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