Thursday, July 23, 2009

This Fruit is Especially Good For You

Yes, we've all heard about the benefits of eating fruit and the fresher the fruit, the better it is for you.

There's one fruit in particular that does not get enough notoriety. It belongs to the apple family and this particular fruit offers alot of benefits for those who eat it. Have you guessed it yet?

I wanted to share with you something very interesting about PEARS!!!

Yes, the very nutritious fruit of which I speak is PEARS !!! When my husband was first diagnosed back in 2006 and was unable to eat due to his being very ill, his doctor told him even if he could not eat the delicious hospital food or any other type of food that his family most readily would bring to him, first and foremost he should force himself to eat "pears". Why pears????

His doctor told us that a pear consists of very rich nutrients, it is a quick source of energy and helps the body retain much needed calcium.

It is very rich in vitamin C and helps protect the body's cells from oxygen related damage caused by free radicals. It helps reduce blood pressure and the possibility of stoke.

Eating pears help protect women against postmenopausal breast cancer and it's high pectin level helps reduce the bodies cholesteral levels.

Note for cancer patients

Pears help strengthen your immune system because of their antioxidant properties.

So.......upon the doctor's advice I've been buying pears for my husband ever since. While eating raw ones are more beneficial, they are not readily available in our area in their freshest state until late July and August. There for awhile it was pears for dinner, supper and as a snack. Needless to say, at times my husband has absolutely NO desire for pears....LOL...., but when he's not feeling well, he knows that it's one of the best foods he can eat, and he does!

So, I'd suggest you'd get some for your cupboard to eat whenever your appetite is not good or when you need a boost of energy. Keep them refrigerated as cold pears seem to go down much easier.

OK....I'm off to the's Pear Season in our area and there's nothing better for the entire family then fresh pears!!!!


Monday, July 20, 2009

There's Danger At 38 degrees Celius !!!

38 degrees Celius = 100.4 degrees Farenheit

It's always good to share your knowledge of things that you learn and encounter along your journey with cancer. So, today my topic is all about temperature.

Now, I'm not talking about the outside temperature, although with the beautiful summer weather at this time of year, many of you just might be enjoying very hot temps of 38 + degrees, especially if you live around Western Canada and many other areas of the US.

The temperature I'm referring to, is your body temperature and more specifically, your temperature as a cancer patient if you are presently taking any type of treatment. Fever in cancer patients can be caused by a number of reasons such as allergies, types of medications you may be taking or tumor association just to name a few, but primarily a fever means you have INFECTION and that's not something to ignore.

How do you contract an infection you might ask? If you are having radiation or chemotherapy treatments, overtime it may cause your white blood cell count to decrease. A low white cell blood count means you are more susceptible to develop an infection. This of course is just one such cause for infection, so "always" check with your doctor, as I'm no medical expert, but I do relay experiences that we have encountered along this cancer journey.

Keep a thermometer handy to check for elevated fever when on chemo or radiation treatments and if it should rise to 38 degrees Celius, then your first stop should be your doctor's office or hospital emergency room without delay!!! This is very important!

Infections can lead to other symptoms such as low blood pressure, dehydration and possibly failure of your only remaining kidney if you have had a nephrectomy. My husband encountered all of these first hand earlier this year, so I know all to well about what can happen when you ignore that high fever. You may first feel cold, then warm, come down with chills or like my husband, suddenly develop violent shaking and vomiting. If this happens,, please seek medical attention immediately.

Now, my intent here is NOT to alarm anyone, but I do want to impress the dangers involved anytime you ignore a high fever. Your oncologist probably has already alerted you to seek medical advice if your temp elevates to 38 degrees Celius or higher, so please take his/her advice.
My husband was very lucky that he arrived at the emergency room when he did, and received excellent medical attention.

One more note if you should develope a fever and have to be admitted to hospital. "Please" keep visitors to a minimum, as the more people you have around you, the greater your chances are of not getting rid of that infection as quickly. After all, when you are ill, you really don't need visitors, but lots of rest and sleep. That's natures way of healing. Also, when in any hospital, it's very easy to contract C-DIFF ( a type of infection very easily contracted in hospitals when your resistance is down). My way of trying to reduce my husband's chances of possibly coming down with this very serious infection was to disinfect "everything" around him from the bed rails, to the telephone, hospital trays, side table, etc..etc....Remember, you just can't be too careful, as hospitals are a good place for infections to roam.

I'm happy to report that my husband spent one week in hospital before he was released with all infection finally gone! It took awhile to get back on track again, but the good news is that he did!!!

Keep that thermometer handy just in case you suspect you may be developing a fever!!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

"Dehydration" Can Be Serious!

It seems with cancer, as I guess with any other medical condition, you will hear your doctor tell you to watch out for possible ailments, but until you finally get them, you don't realize the complications that follow.

One such side effect from taking chemo treatments is diarrhea. I'm sure it's quite common but don't take it for granted without also keeping in mind that there can be serious consequences if it persists.

In my husband's case, too many dairy products and excess gravy along with his chemo does NOT make for a good combination. For others you may find your diarrhea is caused by completely different foods. Keep mindful though that if you do have continuous diarrhea for even a couple of days, it can lead to dehydration without your even realizing it.

Such was the case with us a few months back which ended him in hospital. Now we know different and there's always lots of Gatorade or similiar product in our refridgerator to rebuild electrolytes if dehydration is suspected. There is a high content of sugar in most of these drinks however, so if you have diabetes, always check with your doctor first. Bananas are another great source of potassium, as it is one of the most important electrolytes and it's always good to keep them on hand and eat regularly to avoid fluid loss.

Just thought I'd pass this's always good to be prepared for the unexpected! If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment and as I always say,
Ask your doctor about this at your next visit. He/she will recommend what is best!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I Can't Get No, Satisfaction!

My husband has been involved with the medical environment now for quite a few years. For the most part, receiving medical care has been good. There have been a few instances though that while we would rather forget about them, it has helped both him and I to be more assertive when needed, to ensure we get the medical service that is afforded to every individual.

There have been many cut backs in health care within our country, as I'm sure there have been in most countries around the world. A former prime minister of ours in all of his great wisdom, decided that funding for health care should be reduced and ever since then our system has been slowly deteriorating from what it was back in the 80's to sometimes that of a third world country. It's absolutely disgusting to think that our emergency rooms are overflowing with patients who are not always emergencies, but because they can never find a private practice doctor available when they have a medical crisis, they are forced to go to hospitals instead to resolve their medical problems. Waiting times are becoming longer and longer and no one can convince me that sitting in any waiting room in excess of 6+ hours is acceptable! OK....don't get me started...... Wait times for tests are absolutely deplorable and for many, such as my husband, by the time you finally get that CT or MRI after knowing there's definitely something medically wrong with you, then you are in an even more serious situation. Not to mention the mental stress and anxiety that you and your family endure while awaiting your fate. Do you really think that if those who are in power to change this system needed medical care, they would wait like the rest of us?

If you are awaiting a procedure that cannot be scheduled for many weeks ahead, then contact your government representative, contact your federal member, send emails to your prime minister/president. There is strength in numbers and it's only by putting on pressure that we can all make a difference for those who need immediate medical care.

Always seek a "specialist's" opinion about your type of cancer. Your oncologist should never question your request for that second opinion.

Don't ever think you are a bother to your physician if you need to visit him/her. You need their support now more than ever, and they will appreciate your wanting to discuss any concerns you may have.

Bottom line here is that it's your health we are talking about here.

You deserve the best possible medical care there is and don't be afraid to speak up if you think you are not receiving it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Do You Need Energy?

My husband was feeling very tired there a way back and one of our regular chatters, Joanne, passed along this remedy that she found to give her more energy. What is this magic potion you ask?

B12.....!!!! So, my husband checked with his doctor before starting them (as you should be sure to do as well) and he's been taking the B12 tablets now for almost a month. His energy levels seem to be much better, so I'm thinking it has to be the B12 that's doing it.

When you are on treatments for cancer, it can certainly zap all of your energy levels big time. It's not uncommon to see a patient at any clinic taking a short snooze while waiting to see his/her doctor.

Whenever you feel tired, then the thing to do is take that nap. You just might need a few winks but it will give you that much needed boost of energy. In the meantime, why not ask your doctor on your next visit about the B12.....and let me know if you find it makes a difference.

By the way, don't forget that my spreadsheet to possible remedies for side effects is located at the bottom of this page!!! Your input of what works for you is always appreciated. Just post a comment telling me your type of cancer and type of treatment you are on, along with your side effects and what works for you and I'll add it to the worksheet.

Take care everyone!

Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Room of Unknowns

You walk into this room at the announcement of your name.

The only sound you hear is the air exchanger as it exhales the stale, unhealthy air to the outside and inhales the fresh oxogen from high above.

Five minutes in here seems like you' ve already most definitely overstayed your visit and your nervous system is reacting to the thoughts that you are conjuring up as you wait. There's pictures on the walls....not of any scenic views, but of lungs, livers, breasts and ovaries. There's a bed draped in white, awaiting it's next inhabitant. There's plastic gloves of different varieties, uninviting chairs and a bulletin board with various notices that no one ever reads.

This room is so barron. There's a cold hard floor, drab pale color on it's walls and you constantly glare at the doorknob watching for someone to begin to turn it from the other side.

You cross your legs several times as you wait, you fold your arms, you look at the ceiling, you chat idly sometimes to the other person who has accompanied you here and you wait, and wait and's similiar to waiting outside an emergency operating room while you await your loved ones diagnosis.

You try to remember what you have to ask, you go over and over it in your head so many times just in case you forget the most important questions and as your waiting time grows longer, so does your anxiety levels.

Suddenly, that doorknob begins to turn and voila.....there is your oncologist! Your heartbeat increases for now he will deliver your fate, whether with good news or news that is for now, not so encouraging. It's suddenly difficult to swallow and every question you had on your mind to ask him, has now vanished. You are riding an emotional roller coaster.

As your oncologist opens your medical folder and begins his idle chit chat, you can instantly tell what he's about to say. How can you determine this? You watch his facial reactions as he reads your most recent CT or MRI report. You try to interpret your results by his strong or weak hand shake and by the length of time it takes him to begin his diagnosis.

Well, this is not your first time in this room. It's not the first time you've endured the same anxiety, the same uncertainty and the same rapid heart rate awaiting to hear your destiny. Why is it not your first time? Because as a cancer patient, you will probably have many visits to your oncologist's office while you await reports from numerous tests. This all becomes a part of your cancer journey, but the main ingredient to remember in all of this is

"Each time you visit your oncologist for an appointment, you have been truly blessed. You are a true hero and your inner strength far outweighs the anxiety you may feel at any appointment. Stay positive whatever your diagnosis, keep the faith and never quit!"

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

You Have the Power!!!

For those of you who may be encountering bad days because of your cancer diagnosis and fear of the unknown, I want to share this little story with you.

Someone recently told my husband that he was an amazing person! Well, I've known that for quite a few years now, but I'll share with you the reasoning behind this latest comment.

Apparently, there's another individual in our hometown who recently was diagnosed with cancer. This person was shocked at the news and of course resigned himself to think that all future hopes and dreams would never become reality. He suddenly became withdrawn and very depressed about his medical situation. This is quite a common reaction to hearing the news that you have cancer, but.........someone told this man to go visit my husband.

Well, my husband, being the ever optimistic person that he is had a very indepth talk with this cancer patient. I of course, don't know the ingredients of their conversation, but apparently the patient was most definitely inspired by what my husband told him, and he has suddenly become a very outgoing and positive person and is feeling soooo much better!

Since my husband received his diagnosis of terminal cancer, now well over three years ago, he has "always" maintained a very positive attitude. His religious belief has never waivered despite many difficult days and he never allows anything or anyone to give him negative vibes. He has had many mountains to climb, but he's conquered each one with the same stamina as any great climber who has reached the peak of Mount Everest! When things seem almost impossible, his comment is always "don't worry, everything will work out" and it always does.

He has proven without a doubt, that maintaining a POSITIVE ATTITUDE is a vital key in fighting cancer. "You" have the power to also keep positive, despite the difficult days and obstacles that you will encounter along the way.

Listen closely to the words of the song "Power of the Dream", and more especially to the lyrics

There’s so much strength in all of us

Every woman, child, and man

It’s the moment that you think you can’t

You’ll discover that you can!

Don't dwell on the negative but try to find the "good" in your affliction with cancer by inspiring others!!!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Michael Jackson Honored

Listening to Michael Jackson's Memorial Service this afternoon, I realized what an amazing man this individual was.

At times we tend to listen to the not-so-good news that is constantly portrayed in the media and become too judgemental before we hear all of the information.

All of those individuals who were chosen to speak, sing or provide the music at today's Memorial Service presented a very real image of the type of person Michael actually was. Not only was he one of the best in songwriting, dancing and singing, the one theme that rang so very clear this afternoon was the fact that Michael Jackson gave so very, very generously to charitites all around the world. Wherever the need was greatest, he was sure to contribute to ease someone's burden. He was known by the Guinness World Record Book as the Pop Star who supported the most charities. A listing follows at this link

He has been presented with the Humanitarian Award for his fight in combatting AIDS, along with numerous awards for his musical artistry. Certainly his talents and caring attributes for mankind has touched us all.

His songs "We Are the World" and "Heal the World" help to show his vision for peace and harmony around the world.

May we all learn not to be too hasty to cast our opinions on others just because of what we may hear about any individual, without taking the time to know just what a person is really like from the inside.

His daughter Paris said it best at the conclusion of the service today when she told us all
"that he was the best father you could ever imagine".

May He Rest In Peace

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy 4th of July Everyone!!!

Sending my best wishes to our neighbours in the south for a wonderful

4th of July


Wednesday, July 01, 2009


Wishing everyone a Very Happy Canada Day.

As we all celebrate Canada's 142nd birthday, may we all take time to appreciate our freedom, our rich heritage and the very diverse and scenic country in which we live.

Let us never forget those who have made the supreme sacrifice to allow us this freedom and those who fight today to ensure our country remains "the True North strong and free"!