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When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.
– Henry Ford  
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  Volume No. 17 Issue No. 5 May 2020  

None Black Forest News   None Book Review   None Community Calendar   None Did You Know?  
None FFPD News   None From the Publisher   None Letters to the Editor   None Marks Meanderings  
None Monkey Business   None News Briefs   None News From D 49   None People on the Plains  
None Pet Adoption Corner   None Pet Care   None Phun Photos   None Prairie Life  
Front Page   |   Feature Stories   |   Search This Issue   |   Log In
  Defying a diagnosis and helping others
  By Leslie Sheley

   Ann McKeever, M.A., LMT, knows what it is like to fight for her life. And now she is helping other cancer patients do the same.
   McKeever was diagnosed with Stage 4 liver cancer in 1997, and was told she had six months to get her things in order. The doctors recommended a surgery where three-fourths of her liver would be removed — a risky procedure rarely performed at the time, she said.
   She underwent weekly chemotherapy treatments for five months; the type of chemo she had is called red devil because it is harsh, she said. “I had a 15-year-old, and I was determined to live; I was not leaving her behind,” McKeever said. “I felt like it was my problem to solve, so I researched, read about 50 different books and talked to lots of people, trying to sort through what was sound advice and what was not sound. And (I) came up with a holistic protocol to help my body. What I learned in that process is our bodies want to heal, and the key is to give it what it needs to heal.”
   She put herself on a strict protocol. “I had to be smarter than cancer, more determined than cancer, more fanatical than cancer and I had to be meaner than cancer and run faster than cancer,” McKeever said. She eliminated sugar, ate raw vegetables and salmon on a daily basis and juiced twice a day. She also said she detoxed her body, drank lots of pure water and hired a trainer to keep moving.
   McKeever also got adequate sleep, reduced stress in her life and practiced meditation and Chinese traditional energy work, called Qi, she said. And she also took about 90 supplements a day. “Everything I put into my body had a job to do, and I knew what it was because of all the research I did,” McKeever said. She also took lots of enzymes and minerals because cancer does not like living among a heavy mineral content, she said.
   “I also had to learn to deal with fear,” she said. “I would wake in the morning and immediately be fearful, thinking, ‘I’m a cancer patient and I’m supposed to die soon;’ the fear would grab hold and immobilize me. So, I started with focusing on living for the moment with no fear for three hours,” she said. Once she mastered that practice, she added hours until she was going a full day without fear, McKeever said.
   Anyone who is serious about fighting cancer needs to get serious about taking care of themselves; get “fanatical” about it, she said.
   The doctors had warned her that the cancer would come back because they had removed an aggressive nine-pound tumor; they knew it was already traveling, and they were waiting for it to land somewhere, McKeever said.
   About one year after her initial surgery, the tumor marker or alpha-fetoprotein was on the rise; it took them about three months to finally find it in her left lung. The lung surgeon, who was expecting to find an aggressive cancer, was thrilled when he found “one tumor and no friends.” The tumor was not as aggressive as the original cancer, McKeever said. All of her doctors told her to keep up with her self-ascribed program because they had never seen a second cancer less aggressive than the first. The only other treatment left at that point was experimental, and she decided against it.
   By 2000, she realized she didn’t want to keep going back to the doctor every month. “I didn’t want to keep going back to Baylor, to keep looking for cancer, to keep doing blood work, because when I would go back, it would take me right back emotionally; it’s very traumatizing,” McKeever said. She decided to remove the port and stop going to the doctor, however, she would not recommend that for everyone.
   Before her diagnosis with cancer, McKeever had completed training to become a massage therapist. So, she decided to continue that path. In 2000, she re-trained in medical massage and is now a medical massage practitioner. She said she wanted to be able to offer safe massages to cancer survivors and people fighting cancer.
   “It’s a real privilege to put my hands on someone who is going through cancer … people struggling with it are in a very vulnerable place; and, hopefully, what I can provide for them is a deeply personal experience,” McKeever said. She said an oncology massage is modified to meet the individual needs of a person with cancer, taking into consideration the effects of chemo or radiation, surgeries related to cancer and sensitive pressure points.
   Last year, McKeever said she became certified as a holistic cancer coach. McKeever said one of the most important things to help someone going through cancer is to offer them a sense of connection, to feel heard.
   When people are first diagnosed, they are usually in a panic, bombarded with many emotions and fears, questions — and dread. “As holistic coaches, we don’t try to influence medical decisions at all, that’s between you and the doctor,” McKeever said. “We help you understand the power of holistic treatments to add support to your body while you are going through the medical treatments,” she said. This is the time to learn to do everything you can to take care of yourself; it is not selfish; and women especially have trouble with this, McKeever said.
   She recommended as a helpful website for people with cancer. “The person who started that site had a husband who died of cancer when she was a young mom of two children; and she dedicated the rest of her life to researching how to beat cancer,” McKeever said. To find a knowledgeable oncology massage therapist, visit
   “After 21 years of being cancer free, rather than having six months to live, I still write to my doctor to let him know how I’m doing.”
Ann McKeever, a holistic cancer coach and massage therapist, who lives in Black Forest, also has an office in Black Forest, Innovative Bodywork. Photo by Leslie Sheley
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  Black Forest AARP Chapter 1100 meetings

   President Roy Rozak would like to invite anyone who is interested in participating in community projects and enjoying camaraderie among friends to attend a meeting or join the Black Forest AARP chapter. Call Ray at 719-495-6767 for the details.
   To all our friends at AARP, especially Stanley Beckner, we wish you good health in the new year!
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  No fee senior social

   A monthly informal occasion for seniors is the no-fee event. They meet in the Black Forest Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall at 12455 Black Forest Road in Black Forest.
   Seniors are welcome at the Black Forest AARP and Black Forest Lutheran Church monthly informal gathering, held at the Black Forest Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall at 12455 Black Forest Road. The social is from 1 to 4 p.m. the fourth Wednesday of each month, and all are invited to socialize, play games, work on hobbies or to simply sit and talk about “whatever.” Light refreshments are available. For more information, contact Lavonne at 719-494-1276.
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  Black Forest Women’s Club

   The Black Forest Women’s Club meets every second Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Black Forest Lutheran Church, 12455 Black Forest Road. The next meeting is Jan. 9 and the program is “getting to know you.” Coffee and refreshments will be served at 9:30 a.m. Parking is in the back; use the ramp and go in the first door on the right. Visitors and guests are always welcome. For more information, contact Carol at 719-495-3846.   
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  Forest Bend Farms’ Christmas

   Christmas at Forest Bend Farms includes a fire pit, games, crafts, hayrides, a nativity play, beautiful lighting throughout, roasting marshmallows and much more. Many people attended the old-fashioned Christmas celebration, complements of co-owners Amber and Matt Tanner and Elisa and Patrick Clark. It is their first year in business with the Christmas farm; the season ran from Nov. 29 to Dec. 29.
Patrick and Elisa Tanner and Amber and Matt Clark are co-owners of Forest Bend Farms. This is their first year, bringing an old-fashioned Christmas to Black Forest. They are already thinking about what they can add to the festivities next year.
Cookie decorating, crafts, a gift shop and more housed in the barn drew visitors to the Christmas Forest Bend Farms festivities.Luke Tanner, age 10, of Black Forest and family friend, Lila Gay, age 9, help man the cocoa bar at Forest Bend Farms.
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