Archive for May, 2013

Daisy Chain – The Magnificent Seven

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

 “Nobody throws me my own guns and says run.  Nobody!”  Britt….The Magnificent Seven

Daisy Chain at Still Water, Dana Point

We may be carrying guitars, drum sticks and mics instead of guns, but we Daisy Chain women are not so different from Yul Brynner and his men in The Magnificent Seven, as we work hard to protect our rights, preserve our way of life and defend our freedom to rock in spite of our crazy busy schedules, umpteen kids, minimal time, and hearing loss!

I love my life but sometimes you have to fight hard to take time for yourself, follow your passions or simply have fun. We may not be fighting bandits from taking over our village, but our kids, hubbies, bosses, even though they love us, will monopolize our lives if we let them.  And, society with all of its expectations of us as women and mothers will swallow us whole if we don’t stay strong, stand our ground, and kick convention in the ass with our sexy high heels from time to time.  

So, for those of you that missed it last year, I am re-posting a blog I wrote, “Music has Charms to Soothe a Savage Breast,” to remind all of you and myself the importance of taking time for ourselves, music and good girlfriends!  It was published in November 2011 on Chris Karr’s website, A Crazy Sexy Life.  I have decided to re-post it here, today, because Daisy Chain not only continues to be an integral part of my life, our band is growing bigger and better every day (just like me).  Not only is the beautiful and talented Angela now singing with us but our Goddess and bad ass drummer Isis is back, lovelier and badder than ever.  

Like the magnificent seven, Debi, Raundi, Amy, Diana, Isis, Angela and myself  will continue to rock the boat, rock the ages and rock the summer with our Daisy Chain Tour!  And, you are all invited!  Our first stop: 

Orange County High School of the Arts Commercial Music End of the Year Party

Saturday, June 1st

The Gas Lamp, Long Beach

Doors open at 1:00 pm

 

Quin Murphy Foundation Silent Auction and Celebration

Saturday, June 8th

85 F St. Chula Vista, CA 91910

Starts at 1:00 pm

 

The San Diego Luna Chix Cycling Team Fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Fund

Featuring The Mammary Chronicles and Daisy Chain

Saturday, August 10th

The Bamboo Lounge, Hillcrest, CA

Starts at 6:00 pm

 

Pondwater

Saturday, September 7th

4:00 pm

I hope to see some of your happy shiny faces at our shows.  Send me a message if you need any more info about Daisy Chain, The Mammary Chronicles or if you would like to book a show!

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Music Has Charms to Soothe a Savage Breast

First published on Crazy, Sexy Life November 2011

 

 “Mommmmmmmm, the police are here again! The neighbor is complaining and wants you to stop the music!”

Stop the music? That’s like asking Kris Carr to stop juicing! It’s blasphemy.

Four years ago, six of us crazy sexy forty-something suburban housewives went out on a limb, bucked convention, defied stereotypes and started our own rock ’n’ roll band. There was only one glitch. Not one of us could play an instrument. But that didn’t stop us. We bought guitars and a bass, replaced the couch and coffee table in the living room with drums, amps and a PA system, and hired Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin’s very talented and handsome doppelganger to teach us how to play.

Twice a week, we left the dishes and laundry behind, stealing a few precious moments away from our kids, husbands, “shoulds and ought to’s” to follow our soul and play some rock ’n’ roll. We practiced until we had blisters on top of blisters and that up-up-down-up pattern was ingrained in our brains. Our kids and hubbies thought we were nuts, but I know in my heart they loved our crazy sexy guts.  

I am the one with the smile on my face in the picture above. Oh, wait, we are all smiling. That’s because we are having so much effing fun. I literally feel my endorphins kick in, the negativity leave my body and a sense of all is right with the world when belting out Blondie, KT Tunstall or Joan Jett. “I love rock ’n’ roll. Put another dime in the jukebox baby!”

In fact, not only does it bring me a sense of well-being and peace, I am certain that it has helped me stay sane in the midst of much insanity over these last few years, saving me thousands of dollars in therapy bills. Between the six of us, we could keep a psychologist employed full time trying to make sense of all the crap we have been dealt during our mid-life: financial difficulties, marital stress, parenting issues, job loss and cancer. But, rocking out with our band helps us keep perspective and stay strong.  

It has been proven that music, whether playing it or listening to it, can help heal the body, relieve depression, accelerate the healing process, boost the immune system and lift ones spirits. William Congreve, a playwright from the 17th century brilliantly understood this as well. He wrote, “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast.” Funny, but I always thought this quote was “to soothe a savage beast.” Apparently it gets misquoted often. But just my luck, it is perfect for this blog. Sir Congreve was right. Music certainly helped sooth my savage breast. 

Ten months ago, I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. After the initial shock, I refused to feel sorry for myself. I pulled myself up by my sexy bootstraps and got to work. I guzzled green juice, worked out at the gym, partook in dry rubs and daikon leaf baths, ate whole grains and huge organic salads, and took my omega-3s and vitamin D. And, last but not least, I kept on rock’n.  

The docs cut off my breast and the chemo took my hair, but the cancer did not take my spirit. When I was feeling down and out, our band gave me a reason to pick myself up, brush myself off and get my butt to practice. Next to veggies, rocking out with my girlfriends is the best medicine in the world. Like Bob Marley said, “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain,” although that may have been the ganja.  

According to Dr. Mike Miller, “Music gives us an overall feeling of good, well-being, a sense of euphoria in some cases … and may be one of the best de-stressors, either by playing or even listening to it.” He used high-tech imaging to measure the size of blood vessels while people listened to music. Not surprisingly, he found that “the inner lining of the blood vessel relaxed, opened up and produced chemicals that are protective to the heart.” That’s some powerful stuff. If music can do that for the heart, imagine what it can do for the soul. Plato once said, “Rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.” 

Music surely found mine.  

By the way, we call ourselves Daisy Chain. We liked the name because it represents women connected to each other through music. (It also has something to do with multiple female participants, but that is for another site.) Little did we know when we chose the name that daisies were widely used in homeopathic remedies. During the 15th century, it was believed that drinking crushed daisies infused with wine could cure insanity. So does a night rocking out with six beautiful strong women and a bottle or three of organic Pinot Noir.  

Some moms like to shop, we like to rock. Some plan play dates, we book show dates. Some go to the spa, we bring the law. Some play “Farmville,” we play “Margaritaville.” Some believe we are disturbing the peace, we believe it brings us peace. Our band is living proof: In the midst of adversity, annoyed neighbors and cancer, we have found a creative connection to each other and to our own souls playing rock ’n’ roll.  

We recently performed at our biggest show ever, “Cocktails for a Cure,” in honor of both breast cancer awareness month and six women who refused to let anything stop them!  

The damn dishes can wait; my rock ’n’ roll soul is calling.

 

The Big “C”

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

Early detection does not save lives!  Study after study shows this to be true.  “And yet,” as Peggy Orenstein states in her recent New York Times article, “mammography remains an unquestioned pillar of the pink-ribbon awareness movement.” 

Of course, I needed confirmation on this.  “Is this true?”  I asked my oncologist.  “Is it true that early detection does not save lives?”  “Yes, “she said, “it’s absolutely true!”  In fact, not only does early detection not save lives it has its costs; misdiagnosis, over treatment, and causing unnecessary fear for many many women.  

I have always suspected this to be true.  Now, I finally know it to be true.     

This puts me in a bit of a conundrum.  But before I disclose my dilemma, please read on.

In the article, “Our Feel Good War on Breast Cancer, Orenstein explains that:

“Breast cancer in your breast doesn’t kill you; the disease becomes deadly when it metastasizes, spreading to other organs and bones.  Early detection is based on a theory, dating back to the late 19th century that the disease progresses consistently, beginning with a single rogue cell, growing sequentially and at some invariable point making a lethal leap. Curing it, then, was assumed to be a matter of finding and cutting out a tumor before that metastasis happens.

The thing is, there was no evidence that the size of a tumor necessarily predicted whether it had spread.  According to Robert Aronowitz, a professor of history and sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of “Unnatural History: Breast Cancer and American Society,” physicians endorsed the idea anyway, partly out of wishful thinking, desperate to “do something” to stop a scourge against which they felt helpless.”

Thus, the birth of the American Cancer Society.

Although these physicians had good intentions, pushing for early detection has created a national scare.  What was once awareness, for good reason, is now over awareness resulting in fear and over treatment.  A New England journal of Medicine study of early screening and over treatment estimated “that only 3 to 13 percent of women whose cancer was detected by mammograms actually benefited from the test.” 

Not only does such a small percentage benefit, but over 60,000 women each year in the US alone are “misdiagnosed” with cancer.  These women are diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma in situ (D.C. I. S.) or stage Zero.  In-situ means in place.  “D.C.I.S. is not cancer,” explains Laura Esserman, director of the Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center at the University of California, San Francisco. “It’s a risk factor.  For many D.C.I.S. lesions, there is only a 5 percent chance of invasive cancer developing over 10 years. That’s like the average risk of a 62-year-old.”

Once a woman is diagnosed with D.C.I.S she usually undergoes a lumpectomy and radiation and is marked as having “breast cancer” for the rest of her life.  And in some cases, women decide on preventative mastectomies.  “We don’t do heart surgery when someone comes in with high cholesterol. What are we doing to these people?” asks Esserman.

As crazy as it may sound, studies have suggested that the majority of these women’s D.C.I.S. will go away on its own if left alone.  And, some tumors are so slow moving they will never metastasize.  According to the article, “Unless it develops into invasive cancer, D.C.I.S. lacks the capacity to spread beyond the breast, so it will not become lethal. Autopsies have shown that as many as 14 percent of women who died of something other than breast cancer unknowingly had D.C.I.S.  And, “By 2020, according to the National Institutes of Health’s estimate, more than one million American women will be living with a D.C.I.S. diagnosis.”

So Esserman is shaking things up and wants to rename D.C.I.S. by removing the big “C!” This is her attempt to help put things into perspective, lesson women’s fear and put an end to over treatment. 

So, if 60,000 of the 240,000 women that are diagnosed with breast cancer each year do not really have cancer, this skews the numbers.  It is no longer 1 in 8 women that get breast cancer.  It is a much lower risk.  Can someone help me with the math please?    

Since early detection has been promoted, it is true that more people are going to the doctors.  According to Orenstein, “More cancers have been detected, more operations performed and more patients have survived their initial treatments.  BUT, the rates of women dying of breast cancer hardly budged.  Those increased diagnoses were not translating into saved lives.”

Orenstein explains, “The disease, it has become clear, does not always behave in a uniform way. It’s not even one disease. There are at least four genetically distinct breast cancers. They may have different causes and definitely respond differently to treatment.”

I was diagnosed with two of the four types of cancer.  I had tumors that fed on estrogen and another called Her2 positive which produces too much of a protein, the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2.  Unfortunately, I was not one of the 60,000 women that was over diagnosed and over treated.  Or, shall I say fortunately?  As Orenstein and I both ponder, “Should these women that are diagnosed at Stage Zero, be hailed as survivors or held up as a cautionary tale?”

So here is my conundrum.

But first a picture of Daisy Chain’s performance at Still Water in Dana Point this week.  Thought I should lighten the mood a bit.

Performing "Give Me Some Loving" Blues Brother's version

On behalf of the Susan G. Komen Orange County Affiliate, I have been invited to be part of their Inaugural Survivor Advisory Committee.  The invite is being extended to me because of my experience, expertise and passion for the cause. Those are their words.  The committee will be charged with providing recommendations on strategies to meaningfully engage breast cancer survivors and co-survivors throughout the year, as well as, provide critical insight and perspective on our current affiliate programs, events and activities as it pertains to survivor relevance.  It is quite an honor. 

But, I happen to know that Komen tends to push for early screening.  In fact, of the $472 million dollars raised last year by Komen, 16% went to research and a whopping $231 million went to education and screening.  Komen does acknowledge these findings on their Web site however they continue to pour funds into early detection instead of research for a cure. 

So, is the pink movement hurting more than helping, especially women and men whose lives are most at risk?

 

When I first learned of this, my initial reaction was to take a stand, pull out from the race, and not join the committee.  But, in all honesty, Komen has been a huge part of my healing process.  Personally, I love how Komen has transformed victims into survivors, raised 75 million for research (that is nothing to sneeze at) and helped fund the drug Herceptin which has saved many lives, including my own.  And, the 3 day walk is awesome.  I would not have missed it for the world.  Oh, and I can’t forget The Mammary Chronicles which would have never come to fruition without the need to raise funds for the 3 day walk. 

Remember, there was a day when breast cancer was a socially taboo subject and they would not print the word breast in the newspapers. Instead they called it “female cancer” which is a bunch of bologna because men get it too.  I was a freshman in high school at the time.  I truly thought we were more progressive in the 80’s than that. Today, fundraisers, pink ribbons, “I Love Boobies” bracelets, and “Save the Ta Ta’s t-shirts abound.   

No, Komen has helped change my life and the face of breast cancer.  I truly believe there is more to cancer than just the biology of it and healing is more than surgery and chemo.  So, instead of boycotting them, I will join them and try to make changes from the inside.  I suppose I may be dreaming.  How is little bitty Deanne going to change the world?  I don’t know, but I would feel better trying and failing than not trying at all.     

I have been to two meetings so far to see what it is all about.  It’s pretty cool actually.  I am in the process of helping to plan a survivor’s luncheon in August in which OCSA commercial music and The Mammary Chronicles will be performing in front of 300 survivors and co-survivors. 

OCSA Commercial music - Casey, Luke, Jonathan and Randon performing at the Grammy Museum

I guess I am no longer in a conundrum.  I may not have changed the world yet, but I have changed my mind.  I have made a decision to at least give it a try.  The Inaugural Survivor Advisory Committee it is!  And, although early detection does not save lives, I am convinced that the pink movement does!
 

My Dark Side

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

 

“All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring;

Renewed shall be blade that was broken,

The crownless again shall be king.”

 -J.R.R. Tolkein The Fellowship of the Rings

 

 Thank you Ms. Raundi Moore Kondo and Daniel McGinn for helping me get in touch with my dark side.

I am very excited to report that I have taken control of my late night binges and I have lost five pounds this last week.  It feels good not only to fit into my jeans again, but to take back control of something that was beginning to control me.  It is very empowering.

It seems something clicked deep within me after writing my blog on “nothing” last week.  It wasn’t a light bulb moment exactly.  It was more of an understanding.  Writing does that for me.  Or, shall I say the process of writing.  As I take all of those jumbled ideas in my brain, transfer them to a blank piece of paper in an organized fashion, things start to make more sense to me and I can finally understand what I am going through at that time.  And, because I am an over thinker, it feels almost orgasmic to release all that gobbly gook in my head and put it somewhere for safe keeping.  Ahhhh….. It’s a bit like Dumbledore’s Pensieve.   

But some gobbly gook runs so deep that a blog is not enough.  About 95 % of who we really are is hidden in the subterranean level of our being, the subconscious.  These are things that we are not wholly conscious of, or are only partially conscious of, hence the term subconsious.    

So when writing my blog isn’t enough, there is poetry.  Poetry goes where no man has gone before.  It delves into the bottomless caverns of my soul and pulls things out I didn’t even know were lurking in the depths.  And, when I am able to turn my inner editor off, wowzers, I am amazed at what emerges on the blank white pages.  It is truly eye opening, sometimes even shocking. 

It seems I have quite the dark side.  We all do, in fact.  Carl Jung calls it our “Shadow.”  “It is all that lies outside the light of consciousness, both negative and positive.”  “Everyone carries a shadow,” says Jung, “and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.”  

Jung also believed that the shadow is the “seat of creativity.”  So to become more fully conscious the key is to bring some of this Shadow out into the light. 

How?  Our behaviors are one way.  Another way:  music, art and poetry!  Anything creative!    

So, I have decided to get naked in front of all of you today and bare my attempts to shed some light on my dark side through my poetry.

Happy Reading! 

Repeat

Wrap your lips around me

Inhale me deep

Feel me enter your lungs

Your blood stream

Your heart

Hold

Relax

Breathe out

Long

Steady

Into the air

Flick

Wrap your lips around me

Inhale me deep

Feel me enter your lungs

Your blood stream

Your heart

Hold

Relax

Breathe out

Long

Steady

Into the air

Flick

Repeat

Flick

Repeat

Flick

Repeat

Till you have sucked every last bit of me

Down to the final ash

Till there is nothing left to savor

Nothing left to appreciate

Nothing left

Toss me away

Stomp out my fire

Drag me across the concrete with your rubber sole

Still craving more

You bum another

Repeat

 

Forgive ME

Milky white skin, innocent

Jaded by the sun and wind

Clear brown eyes

Dilated by dark chocolate desires

Happy pills, men’s whiskers and coyote tricksters

Longing to fire dance and dance with fire

Naked on a bear skin rug

I shift shape and shape shift

Hand and foot, foot and hand

It’s easy to do

Sugar daddy comes

Making empty promises

Yearning takes hold

Like an empty chair

Inviting, calling

Come to me

Drink me

Lick me

Eat me

 

You squeeze me like two pieces of paper

Bound between a paper clip

Eavesdrop on my heart

Through your snake like stethoscope

Cough on me with vengeance

Spewing your guts

Pound me with your fully semi-automatic assault rifle

Leaving me riddled with holes

Drill me to the core

Flooding me with your liquid venom

Bite me

Till teeth marks pierce my body

Tears drown all hope

Blood turns yellow

And my breasts deflate, dragging on the ground from the weight of you

 

Lying

Your lying makes a loud sound

Like glass shattering

On Saltillo tile

Shards perforate my ear drum

Pierce my body

Stab my gut

And break my already tender heart

Confused and

Riddled with jagged razor sharp fragments

I hang from the rafters

Like constellations in the sky

Trying to pick up the pieces

Some too tiny to reach

Some too big to grasp

All to sharp to forget