Moderated by Stephen Cerne, Owner/President of Fully Functional Fitness, Inc.
Join us on June 4th, from 8–9pm ET / 7–8pm CT / 5–6pm PT for our first Cancer and Exercise AppChat! Caregiver and Exercise Expert, Stephen Cerne from Fully Functional Fitness will be leading the discussion on the GRYT App. We’ll be chatting on everything from guidelines, to exercise programs, and different ways to alter and adjust exercise to accommodate different needs.
What we’ll be covering:
What makes up a well-rounded exercise program? • Cardiovascular-Respiratory • Muscular Strength & Endurance • Flexibility • Balance
American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Guidelines on physical activity: •How does one determine exercise intensity? •How to determine your maximum HR •Tools for use in determining intensity
Specific Guidelines •Cardiovascular-Respiratory •Muscular Strength & Endurance •Flexibility •Balance •How does one alter an exercise program?
Factors: •F- Frequency (How often) •I- Intensity •T- Type/Modality (Ex. Walking, biking, swimming) •T- Time/Duration (length of workout)
Our users can now find a new chatroom on the GRYT App!
Introducing the LGBTQIA+ Chatroom.
A safe space to meet others, share experiences, and ask questions. With monthly meetups on the first Monday of every month, you can connect with others in a casual environment from your phone. Along with the new chatroom and programs, we’re introducing our new partner, The Transgender Cancer Patient Project.
Read below to hear from Charlie, patient, and co-founder of TCPP.
I made a blog in 2016 when I was newly diagnosed with an advanced stage of melanoma. Trying to find resources as a young trans person going through treatment was really difficult in that nothing of the sort really existed. I took it upon myself to make a transgender cancer support blog hoping I would find other people who were going through what I was. Roman, a fellow transgender cancer patient, was my only follower. I sent them a message and we met in person a couple of months later. We have been together ever since and created this project to support and uplift other trans cancer patients dealing with a gendered health system through zines (self-published books and or “magazines”), and a peer support group.
Through our own experiences and learning of others, we have also realized the tremendous need for change in the healthcare system. For this reason, on top of supporting and uplifting trans patients, we also seek to make things better by working with healthcare providers in providing more inclusive care. Thus far, we have presented at healthcare conferences where we have shared our work and presented workshops on advocacy and cultural competency. We also have and continue to equip healthcare establishments and providers with tools to make their care less gendered and more trans friendly, many of which you can find on our website for free. We look forward to the future of this project and the continued support from our communities.
I’ll see you on the GRYT App,
Transgender Cancer Patient Project Mission
We recognize that marginalized people have a lot of expectations put on them to present and speak about their experiences in a specific way. As transgender cancer patients ourselves, we think it is important to break that down, and show that there are more to these intersections than society may expect. The main hope for this project is to provide support and community for fellow transgender cancer patients. However, we would additionally like this to be a source of education, to provoke better care and inclusivity in medical spaces, and to help destigmatize patient experiences. Our current goal is to make our zines accessible for free here, as well as in physical formats to be sold at events. All funds will be used to offset the cost of running this website, production of the zines; and aid in travel costs to zine fests and healthcare events where we share our work and present workshops on advocacy and cultural competency. We have experienced the need for community, resources, and discussion around these topics, which is why this project and your support is so important to us.
Alex Trebek has recently been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He shared his news in a video post.
In the video he states:
“I have some news to share with all of you, and it’s in keeping with my longtime policy of being open and transparent with our Jeopardy fan base,” Trebek says. “I also wanted to prevent you from reading or hearing some overblown or inaccurate reports regarding my health. So, therefore, I wanted to be the one to pass along this information. Now, just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.”
What is Pancreatic Cancer?
Pancreatic cancer occurs when cells in the pancreas grow out of control and form a growth or tumor. (Not all tumors are cancerous, non-cancerous tumors are called benign, while cancerous tumors are malignant) In Alex’s case, he has a malignant tumor in his pancreas that spread to other areas of his body.
The pancreas is an organ in the abdomen; part of the digestive system that helps facilitate digestive functions and blood sugar regulations. Alex states that he has been diagnosed with stage IV (4), this means that cancer has spread to other parts of his body, such as the bowel, liver, lungs, spleen or stomach. Stages in cancer are determined by the size and spread of cancer.²
Learn About The Different Stages of Pancreatic Cancer & Alex’s Likely Treatment Plan
Stage 0 means that there is a minute amount of abnormal cells. Stage I means the cancer is small and only in one area. These are also called early-stage cancer. Stage II and III mean the cancer is larger and has grown into nearby tissues or lymph nodes. Stage IV means cancer has spread to other parts of your body.¹
Since Alex’s cancer has been categorized as stage IV it means that the surgeons cannot remove it, and there is no cure. His treatment will most likely involve managing pain and other symptoms to improve his quality of life.
Pancreatic Cancer 2019 Stats — The Most Up-To-Date Numbers
In 2018, it is estimated by the National Cancer Institute² that there will be 55,440 new cases of pancreatic cancer in the U.S. Pancreatic cancer is more common with increasing age and slightly more common in men than women. The number of new cases of pancreatic cancer was 12.6 per 100,000 men and women per year based on 2011–2015 cases.
Our Cancer Patient App Community
We at GRYT are saddened to hear Alex’s news. We interact with patients daily that have a similar diagnosis through our GRYT Health Cancer Community app, available on iOS or Android. If you or someone you know is going through a pancreatic or another type of cancer diagnosis, we’d love to help support. Please share our app information so that no one has to be in this fight alone.
Read our GRYT Book Club interview with young adult cancer survivor and author of The Cast, Amy Blumenfeld.
GRYT: Amy, what inspired you to write The Cast?
Amy: There were a few sources of inspiration for the book. The first was my master's project in graduate school which I wrote about adult survivors of childhood cancer.
The second source of inspiration was a videotape that was made for me when I was sick. It was don’t by 40 people — ten families (my parents' friends and their kids) — and it cheered me up when I was in the hospital.
The third source of inspiration was when I turned 40 a few years ago my friends and I were having these milestone moment type of conversations about relationships and friendships and marriage and parenting and career and I came up with the idea of creating fun characters with all different issues and stories and then weaving in the good important messages about long term survivorship and the impact on the patient as well as the friends and family through the stories about these characters.
GRYT: What type of cancer did you have?
Amy: Hodgkin’s disease, I was diagnosed at 13 and had treatment until I was 15.
GRYT: That videotape sounds amazing. What an awesome gesture! Do you still watch it?
Amy: Every once in a while but not very often. Our friend who made it transferred it onto a DVD but it is very grainy!
GRYT: In the book, you talk about Becca and secondary cancer. Is that inspired by your own life?
Amy: The secondary cancer was inspired by many of the patients I met doing interviews. I was fascinated by the long term effects both physically and emotionally on the patients as well as their family and friends.
I wanted to write a book that shed light on the fact that treatment doesn’t end the moment you walk out the hospital doors
GRYT: Why did you decide to write the book from multiple points of view?
Amy: I wrote the book from different points of view because I thought first-person perspectives are fun and interesting to read. I like those books and they draw me in quickly. I thought different POVs would also shed light on different aspects of the survivorship experience. People have different reactions to the same experience and I wanted to capture that.
GRYT: A lot of our community members find that’s when you need help and support the most.
Amy: It was fun. These characters really became people to me… like imaginary friends!
GRYT: Was it hard to write from a viewpoint from the characters who didn’t have cancer? How did you separate your experience from that?
Amy: Not really. I just thought about my family and friends and how things might look from their perspectives. It’s like being in a play… you get into a character’s head.
GRYT: Did you always want to be a writer? Did you keep a journal when you were sick?
Amy: I did not keep a journal when I was sick. For me, I just needed to maintain “normalcy” and not dwell on any of the sickness stuff. So I focused on just keeping up with school work and regular non-illness stuff.
I always knew I liked to write but I didn’t always know I wanted to be a writer. I didn’t mind writing thank you notes as a kid and would write long letters to my friends who went away for summers to camp.
When I was in college I liked the classes that required papers instead of tests. I found I learned more and enjoyed the research and writing process.
I got internships in journalism and then went to grad school for journalism. I wanted to go into television news but realized that the writing is different for tv vs. print and even within print it is different between newspapers and magazines and I found my strength was in writing. Magazine format pieces so I got a job after graduation at a magazine.
GRYT: How long did it take you to write The Cast?
Amy: It took one year to write the manuscript. Then almost a year to revise it. Then the publishing process and then it came out. So from the time I had the idea to write a novel to the moment I held the book in my hands, it took four years.
GRYT: Did you always know that you wanted to write a book that was inspired by what you went through?
GRYT: What was it like going from being a journalist and writing non-fiction to writing fiction?
Amy: When I was in grad school and wrote my masters project about adult survivors of childhood cancer my professor came up to me at graduation and suggested I turn the project into a book. That was the first time it ever occurred to me. He planted a seed and for a while, I thought maybe I would turn it into a compilation of interviews or possibly a memoir but it never clicked or came together and wasn’t fun to read at all. I didn’t want to write a cancer book. So when I turned forty I created these characters and the storyline and turned the whole idea into a novel and it was SO much more fun and liberating because I could make things up and didn’t have to stick to facts.
GRYT: Wow. I love that! What is your writing process like? Do you plot it out or just fly by the seat of your pants?
Amy: I have a rough blueprint for the story and then I write. But it often gets redrawn as I go! So it’s sort of a mix of plotting it and pantsing it!
GRYT: What’s next? Do you have plans for another book? A sequel maybe?
Amy: I am working on my second novel. As of now, it is sort of a spin-off of The Cast.
GRYT: Neat!! Can you share anything about it? Or is all under wraps?
Amy: I feel like some of the characters stories aren’t done….
GRYT: What are some of your favorite books, Amy?
Amy: Oh, good question. I have a bunch. I liked The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. I like all of Tova Mirvis’ books. The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner. I could go on….By the way, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman is really great too as is One Day in December. These are all fiction!
GRYT: Any idea when your spin-off will come out? We’ll be ready to read it!
Amy: Aw, thanks. Not for a while. I’m still doing promotion for The Cast.
GRYT: Looks like we’ll just have to keep an eye on your website and social media for an announcement! Thank you so much for joining us tonight and letting us read your book and pepper you with questions. We always love hearing from fellow survivors.
100 stories of triumph, heartache, fear, victory, loss.
100 snapshots of inspiration. Of cancer diagnosis stories. Of relapses. Of surgeries and physical therapy.
100 moments of authenticity, relentlessness, and togetherness.
Today we celebrate you. Everything you’ve helped share and contribute to, make GRYT a stronger force. We’ve cried, laughed and cheered you on through all of the past 100 blog posts. Including some of our own triumphs and defeats.
Your stories have helped comfort, educate and inform others in the face of cancer. Thank you. One of the most comforting gestures we can offer as members of a cancer community is our way of saying, “We’ve been there. We understand what you’re going through.”
Tomorrow is a blank page. Help us craft it. Submit your guest blog pieces or find out more information by emailing email@example.com. We can’t wait to hear from you.
The saying, New year, New Me has been everywhere lately, whether on social media, news stories, or even Hulu! And we’re putting our own spin on it. New year, old app, new name. We’ve had a facelift (with the help of some really bright, bold colors)! Same app. New name. Our name. GRYT.
GRYT?? That’s… an unusual name. What’s it mean?
Grit is a character trait that so many facing cancer or other chronic diseases have no choice but to embody. It can be hard to maintain grit alone. That’s why there is no “I” in our version of GRYT. We work together, building relationships that fuel users to maintain their grit and to make choices that are right for them.
It’s also the same team comprised of cancer survivors and caregivers running things behind the curtain before we decided to get colorful with our logo. Which means, we’ve been there and we’re dedicated to making sure that information is not a luxury, but an undeniable right.
Our team and the GRYT community are authentic and relentless, and together, we are working to make sure no one ever has to suffer this journey alone.
Cool! So what does this mean for me?
The GRYT community will always promote a culture of inclusion and equality, where everyone is respected for the experience they bring, where authenticity and openness are revered, and where our collective voice and choice matter.
Just like before, we’re still a completely free app, available to download for iOS and Android. Anyone is welcome to download it, whether you’re a friend, family member, survivor, patient, caregiver, medical professional. Cancer affects so many people, and no matter your role, you can find a place on the app to connect with others.
Unlike other apps, which are largely funded by venture capital firms in the U.S. and China that sell patient data to pharmaceutical companies, GRYT is the first social community that is funded, built, and run by patients and caregivers. Users communicate anonymously in real-time and each person is 100% in charge of what happens with their data.
We follow industry standards and best practices in data privacy and protection and our database cannot be accessed directly from the Internet. Not sure what that means? Check out this blog post from our Chairwoman, Shelley. She’s trying to schluff off a few holiday pounds and realized how tricky privacy policies are among health apps, which is why we’ve made ours really easy to understand. Easier than losing five pounds, anyway.
We’ve got some exciting things in the works. You won’t want to miss it. Keep an eye on your inbox for upcoming announcements.
In the meantime, you can keep up with what’s on the calendar for events happening in the GRYT app. I invite you to check out the many programs that all take place in house on the app. Whether it’s contributing a piece for writing group or chatting in movie club, or maybe it’s timidly joining New User Night, any user is welcome to attend. AppChats are a great way to enter a general conversation as a stranger, seeking more information and leaving with some new friends and a community that understands. Plus, you’ll get to hang out with me, Aerial, GRYT Program Director.
Until then, I’ll see you on the GRYT app! You can find us in that tiny square on your phone. We’re the ones with the really bright and loud splash of color. Kinda like our community. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you’re feeling curious, our website got a fresh coat of paint too. So, while you’re there, feel free to poke around.
Because who doesn’t love a fresh coat of paint?
Like what you’re reading? Follow GRYT Health on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter for more inspiring news and stories! Questions? Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and someone from our team will be on it!
In collaboration with A Ballsy Sense of Tumor and Lacuna Loft
At the end of last year, Justin, founder of ABSOT, teacher by day, writer by night, began hosting our year long How to Tell Your Story AppChat. Once a month, he would go through a host of different techniques, themes, and recommended guidelines. The GRYT community graciously listened, participated and brainstormed together. Then another month would past and the cycle of learning the how tos would refresh. It was an amazing series, and our first real AppChat that we debuted. The shame of it was, not a whole lot of writing was ever done, which was purely unintentional.
There have been many studies exploring how helpful and wonderful writing can be. Psychology Today, states:
“Across many experiments, people experience a positive effect from employing expressive writing to cope with difficult life experiences. Even though a traumatic or grievous experience comes crashing into one’s life unbidden, through writing, one can shape and explore the difficulty. Writing takes time. Taking time to write of one’s own life experience provides a way to respect, hone and understand the trauma or loss. We dignify our lives by taking seriously, in writing, the unwanted experience. We can make meaning of tragedy. Simply writing emotively, without telling a story, is not effective. Creating a narrative helps one write with authority in the face of unwanted change.”¹
So we brainstormed on how we could get more people involved, get more writing done, and how to help guide our community members in this new endeavor. It only made sense to transition How to Tell Your Story into a writing group. With the help our our nonprofit partner, Lacuna Loft, (check out their amazing writing program, Unspoken Ink), our awesome moderator, Justin, and Gryt’s platform, we know the only limits the GRYT Writing Group has is ones participants choose to enable.
Enter the start of a new year, new page, new chatroom. Beginning January 4th, on the Stupid Cancer app, among the various chatrooms you will be able to find a sparkling new one, the GRYT Writing Group Chatroom.
Once a week, on Friday mornings, in the chatroom, you will find a new writing prompt. In collaboration,with Lacuna Loft and A Ballsy Sense of Tumor, along with GRYT Health, there will be a rotating authorship of writing prompts. Each week is guaranteed to be different.
Read the prompt, ponder on it, then leave your paragraph, or two, or five- whatever your heart desires, in the chatroom to share it among your fellow community members. We’ve laid down the foundation for a safe, inclusive environment. All that’s left for you to do is to get your creative process on!
Not sure where to start? Feeling intimidated by the blinking cursor on your screen? Starting on the third Thursday of every month, join Justin for a new AppChat, GRYT Writing Night. You can chat with others, brainstorm, and get the creative juices flowing for that week’s writing prompt. Can’t make it? The writing prompt from the AppChat the night before will be posted in the GRYT Writing Group Chatroom the next morning.
GRYT Writing Group Guidelines:
Anyone that is part of the GRYT Community can participate, whether you think you are a writer or not.
Respond to the writing and not the writer.
Be sensitive and respectful.
All work is assumed to be fictional.
If you aren’t given the information in the writing piece, you aren’t privy to it. Be conscious of boundaries.
Feel free to direct message one another, by tapping on a user’s avatar, but the chatroom’s use is first and foremost for leaving writing pieces and commenting on them.
It’s ok to suggest edits, but be constructive with your criticism.
2019 is destined to be an epic year. So hop on board and follow along with us as we write our way through a new adventure together.
Join us for the first GRYT Book Club of 2019! January 30th, at 8pm ET, chat with author of The Cast and cancer survivor, Amy Blumenfeld on the Stupid Cancer App in the AppChat Discussion Chatroom. The app is free to download for both Apple and Android!
Read below for:
Welcome note to the GRYT community from the author
Recommended Reading Guide
The Cast book synopsis
Link to purchase
I’m so excited to be hosting the book club next month! The Cast has been a labor of love for quite some time and I am really looking forward to sharing it with you and hearing your thoughts. Have a wonderful holiday and a happy and healthy new year!
Recommended Reading Guide
Dec 7th: Chapters 1–3
Dec 14th: Chapters 4–6
Dec 21st: Chapters 7–9
Dec 28th: Chapters 10–12
Jan 4th: Chapters 13–15
Jan 11th: Chapters 16–18
Jan 18th: Chapters 19–21
Jan 25th: Chapters 22–23
Jan 31st: 8pm ET Book Club AppChat!
“Twenty-five years ago, a group of ninth graders produced a Saturday Night Live–style videotape to cheer up their ailing friend. The show’s running time was only ninety minutes, but it had a lasting impact: Becca laughed her way through recovery, and the group―Jordana, Seth, Holly, and Lex―became her supporting cast for life.
On the silver anniversary of Becca Night Live, the friends reunite over the Fourth of July to celebrate Becca’s good health―but nothing goes as planned. The happy holiday card facades everyone’s been hiding behind quickly crumble and give way to an unforgettable three days filled with complex moral dilemmas and life-altering choices. Through humor, drama, and the alternating perspectives of five characters, The Cast explores the power of forgiveness, the importance of authenticity, and the immeasurable value of deep, enduring friendships to buoy us when life plays out differently than expected.”
About the Author
Amy Blumenfeld’s articles and essays have appeared in various publications, including the New York Times, the Huffington Post, O, The Oprah Magazine, George, Hadassah, and Moment, as well as on the cover of People. She is a graduate of Barnard College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism where she was the recipient of the James A. Wechsler Award for National Reporting. She has been interviewed on the CBS Evening News, CBS This Morning, FOX News, MSNBC, NY1, Sirius XM Radio and has contributed to two nonfiction books.The Cast, her first novel, is the 2018 IPPY Gold Medal winner in Popular Fiction, an International Book Awards finalist in Best New Fiction and was listed by the New York Post as a “Best Book of the Week.”
Join us on December 12th at 9pm ET/ 8pm CT / 6pm PT for a LIVE conversation on Caring for the Caregiver.
Chat with Chasing Rainbows Young Adult Cancer Advocacy’s Pat Taylor and Lacuna Loft’s Mallory Casperson. Read below about our moderators, Pat and Mallory, two caregivers who will be guiding our discussion on self-care. You can be part of the dialogue in the Caregiver Chat room, located on the Stupid Cancer App which is free to download for both Apple and Android.
What we’ll be chatting about:
Types of Caregivers
Recognizing why self care is important
How to self care for the caregiver
What works and what doesn’t
Building a stable community of support
Resources available when no one else is
Pat Taylor became an AYA cancer advocate when her daughter, Sara, age 23, was diagnosed with cancer back in 1997. Addressing the lack of support resources for her peers and caregivers, Sara and Pat produced and distributed two films, Sara’s Story and Chasing Rainbows Young Adults Living With Cancer, and Chasing Rainbows Young Adult Cancer Advocacy was born.
Since then, along with other advocates and their support resources, Pat has watched the AYA Cancer Voice grow from a tiny whisper to empowered roar! Caregivers helped make this happen.
As a Parent and Advocate, Pat joins this Gryt Health Caregiver Chat, to share and explore with other Caregivers the immediate needs and on going challenges we face while navigating the unpredictable cancer storyline with our loved ones. Self Care is the key to being the kind of Caregiver we strive to be. How do we make it so? Join Pat to learn more.
Mallory Casperson was forced into the world of young adult cancer caregiving in graduate school when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. She was fortunate enough to serve as one of her mother’s primary caregivers during the last months of her life.
Two month’s after her mother passed, Mallory was diagnosed with cancer herself. Several years into her survivorship, Lacuna Loft, a nonprofit organization offering online support programs to young adult cancer survivors and caregivers, was created to connect young adults facing cancer together.
Understanding young adult cancer from both the caregiving and the survivor experience has allowed Mallory to become a strong advocate in the young adult cancer community. Self care is key to any caregiving experience and Mallory is excited to talk caregiving with Gryt Health!
Get the scoop on what to expect and who’s moderating!
Join us on November 28th at 9pm ET / 8pm CT / 6pm PT for a LIVE conversation on Parenting with Cancer. Read below about our moderators, Christian and Brandie, two young adult cancer survivors who were both parents at time of their diagnosis. You can be part of the dialogue in the AppChat Discussion Room, located on the Stupid Cancer App which is free to download for both Apple and Android.
Parenting is a daily challenge. Parenting while facing a cancer diagnosis, going through treatment, or a survivorship phase is even more of a challenge. What it has taught me is to appreciate my kids in every way possible and to make the most of every interaction with them.
I’m just going to be brutally honest here. Parenting through my cancer diagnosis and treatment pretty much sucked. There is just no sugar coating it.
Often, even today, I feel incredible guilt for getting this cancer that has changed my children’s lives so drastically. Activities they had to stop participating in, places I couldn’t take them to, too many days spent inside watching TV because mom was too sick to take them anywhere. Days where everything felt overwhelming and I never felt like I was mom enough because of all the things I couldn’t do.
And yet, there were some days that were so amazing. Days where everything felt right (even if it wasn’t). Times where snuggling together with my kids and talking and laughing and just having fun made me forget we had to snuggle in bed because I was too sore to get out of it! All the times my children’s kindness to me went above and beyond. So many times I would think how did my kids, who share my DNA, figure out how to be so kind? I saw love and compassion just pouring out of them. You know that feeling when you see your child do something, even a simple thing, that just takes your breath away and makes you think my kid is the best person to ever walk the planet?!
Some point it just hit me: parenting with cancer is like parenting without cancer, except for the whole cancer thing. Is that clear as mud?
But here’s what I mean. With cancer, some days were hard and some easy. Just like before cancer. With cancer, some days I yelled too much and some days I could almost pass for Mary Poppins. Just like before cancer. With cancer, some days I didn’t do enough and some days I did it all. Just like before cancer. With cancer, some days we cried a lot, some days we laughed a lot, some days we did both. Just like before cancer.
This isn’t to downplay the role cancer has played in our lives, because it was a big one, but, it does make me feel more “normal” as a parent. Some days are good and some aren’t.