New Year Here We Come – and Thanks for Angels

Welcome to 2020!

The cockatoo wall plaque is a gorgeous gift we received from one of our sons and daughters-in-law, evidently chosen by our littlest grandsons!

I really don’t know what happened to 2019, and I hope 2020 goes by just a tad slower. And you?

Christmas was its usual crazy time, but more hectic and dramatic in some ways. Fortunately, we didn’t know just how dramatic! read more

Getting Ready for the Heavy Weapons of Radiotherapy

This entry is part 23 of the series Victory in the Valley

Start at the beginning of the story

Now read on . . .

The time had come to commence radiotherapy. The one-hour drive into the Rand Clinic, a private hospital in the center of the notorious Hillbrow suburb of Johannesburg, went too fast. Rob and I prayed aloud in the car. Then we tried to keep up positive conversation. How much positive conversation can you think of on the way to the gallows? I wondered.

The streets of Hillbrow

It was almost a relief to spot the grey building of the hospital towering ahead of us. We drove through the litter-strewn streets and past the street vendors with their wares laid out on the pavement. We shook our heads negatively at the shifty-eyed hawkers who plied their goods at the traffic lights. Two outrageously dressed girls, who looked as if they should still be young, faces plastered with make-up, cheap jewelry hanging over black plastic jackets, seductively sauntered up and down the pavement. Their high-heeled black boots covered their knees and almost reached the hems of their diminutive skirts.

“Are those what I think they are?” I glanced at Rob’s silhouette as he concentrated on the heavy traffic.


When Rob and I had first married, we lived in a flat near here.

“How the area has degenerated through the years,” I remarked sadly. My gaze was drawn back to the building ahead, as Rob maneuvered the car into the parking lot across the street from the main entrance.

Advice of a friend

Raeleen, a friend who had been through radiotherapy a year ago, had warned me of certain things, for which I became extremely grateful. She told me that I’d be left alone in a room full of gigantic machines. “There is a heavy metal door which will clang shut as the technicians leave. “When the machines start to work, they make a hideous row.” She explained how no one had warned her, and the first time she received treatment, she got such a fright that when the machines started to work, she leaped off the treatment table in terror, causing total panic to the staff! “There’s absolutely no pain,” she reassured me. “You won’t feel a thing.”

Be prepared! This is not only relevant to scouts. It applies to cancer treatment. The more you know, the better you'll cope. Click To Tweet

“Just be prepared for being left alone, for the clanging door, for the noise,” she assured me. “You’ll be fine.”  

As we walked through the hospital entrance, I drew a deep breath, and held my head high. I can do this! Then—O Lord, help me through the next couple of hours!

A new game?

“Please could you direct us to the radiotherapy Unit?” As Rob asked the officious looking woman at the Inquiry Desk, I noticed her disinterested gaze moving from him to me. Guess the cancer patient, I thought wryly. What a fun game!

We entered the lift, and pressed 6 on the lift panel. I felt if everyone was gazing at me, instead of watching the lighted numbers ticking off our ascent. One by one the passengers got out. Everyone, except Rob and me.

I reminded myself that I was unique. They had never given radiotherapy to Shirley Corder, so I resolved to stay positive. 

Cultivate a scornful disregard for statistics. You are unique! There are no statistics about your life! Click To Tweet

Ping! The lift shuddered to a stop, the doors opened, and we caught our first sight of the room where we were going to spend a good deal of time.  Rows of identical, upright, comfortable looking seats lined the walls of a long, cheerful room painted in pastel colors. Several tables stood under untidy piles of old magazines. To my left was a smallish reception area, with a number of busy ladies ignoring the lift and the newcomers. Hesitantly we approached them.

Reception Committee at Radiotherapy

Eventually a lady glanced my way and handed me a clipboard. “Please fill in your details.” With Rob’s help I filled it in, including all sorts of apparently irrelevant information, and took it back to the counter. I gave the lady a bright smile, hoping to receive one in return. From her expression I realized she didn’t consider this to be a smiling matter. She wasn’t the only one.

Soberly I answered some further questions, and retreated with Rob to “sit over there and wait until you are called.”

In the corner stood a vending machine offering free coffee, tea, and drinking chocolate. How I longed for a cup of coffee. Surely, the fact that it stood in this room indicated I could help myself. Yet, I didn’t know what to expect. Could I drink just before the treatment? I didn’t want to do anything wrong. I looked at the frosty-eyed lady, and decided it couldn’t do any harm to ask.

A smile goes a long way

“Excuse me. Is it all right for me to drink coffee?” 

“I don’t know what you are allowed, it depends on your diet. You’ll have to ask your doctor.”

I looked in astonishment at the steely eyes, looking out through the empty window of the top half of her glasses. I realized she had misunderstood me, but I didn’t have the courage to try again.

A young clerk smiled up at me from the other end of the desk. “You’re welcome to help yourself. It won’t make any difference to your treatment if that’s what’s worrying you.”

“Thank you!” What a relief to see a smiling face. I walked over to the vending machine and poured us both some much-needed coffee. 


I couldn’t concentrate on a magazine, so I stared at my shoes and allowed my mind to drift over the illustration of my war with cancer. In the next room there were machines that I’d never seen before. These were the artillery, and they were preparing for my arrival. I pictured those cowardly cells hiding in the scar tissue of my breast and resolved to tell the machines where to look for them. 

How about you?

If you are facing radiotherapy (or radiation as it’s called in some countries) try not to be afraid of them, but to see them as part of the weaponry in your fight against cancer. They are not the enemy! They are there to help route out the enemy and restore you to health once again. 

How do you deal with suffocating fear? It doesn’t need to be a fight against cancer. We all have to deal with this  terrifying emotion at one point of another.  Please share your coping mechanism with me and with other readers.


Antioxidant-rich Drink and Healthy Salad

This entry is part 18 of the series Juicing 101

Drink and salad rich in antioxidants

Last week we looked at the importance of antioxidants in our diet. Here is a delicious drink you can make, with a possible variety, which is exceptionally high in antioxidants. It is ideal as a pre-workout drink, or as a drink to enjoy after a work-out. It only uses a few ingredients so it is quick and easy to make. Use the shredded cabbage to make a tasty coleslaw salad (recipe at the end of the page).

read more

Bringing in the Artillery in the Fight against Cancer

This entry is part 1 of the series Victory in the Valley

Start at the beginning of the story

Now read on . . .

World War III


Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy

Killing the Giant

I have always had a vivid imagination, and my journey through cancer proved to be no exception. 

One day, as I lay outside on a rug reading my Bible, I somehow found myself reading the story of the young shepherd boy, David, and the Philistine giant he faced called Goliath[1]. I read how David killed the giant with one out of five stones catapulted from his leather sling. However that wasn’t enough. He ran and cut off Goliath’s head with a sword.

I asked the Lord to make the familiar story relevant for me. A few minutes later, when Rob brought me some tea, I shared a thought with Rob.

“I have just seen something in the Bible that ties in with cancer,” I exclaimed. “I have decided to nickname the tumor Goliath! And of course, he’s dead. But more! His head has been cut off!”

“You mean when you had your operation?”

“No. That’s when he was killed. But remember how David ran up to the dead giant and cut off his head? Well the corpse of my Goliath was sent to a laboratory and sliced into thin pieces. He is not just dead. He’s had his head cut off! He has been totally destroyed.”

Somehow I really found this exciting. Up until now I had seen the cancer as a beast, a creature, a living thing which had been removed, but somehow I hadn’t thought of it as dead. Goliath, the giant serving under the authority of the enemy of my soul, Satan, was now dead. I saw any left-over cancer cells in my body as surviving enemy soldiers, in hiding. They needed to be routed.

Bringing in the Artillery

As I continued to think about the story, I thought of the Radiation (or radiotherapy) I faced the following week. I saw the destructive Radiation Machines as the heavy tanks and machine guns we were about to bring in. They would attack the actual war-zone. They were the Artillery.

Chemical Warfare

Once we were sure the artillery had cleared the local area, we would turn our attention on any enemy soldiers in hiding throughout the “country” of my body. At this step, my oncologist would poison the water supply when he injected chemotherapy drugs intravenously.

I saw how important it was that the “citizens” of the country knew not to ingest the poison, and I saw this as part of my duty. Once I started with chemotherapy, I would use my mind and concentrate on directing my own cells to keep away from the drugs. I planned to visualize the medication that was seeking and destroying the enemy snipers.

This all sounds highly imaginative, and yes, that is exactly what it was. I used my imagination to promote healing, instead of death. The more positive thoughts I cultivated, the less time was left for negative ones. [2]

Somewhere I read of an acrostic for fear: “False Expectations Appearing Real”. I determined to take up the shield of faith against all these negative thoughts and imaginations, and instead fill my mind with positive, happy, victorious concepts[3] .

FEAR is an acrostic for False Expectations Appearing Real. Please RT. #cancer Click To Tweet

Forward into Battle

Suddenly the whole nightmare ahead of me took on a more positive picture. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. War is never easy. But I could do this. Goliath was already dead. His brothers and support soldiers had been killed. Now it was time to bring in the artillery. I looked forward to getting those beastly cowards hiding behind the scar tissue in my breast and under my arm.

How about you?

What are you afraid of? How can you use your imagination to overcome that fear? Share you suggestions in the comment section below.

These events occurred between 19 and 20 years ago. I have tried to recreate events and locations as accurately as possible, but in order to maintain their anonymity, in some instances I have changed the names and identifying characteristics of individuals and places.


This book is an inspirational message by Max Lucado, one of my favorite authors. Click on the image to see it on Amazon.


[1] 1 Samuel chapter 17
[2] ‘Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.’ Philippians 4:8
[3] ‘…His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.’ Psalm 92:4-6

Increase your intake of antioxidants the easy way

This entry is part 14 of the series Juicing 101
 (Originally published April, 2012. Updated 20 June, 2017)
Antioxidants help to strengthen your immune system as well as boost your energy levels. They fight free radicals in your body, thus protecting your cells from damage. They are believed to be an important ally in your fight against cancer as well as heart disease and memory loss.

What are antioxidants?

The FDA in America has prohibited manufacturers from claiming that consuming their antioxidant products will reduce disease risk. Nevertheless there is no doubt that antioxidants help in the fight against disease. They are much better eaten fresh than bought in a bottle, where you may get a wrong balance when put together with your daily diet.

Antioxidants are nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and enzymes (proteins that assist in chemical reactions) that help to counter free radicals in our body.

What are free radicals?

A free radical is a normal byproduct of our metabolism which has become unstable due to the loss of one or more of its paired electrons. It therefore tries to steal the electron it needs from another atom, or deposits its extra electron into the stable atom. As a result, there is a domino-effect with free radicals. They need to be neutralized. This happens all over our bodies, many thousands of times every day.

Free radicals are normal byproducts and are not necessarily harmful. However, if we don’t have sufficient antioxidants and these free radicals go unchecked, they will cause damage to many cells, causing premature aging and degenerative diseases.

Can you turn a free radical into a healthy cell?

Yes, you can. How? By giving it what it’s looking for—in other words, by supplementing your supply of antioxidants.

Taking one particular antioxidant supplement is not sufficient as your body requires so many different sorts. The best way to supplement is to eat plenty antioxidant-rich foods, especially at the transitional times of the year, when viruses cause increased threats. 

How to increase your antioxidant level without popping expensive pills: 

  • blue berries, black berries, and other bright colored berries
  • other deeply colored fruits such as plums and red or black grapes
  • citrus fruit
  • dark vegetables such as spinach (Popeye had it right!), kale, spinach, zucchini, and brussel sprouts
  • eggplants, red, yellow and green bell peppers, and other colorful vegetables
  • carrots, butternut and other orange vegetables
  • sweet potatoes, the new fries in town. Sweet potatoes cooked in any fashion are rich in antioxidants
  • fish—best eaten three times a week. Adding a small amount of extra-virgin olive oil adds to the anti-oxidant value.  Fish also provides us with powerful omega-3 fatty acids, which may help prevent inflammatory diseases. All fish have some omega-3, but the best are include sardines, salmon, oysters, mackerel, tuna steak, wild rainbow trout, shark steak, albacore tuna, and herring.
  • walnuts, pecan nuts, and other types of nuts
  • all forms of tea contain antioxidants. Rooibos and green tea are particularly nutritious. Another drink high on the antioxidant scale is red wine taken in small quantities.
  • Grain. This alone can make a difference to your health. Eat whole grain bread instead of white bread, wild or brown rice instead of white rice, tortillas made of corn instead of flour. In addition to antioxidants, grain contains zinc, selenium and phytochemicals which are believed to fight heart disease, strokes and cancer.

Best news!

  • I’ve saved the best for last. Dark chocolate! Yes, that’s the good news! Taken in moderate quantities, dark chocolate will increase your antioxidant level.

“Cocoa is rich in antioxidant flavonoids called flavanols, which include procyanidins, epicatechins, and catechins,” explains Harold Schmitz, PhD, director of science at Mars, Inc. Studies have shown that people with high blood levels of flavonoids have lower risk of heart disease, lung cancer, prostate cancer, asthma, and type 2 diabetes.

But do accept the spoiler. A moderate quantity—not a slab a day.

So look for those bright colors, and enjoy eating, or drinking, your way to good health!

Create an excellent habit

When I was recovering from cancer treatment, my nutritionist ordered me to buy a food processor. She wanted me to drink at least five colorful fruits and raw veggies before breakfast every day. It’s nearly 20 years later, and both my husband and I start the day in this way. 

Follow this link!

5th January, 2018 – I received an email from Anna Kukircova inviting me to read and link to her post, How do Antioxidants Keep Us Healthy. I encourage you to follow this link and read it for yourself. It is an excellent post well illustrated with a video. Thank you Anna!




Thankful Thursday


Thankful Thursday

What Cancer Cannot Do

Why did I get Cancer?

After I was diagnosed with cancer, I had no idea why I had got the disease. The interesting thing I soon discovered that everyone else seemed to know. They showered me with suggestions on how to fight it, ways to improve my health, and above all, why I had it in the first place. And it all seemed to be my fault!

I became so overwhelmed by all the free advice and not-so-free treatment suggestions I didn’t know where to start. As I read about the disease, I learned that the cancer cells were actually weak and confused – not at all the giant enemy I had visualised.

I soon decided, “It’s not a case of what caused my cancer, but rather how am I going to deal with it.”

It's not a case of what caused my cancer, but rather how am I going to deal with it. Click To Tweet

How will I deal with it?

Perhaps the cruelest advice I received, at intervals throughout that terrible year, was the best intended.

“Shirley, put your trust in the Lord!”

The words TRUST THE LORD can cause hurt in the person who IS trusting the Lord. We need to watch our words. Click To Tweet

I am a committed Christian, so why do I say this was cruel?

It implied to my over-sensitive mind that people thought I wasn’t trusting Him. It made me feel that perhaps, if I really had faith, I would not subject my body to all this treatment. Is my faith at fault? I often wondered.

Trusting the Lord

One day when I was reading my Bible, I came to the well-known twenty-third Psalm.

Next time someone asked me about why I didn’t stop treatment and trust the Lord, I opened to that passage.

“David says ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,'” I read. “‘For thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.1‘” I pointed to the verse so my friend could read with me. “Lynne, where will I find the rod and the staff?”

“In the valley of the shadow of death?” she read the words slowly, doubt creeping into her voice.

Thy rod and staff they comfort me. And where are they found? In the valley. Click To Tweet

I nodded. “I have no idea why the Lord wants me to go through this valley,” I said. “Nor do I understand why He needs me to pick up a rod and a staff. But, Lynne, I trusted Him with my life many years ago, and there is no going back. He wants me to go through the valley and collect the rod and staff. Then He will comfort me. He will go with me.”

I hoped I appeared more confident than I felt, yet I knew that what I said was true. I had to keep my eyes on the Lord. Then I received these beautiful words from my daughter’s mother-in-law.

I remembered those weak, confused cells my doctor had described to me. They were indeed so limited.

Yes, the war against cancer was beginning to hot up, but I had a wonderful family, many dear friends, and a countless army of prayer warriors throughout, not only South Africa, but overseas as well. Most important, I had the Lord on my side. The enemy might appear threatening, but “Greater is he that is in (me) than he that is in the world.”I drew a deep breath, and prepared to move into the unknown.

Cancer is so limited. It is made up of weak, confused cells. See a list of things it can't do. Click To Tweet

[1] Psalm 23 verse 4
[2]  1 John 4 verse 4

Lime-Lemon Ginger Ale

This entry is part 6 of the series Juicing 101

 (Originally published September 2010. Updated 6 June, 2017)

Please note that this is in no way a medical article.

Discuss any concerns with your doctor, especially if you are pregnant.

Lime Lemon Ginger Ale is a pleasant and refreshing cold drink, ideal for a hot summer’s day. In addition to being tasty and thirst-quenching, it also has excellent health-benefits and will help you build your immune system, making it a good drink for those in-between days leading up to winter.

Image by Alvimann


Benefits of Lime-Lemon Ginger Ale

  • Apples and lemons are rich in flavonoid, a compound that contains antioxidant and anti-cancer properties

  • Ginger is renowned for its many healing attributes, including cancer-fighting properties

  • Grapes are highly valued for their natural sugar content in the form of predigested glucose. Grapes are quickly absorbed and supply heat and energy to the body.

  • Limes are an excellent source of free citric acid, sugar, vitamin C, calcium and phosphorus.

  • Apples contain polyphenols which are also powerful antioxidants

  • They contain many vitamins and minerals and the skin contains pectin, which helps to remove toxic substances
  • Apples lower cholesterol and reduces skin disease

Ingredients of Lime-lemon Ginger Ale:  

  • 1 apple, without its core but with its skin still on
  • a handful of grapes, black or red if possible
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 lemon
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger (or less according to taste)
  • sparkling water  
  • Juice the apple and ginger together
  • Add the lime, lemon and grapes.
  • Pour into a glass and fill to the top with sparkling water.
  • Serve with ice.

  Yummy! Not to mention healthy.  


 Leave the skin on the apples. This makes for more nutritious juice as the skin contains more flavanoid than the pulp.  

More information about ginger: About Ginger    

Another recipe using ginger: Apple-ginger Tonic

Apple Ginger Tonic

This entry is part 5 of the series Juicing 101

(Originally published August 2010. Updated 6 June, 2017)

Please note that this is in no way a medical article.

Discuss any concerns with your doctor, especially if you are pregnant.

Benefits of Apple Ginger Tonic:

  • This juice taken regularly will help reduce bad bacteria overgrowth and
  • increase immunity.
  • This in turn helps to prevent viruses, especially in winter, and it will help fight colds and cancer.
  • Ginger contains an enzyme that will help to lower your  cholesterol.
  • The vitamins contained in the lemon (especially Vitamin C) and the apple help to prevent a cold or flu coming on, as well as prevent an existing dose from getting worse.


  • 2 apples
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 cm (1″) slice of ginger
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 1/2 cup water 


  • Leave the skin on the apples when juicing. This makes the apple ginger tonic more nutritious as the skin contains more flavanoid.
  • This is best done in a juicer (juice extractor). Push everything through, add ice if you want it chilled, and drink.
  • If you use a blender you will have to strain it. 


Pregnant women should not take ginger in high doses as it may increase the risk of miscarriage. Talk to your doctor before adding apple ginger tonic to your regular diet.

Benefits of this tasty drink:

  • Apples and lemons are rich in flavonoid, a compound that contains antioxidant and anti-cancer properties.
  • Apples contain polyphenols which are also powerful antioxidants.
  • Both fruits are rich in vitamins and minerals.
  • The skin also contains pectin, which helps to remove toxic substances.
  • Apples lower cholesterol and reduces skin disease.
  • Ginger is renowned for its many healing attributes, including cancer-fighting properties.
  • Apple Ginger Tonic will help stimulate saliva, bile and gastric juice production to aid in digestion.

Read more about ginger here:

Come back next Tuesday for another ginger-based Recipe.

Looking at Statistics about Cancer?

This entry is part 21 of the series Victory in the Valley

Start at the beginning of the story

Now read on . . .

Why did I get cancer? The question rumbled round and round in my mind.

Image by Anita Peppers at Morgue File

  • I had three children before the age of thirty
  • ate a healthy diet with vegetables or fruit at most meals
  • I didn’t smoke
  • or drink alcohol
  • nor was I really overweight.

I learned that these were some of the factors which are supposed to have contributed to my chance of getting Breast Cancer. read more