Tuesday, February 28, 2012

When my storm blew pink- my cancer story prt 5

When the day of my actual cancer surgery arrived we had a problem. My husband had to go see about a possible job. He fluctuated between going and not going, going to see about a job he badly needed or staying with me. I told him to go, my mother was there and I'd be fine. He didn't want to go and promised that he would be back as soon as possible, I watched as he finally left and mom stepped up. I just wanted this mess over with.

The youth minister from our church showed up and talked with me and mom. He prayed with us and then as I was moved from the room for a procedure that had to be done he followed along with mom and sat with her in a waiting area. As I was moved from place to place, mom and the minister followed along. Finally I was going into surgery. I watched as the walls passed by, I watched the ceiling, I saw the doors opening, and I saw no more.

I awoke to voices. It was over. My husband was there. He didn't get the job. He told me that they had got all of the cancer. A nurse asked how I felt and if I thought I could eat anything. I felt like I wanted to go home. I was given crackers and a glass of Ginger ale. After I had finished those I was helped to get dressed, my husband went for the car and I was wheeled down to the car. I was going home. Surgery was over, it was gone. A Lumpectomy- they went in, they got it out and they stitched me up. The surgeon also removed some lymph nodes to test for traces of the cancer. Needing to see if it had spread.

My husband drove carefully and slowly back to the house. He helped me from the vehicle to the bedroom. And that was the last I recalled for a while. I had to sleep off the rest of the anesthesia. My husband went and got the prescription for pain meds filled as our son stayed close by. Off and on during the day I would get up and move about. I called a couple of friends and family one time. The next time up I emailed a few, the next I managed to post on the social network of the day. Brief moments of clarity during a day of foggy brain and upset stomach. I thought, I believed, that the worst was over. I had no idea that 'worst' comes in stages.

One more Day-- What if?

One more day- the latest Relay for Life Challenge. What if--we had one more day? If we could spend one more day with someone special? Do you remember their smile? Do you remember those hugs, the special meals they created or the time spent enjoying those moments together as you enjoyed either a meal they spent time preparing, or even one out at a restaurant you both loved? Maybe it was just cookies and milk-water, soda wine.. out on a bench under that big tree out back. Maybe it was just hearing them whisper- I love you. One more day, what if you had one more day?

Would you walk along that path through the woods?

Would you hold each other and dance in the rain? Under a rainbow? under a full moon?

What if it was a child you wanted one more day with? Would you play in the puddles? Enjoy a county fair? Eat corndogs and cottoncandy until your belly hurt but it wouldn't matter because you had one more day? To hear the laughter and see that precious smile?

What if you had-- one more day?

What if- one more day, kept going?

What if- a cure was found? Because someone cared enough to donate that one more dollar? What if that one more dollar was spent on that one more test and that one more test was that Eureka moment and everything fell into place? What if???

My mother always made the same comment to me when ever I would say "If" "If a hoppy toad had wings it wouldn't bump its butt on the ground" Thanks mom--but I say.. IF, enough people help, IF enough people donate, IF enough people participate, IF we had one more dollar to help find a way, to give people one more day, to celebrate one more birthday... then maybe then, we can help fund the research, help find that Eureka moment and find that cure..no, we'll never be able to bring anyone back for that one more moment- but- we can with help, find the way to have them here just a bit longer..
Won't YOU consider donating to the ACS and support Relay for Life- through time, talent and yes money..won't YOU help create one more day?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

When My Storm Blew Pink 4- my cancer story

It was really kind of amusing thinking about it later. All of the pre-surgery stuff, all of the concern, I was getting nervous as I waited, stretched out on that bed. Then finally, or is that suddenly- I was being pushed down a corridor and into a surgical room. The first thing and the last thing I saw was the enormous lighting and then the lights went out.

When I awoke it didn't seem to be a slow process, one minute I was out of it, the next I was speaking with a nurse who was asking me how I felt. "Ready to go home" brought a smile and an offer of a pack of crackers and drink. I wasn't there long before I was allowed to dress and be helped to the waiting car. My husband watched my every move and asked if I wanted anything. "Coffee." I hadn't been allowed to drink or eat anything prior to the surgery and I wanted my coffee. Which he dutifully obliged me with.

As we were finally pulling into the driveway I was sick, very gut wrenchingly sick. Getting into the house I crawled gratefully into bed. This, I decided was not any fun at all.

As the days passed I waited for the results that I already knew the results of. I didn't say a lot, I would mention it in passing on one of the social media sites I frequented but I tried to not say much. I didn't want to upset my family any more than I could help.

When the day came that I would get the results of the surgical biopsy I sat waiting in that little room, knowing what was coming but still ill prepared. I watched as the surgeon entered followed by an assistant. The assistant waited near the door as the surgeon sat down on that examining table beside me. Carefully and calmly she told me that my results were positive, I had breast cancer. Having already come to terms with the fact of cancer I looked at her and calmly told her, "You know what it is, you know where it is, take care of it." The assistant left the room quietly.

I'll be honest in that what the surgeon told me next, I don't recall. I know it was a lot of explaining as to what type cancer and how bad she thought it might be. What the options were, and what treatments might be needed. One step at a time, one step at a time.

There would need to be some more pre-surgery stuff done, Some more blood tests, x-rays and such. And of course a thousand more questions. It seemed like the surgery date was a life time away, and yet it arrived so quickly.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

This year, I Relay for......

I share my story, because my story is what I know. I know that I was blessed in that my cancer was caught early. A lumpectomy and radiation treatments followed by medication. While I had a rough time for a while it was nothing at all like what some people go through. I know that and will be the first to admit that fact.

When I had the surgery, the anesthesia made me sick afterwards. If I got out of bed I had to hold the wall for a long time as I was so dizzy. I didn't really have too much pain, either that or I handle pain well as I managed it with over the counter pain pills. The radiation treatments left me exhausted, changed my diet radically and forever (which is really a good thing). I learned how to keep putting one foot in front of the other even when it felt that I was doing good to be upright and breathing. All of that was in 2008--here it is 2012 and I'm finally feeling human again. I'm figuring out the right vitamins and supplements to take and my energy and focus is much better. I am blessed and I know that to be true.

I also know--

I lost my Grandmother to brain tumors. A sweet, loving lady. A gentile lady with a heart of gold and steel determination that her grandkids would do right. I have photos where you could tell she wasn't feeling well, but by the time she was diagnosed, it was too late.

I lost an aunt to cancer, I lost an uncle to Leukemia.

I have friends who suffered, who battled and who won.

But I know of.....

Of a young man who fought the good fight. For four years he battled, struggled with and at times seemed to be beating cancer. Treatment after treatment he endured. Left so weak at times he seemed barely alive. Then there were the good times, the times spent with family when one thought maybe, just maybe. It wasn't meant to be. He was young in years when he lost his fight, but he had shown the strength and determination of ten grown men as he battled. He knew the risks of each treatment. He knew that he might suffer pain or side effects but he took the chance, in some instances fought for the chance to try this or that treatment as the treatments had not been approved yet. Along the way people grew to love him more, appreciate him, acknowledge his strength. He posted his testimony on Youtube, so that others would understand his thoughts, his beliefs, his journey.

I know of another young man, recently diagnosed. A young man who has been my son's friend for years, who spent so much time here that I called him my "other son". James spent as much time hanging out at his house that his mom was calling James her other son as well. The most recent update I was given on his status is that his cancer has spread and is a stage four. He has cancer in one lung and his liver. He will soon begin Chemotherapy. The last time I saw him he was tall and muscular. I saw his photo online and almost cried, he had lost weight because of the pain he had already endured. He has a rough road ahead of him, but he believes he can beat this. He has another doctor's appointment Monday, his mother is hoping he can fly in for a visit before his treatments start.

How many people, how many children, have gone through this? How much suffering must one endure? How strong, do people have to be when they are diagnosed? How...do we put a stop to this?

In 2008 I began participating in Relay for Life, I was doing it as a survivor. I sought to help raise money in the hopes of funding a cure, funding a preventive each time I participated in a fundraising event. Each step that I took I hoped to raise awareness of cancer and the pain of those who fight and of their caregivers. I walked, in the hope of helping to create more survivors and more birthdays. This year, I will walk in memory of Russell and his fight. I will also walk for Brandon and the battle that is ahead of him. This year, I will participate in Relay for all of those who are not here to walk, whoa re unable to walk, and join with those who are there. I will participate in Relay, in memory and in honor. I will walk, in the hope that we will find a cure for Cancer in our life time, and no one else, young or not so young will ever suffer from such a terrible disease ever again. A disease that touches so many every day.

It is not now or ever my intent to use someone or their memory for selfish purposes. It is my sole intent here to honor those who currently fight, and those who have lost theirs. I do not mean to make less of them, for I know that for those who have gone on, their loved ones still hurt, still miss them, wishing that they were still here, wanting to give them one more hug, hear them speak one more time hear their laughter..I know that so many people wish they had never heard the word cancer. Much less had to deal with it. So do not think what I have written or what I may write in the future is meant to just use them..it is not, it is meant to honor, to keep their memory alive, it is a way to help encourage others to honor them as well by helping to fight something as ugly as cancer..and maybe, just maybe help one more person stay with their families a little longer.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Warrior waiting reinforcements..

I am a breast cancer survivor. If you have read much of what I have written you know that..and I am currently posting my story in my Relay for Life blogs one part at a time. The reason for that is I know that we are a busy society. We all have so much going on at a time that we simply do not have time to spend sitting and reading - which is a sad statement coming from a writer, but I am also a realist. So I share in parts. That is not the main reason I am writing this. Not only am I a breast cancer survivor I am a strong supporter for the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life.

Don't run away..there is a point to this.

As I said, I am a survivor. My cancer was diagnosed in Feb. of 2008. I had a lumpectomy, went through radiation and have been cancer free since. I know of others who have had cancer. They under went various forms of treatment and currently like me are cancer free. Unfortunately I have also lost friends and family to cancer. I know of people who have lost loved ones to this terrible disease. A disease that doesn't care, it attacks and does its worst.

When I was diagnosed, the most difficult thing for me to do was tell my family. My husband was out of town- he was on a bus on his way to go through orientation for a truck driving job. A job that he didn't get, but that was at the moment a good thing. Still, I had to call and tell him over the phone, I had cancer. My mother you could tell was prepared, she knew as I did long before the official diagnoses. One of my brothers was an entirely different story. I will never, ever forget the look on his face. At first he couldn't even look at me. He looked everywhere else but at me. I hadn't told him, mom did. Its terrible watching someone having to face the mortality of life. It was breaking my heart watching my brother not know what to say, how to act. There were no jokes or smart-aleck comments coming from him. Before I walked away I had him smiling and looking at me again. I had to, I could not leave him in that state.

I've learned a lot since my battle. I pretty much went through my battle alone. Oh my church family asked how I was, they sent cards making sure I knew they were praying for me. When they would ask I'd tell them I was fine. I was exhausted, I was somewhat alone, there were times I wanted to just find a corner and hide. Those things I never spoke out loud. It showed to the people who cared to look. Those that would actually stop and ask..and I'd smile and tell them I was doing okay. They didn't really believe it, but they didn't push. I didn't know, what I know now.

Nearing the end of my cancer treatments I got involved with Relay for Life. I have met some very well informed people, I have met people with a passion for this greater than mine. I have sat and listened to how people who have been touched by cancer fight with what ever means they have.

The American Cancer Society does not focus on one single cancer. It works to fund research to fight them all. While some cancers get more attention, there are those who are dying from the ones you rarely hear of. More research is needed. People come up with all manner of ideas. They may have an idea for a new medicine, a new type of treatment, a new form of surgery. It is all written up and turned in to be considered. There is the stack that is put into the have funding file and then there is the stack that occupies the "pay if" file. Pay if.. the money is there. Tomoxifin came from the pay if file.

The ACS has resources for those that call their 800 number( 1.800.ACS.2345 ) needing information, for themselves or for someone they know. There is always someone there manning the phones. There is always someone manning the web site ( www.cancer.org ) ready to help. One of the items available is an information kit. The individual battling cancer can get this folder to keep all of their information in one place. Reports from doctors, test results, medicines..all in one place, readily available when needed. There is always someone to answer questions, or simply to talk.

The ACS has what is called a Look Good Feel Good program. For those under going chemo and who loose their hair, there are wigs, scarves and hats available. There is someone who can help the survivor with makeup tips.

They have a program that will get the survivor back and forth to treatments, to make sure they are able to get their medicine.

There are programs that will help pay for medicines, that will help make sure that the patient/warrior/ survivor doesn't go without food.

It isn't all research, even as research plays a large part. Its about the people. All of the people that I have worked with are individuals who care greatly. They see the need, they have been touched in some way and have become determined to make a difference. I have seen people come in with fire in their eyes and compassion in their heart. You can feel the energy coming from them and see the results.

Cancer is not silent. You can hear the wails of those who have lost loved ones. You can hear the cries of those suffering- even if the fighter says not a word.. you can see and hear their pain in your heart. With every individual who walks away a survivor there is a celebration. They will see and enjoy another birthday. Their family and friends will get to spend more time with them.

That is why I do what I do. I want a world without cancer. I do research on my own. I post blogs sharing some of the things I have found. I share my story and I share my thoughts and feelings. But more importantly I support Relay for Life. I participate, I spend the night walking with other survivors. I walk with those who are care givers. I walk with those who walk because for what ever reason their loved one can't. I ask, I beg, I make the awareness ribbons in hopes of raising money to support this group. I offer up my photography in hopes of raising money, portions of the sales from my books goes to Relay. All because I want other people to be able to celebrate. I want to help fund the research to end this. I want it that no one else will have to see the pain in the eyes of those they love because they just found out they have cancer.

I fully support the ACS and Relay for Life-won't you?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Does an apple (peel) a day keep the cancer away?

Research, I love doing research. Especially if it gives me advice on how I can help keep myself healthy and work toward preventing cancer from returning.

Those who know me will readily agree that before my battle with cancer I was not among the most healthy of eaters. I did (and do) love chocolate. I could put away a bag of Hershey's kisses or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in one sitting. A balanced diet was a Honey Bun in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other, or better yet an RC Cola. That all changed once I was diagnosed with breast cancer and began the radiation treatments. Now, my diet is much more healthy, consisting of a variety of fruits and vegetables, less red meat and almost no soda. To keep my diet varied I do a lot of research to find the 'good things' to eat and recipes to make them interesting.

Today's topic of choice is..the apple, and the benefits it brings to our health.

The first thing that must be noted is that the research on the benefits of all "good for you" foods is ongoing and that it has not been proven that consuming these foods will actually prevent or treat cancer but the results are proving promising.

What is it about apples that make them a good choice in staying healthy? Cornell researchers in 2007 identified a dozen compounds in the apple peel that either inhibit or kill cancer cells A review done of the peels of the Red Delicious apples showed 29 compounds with antioxidant and cancer fighting properties."..... several compounds have potent anti-proliferative activities against human liver, colon and breast cancer cells and may be partially responsible for the anti-cancer activities of whole apples," says Rui hai Liu, Cornell associate professor of food science.* "Some compounds were more potent and acted differently against the various cancer cell lines, but they all show very potent anti-cancer activities and should be studied further," said Liu.

Phytochemicals, known as phenolics or flavonoids, are found in apples and other fruits and vegetables. Phytochemicals and phytonutrients (compounds found in plants) found within the apple act as antioxidents against LDL, the damaging portion of cholesterol. Rich in pectins, soluble fibers, has been demonstrated in being effective in lowering cholesterol levels.

Eating fruits and vegetables have been found to reduce the risk of coronary disease. Reduce the risk of a variety of cancers. Those who consume apples have been found to have a much better lung function. Eating apples may reduce the incidence of several cancers-breast, colorectal, esophageal, oral, ovarian, and prostate.

Apples are relatively gentle on blood sugar levels.

Apple extracts have been shown to promote the growth of several probiotics in the colon while also inhibiting the growth of two pathogenic bacteria.

This is only a partial list of the benefits of apples and apple juice. It has been proven that eating a healthy diet consisting of a variety of fruits and vegetables will help one to remain healthier. Their beneficial properties going a long way to prevent cancer and as stated a host of other diseases. All packed in one easy to carry with you package. Apples have been identified as the greatest source of antioxidants and cellular antioxidant activity in the American diet. With so many different types of apples available, there should be one for every taste and preference..

So that old saying may just be true.. and apple ( with peel) a day keeps the doctor away.

One thing I might mention. Unless you are eating organic, or fruit where you know how it was grown wash the fruit thoroughly before eating to remove any pesticides that may have been used.

All of the above is just bits and pieces of what I found online. You can read the full reports here..


ScienceDaily: An Apple Peel a Day Might Keep Cancer At Bay




Mailonline" Apple peel-the secret weapon against cancer


From the Core:


Times of India:









healthyfellow.com/ Apples and Cancer protection



Tuesday, February 7, 2012

When my Storm blew pink prt 2 of my cancer story

It wasn't long before I had an appointment scheduled with a surgeon. The very word surgeon had me nervous. Not because of what I might find out-but because I have a spring loaded foot. Yes, I am notorious about opening mouth and inserting foot. Even without meeting this doctor I could see myself saying something absolutely ridiculous. I am also very adept at getting lost, and being someone who doesn't go very far alone I could just see me doing exactly that when I went to find the office.

When the time came for my appointment I left work and drove over. I only missed the road I was supposed to turn onto once. I found the office and went inside to sign in. There posted on the window was a notice that the doctor was running late. I could reschedule or I could wait. I decided to wait...and wait..and wait. If I am forced to be still for too long, I get sleepy. By the time my name was finally called I was fighting sleep like mad. I'm sure the people around me must have wondered, but I did not allow myself to look around. I stood and followed the person who had called me. We went through the regular exam stuff and then she left me to wait on the doctor.

I was not expecting the person who entered that examining room. The Good Lord was looking out for me because He sent me to this wonderfully "I am who I am, accept it" doctor. She was dressed in a manner that was definitely different and definitely fit her personality. I knew immediately that I liked this person. We talked for a few minutes over what the radiologist thought they saw on the images. She wanted to do her own ultrasound. Telling me to undress from the waist up she went for her portable ultrasound machine. By the time she returned I was ready.

As she performed the test I watched the screen. I still had no idea what I was looking at but she did. And she kept returning to the same area that the technician had at the Imaging Center. When she began to show me what she was looking at and explaining mouth popped into action. When she said that the area had no real form I told her it looked like a cat--so did that in fact make what she was doing a cat scan? um, no.

After a discussion it was decided that she would do a needle biopsy. Calling for her assistant she said something about a doing the needle biopsy because of something that was seen on the cat scan..the look on that lady's face was priceless. But the needle biopsy? That actually hurt. I mean that really hurt. Some places just were not designed for needles. I returned to work in a bit of pain that took quite a few over the counter pain pills to ease. I had a week before I would know the results. All I could do now was wait-- hope-- and pray.

Monday, February 6, 2012

My story- when my storm blew pink

                                       me-right after I completed my radiation treatments in 2008

I had decided that I would not share my cancer story again this year. My thoughts were that I had told it every year from the very beginning. Every one had heard or read it. But then I realized that I am on different 'social' sites now and I have new friends that have not heard my story. I do not share this as a means to get sympathy, I don't want it, or actually need it. My cancer is gone- has been gone, and I'm doing fine. My story is one not unlike so many others- except for the fact that it is my story. My life, my battle.. only..I knew from the very beginning, that in this battle I was not alone. And I knew, that no matter what happened, how it turned out, I'd be fine.

I went for a physical right after my fiftieth birthday. As important as they are, I honestly dislike getting a physical. They are uncomfortable, embarrassing and your imagination can only take you so far away from what is going on. But I digress. On this particular visit my doctor decided that it was time I had a mammogram. In the past he had said that the density of the breast tissues were such that he didn't think I needed one yet, but now it was time. I shrugged and agreed for them to set up the appointment. I was not in the least concerned as there was no history of breast cancer in my family. No history no worries right? Wrong.

I went for my first mammogram not really knowing what to expect other than the fact I was going to be very uncomfortably mashed. The people there were very nice, very helpful. After all was said and done I was told that being this was my first mammogram and that they had nothing to compare to that I might be called back for more images and if that happened not to worry. I smiled, said okay and returned to the dressing room. Leaving I waved and headed for home. When the letter came saying they needed to take more images I wasn't worried. I had been told this might happen. So here it was the day after Christmas, everyone else was headed for the stores and mom and I were sitting in somewhat uncomfortable chairs waiting my turn to go back for more mangling. Afterwards we would hit the stores.

When my name was called I left my coat and purse with mom and followed the person who had called me. Stepping into the designated dressing room I got ready. When I was called again I followed the next person to 'the Mangler'. I was all nonchalant about it until I realized she was just doing one side. Over and over again. I was asked a couple of times to wait while she took the images to the doctor. I was then told that I could get dressed but that they wanted to do an ultrasound. I was beginning to get just a tad bit nervous.

Once I was dressed I was lead back to the waiting area. The lady leading the way was chatting away about silly things. She was actually babbling and that did not help my nerves that were beginning to get on edge. I told mom what they wanted and she got the deer in the headlights look. We didn't have long to wait before my name was called again. I guess that going the day when everyone else was out shopping helped in that aspect. Lead off in a different direction I followed the leader into a room where I was told to get undressed from the waist up, put on a lovely paper vest and wait. It was really, really cold in that room. Thankfully I didn't have to wait too terribly long before the technician came in and began the tests. I had no clue what I was looking at but they obviously did. She kept going back to the same area over and over again. Something, that I was sure I didn't want, was there. Of course they weren't going to tell me anything, that was going to be left to my doctor.

After the tests were completed and I was dressed I was told I would be hearing something soon. Mom and I left, but I wasn't too much in the mood for shopping now and neither was she. We did try, but we gave up quickly and went home. All I could do now was wait.
to be continued......