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

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. or see options on this page.
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.

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.
                       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
 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.

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.