Basic banana body builder

basic-banana-body-builderIf your appetite is suppressed, if you need to build up muscle, if you need to put weight on, or if you are worried about insufficient protein.

4ozs (100g) plain tofu (silken tofu makes a smoother drink)

1 pink (500ml, generous 2 cups) soya milk

2 bananas

2 tablespoons organic maple syrup

1 tablespoon slippery elm powder

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

Whizz together in a goblet blender or food processor until smooth and creamy

If you have difficult drinking from a glass, use a teaspoon and eat it from a small bowl like dessert, or add more soya milk to thin it and use a pretty straw.

 

Try any of these additions or flavour variations

2 tablespoons ground almonds

2 tablespoons cooked brown rice/millet/oats

Any fresh fruit – try mangoes for a real treat

Soaked or cooked dried fruits

1 teaspoon honey or concentrated apple juice

1 tablespoon organic, sugar-free preserves

THANKS TO DR ROSY DANIEL, WHO HAS GENEROUSLY SHARED THE CANCER LIFELINE RECIPES WITH US. THIS RECIPE IS FOR THE TOUGH TIMES, FOR USE WHEN YOU ARE VERY ILL, DURING TREATMENT, WHILE THE APPETITE IS POOR AND THE WEIGHT LOW.

 

What is normal?

qLet’s normalise a few things right now:

  • There is no “right way” to make sense of what a cancer diagnosis means in anyone’s life
  • We can’t expect everyone to react in a similar way, or say the same things as anyone else – each person is unique and of course their response to their cancer treatment will be individual as well;
  • It’s very common for people to feel confused, disbelieving or angry when newly diagnosed, but this is not true for everyone;
  • Sometimes our bodies even respond to the stress and shock with physical responses – headaches, nausea, diarrhea, sighing, poor sleep patterns etc; and
  • Often people look forward to the end of treatment, but sometimes folks feel fearful, uncertain, or more emotional than they did during the treatment.

Blog by Clare Manicom, Oncology Social Worker

The importance of psycho-social care

bcpicFirst up, let’s be clear that our precious family members and our special friends cannot be our therapists.  The honest ones among them will tell you that they really don’t want to be our counsellors either – they just want to be their normal selves – mom, friend, cousin etc.

Then, while we’re being honest – most of us try to protect the people we love from the ugly, ungrateful, hurtful, or dark thoughts that we have around the topic of cancer, its treatment or an uncertain future.  Which makes it hard to truly share with any one person exactly what we’re thinking or feeling.

  • We edit what we share
  • We filter what we hear
  • We are selective about what we remember

So suddenly it’s very clear that actually, it’s pretty tough chatting through our deep emotions with people who are important to us.  We might not have the words to say what we’re feeling, we might not know what to think.  We usually don’t even know where to begin with our emotional “stuff” that we’re told we have to “deal with”.

And that, very simply, is why it is so helpful to meet with a neutral, objective, trained and skilled person when you’re feeling scrambled, low, overwhelmed or plain pissed off.  It is a huge relief to offload on someone whose job it is not to judge you, but to listen to you.  Their job is to calmly provide a safe space where you can say what’s on your heart, cry or rant without hurting anyone’s feelings.

There will be times when that professional needs to challenge your opinions or perceptions, or may need to provide you with clear information that will help set you on a better path.  There are times that your listener may probe a little deeper, or may ask you questions that make you think and reflect more carefully – all this is part of your healing journey.

Seeing someone for emotional support might mean having a few sessions to examine different issues or concerns, or practice new skills in between sessions.  You will not always come away from a session smiling and jumping for joy – sometimes we need to have a “heavy session” that may include tears or rage, as a catharsis.  What you should feel every time is that you have been heard and acknowledged as an individual.  Often you will feel a sense of relief or lightness that you’ve been able to speak your mind – you’ve been brave and honest enough to express yourself and that is an important beginning point…

A social worker with medical or oncology experience will be able to provide emotional support with an understanding of the psychological impact of cancer and its treatment, as well as having insight into some of the practical challenges that people face.  Most State oncology departments employ social workers, and some private practices offer this service as well – ask your oncologist and ask again if you’re not given names to contact!

Some people are keen to join a support group when facing their illness and treatment.  As these groups are run in different ways by different organisations, ask your local clinic about what may be available in your area.  Remember that groups run for the purpose of sharing information are not designed to provide in-depth emotional support, so make enquiries about the purpose of the group, and about who runs it to help you decide whether it’s a comfortable place for you to be or not.

Social media may also be a source of general support but it’s advisable not to risk your in-depth personal emotions in a public forum, or to take advice from people who may not have the professional skills or training to provide psychological support.

Blog by Clare Manicom, Oncology Social Worker

#cancer85years – CANSA research

ABC - Advocates for Breast Cancer - CANSAThrough its Type A programme, offering funding to established researchers at South African universities and research institutions, CANSA is currently funding a number of projects addressing breast cancer.

These projects span a wide range in terms of types of research and focus areas. Several projects are looking at breast cancer prevention in basic science studies. Dr Donita Africander of University of Stellenbosch is examining the chemo-preventative properties of bio-identical hormones; Prof Anna-Mart Engelbrecht of University of Stellenbosch is examining whether melatonin can prevent the onset of breast cancer in a mouse model; Prof Ann Louw of University of Stellenbosch is looking at the chemopreventive action of a Cyclopia extract in rat models of breast cancer; while Dr Annadie Krygsman of University of Stellenbosch is examining whether simple dietary modification by restriction of carbohydrate and/or omega-6 fatty acids can prevent breast cancer development in the urban South African context.

A number of other projects are looking at genetic aspects of breast cancer which could impact early diagnosis. Dr Adrienne Edkins of Rhodes University is conducting an analysis of stem-cell associated genes in breast cancer as biomarkers and predictors of cancer malignancy. Prof Lizette Jansen van Rensburg of University of Pretoria is looking at the role of DNA homologous recombination genes in breast/ovarian cancer susceptibility; Dr Ans Baeyens of WITS is examining genetic screening of triple negative and young breast cancer patients in South Africa; while Prof Fourie Joubertof University of Pretoria is conducting an investigation into genetic variation in South African breast cancer patients using genome sequencing.

We are also funding projects in the areas of clinical and public health research. Dr  Herbert Cubasch of WITS and Prof Jennifer Moodley of UCT are both conducting projects that will contribute to our understanding of delays in seeking care and accessing treatment in women with breast cancer in South Africa, and may have significant outcomes for healthcare delivery.

Compiled by
Dr Melissa Wallace, Head of Research
Lorraine Govender, National Advocacy Co – ordinator

#cancer85years – celebrating CANSA

The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) offers a unique integrated service to the public and to all people affected by cancer. As a leading role-player in cancer research (more than R12 million spent annually), the scientific findings and knowledge gained from our research are used to address reduction of cancer, realign our health programmes as well as strengthen our watchdog role to the greater benefit of the public.

Our health programmes comprise health and education campaigns whereby we inform and educate our public regarding how to reduce their risk for cancer, CANSA Care Centres that offer a wide range of care and support services to those patients and family affected by cancer, offer among other things stoma and other clinical support, medical equipment hire as well as a toll-free line to offer information and support. We also supply patient care and support in the form of 11 CANSA Care Homes in the main metropolitan areas to accommodate out-of-town cancer patients when they receive their cancer treatment plus one hospitium based in Polokwane, as well as CANSA-TLC lodging for parents and guardians of children undergoing cancer treatment.

ABC - Advocates for Breast Cancer - CANSAAs mentioned, CANSA provides home-from-home accommodation to patients undergoing cancer treatment at oncology clinics far from their homes.

Patients at our CANSA Care Homes stay for an average of six weeks and receive meals and transport to and from treatment centres.

We are there to help and support not only the person who has been diagnosed with cancer but also the friends, loved ones and care givers of those affected by cancer.

To arrange to stay at a Care Home please contact the CANSA Care Home nearest to you and book your stay. For more info, visit www.cansa.org.za or join on social media for more information. CANSA The Cancer Association of South Africa on Facebook, @CANSA on Twitter and @CancerAssociationOfSouthAfrica on Instagram
Cancer survivor, Magda stayed at Mkhuhla Care Home in Durban, Monday to Friday for the six weeks while she was undergoing radiotherapy. She had a room overlooking the garden and made friends with two other ladies who were also staying over and receiving treatment. Every day they were taken to the treatment centre in a minibus.

She shared, “It’s wonderful here….and the meals are just right when you’re not feeling so well. I don’t feel self-conscious. We’re all in the same boat.”

Henk Hills, a recent guest, shared his experience via Twitter, “As a cancer survivor, I would like to thank CANSA and especially the staff at the Tipuana Care Home (Pretoria) for all their support, I really owe you guys my deepest thanx”.

Offering a place to stay is just one of many ways CANSA helps cancer patients cope with this awful disease. In 2015, CANSA with the help of donors and volunteers, brought comfort and care, served meals and provided transport to almost 3 847 individual patients who came to them for help. Find out more on http://www.cansa.org.za/cansas-care-support/cansa-care-homes/

Online Support Groups & Programmes for Survivors

CANSA also has various online support platforms offering support, receiving and providing encouragement from fellow members and sharing stories:

 

Compiled by
Dr Melissa Wallace, Head of Research
Lorraine Govender, National Advocacy Co – ordinator

 

A voice for the voiceless

 

IMG-20150715-WA0000My name is Martie Westraad. I am 53 years old and live in Suiderberg, Pretoria. 

I was worried and concerned about my breast as I could see something terrible was wrong with my one breast. I first went to CANSA in Rietfontein. They referred me to Pink Drive, who immediately referred me to George Makhuri Hospital in Ga-rankuwa. 

I was diagnosed with stage 3 advanced breast cancer in March of 2016 after all the required test were done and started with chemotherapy in June 2016. My next appointment was scheduled for 12th July 2016, however on the 8th July I received a phone call from the breast clinic to inform me that my appointment had been postponed as there was no chemo stock available for my treatment.

They said I should phone again in August to determine whether they have received stock of the specific treatment.

This was very stressful for me as I realised that I cannot miss one chemo treatment and if I do I have to start all over again. My colleagues at work offered to help me financially to pay for the treatment if we could buy it  privately, and if it could still be administed. This was a dead end as well, and to crown it all the staff at the hospital were very rude to me.

I decided to phone the Pink Drive as I knew that this is not supposed to happen. I was asked to send an email with all the details, which I did and the next moment the emails started pouring into my inbox from ALL the various organisations that started fighting on my behalf.

I sat back and read …. I did not even know that they all exist. I did not even know that this is possible.  That was Friday 8 July. On Monday 11th July I received a personal phone call from the acting CEO of the George Makhuri Hospital, Dr Freddy Kgongwana, to inform me that I must come to the hospital for the scheduled chemo treatment on the 12th July as they have received their stock. I went – and yes I was able to get my treatment on time.

THANK YOU to The PINK DRIVE for initiating this CALL for HELP and to ALL the members of the Advocates for Breast Cancer who got on board and voiced their concern about this.

You really are the “Voice of the Voiceless”. Thank you to the Department of Health for dealing with this matter so speedily – is certainly good to know that we can depend on you in our time of need!

 

Immune support soup

immune soup

10 fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced (if you can only get dried ones, then soak in warm water for 10 minutes before slicing)

10cm piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and grated

4 big cloves of garlic, grated

1500ml water

Simmer together for 30 minutes then stir 6 teaspoons miso paste and 6 thinly sliced spring onions into the soup until miso melts (do not boil)

Serve hot.

THANKS TO DR ROSY DANIEL, WHO HAS GENEROUSLY SHARED THE CANCER LIFELINE RECIPES WITH US. THIS RECIPE IS FOR THE TOUGH TIMES, FOR USE WHEN YOU ARE VERY ILL, DURING TREATMENT, WHILE THE APPETITE IS POOR AND THE WEIGHT LOW.