Tonia

Posting since September 18, 2014

Overview

Posts

Comments

Overview
GroupMember
Active Posts42
Posts I've Started
Living Well Now
April 14, 2016

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans is meant to encourage a healthful diet to promote health and prevent chronic disease. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture jointly publish the Dietary Guidelines every five years using the 500-page 2015 Dietary Guideline Advisory Report (DGAR), which was just released last week.  

Some laudable direct quotes from this report include:

  • A healthy dietary pattern is higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low- or non- fat dairy, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meat; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks and refined grains.
  • A diet higher in plant-based foods...and lower in calories and ...

    Read more »

Diabetes May Predispose Women to More Advanced Breast Cancer
April 14, 2015
The link between diabetes and late-stage breast cancer is strong, according to a new study.

The study, published in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, found that breast cancer patients with diabetes were significantly more likely to be diagnosed with advanced-stage breast cancer than those without diabetes.

“Our findings suggest that women with diabetes may be predisposed to more advanced-stage breast cancer, which may be a contributor to their higher cancer mortality,” Lorraine Lipscombe, a scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and Women’s College Research Institute in Toronto said in a statement.

Although women with diabetes have higher breast cancer incidence and mortality, the link between diabetes and breast cancer stage at diagnosis has not been examined.

The study examined the ...

Read more »

Bankruptcy Fears Burden Patients with Cancer
April 10, 2015
The possibility of going bankrupt is high on the list of concerns for 37.1 percent of cancer patients who participated in a recently published survey by the Washington, D.C.-based Cancer Support Community (CSC), an international nonprofit.

The survey was completed by 480 adults living in the United States, and 21 others who were diagnosed with cancer and were either undergoing treatment or in remission. The respondents were mostly white, female and non-Hispanic.

Nearly two out of five patients were seriously concerned about bankrupting themselves or their families as a result of treatment expenses; 71.1 percent said they did not receive any social or emotional support services, including screening for distress during cancer care. Among those, more than half (55 percent) said they didn’t ...

Read more »

Colorectal Cancer on the Rise Among Younger Adults
April 09, 2015
Patsy Petzold may be the only person in America who actually owes her life to a trendy “cleansing” smoothie.

The kale-based concoction sped enough food through her system to make a partial blockage painful. A colonoscopy found a tumor, which surgeons removed the next day, along with a foot of her colon.

She was 34 years old.

She ate well. She exercised. She had no known hereditary risk. She appeared perfectly healthy, yet she harbored stage 4, or metastatic, disease.

Such a finding in such a patient would have made news at one time, but it has become disturbingly common of late, and no one knows why.


Patsy Petzold was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer at age 34. Photo ...

Read more »

Angelina Jolie, Knowledge Is Not Enough
March 25, 2015
Two years ago, Angelina Jolie-Pitt told the world that she held the BRCA1 mutation; a deleterious gene mutation which significantly increases your chances of developing of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Angelina’s maternal family history of cancer was the impetus for her to be genetically tested. Soon afterwards, she made the difficult choice to have a preventive double mastectomy. I applaud Angelina’s effort to be so candid with such a private and sensitive issue. She has done a stellar job of using her celebrity to raise awareness for BRCA and for genetic testing. By the way, men are also at risk for inheriting the BRCA mutations; men are also at risk for developing breast cancer and other cancers as well.
 
Angelina recently disclosed her ...

Read more »

Practicing Stress Management Improves Long-Term Mood, Quality of Life in Women with Breast Cancer
March 24, 2015
Results of a follow-up study have shown that when women were taught stress management techniques early in their breast cancer treatment, their mood and quality of life continued to improve up to 15 years later.

The study, published early online in CANCER, is a follow-up of a previously conducted trial where patients were followed for one year, and then five years.

“Women with breast cancer who participated in the study initially used stress management techniques to cope with the challenges of primary treatment to lower distress, “lead author Jamie Stagl,  who is currently at Massachusetts General Hospital, said in a statement. “Because these stress management techniques also give women tools to cope with fears of recurrence and disease progression, the present results indicate that ...

Read more »

An Argument for Genetic Testing
March 18, 2015
Genetic testing is a fascinating and provocative aspect of medicine today as it has implications for our some of our most pronounced human experiences: life, death, reproduction, parenthood, familial bonds, and one’s mortality. It can hold profound effects for the person being tested and it may raise a plethora of issues which they are not ready to face.
 
It is understandable why some people are reluctant to be tested for some genetic disorders such as Huntington’s disease for which there is no cure. What many people fail to recognize is that genetic testing for particular genetic mutations may save their lives if they are vigilant with their lifestyles and screenings – such a diagnosis does not necessarily entail a death sentence. Genetic screening serves ...

Read more »

Clinical Trial Seeks to Unravel Mystery of Chemobrain in Breast Cancer
March 16, 2015
A new study hopes to gain some clarity on what causes some breast cancer patients to feel “foggy” when receiving chemotherapy.

Patients sometimes report that it’s harder for them to concentrate, remember things, or do tasks that require rapid or precise hand movements. This condition, referred to as “chemobrain” can often impact a patient’s quality of life. However, little is know about what causes the condition.

“We don’t actually know what the exact cause of chemobrain is, but there is an increasing amount of research being done to help us understand this phenomenon,” says Serena Wong, a medical oncologist at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, in an interview with Oncology Nursing News. “What we’re beginning to learn is that certain cancer therapies, ...

Read more »

Howard Hochster, MD, Explains Colorectal Cancer Screening Guidelines
March 16, 2015

Howard S. Hochster, an oncologist at Yale Cancer Center who specializes in gastrointestinal cancers, explains that screening for colon cancer is recommended to begin at age 50 due to the increase in cancer incidence at that age. However, adults under 50, including those who may be considered at high risk due to factors related to genetics or lifestyle, can also be diagnosed with the disease. "It's still kind of rare to have people in their 40s develop colorectal cancer," he says, but it does happen. 

Current guidelines recommend individuals age 50 and older receive colonoscopies every 10 years if they do not have a history of polyps. If a screening exam has identified polyps, more frequent colonoscopies may ...

Read more »

Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 10, 2015
My name is Jean, and I’m a late-stage colorectal cancer survivor. Thirteen years ago this month, Colon Cancer Awareness Month, I was diagnosed with colon cancer. I hadn’t been well in over a year, but no one suspected colon cancer at age 46.

Early March 2003, I was shopping in a big chain store when over the speaker came a Public Service Announcement by Katie Couric. Katie probably saved my life that day. She talked about the symptoms of colorectal cancer. I had every single symptom. I had gained and lost weight (check). I had become depressed and fatigued (check). I had night sweats, back pain, leg pain, gastric upset, reflux, alternating diarrhea and constipation; and finally there was blood in my ...

Read more »

The Mechanics Of Inspiration
February 26, 2015
When Inspiration Knocks

Most cancer patients hear this, at one time or another: "You're such an inspiration to me!" It's meant with real heartfelt sincerity and may make you feel flattered, humbled or unworthy. The thing is, you didn't ask to be an inspiration. It was done to you.

By now, I think my readers have figured out I'm the guy more likely to say what people are thinking, rather than what they might eventually say. So here's Lesson Number One in Kevin Blunt Talk, "How to be an inspiration."

Step 1 - have something horrible happen to you
Step 2 - don't die right away
Step 3 - don't suck at living through it afterwards

That's it! Steps 1& 2 ...

Read more »

The Phantom Scan
February 23, 2015
My bimonthly clinical trial appointment is this coming week. I typically fly from Seattle to Denver on Sunday, have my labs and scan on Monday, see my doctor Tuesday, and fly home Wednesday.

Scanxiety has a new twist for me this time around. I discovered late Friday that Monday’s scan doesn’t exist in the University of Colorado Hospital’s online schedule. Of course, it was too late in the day to contact anybody at the cancer center (Denver is one time zone earlier than Seattle). No voicemail messages were left confirming my scan–I usually get those calls on Thursday, but I was in San Diego speaking at the Moores Cancer Center Symposium. Friday, I had four phone calls from the hospital–one was my robocall ...

Read more »

BMT - The Weeks and Days Before
February 18, 2015
Preparations

A few weeks before hospital admission, you undergo the cancer center's version of the Navy Seal hell week. At Moffitt they schedule three days of appointments, six or more each day. Some of them are counseling in finances, insurance, nutrition, social services and tons of paperwork. Others include the most comprehensive set of blood work ever (cancer patients know about giving blood. When I was told I was having a "mega panel" the phlebotomy techs actually said "ooh, my."). Twenty tubes. There was a MUGA (multi-gated acquisition) scan of my heart ; a full body CT; and a really interesting pulmonary function test in a phone booth-like device. There's a pretty thorough set of psychological testing, meetings with nurses, doctors and physician assistants.
...

Read more »

Happy Valentine's Day!
February 15, 2015
You believe there is all the time in the world to make plans, to dream, to live your life. Then a series of unexpected three word sentences bring life changing clarity.You have cancer.  It is terminal. Options are few.You are mortal.Time is short.

Life changes. Treatment begins and days are lived from scan \to scan, results to options, and options to choices as each breath takes on new meaning. Everyone reacts differently. For me, time has become precious during these years of living with stage 4 colon cancer. I have learned to cherish moments that I may have otherwise taken for granted. Valentine's Day is one such incredible day.

In the whispers of the night, I listen to Ronnie's breathing. I move closer and snuggle, savoring his warmth and finding comfort in his presence. This will be our 16th Valentine's ...

Read more »

Dating, Love, Sex ... and Cancer
February 13, 2015
Just before I was diagnosed, I went on the worst date ever. The gentleman had a position of power in Washington, D.C., and over coffee, he proceeded to tell me that fact in great detail. 

For an hour.

It was as if he was on a job interview. The stories were self-congratulatory. I had to stop myself from replying, at key points, "You're hired."  The date was excruciating. It was shortly after this night that I was diagnosed with cancer, a situation not conducive to dating.

But still, I had a new goal. One decent date. Just one. The dating didn't have to go anywhere. One date was a simple goal.  Highly achievable.   I spent over a year in nasty treatment ...

Read more »

Searching for Someone to Talk To
February 13, 2015
Part of the healing process is sharing with other people who care. Jerry Cantrell

The lead up to my mastectomy was a time of crushing anxiety. But, never once in those six and a half months, did I find anyone I could talk to about what it really felt like to have cancer.

It’s not that I didn’t try. I looked to friends and family, but backed off when guilt at causing them pain collided with my intense desire to protect them from that pain. And, in truth, there was just too much I couldn’t explain and they couldn’t understand.

Of course, they kept trying to support me emotionally and I’ll always be grateful they did, but there was only so much ...

Read more »

Ibrance Approved for Metastatic Breast Cancer
February 03, 2015
The anticipated approval of Ibrance (palbociclib) came two months ahead of expectations, as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted an accelerated approval to the drug as a frontline treatment for women with ER-positive, HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer. Ibrance was approved under the FDA's breakthrough therapy designation and priority review program, which provides an expedited approval process for treatments that provide a substantial benefit over current options. The FDA was not scheduled to make a decision on the drug's application until April 2015.

In the phase 2 PALOMA-1 study, treatment with the novel CDK 4/6-inhibitor Ibrance plus Femara (letrozole) reduced the risk of disease progression by 51 percent compared with Femara alone. The median progression-free survival (PFS) with Femara was 20.2 versus 10.2 months ...

Read more »

Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 27, 2015

WANTED: Someone who will let me speak my mind about this terrible disease, without having to be brave or positive or sun-shiny. Someone who will let me blow off steam and rant, someone who will let me feel negative and speak my fears about what lies ahead.
 
DESPERATELY SEEKING: Someone who will let me say that I am scared about what might be. That this disease freaks the crap out of me. Someone who will let me not be tough for a few minutes, but break down and cry about my anxieties.
 

I may get some static for this post, but I think that there is too much pressure on cancer patients to stay upbeat and cheerful all the time, dancing through treatments ...

Read more »

How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 26, 2015
My pre-cancer self knew nothing of the disease. I stumbled through the four and a half months it took to get a diagnosis like a kindergartener in a graduate course. 
 
At six and a half months in, I had a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. By then, my bright red, hip-to-hip scar, missing nipple and asymmetrical breasts gave me a pretty good handle on cancer’s physical effects. 
 
Getting my head around the emotional consequences was infinitely harder.  
 
Looking back, it’s not like I didn’t feel anything. I was miserable, fatigued, lonely, stressed, angry and overwhelmed. But, unlike physical scars, the severity of those wounds wasn’t obvious when I looked in the mirror. 
 
I had no idea then that recuperating from the emotional devastation of cancer ...

Read more »

The Thing About Risk
January 22, 2015
Each month, I co-moderate a twitter discussion for those impacted by gynecologic (GYN) cancers. The blend of participants brings out diverse perspectives and there is always much to learn. January being Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, this year we decided to tackle the topic of risk. We covered the general risk factors for each GYN cancer and focused on specific risks associated with HPV and the known genetic predispositions--it is not just BRCA. We also talked about how women can use all this information about risk. 

A point I always come back to is that all women are at risk for GYN cancers. There are some things that increase the risk. For some of the GYN cancers, up to 25 percent have a genetic component. ...

Read more »

An Advocate's View of ASCO GI Symposium 2015
January 20, 2015
Last week, I walked the massive halls of Moscone West in San Francisco and attended the ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, better known as ASCOGI . It is a meeting I always feel quite privileged to attend; it offers a glimpse into the work, passion and expertise that goes into the many aspects of being able to live with metastatic colon cancer.

The meeting brings together an elite group of expert, specialized oncology professionals to update and highlight the latest research and science in cancers of the pancreas, small bowel, hepatobiliary tract; colon and rectum; esophagus and stomach. There is a great deal of information to absorb for anyone. This year YES! Beat Liver Tumors launched our new awareness campaign, "Gonna Beat This Thing" and readily learned of ...

Read more »

Hope vs. Acceptance: The Metastatic Cancer See-Saw
January 20, 2015
When I was a kid, the playgrounds had the wonderfully simple see-saws that were nothing more than a plank of wood over a pivot point. We would play a game where one person would be all the way down, and the other all the way up.  That child would say,
 
"Farmer, farmer, let me down!"
 
The other would respond,
 
"What will you give me, Charlie Brown?"
 
And then a negotiation would ensue, with poor Charlie trying to get back down to earth. If the Farmer chose to, she could jump off the see-saw, sending Charlie plummeting into the hard cement. Ah, childhood.
 
As a metastatic cancer patient, I ride a see-saw between hope and acceptance. Thankfully, on my current treatment, ...

Read more »

Did You Know You Might be Able to Donate Blood?
January 06, 2015
A week or so before my mastectomy, I found myself in the blood donation center at my hospital. Before my diagnosis, I thought a lot about donating blood, but never actually rolled up my sleeve. Now, here I was, making an autologous blood donation in preparation for surgery.  

I went in hoping I wouldn’t need my blood and it could be used by someone who did. What I didn’t know was that “autologous” meant my donation was usable only by me. Disappointed my blood would be destroyed and realizing how easy it was to donate, I promised the nurse I would be back.

Since then, I’ve donated blood and platelets many times and encourage other survivors to consider it too. You might ...

Read more »

Dedicated to the Caregivers
January 06, 2015
Last night renewed my admiration for caregivers.

My husband and I were getting ready for bed when we heard a strange noise coming from our daughters' room. We ran downstairs and found one of the three-year-olds standing outside her room, mouth hanging open and making a horrible gagging, coughing sound. At first we thought she was throwing up, but then she kept trying to suck in air, and it almost sounded like she was choking. "Can you breathe?" She shook her head and tears rolled down her cheeks.

My husband donned his superhero cape while I grabbed her coat and hat. He whisked her into the car. I scraped the ice off the windshield while he buckled her into the car seat. And ...

Read more »

The Stockings are Hung with Care
December 24, 2014
Every year, my parents take great care in planning our Christmas stockings.  When I was young they were filled with oranges and apples, unshelled pecans, a book of lifesavers, gold chocolate coins, jacks, and small but sentimental items.  Some of my most treasured gifts and fond memories were found lovingly tucked inside.
 
As the holidays have enveloped my family with the calamity that many families living with terminal cancer can well comprehend, it is a ritual that I cherish.  Gently hung, our stockings have become the calm amidst the chaos of school programs, decorating, baking, shopping, and parties.  Filled with love, they each hold the tradition of oranges and apples. This year, they will also be filled with the memories and milestones of 2014.  They are a reminder of the magic that life holds every minute ...

Read more »

Overcoming the Mental Battle of Metastatic Cancer
December 23, 2014
When I was diagnosed with a breast cancer recurrence to my lungs, liver and bones at the ripe old age of 31, I had no idea just how many bumps and potholes lay in the road ahead. Unlike my previous early-stage cancer diagnosis, there is no light at the end of this tunnel.

The mental challenges of having stage 4 cancer are just as overwhelming as the physical ones, and I totally underestimated them.

First, there’s the uncertainty: I’m happy for today, and today I feel good. But how will I feel tomorrow? Is my current medicine keeping my cancer at bay?

Then there’s the big picture: How many more good days will I have? Is this as good as I am ...

Read more »

Escaping the Shadow
December 22, 2014
The holiday season can be difficult for cancer patients and their loved ones. It's tough to be merry while dealing with treatment side effects or wondering whether one will be alive this time next year.

By the end of November this year, I'd hit a low point. My energy had waned, oppressed by the shorter days and gray skies of Seattle and a general sense of ill health. My cough had increased, stirring fears of recurrence. My writing muse had burned out after weeks of intensive Lung Cancer Awareness Month activities.

Then, within one week, two lung cancer buddies died, and a third friend died of metastatic breast cancer days after being diagnosed. I kept vigil with her family as her lungs failed ...

Read more »

Do You Need a Time Out from Cancer?
December 22, 2014
“I think, therefore I am.” René Descartes
 
I think a lot and have always assumed the millions of thoughts banging around in my head were productive.  Sure, I end up worrying nonstop too, but that’s the price of thinking things through and problem solving, right? 
 
With apologies to Descartes, I tend to believe, “I think, therefore I am working the problem.”
 
Over the years, infertility, miscarriages and breast cancer worked my mind to exhaustion. When I was under siege, sleep was the only break I got and it never came easily or lasted long enough. As soon as I opened my eyes, the thoughts were there again, right where they left off. 
 
As painful and fatiguing as all that thinking (and worrying) was, I felt ...

Read more »

Recipe for Living with Metastatic Cancer
December 22, 2014
Some of these ingredients may seem hard to find, especially if you are newly diagnosed. But with a little searching (and soul searching), you can create something wonderful to sustain yourself through the hard times.

  • First, you will need three heaping cups of support.
This support can come in a variety flavors, and many blend well together.

The first cup includes your close circle: spouse, parents, family, friends, relatives, neighbors, coworkers, religious groups, community groups. These people are all around you, and are the first to jump in. Since too much support can spoil the recipe, it helps to use a website like Lotsa Helping Hands, or an organized friend to coordinate your support.
 
The second cup is your ...

Read more »

Is It Time for Testing of All 30-Year-Old Women for the Breast Cancer Gene
December 13, 2014
Dr. Mary Claire King’s search for a breast cancer gene began when she was in graduate school in the late 1960s and continued for more than 20 years -- despite colleagues dismissal that there was no genetic component to cancer. King, today a professor of medicine and genetics at the University of  Washington,  was undeterred, saying recently that she has gotten used to her colleagues' attitude toward new findings.

“I have developed a sense about this that there are certain people in any field who will spend years saying, ‘I don’t believe it, I don’t believe it, I don’t believe it,’ and then they will without pause move to, ‘I knew it all along, I knew it all along, I knew it all along.’ ...

Read more »

Advocates Call for More Attention to Metastatic Breast Cancer
December 12, 2014
Karen Durham never expected to be speaking on behalf of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance. After successful treatment for her diagnosis of stage 2 breast cancer with mastectomy, chemotherapy and hormone therapy in 1989, she went on with her life.

She and her husband both worked for the Federal Aviation Administration and on weekends the couple could be found touring on their Honda Gold Wing motorcycle.  

Then in 2009 Karen found that the pain in her shoulder was a tumor – a breast cancer tumor. She had metastatic breast cancer – 19 years after her first diagnosis. For treatment Durham chose a clinical trial for a drug no longer in development, but offered to her on a continuing basis by the pharmaceutical ...

Read more »

Preventing Breast Cancer One Woman at a Time
December 10, 2014
Andrea Ivory had an epiphany shortly after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 at age 45. The South Florida woman, who had a thriving commercial real estate business, felt that her volunteer efforts weren’t enough. She walked and volunteered but she wanted to do more.

Then it hit her. She would help educate underserved and high-risk women about breast cancer and get them a mammogram, and then, if they had a problem, she would assign them a navigator to stay with them while they were being treated – and she would remind all the women to return the next year. Oh, and since heart disease is a bigger killer than breast cancer, she would add education about heart disease to the discussion and ...

Read more »

Do This Now to Find the Causes of Breast Cancer
December 09, 2014
Do this NOW to find the cause of breast cancer: Go to http://www.Healthofwomenstudy.org.

In a new effort to identify potential causes and what Dr. Susan Love calls collateral damage from breast cancer treatment, a study called the Health of Women (HOW) asks for information about women’s health both before and after diagnosis.

We all say we want to find the cause of cancer, and this is something you can do personally. Whether you have had breast cancer or not, sign up and get your friends to sign up. They need healthy women and men who have never had breast cancer in addition to those who have. The more who sign up, the faster we’ll be able to find the cause of ...

Read more »

You Have Cancer. Again.
December 08, 2014
The first time I heard that dreaded phrase, I was 14 years old. I had taken up a juggling hobby (make that obsession) and had been practicing for many hours a day. My right shoulder had started to ache, so we all assumed it was from overuse. I tried to back off a little, but the ache continued. One evening, I was juggling clubs at The Juggling Club and I threw a high double and caught it in my right hand. I heard a snap and felt excruciating pain shoot down my arm. I dropped the club I had just caught, and the ones in the air clattered to the ground. The room full of jugglers turned to look. I gritted my teeth, smiled and ...

Read more »

Reaching for the Brass Ring
December 01, 2014
In Part 2 of my story, An ePatient’s Search for Hope, I’d had a second recurrence of my lung cancer and sent my slides to be tested for additional mutations. My story continues...


 
On Monday, September 24, 2012, my pulmonologist performed a bronchoscopy on the larger of my two new lung nodules (the other nodule was too small to biopsy). He got a good sample, but couldn’t find any cancer cells. Much as I wanted to believe this meant the nodule wasn’t cancer, I knew I couldn’t make that assumption. Before this procedure, my team had discussed whether the nodule was radiation-induced inflammation, BOOP (a rare form of pneumonia) or cancer. I recalled how finding the ...

Read more »

Knowledge is Power: A Cancer Patient Navigates Her Diagnosis
December 01, 2014
Knowledge is power.
                                                              
This belief has driven how I respond to stressful situations throughout my life.
 
When I was pregnant with our first child I took every class I could find, read stacks of books, and watched many hours of birth videos (thanks to my midwife sister).
 
I focused. I studied. I prepared.
 
When I found out that our second pregnancy was twins, I read books and asked questions of every twin I knew. As the pregnancy progressed and took a complicated turn, we were told that the girls may be born severely premature and if they survived they would face a lifetime of challenges. In response, I started reading about raising children with special needs. I subscribed to blogs written ...

Read more »

From a Cough to Metastatic Lung Cancer
November 17, 2014
In Seattle, home of Starbucks, everyone drinks coffee: parents, children, athletes, students, artists, friends. If you saw me ordering a split shot grande skinny mocha, I would seem like any other customer.  You probably couldn’t tell that I have advanced lung cancer.  It certainly came as a surprise to me.

In March 2011, I was healthy, a bit overweight, and exercising regularly. However, I’d had a nagging cough for a few months. To make my husband happy, I mentioned the cough to our doctor. Two months, two rounds of antibiotics, one X-ray, one CT scan, and a bronchoscopy later, I spent a very anxious four days waiting for biopsy results.

When I ...

Read more »

Sweet Sixteen Like No Other
September 18, 2014
Do you remember that sweet sixteen feeling?

The whole world seemed to be at your grasp. Excitement filled the air with the anticipation of that first date, learning to drive, going to the prom, and even getting a job.

Sixteen years. 192 months. 5,844 days. That is the amount of time that has passed since I heard three of the most terrifying words of my life, "You have cancer."

Thankfully, the landscape of cancer has changed in these years. Treatment has transformed. Advances in personalized medicine, chemo and immunotherapy, radiation, targeted therapies like SIR-Spheres, RFA, SBRT and CyberKnife among others, surgery and clinical trials continue to bring me, and others like me who are living with advanced cancer, one step closer to ...

Read more »

January 01, 1970

Read more »

January 01, 1970

Read more »

January 01, 1970

Read more »

January 01, 1970

Read more »

Comments I've Made
Giving Back to Help & Heal
April 13, 2015
Meme - I received a heart pillow after my lumpectomy/lymph removal and it was such a help. God bless you for giving back to the other BC patients in your area! Hi Debbie, as of last Friday, 4/10/15, it's been a year since my last radiation treatment. I had a similar experience of wanting to give back as soon as I was finished. I may have been physically ready, but not mentally. Unfortunately, I was not made aware of any "post-treatment" support available to me so I suffered on my own. It wasn't until I found you and others with the same stories, that I realized I wasn't alone in how I was feeling. I am now working with my cancer center to establish better communication for ...

Read more »