All posts tagged: cancer support

the joy of roses

Cancer Number Three and RA

  It is almost a month since I had a robotic radical hysterectomy and it has been four days since I had my first chemo. I feel pretty good all things considered. Additionally, a minor surgical procedure placed a power injectable SMART PORT under my skin connected to a catheter that was threaded into my jugular vein and down to my superior vena cava creating fast access to my body’s circulation.  It is not as bad as it sounds. Sloan Kettering has a PDF that explains the procedure. My skin has been tender, but the lidocaine ointment works and relieves the discomfort. My RA is complaining with all joints hurting morning and again evening time. Walking hurts my feet even though I have custom shoes and custom triple layer inserts.  I am glad I take methotrexate injections, Plaquenil and meloxicam. I take 6 mg Medrol and can boost the dose into a dose pack if needed. So far, I am holding steady. With RA I think it is important to move. Aerobics are nice but …

Living with and Beyond Cancer

                    Come and be supported. This will be the best conference ever. You can register on the cancer support now web site.  I am on the board of this organization and also on the committee for this conference. I became involved with it after completing radiation therapy for breast cancer and for thyroid cancer. It is a port in the storm for cancer survivors. I will be at the registration table. Come say hello.

Ruth explains RESET

The delicacy of the mahogany writing desk. Petite. Leather inlay surface. Slender wood turned legs. Just right for Ruth.  She sat back straight in her neat smoothed dress. Her eyes twinkled in greeting. “I need help,” I said. She glanced toward the strait backed chair next to the desk. I sat. “I am discouraged. Exhausted. Defeated. Weak. Worried.  In pain. All of it in a jumbled pile in my mind. Too much.” She smiled her little smile as she looked into my eyes. “It does sound like too much,” she agreed.  “It weighs like an anchor on your soul leaving you feeling stuck. You need relief.”  She understood as always.  “Maybe it is time to RESET yourself. You are overloaded with tough stuff.” “Let’s have tea and sit in the big cozy chairs, “she suggested. As we sipped our tea and munched on lemon cookies with buttercream frosting, she explained the process. The first and most important RESET step is the Purge. The purpose is to empty the mind of all concern. Meditation can be too …

Managing RA and commitments

I made a big accomplishment recently that makes me very happy.  I  completed my role as planning committee member for Cancer Support Now’s 4th Annual  Long-Term Effects of Cancer Survivorship Conference.  The event was successful. I could see it being valuable to attendees just like it was for me  last year.  I had loved it. Felt grateful for it. I had wanted to be involved in it. Being involved had meant crossing town at 5 pm for planning meetings.  Crossing town just at the time when  the pain and the fatigue of RA  increased for me was a big one. I made the decision to go. It was the first big commitment I had made since my odyssey of two cancers and a diagnosis of progressive RA began. I made the meetings. The conference was coming together. The Monday of the event I woke to severe pain in all my joints. It was not good. The problem with RA is that it is totally unpredictable. Severe fatigue or severe pain are random occurrences.   The pain kept getting worse with passing hours. …

RA and cancer support

Cancer and RA seem to go hand in hand. Shortly after I was diagnosed with RA,  I was diagnosed with two different cancers, thyroid cancer and then breast cancer.  I had the big C hanging over me like a grey cloud, leading me down the cancer road with all the usual experiences.  After surgeries and after radiation treatments, I started looking for help, for support. I found it with the Cancer Support Now Third Annual Long Term Effects of Cancer Survivorship Conference.  A long name worth repeating as I became totally impressed with this organization. Dava Gerard, MD, a respected physician in the cancer field, gave the talk ¨The Journey: From Surviving to Thriving¨.  It was just what I needed.  Arti Prasad, MD presented ¨Holistic Cancer Survivorship¨.  Again excellent. There were breakout sessions. Free lunch from Jason’s Deli. The morning had started with a generous breakfast. I felt welcomed and very glad to be there. Since then, I have joined the board of Cancer Support Now and am on the committee for this year’s conference. Both are big commitments …

Susan

I said goodby to Susan today.  She has  had a very interesting time of it.  Her life was full.  No one can ask for more.  I knew her for a brief period.  I was glad of it.  It was an important period in her life as well as in mine. I met her at a cancer support group.  She was angry as she had recently learned of a serious metastasis.  I had had a whirlwind bout  with a diagnosis of RA and sequentially two cancers.  I was trying to process as well as she. I saw her as the chemo failed and as she was denied her favorites of swimming and yoga.  I saw her as the last chemo drug failed.  She lost her anger and frustration.  She seemed to mellow.  Then she moved on.  She became engaged in planning her exit. The last day in our breast cancer group, we made bracelets.  She gave me her’s.  She used red beads as I was wearing red that day.  We had our final hug. She has …

How to tell a charlatan

I met my first  charlatan last week. I’m sure I’ve known other ones.  A charlatan presents as someone who is an authority on a subject when in fact she’s not. She often times is looking to profit from her faulty information, but not always. This woman approached me at a cancer class. She said my cancer was caused by an imbalance in my body. She could cure me. Doctors were clueless. Nurses were clueless, too. I really needed to go to her program and learn about the acid-alkaline diet. ( A friend had already given me a book on the subject.) I would be better. I would feel better. She didn’t have a card and mentioned she did a lot of other things. She wrote her info on the back of one of her other cards. Contact me, she said. To me the fundamental  sign of a charlatan is her attitude that she know best and that all the other resources in the world are bogus. There are too many good resources in the world. …

evolution of a cancer mind

On Thursday I go to the Caring Hearts Cancer Support Group. This is at the Presbyterian Cancer Center in Albuquerque. It runs in blocks of six weeks. Lunch is served and discussion is 1.5 hours. Since I have been going, the hospital chaplain has been the facilitator. She is excellent. I have benefited immeasurably from my visits. The discussion turned to how we felt about our diagnosis. I never had the moment. I seemed to slide from one revelation to the next. I was not angry. I was too confused to be scared. I was always recovering from a treatment. I was exhausted and fatigued. My concern was having to spend my life in that state.  I am inclined to believe what people tell me and they did say fine fine fine. First  it was the severe rheumatoid arthritis (seven months to become manageable). Next was thyroid cancer. Not bad you will do fine. Next it was breast cancer(small but invasive) You will be fine. Next was more tests. More cancer. We need to move …

Be brave. You can fight this thing.

Be brave.                                                                                                                                                     You can fight this thing.                                                                                                                            You must have a good attitude.                                                                                                                 Be positive.                                                                                                                                                        Don’t cry!       Men are not supposed to cry.                                                                                              You are not going to die. Cheer up. How does one express fear when told to be brave and fight? How does one express a searing feeling of helplessness? Fight what exactly? A cancer patient has a good attitude every day when he wakes up and wishes his cancer is gone, but still knowing in the recesses of his heart that it is still be there and he still gets out of bed and carries on. A cancer patient is brave every day when he accepts the changes that have come into his life and he is able  to come to terms with the reality that life will never be the same again. A cancer patient has a positive  attitude when he endures all the insults his body will endure for the sake of treatment. Calling it a treatment doesn’t make it less barbaric or less invasive. A cancer …