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!
It’s a beautiful 78 degree day in Hawaii! I’m sitting here with all the family around thinking how lucky I am to be alive.
I was recently contacted by Self Magazine for my thoughts and my advice for handling a cancer diagnosis. (You can read on the above link). If I could stress one thing to newly diagnosed cancer patients it would be that knowledge is power. Learning everything you can helps you be a better patient. I was lucky in that my Oncologist supported this. I was an equal partner in my treatment. There is a certain feeling of helplessness that comes with any cancer diagnosis, but taking control of your own personal choices is empowering.
Another critical piece of advice is to not stop being you! Where you can, get out and do the things that you love. For me, I was eager to keep working during my treatment because it signaled to everyone that I wasn’t going to just quit. While there were some super tired days, I am so happy with the decision. I was afraid if I quit work that my whole life would be consumed by cancer. I still have constant reminders of my treatment (neuropathy, arthritis, gastro issues, and a beautiful scar) but it is a small price to pay to be alive!
As we move into 2019, I am resolved to continue forward with a positive can-do attitude. Each year, I choose a one word goal for the year rather than a whole long list of resolutions.
My goal for 2019 in to be #impactful in all that I do. I’m already thinking about implementation of my #oneword for 2019! My runner-up word was #Reflective.
Thank you for following and sharing with you friends! What is your #oneword for 2019??
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.
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:
Offer to drive to an appointment or watch kids (many clinics don’t allow children)
Offer to sit with your friend during chemo (it’s pretty boring and more fun with a friend or loved one)
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).
Send a card-seems simple, but this is so uplifting when you are having a rough day.
Send a care package. It can be simple! Saltine crackers, cough drops, tissues….etc.
Send a positive text message. You got this! was my favorite one!
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.
Visit! (Don’t just drop in unannounced please! Set it up in advance)
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.
Checking in! Almost 3 years from my last treatment. Visited my oncologist today and got a clean bill of health! What a great and relieving feeling. Hope you are doing well and living life to the fullest!
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.”
After reading the reviews, I was apprehensive. Could I do it again after all the crap I’ve been through….surgeries…chemotherapy….radiation…?
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!!
I’m pretty sure I was crawling for the last 100 yards to get to the top.
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!
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.
Finally, it is out! I think a necklace would be a good plan! My Trophy!
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:
(Oh wait…that is for the Astrological Cancer sign)
I’m calling it. Over….done….owarimashta…hallas…finito
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?
Get your port out!
Yes, get your port out!
Maybe losing the port is like getting rid of crutches…
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
2018 will be a positive year of good health, family, and friendships!