Monday, October 11, 2010

Mark Your Calendar - October 25, 2010

The Miracle of Fall Colors

I am sure that most of my viewers are quite aware of the Canadian organization for kidney cancer which can be found at the following link

Just wanted to advise all kidney cancer patients/caregivers and their families to mark their calendar for the organization's upcoming Patient Education Meeting that will be held in Hamilton, Ontario on that date.  For those viewers who cannot attend, the meeting will be broadcast live as well, so no matter where you live, if you have access to the internet, you can be a part of this important event.  I always ensure that I partake of these very important and informative sessions whenever they are offered, as they provide an excellent insight into various topics that relate to kidney cancer. 

The topic for the 25th meeting will be

Recent Advances in the Management of Kidney Cancer

now we ALL need to learn more about any and all advances that are being made for this type of cancer.

Don't forget, that you must have a login ID in order to access any seminars, so best to go to the website now, register and take a look around.  There is excellent information, discussion forums, and great advice and support for all to access.

Again, the seminar will run from 7:00pm - 9:00pm on October 25th which is just two weeks away, so be prepared and be informed and don't forget to mark your calendar today!!! 

It will be a great place to meet other patients/caregivers as well so I hope to "see" you there!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Give Thanks and Remember......... Miracles CAN Happen!

Today's song "Give Thanks" is one of my favorites and I always enjoy playing it on my blog at this time of year. I'm going to post the lyrics here in case you would like to sing along:



This song has very few words in it's lyrics, but the words that are contained within are indeed very profound!

This is the time of year in which we celebrate or give thanks for all of our blessings.  I trust that you also will take the time to reflect on the blessings that you have been given.  While it may be a difficult time for many of you as you forge ahead on very challenging days with your cancer treatments and side effects, please also remember that many others also endure the same obstacles and disappointments.  I trust you will try your best to remain positive and remember that this too shall pass.

I have not written on my blog for awhile husband and I have been away on vacation.  Yes, you read it correctly,  a vacationIf anyone had told me a few months ago that I would be going on holiday, I definitely never would have believed them, as my husband has been sick many times just this past year alone.  But "YES", we did it and to be honest, it felt like a miracle was happening all the time.  My husband was fulfilling a promise that he had made to a family member, that one day he definitely would travel to their hometown and spend time there.  We did it and it was an amazing vacation!!!

The purpose of my telling you this, is especially for those who are feeling a little down now with their illness.  Miracles can and do happen, and my husband and I know it for certain so try to remain as positive as you can, make a promise as well to someone and aim to fulfill it.  You must have HOPE and without that at the forefront, then the cancer just might win.

We also had another miracle happen while on our vacation.  We were fortunate enough to meet one of my regular viewers of this blog, who I have kept in touch with through emails and my chat forum.  It was Joanne, who has the same type of cancer as my husband.  The day before our meeting, she had not been feeling very well, but was determined that nothing was going to stand in her way of arriving at the location we had chosen to meet.  As I was walking towards that place that day, I wondered how we would each recognize the other, as we previously only had seen pictures of us at random.  It turned out however, not to be a problem, because I think we both found each other at the same time that day, and instantly we hugged and were over joyed to know that both of our families had had such a wonderful opportunity to finally meet face to face.  Joanne and my husband exchanged their experiences, both the good and the bad of their cancer journeys, my daughter as well as hers both chatted and formed a special bond and we took several pictures of our families and of each other that will always remain near and dear to our hearts.  When it was time to leave, Joanne looked at my husband and said "now who will ever think that both of us are cancer patients when they see those photos?"  and you know something, she was very right about that.  Well actually, you be the judge and take a look at their picture......

Quite amazing, isn't it???  To say the least!  They were both inspired by each other that day, and needless to say, all the rest of us were inspired by just watching both of them. 

Yes, having cancer can be very difficult, but it certainly helps to stay connected with other patients, caregivers and family members to be inspired by them and to create that lifelong special friendship that only those affected by cancer can truly understand.

Last year at Thanksgiving, I met another wonderful viewer of my blog, Karen, who traveled a great distance to meet both my husband and I.  We shared our fears, joys and future aspirations over my Thanksgiving dinner last year, and as I write this blog, I am looking at a very special gift that Karen gave me at our first encounter last Thanksgiving weekend with an inscription that reads

 "Give Thanks"!!!!

Yes, while the past year has had many obstacles for my husband to overcome, it has also been an amazing year of special friendships, miracles and a true testament to these words

Keep the Faith and Never Quit!!!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Storms Give Us Strength

Today was the calm after the storm.  We were in the path of a hurricane yesterday which brought alot of destruction to our island.  Electrical power is still out in many areas since yesterday, roads are washed completely away. Huge caverns appear where only yesterday morning, highways existed.  Heavy flooding has left many homeless with properties in ruin and windswept landscapes have left fallen trees with mass lawn erosions.  The fury of nature can be seen everywhere. 

Our hearts go out to the family of our lone fatality....such a terrible loss!

Today however brought rainbows, blue skies and calm seas........

Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.

For those of us who have lived with CANCER, there have been many a stormy day to endure.....but just like yesterday's hurricane, there will be calmer days ahead so stay strong and you WILL whether the storm!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

More Info on Cancer Stats

I have been researching a bit more info with regards to cancer stats and I will provide a few links for you to obtain additional information that might help to clarify my post of yesterday a little better.  I of course am just a novice in any of this, so please understand that this is information that I am pulling from internet sources.

Why are cancer stats for the most part always determined within a five-year survival rate?  My opinion would be due to the fact that cancer is difficult to predetermine and providing five-year stats gives a better perspective.  Here is a link from The Mayo Clinic as well as Wikipedia  

Here is a link posted on The National Cancer Institutes site where you can determine the stats for your paticular type of cancer based on a rate from 1988 to 2006.  For the most part, especially if you look up kidney cancer in males in the 50+ age range, there is a dramatic decline in the survival rate of patients during that time.  Now however, based on my post of yesterday, and from all ages and genders of patients, it shows an increase in the survival rate of kidney cancer patients from 60% now up to 67%.  I personally think the latter is great news and I also personally know that kidney cancer patients are living longer and are also living with a very good quality of life for the most part.

How do I know?  Well, back in 2006, the medical experts in our area knew very little about kidney cancer - we know that for a fact!  Maybe it's because they have so many other types of cancer that they deal with on a daily basis - still no excuse though in our fast paced technological world where information can be obtained in an instant at the touch of a computer keyboard.

One thing I know for sure is:

  • Kidney cancer patients are living longer now because of new treatments that have been introduced since 2006 - as my husband was among one of the first ones in our area to begin Sutent treatment back then.
  • Patients are becoming more informed about their type of cancer and their caregivers/advocates are asking more questions of the medical specialists and not giving up until they find the right answers.
  • Patients with kidney cancer and other types of cancer are obtaining more support from other patients/caregivers through mediums such as blogs, chat forums, etc. and they can now obtain information on types of treatments that are available and how to get them, even if your oncologist cannot!
  • Patients are looking at their cancer as a chronic disease more and more, and not thinking of their cancer as a death sentence.  It's all in the attitude - and the patient's determination to never quit!
I really don't think that effective stats can be produced right now to determine a fairly accurate 10-year survival rate, as in the earlier years of this range, there was not enough information out there to derive the appropriate information.  

The main thing for cancer patients to keep in mind, is that cancer stats are improving for the majority of the different types of cancer.  Survival rates are going up and any patient with cancer in today's new technological innovative society, is in a much better place, then they were five years ago!!!

Keep strong, keep the faith and NEVER QUIT!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cancer Survival Rates Are Going Up !!!

Great news today from Stats Canada in an article entitled

"An Update on Cancer Survival"

seems that for many types of cancer, survival rates have increased dramatically and as I have written before, receiving a diagnosis of cancer DOES NOT mean that you are definitely dying - it does mean however that you have a chronic disease just like those who have diabetes or heart disease.

Click the following link to read more 

I hope you will be encouraged after reading this so keep positive, don't think of the negatives but "always" focus on the good news about cancer!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Take a Second Look

 We all complain... sometimes it's about the weather, about the news, or maybe about all of the things that have to get done today that should have been done yesterday....and the list goes on.  Having cancer in your life sure puts a whole different perspective on things.  

Yes, there are days in our family that we think things are not going so well, but when you see others who have it sooo much worse, then it's a wake up call to appreciate everything you have.

Last week I was in a restaurant in the city having breakfast.  A couple came in who we have known for the past few months.  The husband has had cancer now for several years and recently his wife was diagnosed.  She underwent surgery and is presently on treatment.  While his wife was ordering breakfast, he whispered to me that just a few days ago, he returned to his oncologist for a medical report, only to discover now that his cancer has returned more aggressively than ever.  He is the one who is the primary caregiver to his wife so I can only imagine what an incredibly difficult situation that must be. 

We continued with breakfast and conversation and I couldn't help but notice when the waitress brought their order, that it consisted of one slice of toast and one cup of coffee.  Maybe not that unusual you might think, but after watching them share that meager breakfast, it put things into perspective for me all too well.  You see, having cancer can be very expensive with treatments, prescriptions, travel, hospital stays and apparently this couple are really finding it financially challenging.  It was very sad to see, but at the same time it made me realize that our complaints are very minimal compared to what so many others have to contend with on a daily basis.

I would never attempt to offer them any monies personally, but no doubt there will soon be an anonymous something showing up in their mailbox. 

Yes, next time I start complaining, I just need to reflect back to that encounter last week.

No matter how challenging we sometimes think our lives are, take time to take a second look as there is always someone out there who has it worse!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Live Chat Tonight

Another reminded about our first Live Chat tonight at 7:00pm ET. Just click the Cancer Chat Forum Tag at the top of this page, scroll down to view the chat.  I'll look forward to meeting you, as well as chatting with my regular viewers.

This is a wonderful way to meet other cancer patients and caregivers, exchange ideas and concerns and most of all to get support from those who truly understand.  You can remain "Anonymous" or just provide your first name - the choice is yours!  Hope to see you there!!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Bit of This and That

As you may have noticed, I'll be changing the backgrounds to my blog quite frequently.  Change is good!

I have also added a CROSSWORD PUZZLE at the right for those of you who enjoy completing a daily one.  Enjoy Bindy!!!  Crosswords are great to energize your mind so I trust you all will give it a try.

I will also be having a LIVE CHAT on Monday, Sept. 13th @ 7:00 ET so I will look forward to meeting you!  Just click the tab "Chat Forum" at the top of this page, then enter your first name in the Guest area at the bottom of the chat forum, and click the Signin button.  Then you will be ready to post your question or comment.  Give it a try before Monday, to ensure that you understand just how it works.

That's it for now...enjoy today's music!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Through the Years

My husband and I are celebrating our Wedding Anniversary today.  It's a day in which we both count our blessings for all the goodness that we have been given, not only during our marriage, but more especially during these last four years since my husband was first diagnosed with terminal cancer.  A diagnosis like that, definitely puts the important things of life into perspective.

The little things that we once probably didn't even notice before, have now become the focal point of our everyday lives. As I reflect back to our wedding day and our vows of "for better or for worse, in sickness and in health" neither of us of course never anticipated our journey with cancer, but we both count our blessings everyday.

We know for many families who are dealing with cancer, your situations are much worse.  Only yesterday I talked with a close friend whose sister passed away earlier this week with cancer, while another friend attended the funeral of her relative today, who also passed away due to cancer.  Yesterday as well, I was told of a close friend who was recently diagnosed with cancer while another lady awaits a very grave diagnosis of this disease.  Although both my husband and I try not to put cancer in the forefront of our lives, we of course cannot ignore it's presence and it brings it so much closer to home when you hear of another family who is struggling with all that cancer brings.

 If you are one of those families, please know that you are never alone.  We have learned that no matter how difficult some days may be or how uncertain your future appears at times, no one can truly predict "what tomorrow holds" so enjoy "today to the fullest"!  We have learned that many healthy people pass away suddenly without warning so don't dwell on your cancer.  Live your life as normal as possible and most of all, keep positive!

My husband and I won't be exchanging anniversary gifts, but we will receive very precious gifts......

the company of our children, our family and our friends and the blessing of celebrating another anniversary together...

We could not ask for anything more!!!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Blueberries Anyone?

If you Google blueberries and their benefits in fighting cancer, you will be surprised to find that these berries have the highest antioxidants compared to twenty other daily varieties of fruit. Just click the following link for more great information on the excellent benefits of eating blueberries...

Today, my husband and I went blueberry picking.  It's the first time we have done this for quite a few years and to be honest, I really never would have thought we would do that again a few months ago, but voila, there we were encompassed in a field of blueberries this afternoon.  (Note to Self:  Never say Never)   They were everywhere!!!  All I had to do was sit and pick and our final tally brought us well over a gallon of these precious berries.  There were other advantages as well to picking those berries today.  Lots of fresh air that ordinarily we might not have gotten, the opportunity to be totally in touch with nature - hearing only the wind blowing through the trees and the sound of wild birds chirping.  Ah.....such peace and solitude!!!  Good for the mind and good for the soul.

If you live in an area that offers you an opportunity to go pick some blueberries, then GO DO IT!  The rewards will be felt both physically and mentally.

  You will get a chance to enjoy solitude and be refreshed as you breath in nature's peacefulness.

Monday, September 06, 2010

How Does Your Country Rank Against Canada?

Most of you by now may have possibly read the latest edition of the Reader's Digest and one article in particular entitled "Map of Shame".  It describes Canada's provincial standing with regards to accessibility of cancer fighting drugs to those patients who need them most.  I am posting the link here for you to read, and I will write my comments about this article shortly.

For those of you who live in Canada, take a very close look at the chart below which outlines the number of deaths per 100,000 people for each province and the amount of dollars per capita for cancer agency.  Albeit, this report was initially published in 2004-2005.

(Source: “Your money or Your Life II” by Dr. William Hryniuk and Dr. Anthony Miller, Cancer Care in Canada, Winter 2004-05)

Now for a little more up-to-date information, you may want to read the following 
by the Cancer Advocacy Coalition.


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Are You Part of a Team?

Strange title isn't it?  Let me explain....

Last week while we were at the cancer clinic, my husband was first screened by a new doctor before he saw his regular oncologist.

The new doctor began to explain to us a little about RCC and about the treatments, side effects, and all of the other good stuff that go along with having cancer (now I am being a bit sarcastic when I use the word good). After hearing what the new physician had to say, then it was our turn, my husband and I.  We both relayed some of my husband's medical history, the pitfalls that we have encountered along the way, how my husband has been sent home, not once, not twice but three times and taken off all treatments since he was first diagnosed and the list goes on..................

The doctor knew instantly that both of us knew so much more about my husband's type of cancer than most patients and their caregivers do.  That was no surprise to us at all, but I think we threw this new doctor a loop so to speak.  I am sure that most of his patients never add additional information on what he has already told them, I am sure they probably never ask for copies of ALL medical tests that are completed, I am sure that most patients/caregivers cannot recite all of the treatment names and dates on which they were first started and suddenly stopped, and I am sure that most patients don't keep a carbon copy of most everything that has happened from hospital stays to doctor visits since first being diagnosed with cancer.  I could tell that this new doctor was a little impressed, if that is the right word to use about both my husband's and my knowledge of his cancer journey.  The doctor looked at us after his initial consultation and with a smile said:

"I can tell that you and your husband are a TEAM"

Yes, I never really thought about it like that, the fact that we are a team, but I guess that statement is very true.  I have learned that both patient and his/her caregiver must be a team in order to ensure that the patient is getting the best possible care and treatments that are out there.  Sometimes it can be a stressful position to be in, but it's well worth all the effort you put into it.  

If you are a patient who is battling cancer, it is vital that you have someone right by you to be your advocate and your second voice, second sight, and second set of ears who will hear things that you as a patient will most definitely not even hear when your doctor is giving you test results or asking you important information if you become ill.  Sometimes I don't even hear all the info, but I do try to write the important things down that you will need to refer to at a later time.

So being on a team is very important for any cancer patient.  If you don't have that someone special to make you a team, then don't delay...go find him/her today!  It's probably going to be one of the most difficult jobs they will ever have, but it well be one of the most rewarding and worthwhile one in all of their lives!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Cancer Chat Cafe

I have added a new page entitled "Cancer Chat Cafe".....just click the tab at the top to enter.  You can register and then post a question or comment to other patients/caregivers.  This chat forum is a great way to connect with others who share similiar journeys.

If no one is on the chat, please leave a comment just the same to say "hi" and before long, I promise you WILL connect with myself or others.

I'll look forward to meeting you!!!  


Appreciate Your Life

Cancer....... a six letter word that is small to look at but it brings massive life changing challenges to all those who are affected.  If I were to look back at my life before cancer appeared, things would seem very simple and what I thought to be major challenges back then, were actually just minor bumps along life's pathway.

Cancer puts your life into perspective!  Even though each person who is affected by cancer has his or her own trials to bear, we need to appreciate the simple things that sometimes we don't even realize mean the most.

Last week while my husband and I were at our local cancer clinic, I couldn't help but notice two smaller children sitting alone in the waiting room.  It's not very common to see young children in that clinic, especially without adult accompaniment.  I really felt like I should go and speak to them, but at the same time, I also felt that I didn't want to intrude.  After a short time, I saw a woman and her husband walk slowly out of the doctor's office. The children instantly walked towards them and it was easy to see that the lady was their mom and that she was not feeling well.  Her very slow steps and ashen face made it quite clear that she was the one battling cancer.

My first thought was of my daughters and how they have had their own struggles from time to time dealing with their Dad's cancer.  They were teenagers when my husband was first diagnosed and adults in their twenties when he was given that terrible news of only a ninety day longevity, but despite their more mature age, naturally cancer has affected them in so many ways.  Now as I watched these two very young children hug their mom, I could barely hold back tears as I thought of what they will endure as well throughout their mom's cancer journey.  I then heard the oldest daughter, who was a mere eight or nine ask, "When is your next chemo treatment Mommy?"     Watching something like that and hearing those words from such a young child, sure made me realize just how fortunate our family is....yes, very fortunate indeed!  That young couple not only have to deal with all the trials and tribulations that cancer brings, but also they are raising two children in the midst of their challenging health issues.  Definitely not an easy task by any means.

School starts in a week, and as I watched the faces of both these young girls, my heart sank again, to think that they had been robbed in a way from having a childhood free of all that cancer brings.  Their vocabulary now includes words like chemo, nausea, treatments, MRI's, and CT's and they will await their mom's test results and ask her daily how she feels just like us adults do.  But as I thought about it a little more, I realized that they are blessed to be together.  The young mother is so very fortunate to have her children right there with her at the end of her doctor's visit for support and encouragement, which is the best kind of therapy for any cancer patient.

Putting our lives into perspective is so important.  Cancer allows each of us to do that.  No matter how difficult our journey becomes with cancer at times, we remember that there are so many others who walk more difficult roads.

We appreciate our family life everyday and never take it for granted since cancer came into it......

I trust you will also take time to appreciate yours!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Work in Progress

There has been lots of new features developed that can be added to blogs over the past few weeks, so my blog has become a work in progress.  I hope to add a few of these over time..just bear with me.

If you are a new viewer of my blog, please join in on my "Followers" section....putting up a picture is of course optional but it's always encouraging to see more additions to this part of my blog as it allows me to know that you are one of my regular readers.

I should have a new post in place later today or early tomorrow.  Have a wonderful day everyone and remember to always "Count Your Blessings"!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Welcome Back

It's been quite awhile since I have posted anything here and to be quite honest, I really thought I would never continue to keep posting, as I needed a much deserved break from everything associated with CANCER and summer seemed like the perfect time to do it.  You will notice that my blog layout has changed a little......I will be adding some features over the next few weeks as well. 

I did however continue to check back to my blog on occasion to see if anyone was still watching and I was humbled to see that I have such loyal viewers out there.  For those of you who continued to keep logging into my blog everyday, despite the fact that I would never write anything, you are to be commended for sure.....for your commitment and for not giving up on me!  You did make me feel very guilty for not writing, so I'm back!  Actually, thanks for giving me that little push I needed to get back here.

While I have enjoyed meeting so many wonderful people on my blog, I'm not sure if there is a lot of topics that I can actually add to what I have already written about here over the past 22 months.  There is so much that cannot be explained, but one constant that remains throughout all of my husband's journey with cancer, is that he certainly continues to amaze us all.  He has shown myself and our daughters that perseverance is the key and to work even harder when the going gets tough, rather than to just sit back and accept your fate.

I will however update you about my husband today to encourage all of you who are affected by cancer.  Yes, my husband still continues to amaze us all with his positive attitude, his never ending energy and this past summer has been his BEST summer since 2006!  I set him up on Facebook a little while ago.....why? you might ask....well, it was just another one of my many attempts to keep him inspired and it worked!  He knew nothing about computers and more especially nothing about that social network, but I thought it would be a good way to keep in touch with family and friends and it has fulfilled that purpose.

He has lost some weight since I last posted due to a bad flu earlier this summer, long hours of work and most of all due to his loss of taste buds as a result of his current cancer meds, but with the help of milkshakes, homemade egg nogs, and a try at preparing foods that encourage the taste buds, thankfully he has regained some of that weight loss.  I have read somewhere that milk may not be good for cancer patients....personally it's a myth at our house when taken in moderation, but I would encourage each of you to do what you feel is best.  Keep in mind that every cancer patient's condition is different and each patient reacts differently to medications, nutrition and everyday remedies.

I'll look forward to hearing from you....let me know how things have been going along your cancer journey over these past few weeks.  Although I have not been posting, be assured that I have been thinking of all of you whom I have met through my blog.

Oops..apparently I wrote this two days ago, but had to renew my domain registration before the blog became available..hope you can all read this!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Yes YOU Can !

I've included the words to the song YES YOU CAN so you can follow along.  It is a very inspirational creation for sure.

Just when you think you can't do what seems the impossible, you discover that you CAN !!!

Tonight I attended a public forum to help improve our health care system.  I was glad I was there and I had alot of input based on things that have happened to my husband since he's been in the health system over the past several years.  Some of the events have been very good, while others have left a terrible scar on him, as well as on our family.  Things that never should happen to those who are ill and I hope that my remarks tonight will help to make a change for the better for other patients who travel similar paths.

As the song says, YES YOU CAN.  Yes, we all can make that difference to help someone else go through their health issues in an easier and more informed manner.  Yes, each of us can contribute to society in our own way and make it a better place for others.  Yes, you can overcome what seems the impossible if you only give it a try!!!

So next time you have negative thoughts about what you think you cannot accomplish, just play this song and read it's lyrics.......


Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Loss of Jane

I sadly read today about the passing of my friend Jane who has been so courageously fighting kidney cancer now for the past several months.  Her blog has provided cancer patients as well as caregivers such encouragement and inspiration along her journey.  She has contributed tremendously to kidney cancer patients through her efforts to find new treatments as well as availability and funding to patients.  

Her legacy will live on in each of us who were honored to have known her through her blog, as well as to the many lives she has touched throughout the world.  

Jane lived life to the fullest after receiving her diagnosis of kidney cancer and her heroic efforts throughout her illness will live in our hearts forever.  She will be sadly missed.

Jane's Journey has now ended and she is home at last.  My deepest sympathies to her family.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Excellent Cancer Information - John Hopkins

A friend sent me this information via email this morning.  I then Googled to find the exact website where you could go check it out.  Even though it was written back in 2009, it is very, very informative and ALL cancer patients should read.

Here's the link:

What I have learned since my husband has had terminal cancer is:

  • Always maintain a good appetite and healthy weight - once your normal weight begins to drop, so does your resistance and your ability to fight off infections and side effects from the cancer drugs and you just begin to fell terrible.  Make homemade fruit shakes, drink natural juices such as carrot juice and even if it means sometimes forcing yourself to eat, then just DO IT!  You will feel the benefits in the end
  • The article speaks of "sugar" and how cancer feeds on it.  Lower your intake, but a bit of sugar won't really hurt as my husband loves his candies on occasion
  • Check out #15 - a POSITIVE ATTITUDE during your cancer journey will most definitely help you!!!  How do I know????  Well, my husband has to be the most positive person you could ever want to meet.  He's now back to work, feeling wonderful and looking as though he's never been sick a day in his life.  Not many can say that after being sent home not once, not twice  but THREE times to just wait it out and die.
Hope this helps you.....

Yesterday I met another cancer patient in our area who has a similiar outlook on her cancer as my husband.  She is another amazing individual and I'm happy to report she is feeling really well also.  What's her secret?  She is staying informed, she is eating properly and she is very positive and above all, her FAITH, like that of my husband's give her no reason to worry about her illness.

Get out there and soak up a bit of that sunshine....Vitamin D is excellent for you!!!

Enjoy your day!!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Get Out There and Live Life!

By now, my loyal viewers will have already noticed that I've not written here for awhile.  It's been a busy month.

I appreciate your continuing to check in here despite there not being any new music or writings.

Think I'm going to take a sort of hiatus from the blog for awhile.  I will post on occasion though so I'll thank you in advance for checking in.

For those who have connections via my email, please continue to keep in touch. We are approaching a busy time of year with summer right around the corner...there's more outside activities, more gardening to take care of, and less time to be spent sitting in front of this computer.

My husband continues to do well...actually he right now feels the BEST that he has ever felt for quite awhile.  For cancer patients out there who continue to fight the battle, remember to keep positive despite the difficult days, don't quit, and surround yourself with people who will motivate you and NOT keep focusing on that "C" word.  Get out and enjoy the weather, take up a new hobby or why not start fulfilling a life long dream you have always had.  Everyone has them, so just DO IT and never look back......again,
don't let CANCER define your life from this day forward!!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

That's God!

I have written a couple of posts before about how many times people have come into our lives or events have happened since my husband received his cancer diagnosis that has not happened just by chance, but most definitely by FATE.  I am sure many of you have had similiar experiences along your cancer journey as well.

People who have touched our lives and left an imprint far beyond our imagination, a telephone call from someone who just happened to be thinking of you at a difficult moment in your life, or just recently at my house, a knock at the door one morning even before my husband was out of bed, only to discover two very dear friends who were visiting our area and who just happened to stop by to see us at a moment when I needed a long time friend most of all.

Yes, as my title today says "That's God" who steps into our lives and sends angels among us, just when we need them most of all. 

I am attaching a video which was sent to me today by a friend whom I have not personally met, but one whom I have connected with through my writing and through his writing over the past few years.  He has recently learned of my husband's battle with cancer and thought he would share this video with us.  I thank him sincerely for that and now pass it on to you so that you also can reflect on those fateful events that I am certain have come into your life.

Friday, April 23, 2010

No Taste? Try This Simple Solution....

Many cancer patients may lose their sense of taste on occasion when they are on radiation or other types of cancer treatment.

One very simple solution to restore your taste buds is to rinse your mouth before eating with club soda.  That apparently is a tried and true remedy passed along by our hospital pharmacist based on his assessment of many cancer patients.

Last week my husband could not taste a couple of my home cooked meals.  Seemed to taste like "rubber" to him.  Now, I must admit that I'm not the world's best chef, but I do manage to cook a decent corned beef dinner with all the trimmings so it was not the meal itself, but the taste buds.

I'm going to keep that club soda on hand at all times from now on...can't let all of that hard work in preparing the meal go to waste as a result of bad taste buds.

Hope this hint helps you.....please let me know your results with a quick comment.

Here's another link for more possible rememdies if you encounter tasteless meals.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Power of a Song

The Juno Awards are presented annually to Canadian musical artists and bands to acknowledge their artistic and technical achievements in all aspects of music.  Tonight, we had these awards held locally in our province and as I watched the presentations and listened to the various genres of music, I was reminded of the impact that music has on each of our lives, sometimes without even realizing it.

Tonight's artistic performances were very impressive beginning with Michael Buble's opening rendition of "Haven't Met You Yet" (this is one amazing song)  and Johnnie Reid's "Dance With Me". There was something for all ages as Justin Bieber brought loud screams from the teens and K'Naan and Drake added to the varying music selections.  The last rendition was "Wavin' Flags" sung by K'Naan while other performers joined him on stage to share in this song which was created as a tribute to Haiti.

What's my point of writing about this in my blog?  Well, to relay the impact that music can have on each of us.  Music can give us the inspiration we need on difficult days, it can lift failing spirits and it can give you encouragement when you need it most of all.  Whether you like easy listening music, religious, soul, country, pop or one of the many 100's or should I say 1000's of different music genres, I'm sure you will agree that playing your favorite song will help get you through a difficult day.

Research has proven that listening to music can help cancer patients feel more relaxed and less anxious, and it can also help reduce the amount of pain that one may experience while undergoing radiation treatments.Check out this link that was provided by one of my followers Whidbey

Please read her comments here as she relays how Music Therapy has helped her husband when he has undergone cancer treatments.

Whether you play it LOUD, low, on iPods or in your home stereo system, music can be therapeutic.  Did you know that music can help lower your blood pressure, it can counteract chronic stress and reduce your heart rate.  Music can boost your immunity, ease muscle tension as well as help ward off depression.

Check out this link to learn more about Music Therapy

Friday, April 16, 2010

KCC - Deepest Condolences

I was very saddened to read of yesterday's passing of
Mr. Tony Clarke, Chair of Kidney Cancer Canada.

I had the opportunity to meet Tony when he visited our province last year and it was so very easy to see just how adamant he was in his determination to bring kidney cancer awareness and information right across our country and around the world.

I feel quite confident that his legacy will continue under the strong leadership of Deb Maskens, but he will be truly missed by all those who had the fortunate opportunity to know him.

My deepest sympathies to his immediate and extended family, his co-workers at Kidney Cancer Canada and to all  those who were blessed to have had the opportunity to know such an outstanding individual!

True heroes are those who live life fully, courageously and so passionately

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Remedies for Sore Mouth & Gums

While on many of the treatments for cancer, you no doubt will encounter sore mouth and gums along the way. If so, then here are a few remedies that have been given to me by a hospital pharmacist and which have had excellent healing and relief results by many patients.

As the pharmacist stresses though PREVENTION is the key so don't go doing anything that would bring on mouth sores such as  using a toothbrush that is "medium" or "hard" always need to use the "soft" type as this will lessen the possibility of your gums bleeding.

Also, stay away from foods that would cause you to get a sore mouth such as "hot drinks" like coffee and tea...keep these liquids at a tepid temperature.  Don't eat alot of spicy foods and stay away from foods for which you first have to sign a waiver such as the infamous "suicide chicken wings"......that should go without saying of course.

Sometimes, plain common sense will make all the difference in distancing you from developing a very sore mouth versus a milder one.

So here's my remedies:

  • THE BEST ONE IS:   use a salt water mouthwash......mix 1 teaspoon of salt with 8 oz of warm water and rinse and swoosh your mouth a few minutes.  Do this at least 3 times a day.
  • While you can use an off-the-shelf mouthwash....DO NOT USE ANYTHING WITH ALCOHOL contained in it such as Listerine.  This will only add to your distress.  There is a mouthwash in Oral B that does NOT contain alcohol so you might want to give it a try.  That being said, if you do drink alcohol, well now is the time to give it a rest as it will only add to your sore mouth problems.
  • Your pharmacist can make you the infamous
               MAGIC MOUTHWASH

.....please click the link to read more as this is specific for cancer patients who encounter sore mouth symptoms while on various treatments.  Don't be afraid to give them a call and ask for this remedy and if they are not aware of it, then contact your local hospital pharmacy and they will definitely know all about it.
Actually one important note is ALWAYS contact your hospital pharmacist or even better, your cancer center pharmacist if there is one in your area, whenever you encounter any side effects from your type of treatment.  He/she knows the best way to deal with these ailments and they would have the experience and the contacts needed to provide you with the BEST possible solution that will bring relief.

Don't try to fight side effects alone without asking for's just a phone call away!!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Benefits of Green Tea as it Relates to Kidney Cancer

Rec'd another Google Alert yesterday with a very interesting topic for kidney cancer patients. 

Apparently, there's been a study completed at a university in Portugal that has examined how green tea may be an very effective anticancer agent for renal cell carcinoma.   

Check out this link to read more 

Research has found that

"green tea extract strongly inhibited the growth of both RCC cell lines in a concentration-dependent manner"

I've often read before that "green tea" is an excellent antioxidant for fighting cancer, but this particular study makes it more specific to kidney cancer patients.

OK...I'm off to the to buy some


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Do You "ALWAYS" See the Entire Picture?

At first glance you probably see a lawn that has just revealed itself after the winter season and a bare leafless bush.  If that is all you just saw by looking at the picture, then you didn't take the time to see the "entire" shot.  Look very closely again!   Now, do you see something else?  Something that is hidden behind the bush?  It doesn't just instantly reveal itself, but it is there and it's an important feature, as it's the reason why I actually took the time to get my camera out and take a few shots.
As I reflect over the past few years and think of many other cancer patients and caregivers who I have met, I sometimes start to wonder if many of them have taken the time to see the entire picture.  Sounds a little odd, doesn't it?   Let me explain.

  • My first thought of those with cancer is whether or not they actually know what type of cancer they have.  For those of us who are very diligent in keeping a close watch on our loved ones cancer journey, this may seem a stupid question, but in actual fact it is a very real and at the same time "sad" point that numerous cancer patients DO NOT know their type of cancer.  Just yesterday I spoke with someone who's relative has been diagnosed and when I asked what type of cancer she had, they responded with the words "She doesn't know"!!!  The cancer is in her lungs and her liver so she assumes it's lung cancer.  My question is "How the heck can a patient get treated properly for their cancer if their TYPE of cancer has not been determined.  Sometimes a biopsy may be needed to find out the exact cancer type, maybe it can be verified through a blood test, or of course, if the patient has undergone surgery, then the pathology report will identify it precisely, but many are told they have cancer after a CT or MRI and sadly the patient or caregiver NEVER asks what is the TYPE of cancer or KIND of cancer that they have.  There are well over 200+ different types of cancer and check out this link to  find out more information on some of them from A to Z as posted by the National Cancer Institute.  

Cancer can and does metastasize to other areas of your body, so if you have cancer in your lung, that does not necessarily mean that you have lung cancer.

  • My next point here is that many cancer patients and their caregivers NEVER check further through other medium such as the Internet or through associations that deal with specific cancers to see what new treatments or innovations are being developed.  They just accept hook, line and sinker so to speak what their doctor tells them.  Now, after my saying that, you do have to listen to your doctor's opinion of course, but it's always best to research, do your own investigating and link up communication lines with other cancer patients and their caregivers.  I know first hand, that if you sometimes take "only" your doctor's diagnosis, then you can most definitely be headed down a difficult road with no other options.  After all, just think about it a moment, can any one doctor be expected to know everything there is to know about each type of cancer and how to treat each one - the answer is a definite "NO"  so it's up to you to do your homework.
  • Now, there's an entire new post needed for my next explanation of whether or not you are taking time to see the entire picture - that involves your hospital stay - if in fact you do have to be hospitalized at anytime while you have cancer.  You most definitely need someone with you at ALL times to be your second eyes and ears when you are in hospital.  Mistakes can happen in hospitals and I know first hand that they do, so my advice would be to BE WARE if you become a patient there.  I'll leave this topic for another day as I could literally write a book based on my husband's experiences when in hospital.  That being said though, he's also had excellent care and testing but it only takes one mistake to keep you on high alert!
So, my whole point here is to be vigilant with your cancer care and if you are unable to do it, then you must have a caregiver or someone who you trust explicitly to do it for you.  Don't be afraid to ask questions, don't be afraid to disagree with the experts if you know something that they don't and remember that it is your health that is at issue, so you always have the right to speak up!!!

Make sure that you always "SEE THE ENTIRE PICTURE" and that you are not just looking simply at the basics. Sometimes things seem to just blend in and it's difficult to distinguish what is important from what is not!!!

Be vigilant, be curious and be an advocate!

If you still didn't see anything else in my first picture, then here's a closer look

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

One-Day Kidney Cancer Patient Education Conference

If you live in the Toronto, Canada area or will be there this coming Saturday, please make an effort to attend their

All information can be obtained by clicking the above link, and remember that registration is required first in order to attend.  This Conference is open to all patients and caregivers and anyone who wishes to learn more information about kidney cancer.

These is no cost to attend and lunch is provided!

There will be presentations by medical oncologists as well as from other kidney cancer patients.

Some topics to be discussed will include the treatments available for kidney cancer patients and how to handle any side effects that you may encounter.

Hope you can attend...I'm sure it will be a very informative day as well as a wonderful opportunity to meet other patients and caregivers and form that very special bond of friendship and support!!!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Easter Resurrections & Hope

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend with family and friends.  

We attended church service yesterday to give our thanks for the many blessings that we continually receive.  It was a joyous morning of sunshine and warmer temperatures, but more than that, it was a time to celebrate my husband's return to good health.

I continue to call him "A Miracle Man" as anyone who knows us personally will also agree to that title. 

As I sat in church yesterday morning and listened to the all time favorite hymn of "Christ the Lord is Risen Today"....I also felt that our family has had a resurrection of sorts with my husband now feeling so well and being able to return to work again.

One very important lesson to be learned in all of this is that you can just "Never Quit" when the going gets rough.  For other cancer patients who may be reading this, please remember to keep those words first and foremost in your mind.  Living with cancer is a very difficult road to follow, but despite the many obstacles you will encounter along the way, please remember that this too shall pass if you are determined to not let it become the main focus. 

I was given these beautiful Easter lilies as a gift this weekend.  They are more than just a gift however, but they are a symbol of  "HOPE" in life's deepest despair.  So, if you are going through a difficult time right now, please think of the lilies, daffodils or tulips that are beginning to appear in our season of spring, and


Monday, March 29, 2010

Live Chat - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday This Week!

I've changed the chat forum for a few days so that any viewer who would like to post a comment or join into my scheduled live chats this week, will "first" have to register.
Any comments will not be visible unless you register first.

I will be here Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evening this week from

7:00 - 8:00pm EDT

to chat with those interested.  I'll be sending out emails as well to my regular viewers to advise them of it.  Sure hope we can connect at least one evening. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Top O' the Mornin'


Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone out there in cyberspace.  In my part of the world, it's a beautiful sunny day with blue skies as far as the eye can see.

Even the smallest glimpse of sunshine gives us all that extra energy boost and remember to get out there and soak up some of that Vitamin D whenever you can.

My posts have been at a minimal as you all have noticed recently.  February has been a month of hospitals, doctors, home recovery and sleepless nights, but I'm so happy to report that now my husband is feeling soooo much better and back to his old self.

While Vitamin D is important for a faster recovery, I feel the #1 prescription for any patient is REST, REST and more REST! 

As caregiver, it is my responsibility to ensure that my husband gets rest whenever he feels tired and I do that at all costs.  I know first hand just how that extra rest will help my husband along his recovery and while sometimes many may think I probably go a bit far in ensuring he gets that rest, it most definitely does work.

What do I do you may ask?

Turn "off" the phones....keep things quiet with NO interruptions.  That means of course to keep visitors away when he's sleeping.  After all, my motto is for friends and family to visit when he is feeling well and can spend quality time and enjoy his visitors.  When someone is sick and needs to rest, that is NOT the time to visit.   I make that clear right from the start.   No visitors at the hospital if he's not well - after all, maybe he's just spent two or three nights sleeping on a very uncomfortable hospital gurney without being able to sleep, so when he's finally in his hospital room, that is not visitor time,  but rest time.
I'm sure most everyone reading this will agree, but I just wanted to let other caregivers out there who have loved ones in similar situations at times, to not be afraid to speak up and do whatever it takes to allow the patient to rest.  At first I never realized how important proper rest is to a patient, but now I do and it's my responsibility and every other caregiver's responsibility to ensure that the patient receives the best quality of rest when they need it. 

While my husband was recently in hospital, I spoke with one of the hospital chaplains who just happened to mention that he had recently visited another cancer patient who was totally exhausted from all of the visitors he had seen during his hospital visit.  I can't for the life of me, understand why people want to visit patients when they are sick and need time to rest and recover during their hospital stay....the time to visit is when they arrive back home and are well enough to receive company.

Anyway, that's my rant for today....I trust I have helped someone along the way.



Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ease on Down the Road

Having cancer in your life can affect you in two ways:

It can consume your life and that of your entire family     "or"

Even though you know it's there, you can NOT make it the focus of your everyday living

The choice is yours!!! 

In our family, we choose to follow the second option and NOT focus on the word "cancer" but live each day with this chronic illness, just like any person who has heart disease or any other long term health issues.  I honestly cannot remember when

we even mentioned the word "CANCER" in our everyday lives.  We are not trying to ignore it, but it really serves no purpose to constantly bring it on the carpet and keep it as a constant reminder to my husband.   

We had a visitor the other day who told us two very interesting things: 
1)  she believes that the reason why my husband continues to do so well, is because of course due to his great faith and ability to not worry about any health problems that may arise
2)  she said it is also most definitely because of the fact that we "live in the moment" and we don't wrap ourselves up in the world of CANCER
Needless to say, I was astounded to know that this particular person finally "got it" just like we did........!  That's the way my husband, myself and our daughters have always tried to handle cancer and move on with our lives and not let it consume us.  After all, isn't it better to think of the positives rather than the negatives in all of this?

While we are not ignoring the fact that it's right here with us, we have CANCER at the bottom of our list.....and I would encourage everyone to do that with whatever type of illness you may have in your family.  Focus on TODAY and the POSITIVES.....don't stop living but get on with living your other words.....
Ease On Down the Road