Finding an Answer to Cancer

This past  Saturday, August 19th I had the pleasure of volunteering for the Forest Lake Relay For Life event. My wife Rita and I have been Relay volunteers for 10 years since my diagnosis of Stage IV colon cancer — twice! This is an event near and dear to my heart because my mother, many relatives, and friends have fought cancer battles — many have died and many more are still alive today. There’s still no cure(s) for the over 200 types of cancer. Jaelynn Parenteau (first photo) was our guest survivor speaker. She’s 17 years old and has been on a cancer journey for one year now. It breaks my heart that someone so young has to deal with cancer. She’s a super courageous survivor and I was honored to introduce her at the Survivor Celebration (second photo).

Our five teams raised $56,000 this year!

Typical me, I tried to find a survivor poem to share at the Survivor Celebration, but unable to find one, I wrote a poem instead. I’d like to share it with you and all the cancer survivors who are faced with cancer.

I Survived

Cancer came at me like a monster, and I shook with anger and fear.
I didn’t know where I was headed, but I knew my death was near.

I prayed to the Heavens to heal me, and the sky sent me a beam.
I knew I’d strive to walk again, and reach my cherished dream.

But the journey was difficult, and took away my breath.
I was taught how to live, but knew nothing of fighting death.

My body was weak, my mind a mess, my spirit took a dive.
You helped me confront my fears, and made me feel alive.

I’m proud to be called a survivor, and glad the worst is gone.
Healing is a miracle, like the sunset and early dawn.

Say a prayer for those who walk this day, arm-in-arm with cancer.
Show us how to fight for life, and help us find the answer.

Alexis Acker-Halbur
August 16, 2017

If you are fighting a cancer battle, please remember that you have the strength and courage to fight this monster. It’s difficult to want to keep living after all the surgeries, radiation treatments, and chemo sessions, but your desire to live is stronger than cancer. My motto is “Never Give Up” and I believe this should be every cancer survivor’s motto as well.

Let me know what you think about my poem.

Alex Acker-Halbur

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Don’t Be Fooled: It’s Not Health Care — It’s Death Care


Have you read the June 2017 AARP article? Find Out Who Voted For The Health Care Bill: AARP opposes act it calls an “age tax” on Older Americans. If you missed it, it was a stunning article that affects ALL the baby boomers. Here’s what it said:

“The U.S. House of Representatives on May 4 passed the American Health Care Act by a razor-thin margin: 217 to 3213. It includes an “age tax” that AARP says would add as much as $13,000 to the cost of insurance for those 50 to 64, and would discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions such as cancer and diabetes. What’s more, we believe it would cause millions of Americans to lose coverage and put Medicare in worse financial shape.”

This isn’t health care — this is death care! Especially for people like me who have diabetes and cancer. I want to thank the 217 representatives who’ve voted for my death! That’s right folks, those Republican representatives who you voted in last year are calling the shots and they want those of us with diabetes and cancer to ill-afford treatment and medications and, ultimately, die. They’re playing “God” with our health care and I can think of no greater sin than taking the lives of others. Doesn’t world history hold numerous stories of the destruction of humans by the millions? Why do we keep making the same mistakes over and over again? I’ve tried to stay out of politics in this blog but, day after day, I’m inundated with news like this that really frightens me. I know many people with diabetes and cancer, some are close friends, and all are at-risk because of our current legislation.

DO YOU CARE THAT THIS IS HAPPENING? If so, I really want to know how you’re really feeling about this American Death Care Act? 

Don’t be fooled into thinking this type of health care is great because it isn’t health care at all — history calls it GENOCIDE — the systematic killing of, or a program intended to destroy those of us who are sick and ill!

Bless us all!

Never Give Up!


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A Message About Mammograms


What’s a garage door have to do with mammograms? Women know!

What happened recently is soooooo Alex! I went in to have my annual mammogram and four weeks later I had a partial mastectomy. WHAT! Yes, and that’s why I’m sending this message to all of you who have not scheduled your mammos. Breast cancer is so sneaky. It can hide in the breast tissue and go undetected for months if not years. In fact, a woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. I lost my mother to breast cancer many years ago. I know Mom was in the operating room with me holding my hand.


Genetics do play a huge role in breast cancer, but environment factors also contribute to the number of breast cancer patients.

For some silly reason I thought that because I had Stage IV colon cancer twice that I would be free from breast cancer. Don’t make this terrible mistake. Another interesting fact says: as of March 2017, there were about 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This figure includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment. That’s just too many women fighting breast cancer.

A male friend asked me awhile ago to describe a mammogram. My answer was this: mammos are like lying on your garage floor and having the garage door come down on your breasts — one at a time! But like colonoscopies, mammograms are needed to stay healthy. So, if you haven’t had your annual mammogram please schedule it soon. It could save your life.

In my book, Never Give Up: Break the Connection Between Stress and Illness, I make the point that stress from unresolved trauma can make us sick. I admit that the past several months have been highly stressful and I turned to food to medicate me. The result is that I had to have surgery and I’m way overweight. It’s time to follow my own advice and get on a healing journey again.

Please! Don’t ever give up!


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Furthering the Fact: The Correlation Between Stress & Illness

If you’ve been reading my blogs, you may have come up with an opinion about my health status: Gee Alex, your DNA sucks! And though I’m very willing to agree, I just received new information that puts more light on the influence of stress on my illnesses versus my DNA.

I recently went through oncology genetic testing because of my two journeys with Stage IV colon cancer and my family history of cancer. Genetic analysts have found that in the Comprehensive Cancer Panel, I have NEGATIVE cancer genes! So, if I don’t have the genes how did I get cancer?

As I’ve said for years, the cause of my poor health: years of stress from unresolved trauma! This is great news for me personally, but as an advocate for resolving trauma, this news is exceptional. What it translates to is when you decide to resolve past trauma, you not only strengthen your immune system but you will also reduce your risks of inflammation and, possibly, even cancer.

As I’ve said a million times, stress can kill, but now you can take control of your life by dealing with, and coping from, trauma. You can improve your health starting today!

I’m going to celebrate my “negative” news today!!! What news have you received that you’d like to celebrate today.

Here are some suggestions on how to celebrate:

  1. Have a healthy dinner at your favorite restaurant.
  2. Do a “Happy” dance in your kitchen.
  3. Hug your spouse.
  4. Go for a quiet walk in the park.
  5. Say a prayer of “thanks.”
  6. Never Give Up!!!
  7. Never Give Up!!!
  8. Never Give Up!!!

Color your world today!

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Life-Long Effects of Poisoning on Adults – Part 2

pills-575765_1280In Part 1 of my blog, Life-long Effects of Lead Poisoning on Adults, I explained the side effects I have due to lead poisoning as a child. I have many auto-immune diseases and I wondered if the lead affected my immune system. I’m a walking medical petri dish and I want to know if there’s a correlation between lead poisoning as a child and my ill health as an adult. I’m not looking for something or someone to blame – I just want answers to the cause of my many health conditions.

First, let me give you a list of all the health issues I have (no sympathy required): Type 1 diabetes, kidney infection, hypertension, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, Graves’ disease (overactive thyroid), clinical depression, cataracts, sleep apnea, and Stage 4 colon cancer – twice! When I asked my primary physician why I have so many health problems, he basically told me I had a bad gene pool. I accepted his answer with no further questions — until now!

Does lead poisoning in children cause damage to the immune system?

“The simple answer is yes,” says Elizabeth O’Brien from the Lead Education and Abatement Design Group in Australia. She adds, “but the problem is that many other things can cause problems with the immune system, so the only way to determine if lead is the cause is to ask the doctor to do a blood lead test.” She further states that, “Heavy metal exposure may develop autoimmunity as well as immunotoxicity. Autoimmune diseases are those in which an individual’s own immune system attacks one or more tissues or organs resulting in functional impairment, inflammation and sometimes-permanent tissue damage….” This is exactly how diabetes Type 1 is explained in medical journals.

In his work, K.P. Mishra, M.D. wrote an abstract on Lead exposure and its impact on the immune system: a review. He states:

Metal toxicants which affect the immune system may contribute to an increased incidence of autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases and cancer. In the recent past, there has been a growing concern among health and environmental scientists on the impact of environmental exposure to heavy metal lead on human health. In some instances, the immune system appears to be exquisitely sensitive to the toxic heavy metal lead as compared to other toxicological parameters.

In their abstract, Lead and Immune Function, authors R.R. Dietert and M.S. Piepenbrink stated,

The heavy metal lead is a widely deposited environmental toxicant known to impact numerous physiological systems, including the reproductive, neurological, hepatic, renal, and immune systems. Studies illustrating the capacity of lead to impair immune function and/or host resistance to disease date back to at least the 1960s.

Dietert and Piepenbrink also found “…lead exposure can produce a stark shift in immune functional capacity with a skewing predicted to elevate the risk of atopic and certain autoimmune diseases. Age-based exposure studies also suggest that levels of blood lead previously thought as safe, that is, below 10 microg/dl, may be associated with later life immune alterations.”

Hundreds of studies have found links between lead poisoning and: auditory and visual system alterations, behavioral impairment, renal function damage, Parkinson’s Disease, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, neurological disturbances, autism, osteoporosis, asthma, and peripheral artery disease.

What can we do?

The medical conditions above lead me to ask what can we do to prevent all of these health and behavioral effects. Here’s a list:

  1. Don’t panic! Never give up!
  2. Prevent lead poisoning from happening in the first place.
  3. Check the windows and paint in your home for lead if your house was built before 1978.
  4. Remediate all sources of lead in the environment and in your homes.
  5. Give immediate medical attention to children suspected of being lead poisoned.
  6. Require a lead blood test for all adults exhibiting the health problems listed in this blog.
  7. Recommend more research studies in repairing the immune system from lead poisoning.
  8. Provide federal grants to extend all researchers who have a vested interest in the correlation between lead poisoning and the immune system.
  9. Tell us your stories of how lead poisoning has impacted your health as an adult.

This is a HUGE task but a very crucial one. If we want to enhance the quality of life for children and adults with lead poisoning, lower medical costs, and expand current research, we must raise the awareness of life-long effects of lead and find solutions – today!

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The State of Cancer

Alex Butterfly PhotoThe first weekend in August I volunteered at the Forest Lake Relay For Life. If you’re not familiar with Relay it’s an arm of the American Cancer Society (ACS) to raise funds for cancer research, education, and support. I got involved with Relay after my first year of living with cancer. I was a cancer-nerd and knew so little about the disease and how to live with it. Relay introduced me to many survivors and their caregivers, and I learned I was not alone.

By the time this day is over, 1,600 people will die from cancer. This is not a scare tactic but reality. What I learned through Relay is that you can live with cancer and you can survive it but it takes great courage and passion to live with a disease that is both demanding and unpredictable. Demanding because cancer invades your mind, body, and spirit. Cancer causes fear and dread. It makes us take a look at our lives and our deeds. Will my life end? Can I survive? If I survive, how will my body look and feel? The list of personal questions is endless.

Cancer is also unpredictable. I wasn’t supposed to live but I did. It took nine years to be cancer-free and the journey was a difficult one. I won’t lie about that. People who we think will live die, and those we think will die live. What makes the difference?

Some say it’s attitude – having a positive attitude. Some say it’s faith, or hope, or tenacity. I say it’s a decision. I believed from the very beginning that I would live. Sure there were awful times when I couldn’t eat, sleep, think, read, or listen. All I could do was live in the moment. Some of those moments were so long and painful. But my choice was to keep living and I kept living. It’s not magic that helped me survive cancer, it was the people I met and the places I’ve been.

I stood at Relay this year during the balloon release. Hundreds of white balloons were released in the air. I, too, had released a white balloon with my Mom’s name of it. Once released, Mom’s balloon joined all the others as they made their upward climb to heaven. It was a clear night and I could see the balloons getting smaller and smaller. At the moment that I could no longer see my Mom’s balloon I knew in my heart that my balloon kissed my Mom in the sky. I stood there amazed. Then the tears flowed and I couldn’t stop them. I cried on three different shoulders of lovely friends who comforted me in my agony. I miss my Mom and I wish she had beat cancer like I did. But cancer took her life and took away the one person in my world who I knew loved me.

Relay has helped me realize that other people love me, too. Next year I’m going to release two balloons – one for my Mom and one for me. One life gone but never forgotten and one life saved.

The true role of cancer is to make us realize what we have, who we are, and how quickly that can all change. Cancer taught me to never give up – and I won’t!

I invite other cancer survivors to comment on what helped them survive. I’m really interested in what turned your life into living and not dying.


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Exceptional Responders

Exceptional Responders: long-term survivors of late-stage cancer who went into full or partial remission.

I don’t typically like labels because they often incorporate a stereotype, BUT, the “exceptional responder” (ER) is a label I will gladly accept. Why am I an ER? Glad you asked. I had a three-year follow-up colonoscopy last week. I’ll be honest that the thought of going through colon cancer again stirred up some fears. I had to keep reminding myself that the fears were normal and probably 95% more emotion than fact. The results? I’m cancer clean.

I’m an ER because I survived two diagnoses of Stage IV colon cancer. Originally, I had a six-percent chance of survival. The stats were stacked against me but after eight years I’ve outlived remission and am totally cured.

I’m grateful for my oncologist’s treatment knowledge, my surgeons skilled hands, my nurses awesome care, the kind hospital staffs who watched over me and kept me safe, and of course, Rita, and all my friends and family. Cancer takes a village! Mine took a metropolis!

Exceptional responders are tough fighters with a committed plan for survival. Yet, none of us can survive without the blessed help of others.

Some people, like me, live years after being told to get their affairs in order. With advanced care and treatment options, cancer is losing it’s hold on our fears and our bodies. Yet, we still have a lot of learning to do — and that takes money.

Will you help me raise the funds needed to find the cancer cures? I Relay For Life in Forest Lake, MN. This year I want to raise more funds than ever for research and education. I give because I live! Thank you.

I was in a coma after my second liver surgery. This is where the tough get tougher!
I was in a coma after my second liver surgery. This is where the tough get tougher!

Never Give Up!!!

Alexis Acker-Halbur


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National Cancer Day

Wednesday, February 3, designated as “National Cancer Day,” is a very important day for those of us living or knowing someone with cancer. It’s also an important day to remember our loved ones who fought cancer and lost their lives. Yes, cancer is still stealing lives even though great progress has been made to treat it.

Why is cancer so vile? Well, it takes a healthy human body and turns that body into a vacuum filled with toxic cells. These cells are so damaging that some diagnosed cancers can literally take away a life in two weeks. TWO WEEKS from the day of diagnosis! If you value your life or the lives of your loved ones, make sure you/they see a doctor immediately if you suspect something abnormal.

Many cancer cells attack healthy cells and multiply like rabbits, but some cells multiply very slowly. I was told that my Stage IV colon cancer probably started three or four years before it was caught.


This is a reflection of mine while living with cancer. You can find it in my book, Never Give Up: Break the Connection Between Stress and Illness:

What I Learned From Cancer

 A diagnosis of cancer doesn’t mean a death sentence.
Cancer is a wake-up call.
Your attitude is more indicative of your prognosis than a blood test.
Talk honestly about your emotions to strengthen your immune system.
Express your anger in healthy ways.
Serious and life-threatening illnesses are times of personal transformation.
Being positive in the midst of a crisis is very difficult, but do it anyway.
A wonderful life means being and accepting who you are — good and bad.
Practice resilience to help bounce back from Life’s woes.
Pay attention to pain — it’s the body’s way of crying for help.
Breathe deeply, and give yourself additional energy to face difficulties.
Nourishing people accompany you on your journey, while toxic people drain your energy.
There will be days when all you can do is cry, breathe, and survive.
Your loved ones cannot fix you.
Love yourself unconditionally — self-love is the foundation of your being.
Negative feelings weaken your immunity.
Recognize your need for time-outs — it’s better than a major burn-out.
Crying gives your soul a voice, but crying all the time gives you a headache.
Develop friendships that make you feel inspired.
Laughing relieves stress and sometimes the bladder.

–Alexis Acker-Halbur

What does National Cancer Day mean to you? I’d love to hear your replies. And remember, never give up!



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