Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Reflection & New Beginnings in 2010

 Today, December 31st is a day of reflection as we look back over 2009 and all of it's events.  For some of you, it may have been a year of happiness or sadness, prosperity or financial stress or a year of continued good health, while others have had many obstacles to encounter along the way.


This morning as I listened to the news, I was very saddened to hear of four Canadian soldiers and a Canadian news reporter killed in Afghanistan.  Their bravery goes beyond description, and I could only imagine how their families must be feeling as 2009 comes to a close.  

I count my blessings, especially at the end of this year when I look at all that our family has been blessed with.   There is no doubt that 2010 will bring more challenges our way, as well as in the lives of others who continue their battles with cancer, but the important message to remember, is to NEVER give up.  Kidney cancer as well as other types of cancer, have many new treatments available in ongoing trials and it is the brave and heroic cancer patients who agree to try these drugs, who are blazing a trail to one day make  cancer history!  I am amazed at their strength and determination and the inspiration that they pass on to me and others is overwhelming!!!

As my husband begins 2010, he also begins a new treatment for RCC....truly amazing that he received this gift on Christmas Eve.  He has come such a long way, from being given only three months back in 2006 to now having such a wonderful quality of life as we enter 2010.  It is most definitely through his positive attitude, his determination to NOT quit when the going gets rough and his deep faith in God that has been the key factors in his battle against cancer.  As my good friend David Foster always quoted in his blog, cancer patients are True Warriors and I have the deepest respect for each and everyone of you.


2009 has been a year of new acquaintences with other cancer patients and caregivers.....many of whom have been invaluable to both my husband and I, and it has been through their knowledge and life experiences that they have opened so many doors for us.  Knowledge about your type of cancer is vital in your quest to beat it, and for those who sometimes just accept their doctors diagnosis and say nothing, you need to be aware that you must be your own advocate along this journey or have a loved one right by your side to ask the important questions and seek the lifesaving treatments that are out there.  We know that from a personal perspective, and I feel that far too many cancer patients just "give up" once given the worse news of their lives.


For those who have lost loved ones over the past year, let us not forget their valiant struggles and the medical knowledge that they have passed on to help other cancer patients as a result of their heroic battles.  We shall never forget them and they will always hold a very dear place in our hearts.  I will be lighting a candle this evening in honor of those cancer patients that have passed on during 2009 and in previous years and it would be wonderful if you could do that as well, or remember to honor them in your own special way.  


Yes, 2009 has indeed been very special!  Special to me because of the many friendships I have created on this blog, special because of my husband's unfailing determination to never give up and special because of the support and inspiration that all of my viewers have given each other throughout the year.


 

Wishing everyone a Very Happy New Year in 2010


Friday, December 18, 2009

Guestbook Added


Everytime I open my blog, it begins at the end of the page, rather than at the beginning....I have absolutely no idea why this happens, but bear with me. I am not technically sauve at all, so maybe the chat automatically goes to the end, if I happen to move it from it's original top of page position. If anyone out there has a way to correct this, please send your comments my way.

I've been checking out many of your blogs recently....there are some very creative ones and for those of you who have now added music, it is a great opening feature. Sometimes I can't always seem to find the songs/Christmas carols that I would like to add, depending of course on the type of Playlist that I'm using. If there is anything in particular you would like me to play, just let me know as well.

I've added a Guestbook....I must admit that I copied the idea from another blog. I'd appreciate your taking a few minutes to sign it. I am grateful for all of my loyal viewers and would like to hear from more of you....it makes creating this blog worthwhile when I know that you are checking in. Please just don't read the posts, but also leave a message on the chat, in the guestbook area or in the comment area.....it makes creating this blog more worthwhile when I know others are checking in.
Seems our little Yorkie has settled in nicely under our Christmas tree!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Time's A -Comin'



The last few days have been busy with getting the decorations out and our Christmas tree up. As you probably noticed, I've been neglecting this blog. There's still gifts to wrap, house cleaning, baking to get done as well as the final shopping trip. I'm a last minute person who never gets things done a long time before the holidays....it's the last minute or nothing.




I trust the recent videos that I've been posting have been inspirational to you and most of all helpful in providing you additional information about kidney cancer. The main reason in my posting them on my blog, is to advise that there is lots of information out there, as well as lots of support. Don't forget to visit the kidney cancer website at www.kidneycancercanada.org to obtain excellent references and answers to your questions and concerns.

I've removed the music playlist as now you have to also post the video that accompanies the music, and for now that's not what I'm looking for on the blog. I will soon have another playlist available though, so keep checking back to hear the Christmas melodies I have chosen.





One very important ornament that takes top place on our Christmas tree over these past few years is the one pictured above...it was given to my husband back in 2006 and we still hang it on our living room wall once the tree is taken down, to remind us that there is always HOPE and to never give up. All you need to do, is look at the photo of my husband putting the angel ontop of our tree again this Christmas season. I trust that you will also never forget this very simple word and hold onto it's true meaning in time of struggle.

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I trust you will keep checking back to my blog..I'll not be posting regularly over the next few days but I will soon have Christmas music back up, and I will be posting a special Christmas message for everyone!

What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Kidney Cancer Canada Videos

Kidney Cancer Cancer has produced several videos from the perspective of cancer patients and caregivers that provide excellent information and answers to many of our questions.

Over the next 3-4 days I will post each of these videos for your review.

Translator Added


I' ve added a translator at the left of this page. Just choose the correct country and voila, my blog is changed into that country's language.


Sure hope it translates ok..........I have many viewers from other countries, so I'm sure this will be a beneficial option for you.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Jane's Journey - Part 2

Don't forget to TURN OFF the music playlist at the left side of this blog, before playing the video!


I've just posted Part 2 of Jane's Journey and for those who did not see Part 1, you can access it after this video is completed, by clicking on the appropriate icon at the bottom of the video screen.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Jane's Journey - Part 1

Don't forget to TURN OFF the Music Playlist at the left, before viewing the above video!


I am long overdue in posting this very informative video on my blog.....most of you may have already seen it, but for those who haven't, be assured you will be informed and inspired by this amazing woman!



My fellow blogger and friend, "Jane" from the UK who is herself a kidney cancer patient, was asked this past spring to participate in a documentary about kidney cancer. She agreed without hesitation, as she has been such an advocate for kidney cancer patients and their families throughout the UK, right across Europe and across the world through her initiatives in obtaining the best treatments for kidney cancer patients.



She keeps everyone informed, encouraged and inspired through her blog

http://a-journey-of-another-kind.blogspot.com



I will post Part 2 of this documentary tomorrow......I trust you will visit her blog and leave a comment and words of encouragement, as she is presently recuperating from surgery.

NOTE: The chat forum has been placed at the bottom of this page for a couple of days......

Sunday, December 06, 2009

We All Adapt







This is a picture of my lawn at 9:30am this morning.....remember yesterday I posted that a Nor'wester was on the way for our area? Well it did arrive this morning as promised, and the snow continues to come down.
This picture was taken of my lawn exactly four hours later today......quite a big difference for sure.














I am NOT a winter person and as this was our first snowfall for the season, it does take time to adapt. We are only about half through this major winter storm today, as approximately 30-40cm are forecasted. I enjoy the freedom of the other three seasons, when you can just wear shoes, light outerwear, there's no shoveling or icy roads and life just somehow seems so much easier when the weather is warm and there's no snow. Somehow though, I am certain that I will adapt over the rest of the winter months....I always do and that's how each of our lives are as well.


Before cancer came into our lives, it was as though we lived in the other three seasons...the ones that were so much easier to get by on. Now though with cancer at the top of each daily life decision, my husband and I seem to live in a winter season of sorts as there are always obstacles to overcome and life is just a little more challenging. Our family have adapted though to my husband's diagnosis and we have learned to enjoy what is important and we have realized the blessings that cancer has brought to our family.


I trust that you will also look for the "beauty" that cancer brings.....


Friday, December 04, 2009

Kidney Cancer Connections


I attended today's KCC meeting and had the opportunity to meet Flo and her husband, with whom I have communicated via this blog and through emails now for sometime. It was a true delight to finally meet both of these wonderful people.


The meeting's presenter, Andrew the cancer center's pharmacist, provided great information on some of the more common KCC drugs of Sutent, Nexavar, Torisel and now Afinitor. His slideshow included topics about side effects that patients may or may not encounter while taking any of these treatments. For the most part, it was the ones which we are all familier with, such as diarrhea, constipation, hand/mouth soreness or rash. For new cancer patients who may be reading this, it is very important to note that when you see "possible" side effects listed under any cancer treatment, they are just that - "possible"! It does not mean that you will encounter ALL of the side effects....every treatment reacts differently on each patient, so I trust you will not get discouraged right from the start when you go over the list, as you may only encounter one or two side effects. It is best to know though what might work for you and once again here, the word to remember is "might", as it's trial and error for each patient on many of the side effect remedies. The focus on the presentation though was that PREVENTION IS THE KEY..as it's much easier to prevent some of these side effects rather than treating them if they occur.

I'll list a couple of suggestions to help diminish some of these side effects as presented to us yesterday by Andrew......these are the ones that I had not heard of before. You can Google any of these to obtain additional information.

  • Constipation - "Senokot" may be an option for you or milk of magnesia
  • Diarrhea - watch what you eat and use the BRAT diet consisting of bananas, rice, applesauce, toast and plain pasta until your diarrhea begins to subside
  • Sore Mouth - Ask your doctor or pharmacist for the Magic Mouthwash
    formula and ask your dentist to do an untrasound cleaning next time
  • Hand/Foot Problems - Try the most recommended ointments such as Bag Balm, Udder Cream, Lanolin, Aveeno or Lubriderm; don't use HOT water when bathing as this will only increase your discomfort but use lukewarm instead. You might try to cool the affected areas with ice packs or sole gel inserts with cooling action. Another option for hand problems is to add B6 to your diet.
These are all suggestions and as always, check with your doctor or pharmacist first as you can explain the severity of your side effects to them.

At yesterday's luncheon I met other cancer patients along with another lady whom I previously had known some time ago. Sure makes you realize what a very small world we live in. I invited a couple of other cancer patients/caregivers that I knew to yesterday's luncheon, but unfortunately they did not attend. It is vital to have that connection with doctors, pharmacists, kidney cancer patients and caregivers.....believe me, this open line of communication via cancer websites, blogs, emails and personal meetings have been my husband's lifeline for survival and I want to impress that upon anyone reading this who does not have that support system. It is out there, you just need to reach out. One person cannot do this alone. You may have heard the phrase "it takes a village to raise a child"..............well, be assured that it most definitely takes a village to survive cancer and it's right there, you just need to reach out for it!!!

After supper last evening, I was informed of two new kidney cancer patients in my area....be assured that I will connect with them to let them know of the wonderful support systems that are there if they should choose to avail of them.

Our first winter storm is forecasted for tomorrow with approximately 20-30cm of snow overnight...ouch!!! Guess it is inevitable now that we are in winter.....I've got my snow scoop ready though, along with my snow boots and outerwear......

I can't prevent it from happening but.......
I CAN BE PREPARED!!!

Prescription Filled

Last night our immediate family had a wonderful evening together. We attended a Christmas performance and what better way to start off the holidays then to listen to the heart warming reditions of "O Holy Night", "Winter Wonderland" and "Silent Night" sung both in English and German. An amazing African choir kept us all feet stomping and hand clapping to upbeat music and song, with a drum beat to warm the coldest heart, and later on we were in awe, as we listened to a small group of young Inuit ladies with angelic voices that would bring a tear to any unbelieveing eye throughout their vocal arrangment of "Amazing Grace" sung in their native tongue.

Our daughters had purchased tickets as an early Christmas present and my first thought was that it would probably be a very late night for my husband to attend. It was a late night, but at the same time, it was a prescription of fantastic medicine for the soul!!!

One of the more poignant moments of this evening was the song and dance rendition by young students of "I've Had, the Time of My Life".....instantly my thoughts were of Patrick Swayzee and his recent battle with cancer. Several times throughout last night's show as I peered at my husband, I could easily see that he was enjoying every moment of that show despite the late hour and my earlier concerns of him being tired and he was having the time of his life with daughters sitting on each side of him. It was a prescription that no doctor could prescribe and it was a rare family evening spent together that was the most rewarding of all.

It's now 7:30am next morning and my husband has already gone out the door for work.............

That's the best prescription for all of us.......to live life each and everyday to the fullest!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Last Night's Chat

Thanks to everyone for joining in on last night's chat. Although we were small in numbers, our support system is a multitude of strength! I was hoping that more cancer patients and their caregivers would join us, but it does take time to get used to how the chat works and the benefits of it can only be obtained once you join in and begin a conversation with others who have the same concerns and uncertainties as you do. A new friendship was formed last night between a couple of our chatters, Karen and Flo who discovered that even though they live so many miles apart, they do share a common bond and I can tell that a meeting between them is very near. Thanks also to Joanne for taking time to join in the chat.....she is a wonderful lady who is "always" there to inspire each of us and I truly value her friendship. It is truly amazing how you can create such a special rapport once you meet these wonderful individuals!

I received your email Patti.... and sorry you could not get on the chat. If anyone is having problems with that, please leave a comment after any post and I'll check it out further. You would have to either register in order to use this one, "or" just click the "Guest" option, hit Enter, and then post your question/comment. I will schedule another chat in January, so everyone will have another opportunity to meet others. In the meantime, be assured that you can post a question/comment at anytime or begin a chat if you should see another viewer logged on.

It's cold here today but beautiful....there's wind enough to blow you right out into the Atlantic but at the same time, it's a healthy, crisp winter's day. Lots of things on my "To-Do" list but I wanted to add today's beautiful song "A Soldier's King"....it's a Christmas song by Donny Osmond. Such a beautiful one indeed and a great tribute to all of our brave soldiers who serve their country so heroically! This lyrics of this particular song reminded me instantly of my husband. Although it speaks of a soldier, it's words reflect the bravery and heroism of my husband over these past months. I will try to post the lyrics here today at the beginning of this blog (you can slow down or stop the lyrics at anytime by placing your cursor over them) and I'm sure for those who have watched cancer patients fight their valiant battle, you will find the song very special.

I read the blog http://www.mykidneycancer.com/ last evening and I'm happy to report that Tony is back home again after his kidney surgery. Very happy to hear that it went well.
I'm sure that many of my viewers check out the blog http://www.a-journey-of-another-kind.blogspot.com/ as we follow the courageous path of our friend Jane in the UK. She is definitely blazing a trail for everyone with kidney cancer and I'm happy to report as well that she is now back home, after a couple of recent surgeries. She is such an inspiration to everyone!!! If you visit any of their blogs, please leave a message of encouragement. Your words can go a long way to help others heal and help overcome their adversities.
I've added some new blogs as well that I've been following and there's soooo many other great ones out there that I will be including in My Blog List during December. Even though my blog reflects kidney cancer, I welcome ALL cancer patients/caregivers as we all follow the same path along this journey.

"The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it" ...... C. C. Scott

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A Miracle of Fate


I am a strong believer that people come into our lives when we need them most of all, not by chance but by fate! Today, I would like to relay a story to you that will most definitely confirm this belief.

Yesterday I spoke of Karen, who is a cancer survivor and who visited us this October. During her visit to one of our smaller towns and after walking most of the afternoon with her husband, she stopped into a small cafe to sit and rest for awhile before starting the long walk back. A kind lady served them and after a little conversation Karen relayed how she was a survivor of kidney cancer and how she had undergone surgery just last year. To her amazement, this lady told her that she also had undergone kidney cancer surgery last year!!!! Now, what would be the chances of this happening.....one woman who traveled hundreds of miles who met another lady who had undergone similiar experiences, and most amazing was the fact that both of these women had the same type of cancer - kidney cancer -. Truly amazing indeed when you think about the fact that there are over 200 different types of cancer in the world!

Needless to say, Karen and Sue spent quite awhile talking about their health issues and concerns. Sue had often wished she knew of someone whom she could talk with about her cancer so many times over the past year, but there was no one. She lived alone, with no family and operated this small venue as her only income. It had been a very difficult year for her indeed, after discovering she had cancer, then needed immediate surgery and not knowing anyone who could relate personally to her situation. She did not have a computer and therefore was not able to connect with others over various websites to obtain support or answers to her many questions. And now, here was Karen, right there in her cafe, just stepping in by "fate" to be her angel of support and encouragement!!!

Sue has planned a trip soon to visit Karen and they have formed a very special bond!

I am sure you can also reflect on people who have entered your life when you needed them most of all, especially in times of your greatest need.
As we enter December and reflect upon the miracle of the birth of Jesus we should never lose sight of the fact that......


Miracles do happen....you just need to believe!!!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

No...You Are Never Alone Along This Cancer Journey

I opened an email this morning only to find an amazing offer from a viewer whom I met last year as a result of my blog.



It was an open invitation for my husband and I to go visit Karen and her husband who live in another province. Now it's not everyday you get that sort of invitation by someone who you have only recently met, and I was indeed humbled by it. It made me realize that good things can happen as a result of cancer, and one of those is the friendships that I have created with other patients and caregivers along this journey. Truly amazing!



Karen stumbled onto my blog last year....she is a cancer survivor and she is one amazing lady!!! I had the opportunity to meet her in October of this year, when her and her husband visited our province. My anticipation in her arrival was like an early Christmas present. We all spent quality time together around a dinner table, taking in some of the city night life and breathing in the salty air of the great Atlantic on the following day.



When my husband was first diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2006, it was a horrific life changing moment for myself and our family. I personally thought that hearing his doctor's diagnosis was the worse thing that I had ever experienced in my life. Now as I look back over these past months, I realize all of the good events that have happened along the way.....one very special one indeed was my chance meeting on this blog with Karen, which has bloomed into a wonderful friendship between two families.



We met Karen and her husband this year over Thanksgiving weekend.....another truly amazing time of the year for this to happen! And to add to all of this, Karen brought me gifts on that Thanksgiving Sunday, one of which I will always treasure, as I look at it each day placed in my window. There is no explanation needed for the reason why it's so special, as I'm sure you will instantly understand as you view it's picture



Yes, good things can come from traveling along this cancer journey....I have met wonderful people who have helped my husband and I in tremendous ways and with whom we share a very special bond.....I trust you will find the good in cancer as well!