Saturday, August 29, 2009

Wow! 166 Posts!

I just realized yesterday that my blog has been here a little over one year. I personally never thought I would keep it going, and even though there's been a few times when I've fallen behind with my writings, you have all been very loyal viewers who still keep checking back to see if the blog is still being updated.

Right from the start, the reason behind my starting this blog was for me to find support and encouragement from others out there who have traveled similiar roads as our family, and for me to share some of my husband's journey, so that other cancer patients and their caregivers/families would know that you just can't stop fighting, even when the medical experts tell you that things are not looking so great.

This past year has connected me with people from all around the world. For the most part, we all share the same concerns, the same uncertainties and the same diagnosis of "cancer". It's a scary word for sure, but with all of the modern technology and advances even over the past three years many who have cancer, are in a much better time and place to find treatments that will decrease their tumors, extend their lives and even rid their bodies of this dreaded disease.

Everyone who has been so kind to leave messages, or join my "Followers" or share in our live chat, has given not only myself, but my husband as well, invaluable information. We all share that common bond of cancer and we all need each other to help us through. I have discovered that it is only those who travel this cancer highway, that truly know how not only the patient feels, but also the caregivers and families feel as well.

One regret that I have had with this blog, is the fact that I cannot share the personal side of our story too much with my viewers, due to the fact the many who read this blog, know us personally and of course I don't want to tell the "truth, the whole truth". I don't lie on this blog and everything I've written is straight from the heart, but there have been times when I could have included other info for patients and caregivers, but unfortunately it was very personal and not for those who know us personally who for the most part, just happen to check my blog to see what I've written. I do however share personal info with my regular viewers via my email address.

I can't thank all of you enough for just being there.......your friendship has been invaluable to me and your wealth of knowledge has helped my husband more than I could ever say. The medical experts give you the diagnosis, but it's the patients who know what works and what doesn't.

During this second year, I will probably make changes...heck, I might even start another blog but I'll be sure to let my viewers know. I have plans to actually meet some of my viewers in the upcoming months who are traveling to my area and that is awesome to say the least. One viewer recently told me that I have helped bring her through difficult times this past year through some of my posts. If I have helped make anyone's difficult moments a little easier, than this blog has well been worth it and please know that so many of you have helped make this past year so much easier for me as well.

I will continue my posts soon, but it's been a busy August month so hopefully things will settle down a little during September and I will gather my thoughts once again and share them with you. I will soon plan a "Live Chat" and will email everyone of the time and date. It will be wonderful to connect with you all again!

One year later, wow! 166 posts later.....double wow!!! So many friendships formed and so many caring viewers out there who really and truly understand.

We have all been so very blessed!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Celebrate Life!

My song choice with this post is "Celebrate Life" by a Canadian signer, Terry Kelly. Terry is a cancer survivor himself and this song was written by him to honor and recognize those whose lives have been touched by cancer.
His theme throughout the song is in keeping with his own thinking of
"I am grateful for the gift of gratitude. I am grateful for the life that I have lived, for the life that I am living and for whatever life I have left to live. I am especially grateful for the loved ones and acquaintenances that I have shared, are sharing and have yet to share the joys and sorrows of the world with me. I am also grateful for the gift of choice, to choose between celebrating life or not."
I have had the opportunity to meet Mr. Kelly on several occasions, and each encounter with this amazing person inspires me to no end. He is a song writer, singer, motivational speaker and the list goes on.

Why, you ask does this particular individual stand out?

Terry has lived with adversity all of his life, but he has not allowed his blindness to incapacitate him in any way. He has received the prestigious Order of Canada which is our country's highest honor for lifetime achievement, he has performed on stage with great singers like Faith Hill & Ray Charles, and has achieved many university degrees along with an Honourary Doctorate for "his contribution to humanity". I'll attach his web link for your reference to read more about this amazing person

Why do I write a post about Terry?

It's because he defines the word INSPIRATION in it's every aspect. Most people who are faced with life's challenges, would choose to just accept what has been given them and not continue to achieve anything more. They would live day-to-day wallowing in self pity for the personal challenges that they have been diagnosed with, and most definitely not continue on living a productive and rewarding life style as Terry does.

Although a diagnosis of blindness is not the same as a diagnosis of cancer, you too can continue on to help others in similiar fashion as Terry. How? You can become a motivational person as well to others who face a cancer diagnosis. Once you accept your medical situation, then it is time to keep a positive attitude and continue on with living life as routine as possible. That will not always be an easy task, but on good days, it will be achievable.

No two people are the same with cancer. You will hear about how others experience various side effects from their chemo or radiation treatments. Don't dwell on everything negative, but concentrate on the positives and it will most definitely make for reduced side effects. Keep busy, keep positive, make a commitment to travel down that highway of discovery and most of all continue each day living to the fullest.

I trust that Terry's song will inspire you to

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Strangers Who Have Touched Our Hearts

Well, I'm back...or should I say my husband and I are back. We've been on a little "holiday" of sorts as my husband would say, but not exactly the kind of holiday that I would love to go on. There's been accommodations, meals and the opportunity to meet some wonderful people, but before you come to any it was not at any resort destination, but at our hospital.

Thank goodness for hospitals and their medical experts!!! We've made a few visits there over the past years, and we once again had the opportunity to catch up with the nurses and doctors who we've not seen for awhile, and who for the most part, have become somewhat of our second family. The good news is that everything is ok now and as they say...."there's no place like home". For those who read this and know us personally, be assured that my husband will be back to work on Monday, as many will no doubt jump to the conclusion that he's not that great. News has a way of getting out like that.

Now, to my topic of today's post. My husband shared a hospital ward with other cancer patients. We have formed a very close bond with two of these patients and their families, even though we had only met them within the past few days. Both my husband and I hold the belief that "fate" has placed us in many situations for a purpose and that people have come into our lives like "angles" to help us during very difficult moments.

One of the patients of whom I speak received some not so great news about his cancer, while we were there. Needless to say, we know all to well how that news affects not only the patient, but also their immediate family. Your life instantly is put on "hold", just like pressing the hold button on your telephone, and while we try to keep your lives as routine as possible, we all know that there is no such thing as living a normal life anymore. Hey, we're not complaining about that at all, as we are soooo blessed to have my husband with us, with such a great quality of life. It's just that hearing that cancer diagnosis can most definitely change everything and it can instantly make you feel that all hope it gone. I will write soon about the emotional stages in another post, that not only the cancer patients goes through, but also his/her loved ones as well.

Now to get back on track to the cancer patient of whom I speak. He has a wonderful, supportive family and that is half the battle along his cancer journey. My husband was there to relate his feelings when he first was diagnosed and just by looking at him and listening to him, they could instantly see that you NEVER GIVE UP, no matter how high the odds may be stacked against you. We laughed together this past week, and we have formed a special bond with this patient and his family. We have exchanged our addresses, phone numbers and we will most definitely continue to keep in touch and to be there for them in any way we can.

Another wonderful man who has endured so much adversity over these past few years, was also one of my husband's roommates. The one feature that will always be embedded on our hearts after spending time with him this week, is his amazing and heartwarming smile. This is a man who continues to offer that loving smile, even at the slightest wave of your hand, despite the fact that he may be not having such a great day. This is a man who is soooo very grateful for the smallest kindest that you show him and who rewards you with a warm hug to say "thanks". His family displays the same kindness and warmth as well everytime you meet them and it's easy to see that they are a reflection of their father's character.

Yes, we were very blessed to be in the company of these amazing patients and their families this week. They were there for us to offer support and encouragement during this past week and we trust that through our experiences with cancer, we have provided them some hope and determination to keep the faith!

I am not a person who wears my emotions on my sleeve, but as I said good-bye to these two amazing patients yesterday and wished them well, I suddenly felt tears streaming down my face. I turned so that they would not see this, and with a wave of goodbye, my husband and I were gone.

Although it's not been a great week for my husband, it has given both of us yet another chance to experience the good things that we encounter along our cancer journey.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Mouth Sores Anyone?

I've had quite a few emails over the past couple of weeks from patients who are having problems with sore mouth side effects from taking Sutent.

The only suggestion that I can provide is for them to try Biotene which is listed on the Side Effect Spreadsheet at the bottom of this page. My husband has never had this particular side effect, but the Biotene remedy was passed on to me by several other patients who did find that it helped to relieve their symptoms. Also, Pfizer suggested it via their medical hotline link.

If anyone else might have another suggestion as to what they take to combat similiar side effects, I'd really appreciate your leaving a comment with your suggestion. I'm sure it will be very much appreciated by patients who encounter this particular side effect.

Can You Believe...More About Pears!!!

OK..I know I haven't posted in a few days and everytime you check back to my blog, you keep seeing the "PEARS" info, but after receiving lots of emails from my viewers on their thought about the nutritional value of pears, I just have to make one more post about this fabulous fruit. So here goes:

- Pears are rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C (mostly contained in the skin of the fruit) and also very rich in potassium and copper

- Pears are the least allergenic of all fruits

- Most of the fiber is insoluble, making pears a good laxative

- Pears can be useful in treating inflammation of mucous membranes, colitus, chronic gallbladder disorders and gout

Also, hope you read the comments left by some of my viewers after the posting on pears. Makes for some very, very good information on this invaluable fruit.

So, what do you suppose my husband had for dessert last evening???

You guessed it PEARS!!!!