Wise Woman herbal eZine with Susun Weed

March 2006

Empower Yourself...
by Jacqueline Marcell


By Jacqueline Marcell

My name is Jacqueline Marcell--I am a breast cancer survivor. I am also the author of Elder Rage (www.ElderRage.com), the true story of my obstinate elderly father’s rage at me for trying to help him and my ailing mother, and my infuriation at an unsympathetic eldercare system that didn’t help me appropriately. Unfortunately, I think my own rage and the stress of caring for my parents for several years, while foolishly ignoring my own health, contributed to the breast cancer I battled for a year and a half. But after numerous surgeries and treatments, I’m back to my advocacy work on behalf of caregivers--but with an added insight and mission.

I was under the most incredible stress of my life while caring for my parents (both with Alzheimer’s Disease which was not properly diagnosed), and I was so furious that I wasn’t getting the help I needed from the professionals I turned to. But finally, more than a year into my caregiving journey, I solved the crisis with my challenging father and sweet but frail mother. The experience compelled me to give up my 15-year career as a television executive to become an author, publisher, radio host, national speaker and advocate for eldercare awareness and reform.

It seems strange, but I never felt better when I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. I had no symptoms whatsoever until I felt the lump myself. I’d had so many false alarms over the years with cysts that were always benign, so I assumed this was just another one. Since there was no history of breast cancer in my family, or any type of cancer for that matter, I mistakenly thought I was immune. I was so stunned to learn that 85% of women who develop breast cancer have no history of it in their family, and that more than 1.2 million women worldwide will be diagnosed this year.

After surviving a lumpectomy, 6 months of dense-dose chemotherapy, a double mastectomy (with unusual complications of 9 days in the hospital and a blood transfusion), 28 radiation treatments (which burned me badly) and reconstructive surgery with silicone implants--I feel compelled again to turn a devastating experience into something positive by telling my story to help others.

My doctors say stress probably didn’t cause the cancer directly (the cause of breast cancer is unknown), but that the prolonged stress of caregiving may have compromised my already weakened immune system--and then I foolishly put off my own checkups and mammograms, which let the cancer grow unchecked.

Everyone asks me if I will write Cancer Rage next! No, but I am including the topic in my speeches, interviews, and on my own Internet radio program, Coping With Caregiving. More than 700 interviews with healthcare professionals are available for free worldwide listening-on-demand at http://www.wsRadio.com/CopingWithCaregiving. Since my illness I’ve featured numerous breast cancer specialists, because I know I can help prevent others from going through what I have—and hopefully save some lives.

My missions are to: educate healthcare professionals how to better help the families they work with; provide solutions and hope to families; encourage funding for Alzheimer’s and breast cancer research--and bring awareness to the importance of early diagnosis; expose elder abuse, neglect and exploitation; and funding for Adult Day Services, which saved my parents’ lives as well as my own. I’ve testified before the Assistant Secretary on Aging and am featured in an upcoming documentary on the subject. I was honored to deliver a keynote address to the Florida House of Representatives on this and numerous eldercare issues—as my ultimate goal is to help to improve our eldercare laws.

Now with caregiver stress and breast cancer added to my missions, I emphasize the importance for caregivers to: attend a support group as soon as their caregiving duties begin; enroll elderly loved ones in Adult Day Care; ask for specific help from family and friends; closely monitor their own health; and for women to regularly do self-exams and get yearly mammograms—no matter how busy they are.

The National Association of Women Business Owners (Orange County, CA) honored me with “Advocate of the Year” at their Remarkable Women Awards, and the National Adult Day Services Association presented me with their “Media Award”. Its been wonderful to be recognized for my work, but when a life threatening illness strikes and you lose your zest, not to mention all your hair, the honor you want most is the “Lifetime Cancer Survivor Award”--and I am doing everything in my power to make sure I get that one!

I learned caregiving the hard way and now breast cancer the hard way, so I’m committed to bringing attention to these issues on an international scale. But, I have to say, “Okay, I have enough missions and important causes to keep me busy now--thank you very much!”

Jacqueline Marcell is a national speaker on eldercare and author of, Elder Rage, a Book-of-the-Month Club selection being considered for a feature film. Over fifty endorsements include: Hugh Downs, Regis Philbin, and Dr. Dean Edell. Her Internet radio program, Coping with Caregiving, is heard free worldwide: www.wsradio.com/copingwithcaregiving. For valuable caregiving information: www.ElderRage.com

© Copyright 2006
For permission to publish all or part of this article, or to interview the author, contact Jacqueline Marcell in Irvine, CA: 949-975-1012, j.marcell@cox.net

Breast Cancer? Breast Health!
The Wise Woman Way

by Susun S. Weed
Foreword by Christiane Northrup, MD
380 pages, index, profusely illustrated.
Foods, exercises, and attitudes to keep your breasts healthy. Supportive complimentary medicines to ease side-effects of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or tamoxifen.
Retails for $21.95

Read a Review

Read some excerpts:
Mammograms - Who Needs Them?
Using Herbs Safely
My Anti-Cancer Lifestyle


What a gift to women of all ages! This book helped me overcome my fear of what I might discover during self-examination. I am so grateful that this book came my way and I am healthier in mind, body, and spirit thanks to Ms. Weed's wise words! If I could, I would give a copy of this book to every woman in the world!

Wise Woman Herbal Ezine is sponsored by
and www.ashtreepublishing.com

Susun Weed is one of America's best-known authorities on herbal medicine and natural approaches to women's health. Her four best-selling books--recommended by expert herbalists and well-known physicians--are used and cherished by millions of women globally. Topics include childbearing, breast health, menopause, wellbeing, and more.

The Wise Woman Center exists to re-weave the healing cloak of the Ancients. This land is sacred, it is a safe space for women, and a place for the teachings of the Wise Woman Way. The Goddess lives here, as do goats, fairies, green witches, and elders. There are many classes, workshops and intensives that are offered at the Wise Woman Center.
For a schedule of events, please call, write or e-mail us.

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PO Box 64 Woodstock NY 12498

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