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The below article gives an accurate account of the emotional toll cancer takes on a patient, and even survivors who are in remission. As a cancer patient, I have and continue to go through all the emotions listed here. And, the emotional roller coaster doesn’t stop even when I was in remission for a year and half. I’m posting this article so that cancer patients/survivors can know that they are not alone and they ARE NOT going crazy (unless you have already been dx with a mental illess). I’m also posting this article so that loved ones and caregivers have a better understanding of what we go through:

Dealing with the Emotional Effects of Cancer


I am glad that the above is being finally contested. However, with the way “news” is reported when referred to women, can anyone really be surprised that this has been happening? When the CEO sets a tone of abuse of power towards a specific group of people, then the entire environment follows suit.

Absolutely heinous behavior! I, for one, am glad to see this type of behavior finally being held accountable!

I’m glad to see so many women finally speaking up and providing a role model for other women to fight for justice. However, make no mistake, it is an uphill battle. And, I have heard from past clients that fighting justice can feel like being abused all over again. In this land of supposed equality and justice, I do find that our criminal justice system doesn’t prove to be too just, and that the victim, unfortunately, still gets blamed!

The law to seek justice for survivors of sexual abuse still makes it very difficult to report. Below is a petition to support a bill before the House to alleviate some of the obstacles survivors face.  As a former psychotherapist, and a survivor myself, I’ve counseled others who have reported their abuse. On one hand, taking the step to report is the beginning of healing from a violation so vile that impacts the mind, body and soul. On the other hand, when obstacles block the support that a survivor desperately needs to go through this process, my clients have told me that “I feel like I am being raped all over again”!

Please read the below bill and add your name to this petition to support it:

Gayook, add your name: Tell the Senate Judiciary Committee to take immediate action to pass the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights Act.

Last week Senate Democrats introduced a bill that could be a game changer for sexual assault survivors across the country. The federal Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights Act would provide more rights to survivors of rape and sexual assault, particularly as they seek justice through the criminal justice system.

Among the rights secured in this bill are no-cost forensic medical exams (or rape kits), preservation of evidence for the full statute of limitations, clear information about the results of the exam, and written notice prior to destroying rape kits.

A version of the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights Act was introduced in the U. S. House of Representatives last spring. After the bill was referred to a House committee for consideration, nothing happened until Senator Jeanne Shaheen reintroduced it in the Senate last week. This legislation is too important to languish in committee again.

Add your name: Demand the Senate Judiciary Committee take immediate action to pass the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights Act.

The bill was written by Amanda Nguyen, a 24-year-old rape survivor who was frustrated by the obstacles and hurdles she’s faced in the two years since her attack. Despite a 15-year statute of limitations in her state, she is forced to track down her rape kit, which moves from facility to facility, and file an extension every 6 months so the evidence is not destroyed.

Nguyen says, “The system essentially makes me live my life by date of rape.”

Currently, survivors’ rights and guarantees vary widely from state to state. This legislation seeks to create standard procedures for survivors seeking justice through the legal system. The bill applies specifically to federal cases, but if enacted, is poised to become a model states can draw from in establishing standards of justice, as well as care and treatment, for survivors of sexual assault.

Stand with sexual assault survivors. Add your name to the petition now.

Keep fighting,
Irna Landrum, Daily Kos

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If you read the last blog, you know I hadn’t as yet spoken to Jenn. She finally did call tonight and we spoke for about 10 minutes – the longest talk since she’s been in Shanghai.

She said the presentation went very well and, as many of the speakers before her covered some of the same background information she was going to speak about, she decided to make hers more personal, from the heart. She spoke more about her grandfather’s story – I guess that’s what her friend said about it being bittersweet. And, of all things, the power point froze in the middle of the session, so while they were trying to get it to work again, she entertained the audience by tap dancing. Of course, the place cracked up. I guess she hasn’t lost her “ham” persona when she’s on stage. In fact, one person told her that the tap dancing was the best part. She responded with, “Next time, I’ll be sure to dance more”!

Many people came up to speak to her afterwards, telling her that they were crying during her speech, and some actually started tearing while telling her this. Some told her that hers was the best presentation. I knew that while the information on that era is important, I always find that it’s the personal stories that move the audience.

Again, my heart swells with love and pride for her hard work and also for her touching tribute to her grandfather’s memory.

I haven’t had too much contact with my daughter, Jennifer, who has been at the Art Deco World Congress this past week. With my poor cell phone connection in the house and the different time zones, it’s been challenging to have a heart-to-heart.

When I asked her how her presentation went, the only cryptic answer was, “It went well”. Fortunately, one of her friends from the LA Art Deco Society emailed his husband and said that she “knocked the presentation out of the park”. He went on to say that the story was bittersweet, that he ended up with a tear in his eyes, that I would be very proud of her, and that many people were impressed. Wow!

And, to top it off, she was one of the few presenters mentioned in the –

Go, Jenn!

Some of you may know that Jenn, my daughter, was invited to present my father’s art deco work at the first Asian World Congress in Shanghai. She is there now and just sent me an email re the write-up of the top presentations:

I am very excited for her and our whole family that my father is being honored in this manner, especially since his life in the U.S. was a struggle – financially, emotionally, etc. If you are interested in more information, please got to his website:

I just received an email from Dr. McDowell that there was an error in her first link to her suicide article in Huffington Post, Canada.

The below link is the modified issue:

Thank you.

Once again, the below link is my friend, Dr. Adele McDowell’s article in the Canadian Huffington Post on suicide. For those of you contemplating suicide, have loved one(s) who died from suicide, or health practitioners who have dealt with issues of suicide with their clients – this is a must read!

As a former psychotherapist, as a young daughter of a father who talked about committing suicide, and as a grown woman when I remembered being sexually abused and feeling at my lowest, Dr. McDowell’s words spoke to me personally and professionally. For my adolescent years, the “straw that broke the camel’s back” for my father was after a series of failed businesses in the United States, when our chicken farm went bankrupt, my father felt a total failure and didn’t know how our family could survive this last circumstance. While my father bemoaned his losses, starting with losing his wealth, status and class when we escaped from Communist China, my mother immediately went out to work to put food on the table. Because of her quick action and her willingness to work for minimum wage, she saved our family from total loss. However, it still took a long time for my father to get over all these failures, and added to that, the fact that his wife saved the day rather than him, made it harder for him to bear.

As a child, I was afraid I’d lose my father – then, what would we do? And, from my mother, I learned that pride had no place when the family had no food to eat. However, growing up with a suicidal parent must have had some affect on my psyche. When I remembered the sexual abuse, in conjunction with physical and emotional abuse, I remembered my father’s suicidal mantra and wondered, if indeed, that was a way out for me. At the time, I’d already been divorced, but I did have my adult children to help me through this period – for which I am truly grateful.

It was also Dr. McDowell who helped all of us through one of the most trying time of our lives, following the death of my mother. I had a lot of unresolved issues with her at the time of her death, and when she died, I knew there was no way they would be resolved with her. Not that they would have resolved even had she lived, but that her death made it final, made it real. I know I had suicidal thoughts, but they never went as far as making any definite plans or taking any definite actions. But, it scared my children so much that they sought Dr. McDowell’s counsel and got us all talking about what was going on. I am extremely grateful to both my children for doing that, as well as Dr. McDowell for speaking with us.

Professionally, and ironically, the majority of my clients were adult survivors of child sexual abuse. Many of them had suicidal ideations. And, it wasn’t until I remembered my own abuse that I was able to help them in a way that I couldn’t before. They knew I understood how they felt. They couldn’t say, “You don’t understand” because they knew I did. On the other hand, they couldn’t get away with hiding, justifying, rationalizing or denying either – because, again, I did understand and had gone through all those ways myself. And, with intensive therapy and soul work, I am grateful that I had the right people resources to make it through.

I had one client who actually succeeded in committing suicide. I immediately sought counseling because all those questions that Dr. McDowell asks in the article, “Did I do enough, what else could I have done, could I have prevented this, etc” were the same questions that I asked at the time. I learned that I did all I could do, that the final decision isn’t mine. And, this was later confirmed by her husband. He told me that she lasted longer with me in therapy than the many other therapists she had gone to, so he had hoped that this time, she would make it. He told me that the many other times she attempted suicide, she’d always left signs for people to find her. This time, she did not! He told me how grateful he was that I had gotten through to her as much as I did, but that she had already made up her mind.

Please read Dr. McDowell’s article: And, also her more in-depth book, “Making Peace With Suicide”,  on the current happenings in this arena as well as the groundbreaking ways to heal.

10511666_10203697090843786_8239781659426528588_oI know how frightening it is to confront one’s abuser. I wasn’t even able to do that with the male relative who sexually abused me at a very early age. In fact, I didn’t even let myself remember it until I became a psychotherapist working with adult survivors of child sexual abuse. In the mid-1980’s, when 20 new clients showed up in my practice with the same issue, I remembered my sister telling me – years ago – that she had been molested. I immediately asked my supervisor, also a certified hypnotherapist, to bring me back to that time to see if I could remember anything. Unfortunately, I did. And, fortunately, that was also the beginning of my healing from the trauma. Read the rest of this entry »

There is more and more violence in the world than ever before, or is it because of the internet that the truth will out? What was easier to cover up in the past can no longer be contained. And, it is only when violence of any kind is exposed that we are given the opportunity to make much needed changes.

This is what happened to me when I was dx with cancer in 2011. In the blink of an eye, my life, and that of my children, was irrevocably changed. Yet, in the midst of my shock and anxiety about this rare form of cancer, I was given a vision my first morning in the hospital. I turned on the t.v. and switched to the meditation channel. I watched as scenes of the most beautiful places on earth flashed before my eyes, accompanied by meditation music. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I was thinking, “I’m not ready to die yet. I still want to see all these beautiful places before I go”.

Immediately, I felt a sense of love, first surrounding me, then penetrating my whole being – mind, body, soul. I left my body, and when I came back into consciousness, it was two hours later. I had no idea what had happened to me – not consciously, at any rate. I knew that I had been given the experience of Divine Love. And the message that came into my mind was, .” This is not about being a healer; it is about life and death. Love is the power to heal”!

I didn’t realize then, but know now that when I said “I’m not ready to die yet….” I had actually invoked a prayer, letting God know that I was choosing to live. This vision happened one other time over the next few months. Even though I didn’t get a spontaneous cure, I miraculously lost all sense of fear about dying. I was ready to do what needed to be done to heal.

The second dx, two years later, showed that the cancer recurring, this time in the liver. And, I was thrown into a dark place. I did not get visions this time, and even though I recalled these last two visions, I was scared – not so much that I would die, but that I didn’t know whether or not I had the strength to undergo more treatment with all its debilitating side effects. It’s taken 10 months, with the tumor increasing 4 months ago, yet the latest PET Scan shows it shrinking by half a centimeter. I have 2.7 more centimeters to be cancer free. This time around, I was thrown into the “dark night of the soul” as Catholics would say, or “the void” as Taoists would say. And, I had to slowly climb out. With my faith in God and with love and support of my family, I am coming along. This time around, the lesson for me was to learn to “know love” through my own perseverance and courage to spiritually know Love. You see, the vision this time, became an intellectual exercise. I had to go through this second time to really receive this love into my being. Truthfully, I’m not fully there yet, and I’m coming along.

To say that a dx of cancer is traumatic is understating the obvious.  When I read Einstein’s letter to his daughter on fb, I recalled my vision and felt affirmed about my life journey. In sharing my story and his letter, my hope is to help others undergoing trauma of any kind find their “forgotten peace”.

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