Life, Cancer, Etc.

19 Episodes
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By: Heidi Bragg

This is not your mom's support group. Dealing with hard things -- like cancer -- sucks. We use humor (and snark, let's be real) to face the bad, see the good, and find some hope along the way. You CAN do this. My conversations with friends and experts will give you tips and tricks to make the process a little easier, or at least show you that you're not alone. About me? I'm a 3-time cancer survivor (colon, cardiac sarcoma, & urothelial) who's constantly dealing with the uncertainty and monitoring that comes along with that. Maybe I'm not going through exactly...

What's It Like for Your Kids When You Have Cancer?
04/21/2021

Our daughter, Téa, is a fabulous person who's been through a lot. Though she's grown up now, she shares her perspective as a child who had to deal with my multiple cancer diagnoses. Seeing things through her eyes can help you support other kids who are going through the same thing.

NOTE: I am not a medical professional. Everyone on the "Life, Cancer, Etc." podcast is sharing their own experiences, not giving medical advice.

Photo © 2019 Heidi Bragg


What's a PET Scan Like?
#7
04/05/2021

If you're dealing with cancer, you'll likely get a PET scan at some point. It shouldn't be scary, but we often fear the unknown. For me, getting PET scans is painless; it just takes time. In this episode, we walk through a basic outline of what a PET scan is and how the process works. You can find more info on Moffitt Cancer Center's website: https://moffitt.org/diagnostic-services/radiology-diagnostic-imaging-and-interventional-radiology/services-and-locations/pet-scans/

NOTE: I am not a medical professional. Everyone on the "Life, Cancer, Etc." podcast is...


Navigating Terminal Cancer with Angela Bounds
#6
03/24/2021

Angela's a great friend and, technically, the boss of me. She's been a support person for numerous people and helped her mother-in-law as she battled cancer. Her experiences can be helpful for anyone who's a caring for a loved one with a terminal cancer diagnosis.

NOTE: I am not a medical professional. Everyone on the "Life, Cancer, Etc." podcast is sharing their own experiences, not giving medical advice.

Photo © Angela Bounds


Episode 5: What Does My Husband Think?
#5
03/15/2021

My husband, Kevin, is the absolute biggest blessing in my life and my favorite person in the world. In this episode, we get his take on the past 7 years and his advice for anybody going through a traumatic season in life.

NOTE: I am not a medical professional. Everyone on the "Life, Cancer, Etc." podcast is sharing their own experiences, not giving medical advice.

Photo ©2019 Heidi Bragg


Fellow Sarcoma Survivor Tess Pfohl of "Push Diaries Podcast"
03/05/2021

Tess Pfohl is an amazing example of resilience, adaptability, and hope. She's a fellow sarcoma survivor who decided -- at age 24 -- to get a lifesaving cancer surgery that she knew would leave her paralyzed. Tess's positive outlook and the frank way she shares her story are pretty awe-inspiring, and we talked for 2 hours! After you listen to our conversation, you can find Push Diaries Podcast and learn more about Tess here: https://www.pushdiariespodcast.com/


Talking about Anxiety with Sharon Dunbar, LCSW
02/20/2021

Sharon Dunbar, LCSW, is a therapist in private practice in Florida. In this episode, she answers the questions you submitted about anxiety and offers practical suggestions for those of us who deal with it.

https://www.yourclearview.net/anxiety-and-depression/

NOTE: I am not a medical professional. Everyone on the "Life, Cancer, Etc." podcast is sharing their own experiences, not giving medical advice.

Photo ©2020 Heidi Bragg


Season 2, Episode 3: What's a Radiation Treatment Like?
#3
02/14/2021

Starting treatment of any kind can be intimidating. Hopefully, this short essay about one of my radiation treatments will help demystify the process. P.S. I took this photo in the courtyard at Moffit Cancer Center when I was about halfway done with my six weeks of radiation.


I Need to Take My Own Advice!
#2
02/07/2021

Most Sundays, I take a drive along a canal near our house and count the alligators. This week, I recorded the podcast in the car on that drive. I've had a breast biopsy and surgical urothelial check in the past 10 days, so I've been a little wiped out. But these experiences were -- again! -- a great illustration that I need to take my own advice and give my body time to rest & heal.


Dr. Kavita Jackson: ER Physican, Mom, Wife, Cancer Survivor
#1
01/30/2021

Dr. Kavita Jackson was diagnosed with breast cancer right after moving her family to a new state and starting her career as an emergency room physician. Her poise, perspective, and positive outlook really inspired me. To keep learn more about her story, check out @drkavitajackson on Instagram. Special thanks to Ash Sivanantham (@ashies07) for introducing us.

Photo ©2019 Heidi Bragg





Young Women Get Breast Cancer, Too
#10
01/09/2021

Ash Sivanantham was 30 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her warm personality and zest for life are are both very obvious as she shares her story. Plus, she was gracious enough to re-record our interview after I somehow screwed up the one we did a few weeks ago. Thanks to her Auntie Rajee for suggesting we "meet"!

NOTE: I am not a medical professional. Everyone on the "Life, Cancer, Etc." podcast is sharing their own experiences, not giving medical advice.


So You've Just Been Diagnosed with Breast Cancer
#9
01/03/2021

Tiffany Goulding and Lauren Bales are best friends, co-mortgagees, and delightful to interview.  A couple of months ago, Tiffany was diagnosed with breast cancer. In today's episode, the two of them talk with me about how things have progressed so far and share what they're learning.

NOTE: I am not a medical professional. Everyone on the "Life, Cancer, Etc." podcast is sharing their own experiences, not giving medical advice.


Radiation Oncology Questions with Dr. Arash Naghavi, MD, MS
#8
12/26/2020

Dr. "Arash the Smash" Naghavi is my radiation oncologist at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. He specializes in sarcoma and does a lot of research to help advance the field. Most of all, he's a great human being and an excellent teacher.

NOTE: I am not a medical professional. Everyone on the "Life, Cancer, Etc." podcast is sharing their own experiences, not giving medical advice.


Waiting for Scans, aka "You Aren't Going to Have Certainty"
#7
12/19/2020

Once you've had cancer, you usually have to live with a lot of uncertainty. That bugs the heck out of me, because I like to plan and hate feeling blindsided by unpleasant news.

I've got a PET scan on Monday and there was an "area of concern" on my last PET scan a few months ago. Other recent scans don't show it, but the PET on Monday might indicate a problem and/or the need for another open-heart surgery.

I hate waiting ("Princess Bride," anyone?), but I'm realizing that living with uncertainty is better than...


What If Your Spouse Gets Cancer -- Twice???
#6
12/13/2020

Marie Pearlingi is my friend, almost birthday twin, and massage therapist. Her wife, Cindy Coutts, is an occupational therapist and has had breast cancer twice. In this week's episode, the three of us talk about the process they've been through, how it's affected their lives, and their plans for the future. Take a listen ...


NOTE: I am not a medical professional. Everyone on the "Life, Cancer, Etc." podcast is sharing their own experiences, not giving medical advice.


Tips from a Radiation Oncology Nurse with Lori Thompson, RN, BSN
#5
12/05/2020

Lori Thompson (RN, BSN) is MY nurse at Moffitt Cancer Center's radiation oncology department. Earlier in her nursing career, she worked both pediatric and adult hospice. She's a rockstar and has great tips and insights for your cancer journey.


NOTE: I am not a medical professional. Everyone on the "Life, Cancer, Etc." podcast is sharing their own experiences, not giving medical advice.


Post-Thanksgiving Thoughts and Your Q&A
#4
11/29/2020

Short podcast today: a bit of specific gratitude, in honor of Thanksgiving, and some of your questions, answers, and tips.  Thanks to all those who offered help and input.


NOTE: I am not a medical professional. Everyone on the "Life, Cancer, Etc." podcast is sharing their own experiences, not giving medical advice.


When Your Child Gets a Cancer Diagnosis with Dmetria "Tay" Gibson
#3
11/22/2020

Tay Gibson is my sister (in every way but the biological). In this episode, we talk about what happened after her nightmare came true: her son, Quinn, was diagnosed with cancer. Tay epitomizes what it means to be resilient and full of faith, no matter what comes your way. I love her to pieces.

NOTE: I am not a medical professional. Everyone on the "Life, Cancer, Etc." podcast is sharing their own experiences, not giving medical advice.


How to Be a Freaking Awesome Support Person with Sarah Emprimo Schwartz
#2
11/15/2020

Sarah Emprimo Schwartz is one of my favorite people on earth. She's a stellar human being, a fabulous chemo companion, and a friend par excellence. Sarah has great insights and gives great tips  about how to support a friend or family member who's dealing with cancer. Plus, she's just a joy to be around. 

NOTE: I am not a medical professional. Everyone on the "Life, Cancer, Etc." podcast is sharing their own experiences, not giving medical advice.


My Story, So Far
#1
11/08/2020

This is the very first episode of "Life, Cancer, Etc.," where you'll learn a bit about me and my story. I'm a 3-time cancer survivor facing another open-heart surgery to find out if the latest mass in my heart is malignant. BTW, even when things are really hard, I know for a fact that there is always hope and good in the world. *Note*: I misspoke in the podcast -- it was actually 7 years ago that I was diagnosed with colon cancer (2013). Cardiac sarcoma diagnosis was in 2018, urothelial cancer was diagnosed in 2019. But, hey: for my first podcast, passable...