We Can Rebuild Her
Better than she was before… Better, Stronger, Happier. A Breast Cancer Journal

What We Did On Our Summer Vacation

More to come.



Andrea Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer October 6, 2009 and intends to survive and thrive. You can read more from Andrea here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea September 2, 2011

September 2, 2011 at 10:37 am.

Add a comment

From the Mouth of Bayla: Anti-Cancer Yumm!!

Yesterday, Lucy, Mom, Dad and I recived a GREAT gift.

It was sprouted lentil and burdock soup with miso, burdock root tea, black kale chips, apple crisp, raspberry blueberry banana and chia pudding, marinated red cabbage, raw curried carrot soup, raw dehydrated broccoli and pineapple salad, raw marinated mushroom and parsley salad and avocado sprout and millet sushi.YUUMMM!!!!

We would like to thank you for making the delicious anti-cancer food for us, Candice Bernes !!!!!!!

Note from Mom:
More about Candice Bernes and her healthy personal chef services at KitchenMambo.com



Bayla (Now 9!) is the youngest member of the Clan Ross-Blevis. You can read more from Bayla here.

Bayla Posted by Bayla November 13, 2010

November 13, 2010 at 1:41 pm.

4 comments

A Long-Overdue Apology

It hit me during Bif Naked’s un-freakin-believably honest, poignant and entertaining address at the conference last weekend.
And it hit me hard (thanks to you).

With a dramatic roll of her eyes, Bif described how breast cancer had saddled her with the pieces-picking-upping of her inconsolable family and friends. And the survivor crowd gave a massive been-there roar.

With all the whining that I did about inappropriate reactions, complete collapse (well, even the slightest tearing up) was a possible reaction that had never crossed my mind.

I blasted the world with my news as soon as I got it. By email, SMS, twitter, blogs, newsletter, gchat and in person, I shot my message out with faith that the returning vibes would get me through it.

Not a single adult cried. Not even Mark.

And, no matter how scary things got, my close friends and family always shrugged my worries off. And I guess I followed suit.

I realize now, it was not because they didn’t care. It was because they did.

So thank you, my beautiful friends and family, for shielding me from concern.
And please accept my sincere apology for not appreciating it sooner.



Andrea Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer October 6, 2009 and intends to survive and thrive. You can read more from Andrea here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea November 5, 2010

November 5, 2010 at 5:53 pm.

9 comments

Mystery Loves Company

I’m just back from Body, Mind, Spirit: The Canadian Breast Cancer Network’s National Conference for Young Women Living with Breast Canceralmost 48 hours solid of education and encouragement with 340 breast cancer survivors from every province and territory across Canada.

What a gift.

I left the conference with 14 pages of handwritten notes, a stack of books and brochures, and my brain abuzz.

The speakers and workshops were first class, the food was free, the facilities fitting.

And above all of this were the women.

340 women on journeys just like mine.
The lump-finding. The bad news. The pokes, prods and zaps.
The baldness. The isolation. The decisions.
The uncertainty. The losses, the triumphs and lingering impacts.
The crazy mood swings. The shockingly thoughtless comments.

Young families side swiped. With meals to be made and dishes to be done.

I’m back home. But I’m not alone.

Here’s a tiny sampling of my learnings:

  • Newfoundlanders rock. Thanks to Yvonne Jones for reminding me.
  • Cancer cultivates compassion. Thanks to Joy Smith.
  • I need to start each day with lemon water, add ginger to my daily matcha, and remember to eat 2 brazil nuts, 2-4 tablespoons of flax meal, some rosemary and 1 teaspoon of tumeric each day. Thanks to Dr. Natasha Zajmalowski.
  • Love heals. Death and recurrence do not equate to failure. Thanks to Dr. Rob Rutledge.
  • I won’t rule survivor advocacy out of my distant future. Thanks to Ryan Clarke.
  • It’s about time I explored Venus Envy. Thanks to Dr. Sally Kydd.
  • I can do my own lymphatic massage. Thanks to Anna Kennedy and Pamela Hammond.
  • Even a sexy, hilarious, intelligent, compassionate, super down-to-earth rock star feels stupid and isolated when she gets hit by breast cancer. Thanks to Bif Naked.
  • Sleep’s much more important than supplements and therapies. Thanks to Christine Maria Gross.
  • Your honesty reflects your intelligence. Thanks to Carol Anne Cole.

Massive thank yous to 340 strong young women from coast to coast to coast and to the inspiring survivors who put the conference together and shared their wisdom. And thank you to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation for the scholarship that made this enriching experience mine.

I can’t wait for next year!

Don’t take my word for it….Conference talk around the web:



Andrea Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer October 6, 2009 and intends to survive and thrive. You can read more from Andrea here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea November 3, 2010

November 3, 2010 at 12:06 am.

3 comments

Happiness Is…

Sprouts.

My much anticipated birthday present to myself arrived this morning.

Five huge trays of microgreens: Wheat grass, kale, mizuna and pea shoots.

We did a long giddy happy dance, shoved our mouths full of sprouts and sang happy birthday as we swigged some freshly squeezed juice.

Huge thanks to Butterfly Sky Farms. Mmmmmmmm.

Related Posts:



More Happiness here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea August 22, 2010

August 22, 2010 at 10:46 am.

4 comments

Dear Dairy

Two months ago I sucked it up and cut yet another beloved food group from my diet.

Since then, my aching, stiff back, joints and limbs have kept me on 24×7 whine.

Last weekend, I finally clued in.

Since chemotherapy and chemo-induced menopause wreak havoc on bones, dumping dairy might not be the brightest move.

What a delicious development.

Related Posts:



Andrea Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer October 6, 2009 and intends to survive and thrive. You can read more from Andrea here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea June 9, 2010

June 9, 2010 at 2:57 pm.

12 comments

William Li: Can we eat to starve cancer?

Since Andrea is at the I Can Do It! conference, I thought I’d do my best to keep publishing fresh content on the site.

While catching up on a backlog of the TED talk videos, I saw this talk by William Li on eating to starve cancer. The talk includes a look at how cancer forms and how certain foods and spices stack up against prescribed cancer treatments.

This video is definitely worth a watch. There’s also a short animated story at the end that serves as a nice dessert.

Related Posts:



Mark is primary support, cheerleader and project manager of Andrea's recovery. You can read more from Mark here and on Mark's real blog, MarkBlevis.com.

Mark Posted by Mark May 29, 2010

May 29, 2010 at 6:09 am.

4 comments

Happiness Is…

The Wild Oat.

I’ve had a lot of firsts since chemo ended, but the only one to make me cry was my first visit back to The Oat. And I cried just as hard at my second.

The Wild Oat was our family’s cozy oasis — every day — for more than three years.

Its earthy attitude, funky, friendly staff and unbeatable organic coffee, baked goods and meals were well worth the line-up each weekend for breakfast.

Its mellow, homey atmosphere and steaming espresso machine sang backup each weekday morning as Mark and I recorded our daily discussion for Just One More Book.

We knew the staff. We knew the customers. All four of us felt completely at home.

Right up to my diagnosis.

I cry for the pre-c freedom The Oat represents. For our lost podcast. For my lost employment. And for the carefree morning “dates” that Mark and I enjoyed each day before work.

Still, happiness is The Wild Oat.



More Happiness here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea May 13, 2010

May 13, 2010 at 5:54 am.

11 comments

I Feel Like I’m Taking Crazy Pills

Peanut butter causes cancer* ?

I’ve been blissfully binging on this delicious protein while trying to avoid sugar and dairy.

I may as well have been drinking red wine.

* According to Food For Breast Cancer.

Related Posts:



Andrea Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer October 6, 2009 and intends to survive and thrive. You can read more from Andrea here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea May 11, 2010

May 11, 2010 at 8:46 am.

7 comments

Delicious News

Just when I thought it would never be safe to go back in the kitchen, look what arrived last night — out of the blue:

A review copy of The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery by Rebecca Katz and Mat Edelson.

I am so thrilled, I barely slept.

After seven months of bad food news and giving up favourites, this beautiful and brainy book brings me and my family 150 brand new science-based and scrumptious-looking recipes in more than 200 pages packed full of meaty and easily digested nutritional know-how.

Recipes are indexed by symptoms, from anemia through weight loss. A “Culinary Pharmacy” sings the specific praises of 98 common cancer-fighting foods. Tips for shopping, cooking, storing, reheating and customizing recipes are sprinkled generously throughout. Mouth-watering photos and inviting, informative preambles join prep time, cook time and fascinating facts for each carefully crafted recipe.

Soups, salads, pilafs, roasts, filets and chick pea burgers. Smoothies, salsas, creams, compotes, dips and drizzles. Custards, cookies, puddings and macaroons. All built to build bodies that give bad cells the boot.

Can you see why I couldn’t sleep?

I’ll be lugging this hardcover treasure to radiation, soaking up every word.
And drooling in the waiting room.

Stay tuned…

Related Posts:

You can view a webcast of the Cancer-Fighting Kitchen Workshop online on specific dates in late April. Check the schedule here.



Andrea Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer October 6, 2009 and intends to survive and thrive. You can read more from Andrea here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea May 6, 2010

May 6, 2010 at 6:06 am.

7 comments

The Reintegration Challenge

Being back in the real world has been a treat: the freedom, the friends, the whiffs of pre-c simplicity.

Balancing freedom and caution — that’s been the rub. Deciding which food habits to resume, and to what extent. Which conditions merit exceptions, and how often.

Dairy, coffee, meat, caffeine, alcohol, refined carbs, even grains and beans.

It’s shocking how consuming these decisions can be, how frequently I tackle them and how convincingly I can make myself see both sides of each issue.

But it’s only been two weeks. I’m sure I’ll figure it out.



Andrea Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer October 6, 2009 and intends to survive and thrive. You can read more from Andrea here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea May 4, 2010

May 4, 2010 at 6:02 am.

6 comments

Playing Hooky

In my 20 years of software design and 18 years of school, I often dreamed of stepping off the treadmill and spending a day at home.

Well, I’ve been home four months now and today I’m playing hooky from that.

I skipped the 7:00-9:00 ritual of chasing children, barking orders and threats. I skipped my supplements, my juicing and my morning walk. And I’ve decided to give my whining muscles a desperately needed break from what the pre-c me would have considered an extremely light exercise routine.

I do feel frustrated by my post-chemo crash. That my right eye’s still blistered. That I can no longer jog and have two limbs seized by pain. And I do feel some guilt about calling in sick today.

But I’m going ahead with radiation and, starting Monday, daily zaps will dominate my world for at least six weeks.

So, today I’m just breathing and doing exactly as I please.

It’s funny how different — and good — it feels.



Andrea Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer October 6, 2009 and intends to survive and thrive. You can read more from Andrea here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea April 30, 2010

April 30, 2010 at 10:15 am.

5 comments

Et tu, du lait?

Since this journey began, I’ve been ruthlessly disciplined:

But yesterday I caught wind of a need to give up dairy:

Dairy too? Come on!



Andrea Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer October 6, 2009 and intends to survive and thrive. You can read more from Andrea here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea April 8, 2010

April 8, 2010 at 2:11 pm.

20 comments

Happiness Is…

Funky hand made eye candy.

Last week I dropped all News Feeds from my GoogleReader and replaced them with oodles of Flickr feeds full of funky, brightly coloured, creative, hand made cloth sculpture (such as these).

Giving news a pass is an obvious relief.

And the happy photos stir up delicious memories of billions of creative projects from childhood through motherhood. They gently nudge my creative juices.

Most importantly, they feel great on my oh-so-sore eyes.

Why didn’t I think to do this sooner?



More Happiness here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea March 29, 2010

March 29, 2010 at 6:08 am.

Add a comment

Easy Anticancer Action

My friend Caroline was kind enough to loan me the fabulous book Anticancer: A New Way of Life, by two-time cancer survivor and researcher Dr. David Servan-Schrieber, M.D., Ph.D.

I’m not much for radical changes, discipline or complicated formulas so I was pretty leery.

To my delight, though, the book is an absolutely engaging true tale of doctor as patient, researcher, survivor and teacher.

Dr. Servan-Scrieber breezily explains how cancer can hijack our bodies’ natural healing abilities for its own evil purposes, and how, by making simple changes to our diet and habits, we can keep greedy cancer cells small and powerless.

I’m pretty sure that even I can tweak my habits to disarm cancer without feeling like I’m on I’m-Sick Planet.

Here’s how:

(view the original list here)

1. Veg up: Make your main course 80% vegetables, 20% animal protein.

2. Mix it up: Vary the vegetables you eat from one meal to the next, or mix them together — broccoli is an effective anticancer food, and is even more effective when combined with tomato sauce, onions or garlic. Add onions, garlic or leeks to dishes as you cook.

3. Go organic: Choose organic foods whenever possible. But remember it’s  better to eat broccoli, for example, that’s been exposed to pesticide than to not eat broccoli at all.

4. Spice it up: Add powerful anti-cancer spices turmeric, black pepper, thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, marjoram, mint, etc. to your meals each day.

5. Skip the potato: Potatoes raise blood sugar, which can feed inflammation and cancer growth. They also contain high levels of pesticide residue.

6. Go fish: Eat fish two or three times a week – sardines, mackerel, and anchovies have less mercury and PCBs than bigger fish like tuna. Avoid swordfish and shark.

7. Choose organic, omega-3 eggs: Or don’t eat the yolks. Most hens are fed corn and soybeans, making their eggs 20 times higher in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids than in cell-growth regulating omega-3s.

8. Go canola or olive: Use only olive and canola oil.

9. Stay whole: Eat your grains whole and mixed (wheat with oats, barley, spelt, flax, etc.) and choose organic whole grains when possible, since pesticides tend to accumulate on whole grains. Avoid refined, white flour whenever possible, and eat white pasta only al dente (who’d a thunk al dante would matter?)

10. Sweeten low: Cut down on sugar. Avoid sweetened sodas and fruit juices,  skip dessert or replace it with fruit (especially stone fruits and berries) or a few squares of 70% cocoa dark chocolate after most meals. Read  labels carefully and steer clear of products that list any type of sugar in the first three ingredients.

11. Go green: Instead of coffee or black tea, drink three cups of green tea per day.

12. Enjoy life. What matters is what you do on a daily basis, not the occasional treat.

But enough about food…

1. Get physical: Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity at least 5 days a week.

2. Grab some rays: Try to get at least 20 minutes of daily sun exposure to boost your body’s natural production of Vitamin D. Or discuss with your doctor the option of taking a Vitamin D3 supplement.

3. Boot bad chemicals and vibes: Avoid exposure to common household contaminants. Air out your dry-cleaning for two hours before storing or wearing it; use organic cleaning products (or wear gloves); don’t heat liquids or food in hard plastics; avoid cosmetics with parabens and phthalates; don’t use chemical pesticides in your house or garden; replace your scratched Teflon pans; filter your tap water if you live in a contaminated area; don’t keep your cell phone close to you when it is turned on.

4. Invite hugs: Reach out to at least two friends for support (logistical and emotional) during times of stress.

5. Breathe: Learn a basic breathing relaxation technique to nip stress in the butt.

6. Get involved: Enjoy the bliss of helping someone else.

7. Cultivate happiness: Do one thing you love every day.

Grocery shopping just got a whole lot easier

Dr Servan-Schrieber even provides detailed lists of common and delicious anticancer foods as well as lists of pesticization levels for common fruits and veggies.

If you’d like the easily digested reasoning behind these suggestions, or you just really want to be inspired, be sure to read the book.

Thank you, Dr. Servan-Schrieber. Thank you, Caroline.



More Borrowed Words here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea February 25, 2010

February 25, 2010 at 4:58 am.

5 comments