Friday, October 23, 2009

Cancer as a "Chronic Disease"

More and more articles and websites that relate to cancer are now proclaiming the message that

we all need to think of CANCER as a CHRONIC DISEASE and not as an acute illness!

First, let's define both:

Acute illness is referred to as one that is brought on unexpectedly and has a relatively "short" course or duration

Chronic disease is a long-lasting, persistent medical condition

For anyone reading today's post who may have any type of cancer, this is very good news. Good news because longevity stats show that cancer patients are living longer, having very productive lives and are outliving their original medical diagnosis....very encouraging stats for sure!!!

Whoever created the word "TERMINAL" anyway??? Medical specialists cannot always determine the exact longevity for any patient....our family knows that for a fact so if you have been given that dreaded diagnosis, don't let it be the first word that you have in mind when you wake every morning and the last thing on your mind at night....instead, realize that your cancer has now been recatagorized as a "chronic disease", just like diabetes, heart disease and obesity to name a few. All of us know individuals who have these other chronic diseases and who live very productive lives.

Let's get our heads around the word "cancer" and then make a promies to ourselves to live it as "chronic" and not as "terminal"!!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Promises Are Forever

I received an email recently from a caregiver who relayed a little of what a usual day entailed. Not what he ever imagined back several years ago when he repeated his marriage vows of "for better, for worse" , but today he feels even more in love and is so very grateful for all that he has been given.
Another caregiver wrote of how today's marriages end very rapidly because it's so easy to just pick up and leave when things go a little wrong. She has been the strong support for her husband and never ever imagined she had the strength to care of him like she does now. While he is unable to converse with her, his smile relays the deep love that he holds for her.
The true test to any marriage is holding on when it gets rough, and living with any type of serious illness, especially cancer, certainly puts your life into perspective. Caregivers are there through think and line, no complaints and despite the sleepless nights with many a nightmare thrown in, the endless worry of what "might be" and uncertainties that could fill an ocean, we are firmly anchored right by our loved one's side as they would be right there for us as well.
Just as in nature, when there's dark clouds on one side, there is always sunshine on another......and amidst it all, there is the beauty of that rainbow to get us through!!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ride the Waves to Calmer Waters

Once you hear the word CANCER, life suddenly takes on a whole new perspective. It is the diagnosis that no one individual ever wants to hear, but reality is, when you have been given your medical results and your doctor says it's cancer, then you do have to deal with it. There's just no running away hoping things will get better.

There will be many rough waters ahead as you await tests to verify the severity of your cancer, along with consultations with oncologists and specialists to determine the best course of action for treatment of your cancer. Surgery may be an option, it could be chemo or radiation, taking some of the newer oral medications may be recommended or other newer technological advances such as radio therapy or laporoscopic procedures.

One vital element to getting you through the many doctor visits, the uncertainties associated with test results and side effects from treatments is to have a good support system. It's vital that you connect with someone else who can relate personally to similiar anxieties and experiences. And never, ever think that you are all alone as you continue your fight against cancer.

How do you find that special someone? With today's technologies, it's actually very simple. Check websites that relate to your specific type of cancer, find chat rooms to communicate with other patients/caregivers, and don't ever be afraid to ask for professional help from the medical experts when you need that experienced someone to just talk things over with. It can become very overwhelming at times, and maintaining a positive attitude is absolutely necessary.

Remember also, that at times, it's not only the patient who needs that support, but other family members may be struggling as well, and it's very important that they too open the lines of communication with others who can help with their emotional struggles.

Communicating with someone else who also travels through the trials of cancer, definitely brings calmness to your life.

Never be afraid to ask for that help and support!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

It's been a couple of weeks here of mostly rain, rain and more rain. Somewhere behind those clouds, the sun IS shining although it's difficult to visualize that between the raindrops.

Our lives are like that as well, especially when sickness occurs and one is going through difficult times. It difficult to imagine a day when you will be feeling a little better.....but don't give up! Going through chemo and radiation treatments can definitely dampen one's spirits, take away your appetite and make you feel so terrible at times. It's all apart of the process and once the treatments stop and you take a break, you will gradually feel your appetite returning, your energy levels slowly getting stronger and you WILL feel much, much better in awhile.

On this Thankgiving holiday weekend, let's all take time to remember how blessed we all have been, not only during this past year, but each and everyday. For the most part, I never appreciated the sunny days before cancer, but know, everyday is filled with sunshine as I watch my husband continue to beat the odds.

Yes, take time to give thanks and enjoy a wonderful weekend with family and friends!!! Our family will be spending this weekend with some very special friends who we have met along our journey with cancer.