Monday, February 15, 2016

|Cancer Meds - Old & New


I've noticed recently that I am getting a lot of viewer traffic from
cancer institutions who are researching my posts on some of the
cancer drugs that my husband was taking. 


Oddly enough as I'm researching many cancer sites, I realize that although he was taking some of these drugs back in 2010-2012, some of them are just becoming available now on a trial basis to some cancer patients.


I'm wondering "why" it has taken this long to provide them to those who need them most?  That will be a topic for another day, but one drug in particular would be Afinitor or Everolimus

If anyone would like some info based on our experiences with this particular drug, please contact me by leaving a message with your email at the end of this post, and I will be happy to reply. 


                   
                It is only when you walk the walk, can you talk the talk




 

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Keep Strong

I have learned that no one can comment on how it feels to lose a loved one!  Sure we can all assume one should be moving on or doing one thing or another, but I have learned that each individual has to deal with grief in their own way.  Just think about it for a moment.  If a loved one is sick, then each journey is completely different from someone's else who is facing illness.  Each cancer journey is different as one patient may be able to withstand the side effects of a cancer drug very differently then another.  That's the way our body chemistry is made up.  We are all individual's and our emotions and the way in which we deal with events are very, very unique to each of us.  Thus, facing the loss of a loved one and in my case, a spouse, has to take time.

The best advice I could give anyone who may be grieving is to take your time and don't make any rash or hasty decisions.  Why would you?   It may feel right to decide on one thing today, but as time passes, you may realize that you have made a big mistake.  A situation that cannot be reversed or changed...so take your time.  Pretty much everyone has given me advice on how the "firsts" of everything, when a loved one passes, is difficult.  That would be the first birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, etc.  Right now, even though I do find those "firsts" difficult, I'm sure I will continue to have the same feelings in two, five or ten years from now.  Another common remark that I have heard is "oh yes, I know how you are feeling because I felt the same way when I lost someone".....I just let that go way over my head because they don't have a clue how I feel.  Excuse me for being rash with that comment, but it is very true.  While I know they meant well, why keep saying it every time we are together? 


One of my husband's words was "FAITH".  Such a small word but one that can be so profound.  We all must have faith in our daily living to face what lies ahead.  Without faith, there is little to hold on to. 

I trust that whatever adversity you are facing today, that you will face it with FAITH, courage and strength.  When I am having a difficult day, I look around and realize that many others are going through tragic situations and that I am not the only one who has to deal with loss.

Keep strong, keep the faith and make each day a special one!









 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Return of My Blog

Today I decided to get my blog up and running.  Last time I posted was March 2012, quite a long time.  Thanks to those who have continued to check in, even though I have not been updating.

Quite a lot of changes have occurred since last March.  My husband sadly passed away a little while ago and as you can imagine, it has taken time to deal with all of the emotions that go along with the passing of a loved one.  He was such a courageous man, always willing to try whatever was offered but in the end, after many months of continued ill health, his body just could not overcome his illness.  For those of you who have been followers of my blog and may be cancer patients, please do not give up your fight.  Cancer is like any other chronic disease.  You may not be cured, but there are always options so you can never quit.

Looking back throughout my husband's illness, they originally gave him only 3 months to live back in 2006, so we have much to be thankful for that he lived almost another 7 years.  We have a lot of memories to cherish, lots of photos and videos and throughout those 7 years, we came to realize the true meaning of love which in itself, is such a blessing.

I hope to continue to keep in touch through my blog with other cancer patients, as well as those who also have lost loved ones.  We can all support each other, no matter what our circumstance may be. 

The format of this blog has changed over the past months so it will take me a few days to figure out these changes and revamp, so stayed tuned because I will be back. 


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Critical Drug Shortage - Any Suggestions?

The current news headlines were bound to happen here in Canada due to the decrease of production at the Sandoz plant in Quebec.  I trust that none of my viewers have been affected and were prepared after reading my February 28, 2012 post!

Seems surgeries are pending and many vital pain as well as cancer drugs are on hold for an indefinate time.  This should not be able to happen in 2012 and those in charge of ensuring the availability of these important prescription medications should have made it public much sooner so that many others could have been more prepared, especially the medical community.  No patient's health or current medical condition should have to suffer because of this shortage!

Follow this link to read more updates as of today's news about these shortages
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1145046--ottawa-needs-to-protect-patients-from-drug-shortages-says-cancer-society

If you are encountering problems with these drug shortages, leave a short comment directly on my Chatroll forum or leave a comment under this post.  Maybe you have a possible solution for many others who have not been able to get these drugs. 

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Afinitor and High Glucose

If anyone is out there on Afinitor, then by now you no doubt will have experienced high glucose or some doctors may diagnose you as having Type 2 Diabetes.

It's not really diabetes as it's a side effect for many patients from taking the Afinitor.  You will have to watch your sugar intake and of course keep a close watch on those sugars with a glucose monitor.

One thing to note is if you have never had diabetes before and now you are taking meds to control your high glucose, once you stop the Afinitor, after a few weeks, your sugars will subside and you no longer will have this condition.

Hubby had the same thing and now he is high glucose free!!!  Something to celebrate indeed!

Have a great weekend everyone!



Friday, March 02, 2012

You CAN Pay Less for Prescription Drugs

All cancer patients take a considerable amount of prescription medication everyday.  As time goes on with your cancer, no doubt the number of medications you are taking, will undoubtedly increase.  The cost of these prescription drugs can be phenomenal, to say the least, but you just can't decide not to take them.

If you are fortunate enough to have insurance that covers most of these drugs, then consider yourself very blessed.  If you only have partial insurance or no insurance at all, then your prescription costs for these drugs can be enormous. It can mean the difference sometimes of whether to pay for your monthly medications or reduce your monthly costs for food, heating, etc.  Paying for medications takes a big chunk out of your monthly income as well as from your life-long savings, but you have no choice in the matter, as you just cannot stop taking these medications.

I have recently discovered a place where you can purchase your drugs significantly lower than at most of your local pharmacies and that's at COSTCO.  Who ever knew?  It never dawned on me that just because they offer high discounts on household items and just about every other item you can think of, they would also have the same deep discounts on their prescription drugs.

Apparently, many of their prescription drugs can be almost "HALF" of what you may be paying now at your pharmacy.  Yes, that's exactly right!!!  You can go to the COSTCO pharmacy in your location and bring along a couple of your most expensive meds and ask them for their costs.  I'm sure you will be more than surprised at the results.

Another way to reduce your drug costs is to ask your doctor to prescribe a particular drug at the largest amount you can take per dosage.  For example:  If you are taking 3 pills that are 75mg in strength at the same time, you should ask your doctor to give you two prescriptions.  One for the same pill in a 150mg and another for the same pill in the 75mg.  Apparently, the larger dosage of most pills, is actually CHEAPER to buy than the smaller ones, so you will be saving there again!  I wonder how come most pharmacies never bothers to tell us this?  Now remember that not all of your meds can be prescribed in a larger dose, so this may only apply to some patients.

Let me know if you have good results from checking at COSTCO for your monthly meds.  I of course have no affiliation with that store, but if I see a good thing for any cancer patient, I will pass it on to you.

Good luck and good savings on your next prescription!!!



Tuesday, February 28, 2012

You Can Play Your Part Re: Cancer Drug Shortages in US

Just rec'd the following link from ASCO - The American Society of Clinical Oncology -  with regards to an article calling on Congress to solve the growing problems on cancer drug shortages.

http://ascoaction.asco.org/Home/tabid/41/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/217/ASCO-Calls-on-Congress-to-Solve-the-Growing-Crisis-of-Cancer-Drug-Shortages.aspx?et_cid=28912361&et_rid=463662356&linkid=http%3a%2f%2fascoaction.asco.org%2fHome%2ftabid%2f41%2farticleType%2fArticleView%2farticleId%2f217%2fASCO-Calls-on-Congress-to-Solve-the-Growing-Crisis-of-Cancer-Drug-Shortages.aspx

At the end of this article it encourages everyone to contact their Congressman by clicking the link ASCO's ACT Network enter your zip code and then you will be asked to complete a form and relate your story if you have encounterd any drug shortages.

Together we can ALL make a difference!





Sunday, February 26, 2012

Keeping Your Meds Organized

It's Sunday night and time to refill hubby's pill organizer for another week.  Thought I would pass along a link to show the type of container that I find to be very, very efficient in organizing his medications.  When anyone has to take more than 20+ pills everyday, it can get quite confusing sometimes if you don't have some organization or schedule to remind you of just what meds you have already taken and what you have left to take.

My daughter bought this great container a few months ago for her Dad and I personally find it wonderful.  We have tried the smaller 7 day types, but sometimes there's just not enough separate compartments to organize everything.

The one I use is made by Dorsett and here's the link:    http://www.dosett.com/

We have the "red" one and although at first glance there may seem to be alot of different compartments, it's perfect for my husband's use.  It's a seven day organizer with four compartments per day so if you have to take pills four different times each day, it's just what you need. Once I organizer his pills, then he can easily access them anytime I'm away from home, and feel quite confident that he is taking the correct ones at the correct time.

There's also a list included at the bottom of the organizer where you can write down all of the medications and take it quite easily on your next doctor or hospital visit for reference.  The Dosett organizer also comes in smaller sizes for those who do not require the extra room for sorting.

Hope this helps and although I'm not sure where you can purchase it, why not check out your favorite drug store, and no doubt it's there.

If anyone reading this has more info on just where to buy these, please post the info directly on my Chat Forum.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Possible Shortage of Drugs





By now, you have all probably heard the news flash about Sandoz Canada having to reduce it's production significantly, resulting in a possible shortage of many injectable cancer drugs and antibiotics.  Here are a couple of links that you may wish to check out for further information

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/02/20/sandoz-canada-drug-shortage_n_1289602.html?ref=canada-business


http://www.canada.com/Drug+shortage+feared+after+generics+maker+Sandoz+suspends+production/6176236/story.html


My advice would be for everyone to contact their pharmacist to ensure that their medications will not be affected, and if there is a shortage, it's best to address the situation immediately by asking your physician for another prescription that can be filled now or an alternative medication, just in case your present one will become unavailable within a few weeks. 

Last year I experienced the same situation with one of my husband's medications due to a shortage of the drug and it left me virtually hunting around at several pharmacies before I managed to obtain a significant amount of this particular med.  Within a few weeks however, it was available once again.

When you are taking essential medications that you cannot do without, even for one day, then it's up to you to ensure you have done your homework and followed up on this recent news item.  You don't want to be left with zero meds.

Just thought I would pass this along.  I'm prepared...ARE YOU?



Thursday, February 16, 2012

Facing the Unknown

For viewers of my blog who have been down the cancer road now for awhile, feeling anxious about the unknown is all too common.  For first time cancer patients however and their families, there is no other word to describe the start of their cancer journey but terrifying!

We have all been there, that's for sure. Each time I accompany my husband to the cancer clinic, I can just look at someone and know it's their first visit there.  You can see the anxiety and fear on their face, as I'm sure it was on ours a few years ago.

That's what happened a couple of weeks ago while my husband was waiting to see his oncologist. His appointment was late so I decided to go and introduce myself to this couple in hopes that it might help to relieve some of their uneasiness.   Just the thought of going to a cancer clinic is in itself a scary thought, let alone the apprehension of what your first visit to an oncologist will be like.  

So up I get and do the introductions as I hate to see those first-time patients look so fearful about the unknown.  Once the intros are done, I then try to get them a little more familiar with the surroundings by pointing out the blood collection area, the oncologist's offices, the chemo unit, and where there are bathroom facilites and a place to get a coffee or snack.  The main thing I try to enhance is the fact that EVERYONE feels the exact same way on their first visit to the clinic so there's no need for apologies.  My husband and I have visited their so many times, I tell this couple that this place has become our second home of sorts. 

Yes, we no longer feel any apprehension when we go into the clinic, for we know everyone there has a role to play in helping my husband along his journey.  From the receptionist, or the lady who takes his blood, to the pharmacists, nurses and all the oncologists that we have met along the way, it does make us feel kind of like being at our second home.  We feel quite comfortable making ourselves at home and there's never any hesitation in asking questions.

After my short conversation with these first-time visitors to the cancer clinic, it was time to wish them well.  They shook my hand and thanked me for reassuring them on this frightful day!  I'm sure we will cross paths again on another visit to the clinic, but for now, I trust that my attempt to make them more at ease will be passed on by them as well one day when they see another new cancer patient at that clinic.

I trust that on your next visit, you as well will "PASS IT ON........"


Thursday, January 05, 2012

Cancer Changes Lifestyles

Wow..Christmas came and went really fast this year.  Tomorrow is Old Christmas Day and many will be dismantling their Christmas tree and other decorations.  No trouble to miss the lights especially once they are taken down.

I trust that you all enjoyed your Christmas this year.  We had a very quiet one but I think it was one of the best Christmases we ever had.  Surprising isn't it how cancer changes a family's traditions - sometimes though it's not a bad thing to have change.  For us, Christmas was always a time of visiting, having friends and family in for suppers and it seemed we were for the most part, always on the go.  By the end of Christmas we needed a holiday to rest, but this year was different.  We spent a quiet Christmas day with just our immediate family and despite a power outage right in the middle of the day, I did manage to get the turkey cooked and I must say the meal was delicious.

There has been quite a few strains of colds and flus in our area this Christmas as well, so we decided to stay at home and avoid contracting any of these bugs, more especially to not have my husband get sick, which would have been very serious indeed if he were to have more weight loss and trying to battle another illness.  Overall he has had a good Christmas.  His tiredness continues on occasion but we are thankful for the good quality of health that he now enjoys despite having a tumultuous fall season of varying health obstacles.

He still continues the morning and evening orange juice rituals and both him and I strongly believe that there is invaluable nutrients in freshly squeezed oranges.  We attribute his wellness to all of the oranges he has consumed.  It's been difficult to get the oranges that are best for juice, but even those with extra pulp are just as nutitious.  I've become a regular at our local grocery store filling double plastic bags with oranges, but it's all worth it!!!

I've just read that there are two new drugs being tested for those with kidney cancer...wow...fantastic news!!!!  Just goes to show one can never give up when they hear a diagnosis of cancer.

To get back to my title - over Christmas I have heard of several other cancer patients who are on chemo and who also have stayed at home throughout the holidays to avoid catching a bad flu bug.  No one wants that, especially if you are taking chemo so be ware, and even though having cancer may change your current lifestyle on occasion in 2012, remember it's important to take care of "YOU"....don't worry if you miss out on some occasions as there will be many more down the road that you can attend to when you are feeling better. 

Chin up ..... and don't give up!!!  This is just one more bump along the road.  Wishing everyone better health in this new year!!!


Sunday, January 01, 2012

The Loss of a Great Man in 2011

I've been watching shows over the past couple of days that recount happenings in the year just past.  There have been hurricanes, wars, natural disasters and other horrific events that occurred in 2011, but the one event that really stands out in my mind is the passing of Jack Layton, a humble man of courage and determination who inspired me beyond words.

All Canadians know of whom I speak but for others who may not be as familiar, he was the leader of our political NDP party who achieved outstanding success in our country's federal election in May of 2011 as his party became the official opposition. I feel quite confident that had Mr. Layton lived to continue the leadership of the NDP, he would have most definately attained the position of Prime Minister of Canada.

This man impacted all of us - not only because of his down to earth personality and genuine concern for others, but because of his determination to Never Quit.  After battling cancer previous to the election, along with undergoing hip surgery and still not relenting in his campaign to gain additional political awareness, we all watched him with awe as he fought so bravely to win.  To win not only his political seat but also to win against the beast of cancer.

I persoanlly felt the loss of this great Canadian. Although I had never met him, I had written him on two occasions.  One to tell him how inspired I was as I watched him continue along his campaign trail day after day as if he were in excellent health despite the increasing pain and discomfort that we could all see he bore along the way.  Another email to congratulate him on his enormous political win of 103 seats for the NDP which was the largest increase of this party's history resulting in the NDP forming Canada's Official Opposition Pary.

What was so special about the emails I sent Mr. Layton?  He actually took the time to write back personally, which I found astounding!!! Despite his busy career demands and his health issues, he took the time to reply and to pass along his best wishes to my husband along his cancer journey as well.

Jack Layton was a true Cancer Warrior in every aspect of it's definition.  Yes, a great loss indeed for Canadians and for the world in 2011.  Let us never forget him and the legacy he has left for all of us.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Healthier 2012

Didn't get a chance to post my Christmas wishes here but now I wanted to send everyone best wishes for a Happy and Healthier New Year in 2012.

This past year has been a challenging one for my husband, but he continues to face each adversity with courage and determination to once again, NEVER QUIT!  I trust that each and everyone of you will do the same.

My wish to everyone in 2012 is for good health, love of family and friends and peace for all!  Let us not forget those courageous warriors who have passed away in 2011 and let us never forget the legacy that they leave behind for each of us.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

B12 - Another Health Enhancer

My husband takes one B12 tablet everyday (it was originally recommended by another cancer patient) - that's another reason why his last blood report was PERFECT as I have previously mentioned.

Always ask your doctor before starting any new medication or vitamins but from our perspective, the B12 will definately enhance you health!

I'll be posting again before Christmas so stay tuned!!!  Oh and don't forget, NEVER QUIT!!!



Friday, December 09, 2011

Have You Eaten FISH Today?

I have without a doubt realized the nutritional value of cancer patients eating fish.  I have been serving fish in various varieties to my husband over the past two to three months and the results are amazing - no let's say jaw-dropping so you can better realize the difference it has made to him nutritionally.

I have served up fresh fish, mussels, cod tongues, fish cakes, and salmon.  Whatever fish variety is available in your area will work.  Sometimes he has had fish for lunch and then another version of it for supper.  It has omega 3 fats and does not have chemically induced enhancers so right away that puts it in the forefront for nutritional value.  The servings may not be large in portion, but they are nutritional.

I don't have to google "nutritional value of fish" as I know for certain it is a wonder food for those who are not feeling well, and more especially for cancer patients who have lost considerable weight.  My husband's last blood test was "excellent".....that's EXCELLENT!!!  His doctor told him that everthing on his blood report was in perfect order so you can't ask for better than that.  That is major accomplishment after being so ill at the end of August!!!

It's a combination of everything - not just the fish, but the orange juice, the nightly smoothie shakes, and always nutritional snacks inbetween. If you are having trouble with appetite, try this combination and I'm sure you will find a difference.  It's not going to happen overnight - it will take diligence on your caretaker's part to ensure you have all of these nutritients coming your way and of course it will take adherence on your part as a cancer patient to stick with it!!!  You CAN do it!

I know it has worked for my husband so that's verifies it for us.  Everyone agrees that he is doing sooo much better and looking great!!!  Need I say more?

Remember, when the going gets tough, the tough get going so start today and remember to NEVER QUIT!



Thursday, December 08, 2011

If Something's Not Right, Just Fix It

Rec'd my husband's next apptment date yesterday in the mail.  The date was fine but it was scheduled with another doctor so that kind of got me to wondering.  Rather than wonder too long, I picked up the telephone and called our oncologist's secretary.  She is the kindest lady one could ever wish to know.  Always very obliging and nothing is ever too much for her to check out.  Seems I have called her several times this past year alone, but always for good reason.

So yesterday when I asked if my husband's oncologist was sick or had moved away due to the change in doctor on his next apptment, she assured me that the info needed to be checked out as there must be some mistake.  She thanked me for calling and bringing it to her attention. Within two minutes my phone was ringing and another secretary was calling to say she had booked my husband's apptment incorrectly with the wrong doctor!!!  No problem, at least the error had been corrected before his apptment date.

Lesson to note here is to never hesitate to check things out such as apptment dates, prescriptions, medical tests and advice if things just don't seem right.  We have experienced errors in all of the above and then some, but after all, I guess human error does happen.  Be vigilant though - it is your right!!!  No one in the medical field should ever mind you giving them a call..if they do, then that's their problem because you do need to get it right!!!


Take care everyone - it's blowing a gale in my part of the world tonight.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Looking Good!

My husband had a follow-up six week appointment with his oncologist just a few days ago and I'm happy to report that his doctor was amazed at his improvement since last visit!!!  Whoa.....just goes to show that you can Never Quit as I keep saying. 

So what do I account this transformation to?  First of all - be consistent with eating nutritously - for those who are new to this blog go back a few posts and read about the orange juice, my super nutritously powered smoothie and the recipe for morning porridge just to name a few.  Secondly it's always good to seek another opinion which we did and the more medical input you have, the better your chances are at resolving medical issues that are making you feel ill.  Third and very important is that in our house - we "always" keep the atmosphere POSITIVE!!!  I can't say that word enough.  I absolutely hate when people visit and they are gloom and doom and then if they see my husband not looking great, nothing is said to encourage him.  Some visitors on the other hand "always" keep the conversation encouraging and they are the ones you can count on to help lift my husband's spirits just when he needs that most of all.  Remember that it only takes one small negative comment to bring down anyone's day, and more especially if you are already having a bad one.  So remember everyone, keep the conversation positive, and uplifting and don't focus on talking about cancer, or how anyone is feeling but talk about what should be a normal everyday conversation whenever you speak with cancer patients.

A few days ago a good friend came with me to run an errand.  Along the way I met several people and each of them asked how my husband was doing.  That was fine, but my friend realized this must be a common question everytime I go out.  She wondered how I've managed to keep my sanity in all of this and believe me at times it's not easy but I have learned the best answer to give is "he is feeling alot better or he is feeling good"...that way there's no need to go into detail and while I appreciate their care to even ask how he is feeling, it does get a bit trying on me over time.  His cancer is not like having major surgery and then getting on with your life, it's something that is staying around so we each have to deal with it the best way we know how.

Have a good day everyone and remember "KEEP IT POSITIVE"!!!!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Cancer and Perks? Check Out This Great Blog

Yesterday while driving home from the supermarket, I was tuning in to our local CBC radio station and was introduced to a breast cancer warrior who has created her own blog  http://www.perksofcancer.com
I have never thought that living with cancer will afford you certain "perks" but after reading many posts from this blog there definitely are many.  I don't want to give it away, so take a moment to go check it out and I'm sure you will agree.

Keeping connected with other cancer bloggers is wonderful and sooo very informative because you get to learn about their cancer journey via different perspectives.

Stay connected with others who travel the cancer highway and your rewards of support, friendship and the opportunity to become inspired will be endless!!!




Tuesday, November 22, 2011

You Can "NEVER" Quit

After a very difficult couple of months, my husband continues to do much better!  All the kudos go to him, as he is the one who continues to keep going no matter what comes his way.  The daily milkshake and orange drinks, along with nutrituous eating has enhanced his appetite and weight gain - YES!!!

New meds are making a difference as well so it's a combination of alot of things.   I'm sure his oncologist will be very surprised at his next visit!!!


For readers of this blog who also are going through difficult times due to their cancer, remember once again to NEVER quit!  You have to roll up your sleeves and decide if living is worth fighting for, and if it is, then it will take alot of hard work, but you CAN do it!!!  Your caregiver will have to play his/her part as well and the going will be very slow at first, but your hard work will pay off towards a better quality of living.

I have met new patients/caregivers this week via this blog.  Some are doing quite well while others are devastated due to hearing bad news. I don't have a magic wand to wave to make things ok, but I CAN tell them to keep going, keep hoping and keep doing everything they can to beat this beast!!!

Take care!

2 Chronicles 15:7 "But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded."



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Feeling So Much Better!!!

I wrote a few posts back about how my husband had not been feeling so well with loss of appetite, extreme tiredness and being prescribed medications that only made him feel terrible.

Well now I'm here to tell you that he is doing soooo much better!!!!  With the meds almost gone now he is back to his old self, his appetite has improved and although he is tired on occasion, it is nothing compared to how he was feeling some time ago.

This cancer stuff is very tricky.  You would think after all of this time since way back in 2006 when my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer, we would have it all figured out by now - but each episode of illness brings new issues and experiences that we have not encountered before and it continues to be a journey with more highs and lows than anyone could ever imagine ......anyone that is except another cancer patient. 

One thing I know for certain is  "sometimes you or your caregiver have to take charge of your health" - my husband is the perfect example of this.  You have to do what your gut tells you is the right thing to do, even when everyone else thinks there is no hope left.  My advice if you are ever in this situation is to keep hoping, keep positive and don't quit despite the odds being stacked against you at times.

Far too many cancer patients have passed away too early - why? 
  • their medical care has failed them
  • the patients themselves have just out right "quit"
  • many cancer patients unfortunately do not have someone to care for them and be their advocate
  • cancer patients receive very little or no encouragement from others



Thursday, November 03, 2011

Cancer Coaching - What An Amazing Idea!!!

Just heard about this remarkable new cancer coaching inititative to be located in our nation's capital of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada at the Maplesoft Centre.

I have included a link that will provide excellent information about this new venture.  You can email

jlaucius @JoanneLaucius for additional information.   I'd love to hear from you if you avail of this service so please connect with me at dannygabs@msn.com when you do!


The link is about Dr. Chandra Martens who will be a coach at this centre


http://www.ottawacitizen.com/story_print.html?id=5625987&sponsor=


A cancer survivor who will be one of the four coaches at this centre is Greg Hebert.  You can Google him and watch videos of his journey wtih cancer on YouTube.

What a fantastic idea this cancer coaching is!  Who better to coach any cancer patient then an oncologist and a cancer survivor.  This coaching centre will allow cancer patients "to be the best they can be".


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Orange Juice - Are You Drinking It?

As I mentioned in earlier posts, my husband has lost weight and it's been a struggle trying to get him to put some of it back on but one thing that is working, along with my Smoothies, Porridge, along with other nutritous foods is
 ORANGE JUICE

Not the store bought kind, but freshly squeezed orange juice.  Everyday now for the past two weeks, I've been giving him two cups of the juice which equals three oranges in the mornings with his breakfast and another two cups of it before bedtime.  I don't strain it as the oranges I've been getting have very little pulp and very small seeds so it's even more nutritous that way.

He likes to drink it when it's cold, so just pop it in the freezer for a few minutes and voila!!! 



Remember, don't give up, even sometimes when the going gets tough!  Keep positive!!!


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Copy That

Some of you may be aware and some of you may not BUT

- did you know that you can always request a copy of the results of any medical tests you may have done as a cancer patient - that would include blood test results, MIR, CT and bone scan results.  Of course, most of us do not have a medical background and may find some of the results a bit difficult to decipher - sometimes it's best not to even try, but at least by having these results in print, you can always go back and compare your results.

I personally find as caregiver, that it's best not to let my husband see these reports.  To me it serves no purpose for him at all but for me, since I am the one who is the advocate and I am the one doing all of the "secretarial" work from dr appoiutments, to follow-ups, to researching and finding what is new out there for his type of cancer, then I'm the best one to keep track of these reports and keep them somewhat hidden from him.  My husband never ever asks to see them as in his case, he just never wants to, so that makes it easy for me.  For patients and caregivers reading this, you will have to decide what works best for you with regards to the test results presented on paper. 

If you need some of these results such as MRI's or CT's in digital format, they can be provided by your health care system on DVD.  This would be most beneficial if you are seeking another doctor's opinion out of your area and rather than carry all of the paperwork, it's much easier to have the info in digital form.

Doctors here in Canada can access most of your health results via a PACS system where your doctor can retrieve your test results just by going on their own hospital health system no matter where their location may be.  This is a great way to use today's technology.





Monday, October 31, 2011

A True Smoothie With Umph

Sometimes it's difficult to eat when you are a cancer patient.  Food can get that metallic taste or there's no taste at all.  You may have mouthsores which makes eating even more challenging or you just don't have much of an appetite.

Here is my recipe for that extra meal in a glass - very easily digested and as I mentioned in yesterday's post, if you have a sore mouth, drinking this with a wider straw will definitely help to get it down, rather than drinking it directly from the glass.  I use my Magic Bullet which is an invaluable device for making fruit shakes or smoothies.  If you don't have one, then just use your blender or beat with an electric mixer - even a hand mixer will do although it is a little more difficult.


Deb's Smoothie

Add all of the following ingredients directly into the Magic Bullet glass:

1 Egg
2 scoops Ice Cream
1 small Banana (cut in small pieces)
2 Minigo Yogurt
1 cup 2% Milk
1/4 cup Whey/Protein Powder
5-8 frozen Strawberries

add more milk if needed to make a liquid consistency

I also add a Shot Glass of Brandy!!!

Of course you can substitute a different type of frozen fruit and yogurt but it's a smoothie that is loaded with nutrition.

Ideally you should try and have one everyday for at least one week and then determine if you have more energy as well as a little weight increase.  Of course always continue to eat nutritous meals along with this smoothie - you CAN do it!





Sunday, October 30, 2011

Straws Are Beneficial

If you have challenging mouth sores due to a side effect from your cancer treatment and are finding it difficult to drink, don't forget to try drinking from a straw.

Such a simple little device but it can really help alleviate some of your mouth discomfort as the liquid through the straw will not directly irritate the inside of your mouth as much as it would if you drank from a glass or cup.  Try to get the bendable straws as this makes it much easier to sip if you are in an inclined position or lying down.

For milkshakes you can use the wider straws which will allow for a better flow as the thick shakes will not be easily accessible through the regular straws.

Just a simple idea, but thought I would pass it along and share it in case you are having problems with mouth sores.



Thursday, October 27, 2011

Congratulations!

Sending congratulations to all those who have been receiving great news from their recent MRI or CT's....! 


Keeping positive and living life to the fullest is what it's all about - way to go KJE and Joanne!!!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Do You "Really" Need Those Pain Meds?

Speaking once again from the voice of experience, I wanted to share some information with you about pain medications.

Many cancer patients experience intense pain with their cancer while others have tumors with relatively very little pain or no pain associated with them at all.  A word of advice here would be to check very thoroughly with your oncologist or family physician to ensure your pain medications are prescribed for the right reasons.  It's very easy to make that mistake when you have cancer and pain.  Right away you may think your pain is due to your cancer but always take the time to investigate to make sure it's not something else causing your pain.

There is nothing worse than pain!  Any of us would gladly take whatever is offered to help alleviate our pain but be careful and always check out your pain meds!!!  There are all types of pain medications from anti-inflamatory, and corticosteroids to narcotics - just to name a few.  The big ones are the narcotics which you have all heard about, but these vary in strength and composition from slow-acting to fast-acting and of course their side effects and additions vary as well. 

If you have been prescribed these heavy duty meds it is usually trial and error so be ware!!!  If you find the strength of any pain medication you are on is making you incoherent, unaware of what's happening around you or constantly just plain out-if-it, then maybe it's time to reconnect with your physician and reduce the dose or re-examine the type of drug you are presently taking.  Believe me, you don't want to be on these narcotics unless it's absolutely necessary as getting off them can be just as dangerous as taking too high a dosage.  If your eyes just don't seem right - a very small pupil size - that is a possible sign as well that your pain medication may be too strong!

My point here is - always use your instincts or those of your caregiver if you are ever in doubt about the medications you are taking. If something does not seem right, if your appetite is not good, if you are sleeping way too much or if you are becoming incoherent, then go see your doctor immediately.  Find the "exact" cause of your pain as it just may not even be due to your cancer and then get the correct meds to treat you.

Good luck and take care!




Monday, October 24, 2011

Do People Realize?

I felt I had to post this today because sometimes people just don't "think" before they speak.

 While out on a short excursion this morning my husband met up with someone we have known for awhile and who knows that cancer has been a part of our lives for years now.  It's fine to exchange the common greetings and the usual talk, but does my husband want the constant reminder that he has CANCER always put right in his face????  NO!!!!

My husband does have a tumor behind his ear and of course for some it may be noticeable.  So what does this person say to him this morning?  "Wow, that's a huge lump you have there behind your ear???"  Good thing I was not there or I would have probably said something so that this person would never make a similiar remark to any other cancer patient.

I have constantly told friends and family to keep the conversation with him as normal as possible.  While we know all too well that he has cancer, don't think for one minute that it's easy to put it aside on any given day and try to find a bit of normalcy in our lives, so we don't want to be constantly reminded of it either by those on the outside, and more especially my husband does not need to hear it from anyone.  This cancer is not like coming down with the common cold or flu as all of us who live each day with it can attest to.

OK....that's it I've said it.  I sure hope that everyone who reads this post will pass it along to others next time they strike up a conversation with any cancer patient.  KEEP IT NORMAL! 







Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Stomach Cancer and Not Eating?

As my viewers already know, I honestly don't relay alot of my husband's medical condition right here on my blog.  That is just my choice as I don't want those who know us personally to have the inside scoop on just what's happening with him.  There are some things naturally that we all want to keep private but I do share important issues in hopes that it will help another cancer patient out there.  Also as you may or may not know, you can always email me at dannygabs@msn.com with any personal question and if I can be of any help, then I most certainly will email back a response.

With that being said, I thought I would share a recent diagnosis with those of you who may have recently been diagnosed with stomach cancer.  Yes, my husband now has mets to the stomach and of course at first the news was devastating.  Those of you who also continue to hear such increases in your cancer can definately relate, and no matter how long you may have cancer or how you may have thought you have heard everything about your cancer, it's always like an atomic bomb has hit when there's more negative news.  So that's the way it was this summer when my husband received that diagnosis.

The main thing to remember though is "no matter how bad the news is, always keep positive!!!"  Hearing that news is never good, but you have two choices - 1) give up and eventually the cancer WILL have it's way  "OR"  2) try your very best to do everything you can to keep living - the choice is yours. My husband always chooses to "NEVER QUIT" and of course I totally support him on that decision!  This choice is never easy however, but a patient has to be prepared to accept the hard knocks as they appear and then move on. 

Now back to the reason why I'm even telling you all of this.  Of course when you have been diagnosed with stomach cancer, the first thing you may probably hear is that you will not be able to eat.  Bah humbug I say!!!  I hope the little event that I'm going to share will help others who have been diagnosed with stomach cancer and that it will encourage them to keep eating and in return keep living!

One evening after we returned home from hospital, I presented my husband with his supper.  Of course his portions are much smaller than he usually would eat a few months ago, but I always try to offer him nutritous foods.  If you scroll back a few posts, you will see some examples.  My husband ate everything I had given him but before long it came right back up.  I could tell by the look on his face that he was thinking "well this is the end of my eating" as he sat back in his chair looking a bit dazed.

I however had a different thought and immediately took his plate and refilled it.  I told him to eat slower this time, to chew the food really good and most of all, to eat small portions each time rather than what he usually was used to.   Voila!!!  It worked!!! And it has been working every time since that day!

The lesson learned here is to Not Quit!  If I had not given my husband more food that evening and if he had not tried to eat it to accommodate his stomach problems, then no doubt he would have just given up and next time I gave him a meal, he would have just not wanted to eat it, for fear it would not stay down.  I trust that anyone else out there who has ever encountered this problem, will eat based on what I have relayed and Not Quit when the going gets tough.

My husband's appetite is improving, so I can't ask for more than that.  It's a slow process but each day brings better results.  Always try though to keep the food nutritous.  You can do it, just give yourself a second chance!


Take care everyone and have a great day 




Tuesday, October 11, 2011

In Memory

Yesterday I learned of the passing of a very courageous cancer patient and today I have added the animated candle to my blog in her honor.  Bec was a beautiful young lady who was a true inspiration to all who were privileged to follow along her cancer journey. 

My deepest sympathies to her loving and devoted family.

I have also added an automated blog roll to list names of other brave warriors who have passed on.  If you would like me to add a name, please enter it on my Chatroll blog or leave the name in the Comment section under any post and I will include it.


Sunday, October 09, 2011

Give Thanks

Today is a very special day for all of us as it's Thanksgiving Day!  Most of us will be sharing cooked turkey with family and friends.  Many people will go about their day as if it were any other Sunday, but our family will be Giving Thanks for all of the blessings we have received this year.

Sometimes we tend to take things for granted - it's a natural thing to do.  When cancer or any serious illness strikes, then you stand back and take a very close look at just what really matters in your life and what the important things are.

I trust that each and everyone of you will have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Big "C"

 Just this past week I watched my first episode of The Big "C"!  Have you seen it?  Apparently season 1 of this series began in 2010, then went on to season 2 and now season 3 began last month.  It's a show about CANCER!

Maybe it's not a show for everyone to watch, especially some cancer patients - you will have to decide yourself.  It's a show about it's main character, Cathy Jamison a high school teacher being diagnosed with terminal (stage IV) melanoma and deciding initially not to tell anyone, including her husband and only child.  At first she fears that it would be too much of a burden for her family and friends to accept the news so she tries to continue on with her daily routine as if nothing is wrong.

 There are serious as well as comical overtones to this show.  My first reaction upon watching one particular series, was show me more.  Why?  Well as caregiver, I want to learn everything there is about cancer, I want to know how everyone reacts to the good and the bad situations that cancer brings and even though this is not a reality show, it does obviously allow me to see the good, bad and ugly situations that cancer creates in patients and their families.  I could relate to a little in just that first episode and then definitely even more, as I watched the second one.  It allows patients to realize that they should NOT dwell on their cancer, but to get out there and enjoy life to the fullest!  That is an excellent model for all to follow.

It's on SHOWIME television and you can also watch the episodes online.  Just google it to find out more.  Good luck with watching it and feel free to post your comments on it right on the Chatroll blog.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Don't Give Up! NEVER QUIT!

I recently read the following quote that I wanted to share with you:


Don't give up. There are too many nay-sayers out there who will try to discourage you. Don't listen to them. The only one who can make you give up is yourself.
Sidney Sheldon


Maybe you have not been feeling quite as well recently.  Maybe your most recent cancer report has not been as encouraging as you were anticipating or maybe you are just getting a little fed up with all you have gone through since you were first diagnosed with cancer.

Well, I'm here to tell you "Chin Up!".   Easy for me to say I know, for I am just the caregiver and not the patient, but I know what I say about not giving up is true.  My husband has not been well recently, no, not well at all but just watching him everyday in his fight to live, certainly encourages me to never give up on him!!!  Sure, we can all just live in gloom and doom when you get that bad report, you can allow the negative remarks that others say right in front of you to want to just give up, or you can pull up your socks and FIGHT!  It's all up to you. 

Just last month, my husband's medical prognosis was not very encouraging but one month later, he continues to feel a little better each day.  After all, you have to give yourself time to get back on track because it's not just going to happen overnight.  He is not looking for a cure for his cancer - although that would be the most amazing thing that could ever happen - but he is looking for results that will give him a better quality of life everyday.  He's doing his part and I'm making sure that everyone else who can help him accomplish this, is doing their part. 

If you are determined as well like my husband, then first of all, go seek the advice of your medical team and relate what you would like them to do.  Unless you have tried all the options that might be available for your cancer treatment, then you have not done everything there is to acquire that better quality of life.

I trust this post will encourage you to never quit! 

Have a good one!


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Constipation Remedy

Constipation affects everyone but more specifically, patients who take pain medications or who are receiving chemotherapy may experiene bouts of this discomfort.

If you experience excessive pain with your cancer, then of course you are not eating properly. If you are not eating nutritionally, then constipation will occur as well.  If you have tried everything to remedy your situation but nothing seems to work, maybe this will help.

Thought I would share a tried and true remedy that is proven successful for my husband - Pitted Prunes !

Yes, pitted prunes are an easy solution!  You need to purchase the dried pitted (seedless) ones which seem to work more effectively than just drinking the store bought prune juice alone.  Put approximately 6 prunes and two cups of water in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 10 min.  That's it - plain and simple!  Don't forget to not only eat the prunes but also drink the liquid - that is the solution!  I usually double the number of prunes along with the amount of water and then put the extras in the refrigerator for a another time. 

NOTE:  Adjust the amount of prunes you eat accordingly, based upon your weight and medical condition.

Such a simple solution to a problem, that if not acted upon, can make you feel very miserable.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

High Tech? More Cancer Connections & More Cancer Resources

My daughter insisted last week that I upgrade my cell phone so that I could send her longer texts messages in a much shorter time.  It was becoming painful for her to await my text replies which took forever for me to compose.  While my cell phone has endured many a harsh treatment by me from falling into a full pan of water, to being dropped at least twice on my paved driveway as well as having gone missing endless times (that will be another post one day), it has continued to provide me with the best service without fail!  But after a bit of persuasion, I was ok with at least going to the tech store to take a look at the latest gadgets that would make my texting faster.

It didn't take long for me to choose the one that seemed to offer the most features - an iPhone!  That was the one my daughter was not expecting me to choose, as she thought it was way to high tech for me!!! After all, I am only the mother, who I guess sometimes appears to their siblings NOT to be able to maneuver around today's tecky gadgets.  Anyway, I left with my new iPhone and I must admit, without my daughter's excellent instruction on just how to find my way around it, things would have taken a very slow road to using it.

I first started this blog back in 2008 to connect with other caregivers and cancer patients for support and also to learn more about my husband's cancer and what was available out there to help him.  It has proven to fulfill all of that and so much more.  I've met people right across the world, constantly keep in touch with many patients/caregivers via email, and have learned so much more about kidney cancer than I ever would have if my blog had never been developed.  So now with my new iPhone, I've decided to set up a Twitter account to connect with more people and more cancer organizations in a hopes to expand my present knowledge about cancer.  I've included my Twitter feed in the right sidebar, but now I need to try and include comments that others leave for me on Twitter (not sure how to do this, but I'm sure someone out there will give me direction).  Please feel free to leave a message right on the Chatroll blog at anytime.  It would be most appreciated.  Already I'm beginning to get Followers for my Twitter account so that is wonderful!  My account is @mckenziemoments

My purpose for writing this post however is not to advertise my Twitter account or my new phone "but" to relate the fact that I can't see for the life of me how in this high tech 21st century with all of the technological resources that are available within our health care sector, there still seems to exist such a lack of communication between and among cancer experts in the fight against this beast???  Why is cancer still so rampant?  Why can't the experts apply what works for some cancer patients to other cancer patients?  One such example would be when my husband had his nephrectomy back in 2001, he was told "we got it all - so go home and enjoy life"!  After all he has been through during these past 10 years, I shutter everytime I think about those words.  Just yesterday, I was speaking with another patient who just three years ago was told the exact words after his nephrectomy, and now is battling metastasis to several areas.  Why in the world are they not offered ADJUVANT THERAPY post cancer surgery to try everything possible to prevent the recurrence of their cancer?  If I had know such a thing even existed back in 2001, my husband would definitely have been a recipient of this therapy, but we were not even presented with this option.  Now, 10 years later, you would think just this particular topic would "always" be discussed with any cancer patient after they have undergone cancer surgery.  OK....don't get me started because I'm sure you can tell that I'm very adament about this particular topic when I read obituaries everyday in my local paper of those who have passed away after fighting a courageous battle with cancer.  I wonder immediately if they had ALL the facts about their type of cancer and if they were given every opportunity there was right from the start to beat their cancer.

Yes, this high techology provides more resources and more connections right around the world in an instant -  and my hope for today and always is that cancer experts use it to the BEST means possible to reduce cancer, to help those who continue their struggle everyday and to prevent earlier mistakes with cancer patients from every happening to anyone else again!!!

If you are a regular viewer of my blog and enjoy returning, please join my Followers gadget, leave a comment or just post a "hello" or a "comment" directly on my Chatroll chat forum at the beginning of the blog.  It's always encouraging to see that I may have provided some inspiration or knowledge to help you get through a difficult day!  Take care everyone!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What To Eat When You "Can't"

Those who know me, also know that I'm not a person who gives up when the going gets tough.  Recently my husband has had issues with trying to find foods that will encourage him to eat.  For the most part, even the smell of cooking some foods will automatically discourage his appetite, so that has become a challenge indeed.

After reseaching information on foods he needs that are high in protein and carbohydrates to regain weight,  the list seems to be quite long.  I have also realized just how unhealthy so many everyday foods that we all eat can be, especially those that contain tons of sugar.

My earlier post about drinking fully loaded shakes such as Ensure or Boost discusses the value of these supplements
http://www.myhusbandskidneycancer.com/2011/06/sometimes-you-need-little-boost.html

Another great soure of daily nutrion is Carnation Instant Breakfast powders.  They can be purchased in different flavours such as vanille, strawberry or chocolate and you just add them to a cup of milk.  The main difference with this drink versus the Ensure or Boost is the taste. You can hardly taste the additives, and only the milk.  This same product offers a much higher protein and carbs supplement as well in the form of a liquid - Carnation Instant Breakfast Lactose Free VHC   http://www.nestle-nutrition.com/Products/Product.aspx?ProductId=2a77e1da-2932-4ab1-a00d-f5d1a0b9f965

This particular produce is great for those who have stomach or throat cancer and just one can will provide you with half of your daily requirements.

Sometimes it's best to offer those who don't have much of an appetite - very small amounts. 
One product that fits this category is Yoplait Minigo Yogurt  http://www.yoplait.ca/minigo/en/minigo.aspx
This product while it was manufactured primarily to appeal to younger children it is very nutritional to adults and more importantly, very easy to eat as it's taste is not overpowering for those with delicate stomachs.

My personal  advice is  cook a turkey!   This meal is timeless and of course can be served in so many different ways from it's original hot turkey meal to hot turkey sandwiches (always in small portions) and most nutritional of all, by making turkey soup.  I just finished making a LARGE quantity of it for my husband and of course put the excess in small containers which are now in my freezer.  I add pearl barley, carrots, parsnip, and lots of tomatoes to increase the soup's nutritional value.  This would be my best recommendation for a nutritous meal when your appetite is at an all time low.

One important thing to remember as well if you are having problems with your appetite or if you find you can't seem to keep much food down, is to eat is SLOWLY and in SMALL AMOUNTS - remember that slow and steady wins the race!!!  By the way, if you have eater solid foods and they have not stayed down, don't despair!!!  Maybe you did eat the way too fast and in pieces that were too large.  Go try those same foods again but in smaller portions and smaller pieces. Chew them thoroughly.  If you don't try to eat that same food again, then you never will because you will have that fear of vomiting them up again.  Remember when you were a child just starting to ride your first two wheel bike.  Did you do it the first time and probably fall off???  If you didn't get back on and try it again, then you would NEVER have learned how to ride that two-wheeler, now would you???  So, now you get my point!

Offer small helpings of fruit every now and then as well throughout the day.  It all adds up and oh yes, patients/caregivers should keep a journal of just what your patient ate today!  Why?  Because it will give you a better prospective on what works and what doesn't for another day.

Good luck with your appetite.  Some days are diamonds while others are rough, but keep eating and you WILL feel sooo much better! 

If you have suggestions as well on what works for your appetite, please send them along.  I'll write another post about them.  I'll also be adding more ideas as well.