February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in Australia and New Zealand - a big hello to our Sunflower Sisters "down under"! Concurrently, one of their pre-eminent biotech companies announced the launch of a 22 country, 800 patient clinical trial for an OvCa vaccine. Lets hope for success all round.
February 1st is "Imbolc" in the Celtic calendar - the halfway point between winter solstice and spring equinox - what a welcoming thought. February 2nd is Groundhog Day - and according to the experts, he's seen his shadow and it will be an early spring. It was also our very own web master's (and my Sunflower Sister's) birthday - a Very Happy Teal Hug from all of us!
And importantly, February is Heart and Stroke month. I had the opportunity to have an in depth discussion with an Oncology Nutritionist last week on the subject of chemotherapy as it relates to possible long-term effects on the heart. Happily, she said that it was well down the list of common side effects but that certain adjunctive drugs e.g. Avastin, can cause severe hypertension. She said cessation of the drug will regulate this issue. So, if I understand correctly, Avastin is a drug that prolongs progression-free survival, but taking it may cost you your life. What a miserable conundrum.
Upon reflection, I believe that the Nutritionist was literally correct in saying that there are few correlations between chemotherapeutic drugs and heart disease, but figuratively incorrect. Chemotherapy can and does cause all manner of heart-related problems namely anxiety, stress, worry, fear and depression. So here we find ourselves not only with a rare and often incurable disease, but also potentially part of the biggest health issue in North America.
What is the answer? In the words of the late Dr. David Simon "Release what doesn't serve you". It's an expression that needs to become part of your daily existence - making present moment wise choices - letting go of things and people that are harmful - being conscious of every thought manifesting as a physical reality - concentrating on things and people that keep you safe, happy, healthy and peaceful. Letting go is difficult but it does bring freedom. February's focus on heart, stroke and ovarian cancer highlites the necessity to live in the present moment, forgive the past and trust the future.