Tag Archives: cancer

Awful Cancer

From the Heart…..

A great sadness fills my heart as I write to you at the beginning of July. The father of my first grandchild died this morning. Tom Killorin was Grace’s first husband, groom at the first wedding in our family of four daughters and the only one presided over by my daughters’ father, Don Bell. Tom was 62 a couple weeks before his death from Multiple myeloma. Don died a couple weeks after his 62nd birthday from leukemia. Two cancers of the blood. These two men, a generation apart, leave a legacy of courage in the face of overwhelming illness, an aborted life time of excellence in their field, and strong, loving direction for their children.

 Tom loved music and was a walking library of the pop songs of every decade from 1950s on. He had his own radio show at S.P.A.C.E 101.1.org

Terrible Cancer – What can be done?


What is it to die young from cancer? What can one do to avoid it? Is there anything that one can do to prevent this terrible disease? What part can we shape and what part is shaped by our parents?


How many articles, books, TED talks, blog posts, medical journal articles have been written presenting rules for a healthy life? And yet, cancer, a disease in which abnormal cells divide without control, happens in all kinds of people, including the healthiest.


What triggers the abnormality? This is, of course, what cancer research is trying to discover. Meanwhile, we humans go along doing the best we can. Some of us are struck by the abnormal switch while many of us carry on living, every cell doing its job miraculously according to its design. One might ask instead why more of us don’t succumb to a cellular mistake.


When I first began sharing the supplements I was taken in 1986, I encouraged people to not be afraid of their genetics; that our genetic makeup was responsible for no more than 10% of the cause of disease. We have known for a long time that common diseases like heart disease, asthma, cancer, and diabetes can run in families. I frequently asked a prospect what their parents died of and how their life-style was the same or different. A non-smoker was not necessarily going to develop lung cancer which may have been their pack-a-day father’s cause of death.


My own experience after taking these supplements for a few months created a strong belief that I would not suffer from some of the health problems my mother had such as hair loss and breaking fingernails, aching joints around age fifty, or heart disease. It was true that taking supplements strengthened my nails and thickened my hair. So, I must have been getting something from the supplements that my mother didn’t have in her body, right?


The science of genetics and illness has advanced by leaps and bounds since 1986. It can be said today from our study of the human genome (the complete set of human genes), that nearly all diseases have a genetic component. Some diseases are caused by mutations that are inherited from the parents and are present in an individual at birth, like sickle cell disease. Other diseases are caused by acquired mutations in a gene or group of genes that occur during a person’s life. Such mutations are not inherited from a parent but occur either randomly or due to some environmental exposure (such as cigarette smoke). These include many cancers, as well as some forms of neurofibromatosis (not sure what this is, to tell the truth).


Something else we know about our bodies is that there is an elaborate immune response to the damage the DNA suffers every day, multiple times. A constant repair mechanism is at work 24/7 fixing abnormalities, getting cells back to normal.


I made up my own causal story when I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 34: situational stress. By the same analysis, I decided Don’s cancer of the blood was caused by situational stress. Tom Killorin? I have no idea. What, if any stress, did he suffer that caused his immune function to fail to repair an abnormality?


For myself, I’m glad I decided my body couldn’t heal itself without the help of supplements. I’ve been taking hands-full every day since 1985. This supplement habit may have kept me from developing an un-fixable abnormality again. It turns out I have an inherited genetic problem that may lead to cancer: the absence of one of those many immune repair system genes, P53. I’ve written about this before.

My youngest daughter is missing the same gene. She is not taking supplements. She has chosen her own path to cancer prevention.

Let’s review the anti-cancer lifestyle. My daughter follows it now.

  • Loving, peaceful relationships
  • Work that energizes and challenges her and makes a difference in the world
  • Regular exercise outdoors in the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, including daily biking, walking, running and/or yoga.
  • A home relatively free of toxins.
  • Vegetarian diet full of raw and cooked green and red fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans, tofu, combinations of grains to give healthy protein.
  • Some coffee, chocolate (dark), wine, and spirits.
  • Optimism, laughter, and hope for a better world

There are no guarantees. Nearly everyone knows what to do to have better health. Perhaps those of us who have knowledge of genetic disturbances are lucky. That knowledge makes us a little more vigilant and unbending in our adherence to good health practices. What would you do differently if you knew your genetic markers?

Why not do those things now?

Be well, Do well and Keep Moving.



to check out my upcoming publication of Open Borders: A personal story of love, loss and anti-war activism, click here.

Facebook Twitter Email

Holy kitchen

Gentle Reader,

I opened the quarterly Earth Letter from Earth Ministry to read the lead article, “The Work at Hand”.  It’s about making a holy kitchen.  Let me explain. The author’s name, Carol Flinders, did not ring a bell until I came across a reference to “all the things we said in Laurel’s Kitchen” and I was flooded with emotional memories.  In 1973, it had been a couple years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer, had the mastectomy and continued merrily on my way. I deftly covered up the deep dread about a recurrence of cancer.  I was 36 years old.

What are the odds we can change their diet easily?
What are the odds we can change their diet easily?

With four little girls to feed and a diet of Fruit Loops, Velveeta cheese, Chitos and Oreo cookies, day old Wonder bread and ice cream to consider, I slowly explored the possible dietary contributions to developing cancer.  Laurel’s Kitchen fell into my lap.  I remember tearfully reading Carol’s introduction.  I was just like her in my innocent acceptance of advertised foods, packaged cake mixes, a meat heavy diet and cutting costs on everything.  Our milk came from powder.  I secretly ate whole packages of day old sugar donuts on the way home from the grocery store.

The dietary changes seemed necessary if I was going to prevent future cancers.  They came slowly and the children didn’t like them. They traded my homemade brick-bread sandwiches for their classmates’ Wonder bread when they could.  Vacations at my mother’s began with filling the cart with sugared cereals and steak.

My mother shared her sweet tooth.
My mother shared her sweet tooth.

I had no idea how to get enough protein into my body before I met Laurel, and ended up in the doctor’s office so anemic, they ran blood tests to see if the cancer had metastasized into the blood.

Gradually my entire life style changed to include fresh foods, far less meat, and more exercise.  I didn’t enjoy good health, free from frequent colds, however, until I added supplements made by Shaklee.  That was when I met my own Laurel, Jayme Curley, who introduced me to a peaceful life style and good food as well as foundational supplementation to fill in the gaps and bring me up to a high level of wellness.

Today we are surrounded by the Laurel’s kitchen choices in our high-end health food grocery stores.  A small percentage of the population has made a shift in their relationship to food.  But what about everyone else who hasn’t responded to something that leads them to make these dietary discoveries?  In her Earth Letter article, Carol calls us to be pioneers, people who choose a different kind of life.

simple meal from fresh foods
simple meal from fresh foods

She encourages us into the kitchen preparing a balanced appetizing meal with unprocessed foods, even when it takes a chuck of our day.  She quotes a friend, “I don’t know, really, what changed. I just know that one evening I walked in there grim as usual, determined to get it over with, and instead I found myself relaxing—accepting that I was there and willing to do it as well as I possibly could. And even since then, it’s been completely different.”  It’s recognition that what goes on in the kitchen is holy making it a holy kitchen.

She ends her article:  “Perhaps, though, the real point is not so much to find the holy places as to make them. Do we not hallow places by our very commitment to them?  When we turn our home into a place that nourishes and heals and contents, we are meeting directly all the hungers that a consumer society exacerbates but never satisfies…that home becomes a genuine counterforce to the corporate powers-that-be, asserting the priority of a very different kind of power.”

My own take away is that we are not striving for “being good” and avoiding the guilt of “I ate badly today.” We are embracing nourishing others and ourselves from a deep place of gladness. Perhaps being pioneers means showing the way to others.

Peacefully preparing good food day in and day out has not been easy for me.  I am part of the “hurry-up and get stuff done” life we all inhabit.  Years after the cancer, when my daughters were all away at college or beyond, one sent me a beautiful hand painted card with a sunset over a meadow and these words “The slower you go/the more you get done.”  I wrote a little poem in gratitude.

Mom Says

The slower you go

the more you get done.


make choping onions a zen practice
make choping onions a zen practice

The note writ large comes in a card

from one of several daughters

grown up and gone away


I stare at the words on paper

and remember days of kneading bread

the phone in one ear

a child in the other

lists, meetings, clamor, time

ticking, running

running late


I learned then to pay attention

show up to the bread

to the friend

to the child

one thing at a time

I must have repeated

slow down

for all my daughters

for myself

stop doing three things at once

make chopping onions

a zen practice


She sent my words back to me.

I need them again.


Be well, Do well and Keep Moving.


Please, leave your comments.



Facebook Twitter Email

Don’t take vitamins.

Gentle Reader,

“Whatever you do, don’t take vitamins.”  One more doctor/author has come out with a book of instructions on how to stay healthy.  Included in his list of what to do and eat is a chapter on why you should not take vitamins.  My renter just showed me his latest book, A Short Guide to a Long Life, by Dr. David Agus.  My own trainer who developed a highly efficient hands-on program for building muscles, reducing body fat and increasing strength and stamina wrote a book called Cracking Your Calorie Code.  These books all tell us supplement users that we are wasting our money and perhaps doing ourselves harm. They are catagorically against vitamins.  “Don’t take vitamins.  You don’t need them.  You are wasting your money.”

What is going on here?  What is the key question these books address?  Are they missing something?

How can I be healthier?  Have more energy?  Avoid chronic diseases that supposedly result from my life-style?   Aren’t these the questions we are all trying to answer? We are looking for a better way to stay healthy as we grow old.  We don’t want to spend our social time with doctors.  We want to enjoy the days we have and then die without a period of long, drawn out suffering.

These authors seem to agree on the life style we ought to follow.  They also claim we are wasting our money and even harming ourselves if we persist in taking vitamins.

First, let me clear up a couple things.  Before 1998, a few deaths in children were reported from taking sugar coated, brightly colors vitamins containing high levels of iron.  Since the packaging changed, only 1 death has been reported. Compare this with 59 confirmed deaths due to aspirin poisoning in 2003 and 147 deaths known to be associated with acetaminophen-containing products.  According to the FDA, Americans easily take more than 60 billion doses of nutritional supplements every year, and with zero related deaths.  This is an outstanding safety record.  Compare this to 14,800 deaths in 2008 from prescription pain killers.  About 6.1 million people abuse prescription pills, and overdose deaths have at least doubled in 29 states, where they now exceed vehicle-related deaths. In 10 of those states, rates tripled; in four of them, they quadrupled. (Reported in the Christian Science Monitor, 10/2013)

Second, let’s look at the healthy life style and eating habits these authors recommend,  including my trainer.  A quick rundown:

  • Adequate protein from lean meat, fish, eggs. (WebMD says 50 grams. daily, which is not enough, in my opinion. A good rule of thumb is 1 gram for every ½ pound of weight.  140 lbs. = 70 grams.)
  • 5- 9 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables every day. (Serving = 1 cup, 2 cups if leafy greens)
  • Whole grains (many people need to limit grains and refined carbohydrates like pasta and pastries to achieve optimal health)
  • 6 – 10 eight oz. glasses of water
  • Small amounts of fat, sugar, dairy. (Many food guides recommend more calories from dairy)
  • No smoking. Little or no alcohol.
  • Exercise at minimum ½ hour walking 4 days a week.

My question to you is this:  how many days last week did you achieve these markers for your healthy future? Are you really getting all those servings of fresh vegetables and fruits into your body every day?  Did you find time to exercise at least that much last week (and you can’t count the running around you do in the office or in your house unless you are wearing a pedometer.  You need to reach 10,000 steps a week.)

Fill out this checklist.  It is equivalent to the auto mechanic’s diagnostic tool for your car (which you can replace when it doesn’t work anymore).

Today’s date


__        Tired

__        Overweight or Underweight

__        Stress

__        Dry/Oily skin/Problem skin

__        Thinning hair/Dull hair

__        Emotional on empty stomach

__        Dandruff

__        Need caffeine/sugar

__        Can’t wake up

__        Can’t sleep/Restless sleep

__        Poor attention span

__        Splitting Nails

__        Irritability/Depression

__        Nervousness/Anxiety

__        Allergies

__        Bruise easily

__        Heartburn/Need antacids

__        sinus problems

__        Cold hands or feet

__        Poor night vision

__        Back pain/Leg pain

__        Constipation/Diarrhea

__      Poor digestion/stomach

__        High/Low blood pressure

__        High/Low blood sugar

__        Various aches and pains

__        Elevated cholesterol

__        Cravings for sweets

__        PMS/Hormonal problems

__        Menstrual cramps/problems

__        Subject to colds/flu/infection

__        Muscle cramps

__        Joint pain/Arthritis

__        Bleeding gums

__        Headaches

If you wear out your body, where are you going to live?
If you wear out your body, where are you going to live?

__        Breath or body odor

__        Decreased sex interest

__        Infertility/Sterility

__        Menopausal symptoms

__        Vague “blah” feeling



Whether we like it or not, a symptom is a message the body wants to express – which drugs suppress. If drugs are prescribed, new symptoms begin to appear.”

-Deepak Chopra, M.D.


You have only one body.  When this one body wears out, where are you going to live?

In 1985, I was physically and emotionally depleted.  I was eating the way I describe above, following all the guidelines provided by the various gurus on healthy living.  I had had cancer and was determined not to develop cancer again.  In spite of a perfect diet, frequent and vigorous exercise, little or no alcohol or refined, packaged foods, I was not healthy.  I took no vitamins.  I took some iron tablets at the recommendation of my doctor and they made me constipated.  I had no idea how to choose a vitamin.  “Don’t take vitamins” was not my thought or plan.  I was introduced to the Shaklee vitamins and began a foundation program of Soy smoothies, a multi, extra B, C and Calcium, plus Alfalfa and Herb Lax for constipation.  Within a month, my health change for the better.  Many of my symptoms (I checked off 10 – 12 on the above list) disappeared or changed for the better.

What more can I say?  I eat the way the textbooks suggest.  But not every day.  Some days I eat in my car, on the run, at someone else’s house, in a bar or restaurant and do not get all the fresh nutrients I need.  Supplements are just that, a supplement to an inadequate diet.  They don’t kill you.  They may even give you better health.  If you don’t feel better in a month of faithful consumption, Shaklee will give you your money back.  Guaranteed.  Does your drug store vitamin offer that? When is the last time your doctor gave you a money back guarantee on the prescription he/she wrote for you?

Enough said.

Be well, Do well and Keep Moving.


206 933 1889






Facebook Twitter Email

Get out the tape measure!

Gentle Reader,

Here we go into the season ‘tis jolly with food and good cheer!’   It will not be popular to talk about belly fat being the death of you.  How has Santa survived all these years?

I keep harping on ‘keep moving.’  It turns out that even if you are at your ideal weight and your tummy is sticking out, that fat sitting there is dangerous.  You must keep moving to stay alive.  Moving includes not only cardio but also ab strengthening.

I struggle with that myself.  Is this pooch a wheat belly (see my post on Celiac disease) or is it excess fat that needs to be exercised into muscle.  The facts are in, so if you want to know just how serious this is, read on.

This picture is Crissie Bessinger, blogger about ways to avoid gluten with recipes and guidance.  Her blogs are here.


Belly fat increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes.
Here’s the research, and I want to thank Dr. Stephen Chaney for passing this on to me.


A group of scientists at the National Institutes of Health recently analyzed data collected from 44,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study over a 16-year period and asked if abdominal obesity affected their death rates from heart disease and cancer (Zhang et al, Circulation, 117: 1658-1667, 2008).

The answer was a clear-cut yes!

The study showed that women with a waist circumference of 35 inches were twice as likely to die from heart disease and cancer than women with a waist circumference of 28 inches – even if they were at ideal body weight.

But you might be asking “How can they be at ideal body weight and still have abdominal obesity?”

There is a natural tendency to lose muscle mass as we age. When we add in the inactivity associated with the American lifestyle that loss of muscle mass is accelerated and the muscle is replaced with fat.

Thus, it is actually possible in today’s world to have both normal weight and abdominal obesity – and that is not a good thing!

This gal looks good.  You’d be glad to have her figure, right?  Her excess belly fat is not healthy.

Of course, the women who were both overweight and had abdominal obesity were even more likely to die from heart disease or cancer.

So it is not just about not looking good in your bathing suit – abdominal obesity is a killer!

However, the good news is that you can do something about abdominal obesity.

A combination of exercise, a healthy diet and the “180 Turnaround Plan” is a proven way of getting rid of that unsightly belly fat forever.  Stay tuned for this 180 Turnaround Plan.  Details to follow.  Please get in touch if you are interested in learning more.

My current waist is 31 inches.  I’d like to get that down 2 inches.  Anyone want to join me?  It’s more fun together.

Take Action:  Leave a comment, perhaps even your waist measurement.  Go ahead.  This is a protected website and can’t be hacked into by just any one.

Call me.  I’ll let you know when the shopping page has these products available.  January 1.  If you can’t stand to wait that long, the Cinch products we’ve been using all along are available now, here.

Get going on some abdominal strengthening exercises.  Here is a youtube video by Amy Goodman.  I’ll have to think about this series.  Looks hard.  I think I’ll try it.

Fondly, Betsy

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u


206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077



Facebook Twitter Email

But I have to have an operation!

Gentle Reader,

I was talking with a guy last night who had to have an operation for his hip.  The osteoarthritis had become so advanced into the hip joint that various movements were impeded.  A long time supplement user, he fortified himself with various supplements in order to tolerate the operation well and heal quickly.  He is a little disappointed with how long it has taken to get back to a range of motion he hoped for.  He is apprehensive about the operation waiting for his other hip.

As a wellness advisor, I have counseled many people about steps they might take to prepare for surgery, all kinds of surgery, whether for cancer or for arthritis and bone issues.  I thought I would share with you the document I have developed over the years.  Please add your own thoughts if you have had surgery and found alternative supplementation and actions that have helped with healing.

Before Surgery:

Soy protein 2 x daily  (if taking chemo, increase to 3-4 x daily)

Vita-Lea 3-4/daily  (Shaklee’s multivitamin-mineral supplement)

Fiber Tablets or Mix:  Soluble fiber (bloodstream), insoluble fiber (gut)

Herb Lax:  Cleanses gut, blood

Vita. C Sustained Release w/bioflavinoids:  anti-inflammatory, new cells grow faster, immune system support, helps w/pain.  Take a minimum of 3-4 of 500 mg./da – up to 10,000 mg.  (gradually decrease since body has to adjust to excreting excess)

B-Complex:  aids in good digestion.  Depleted by stress.  Take 8/da – space out

Zinc:  Helps w/pain, healing, no more than 50-60 mg./day except when there is trauma like a cut or incision (up to 120 mg./da until healed).  Body can’t make new cells w/o zinc, protein, & C.

Immunity Formula I:  2-8/da (A proprietary Shaklee supplement to enhance the immune response.)

Carotomax:  Cleanses cells, reduces inflammation (swelling), makes mucous membranes healthy.  Especially helpful if using breathing machine.

Vitamin E:  Oxygenates cells, gets rid of toxins of anesthesia.

DO NOT take GLA, E, OmegaGuard (fish oil), Garlic or lecithin before surgery. Stop 1 week prior.

Alfalfa (vitamin K):  10-20/da to reduce bleeding during & after surgery.

Garlic:  Helps flora, antibacterial agent. Not before surgery as is a blood thinner.

NutriFeron:  Take 4 for 2 weeks. (A proprietary herbal blend that stimulates interferon production.)

OsteoMatrix:  Coats nerve endings, helps repair them quicker, helps you relax so you can sleep deeper (can take w/Gentle Sleep Complex). (This is Shaklee’s calcium product.)

Iron:  Need blood test to know if needed. (Shaklee’s comes with vitamin c to help absorption.)

After Surgery:

Performance:  Dilute more than usual, make ice chips out of it, & start taking slowly as soon as feel like it. (Shaklee’s rehydrating drink, perfectly balanced for absorption.)

Protein:  Take as soon as can drink but don’t feel nauseated.  Alternate with Physique. (Physique is Shaklee after workout maximize, excellent for healing sore muscles.)

Liver DTX: 2 at night (Shaklee’s detox milk thistle product to help restore normalcy after the medications of surgery.)

Stomach Soothing complex:  Helps calm digestive system if feeling queezy.  Made with peppermint and ginger, can be taken as a tablet or dissolved into hot water for tea.

Vita-Cal:  Helps reduce gas bubbles. (A chewable Shaklee calcium product)

Fiber:  Start w/very small amounts to start cleansing.  A Fiber Blend tablet or ¼ tsp. Fiber Blend.

Vitamin E 400+:  4-6/da.  Prevents blood clots, oxygenates.  Start slowly if high blood pressure is an issue.

Lecithin:  Helps build sheath around nerve endings which helps reduce pain. 6 daily

GLA:  Up to 6/da, anti-inflammatory. (Shaklee makes their GLA from borage oil for best absorption and least contamination)

Omega Guard (fish oil):  If you digest it well.

Alfalfa:  Diuretic, liver cleanser, reduces swelling, helps kidneys, etc. start working again. 20 daily

Herb-Lax:  Start slowly. Very helpful after surgery as elimination slows down so much from the anesthetic.  Take to the hospital.  From personal experience, this is super important.

Purified Water:  very important

B-Complex:  Promotes healing, increases energy level.

Ginseng:  Helps energy & supports adrenal glands.  (Shaklee’s CorEnergy)

Dandelion leaf:  Swelling & inflammation. (Not a Shaklee product)

Optiflora pills and powder is strongly recommended to rebuild the flora. 1 serving daily of this pre and pro biotic made by Shaklee

This is a tall order when you may not be used to taking so much stuff.

The minimum pre-op is Energizing Soy Protein,  Vita C, Optiflora, Vita lea Gold and Alfalfa

Post op:  Physique, Vita C, Vita E, Optiflora, Vita Lea Gold, Alfalfa, Herb lax, Lecithin.

I have gleaned this information primarily from Carol Dalton, a nurse practitioner in Colorado who, during her long practice, has found the Shaklee supplements to work best for her patients.  People who have followed this protocol have had remarkable healing and suffered the least from the trauma of surgery.

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving,


BetsyBell’s Health4u

206 933 1889

www.HiHoHealth dot com


Facebook Twitter Email