Saturday, February 23, 2013

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Humor, A Good Tool No Matter How Sick You Are

"The best tool, no matter how sick you are, is humor and not hiding the fact you have cancer."
Carole Clarke, 77, has always counted on her sense of humor to get her through the tough times. And that includes facing down stage 3A non-small cell lung cancer. She once got a laugh from 16 patients in a chemotherapy waiting room by walking in Charlie Chaplin style, with an invisible top hat and cane.
“If I can get, ‘this is funny’ from somebody taking chemo, that’s really something,” says Clarke.

Determined to Find Help

Thinking back on it, Clarke says her cancer began affecting her health in May 2008. “That’s when my body changed,” she says.
An athletic person, Clarke regularly took 5-mile walks, but that May, found she could walk no more than 2. Over time, her weight dropped to 99 lbs. She developed a cough and had trouble breathing. Alarmingly, she began to drool while in the middle of a conversation. And thrush (a fungal infection in the mouth) broke out on her tongue.
She made an appointment to see a doctor in Bullhead City, Nevada, a short drive from her home in Laughlin. But Clarke’s doctor did not suspect cancer and refused to order a chest x-ray. Her insurance company sided with the doctor. Clarke considered moving back to Venice, Florida, where she had previously lived and knew a doctor she trusted. But that would mean walking away from the equity in 2 condominiums she owned. After 8 months of trying to get a chest x-ray, Clarke consulted an attorney who gave her some frank advice.
“He said, ‘You can stay here and die and hang onto all your stuff, or if you have confidence in the doctor in Florida you can move there and get treated.’”
Clarke admits she was afraid. But she’s made of strong stuff, and is used to standing up for herself. A former engineer in the telecommunications industry, she was the first woman in her company to be promoted to what was considered a man’s job in the early 1960s. After retiring in 1980, she continued to move around the country, working as a contract engineer. She decided to make the move.
Once Clarke got to Venice, Florida, things happened quickly. The doctor listened to her cough, pounded on her back, and ordered a chest x-ray. That led to a CAT scan and a lung cancer diagnosis. It was May 2010. Clarke believes it should have been caught 2 years earlier.

Getting Better

Clarke went through a treatment of radiation and chemotherapy, then after a break, more chemotherapy, then more radiation. Her tumor shrank more than 60%. She tolerated the treatments well, with few side effects other than fatigue and a sore throat.
Her hair started to fall out, and she found a hairdresser who shaved cancer patients’ heads for free. She wore wigs and hats and participated in an American Cancer Society Look Good…Feel Better workshop.
“It was fun. They used me as the model. I like anything that will help me or other’s emotions,” says Clarke.
She joined a yoga class she heard about from fellow participants in Look Good…Feel Better. And she created her own support group of people she met in the workshop, yoga class, medical treatments and a cancer seminar she attended.
“I talk to everyone wherever I go and we always laugh,” she says.

'The best tool is humor'

These days, Clarke’s hair has grown back and she plans to donate her wigs and wig stands to Look Good…Feel Better. Her doctor advised her to move somewhere with no coastal area, no smog and no desert to help her breathing. She chose San Jose, California because her 3 grown grandsons live there. She stays active, walking 2 ½ miles a day and doing gentle yoga 3 times a week.
She has a CT scan every 4 months. The last one showed no growth of her tumor.
Clarke says, “My cancer is happy and won’t do anything until it’s ticked off. If I can keep my cancer happy, I’m happy.”
Clarke likes to write to help keep her mind off her cancer. One of her favorite subjects is an 11-year-old cat named Abbey. When Clarke was diagnosed, she set out to adopt the oldest female cat she could find who was scheduled to be put down. At first afraid and wary, Abbey eventually learned to trust Clarke and they became comfortable together. She had to find a new home for Abbey when she moved to San Jose.
“That little girl took my mind off my problems and focused me on her well-being. I miss her every day.”
She says she refuses to be anything other than happy.
“I had to be this way in order to make it through all that I went through in my lifetime. I’m the only one who can pull myself out of this,” says Clarke. “You can’t do it unless you have positive thinking. Even when everything’s going bad, I make light of it.
“The best tool, no matter how sick you are, is humor and not hiding the fact you have cancer. With lung cancer a lot of people will say you deserved it because you smoked. I smoked until 1997. You can’t be embarrassed. Cancer is no different from any other disease. It’s just a disease. Work on keeping your body healthy and go do things. Or adopt cats.”
There is HOPE THROUGH CANCER.  visit us at

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cancer Survivor Wants To Get Others Through it.

"When I have been blessed to recover, I feel like I'm here for a reason: to get other people through this."
An active volunteer with the American Cancer Society’s advocacy affiliate, Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), Anne Creech fights every day for funding of federal cancer programs.
“I talk to legislators and media people about keeping the dollars in research, or we’ll go backwards and people will suffer. You can’t stop research and start a year later in the same place,” says Creech.
But in July, 2010, Creech found that she needed to fight for herself. With no health insurance, she was diagnosed with a recurrence of breast cancer. For help, she turned to the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP). The program covered the costs of her mammogram and allowed her access to Medicaid to cover her surgery and other treatment expenses. The surgery bill alone was $29,000, more money than she might earn in a year. Creech, who has also survived colon cancer, is grateful.
“Choices like that for some people lead to bankruptcy or kill them,” says Creech. “Sometimes people have to choose between treatment, food, or their home.”
‘I feel like I’m here for a reason’
Today Creech says her quality of life is terrific and she considers herself a healthy person. She says, “When I have been blessed to recover, I feel like I’m here for a reason: to get other people through this.”
In addition to her volunteer work with ACS CAN, Creech also volunteers with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and she speaks to people who have recently learned they have cancer.
“I talk to cancer patients because I was blessed with a happy attitude,” says Creech. “Those words are scarier than anything you will ever hear. Everybody loves you and is around you and I feel that. But I am the one who is fighting this disease in my body. I have to be courageous enough to make that decision to take care of cancer and do what I’m going to do to fight cancer.”
(From The American Cancer Society)
Conclusion: There is "Hope Through Cancer" visit

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

God Leads Us All The Way

When we lived a while on this earth and we are faced with a sickness like cancer, we have much to be grateful for the precious moments that we were allowed to have. They are so precious now because we have little time to appreciate the future if we have one. Thank God He never stops loving and never leaves us alone.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Husband's Reaction To Wife's Cancer

After probably experiencing denial about the possible reality of my wife's  health,  I embarked on the journey with cancer the day the doctor walked down the hospital halls in his scrubs to update us on the extensive operation my wife just went through. His facial expressions announced bad news, and a difficult task of informing us of the real cold facts of reality that the whole family had to face.He explained in his best professional manner the procedures of removing the stomach apron, complete hysterectomy, reconnection of the bowels, and more, concluding that Faith (my wife) had stage 3C ovarian cancer. The youngest of the children asks if that meant it was terminal.  A clear answer was not given, other than the possibility of prolonging life through chemo-therapy.
   Time flew by quickly.  As I was pondering the situation,  I found myself down the hall away from the adult children. I started crying inside, visible by my shoulders moving uncontrollably. A nurse meets me and sort of tries to console me saying she overheard the doctor and that she was sorry and hoped things would work out. This was a path I never tread, neither did my wife.  Being married to her for just one year, I wanted to be the best support ever, so that she would find peace and encouragement.
 I had to first of all believe God and His promises, that He was in full control of something that seemed completely out of my control. Together Faith and I faced mortality. How were we going to prepare ourselves for the inevitable? Yes we had our moments of tears and sobs. My heart would break when I would see my wife so torn and so close to what she perceived as a death.  I can tell you now, our time of peace and encouragement came from God to whom we turned to for help and direction. He  spoke to our hearts every day as we meditated His word and as we prayed. His presence has been felt in a very special way. A way  that if  it were not for  the journey with cancer, we would not have experience those precious moments that count for so much in this world of darkness, gloom and sadness. There is hope through cancer. See full story

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Beginning Of My Cancer Journey

The worst day of my life! February 27, 2009 I received the news, I had a tumor on both ovaries and ascites in the abdomen. I would have to see an gyn/onc, not exactly the news I wanted to hear. My doctor was visibly upset with this news so I knew that it definitely wasn't good. I broke down and just wept in the office and when I finally got myself together I headed home. I called my husband and gave him the news. He came right home to be with me and told me not to worry it could be nothing (ha! ha!) I think we call that denial! I got right in to see the gyn/onc and he said we won't know for sure if it's cancer until we operate and test it. However, by his demeanor I could tell he already had a pretty good idea. My husband and all my children were with me on that day for support. I know I was really blessed to have such a support team with me. March 4, 2009 was the big day. The day that would change my life and who I am forever. I was diagnosed with stage 3 C ovarian cancer. After optimal debulking I was going to endure 6 rounds of chemo and hopefully stop the beast within me. Six weeks after my initial surgery I had a bowel obstruction and needed to have surgery again. The doctor was great, he opened me up on the same incision, so I only have one scar from pubic bone to rib cage. While he was in there he decided to put in a peritoneal port in case I needed IP chemo along with my IV chemo administered through a power port! Who knew about all these fancy ports? Two and a half weeks later I got to go home. Very weak, but very hopeful that I'd be one of the lucky ones and survive this BEAST!

The two biggest fears in my life were that I would get Cancer and Death!!!! How do I process this information? I now am experiencing this unbelievable peace coming over me. God was whispering softly that He loves me and is in control. What a load off my mind! This was the first time in my life that I was not afraid of death! I now am ready to face the biggest physical battle of my life, beating cancer, and the most exciting spiritual journey of my life, facing my mortality (death). I am thankful for the inspiration and encouragement from my dear husband. I know he must have been afraid also with not knowing what was ahead for us. He never wavered in his faith and that God was in control and all things would work out as God planned. I gained so much faith and strength from Claude. When I was in the hospital the best part of my day was just before Claude would leave at night he would hold my hand and pray for God to heal me and keep me. That so reminded me of my Dad who I miss so much. I always admired my Dads faith and wished I could experience the same. Guess what, I know now the strength of your faith comes from the depth of the valley you are called to go through. So when I am afraid, His love calms me, when I feel alone, He surrounds me with His presence, when I'm in pain, I can feel His touch, when I lose heart, He restores my soul. God even knows how many hairs are on my balding head.

Yes I have cancer but I know that God is in control of everything. So whether it's chemo or surgery, I am at peace because I know that God is with me and He makes NO mistakes.
Today, August the 23rd 2014, I am now on my second reoccurrence and on my second round of chemo therapy. I have lost all my hair already but I am 5years out from my first diagnosis. I am still looking forward to more years as we try to encourage those that are on the same journey. See our stories at

Yes I have cancer but I know that God is in control of everything. So whether it's chemo or surgery, I am at peace because I know that God is with me and He makes NO mistakes.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Hand Made Quilts Made For Cancer Patients.
                          Update On
 The whole idea for selling quilts and to be able to afford to give some away was through the experience of going through cancer treatments like chemo-therapy. It is very cold in the room and it felt cozy and warm to have a blanket to put over you other than the one in the Doctor's office which was used over and over again. In trying to reach out to others I (Faith) thought that I could take the time to make some, sell some and therefore afford to give them to those that need encouragement during their trying time. Each quilt takes about 15 hours. During that time, I pray that God would touch the one that would receive a quilt. Some buy a quilt that we may give it to others. We want cancer survivors to find Hope, Opportunities, Peace, And Encouragement. For More Info.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Facing Breast Cancer: Couple Says, 'Miracles Do Happen'
Victor calls her a living miracle. Together, they are telling Ana’s cancer story to as many people as they can, to inspire others to fight back and never lose hope.

‘Tell me what I have to do’

The day after Thanksgiving 2008, Ana woke up in her home in Miami with a terrible headache and vomiting. She quickly became so weak that Victor didn’t think he could get her to the hospital on his own. He called 911.
Until then, Ana had rarely ever been sick. She was 39 years old, healthy and active – she’d played tennis with friends a few days earlier. She ate a healthy diet and kept busy taking care of the couple’s 3 children ages 3, 7 and 9.
Doctors suspected meningitis, an infection of the membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis can be fatal, and Ana and Victor were worried. But scans found something much, much worse. Ana had 2 tumors in her brain, one in the front and one in the back, and the doctors were pretty sure more tests would confirm it was cancer.
When he heard that, Victor says his knees began to buckle. But Ana stayed calm.
She told the doctor, “You don’t know what I have yet, so you don’t know what I have to do to get better. Once you know, just tell me what I have to do to get better, because I’m too good a mother to stop being a mom.”

Focusing on 3%

The next 2 days were a blur of testing. Ana was diagnosed with an aggressive type of breast cancer. Her primary tumor was in her right breast, and it had spread to the brain, causing the 2 tumors there. She also had spots of cancer in her left lung, left kidney, liver, and the base of her spine.
Ana underwent surgery to remove one of the tumors from her brain. The surgery went well, but a few days later she had a stroke. Victor says every day he prayed for a neutral day, a day in which he wouldn’t receive more bad news. A doctor suggested the couple consider treating Ana for pain only; he didn’t think she could survive. Another doctor gave Ana a 3% chance to make it through the year. Victor decided to focus all his energy on that 3%.
Ana began 3 types of cancer treatment simultaneously. They included chemotherapy administered through the blood stream, as well as chemotherapy into the fluid around her brain and spinal cord. She also had radiation to the brain. Patients don’t usually receive all these treatments at the same time, but Ana didn’t have time for separate treatments because the cancer was attacking her in so many places at once.
During the next 8 months, Ana, who is 5-foot-7, dropped to a weight of 74 pounds. She was completely bedridden and seldom alert. Victor divided his time between the hospital and home. Friends and relatives helped out with the children.
Even though Ana’s outcome was uncertain, Victor remained positive. He says he promised himself that no matter what happened, he’d be able to one day tell his children that he did everything he could for their mother.
“No matter how painful it would be to lose Ana, I can honestly say I did everything I could,” he said.
Gradually, Ana became more alert. She put on weight. By June 2009, she was able to stand. By August, she was officially in remission, which means her cancer had shrunk in response to the treatment and was under control, but she still needed to be tested periodically in case it returned.

An inspiration

Ana says faith is very important, whatever you believe in. “I consider myself a miracle. God gave me a chance for a reason and that’s trying to give hope to others and that’s what I try to do.”
While she was recovering she began receiving cards, letters and emails of support from friends and friends of friends all over the world. She and Victor encouraged visitors, and people began stopping by the hospital to say hello, pray, and give her small gifts – everything from a tin of cookies to sand from a holy site in Israel. The Gospodinoffs spoke at an annual meeting of the American Cancer Society’s Florida division and gave an interview to a local TV station. They created their own Web site to help keep supporters informed of Ana’s progress and to provide inspiration and hope to other people facing cancer.
Ana and Victor have also remained active in the American Cancer Society’s annual Relay For Life event. They began volunteering in 2004 after Victor’s father recovered from cancer. Now his mother is also a survivor.
Many people facing a cancer diagnosis or a treatment decision have turned to the Gospodinoffs for inspiration, help and support.
“My wife and I always say ‘yes,’ says Victor. “You call us; we always say ‘yes.’
“When you see somebody’s eyes and you can see they’re hopeless and they’re down, you speak with them for a while and you can see the charm in their eyes come back. You feel that you’ve helped them find hope that you’re willing to fight.”

Embracing uncertainty

In the summer of 2011, Ana underwent additional surgery when neurosurgeons removed 2 inches of brain tissue from her front temple lobe. The surgery resulted from Ana’s regular MRI. The scan found something suspicious and she had to decide whether to have the surgery, or watch and wait. She decided to have the surgery, and a biopsy later confirmed a small tumor.
Today Ana amazes doctors, nurses, family and friends with her recovery. She has some balance and coordination issues, but she can walk. Her mind is sharp, and she can carry on a normal conversation. She is blind in one eye, but she’s alive.
Victor says, “When we embrace uncertainty, it can be very liberating. If you can accept the uncertainty, it allows you to live life every day. Just because Ana has cancer doesn’t mean she’s going to die from it. When you really accept it full spectrum it makes life a lot easier. Cancer is just one additional factor in the whole equation. It’s just a challenge.”
“We try to inspire hope in other people,” says Ana. “You can’t make somebody want to fight. I can tell them my story and tell them I was dead; yet I’m standing here.”