All posts by kymbalk

I was diagnosed with Stage 3C Ovarian Cancer in August of 2012. Surgery and 16 chemos later, I was declared NED (No Evidence of Disease). I recurred in February of 2014. Another debulking surgery, radiation, and chemo have followed. Here to help you navigate the ins and outs of self-advocating as a patient! Powerful help to those in need of guidance!

This is how you do it! Locks lost! Watch the video!

Yesterday, I spoke of ways to help your friend with cancer….so, the big reveal….this is a big way to help! My friend Liz wanted to find a way to be supportive and decided on cutting her hair! over two feet of hair will be sent to Locks of Love.

 

Donate your hair!

 

My heart is full of joy!

Hope you enjoyed this!

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Supporting Someone with Cancer! A How-to guide

Have you heard the song, “Here I go again” by the 80’s band Whitesnake?

“Here I go again on my own
Goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
An’ I’ve made up my mind, I ain’t wasting no more time.”

Are you going it alone? You don’t have to! Giving help benefits both the recipient and the giver. Surveys show that cancer survival can improve with a support network (10 tips on how to survive cancer)…and a 25% increase in survival rates! I like those odds. The American Cancer Society rated my survival odds at 41% for five years. If you count the original  year of diagnosis….I am in the survivor group! Yeah!

The two parts of support include offering help to those that are ill, and the ability to accept help that is offered. When you are sick, it’s hard to reach out to friends and family because you don’t want to be a bother. Share this article with a friend if they ask what they can do to help? When you reach out to someone who is ill, it’s hard to know what to offer that will actually be a help.

Here are some suggestions for way to help:

  1. Offer to drive to an appointment or watch kids (many clinics don’t allow children)
  2. Offer to sit with your friend during chemo (it’s pretty boring and more fun with a friend or loved one)
  3. Make a meal! (Check with the family first for dietary restrictions. Kid friendly dishes helped my family immensely and took the burden of making a nightly meal off my shoulders.) Check out Take them a meal  (this website is an awesome way to organize meal delivery for families).
  4. Send a card-seems simple, but this is so uplifting when you are having a rough day.
  5. Send a care package. It can be simple! Saltine crackers, cough drops, tissues….etc.
  6. Send a positive text message. You got this! was my favorite one!
  7. Call! Leave a message! Many times it is not a great time to talk, but hearing your friend’s voice is a cheery reminder that friends have not forgotten you.
  8. Visit! (Don’t just drop in unannounced please! Set it up in advance)
  9. Make a donation to Cancer research.
  10. Donate your hair! Wait, what? Very well health

    But where? Here are two!

    Locks of Love

    Pantene Beautiful Lengths

 

 

Spoiler alert! Come back tomorrow to see what happens next! (Hint: think hair donation!)

 

 

 

‘Tis the Season (in Hawaii)

Aloha Friends! ‘Tis the Season to reach out to all of you and say thank you! I am still (yeah!!!) cancer free and working on my eating and my fitness. In August of 2012, I wasn’t sure if I would be around in 2013 and now I am looking forward to 2019.

Relentless Forward Motion!!

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Wedding on Kauai at the Beach House

Through the Fire

Six years ago…I hiked Koko Head Crater for the first time…over a 1000 stairs…straight up.

At that time, I didn’t even know cancer was lurking in the wings…

Today, I had the opportunity to tackle the beast again. I went through the fire again!

From Leo on Trip Advisor “Some hikers throwing up on the side. View on top is great. Getting to the top gives a good feel of accomplishment.”

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Koko Head Crater 630 am

After reading the reviews, I was apprehensive. Could I do it again after all the crap I’ve been through….surgeries…chemotherapy….radiation…?

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The beginning was not too rough

The railroad-tie bridge is not for the faint of heart. I remembered that from before. The crab-walk seemed to be the preferred method for passing over the 65 railroad ties suspended above ground. Shirley, you would love this!!

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The view from halfway

I’m pretty sure I was crawling for the last 100 yards to get to the top.

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Finally made it-love me a fanny pack

Thank you Stephanie for pushing me!

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Stephanie helped me get there!
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 I only fell twice on the way down!

Injuries: bruised tail-bone, scraped leg, swollen wrist

Ended up taking a two hour angry nap

Before Koko Head After Koko Head

 

But we did it!!

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My Poem for Dr. Dietrich

My oncologist-Dr. Dietrich-retires from United States Army today. He has been by my side for 6 years. Two times, he literally saved my life. I will be forever grateful to him for giving me more time to do the things I want to do in life. His kind manner has changed the way I see the medical profession. I am headed to his retirement ceremony now!

I wrote a poem

Dr. Dietrich-the cancer doc

helping patients with their fear and shock

his most helpful phrase-“I’m not worried”

kept me from feeling flustered and hurried

each appointment began with a little chit chat

I know I’m really going to miss that

He leave us now with his beautiful wife

off to Kentucky…for a brand new life

forever he will stay in our hearts

cancer’s got nothing when he gets to start

with every person he’s walked a few miles

always kicking it Dietrich style!

for me he’s the best..there is no second

my own super hero, my own secret weapon

Dr. Dietrich-

thank you for all you have done

I actually think we did have some fun

Much Love,

Kym

Port of call-for the Port

This is the final port of call-for the port. Time to scuttle the metal that has traveled with me for over 5 years. It served its purpose, delivering life-saving chemo drugs (Carbo, Taxol, Gemzar, Avastin, and various  blood draws. My last PET Scan showed good news…no hyper metabolic activity. (broken rib from falling/coughing? …but no cancer)

I don’t know why….but that was it.

Dr. D and I agree it was time for my little friend to go.

I was thinking about Neo in the Matrix (go to the end of the scene-worth it!):

 

But the doc assured me it would not be that traumatic.

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Pre-Removal
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Pre-game Positivity
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The critical care sign was a bit dramatic

Finally, it is out! I think a necklace would be a good plan! My Trophy!

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Power Port-cleaned up

Thanks to the Kym Roley Support Team (KRST) who waited in the freezing waiting room (Ross, Lesli, and Ben.) Ben and Lesli made me a little brekkie when I got back home.

In the Book Thank God It’s Monday, Roxanne Emmerich says, “I don’t care how many hours you work, how many obstacles you hit. Just show me the baby-I want to see the result.”

The Result is now! Time to focus forward!!

Each year I choose #OneWord to focus on for the following year:

2014-Mindful

2015-Excellence

2016-Presence

2017-Survivor

2018-Service

 

What is your One Word for 2018?

Breaking up with Cancer-#neverstop

Breaking up with Cancer…

….._What to consider when ending your relationship

(Oh wait…that is for the Astrological Cancer sign)

I’m calling it. Over….done….owarimashtahallasfinito

  • How do you know when the end is really the end? Actually, you don’t. Move forward anyway!
  • What to consider
    • Yes, Cancer will always carry emotions….beginning, middle and end. Allow yourself to feel the emotions. Each time a new friend or friend of a friend is diagnosed or re-diagnosed, you re-live the shock and awe of the original diagnosis all over again. Even when it’s over, it doesn’t feel like it’s over. Making a clean break is a good plan. You may have to go back in the relationship, but isn’t it better just to be over and done?
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    How to keep going? Keep moving!
  • Get your port out!
  • What?
  • Yes, get your port out!
  • Maybe losing the port is like getting rid of crutches…
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Power Port

Yes, it will leave a scar.

Yes, it is a minor surgery.

No, general anesthesia is not required.

When should we do it? December 22….Christmas gift!

We keep moving forward! Motivation is seeing my 84 year-old father fishing in 25 degree weather. #Neverstop

BobL

2018 will be a positive year of good health, family, and friendships!

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Grab life by the handlebars. 

 

#neverstop

Health is the Crown

Health is the crown on the well person’s head that only the ill person can see.”-Robin Sharma

From this…

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Medications, masks and chemo

To this…

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Healthy!

Latest monthly blood-work shows my CA level (Cancer Antigen marker) has gone down to 6.0, the lowest it has been in over a year! I’m up for my 6 month mammogram in September (high risk for Breast Cancer).

Ten things I’m grateful for:

  • Travel-California, Oregon, Washington, and Mexico. Saw great friends, ate great food, drank delicious wine and Mexican-made margaritas
  • Friends-all of you who have been there by my side during this 5 year journey
  • Fight club-this rock solid group of supporters
  • Family-the whole crew! Most especially my husband and children. You have seen the good, bad, and ugly of cancer.
  • Faith-the many prayers from all over the world!
  • My Bullet Journal– a place to track all of my healthy habits-I’m now two years without eating red meat
  • #midpacific Five years ago on August 6, 2012,  I had just started work and three days later was diagnosed with Stage 3C Ovarian Cancer. My school supported me through it all-the surgeries, the chemotherapy, the radiation, and recovery!
  • IB Coordinator position and USAFA liaison
  • Walking partners!
  • ENERGY!

I’m so excited for what is yet to come!