Friday, April 27, 2012

Coaching Through Cancer

The following is a guest post by Marvin Leininger. Marvin is an Awareness Advocate for the Mesothelioma Center. He combines his interests in whole-body health and medical research to educate the mesothelioma community about the newest developments in cancer care. 

To help cope with a terminal diagnosis, many cancer patients turn to various avenues for emotional and mental health support. Discussion groups and cancer counseling are two very common support options, but there is another choice that is quickly gaining popularity: coaching services.
Coaching can provide assistance in a number of areas.
Patients who are diagnosed with an aggressive cancer such as mesothelioma may feel confused, anxious or even depressed about their future. While the reality of a terminal prognosis can evoke a range of unpleasant emotions, coaching can help patients deal with them under the guidance of an expert. Coaches can help identify stressful behaviors and offer suggestions on how to change them.
Coaching can also provide emotional support throughout the various stages of a cancer diagnosis. Cancer patients can turn to their coaches for moral support at treatment sessions, and coaches can provide guidance on complementary therapies such as massage, acupuncture and aromatherapy. Often, coaches serve as an objective voice throughout the process.
Certain physical needs can also be met through cancer coaching. Nutritional evaluations can be conducted by some coaches, in addition to other health services and prevention education. Coaches can also help advocate for the patient at their doctor’s office.
The coach-client relationship can be tailored specifically to each patient’s needs, and it can evolve over time to accommodate new developments in the patient’s condition.
Services a cancer coach may provide include:
·         Guidance with complementary and alternative therapies
·         Company during medical appointments
·         Emotional support and empowerment
·         Communication support
·         Patient advocacy throughout treatment
How Can Coaching Help Me?
Coaching is an inclusive approach to navigating life with cancer. The benefits can range from emotional relief to mental clarity to physical benefits that result from nutritional coaching. Coaching can help cancer patients communicate more effectively with their medical care providers, research the choices they make about their health care, and ultimately feel more empowered and secure in their decisions.
Elyn Jacobs

Don’t miss my new Radio Talk Show Survive and Live Well, tips to beat and treat cancer.  Tuesdays at 1pm(est) beginning May 22nd on Cancer Support Network

Elyn Jacobs is President of Elyn Jacobs Consulting, Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation, a certified cancer coach and a breast cancer survivor.  Elyn empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs, and to be active participants in their health; she is passionate about helping others get past their cancer and into a cancer-free life. 

Find Elyn on Linked-in, Twitter @elynjacobs and FB:elynjacobs and Elyn Jacobs Consulting

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Breast Cancer Nutrition, Cancer Coach’s Tips–Video with Elyn Jacobs

April 12, 2012 Youtube video with

Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor and certified cancer coach.  During her cancer treatment she discovered how what she was putting into her body, helped or hindered her body in it’s fight against cancer. She gives three very easy to follow and helpful tips on how you can help your body fight cancer by altering your diet.
 To View the Video, please visit:

Elyn Jacobs: I have three tips for you on eating to beat cancer. First let me say that nutrition matters. Dietary habits play a significant role in the prevention of breast cancer, the prevention of recurrence and slowing the progression of the disease.

Good nutrition will also support your body during damaging cancer treatments and will help you heal. That said, I’d like to suggest the 80/20 rule. So before you tell me, “No, I am not giving up my dessert or my meat”, remember, you don’t have to be perfect. Just try to eat well 80% of the time.

I also note that during cancer treatments, some foods may be very unappealing to you. So just do your best and try to avoid things like Ensure, because your body really doesn’t need the chemicals. Look for real food.

So here are my tips:

Tip #1, Eat at least 15 servings of fruits and vegetables a day and try to include at least 10 different varieties. You also want to look for colors of the rainbow as each provides different cancer-fighting components.
Adding plants and fruits and vegetables to your diet will also help you avoid the constipation that can come with many of the cancer treatments. If you find that you cannot or do not get enough produce, there are many whole food supplements out there that can help you bridge the gap between good intentions and reality.

Tip #2, Limit dairy products, meat and eggs as they can cause cancer-friendly inflammation in the body. They also add unnecessary hormones that you don’t need. You might want to consider limiting peanut butter too as that is also a pro-inflammatory food.

Tip #3, Cut out processed fried and fast foods and eliminate as much sugar and refined grains as possible. You also want to try and stick to as much organic produce as you can, especially for those that are on the so-called ‘dirty dozen’, which by the way should now be the ‘dirty baker’s dozen’ because when they added blueberries they got up to number 13.

Hi, I am Elyn Jacobs, a breast cancer survivor and a certified cancer coach. I am also the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. You can find me at I am also on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn @ElynJacobs, or you can email me at

This information should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Use the information provided on this site solely at your own risk.  If you have any concerns about your health, please consult with a physician

Breast Cancer Coach’s Tips for Mastectomy – Elyn Jacobs

Below is a Youtube video I did with

April 12, 2012  
Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor and certified cancer coach. When she was faced with a mastectomy she made several decisions to help her get the best treatment for her specific cancer. After going through the experience herself, she now shares her wisdom with others just like her so they will be empowered to do the same.

Elyn Jacobs: I have three tips for you if you are facing mastectomy.

 Tip number 1 – Get a second opinion. You have time to get this right. Surgical options vary from doctor-to-doctor and amongst cancer centers. So second opinion is very important. It can offer you more options and it can offer the chance to regain control.
A second opinion can also help give you confirmation of a suggested protocol. Doubt brings stress and fear, neither of which is conducive to survivorship and healing. Confirmation allows you to go forth with confidence.
For me, a second opinion made all the difference. First doctor walked in, was very nice, offered me no options and simply handed me the name of a plastic surgeon to go and see.
The second doctor walks in, lays out several options and then asks me several lifestyle questions. He suggested that we do the incision via the inframammary fold, which means hiding the scars in the bra line.
I then asked him if I could keep my nipples, and he said, “Well yes, I believe you are a candidate for that also”, and he asked me if he’d like the plastic surgeon to come in now so that I don’t have to come back for yet another appointment – my hero!
She walks in, lays out several options and then she and I together discussed which would be best for me, for my body, for my cancer. I leave there feeling that these doctors really care about me, not just my cancer – me, as a person. I will come out of this whole; I am now confident and empowered.

Tip number 2 – Know your options. I had never heard a surgery via the inframammary fold so I never would have known to ask. I also had never heard of the nipple-sparing mastectomy, and there are so many other options.
I can’t tell you how many people I have talked to since then who have gone through surgery only afterwards to find out that they had options their doctor never even mentioned. I was lucky. Now I make it my goal to make sure that other women know that they have options.

Tip number 3 – Ask questions. This sort of goes back to knowing your options. If your surgeon says that an option is not available to you, you want to ask him, “Is it not available for me, for my cancer? Is that why it’s not available, or it’s simply not offered by that surgeon?” It’s a big difference there.
So you want to find the best doctor that you can and find one that offers you options, and bring a buddy. When you are nervous, scared, vulnerable, you may not feel that you can question your doctor.  Bring someone with you who can make sure that your questions get answered, to make sure your voice is heard.
You have everything to gain and nothing to lose by gathering information and being an active participant in your care. Think of the power when we say, “This is what I am doing to beat cancer”, as opposed to “This is what they are doing to me”.

Hi, I am Elyn Jacobs, a breast cancer survivor and a certified cancer coach. I am also the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. You can find me at I am also on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn @ElynJacobs, or you can email me at

This information should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Use the information provided on this site solely at your own risk.  If you have any concerns about your health, please consult with a physician.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hopping Roller Coasters

When Rachel mailed me her book, Hopping Roller Coasters, I had no idea what to expect.  I warned her that it might take me months to read it, as I never seem to find the time to read for fun.  However, I ended up taking the book everywhere; stealing whatever time I could to read on, captivated by her writing.  Hopping Roller Coasters is a fabulous book about a mother and daughter; mental illness; falling, getting up. And then along comes cancer. It's about loving, being loved; forgiving, being forgiven. It is a brutally honest account of the lives of one family, one that likely resonates with so many more, whether they have experienced mental illness or not. I was truly moved by this honesty, and the strength and courage that allowed them to overcome.  Thank you, Rachel, for sharing your story.

When I read the fantastic review written by Marie Ennis-O’Connor, founder of Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer, I asked Marie if I could share her thoughts.  Thank you Marie, for sharing and for all you do to brighten the days of others.

“I never planned on becoming a breast cancer survivor because, like most people, I never planned on having cancer. When you’re a young woman, breast cancer is the last thing on your mind. I naively believed it only happened to older women and there was certainly no room in my busy life for such an interruption.   I was 34 years of age when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and about to learn that cancer is no respecter of age.”  Marie Ennis-O’Connor

Below is Maries Review:

Rachel is a terrific writer and just like a roller coaster, her story moves at quite a thrilling pace, taking you from the highs of Marina’s birth, the happy times they shared as a family, and then plunging to the lows of Marina’s school struggles, Rachel’s depression and oh yes..the small matter of Rachel’s breast cancer diagnosis in September 2009.
Rachel writes with brutal honesty of her fierce love for her daughter, but also of how she, by unintentional words and actions compounded Marina’s own predisposition to mental illness.
Throughout Rachel’s cancer treatment, her main concern was always the effect this would have on her daughter, but in the end, cancer was a chance for them to heal their sometimes fractured relationship.
“Cancer sucks, but I had another shot at breaking the two steps forward, one step backward pattern in reaching out to my daughter. I had another ‘second chance’—no matter how much longer l lived.”
Rachel’s cancer diagnosis was a way for this mother and daughter to get their relationship back on track. It was a way to teach them, and by extension the reader, valuable lessons on love, relationships, and forgiveness.
This book is so well told, with no trace of self-pity, and there is so much love within the pages. I admire the relationship between Rachel and her rock of a husband, Paul, who has stood by her and their daughter through all the difficult times. Rachel’s parents were also a great support, and I felt my heart constrict when reading about her Dad’s diagnosis of cancer towards the end of the book. Rachel’s father passed away on the same day as my Mom last November.
There is also humor in the pages of this book. When discussing among themselves how their friends haven’t asked after Marina when she has been hospitalized, Rachel muses that “if you’ve never experienced it, it’s probably hard to know what to think. Mental illness has such a stigma attached to it. I wonder if they picture her jumping up and down and peeing in corners or something.”
My husband laughed. “I’m thinking maybe this Christmas we should send a card like the ones we get from friends highlighting their kids’ accomplishments that year. Only we could say something like, “Well, Marina’s in jail again. But there’s a silver lining—she’s in detox, and we’re convinced she’s going to do it this time. Meanwhile, her kids are in great foster care homes while she does her time in the big house. Oh, she has four of them now.”
Rachel Pappas is the Founder of 1UpOnCancer, which, just like her memoir is a place ultimately of hope and renewal. Rachel and her husband are empty nesters and Marina now lives with her boyfriend.

Marie Ennis-O'Connor is a public relations professional, specializing in healthcare communications and non-profit social media marketing. She is a passionate believer in using social media for good and is editor and writer of the Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer blog. 


Elyn Jacobs

Elyn Jacobs is a certified cancer coach, a breast cancer survivor, and the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation.  She empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs.  She is passionate about helping others move forward into a life of health and wellbeing. To learn more about Elyn’s coaching services, please visit: