“Dear Melanie E. Morlan,

Thank you for applying to the Survivor Advocate Program of the 2012 Biennial Cancer Survivorship Research Conference. This year we had over 130 applications for only 20 available positions and we are pleased to let you know that your application was selected to take part in the program.”

I am thankful to the LiveSTRONG foundation and the Federal Government/Center for Disease Control/National Cancer Institute and Institute of Medicine for this opportunity.


Remembering Jack and Living Strong

Wiamea Canyon.2000Just last year on this night I walked the Cherry Pickers Trot at Green Bluff with my Father-in-Law, Jack Swanson.  Our family has been going to that race every year since Chris and I started dating in 1997.  I knew it might be the last year with Jack so I savored the moments.  I can remember so much of that night now, even the smell of the fields and the songs that the band played.

Martin Seligman Phd (a leader in the study of positive psychology) spent decades researching happiness, what makes happy people feel happiness.  One of the most compelling findings of his research was that doing great or sometimes even very simple acts of kindness and generosity for no reason of personal gain, not in service to the ego, but just doing it because you can built a sense of altruism that was like a limitless fountain of happiness pouring from the soul.  You can’t get that quality of happiness any other way.
Jack Swanson practiced this art on a regular basis!
Ever since he died I have been on fire, not angry or sad, I just want to honor his memory.
He died last September on the 7th floor of Sacred Heart in the Hospice Room.
You may have seen the stories in the paper.
Longtime Bloomie dies of leukemia | Spokesman.com | Sep 25, 2008

Video Journal :: spokesmanreview.com

Unfortunately, what I notice most about my work lately is how many people are numb to cancer….apathetic about it.  It has been around for so long.

Like a silent monster cancer has been growing and morphing into new forms sometimes virtually untreatable.    It comes into your family or into your life eventually and then you see it’s ugliness.  But just like so many things in our society, it is that attitude of complacency and acceptance that so many people harbor silently…the belief that it is someone else’s battle.  Dig deep everyday in your interactions with others.  Be mindful as we often never know the depth of another persons private suffering, create happiness, be very thankful for your breath and make it count as best you can.  Practice altruism.

Presenting to WAMFT Spokane

Today I had the opportunity to do a presentation on cancer survivorship to my local Washington State Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.  It was a small group and each one of us expressed a profound experience of loss to cancer.  I was very pleased at the response I received to the presentation, materials and information.  It was a wonderful experience for all of us.

Lovely Monday

  Feeling thankful for moments of hope.  Cancer is never over for some.  Despite the  chemo, the drugs, the radiation, the surgeries….new drugs, more chemo…sometimes it goes on for a very long and degrading time.  It wears one down to be in treatment especially when what is available for treatment is sometimes so limited and must be used in high doses…toxic doses and the body can begin to break down in other ways.  What is hardest is to keep the hope alive some days.  Today was a good day for two of my clients….a very, very good day.  In fact it was a back flip, back flip, hallelujah day for one.   Today I learned as I sat in the sun after work and enjoyed just the moments of just today….just beautiful moment by moment Monday, I learned that we can squeeze a hallelujah moment like a sweet slice of orange…tasting from the soul, every droplet of the vision the smell the sounds around us at that time… letting it expand into our deeper consciousness to sustain our feelings of happiness in a more lasting and richer way.  Hope.

“Jungle Jeeping” Trail Running with Children

The Perfect Trail for "Jungle Jeeping."
The Perfect Trail for “Jungle Jeeping.”

42-16586751Helping Children Enjoy  Running

(while YOU get the Aerobic Exercise you Need to Reduce Stress Levels and Burn Calories)

My son calls running or walking fast on trails “Jungle Jeeping”.  Walking and running as a game encourages kids to work with fatigue and enjoy exercise more.  “Jungle Jeeping” can be a creative way for parents to make time to exercise while simultaneously enjoying quality time with their children.

To get the most out of  Jungle Jeeping:

  • Do it for the first time on a nice day.  Wet trails are slippery and not a good option for a first time outing!
  • Bring some healthy snacks as a surprise treat/reward.
  • Bring water
  • Make sure you and your child have good foot wear. ( appropriate for trail running)
  • Start slow and get a comfortable rhythm; as fast as your child can run safely.  This will depend on the child’s age and balance.  The idea is to really relax into the gravity, balance and run letting the body move along like a Jeep coasting on a curvy undulating road, rolling and turning with the terrain.
  • Find a fun area with undulating trails and let the gravity take you for a ride
  • Throw your hands up in the air as you go down hill and make a lot of noise…this is a time for kids to be loud and have fun.  “Here comes a bump in the road….Don’t be afraid to shout WHOO HOO as you go up and over!

How to Maximize the Fitness Benefits

  • Increase the steepness of the route as you and your child develop fitness, comfort with balance and running down hills.
  • Make it a goal to Jungle Jeep for 30 minutes at a time going fast enough to get your heart rate up if you can to a fat burning range. A healthy, fit 9 year old should be able to trail run at a minimum of 10 minutes per mile or faster depending on fitness level and steepness of terrain.
  • Explain to children that breathing hard does not mean they need to stop and rest.  Resting should be done when legs get tired or they just feel they are beginning to lose power due to general fatigue.  Breathing hard is not a bad thing!!  It’s a good thing and a sign that your heart and lungs are getting a workout!  Yeah!
  • Figure out your target heart rate or perceived exertion by visiting one of the websites below.
  • Wear a watch so you can check your heart rate. #or beats in 10 seconds x 6 = bpm beats per minutes.

Tool: Target heart rate calculator – MayoClinic.com Rate_of_Perceived_Exertion.pdf (application/pdf Object)

  • Start out doing 10 to 15 minutes of running per outing and gradually increase your time,  adding a few minutes per. outing over a 4 week period.   (For younger children gauge the length of time by their fatigue level and ask them to tell you when they have had enough.  Remember, too much will make them not want to go next time.)
  • Keep track of how far you have run each time.  Have a 3 month goal and plan a reward outing (make it an active one like a trip to the zoo or the beach)
  • For older children ask them to invite a friend along…..many kids don’t have parents who like to do these types of activities and both the parents and the child might appreciate the novelty.

Have fun!

Please say hello…..did you like this article?

The Movie MY RUN


One Movie, One Night where ALL will UNITE!

A ONE NIGHT ONLY Premiere Event MY RUN in 500 theaters nationwide on MARCH 31, 2011!  Get YOUR tickets TODAY to be assured a seat and see what’s possible when physical endurance and the will of the human spirit unite in MY RUN!
Tickets and film trailer are Available now and see complete theater list near you www.FathomEvents.com/MyRun  

MY RUN has partnered with Lance Armstrong's LIVESTRONG with a portion of proceeds from the MY RUN screening that night going to benefit the LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION.

We’re all running a marathon one way or another in life. Whether it is staying afloat as a single working parent, battling a disease or trying to conquer life's obstacles, it all involves a fight. Join us for an unforgettable inspirational story about  Terry Hitchcock who ran 75 consecutive marathons in 75 consecutive days. The 10 time award-winning and critically acclaimed documentary MY RUN narrated by Academy Award winner Billy Bob Thornton is coming to 500 movie theaters nationwide for an exclusive one night premiere event on Thursday, March 31st at 7:00pm (Local Time). Immediately following the film on screen, audiences will take a deeper look into the story through a 15 minute interview with star Terry Hitchcock and his son, support team member Chris Hitchcock.
Get your tickets TODAY www.FathomEvents.com/MyRun

Wellness and Complementary Therapies and Activities Access for Low Income Cancer Survivors


busy with a new project.


Combining my passions for health and wellness, my profession, my affiliation and commitment to the Livestrong Foundation with my background and experience in complimentary therapies I collaborated to develop a new project.



 I have written and am now implementing a proposal  to assist Cancer Patient Care (www.cancerpatientcare.org) here in Spokane Washington to develop A Complementary Therapies and Wellness Pilot Program.  The objective is to assist CPC clients to access proven wellness and palliative care modalities.  The clients of CPC are low income cancer patients who could not otherwise avail themselves of these opportunities open to wealthier patients. The program will be a pilot project focusing on 20 CPC clients with breast cancer funded by Komen for the Cure Eastern Washington Affiliate.

For more information: https://firstibreathe.com/cancer-patient-care-complementary-therapies-project/ 

Livestrong Foundation and Cancer Awareness Promotion at GU

To Celebrate Livestrong DAY

On Saturday October 2, 2010 I will be on campus at Gonzaga University between 12 and 2 PM to share the work of the Livestrong Foundation on behalf of all cancer survivors, care providers and loved ones in our community.  I will be distributing wrist bands and sharing written information with any students who are interested.

Results on Capitol Hill

The following report is reprinted from a LiveSTRONG Leader newsletter that I just received.

One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC)
On June 17, LIVESTRONG advocates in conjunction with the OVAC Coalition descended on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC to ask their legislators to support federally funded programs that engage in the fight against cancer.
Thanks to your hard work, we have good news to share. Recently, the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee approved its FY 2011 spending bill. The bill would provide the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with $32 billion, $1 billion more than last year (3.2 percent increase). This amount includes $50 million for the Cures Acceleration Network—an NIH program which will work to reduce the time it takes to move new drugs and therapies from the microscope to the marketplace. The bill also includes nearly $6.8 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), $32 million more than last year and $170 million more than the President’s request. Notably, the bill includes $292 million for the HRSA Nursing Programs, a 20 percent increase over FY 2010.
These funding increases are extremely impressive in light of the tight budget situation on Capitol Hill. It is clear that your work during OVAC Lobby Day has made a big difference. But we still have a ways to go in the budget process. The full House Appropriations Committee will take up the bill next and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee is expected to consider its version of the legislation this week. LIVESTRONG will continue to keep you updated throughout the budget process.

Case Examples of How Patients Fall Through the Cracks of Basic Health and High Risk Pooling

The Ever Illusive

Our OVAC meeting with Senator Catwell was actually with her very sharp and attentive Health Care Legal Aid Janel.  During our presention of the OVAC requests Janel recognized that I often interact with low income cancer patients.  She told me that she and Senator Cantwell would be interested in knowing how cancer patients are finding/experiencing the accessibility to basic health and Wa. St. High Risk Pooling Ins. 

I promised I would follow up with her with some case examples.  I have interacted with a few clients who have very compelling insurance stories and will ask them if they are interested in sharing thier stories with Senator Cantwells office in writing.  I found it promising that they are interested in knowing how difficult it actually is to get and keep insurance when you are high risk and without resources.  Anyone out there with a good story/example that is unique or showing an unknown or unaddressed problem please let me know.  Obviously, until the new insurance policies take effect in 2014 there will continue to be inaccessibility but there are some new dollars coming to all the states to furthur support the high risk pooling plans so this will help a little for some.  I would like to send 5 or 6 examples sometime in the next few weeks.  Let me know if you have a client/patient who is interested in sharing “a voice from the health insurance trenches.”  It would be most effective to send them as a collection directly to Janel.  So please contact me if you have a connection.

McCain was on the plane

McCain was on the Plane

Flying somewhere over South Carolina from DC on my way home through Phoenix. I left the hotel by cab at 5 AM just in time to see the sun rise over the Washington Monument and Arlington Cemetery.  I had the safest plane ride in my life; John McCain and several federal marshals were in the first class cabin!  Evidently, he occasionally flys commercial airliners…Good for him! that saves the state of Arizona tax dollars the cost of private jets.

Washington Monument

Stuck in Phoenix LOL

Well it’s a good thing I am traveling a day early!  My 7 PM arrival is not estimated to be 1AM.  I met a nice friend in the airport who is also traveling to DC from California for a lobby meeting surrounding the new health care reform and it’s affect on case management for medicare patients. 

I am not getting anywhere in a hurry today….that’s for sure!

Preparing for my Adventure to WA DC

OVAC lobby day requests  I just received a huge pdf attachment which includes the history of the OVAC lobby day and the pertinent information surrounding the meetings I will attend this week.  It was absolutely fascinating, I had no idea how much money is appropriated to the NIC and the CDC yearly.  Additionally, the materials include the cutting edge new technologies for treating, preventing and diagnosing cancer  that have been developed and are being tested just since this new administration.  As a Washington State OVAC representative, I am tasked with understanding and learning all about Patty Murray http://murray.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Biography; her accomplishments, legislative focus, personal and professional history. 

Senator Murray is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies.   Murray also serves on the following subcommittees:

  • Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee
  • Energy and Water Development Subcommittee
  • Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee (This is the powerful subcommittee that addressess appropriations for cancer related spending)

I am really enjoying this opportunity and learning so much.  I feel inspired to do a good job with my tasks in the coming week.

Supporting the Cancer Survivors Family Needs

I am traveling to Washington DC on June 15-18 to attend OVAC www.ovaconline.org as a regional leader/delegate for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. OVAC is a coalition of cancer-related organizations that represents millions of Americans in working to support federally funded programs that engage in the fight against cancer.  I am very excited and honored to be attending this event!  We will be working to encourage legislative support of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2011 which supports the President’s national cancer program.  Incidentally, within these dollars are funds earmarked toward cancer “prevention which includes prevention of recurrence.”   I see prevention dollars including support for the family of the cancer survivor to reduce future recurrence of the disease and to prevent the side effects and the devastating impact a cancer diagnosis and year of treatment can have on the family.  It is my intention to research how prevention dollars and insurance coverage can trickle down to allow further support of family and marital counseling in our community specifically with prevention of family stress in mind. I have begun the ground work for this with my Cancer Patient Care Wellness Project which has a strong emphasis on funding access to marriage and family counseling for low income breast cancer patients.  (Indirectly, all my work is to help and support families, including this trip!)


Please, if you want to support the work of One Voice Against Cancer read more here and share this pdf.

Today’s Spokesman Review Front Page

Wow, Dan Pelle’s photography is powerful enough to get me to start blogging again.  Click on this link..” . 


I was so impressed and moved by the photo on the cover of the Spokesman Review today.  Sometimes I feel jaded, I see so much suffering daily it takes a lot to stop me in my tracks these days…like this photo did.  It is rare to see a photo that captures so much emotion and authentiticy so much of the story as this one does….blessings to Dan Pelle for having an eye to the soul.  His work is stunning and the subject of his work in this case is a courageous and lovely young woman.



I have been studying meditation for many years.  I am currently researching and working to  develop a workshop to teach beginning meditation with  guided imagery  techniques based on the work of  Bellaruth Naparstek   MSW.

My favorite book for beginning meditation students is currently:

Full Catastrophy Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

My first meditation experience was  in 1998.   I was fortunate to take a class  from Mary Gentile Phd,, utilizing the methods presented in this book.   Actually, it was a 6 week, 18 hour class with a focus on stress management.   However, like many meditation rookies it took me about 7 years before I could really absorb and embrace the concept of mindfulness through meditation.  I kept returning and returning to meditation trying to find my way into the deep mindfulness that is within each of us.  Over the years through conversations and personal experience I discovered that it is very common for people to spend years revisiting the practice of meditation before one day it finally fits!

I believe that learning meditation is a different process for each of us.  It can be a frustrating and difficult process when the standard model of learning does not fit the person.  Mostly from the perspective of learning styles.

I had an amazing break through with meditation recently and I want to share it with you because I believe there are many people out there who could benefit from my experience.  I want to create the story of this experience in a word document first so please stay tuned.  I will post it in a few days.

In the meantime check out these two websites….a couple of my favorites.

Learning Meditation Home Page

Meditation Center

For information about the Stress Management Workshop taught by Mary Gentile in Spokane Washington call 487-6337.  The next class is scheduled to start Aug. 24 with an all day of silence class on Oct.3.  This is a good basic class to begin your journey into the realm of mindfulness living and meditation practice.

Maximize walking as exercise

j0318168Sometimes when I ask my clients if they have been exercising they reply with answers like these, “I have been walking a lot doing all my daily chores or I go golfing twice a week and I do a lot of walking at work.”

Hmmm……………The question was:  Have you been exercising?” and what I should have asked was: Have you been getting sustained regular exercise where you get your heart rate up to a good fat burning level for 20 to 40 minutes?

It’s a bit confusing when walking is used as an example of exercise.  It is confusing because we are given mixed messages about what types of exercises are most effective when we want to be healthier and possibly loose some weight.

So when is walking considered exercise?

To answer this question we must first discuss what is exercise or better yet, what health benefits are you trying to accomplish by walking.

Many people walk for pure pleasure or to get the dog out or to get from point A to point  B at work or at home or during an event like golfing but if it is health improvements in your cardiovascular system you are after or increased stamina and muscular strength you need to consider several factors.

  1. Where do you walk….level surfaces, hills?
  2. How fast do you walk?  Are you breaking a sweat and breathing hard or just ambling along at a very comfortable pace?
  3. How far and how often do you walk?

For the purpose of this post I am going to assume you want to get the best cardio benefit you can when you are walking; that you want to maximize the benefits of your walking beyond pure purpose and/or enjoyment.

Here is an excellent article on Walking that should give you all the answers you need to decide if walking is the right type of exercise for you.

Walking for Fat Loss?

By Jesse Cannone, certified personal trainer

With obesity and disease increasing dramatically, many fitness experts are recommending walking for weight loss and fitness. Some are even going so far as saying that walking is the best way to burn fat and lose weight. I strongly disagree with this and am going to show you why walking is NOT effective at burning off body fat.Yes, you read that correctly…Walking is NOT effective at burning body fat and if your goal is fat loss you might be wasting your time. I am not saying that walking is not beneficial, I am saying that if fat loss is the primary goal, there are far better choices that will deliver far better results.The primary benefits of walking are increased blood flow and circulation, improved recovery, and a strengthened immune system. There are several reasons why walking in not the best choice when it comes to fat loss. Here are just a few:

1. Walking does NOT burn a lot of calories

The lower the intensity of the activity or exercise the smaller the number of calorie s b urned per unit of time. For example, you can burn more calories in 15 minutes of bicycling at a high intensity level than you can in 45 minutes of easy walking.

2. Walking does NOT result in a large increase in metabolism

Another downside to walking is that because it’s generally low intensity it results in only a small increase in metabolism that will only last approximately 1-2 hours after the walk. On the other hand, metabolism increases are larger and last longer (4-24 hrs or more) when you perform high intensity cardio workouts.

3. Walking does NOT deplete muscle glycogen

Low intensity exercise like walking does not deplete muscle glycogen levels and therefore, later that day if you have excess calories they will likely be stored a s b ody fat whereas if you deplete the glycogen the excess calories will primarily be stored in the muscles.

So why then do so many fitness and health experts recommend walking for weight loss? One reason is that people don’t want to hear that they have to work hard so they figure some activity i s b etter than none. Another reason is that the body burns more fat for fuel when exercising at an easy pace, however, the total amount of energy used is so small that you end up burning off little body fat. That’s also why when you choose the “fat burning” program on your treadmill or bike it has you exercise at any easy level. Yes, you’re burning fat, but so little that you’d have to exercise at that easy pace for hours and hours each day.

High intensity cardiovascular/aerobic exercise is much more effective in burning off the exces s b ody fat. In fact, several studies have been done to prove this. In one study they compared one group who did moderate level aerobics for 45 minutes with another group who performed high intensity workouts for 15 minutes. They did before and after fitness testing including body fat analysis and found that the group who performed the high intensity aerobics lost nine times as much body fat!

Want more proof?

Compare the bodies of a walker, marathon runner, and sprinter. If you are not familiar with what a sprinter s b ody looks like, it is very muscular and has little body fat while on the other hand the body of a walker will likely have the opposite, little muscle and more fat. The sprinter does little or no low intensity exercise and does primarily short hard bursts of work while the marathoner overtrains so much they burn off both the body fat and the muscle and that’s why they tend to look almost sickly thin.

So what should you do then if your main objective is to shed those excess pounds of body fat?

Two things:

1. Perform some form of high intensity cardio 2-4 times per week

2. Stabilize blood sugar to minimize the storage of new fat

I know some of you by now are saying “I can’t do high intensity exercise, I have a bad knee” and don’t worry, I have a solution for you. The good news is that high intensity is all relative to you and your current fitness level. For example, fast walking up and down hills may be high intensity for you… it all depends. So don’t think that you have to start running or something like that. Just slowly start to increase the intensity of your cardio workouts while also maybe decreasing the time because you can either work hard or you can work long.

Also, you can make almost any activity or exercise high intensity…. here are a few examples:

  • increase your speed
  • use an incline or hills
  • increase resistance
  • perform intervals ( the most effective method)

Obviously, some exercises/activities or better suited than other s but the point is if you want to burn more fat and make your workouts as productive as possible you need to increase the intensity.

To learn more about high intensity cardiovascular exercise please check out the following articles:

As with any changes to your fitness program be careful and don’t over do it. Just because high intensity workout s b urn more fat don’t think that you’ll get even better result s b y doing it everyday – that will quickly lead to over training and a loss of muscle which will only make it even harder to burn off the fat.

Be sure to also check out my Burn Fat FAST! ebook and audio program here: http://www.burn-fat-fast.com

Jesse Cannone is a certified personal trainer and author of the best-selling fitness ebook, Burn Fat FAST