Friday, December 23, 2011


Reflections – Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos
Posted on 22 December 2011 by Rick O'Shields

Sometimes life throws a challenge your way that literally stops you in your tracks and forces you to re-evaluate your sense of self and your purpose; sometimes the challenge ends up being the best thing that has ever happened to you.

What if that challenge happens to be cancer and what if the cancer you fought so hard to beat snuck back up on you and ravished your body just when you thought you had it beat? Well, if your name happens to be Kathleen O’Keefe then you grab the cancer by the scruff of the neck and give a good shake to bring it back to its senses and remind it that you are the last person on Earth it should be messing with. I’m not sure however, if that makes her extraordinary or if it just makes her yet another walking, talking example of what it means to embrace the will to survive that is ‘the human spirit’.

Lucky for us she also happens to be a talented writer and outside of the fact that I personally can’t wait to get my hands on that book once it comes out, her courage and her direct approach to ‘Surviving Cancerland’ left me with a unique opportunity to reflect on just how amazing humans truly are. Not that I am not already completely convinced that human beings can accomplish anything but it is always uplifting to run into other people who also believe the same thing; more so when they prove it to be true.

I have to wonder; does she realize how much of an inspiration her story and her work are? After speaking with her for almost 2hrs I think maybe it crosses her mind about as often as the possibility of the cancer coming back does, which is to say not too often. I know she wants to help others, and I am absolutely positive that the potential of her survival assisting and inspiring others who are afflicted to prevail is the driving force behind her work but I am equally positive she does not in any way consider herself to be a hero. I think she is but not so much because she made it through the hell that was her dive into disease but rather because of the grace with which she came back up to the surface for air, breathing life into those she met along the way.

It’s a bit of a scary tale, and if you linger too long on the ‘what went wrong’ aspects of her life you might just find yourself doubting the very system that is set up to care for our physical wellbeing. Kathleen, thankfully, is not the type of woman to let you do that so by the time you are done exploring the ins and outs of one of the world’s most deadliest diseases with her as your guide, you will believe that ANYTHING is possible; she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Life throws wrenches in our plans all the time, and it is heartening to know that there are people out there like Kathleen who snatch the wrench out of the air and use it as a tool to build a new life full of hope.

Jean Victoria Norloch

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Dr. Melanie Barton- Host of Voice America THE DR. MELANIE SHOW- has started treatment. She collected information and educated herself on multiple myeloma BEFORE she met with specialists, and was able to self advocate a course of treatment that was right for her.

Myeloma occurs when cancerous plasma cells take up room in the bone marrow cavity and don't allow the bone marrow to produce anti-bodies to fight common illness like the cold virus. Multiple myeloma is the appearance of many of these cancerous areas in the bones.

Symptoms of Multiple Myeloma:

Some people with multiple myeloma have many symptoms while others may not have any. Some of the most common symptoms include:

Bone pain, especially in your back
Feeling very tired
A low grade fever
Weight loss
Pale complexion

The symptoms listed above may be symptoms of other medical problems, or just natural occurrences associated with, physical labor, stress or other life changes. The warning sign that all may not be well is persistence. Prolonged symptoms may be your body speaking to you. Listen and respond.

Talk to your health care provider about any questions you may have regarding your particular situation. Self advocate until you are heard and get an acceptable response from the medical community.

Approximately 60,000 people in the United States have multiple myeloma and more than 20,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Research has made wonderful progress in treating myeloma and multiple myeloma.

Dr. Melanie contacted me after our interview to say she had known something was wrong with her health for weeks before our program and sought medical advice, but the doctors kept sending her home with a clean bill of health. After our interview, she returned to the hospital and refused to take "Go home, you're healthy," as an answer and DEMANDED a different set of tests. She self-advocated and got the tests she needed to prove she knew her body. She was right, the doctors and first tests they had relied on were wrong.

Our hearts and prayers are with you Dr. Melanie and we wish you a quick recovery. Here is the link to the radio interview just days before she was diagnosed.

Dr. Melanie has given me her permission to share this story with everyone. It may be a way to save another life-one person at at time. See More
Surviving and Conquering Cancer | VoiceAmerica™

Cancer patients often do not want to talk about their illness. Dr Rabbi Ed Weinsberg prostate cancer survivor and Kathleen O’Keefe two-time cancer survivor not only talk about it, but believe the patient must be educated and utilize his or her intuition. Listen to their stories...See More
Surviving and Conquering Cancer | VoiceAmerica™
Cancer patients often do not want to talk about their illness. Dr Rabbi Ed Weinsberg prostate cancer survivor and Kathleen O’Keefe two-time cancer survivor not only talk about it, but believe the patient must be educated and utilize his or her intuition. Listen to their stories...

Friday, November 11, 2011


Hi, I’m doing a fundraiser for one of Cape Cod’s own daughters, Parris Bauer. In January of 2011, Parris was diagnosed with recurrent breast cancer that had metastasized into stage 4 bone cancer. With no hope for healing from the medical community, Parris began alternative therapy that is going amazingly well, but it is very costly and isn’t covered by insurance. The good news is, she is beating the odds and amazing the medical doctors. Her latest PET SCAN shows a marked decrease in the areas of cancer, from 9 affected areas to only 2, which is great news. The challenge though is that she has to continue this alternative therapy for another 20 months at a huge cost to her.
Parris’s friends are having a fundraiser on Sunday, October, 2, 2011 at 2:00 pm with raffles, door-prizes, and a DJ for dancing music @
Alberto’s Restorante
360 Main Street
Hyannis, Ma
Tickets: $25.oo (additional donations would be greatly appreciated) For those who would like to donate but cannot attend, Parris has set up a fund to accept donations. Please send donations to:
Parris Bauer
c/o TD Bank, N.A.
1095 Route 28
South Yarmouth, Ma. 02664
account #-0864

Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos



Hi Kathy,
I was just diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma in Situ. I meet with a team of
specialists on Thursday so I won't have any definite answers until
then...but, my OBGYN has said that I should expect lumpectomy and
radiation. I've heard about an internal radiation using seeds put thru
tubes into the cancerous's only five days of treatment vs. five
to seven weeks and a lot less exposure to radiation than the external you know anything about it?
Cindy in Florida

Dear Cindy,
You sound like you have a wonderful attitude and are busy collecting information to make an acceptable game plan with your team of doctors. Yes, I have heard of “radiation seeds” and they have been used in prostate cancer for quite some time. It is only recently that they have been available for breast cancer treatment. Using radiation seeds is known as Internal Radiation or ("brachytherapy"). It is also referred to as partial-breast radiation. It involves placing small radioactive seeds into catheters inside your breast, where the tumor used to be. The radioactive seeds emit the proper treatment dose of energy to the tumor cavity as well as the surrounding tissue.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new technology for brachytherapy called balloon catheter radiation in 2002. For breast radiation, some methods use a balloon, and others use a device that expands like a balloon, once it is placed inside your breast. These methods of partial-breast radiation are gaining acceptance among oncologists, and may be an option for you. Treatment is given for 5 to 7 days, after which the catheter is removed. Because this method of radiation takes less time than external beam radiation, it is also called accelerated partial breast irradiation.
The goal of treatment with a balloon catheter device such as MammoSite or ClearPath is to radiate breast tissue in and around the tumor cavity in order to destroy any remaining cancer cells, while limiting irradiation to healthy tissues in your lungs, heart, skin, and fat. Balloon catheters are available as single-source (one catheter containing the radiation dose) and multiple-source models (several catheters containing the radiation doses).
I know this was quite a bit of information but I hope it helps answer your questions. Good luck and stay in touch. Cape Women Online and I care.Ask me anything.

Dear Kathy,
When I first rec'd my diagnosis, I freaked out. Now I’m so depressed that I don’t want to go out, see anyone or even talk to them on the phone. Is this normal and will I ever get over this depression. I will be starting treatment soon.
Linda in Tennessee

Dear Linda,
I am sorry you are undergoing such difficulty. What you are experiencing is the perfectly normal swing of emotions associated with any life crisis. Anytime someone receives shocking news the body goes into “fight or flight” mode. You often feel frantic one moment and lethargic the next. Once your psyche settles down, the pendulum of emotion stops its wild swings. You will find middle ground in your emotions. It just takes time and patience with your inner selves. Discuss your depression with your medical team. I was given the drug Atavan during my treatment to deal with anxiety attacks. However, I found that the side effects of extreme grogginess outweighed the positive effects of the drug. I found relief in deep meditation. There are many wonderful free mediation tapes on some online sites like Facebook, and available for purchase in bookstores. This may be a great reason to venture out of the house or if you are not ready to face the world, they can be ordered online. Remember, CWO and I care.Ask me anything.

Dear Kathy,
How long have you been cancer free? I hope your prognosis is good and
that you're currently doing well. I look forward to hearing from you.
Brenda in Bangor Maine

Dear Brenda,
Thank you for asking. I have been free of my first cancer for 12 years and my second cancer for 7. Like many women diagnosed with breast cancer, I am doing great! There are more survivors of cancer today than ever before in the history of medicine. I believe this is a result of two things: medicine has improved and people are integrating it with holistic and spiritual therapies. By addressing the mind, body spirit approach to healing we heal more than just the body. And that is one of the things that makes my prognosis so good.Ask me anything.

Dear Kathy,
I have just had a questionable mammogram. Three needle biopsys were taken and the pathologist said he is “leaning toward” lobular cancer. How can a pathology report “lean toward” something? Is it or isn’t it? I don’t have much confidence in my pathlogist. Did you have this problem and do you have any suggestions?
Chris in Ky

Dear Chris,
I think what I am hearing from your email is a disconnect and lack of confidence in your doctor. Yes, I did also have concerns with my medical team and immediately sought second opinions. Most insurance companies will cover second opinions and some even desire or require them. Any doctor worth having will not only be comfortable with a second opinion but may actually encourage it. I found that one of the most important things concerning any treatment is a trust and feeling of comradely with your medical team. Self-advocating is not easy. However, if you are not going to do it, who is? Good luck and let us know how everything goes. We care.Ask me anything.

Dear Kathy,
I have just been diagnosed with breast cancer and will need a mastectomy. I am alone, no family and no one to help me after my surgery. I have other health issues, too. I don’t think I can take care of myself alone. I need to be in a full care facility but my funds are very limited. The medical facility where my surgery and therapy will take place is more than an hour drive from my house. I don’t think I can get myself there alone. Do you have any suggestions?

Dear Linda,
I’m sorry you are facing these challenges. Facing cancer is hard enough. The answer to your questions may lie in the Hope Lodges. I don’t know what state you are in but they are located throughout the country. Here is some information on The American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodges.
Having to travel out of town for treatment can be difficult. Yet the American Cancer Society has a place where cancer patients and their families can find help and hope when home is far away - an American Cancer Society Hope Lodge.
Each Hope Lodge offers cancer patients and their families a free, temporary place to stay when their best hope for effective treatment may be in another city. Not having to worry about where to stay or how to pay for lodging allows Hope Lodge guests to focus on the most important thing: getting well.
And a Hope Lodge offers so much more than just free lodging. It provides a nurturing, home-like environment where patients and caregivers can retreat to private rooms or connect with others who are going through many of the same experiences.

Currently, there are 30 Hope Lodge locations throughout the United States. Accommodations and eligibility requirements may vary by location, and room availability is first come, first served. To find a Hope Lodge and to learn more about a specific facility, please visit that location's page, or call the American Cancer Society toll free anytime, day or night, at 1-800-ACS-2345
If there is not a Hope Lodge in your area, please call the American Cancer Society at1-800-ACS-2345 for more information. Also you can visit Joe's House for additional lodging resources or enter your zip code on's Find Local Resources page and select the category Housing.
Good luck to you and know that we care. Ask me anything

Saturday, May 14, 2011

7 Things I Learned at the New Life Expo

San Francisco hosted the 2011 New Life Expo—current name of the Whole Life Expo popularized in the 1970s. Its function is to bring together like-minded people fascinated with the metaphysical world. Venders displayed health products while authors sold books.

Long tables arranged in a horseshoe acted as the bookstore. I took this pattern to be a lucky sign—books were still cherished. Consuming literature at lunchtime in the organic food court was a favorite pastime for attendees.

Participating as a guest speaker taught me seven important lessons as an author.

1. Speakers sell books. Gone are the days when solitary authors wrote while publishing houses marketed. Conventionally and self-published authors who were speakers sold more books than nonparticipating authors who only submitted books to the bookstore.

2. Bring your own equipment—come prepared—be organized, and flexible. Murphy’s Law always looks for opportunities to manifest. Even if the information sent by coordinators promises to “provide everything,” come prepared to have nothing.
Many speakers found that they had no audio or visual equipment, including extension cords. Fortunately, we brought back-up equipment. An exasperated keynote speaker turned to Peter and begged, “What would it take to borrow your equipment?”
Conventions are fast-paced. Speakers had fifteen minutes to set up equipment and forty-five minutes to present materials. Problem solving cut into presentation time. Plan for the worst, hope for the best, and you will be ready for Murphy’s Law.

3. Many keynote speakers were not paid. Some received compensation for their travel and hotel expenses. Top-Draw speakers, such as Greg Braden, author of Fractal Time, were hired. However, there are three important goals for all speakers:

• Develop name recognition in a celebrity driven arena. Speakers who had recognition commanded fees.

• Collect email and contact information from your audience. Teachers pass around lined paper to collect attendance. Before beginning your presentation, start a clipboard on both sides of the room for names and emails. I wrote PLEASE PRINT AND PASS ON at the top and the audience did the work.

• Tape your presentation with a live audience in a professional setting. Post it on your website for purchase. A video can be more cost effective to followers than a ticket, hotel and travel expenses. It can offset your costs, provide subject credibility, and advertise you as a keynote speaker at a National Convention.

4. Readers still cherish autographed books. Moreover, they will stand in long lines to get one. Although e-reader have many advantages, one disadvantage seemed clear. E-readers do not contain personally autographed books. Fans still travel to interface with authors and collect autographs. Authors who held book signings sold more copies. People still like to see and handle books, even if they choose to order them later as e-books. My husband spoke on Quantum Spirituality and sold all of his copies of POPE ANALISA ten minutes after his presentation—which brings me to the next lesson.

5.Don’t bring more books than you plan to sell. They are heavy and costly to transport. We checked Peter’s books as airline baggage. It was cheaper than paying shipping fees. Carrying your book under your arm is a conversation piece and a great way to network.

6. Network at every opportunity and always carry business cards. Stay at affordable hotels suggested by Expo online information. Power-Breakfasts are networking opportunities. After my breakfast was interrupted by a fire drill, I was invited to guest speak on dreams with another keynote speaker. While standing in the parking lot, I chatted and exchanged emails and business cards with Expo coordinators. Once we piled back into the building, we found more common ground—a cup of coffee.

7. Take a mobile GPS! Unless you are a native, you will need more than a map to drive the road systems of San Francisco. You may want to ignore the “No Left Turn” signs, but resistance is futile. A satellite-based navigation system consisting of a network of twenty-four orbiting satellites, eleven thousand nautical miles in space was barely enough to get us to our destination—a fresh crab dinner on the docks. San Francisco’s one-way streets and few left-hand turns made Boston’s hometown, horse-trail, Big-Dig streets feel like a walk in Central Park.

“I won’t make two right turns and then drive straight to go left in this town!” Peter yelled at the GPS. He continued to search for a legal left turn while it continued to repeat, “Recalculating. Recalculating.”

Eventually, Peter did the unthinkable! He made two right turns and then drove straight. “When in Rome…,” he muttered.

San Francisco had won.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Video Interview about dreams- life saving messages- I'm living proof

Video Interview- Life-saving Dreams and Illness

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Writing SURVIVING RECURRENCE with a Bungee Cord

I really slept late this morning. By late, I mean well past 12:00--noon. I was up well past 2:00am finishing two more chapters in my second book, SURVIVING RECURRENCE. (Many 2s and wells there. Synchronicity?)

Once I am "in the zone" it's difficult to break my concentration and stop typing. "Leave the rest for tomorrow," is not in my vocabulary. By mid-chapter, I am driven. Forget food and water, I'm content in my self-inflicted jail cell.

This driven feeling is more than work ethic or time restraint. It is emotionally based. I must pull painful memories out of hibernation, (often kicking and screaming,) from behind locked mental doors, convert them into word and sew them to page before they can snap back into the dark bowels of my mind like a bungee cord. It is much like reluctantly remembering a nightmare months after having had it--a struggle on many levels.

So why would I inflict such masochism on myself? How does that saying go? "Those who forget the past are destined to repeat it."

I used my notes from my first battle with breast cancer to help me live through stage 4 the second time. Those journals and memories, became my first book, SURVIVING CANCERLAND.

My story is unconventional, but not unique. Doctors are human. Scientific tests are only as accurate as the people who perform and read them. Life is not infallible.

My second book is more than halfway complete because I have my own style of cutting out my literary pattern and sewing it together with a running stitch that can be removed to make adjustments.

I write the beginning and ending of my book--then fill in the middle. By using this technique, I always know where I am and where I'm going with a story that is filled with impassioned twists and turns. It gives me a mental edge--no floundering around in the dark while retrieving dark memories. I never feel like I have wandered off the books path. Rather than holding one tread of the story's line in my mind, I have two. This extra balance anchors my writing so I can interject humor yet not wander away from the serious nature of the main theme.

I've found that writing a book is much like sewing a garment. Somewhere between the beginning and the end product, areas no longer fit. Some seams must be let out, others taken in, and extra material trimmed. But, I always save my scraps! They could be the collar of another adventure.

About the Author- Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos has penned SURVIVING CANCERLAND and is working on her second book, SURVIVING RECURRENCE. She is a phone counselor for the R.A. BLOCH Cancer Foundation, a mentor for WE CAN, a contributor to Cape Women On Line Magazine & c4women, blogs on cancer,medical, literary, and spiritual pages listed on her website, and volunteers for many organizations and online cancer groups. Follower her @ website, @, @