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How has life changed for you as a cancer survivor? So many times, I hear someone say "my life is so different now," or "cancer changes you." In exploring this idea a bit more, it's not so much about the physical changes that take place, but also the emotional and spiritual changes.
I remember talking with a woman who had just had breast cancer surgery. She was in her early 40's, with a husband and teenage daughters. She wasn't so concerned about the physical changes that she had undergone, but mentioned how her family relationships had changed. She said that she was closer than ever with her family. She was very open with her daughters about everything that she was experiencing. She was honest about her feelings and talked with them about genetic testing and planning for their future as well. They had a great way of giving strength to each other through open and honest communication.
Many times, religious faith is strengthened, family members take on new roles, and friendships bring new meaning. Personal perspectives, priorities and habits can all be a bit different than before your diagnosis. These changes can be positive or negative and present new challenges that you haven't had to deal with before.
Please write in and share with others how cancer has changed you.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
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Just 72 hours after SHOCKING news that I, a Never smoker had lung cancer diagnosis, I was in surgery at Mayo Clinic RST MN. Just weeks
after surgery, I was invited to partake in a "Paced Breathing Research Study" taught by Dr Amit Sood. That was 6 years ago. 20 months
ago I set a goal to run a 5K race in every state. I just completed my
41st state and I finished 2nd & received a silver medal. I run just under a 10 minute mile...with my paced breathing DVD guiding my every breath.
This past summer, I was afforded the opportunity to partake in one of
Dr Soods 6 month coursed that has also helped my Quality Of Life filled with gratitude and hope and so many other positive things...empower me to Run for lung cancer awareness and hopefully research funding for my
amazing Mayo Clinic Teams. Lung Cancer as a never smoker made me angry enough to rise above the challenges that the ignorance of lung cancer can shame you, unfairly with! Without the support of my doctors at Mayo Clinic and their state of the art programs my cancer has been a blessing! Mayo CLinic "STRESS FREE LIVING" is a must for everyone. Read it and live, love and truly live life as never before.
I found out I had uterine and cervical cancer the same day my husband of 19 years told me he wanted a divorce. And shortly after the separation, we filed tor bankruptcy. Within one week of my diagnosis, I moved with my two young kids to an apartment, and a week after that, had my first surgery. I was out of work for months, and my parents moved 1000 miles to help out. I had the support of fabulous friends and even my ex. It was real hard for the first 9 months following the diagnosis.(the hardest part, for me, was the constant appointments. I couldn't get away from my cancer and its effects, ever! Once I wasn't at the doctors so often I was much better.) Since then, I've changed some things in my life for the better- I work less and spend more time with the kids. I worry about money less often, I'm content with less, and I don't sweat the small stuff. I have a loving and supportive boyfriend. I'm excited about the future!
He was always banging on the wall. When I went to him, he would say he wanted to fall on the ground, stuff like that. He wouldn't let us wash him, and I had to hold his one moving hand not to touch his diaper, while my mom was trying to bathe him. I am sorry for the details, I just need to explain. It was really hard. He wouldn't listen to yelling or normal talking; but we all lost our temper many times. I feel so guilty about that because, he wouldn't say why he did all these things. We thought he didn't have a reason.
Then, a few days before I left, he said that it hurt him, a lot. He said that for the first time, at least in my presence. Also, one time we were bathing him, and he hit me for trying to hold his hand, that was common, but my aunt asked him how he could do that. He tried to hug me with his one movable hand. I cried so much; he could still recognize me and he was sorry. These two incidents showed me so much, I felt so guilty, so stupid. I couldn't move from his bedside for the days I had left at home. Then, I had to leave, and two weeks later he was dead.
I am telling you all of this because I can't really talk to my friends about that. I've shared similar concerns, but they wanna be supportive and say that we did our best.
I am afraid we didn't. I am really confused, and it hurts so much that I look for different outlets. I thought maybe somebody here would understand better, say something, even to reproach me. Sorry for the long message
Continued from previous comment...
I think, we were doing a good job of being supportive up to the point when he became immobile. I was away from home during this transition, but I would call every singe day to check on the whole situation. Then, I didn't notice, but now I go back to a single incident that makes me fear that this was an often occurrence.
My father had started to lose some sense of reality at the time, I think. So this one time I was talking to my mom on the phone and he wouldn't stop calling her wanting something random, I could hear. She asked me to hang up, so she could give him what he wanted, but she didn't hang up by accident, and I could hear her yell at him. I know it was hard for her, because besides him, she was probably seeing the worst of it; she was his main caregiver, but that was still too much for me, and I yelled at her about it.
Still, I wasn't there to control that. When I went back for X-mas the father I knew was no longer there. He was basically a child, as I already explained. I am afraid that not only the disease got to him. I don't know whether this yelling cases weren't too frequent, maybe that made him aggressive, and it kills me to not know. It tortures me to not know whether we worsened him or not.
At first I was really calm with my father, because I remembered the incident I described. However, as I stayed more at home, I saw what it was like to be at home with dad being like that 24/7.
To be continued...
I don't know where else to write about this.
I am not a cancer patient; my father was.He died a few months ago. We lost him to brain tumor.
It was an ugly death. He lost total control of his body and his thoughts. He basically became a child in his actions- aggressive and unyielding. He lost touch with reality.
The reason I am writing here is that I feel we didn't do a good job of supporting him and relieving his pain. I am tortured by this thought. My father was a strong and lively person. He used to make jokes about losing control of his body. He never complained that it hurt or something like that. It hurt seeing the life being sucked out of him.
We knew he was dying. I think his strong behavior and the knowledge of his impending death got us so used to the thought that we felt he was used to it too. I think that we knew we were gonna hurt after he passed, and we were okay with that, so that we didn't burden him, but we forgot he was going to be in pain before his death; pain that we had to alleviate. I am afraid we didn't manage to this.
As I said, he was strong; the strongest person I've known. I feel that he allowed himself to just give up on life for the first and final time in his life after I moved out to go to college. I went back home a month later, and he had started using a wheelchair and not going to the bathroom alone. Progressively he became totally immobile.
I am gonna continue this to a second comment. I'm sorry, but I am desperate
Cancer is the ultimate equalizer: men, women, young, old, around the corner or across the country we are all the same. We are not encumbered by race, creed, ethnicity or political persuasion because we have come to understand that we are all the same, sharing the same pain and fear of the unknown.
If there are no support groups in your area, think about how you might be able to start something yourself. I’m not sure how you would begin but maybe start by contacting the American Cancer Society for guidance, or your local hospital administrator. Even if the group is small, you’ll each have someone who understands what you’re going through. We all deserve compassion and validation and who better to give us what we need. Sheryl, perhaps you can offer some advice here.
Lisa (July 22, 2010) - Your story reminded me of a school friend of my daughter who ended up living out of her car while undergoing extremely painful treatments, and the unpleasant side effects, while her family refused to even acknowledge her situation. Fortunately, my daughter realized what was going on and sent her hotel money until her treatments were finished; then moved her across country to provide a safe, healthy environment during recovery. Remember: we are not failures because we got cancer. Amazingly, even in this day and age, there is a stigma surrounding this disease. Some people are still afraid that exposure will somehow put them at risk. Perhaps it’s their own fear that makes them view us as weak, when we are anything but. I'm hopeful that your life is back on-track and you've found support in the many good people that are out there.
Linda - I'm only now reading your post from last year and hope more than anything that you’ve been able to find some solutions for yourself and your family. There are too many stories like yours but it’s often difficult to make suggestions because where we live and what facilities/doctors are available is different for each of us. A free publication I picked up the last time I visited my oncologist “Caring4Cancer” is also available as a website http://www.caring4cancer.com and offers so much excellent information. One of the areas they discuss is financial support. There are many pharmaceutical companies that can assist with providing drugs at little or no cost depending on your circumstances. No one should go without treatment and there are resources the cancer patient.
so far not for the better that i can see. i am still so angry. the first two years i appeared to sail through but after that the reality hit me. the boob job had really failed. boyfriend left. job was never coming back and my hair was falling out for the second time. i also had a brain inoperable brain aneurysm. i am going into therapy in hopes for a positive change but it doesn't always turn out like a bed of roses and i doubt i am alone in that fact.
I was diagnosed with DCIS in my right breast on my 4th wedding anniversary and told the entire breast was full of cancer and I needed a full right mastectomy on my 48th birthday! Wow, did it change my life! My husband and 20 yr old son were my biggest supporters, but I had fantastic friends too! I had a year of chemo and radiation...missing work, sick as a dog, hurting to walk...the Kojack look became me too! I am a very sarcastic person so I cracked jokes thru it all. My hubby had all my friends and his motorcycle club in the lobby to congratulate me when I came out after my last radiation, then we went to lunch. I couldn't have done it without him. I spent last year in reconstructive surgery which was awful but I wanted it and it was worth it for the end result. I'm closer to my family and close friends. I thank the powers that be for them. I'm a volunteer for the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life now! I lost some wonderful friends along the way and I'm still in touch with some that are fighting the good fight. Chemo and early menopause have affected my memory so much that I can hardly read anymore, words fail me, my memory isn't there anymore...I don't feel like I'm myself; I have insomnia and hot flashes...BUT I'M ALIVE AND IN REMISSION. Cancer picked on the wrong b*tch!!!
I am now listed as a survivor. My cancer has been in remission for 5 years. Reading the blogs and comments here has reinvigorated me to get back into shape. I was 39 years old when cancer struck, and I kept my condition hidden from my family and work partners. No one noticed until I started missing work and our Major demanded a Doctor's note as to why I was taking so much time off that anyone found out. After that, I found I had the full support of my family, friends, and work partners that I could go through my chemo and radiation whole heartedy. I hope and pray that anyone wanting information on coping with cancer will visit this site and take inspiration from it. I know I have, as I had Colon, Upper GI, and another tumor between my stomach and lung during my treatments. I am a 20 year Police Officer, but more than that, I am a survivor.
i have invasive lobular carcinoma and a very abusive family of origin. i have never married and live alone with two cats. the last thing on god's earth i want is a bunch of jeering fanatics in some church or other cheer leading me on as if i am in some sort of olympic contest to prove that i " can handle whatever god throws at me and what ho how are things today .. jollying along with the merry old cancer are we god really cares you know and by the way i am expecting my seventh just stopped breastfeeding the last one pregnant again you knwo ho ho is not exactly what i want to hear when my life expectancy is now forty two months .. please realise that other people don't want, have not asked for and would feel utterly revolted by your grinning mania when they are literally on their death bed. thank you
My family connections have definitely become closer. My husband is my rock. Some folks are uneasy about talking about my not so good prognosis. My husband and I can discuss it all. I will say that although I still have a spiritual connection to nature, I've pretty much dismissed the idea of an omnipotent god. I was taught that God keeps his eyes even on the sparrows. Well,, the birds around my house hit the windows and die on a regular basis. I see good people suffer and can't believe this god anymore. Some friends are now closer yet some have drifted and I understand that.
2 Years ago my Husband lost his Job & our insurance. In 2010 I got Triple Negative Breast Cancer! How Brutal. I was 19 & Pregnant when I found my Bio mom dying from it. She was 46. She never shared if I had family or a Dad. Now its my turn! And I'm near her age. I'm longtime Married with Daughters & grand babies! How Hard it is to do this SO poor. And down on our luck! No money, decent car, gas or meds for needful help or relief! So Brutal! I'm alive. With no quality of life! Those 3 Brutal Chemo Caused me so many hardships and overwhelming pain! From head to toe! You Think having Bad teeth before was hard!? Worse so Now! Migraines for now 32 years! I can't trust my body. I can't trust my hands, feet, legs, knees Etc.. Horrible nueporgtyh. Prickly Hot flashes like dozens of pins & needles poke me all at once.No sleep. No decent food. And soon my Husband's unemployment will run out. We'll have Zero income! I feel like a burden and am hopeless! Is there any Life, management or healing? I'm not finding or feeling any.. Does it get any better!? I also had 35 days of radiation. Sore Ribs that stick out and Hurt! And my Chemo port that hardly worked. It Throbs there Every since. During this my Surgeon Quit! To run for State Senate. My main Dr. Quit & so did the radiologist. Pure Sadness, pain and endless problems Galore! I'm Alive but I did it for my Dear husband! I hope it can get Better! But How?Anyone do it without money & needful Meds.? I'm on Nothing!
I've had cancer three times, starting in 1998. The first one was thymoma, the thymus gland next to the heart and lungs. It had spread, stage III and left me somewhat debilitated. After a 50% chance of survival, all the chemo and radiation, I survived and raised my children. Then 7 years later I got breast cancer. So I had a lumpectomy and went through radiation again, which was not so bad. Then I got thymoma again recurring in my lung. The first dr said that she could just buy me time with chemo, but I went to the only dr in the US who specializes in thymoma, who I had gone to 11 years earlier and he and his surgeon did chemo and surgery to remove the lung and I'm still here. They had to take part of my heart, because it had spread onto it, but it still works. I'm telling you all this because I was really affected mentally by all the chemo. After the last treatment, I sat on the couch for 8 months. I had no motivation, energy, focus, couldn't plan or complete anything. I had chemo brain, it was foggy and my memory was impaired. I went to a dr who does brain-imaging and had a full workup. The scans show that I have chemo-induced ADD. There is visible damage on the scans where ADD shows up. I never used to have it, but now I do. With that information, I now take an ADD medication which has made all the difference. I feel human again, I feel like myself. My brain works, I can get things done. I just want people to know that this happens.
I am a 2 year survivor of HER2 positive invasive ductal carcinoma (breast ca.). I had neo-adjuvant chemo, 1 year of the life saving Herceptin, surgery and 6 weeks of radiation. The diagnosis was a total shock since there is nearly no cancer and no known breast cancer in my family and I was diagnosed at 36.
My life is very different now. I have always found joy and been grateful for the simple things in life, but even more so now. I am a bit more selective in the company I keep. I choose to sorround myself with positive energy. My outlook has been for the most part positive but lately I struggle. My family relationships are damaged, with the exception of one brother- who is genuine in his support and love. My parents respond by not dealing with my diagnosis/treatment/survivorship struggle at all. I have openly tried to communicate with some of my family members and get no response. I acknowledge that I need some sort of support, but the hospital setting groups are not my style. The cancer society meetings tend to be mostly elderly people who want to air their laundry list of "issues" and I find that these types of meetings are not constructive for me. I have tried several venues, but really struggle with finding any sort of group for younger survivors. Journaling and just writing this blog really is therapeutic! Perhaps I can connect with someone this way. I want to be as positive, proactive, and as well versed on health and medicine issues that I can
ALMA - WHAT an attitude.....wonderful and such an inspiration to many....YES, everyday is a blessing, to be able to get up and enjoy each and everyday, no matter what it brings...I wish you well and here are some gentle (()) hugs for you!
Happy New Year for us and many on this site....sharing our stories allows each and everyone of us to "be heard" to inspire and jubulate others....as I've been told, I'm a human anti-depressant....look to the positive and keep your faith! :-)
Hello Cancer Sisters And Brothers,,,I've been dealing with Multiple Myeloma for 14 yr.s. And I have to say that EVERYDAY is a Blessing for me. I was one of the youngest to have this type of Cancer. I was 33 at the time.This type of Cancer affects the elderly the most.I was Healthy,Young, full of Life. With three children a husband and my whole life ahead of me. Then one day I'm in the hospital for back pain.They did a day of testing. the next day they gave me and my family the news.!!!! You have CANCER! Its Multiple Myeloma. They also told me that I also had Pneumonia & Kidney failure.Talk about life Changing! But, I had my family to think about. I had to Fight this. I was not gonna lay there and just let it take over MY LIFE, MY BODY.Don't get me wrong..it was hard.I was scared,to say the least.I thought I was gonna Die. But,I did what the Dr.s asked. I felt like a ghinnie pig. Test after test, then they said a B.M.T would help.So I was given a high dose of Chemo daily while i was admitted in the hospital Then had a stem Cell transplant, two weeks later. In Nov.of 96 Since, I'm not saying its been easy. But I'm here. I'm ALIVE!!! and that's all worth the aches and pains for me.I need a complete hip replacement,I also walk around with 7 broken vertebraes. They recently found a tumor in my neck, treated it with radiation & gave me intravenous chemo,for 8 months.and now I'm in remission. Yes my Life has changed,But I have control of THE CANCER It DOES N"T Have ME!
James - lay it on me??? Give me some specifics, do you have family friends, etc to talk with, do things with? What type of cancer? What outside interest do you have? Hobbies? Let's chat, you won't be depressed conversing with me on here!!! I'm here, will listen and can support you.... :-)
Hi 23 month cancer free and depression is getting the most of me I feel worthless and cant seem to find ho to get past it my life is filing apart so many things have changed in my life and am confused about them not shear to deal with it
Victoria - I am speechless, saddened and presently crying reading your post...my heart goes out to you and your family and friends. She has blessed us all here with her words and upbeat fighting spirit...I felt personally connected to her, perhaps because I have a 12 year old son, and just absolutely love children and people...I loved her karizma, outlook and enjoyed writing her to hear about her "view" of things at such a young age...((((((hugs))))))) to you. If there is anything I can offer please let me know.
May the good lord comfort her and may her spirit continue to be spread through each and everyone she has touched so deeply.
Sorry it has taken me so long, but Tori would of liked you to know that she is in a much better place, reunited with her dad at last. She passed away November 12th with all her family and close friends with her. We are all devastated but know she is happier now.
Thanks for all your kind words and prayers.
Albert - Thank you for your words of wisdom....yes, so true and moving forward will just make the past quietly fade away, in it's own time, with everything some wounds take a little longer to heal but we're all HUMAN! Hope your Thanksgiving was enjoyable and to all on this blog we are thankful for many things.
Tori and Victoria - How are you darlings doing? In my thoughts and prayers and well wishes...xoxo
I CAN ONLY TELL YOU WHAT I DID.Don't look back just go forward and injoy your life.If my cancer came back,well i'll keep doing the same thing.don't look back.BE STRONG FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY AND YOUR FRIENDS.THEY WILL LOOK UP TO YOU WITH RESPECT.
Dorothy - Hmm, you sound very much like me, and Tomax can can some nasty side effects...what your describing I can tell you I had same, then went on Femara, which also had bad side effects. Since my tumor was large (7x10cm) until chemo shrunk it, then I had bilat mastcmy, expanders and rads (2006), I was only on Tomax for 3 months then it was changed, what's very curious is that everytime I had a surgery I stopped the Femara for months and I found that side effects went away and when I had my periodic bloodwork everything always looked great and I felt wonderful and looked good too, beefed up my sun exposure and Vit D and it just gave me more and more energy...how long have you been on Tomax? How's your blood pressure too? Family history? I know that when "my body" found it's own niche, I just took off, running my own Landscaping business and being busy and active as well as physically fit helped me thru it all, however, that changed in 2008 and just one complication after another set me back some, but I'm back to getting this 47 year young body where it should be, I won't settle for less, positive is all good and you keep that focus...where are you located, shame we can't buddy up and be support system for each other thru this race, huh? If posting gets you thru it then so be it...more power to us!!! Weight gain is side effect, there may not be too much you can do there, but you need to speak with your Onc Dr. to see what options you have! Hugs to you!!! :-)
Erin - Your welcome, what you posted is all very normal and it's just a transition you'll go thru, sorting, thinking, changing, all normal....depression can hit very hard and it could take one small event or thing to set it off, be kind to yourself, don't beat yourself up and yes, believe me, I got tired of a lot as well. Even 4 years out now with all the surgeries, complications, abuse, divorce, loosing my business (my passion) and my sons, loosing friends, family and sowly isolating myslef from quite a bit, loosing a job, fighting with the state for help, denied disability, unemployment and so on...god, I could write a book, somehow I still am managing to "hold on" to reality and push thru it all, probaly because that light at the end of the tunnel is small, but I can see it and am reaching for it daily....no one tells you "all" you'll actually experience and they can't, it's as individual as your finger print and dna....you'd have to walk in my shoes exactly to really know and understand but it is therapy to be positive and take things on a daily basis, if it's not inyour control to change, then it has to run off your back like water off a duck's kazooo...smile more, laugh outloud, watch a funny movie and cry when you want to, take time for yourself and the things you enjoy regardless of "who" or "what" goes on around you...I try and do see all things comming together, and everything happens for a reason! Hope this helped and I enj
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2008, followed by chemo, a bilateral mastectomy (one prophylactically), and radiation with treatment being completed in June 2009. I was definitely a very active, type A personality, and loved my work working in the healthcare field, and owning my own business.
I live on my own, and have a really hard time trying to keep up with home and running a business. I have taken on a few patients but having difficulty physically. I am 49 years old, on Tomaxifen, and having new side effects. I am particularly concerned about swelling and weakness in the legs. I have been tested, no clot, no cancer, doing the bike as walking and stairs are difficult, as well put on 25 pounds which does not help my joints. Is there anyone out there that is having pain/swelling in joints, weakness in the legs after a year and a bit after treatment? I am generally a very positive person, but how long does the "not feeling well" feeling continue? Appreciate the input.
stephanie, thanks for the kick in the ass! lol i am starting to crawl out of the depression. It was just so many things happening at once with no family support? I just got tired..tired of every thing. Now I am battling a lung infection I think, tests should be back today. I only have less than 20% of my lungs still working so a cold or infection is kind of a big deal. But I have to finish sorting clothes today Giving TONS to salvation Army Looking thru pics also getting albums and scrapbooks done for the kids and that I enjoy!!! why it takes so long!!! Everyone have a great day I am stuck at home because they haven't plowed my road yet LOL
Victoria and Tori - Good morning sunshine!!! How are you feeling today? Victoria, how are Tori's spirits? Tori, keep smiling sweetie....gentle hugs and thoughts are always with you and your family....xoxoxo
OMG - How wonderful...IL too, that's so cool...I won't ask questions as to your daughter, just offering many thoughts and strength to your both, having a quilt made would be awesome and how funny I'm working on one of those for my 16 year son, NFL and sports stuff and another for my 12 year son, hopefully finished by xmas for them....keep your self busy and enjoy as much as you can and you'll find inspiration in all and these blogs help no matter how long or short...
Have a peaceful enjoyable weekend to you and all!
Stephanie, I live in IL too! Good luck with your teaching dream... I can't sew a button on properly but I am looking into making (having made I should say) a t-shirt quilt for my daughter. Her last checkup was early Oct and things are ok for now. She's at college in So. IL. Thanks for the note. Everyone, please hang in there.
Diane - Isn't life grand!!!??? I'm a quilter, painter and artist and "she" (ME) has given me so much inspiration for my works of art...not to mention her books and posters (I'm teacher as well), my soon in the future dream is to have an art and music studio and to work with children with cancer and special gifted children...I have had this passion for so long, it's time to put it all together and let them express themselves in ways that touch others....I have a small road ahead of me to full recovery, 2 surgeries at least and then I will set my sites on making this dream come true...location, not sure, I'm in IL but not from here and will move but all the prep work comes now while I'm in a down time mode...I just hope I can share my talents, inspiration and compassion with others...a smile is all I'd need cause that's what matters and heals....enjoy your day and do what makes you HAPPY!
Stephanie, I have that very card on my fridge (Yay,Mary Englebreit!). I'm so glad to read of your courage. Thanks for your posts. Tori, I'm thinking of you and your mom.
Erin - Embracing everything and acceptance takes time, and each person heals differently....look at yourself and see what you can give out...many times it comes back to you, not always but it does in it's own form and shape and when you begin to see colors brighter or the same places differently, you'll see something new in everything, everyday...I looked at things that breast cancer didn't give me something I could not handle, I have inspired many, am motivated to advocate individuals on all my experiences and educate the less fortunate, there are many things we're not told, MANY, and by asking many questions, educating myself and putting my foot down when it needed to be put down I was and have been very vocal in my health and recovery, brighter days and a future lie ahead of me and remember, there are two ways to go, YOUR LIFE and NO LONGER AN OPTION! Stay focused on what positives and enlightenment can come on a daily basis...try things you never once did before, create a new you and you'll see that some things take off or it isn't for you...just enjoy what you can, no matter how great or small..enjoy your day!!! :)
Saddened to hear of Tori's updates...please know however distant I may be, I keep her in my thoughts daily, share our stories with my 2 sons and children I work with in a Childcare center, I have been touched by all the little things and fighting spirit she has and you as well...it's a pleasure daily to know she's touched me daily and others as well....please keep us all posted here...warm, gentle hugs to you and Tori
Changed me? how much what day? Started out (after recovering from surgery) calmer...happier. Sounds strange I am very Type A but I immediately let go of the little stuff. I have physical restrictions and the radiation,cancer,drugs and a bit of alchol my mind is total mush ! The short term memory is shot and I struggle for words! it is embarassing at times.
the biggest changes I see now are the stress,worry and depression waiting and WAITING for recurrence.
I was almost happily(I know I am strange) my funeral per-say and now When I hear on the Thymic wed site of a death it is REAL and I am having trouble coping now. I am the caregiver,generous with time and material things...BUT NOW.....I am supposed to let others pat my back etc. and care for me??? So I am isolating again...putting out the "I don't need help!" persona So yes it has changed me
Sheryl, am I allowed to tell Tori and her mom that I am praying for them?
We are all here, thinking of you and Tori (your entire family). Just be with Tori, snuggle in the bed with her and give her all your love. I think she knows that you are trying to be strong for her, and that you love her so much... she is so wise. You both are. I will light a candle for you both and say a little prayer.
Dear Victoria, I am so sorry. I woke up thinking about Tori today and she has been in my thoughts all day. Please know that your little girl has helped many people with her dignity and sweetness.
Sorry for rambling on, I needed to let it all out.
Tori's condition has deteriorated over the last few days. Doctors give her weeks to live. I don't know what to do, she is my world, my little baby, I will be lost without her. It kills me to see her like this, so weak, so dependant on all the help she gets. She can't stand up or walk, and I can tell it is painful when she moves.
She tries to stay strong and put on a happy and brave face but sometimes it just beats her.
I just don't know what to do anymore!
I was diagnosed with breast cancer 6-6-06,I was only 33 years old.My daughter Macy was 15 and my son Brandon was 8 years old.My life did a complete 360.I experienced all phases of personality transformation.My first was anger,the horrible kind that eats you you inside.This was quickly followed by acceptance.I am by no stretch of the imagination suicidal but when every minute of every day is filled with pain,the thought of heaven is so comforting.I fight my fight for my son,he is 13 now and needs me more than ever.My daughter is 19 and she moved in with her fiance.She pulled away because she thought it would hurt less if I do lose this battle.I have a rough time because I ended up 100% disabled from the effects of the chemo.I miss working even though I am thankful for my Social Security and Medicare.All my "friends" never come around or call.I thank God everyday for my husband and son.My husband of 21 years treats me like a queen and my son is so sweet,he takes care of his Mommy.I decided to homeschool him this year and he is doing great and I enjoy learning new things with him.I have learned to cope with humor as well.Though breast cancer was the hardest thing I ever faced and I still struggle almost 5 years later,it did change me for the better,spiritually and emotionally.
Hi All...and yes, Tori I'm back....Victoria, many hugs and good wishes to you and yours, bringing your daughter up with such a spirit is applauded and commended....I, too have set the prime example for my two sons, Phil 16 now and Nicholas 12, they have seen it all, been my major strength, even now while I go thru continued recon after many horrible surgeries and nightmare's...I didn't bring it up until now Tori, because I'm always positive....and have been thru my dealings since I was diagnosed in 2006. My fiancee and I look forward to seeing a PS tomorrow and I have been in touch with a wonderful Doc in South Carolina....feeling great, 5 year anniversary this comming Mother's Day and everyday that gets closer is another day to celebrate the accomplishments I have been faced with, the new and exciting and not so exciting I have had the pleasure of dealing with and the continued good foturne and love that surrounds me, a reflection of how much truly comes back to you when you really don't know how much you've given...bless you and your spirit and stay positive and smile, it does wonders for yourself and many that can thank you and others as their inspiration! :-)
Haha thanks mum :) xx
thankyou mum your the best you been the strong one through of this!! means a lot! :)
where stephanie gone :( missing her little insights on here!
It's Halloween soon! hope we something on the ward! Be amazing! Nothing to scary though! Me a right scardey cat!
Anyways, better go, need to pretend to eat something, keep 'em happy :( lol, I haven't eaten in ages! What's the point? Yuck :'(
see ya soon :)
sorry I'm probly rambling and making no sense!
Victoria, please greet Tori from me here at Mayo. She is a beautiful spirit who has inspired many on this blog. Her kind heart and giving soul is evident in all of what she has written to others. I have her and you in my thoughts daily.
my daughter, Tori, told me about this site and how useful it has been to her! I have been reading through all the comments and found it so touching how you all have chatted, inspired and supported her! No doubt she has insipred you too, as she does with me everyday!
Tori hasn't been feeling up to coming on a computer for a while so I have passed on your comments and will keep you up to date with how she is doing.
Hi All -
Loved the new insights and stories from some new writer's, yes a blog helps, I've been writing about my "journey" and even before things started, zi've gone back to read many things I have written, at no time had my outlook changed from positive to negative and everyday is a new experience new people and new stories and situations, it's all how we handle them and how we look at only good and humor that gets us through....in one way or another cancer, no matter what type touches each and evryone of us. Experiences and stories are shared and inspiration flows like the niagra...thakns to you all for allowing yourselves to share...everyone enjoy day and live it to the fullest! :-)
PS Tori - Music is therapy, gosh knows it all touches each of us in a most profound way! ENJOY!
boy doesn't writing help you cope? I know it does me. I started my blog over two yrs ago when I was told I only had six months. I had stage 3A lung cancer. And I am still running around doing whatever I want. Keep you chin up and I love your since of humor. My husband and I are both fighting cancer and we have a bet on to see who is going to croak first. Either way, nobody has to pay up. :) I also lost my brother to this crappy desease. I have learned one thing though... It's harder on the family than the patient. At least we have a job to do. Getting Well.
God Bless Your Heart and every single part and being of you. You are such an inspiration!
I'm still in hospital, looks like I'm staying here cos I need like, loads of help! I haven't tried painting but love listening to music and stuff :) ooooh and I love getting manicures! A friend gave me one the other day! It looks lovely :) haha
I really hope I make it till Christmas because that is the best time of the year! And my mum said she would arrange for me to go to London to watch the Royal Ballets Christmas performance- if I am well enough :| the doctors doubt it will happen though :( oh well, life ain't fair is it? ;)
I have told my mum about this site, and how much it has helped me! She comes on here everyday! I'll persuade her to write something! She can write for me if I ain't feeling up to it! :)
thankyou diane :)
I won't forget all the people on this site :)
Dear Tori, How are you today? It is slightly cool with the leaves starting to fall. Our local farmers are finished harvesting the corn crops and are working on the soybeans. There is a field of milo, as well. I work for our local school and drive the little preschool darlings to school during the noon hour. I have enjoyed watching the farmers put the seeds in the ground, seeing them grow and now the harvest. One of my little dears lives right near the river. Her house is on stilts and as a now four year old, she knows by sight, poisonous snakes. She takes care of her chickens and rabbits and her family has a rowboat tied to the house. She knows how to pull it in during a flood and has and uses her life jacket. She is the most amazing little girl. You remind me of her. I am honored to have read your posts. Thank you for sharing with us. You have made a difference in this world and I will never forget you.
Jennifer - Congrtulations on being a wonderful support system for your daughter and I hope you both and all around you continue with your strength and positive outlooks.
As far as your question, I'm no authority on air/food, environment factors on cancer diagnosis. Very hard to isolate one cause I suppose, you can check websites for additional information. Has she had her genetics tested? Does it run in your family anywhere? What exposure has she had to potentially dangerous or harmful things? Just a few questions, how is doing now?
I hope she has many many more continueous years teaching, what an enlightening area and profession.
Happiness and strength to you always! :)
Glad you posted an update, was wondering what was up...what projects if any are you working on? Do you paint or draw? If not, start and see what "creative" juices flow, many things to inspire you girl!!! xoxo
Your in my thoughts and hope your stay isn't lengthy...
Enjoy your day, no matter what you do!
Hey guys. I'm still here!! Got a bad infection and fever last week so I am back in hospital :( not fun! Lol, anyways thought I'd let you know :-D but anyways I'm on DNR now so at least things can't get any worse!! See ya
thanks for being here an for being someone I can talk to!!
My daughter was diagnosed with Ovarian Ca Grade 3-and post surgery- chemo and radiation -she is back at school(she teaches American Lit. at local University)Since she has never smoked,drunk alcohol or used any drugs-a very spiritual person-I wonder--could it be the air/food?I mean-where is all that cancer research money being spent??Have there ever been any studies on air/food connection and cancer??-Thanks for listening-jen.
Tori - Hey gal, how''s it goin? What "new" did you see in the world today? Whom inspired you? How? Your family, friends and some new people you met, I hope!
Stay positive.... :-) Enjoy the day...and smile a lot...
I have a rare bone marrow cancer. Since my cancer is a cross between a myeloma and a lymphoma, it is something I now know I'll live with in my body the rest of my life. This knowledge was very upsetting at first but I came to understand - for myself - that cancer is a fact of my life, not unlike chronic heart disease or diabetes or arthritis. I don't believe it will be the source of my death and, therefore, I am willing to be well in spite of the cancer lurking inside. Being well means many things but more than anything it means taking each moment I'm given and using it to its fullest. Even my naps, when needed, are using those moments as they're meant to be used. I'm not a religious person, but I have a deep understanding of how things work in the Universe and am willing to be all that I am meant to be. I'm living with cancer. I'm living. I'm alive. Fully, completely alive.
Wooo! Stephanie is baacck!! hehe :)
I wondered what happened to ya, it had been a bit quiet on here!
Anyone been up to anything fun?
It's great to be back home :) Aaaandd loads of people visited today :) So I wasn't lonely! :-D
Today has been a good day :)
Marilyn, Happy Golden and many more. How wonderful to hear such enthusiasm within your writing, your attitude will keep you strong and driven to continue and even continue stronger for yourself, your husband, your family and friends. You will be an inspiration to many, just don't ever loose site of that. Ask for help, trust in those that have you has their chief focus and with all good intentions, yet, ask for nothing in return but your health and happiness and to help you move forward.
The aura you possess and give will in turn come back to you in many forms and will help you regain and focus on this life change and what it brings!
Enjoy each day, and oh yes, those little things no longer matter, we all celebrate each day of life in our own ways....and with whom we choose to share them with.
With a happy heart and spirit, many things are possible if you just believe enough.
Peace and continued good health to you and yours.
Hi All - brief interruption but "I'M Baaack!" Tori, you go girl, consider us all on here as your circle of strength, power and spiritual fulfillment....our hands joined, our hearts as one, be at peace with all around you and within, and trust that you are well in good hands. Keep checking everyday for our posts, stay positive, always and you have given me more strength than YOU realize.
It is true, the healthy, living do not understand, but they see through each and every person that has been given an illlness, for it's those that are the strongest that can handle and endure and learn from their own personal journey, to continue on no matter what odds or negative they encounter, that once they actually realize that they are never truly alone, they LIVE, in their own gratifying way and their grace, wisdom and love who have touched so many, comes back to them in many, many ways.....
As I was once told, "whomever I meet, a small part of me is left with each and every person, and by actions, words or gestures to others that small part comes out thru them"....it was the greatest compliment anyone could have given me and I thank him for that.
I have always been positive and will continue to do so, I thank each and every one of you posting comments for blessing me with your words of compassion, wisdom, concern and truly being yourselves...
Tori, you keep it commin girl....HOPE Having Only Positive Energy!!!! MY CREED....should be others as well.....xo's to
Thankyou Sheryl, that means alot :-)
Stephanie- Thankyou all your words of hope and encouragement, they have kept me going through all this mess!
Just to let you know that I have no more options, the doctors have been great and have tryed everything but now there is nothing left to try, so it is only a matter of time. I now been let back home to enjoy my last few weeks/months with friends and family, everyone is doing their best to make it as comfy as possible! :)
I'll have nothing better to do so I will keep checking back here to see if anyone has replyed!! (hint hint)
Hi Tori, this is Sheryl. I wanted to let you know that I admire your gentle, caring spirit and attitude. You have wisdom beyond your years and insight that many adults have never found. In the midst of all that you are experiencing; you are more concerned with how everyone around you is doing. I really do not have the words to express my message to you; only that I, and many others, will not forget how you touched us in our hearts with your words. I think that you are a living angel sharing your grace and love of life with others.
Hi, I am just recovering from Breast Cancer. Yes, it has changed my life. I don't worry about silly things any more. When my husband and I were told the dreaded news I was scared to tell my children as I thought this would be hard for them to take in. All I can say is they have been my rock. My daughter said I'm not going to cry I'm taking over as mother now, and looking after you. My son said, this is all our problem and we will face whatever comes together. I cannot thank all my family and friends for all the kindness they have shown.
At the Hospital I could not have had better treatment if I were Royalty. One lady in Hospital with me didn't want anyone outside her close family to know that she had Cancer. I think she is so wrong, I believe that with all the love that I've been shown has helped me so much and also the love of God that I feel was present.
It was my husband and my Golden Wedding in July and we had made plans to go to Las Vegas and then onto Turkey for a month. How lucky that the Cancer was found before starting our travels. Now I can say perhaps next year we can go God Willing
Hi, to let you know I haven't given up yet!!
Sorry not replyed for long time, been bit hectic last few days, chemo and everything.
Sorry not very long :)
Xxx Tori xxX
this prob make no sense- I been not been making much sense for last few days :D
On 7/16/10 I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. On 9/2/10 I had a pylorus-preserving Whipple. Cancer is Stg.2B. Drs. are now offering me a treatment choice: standard treatment of chemo/radiation with chemo/chemo; or: a phase 3 randomized clinical trial that would include Gemzar, Gemzar with Tarceva, either Gemzar or Tarceva with radiation. I am looking for feedback from anyone who has had to make this choice(standard treatment vs. clinical trial). Also looking for feedback from anyone who has taken either Gemzar or Tarceva. And of course, I would greatly appreciate hearing from anyone with pancreatic cancer. This is quite frightening.
Ok, thankyou Ron :)
Stephanie - Thanks for your VERY supportive words, it does mean so much for me, as well as for any cancer patient, to feel good about what they are going through and how they look at life. Your story on your friend's father was so wonderful and inspiring to hear. How wonderful it was for him to live each and every day doing the things he loved to do. I know for a fact that his bike ride did wonders to help him live the best he could be, both in mind and in body. He touched so many with his inspirational ways and he obviously touched his family with his time and love and his unselfishness ways and time with them.
As for your using your landscaping skills to help yourself in both mind and body I think that is great! You can take great pride in your creativity and physical skills to help everyone with a lasting mosaic that you and others can reflect on.
There are so many things to appreciate everyday and one can give back to others too as a cancer patient. Too many "healthy" people have no idea of just how wonderful and giving life can be.
My weekend will be even better because of this positive dialog with you and the others here, THANKS!
Samirah - There are many forms of Leukemia from chronic to acute and each has it's own various treatment strategies that comprehend the risk factors of the individual and where they are within their cancer progression. So too hard to say here, however if you look within the Mayo site here you will find excellent information on the particular Leukemia your family member may have. Also look in the Mayo Clinic's contribution within YouTube (Yes, they are there too) for some great expert doctor dialog on a particular Leukemia. I wish you success in your search for knowledge and I wish your family member the best in living with this form of blood cancer.
YOU have the ATTITUDE that would beat anything, a childhood friends father, whom I respected, loved and admired as an athlete, recently passed away from the same, not one day did he NOT bike and enjoy his family and grandchildren, he lived life to his fullest potential and even though he will be missed and a great loss to his family, friends and fellow school teachers (he was a retired principal), he has inspired many, such as myself.
As an active athlete and always in the fitness arena, I can contribute THAT hugely to my over comming many physical and mental things that have happened to me thus far, I dove into my industry (landscaping) upon diagnosis and it gave me the over all workout and love and enjoyment of my passion to serve me well as added therapy in my life when all else was falling apart around me.
For anyone reading, do not indulge in the negativity, but only the positive in what you can do for YOURSELF to overcome what is merely a bump in life's road...moderation is key and a well balanced life will bring more happiness and find that peace and contentment within yourself, tap into your talents and try new things, it's a big world out there, it's your canvas, go paint your own picture, your own life and how you want it to be...to be HAPPY!
Enjoy the weekend to all of you and B+
Hi, someone in my family just got diagnosed with leukemia, and i was wondering if anyone knows how long a typical round of chemotherapy lasts for?
Stephanie and Tori I agree with your current dialog(s) on making the most of life with cancer! You have to since there is so much in life to enjoy and appreciate even when faced by significant challenges. I have a blood cancer that has been a part of my life for 25 years now. I will not give in to it, I will not live in total fear of it, I do respect it, but I am living my life to the fullest every day with cancer as only a part of it and I will not let cancer drive my life. I am driving my life instead.
Thanks Sheryl for a great blog, full of support and wisdom from those that face cancer challenges everyday and have such insight that only a cancer patient can (thanks to each contributor here).
Hmmmm, death, well, that's part of life as well but we're not going to dwell here, you can embrace it or deny it, you can look at the bright side of death....yes, there is one....I've had 3 experiences and they all changed me in some form or another...YOU must stay focused and remember, someone IS squeezing that hand of yours, so you hold on tight, ya hear!
For someone your age, you have a gift of expression with words and I am amazed that conversations with you are simple, easy and enjoyable....have you tried writing, as I do? a journal, pictures, artwork, etc.?
Do you have siblings? What personal support systems do you have?
...and you are very correct, I do live life to the FULL, I've always been high energy, optomistic, positive, realistic and HAPPY!...is there any OTHER way to be?
...your a real warrior hun......and stay that way!
I was once told you will only be as happy as you make your mind up to be!!!!! Ponder on that one will ya....and I tell many I'm infectious, yeh, in a great way, humor, outlook, uniqueness.....life's a huge party wherever you go....and don't pet the sweaty stuff....ohh that's don't sweat the small stuff..hahaha!
Keep yer chin up darlin, your eyes wondering and a huge smile on your face....cause you'll get thru it ALL!!!
Haha, wow! How do you have the time and energy to do all that!!
Sounds like you really live life to the full!! And I love your little motivating paragraphs, they make me smile :-)
I have to go into hospital tomorrow :( a few more rounds of chemo. Last chance for it to work, then we all give up and up the pain mediction for a month or two till it's all over :( Im not really scared of death, just curious and confused about it all. It is one of them things which you just don't know what to expect: pain, calm, peace, anger, desparation? One day we will all find out, but until then, it is just a haze of mystery and suspicion.
Haha, that was a bit of a sad one :D.
Any adice for moi?
... "Don't worry, be happy" ... (8)
"It is our blessings and what we have that should be our daily focus"
For anyone reading, stay positive, reach out to whomever you can for support, understanding, compassion and love from the heart....Inspiration is motivation!!!
What motivates YOU??????
Enjoy your day and live it up! There are no rewinds in life, no playbacks and no repeats, we live and learn and make ourselves better by change and willingness to learn, express yourself, whether it be in music, art, literature, word, employment, etc....and don't let anyone ever tell you, you can't do something, because you won't know until you really try and push yourself to the limits and beyond!!!!
Tori Darling....you go girl!!!! We may have more in common than you think, I am a musician as well, guitar and piano, an artist. illustrator, quilter, painter, all that FUN stuff wrapped into one person, sounds like you had an enjoyable day at school for the best part, they will understand, slowly and you can teach them, remember, you are as special as each individual roaming around this world, you make the best of each day, find fun, happiness and something new in everything you do.
I've been this way since birth and have continued to strive for the best in myself and everyone I meet. Now 47, with the attitude and drive of a gal in her early 20's, I don't let anything get me down...focus on what makes you happy inside and peaceful, acceptence and forgiveness with those around you allow you to move on and really LIVE, no matter what life deals you....
I have 2 sons, 12 and 16 and they have been my "reason" for living onward and upward, to see a mom, a woman, a friend, a business woman, a partner and just good ole egg beat it all....just recently my 16 year old told me, "mon, you need to do what makes you happy in life", god and to think I've told him that since he was born, he knows me and supports me despite all we have been through, divorce, abuse, cancer, you name it and they went thru it all with me only to be beter shaped young men and realize that life isn't a bowlful of cherries....bumps, bruises, obstacles, disappointments are paired with joy,
Good Morning Mayo Clinic-ers :D
haha, I have to much time on my hands :)
Hey guys :)
Thankyou for your lovely replys :-)
Stephanie, I think you are amazing :D
Well, I had a sort of good day today. My mum and my doctor arranged with my school, so that I could come into school today and see everyone again!! The only thing that started off not so good, was that everyone done that thing when they smile and act normal when you look at them, but you know that when you look away, they are staring at you, and whispering about you :(. Apart from that, it started good because we had music which was fun cos I play the violin, so yeah, that was good :) but then we had PE, which wasn't good cos I just had to sit out, by the edge of the pitch, in my amazing red wheelchair, and watch everyone having fun :'( Then it was breaktime which was a chance to have a bit if a rest :) then we had some other stuff, but I think I disrupted their art lesson by being sick and collapsing, spilling paint everywhere :P but then the usual thing happened, everyone starts panicking and fussing over me :| !!!
but then I went to the medical room, got some medication pumped into me, and I felt a bit better, so I went to form. But when I got there my form group had organised a mini party for me!! Shame I couldn't enjoy it fully because I didn't feel great :/ but it's the thought that counts :)
so yeah, that was my day :)
thankyou for being there for me :)
anyone done anything fun today?
lol, another long one :D
To Barbara -
YOU ARE IMPORTANT....yes, it is what it is, but you'll get thru it, trust me, been there and want to help you. Your stronger than you know, and he is a weak man, can't handle the pain and of course the changes in you and about you...excellent book for recommendation to anyone, for any cancer, "After Breast Cancer" byy Hester Hill. A common sense guide to life after treatment...
Pull those boot staps up girlie and get on with ya life!!!!! STAY POSITIVE and FOCUSED!!!!
Wanna chat, I'd sure be willing to help you in any way, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, because we all need it....many afraid to ask for it, but I'm here and have my ears on!
Yes, cancer has changed me too. I hope in a good way. I have hodgkins. I was told I was terminal in March after failing 10 chemo treatments and having a stem cell transplant cancelled as a result. I was given options of doing nothing, experimental chemo, or radiation to try to keep things in check. Radiation has helped. I still have some cancer, but most is gone. I am very thankful. There are so many supportive people in my life. How can one not enjoy all of the beautiful things around them. I have planned some special inexpensive trips. My only problem at this point is living day to day with ambiguity about whether I'll be here in a year or so. I find that my friends/family will only talk about the situation to a point. Most don't want to hear the bad parts in detail. Spirituality is important to me. I am in my 50's, not young like Tori who commented below. I can only say I admire Tori even without knowing her for dealing with this at such a young age. Most people don't really understand what this is like until they are there. They don't want to be there. There are cancer camps for kids that might be helpful since others will be around the same age. Try to live as normal a life as possible even though things are not normal. Enjoy each day. Have some fun. It's also okay to be sad at what you are missing in life. If you believe in God trust in him as well. Tori has learned more already I am sure than alot of people learn in a lifetime.
I am here....let's talk....chat, express yourself and DON"T THINK NEGATIVE!!! :-) xoxox
Greetings to all - I ws diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2006. I have not let one thing stop me to achieveing my hopes and dreams...I inspire, educate, humor and embrace every sequence of events that has come my way...artist, creator, illustrator, humantarian, postive influence to my 2 sons, people I meet along life's way and family I hope will have them see that with the greatest of most people's fears, life can be lived and continued. Staying positive and making any situation in your life more positive than negative and having faith and acceptence, understanding and love is the KEY.....
I am blessed everyday that I can remain strong, regardless of what chaos and crisis's are going on around me. Aha, laughter is the best medicine! To be able to pull one's strength out within themselves is a true test of what we are ALL capabe of.
I applaude each and everyone individual who writes and expresses themselves openly and honestly....we all need that hand to hold along life's journey, much with the on-set of a diagnosis and then thru it all and beyond. Remember holding the hand of a much greater power will see one thru their brighest days and cloudy ones, the bumpes, the obstacles and they are just that, all to be overcome....
The time to live is NOW! So get out there and LIVE! :-)
Hi, I am 13 years old and here is a quick summary of my life:
I was born 14 weeks premature with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). At the time, they treated the cancer, and ivwent into remission (yay!) but then, a few months ago, I relapsed :( this time I had intensive rounds of chemo/radiation/surgery but nothing is working :'(
So, I got told last week that I have 1-2 months left to live. But to be honest, I'd much rather I die now, to make it quick, and get it over with so I can get put out of all the pain I am in. It has been hard on all my family and friends, especially with school. I haven't been going to school for what seems like ages, and the friends that do come and visit, just make a fuss! They don't understand. I don't think anyone does unless you go through it. I just feel like I have no one to talk to :(
I would apreciate any ideas on what to do before I die, or to make myself feel more normal. Or just someone to talk to :)
sorry for rambling on :)
I am 33 and have been dealing with thyroid cancer that has recurred in my lymph nodes. I have papillary cancer, which is good, but with a tall cell variant, which is not so good. I had my entire thyroid removed in 2000, a neck dissection in 2003 to remove the lymph nodes in one side of my neck, and in 2007 we found out that it had recurred in the lymph nodes in the other side of my neck. So far, my awesome dr. has kept it from growing further. I have read so many of these posts, and I am so sorry for all of you who have had such an awful experience. This God-awful disease may one day take my life, but for now, it has helped me to live the life that I am given even more fully. I embrace birthdays when my friends dread them, and I absolutely love life! Cancer has helped me to stop taking the precious little moments of life for granted. I have a wonderful husband who learned to dry my hair & put it in a ponytail when I was too weak too do it myself. This skill has come in handy for him, since we have three little girls! I also am grateful for my faith, which helps me to get through the tough times. I don't know how anyone copes with cancer without it. If I weren't convinced of an afterlife, this would all be completely terrifying. Hang in there, everyone, and I'll keep all of you in my prayers.
My life has been changing over the past three years with cancer. I got diagnosed in March 07 with ovarian cancer, Aug 08, thyroid and June 2010 (ovarian reoccurence). I feel like it brings out the best or worst in people and helps you find the people you need to keep in your life. People have been so supportive and gathered around to do what they can to help me through this time. People from my past that I did not even know remembered me have poured out love in many different ways. People that I did not know well before cancer have become cherished friends. I have seen love coming from all over directed right to me.
There are alot of emotional pieces to this as well. This is definitely not a walk in the park. Being 37 and having a hysterectomy and no kids has been a hard pill to swallow, but I find that I can channel those emotions to help people that I work with through my job (social worker). I always try to see the positive side..........
I have made it almost halfway through chemo and am working a full time job as much as possible. God put me in this position to have a wonderful supportive job, friends, co-workers and family at this right time.
Never give up and fight your way through!
My life has changed after sudden and aggressive NHL in July 2008. I was lucky to be gathered up by my children and moved to Toronto, Canada where my daughter arranged that I be treated in a large teaching hospital. I was so ill that I was admitted into Emerg not able to breathe..and before chemo was started about 3 am one Sunday, I felt very low.... and I said to my youngest son who was in his late 20's..'Will you put your strong arms around me and let us breathe together'.. he sat on the bed and held me against himself and I began to breathe in harmony with his breath.. I will never forget those moments of closeness with him and how strong he felt, and how I absorbed his strength which kept me alive until the morning and further treatment..... Princess Margaret Hospital had a free lecture series ...called 'The Healing Journey' which I attended weekly.. mainly about relaxation and meditation and it was organized by a psychologist who had lived through cancer himself.
But now, I am living on my own again, far from the children and am quite solitary, but quite contented....
creating a garden of white flowers and roses and hydrangeas.. and always listening to beautiful music, taking walks etc.. The Healing Journey never was about religion or God as such... it more opened one up to the idea of healing from within, letting go of resentments and opening up to more of a spiritual concept. Best wishes to all.. may you find Healing Journey's in your lives.
I've had cancer 3 times since 2003; breast cancer, endometrial cancer + one recurrence. If you have to get something like this, I got it in the best of circumstances. I live in a large metro area, so was able to go to a teaching hospital & take advantage of the latest treatments. I had good insurance & 600 hours sick leave. Surgery, chemo & "beamo" (I like that!) went easy for me. I went to a support group at the hospital for 3 yrs.
I am NOT pollyanna-ish. But, I have discovered some positives: the most important is that I learned to ask for & receive help graciously. All my life I have asserted my independence. This time I couldn't do everything myself. I learned who my friends are & who aren't. Cut loose negative people. Don't put off until the time is "right" to visit China, learn to ride a horse, own a dog, etc. No time for BS. What are you passionate about? Do something to make the world a better place for having been here.
When I lost my job recently, I was able to look back at that experience & remember what worked for me then & apply it to this new situation.
Don't get me wrong; getting to this point was not easy & it took a few years! I don't feel I'm "cured" per se. It's like a chronic condition that'll have to be managed for the rest of my life. It's always hanging over my head. I suppose I've become a bit of a hypochondriac; every little bump makes me I wonder if it's cancer a
I would have to say that I am thankful that I was
diagnosed with cancer in 2008. However, it has been
a difficult recovery in other ways.
When I was back in my room after my hysterectomy
I was having difficulty breathing. The nurses worked
with me vigilantly all night. I was treated for an embolus
and sent home.
One week later, I was re-admitted and had to have
a thorancentesis for fluid on my lung. Sent home and
still having difficulty breathing.
To make a long story short... I was soon diagnosed
with CHF due to two leaky valves in heart.
It's been a long battle to get where I am today but
I certainly have no fear of the cancer. My faith has
sustained me and whether I live or die, I know where
I'm going and believe that God is in complete control.
I am a lung and breast cancer survivor. I was diagnosed in 2006 with breast cancer and lung cancer. In March of this year I was diagnosed with lung cancer in right lung.So am presently on Chemo.Needless to say cancer really turned my world upside down.Ihave so much support from my family and the women in my life the Steel Magnolia's. I have become a different person.For the better I hope.I have a new outlook on life and know what my priorities are.It sometimes seems like a long, journey with no end in sight but I really have to believe that all will be will in God's time not mine.I am reminded that I walk a new path of love and forgiveness. At any time, I may make a fresh start, choose a new path and forgive myself and others for past mistakes. Forgiveness is the key to freedom. I dismiss any thoughts of disapproval and affirm my power to forgive. Whatever choices I made in the past have helped forge my character. My path, no matter how crooked, was the right path for me. I am confident that even greater good is being made manifest now. I leave behind old habits and embrace new thoughts and actions that lead to wholeness and freedom. The pure, uplifting joy of prayer keeps me energized. I choose health. I choose love. I choose forgiveness. I feel light, loving and free. This was my morning meditation reading for today and it is so true for me now. So for now all is good, God is in charge and all is well. Till next time let go and wear loose clothes.
Sorry- I am not one who came out of it with a good attitude. I do not believe prayer or god will do any good. I've seen too much other horror in the world to think prayer can make a difference. How about the two old people who died in their elevator? Where was God? I was lucky with stage one bc that only needed radiation so as far as the cancer train goes I consider myself lucky but I was astounded by the insensitivity and in some cases incompetence of doctors and rudeness of some of their staff. I also did not have good experiences with some family members. I am always worried about recurrence and even now don't have faith I was treated properly. So there it is...the whole experience really sucked. It has made me reevaluate how much I can take from people and I am much more protective of myself with other people. It has also made me realize not to expect compassion in crisis. You're alone in this world. Most people are just out for themselves.
Diagoned with bowel cancer at the age of 45 in 2001 was a shock. The emergency surgery, followed by chemo and more surgery was confronting and terrifying, especially as I am needlephobic. It also caused me to re-evaluate my life and attitudes. The initial anger and mourning I felt in time gave way to acceptance and I started to try and turn my experiences into a positive. How what I went through could in some way help another. I learnt to better value every person I met, and meet, and am undertaking a more spiritual journey through my faith. It is very empowering. Although I am now vulnerable to bowel blockages as a consequence of the surgery - have had 4 - I am able to cope more effectively with the pain and am grateful for the medical team that treat me. I am also grateful that I survived and try to do something positive and constructive everyday.
Yes, it has changed me. After breast cancer, mastectomy, chemo etc... and all the assorted craziness, I've because more carefree. A "don't sweat the small stuff' attitude.
Yes, I'm eating more fruits and vegetables but i'm also travelling more and spending more $$$.
Perhaps I've become more selfish, which is maybe a good thing.
My wife has Stage 4 breast cancer. Her doctor sent her to a surgeon who wanted to do a masectomy right away and tried to talk us into a double masectomy.
I managed to convince my wife that we needed a second opinion and she went to the Mayo Clinic. Thank God we did because it was there we found out that the cancer had already spread and the masectomy was not needed. The bad news is she worries about when she will die, every single day.
That is the worst part for her, so far that is.
I was diagnosed with lung cancer in Sept, 2009. After getting chemo and radiation treatments I am now cancer free. I do have lung damage from the radiation treatments so I get very short of breath. In a wierd fort of way, getting cancer was a good thing. Now I realize what is important. I have met the nicest people while getting my treatment. and my hair grew back curly.
I imediately re-evaluated my priorities. Little things became little things..nothing to get fussed up about. Live became more simple and joyful.
Cancer has given me a healthier body, a renewed awareness of what's important in life, and a more focused relationship with God. I had never had a serious illness until my cancer diagnosis. I stared out a window for two hours in shock as I met Mortality. However, my Mayo team guided me with sensitivity and gave me a future. The results? I am cancer-free! I lost 30 pounds which I needed to lose. My heart and stamina are greatly improved as Multiple Myeloma made my blood as thick as jello. I also learned how strong my body is as I not only endured chemotherapy, but an auto-stem cell transplant as well. When I got home after my 3-week hospitalization, I realized that things and issues are not what is important. Keeping the image of my precious granddaughter in mind gave me a reason to live. Being a widow with no family in town, I was helpless. Fortunately, my friends, the "Steel Magnolias," literally took over my life and helped me daily. Finally, I created a spiritual zone with God as never before. I felt the prayers of those near and far. My daily devotional on my Blackberry was the first thing I read every day. I also had the daily devotional book with me Praying Through Cancer that connected me with 300 women who had faced similar fears, shock, swallowing innumerable pills, needles, and the miserable effects of chemo like I was. I am connected! Thus, I'm learning to be a person again, a pioneer who is exploring new territory in this extended life I have been given.
3 years ago, I had to leave my home and husband to come here for critical rectal cancer surgery. I had an unusually large tumor right at my rectum. Underwent chemo/radiation to shrink it, followed by surgery and a colestomy.
During this entire time, my husband deciced he wasn't responsible for my support. I was deserted emotionally and financially. I had no insurance either.
Last week, my husband filed for divorce.
I am so tired, so weary and so empty, I just don't care anymore.
It is what it is.
Cancer certainly changed my life. When I was told at 4:20pm by phone on Friday Mar. 6, 2004 that I had breast cancer (infilterating ductile carcinoma) I thought, "SO?". I guess I was told late Friday so I could have the entire weekend to mull this over. I had heard "Cancer" before in 1995 when told my husband had escophgael cancer. He died that year.
Chemotherapy (4 treatments of adriamycin/cytoxin and 4 treatments taxotere) caused me to loose my hair, subsequently rupture my Achilles tendon and loose 3 dental implants in 1999. Why else did the implants become loose, after 10 years, and have to be extracted. Six years later I still alive and somewhat cynical. Fortunately I finished Arimidex Jan. 2010. I guess I'm just depressed over all that's happened since my husband died. Cancer was just one part.
I am much more depressed hearing about women 20-60 being diagnosed with breast cancer. What's the incentive to find a cure. Treatment is such a big industry.
As I read through all of your postings and comments; I am struck by the honesty and emotions that all of you are expressing. It is true, that everyone’s reality of surviving cancer is different. We all have ways of coping or getting through the difficult times and then celebrating the positive. Cancer changes you in so many different ways. The emotions of anger; shock, the feeling of losing control and loss of previous lifestyle or function are all very normal. I love the way Patty described her pro and con list and used humor to get through. Bruce talks about the feeling of losing control over his life and going into autopilot mode. I encourage all of you to be your own advocates. If you are not satisfied with your current status; ask questions, seek answers, do not give up. Always communicate your needs to your health care team or your loved ones.
My taboo tumor, endometrial cancer, has changed everything about me. When I read a Gyncologic Cancer Foundation brochure that talked about "getting back to your wonderful life," I was struck by the denial of the doctors who wrote that. No one goes back. Life is never the same, and certainly not as wonderful. It's life, but diminished with great losses. Radiation oncologists at ASTRO (American Society of Theraputic Radiology) talk about how healthy cells can repair themselves and omit that there is always damage after radiation. They make NO mention of the loss of sexual function after pelvic radition. I am particularly outraged that women's sexual dysfunction after pelvic radiation is minimized. "Just use lubrication"--- as if that will bring back the feelings of arousal. I was never told about the side effects of lymphedema or sexual dysfunction that follow the surgery and radiation. So much for Informed Consent. Do physicians really believe that cancer patients have autonomy over their own bodies? Do they honestly prepare patients for their losses? The loss of sexual function for men with prostate cancer is well studied; Viagra and Cialis has been an outcome. What is there for women? KY Jelly? Not comparable. Not even close. And lymphedema is a life sentance of 8 layers of wrapping and compression in the heat of the summer. No normal clothing, no days at the beach, 24/7. Always on the lookout for swelling, infection, problems. You're n
I'm believing that Tai Chi may be an excellent way to begin and maintain a exercise program and it also will help lift the spirit which is just as important to surviving as any other form of treatment.
I have survived breast cancer (1997) and endometrial cancer, in the first half of 2010. The breast cancer was detected in almost a flukey (sp?) way; I had breast reduction surgery and it was found in the pathological study, at literally a microscopic level. I had a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. My surgeons for those procedure are my favorite people in the world (Bernard Alpert and Ralph Roan in San Francisco); there are not enough superlatives to describe what they mean to me. My saline implants ("Bert & Ernie") are still in great shape; I think of them as gifts from my doctors which are close to my heart.
The endometrial cancer was not as much of a surprise; after a month of ultrasounds and a D&C, it was confirmed that I had endometrial cancer. I had a hysterectomy a week later. I had to consult several doctors for follow-up treatment as I had a "positive peritoneal wash." The lead doctor (Jonathan Berek) and the amazing team @ the Stanford Cancer Center recommended internal radiation; I had that radiation here in SF; on 6/7/2010, Dr. Berek told me he considers me cured.
I have no family; I went to all my appts alone. My friends seemed to have a harder time in providing support this time than for the breast cancer; some were stars, some just couldn't deal. My doctors are all phenomenal; they know I am a VERY engaged patient. I'm trying to be more comfortable in my body; yoga is ideal for that. I love Thanksgiving
Today is my Dad's birthday. He and my Mom have passed due to cancer. Here I am 49 and felt a lumo in my breast just about 2 months ago and biy has my life changed since then. A lumpectomy and lymph node removal. Think now the surgeries were the easy part. Now I am having chemo first followed by radiation, a six month voyage. I know its all in the attitude, but I've read some past posts and so understand that sometimes you just don't want to deal. I am a people pleaser, so no matter what I want YOU to be happy and sometimes now I just don't have the energy. One day at a time is what I know, its what I have to do. My faith in God is very strong and I know I will get through this, no doubt....its just a bumpy road.....I do have a super amount of support, for that I am very greatful. I'm going to go to that Newcomers Meeting and get started in Yoga and TaiChi and make the best of this!
I miss my Mom. I want to go to her and have her hug me and tell me it's all going to be ok like she did when I was a kid. I can't because she died in 2001. But I have seen her in my dreams and when I was in the hospital all doped up. You can say that its the medication, but I feel strongly that she was there then and is here with me when I really need her. I just can't get the hug......
I lost my son in a fire in November and then I was diagnosed with breast cancer in Janurary, then I lost my daughter-in-law in April to Cancer. I was very confused and had a lot of anger in me. I went through lumpectomy and radiation, and I am now on Arimidex. It seems like everybody I know don't seem to realize what I am going through, and seem to not care. When you Oncologists and the nurses don't seem to care it is very hard to cope. I still have anger and now, I do not go out and no one comes to see me. So I guess I have to do this by myself which I will do. The only person that helps really is my faith in God. The rest of the people don't care and so be it. Wonder how they would feel if they had to go through tough times without the caring. I have friends and I have a support person, but it still seems like it's nothing that I am going through. That's is the way life is now. Uncaring.
I turned 50 last Nov. 2...and I was a healthy person basically...since then my blood pressure has gone up...but there has been no cancer...breast wise..my dad died of esoegheal (sp) cancer in 1989..so here I am...first mamm..my own fault..no hard fellings at this point.....going for a partial mastectomy...lyphmp nodes ...maybe...radiation...mind boggling..for me...don't know who to talk to...that has gone thru the same thing ??
Five years ago I had a strange kind of stroke. Since I had a very high white count tests were done. We watched it for about 6 mo, then came the diagnosis. From my research, I thought I had 2 to 3 yrs left.
#1 was get my affairs in order. #2 Get the stress out of my life, and #3 was to find what makes me happy and replace the stresses with that. Everyone should do this. It's powerful!!!
After 5 mo. of thinking I was terminal my doc started me on a new drug. That was about 3 years ago, and I am 64. He says it's working so well he thinks I should live another 20 yr. Besides lucky, I feel very blessed and thankful that I established and did those three priorities, (affairs, stress and hapiness.) My disease is systemic mastocytosis and I take Gleevec for it. My life is now slower and better. I went back to lifting weights and doing cardio so I stay healthy enough to do just about anything I want. I eat better, I do everything better.
I am a rectal cancer survivor. I totally connect with the person who described "becoming a sheep - do what you are told, go where you are told, etc. I called it being on "autopilot". I had very little for symptoms in fact I thought I had a stubborn hemorrhoid. So from the moment I heard the word cancer I was in denial, shock, anger, pity, mad at God and way more emotions than I can describe here. Chemo/Beamo combo as I heard one doctor call it darn near killed me. Toughest thing I've been through in 58 years. I can relate to the pros/cons humor now, but going through it I just counted the days and hours until it would end. Ten months post - two surgeries I know I'll never be the same for the experience. Some good - some not. My personality has changed and seems to still be changing. At times I completely lose my temper over simple irritations. My perception of many things is quite different and sometimes completely opposite of what it was pre-cancer. I had wild food cravings for things I never thought much about pre chemo/beamo/surgery. About the same time I was diagnosed and started treatments my mother-in-law's predicted kidney failure became terminal. I felt like I let my wife down by not being as comforting and supportive in her time of grief as I would have liked to have been. I decided that I would fight with all that was in me and would be given to me from God to live. I want to enjoy life with my wife and see my daughter grow up and tea
I made a list of the Pros(yep) and cons of Chemotherapy. Want me to share it? Good! Con-nausea, and vomiting. Pro-weight loss; I'm kinda glad (ok way glad) that I am no longer a size 16, perhaps my method of getting there wasn't the best but hey there are some diets out there that may be worse! Con-hair loss (for women this is a biggie) However on the bright side....Pro-cooler this summer, less time in the shower, less $ spent on hair products (ok none spent!), not having to shave my legs this summer (way cool actually) a bikini wax look without the wax! Con- that nasty, metallic taste in your mouth. Pro-brushing my teeth 15 times a day! They are whiter, and I'm pretty sure there are no cavities on my horizon for awhile! Also my taste in food has changed..fresh salads and veggies taste way better then anyting else often so I'm eating healthier! The only con I haven't found a pro for is the bone pain from the dang shot for increasing WBC's...unless you want to count my family doing more housework for me! My 6th round of chemo is coming in just a few days and I cannot wait to be done however. I made the list to help me thru...a sense of humor can go a long way!!!
I'm just the mom but it is now two years later and my daughter is beginning the leaving for college journey once more. 19 years old, just out of high school, Hodgkin's Lymphoma, friends left for college and left her behind. The chemo and cancer shock was so hard to watch her mourn. Two years, some chemo brain struggles and the uncertainty of whether she can handle college worries her but the last two weeks, she is almost her old self again. She has become dismissive towards the "freeloaders" of life, the cheats, skanks and lazy ones. She has little patience and her sudden lack of manners and civility alarms me... but today, she is happy. It's been a very long time since I've seen her smile. Adults are used to "doing" what the dr. says but she was too old for the children's department and being pushed through the adult department was startling. Will she go through treatment again? She says no. Her hair is back and curly and dark. She always had blond/brown stick straight hair. Don't buy the expensive wigs, the cheap ones are the same stuff regardless of what the experts say. Hang in there, take a deep breath and go do what you need to do.
I was diagnosed with Stage 4 endrometrial cancer in August 2008. Surgery, 6 months of chemo that was pure torture and 2 months of radiation, not fun either. How has cancer changed me? I'm afraid all the time! It's taken a year and half to feel "ok" again. I used to think I'd live into my 90's as most of my grandparents did. Now I feel as though I will be lucky to live until retirement age (15 years) I read all of your messages and I just can not believe how you all have gone through treatment after treatment after treatment. I don't ever want to do that again. You all amaze me, I do not think I have it in me to do that again. BUT, it will be what it will be and I'll make those decisions when I have to.
This is for "Jane". I have Stage 4 breast cancer spread to lungs & now liver. Started in May of 2005 with mastectomy then 2 years in remission. In June 2007 it was found again in lymph nodes. Then started the chemo, radiation and more recurrence with more chemo. The treatments go on & the emotions do run high. I totally understand your feelings of isolation. Cancer is a chronic disease & affects all aspects of life. I draw my strength from my faith in God, that He is the creator if the universe and loves me. I would recommend for you to seek out & find a support group. There is no better healing than live interaction with others going thru the same challenges as you. They can also be an excellent network to find resources to help you financially & ways to pamper yourself. You don't have to do this alone. Forgive those who don't know how to deal with your reality. and yes, it is a tremendous financial burden for those of us who are our sole support. On my good days, I search the internet & have found many sources of aid. I was touched by your honesty & pray you will see better days.
Stage 3 womb cancer, diagnosed Jan 09, I was pretty angry at first, mainly because i had the mirena coil removed, my choice, due to heavy bleeding, i was told i only had fibroids and nothing to worry about, and was advised to have the coil put back in, should have said no to that, but you really do put all your trust in the doctors. Well ended up with radical hysterectomy, chemo and radiotheraphy, does it make me bitter, hell yes, but you just have to get on with it. I can relate to Patty, i love my dogs dearly, anyone who isn't doggy minded probably wouldn't understand this, but the joy that they bring me, helps me through it, you get so much love back from them. Changed, no not really, i still take day by day anyway. xxx
Ovarian cancer stage 3 C. It totally came out of the blue for me. "Lowest risk" my Dr told me. So why did I get it? I decided after a lot of anger and soul searching that the why didnt really matter. The reality was that I have it.Have things changed for me? Hell yeah! I found that I work with a great bunch of caring people whom I didnt realize cared so much! My two daughters ages 18 and 21 have become closer to me then ever and my husband treats me as if I were glass with gold trim. I found that our three dogs and three cats could be my best friends, especially when everyone else was gone or during those late nights when I couldn't sleep. I am more patient with people and "don't sweat the small stuff", because it really doesn't matter in the scheme of things now does it? Does it sounds as if I have given up? I haven't..I have just accepted my life as it is and what I find important and that I will continue to have cancer the rest of my life and I will continue to battle it, but it is not my whole life. There is more to me then my cancer.....
I was diagnosed with both lung and thyroid cancer over 2 yrs ago. I also have blocked carotids so surgery for the thyroid was not such a good idea. The lung cancer was operable I was told but I was not impressed
with possible / probable complications. A couple of good friends had had the same surgey and went through chemo and radiation, so sick. They died anyway.
Next it was an ablation I was to have. Had to go off blood thinners for 10 days and on day 9 I had a massive heart attack because of the lack of Coumadin.
The radiologist also told me that it was good that I had NOT had the surgery..that I would not have survived it.
I have consequently done nothing about the cancer. My friends did and they are dead. They suffered alot and what for ??
I pray and it helps. Sure I will die but I will not suffer the horrors of chemo, radiation.
Quality vs quantity.
In August of 2000, my husband had a kidney removed because of cancer. He needed no further treatment because it was encapsulated. I thank God everyday for not taking him.
In August of 2003, I had a lobe of my right lung removed because of a neuroendocrin carcinoid. Not your usual cancer. I was fine with the surgery and the radiation until the very end when another day of radiation was added on. I suddenly just lost it. I am better now--emotionally--most of the time. But I frequently find myself on the verge of tears and I have trouble making long term plans. There are no support groups here for my type of cancer and my husband tries to be supportive but he just can't understand how I feel. We have no family closer than 600 miles away so I can't really go to them either. My faith keeps me going and I would be lost without it. None of our friends know how I feel because I don't want to alienate them by trying to explain how the cancer has affected me. They just see me smiling and being active in church and running around. But it is very lonely. I know how blessed I am that it was found in time because the cancer had already invaded some lymph nodes but I still feel terribly alone.
I have been very open with my friends about dealing with breast cancer. I had a mastectomy in November and started chemotherapy in December; radiation in April. I began writing an email letter to a group of about 25 friends after my first chemo treatment and again after each chemo treatment; in one email I mentioned that I took naps most afternoons for the fatigue that comes with chemo. One friend said she would "nap in solidarity" with me, and from that came The Nap Team"; friends taking naps for me, and sharing often very funny comments on napping. We all had a lot of fun with the idea: people reporting they took naps or slept in late on weekends. This sounds wacky, but I really felt the support - I felt better knowing that many people looked forward to my progress reports - one of which was titled " Call for Greater Inactivity!" - and responded. I realized I have many terrific friends, that their concern is real, and that their joy at having me feeling better and loving life again is a shared joy. I do feel better. I don't know what will happen in the future, no one does, but I know I have the support group to get through whatever life brings. I have been to three funerals this summer for women friends who have died of cancer. I know they are OK and I will be too.
I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 2001 at age 49. I underwent a stem cell transplant in 2002 and have now been on a Revlimid regime since 2006. I used to be impatient and ungrateful. I now appreciate every thing and everyone. I've been blessed with 7 grandchildren starting at what I believed was an early age at the time. Now I relaize that I have been given an opportunity to get to know my granchildren and have them get to know my by building many memories with them. I'm doing well now and even though I maintain a positive outlook I understand that things could change in a moment. So I enjoy everyday and I don't put off until tomorrow what I can do, see or experience today. Sure I could get hit by a bus tomorrow but today I am living life to the fullest with Cancer!
Cancer experience at best is ground shaking. There is the regressive situation of dependency upon doctors, nurses , human beings having their own stresses. The patient often becomes super-sensitive to tones, words and actions of staff. After being handed off , with no explanation, after years of one oncologist to another , it could be torture to self blame throwing more baggage on one's often self perceived life of failure..
IDC Stage 2. lymph negative diagnosed 2009. Some one said that during treatment you go through the motions of surgery, radiation and chemo, and when its all over you have to go through the emotions. Boy were they ever right. I now believe nothing I hear from the medical establishment. Vegetarian diet, exercise and no family history still means you can get cancer because they have no idea why some people get it and others dont. Surgery and radiation were a piece of cake and chemo almost killed me. Hormonal therapy was supposed to be like "falling off a log" and that was worse than chemo. My husband ignored me because "that's what he would want if it were him" even though I begged him for help. And now I have lost my job because they're "downsizing" and they're making it sound performance related after 15 exemplary years of being a rainmaker. You come to realize there is a "cancer society" and everyone else and you've just joined the cancer You live life minute by minute, take people as they come, stand up for yourself because you have nothing left to lose, and wonder how you fell from grace so quickly. Then you decide that you are the master of your own destiny andyou decide what you want your life to be, who you want in it and how you want to spend your days. Prayer and meditation and yoga all help to give you the space to think those things through. And you go on but you do wonder if the doctors realize that while they saved your life
I ate healthy all my life. kept my weight down. took time outs. Love my family. serve my community. Love My Lord. And yet nothing prepared me for my cancer diagnosis. The wind was knocked out of me & I went numb. Cancer has changed me. It is one more thing I have to learn to navigate. Some days are so much better than others. I have more good days than bad. I have a great support system & yet there are times I feel so alone. I have pretty good insurance and yet I am concerned about future expenses. I have strong belief and faith that God specializes in the impossible, yet my prayer at times is help my unbelief. truly an ebb & flow experience. My life is forever altered. Yet I live it everyday. Be encouraged.
Cancer has changed my reality completely. I was diagnosed in state 4 with breast cancer. After getting mammo's regularly and living a healthy lifestyle, that was quite a shock. Because my husband and I now know that time is limited, we are being more caring spouses to one another. We take more weekend getaways--this helps my spouse more than me because he works from a home office so he needs to get away from it. Wherever I go cancer is with me. After doing well on Arimidex (so called hormone therapy) for many months, the cancer spred into my liver and my doctor put me on chemo. I am finished now and the doctor says I'm in remission. My life is so good at this point, I certainly don't want to leave it! I have been a Christian for 33 years, but now I have grown closer to God. My family members and friends have drawn closer and are very loving and supporting. A few people have proven to not care or have somehow written me off, but my true ones are wonderful. I don't take even one hour for granted now. I savor every moment and express my love more readily than before. With the bitter comes the sweet--I long ago learned that life was like a two-edged sword. The diagnosis of cancer cut deep into my psyche and for a while destroyed my sense of well-being and hope, but on the other hand it opened me up to the light of God and all the wonderful love others held for me and now express fully because they want to be sure I know. Life has become so sweet!
Relationships have become more important to me since being diagnosed with Bladder Cancer in May of 2009. My Faith has become stronger and the little things do not bother me as they used to. After a few surgeries and a couple rounds of BCG, my Cancer is in remission since June of 2010 and looking forward to maintenance treatments beginning in August. I thank God for each day and find beauty and wonder with each one. Yes, I still have bad days but, when I really think about it, there are others who have had a worse time with their Cancer than I have. My Uncle just passed away in May from his Cancer, which brought my mind to an area I do not like to go and that is mortality. Each day is a blessing and a gift. I try to make the most of the gift each day.
I wasn't prepared for a phone call saying I had cancer with no discussion. I had DCIS G3 T0 M0, very extensive and aggressive. Lumpectomy didn't work, I was told modifications, but when I saw the doctor, he said mastectomy. I sobbed. He sent me to a plastic surgeon. I went with saline expanders, he picked a silicone implant, and a breast reduction to match. 3 weeks later my incision ripped open and an egg size piece of gummy bear silicone slid down my stomach in the shower. I had an appointment, and it was removed in office. That hurt. Mentor won't let me contact them, and the doctor won't give me why it leaked. Mentor has yet to help pay for anesthesiologist for subsequent surgeries. After that failure, I had a Latissimus Dorsi flap. Less than a month later I had a deep seated MRSA infection from the expander, and another surgery to remove it. Horrible scar thin over my ribs, pectoral disolved along with other tissue and blood lysis. Had to have a scar modification to cover my ribs. No more attempts available to fix my chest. My reduced side is an A from a DD. I hate it. Now my shoulder needs surgery from the side effects of the huge lat dorsi piece removal. I take it in stride. I hate the way my chest is, I can't believe 9 surgeries to remove DCIS in 1 side. I am broke, no savings, and times are hard. No support in the area except during work. I wish somebody else had the courage to write about the failures. I am alive, though.
My cancer diagnosis made me realize that I should not take things for granted. I now try to embrace every day and do all that God allows me to do. I work to really see the people I love for who they are and let them know constantly that I love them no matter what. Have I had bad days? Yes, I have and sometimes it is hard to keep a positive attitude. Fear of the future creeps into my thoughts at times but I try to be present for today only and not go forward. My faith is more personal now and I have complete belief that God is with me on the journey in whatever direction it goes.
I also very much appreciate this place where I can read and communicate with others who are on a similar life road. There are no support groups in my area so this is wonderful. Thanks to all who participate and are honest about their feelings.
I've had three bladder surgeries. 25 days of radiation and six weeks of BCG procedure. According to the doctor my cancer is high grade which means that I need a cystology every three months. I have been blessed by God with an excellent doctor and a staff that makes my visits like a homecoming event. I'm still the same happy guy who loves life and all of the people God sends my way. Never underestimate the power of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the salvation of your soul and in the healing process of your mental and physical body. We are all destined to leave this earthly body let it be with our Lord Jesus.
I wish I could say a lot of inspiring things, but was diagnosed with leukemia 2 yrs after husbands death. I am on new drugs that keep me in remission and they are working and I am grateful for being alive. But because of numerous side effects of the drugs that keep me alive I am sick and exhausted all the time. I am also very poor. When I do let the facade slip and let people know how truly sick and alone and poor and sad I am, they get over whelmed or scared I expect them to do something, I don't really know. But they gradually retreat from me. That includes my adult children, family and friends. I just shut up, and pretend. The truth is I am sick, poor and alone but no one wants to hear that. So I am becoming more and more isolated because I am losing ability to pretend.
Anal Cancer stage 3, N-1 diagnosed July 2009.
I stopped putting off doing things I enjoyed. I nested in the beginning so I could be sick in comfort, I tried to be a compliant patient until I realized that I was becoming a sheep: go here, go there, do this, do that.... when the pelvic radiation was at it's most extreme, and my bikini area had completely turned black with the skin hanging in tatters and I was begging for relief AND NOT GETTING IT I quit, I curled up on my couch and tried for days to wrap my head around dying. It ws then I turned the whole thing over to God and decided that if God wanted the cancer gone, he would take care of it. If he didn't then there was nothing more I could do.
Check-up in Dec.: tumor gone. But: since I had only received 23 of the reccomended 33 radiation treatments my Oncology Doc thinks that I am a good candidate for reoccurance and I am under close survaillance for same.
No one tells me what to expect. Damage to GI system seems to be extreme and I feel like hell most of the time. When I ask what I can expect the answer I get is "We really don't know: everyone is different."
One day at a time: if it comes back, then we'll deal with it. Meanwhile: I do what I want when I want.
Financially? I will probably never see the light of day.
I was a new widow when all this hit, and really thank God my wonderful husband wasn't around to see me sick.
I thank God for every day and don't waste a minute feeling sorry for myself.
I'm still blown away by how the cancer experience changed me. I was a type A person ... always driven by goals. I used to believe in God, I guess, but that was about as spiritual as I got.
During treatment I grew very close to God ... I was so sick and spent a lot of time in bed just thinking and talking to God.
I'm a much better person because of the experience and I have to say I don't regret a thing. I now know that every day is precious and everyday matters.
I do what I can to keep healthy and trust that God will take care of the rest. I have great medical care and faith that it will all work out as it's supposed to.
Cancer was, no doubt about it, a spiritual challenge for me. I rose to the occasion, even though I was the poster child for not tolerating chemo well. Having bilateral mastectomies didn't faze me. I enjoyed being a lightning rod for compassion, the compassion of strangers. After my third chemo treatment, the friend I lived with freaked out and threw me out of her house. It broke my heart. What ultimately happened was that after treatment, all the anger came out. I had a nervous breakdown, began to drink again, and found myself unable to work. I became a bitter recluse, depressed and angry. I lost interest in everything. It has taken until now for me to have been hired back into the work world and to be able to interact with others. I have utterly lost faith in any God I might have had before. I don't apologize for not sounding all spiritual and profound as I hear so many others. I think that a lot of my illusions were shattered and that I am rebuilding my life on bedrock now. I still don't trust people, but I am healing slowly. Am I glad for my life? Ask me that question in another five years.
I appreciate family, friends, moments, & life so much more. I take more chances, getting out of my comfort zone and experience more that life has to offer! I have a heightened awareness of how special and fragile life is and I expect no guarantees about anything/anyone!!!
I had bladder cancer diagnosed in November of 2009. The bladder and prostate were removed in January 2010 just after my 70th birthday. I am presently undergoing chemotherapy every 3 weeks to be sure, I assume, they finish it off. The chemo side effects have not been as bad as some pour souls have had to endure but I have had some nausea for about 6 days after a session.
Cancer has radically changed my sex life. Before I would have sex usually once per day and twice if the opportunity arose. Apparently, the surgeon had to cut some nerves during the seven hour surgery to remove the bladder and prostate and construct a neo-bladder and now I cannot get an erection. PDE5 inhibitors (Viagra, Levitra, and Ciallis) do not work so I have escalated to vacuum therapy.
Recovery has been most discouraging even though my wife understands and is patient and encouraging. I have read that Alprostadil either by injection or by a topical cream may induce an erection and this may be the next step. By continuing vacuum therapy to obtain a partial erection I am hoping the unfortunate nerve damage during surgery will allow the nerves to regenerate and maybe I can get back to normal. I seem to be making slow progress.
In summary, I am thankful to God and medicine that I am alive, most if not all of the cancer has been excised, and will be cancer free soon, Lord willing. While I am so thankful I am recovering, I still feel like "half a man" in the sexual department and it is discouragin
Thank you so much Sheryl for the newsletter from Mayo Clinic. I am learning a lot and doing great at this time. Of course I am praying that the surgery has taken out all of the skin cancer. I am Blessed to have such wonderful Doctors, especially my Primary Care Physician is so helpful and caring. I truly appreciate the help through your e-mails with the newsletter also. I think this is wonderful and a great idea.....Marlene
After three different cancers, and now living with a low grade lymphoma, the changes are enormous. I no longer take life for granted, and I thank my God for each and every new day. I make sure to tell the people that I love, that I love them. And, I make sure that I do not hurt anyone. I have grown in so many ways, and am grateful for each and every moment.
I have been clear from breast cancer for three years now and am so grateful. Changes in my life...yes, closer to my faith and my family. Maybe a little more serious but choosing to have more fun more of the time! I have also found an instant bond with other women survivors. It is just for today that I live.
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