Monday, December 29, 2008

2008 End of Year Wishes!


MUSIC: "Celebrate Life"


As our family nears the end of 2008, we are very thankful for the blessings we have received over this past year.
My reflection on the past 12 months, allows me to realize that I am never too old to learn true values that life has to offer. Our daughter gave my husband and I a beautiful handmade album that she meticulously created over several weekends. It's cover displays the words "Family - We Have Been Blessed" and we all definitely agree that we indeed have been very blessed, especially since my husband's original cancer diagnosis. Even though sometimes there have been many difficult days over these past few months, we have learned from watching him climb many mountains, the true meaning of courage, determination and the definition of a true hero. At the end of my daughter's album, she has placed a bookmark with the following inscription:
Enjoy the little things in life....
For one day you will look back and realize they were the BIG things.
Everyone reading this who has been affected by cancer can certainly relate to these words.
Over this past year, I am very grateful for those who have taken the time to view my website. I trust you have found inspiration to continue your journey with cancer through some of my posts as well as the music selections. For me, my goal of reaching out to those who travel similiar roads, has been met many times, as I've been fortunate enough to connect with other cancer patients and caregivers who together have created this community of support, encouragement and information when we need it most.
It was just today that I received an email from one of my online caregivers who stated that she was very glad we had met this year because as she said "I know u know what I mean"...and this is so very true. Only those who are affected by cancer whether as a patient or caregiver can actually relate to how each of us get through the difficult moments.
As my song selection indicates, I trust that as you enter into 2009, each of you will Celebrate Life to the fullest, despite the difficulties that you may encounter along the way.
KEEP THE FAITH
I'm including the lyrics to this very meaningful song, so that you too can sing along.....
We must all never forget that Joy is in the Journey
Happy New Year Everyone!!!!

Celebrate LifeWritten by: Terry Kelly
Published by: Jefter Publishing - SOCAN


Hey. Celebrate. Life. oooo
Hey. Celebrate. Life. oooo
Through the tears, she can hear
Many questions swirling around
Where to turn, so much to learn
Endless confusion pouring down
She lets him scream and swear
Then they kneel in prayer
And they make a vow that no matter how this plays out
Rest assured let there be no doubt
We will celebrate, celebrate life
Find the joy in the journey
And shine our light.
Many hearts, many minds grow hope and make us strong
Together we'll overcome and celebrate life
Hey. Celebrate. Life. oooo
Hey. Celebrate. Life. oooo
I'm amazed by the smile
And the courage of a child
In awe of the woman's resolve to live strong
I'm inspired by the man who embraces a plan
Come what may they will live on
If you don’t know what to say to someone, just be there
Love and laugh, take some walks, and breath some ocean air
If we stand together we will survive
We will bid this beast goodbye
So let us keep our dream alive
And we’lll celebrate, celebrate life
Find the joy in the journey
And shine our light.
Many hearts, many minds grow hope and make us strong
Together we'll overcome and celebrate life
The only thing in life that never changes
Is that there will always be change
May we all find comfort in knowing
That change brings hope and hope grows faith
Have faith, change will come. Yeah, Yeah!
Celebrate, celebrate life
Find the joy in the journey
And shine our light.
Many hearts, many minds grow hope and make us strong
Together we'll overcome and celebrate life
Celebrate lifeFind the joy in the journey
And shine our light.
Many hearts, many minds grow hope and make us strong
Together we'll overcome and celebrate life
Celebrate. Life. oooo
Hey. Celebrate. Life. oooo
Hey. Celebrate. Life. oooo
Hey. Celebrate. Life. oooo oooo.
Celebrate life

Friday, December 26, 2008

Our Favourite Christmas Songs

MUSIC: "I'll Be Home With Bells On"
"Come On Ring Those Bells"


Now is the time for friends and family to create lasting memories and enjoy Christmas in your own special way.

I've added two of our families favorite Christmas songs for your enjoyment.

Thanks to everyone for your wonderful messages!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wishing Everyone.........


I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Blessed Christmas Season. It is a time to reflect on the past year and to give thanks for the many blessings we have all been given.


May we all cherish our memories of loved ones who have passed on as they will forever live in our hearts.


May each of us be thankful for cherished friendships and for the love of family and friends.


And as you continue along your journey with cancer, may you remain defiant to Never Quit and to always Keep the Faith.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Keep Christ in Christmas


MUSIC: "The King is Coming"


Over the next few days there will be alot of hustle and bustle in preparation for the Christmas holidays. Let us not forget the true meaning of "The Reason for the Season" and remember to keep Christ in Christmas.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Family Christmas





MUSIC: "Hello Mom and Dad, We're Comin' Home For Christmas"










This carol is a favorite of mine. Many of you who have sons and daughters, grandchild, or other family members traveling home over the next few days to share the Christmas celebrations with you, will enjoy this beautiful Christmas song. It is a true classic.

Hello, Mom and Dad, we're coming home for Christmas,
It's been a long long timeand we know that you have missed us;
Likewise, I'm sure, we couldn't miss you more,a new born child is with us,
Hello, Mom and Dad, we're coming home for Christmas.

Excursion fares always disappear,just when you need them the most,
I guess everybody's going homefrom the west down to the east coast;
It's a five day drive, I'm drinking Five-Aliveand black coffee from a thermos,
So, hello, Mom and Dad, we're coming home for Christmas.

Hello, Mom and Dad, we're coming home for Christmas,
It's been a long long timeand we know that you have missed us;
Likewise, I'm sure, we couldn't miss you more,a new born child is with us,
Hello, Mom and Dad, we're coming home for Christmas.

I guess all the boys and the girls, too,are coming with their kids,
Turkey dinner while we reminisceall the crazy things we did;
I sometimes wonder how you and Dadtolerated all our badness,
So, hello, Mom and Dad, we're coming home for Christmas.

Hello, Mom and Dad, we're coming home for Christmas,
It's been a long long timeand we know that you have missed us;
Likewise, I'm sure, we couldn't miss you more,a new born child is with us,
Hello, Mom and Dad, we're coming home for Christmas.

Hello, Mom and Dad, we're coming home for Christmas,
It's been a long long timeand we know that you have missed us;
Likewise, I'm sure, we couldn't miss you more,a new born child is with us,
Hello, Mom and Dad, we're coming home for Christmas.

More Cancer Related Websites

MUSIC: "It's Christmas Time"

I've recently discovered two more cancer related websites that I'd like to share with you.


One is www.chemocare.com and it provides information about the many types of chemotherapy that is available to ALL cancer patients. It also lists possible side effects from treatments and provides very detailed information on just what you may do to help alleviate your discomfort.






This next site was provided to me yesterday by another cancer patient www.mskcc.org and outlines information about ALL types of cancer. Once again it is a very detailed website and one that you should most definitely check out.

We are all forging ahead over unknown waters and discovering a vast wealth of information through communication with others.

Keep the Faith!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Angels Among Us


MUSIC: "I Believe There Are Angles Among Us"


Since starting the Cancer Cafe chat forum on this site back in October, it is truly amazing how many wonderful people all of us have met. We are all joined by a common thread of cancer and whether some of us are patients, caregivers, or family/friends of those dealing with cancer, we all share simliar problems and obstacles along this cancer journey.
None of us have ever met personally, yet I for one feel as if I've known many of these wonderful people for a lifetime. Through this chat we share our experiences, we offer suggestions, we encourage and we all support each other when it's needed most of all.
Many of our regular chatters have had to endure very difficult events since October and it's been good to have all of us there as a pillar of strength when we all need it most. Knowing that you can connect with someone else who is also living with cancer, makes a big difference on those difficult days.
Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.
So, to all of my "angels" who I have been blessed to meet since starting this website, I wrote this post to say how very much I treasure your friendship!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

There is "Always" Hope

MUSIC: "The Christmas Hope"

H
O
P
E

Every year our Christmas tree is adorned with ornaments that have special meaning for each of our family members. Some of them have been hanging from the Christmas branches now for over thirty years and we continue to add more each year.


There's an ornament "Baby's First Christmas" placed there back in 1985, a "piano", "bass clef" and "treble clef" display my love for music, a "red clothspin" ornament hand made by my daughter when she attended kindergarten many years ago along with a very special one this Christmas from our friend who had it personally engraved back in 1994. And then there's the one shown here which was given to my husband back in 2006 by another dear friend, when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Only four letters and such a small word, but a very powerful word. This word has given my husband encouragement to never quit in his battle with cancer, it gives him and the rest of our family the inspiration to remain positive and it is a symbol of how one's life may appear to be reaching it's final days and then suddenly a miracle can happen!

After Christmas is over, we never pack this particular ornament away. It is hung in our living room for everyone to see year round and most of all, for my husband and our family to appreciate what we have been given and to realize that no matter how dismal things may look at times, there is always HOPE.

Here's the words to this beautiful song you hear and I trust that after listening, you also will be inspired to never quit.

The Christmas Hope

Her wish this Christmas Was that Christmas would just pass her by

Nothing could reach her Or answer her questions why

She feels so alone And she wonders if all hope is gone

Chorus

Hope is a candle A light in the window Showing the way for A heart to come home

Hope is a Savior Who was born in the manger Sent down from Heaven To rescue our hearts

Our Christmas hope

She never imagined That for her there was hope to find

But isn't it amazing How God brings a heart back to life

She's smiling now she's finding out What Christmas hope is all about

Chorus

Hope is a present A gift freely given

To all who receive And open their hearts

Hope is a promise For a better tomorrow

In a world filled with sorrow We always have hope

Our Christmas hope

Our Christmas hope.

Things never go so well that one should have no fear,

and never so ill that one should have no hope.





MUSIC:

C-H-R-U-S-T-M-A-S


OLD CHRISTMAS CARD


CHRISTMAS IN DIXIE









I've added three more selections today in relation to the Christmas season. Hope you enjoy! I should have another post up within a couple of days.




"If I could wish a wish for you, it would be for peace and happiness not only now, but for the whole year through!"

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

True Heroes

MUSIC: "Hero"
"If Everyday Was Like Christmas"


I absolutely love this picture! It was taken this weekend as my daughter was putting the lights on our tree.




I was always very confident that I could easily define the word hero. That was of course "before" my husband became a cancer patient.

Just last night, we both reflected on just how many MRI's and CT scans that he has had over these past few years, not to mention chemo treatments, blood tests, doctor's visits.....and the list goes on.

Mentally, it takes a very strong person to keep going through all of these medical "musts" but an even stronger person when the odds are constantly being stacked against you. Continuous reports that indicate tumors are increasing, other medical issues that arise due to side effects and of course the never ending uncertainty that is ever present when test results are due, all increase a patient's stress levels to a point that a lay person could never comprehend.

Yet, everytime I accompany my husband to the cancer clinic, I am always surrounded by cancer patients who appear so complacent. They always appear so pleasant and so eager to begin conversation with you, despite the anxiety that each must be enduring as they sit in the clinic awaiting their name call for chemo or radiation treatments, or for their doctor's appointment.

I recently spoke with a patient who is awaiting major surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. He is presently undergoing treatments as well and is experiencing very harsh side effects from it. Despite all of his tribulations, when I ended our conversation, "I" was the one who felt so very uplifted because of his inspiration and positive outlook on everything. Truly amazing!

Then there's the young woman who recently underwent major surgery to have cancerous tumors removed, only to receive a prognosis that her cancer is very aggressive. She continues however to be very positive for her family and friends and is determined to not accept the fate that her doctor has given her. Just spending a few minutes with her will definitely inspire those who doubt the courage of such a brave woman.

Yes, the word hero can be defined in many ways and for many different feats that one endures in life. It is without a doubt though, that it's true definition lies unequivocalbly in every patient who is affected by cancer.

A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.
Christopher Reeve


Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sunday Medley of Christmas Songs


MUSIC:


"Beautiful Star of Bethlehem"


"Angels We Have Heard on High"


"Christmas Shoes"

Friday, December 05, 2008

A Beautiful Christmas Song

MUSIC: "Mary Did You Know?"



Thought I would share this beautiful Christmas song with you by Clay Aiken. It is very inspirational for those who are enduring uncertainties and hardships, especially at this time of year.

A very dear friend sent this quote to me a couple of days ago and I'd like to share it with you:



"Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life;


rather look to them with full hope that as they arise,


God, whose very own you are, will lead you safely through all things;


And when you cannot stand it, God will carry you in His arms.
Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;


The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you every day. He will either shield you from suffering or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings."








Remember that just when you think your situation is unbearable, someone else is also going through difficulties as well.
One of my recent viewers wrote that her husband has Stage 4 cancer while she has been diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer!
That type of news certainly puts things into perspective, doesn't it?






And to think we sometimes grumble over trivial things


should put us to shame!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Live Chat and Other Cancer Resources


MUSIC: "Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow"

By now, most of you have already had snow. Sure hope though that it's not as significant as in this photo.

There's a couple of cancer websites that I'd like to share with you.

One offers a live chat forum with the National Cancer Institute in the US. After you click the following link, go to "cancer information" and wait for a few seconds until an assistant indicates that he/she is ready to answer your question. The assistant is not a medical expert but will offer you various websites and other links for you to further research. Once again it's "instant response" so you can obtain information immediately without waiting for an email response.

https://cissecure.nci.nih.gov/livehelp/welcome.asp




They also offer a "Support for Caregiver's" link as well, at the following

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/When-Someone-You-Love-Has-Advanced-Cancer/page8




Here's a link to the "Clinical Trial Results" for Sunitinib and Temsirolimus (Sutent & Torisel) web page

http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/results/sunitinib-and-temsirolimus0606



And one more that offers additional information in greater detail on Sunitinib, for viewers who may recently have started this type of chemo.

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/druginfo/sunitinibmalate


I trust this will provide additional information to cancer patients and caregivers.

What Is On "Your" Christmas List?

MUSIC: "My Grown-Up Christmas List"

Sorry for not being around for a few days....


I have been doing a little Christmas shopping, sending out Christmas cards and taking care of other family obligations.

Last night we had a visit from some friends and for the most part, we all tend to agree on one main theme this Christmas:

"To not worry about whether we've bought the right present, not worry about how many decorations we put up, not worry about whether our homes are spic and span and most of all we are all determined to not get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season. The most important thing that we all agree on, is that we spend time with those who mean the most to us this Christmas and celebrate the true meaning of the festive season"

As I was shopping a couple of days ago, the traffic was enormous, the shopping carts were all filled to capacity and you could just see the look of stress on many faces. I overheard one woman in particular make this remark as I passed by her in the toy section, "I could just get sick, when I think about all of the things that I have bought for little Tommy for Christmas!" That remark certainly puts things into perspective.

In previous years, I've also spent way too much on my children and maybe on everyone else as well. I love to "give" and I guess that's why the over indulgence of sort happened. Since our family has been diagnosed with cancer however, my priorities have definitely changed as well as the items on my Christmas wish list. The true lessons of life are usually learned through adversity.

Hope you enjoy the Christmas song I have chosen for today. I'm going to add the words to this beautiful song below, so that you may sing along.

My Grown Up Christmas List

Do you remember me I sat upon your knee
I wrote to you With childhood fantasies
Well, I'm all grown up now And still need help somehow
I'm not a child But my heart still can dream
So here's my lifelong wish My grown up christmas list
Not for myself But for a world in need
No more lives torn apart, that wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
Every man would have a friend That right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up christmas list
What is this illusion called the innocence of youth
Maybe only in our blind belief can we ever find the truth
No more lives torn apart That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts Every man would have a friend
That right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up christmas list
This is my grown up christmas list

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sunday Medley of Music


MUSIC: "How Great Thou Art"

"It Is No Secret"

"Precious Lord Take My Hand"



I've added three selections of sacred music for your listening pleasure today.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Through it All



MUSIC: "Through it All"


I know personally that you have such a sinking feeling when your loved one's health is at a place where there's nothing you can do to make things better. You feel so helpless.

When your toddler fell while learning how to walk you kissed away the boo-boos, you could always repair your children's favourite toy with your handyman/woman talents, or you'd mend your teenager's broken heart by helping them realize that a first love always hurts the most. But when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, you don't have the ability to just make it better.

Being there for your loved one though is the most important thing you can do. Supporting their decisions and knowing that the best medical attention is being given is more than anyone can ask of you.

To all of the viewers who are going through a difficult week and find that it's extremely hard to cope, I trust you will find some comfort in my song selection. It's actually my favourite sacred hymn with words that are so very fitting for those in troubled times.


God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.



Thursday, November 27, 2008

Simple Things

MUSIC: "A Candle in the Window"


I'm off to the big city today to accompany my husband on another doctor's appointment. I know there will be alot of hustle and bustle everywhere as Christmas shoppers seem to be wrapping up their lists earlier and earlier each year.
As I enter the cancer clinic, it will once again make me very humble. There is always a full house of patients and those who accompany them. Despite their reason for being there, I always see smiling and friendly faces.
The song I've chosen today has one line in particular that really strikes a cord with me. It's the third line in the following:
And there's a candle in the window, a flame against the night
The candle in the window, it's like God's perfect light
It don't take a lot of money to know what riches are
Just a candle in the window and Christmas in your heart
Cancer makes all those affected very humble and allows us all to realize just what is important in life, especially at this time of year. It is not about expensive gifts, or who gives the best Christmas party. It's not about who has the best decorated house or who spends the most money this year....it's all about appreciating the simple things in life. Simple things are where your riches truly lie.
Spending time with family and friends
Sharing laughter and good times
Living each day to the fullest
And having your loved ones with you
All very simple you may say at first thought, but yet these are the gifts that no amount of money can ever buy.
So, this is my candle in the window to remind me of the simple things this Christmas and my gratitude for many blessings throughout the past year.
I hope you light a candle as well in appreciation of all that you may have!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Some Housekeeping Notes!


MUSIC: "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"



OK, since I've started the theme of Christmas I thought I'd continue with another great song today...hope you enjoy it!


There's a couple of items I wanted to bring to the attention of especially new viewers of my site. Last night I was told about an individual whose father soon will undergo a nephrectomy or kidney surgery. She also is having difficulty in dealing with her father's illness and is looking for support. Just wanted her to know that she can get on our "live" chat most evenings at approximately 7:30pm ADT and usually one of us will be there. It's a great forum to ask questions and obtain information and just meet others who are in similiar situations and the best part is you get "instant" response - provided of course that someone is there. All you need do is type your first name into the "ANONYMOUS" area of the chat which appears at the top of the website, press "enter" and then begin typing your question, etc. If no one is there, just leave a message as to what time you will return and we'll try our best to be there!


Another item for everyone to note is tomorrow night's Live Webcast on the Kidney Cancer Canada website, here's the link




the topic will be "Managing the Emotional Side Effects of Kidney Cancer" and it will be a topic for not only cancer patients, but for us caregivers as well as family and friends to obtain support and information to help us better deal with obstacles we all encounter along our journey with cancer. In order to view the live webcast though, you must first register, as indicated when you access the above link. It's very easy to do and I'm sure you will find it very rewarding as well. First names only are fine to log into the webcast and it's completely anonymous, so no one else will be able to determine who you are.

OK...gotta run....if you have any questions, please send a message in any of the "Comments" area at the end of any post along with your email, and I will get back to you asap.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

One Month to Christmas!


MUSIC: "Mary's Boy Child"


Are You Preparing for the Holidays?


While driving yesterday, I heard this beautiful Christmas carol on the radio. Since it's my first one for the season, I thought I would share it with all of you on my site. Some of you who are dealing with illness or are very anxious about the uncertainty of an upcoming cancer diagnosis will most definitely not even want to hear the word C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S, let alone listen to any of the holiday music.


I understand completely just how you may feel!


For most people, Christmas is a time of year for fun and frolic, laughter and cheer. When illness strikes however, this time of year can bring an added measure of sadness and a great desire for the festivites to quickly disappear. I can relate personally to this feeling, as our family has felt it and lived it during the first Christmas after my husband's cancer diagnosis. I remember the melancholy feeling that year at the first sound of any Christmas music and even more so when we heard the old familiar sacred carols like "Silent Night" or "O Holy Night".


Our thoughts of course were of death and not of the true meaning that one associates with Christmas and the birth of the Baby Jesus. It's difficult for anyone to relate, unless you are affected personally with serious illness and so much uncertainty. Shopping that year was sooooo difficult. Of course it had to get done, as I was the one who had the sole responsibility to make the holidays as normal as possible, despite of what each of our family members were dealing with. There were gifts to buy, decorations to put up, and baking to get done...all completed with an outward display of routineness. Although my husband was very ill, we could not just sit and wait for something to happen....we had to continue with the festivites to help him feel everything would be ok and that his death sentence was just a doctor's prediction and nothing more.


I remember that most of the gifts we exchanged that Christmas were memorable in that I purchased special ones for my husband to give to his daughters....gifts that they could cherish for many years to come....that's what he wanted to give them. Our daughters and I in return bought gifts for their Dad to remind him that he would be with us for many, many years to come.

Christmas morning was one of many tears, numerous photos to capture as we thought it would most definitely be our last family Christmas morning together, but it was also one that held alot of laughter and most of all thankfulness. Thankfully we were invited out for Christmas dinner that year with family, and although we brought along alot of doom and gloom to their house, we were grateful for the distraction that it gave all of us...just to get away from home for awhile and celebrate the day with others. The remainder of the holidays consisted of visits from family and friends and when my husband was feeling up to it, we also returned the favor. Our tree and other decorations were not taken down that year until the last week in January. We enjoyed every moment and we embraced the special memories that it gave all of us.


As Christmas approaches again this year, my husband still has cancer and our lives are still in a somewhat state of uncertainty. What I have learned though throughout this time, is to not dwell on "what might be" but "what is". Appreciate everyday to the fullest and even though everyone who is affected by cancer whether as a patient, caregiver or family member or friend, will have difficult days we must all remember to live, laugh and love each and every day to the fullest. No one has any guarantee about life and as our family has recently experienced with the loss of our dear friend, one does not have to be ill to suddenly pass away.


Despite the difficulties you may be experiencing now, I would encourage each of you to continue to listen to Christmas carols, look forward to the holiday season in your own special way and celebrate the good days, even if they happen sometimes in just a twinkling moment.
Each of us will prepare for the holidays in our own special way, depending on our personal situations, but the main thing to remember is to keep your spirits lifted for those you love!
"You will be surprised at the impact it will make"


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Each Day is a Blessing

MUSIC: " Blessed"
"Because of Who You Are"



A few days ago while entering a local mall, I encountered a young lady walking with her daughter and her elderly mom trying to desparately keep up as they hurried towards the parking lot. Very loud shouts of "Hurry up old lady" and "Next time you are staying home" could easily be heard from the young woman as she constantly kept turning around and accosting her mom. My first thought was of the ignorance and disrespect that was being displayed while the little granddaughter looked on. More importantly though was the young woman's disregard for not appreciating the great blessing she had of still having her mother, alive and well and able to accompany her to the mall. Such a small blessing maybe, but one that many take for granted.

It seems that it's sometimes not until illness strikes that we suddenly begin to realize just what is important in life and how many blessings we actually have every day to be so very thankful for. Those families like ours who are affected by cancer, definitely learn very quickly to appreciate every blessing.

A scan that gives a report of stability is such a wonderful blessing

A day when there are very few or no side effects felt by a cancer patient after receiving chemo or radiation treatments is a true blessing

A patient who can laugh in any given day after having suffered pain and discomfort on sooooo many difficult days is a true blessing

Finding the right cancer treatment that is showing favourable results after trying many others, is a true blessing

Desperately finding a solution that actually eases an irritable side effect is a true blessing

Interacting with other cancer patients and caregivers to provide support and encouragement is a true blessing

A cancer patient who is enjoying a relatively "good" day from sun up to sun down, is a true blessing


I am thankful to God from whom all blessings flow, and to my family and friends who enrich my life.



Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cancer References

Thought I would pass along a couple of links for your reference:

Kidney Cancer Canada has an upcoming presestation on November 27th that is available via a webcast BUT you must first "register" before it is accessible. Here is the link

www.kidneycancercanada.org



Everyone is talking about the ACOR website. It is a resource for ALL cancer patients. I've never been on it myself but intend to check it out. So I'm sending along the following link

www.acor.org



Monday, November 17, 2008

You too CAN Reach that Mountain Peak

MUSIC: "Mountains"






Have you ever climbed a mountain?


I've actually climbed this one myself at least three or four times over the years. I remember my first trek to the top, was a constant climb along the unknown, as I had no path to follow and it was a constant struggle through very high brush and thick fir trees. The point to remember though, is that I did make it to the top, despite the grueling obstacles along the way.

The second time I climbed this same mountain the journey was much easier as I discovered a path to the summit - one that had been very noticeably worn down by other adventurers. Without obstructions in my way though, my expendition as mountain climber became less meaningful.

The view from the top was breathless, with miles of ocean across the horizon as far as the eye could see. It was the pinnacle of mother nature and so much worth all of my efforts to reach it's peak. My point to remember is that we all face mountains in our lives of varying heights.

I'd like to share a moment that my daughter and I experienced when my husband was first diagnosed with terminal cancer many, many months ago. It was mid-summer and all three of us had gone inside a local clothing store. My husband walked towards the men's department while my daughter and I strolled towards the ladies section. We briefly looked at the various apparel with little interest as our main concern was keeping a close eye on my husband from a distance. We bothed watched as he looked over several pairs of men's dress pants. He'd take each pair up individually and then slowly lay them back on the rack again. This continued a few times, before I finally knew what he was thinking:

"Why would I buy new clothing, when I only have a few weeks left to live?"

It was a heart wrenching moment for my daugher and I, and we could only imagine just what was going through my husband's mind. We left the store that day very sad, for it was not our intention to remind my husband of the time he supposedly had left.

Now, many, many months later, my husband continues to beat the odds. It has not been without climbing a few mountains along the way, but he scales each one with great courage and determination to reach it's summit. For the most part, each climb has been difficult for him with alot of obstacles along it's path, but it has led him to a mountain top that shows him so much inspiration to NEVER QUIT!

I trust that other cancer patients reading this post, will decide also to not quit, even when the journey may seem so very difficult to travel.

My husband has purchased and also been given many articles of clothing since that memorable day at the store. Looking back now, after receiving such devastating news back then, he could have just given up and probably would most definitely have died. His positive attitude and determination to NEVER GIVE UP has taught all of us a very valuable lesson in climbing our own personal mountains in life.

Listen closely to the song today Mountains by Lonestar and especially these lyrics

There are times in life when you gotta crawl, Lose your grip, trip and fall

When you can't lean on no one else,That's when you find yourself

I've been around and I've noticed that Walk-in's easy when the road is flat

Them danged 'ole hills will get you every time.

Yeah, the good Lord gave us mountains so we could learn how to climb

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Here's to the Gals!






MUSIC: "I Am Women"


OK, OK, I hear you..since I've posted yesterday for our "guys" now it's time to give the same honor to all of the strong, determined and courageous women who continue to rise above adversity. I of course cannot remain totally neutral here.



Men, now it's your turn to tell that special woman just how much her courage and strength inspires you.


Women who have cancer give a whole new meaning to the word determination. Since starting this site, I've had the opportunity to meet many who have the immense fortitude to rebound, no matter what comes their way. Whether they face obstacles of surgery, cancer treatments, harsh side effects, hair loss or negative test results, these are all just roadblocks along the cancer highway which they slowly maneuver around, then go full steam ahead to reach the smoother thoroughfares. Their sense of humor is commendable and the gift of inspiration that they instill in others, is immeasurable.



As caregivers, women instantly take on the role of "maintenance" in several different genres. Not only do we become protectors of our loved ones, but we also become advocates to search whatever is available in new cancer treatments and technology, as well as interact with others who can bring us ideas of what works. We take on a role of doing "whatever it takes" to maintain a somewhat normal persona. We mow, plant, repair, and slowly take on more and more responsibility...mostly we do it to keep busy but then again we do it out of necessity it an attempt to erase your loved ones worries. It has always amazed me how human nature allows us to adapt to challenges that we are faced with in life.


This post is also for those women who bring laughter and love to help ease a difficult day!






I dream a painting, and then I paint my dream.

Vincent van Gogh





Here's to Our Guys!!!




MUSIC: "My Guy"



Never complaining, always feeling "good" and determined to never quit!
(that's my husband)



Today I'm allowing all of us ladies the opportunity to "honor" the men in our lives. I've chosen a great song with upbeat music, appropriate words, now the rest is up to you ........




Whether the man in your life is a cancer patient, a caregiver or just "your man" he most definitely needs some recognition.

Courage is being afraid, but going on anyhow.




The main purpose of today's post is to lift the spirits of those who really need it.

Some of our male cancer friends today are preparing for surgery, others are recovering from recent surgery and more are encountering some unexpected side effects from cancer treatments. We know it's a difficult road to travel, but your strength and courage is a wonder to behold and you definitely are raising the bar towards finding that cure for cancer!!! Don't quit, you are a winner!


If your man is a caregiver, you are appreciated more than you will ever know for everything you do!


And for those men in your lives who you sometimes take for granted....make this day an opportunity for you to tell them just how much they mean to you.

It is not until you see your loved one go through such adversity, that you finally realize the true measure of a man!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Those Affected by CANCER Truly Understand

MUSIC: "I'll Always Be There"



A major component of getting through the adversities that cancer brings to patients and their loved ones, is support. Bottom line is that we all need each other's encouragement and inspiration to help get us through and if anyone tries to travel this road alone, then it will indeed be almost impossible to do.








One thing I've come to realize over these past two years is that it's only those who are affected directly with cancer, who can truly understand just what the patient, caregiver or immediate family are going through on their difficult days. That's why it's very important to have that connection with someone else who is also going through similiar experiences to share concerns and more especially that special someone to lean on, when you so desparately need to.




Support of family and friends is vital as well. There's nothing like spending that "normal" time with those who have always been there for you. Maybe you'll share a meal together, visit friends, talk about any subject that does not contain the word CANCER and during that time, that little opportunity to live that moment as though you don't have a worry or care at all, will help to rejuvenate your soul and do you a world of good!



Tonight, I'm having some friends for supper...heck, I'm going to ask more people over from now on. Seems I've been postponing this way too much and it doesn't matter that you go through all kinds of meal preparation - no one even notices, just have the usual but most important share your time with others who can help keep you grounded and erase your struggles with cancer during that special time you spend together.



For those of you who probably don't have someone to share your difficult days with, remember you can always find those in similiar situations by searching other cancer websites or by joining us on our Cancer Cafe chat forum.



"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."

-- Helen Keller

Monday, November 10, 2008

REMEMBER

MUSIC: "Pittance of Time"


November 11th is a Day of Remembrance for those who have fought so valiantly in World War I and World War II and subsequent conflicts. It is that special day when we all commemorate the sacrifices of those brave men and women in the armed forces and civilians in times of war.
We enjoy our freedom because of these brave souls and we should never forget the great price they have paid for us. Each year at precisely 11:00am on November 11th we all observe a Moment of Silence in honor of their lives.
Today I would like to share "A Pittance of Time" by well known musical artist Terry Kelly. Click on the following link for background information of just why Mr. Kelly decided to create such an impacting video and then click the next link to watch the video
MAY WE NEVER FORGET
Click this link to watch his video: (You will need to pause my Music Playlist first, to avoid having two songs play at the same time. Once you have viewed the video, just press the BACK key to return to my website)

Saturday, November 08, 2008

A Little Light Hearted Music To Start Your Day

MUSIC: "Saturday Morning Confusion"

Thought I'd add an upbeat tune to get your day started...we all need distractions like this to get our adrenaline going on difficult days.

Hopefully this particular tune I've chosen will help us boomers reflect on how our days were once soooooo crazy when the kids were young, but mostly it will help to lighten the heavy hearts of many viewers who are dealing with very difficult health issues.

Last night we had some friends stop by and it was a good evening of sharing friendship and laughter...a great prescription to lift one's spirits!

I hope each of you will find solace today amidst your challenges!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

TimeLines Show No Mercy

MUSIC: "Age of Aquarius"




"I'm sorry, but you only have 6 months left to live"!!!
Shocking words, aren't they? Not really something that any of us would want to hear.....but in reality, some doctors do choose to tell their patients words similiar to the above. Do you think patients should be told how long they have left to live? I guess that question is very controversial and will command alot of debate, but from a personal standpoint my answer is a definite NO!!!
First I should say there is an exception to my original response. Only in extreme cases when a patient is practically incapable of functioning, should they be told this news. Of course, every medical situation is different and I am no medical authority on the subject, but I can relate somewhat to a doctor giving his/her patient such a diagnosis.
None of us know exactly how long we have to live, and we do not have to be ill to suddenly pass away.
I feel that some doctors relate such devastating news to their patients without taking the time to completely assess their medical situation, and without any thought going into the ramifications of what they are about to tell not only the patient, but also the patient's family. The truth is that NO ONE here on earth can accurately predict any person's longevity with accuracy. I believe that in instances where a patient is confined to bed and their bodify functions are failing, then "maybe" they should be told. I say those words hesitantly.
If a person is diagnosed with severe cancer that has reached enormous proportions, even then caution should be first applied by the attending physician before disclosing a definite timeline.
Timelines are most defnitely a death sentence!
IT SHATTERS ALL HOPE!!
Upon hearing the words, your first reponse is total shock! disbelief! and you immediately receive an indescribable impact. Your world has you once knew it, now in an instant, no longer exists. If you had even one tiny morsel of hope before hearing those words, chances are, they have evaporated on impact. It will take a person with enormous strength to climb out of this abyss. Most people will definitely give up the fight and the will to live, once they receive that death sentence.
Let's look at it from another perspective. If a patient's medical information is relating all negative results, but yet the patient is still mobile and in relatively good spirits, a doctor should possibly advise that patient of the not-so-positive test results but with an entirely different approach.
Tell the patient that everyone should always have their affairs in order, and that this might be an appropriate time to do theirs as well, but stress the fact that no one individual, despite what the medical facts are detailing, can predict an accurate timeline. Each person reacts differently to terminal diseases, each one reacts differently to medications and each one has different levels of mental strength to sustain their longevity. Yes, there is a better way to annouce incurable results to any patient, rather than just flippantly disclosing that approximate duration of life.
Doctors who give timelines to their patients do not realize that they also are giving it to the patient's families as well. As a result, lives are put on hold, lives are rearranged and lives are constantly on CODE RED alert.
Thankfully, there are those very strong individuals who are determined to beat the odds, no matter how high they may be stacked against them. These are the patients who maintain that positive attitude no matter what comes their way, and in the end, they are the same patients who outlive their original death sentence by months, years, and yes, even decades longer than what was originally predicted by their physicians. For verification of this, all you need to do is look around at those you know personally who have survived original timelines, when everyone else thought they weren't going to make it. On our Cancer Cafe chat forum, we have talked with those whose loved ones have survived 10+ and 14+ years and just think how many other survivors are out there of whom we have not heard about.
What makes me an authority on this you might ask? My husband has outlived his original timeline, many times over and I personally can attest to the impact that original death sentence had on our family as it suddenly exploded on our lives.
If any of my viewers have received similiar news, please know that you are not alone.
Remember that in order to win, you have to fight and those statistics are really just numbers!!!
I've posted a discussion question on today's Cancer Cafe chat forum for you to express your opinion on this topic! It will be interesting to read each person's remarks. Thanks for participating.
MUSIC: "I Will Survive"

Sorry I haven't posted in a couple of days. It's been a busy week!

I am very happy that many of my viewers are meeting each other on our Cancer Cafe chat forum. Everyone is so caring and together we are certainly creating quite a support group for each other. Just this morning I have received emails from other cancer patients in the UK and Scotland who are anxious to join our chat, but due to the time differences are finding it difficult to meet alot of us. We will however find a way to connect.





If I have learned anything since my husband's cancer diagnosis, it is by sharing conversations with others who are affected by cancer, we learn excellent information about what works and we find encouragement to help us get through those difficult days.


I met a man yesterday who is presently receiving radiation treatments...he is amazing! He reminded me so much of my husband with regards to his positive attitude and his determination to not let any obstacles stand in his way during his fight against cancer. He receives his treatmenst on a daily basis. He goes to work every day, arrives at the cancer clinic just in time for his radiation, then returns to his place of business to finish the day. What an inspiring man this is! And to think that there are so many other people out there who complain over the simplest little thing when something goes wrong.

Cancer patients certainly teach other's the true definition of strength. After watching the way my husband deals with his cancer, our family no longer whines when we are experiencing little aches or pains. Why would we? We just pass it aside, because we know first hand what dealing with a real illness means.

Here is a quote that I found awhile ago and it is so very true:
"Cancer changes your life, often for the better. You learn what's important, you learn to prioritize, and you learn not to waste your time. You tell people you love them."
Good luck to those who may be having treatments today, undergoing surgery or meeting with their oncologists for further testing or reports. Just this past week, I've met a lady whose husband is a 14+ year cancer survivor....that is a true testament to this man's great strength!