nose, and sing to the back of the room. She taught us to sing with an inner smile to lift the tone, and make it lighter. I have really experienced how the inner smile can make the difference of being in pitch or not.  Kristin is conducting the choir in the you tube video I share with you below. Sadly Kristin passed away in 2016.

Choir singing is mental hygiene
A female choir from Bodø

Is choir singing always healthy?

To be an amateur choir singer is pretty much voluntary, and like everything else you do in life, you can become tired of it. The choir is depending on you and because of this it may be hard to quit. For a period of time I did not get any energy of singing in the choir or felt any inspiration. So I ended up with no concentration, forgetting the text and so on. Well, I decided then to have a longer break to recover.
Now I am back and I really feel all the positive effects the scientists talk about. My energy levels have increased and it was really funny to be back.  I am even singing at work again. After a rehearsal I am always feeling so relaxed and tired, but still full of energy. My head is full of music and text lines, and that can be a bit challenging when I am going to bed. So my conclusion is, that under the right circumstances choir singing is mental hygiene.
Chronic stress and diseases
Hand knitting is mental hygiene
Burnout- will I ever recover?
Should I feel any shame?

Chronic stress and diseases

I read once an article on a Norwegian web site about how chronic stress can give us diseases. It was actually an interview of Rune Jonassen  from 2014-12.25, a psychologist and scientist at the University of Oslo.

What is normal stress response?

Jonassen explains stress as the condition in which we experience demands exceeding or approaching the level of what we are capable to handle. We all know that stress reactions are normal physical responses, and that some people handle stress better than other.
When we get stressed the heart rate increases and we breathe faster. The stress hormone cortisol release glucose into our muscles and liver, and in this way the body gets extra energy. The immune system is triggered, but when the stress becomes chronic, the system is weakened instead.

Can stress make us ill?

Scientists say that a high level of cortisol is associated with a variety of diseases, because the cells of the immune system stop responding to the inflammation in the body. The consequences are that stress can make us ill.

Chronic stress

Stress that last over a long period of time can trigger various autoimmune diseases. The immune system stars to attack its own tissues and cells, because the body perceives it to be foreign components. It is the same response as if it was a bacteria or a virus. This response can cause diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and lupus.
During stress the blood supply to the skin and gastrointestinal tracts may become insufficient. The metabolic process may slow down, and the food can be digested more slowly. Chronic stress may therefore cause diseases like gastritis, ulcerative colitis and ulcer.
When it comes to the skin you may experience pimples and itching.The constriction of blood vessels may also be the reason why the skin lose elasticity and cause early aging. Hair loss are also common, because the body loses zinc. If you got a low value of zinc it may cause burnout, headache, mental disorders and heart problems.
Stress over time can give you a depression. One hypothesis is that depression can have a function to protect the you from the stress.

My chronic stress and disease

I am actually a living proof how chronic stress can have such a bad influence on the body. In 2012 I got ulcerative colitis. I recognize many of the symptoms I read about in the article. Every bone and muscles in the body was painful, and it felts like a non-stop flue. I struggled with sleeping problems for a long time and could not find any rest. The hair loss was massive and always commented by my hair dresser.
To sleep at night I listen to Spotify and sounds from the nature. That really calms me down. Hobbies like knitting , Audiobooks, mindfulness and a long walk each day are important in my recovery program.
Burnout- will I ever recover?
Should I feel any shame?
Hand knitting is mental hygiene
It is time to relax…..
Try to calm down. Prevent chronic stress and its diseases