Saturday, December 22, 2012

Lymphoma Survivor's Story More Dramatic Than Fiction

George Geisler's story of beating advanced cancer is a page-turner. One moment he was a healthy, active, 45-year-old computer specialist from the Dallas area; two weeks later he'd lost both kidneys to non-Hodgkin lymphoma and was told he had three months to live. He went bald during chemotherapy, learned to love TV soap operas, and made a recovery dramatic enough to be fiction.

Today, Geisler has been in remission for nearly two years, and wants to share his story in case any detail could help others facing cancer. Serious problems appeared in March 2001, when Geisler couldn't keep any food down for a couple weeks. He checked into Plano Medical Center for tests, expecting a digestive problem, and was told he had widespread cancer. "My head was spinning," Geisler recalls. "I knew whatever they were telling me couldn't be true." Disbelief was cut short by a turn for the worse. His kidneys were failing and he landed in intensive care after a liver biopsy. The lab report came back with Stage IV non-Hodgkin lymphoma. "It was in the blood, in the liver, in the kidneys, in the back. It was everywhere," Geisler explained. He was now very, very weak and in pain from a fractured vertebrae. "You don't feel like shopping."

'You're not going to die yet.'


Family flew in from around the country and helped George's wife, Donna, with the decision to start chemotherapy right away. Geisler doesn't recall the first CHOP treatment because of strong pain medicine. He does remember the oncologist who directed his treatment, Dr. Volker Gressler, telling him, "You are not going to die yet." "He didn't define that as today or tomorrow. He left it up to me to interpret." Geisler grabbed that sliver of hope and tried to maintain a positive attitude. "I felt that science could only do so much and I couldn't just lie in bed and expect to be healed," he explained. "The least I could do was smile." Along with chemotherapy, Geisler had injections of a biological agent to attack the cancer cells. "I think I was very responsive from the beginning. By the third round my doctor said, 'You look too good.'" CAT scans showed the liver tumor was shrinking. "My doctor said he's never seen someone recover like me, and he doesn't know what to think," said Geisler.

Bald in a Day


Positive attitude aside, Geisler had bad days, and the day his hair came out in tufts was one of the worst. He was too weak to go to a hair salon, so his stylist agreed to come right over. Geisler's wife, Donna, began to wash his hair and by the time the stylist arrived there wasn't much left. "I was very upset," Geisler recalled. "My hairdresser came in, and it was a hug and a cry and then, 'Let's take it all off.' She became part of my support system." he said. Geisler also lost the heavy beard he'd worn for years and got hooked on daytime TV soap operas. "I figured it was time to go back to work when I got emotionally involved. I was yelling, 'Don't Bo! Don't do it!'" Geisler responded so well to cancer treatments that he went back to work one month earlier than expected. He squeezes in kidney dialysis from 6-10 AM three mornings a week, takes vacations near dialysis centers, and plots out his future. "My two year remission mark is in October, and I'm waiting anxiously for that. I'm already ahead of the curve, but by two years, there's almost no chance of relapse." Future plans include a kidney transplant, leading a cancer support group, and retiring closer to family members on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay.

'We Don't Take No Slackers Here.'


During a recent morning spent in dialysis, Geisler found himself encouraging the man on his right to make improvements in his life, and the man left the center with new resolve. Geisler jokes that there should be a sign. "You'd better not sit beside me. We don't take no slackers here." Since facing death, Geisler's approach is to seize the day. "In dialysis, I see people die once a month. They don't come back. You gotta' be positive. Take your meds. Don't be bitter. You're not dead yet. "I still have bad days. I crawl under the covers and wait for it to be over, or call a friend. There's no forgetting anything…but you have to put it behind you." What advice does the man who beat the odds have for other people facing cancer? "You're not dying this minute, so live this minute and the next and put them together and you've got an hour. And damn it, you never know where it's gonna' lead. You could have a lifetime of minutes."

Saturday, December 15, 2012

"As a 2-time cancer survivor, I have made it my personal mission to make a difference in the lives of those who have been touched by cancer. To make a difference in this world you don't always have to do something earth shattering; you can do something as simple as walk and talk."

American Cancer Society Survivor Speaker Jemma Cabral tells audiences she hopes they never take another birthday for granted. A 2-time survivor of Hodgkin lymphoma, she certainly doesn’t. In fact, she measures significant events of her cancer journey in birthdays. She was diagnosed on her father’s birthday, began chemotherapy for a relapse on hers, left the hospital the day before her son’s, and had a stem cell transplant on her doctor’s. After her recovery, she began volunteering for the American Cancer Society, with most of her focus on Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. This year she was named a Stakeholder for the Society’s research department.

From patient to volunteer

Cabral was 23 years old in 2002 when she was diagnosed with stage IIIB Hodgkin lymphoma, an advanced form of the disease that requires intensive treatment. Her cancer was not diagnosed right away, despite symptoms that included recurring fever up to 104˚, drenching night sweats, unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, and enlarged lymph nodes in her neck. She began 6 months of chemotherapy, then went into remission (the cancer was under control).
Cabral returned to work, but 4 months later had a relapse – the cancer came back. This time she had an autologous stem cell transplant. In this type of transplant, Cabral's own blood stem cells were removed and stored while she received high-dose chemotherapy. The stem cells were then given back to Cabral by infusion into her blood to restore her bone marrow.
Her boss and co-workers were supportive, working around her transplant schedule and even donating blood. One co-worker in particular was to have a dramatic effect on Cabral’s future. Herself a Hodgkin lymphoma survivor, she reached out to Cabral with practical information and emotional support. And she introduced Cabral to the American Cancer Society and its community fundraising event Relay For Life.

A leader is born

Cabral attended her first Relay For Life meeting at her local American Cancer Society office in Arlington Heights, Illinois. There, she was asked to be the event’s honorary chair and give the survivor speech. As Cabral says, “The rest is history.” Since then she has delivered more than 30 speeches, served on several committees, and chaired 3 events in 2 different states.
“As a 2-time cancer survivor,” said Cabral, “I have made it my personal mission to make a difference in the lives of those who have been touched by cancer. To make a difference in this world you don’t always have to do something earth shattering; you can do something as simple as walk and talk.”
In 2009, in honor of the 25th anniversary of Relay For Life, Cabral decided to attend at least 25 events in honor and memory of 25 people whose lives had been touched by cancer. In the end, she attended a total of 30 events in 6 states, Puerto Rico, and Canada.

Supporting research

According to Cabral, “I am alive today because someone did research to find out how to use stem cells to save my life.”
Because of that, she is determined to talk to whoever will listen, and raise as much money as possible for cancer research. As a volunteer for the Society’s advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), Cabral has spoken to lawmakers on Capitol Hill about the need for more federal funding for cancer research.
Today, Cabral is a Stakeholder for the American Cancer Society’s research department. As a member of the Health Policy and Health Services peer review committee, she evaluates grant applications to help identify the most promising cancer research proposals.

A real champion

Cabral plans to spend her life working to end cancer. But she doesn’t want her contribution to end there. She has become a Society Champion by designating the American Cancer Society as a beneficiary in investments she holds. She sees this as a way to leave behind a legacy of her own survivorship.
Cabral said, “You don’t have to be 50 or 60 to be a Champion. I want people my age to see that you don’t have to be older to make a difference; you can make a difference at any age.”
Article from (American Cancer Society)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cancer And Financial Assistance Available

 
 






 

Pass this on to those that could use fiancial assistance while going through cancer.
Or have them go to http://www.hopethroughcancer.com/ and at the bottom of the page there are the 5 best sources for financial help
The Abbott Patient Assistance Foundation provides Abbott medicines at no cost to qualified patients who are experiencing financial difficulties and who generally do not have coverage available for these products through private insurance or government funded programs.
The Abbott Patient Assistance Foundation is made possible through the generous support of Abbott Laboratories as part of its Global Citizenship Initiative.
www.abbott.com/globalcitizenship

Our Mission
To enhance patient lives by providing Abbott products to financially disadvantaged individuals who cannot access needed treatment through meaningful coverage
Our Vision
To deliver innovative patient assistance programs that provide access to Abbott’s pharmaceutical and medical technologies while delivering high quality patient assistance services to the patients that need our programs and the caregivers who treat them
To contact us, please call: 1-800-222-6885
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Central Time

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Encourage someone today! Smile

                                        Hopethroughcancer.com

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

There is always something to be thankful for. Everyone can find
hope, opprtunities, peace, and encouragement, even through cancer!

Monday, November 12, 2012

"As a cancer patient, your primary focus is to survive. But that shouldn’t be your only focus. Experience life as you go through cancer. Go out and meet new people, experience things. Live life!"
Lauren Erdman, Lakemoor, IL
 

My story

I was a freshman in college when I was diagnosed with cancer. I was more annoyed than upset or scared because all I could think was, “I have stuff to do. I’m too busy for this.” I was working two part-time jobs to put me through school full time, and volunteering at my church part time while also taking care of family matters. And I had a new boyfriend named Michael. I wasn’t really sure how he was going to take it.
But I wasn’t about to let cancer stop me. The thought of getting back to school and life drove me to fight and get better.

How it started…

I had been sick for about six months with what my general physician thought was mono. It really started getting bad around the three-month mark because I began to have severe pains in my legs. I couldn’t understand why. I ended up losing function of my legs. By the time I was diagnosed, I was in a wheelchair. My doctor did blood tests, which led her to believe there was a possibility it was cancer.
After seeing a local oncologist, my family and I decided to see a specialist at a major teaching hospital in Chicago. I went through 40 hours of tests—everything from MRIs, CT scans and a PET scan to a spinal tap and bone marrow biopsy. That’s when I found out I had anaplastic large T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The specialist at the teaching hospital had a very “grab-the-bull-by-the-horns” kind of attitude. He wanted me to start treatment the next day, which I did. I began my first of several cycles of Hyper-CVAD chemotherapy.
But my family and I were not happy with the care I received at the teaching hospital. We decided to transfer my care to a hospital closer to my home. I continued with my chemotherapy treatment there, but was equally disappointed by my care.
My mom heard about Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) from a friend and decided it was worth looking into. My family’s home in Lakemoor, Illinois is less than a 45-minute drive from the CTCA hospital in Zion, Illinois. She called CTCA and was able to set up an appointment. Initially I was very reluctant to go. I told my mom I just wanted to finish out the hell I was dealing with because it’s just what cancer is. I figured the care I received was how it was supposed to be.
We went for a consultation at CTCA at Midwestern Regional Medical Center in October 2010. At first impression, what changed my mind about transferring to CTCA was the food. After three or four cycles of hospital chicken and fish for weeks at a time, a stuffed portabella mushroom with pine nuts and spinach in it was like heaven to me. That’s the kind of healthy and delicious food they serve. It’s a far cry from what you’d expect from a hospital cafeteria.
When I met with my doctors, I knew I got the “A-Team.” With Dr. Redei and Dr. Abutalib, I got doctors who were knowledgeable about my disease and how to treat it. I was really impressed with how calm and confident Dr. Redei was in coming up with my treatment plan. He knew what I was dealing with and that made me feel better about what I was up against.
I continued to learn as much as I could about my disease and went through more cycles of chemotherapy at CTCA. I also met with my dietitian there pretty regularly about what I was eating and how I was doing. What I learned from her helped me keep my strength up and better manage nausea caused by the chemotherapy.

Going through a stem cell transplant

Once I completed my chemotherapy regimen, I underwent a stem cell transplant.
Dr. Abutalib explained the procedure to me in terms I could understand. Basically, I would receive a medication that would make stem cells leave my bone marrow and enter my bloodstream. The stem cells would then be collected and frozen until the time of the transplant. When I was ready to receive the transplant, the stem cells would be thawed and returned to my body in a procedure that’s like a blood transfusion. The stem cells would travel back to my bone marrow and begin to produce new blood cells.
I knew it was going to be hard, but I didn’t know it was going to be as hard as it was. But I walked into begin the treatment with my head held high and I said, “I am going to kick this thing in the ass.” I thought if I had an “if” in my mind I might not come out, I’d be giving that “if” the opportunity to take hold of me.
My stem cells were harvested at the end of November. The process of removing the stem cells from my body sort of reminded me of donating blood. Although, I had to sit still for about six hours while my blood was pumped into a machine. My sisters kept me distracted during the long wait. I was so relieved to go to the bathroom once it was over.
I was then able to enjoy the holidays with my family and Michael. I returned to CTCA January 4 for the actual transplant.
Following the transplant, I was hospitalized in the Stem Cell Unit at CTCA for about a month. The whole time, I ate healthy and worked really hard at getting better.
By the beginning of February, my doctors felt I should be OK to go home. They had me come back every couple of days to ensure I was doing well in my recovery.

Coping with the effects of cancer and treatment

For a matter of months after the transplant, I really didn’t do much. My focus was on recovering. I was so tired all of the time. I felt like I got hit by a Mack truck. It was like my body went into so much shock after having its “reset button” pushed.
Losing my hair because of the chemotherapy was not all that bad. It was a lot easier to manage. Before the cancer, I had thick, straight hair that reached down to my waist. The only time I was self-conscious was when I was around Michael because I wanted him to have a normal relationship. I would always put my wig or a hat on when I was around him. But there was one night when he lifted up my hat, kissed me on the forehead and said, “It doesn’t bother me.” That was the day I realized he loved me no matter what.
The most difficult part of going through it all was losing a year of my life. I lost the opportunity to transfer out of the community college I’d been attending at the same time as all of my friends. Many of them have moved on with their lives to the point I can’t yet. Another disappointing thing is I can’t have kids. I want to have children so badly, it’s disheartening. The cancer ate away at my lower vertebrae and the doctors feel I won’t be able to carry kids.

Life lessons

CTCA gave me the greatest gift and that was to be able to look back and laugh on a lot of the things that happened. I could crack jokes with the doctors, nurses and techs, give Dr. Abutalib a hard time whenever he egged me on, and just make light of the situation. My mom and I laughed about a lot of the stuff too.
When I was going through cancer treatment at the other hospitals, I only left my home to go to receive treatment. I shut myself into my house and alienated myself from people. I didn’t go to parties or Bible study. I was so afraid of catching germs that I just didn’t go anywhere.
When I met Dr. Redei, he helped me understand it wasn’t so much about what I couldn’t do, but what I could do. He encouraged me to continue to have a social life. He’d tell me, “Go out and see a movie with friends, but just wear a mask.” Go out and go and do things. That message really stayed with me. CTCA isn’t just about surviving…it’s about living. As a cancer patient, your primary focus is to survive. But that shouldn’t be your only focus. Experience life as you go through cancer. Go out and meet new people, experience things. Live life!
In a lot of ways, my cancer experience brought my family closer together. When my mom wasn’t there, my sisters would come over and hang out. I also had friends that would visit. I had a really good support group. I made a lot of friends in the hospital too. I did feel like the youngest patient. Our biggest decision was whether I should go to a children’s hospital and get treated or a grownups’ hospital. I chose to go to a hospital for grownups. I’m glad that I did because I learned so much from all of the older patients about what they were going through and how they handled things. I learned a lot about myself too. It made me grow up and take this in a mature manner.

21 years and counting

Life is great! On May 30, 2012, I celebrated my 21st birthday. Starting in the fall of 2012, I will be going to Fontbonne University in St. Louis to study dietetics. My hopes are to graduate and become a dietitian at a pediatric cancer center.
I’m also planning my carnival-themed wedding to Michael. We got engaged on Thanksgiving Day 2011. We started out our day by going to our favorite lighthouse near Kenosha, Wisconsin. We read our favorite Bible verse and prayed. Then Michael got down on one knee and proposed. The first place I thought about going to was CTCA. So we drove down to the hospital, I walked up to the Stem Cell Unit and announced to my nurses, “I’m engaged!”
I continue to go to CTCA every six months for checkups. I also go to hang out and talk with patients. I love going there to see everyone and catch up.
For Finacial help if going through cancer please go to this link and scroll to the bottom of the page.
http://www.hopethroughcancer.com/

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Young Breast Cancer Survivor Urges Women with a Family History to Get Screened.

"I try to see the positives in this whole thing."

For most women, 40 is the recommended age to begin breast cancer screening with yearly mammograms. But Michelle Teel, 31, began thinking about screening when she turned 30. That’s because her mother, a 2-time, 20-year breast cancer survivor, was first diagnosed at age 33. Grandmothers, aunts, and cousins in Teel’s family have had cancer too. Some members of the family have found out through genetic testing that they carry a mutation in the BRCA2 gene, an inherited gene abnormality that increases the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

Aggressive treatment

Teel’s own cancer journey began in June 2011. Her 30th birthday had come and gone when she noticed a lump in her right breast that felt like a marble. She didn’t have health insurance, so began looking for a way to get a free mammogram. After 2 months of looking, she found the New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection (NJCEED) Program, which provides cancer screening services for New Jersey residents who are uninsured or under-insured and meet certain income requirements. A mammogram and biopsy confirmed the lump was cancer. Two days before Teel’s 31st birthday, she was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma. More tests revealed that Teel had a BRCA2 mutation.
In November, Teel underwent 12 ½ hours of surgery for a double mastectomy and reconstruction of her breasts. Surgeons removed and tested 18 lymph nodes and found cancer in half of them. They classified Teel’s breast cancer as stage 3 and recommended aggressive treatment. She began chemotherapy in December 2011, and finished in April 2012. Then she started 5 weeks of radiation.
Teel experienced side effects from the chemotherapy that included nausea, fatigue, and loss of her hair, including most of her eyebrows. She attended a Look Good…Feel Better program where she learned how to use a pencil to draw them back on, which she said improved her appearance and self-image. Look Good…Feel Better is a free, national program developed by the Personal Care Products Council, in cooperation with the American Cancer Society and the Professional Beauty Association /National Cosmetology Association. It teaches hair and makeup techniques to cancer patients.
Teel recommends that women with a family history of breast cancer get screened early.

Looking on the bright side

Today, Teel’s hair is starting to grow back. She supports herself through freelance and part-time work while she looks for a full-time job. In her spare time, she performs stand-up comedy “to help keep my sanity.”
“I try to see the positives in this whole thing,” said Teel. “It makes it less weird for your friends.” She said, “My attitude is so different from everyone else who gets cancer. I just want to get it over with and get on with my life, so I turn to humor a lot. Cancer is a different experience for me because I’m used to it. My mom got it when I was 9.”
In the 1990s, Teel’s mother enrolled in a national breast cancer registry that collected data from thousands of patients and family members. Researchers use the data to study breast cancer in BRCA carriers.
Teel said, “It’s nice to know all the studies my 2-time cancer-survivor mom participated in for BRCA mutations in the 1990s are helping me now. “ (Article in American Cancer Society)



Thursday, November 1, 2012

Diet and Physical Activity: What’s the Cancer Connection?

How much do daily habits like diet and exercise affect your risk for cancer? Much more than you might think. Research has shown that poor diet and not being active are 2 key factors that can increase a person’s cancer risk. The good news is that you do something about this.
Except for quitting smoking, some of the most important things you can do to help reduce your cancer risk are:
  • Get to and stay at a healthy weight throughout life.
  • Be physically active on a regular basis.
  • Make healthy food choices with a focus on plant-based foods.
The evidence for this is strong: Each year, more than 572,000 Americans die of cancer; about one-third of these deaths are linked to poor diet, physical inactivity, and carrying too much weight.

Control your weight.

Getting to and staying at a healthy weight is important to reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of several cancers, including those of the breast (in women past menopause), colon and rectum, endometrium (the lining of the uterus), esophagus, pancreas, and kidney, among others.
Being overweight can increase cancer risk in many ways. One of the main ways is that excess weight causes the body to produce and circulate more estrogen and insulin, hormones that can stimulate cancer growth.

What’s a healthy weight?

One of the best ways to get an idea if you are at a healthy weight is to check your Body Mass Index (BMI), a score based on the relationship between your height and weight. Use our easy online BMI calculator to find out your score.
To reduce cancer risk, most people need to keep their BMIs below 25. Ask your doctor what your BMI number means and what action (if any) you should take.
If you are trying to control your weight, a good first step is to watch portion sizes, especially of foods high in calories, fat, and added sugars. Also try to limit your intake of high-calorie foods and drinks. Try writing down what and how much you eat and drink for a week, then see where you can cut down on portion sizes, cut back on some not-so-healthy foods and drinks, or both!
For those who are overweight or obese, losing even a small amount of weight has health benefits and is a good place to start.

Be more active.

Watching how much you eat will help you control your weight. The other key is to be more physically active. Being active helps reduce your cancer risk by helping with weight control. It can also help improve your hormone levels and the way your immune system works.
More good news – physical activity helps you reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, too! So grab your athletic shoes and head out the door!
The latest recommendations for adults call for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week, or an equivalent combination, preferably spread throughout the week. This is over and above usual daily activities like using the stairs instead of the elevator at your office or doing housework. For kids, the recommendation is at least 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous intensity activity each day, with vigorous intensity activity occurring at least 3 days each week.
Moderate activities are those that make you breathe as hard as you would during a brisk walk. This includes things like walking, biking, even housework and gardening. Vigorous activities make you use large muscle groups and make your heart beat faster, make you breathe faster and deeper, and also make you sweat.
It’s also important to limit sedentary behavior such as sitting, lying down, watching television, or other forms of screen-based entertainment.
Being more physically active than usual, no matter what your level of activity, can have many health benefits.

Eat healthy foods.

Eating well is an important part of improving your health and reducing your cancer risk. Take a good hard look at what you typically eat each day and try these tips to build a healthy diet plan for yourself and your family:
Choose foods and drinks in amounts that help you get to and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Read food labels to become more aware of portion sizes and calories. Be aware that “low-fat” or “non-fat” does not necessarily mean “low-calorie.”
  • Eat smaller portions when eating high-calorie foods.
  • Choose vegetables, whole fruit, legumes such as peas and beans, and other low-calorie foods instead of calorie-dense foods such as French fries, potato and other chips, ice cream, donuts, and other sweets.
  • Limit your intake of sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, sports drinks, and fruit-flavored drinks.
  • When you eat away from home, be especially mindful to choose food low in calories, fat, and added sugar, and avoid eating large portion sizes.
Limit how much processed meat and red meat you eat.
  • Limit your intake of processed meats such as bacon, sausage, lunch meats, and hot dogs.
  • Choose fish, poultry, or beans instead of red meat (beef, pork, and lamb).
  • If you eat red meat, choose lean cuts and eat smaller portions.
  • Prepare meat, poultry, and fish by baking, broiling, or poaching rather than by frying or charbroiling.
Eat at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits each day.
  • Include vegetables and fruits at every meal and snack.
  • Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits each day.
  • Emphasize whole fruits and vegetables; choose 100% juice if you drink vegetable or fruit juices.
  • Limit your use of creamy sauces, dressings, and dips with fruits and vegetables.
Choose whole grains instead of refined grain products.
  • Choose whole-grain breads, pasta, and cereals (such as barley and oats) instead of breads, cereals, and pasta made from refined grains, and brown rice instead of white rice.
  • Limit your intake of refined carbohydrate foods, including pastries, candy, sugar-sweetened breakfast cereals, and other high-sugar foods.

If you drink alcohol, limit how much

People who drink alcohol should limit their intake to no more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women. The recommended limit is lower for women because of their smaller body size and slower breakdown of alcohol.
A drink of alcohol is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits (hard liquor). In terms of cancer risk, it is the amount of alcohol, not the type of alcoholic drink that is important.
These daily limits do not mean it’s safe to drink larger amounts on fewer days of the week, since this can lead to health, social, and other problems.

Cancer risk reduction in our communities

Adopting a healthier lifestyle is easier for people who live, work, play, or go to school in an environment that supports healthy behaviors. Working together, communities can create the type of environment where healthy choices are easy to make.
We all can be part of these changes: Let’s ask for healthier food choices at our workplaces and schools. For every junk food item in the vending machine, ask for a healthy option, too. Support restaurants that help you to eat well by offering options like smaller portions, lower-calorie items, and whole-grain products. And let’s help make our communities safer and more appealing places to walk, bike, and be active.

The bottom line

One third of all cancer deaths are related to diet and activity factors. Let’s challenge ourselves to lose some extra pounds, increase our physical activity, make healthy food choices, limit alcohol, and look for ways to make our communities healthier places to live, work, and play.
(From The American Cancer Society)



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

There Is Life With And After Cancer




                          "I believe it's important for anyone facing cancer to know you can come out the other side; there is life after cancer."

At age 60, Dave Wesley of Placerville, Calif. says it’s sobering that he’s lived longer than his father. Wesley says he and his sister will always remember their father as a young man because they never knew him as old. Their father died in 1980 after a 4-year battle with prostate cancer. Back then there was no prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test for screening, and few available drugs were helpful for advanced prostate cancer. He was 57.

The Decision to Screen Early

Because of his family history, Wesley began going in for screening 20 years ago at age 40. (Men with a father or brother diagnosed before age 65 are at higher-than-average risk of developing prostate cancer themselves.) For two years, his PSA and digital rectal exam (DRE) showed nothing suspicious. The doctor told him to come back when he turned 50.
But Wesley came back the next year anyway, and this time the doctor felt something abnormal on the DRE. A prostate biopsy followed, and small areas of cancer were found in 2 out of 9 samples. Like about 15% of men with prostate cancer, Wesley’s PSA level was still in the normal range (under 4) when the cancer was found. Remarkably, his was only 0.6. Most healthy men have levels under 4, so Wesley’s PSA level alone would not have triggered a biopsy.
Wesley learned of the diagnosis in his urologist’s office. “He said, ‘You have a prostate cancer diagnosis.’ I didn’t remember another word. When you hear the words, ‘You have cancer,’ you don’t remember any other words.”

Investigating Treatment

Wesley returned to the urologist’s office with his wife, and they discussed his treatment options. He also went to 4 other doctors for opinions. He wanted to make sure he was getting the right information. And unlike a much older man, he was not looking for a 10-year or 15-year survival rate. He wanted a lifetime cure.
One of the doctors Wesley contacted was the head of the local cancer center at UC Davis Medical Center. He told Wesley not to feel obligated toward the first doctor who examined him. “After all, you don’t marry the first girl you took to the dance.”
That gave Wesley a sense of empowerment, and he spent about a month making the decision to have a prostatectomy, removal of the prostate. He chose his hospital, surgeon, assistant surgeon, and anesthesiologist. He spoke to another patient the day after the man’s prostatectomy. That gave him reassurance that he would be able to manage the pain. And then he prayed, “Lord, I did everything I know how to do. Now it’s your turn.”

Recovery

Because he did so much research beforehand, Wesley knew what to expect after the surgery. He arranged to be off work for 9 weeks. He had an incision from his bellybutton down to his pubic bone. And like the patient he spoke to, Wesley had pain, but was able to manage it. He stayed in the hospital for 5 days and needed a catheter to empty his bladder for 3 weeks. He says his whole world became the living room and the bathroom, and then gradually expanded until things got back to normal.
He began having PSA tests every 3 months to make sure no prostate cells were left in his body. Eventually, after 5 ½ years of undetectable levels, he graduated to annual tests. At his last exam, Wesley’s doctor told him “You’re at 17 years this year. You’re going to have to find something else to die of.”

Giving Back

Wesley’s wife, Jane, began volunteering with the American Cancer Society even before his diagnosis. Shortly after his father died, she began driving cancer patients who needed help getting to their treatment appointments, in what has since grown into the Road to Recovery program.
After his diagnosis, Wesley also began volunteering with his local American Cancer Society office in Sacramento and he hasn’t stopped. Since then he’s chaired committees, sat on boards and helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars through local and national events including Relay For Life, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, and Daffodil Days. He has volunteered at 7 American Cancer Society golf tournaments, and last May was the survivor speaker at the 7th Annual Capitol Invitational Golf Tournament held at Serrano Country Club in El Dorado Hills. In September, he was the "special guest" speaker at the annual Harvest of Hope Gala held at Dalla Terra Estate in Granite Bay.
In addition, Wesley co-hosts volunteer orientations twice a month in what he calls “two of my best hours of the month” and he’s a stakeholder who participates in the American Cancer Society’s research grants peer review process. That experience has convinced him that more funding is needed for cancer research. “Unfortunately, there are many more researchers and projects worthy of being funded if there were only more dollars available to fund them. That’s why I’m passionate about the many fundraising opportunities available throughout the year. If someone’s interested in making a difference, there is no shortage of opportunities.”
He has also spoken personally with several newly diagnosed men in conjunction with the American Cancer Society’s Man To Man program. “I believe it’s important for anyone facing cancer to know you can come out the other side; there is life after cancer.”
Today, Wesley says he feels great. “I feel very fortunate I’m in good health. I don’t have to worry about relapses. This isn’t the one that’s going to get me.” From American Cancer Society)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pat Stidham
I want to tell you about a very special woman in my life, Faith Copeland Jacques. She is on our Shining Stars team. She is also an ovarian cancer survivor and an "angel". She knows God still has plans for her on this earth as her recent scan came back clean - YAY!! Faith started Mary Kay in July 2012. She knows how the skin care products have improved her skin after chemo/radiation treatments and wants to gives others the same opportunity. She and her husband, Claude, just created a website & blog –www. Hopethroughcancer.com. They are sharing their stories and information they have learned along their cancer journey. I didn't even get thru the first paragraph of Claude's story and my eyes were teary. Faith has been writing her story but as she told me today, sometimes it takes her to places she doesn’t want to go yet. I cannot even imagine. I know Faith is strong and God will give her the words to write to touch the lives of many others affected by this dreadful disease. I am touched to be in her circle of friends.
So please, go to her website and like it or share this post on your facebook page. Let’s pass the word. Women helping women.

http://www.hopethroughcancer.com/index.html

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Young Breast Cancer Survivor Urges Women with a Family History to Get Screened


"I try to see the positives in this whole thing."






For most women, 40 is the recommended age to begin breast cancer screening with yearly mammograms. But Michelle Teel, 31, began thinking about screening when she turned 30. That’s because her mother, a 2-time, 20-year breast cancer survivor, was first diagnosed at age 33. Grandmothers, aunts, and cousins in Teel’s family have had cancer too. Some members of the family have found out through genetic testing that they carry a mutation in the BRCA2 gene, an inherited gene abnormality that increases the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

Aggressive treatment

Teel’s own cancer journey began in June 2011. Her 30th birthday had come and gone when she noticed a lump in her right breast that felt like a marble. She didn’t have health insurance, so began looking for a way to get a free mammogram. After 2 months of looking, she found the New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection (NJCEED) Program, which provides cancer screening services for New Jersey residents who are uninsured or under-insured and meet certain income requirements. A mammogram and biopsy confirmed the lump was cancer. Two days before Teel’s 31st birthday, she was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma. More tests revealed that Teel had a BRCA2 mutation.
In November, Teel underwent 12 ½ hours of surgery for a double mastectomy and reconstruction of her breasts. Surgeons removed and tested 18 lymph nodes and found cancer in half of them. They classified Teel’s breast cancer as stage 3 and recommended aggressive treatment. She began chemotherapy in December 2011, and finished in April 2012. Then she started 5 weeks of radiation.
Teel experienced side effects from the chemotherapy that included nausea, fatigue, and loss of her hair, including most of her eyebrows. She attended a Look Good…Feel Better program where she learned how to use a pencil to draw them back on, which she said improved her appearance and self-image. Look Good…Feel Better is a free, national program developed by the Personal Care Products Council, in cooperation with the American Cancer Society and the Professional Beauty Association /National Cosmetology Association. It teaches hair and makeup techniques to cancer patients.
Teel recommends that women with a family history of breast cancer get screened early.

Looking on the bright side

Today, Teel’s hair is starting to grow back. She supports herself through freelance and part-time work while she looks for a full-time job. In her spare time, she performs stand-up comedy “to help keep my sanity.”
“I try to see the positives in this whole thing,” said Teel. “It makes it less weird for your friends.” She said, “My attitude is so different from everyone else who gets cancer. I just want to get it over with and get on with my life, so I turn to humor a lot. Cancer is a different experience for me because I’m used to it. My mom got it when I was 9.”
In the 1990s, Teel’s mother enrolled in a national breast cancer registry that collected data from thousands of patients and family members. Researchers use the data to study breast cancer in BRCA carriers.
Teel said, “It’s nice to know all the studies my 2-time cancer-survivor mom participated in for BRCA mutations in the 1990s are helping me now. “ (from the American Cancer Society)



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Read this right now if you care enough about your life to discover the 40 vital facts that your doctor won’t have time to tell you…because your time is precious (and maybe even limited)

FACT: no matter how much they care about your success—chances are your doctor has NEVER been forced into a battle with a disease they didn’t choose
And what they don’t share CAN make or break your cancer experience — scary considering that their expertise guarantees your life or the dreaded opposite…
You can probably guess that being treated for cancer will be one of the worst experiences of your life… unless you already know what I’m about to reveal…
 If you’ve recently been diagnosed with cancer, you probably already realize how terrifying “facing cancer” can be—you are dealing with the crippling horror right now. The day my doctor told me I had cancer is still as clear in my head as if it happened yesterday:
A biopsy of the lymph nodes in my neck was performed, and the lymph nodes were tested in a lab to confirm whether or not I had cancer. I returned to the oncologist’s office that following Monday to get the results of the biopsy. “You do have cancer,” he said. “You have Hodgkin’s lymphoma. But we’re going to fix this – this is a very treatable disease, one that has very effective treatments available.”
I immediately broke into tears. The oncologist went on to explain the options that were available to me and the additional diagnostic procedures they would be performing over the course of the next week. He took notes on everything he told me and gave me a copy, knowing that I was not in the frame of mind to retain much of what he was saying to me.
I walked out of the office with my sunglasses on because I couldn’t stop crying. A million thoughts went through my head on that walk home:
  • Am I going to die? How could this happen to ME?
  • I’ve always exercised and eaten fairly healthy, I don’t smoke or do drugs, and, yes, I drink a little, but isn’t red wine good for you?
  • How am I going to tell my parents and friends that I have cancer?
  • And admittedly, why is this happening to me?
Let’s be honest, being diagnosed with cancer is like being dealt a crappy hand during a poker game – there’s nothing you can do to change your hand, but you do have options when it comes to how you play it. The diagnosis itself is nothing short of petrifying—but going through cancer treatments is FAR worse. If the terror of what you’re about to face hasn’t hit you, it will soon. By now you’re probably wondering why I’m telling you what you already know…what I really want you to know is this: Click here to continue   http://bookforcancer.com/?hop=123save4u

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Prostate Cancer Survivor Bikes, Canoes, Volunteers.
"I feel that because I had such a good outcome I can maybe share my experience with newcomers to the group and help them."


Bruce Rice, 54, is getting ready for a 200-mile bicycle ride this year in his home state of New Hampshire to help raise money for the cancer center where he was treated. His daughter plans to ride with him. Last year they rode the 50-mile route. It was cool in the morning when they started out, and Rice’s daughter wore a sweatshirt over her T-shirt. It wasn’t until later when it warmed up and she passed him on the road that he saw what was written on the back: “I wear light blue for my dad.” Rice says he welled up when he saw that.
“I think of the stress that I went through and it’s not only yourself, but your spouse or significant other – the whole family takes a hit,” said Rice. “I’ve found that it’s very important to have the support from the rest of your family.”

The deciding factor

Rice was diagnosed 3 years ago after a blood test done for screening showed elevated PSA levels and a biopsy confirmed prostate cancer. His health care provider gave him a DVD and a thick pamphlet describing all the different treatment options that were available to him. He felt overwhelmed by all the information and spent about a month trying to make a decision. Finally, he was able to get his case before a review board of surgeons, oncologists and radiologists at the hospital. The board analyzed his tumor and recommended surgery. That helped him decide.
Rice said, “There is so much information to digest. It all boils down to what quality of life you want afterwards.”
Rice says he followed the surgeon’s post-operation instructions meticulously and had an excellent recovery with no incontinence issues. He has continued to see the doctor for follow-up care and has had no indication of recurrence and no complications.
He said, “Everything went as well as it could be expected to go.”

Man To Man

Just before he had the surgery, Rice joined a local Man To Man group. This American Cancer Society program helps men cope with prostate cancer by offering community-based education and support for patients and their family members. Rice’s group meets once a month. Facilitators schedule speakers and instructors who educate the group about issues that pertain to prostate cancer. Recent programming has included meditation, tai chi, constructive writing and a cooking class.
Rice and his wife trained to be Man To Man peer mentors to help other men and their wives or partners. “I feel that because I had such a good outcome I can maybe share my experience with newcomers to the group and help them.”
Rice’s volunteer work doesn’t stop there. Each year, he leads a group of 40 teenagers to Canada for a weeklong canoe trip among the lakes of La VĂ©rendrye Provincial Park. It’s organized by a church group.
“It’s a lot of hard work,” said Rice; “but it’s a blast.” (American Cancer Society)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ovarian Cancer Survivor Finds the Support She Needs


"I appreciate every day, every smile I see on my children’s faces, every laugh I share with a friend."

When Ginger Jordan, 38, found out she had ovarian cancer she was afraid she’d never be able to return to her job at a vocational high school in Ocala, Florida.

Jordan said, “I remember thinking: ‘My life is over. I’m never going back to work and I’m never going out in public. Even if I lived, in my mind, my life was already over.’”

But Jordan did go out in public, and she did go back to work, thanks to the love and care she received from family, friends, co-workers, and students.

Unexpected complication


For years, Jordan suffered with heavy, painful menstrual periods. She sought medical help, but none of the remedies her doctor prescribed worked. The mother of 2 teenagers, Jordan decided in 2010 to have a hysterectomy to take care of the problem once and for all. Jordan’s doctor told her he planned to do the hysterectomy vaginally, but warned that if there were any complications, he might have to do it abdominally.

When she came to after the surgery, Jordan found that she had had abdominal surgery. The surgeon explained that when he pressed on her abdomen, he had felt something hard on one of her ovaries. Once inside, he could see cancer on both ovaries and the omentum, which is a layer of fatty tissue that covers the organs. He removed Jordan’s ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, and omentum.

Weeding the garden


A couple of weeks after the surgery, Jordan went to see a gynecological oncologist. The doctor told Jordan she had stage III-A ovarian cancer. Because the cancer had spread from the ovaries, she would have to have chemotherapy.

Jordan said, “She told me it’s like planting a garden. You can pull the weeds, but you still have to spray it with Roundup or you’ll have weeds a couple of weeks later. So, every time I went in for my chemo treatments, I was going for my Roundup.”

Jordan had 6 rounds of chemotherapy in about 6 months. She lost her hair after her first treatment and said she avoided mirrors because she hated to see herself looking “sick.” She said she felt as if her life was put on hold while everyone else was living theirs.

“I had some really rough days, had to have blood transfusions, and there were days when I felt like just giving up,” said Jordan. “But I’m no quitter. I held my head high and took it one day at a time.”

Finding support


Jordan joined a couple of online support groups and found other patients who were going through what she was going through. She made friends with a woman from Tennessee who received the same diagnosis the same day Jordan did, and went through chemo treatment at the same time. Jordan said it helps to know someone else who is going through the same things.
Jordan’s school supports the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life event. Between treatments, she returned to work to support the team – raising funds and participating in the walk.

Before going out in public for the first time, Jordan bought a $300 wig identical to the hair she lost. But she felt so self-conscious, she only wore it once. She bought some pretty scarves to cover her head, but was hot and uncomfortable in the Florida heat. Jordan credits her students with helping her make peace with her appearance:

“My students said, ‘Don’t hide under your hair, Miss Jordan; you’re beautiful. We love you the way you are.’ I finally pulled off the scarf and said, ‘This is who I am’ and went bald.”

Brighter days


After her chemo treatments ended, Jordan’s doctors ordered some scans. They detected no evidence of cancer. She gets a checkup every 3 months.

Jordan said, “I have my life back, but now it’s even better. I appreciate every day, every smile I see on my children’s faces, every laugh I share with a friend. It’s important to keep the faith. Brighter days are ahead.”(Article from  "American Cancer Society")

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fox Interview for ovarian cancer



(FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) – Ovarian cancer is known as the silent killer because the warning signs are so vague.

This year, there will be close to 23,000 new cases diagnosed and most will be late stage. Because of that, over 15,000 women will die from the disease.

Dr. Ursula Matulonis, Medical Director of the Gynecologic Oncology Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Margaret Winchester, an ovarian cancer survivor And Dana Farber patient, joined the FOX 25 Morning News during National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month to talk about the signs, symptoms and treatments.
http://www.myfoxboston.com/story/19572459/2012/09/18/health-headlines-ovarian-cancer-awareness

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Childhood Cancer Survivor Finds Her Voice.

Brianna Commerford, 14, says she’s a “normal kid” again, back at school in Washington Township, NJ, hanging out with her friends, and participating in gymnastics and competitive cheerleading. But Brianna is also extraordinary. Since completing her treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma, she has become a national spokesperson for childhood cancer, spoken before the US Congress about a bill to help develop new childhood cancer treatments, and helped raise more than $30,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Getting well

Brianna was 9 years old in January 2007 when she noticed a bump on her neck. She grew continually weaker and saw what she calls “tons of doctors” before she was finally diagnosed that October with stage IV Hodgkin lymphoma, a kind of cancer that starts in white blood cells. She immediately began chemotherapy at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, getting so sick at times that she spent many nights there. She was homeschooled for all of 4th grade, and had to stop playing soccer and horseback riding.
Brianna’s mother, Lorraine, admits that was a tough year. But she says Brianna remained positive and upbeat the whole time, never doubting that she would get better. Brianna says it was hard on the whole family, but it also brought them closer together. While Brianna’s mother stayed with her in the hospital, her father took care of Brianna’s two sisters. And everybody pitched in with household chores. Meanwhile, she says, friends and neighbors brought over meals and gave the sisters rides “everywhere.”

A way to help

One day while Brianna was in treatment, her older sister saw a poster in her high school for the town’s Relay For Life, the American Cancer Society’s signature event to celebrate cancer survivors and raise money for research and programs. She and her friends formed a team in honor of Brianna. More than 100 people joined, and together that year, they raised more than $10,000. To date, they’ve raised more than $30,000.
Relay For Life also helped people who cared about the Commerfords do something to help. Lorraine said people often asked how they could help, and Relay For Life gave them opportunities to donate time, food, equipment, and money.
Lorraine said, “Relay has been so great for our whole family, community, and friends. They felt like they were helping, like they were doing something good.”

A natural speaker

That Relay For Life also marked a turning point for Brianna. She was not only healthy enough to attend, she was also nominated by the American Cancer Society as a Hero of Hope. She eventually made about 15 speeches at high schools, colleges, and stores. But that night was her first public speech ever. Lorraine remembers, “We found out Bri was a great speaker. In front of thousands of people, she wasn’t shy or scared or nervous. This was not her before treatment. She was a quiet, shy kid. Talking to doctors and other adults changed her. It began her career of public speaking.”
Brianna went on to become the National Youth Ambassador for the Hyundai Hope on Wheels program, which donates money and raises awareness for childhood cancer research. She was named the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital Hope and Heroes Children’s Cancer Fund spokesperson and spoke on behalf of the October Woman Foundation, which expanded its focus from breast cancer support because of her. Most recently, she spoke on the floor of Congress in Washington, DC to promote a bill called the Creating Hope Act, which if passed will provide incentives to pharmaceutical companies to develop treatments for childhood cancer. Brianna had the honor of filing the bill herself.
She said, “It was very cool; way better than history class.”

Life lessons

Brianna says her cancer experience has taught her a lot. Some of it is practical knowledge that she shares with patients when she visits children’s hospitals. She says acupuncture and massage can ease the nausea that’s often a side effect of chemotherapy. She also says smelling orange and lemon peels helps, so carry some around. And she tells kids to bring lollipops and mints to all their treatments to avoid getting a weird taste in their mouth.
And while she’s still a “normal kid,” Brianna also learned some things that many people don’t understand until they’re way older than 14. She says, “Life is really fragile and short, so enjoy everything.” (Article from American Cancer Society)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"My faith assures me that whatever the outcome of my journey, I've got nothing to fear. It's ultimately in God's hands, and all I can really ask for is the strength to get through this journey."
When Kent Lawrence, now 77, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2004, he didn’t know much about it. He jokes that he didn’t even know how to spell it. But he and his wife quickly got up to speed by reading books, articles, and Web sites that described the many different options in prostate cancer treatment. When it was time to meet with a team of doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, they were prepared. The treatment recommended by the team matched what the Lawrences had already determined would probably be best. That helped make them feel confident in their decision.
   
Today, Lawrence has no signs or symptoms of cancer, and he continues to have regular tests to make sure it hasn’t come back. He volunteers with the American Cancer Society’s Man To Man program to counsel and mentor other men who are dealing with prostate cancer.
Lawrence said, “So many of them like to talk to a guy who’s walked the walk. I can tell them about my side effects and how the cancer affected me.”
A year ago, Lawrence gave the kickoff speech at his local Relay For Life event. Recently, the American Cancer Society recognized him with the Quality of Life Award for outstanding leadership and service, and for enhancing the quality of life for cancer patients and their families in the community.
He said, “I’ve been ever so fully supported by my faith, my family, and my friends. My faith assures me that whatever the outcome of my journey, I’ve got nothing to fear. It’s ultimately in God’s hands, and all I can really ask for is the strength to get through this journey. In this I’ve not been disappointed. In fact, right from day one I’ve never had one doubt or bit of remorse: God willing, we will get this under control.”  ( American Cancer Society.com)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Unfortunately one of the problems that cancer patients face is the financial problems, either the co-pays or the cost related to treatments. One then hopes to be able to arrive financially. You can get help through this site. http://www.cancercare.org/ or see options on this page.  http://www.hopethroughcancer.com/
Pass this on to those that need any kind of help due to cancer. Help reach out to others.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Bad Things Happen

I have found that especially with cancer it is very easy to allow it to define you. Your life will never be the same as it was before and you have to learn to accept all kinds of "New Normals". However with that said as I have learned to
accept the "new normals" in my life it certainly has strenghtened me, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Was cancer really a bad thing that happened to me or was it a blessing that brought growth that I would never have otherwise experienced? For me it was definately a blessing that I would not otherwise have ever experienced. Faith J (Ovarian Cancer Survivor).

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fifteen reasons: Finding hope through cancer

By Rose Egge
Since learning that I have cancer, I have had many less-than-pleasant medical experiences. I easily could have lived without the bone marrow testing, MRIs and surgeries.
But on Sunday morning, I had a medical procedure that filled me with joy and hope, thanks to Dr. Julie Lamb and the wonderfully caring staff at Pacific Northwest Fertility. At 7:30 a.m., I had my eggs retrieved for freezing.
As I wrote last week, some chemotherapy patients are unable to get pregnant naturally after treatment because their eggs are damaged. I am so thankful that my first oncologist warned me of this, especially after talking to other young oncology patients who were not warned, and that he recommended Pacific Northwest Fertility.
From the first day I met Dr. Lamb, her kind, caring nature brought comfort to the daunting medical situation I was faced with.
I had never imagined that at age 25 I would be facing cancer, let alone worrying about my fertility. But Dr. Lamb changed the medical conversation from one about survival, to the joyful planning of my future family.
Even if I had not been diagnosed with cancer, I would not be ready to have children at this point in my life. Still, having a family is something I look forward to immensely. I believe having a little girl or boy of my own will be one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and every time I visited Pacific Northwest Fertility I was able to forget about my cancer for a few hours and dream about my babies I was beginning to create, even if they aren’t actually born for a few years.

Dr. Lamb encouraged me with each ultrasound, celebrating each egg follicle and assuring me that they would be able to freeze plenty of eggs.
After 2 weeks of daily injections, I went to the fertility center on Sunday morning, a little nervous, only to be comforted and cared for by some of the most nurturing medical professionals I have ever met. I went under anesthesia with one doctor holding my hand and another hugging my legs over warm blankets. Before I knew it, I was awake and enjoying animal crackers with apple juice.
This morning the clinic called to report I’ve got fifteen frozen eggs, promising me a future of hope and love. I've got fifteen reasons to be grateful to Pacific Northwest Fertility, and fifteen reasons to beat cancer and have a long, beautiful life.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Katie Widmar vividly remembers what it was like to feel bone-chilling cold every day due to the chemotherapy she was undergoing during her battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She was only 18 years-old when she was informed that she had cancer. It was a scary and difficult diagnosis to endure, followed by trying treatments and side effects from the therapy. During that time, Katie had a fleece blanket that she traveled with to give her comfort and keep her warm.
This fall, Katie celebrated her fifth anniversary of being cancer-free. At the young age of just 23, she has been through more than most young women her age. She is thankful for her health and recognizes that the experience, no matter how difficult it was, changed her life in positive ways too, by making her appreciate every day and want to give back to others. Each December, around the anniversary of her diagnosis, Katie returns to Northwestern Memorial’s Prentice Women’s Hospital and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, to spend time with cancer patients. During her annual visit, she shares the warmth of blankets that she and others have created through Covers of Comfort, a non-profit organization that Katie and her mom Cindy started after she successfully battled cancer. While a blanket may seem like a simple gesture, she remembers how her own fleece blanket brought her comfort and warmth during treatment.
Dick Frazier joined Katie and Cindy to help deliver blankets today for the second year. Frazier experienced the happiness and warmth a blanket could bring firsthand when his wife Marcia was being treated for cancer at Prentice. He now volunteers for Covers of Comfort in her memory.
Katie’s visits are emotional, filled with gratitude, and most importantly...spread the message of hope.
From "Northwestern Memorial News Blog"
Join The Hope Through Cancer Blog. http://hopethroughcancer.blogspot.com/

SMILE! Cancer Can not Take Away Your Smile!



 
 
 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Facing storms with confidence

"Father, I am so sorry for the way I complain about my circumstances. Please
forgive me for my bad attitude when things don't go my way. I want to see Your
hand in every part of every day - good or bad. Help me learn how to face every
storm with confidence, knowing that You really are in control even though I
cannot hear Your voice or see Your hand at work. May others see You in my life."
~ Mary Southerland

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Many women out there are diagnosed with some form of cancer and we want to encourage through future posts all those that are on the same journey as we are.
All post are to be encouraging and have the element of peace as our logo so clearly states.
Hope
      Opportunities
                Peace
                      Encouragement
                       Through Cancer.
Give us your inspiring story to encourage those that are fearful of what is happening to them. Be an encouragement for peace and understanding. Encourage others to join this blog, by using the blog page link here  or go to http://www.hopethroughcancer.com/
http://hopethroughcancer.blogspot.com/2012/09/hope-through-cancer.html
 entering their email and hitting submit.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hope and Encouragement When Going Through Cancer




If there is anything anyone needs when they become a cancer patient is basically two things 1. Hope
and 2. Encouragement. The loved ones, the closest,
 are sometimes insensitive to the real  needs of those that face cancer.
Visit the website and use the links to your advantage.
http://www.hopethroughcancer.com/

Hope Through Cancer

The "Hope Through Cancer" site has been created because of the journey my wife and I embarked on when we found out that she had ovarian cancer stage 3C. We were then on strange territory never trod or walked before. I started living with cancer because I was married to her, but she lived with cancer because she was diagnosed with it, not to mention the health was deteriorating and she new something was wrong. The future blogs will be her thoughts and feelings and encouragement to those that follow along and who need to know that you are not alone.  If you have cancer be assured that hope and encouragement can be found  on the journey we are on together.
Check the link below and see the full story of her journey with cancer.
www.hopethroughcancer.com