Archive for January, 2013

Jen’s Booty Banter:  Hot Ass.  Spice up your life

Chronic constipation. Yuk. Ok, you’re probably thinking, there she goes again, that pooping princess, obsessed with number two. However, the latest research confirms common sense. If you can’t go regularly, you increase your chances of developing colorectal cancer. Eat right, eat fibre and exercise to stay regular. Indeed. But let’s face it, it’s winter. It’s dark, it’s cold and I know I’d rather hibernate in my duvet rather hit the gym (which is my main weapon against being backed up.) Then again, eating a box of All Bran when I am unmotivated to exercise is an equally unappealing option.

So I hit my spice cabinet instead. Why? Not only do spices make your food taste great, they can help you keep from overeating, are packed with stuff to keep your butt healthy and can actually help keep you going. Here are a few that I have found to be helpful in that department:

– Hot and spicy — the hotter the better. Think about the last time you had spicy Indian, Thai or Vietnamese food. Or jalapeño peppers for that matter. I bet you went. I will leave it at that. Don’t be afraid of it. Embrace it and have a hot ass.
– Instead of adding whipped cream to your hot chocolate, try sprinkling cinnamon instead. Put it in your coffee too. Surprisingly, the stuff is high in fibre (who knew?).
– Oregano has calcium, magnesium and fibre, all magic for your butt. Try oregano oil. It has antioxydants, lowers cholesterol, and in this crazy flu season, will help alleviate symptoms.
– Ginger and peppermint are both good for everything, especially digestion. (Ginger is also great for libido and peppermint has fibre).
– Garlic – the more the better I say. (I find the mixture of garlic, ginger, broccoli and Chinese bok choy is an unbeatable combo for keeping things moving along.)
– Cayenne — hot stuff. Full of fibre, gets the blood flowing, reduces inflammation, is good for your heart and acts as a natural appetite suppressant. A wonder spice.
– Turmeric is the new super spice. Some say it can significantly decrease the risk of all cancers, including colorectal cancer. Regardless of whether or not that is true, it tastes great.

In an unusual fit of foresight, in the next Booty Banter, it being in February and the month of the heart, I will talk about foods that help you out down below (of course) but also in the bedroom.

Jennifer Hartley is a features writer and copy editor for Ottawa Life Magazine and writer for Ottawa Outdoors Magazine. Previously she was theatre editor for Ottawa Xpress and now defunct Metro newspaper and has written articles for a variety of magazines across the country and abroad in the United Kingdom.

A Caregiver’s Story – By Cameron Von St. James

“Cameron is husband to Heather Von St. James, survivor advocate for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, and father to Lily Rose. He, along with Heather and young Lily, had their world’s turned upside down when Heather was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, just 3 1/2 months after the birth of his only child. When faced with the very real possibility of raising Lily on his own, he fought alongside Heather in her battle with mesothelioma. It was his determination and refusal to compromise on doctors or treatments that led them to Boston to receive radical surgery from esteemed mesothelioma surgeon, David Sugarbaker. Heather continues to thrive 6 years later.

Through out the next few years, while being a caregiver to Heather and dad to Lily, Cameron returned to school full time to finish his degree. He worked full time, went to school full time and graduated with high honors at the top of his class in June of 2010 with a Bachelors of Science in Information Technology. He was soon offered a position at US Bank as Network Analyst and continues to pursue his career.

Like Heather, Cameron is passionate about bringing awareness to mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos exposure. It is his hope that sharing his story will help others those battling cancer and their caregivers who provide them care and guidance in their journey.”

Caring for My Beloved Wife During Cancer



My wife, Heather often tells me that I was her rock after she got her diagnosis of mesothelioma. As her caregiver, I’ve really only talked to her once about what I went through, but I’d like to share more with the people who might benefit from hearing our story.



A mere three months before we got that fateful news, we welcomed our first child, Lily into our family. It was a wonderful time, but then, all too quickly came a period of real terror and helplessness. The doctors said the word “mesothelioma,” and as I watched my wife cry, I realized that I was at a loss. I had no idea how we were going to handle it.



I was on the verge of a real breakdown, when suddenly the doctor’s questions brought me back to reality. There were choices in front of us, and we could definitely fight. In the middle of that stress, I realized that I could not fall down on the job, not when I needed to make an endless amount of difficult decisions with my wife.



I will admit right now that I was angry and afraid. I felt furious all the time, and sometimes, I simply fell down into fits of cursing. I was out of control, and was angry at the world for putting us in this unfair situation. However, I quickly began to realize how selfish I was being. I needed to control myself, and I needed to be strong for my wife and our daughter. The last thing either of them needed was to see how scared I really was. They needed me, and after I realized that, I held it together much more effectively. I still had moments of weakness, but from then on they were few and far between. My wife didn’t need to see my fear, so instead, I worked on being her rock. I wanted her to be happy and stable, and though this took time and a lot of conscious effort, it was worth it.



There were days where I really did feel overwhelmed. Suddenly, there were a million and one things to do. We had to think about travel arrangements, and we had to think about where our daughter and our pets would stay. I still had my full time job, and suddenly there were a great number of new responsibilities falling on me. It was certainly an adjustment. I quickly learned to prioritize my tasks and focus on the most important items first. I also learned that I was never going to be able to handle this load unless I sought help from others. There were many wonderful people who looked after us, who would go out of their way to make sure that we were cared for. Both Heather and I are eternally grateful for the incredibly generous outpouring of support we received from our friends, family, and neighbors. 



By far the hardest time for me as Heather’s caregiver were the two months immediately following her very intense and invasive surgery. Right after her surgery in Boston, Heather flew to South Dakota, where her parents live and where Lily had been staying. She went there to be with our daughter and to recover and prepare for her next phase of mesothelioma treatment: chemotherapy and radiation. I would have loved to have been with them, but I had to remain behind to continue working. I only saw my beloved wife and daughter once during this entire period.



On this visit, I waited until Friday after work, and drove 11 hours through a late snowstorm overnight. I wanted to see them very badly, but I had to sleep in the car, hoping the plows would come through while I slept. When I turned up on Saturday, I was exhausted, but it was worth every second of the drive to see them for a handful of precious hours, before getting back in the car and making the 11 hour return trip to be at work by Monday morning.



Being away from my wife and my daughter was incredibly difficult, but I did not consider it a loss. It was just one of the countless impossible choices that we were forced to make during our battle with cancer. There were many different tough decisions that we had to make, and my wife’s illness was one the darkest times I have ever gone through, but the fact remained that they were decisions that were wholly ours to make. We learned not to anguish in them but to take comfort in the fact that we could make decisions at all. It gave us some small amount of control over a situation that often seemed completely out of our control.

Despite the overwhelming odds stacked against her, Heather has persevered and is still here, healthy and cancer-free over six years later. It is our hope that our story can bring some amount of comfort and understanding to families currently battling cancer.

To read more about Cameron’s story or Mesothelioma please check out his blog.