Anonymous

Posting since January 01, 1970

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January 01, 1970

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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 ...

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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 ...

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Freedom's Just Another Word For Sick In A Different Place
March 24, 2015
Release Day!

Assuming no major complications, (there are always minor complications!), somewhere around Day 24 after transplant you’re ready to leave the hospital. It’s never going to be smooth, because some lingering little thing seems to conspire to keep you there. A new side effect, an I.V. med that needs just a couple more days, or even paperwork snarls with your outpatient facility. Somehow, though, the day arrives when it’s time to leave the hospital. In my case, it was a round the clock I.V. antibiotic than needed another week. The solution was to set up a home health company to bring me a portable infusion pump, a supply of bags of antibiotic, and provide a nurse to teach me how to use it. ...

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Not My Time to Say Goodbye
March 23, 2015
Everyone around me seems to be dying. There isn't a week that goes by I don't hear about yet another person with metastatic cancer. Whether it's the woman in my church so afraid of dying of the colon cancer that had taken her parents that she never got checked, guaranteeing her colon cancer would not be caught and she would die the same horrible death, or the friend's husband who suffered a minor heart attack, the ordered X-ray of his chest showing a mass in his lung, and the MRI exposing the extensive metastatic cancer in his brain. Death is rampant.

I thought this phase of my life would not start until I was 70. I remember my mother talking about all the people ...

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March 19, 2015
Why yoga? And what is yoga? People often ask me these two questions. Why, as a yoga teacher, a cancer survivor, and advocate, would I practice and spend my time learning about and teaching yoga.

After cancer, I wanted no only to regain some strength and stamina, but I wanted to have a subject to explore that would keep me interested for however long I was going to live. Yoga is such a vast topic, it would take lifetimes to explore all of it. That appealed to me. It was an inexhaustible source of learning.

I had been a yoga practitioner since the age of 28, when a therapist told me that yoga would help me deal with my anxiety. She was ...

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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 ...

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Manage Your Lymphedema
March 17, 2015
As a side effect of breast cancer treatment, many women develop lymphedema in the arm and upper body. 

Lymphedema is a result of change to the lymphatic system, often with lymph node removal during surgery or radiation to the area. The main function of the lymphatic system is to move excess fluid and protein from the extremities and return it to the vascular system. With the disruption to the lymphatic system, the body is not able to properly move fluid, waste material and proteins out of the arm.  This fluid accumulation results in swelling of the arm and trunk. 

The main complaints women express are: heaviness in the arm, tightness in the skin, limited flexibility of the arm, sensitivity to touch, change in ...

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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, ...

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How Cancer Changed Me as a Parent
March 16, 2015
Dr. Harolynn McIntosh - it sounds like you have been through quite a bit! Thank you so much for your kind words, and may we both enjoy our lives and health for a long time!

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How Cancer Changed Me as a Parent
March 16, 2015
Holly - I am so sorry you never got to know your mom, but you are right that those 11 months meant the world to her. I agree that being a parent keeps me going; those little faces are wonderful motivation. Best of health to you!

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How Cancer Changed Me as a Parent
March 16, 2015
Jody - I'm so glad my words helped you! Best of health to you, keep being a survivor!

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How Cancer Changed Me as a Parent
March 16, 2015
Thank you Alice, and yes, I too so want to be there for my children. There is such a strong parenting instinct to protect your little ones from harm, and I want to be able to do that for a long time. May we both have great health and many more years with our families!

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How Cancer Changed Me as a Parent
March 16, 2015
Nancy - thank you for sharing that research. I do hold out hope that I can stick around long enough to see some of these incredible advances come to fruition. And thank you so much for the well wishes.

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How Cancer Changed Me as a Parent
March 16, 2015
Denzie - I didn't realize your dad was so young! Oh, this disease is cruel.

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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 ...

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 15, 2015
Dear Catherine! What an inspiration you are! Yes! New normal can be a challenge, and it changes almost everyday for me. Which means that I learn to 'start over' and am willing to be gentle with myself. I share with others because I believe that yoga improves the daily quality of my life. Not just the postures, but breathing and meditation. I'd like to mention COLONTOWN to you. It is a private FB group run by Chris4life.org. It is important that we find a support group that understands our challenges. There are also one-to-one supports through Imermanangels.org that is particularly helpful to newly diagnosed patients and to caregivers. I agree with you that specialized yoga is important for cancer patients. ...

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 15, 2015
Your story really hit home with me. Diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in 2005. I survived the surgery to remove 18 inches of my colon and part of the rectum. I survived two surgeries on my left lung removing cancer nodules. And, I survived the chemo for 6 months and radiation daily for a month. I know just how you feel in regard to gaining strength in my body. Each time I try a exercise plan I end up with strains and pulls and joint issues. I love yoga and have done it on and off over the years since my diagnosis, but it does take a special instructor to meet the needs of seniors. ...

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The President's Cancer Panel Wants ... ME?
March 15, 2015
Hi Janet, Congratulations on the honor and the work ahead! My story is the way electronic health data should work: I was diagnosed at Mass General Hospital and wanted a second opinion (just to have a second set of eyes review my case). We went to see a doc at Dana Farber and they were able to view my CT scan and MRI reports online. This is probably by chance: both are run by Partners Health Care (not an endorsement, just that's the way it is). But why should patients be carrying around photocopies of papers? Shouldn't it be as simple as my experience? Just a thought.

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The Phantom Scan
March 14, 2015
Hi Janet, Scanxiety surely is doubled by errors in scheduling. Next time you pop in to San Diego, please give me a shout. I teach Yoga for Healing on Tuesdays at Ginseng Yoga. Breathing and active meditation are my tools of choice for scans! Though I have been known to do yoga poses while waiting in doctor offices. Blessings , Jean

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The Phantom Scan
March 14, 2015
Hi Janet, Scanxiety surely is doubled by errors in scheduling. Next time you pop in to San Diego, please give me a shout. I teach Yoga for Healing on Tuesdays at Ginseng Yoga. Breathing and active meditation are my tools of choice for scans! Though I have been known to do yoga poses while waiting in doctor offices. Blessings , Jean

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 14, 2015
Namaste, Charlie! I'm so glad that you have added yoga and found it effective. A yoga experience is hard to describe! That's why I hope people find a good teacher and try it. I am very excited to share my experiences and give ideas for survivors to try out at home. Actually, I do postures and poses throughout the day! Fortunately, I subbed a yoga class this morning, so I got to do a little more focused practice. I especially love teaching newbies! I love to see a face of calm and accomplishment at the end of class. Thank you for reaching back to me. Blessings, Jean

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 14, 2015
Jean, it was great to read your story about yoga! I too am a colon cancer survivor and my second birthday (last day of chemo) is coming up in two weeks. It will be four years for me. When I started going through the process of becoming a survivor, I decided to make some changes in my lifestyle and adding yoga was one of them. I do a combination of yin and vinyasa, once a week, and it's a great way to dump a load of stress and gain flexibility and strength. I recommend it for everyone. I look forward to reading more about your yoga experiences!

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The President's Cancer Panel Wants ... ME?
March 14, 2015
As a fellow cancer survivor I wish you well as you go to the event. I myself have been wondering about how to become a patient advocate. I want to find a way to help patients & families in their cancer journeys.

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A Beautiful Life of Cancer Denial
March 14, 2015
Really well written and honestly expressed. Thank you for sharing your journey here! I am a Stage 1 breast cancer and melanoma survivor, so my world is different, but I understand the weariness from dealing with the ongoing uncertainty. Sending a hug!

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I Have Lynch Syndrome
March 13, 2015
As I age, I become more concerns with colon cancer. This column reminded me that it is not an abstract concept to research, but that there is an emotional component that will impact those who care about me. I need to consider their need also.

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 13, 2015
Kudos to Chris Newman and the other members of Independent Lung Cancer Patient Advocates for their extraordinary effort and tremendous outcome! Patient Advocates and Health Care Professionals working together can indeed change the world and give hope and support to those who need it most.

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You Have Cancer. Again.
March 13, 2015
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A Beautiful Life of Cancer Denial
March 13, 2015
Loved what you wrote. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience.

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How Cancer Changed Me as a Parent
March 13, 2015
I am so very proud of you and the strength that just oozes through this cell phone. Remember. Jehovah Rapha...The Lord Our Healer. I am surviving Stage II bilateral Ductal and Lobular breast cancer. Although I have had a titanium rod and eight screws in my cervical spine, a simultaneous knee replacement on both knees, An InterStim, cataracts removed from both eyes, and a few minor surgeries, I like you, feel blessed...we must keep encouraging each other. I wish I could travel from Illinois and babysit for you. Keep strong. Mc

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The President's Cancer Panel Wants ... ME?
March 13, 2015
I cannot attend but I praying for you. I am confident that you will do a wonderful (for lack of a more sophisticated word) job. Remain blessed. I don't tweet, face, install or any if the other social mediums but would love to learn. Remain blessed, Mc

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 12, 2015
Hi Gary! And tree pose and mountain pose can be done in a chair, at the wall or lying down. When I can't sleep, I often position my legs in Tree Pose and begin breathing. I usually get to my other side and then - magic - I fall asleep!! Sounds like you have a great yoga teacher who gives plenty of alternatives. Also, bring yoga moves "off the mat" is one great way to practice! Thanks for giving everyone some ideas :) Blessings, Jean

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 12, 2015
Dear Jean I currently have two favorite positions, They are Mountain Posture and Tree Posture. Our Instructor told us that we can even practice a modified Tree Posture when we are standing behind a grocery cart while in line at the check out lane.

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The President's Cancer Panel Wants ... ME?
March 12, 2015
Fern and the rest of you that commented are so right! Jan you are so strong and will battle for a strong voice in this fight against lung cancers.

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 12, 2015
Dear Robin, This is very valuable information! I found your experience and proactive approach to be very uplifting and gives me hope. I am in my eighth year in remission from CML. Like you, I was a very active person, from building and fixing things around the house, traveling, bodysurfing, helping others move, etc. After my diagnosis, my condition became like yours...body aches, cramping easily, muscle strains, etc...all making it extremely frustrating that I can't function as I once did. And when I finally feel good enough to try and start a routine off slowly, my back may give out or my shoulders rip/damage easily. I will also research locally for these classes...as I did not want to be intimidated or remain fearful

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 12, 2015
Dear Sue! I'm really glad you are doing well. Cancer of any type is stressful. Research is now acknowledging the impact on mind, body and spirit. The natural "answer" is yoga (to me). And I love hearing that it helped other survivors - so profoundly. In a short five minutes, we begin to tell a different story to our brains. We are sending relaxation signals that truly provide immune support. This has been proven by blood samples taken when people practiced yoga. I hope we can encourage many survivors to try yoga. And there are many, many forms. Chair yoga is also extremely accommodating for those who do not go down to the floor. When you started yoga,

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 12, 2015
Jean-- I am also a cancer survivor (although the type I have is slow-growing, and will never be "cured") and someone who loves yoga and knows that it had a lot to do with my healing. I have had two major surgeries (removal of lower right lobe of my lung, and liver surgery to remove small carcinoid tumors there) and deep breathing and the ability to fully relax helped me so much. I appreciate your dedication to both yoga and your fellow cancer survivors!

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 12, 2015
Dear Jan! Congratulations! And I'm so glad that you found yoga! I tend to think everyone "should" do some form of yoga. Maybe, in our own ways, we do. It's great to be able to share the benefits. Students often tell me that breathing is what helps them the most in critical situations. We all breathe. If we turn our attention to our breath, then we are doing yoga! Sat Nam!

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Searching for Someone to Talk To
March 12, 2015
I have found a wonderful support group at our local hospital. I didn't realize how much a craved the support of those who knew what you were going through. We all learn new things every time we meet and can share our experiences and things that helped us get through. Examples like acupuncture for neuropathy, MELT to help with inflammation and rehydrate your connective tissue! I love the message "show up to be supported" thank you all for sharing!

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 12, 2015
I too have colon cancer, I was 42 (2009) when diagnosed with stage 3C, went through chemo and was fine until 2013. My cancer came back and at this point it was stage 4. I was blown away, it was not what I expected nor wanted. I went through chemo again which was harder the second time then the first. I had my last chemo treatment in early Dec 2013 and so far so good. I also turned to yoga along with clean eating. I must say that yoga is THE BEST thing I could have done for myself. It have helped so much, I tell everyone. Once you get the process and what it does and can do for you you will never be ...

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 12, 2015
Jean, I am an 8 year survivor of multiple myeloma. I am thrilled you found yoga and became an instructor. I was doing yoga before my diagnosis and have to say that the yoga breath, meditation and visualization got me through some of the roughest times of my life. I initially had 5 weeks of radiation and used what I had learned to get me through that. Then when the numbers started climbing again, my doctor prepared me for an autologous stem cell transplant. That brought me to my knees, but once again, my yoga techniques helped me get through it. My disease is now stable and I continue to practice yoga at least 3 times a week. ...

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Well, That Wasn’t the Way This Day Was Planned!
March 12, 2015
Kevin, my dad will soon begin treatments for MCL. I've been reading your blog and you are in my thoughts. Thank you so much for sharing. Eric

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The President's Cancer Panel Wants ... ME?
March 12, 2015
Continue what you are doing, I am in my 13th year of remission of multiple myeloma and really think that having access to my medical records have kept me on top of what was going on and still going on. Keep up the good work.

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 12, 2015
Dear Teresa, I'm here for you! You can find the right place to start. Be open to knowing you may have to go to a few studios before you find the 'right teacher'. I'm so sorry to hear that you were forced to resign. I chose early retirement because my survival prognosis was five years or less. To me, nothing is as important as our health. Yoga brings pleasure, health and stamina into my life. But remember, I started very, very slowly. Set your goal for yourself. Good goals can make it easier to keep on track. There are strong health benefits from being in a group, too. And do join in on my monthly, free Yoga Phone Call. ...

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 12, 2015
Dearest Friend, Susan! I'd like to plug your work with Yoga Bridge in Denton, Texas! You have reached out into your community and you are changing lives.Feel free to add your wisdom to any discussion! Thank you for supporting me and my work. Hugs! Jean/Jeannie

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 12, 2015
Dear Puru, Yes, you can start a gentle yoga. It's always a good idea to check with your oncologist. I'd like to invite you to listen to a breathing meditation on SOUNDCLOUD.com, under Yoga Being. Breathing "well" is the heart of yoga. As long as we are breathing, we can do this form of yoga practice, called: Pranayama. I only teach continuous breathing because that is what is safest. And, I have a Phone in Yoga class each month, I will post information about that on my website at YogaBeing.net. All are welcomed! I know you can benefit from the breathing, gentle movements, and meditation. Your inquiry to know more, tells me you've been thinking about this

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 12, 2015
Dear Phyllis, As you are looking for a class, I encourage you to check out my free audio yoga classes on Soundcloud.com/ Yoga Being. There is a five minute breathing tape that is easily downloadable and it's a good place to start. Not only will you relax, you will build inner diaphragmatic strength. Continuous breathing is safest and very effective. Keep checking back in with your progress. I know you will find what works for you! Thanks for commenting back to me!

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 12, 2015
Thank you for the inspiring article. I am a 2 year survivor of vulvar cancer, and can really relate to the post-treatment effects of fatigue, anxiety, and in my case depression. I returned to work as a special education teacher 3 weeks after receiving 35 daily radiation treatments and 2 weeks of chemo. I was so exhausted (both physically and emotionally) that it was all I could do to get through each day. The administrative staff in my district was less than supportive, and I was ultimately forced to resign the position I had held for 16 years. My goal for this year is to regain the strength and muscle mass I had prior to treatment. Your article has convinced me to begin yoga and/or

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How Cancer Changed Me as a Parent
March 12, 2015
Your blogs r so inspirig....have been fighting for almost 4years. Sometimes i think being a parent keeps me going when i feel i cannot take another round of bad news. The same cancer took my mother when i was 11 months old and always felt so sad that i never knew her but now i know she got 11 months of knowinging me. Thank u for sharing your experence.

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 12, 2015
Jean, you lead by example. Yoga is such a great tool to help ease all of the after-effects of a cancer diagnosis. Wonderful article. Thanks for sharing a very personal part of yourself.

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 12, 2015
I am prof PurushottamPanda70years,suffering from Multiplemyeloma. 3 years, under Rx now with normal blood reports, but with weakness and fatigues of muscle and reduced power.I was robust and fit in med college. To regain power and muscle etc what ltypeof yoga I should do inside my home. Kindly write me in detail. I will be obliged. Thanks.

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 12, 2015
Jean, so glad to hear you are doing well. I just want to say to all who want to try yoga, not to be discouraged if they find it too difficult. Make sure you are going to a gentle class or even better a class that is geared toward cancer survivors. I have survived two cancers. Both times it took me time to even participate in the gentle classes. I tried too hard and I would suffer with pain and soreness a couple days after a class and gave up for a while. What I had to remember is I had to adjust to what I could do, even if at times it seemed like I barely did

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 12, 2015
Am recuperating from Triple Negative Breast Cancer treatments. Started treatments in June of 2013. My tumor was in the advanced stage. Had 22 rounds of chemo and 32 rounds of radiation. Still dealing with many issues that may have been triggered by those treatments. We live in a rural area. Most gyms, yoga classes, etc...are too far away, so all exercises will need to be done at home. I practiced Yoga for many years, but due to time constraints of cancer treatments, I was not able to continue the yoga. Am now ready to get back to the practices and look forward to inspiration from Cure.

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How Cancer Changed Me as a Parent
March 12, 2015
Thank you so much for expressing my feelings, it helps me immensely, to deal. Thank You! (GBM survivor so far)

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 12, 2015
Dear Betty, Thank you for writing to me. YCS (yoga for cancer survivors) is spreading around the country. Call your nurse navigator. Make some calls yoga studios - they may have a restorative class (a good place to start). And, once a month I hold a PHONE YOGA class - FREE. Yes, you call in from home. Other survivors and caregivers will be on the phone. I talk you through breathing, stretching and meditation. Please either write to me from my website or join my FB page for updates and yoga tips. Yoga Being! Blessings, and gratitude for asking this question! YCS yoga is for all cancer patients and survivors!

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 12, 2015
Dear Ingrid, I believe that yoga is helpful for everybody. Finding the right "fit" with an instructor can be challenging. In the meantime, I have hours of free yoga especially for survivors at SOUNDCLOUD.com, under Yoga Being. Only do what feels good to your body. If you listen to your body, you will not push beyond a gentle stretch. It's good to get the 'go ahead' from your doctor. You will feel more confident! Let me know how it goes! Follow here and I'll be linking to resources about getting startedl Thanks for asking a question that many people are thinking about! Blessings, Jean

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A Beautiful Life of Cancer Denial
March 12, 2015
Loved your blog! You're amazing! Thanks for your wonderful insight!

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 12, 2015
How inspiring! I am a breast cancer survivor and wish that a program like this was available for me. Thank you for all you do!

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 12, 2015
Thank you for sharing all this. I've met many breast cancer & ovarian cancer survivors at work and via my Dragon Boat Team. Last year a Yoga instructor working on there certification for Cancer patients taught a class for Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) Day for me in our local library. It was a wonderful class - and benefits all people, not just cancer survivors. So, I highly recommend yoga, especially after seeing my best friend Patty take on Breast Cancer and have issues with sleep, anxiety, exhaustion, range of motion, strength, fatigue, etc. It is so important to keep moving - no matter how little in these challenging times - keep the blood flowing so you can heal and

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 12, 2015
I'm a survivor of colon cancer in July of 2011 after chemo I can't do any exercise with out feeling fatigue, I'm still so weak even to go up stairs. I have stress and axiety. Do you think yoga can healp me? I'm never do yoga before.

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The President's Cancer Panel Wants ... ME?
March 11, 2015
You go girl. You are representing us all. I am a cancer survivor and dedicating the rest of my life to providing patients (and health care providers) all of the information I can regarding advances in biomarkers and how they predict, provide early alerts and even give an opportunity to reverse or cure disease before it even develops. Mostly in diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but some of our biomarkers involve early cancer detection too. Please tell everyone that we need to also focus on disease prevention in America, and not waiting until diseases are diagnosed and then treated with drugs. Biomarkers are a piece of a new paradigm and along with other changes, we need to stop paying lip service to "wellness" and get serious ...

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The Mechanics Of Inspiration
March 11, 2015
After diagnosis with Carcinoid cancer 4 years ago, I found that I had to talk about. I began writing a blog about both having Carcinoid and also about my musical hobby. Since this cancer is misunderstood by even the professionals, I try to do some education while talking about it. As you said, I regularly get thanks from people.

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 11, 2015
Hello Jennifer! Fabulous! If you'd like to join a group of yoga teachers who teach cancer patients, please friend me on FB and I'd be glad to connect you with us. Where did you take your training? What is your class format? I train yoga teachers online and have many yoga teachers who were cancer patients themselves. We desire to 'give back'. Thank you for reaching back to me!

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 11, 2015
Me too Jean! I am 11 years out from Ovarian cancer this month and last year I completed yoga teacher training. Now I teach folks with cancer, hip replacements, and general fears of yoga class! Yoga helped me gain back my range of motion, general balance and sense of physical well being! Namaste;)

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 11, 2015
Hello Gary! Oh! How fortunate to have Guilda's house by you to practice yoga with an experienced teacher! The benefits of a gentle but deep practice include: sleeping better, breathing fully and in a relaxed manner, social support, balance, mental focus! The list goes on and on! I'm so glad you shared with us! What is your favorite pose?

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 11, 2015
As a male breast cancer survivor (20 months) Stage 2 and a Radical Mastectomy, I signed up for a beginners yoga class at Gilda's Club and I can not say enough good things about yoga. It helped with my breathing, meditation, relaxation, and flexibility. The instructor works with all of us in the class, some members are still receiving chemo, and she shows us alternative moves to help us, I have recently purchased a book on yoga that fits my needs so that I can practice at home.

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A Beautiful Life of Cancer Denial
March 11, 2015
I certainly can relate. I was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 2005, It has recurred during the year. Then in 2013 I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. After the chemo, bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction, the lung cancer reared it's ugly head. More chemo and now I am getting proton therapy. I am still working through my treatment as best as I can. I thank God for a job that has supported me throughout these 10 years. MY motto is: If God woke me up this morning I am going to live!

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A Beautiful Life of Cancer Denial
March 11, 2015
I, too, have lived with stage IV breast cancer since 2012 and am getting Kadcyla. I know exactly how you feel living from scan to scan. The cancer has now entered my brain, which has been radiated with targeted beams. Now I have two oncologists with double the scans and appointments. I agree that we should try to live "normal" lives as much as we can and be grateful for the medical advances that have been made to keep us alive with reasonable quality of life.

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The President's Cancer Panel Wants ... ME?
March 11, 2015
The President's Cancer Panel knew what they were doing when they asked you to participate. When my husband was first dx, I called his oncologist's office to get a copy of the biopsy pathology report for a cancer policy we have. I was told that the copy would be given to me as soon as we had paid any balance due on his medical bill that our health insurance didn't cover. Our insurance had paid for the biopsy yet the oncologist's office was holding the report as ransom. I feel that a copy of all reports and tests should be sent to the patient and not just given to the doctor that ordered it.

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 11, 2015
Dear Sharon, I too find yoga to be my 'exercise' of choice. And now there are many Yoga for Cancer Survivors classes in major hospitals. I would love for you to listen to my YCS audio tape and give me feedback. It is free and downloadable. You can go to YogaBeing.net and listen to the class. What kind of yoga did you practice in the beginning? And, yes, pilates can build core strength! I'm so glad you wrote back to me and shared your wisdom with others. Yoga can appear to be difficult, but specialized yoga for cancer survivors should have plenty of alternatives, props and a skilled teacher!

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 11, 2015
Dear Gretchen, Do consider starting with a restorative class or a private lesson. This way, a studio owner can help you find the right level of class. In the meantime, you can find my free audio classes at Soundcloud.com, under Yoga Being. Thank you for reaching back to me!

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 11, 2015
I had my first experience with ovarian cancer in September2005 and then in October of 2006 I, for whatever reason, decided to do Yoga. Luckily, I got into a class that was called "Easy Moves" and loved it. Never cared to do exercising of any kind prior to this. I did Yoga until I was found to have HER2 Breast Cancer in April 2010 and with reconstruction had to give up my Yoga for a year; thereafter started Yoga again and then had my first recurrence of ovarian cancer of ovarian cancer in December 2011. I still do Yoga this day and so far am cancer free and believe if it was not for Yoga and now even Pilates, I would

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The President's Cancer Panel Wants ... ME?
March 11, 2015
Fern, Chris, and Laurie, Thanks for the votes of confidence! Janet

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The President's Cancer Panel Wants ... ME?
March 11, 2015
I hate that you have cancer but I'm relieved you don't have stage fright! It is all the brave and well educated folks like yourself that is keeping this movement going forward. Thank you!

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 11, 2015
I am a survivor of a double mastectomy for beast cancer. I relate to how you describe the post treatment state of mind. Thank you for the idea. I will pursue finding options for yoga in my home town. It sounds like a great idea to start keeping in shape.

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The President's Cancer Panel Wants ... ME?
March 11, 2015
I am not at all surprised Janet. I am really excited about your participation. As you know, this is an area that I am very excited and passionate about. Please give us a report afterwards!

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The President's Cancer Panel Wants ... ME?
March 11, 2015
Janet, Don't you dare be stunned that they picked you. You are one of the strongest, most intelligent, knowledgeable advocates that we have. I appreciate that you fight on for all of us. Congrats! Fern

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The President's Cancer Panel Wants ... ME?
March 11, 2015
When a Twitter icon indicated I had a new direct message last Tuesday, I took my time opening it. I was down with a bad case of the flu, including a fever and a cough that had stolen my voice, and I wasn’t at the top of my game. However, when I finally clicked on the icon, I felt a jolt of adrenaline.

The message was from “@PresCancerPanel” and started “We’d like to invite you to …”

I leaned forward to double check. I wasn’t hallucinating. The President's Cancer Panel had invited me to participate as a patient advocate in one of their workshops. I almost screamed "YES!", but given my voiceless state, I responded on my iPad as fast as my fingers would ...

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 11, 2015
Robin! As you are also a survivor and took training to work with cancer patients, you inspire me with your practice and commitment to helping others!

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Well, That Wasn’t the Way This Day Was Planned!
March 10, 2015
I hope things get better soon and you regain control of your life. Think positive and look forward to spending quality time with your family.

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How Cancer Changed Me as a Parent
March 10, 2015
Dear Tori: I have exactly the same feeling as you. Mine is a little older than yours though. Each milestone is a good one to see. My oldest will go to middle school next school year. I am hoping I can see her getting married~ And not before college, please. :) My youngest is now 4. I worry about him more because I want to be there for him like I was for my older ones. I also have a set of 9 year old twins. They are so good together. But, life will be good no matter what is thrown at us. We had an "suprise" 4th baby~~ This cancer thing, will just be one ...

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Well, That Wasn’t the Way This Day Was Planned!
March 10, 2015
We are all thinking of you 😊 can't wait for you to come back to work.

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Choosing Yoga After Cancer
March 10, 2015
Wonderful blog! I'm sure many will benefit by reading your experience. Inspiring to know that our lives can not only continue post-cancer treatment, but actually be enriched in unexpected ways.

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Well, That Wasn’t the Way This Day Was Planned!
March 10, 2015
Kevin - you are so right about the loss of control, both with cancer and with being in the hospital! Even something as simple as wanting to take a shower can be totally out of your control. The nosebleed incident sounds scary, and I'm glad they were able to get it under control. I hope the rest of your stay is uneventful.

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 10, 2015
Thank you Gerry! I was pretty amazed by what they accomplished, too.

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A Personal Take on Personalized Medicine
March 10, 2015
Re Donna's comment about brain mets not being "reachable" by the targeted therapies. This is a similar concern with kidney cancer that can also go to the lungs and brain. Kidney cancer is generally not responsive to the typically given courses of radiation, there is good success with the use of highly directed radiation to brain mets, and with that, also some emerging evidence that the response to the radiation--besides that of the destruction of the tiny mets--can also include some immune response outside that immediate area. Hope this type of treatment is also happening in lung cancer treatment

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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 ...

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How Cancer Changed Me as a Parent
March 10, 2015
I hold great hope for you. I am watching, for instance, the Anderson/Langer lab at MIT developing delivery of drugs via nano particles directly to the cancer cells. I see this as an effective treatment out there if you need it, for instance. Thank you for this article. I wish for you many birthday parties for your beautiful little brood.

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How Cancer Changed Me as a Parent
March 10, 2015
Beautiful, Tori. Cleansing tears fill my eyes. My dad was just 41 when lung cancer took him. The youngest, my brother was just 6. I imagine his cancer through your eyes

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
March 09, 2015
Honey Bee: I'm so happy to hear from you here at CURE! Your devotion to self-care and community building inspires me deeply. Thank you for sharing and keep living life to the fullest. Just like the good folks at Starbucks, I'm always happy to hear from you! All the best! Debbie

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How Cancer Changed Me as a Parent
March 09, 2015
Oh Mara, that would be amazing. Sometimes I dare to hope it might happen.

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How Cancer Changed Me as a Parent
March 09, 2015
Happy Birthday to your twins! I am envisioning you...watching them blow out their candles on their 21st Birthday!

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How Cancer Changed Me as a Parent
March 09, 2015
My amazing little girls just turned four, and I was thrilled to share this milestone with them. There was a time not long ago when I doubted I would see this day.

When I was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer in the spring of 2013, my son was 4 and my twin girls were newly 2. My daughters were still sleeping in cribs, still and diapers, still my little babies.

That summer my worldview shifted dramatically, and my view of my children growing up followed suit. Now, I no longer mourn the passing days of their childhood. Like many parents, I used to have a twinge of sadness when the little ones passed milestones, knowing that they were one day closer to growing ...

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Well, That Wasn’t the Way This Day Was Planned!
March 09, 2015
One of the real frustrations with long, planned hospital stays is that you change your entire routine of life, and you’re really in control of nothing. At the end of a particularly trying day early this week, I tried to just sit and puzzle through what was bothering me so much.
 
Well, first, all cancer patients are used to the “out of control” feeling. Your own body betrayed you, and your life is in the hands of others. Still, many of us (including articles by other CURE contributors) talk about this duality. There’s Cancer Kevin, doing chemo, radiation, and planning time off from work for “side effects day.” Then there’s still Regular Kevin; husband, dad, boss, neighbor, doing the same old things.
 
I ...

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
March 09, 2015
Hello Debbie, This article is just what I needed. Thank you for validating and expressing the thoughts that often plague us. I finished treatment for Stage III Uterine Cancer in October 2013. But I still find the continuing fatigue to be limiting. I can no longer work. In May 2014, I was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure, caused by TAXOL, one of the powerful chemo drugs. Now I am on five medications and a protocol for my heart! In December 2014, I had major surgery for Acute Appendicitis. It is distressing when others minimize, trivialize, or do not understand. But I have a wonderful cancer support group, am attending a Writing to Heal ...

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 08, 2015
Amazing what a few can do! Great article. gerry

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 08, 2015
Debbie - you have been through so much! I'm glad you were able to find doctors who would listen. I think it is especially important for doctors to consider things other than just "standard of care" when dealing with advanced cancers, unusual presentations, etc. Best of health to you, may your cancer stay silent for a long, long time.

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The Mechanics Of Inspiration
March 07, 2015
Lori, thanks. I had a near collapse last week, and took until a few days ago to bounce back. Now, I'm at that "only miserable" stage we know so well. And I've been in here a month! Time is ticking away. James, thanks for sharing. I went a different direction. After an auto transplant in 2006, I relapsed in 2012. Despite multiple approaches, only achieved partial response. I was in on the early Imbruvica usage, started in Dec 2013. Went immediately into remission. I took it for 14 months, very stable as I came into transplant. Literally a miracle drug. Steve, my problem with talking to family and friends is that it always left them sad or guilty. I used my blog, and facebook, and connected with ...

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The Mechanics Of Inspiration
March 06, 2015
A couple years ago, I went through breast cancer, surgery, chemo, radiation....the works. At the same time, my sister's niece who was 16, was going thru treatments for Ewing's sarcoma; her grand-daughter was battling brain cancer, and one my friends was also going thru breast cancer. We spoke often, shared our stories, and inspired each other to "not give up". Sadly, my sister's niece passed away. I felt terribly sad for her and her family, whom I barely knew. My sister, in the mean time, kept encouraging me, telling me how strong I was, and reminding me to keep that fight on. Little did we know, that just a year later, it would be me doing the same for her, ...

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
March 06, 2015
Kathy: Given all you've been through you have every right to vent! You also have every right to be angry and teary once in a while. I wish you all the best.

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 06, 2015
Thank you for your initiative and hard work to get this accomplished. Many doctors just don't think beyond the box. Although I'm dealing with stage IV breast cancer I'm encouraged by hearing of the work you and others like you are doing. I was diagnosed with stage 2b breAst cancer 20 years ago at age 37. It was a baseline mammogram that found it. Treatment was very aggressive with modified radical mastectomy and double rounds of chemo. Twenty years later a growth was found around my superior vena cava and lungs. They did surgery because they thought it was benign and was affecting my heart and lungs. Turned out was breAst tumor. Unexpected. The surgery itself almost killed me (after 93 days in the ...

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 06, 2015
Anne - I have certainly learned that patients new to be their own advocates! Thanks for your comment.

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A Beautiful Life of Cancer Denial
March 06, 2015
Sadly, with Stage IV cancer, there is no winning the fight. There is only living in spite of the cancer.

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A Beautiful Life of Cancer Denial
March 06, 2015
Try not to look at it as denial. Try looking at it as faith. Faith that your treatment worked and that you won the hard fought fight.

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 06, 2015
This applies to many health problems. Patients need to be empowered with information and push for the best treatment don't listen to now you have to wait or no you can't have that. Hep C patients need to demand the cure which is available now!

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The Mechanics Of Inspiration
March 05, 2015
Thank you for this article. You see, David Graham was my dear husband of 35 years. He is missed every day. Thank you again for remembering him in such a positive way. David brought so much positive things to so many while he was here on earth.

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 05, 2015
Patty - I'm so glad you have an oncologist who goes to bat for you! Too often us stage IVs feel written off, almost feeling like we aren't worth the trouble. I hope you continue to enjoy good cancer care!

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 05, 2015
Peggy - I didn't know SBRT could boost the immune response. How interesting. And yes, I have often been impressed by the amount of knowledge some patients have about their cancers. We have the luxury of only being concerned with our own cancer, rather than hundreds of patients, so we can read every journal article that comes out! So glad to hear you found a treatment that is working for you. Best of health!

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 05, 2015
Paula - I'm so glad you were able to find a doctor who would listen to your wishes and pursue something more aggressive. Things are changing quickly in oncology and it seems that sometimes care providers are either unaware or hesitant to make change. Best of health to you!

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 05, 2015
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!! Although I do not have lung cancer, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer on presentation. I have had to fight the same battle of no surgery for Stage 4. Luckily, my oncologist often went to bat for me with the "team." I'm still here.

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A Beautiful Life of Cancer Denial
March 05, 2015
By the way I am also stage IV and have outlived the stats I have been given. I am also a recovering alcoholic. I was thrown into it after I was diagnosed metastatic in 2010. I have been clean 28 months and no desire to go back. I am quite frankly I am in the best shape of my life

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A Beautiful Life of Cancer Denial
March 05, 2015
Congratulations! Next time just follow up and get it over with so your vacation can start sooner! I am doing this now and.it cuts out the anger sbd also gets your mind on the next time frame. We must remember to ALWAYS BE PRESENT and WE MUST BE WELL TO LIVE WELL! All the best♡

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The Mechanics Of Inspiration
March 05, 2015
Living with cancer was one thing, living with advanced cancer is SOMETHING ELSE! February,2002 I felt a lump and said "Ut OH, I know what this is" My mastectomy was done in Split Croatia, with chemo in Mostar, BiH, then radiation in Split. Then in March,2005, a wonderful doctor arranged a Bone Scan which showed 5 tumors on my spine & 2 on my hip. Radiation took care of these. After 101/2 years I was returning to the USA, excited to get back in the grove. A bone scan to verify I had a degenerative disk also showed more cancer in the bones. The Oncology found it had spread to the lungs. SO this started a whole ...

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 05, 2015
As a survivor of metastatic kidney cancer, but with 100s of mets in my lungs at time of diagnosis, I feel a certain kinship with lung cancer patients. (Yes, I also have to hear the, "But I didn't know you smoked" nonsense.) I am alive due to getting a little-used FDA approved treatment, which few others even hear about. Again, a familiar story emerges. In our kidney cancer world, where mets most often go to the lungs, we also struggle to get those mets zapped or removed. There is increasing use of SBRT in this area for us, and with it comes a recognition that the directed radiation can help rev up immune responses outside the immediate area of the treatment. ...

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A Beautiful Life of Cancer Denial
March 05, 2015
I too am stage iv. I'm sorry your oncologist isn't as great as mine! The day of the scans I get a call with the results which have been stable for 1 year. I don't look at it as denial. I'm not going to let this cancer take me away from my daughters!

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The Mechanics Of Inspiration
March 05, 2015
Kevin Thank you for the blog and the opportunity to speak out about cancer. A few years ago I read a good book that I think was called 50 things to do when you got cancer. One of the first things to do is to find a support group and start talking to the survivors. In 2010 I was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer. As you begin the cancer experience it consumes your life for several years. Naturally you want and need to talk about your feeling and experiences. Some of your family, friends and business associates might not be as comfortable talking about cancer as you are. In fact some of them are going to treat you like cancer is contagious and ...

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 05, 2015
Thank you! As a stage 4 nsclc pt since Jan 2012, I have been begging for someone to think outside the box and do cyberknife of SBRT on my 2 small lung spots and lesion on left adrenal. I argued that it worked on brain (gammaknife) and original lung lesion. When my onc wanted to do another chemo after one just wiped me out, I got a second opinion, and again fought for someone to think outside the box. Finally, I am in a study at Hillman Cancer Center and they are doing SBRT. Thank you for the encouraging article and for fighting for all of us!

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
March 04, 2015
Great article I was diagnosed with Myeloma at 47 and am in my 3rd year post diagnosis. Have done chemo, radiotherapy,a total hip replacement, stem cell transplant relapsed had more radio and am on oral chemo to get it back under control. The whole time I was matter of fact, tried really hard not to be stressed or upset for my family and fo whatever it took to get better and home for them. I lost it with the relapse and totally lost it when the myeloma caused fractures around my hip replacement and I had to medically retire from teaching. I have always been one to laugh in the face of trouble, and just get on with fixing the problem, but I cant fix ...

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The Mechanics Of Inspiration
March 04, 2015
Kevin, I to was diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma in 2005 and underwent surgery to remove my spleen. I received many rounds of in patient chemotherapy. I had a few scraps with death but with faith,friends prayers and my wife's care. I made it to remission 9 months later in 2006. Taste revealed my oldest brother was a match. So, on January of 2007 I received his stem cells. Then I had to rent an apartment for 4 months in Tampa so I could be close for twice a day Ivs which I am sure you know this protocol. Afterwards, I was in remission for7 god given years. Then in May of last year I relapsed. More chemotherapy,radiation and oral chemotherapy (Imbruvica). This drug specifically ...

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A Beautiful Life of Cancer Denial
March 04, 2015
I have never been a fan of denial. My family is full of addiction. My mother died of the damage done to her body by food addiction. My sister died because of her active food addiction. The list of hurt goes on.

I have seen people I love partake in self-harming behaviors over and over again, denying the hurt they were inflecting upon themselves. Watching the ones I love destroy themselves has ripped open my heart.  So I am simply not a fan of pretending that the obvious is not happening.
 
That is until I was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. Now I can see the value of acting as if something isn't real. When I was first diagnosed, I lived in ...

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 03, 2015
CraigB - you will be at the Hope Summit? Fantastic! I can't wait to meet you face to face!

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 03, 2015
Tori, on behalf of all of us "Stage Fourers," I thank you. It's people like you, and earlier Mike Stevens, that are keeping this in front of those where it matters, for changes both politically and within the medical community. I'm buying you a drink at the Hope Summit.

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 03, 2015
Chris - thank YOU for all you have done! Knowledge is power, indeed.

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 03, 2015
LMO - Your comment brought tears to my eyes! I hope these new guidelines can open up more treatment options for you. Best of health!!

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 03, 2015
Sharon - I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your mayor. We need to keep pushing forward with the research so we can save more lives! Thanks for your comment.

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 03, 2015
Dann - you are very sweet! Thank you so much.

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 03, 2015
Thank you for the beautifully and compellingly written article Tori! It may prolong or save some lives!! Knowledge is power. Warm hugs,

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 03, 2015
OMG Tori! Again....thank you! I'm in the midst of this battle and because of this article I now have justification beyond one doctor's recommendation!! I'm forever endebted!

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 03, 2015
This is great news and congratulations to all! Way to go!! Sadly, we just lost our former mayor to NSCLC after only being diagnosed 6 months ago. It makes me wonder what type of treatment she received.

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 02, 2015
Tori, thank you for sharing this spectacular news. The survival chances for those of us with Stage IV lung cancer are improving faster than statistics can keep up with, so this change in protocol seems particularly timely. I have another agenda for commenting today. I wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award. Your blog (and of course you!) are one of my favorites for many reasons. See http://dannscancerchronicles.blogspot.com, February 9th entry, for the nomination.

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 02, 2015
Anita - I hope this opens up more options for you. And yes, I am just amazed by what they accomplished!

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 02, 2015
Rebecca - that's my hope, that lots of people with stage IV lung cancer will read this and learn that they may have more options. Thanks for your comment.

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 02, 2015
Michele - that is so exciting to hear that patients are already benefitting from this change. Thank you for being a pioneer!

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Breaking Point
March 02, 2015
Caroline - thank you. I am incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by wonderful people.

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Breaking Point
March 02, 2015
Thank you for this beautiful blog. I'm grateful for your sister and the amazing people in your life, the wonderful ways by which they inspire you, and you them (as well as all of us).

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 02, 2015
Tori, this is really great news. I will be bringing this to my oncologist's attention. Hats off to all the dedicated people who made this happen!

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 02, 2015
Thanks Tori for bringing this to the attention of the large reader base at Cure Magazine. Hopefully this will reach others with Stage IV lung cancer and let them know they may have other options.

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 02, 2015
Tori ~ You absolutely nailed this piece. Thank you for telling our story so well. We are already learning of patients with advanced lung cancer who are being offered more aggressive treatment options as a result of the guideline changes. "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

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We Are The 30%
March 02, 2015
Yay for this article. I was diagnosed with stage 4 in June and am thriving--plan on swimming across lakes in US to raise awareness to this disease. First swim is end of March in Arizona. Don't count us out.

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Empowered Patients Change National Cancer Guidelines
March 02, 2015
I have metastatic lung cancer. Conventional wisdom says that once cancer has spread beyond the original site, cure is impossible and the purpose of treatment is to reduce symptoms and extend the patient's life. Surgery is off the table.

Except.

Except what if the cancer has only just started to spread? What if it has only set up a few metastases (called oligometastatic disease)? Could you push the envelope and try the impossible, to cure stage 4 lung cancer?

A group of patients believed that this idea was worth fighting for.
 
It started with lung cancer patient Chris Newman's participation in an online patient forum, Inspire.com, where she learned about quite a few stage 4 patients with a small number of ...

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I Am The Patient, I Need To Be Heard
March 02, 2015
Three cheers for you! The MD is always right, ask no questions, teaching of the past is gone--for good!

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I Am The Patient, I Need To Be Heard
March 01, 2015
It's not just oncologists; I had a neurologist, too, who not only didn't listen to me, he sat there looking at his computer the whole time I was in the room! He didn't even notice when I got up and left, until several minutes later, when I was at the checkout desk, explaining why I would not be paying their bill, and why I was notifying my insurance to do likewise! I wish I had taken a picture of him when I told him he's been fired!

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I Am The Patient, I Need To Be Heard
February 28, 2015
My dad, who worked in hospitals in a non-medical capacity for several decades used to say "Doctors are like mechanics. If you don't like them, find another one." I used that message only once, and am so glad I did. I found the internist who has been with me from the beginning of my journey with multiple myeloma. I have worked with lots of medical staff through treatment and two stem cell transplants I have been lucky to have found good people who listened to me. But always Dad's voice echoed in my head and I knew I needed to tell them what I needed and keep letting them know if I am getting it. And I have learned to use

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We Are The 30%
February 27, 2015
Thank you for this article. I am 38 and diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer 1 year ago. Yet, I am living well and feeling great. I have tried to find others living well and was so discouraged by how few people I found. Then, I started feeling guilty for feeling good and became overwhelmed with all the awful things that are to come. But, that didn't feel right either. I want to live well and be happy and healthy while I can. I am advocating for research through metavivor too and have helped found twisted pink with a similar mission of supporting stage 4 research in Louisville, KY. Thank you for this article and presenting the idea that

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The Mechanics Of Inspiration
February 27, 2015
Kevin, you can do this! Try taking one minute at a time then thank the good Lord and ask for one more. Looking back, this technique helped me get through these hard times. Also I had a very very soft blanket that I used daily and just the simple act of touching it, relaxed me and made me feel better for those minutes (I know it's kind of child-like and silly, but at times I felt reduced to a little girl.) Also we were allowed to decorate our rooms any way we wanted, so I got neon colored paper and wrote positive affirmations (I am whole, healed and healthy) and short Bible verses on them. Repeating them changed my mindset.

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I Am The Patient, I Need To Be Heard
February 27, 2015
We need to learn to trust our bodies. I developed a massive breast infection after a month on the estrogen blocker Aromasin. I quit taking it and the infection began to heal--slowly. I had to have two more surgeries to remove a seroma and clean up the infected tissues. Finally after about 3 months of open wound healing, the incision did heal. But before it was fully healed, the oncologist put me back on Aromasin and the healing slowed significantly. I consulted another oncologist for a second opinion on Aromasin, and she told me that there is a steroid component of Aromasin that was potentially slowing the healing. So I changed to Arimidex and my breast resumed healing. But it was me, insisting that my ...

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Breaking Point
February 27, 2015
Hi Mary! I'm glad your scans were fine, and I totally understand the desire for something certain, rather than this feeling of "things are fine for now, but one day...." No one in life REALLY has any certainty, but pre-cancer we could fool ourselves into thinking we did. Go enjoy that movie. :)

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Worry, Worry, Worry
February 27, 2015
Michelle: Thank you! Keep breathing!! I wish you all the best.

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Worry, Worry, Worry
February 27, 2015
Nichole: Thank you and may that same light shine on you and your husband. Keep looking for "magical moments;" they're there!

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I Am The Patient, I Need To Be Heard
February 27, 2015
This article really hit home with me ! Although my cancer was stage 3 Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma, my case was complicated because one week after I was diagnosed, and prior to Chemo beginning...I became paralyzed from the waist down and required an emergency Splenenectomy ( the location of a large cancerous tumor). As I lay in the hospital, post surgery, unable to feel anything below the waist.....no less than four Doctors argued at the foot of my bed !!! Ignoring me completely. A Neurologist, an Oncologist, a surgical oncologist and a Orthopedist , all convinced it was a different disorder that caused the paralysis. The Oncologist said it was the cancer attacking my spine, the surgeon was convinced it was the pressure from the ...

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We Are The 30%
February 27, 2015
Brandy. Start by contacting your representative to push for greater funding for medical research. Been badly cut in last many years.

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We Are The 30%
February 26, 2015
Very well said Susan! I was recently diagnosed stage IV after my first mammogram at age 40. My family needs me and I don't plan on leaving them any time soon. We need research because our lives matter too! How can we speak up, who do we speak up to? I wa t to advocate for us too but I don't know what to do or where to start. We need more than 2% of research funds!!!!!

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We Are The 30%
February 26, 2015
The truth must be told. This pink washing must stop. Thanks for your voice! You rock!

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I Am The Patient, I Need To Be Heard
February 26, 2015
Susan, Your articles speak to me as if I had written them myself! I was diagnosed as Stage 4 (first diagnosis) in September 2013. I was 46 years old with 3 year old twin boys and going through a bitter divorce. I got a mammogram every year and come from a family that is healthy and lives into their 80's and 90's! How could this happen to me? I can especially relate to your comment about Mastectomies not being a "standard of care" option for Stage 4 patients. I obsess about this all the time. I feel like I should get another opinion, but at least 3 Dr's have told me it's not an option. I feel I am being forced to accept it, but

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We Are The 30%
February 26, 2015
Wow you really nailed it. I have been a metster for 12 of my 15 years in the land of beast cancer. Thanks for being a voice for us.

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We Are The 30%
February 26, 2015
I am one of the 30% currently on one of the newish treatments every 3 weeks for HER2+ mets - last year completed a 60 mile bike ride for charity inbetween chemo 4 - 5 and now ramping back up to 30k runs a week - cancer will NOT define me & I WILL live my life how I want for as long as I can. We have to stand together and shout from the roof tops. This is a great article. I will post this on my twitter and bookface accounts - take care Jo x (UK) @abcdiagnosis

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Worry, Worry, Worry
February 26, 2015
Tremendous article! As a BRCA+ woman I can certainly attest to the benefits listed. The breathing techniques help in many ways, and over time can help in both stress reduction and "other" health benefits.

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We Are The 30%
February 26, 2015
Thank you! I, too, was diagnosed Stage IV from the get go in a routine mamogram (also not my first) at the age of 45. And again like you, with no history of Cancer in my family. I am 18 months in and continue to work, shuffle my little girls between sports and activities and scramble to get homework and baths done while making dinner - sane as I did before my diagnosis. A lot of things are different ofcourse too, but I will keep on doing and hoping that the clinical trial I am on will benefit me and others to come. I try every day to defy the statistics.

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We Are The 30%
February 26, 2015
Kim, I am so sorry for your loss, and thank you for donating to METAvivor. Hopefully, working together, we can save lives.

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We Are The 30%
February 26, 2015
amazing article. My mom just passed from stage 4. She would of said" amazing article". My donations will go to this website only....

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We Are The 30%
February 26, 2015
Amen

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We Are The 30%
February 26, 2015
The more of us who speak up and the louder we speak, the more support and funding we can get.

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We Are The 30%
February 26, 2015
Amen, Susan! You hit the nail on the head! Let's show that we are out living our lives and damn well want to keep living our lives for a long time! Very eloquently said. I feel like you speak for me and so many others with stage IV breast cancer.

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We Are The 30%
February 26, 2015
I was watching a breast cancer survivor video the other day, one of those videos that makes breast cancer sound like a positive experience, something that forms you into a better person. And I thought about the videos I'd seen of women with metastatic breast cancer, how those videos have such a different tone. The woman in those videos often looks resigned, far from triumphant, and is often portrayed as just getting by, eeking out what little existence she can, until she finally dies.
 
Breast cancer survivors are typically portrayed as warriors, as women who have won, and can now go on with the rest of their lives. Articles are written for these women about how to date after surgery, how to conceive children ...

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I Am The Patient, I Need To Be Heard
February 26, 2015
Perfect.Medical care in Cleveland has become assembly line, with no one checking to see if you are on the right line. My first Nurse Practioner I met in 2012 was wonderful, but still it was hard to get info, to get help with side effects that I have now, and to be understood. Maybe it is because I am 73. With the first 9 1/2 years of treatment in Bosnia, these last 3 in the USA have been isolating, confusing, frustrating, and boring. I wanted to wear a sign saying I am a person with cancer, not a cancer cell! With the 15 minute appointments, it is hard to think and get questions answered. The BEST is when my primary ...

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Worry, Worry, Worry
February 26, 2015
Thank you so much for this article, my husband is a cancer fighter yet I find myself in the "worrie wort" position over the what ifs and what nots. Its nice to find a "magical moment" when your mind can find some peace through guided imagery, deep breath and possitive affirmations. I commend you on your battle and send my light and prayers to you and your family.

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Breaking Point
February 26, 2015
Well that's not what I wanted to do. I had more to say. Lately, I have felt breaking point on and off. My scans were fine. I want, what? Some surety. The one thing that seems not to be possible. But. I love reading your stuff. And, I do go forward, one foot in front of the other. Balance, balance. Watch yourself around the kitchen knives now. My poor brother-in-law ended up cutting himself and the bleeding wouldn't stop. He is fine... just had to go get some help. You are doing really really well. I did sign up for the gene profiling at UM. I keep thinking about the new drug Palbo for down the line. I think a movie is in order, something

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Breaking Point
February 26, 2015
Oh Yeah.

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I Am The Patient, I Need To Be Heard
February 26, 2015
Kate: That is hilarious. I need to get my "You're fired" tattoo right away.

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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 ...

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Breaking Point
February 24, 2015
My port had stopped working, so they needed to start an I.V. The first nurse had blown two veins and had called in a replacement who was on her way to blowing a third.
 
In the grand scheme of things, a few needle pokes were nothing. I had been through worse before, and there would be much harder days ahead. But in that moment, it was too much. In that moment, the months of treatment, the endless hospitalization, the constant nausea, and the helplessness were completely overwhelming.  I burst out crying. I can't do this anymore.
 
My sister, who had been sitting in the chair next to my hospital bed, stood up and walked over to me. She cracked a smile. "Remember that ...

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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 ...

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 22, 2015
sue beem - great point, though I have known people who have had a "line in the sand" about when they would stop treatment, but when faced with that event changed their minds. I think having a plan on paper and facing it in real life can be quite different. Thank you for raising an important point.

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 22, 2015
Oh Marissa, I'm so sorry to hear that you are not only dealing with cancer, but with switching doctors and fighting insurance. So unfair. I hope you are able to manage your cancer with few side effects for a long, long time!

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 22, 2015
Angela - I'm glad they helped! Best of luck to your husband and your family.

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 22, 2015
Jean - your description of your strategies is beautiful. I felt calmer just reading it. I hope for your ongoing health and that you can continue to find your peaceful place.

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 22, 2015
Ginny - I didn't know they can play music during and MRI! I will have to ask for that next time. Best of luck with your upcoming surgery. And as for honesty, I don't know that everyone around you will be able to take it, but you might be surprised. Be well!

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 22, 2015
Carolyn - the cancer community is just amazing. And belt away, sister! :)

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 22, 2015
Sonia - thank you so much!

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 22, 2015
Sbb - 2.5 years cancer free - amazing! I typically love nature too, but I think I forgot about adding that to my list because it has been so ridiculously cold here in Michigan! Best of health to you!

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 22, 2015
Alice - distraction is great. I've been reading "American Gods" and have certainly gotten wrapped up in the story. Best to you!

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 22, 2015
Pat Morgan - yes, humor is so important! And I agree that while I never wanted to join this club, I have met some absolutely amazing people as a result. Best of health to you!

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 22, 2015
Susan - ah, a fellow research geek! :) I've been known to spend quite a bit of time on ClinicalTrials.gov myself. And a dash of denial is absolutely necessary at times.

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 22, 2015
Regarding #4 (planning for worst scenario), I would also recommend that you know from your oncologist what the treatment plan would be with an abnormal or changing scan. I have also met people who are anxious about scans but already know that they would not accept currently available treatments in which case no scan is necessary. This is true of all medical tests. They should only be done if there is a different treatment plan based on the results.

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Dating, Love, Sex ... and Cancer
February 21, 2015
Susan, I'm so glad you put yourself out there. So much can change with just that first step. I was dx with breast cancer at37. And again at 39. And again at 42. And a few months later I met the man of my dreams, and now almost three years later we are married. Having simple hope helps a lot with expectations and reality. It's a good place from which to start. So happy you are where you want to be and savoring it!!!

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Dating, Love, Sex ... and Cancer
February 21, 2015
Such a wonderful piece you've shared. I appreciate your honesty and I'm so glad you've surpassed your original goal. I wish you all the best in dating and health! ((Hugs))

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 21, 2015
I'm a male, pushing hard on 70. I was always the healthiest guy I knew. Never took any meds; only vitamins. Ran a marathon. Completed a 100 mile bike race. Had Melanoma in 2000 and weathered it swiftly and relatively without concern. On the day after Christmas in 2013 I was diagnosed with Lymphoma. I wasn't supposed to make it. It took 11 months of treatment to be in remission. I've always been a positive guy and still am putting up a positive front. But I'm becoming increasingly fearful of a recurrence and can never get my mind totally off it. Stories like yours continue to show me I can be stronger than this. What will be will be.

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I Am The Patient, I Need To Be Heard
February 20, 2015
Brava! Perhaps we need rub-on tattoos of that phrase to place on the back of our right hands. The left hand would read "You're fired."

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
February 20, 2015
Kathleen: I'm heartened my article brought you relief and the reassurance of knowing you're not alone. Keep trying to connect with the people who feel like you do. Believe me, we're out here. I wish you all the best and thank you so much for letting me know that my article resonated with you.

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Searching for Someone to Talk To
February 20, 2015
Julia Ousterhout: Jean Di Carlo-Wagner offered great resources in her comment. I'd also suggest the Cancer Hope Network and Cancer Care. What I love about the Cancer Hope Network is that they match you with someone who has had the same experience. Your situation isn't unimportant, and you deserve to be able to speak with someone who understands and can help. Thanks so much for joining the conversation!

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Searching for Someone to Talk To
February 20, 2015
Rich Greene: Your wife is a wise woman and I admire your ability to face your vulnerability head on. I'm glad you found so many wonderful people to support you. In my book, You Can Thrive After Treatment, the first and most important tip I offer is to Show Up to Be Supported. I couldn't agree more that we have to "Go for it!"

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Searching for Someone to Talk To
February 20, 2015
Jean Di Carlo-Wagner: Thanks so much for sharing such great resources. It's so important to reach out and fabulous that you now help others. Keep up the great work!

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Worry, Worry, Worry
February 20, 2015
A day of worry is more exhausting than a week of work. -John Lubbock

I admit it. I’m a worrywart.    

I’ve worried about little things and not so little things. When big worries have me in their grip, it’s hard to fall asleep and, if I finally pass out, I’ll probably find myself wide awake again in the middle of the night with no hope of getting back to sleep.

I also can't eat when I’m really worried.   

I’ve worried over cancer through exhaustion and back around again. I’ve done stints of long-term worrying (six and a half months from my first worrisome mammogram to my mastectomy) and intense, short-term worrying (15 harrowing minutes waiting to discuss a post-mastectomy ...

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Searching for Someone to Talk To
February 20, 2015
Oh Rich, you made me laugh - thanks! I always tried to hide my hot flashes and took HRT for 9 years before stopping, then was diagnosed with stage 0 breast cancer. When I took an aromatase inhibitor (AI) I lost some weight, specifically butt fat. Now you might think that was a good thing, but my oncologist suggested an MRI if I was worried. Huh? I just waited and the weight came back when I stopped the AI, unfortunately. Other concerns I had were radiation burns that made wearing underwear difficult, now replaced by worries over long-term effects on my heart. Although my concerns may seem unimportant compared to those of people with a higher stage of cancer, I don't know where to turn. ...

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 20, 2015
I was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer last year at age 38. I just was assigned a new doctor since my previous one moved. My first visit with him was this past Tuesday in which he immediately sent me for a scan the next day and follow up the day after that. I totally get scanxiety. I don't think my blood pressure has ever been so high. Your article couldn't have come at a better time. My new doctor is changing my meds which I now have to fight with the insurance company since this drug is only prescribed for women over 45. With cancer it's always something. Thinking good thoughts for you as you have

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Searching for Someone to Talk To
February 20, 2015
This article has such a large amount of truth in it. I initially avoided talking about the prostate cancer diagnosis. I was heavily into denial about how advanced and how aggressive it was. When I tried to talk with my wife about my feelings and about the psychological effects of the hormonal treatments, she said she loved me but she said she couldn't understand how I felt. She encouraged me to reach out to others. I found three wonderful solutions. One was the local Us TOO support group; they encourage new folk to talk about their journey and concerns. i was the only new guy and spoke and was listened to and questioned for 40 minutes by medical specialists ...

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Bone Marrow Transplants 101
February 20, 2015
I have just finished 6 rounds of Chemo and hope to be in remission for at least 5 years. By then I'll be 71 and won't care either way. There comes a time in the life of every man to give up the hunt for life when it's going to be saddled with more invasive treatments than make like enjoyable.

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 20, 2015
Thanks so much! My husband finished his 35 radiation rounds and 6 chemo treatments last year...so many of your helpful hints made me smile and hit home with our family...best wishes and thanks for sharing!

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Bone Marrow Transplants 101
February 19, 2015
had an allo next month will be my one year i had several set backs mine was different it was from cord blood. just try to do what the doctore says as best you can

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Bone Marrow Transplants 101
February 19, 2015
I am coming up on 19 years from a matched unrelated bone marrow transplant for leukemia. I did get to talk to someone before making my decision (pre-Gleevac) who gave me the best advice. He didn't sugar coat it but said to look at it as "a year of your life for the rest or your life." It was more like two years before I felt 'normal.' My other advice would be follow Dr's orders. Don't take risks with germs, either from people, the environment or food. It isn't worth it and infections are very real. Lost too many fellow BMT friends to possibly preventable complications. It's important to speak about it to ...

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Dating, Love, Sex ... and Cancer
February 19, 2015
Jennifer: That is wonderful. You are a good, good soul. May you both have many, many years of happiness together.

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Dating, Love, Sex ... and Cancer
February 19, 2015
Thanks for sharing your story Susan. It is similar to my own except that it is my boyfriend who has cancer. He told me after just a few dates. It has been 2 years since we met and we couldn't be happier!

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Bone Marrow Transplants 101
February 19, 2015
Kevin, I really enjoyed reading your piece. I have had no contact with anyone who has had a transplant (I had mine 1 1/2 years ago). It is interesting to know that we all have similar experiences. I look forward to hearing from you and wish you the best.

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Bone Marrow Transplants 101
February 19, 2015
I had a mini allo transplant in Oct 3013. Cancer free, but still fighting GVHD. Have returned to a (mostly) good life. It's a long fight. Don't let anyone fool you about that. Expect the unexpected during recovery. Keep up your fight!

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Bone Marrow Transplants 101
February 19, 2015
Thank you for explaining this so well. My good friend's son has had two of these life-saving procedures. He is still a young man and continues to have side effects from treatments. Good Luck on CHinese New Year!!

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Happy Valentine's Day!
February 19, 2015
Suzanne! I have seen you through many three word sentences. This is it. There's nothing more. And you have beaten cancer every time. I know that Ronnie's illnesses were harder on you than the rigors of your own treatments. I am blessed to call you both friends. There is a couple that shows what being gentle in tough times means. It's you two!

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Searching for Someone to Talk To
February 19, 2015
I was so very fortunate to reach out to a group which is now called Fight CRC. They had a buddy program. I got to meet another woman, who is still my friend and cancer mentor, Suzanne Lindley. She gave me HOPE. I needed to know that life would continue - with or without cancer. I have been without disease for 12 years. But I stay very connected to many non-profits that support survivors: beatlivertumors.org, Imermangels.org, chemoangels.org, Chris4life.org, and lend my experience to others.

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 19, 2015
Late after-effects of chemo have lead to several scans of my brain and a sometime there- sometime not - pituitary tumor. I can 'stay in the moment', really well, until 24 hours before the scan. Then, I become a ball of electric anxiety which everyone can feel; especially me! I then turn on meditations. Either my own, on Soundcloud.com under Yoga Being or someone elses. I listen to soothing guided meditations and rest and breathe. On the day of the scan, I ask that my husband be able to come in with me and rub my feet. I use wax earplugs, bring a lavender eye mask and I do diaphragmatic breathing. When it's over, I practice meeting each negative thought ...

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 19, 2015
When I had to have the MRI after my breast cancer diagnosis I was a wreck I don't even ride elevators if I don't have to scaling flights of stairs is my preference...so I knew without a doubt that I would not be able to make it through w/o a little help and I decided that while I was not sure I would be awake to come out of the machine it was better than the alternative. I had them play my favorite Sirrus XM station in my ears and there was a mirror that reflected the outside. The medication helped significantly. But now my anxiety is another surgery....that is something that I knew with reconstruction of the breast I would have ...

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
February 19, 2015
Your article was read at my most recent cancer support group. As it was being read, I was overcome with a rush of relief. Finally, I thought, someone understands what has been going on with my emotions for the last five years. I was diagnosed with indolent Non-hodgkins lymphoma in 2010 and aggressive NHL in 2011. At the same time, my husband had surgery for prostate cancer. After surgery, radiation, and chemo, I am in remission. My husband has also been cancer free. He handles things very differently than I do. It would seem as if we could be helpful to each other, but I think it is too hard for us to talk about our feelings about ...

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I Am The Patient, I Need To Be Heard
February 19, 2015
A fiesty 15-year old has posted a video on YouTube expressing her frustration during her multi-day stay at a hospital, unable to sleep due to repeated visits by multiple doctors, and being ignored by those doctors as they discussed her case with only her parents.  In the week it was first posted,  I am the patient, I need to be heard, was viewed almost 30,000 times. Her video received such attention that it has inspired blogs (like mine), an article in Forbes, and multiple shares across multiple multimedia platforms. 

Ms. Gleason has spoken for every patient everywhere. 

"I am the patient, I need to be heard,"is the mantra, battle cry, prayer of anyone who has been forced to enter a ...

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Bone Marrow Transplants 101
February 19, 2015
Kevin....the thing that helped me the most was to get out of bed for the entire day, and set a schedule for myself (up at 7 regardless of how I felt, shower, apply all the creams to the various parts of the body, got dressed in regular clothes, order and eat breakfast, do PT and OT exercises and walk, ordered and ate lunch, visit and snuggle with my hubby on the couch and maybe take a short nap, walk and do exercises, order and eat dinner, walk, start to get ready for bed and read for a bit until I was tired usually about 9ish. Of course, intertwined with all of this are vital sign checks, newly scheduled tests, blood draws, changing bags ...

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BMT - The Weeks and Days Before
February 19, 2015
Cheering you on! A you so well know, just keep pushing thru.

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 19, 2015
PUTori, Thank you! Scanxiety puts a funny name to this state that only we initiates can truly understand, and in doing so, lessons it's terror by naming it and creating a community which understands and shares the journey. It affirms that we are not alone, and that is a powerful and uplifting realization, because Cancer Club, no matter how supported and motivated your survival struggle, is a solitary and lonely experience. Thank you for illuminating our basic connection--it really helps to be reminded that we all share these justifiable anxieties, and lessens the frequent feeling of isolation. And it's true: impossible to not be totally engaged, distracted and uplifted by belting out " Don't Stop Believing"! Thanks again--sending everyone loving and healing

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Dating, Love, Sex ... and Cancer
February 19, 2015
Anita and Tamara: As the saying goes, there is someone for everyone. May you both find that worthy partner quickly. :-)

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Bone Marrow Transplants 101
February 19, 2015
Lori and Ronna, thanks, I welcome any input or advice from veterans like yourselves.

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Dating, Love, Sex ... and Cancer
February 18, 2015
Many thanks Susan for the great heart-felt article. This topic is one I'm sure all women handed a cancer diagnosis struggle to overcome. Even after we make it through treatment, it's difficult to find the courage to step out again and embrace love. In the end, I'm still the same woman but wiser for having gone through my cancer journey. Your words remind me that if I can win the battle against cancer, finding love again doesn't have to be as difficult as I think.

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Bone Marrow Transplants 101
February 18, 2015
I have had 2 allos. Good luck!

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Dating, Love, Sex ... and Cancer
February 18, 2015
I am glad you decided to date and why should you stay home, and let everyone around you have a good time.

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 18, 2015
Hi, I'm Sonia from LiveSTRONG. Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy articles. I'll be thinking of you on Friday and saying a little extra prayer for a good report. Continued blessings!

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Bone Marrow Transplants 101
February 18, 2015
Tomorrow I celebrate my "first birthday" from a mini-allogeneic stem cell transplant. It has not been a piece of cake, but it definitely is doable as long as you stay focused on the goal....to be cancer free forever. Will keep you in my prayers, Kevin.

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Searching for Someone to Talk To
February 18, 2015
Tullia: Please keep reaching out for someone to talk to. During my treatment, I was lucky to find a lot of people at my cancer center who understood. I also had a patient navigator who helped me find resources. You have every reason to be scared, but there is no reason that you should have to be in this alone. I wish you all the best.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
February 18, 2015
Catherine: I'm sure you know from reading all the comments to my article that we all understand completely. I feel for you given your struggle with your family and friends. Please keep reaching out to those of us who get it.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
February 18, 2015
I will be 15 years post treatment later this year. I am still not over cancer and none of my family understands. All of my friends cut me loose after a few years because I guess it was just too difficult for them to cope with my inability to be "over" cancer. I had some good support for the first year but still ended up with panic attacks and a diagnosis of PTSD because of egregious mistakes made in my treatment and diagnosis including practitioners completely ignoring my symptoms of chronic infection for FOUR YEARS post treatment. I did not ever get an "all clear" and had a hideous scare of recurrence at five years due to chronic infections enlarging ...

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Searching for Someone to Talk To
February 18, 2015
I have stage 4 esophageal cancer. I have children but am a single mom. It's very lonely not having anyone that truly understands my situation. I've been told there is no cure and the treatment chemo I am having bad reactions to. I'm scared

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 18, 2015
Great advise! I have been cancer-free for 2.5 yrs after a stage 4 colon cancer diagnosis. Scanxiety is very real and can really wreak havoc on a person. I love nature, animals, and photography so I take long hikes with my camera all the days leading up to the scan. The closer I get to nature the calmer I get. I also get copies of my scans as soon as they are ready. If I had an oncologist who told me I wasn't allowed to see the results before him/her, I'd find a new oncologist! Waiting for those results causes unnecessary stress that I don't need.

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BMT - The Weeks and Days Before
February 18, 2015
Thinking of you. Thank you for being such an inspiration and for educating all of us during this process

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 18, 2015
Hi all: I am sending all of you good vibes for all the scans coming up. I vote for distraction. I usually do something i really wanted to do and get lost in the moment. The next thing you know.. My mind "forgets" about the upcoming test.

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 18, 2015
I am 2 1/2 years out from a uterine cancer diagnosis and almost 2 years out from the end of treatment (surgery/chemo/radiation). These tips apply not just to scans (annual for me) but to my "every 3 month" Pap tests (sigh! we'll soon go to 6-months, we hope) and even my "every 6 month" blood work and skin checks and my annual mammogram! My gyn/onc has taken to say something like "You know the drill - I do the exam, we get the results, I let you know everything's OK ...." To which I reply "So let's just skip the exam and the results then! Just tell me all's OK." Right! Not gonna happen! But HUMOR helps. As one of the other commenters, I also take ...

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 18, 2015
I search ClinicalTrials.gov to learn what options are out there and pretend it's not happening, otherwise. Denial can be a good thing. I schedule scans on Friday so no weekend wait and time to recuperate.

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Dating, Love, Sex ... and Cancer
February 18, 2015
Susan - I want to thank you for sharing your story! I am a Stage IIB breast cancer survivor. Age 50. Size 16. I've not dated in the 4 years since my divorce and kind of figured that I was no longer worthy of ANY sort of male attention whatsoever at this point. Your candor allows to see that maybe there is some glimmer of hope to end my loneliness someday (only if I am able to find the right man). I hope things go well for you, with Jeff. You both sound wonderful! :)

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BMT - The Weeks and Days Before
February 18, 2015
Kevin, Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers daily! Lisa

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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.
...

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 18, 2015
Nikole - thank you, and I'm sending well-wishes to you for your upcoming scan! I'm so glad to hear things are starting to return to normal for you, and you are enjoying all the simple, day-to-day pleasures. I certainly draw strength from my fellow travelers on this path! Best of health to you.

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 18, 2015
Meg - I'm so glad to hear you are 10 years out, but yes, the scanxiety does seem to linger. I think once you have faced the things we have, you can not "un-see" them. This experience changes a person. Best of health to you.

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 18, 2015
Elizabeth - thank you, and no shame in escapism. We are dealing with really heavy stuff here. Sometimes you need to forget about it all for a while. Best of health to you!

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 18, 2015
Jen - thank you, I know you get the feeling I'm talking about! Best of luck with your scans, and it sounds like you got great news with your markers, so you can breathe a little easier! Stay well, my friend.

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Searching for Someone to Talk To
February 17, 2015
Sherry: I'm so glad you found a treasured group of fellow survivors to support you. Good luck with everything.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
February 17, 2015
Ginny Crouse: Learning that what I was feeling wasn't unusual really helped me too. I'm glad my article and this conversation did the same for you! Take good care.

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 17, 2015
Tori thank you for sharing this when you did. Just putting a name to the anxiety helps validate the sleepless nights, the snapping at people for seemingly no reason etc. Also as heartbreaking as it is to know others are in the same position as you it is somewhat comforting knowing you are not alone. My scan is next week to see if the surgery, chemo and radiation have done their jobs. I have recently began to rediscover the energy returning so have used that to do things that have been piling up around the house. There is such a normal feeling to be able to do and enjoy the small irritating things. As well as spend a few hours at a time with ...

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 17, 2015
I do plan for the worse senerieo and I do take an anti anxiety a few weeks prior. I'm 10 years out but still suffer panic attacks close to being tested. I guess this will never change. I have come to realize that.

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I Have Lynch Syndrome
February 17, 2015
Georgia - your advocacy work has been truly impressive and we are all so fortunate to have you and others who are out there fighting to raise awareness. Keep us all posted on your progress and the work you do.

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Dating, Love, Sex ... and Cancer
February 17, 2015
Tori. Thank you so much. The challenge is to keep taking it a day at a time. :-)

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Overcoming the Mental Battle of Metastatic Cancer
February 17, 2015
i also worry that i currently feel the best i ever will (diagnosed with stage IV bowel cancer at 30, eight months ago). i haven't had any physical symptoms of the cancer, other than some mild nausea before i started chemo, and i've had minimal effects. in fact, i feel better than i have in years, as strange as that sounds; i'd not realised how much the cancer had been stuffing me around, but in a totally tolerable way. i am so scared of the day that i no longer feel healthy, happy and strong. i've only been down the stage IV path for a short time, and i'm looking forward to being down it for a long time - because it means ...

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 17, 2015
fantastic article. scanxiety is the worst - i was petrified before my most recent PET scan - my first post-diagnosis. i mostly just went with escapism - something i used to feel a bit guilty about doing (i should be more mindful, right?) but have found to be my total saving grace through my treatment.

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 16, 2015
*need to remember to do them more often. I also find writing helps (whether or not I can remember the words I want to say!)

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 16, 2015
Tori, I loved this. I, too, have scans coming up in a couple of weeks, and I've already started dreading and anticipating the scanxiety (as an added layer of stress, being anxious about my anxiety!) I agree with all of your points, and just remember to do them more often. I'll be thinking of you next week. Lots of love!

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 16, 2015
Anita - that is the interesting thing about scanxiety. My logical mind understands that nothing is different before and after I find out the results; the only change is my knowledge. And yet, the repercussions of that knowledge (and the treatment changes it would require) could be daunting. A strange thing scanxiety. Thanks for your comment.

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Bone Marrow Transplants 101
February 16, 2015
Good Luck!

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 16, 2015
For me the most useful, calming thing to remember is at least I'm going to know, and knowledge is a good thing. One person on Facebook talked about changing scanxiety to scanticipation for that very reason, and I have taken that to heart.

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Bone Marrow Transplants 101
February 16, 2015
Thank you for this clear explanation, and for sharing your journey. Best of luck to you going forward!

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Dating, Love, Sex ... and Cancer
February 16, 2015
I love this post! Your honesty is fantastic, and I hope things go wonderfully with the guy! Keep writing, this is a great story.

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
February 16, 2015
Betsy - your bus quote is FANTASTIC! I'm going to use that one! I'm sorry to hear you have had a third relapse. I hope you are able to find treatment that can extend your life, and give you more quality time on earth. That's what I'm striving for. Best of health to you!

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
February 16, 2015
Stacy S. - yes, I agree that strength is much more that a smile. Sometimes, admitting vulnerability takes much more strength. Thank you for your comment!

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A Personal Take on Personalized Medicine
February 16, 2015
Joel - thanks for your comment, and I love hearing that you are still going strong 7 years later! I hope your targeted med keeps working for you. Yes, I strongly agree that patients need to feel comfortable advocating for themselves. So glad it worked out so well for you. Best of health!

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Happy Valentine's Day!
February 16, 2015
Wow and I thought I was special at 8 years and 4 months. Didn't know there was anyone who had lived that long with Stage IV.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
February 16, 2015
thank you so much. I was beginning to feel more abnormal than I thought I should. I was prepared that nothing would ever be really normal again, but not for the emotional avalanche and anxiety I feel over things that I normally would cast aside or handle. I still have to have the expander removed and in the meantime I had to have a root canal done...having to postpone surgery was so emotional but then the idea of having another surgery is too. I do tell people I am fine but when emotions start rising over things that should not be that emotional I find it hard to maintain composure. Thank you for talking about this and letting us know

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Amid FDA Regulation Plans, E-Cigarettes are Subject of Debate
February 16, 2015
The debate over electronic cigarettes as a smoking-cessation tool is heating up. In April 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made a bid to regulate the sale of the devices. If regulation occurs, will “e-cigarettes” remain as plentiful, and in what form? And will they be helpful to smokers diagnosed with cancer who are trying to quit tobacco?

E-cigarettes can be found in convenience stories as battery-operated “cig-alikes,” which physically resemble tobacco cigarettes, or in “vape shops” and online as “e-liquids” inhaled through vaporizers, according to Bill Godshall, executive director of Smokefree Pennsylvania.

While e-cigarettes contain tobacco-derived nicotine and a heating element, they do not burn, and produce aerosol rather than smoke. Some studies have found that, in comparison to their tobacco-containing counterparts, ...

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10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety
February 16, 2015
I have my every-three-month scans coming up on Friday, and I am already a nervous wreck. The week or so leading up to my scans I, like clockwork, come down with a nasty case of PSS: Pre-Scan Syndrome. It mimics all the emotional symptoms of PMS, with irritability, heightened emotions and general crabbiness, and lasts through when I get my scan results.
 
I don’t think scanxiety ever goes away, but as I've gone through more of these I have developed some tricks for trying to deal with the nerves. Here is a list of things that sometimes work for me.
 
1. Distraction
Binge watch episodes of your favorite TV show. Dig into a great book and get lost in the story. Go somewhere ...

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I Have Lynch Syndrome
February 15, 2015
Thank you for doing what you do. Your combination of solid information combined with saying "what others are thinking" really makes a difference.

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Bone Marrow Transplants 101
February 15, 2015
Kevin, I applaud you for sharing your experiences so others may learn what treatments are available and what to expect when faced with a decision to receive similar treatment. I wish you the best of luck with your upcoming bone marrow transplant and following your progress.

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Searching for Someone to Talk To
February 15, 2015
Finding someone to talk to and really understand I can be so challenging. My daughter insist I try a local support . I did not think I needed or even wanted to talk to others. The group was a blessing. For the first time I could express my fear, angry or any other feelings I have. Just hearing someone say that is all part of having cancer. That was back in 2009, and have also been supported throught my second fight with cancer in 2010. I treasure this group of friends I have. To be able to offer support to others is so rewarding. I wish I could say my struggles are over it is not to be, but I have

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Searching for Someone to Talk To
February 15, 2015
Antoinette: I did too! I'm glad you're willing to call the Cancer Hope Network. It's a great organization. I hope they have someone to match you to who completely understands because he/she has been there. Good luck!

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 15, 2015
Patsy Bowman: It's not crazy. You've been through so much and you're anxious about hearing more bad news. We've all been there.

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 15, 2015
I am going for my 3 month check up with my oncologist in March. Debating on whether or not to mention this pain in my chest. I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma in my right breast which was her2 positive. Had lumpectomy in feb 2013. Underwent chemo and herceptin for 1 yr plus radiation. I know this sounds crazy, but i feel if they check my chest, they won't find anything. I do not know why that matters!

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
February 15, 2015
Gloria Rosh: Thank you for being so honest about the brutality of cancer. Keep praying and keep going. You have absolutely nothing to be guilty about.

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Searching for Someone to Talk To
February 15, 2015
Thank you Debbie for this article. You have, once again, captured my feelings with eloquent words. I sought out groups and people before my chemotherapy began. But looking back over the last two years (today marks two years since my lumpectomy), it seems I craved connection and community and understanding the most after chemotherapy. About the time that friends and family began to fade back. I didn't know and still struggle with the fatigue that lingers and affects my interest in things and sometimes leads me depressed. I hope to find someone to talk with about the after chemotherapy chapter. I will definitely look into this organization you recommend. Thank you again.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
February 15, 2015
I'm a 2 year CC survivor. Had over a year and a half of chemo & rad, plus now have an ileostomy. It ruined me financially, and now I'm broke. It's been so much to absorb, I've never cried so often and felt so sad before. The hardest things for me have been living with my Ostomy and my changed appearance. And now I'm facing bankruptcy and am barely surviving. I wish more people were aware of the financial devastation cancer can cause. My days aren't as dark as they were, but I'm constantly fraught with worry over money. I can't even think about it coming back. I just try to keep on going. Mine was Stage IIB. I pray a lot and try not

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 15, 2015
Jim Davis: Bless you too and congratulations on being cancer free! It's not easy to be your own best advocate, but you finally took control and that's really great!

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 15, 2015
It is frustrating to hear the many stories of being ignored, belittled or just not listened too. My journey started with a sore throat that wouldn't resolve. I spent nearly a year being a good patient and tolerating no end of random, stab in the dark testing without one CT or MRI. I was convinced I had throat cancer but was told that was just ridiculous. After celebrating the anniversary of my sore throat, my ENT finally found the tumor in a routine indoection. By then it was in multiple lymph nodes and Stage 4b. I had already chosen to change medical systems and found a wonderful cancer center close to home. They were wonderful and after 35 ...

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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 ...

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 14, 2015
Melodye Abell: Great advice, Melodye! I'm thinking of you as you face this newest struggle. I'm glad you have a compassionate, competent oncologist on your side.

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 14, 2015
Kathleen: I hope you find the good doctor you need and things get easier for you. I'm wishing you all the best.

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 14, 2015
Mara: I applaud you for being true to yourself and honoring your own needs. I'm wishing you all the best as you struggle with cancer.

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 14, 2015
Dan Dillion: Welcome to the club no one wants to join. You're one of us for sure! Congratulations on being a 3 year survivor!

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 14, 2015
Shelley Shore: Keep working on the good things. Walking, yoga, eating, etc., are all really important to self-care. Be good to yourself.

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 14, 2015
MBC: Sometimes taking care of yourself requires being a "pushy broad!" Thanks so much for sharing your advice on how to be your own advocate. Keep it up!

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 14, 2015
Patricia imsande: Thanks so much for your encouragement, Patricia! I'll keep writing and you keep taking those baby steps. I'm wishing you lots of healing.

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 14, 2015
Naomi Solomon: It's just true that only people who have actually lived through test anxiety really understand what it's like. That's why we're here, to support each other through it all. Thanks so much for writing.

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
February 14, 2015
Thank you for bringing up this subject. I was diagnosed with Stage IV Ovarian in November 2011 and I'm so tired of people telling me that positive attitude makes the difference or, "But you look so good!" I have actually wondered a few times if I have lived too long and should be dead already. I'm on my 3rd relapse now with metastases to the lungs and vertebra. As it was mentioned in my Stage IV support group, when an acquaintance says they could get hit by a bus and die tomorrow, a good answer is, "That's true, but I know the number of the bus."

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 14, 2015
Thank you for your blog. Step by step (mostly baby steps) I am taking my cancer journey. My journey has a purpose. There is no time limit! Your words are healing and helpful. Everyday is a gift has a new meaning. Ten years out, I learn something new every day about myself and others. Keep on writing your blog.

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
February 14, 2015
Tori, thanks for addressing this. I found I had to point to research about how it is the strength of spirit, rather than a simple smile, that helps one to survive. People just can't handle the truth, right?

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 14, 2015
What wears me out are the endless telling and re-telling of facts and information to all my doctors - they are so busy that often, they don't listen to all that I'm saying, even though I do my best to make my summaries concise. I was a provider (MSW) and now a patient (primary,7 years; metastatic, 5 years - yay!). I believe that the best thing I can do to be a good patient is to insist on the doctors repeating back the information I tell them - I told one doctor that I had gone through a positional injury to my arm during reconstruction surgery. He nodded and appeared to be listening. I should have asked for his chart notes, because when I ...

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A Personal Take on Personalized Medicine
February 13, 2015
Great blog! I was diagnosed with nsca lung cancer stage 4 in 2008. As you point out in your blog, the following five years of chemo was beginning to wreck havoc on my body. Although I didn't want to offend my oncologist (whom has become a very good friend), my wife and I inquired of him if a larger cancer center might provide me with more advanced treatment options than his independent practice. Coincidentally, he had considered the same thing at the same time we had. Through the larger facility, they found that I tested ALK positive. I have been using research medication for the last two plus years. My point is, patients shouldn't be hesitant about asking their oncologists if other options are available.

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 13, 2015
Yes and no. I miss far to many meals. I have many creative excuses for missing Yoga, walking, and anything else that gets me off the bed or out of my recliner. I write down questions to take to the doc visits but somehow don't bring them with me. I am very slow at processing info and don't take much in that is told to me. Good grief... I sound so pathetic. There are however a lot of good things.

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Bone Marrow Transplants 101
February 13, 2015
Disclaimer

Cue music and video of happy people while I talk quickly and quietly: I’m not a medical professional, and everything in the article is based on my own experience and research. While I strive to be extremely accurate, please do your own research and verification of anything I say.

Let’s Talk About Unpleasant But Necessary Stuff

The term “bone marrow transplant” has a pretty high “ick” factor. Something about connecting the words needles, bones, and marrow creates a visceral unease deep in our stomachs. Like a lot of things in life, a BMT is both less, and more, scary than the first impression gives. To understand why a cancer patient even needs a transplant, we first need to understand what our ...

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 13, 2015
Bonnie: I'm so glad my article helped you a bit. Be good to yourself and take one day at a time. And, if you have to cry, that's okay too. You deserve it and sometimes a good cry makes things better. Good luck with the surgery!

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 13, 2015
Jea Di Carlo Wagner: I love the idea of "extreme self-care." Thanks for letting us know how you go about being a good patient. Keep it up!

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 13, 2015
norma stegman: I'm sorry you're struggling with your health and losing trust in your doctors. It's wearing to deal with cancer constantly. I'm wishing you all the best.

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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 ...

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 13, 2015
Debbie, Thanks for your article on the challenge of being a good patient when the Big C comes calling. I had all your emotions/reactions plus one more. I had to deal with the reality of being a male with Breast Cancer. Once I was able to accept that I was one of the roughly 2200 males a year in the country that get the Crap, I was OK with battling it. I had the whole shebang, mastectomy, 6 rounds of Chemo and 30 shots of radiation. Due to a 2.7 cm tumor, I was Stage 2. As for most folks, the Chemo was the worst for me, nasty stuff. On April 13, I

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 13, 2015
This resonated with me so much. I have had ovarian cancer 2xs and thyroid cancer once. I have recently had to take some matters into my own hands like stopping all of the CT scans my oncologist wanted every 6 months b/c of the financial hardship and b/c when spots keep showing up he tells me "not to worry" or "it is nothing." I also consulted with a naturopath doctor who took me off of HRT. My oncologist flipped and was mad at me and criticized me for this. I say he needs to get over it! This is my journey, my life and the stress is just as damaging at the follow up or treatment sometimes.

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 13, 2015
I have just read your recent blog. Mine was not breast cancer. However, the mention of test anxiety years after diagnosis and treatment struck a chord with me. I am nine years out and now only need my PET scan twice a year. It is hard to explain to my family and friends how that feels. It's the praying that each time you are home free for the next six months that gets to me. Waiting for the phone call that tells you yet again you are negative or this time you need to be seen for further studies. The fear cannot be explained to anyone in my life. Plus, I am not sure they want to hear my fears and concerns.

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 13, 2015
I have just read your recent blog. Mine was not breast cancer. However, the mention of test anxiety years after diagnosis and treatment struck a chord with me. I am nine years out and now only need my PET scan twice a year. It is hard to explain to my family and friends how that feels. It's the praying that each time you are home free for the next six months that gets to me. Waiting for the phone call that tells you yet again you are negative or this time you need to be seen for further studies. The fear cannot be explained to anyone in my life. Plus, I am not sure they want to hear my fears and concerns.

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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 ...

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 13, 2015
I am a twice surviving breast cancer survivor..lumpectomy, and second time mastectomy. Reconstruction. Different types. Then I got uterine cancer and had a hysterectomy. This all was over the last 15 years. I had a joint replaced in my big toe about 20 years ago but it recently broke so I have to have it removed and the doc wants to fuse it, not rereplace it. I am on vacation for the month and then when I get back I will have the foot surgery. I got through all the cancer stuff okay, but it am struggling big time with this upcoming surgery. I am worried that it will really interfere with my walking ...

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 13, 2015
Sadly, what you say is only a minute amount of the things I have had to endure from the medical community. I now suffer from PTSD due to the emotional games Doctors, Medical Insurance, my husband and others have blamed me for. I cannot go for scans without medication to basically sedate me. I am accused of neglecting my Breast health from my insurance company. I had a bilateral mastectomy in 2007. I started at stage 1 now am stage IV. I have been accused of Doctor shopping for pain meds, I have had 4 recurrences. It isn't necessarily about being a good patient, it is more about being a good Doctor.

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 13, 2015
I tried to have a conversation with an oncologist I was interviewing for treatment; I asked what type of breast cancer I have. My sister had breast cancer 22 years ago, she was told she had Malignant neoplasm of the breast . I was told from a surprised Dr ' you have breast cancer'. I looked at her as if she had two heads. I know it's breast cancer. What kind of breast cancer? She had no response. Did she think I was too stupid to understand? Needless to say I did not choose her. My second interview was over the top invasive . 'Take all felmale organs & both breasts. 'My cancer had not advanced as to need that. On to the next Oncologist. ...

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 13, 2015
Taking care of myself means many things . Almost 13years since diagnosis, I am proactive about health concerns. Like my thyroid which gave out year 5 post treatment, I ask for detailed blood work to follow its levels. Low levels caused a little pituitary tumor to pop up! I advocated for a referral to endocrinology. For fun, I go to yoga, teach yoga, play with our one year old dogs, sing, get massage, have friend time. Cancer did give me permission for extreme self care!

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I Have Lynch Syndrome
February 13, 2015
Thank you Georgia for all you do! I went yesterday for my 3rd mammo and ultrasound of my left Breast over the past eight months. I now need an MRI. In March of 2013 I had a lumpectomy (and the next month one on my right) all during the same week of my Lynch Sundrome testing. The left Breast lump was precancerous and has now developed a "lipid" or "oil" cyst along with a new palpable(?) cyst which also needs to be removed. This will make a total of 8 lumpectomies between both breasts since my first Breast Cancer diagnosis in 1992. Yesterday when the BREAST Technician was asking me questions, she said wow you have a lot of different kinds of ...

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
February 12, 2015
Vickie - I'm so glad my words resonated with you. I have found that other people living with cancer are great at allowing me to say what I need to say. Are there any support groups in your area? Also, there are many online communities for those of us with cancer. It is important that you can speak your mind! Best of health to you.

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A Personal Take on Personalized Medicine
February 12, 2015
Donna - six years, that's music to my ears! And you are a fellow ROS1er - how wonderful to meet you! We are a rare bunch. May Xalkori keep going strong for both of us, with new treatments waiting in the wings. Best of health to you!

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A Personal Take on Personalized Medicine
February 12, 2015
Susan - thank you so much for your compliments, but most importantly for supporting your friend and working to raise awareness about lung cancer. I, too, think that exciting things are coming down the pipeline. My goal is to stick around to see them! Best to you!

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 12, 2015
Having always been an "in control" personality, I felt initially strong enough to tackle my cancer head-on 4 years ago. I insisted on the bilateral mastectomy, had clear nodes, felt I could do without chemo and radiation. The odds were explained, and I chose Arimedex, took it for a few months, had terrible boney issues, dropped it. My doctor disapproved, but recognized I had the final say. No cancer detected at present. Four years after my diagnosis, I have other issues...an enlarged liver that my doctor says is normal...my online readings dispute this; I have heart palpitations and dizziness...my doctor says nothing shows up on my scans. I am not the whiney type, but I am unsure as to how much I can ...

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A Personal Take on Personalized Medicine
February 12, 2015
I can totally relate to this. Six years, at the age of 45, I was diagnosed with stage 4 adenocarcinoma that had metastasized to my brain. It later invaded my belly, too. I went through hell with chemo and radiation. I later learned that I won the cancer lottery! I had the same genetic mutation as Tori (we're both mutants) and am virtually cancer-free as a result of Xalkori. Unfortunately, it doesn't cross the blood-brain barrier, but those tumors are stable. I'm grateful and thankful every day! alivehat

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 12, 2015
Suzanna Ausborn: I'm very sorry for the loss of your father. Joining the support group was a very smart thing to do. Cancer is overwhelming and you've had more than your share. Keep reaching out for support. Be good to you and get the help you need to feel better. I'm rooting for you!

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 12, 2015
pam farr: I understand. I've had moments when being a "good girl" came way more easily than being a good patient. In the end though, we have to stand up for ourselves (even by standing up to ourselves.) Perfection is exhausting and doomed to failure. Just be good to you. That is always enough.

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 12, 2015
Smadi Adams: Thank you for your excellent advice. I couldn't have said it any better! I wish you and yours all the best.

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 12, 2015
Judi: It's a struggle, I know. The best I can suggest is to keep doing what works (like volunteering.) If certain support groups don't work for you (and I had that experience too) keep looking for other groups, or other individuals. Don't give up and keep reaching out for whatever you need to heal.

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Who Is This Kevin Berry Guy, Anyway?
February 12, 2015
Sandra, welcome! Please also see my book, Taking Vienna. It's a little dated but covers my whole first (autologous) transplant. The inset on pages 7-10 is something many people have found helpful. My personal blog, www.takingvienna.blogspot.com is, along with this Cure Magazine page, the journey to transplant #2. God Bless you and your husband, and hang in there. There's lots of hope out there!

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 12, 2015
Marsha: Happy Valentine's Day to you too! I've been blogging for four years and I can tell you that there are many, many people who feel like you do. Keep reaching out here at CURE and at other sites, such as WhatNext.com. You can also call the Cancer Hope Network toll-free at 1-800-552-4366, to be matched with a support volunteer who will call you to talk. That emptiness you feel needs to be filled by others who understand. We're out there and we want to talk to you too.

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 12, 2015
Amy Ohm: Good for you! Keep up the good work and thank you for sharing your mission.

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 12, 2015
Cyndi: Thanks for your good advice. I'm a big believer in switching doctors if you aren't comfortable with your care.

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 12, 2015
I was diagnosed May 2014 invasive ductal carcinoma stage 1. My biggest problem has been the side effects of tamoxifen. I feel that my Oncology doctors have not been so concerned because it is stage 1. I had so many problems with my ovaries, that my GYN doctor removed them. Now I think I no longer need tamoxifen, but my oncology doctir doesn't seem too concerned. I feel that I am overreacting. On a side not my oncologist treated my father for 8 years for colorectal cancer; he died Oct 2014. I just feel overwhelmed with cancer. I've joined a support group. I hope this will help

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Who Is This Kevin Berry Guy, Anyway?
February 12, 2015
The timing is perfect. My husband Mike is facing a bone marrow transplant for high risk myelodysplastic syndrome, diagnosed a month ago. It's his only chance to live. Otherwise the doctors said he will die in a little more than 1 year. I have wanted him to read the story of another guy going through the same thing and here you are! Prayer answered.

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 12, 2015
I expect perfection from my self even when fighting stage 3b colon cancer.I showed myself no mercy.

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I Have Lynch Syndrome
February 12, 2015
Well done lovely Georgia. I am so proud of all that you do raising awareness about Lynch Syndrome Worldwide. You know that our beautiful Laura @paperdollybird died as so called medical professionals dint listen to her symptoms, dismissed her and told her "you are too young to have colon cancer" which meant the symptoms were there but they ignored her. aura died just age 31 and I am struggling to cope without my beautiful daughter in my life. We as a family have still not been offered the test for Lynch Syndrome and I am about to undertake steps to rectify this as soon as I am well enough to do so. You know I am so proud of you lovely Georgia and all ...

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 12, 2015
Dear Debbie, Thank you for bringing up this issue. It is often neglected. When you have cancer many people including doctors and family members expect you to subject yourself to any suggested treatment and to be a "good patient" in the sense that you have to be at your best behavior - arrive on time, tolerate lack of respect to yours and accept any medical staf opinion regardless of their expertise or manners. 14 years ago I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer with a metastatic tumor to my brain. We have just moved to the US with our 3 years old daughter and a month before I was diagnosed I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Life was happening for sure. For ...

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 12, 2015
After reading your article, I guess I am not a very good patient. I am still waiting for the cancer to be "over" and can just make it day to day.....even after 2.5 years and 2 types of cancer. I know I am stressing about stress which will make me unwell. I panic at the thought of "getting on with life" only to worry about another cancer happening and starting all over again. I receive care at an excellent facility and even volunteer as a Patient Family Advocate but other survivors I talk to only want to talk about their cancer ad nauseum----not about life after cancer. Is there one right thing to do or not do yo get out of this Catch 22?

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 12, 2015
I was diagnosed in 2013 with Stage III colon cancer. I am divorced and live with 3 old cats, which takes a great deal of patience just to meet their needs. I found myself (during my 12 rounds of chemo treatments) constantly worrying about whether my lab every week, would be good enough to take my next treatment. I worked every day, then would drag myself home, tend to my beloved needy cats, and try not to focus on the lab. Friends would call and ask me if I wanted to do this or that, but mostly I just stayed home and tried to not put myself around anyone who might have a sniffle or cough. My life sucked. I didn't feel all that bad, ...

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 12, 2015
Debbie - thank you for sharing your story! Cancer taught me to start living and in many ways it saved my life. Now I spend my days connecting people to those who share a similar health related experience. Cancer inspired me to do for others! As a survivor and entrepreneur I work tirelessly at my mission to make health social while keeping it private. I glad you are living beyond cancer and thank you again for sharing your experience to help others! If you have an interest in sharing more, I know the folks we support on www.TreatmentDiaries.com will have an interest in learning from you!

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 12, 2015
I learned to be "a good patient" following treatment for a brain tumor. A life health crisis is hard enough w/o having to endure the cold medical sterility of an inner city teaching hospital along with neurosurgical delusions of grandeur. After my surgery and 6 week follow up I transferred my yearly MRI's to my Internist in my home town and felt like I had escaped Auschwitz. Do what is right for yourself, even if it means finding a new Dr. Thank you for this wonderful article. We need to give ourselves permission to protect our emotional well being as well as our bodies. And always, always order copies of your medical records. They told me so many things I would

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A Personal Take on Personalized Medicine
February 12, 2015
Another great blog Tori! As a lung cancer advocate and someone who has lost my best friend to lung cancer and has another dear friend fighting it today, I'm trying to learn all I can as well as follow others' experiences. Your blogs are hearfelt and informative, and I love your writing style. Thanks for sharing! I do beleve we are on the cusp of many new treatments. We just need to keep funding research to get there! Wishing you all the best! I, and so many others, are fighting right alongside you!

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I Have Lynch Syndrome
February 11, 2015
My husband died from Lynch Syndrome diagnosed too late. He was 43. He had been to doctors often before the day he was diagnosed. Last resort was colonoscopy which because of his age was not on the table. After his diagnosis, we visited Philadelphia for a second opinion. My in laws are proactive due to this diagnosis. Thanks for the renewed awareness!

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Who Is This Kevin Berry Guy, Anyway?
February 11, 2015
I will be following your blog during this latest crusade against cancer. Wishing you the very best as you ' go for the cure'!

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A Personal Take on Personalized Medicine
February 11, 2015
Caroline - thank you for taking the time to comment! I enjoy analogies, so I'm glad to hear that they were helpful. Best to you!

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A Personal Take on Personalized Medicine
February 11, 2015
Serena - thank you for the well wishes, and I too hope that this exciting research will open up many more options for all the people living with cancer. Thank you for your comment.

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A Personal Take on Personalized Medicine
February 11, 2015
Thank you for a very well-written post, for breaking down complicated information into terms all can understand, and for your personal testimony. Best wishes to you.

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I Have Lynch Syndrome
February 10, 2015
Thank you Georgia for your tireless advocacy! You connect the dots about hereditary cancer and Lynch Syndrome for so many on a daily basis. It is wonderful to see you and your insight featured in CURE! XO- Amy @BRCAresponder

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A Personal Take on Personalized Medicine
February 10, 2015
Thanks for your thoughtful depiction of your lung Cancer journey. It's a tough row to hoe, and I wish you years of success on your current treatment path, but more importantly I hope that in the next few years the advances in research afford a new world of treatment opportunities to you and the millions in your shoes. Just keep swimming. You've got the magic.

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I Have Lynch Syndrome
February 10, 2015
Fantastic article Georgia! Your strength, resolve and generosity are enormous! I am sure your courage in speaking out about your difficult experiences and journey will serve as inspiration for so many others and solace in their darkest hours. Thank you for sharing yourself with us!

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I Have Lynch Syndrome
February 10, 2015
Wow! Awareness of Lynch Syndrome should be promoted and supported by all medical professionals. Considering the availability of colonoscopies, genetic testing with counseling and many other screening and preventative measures, many lives can be saved. Thanks to Georgia Hurst for trying to bring this awareness to the forefront, many will owe their lives to her.

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I Have Lynch Syndrome
February 10, 2015
I have Lynch Syndrome and I appreciate Georgia's dedication to educating people about Lynch. It is stressful attempting to schedule your screenings, or even having to fight to get them, but the emotional burden of worrying about your health, your family, and what will happen when (yes WHEN) you get cancer can be overwhelming. The more aware that medical professionals are, the less burden the patient needs to shoulder by themselves.

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A Personal Take on Personalized Medicine
February 10, 2015
There has been a lot of talk lately about the personalized medicine revolution and President Obama's initiative to fund precision medicine. We hear about genetic sequencing and analyzing DNA, but what does all of this mean to a cancer patient?

Sit back while I tell you a little story….
 
In May of 2013 I was diagnosed with stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer at the age of 37. No idea why. Since it had already spread from my lung throughout my body, surgery was not an option. Cue the devastation, the panic, the shock.

The plan of action was chemotherapy, and while the side effects were far from fun, I was relieved that at least it was working, and my giant tumor ...

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I Have Lynch Syndrome
February 10, 2015
Georgia, I am sorry to hear about your family losses. Your advocacy is truly selfless. You have provided me with many answers and outlets for information. I look forward to reading more of your articles, and helping in any manner I can. In Health- Alan M. Blassberg

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I Have Lynch Syndrome
February 10, 2015
YES!!!

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 09, 2015
Elaine: Thank you for encouraging us to keep asking questions. It's not easy, but it's the only way to stand up for ourselves and get the answers we need. Take good care.

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 09, 2015
Barbara: I had a unilateral mastectomy. I didn't have a lumpectomy on the advice of my breast surgeon and radiologist due to the diffuse range of micro-calcifications in my breast. I'm also ambivalent about calling stage 0 non-cancer. I had a hard enough time getting support services for the emotional fallout of treatment. A mastectomy is a mastectomy.

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 09, 2015
Jen: I suffer from "good girl" syndrome too. But I called the the next day because I just couldn't live with the outrage and had to do something! I guess that was a form of self-love; I couldn't have lived with myself if I hadn't spoken out. Keep speaking your truth!

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 09, 2015
Barbara W: I can't imagine being in your situation. All I can say is to reiterate that I believe being a good patient means doing the best you can, for yourself, at the moment. I wish you all the best.

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 09, 2015
Michael: It certainly is! I actually thought I could handle it until it became painfully obvious that it was just too much for me.

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I Have Lynch Syndrome
February 09, 2015
My father had colon cancer in his 40s, but fortunately it was caught early and he managed to live into his 70s. Twenty years ago, my oldest brother died at the age of 36 from colon cancer – diagnosed too late to treat. I started to suspect a genetic component to my family’s colon cancer and began having regularly scheduled colonoscopies while in my 20s.
 
A few years ago my other brother developed colon cancer in his late 40s. Fortunately his doctor knew about Lynch syndrome and recommended he be genetically tested. He tested positive – since each child of a parent with Lynch syndrome has a 50/50 chance of inheritance, I underwent genetic counseling followed by testing. I have Lynch syndrome, too, but ...

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 09, 2015
Deb, The definition of a "good patient" can mean so many things. I do all the dutiful things like arrive early as asked and then wait well past my scheduled time. Oh, yes, life happens. This is my third year recovering from a mastectomy and dealing with post mastectomy pain. I know that I have to be an advocate for my self, otherwise, concern does not get addressed. I am a retired ICU nurse with 30 years experience so I do know what we are all dealing with at times. I have had to be fairly aggressive to get my questions answered, because if I am not, I continue to get the responses like "dear, you have been through so ...

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 09, 2015
You can answer this in private if you wish, but two things in your article were unclear. Why did you have a mastectomy instead of a lumpectomy? I have heard some fellow cancer patients choose mastectomy for stage 0 just so they don't have to worry about it (so to speak). But that is not your situation. I am not clear if you went in for a bilateral mammogram or a mammogram of the other breast. If one has a mastectomy how could you even have a mammogram on that side? I am sure you are aware some would like to rename stage 0 with some other name besides cancer. I get really frustrated when I read such articles - like changing the name would

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 09, 2015
oh, your story made me cringe, been there many times. I dealt with a compassionless radiology office - and I tolerated it as a "good patient". I realized that I didn't want anyone else to go through what I was, and it was my purpose to correct this mistreatment. I am still learning to speak up for myself. I'm way to compassionate and empathic - and hate to make waves. I'm the perpetual 'good girl' which really made being a patient very hard work. At this point, the hard work of being good to myself continues. I still have all kinds of issues due to cancer treatment, and from redirecting my journey. The balance I find is speaking my truth in love

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 09, 2015
I am a constant patient since my initial breast cancer diagnosis of Stage IV 3 1/2 years ago. Being a good patient to many physicians means asking no questions, taking very little of their time, and doing what they think is best regardless of its ripple effect on the rest of your life and health. Unfortunately, there is no life after treatment for me, and the other 30% of breast cancer patients who develop metastatic breast cancer after successfully completing treatment for their original breast cancer. We will continue to be patients receiving treatment for our cancer until the day we die from cancer. As the side effects accumulate, and the number of medical appointments and medical bills increase, it becomes ...

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 09, 2015
It is hard enough teaching a teenager to drive without having to deal with cancer.

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Who Is This Kevin Berry Guy, Anyway?
February 06, 2015
Dear Kevin: You are aninspiration to all of us. You have also made a mark on my son forever. You are in our prayers for a most speedy recovery. Sincerely : Barry S. Kramer (Ians Dad)

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 06, 2015
You go, Grace! Thanks so much for sharing your story and reminding us that we decide when and if we're ready to quit. Love the attitude! Walk on!

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 06, 2015
Thanks for writing the article about "what it takes...". I am battling breast cancer for the second time, HER2/neu and estrogen positive. The Herceptin I took after the first episode of treatment for my stage 3A caused my heart function to diminish from an ejection fraction (EF) of 60% down to 23%. I am now in my 3rd year of treatment for this episode, after being cancer free for 6 years, and I still say, "Bring it on". What else is there to say? I sometimes don't feel that positive - some days I can only focus on what I call, "Lifus Interuptness". Because it seems that at every turn there is something else to do. Everyone wants ...

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Who Is This Kevin Berry Guy, Anyway?
February 05, 2015
Tori, thanks. Nicki, unfortunately, but maybe part of The Plan, Taking Vienna II is in work, my project while in the hospital. Thank you for your nice comments and and I'm so glad you are back on the right side of things again!

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Who Is This Kevin Berry Guy, Anyway?
February 05, 2015
i love your Taking Vienna book! Jordan led me to your story as I was embarking on my own Cancer journey in 2011. It gave me direction and the courage to go through my second adventure with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation after being cured of Hodgkins Disease for 34 years. I have given your book out several times since I first read it in 2011. You are an amazing writer with such compassion and real life experience. This makes your ministry important to so many people, especially men with cancer no matter what kind. Thank you for sharing your heart with everyone I am praying for a successful transplant .I know God is not done with you yet!

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Holistic Nutrition
February 05, 2015
My husband was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer in 2012. As his Caregiver, I immediately went into researching what would complement his Chemo treatments to help his body fight this nasty disease better. We are very lucky in that his Doctor is open to alternative medicine and eating properly of course. When he lost 37 lbs. and could not eat, we had to resort to MM. This helped turn his situation around. We also used Rebecca Katz' FASS program to change the taste of food on the spot for his never-ending changing taste buds during mealtime. I learned that there are so many herbs and spices that can assist with the side effects during this battle. I ...

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What it Takes to be a Good Patient
February 05, 2015
It’s not easy to be good at something you hate, especially when it comes to being a patient.

Having lived through two miscarriages and infertility before cancer hit, I had basic skills. I knew how to show up (on time) for appointments, wait patiently no matter how long it took, honestly answer questions and listen intently.

But cancer took being a patient to a whole new level. There was a new language, not much time to learn it, and much more on the line, like the two children we now had to worry about.

Being older and more experienced than I was when we struggled with infertility helped. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I was somehow able to stop my breast ...

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Who Is This Kevin Berry Guy, Anyway?
February 05, 2015
Hi Kevin, welcome to the CURE family! It sounds like you have quite a lot to offer and I look forward to reading more from you. Best of luck with the bone marrow transplant.

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When Cancer Gets Political
February 05, 2015
I'm trying to figure out the best way to get involved to speed up FDA approval of PRRT, (Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy,) for metastatic Neuroendocrine Cancer/Carcinoid Syndrome. Available inexpensively for almost twenty years in Europe, this promising treatment is just recently being given in randomized clinical trials here in the US. It is very costly to get this targeted radiation IV medication in Europe, and patients are forced to choose other treatments that are potentially more harmful, but covered by insurance here, or to go to Europe at a cost of about $15,000.00 per treatment, (usually about four treatments are involved.) So frustrating!!! Some patients most definitely don't have the time to wait while the FDA makes the scientists, docs, drug companies and

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Nutrigenomics: Food as Medicine
February 05, 2015
In searching for good foods for rebuilding of the liver, nutrition services would only talk to us about general good food for good health. Good info. but I was frustrated. With more independent research I learned about garlic and cumin and a few other foods that can help re-build the liver after resection. Nutritionists can be healers and not just good nutritionists!

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Who Is This Kevin Berry Guy, Anyway?
February 04, 2015
I'm so happy to be invited to be part of the CURE family, and given the chance to share my battle, and what I've learned fighting it, with so many new friends. In my writing I try to balance humor with serious information, personal experience with fact-based advice, and faith with worldly reality.

I am, in no particular order, a husband, father, grandfather, Christian, writer, rocket geek, home improvement hostage, fighter of robots, runner, engineer, lover of art, project manager, woodworker, public speaker, patient advocate, cancer survivor, Sunday school teacher, soccer coach, neighborhood parent, tutor, and in no particular order. Expanding a bit, I've been married 30 years to a wonderful woman. We have four adult children and a one-year-old grandson, along with a ...

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
February 04, 2015
Linda: Thank you for sharing your story. I'm glad you found the key to your happiness and continued healing. Keep praying and enjoying today!!

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
February 04, 2015
Dear Debbie, Thank you for your column on the emotional fallout of life after cancer. I am a 3 year breast cancer survivor. I would not wish the physical pain of cancer and chemo on my worst enemy. However, the emotional healing was actually much tougher for me. I had lost a twin sister and her husband to cancer one year earlier and three small children in our rural community had recently lost their lives to cancer. I felt so guilty for beating cancer that I could hardly face my family (especially their two teenage children & even my mom) and the family of my friends who had lost their 3 children. I did not feel thankful that I ...

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
February 04, 2015
OMG. This is so true. Have so wanted to just let it out. But have always felt there is nobody I can do that with. Too worried about upsetting everybody. So tired of being the strong one for everybody else. Have wished for somebody I could talk with without having to worry about upsetting them. But know of no one safe enough to talk to about it.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
February 03, 2015
Jennifer: Good for you for finally taking care of yourself! You're on the road to healing by living authentically and I'm so happy for you.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
February 03, 2015
I made the mistake of hiding my emotions - being brave and powering through. I didn't know any better. So, people thought I was "fine" even though I was bald, sick, and having a zillion complications. I never took time off. I took care of everyone else. when it was "over", I fell apart. Now all the stuff I didn't process is catching up with me. And the side effects of treatment are a constant struggle in my life. But I LOOK fine. I can ACT fine. I'm starting to live an authentic life, finally. I don't want to be a drama queen, but I'm honest. And learning to take care of myself. finally!

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When Cancer Gets Political
February 03, 2015
Thanks, Craig. I am so glad the trial is working for you. Yeah, us mutants are counting on this stuff! Thanks for sharing the petition.

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Nutrigenomics: Food as Medicine
February 03, 2015
During last Tuesday’s 2015 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama reminded us of the importance of personalized medicineThe White House Office of Sciences associate director, Jo Handelsman, describes precision medicine as “an emerging approach to promoting health and treating disease that takes into account individual differences in people’s genes, environments and lifestyles.”1  

We’ve also heard from CURE,2 how precision medicine is a model in which a treatment plan is based on an individual’s genetic characteristics and tumor genetics. This, in place of a cookie-cutter approach to treatment that can be very effective for some but very limited for others. Cancer treatment has entered this new model as patients with breast, lung, colorectal cancers and melanoma routinely undergo DNA testing as part of their care enabling their physicians ...

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When Cancer Gets Political
February 03, 2015
Tori, very well written. I can see why CURE asked you to write this regular column. If it wasn't for Tarceva and AZD9291, I might not be around. Already signed the petition and shared it to my Facebook buds. Take care.

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
February 02, 2015
Tommie - I agree that it is belittling to essentially be told that your feelings are incorrect. I also think the intentions behind it are good - "stay hopeful" - but it can feel a lot like they are shutting you down. Thanks for chiming in!

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
February 02, 2015
Irmone - I'm so sorry that you could relate so much to this. It is an unfair burden to put on those already dealing with such a struggle. Thankfully, it sounds like you found others who would let you speak out. Beautiful name, by the way!

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
February 02, 2015
Kimberly - I totally agree. When I was diagnosed with childhood cancer, I was immediately assigned a child life specialist and social worker. My emotional health was viewed as equally important as my physical health. Somehow, this doesn't seem to carry over to adult oncology.

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When Cancer Gets Political
February 02, 2015
Thank YOU, Kristin!

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When Cancer Gets Political
February 02, 2015
Just signed. Thank you for this post, Tori!

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When Cancer Gets Political
February 02, 2015
When you get a cancer diagnosis, your whole world flips upside down. Your focus shifts to treatments, side effects, scans and statistics. Sometimes, however, politics creep in.

The Food and Drug Administration has just announced that it plans to begin a new level of oversight for laboratory developed tests (LDTs). I, and many others with cancer, think this is a terrible idea.

But wait, you say, isn't FDA oversight a good thing? We all want to stay safe!

Absolutely! I want to know that I am safe, and oversight is necessary and beneficial!
 
However, there already is oversight. These laboratories currently undergo a certification process by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, as well as other accreditation agencies. This ...

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Holistic Nutrition
February 02, 2015
Thank you all for your thoughtful comments. It's heartening to see how we are all in this together despite having individual journeys. In future posts, I plan to get more specific and detailed about food/nutrition recommendations. To answer Mr. Lewis' question I brief, I recommend a variety of vegetables including brassica, fruits including berries, minimally processed whole grains (brain may or may not count), legumes, nuts/seeds, healthy fats including fish, all kinds of mushrooms, herbs, spices, teas and lean proteins. Variety is key. Try one new item a week! More to come.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
February 02, 2015
Shalini gavankar: I hope it helps you too. Good luck and all the best.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
February 02, 2015
Thank you Ranetta for your words of wisdom. Life really is too short. I'm thrilled that you've found a place of compassion and support and thank you for your kind words. All the best.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
February 02, 2015
Cheryl Eddy: I'm so impressed with your ability to figure out what you need and make it happen. Thank you for your wonderful example of perseverance. I'm so glad you found a supportive place to land. Good luck to you and your "club."

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
February 02, 2015
No one understands what you went through &astilbe going through .I have colon ca since 2012 they say I am out of danger but it comes back at least you were lucky now I am on oral chemo hope it will help me

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
February 02, 2015
This is a very good subject. I vented about it often right after diagnosis. At that time Robin (Today Show) had just been diagnosed also and she smiled so much while in public that it made my face hurt. And it kind of insulted me and made me feel that my feelings of terror were somehow unfounded. I do believe that the general public and even some close friends want to give you a sense of hope, but there is not a cut and dried formula for that and consequently they end of making the situation worse by demanding you overcome the fear and the difficult situation you have now found yourself in. "Mustn't have a sad moment, mustn't cry or ...

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Escaping the Shadow
February 01, 2015
You have another reason to live, Janet. At the very least all your friends and confolk will miss you. I will particularly miss your Firm moderating techniques!

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
February 01, 2015
I totally agree as I had found very frustrating when people would tell me to be positive when I was trying to let them know of my discomfort. If I shared my feelings some people would think it as being negative and I would feel insulted that they would take my real pain and discomfort for negativity on my part. They did not know how to deal with me therefore it was easier for them to dismiss what I was going through. I had to change my friends and get close to other survivors who could relate to me.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
February 01, 2015
January 28th was my 4 year anniversary since my Multiple Myeloma diagnosis. I have not had a stem cell transplant so I have not ever been in remission. Because of that, I think it is easier to "live with cancer". It just is and I don't have to worry about the other shoe dropping because they are both on the floor. I was forced out of a job that I held for 8 years when I had to start treatment again in September 2013 because they didn't want to deal with it. They didn't want me to cost them any more money and I felt guilty for being sick. I couldn't even get unemployment because the agency wouldn't believe what ...

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
February 01, 2015
Great job. Medicine also expects to just give you a pill for it. You need someone to talk to, not just take a pill. Palliative care is pushing back to begin at diagnosis of cancer - not at the end of life. Treatments have so many side effects and no one ever seems to address the psychosocial issues that go along with these scary diseases. Everyone needs to teach the MDs that adds that extra layer of support for the patient. I sure could have used them with my mother.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
February 01, 2015
I was diagnosed 3-1/2 years ago with Stage 3 ER/PR breast cancer and then again, 7 months ago, with Stage 1A uterine cancer. I feel quite a bit of pressure to "get over myself" from all directions - family, friends, co-workers and even some of the medical team. The breast cancer support group was even disbanded in the hospital where I was treated for the reason that most women don't need support after two years. We went "rogue" for almost a year, meeting in restaurants and cafes until we found a new home at Cancer Support Community. We have members with 0 - 14 years survivals of all stages. We need the connection and the hope and to listen and be listened to others ...

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Holistic Nutrition
January 31, 2015
I am elated to see someone willing to speak out about cancer and nutrition. Way too many medical professionals simply say, "All things in moderation." Most docs don't have the training or interest in nutrition - they seem to consider nutrition meeting the caloric needs so that the patient does not lose weight. When I was first diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer I lost 30 pounds and for some reason I was the only one concerned about this. Eventually after asking repeatedly about seeing a nutritionist I was referred to a woman who could say nothing other than Ensure and Boost. I tried to tell her that I was interested in getting the calories while eating whole foods and she ...

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My Pity Party
January 31, 2015
Hang in there Carrie. Seventeen years ago I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer when my only child was just about to turn 2. I was 40. Five years ago, I was coughing, wheezing and had shortness of breath. My cancer has spread to the lining of my right lung. I can totally relate to your struggle to help normalize things for your son. My cousin came to stay with me early on in my struggle. She was bathing my daughter one evening and my two year old started screaming "Mommy do". Even at 19, my two year old words still resonate in my head. I got up and finished the bath and she was happy. Every night for about three months, I ...

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 30, 2015
Alice - thank you for your comment, and I'm so sorry to hear that you have joined our "club." The first month I was still in a daze, so I hope you are doing alright. There is an active lung cancer community on twitter (#lcsm) if you are interested in hearing from others in this same boat. Also, I hope they have tested your tumor for mutations. Here is more info on that: http://dontguesstestlungcancer.com/ Best of health to you.

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 30, 2015
Leslie - thank you for your comment, and I am so glad it helped you. Feel free to pass it along to the people in your life who think you need to be positive all the time. Maybe they never considered what it feels like from your perspective. I hope chemo treats you okay and knocks out that cancer.

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 30, 2015
Mary Koral - the fear of pity is a great point. It is why I sometimes hesitate to bring up my cancer in a conversation; I know it will change the way that person sees me. However, sometimes it can open up a deeper, richer conversation that I might not have otherwise had. Thanks for your comment!

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 30, 2015
Susan - I hear ya. The chronic nature of stage IV is exhausting, and I've only been at it for a year and a half. Six years for you so far - wow! Keep going! And vent all you want!

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 30, 2015
Sue Beem: Speaking specifically about women, isn't it usually the way that we seek out other women to help us process our lives (children, relationships, work, etc.?) Why wouldn't we do the same to come to grips with cancer? There's no shame in talking about our lives and cancer, unfortunately, is a major part of the mix. Thanks for your suggestions.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 30, 2015
Veter: Journaling is a great suggestion. If loved ones can't handle the truth, it's that much more imperative to find patient/survivors who can. I haven't met anyone who hasn't benefited from finding a circle of friends who get it (even if that's just one other person.)

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 30, 2015
Dear Debbie, thank you for giving women the advice to take their own time in emotional healing and that sharing the truth lets you connect on a deeper level with friends. For many women treated for breast cancer, life has changed significantly and part of emotional healing is grieving for that former life, even if it meant leaving some good things behind. Finding a group of survivors is key (a call to American Cancer Society can help in finding one in your area or they have on-line groups). Professional counseling can also help with nagging negative thoughts.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 30, 2015
But yes.. we will never be the same, and thanks for putting that in writing.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 30, 2015
Nobody wants to hear you telling the truth. It also stresses out your family further... If you can have a therapist, that is good, but keep it to yourself otherwise or write a journal...

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 30, 2015
I just wanted to let everyone know that a friend of a cancer patient just left a comment at my website on this subject. Her perspective is so interesting because she was completely ignorant of cancer, but has learned so much from the experience of her friend. So many of us, including our caregivers, are living in the trenches. It's makes all the difference to know we're not there alone. You can find the article at http://www.wherewegonow.com/debbies-blog/how-cope-pressure-be-over-cancer

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 30, 2015
Wanda Leung: I strongly believe in the power of giving back. It creates a beautiful healing circle that benefits everyone. Keep up the good work!

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 30, 2015
Thank you for such a great article Debbie, very inspirational. I am a breast cancer survivor for 12 years now and counting. I was diagnosed with breast cancer (DCIS) stage zero when I was 42 years old. Even though it was an early stage, I had mastectomy on the right breast and a total hysterectomy 6 months later. The pathologist report from the hysterectomy showed a full bloom of ovarian cancer 5 years later if I didn’t make that decision. Of course, prior to that I had 2 other opinions from 2 oncologists GYNs. It was a very low moment in my life, shot up to menopause at age 42. Cancer world is never a place where any one would like to be ...

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 30, 2015
Thank you for such a great article Debbie, very inspirational. I am a breast cancer survivor for 12 years now and counting. I was diagnosed with breast cancer (DCIS) stage zero when I was 42 years old. Even though it was an early stage, I had mastectomy on the right breast and a total hysterectomy 6 months later. The pathologist report from the hysterectomy showed a full bloom of ovarian cancer 5 years later if I didn’t make that decision. Of course, prior to that I had 2 other opinions from 2 oncologists GYNs. It was a very low moment in my life, shot up to menopause at age 42. Cancer world is never a place where any one would like to be ...

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 30, 2015
Paula: Thank you for sharing how you've found the strength to cope with very trying circumstances. Blessings to you and your family.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 30, 2015
Oh, Brenda, thank you so much! You've brought tears to my eyes. I'm so moved that my article, website and books help you heal! There is absolutely NO reason to be ashamed of your feelings and I'm proud to help you cope with the pressure to be over cancer. Please stay in touch at WhereWeGoNow.com.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 30, 2015
Thank you for your article. I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast CA in September of 2011. I was so blessed in that when I went to a breast specialist, her radiologist found my CA on my OLD MAMMOGRAMS. I had a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation and now am taking Arimidex. With great support from family and friends, I survived all the treatment and by January of 2013 was exercising, getting my energy back and doing pretty well, My constant motto was "I am so very blessed!" Then in December of 2013 my husband of 48 years began not feeling well. In February he was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer with metastasis to his brain. I ...

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 30, 2015
Wanda Leung: Thank you so much for letting me know my article inspired you. "Cruel" is certainly the right word for it and I wish you better health and peace as you wrangle the demon.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 30, 2015
merrille mason: I'm very sorry for the loss of your husband. It touches my heart to know my article has helped you, and others, know that you're not alone and certainly not crazy. I wish you all the best as you persevere.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 30, 2015
This was a huge help to me! Here I've been thinking that I should be ashamed- having finished chemo and radiation treatments 2 /12 years ago for stage 3A invasive ductal breast cancer with lymph node involvement- of having an extended "pity party". I'm missing a breast, have a reconstructed breast with a failed nipple surgery due to damage from radiation, continue to have side effects from the Taxol and daily have hip joint pain and stiffness from the Arimidex. I have a 29% chance of recurrence and am always waiting for that shoe to drop. I still feel ugly because of the mismatched breasts I have along with all the weight I've gained to make myself feel better. Don't ...

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 30, 2015
Rachel L: You are definitely NOT going crazy. Even with better than expected physical results, there is still so much about cancer that affects us emotionally. I'm glad you've approached healing, both physically and mentally, proactively. Keep it up and thank you for joining our discussion.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 30, 2015
Tess: Thank you for telling the truth about living with cancer. It is the elephant in the room (even if we're the only one who sees it!) All the best as you live your best, productive life.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 30, 2015
I am a 12 years breast cancer survivor, it is not easy to fight off the monster in the past, the recurrance has always been on my mind. It was DCIS stage 0, but it was very aggressive. Cost me a mastectomy on my right breast and 6 months later a total hysterictomy. Shot up to menapouse at age 43. It was very cruel because at that time, no one wants to hear that I am having another surgery. No one understands our world, and now there are so many people being diagonised with different type of cancers.....they all come to me for support........... loved your article Debbie. very inspirational.

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Overcoming the Mental Battle of Metastatic Cancer
January 30, 2015
mbc is not a death sentence or is it - I try and stay away from web sites what is said depresses me - negative overtunes

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 30, 2015
I am a four year survivor of stage 4 non Hodgkin's lymphoma I am relieved and a little more relaxed and hopeful that I won't have to have another cat scan again or PET scan but the chemo has left me immune compromised so I have to go for IV therapy for immune globulin every 4 weeks I'm now starting my seventh year dealing with this disease so yes it's never really over and thank you for letting us know I'm not crazy and I'm not the only one who feels stressed about over cancer. I am also a police widow since 2003 and i have dealt with the loss of my soulmate and still have not honestly found sure footing. Thank you

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 29, 2015
I am so glad I am reading so many people with similar feeling. Stage 4, NSCLC found out a month ago. I am thankful there are you that has been fighting for so many years. Fight on.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Last year was an eventful one with bilateral mastectomy in January, chemotherapy from February to June, and radiation during July and August. I lost my job after twenty-five years. I knew what needed to be done, and I did it. I went to physical therapy for about 3 months including work on mental skills for a month. I joined a Survivor Fit program and started working out at the YMCA. I was working on the physical and mental aspects of recovery. However, the emotions started to hit. No one warned me about this. Yes, I had a lot to be upset about, but it continued. I was discharged from physical therapy in November and was still having ...

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
I can remember my first 2-3 years being in remission and it was worse than actually having the cancer. Every little cough, sneeze, ache had to be a new symptom. It was so stressful and overwhelming. Even now being 7 years in remission, officially considered "cured" I still break into panic when a lump forms or feel something is off about my body. It seems like remission or even being cured is like were in a waiting pen, our anxieties and worries surround us and were unable to remove ourselves from that pen. Don't get me wrong, some days even weeks go by without thinking about it but it is always that elephant in the room. Another factor to consider is everyone's reaction to our ...

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 29, 2015
i just wanted to thank you for writing this article. You said exactly what I wish everyone in my life could hear. I am a cancer patient. I cannot always be positive! And all the positive thoughts in the world don't change the fact that I'm on chemo... and chemo makes me sick. Would they be positive if they chronically had the flu? Thank you for your words.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
I'm sorry Tony, that's a bad break. Cancer affects caregivers every bit as much as it does patients/survivors.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
My wife left me 6months after her battle with colon cancer which she won. She could not be with me since I reminded her that if she would have gotten a colonoscopy as I suggested for years she would not have gotten the colon cancer. She needed to get any reminder out her view.I was that reminder.

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 29, 2015
Oh Yeah!!! Part of putting on a happy face, at least for me, is the fear of pity, of losing my ticket to humanity, which right now, feels sort of tattered like I lost in the bottom of my backpack and it got crushed and then my water bottle leaked all over it. I think this is a blog about balance. You are a positive person for sure. But. You are a PERSON. You get scared and lost and, well I do not need to elaborate. You know that all too well. Email me anytime. I am a good person to vent to. I often worry that I overuse Ken. He is the only one I really vent to.

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 29, 2015
Boy am I glad to read your article! I think my family and friends are very tired of cancer and only want "good" reports and no discussion of cancer. I've been living with Stage 4 for 6 years and have kept on the upbeat face for a long time and been an advocate until recently. I'm tired of cancer too! ,

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 29, 2015
Mary - progression is scary, no doubt about it. Do you have the EGFR mutation? You might want to check out the LCSM (lung cancer social media) website, that maintains a list of bloggers with lung cancer. It includes information about their mutation status, so you could read about others on Tarceva. http://lcsmchat.com/lung-cancer-resources/lung-cancer-blogs/ Take a deep breath. Accept those hugs - I'm sending my own virtual one to you right now!

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 29, 2015
Anita - I love the way you said this: "Everyone else is exactly like us, with a prognosis that they are going to live only until they die, but it's a lot easier for people without a terminal diagnosis to look past that fact. We cannot." This is so true, and one of the hardest things for me has been that loss of innocence. I can no longer look past that fact that death is coming for all of us. Thank you for your thoughtful reply. Best of heath to you in your lung cancer journey!

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Rita Miracle: In my book, You Can Thrive After Treatment, two of my 10 simple secrets to creating inspired healing, wellness and live out loud joy after cancer are "give back" and "practice gratitude." You're definitely on to something by counting your blessings and volunteering. Thank you for joining the conversation.

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 29, 2015
Thank you, Tori. I just returned from getting unsettling news. I'm a never smoker who's been receiving Alimta every 3 wks for 3.5 yrs, My lung cancer has increased and I am advised to begin Tarceva. (Need to reflect on that a while) .... When another patient in the chemo room saw me 'tear up' today, she (& her drip) came over to me, said "you need a hug", wished me well & told me she's s been on weekly chemo for 5 years. I went on line, found your blog and signed right up! I know your reflections will be a great help to me. Thanks for all the positives you are passing on to our fellow patients.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
I am a 7 year breast cancer survivor. Dense breast cancer undetected for over 10 years. Was in both breast and lymph node involvement. Dose dense chemo, bilateral mastectomies and radiation. Tried to remain positive throughout the whole ordeal. Had the best support from husband and family as well as friends, coworkers and church family. I felt blessed. I developed most of the side effects including neuropathy that didn't go away. I pushed through the discomfort and weakness and worked throughout treatment. I was so weak at the end of radiation I had to take a month off to try to recuperate. I continued to work and even went to part time because the neuropathy ...

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Kate: One of the most important things we can do to heal is own and tell our stories. I'm honored to be part of this opportunity to do exactly that. Your ability to accept your story is inspiring and I thank you for sharing your perspective.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Debbie, this is so important. Thank you for bringing this out and giving people a pass on the pressure. I see that nearly every comment includes a story. People need to tell their truth wherever they can with an understanding audience, because we're surrounded by those who would like to disown it We all have been so totally changed by our diagnoses and treatments, that we're quite unrecognizable to ourselves, compared with our lives before. But those looking at us don't often realize that. It's understandable; we carry the experience and the feelings. We are changed and they want to erase what has happened. I know I will never be the same. What makes my life easier these days is that I've stopped ...

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 29, 2015
I'm being very open with the world about my stage iV NSCLC, including delivering a sermon about my experience on March 1. I smile when people tell me I'm brave, but I'm not, I'm very scared. I also practice mindfulness meditation, so the bookend to my fear is my belief that right now, in this exact moment, I can escape fear and be at peace. Everyone else is exactly like us, with a prognosis that they are going to live only until they die, but it's a lot easier for people without a terminal diagnosis to look past that fact. We cannot. And coming to grips with that reality is going to involve some tears and some fervent cussing. Thanks for writing this. I'm with ...

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Good for you, Meg. Live life beyond cancer on your own terms! Thanks so much for joining the conversation.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Evelyn: I hope you know from reading all these comments that you are not alone. Of course you're tired. You've been through the wringer. Take care of yourself and keep sharing. We're all here for you.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
It's been a little over 10 years that I had my surgery for breast cancer. I get checked every six months. A month or so before that check I still get nervous. I don't think the effects of cancer ever leave us. There is always that fear that it will return. Cancer steals more than our physical lives, it steals our peace and security. I do my best not to dwell on the what if most of the time. I refuse to give cancer all my power.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
I had been 3 and 1/2 yr from having a double mastectomy and had surgery chemo radiation and Hercepin. I still find I don't have the energy I once had even though my labs are good. I feel like I am the only one as a lot of people feel I can't be fatigued as I am cured.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Sherry: Wow, I got tired reading your comment! The bottom line is that you're a victim of your own success. You've kept it going so well that everyone is happy to believe it is easy. I found that telling a few specific people I could trust the cold, hard truth about my struggle really helped. As for the rest of them, they will never understand anyway. Oh, and please get some rest!!

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Mary: I'm inspired by your honesty and compassion. I wish you all the best as you live every moment to the fullest.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
I'm 3 years out, I've had stage 1, being bilateral mastectomy with immediate NS/SS DIEP flap reconstruction, 6 weeks later I had 4 rounds of chemo, 6 weeks after chemo Stage 2 revisions, and was put on Tamoxifen (the little white pill from hell, sorry for the language). Last year I had a low ankle sprain 3 weeks later I had a high ankle sprain on the same ankle and was in a boot for 7 weeks, then in November I had to have a total hysterectomy (with ovary removal) because of the Tamoxifen and I have to be on that for a total of 10 years. I now have problems with my potassium levels being low, my triglycerides being ...

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Mary stewart: Thank you for reminding us how important it is to appreciate every moment. You're in my thoughts.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Kathy: I'm thrilled my article showed up in your inbox just when you needed it! Thank you for being part of the discussion and sharing your story. I'm so glad you feel you're on the right path. Keep up the great work and keep reading! If you're interested, check out my website at WhereWeGoNow.com.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
I've recently been told my cancer has returned again and there is no longer any effective therapy to help me. The best thing to do is to live my life as fully as possible now. When talking to family and friends about my feelings, I have found that it's helpful to clarify that the feelings I'm talking to them about change from day to day and what they're hearing from me re: my feelings may not be true tomorrow. It helps them not feel overwhelmed with what I'm telling them and for me, I've found that they find it easier to deal with what I'm telling them.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Debra: I am a Stage 0 survivor also, so I know exactly what you're talking about. I had a lot of medical people using words like "only," "just," and "lucky" too. Of course, I am very lucky and I know it, but wrapping your head around cancer is difficult for anyone (especially when it first hits.) I'm glad your mom and therapist are there for you.

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 29, 2015
Kathy - I'm so glad that my post resonated with you. "It is not my responsibility to make others feel good about it." Exactly! Thank goodness we have people in our lives who let us speak our minds! Best of health!

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 29, 2015
JoAnne - I'm glad you have someone who lets you talk about your fears. I too am anxious for the medical world to make new discoveries, I am counting on them keeping ahead of my cancer! Thank you for commenting, and I am touched that I could make you feel less alone. Reaching out to others has helped me tremendously. Best of health to you!

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Then there are those of us with incurable cancer who do not fear reoccurance because we live with it every day,. It is exhausting at times, and frustrating for people in our lives because they want us tomove on and not dwell on it but it is very much a part of who we are, in my case it is neuruoendocrine cancer with heavy liver involvement. On the bright side it makes me appreciate each moment,

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 29, 2015
THANK YOU! I treasure the people who will let me be me....sometimes laughing, sometimes crying, sometimes other emotions. I quickly learned after my Stage II breast cancer diagnosis that many folks expect me to be happy and confident. Well, often I'm not. Let's face it. Cancer sucks. Really sucks. It is not my responsibility to make others feel good about it. I don't have to wear lots of pink crap to make people aware of cancer. What moron isn't aware of cancer, breast or other types??? I'm not happy about fatigue, neuropathy, chemobrain, etc that prevent my working. I'm not happy to be on disability (but am grateful I have the insurance....many aren't

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
What a timely article! I am 2-1/2 years out from my diagnosis of Stage II breast cancer. Through the "active" treatment phase (surgeries, chemo and Herceptin), I was so sick physically that I didn't think about the emotional aspects of this disease. About a year after that experience, I had a nervous breakdown. I've stumbled through that now for nearly a year. I'm being treated at one of the country's leading cancer research centers, and have outstanding doctors, but the psychological aspects of this disease aren't dealt with. I finally found a psychologist with another local oncology practice, and am seeing her regularly. This is helping; I've had two visits, but think I'm on the right path with ...

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 29, 2015
Tori, I love your blog! I, too, am battling non-small celled lung cancer. I am 67, but I was diagnosed in Feb. 2010 at 62. I have never been fearful, but I have been impatient with the medical world for taking (in my mind) too long to do all that's necessary (in my mind). I am sad at odd, private moments thinking about what I might miss as my grandchildren grow up and become citizens of the world. My husband allows and encourages those moments so we can deal with our own sadness about our marriage and time spent together. Thanks for making me feel just a little less alone!

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 29, 2015
Cyd - I'm so sorry to hear about your husband. I hope his memory brings you some peace, and thank you for caring for him. I am also stage IV NSCLC, and so far I am doing well on a targeted medicine for the mutation driving my cancer (ROS1). I have scans coming up at the end of February and I'm already feeling the scanxiety creeping in. Thank you for commenting, and I hope you are doing well.

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 29, 2015
My husband had non small cell lung cancer, stage 4, and unfortunately passed away 3 years ago at age 57. He never smoked. I look forward to reading your articles. I am happy to share what I can with you. Your in my thoughts. Cyd

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
I was "blessed" to be a stage 0 breast cancer survivor. And although I am glad mine was caught on a mammogram and have a 97% survival rate, I am only 44 and I work in the medical field and taken care of people who had these cancer odds and are no longer walking this earth. In my head I still had CANCER. I am an optimist person but I won't ever "be over" having cancer. It is less raw than 6 months ago, but I haven't had my follow up mammogram yet. Medical people have been the worst - since I am a stage 0 why am I even talking about it? "your treatment is over" you only on Tamoxifen. Others

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Thank you Claudia for letting us know what worked for you. Continued blessings!

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
After a diagnosis, surgery, chemo. radiation -- no one is there to tell you what to do. Fortunately, I never got sick from any of the treatments and was still able to work out(lightly). However,(after completion of treatment) I didn't know what to eat, what supplements to take, if I could still have an occasional glass of wine, when the tumor would come back, what, if anything could I do or take to prevent a recurrence, etc, etc. I sought out an alternative doctor who helped me tremendously. I had extensive blood work, which then enabled the dr. to tell me: what supplements I needed; what kind of exercise program I should be on; what foods/meals are the best for me and what to ...

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 29, 2015
annon12345 - YES! That bizarre, reverse, blame-the-patient stuff makes me crazy! And it is so false. I have known far too many lovely people who have died from this disease, and many of them had very positive outlooks.

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 29, 2015
Stacy - I love that comeback! "There ain't nothing positive about having lung cancer." I may have to use that one!

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 29, 2015
Thank you, Marcie, that's a great point that a person's emotions change all the time. I feel very lucky to have some friends who are fine with me being as straightforward and blunt an I need to be. I don't blame those who don't like to hear negative thoughts, I just think they aren't ready to face difficult possibilities. As Jo said in her comment, people use denial as a means of defense.

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 29, 2015
Kathy - I'm so glad you felt free to express your emotions. I agree that it makes you stronger in the end. Thank you so much for being there for your husband. Caregivers are just amazing.

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 29, 2015
Melodye - get a grip indeed! We have to "feel our feelings" as the saying goes. And I've never done well being told what I am "supposed to" do. :)

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 29, 2015
Pilgrim - thank you. I thank my lucky stars every day that I have my husband by my side during all this. Best of health to YOU as well, my fellow stage IV.

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 29, 2015
Denise - I love that! I am POSITIVE that cancer sucks!

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 29, 2015
Jo - I think you are right that the people around us sometimes prefer to just deny that anything is wrong. This is a lot to deal with, so I understand that sentiment! But if you keep it bottled up, it can end up ruining the good times as well. Thanks for your comment.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
My pleasure, Pat. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Here's to getting healthier, stronger and focused on ruling your own life! Bravo!

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Thank you so much for this article Debbie. Following my 2 year journey with stage I HER2+ breast cancer I had anxiety after the treatments had stopped. After all, that was what was getting rid of the cancer - and will it come back? While I went through treatments and surgeries with all the complications and side effects they brought, I did what I had to do at the time - stayed strong and did what I needed to do to fight for my life. After it was over I looked back at what I went through and was having a hard time coping with that and the fear of metastasis - definitely a PTSD time for me. I had so much support to get ...

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Jill: I am a mother of two and I can't imagine your pain. Please keep seeking out professionals and other caregiver parents who understand and can stand by you. You deserve support and I hope you make time for yourself to find it. Blessings to you.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Merry: Good for you! Cancer can certainly propel us to take stock and prioritize. Best of the luck with the book!

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Beautiful words, Ruth! Thank you so much for sharing your perspective.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
JT: I've lost count of all the things I wasn't told by my doctors. What I know now is to keep expanding my circle so I get all the support and information I need. Thanks so much for being part of this conversation.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Elysa: If I've learned anything about living with cancer it's that there are no "shoulds." And no one could possibly expect you to be happy about your cancer possibly returning. What you can do to help yourself is to keep talking and reaching out to others (professionals and other patients/survivors) who understand and support you. Thank you for joining our discussion and I hope we can talk again.

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Holistic Nutrition
January 29, 2015
I look forward to an opportunity to speak to you at some cancer event in the future. I founded Annie Appleseed Project to share information about complementary and alternative cancer therapies. I was astounded that 'nutrition' was considered as outside the norm for so long. I am with you in expecting it to be part of EVERY SINGLE opening conversation with people with cancer. What we eat is what we are. It also goes well with physical activity and the joy of life. Detox is needed in our opinion and some dietary supplements.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
I got through chemo by finishing my book "Stripping Down to the Bones" which had been in the works for a number of years. Getting it out to the world and getting myself back into the world has helped me recover from all the treatment and all of the dark days.

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Holistic Nutrition
January 29, 2015
Thank you tor helping nutrition become a larger dialogue in treatment and recovery. I am a Stage III Endometrial Cancer survivor (!) I wish I knew 'then' (2006) what I know 'now.' I am currently allergic to many foods I ate during treatment; dairy, wheat and eggs; and I have discovered that this is not uncommon among cancer treatment survivors. I met a woman whose oncologist recommended taking dairy digestive aides during treatment. so she WOULD NOT become dairy intolerant. Wish I had known about that! And then there is the kidney issue from drugs like Adriamycin. Apparently it can cause renal failure after about 5 years. Mine went off like an alarm clock that I did not know was 'set.' Maybe nutritionists and doctors ...

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Pamela: Thanks so much for letting us know how you've coped with the pressure to be over cancer. Your decision to be okay with things the way they are works for you and that is all that matters. We're all individuals and you're coping well. All the best!

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Dedicated to the Caregivers
January 29, 2015
Go ahead and cry, pull a tantrum, fling a fit, do what you want to. Having lung cancer, you earned the right. I recovered from stage 3 liver cancer and I only cried once and got it over with, but you're right, that's all part of the healing process. Hang in there and God bless.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Noreen: My condolences for the loss of your aunt. Stress is absolutely a factor in our emotional, and physical, health and I have no doubt it caused your headaches. I'm glad you've found the key that works for you and wish you all the best.

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Is It Time for Testing of All 30-Year-Old Women for the Breast Cancer Gene
January 29, 2015
I wish I would have been tested for the mutation at the age of 42 after I was diagnosed with stage 2A breast cancer in Feb of 2007. I had no family history and so the insurance company would not pay. I am the oldest of 5 siblings. My youngest sister Karen, 37, was just diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in April 2014 & has been receiving treatment. After her diagnosis, they agreed that testing was appropriate and 3 of the 5 of us are BRACA 2 +. My other sister, Kris, who was positive, has decided on a prophylatic double mastectomy at the age of 47. It does seem to be a drastic decision, but she has seen what her sisters ...

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
I have been told, "You are so lucky you only had cancer for 3 months." Yes - I am a very fortunate 11 year survivor and from diagnosis to end of active treatment was almost exactly 3 months. However, my successful treatment included the amputation of my dominant left hand! I am confronted everyday with the reality of my cancer and its treatment - whether I am looking in the mirror or not. I have certainly grieved a major loss in my life and feel confident in my ability to accept "what is" in my life. I encourage all survivors to find their resources to heal - to be whole - and live life everyday as a survivor/thriver.

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Overcoming the Mental Battle of Metastatic Cancer
January 29, 2015
I am on my 3rd cancer (breast both sides, 4 years out with the second one, knock on wood) and then one of the incurable lymphomas. That incurable one was, and is, qualitatively different because I know I am likely going to die of that well before my time. My child is older than yours, but mostly she has only known me messing with one cancer or another. I am friends with someone with stage 4 breast cancer (6 years out so far), who has an 8 year old. We were talking about the no cure aspect and we both found we do grieve for what we will miss, the future we will not have if we had never had our respective diseases… She had fallen ...

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
I hear you, Greg. It's so sad to feel alone in the world. I hope you keep reaching out here and wherever you can. When we come together as cancer patient/survivors, there is a special energy and level of understanding that I've never felt anywhere else. All my best to you and your wife.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Pat: When it comes to emotional stuff, I've learned that we only deal with things when we're ready. By reaching out here and asking for help, maybe you've reached that point. I suggest you start at your cancer center. Hopefully, they offer programs you can check out and other resources they can direct you to. You can also call the Cancer Hope Network (1-800-552-4366) to get matched with a support volunteer (it's entirely free and available to anyone within the continental US.) Keep searching. That's what I did and it made all the difference. Good luck!

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Patty, I am so very happy that you have a caring therapist! I'm grateful every day for my therapist. Without her, I would have had no idea how to process what I was feeling. I was also told I was suffering from PTSD (as many cancer survivors do.) Keep talking and working with your therapist. Feeling safe in your therapist's office tells me you're in the right place. Keep up the great work!

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Harry, I applaud your standing up for yourself and being honest. It's not easy, I know, but it allows us to stop hiding our true emotions from those around us. Thank you for letting us know how you've coped with the pressure to be over cancer.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Oncology therapist? I didn't know there was such a thing. I need to find one of them. Why didn't my oncologists or my surgeons or my primary care doctor tell me? Why didn't they know?

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
I had a mastectomy with no reconstruction. I am approaching my five year mark and I still cry. I have told my family and friends that I am terrified. That mark means that I should celebrate and be happy that I've survived. My surgeon told me that my cancer is the kind that will come back. How can I be happy about that? I was so glad to see what I'm not alone.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Thank you for telling it like it is, dqmehr. Given the reality of living with cancer, all we can do is do our best and cling to each other for support. Thank you for lending your voice here.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
I guess for me it wasn't so much a stress to get over it, I felt everyone going back to their own pace in life and they wanted me to go back to the old me. I couldn't. I survived cancer but it did change me. I am 4 years from my ordeal. I have decided that I can be the only one who understands how the physical and emotional impact still affects me and that is OK.

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 29, 2015
The other thing the "stay positive" crap does is if you don't end up being "cured" it is then somehow the cancer victim's fault for not being positive enough. Sigh.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
I don't think that once you get diagnosed with cancer, the pressure to be "over" cancer should go away. I am a stronger, better person since my cancer days. Going through this journey, showed me how strong I am. So cancer helped to create the person I am today and the fear keeps it real. I am 6 1/2 years breast cancer free but the fear is always near. The trick is not to let it take over you. During my first 3 years after cancer, my Aunt had her breast cancer return with a vengeance. It was so hard on me. I was like her daughter and her name sake plus we shared this "cancer". She died in February. It will be three ...

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Hope vs. Acceptance: The Metastatic Cancer See-Saw
January 29, 2015
I'm a 15-year survivor and lost my sister to BC and watched two daughters go through surgery recently - one just now recovering from bilateral mastectomy. The analogy of the see-saw is very useful. Mine hasn't come back and I only think about it at mammograms and a recent biopsy that had good results - and when I am going through the news and treatment with someone else. I lean toward the "it's going to be okay, count your blessings, enjoy each day, be confident, thank God for..." school of thought, perhaps because those worked for me. I do realize that I had less to cope with than most people and that colors my personal response. ...

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Stage 4 large cell B lymphoma. Chemo ended in September. Every pain and abnormality is Cancer returning. That fear is not understood except by my wife. My hair grew back (it's fabulous) and now everyone expects me to be over it. I am asked when can you start work. My disability company wants to stop paying. If I could work I would. I was offered two jobs in the past week that pay 5times the disabilty. I can be active for half a day before the neuropathy takes over etc... It try to be truthful about how I feel but everyone says treatment is over for now you have hair so you must be cured glad to see I am. It alone, sad we are

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Holistic Nutrition
January 29, 2015
So what diet does the author recomend. I am aware of the need for it but would really like to hear actual recomendations of food and the article is really incomplete without that.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
Thank you for your article. I am 4 years since my diagnosis and I've never dealt with my emotional healing of cancer. I just keep going.help.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
I was diagnosed with ER/PR + breast cancer 2011 / partial mastectomy followed with radiation which was very destructive causing debilitating fibromyalgia. One later diagnosed with Thyroid cancer (2 tumors each lobe) followed with complete removal. Although exhaustion & severe fatigue has followed me around now for several years, I am getting stronger again through nutrition. Mentally I am still finding myself overly emotional. My siblings & parents through the whole thing have pretty much ignored me & my two sisters that were nurses attacked for being sick. I'm a retired Navy nurse myself and have always been outgoing and happy but this has changed my life making me so depressed and I struggle focusing on my new career ...

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
I crashed emotionally six months after my first treatment. And I never really feel like I recovered from that. Reading an article early on called "The Tyranny of Positive Thinking," encouraged me to be open and honest with how I felt. Most friends were appreciative of my honesty. People at work learned not to ask anymore or wanted a doctor's note to support what I was saying. It's such a relief to be straightforward about the toll cancer takes in all aspects.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 29, 2015
I don't believe that at any stage cancer is over. Once cancer is at your door step one always will be looking over their shoulder. That is how insidious the disease is. That doesn't mean that there are highlights of relief or some assemblance to relax. But, the disease is all encompassing. I agree with Ms Woodbury, the emotional fallout undermines in its shadows no matter how any one of us try to over come. There is nothing easy by being traumatized by the word cancer - facing onesmortality or disfuguremen;, having drs and hospitals and procedures tell you this is the path or what decsion do you want to make etc. Then the physical repercussions are often ...

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My Pity Party
January 28, 2015
Godspeed Carrie. You have lots of people who are with you.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 28, 2015
annon12345, you are so right about cancer being an emotional earthquake. I've learned from my own life that no one really understands the depths of something they haven't lived through and, compassion only goes so far. Thank you so much for leaving a comment and I wish you all the best.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 28, 2015
Oh, Anita, I so get what you're saying. Life never does go back to normal after cancer, but there are real reasons to be grateful. Maybe the trite conversations would be easier to take if you had an outlet for your story and felt heard. Seek out others who get it if you haven't already. It made a huge difference in my life.

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 28, 2015
Thank you, Tori. Exactly. As I always respond to the (well-meaning) "just be positive" advocates : "There ain't nothing positive about having lung cancer."

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 28, 2015
My condolences for the loss of your friend, Jo. Your supportive family and friends are a blessing I know will continue to pull you through. I'm glad you're waking up and wish you all the best.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 28, 2015
When I was waking up from my first breast cancer surgery my mom told me the surgeon had gotten it all so I can now put it behind me. Really? A cancer diagnosis is an emotional earthquake. I am on my 3rd major cancer (breast on both sides then follicular hon-hodgki's lymphoma which has no cure but a relatively long life span). I think it is like grief, the periods of intense emotion get further and further apart and when you in the the midst of them the intensity doesn't last as long the further along you are… but you are never "over it"… you learn to "live with it". Then there are added stresses - in my case finances, lost my job over this ...

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 28, 2015
Karen, I wish you and your daughter all the best as you continue to deal with cancer. I've met amazing people too as a result of cancer and fully agree that it's the silver lining of an otherwise horrendous situation. Take care.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 28, 2015
You go, Constance! You've found your own way for coping with the pressure to be over cancer. I wish you many more adventures!

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 28, 2015
I love that you're ready to tell everyone how you really feel, Josie. It takes a lot of courage to be honest and allow our loved ones to be there for us in our vulnerability. There's no reason to struggle alone and I'm glad you're open to getting support.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 28, 2015
I'm a four-year survivor, Stage 3a breast cancer and lymph node involvement. Even after four years of being "over it," it's hard for me to type this because my eyes are welling up with tears. I feel well (albeit the weight gain), and I feel strong because of what I have gone through and come out the other side -- healthy (a relative term), and mostly very grateful -- for life, for the care I received, and for the support, too. I worry a good bit about it coming back, but I try not to dwell on that. It has changed my life, no doubt, and my overall outlook on just about everything. It's really hard to deal sometimes ...

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 28, 2015
This article is soooo timely for me - I'm almost two years out (breast cancer - invasive ductal w/ lymph node involvement) and I was so clueless, thought when 6 months of surgery/chemo/hospital/more chemo was over I would be fine. Hahaha to me! In the last 3 weeks I am finally mostly pain free after switching from arimidex to femoral, and just had dinner on Monday with 4 ladies from our support group here. One of our friends just died suddenly December 7th and her Mom joined us. Our friend always said cancer is like a bomb that drops on your family. My heart goes out to fellow travelers, and Debbie your husband is a wise man - my kind core of sweet friends and ...

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Holistic Nutrition
January 28, 2015
Great article! You have summarized exactly what ails our nation. Unfortunately, in America medicine is big business as is commercial farming. I, too, was diagnosed with MM in 2/2007. After coming through tratment and an auto SCT, I started to look at food in a whole different light. Was it Hippocrates that wrote, "let medicine be your food and let food be your medicine"? If it comes in a box or a bag, I don't see it as "food" any more. I have begun to grow a small garden each year using only heirloom plants. As a result, I have begun to respect and value quality produce as I never did before.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 28, 2015
I am a 6 year tnbc survivor. My 19 year old daughter was dx'd with large stage 1 HL on July 19, 2014. She has finished chemo and is getting ready for radiation. I tend to have panic attacks at the worst times! For the most part I am doing great. I can say If there is anything positive about my experience it is that I did not panic (too much) when my daughter had every side effect in the book from chemo! I just pray she doesn't think about it 24/7 like I do. But we have met so many wonderful people!

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Holistic Nutrition
January 28, 2015
So happy to hear you have found the integrative care you find so supportive! I encourage you to continue with the plan your team has provided including a diet of natural and wholesome foods. I look forward to hearing from you more!

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 28, 2015
My 21 year old son was diagnosed with Epithelioid Sarcoma 4.5 years ago. He was misdiagnosed for 13 months. I feel like it will never be over. Sarcoma has such a high rate of recurrence and survival rates are not the best. I feel like I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I don't think most other people understand the devastation it takes for me as his mom and caregiver. I saw a cancer counselor and she told me it is PTSD from all we went through. Everyone thinks I should be "over it" by now. I think unless you have had a child with cancer, you cannot understand.

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 28, 2015
No one feels the same way all the time, especially concerning significant, life-changing events. Your real friends will put their egos and fears aside and enable you to feel free to express your widely varied emotions as they occur. Any patient, cancer or otherwise, deserves to have such friends, to compensate for the toll having a devastating illness takes on one's soul.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 28, 2015
When I comment to clinicians my 10 year survival from IIIB triple negative with regional metastasis , I wait for the jaw-dropping disbelief. I view statistics as either 100% or 0%. I'm in the 100%. Until it starts swinging the other way, I work hard to maintain the tangible recovery from the physical affects which seems to mitigate the memories of the psychological suffering. I moved on, geographically, from where I lived during the treatment years. No questions to answer when I meet someone new, no platitudes to hear from well-intentioned friends, new adventures unaware of any cancer history. I won't forget, but I try really hard not to ponder.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 28, 2015
I have just been told I am remission from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma stage 4 (Diffuse Large B Cell) which I was diagnosed with last June. I know this cancer is known to return within two years. Everyone is happy I am in remission and so am I, but I am also experiencing a lot of anxiety fearing it will return sooner than later. I have to have another Pet Scan in four months and also see the Oncologist then. So I am dreading going through that only to be told it has returned. I am trying to live a "normal" life but still struggling to find myself and returning to my usually energetic 75 year old self. I, too, don't ...

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 28, 2015
You made some great points Tori and were spot on about how frightening a cancer diagnosis is to the patient as well as the caregiver. Being able to feel all those emotions and express them made me stronger and better able to care for my husband through it all.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 28, 2015
Thank you, Judy. I can't stress enough the importance of being with people who understand your situation and know better than to assume you're cured. I'm glad your support group is helpful to you.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 28, 2015
Thanks for the article. I find this difficult living with multiple myeloma because I look and mostly am fine, but the disease almost always relapses. Yet friends tend to think that my stem cell transplant was a cure. Our support group is a great help.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 28, 2015
I'm thrilled my article vindicated your emotions, Julia. I understand what it's like to be isolated from your family when they want to forget and move on and you can't. I'm glad my words helped you communicate where you are to your husband. Please also keep reaching out to other patient/survivors. Connecting with someone who totally gets it because they've been there too is beyond validating. Keep reaching out - your emotions are rock solid valid and you deserve to express them.

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Holistic Nutrition
January 28, 2015
I have been living with multiple myeloma since February 2007. I have always been proactive in NY care. Luckily, MD Anderson has an integrative Medicine department. There is a dedicated nutritionist in the department as well as medical doctors, nurses, physical therapy and massage, acupuncture and many classes. I couldn't agree more that a holistic approach is the best way to go. I eat a whole foods diet including green drink. I take some supplements. I went over everything with the integrative medical doctor. My hematologist put the referral in for me. She doesn't t time to keep up with the nutritional aspects of treating myeloma. I hope all cancer centers ad op t the integrative holistic approach. I enjoyed your blog.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 28, 2015
I know it's difficult living in fear of a recurrence, Lee. I'm glad you have pets to comfort you, but please try to reach out to other patient/survivors too. I still meet on a regular basis with other survivors and it's always healing. You can call the Cancer Hope Network (1-800-552-4366) and be matched with someone who's been where you are and understands. I'm a support volunteer with this organization and they do amazing work. Thank you for reaching out here and continue to do so. It's the best way I know to keep from feeling alone.

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 28, 2015
I'm glad you write about the opposite of what is 'expected' from us. Who could possibly say how another person ' should' act...please get a grip people!!

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 28, 2015
I just read your piece to my husband. I am a six year stage 2A lung cancer survivor. I am now 58. I know I have a50% survival rate but try to focus on the side where it does not return. But we are all looking over our shoulder.....my family which includes two twenty year olds do not want me to ever mention it I try not to. I simply say BC/AC to refer to things as it did change my life. But after reading this I feel so vindicated in my emotions. Thank you.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 28, 2015
My cancer was in so many lymph nodes that my oncologist says I can never feel safe that it will not come back. No one wants to hear that I am not actually "cured" and over it. The only ones I can really be truthful with are my pets:)

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 28, 2015
I'm so glad your husband "gets it" and is there for you. What a help it is, having even one person with whom you can be honest and real. Best wishes and hopes sent...from another Stage IV person.

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 28, 2015
One of my favorite sayings is that -there are times during the course of this disease that the only thing you can be positive about is that cancer sucks.

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Don't Just Put On a Happy Face
January 28, 2015
You really nailed this one! Even when you are scared silly, you are not often afforded the luxury of expressing it because the folks around you are too afraid to acknowledge it. Denial is such a defense mechanism, but it really isn't healthy. Sometimes the best comfort is just having someone who helps you to cry.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 28, 2015
Thanks so much, Tori. Sometimes, it's the simple approach that makes all the difference.

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How to Cope with the Pressure to be Over Cancer
January 27, 2015
There must be something in the air - I just wrote a post with a very similar sentiment! I love your husband's advice, "Tell the truth." Powerful, thank you.

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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 ...

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Cancer: the World's Worst Houseguest
January 27, 2015
VERY WELL SAID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We need to kick out those unwanted houseguests. Where there is life, there is hope. Where there is hope, there is life. Keep positive.

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Hope vs. Acceptance: The Metastatic Cancer See-Saw
January 26, 2015
Tori..so very true....I read this...after I was just lying on my bed wondering if these weird,sharp shooting pains in the femur of my leg...for the past few weeks....could mean "something"...Yesterday,I forgot cancer at home. Seesaw. Knock on the door.Who's there?...Beautifully explained,Tori.....XXX

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Hope vs. Acceptance: The Metastatic Cancer See-Saw
January 26, 2015
I am so moved by all of these comments. Thank you so much, each of you, for taking the time to share your thoughts. I am thrilled that I was able to help some of you along in your journey, as so many have helped me. May we all have many more days of happiness and health.

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Holistic Nutrition
January 26, 2015

The importance of a nourishing diet as a factor in maintaining health has been at the foundation of all medical treatment up until the beginning of the 20th century. It has been our evolutionary and cultural heritages. Ancestors would pass down the knowledge to identify foods that nourish and those that threaten a more insidious outcome. As our culture deviates further and further from our food system, so does our relationship to health.

Home gardens have been replaced by factories and the Standard American Diet has indeed become SAD. The question of what to eat in health and in sickness, plagues us all. Working with cancer patients, I try hard to be patient, sensitive and empathetic while giving advice on this dietary conundrum. When ...

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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 ...

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It's Time for Bed. Are You Too Tense to Sleep?
January 26, 2015
How about trying 3mg time-released melatonin. First, I rub a little melatonin cream on my inner arms 1 hr. prior to going to bed. It is relaxing. Then I take 3mg melatonin 1/2 hr. before bed. I sleep like a baby. Also, eucalyptus oil rubbed on the soles of feet, then covered w/socks is relaxing and induces sleep. You can buy these products at Vitamin Shoppe or mail order from Life Extension. Sweet dreams...

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Hope vs. Acceptance: The Metastatic Cancer See-Saw
January 26, 2015
You just told me my story. Thank you. You have given me validation. You have put words where I could not. Others do not understand and have trouble accepting that my life is different now... and will never be how it was before metistatic non-small cell lung cancer. Please keep writing.

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My Pity Party
January 25, 2015
Laid in MD Anderson with neutropenic fever myself 12 years ago One day at a time. Cry TIL you're dry, eat chocolate when you can and hug the kiddos. My boys used to rub my bald head. I wish you progress and strength 💪. I'm on Twitter @6state.

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It's Time for Bed. Are You Too Tense to Sleep?
January 25, 2015
Sorry to hear that you're up at night too, Claudia. Maybe paper books are the best way to go for you (no blue light.) Wishing you good sleep, Debbie

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It's Time for Bed. Are You Too Tense to Sleep?
January 25, 2015
I too have found sleep to be very elusive post breast cancer. Some of it is due to the night sweats from the Tamoxifen that wake me up just as I'm about to sleep, then my mind begins to take off and then I"m in for a few hours of insomnia. Very disheartening. I find it hardest to turn off my devices at night, that's often when I catch up on reading on my Kindle or Ipad. I know that it's not the best way to spend the hours before bedtime, but I'm working on it. Thanks for the tips, Debbie!

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My Pity Party
January 25, 2015
Carrie, thank you so much for sharing your story and letting me see a bit into this experience. I learned that when planning for my up-coming hospital stays I should be sure to better plan some pity party time. Not so fun, but definitely important for healing and putting one foot in front of the next. (Yes, the metastatic cancer experience is WAY different than early-stage treatment. People just don't get that until they've been there or walked with friend or family on that journey.) I'm so glad your boys had so much fun visiting you! They probably will have better memories of that loud toilet than anything else... Oh boys! I love your gummy bears idea. I might need to bring some for myself ...

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It's Time for Bed. Are You Too Tense to Sleep?
January 25, 2015
I struggled for years with insomnia, mostly in the middle of the night, until I discovered a fun and natural technique that requires only a little imagination to work. I've shared it in an ebook, Simple Sleep Solutions. Amazon, iTunes. Feedback welcome.

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Hope vs. Acceptance: The Metastatic Cancer See-Saw
January 25, 2015
Obviously one of your many gifts is the ability to communicate in a way that touches the soul. Thank you for taking the time to write this beautiful article. I treasure it as I treasure my friend who shared it with mr.

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My Pity Party
January 24, 2015
Thank you for allowing us to be part of your cancer journey. Love will sustain you.

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Hope vs. Acceptance: The Metastatic Cancer See-Saw
January 24, 2015
What a wonderfully written statement of how I feel. Thanks so much for sharing. I try to begin my day in prayer for all of us in this position. I too have printed your article to share with my oncologist.

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Hope vs. Acceptance: The Metastatic Cancer See-Saw
January 23, 2015
It is eerie how close you come to describing my own roller coaster of emotions. Thank you for using your gift of writing to put it down on paper (so to speak). It made it easier to explain to others what I'm going through. I've come to appreciate that living too much in hope or fear will cause me to miss out on the present. That said, it is a daily challenge.

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My Pity Party
January 23, 2015
I think you have an amazing outlook and attitude about your cancer experience. I too am fighting this disease and I find your article inspiring. My son was 7, daughter 3 when I was told I had cancer. My son is now 21, my daughter 16. I pray God heals you and you get to celebrate your son's 21st B'day.

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My Pity Party
January 22, 2015
Being a cancer patient several years ago, brought back a lot of memories. It will get better I promise, an the hope is that the trial meds are working an you will get better. you did the first time remember. I will pray for you an all the others going thru cancer an being brave. G-d Bless you Carrie.

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Hope vs. Acceptance: The Metastatic Cancer See-Saw
January 22, 2015
Your blog is so inspiring and so true. My vaginal cancer (at the area of an episiotomy) was first read as "probable metastatic colon cancer". I could not breathe when the doctor gave me that news per telephone. After extensive work-up, no cancer anywhere except the vulva and that is so rare that no one knows how to treat it (<3000 in USA/year). I was offered everything from radical vaginectomy/vulvectomy, radiation, etc. I have elected to watch and wait. Is this the correct thing to do? Who knows. I know, without a doubt, that I am dealing with this with denial (perhaps they mixed up the specimens; perhaps the first excision totally excised the cancer, etc.) ...

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Hope vs. Acceptance: The Metastatic Cancer See-Saw
January 22, 2015
I also am a permant resident of cancer land but I find my solace not in hope an wishes which can be very disappointing, but In a kind of everyday casual denial. While there are times when cancer smacks me in my face or hits me over the head and I have to wrap my head around it, for the most part denial works for me. I liked the fact that most people scoff at the idea of "the battle". As I sat there today and got my chemo (round 17) I did not feel like a good soldier or that I was battling anything. I take what they give me, do what they tell me.. I research like crazy on differnt things that ...

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Hope vs. Acceptance: The Metastatic Cancer See-Saw
January 22, 2015
Thank you for sharing. You said that beautifully.

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The Thing About Risk
January 22, 2015
I wish everyone was as proactive as you are. Thank you for setting a good example, bringing the conversation to the forefront and raising awareness. Continue the crusade!

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My Pity Party
January 22, 2015
You are one brave and spirited young woman Your little guy can tell, I am sure, what a special, loving mom he has Bless you all

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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. ...

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My Pity Party
January 22, 2015
Hi, Carrie. You don't know me. I just read your blog on Cure online. Pity parties work. You always feel better after a good cry. I was diagnosed and treated for Stage 2 breast cancer 20 years ago. I thought I was "home free" until it returned as Stage 4 ten years later. Please do the math. I have been in treatment for Stage 4 breast cancer for TEN YEARS. I've participated in a few trials, and while I am not in remission, I am considered "stable" (translation: the cancer is still in my lungs, but it has not been growing). Other than feeling tired, my life is as normal as I can make

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Hope vs. Acceptance: The Metastatic Cancer See-Saw
January 22, 2015
I am struggling to regain my sense of hope. This helped! xo Marcy Westerling http://livinglydying.com/

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My Pity Party
January 22, 2015
I struggle with my little pity parties- and many times , they are direct results of the meds I am taking. My hematologist oncologist has even decided that I suffer from anxiety... One has to acknowledge and feel one's feelings, there is no other way around them. I'll keep you in my prayers. You are a woman of courage

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My Pity Party
January 22, 2015
I had a pity party last night so this blog post was well timed.

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Hope vs. Acceptance: The Metastatic Cancer See-Saw
January 22, 2015
A great description of my see-saw with metastatic breast cancer. Hope is what I cling to in these uncertain times. Well done! www.janhasak.com/blog

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My Pity Party
January 22, 2015
In my experience people with cancer and other serious illnesses are the most rewarding to meet. You sound just like my wife who went through a similar situation. There were days that she told me she just didn't want to put on a "happy face." I acknowledge that it was OK to feel bad, for crying out loud the emotional and physical side effects of cancer can be very difficult to say the least. So go ahead, have a pity party, go ahead and feel a little sorry for yourself. However, I also told my wife that if she got into a situation where she did not stop feeling sorry for herself that I would intervene with a bunch of ...

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My Pity Party
January 22, 2015
It may drag a little, but keep putting the foot forward...an inch at a time. I know your pain, lived it and you write from the heart. Norma

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Hope vs. Acceptance: The Metastatic Cancer See-Saw
January 22, 2015
This is, without doubt, the best written description I have ever read which describes what it is like to walk in my shoes. Thank you, thank you!

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My Pity Party
January 22, 2015
Bravo to you, Carrie! You didn't let your "pity party" affect your children...you put others first and took the "high road." Thank you for this story that will stay with me as I walk through today with leukemia.

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It's Time for Bed. Are You Too Tense to Sleep?
January 22, 2015
Glad to help, Debra. If you want to read more, join me at my blog, WhereWeGoNow.com, where I write about creating inspired healing, wellness and live out loud joy in the new normal. I hope you slept well last night and thanks so much for your comment.

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An Advocate's View of ASCO GI Symposium 2015
January 22, 2015
Thanks for flexing a #StrongArmSelfie with us!! So great our team met up with you! :)

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My Pity Party
January 22, 2015
My mom died of cancer when I was young and now I have the same thing that killed her. I remember as a child her being ill, but the love of her and my Dad, Aunts, Uncles and all the other people and the times we had fun on a vacation or sitting together watching a movie and eating popcorn are what sticks in my memory...and the hot fudge sundays in the hospital cafeteria that we had when we left to go home (our fish aquarium distraction I now realize) You sound like an amazing person, God bless you and your family. A "pity party" is what is needed now and then the tears clean the soul.

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Overcoming the Mental Battle of Metastatic Cancer
January 22, 2015
Listen to me. Get the best medical care possible. It means your length of survival. Move closer to Houston if you have to. It's worth it. I have lived with BC for 10 years and mets to lymph nodes for 8, and recently a tumor on my hip in 2014. Try to figure out what cancer is here to teach you. Read Kris Carr. Change your diet, take supplements. Read, study your disease. You'll feel more empowered. And yes, you will have your "Come to Jesus moment." And you know what, it's okay! Build a legacy where you'll be remembered in the hearts and minds of people you love. And maybe someone else too. No I haven't walked your road, but those are some

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It's Time for Bed. Are You Too Tense to Sleep?
January 22, 2015
Thank you so much for these words of wisdom. I am five years out from triple negative breast cancer. But I still needed to hear from someone with the true inner catch all experience of our new life after treatment. Of course I am writing this well after midnight. Please continue to write such uplifting and consoling information. Thank you.

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My Pity Party
January 21, 2015
I enjoyed your story....I can relate completely. I was first diagnosed with breast cancer at age 32 and then again 25 years later....then metastatic cancer was found 2 years ago. I have 4 legged children, but like your Henry, they require a lot of care ( although less explanation) and I love them dearly. We all have days like yours. They can even be just a regular day when I ask myself "why do I have to deal with this?"......I have a husband who is just amazing, but I try to be less sick because I want to be his wife and not always someone he takes care of. I find its best just to cry it out and then move on. And if I ...

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Hope vs. Acceptance: The Metastatic Cancer See-Saw
January 21, 2015
I am a 16+ years survivor with 2 recurrences under my belt. No I have metastatic breast cancer and am 31/2 years from the diagnosis. I feel so fortunate to still be living a high quality life filled with joy and appreciation. Along with my wonderful doctor and his PA, I know I am well looked after and supported. Friends and family have given love and support that can't be over stated. Each day is a blessing. Some folks have asked me if I wonder why me. I say why not me. It is the luck if the draw. I am not battling cancer I am co-existing with it and hoping to remain in this situation for a very long time to come.

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It's Time for Bed. Are You Too Tense to Sleep?
January 21, 2015
I feel for you, Barbara, especially if your early morning waking is making you tired during the day. Try my relaxation techniques which I hope help. You might also want to speak to your doctor to rule out a medical/physical reason. Good luck.

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It's Time for Bed. Are You Too Tense to Sleep?
January 21, 2015
I don't have any problems going to sleep. I have problems staying asleep. I wake at 4:00 in the morning like I was just shot out of a cannon. I try to calm down and go back to sleep, but most days I never get the sleep edge back. Going to bed earlier doesn't help. I just wake up earlier. I have another issue. A little doggie who sleeps in his kennel in another part of the house has ESP and knows exactly when I wake each morning. He's always ready to get up early. Thank you for the article. I will try to use some of your suggestions and hope that you can provide me with more for the middle of the night insomnia.

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Hope vs. Acceptance: The Metastatic Cancer See-Saw
January 21, 2015
Right. Hope is not foolish. Hope and work and what else? Support, research, the sure knowledge that you are you. I would never offer a promise, but I would offer what you already have, a life that is rich. Now, I have to learn those words. It is a up and down marathon. But, at least marathons go on for a long time!

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Hope vs. Acceptance: The Metastatic Cancer See-Saw
January 21, 2015
You really captured the essence of the dilemma with your piece! Thanks for putting it into words. As the caregiver, I've tended to ride the acceptance end of the see-saw while Russ, the survivor, tends to choose hope. We take turns and most of the time seem to balance one another out. Finding the balance as a couple is as challenging as finding it within. The good news is our circumstance really keeps us in the present and gives us a greater appreciation for the joys and gratitude in it.

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Hope vs. Acceptance: The Metastatic Cancer See-Saw
January 21, 2015
Thank you for giving voice to what so many of us feel. I want to share this with my oncology team.

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My Pity Party
January 21, 2015
Praying for you! I came across several pictures today from our trip to Disney with the HS band. You have always been such a fun loving, caring, & upbeat person! I know that God has great things in store for you & your family! I certainly hope your doing better! & were able to enjoy his 3rd birthday party. Much love & hugs sent your way!

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Hope vs. Acceptance: The Metastatic Cancer See-Saw
January 20, 2015
Thanks for discussing this topic. I too struggle with both words. I'm afraid that if I accept my disease then it will destroy me but I'm afraid of having too much hope. What a tug-of-war!

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Hope vs. Acceptance: The Metastatic Cancer See-Saw
January 20, 2015
as someone who is a fellow stage IV pal (admittedly, it's bowel cancer, and so far, responding well to treatment), this was amazing, and extremely familiar. i often worry that being realistic - open and frank about the fact i will die, and most likely - according to statistics - in the next few years - is bad. but after a chunk of realism, and acceptance, the hope is more potent. the hope feels better knowing the reality of what is facing me, because i know that i might. not that i will, but i might. and that is enough to make the endlessness of chronic illness seem worth it. just don't call it a freaking battle, and i'll be fine. good

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Hope vs. Acceptance: The Metastatic Cancer See-Saw
January 20, 2015
Good topic and great writing! You're doing great - acceptance or hope or both. I think you've got it! Carry on. Celia

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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 ...

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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, ...

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My Pity Party
January 19, 2015
Hi, Carrie. I'm the sister of one of your brother's old friends (Jeff Perkins) from Atlanta. Thank you for sharing your experience and emotions. As a wife and mom of three, I hope that the love of your family will give you joy and peace. Peace of Christ to you.

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It's Time for Bed. Are You Too Tense to Sleep?
January 19, 2015
There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep. Homer
 
The worry and stress of living with cancer often leads to insomnia. I often couldn’t fall asleep, or would pass out and be wide awake a few hours later, unable to get back to sleep. I had no idea how badly it was affecting me until my therapist pointed out how fatigued I was during an especially miserable session.
 
As I always tell my children, “When you’re tired, everything’s worse.” In my struggles with insomnia, however, I’ve learned that putting the focus on sleep doesn’t help. In fact, it often makes things worse by creating more anxiety.
 
Instead, I’ve learned I must back up a step ...

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My Pity Party
January 19, 2015
Oh my gosh. I just realized who you are. Yes I know you. You have always been the sweetest person. I am so sorry you are going through this. I know I prayed for you the first time every day. I did not know it was back. Of course I will continue to pray for you. Thank you for sharing your story. Love you girl. Hang in there for this too shall pass.

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My Pity Party
January 19, 2015
We don't know each other but I saw this on a friends post and I will be praying for you and your family. You seem to be such a loving, caring strong mom. Remember I can do all things through Christ Jesus.

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My Pity Party
January 19, 2015
I'm so sorry, I know how rough this is. I hope that clinical trial works wonders for you, and this hospitalization is just a small bump in an otherwise smooth road. Best of luck and health to you!

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My Pity Party
January 18, 2015
Carrie, beautiful writing that touches the soul. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. Keep fighting.

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My Pity Party
January 18, 2015
Love you Carrie!

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My Pity Party
January 18, 2015
We love you Carrie very much. We constantly pray for your health, your sanity & happiness. God knew to give you that angel Henry & not your nephew Aiden because that would not work.. It broke my heart for you to be lonely one moment BUT we admire your courage & strength more than we can express. Love you Erica's MOM

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My Pity Party
January 18, 2015
Your writings touch my heart Carrie. I can feel them coming from your heart. You are a beautiful soul!

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My Pity Party
January 18, 2015
I am sorry about all you are going through. Pity parties are much needed in healing. Thank you for putting this out there. As long as we do not pack our bags and move to Pity-ville we are good. I'm happy your little one didn't have a meltdown. Good luck.....

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My Pity Party
January 18, 2015
You are a gal of many talents and writing is definitely one of them. As for the title, "pity party"... I think I pity people who don't have the love and consciousness that you do. Fuck cancer. Sending love. (I want to see the Corey family real soon...)

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My Pity Party
January 17, 2015
I love you girl!! You are my hero!

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My Pity Party
January 17, 2015
Carrie, I went to school with Lana and have been following your blogs. I want you to know that I admire you so much being able to go through all you do and still take care of your family. Your writing is beautiful, I feel like I am right with you. Praying for you and your family. All My Love

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My Pity Party
January 17, 2015
I have known Chris and his family for many years. I coached Chris on a couple of baseball teams and enjoyed my association with this fine family. You, Chris and Henry will be in my prayers as I ask for God's healing.

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My Pity Party
January 17, 2015
In a word.......WOW. Your poise, absolute understanding and consideration of everything and everyone involved is humbling. Your strength is inspiring. Good luck.

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My Pity Party
January 17, 2015
Your Mom's and Dad's life time friend here. I have known Lana for longer than David but love them both. Your are so brave and do not always have to be. It is good to have a melt down and let our heavenly Father hold you and dry your tears. He does have a plan.

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My Pity Party
January 16, 2015
Like most parents, I often think about how Henry will reflect back on his childhood. I want him to remember growing up in a happy home full of love and laughter, with parents that would look for monsters under the bed and sing the dinosaur song.

I don’t want him to feel as if he grew up in the shadow of his mom’s cancer. I know children are resilient, but weeks like this make me especially paranoid. I’m in a clinical trial where I travel to Houston for infusion once every three weeks, and while I’m grateful the chemotherapy is working (Hallelujah!), one of the biggest side effects is the toll the drug takes on the immune system.

On Monday, a spiking fever ...

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Cancer: the World's Worst Houseguest
January 15, 2015
Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading the article and comments. Whether at home or away, we are in a real fight for survival. We all have our journey and a plan to be fullfilled. It's such a blessing to be alive. I am inspired by each of you. Support does make a difference. Be healed and blessed!!!!

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Cancer: the World's Worst Houseguest
January 15, 2015
Thanks for the wonderful story…yes I know the feeling, originally diagnosed 2011 Non Hodgkins Lymphoma, treated and cancer free for 10 years. Relapse and now under watch and wait program. Just had PET scan, getting closer to needing treatment, f/u PET schedule for 6 months. He is alway hanging around the corner, but we have kicked him out once, and will kick him out again. A pleasure to read your blog. Best of Health to you!

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Cancer: the World's Worst Houseguest
January 15, 2015
I laughed so hard reading this!! So VERY TRUE! My battle has been long, but I'm happy to say, im kicking the house guest out and remodeling to erase every thought of him! Especially the darn puke stained carpet!! Thank you!

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Cancer: the World's Worst Houseguest
January 15, 2015
Thank you Tori for your "right to the point" insights. You put into words what I felt when my husband was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. My thoughts and prayers are with you...Take gentle care...

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Cancer: the World's Worst Houseguest
January 15, 2015
This has helped me, and a veggie, from Mother Nature http://www.gnldproducts.net/fighting-disease/cancer-and-asparagus-puree/ Twice, then found this. I am 200% better and no signs of it reoccurring !! Walmart asparagus in a can. Not cooked, just the spears. Bless you

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Cancer: the World's Worst Houseguest
January 15, 2015
Tori...very creative way to explain the diagnosis of cancer. I've had that same houseguest (leukemia) and know how unwelcome he is!!! Wishing you the best in keeping the door shut & locked!😘

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Overcoming the Mental Battle of Metastatic Cancer
January 15, 2015
Great article Carrie! I was diagnosed in 2009 with stage 4 breast cancer. At the time my children were 9, 12, 14 and 16. All I could think of was how they were going to come out of this okay. My sister was diagnosed the year before with stage 2 breast cancer and they watched as she underwent treatment. She handled it well and made it seem like no big deal. We just compared my situation to hers. The reality was that it wasn't the same, but through positive thoughts, lots of prayers of a wonderful support group, I was able to get through the hardest parts. Once I realized that God has a plan for me and everything would be okay (whether I stayed ...

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Cancer: the World's Worst Houseguest
January 14, 2015
Oh, this is SO good. Or bad, depending on how you look at it. Perfect metaphor.

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Do This Now to Find the Causes of Breast Cancer
January 14, 2015
Thanks so much for the post. Just finished the HOW study and hope one day we can find a link and a CURE for this disease. I was diagnosed in 1999 at the age of 45. Was not given a great diagnosis since 14 out of 16 lymph nodes were positive. But almost 16 years later I am still cancer free and hope to live long enough to see this awful disease cured! Have lost so many women to this disease would be happy to be of any help to end this this cancer once and for all ...

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Cancer: the World's Worst Houseguest
January 13, 2015
Thank you for sharing and making it interesting. I relate so well.I too a 2 x lung cancer survivor. I didn't open my door .He still got in..I worry daily he will return.But I still work.live love and laugh..Prayers work..Glad your ok.

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Cancer: the World's Worst Houseguest
January 13, 2015
One of the best blogs I have EVER read! Thank you for sharing!

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Cancer: the World's Worst Houseguest
January 13, 2015
Perfect article, right on. I am a member of a club I never wanted to join and the frigging thing just sits on my shoulder whispering in my ear......you are different, you are different. Lung cancer twice, the biggest shock of my life. I feel tainted. People say stay positive. It is better for me to say, live without fear. As best we can!

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Cancer: the World's Worst Houseguest
January 13, 2015
I love the idea of a "No Vacancy" sign. Maybe a "not welcome" mat, too! Best of health to you too.

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Cancer: the World's Worst Houseguest
January 13, 2015
Thank you for sharing all of our thoughts and feelings in such a nice creative way! I personally am a 3x breast cancer survivor and yes, know the feeling all too well; It's not IF this 'houseguest' is coming again, but when...! Today while I'm healthy, I live my life the best way that I can and enjoy every day blessed because I know one day it will be different. But maybe we should put out that No Vacancy sign to help :-) Best of Health, Vicki Singer Wolf www.hisbreastcancer.org

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Dedicated to the Caregivers
January 13, 2015
I am so moved by all these stories of love and courage from caregivers and survivors. Thank you so much for sharing.

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Cancer: the World's Worst Houseguest
January 13, 2015
You are sitting down to a nice dinner when you hear a knock on the door. That's strange, I wasn't expecting anyone. You open the door a crack to see who it is. He shoves the door all the way open and barges in.
 
It's Cancer, the World's Worst Houseguest.

He walks right past you and leaves muddy footprints all over your carpet. You are in shock. You didn't know there was any chance of him coming over. It was the last thing on your mind, but here he is, lounging on your couch like he owns the place. Who is this? What is he doing here?

Once the shock wears off, you try to talk to him. How long will ...

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Dedicated to the Caregivers
January 12, 2015
Tori- Another wonderful blog- eye opening and heart-felt. My husband didn't say much, but I could see the helpless look of pain in his eyes when he watched me crying from the pain, a side effect from my chemo treatments. I felt bad for him, but I know he doesn't regret a moment of traveling my breast cancer journey with me. Caregivers like the ones we've been blessed with should be recognized right along with the cancer patients/survivors. I love your blogs- keep up the good work!

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Dedicated to the Caregivers
January 12, 2015
Thank you for your story. I very recently lost my husband to Multiple Myeloma and although it was a long battle for him, I wouldn't have missed being there with him through all of the ups and downs he went through, especially this past year.

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The BEST New Year's Eve
January 10, 2015
Carrie, this comment will probably get a lot of negative reviews, but the fact that I'm still alive and in my 10th year with no evidence of disease, sort of makes speaking up an obligation, I was diagnosed stage 4. When I finished treatment - chemo, double mastectomy, radiation, I asked my oncologist for more chemo. It just made sense to me that we couldn't have gotten every cell roaming around looking for a place to land, and I wanted the best odds I could get. Lucky for me, she agreed and put me on 6 months of an oral drug. I feel as certain as anyone can be in this war on cancer, that my aggressive treatment is the ...

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The BEST New Year's Eve
January 09, 2015
I am so happy for you, Carrie. I pray for many, many, more years of beautiful life for you and your family. Thank you for sharing your story. It is inspiring and gives so many people hope. You are here to bless! I am an almost 4 year survivor of stage III breast cancer/mastectomy, and 31 nodes removed. Life is a roller coaster. God bless you, Carrie, and thank you again for sharing.

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The BEST New Year's Eve
January 09, 2015
I know exactly how you feel. 2015 is going to be your year!3

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The BEST New Year's Eve
January 09, 2015
I just want to say, I am so happy for you!!! I too live in Texas, I live in the North Ft. Worth area (Keller) I am a breast Cancer survivor, I was diagnose with it 5-yrs. ago. I had just turned 43, and I went in for my annual mammo. and, well, the roller coaster started. I am very blessed to say, I am doing well and I am in recovery, although, the fear is always there. I just want you to know you are on my prayer list, I will keep you in my daily prayers, not only for you and your recovery but for your family as well. I know it is not easy on them seeing you sick. Just keep positive

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Did You Know You Might be Able to Donate Blood?
January 09, 2015
Thanks for your comment, Rivka. As everyone is different, check with your doctor, hospital and/or blood donation center for information as to your eligibility to donate.

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Dedicated to the Caregivers
January 09, 2015
I'm tearing up after reading this. Thank you for sharing this.

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The BEST New Year's Eve
January 09, 2015
Hang in there and do not let the cancer win the race. I am 70 years old and was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer 6 years ago. On herceptin every 21 days, and never miss an appt. You have to be a trooper and you sound like one. You will be a winner. Look up the group I belong to, Metavivors the best.

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The BEST New Year's Eve
January 09, 2015
Keep the faith and the great attitude. I'm a 3 year and 10 months metz survivor and still fighting.

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Did You Know You Might be Able to Donate Blood?
January 08, 2015
Donating blood isn't ok for someone anemic. I don't know if I agree with other types of cancer more than a year ago ok to donate. I had breast cancer 30 years ago the first time and I can make it come back tomorrow if I eat GMO! Cancer is formed from angiogenesis and cells absolutely break off and travel in blood.

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The BEST New Year's Eve
January 08, 2015
Wonderful to hear!

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Overcoming the Mental Battle of Metastatic Cancer
January 08, 2015
All your articles touched me on a very personal level. I was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer at 30 years, just six weeks after giving birth to my first and only son. Two and a half years later, my family and I press on through this journey. In some ways it gets easier, in other ways harder, but it wasn't until recently that I found peace in the idea of living one day at a time. Today, I am fine, I'm present, and there is no tragic ending. A day for me is manageable. It's nearly impossible to maintain that focus all the time but it resonates with me when I feel overwhelmed and I hope that it will help you in the new

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From a Cough to Metastatic Lung Cancer
January 08, 2015
Thank you for the sharing about metastatic cancer. I'm surprise that it can happen to the non smoker. Hope there are more cure and you get well soon.

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The BEST New Year's Eve
January 08, 2015
So glad to read your blog. Cancer sucks. It is great to see the new drug is helping. I too had breast cancer. Doing well. Almost 10 years now. Wish you well in 2015

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Dedicated to the Caregivers
January 08, 2015
I lost my husband to lung cancer on Sept. 6, 2012 following a courageous 20 month fight. I have read many blogs and testimonies but your entry this morning truly touched my heart; beautiful, articulate, heart wrenching. Thank you for sharing! May God bless you and your family! XO

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Dedicated to the Caregivers
January 08, 2015
Thank you.

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The BEST New Year's Eve
January 08, 2015
Excellent news beautiful lady. Wishing you many more celebrations!

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From a Cough to Metastatic Lung Cancer
January 08, 2015
Best wishes to you, Janet! Thank you for writing of your experience. My husband, too, a non-smoker, had non-small cell lung cancer discovered by "accident"-- as a result of a coronary calcium scan procedure. It was like having the rug pulled out from under us.

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The BEST New Year's Eve
January 08, 2015
Carrie, I too am a Stage IV survivor. Stage I in 2/1987 &Stage IV in 2/1988,liver mets. I did chemo & a clinical trial with 10X standard chemo dosing & an autologous bone marrow transplant in 7/1988.Was on Tamoxifen 6/1992-3/2005 & have been on Arimidex since 3/2005.I was 36 when diagnosed with 2 month & 9 1/2 year old daughters. I am now 64, newly retired (after being a nurse for 42 years )and a Grandma. My oncologist watches me like a hawk...keep your spirit & HOPE going . I wish you many more NY celebrations...my prayers are with you for returning health !

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The BEST New Year's Eve
January 07, 2015
God bless you survivor sister!

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You Have Cancer. Again.
January 07, 2015
Nice thoughts. I never thought on caregivers the way you posted.Certainly they worth their weight on gold. I am a 2nd timer also and hope to pass this small cell lung cancer easy. I am not afraid anymore. I have been throughout this already. I have my partner in life but my side, My biggest fears are that my daughters could get Cancer and i wont be around to help them out. But they may not get it. I try to live day at the time and enjoy as much as i can now. Who knows tomorrow Cheers

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The BEST New Year's Eve
January 07, 2015
I, too, have stage 4 breast cancer 2 years now after being "free" from it for 20 years. Every day is wonderful, and every New Year a real celebration! I also have a birthday at the end of the year, so Ifeel it is a double celebration. I wish you well in your treatments. You have a lot to live a long life for!

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Overcoming the Mental Battle of Metastatic Cancer
January 07, 2015
we have much in common,, yet, as you know each cancer is all so unique... typing is not my ability with lymphedema ,,, I live in st louis area... our phone number is 314 838 7619 if you would want to call sometime. I am 55 years old... cancer began at 45... you are much younger than I..... I will pray for you if I may. This is the only way to stay focused for me. My faith in God who is with me in all things and helps me keep my focus.... I, like you,, want to have cancer in the background not always in front of ...

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Dedicated to the Caregivers
January 07, 2015
I just lost my husband of 48 years on November 29, 2014. As tiring as it was, taking care of him 24/7 throughout his journey with Multiple Myeloma, I'd do it all over again, just to have him back with me but I know that he is in a better place now and is no longer suffering.

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Dedicated to the Caregivers
January 07, 2015
Thanks, Tori. Amy really enjoyed this post. And I couldn't agree more...our caregivers are truly inspirational.

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Recipe for Living with Metastatic Cancer
January 07, 2015
Thanks so much for these encouraging thoughts. I have spent the last year trying to articulate what a person in my situation needs. You have done just that!

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Dedicated to the Caregivers
January 06, 2015
Touching and beautiful. You and your loved ones are in my thoughts and prayers, as are all the world's caregivers. God bless you!

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Dedicated to the Caregivers
January 06, 2015
Oh Tori, I had Ken read this as a thank you to him. I have had so many bad moments, moments when I might have been better than I chose to be. But. We are both breathing and the kiddo is breathing. So. Hurrah. Ken says he sometimes just thinks, "Don't go there. (as in remembering how I could not breathe and was throwing up all the time) She is fine now. Just stay right here. You wrote great blog.

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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 ...

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Recipe for Living with Metastatic Cancer
January 06, 2015
Have passed this on to my 38 year old daughter who is living with metastatic breast cancer. It's the best article I have read. Would hope everyone who loves her will read this and maybe have a better understanding of what she is living with. Thank you Tori

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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 ...

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Kate's Journey
January 06, 2015
Thank you for this perceptive, creative explanation of the horrible bewilderment of aphasia. Having watched my own father and hundreds of other survivors at the Aphasia Center of West Texas, I offer encouragement. I witness everyday how life's activities and interactions can be accessed again in spite of aphasia!

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The BEST New Year's Eve
January 05, 2015
What wonderful news! May you have many, many more New Year's Eves, even better than this one!!

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Live in the Moment: A Lesson From Cancer. And Preschoolers.
January 05, 2015
Caroline - thank you for your kind words. Reading other people's experiences has helped me a lot, now I hope I can help others. Thank you for the well wishes, and I hope you had a great holiday, and may 2015 be a great year!

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Recipe for Living with Metastatic Cancer
January 05, 2015
Tori- I really enjoyed your recipe. I am a survivor of Stage 3A breast cancer, but have a relatively high chance of recurrence and have been told that if I have a recurrence, it will likely be in a major organ and terminal- not news I wanted to hear. Your recipe is very encouraging to me and helpful in dealing with the ongoing fear of recurrence. Keep on writing- you're a tremendous inspiration to many!

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Kate's Journey
January 05, 2015
Friend and science fiction author David D. Levine blogged on 29-Dec-2014 about his wife Kate Yule's "Journey" into Cancerland. Kate, who is adept at learning new languages, had recently undergone a craniotomy for a malignant brain tumor and is now dealing with aphasia. David gave me permission to share what he wrote.

--------------------------
JOURNEY

She has landed in a country she never intended to visit, on a flight she does not even remember having boarded.

She is an experienced traveler. Frequent flyer, passport full of stamps, culinarily adventurous, multilingual. Learning foreign languages is what she does for fun. She is not ready to be here.

It was a rough landing. She is still trembling.

She has not done her research ...

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Recipe for Living with Metastatic Cancer
January 03, 2015
Courage and intelligence thank you for such thoughtful worda

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The BEST New Year's Eve
January 02, 2015
Love you Carrie! I knew you were such a special person many years ago. I will keep you close to my heart!

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Do You Need a Time Out from Cancer?
January 02, 2015
Thanks so much, Shani! So glad you found me here at CURE. All the best for a fabulous New Year! Debbie

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The BEST New Year's Eve
January 02, 2015
Carrie you keep hoping and believing, and we will keep praying.....

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The BEST New Year's Eve
January 02, 2015
Wonderful news!!! I'm so happy for you Carrie!!

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The BEST New Year's Eve
January 02, 2015
Hi Carrie, Thank the good lord for your good news! I'm so sorry, i didn't realize your cancer had spread, i was under the impression that after your first round of surgery & chemo, all was good. My apologies for not keeping up, i admit I've gotten so wrapped in or lives here keeping things running since dale's stroke, that I've ignored the world. My prayers to you, to see your life fulfilled & your child grow up, cancer is a scary thing. Blessings to you & your family! Anne

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The BEST New Year's Eve
January 02, 2015
This is such exciting news sweet lady! I pray for many healthy days for you in 2015!

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Do You Need a Time Out from Cancer?
January 01, 2015
Congratulations on becoming a regular writer for Cure, Debbie! The magazine will be the richer for your contributions.

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Welcome to 2015! Happy New Year!
January 01, 2015
once again such beautiful words flow from your pen. Looking forward to a healthy and faith filled 2015 and of course more of your writing! Lisa

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Do You Need a Time Out from Cancer?
January 01, 2015
Hi Christina: Thanks so much for your comment. I agree that it's exactly when we're the most stressed that relaxation techniques help the most. Take care, Debbie

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The BEST New Year's Eve
January 01, 2015
Last night was the best New Year’s Eve – EVER.

There was no fancy outfit. (Although my new purple UGG house shoes are pretty fabulous.)

There was no fancy food. (I cooked a pot of gumbo with a game bird from my husband’s recent hunting trip.)

There were no fancy party guests. (Just one loving husband, two good friends and four handsome guys under the age of three.)

There was one OUTSTANDING champagne toast. We toasted to health and happiness and celebrated my first piece of good health news in almost 15 months.

When you have metastatic cancer, your health is a constant roller coaster. On Wednesday, I might go grocery shopping and out for lunch, and on Thursday I ...

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Welcome to 2015! Happy New Year!
January 01, 2015
It's hard to believe that 2014 is but a memory. What a unique year to have experienced....filled with the "all of life" and many powerful life lessons. It was a year of grief and joy, struggle and resolve, turmoil and peace. It was a year of grace manifesting in magnificent and miraculous ways that will carry me through future ups and downs. Here are 14 lessons that I'm bringing into the new year:
 
1.  There was continued celebration that my mom shows no signs of cancer. And that even as her cancer is in the past it has indelibly changed our lives ...

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Do You Need a Time Out from Cancer?
December 31, 2014
Fantastic article!! I totally agree with you. We all could use more laughter, exercise, yoga and mindful breathing in our lives, but especially when battling cancer. Thanks so much for sharing great tips!!

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Do You Need a Time Out from Cancer?
December 31, 2014
Happy New Year, Carole! I love your suggestions! It just goes to prove that there is always something simple we can do to help break the tension and give ourselves a little break. Thanks so much! Debbie

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Do You Need a Time Out from Cancer?
December 31, 2014
Deb, Congrats on this next accomplishment of Cure, but also for the 5 yr anniversary. It's a milestone! One suggestion was specifically to take time for a good cry with a tear jerker movie, another was to wear a rubber band, give yourself 10 min with the beastly thoughts, snap the rubber band and move on. Have a wonderful New Year!

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The Stockings are Hung with Care
December 28, 2014
Jeannie, And in return you have given me the gift of yoga, teaching me that even I can do it!!! Love you!

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The Stockings are Hung with Care
December 28, 2014
Suzanne, you're words tell me that living consciously is the way to 'beat' cancer everyday. Your words have stayed with me since my diagnosis, and I thank you in prayer everyday!

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Do You Need a Time Out from Cancer?
December 27, 2014
Hi Carole: Enjoy the yoga and funny movies this weekend! I'm sending good wishes for your CT scan and happy my post resonated with you. All the best, Debbie

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Do You Need a Time Out from Cancer?
December 27, 2014
Hi ButDoctorIHatePink. Finding some peace from thinking about mets all the time is a major accomplishment. Thanks for your reassurance that adjusting is possible. Debbie

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Overcoming the Mental Battle of Metastatic Cancer
December 27, 2014
Carrie, when I think of you the first thing that comes to mind is your incredible smile. At the MBCN conference where Mom and I met you, we sat through hours of lectures on treatment options, concerns for MBC patients, and so on. Don't get me wrong... it was great information, but it was a lot to take in in one day. I had gone out to the lobby to take a break when I ran into you again. We talked for a minute, then you blew my mind. You simply said, "Y'all wanna get out of here?" We were 1,000 miles from home, in a strange city, and we just assumed we'd be stuck at that hotel for the duration. But you and Chris ...

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Do You Need a Time Out from Cancer?
December 27, 2014
Yes we need a time out from cancer. I am a cancer survivor in 1 year remission. The dtrategies ypu suggest are good ones thsy have been helpful in yhe past. You reminded me that I need to use them again. I am experiencing "scanxiety" as my annual CT scan approaches. Yoga and funny movies are on my agenda this weekend. Thank you

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Reaching for the Brass Ring
December 27, 2014
Selva, I'd previously had two different chemo regimens and two different radiation protocols (see my previous posts). It's not uncommon for a lung biopsy to be inconclusive, as mine was in this post. In such cases, watchful waiting can be the best course of action to avoid overtreatment. I did resume active treatment after one of the new nodules appeared highly suspicious for lung cancer. I now take a targeted therapy called Xalkori in a clinical trial; my trial has shown this drug is particularly effective for my type of cancer (ROS1-positive non-small cell lung cancer).

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Do You Need a Time Out from Cancer?
December 27, 2014
After 3 1/2 years of mets, I've finally stopped thinking about it all the time. I'm not sure your brain can keep up a high level of intensity forever. Living with cancer is difficult for a host of reasons, but one does manage to adjust.

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Escaping the Shadow
December 26, 2014
Anita, best of luck with your lung cancer treatment. Andrea, I hope we'll finally meet sometime this year.

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Overcoming the Mental Battle of Metastatic Cancer
December 26, 2014
My dear Carrie, though I am the caregiver for my husband, diagnosed with recurrence of Mantle Cell Lymphoma in September 2013, (originally diagnosed with stage IV in December 2007), our history of ups and downs would take more than I could post in a commentary entry. However, I have heard my husband say more than one once , "Not one minute have I lost any sleep over cancer." This comes from two primary perspectives. One, there is nothing he can do to control the outcome. God knew our number of days even before he was conceived. The second, we are instructed not to be anxious about anything. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and ...

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Overcoming the Mental Battle of Metastatic Cancer
December 25, 2014
Tori, you are so right! Henry is almost three years old, and he definitely helps keep me in the present. No time to sit and dwell too much on the big picture!

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Escaping the Shadow
December 25, 2014
This is so moving Janet -- you are always so strong I sometimes forget how hard it must be for you ... thank you for being such an inspiration for so many. I'm looking forward to meeting you soon -- maybe IASLC.

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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 ...

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Escaping the Shadow
December 24, 2014
Those gray feelings have been hovering over me as well, this first Christmas with metastatic lung cancer. Like you, time spent with family is proving to be excellent therapy. Thank you for these eloquent words.

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Recipe for Living with Metastatic Cancer
December 24, 2014
Tori this is a great recipe. I hope I will be able to follow it.

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Escaping the Shadow
December 24, 2014
Thanks, Liz and Chris!

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Live in the Moment: A Lesson From Cancer. And Preschoolers.
December 24, 2014
Tori, thank you for your blog. You're inspiring and profound, and so courageous to share your thoughts with us. Thinking of you and your loved ones, sending my best. Happy holidays.

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Escaping the Shadow
December 24, 2014
What a wonderful holiday story Janet. Your beautiful writing makes me feel like I was right there with you on your well deserved vacation, and thank you for all you do for cancer patients. Your selfless work for the cancer community is your legacy. Chris

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Recipe for Living with Metastatic Cancer
December 24, 2014
Great recipe! Last year I knew nothing about lung cancer, then got a stage 4 dx, then learned all I could, then realized I needed to turn it off and take a break from it and simply live my life with my family. The recipe is great, it's important to keep the proportions in mind. :) Dave

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Escaping the Shadow
December 24, 2014
Today is the beginning of the most joyful time in the world. A time of peace and love in one's heart for all the wonderful things we experience. None are more wondrous than our love for family and friends. May your Christmas be filled with the Light and may you have a New Year filled with peace and love.

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Escaping the Shadow
December 24, 2014
Thank you Tori, Barbara, Marylen, and David for your kind words.

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Overcoming the Mental Battle of Metastatic Cancer
December 23, 2014
Great article! I definitely find myself wondering if this is the best I will ever feel (I have stage IV lung cancer). My way of coping with this is that I really avoid thinking about the future. I have a house full of little ones to keep me focused on the present, since their needs are so immediate. It's funny, they are what give me the most heartache in this whole situation, but they are also what keep me grounded in the present. Happy holidays to you, and may you have many, many more!

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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 ...

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Escaping the Shadow
December 23, 2014
Great post, great message! All the work, all the running around parents do, its for the kids. Truth is, sometimes its just best to hang out together. And no place better than a warm place near tropical waters. Enjoy the holidays, and your family. Dave

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Escaping the Shadow
December 23, 2014
Thank you for this post. A lovely reminder to all of us.

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Recipe for Living with Metastatic Cancer
December 23, 2014
Craig - haha, that's funny, I'm a pretty weak cook, myself. But this kind of recipe I can do. Thanks for your comment!

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Escaping the Shadow
December 23, 2014
Beautiful story with deep meaning. I love you. Hugs, Barbara

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Recipe for Living with Metastatic Cancer
December 23, 2014
My wife will attest to the fact that I cannot cook worth beans. But this is one recipe I think I can manage. Right on as always Tori.

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Do You Need a Time Out from Cancer?
December 23, 2014
Hi Claudia! Our sons have SpongBob in common! Thanks so much for finding me here at Cure. I'm glad my article resonated with you and wish you a blessed and peaceful holiday season! Debbie

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Recipe for Living with Metastatic Cancer
December 23, 2014
Thanks! It is what works for me. I hope it helps other people, too!

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Do You Need a Time Out from Cancer?
December 23, 2014
SpongeBob is my 17 year old sons favorite, too (still at his age :)) and this made me smile. I really could use a break from thinking about bc this holiday season so thanks for the reminder of the simple ways I can break my mind from all the obsessing. Congratulations on being part of cure - it's a great magazine. Happy Holidays!!

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Recipe for Living with Metastatic Cancer
December 23, 2014
Thanks for sharing your "recipe". Its got to be the best recipe I've seen this year!

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Escaping the Shadow
December 22, 2014
Thank you, Tori!

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Escaping the Shadow
December 22, 2014
Beautiful post, Janet! It seems like it was a fantastic trip, just when you needed it most.

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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The Why Me of Cancer
December 22, 2014
Thank you Tori, I did read the blog and what she says is entirely true. The govt. did a fabulous job in their anti smoking campaigns of connecting smoking to lung cancer in everyone's mind. I wish we who advocate for awareness could do an equally fabulous job of connecting the habit to the tobacco industry where the "blame" should lie! I actually am a glass half full kind of person. I know I have a lot to live for and a lot to offer to my family and my community. I will continue as an advocate as long as I can!

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Live in the Moment: A Lesson From Cancer. And Preschoolers.
December 21, 2014
Mary, young or old this is a scary diagnosis to live with. Cancer steals things away from us, and the naivete that we have long futures ahead of us is one of them. It is mostly that lost ignorance that I miss. In the mean time, I agree - let's keep dancing. Thanks for writing, I love your comments!

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The Why Me of Cancer
December 21, 2014
Patricia, please do not feel guilty for smoking. And you friend who said it was your fault was simply being cruel. If you haven't already, please take a moment to read a beautiful article by a fellow stage IV lung cancer blogger, Janet Freeman-Daily, called "Dear Lung Cancer Patient Who Smoked" (https://grayconnections.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/dear-lung-cancer-patient-who-smoked/). I hope you stay well, and have many more years enjoying your family. Thank you for your comment and thank you for being a lung cancer awareness advocate!!

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The Why Me of Cancer
December 21, 2014
Hi, I am 61 years old and was diagnosed 2 years ago with stage 1A lung cancer. My right middle lobe was surgically removed and I remained cancer free until this past summer. I am now stage IV. I dread the inevitable "did you smoke" question probably more than non smokers because I did smoke. I grew up in the era of smoking being acceptable. Our favorite TV stars smoked on TV. Our family doctor smoked and I remember seeing a lit cigarette in the ashtray on his desk every time we were at his office! I probably smoked for less than 10 years and had quit 25 years prior to my initial diagnosis. Did the relatively short and long ago exposure cause me to ...

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Live in the Moment: A Lesson From Cancer. And Preschoolers.
December 18, 2014
Tori, Of course you know I am older. You know I have grown kids. So, reasonably, you must feel, "What does she have to feel bad about?" I would. Yet, the same heartache pervades. The idea that the future which always seemed to me to be possible, assuming I did not get hit by bus(nearly did once) is no longer what? That is the key. We don't know. Is it possible? It must be for some people. We could hope for the long long tail to be our story. But mostly we dance like your daughters, at least on good days, striving to ignore the statistics, the fear. Just dancing. I care.

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Advocates Call for More Attention to Metastatic Breast Cancer
December 18, 2014
Thanks for this nuanced article. I really appreciated Karen's perspective--she tells it like it is when it comes to living with Stage IV breast cancer. This is a story that is seldom told--thanks for sharing it.

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Do This Now to Find the Causes of Breast Cancer
December 17, 2014
Two kind of breast cancer in right breast in 2000 stage 1 adenocarcinoma and a more common breast cancer in addition to the adenocarcinoma. Had mastectomy on rt side. Reduction on left. Negative receptors and very high Her 2 Nu properties. Age 52 after 6 years of premarin hormone treatment. Now have just undergone the removal of my pancreas and spleen due to pancreatic adeno carcenoma. Now doing 6 months of gemzar 1000. Fighting for my life once again.

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Live in the Moment: A Lesson From Cancer. And Preschoolers.
December 17, 2014
Oren - I know, ugh, I know. What you wrote is beautiful. Thank you. Best of luck to you. I hope they can find something to keep extending your time with your family.

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Live in the Moment: A Lesson From Cancer. And Preschoolers.
December 17, 2014
Amy - I'm sorry you know this life so well. I hope your husband is managing with treatment. Have they tested for mutations? Being a young person with lung cancer, there is an increased chance that he may have a targetable mutation (I have ROS1 and take a daily targeted pill to control my cancer). Here is a website that give more information, if he hasn't been tested yet. http://dontguesstestlungcancer.com/ Best of luck!

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Live in the Moment: A Lesson From Cancer. And Preschoolers.
December 17, 2014
I just wrote another letter to my kids. This time it was for my son on his 12th birthday, 5 years from now. It's hard--I have no idea what the family situation will be like, if everyone will be healthy, if they'll still be living in Maryland... So I rambled a bit. I told him that it was OK--I didn't date anyone when I was 12, so no rush. Ha, you know, just in case he were the same as I was at that age--only caring about video games--and feeling like he should be dating... And I wrote for him to listen to his mom, and I reminded him again that it was his choice whether or not he wanted to have a Bar-Mitzvah the

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Live in the Moment: A Lesson From Cancer. And Preschoolers.
December 17, 2014
Hi Tori- I'm sending you love and light as a mother, wife and relentless advocate & cheerleader for my husband. My husband was diagnosed with stage 4 non small cell lung cancer at 38 years old in March of 2012. At the time, I was 10 weeks pregnant with our second child. Quentin and I adopted this same motto! Sending you courage and hope as you enter a new year! You are a warrior! Hug and kiss your loved ones.. Xoxo

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Live in the Moment: A Lesson From Cancer. And Preschoolers.
December 17, 2014
Jo, I am so glad that you were able to find something to help you on a path to a better life! I have certainly learned the importance of advocating for oneself, and taking an active role in one's own care. May you have continued good health.

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Live in the Moment: A Lesson From Cancer. And Preschoolers.
December 17, 2014
Tori, I know in my heart that living in the moment is vital to sustaining life. Thank you for this article. In 1999 I was told that I would be in a wheel chair within 6 months and dead within two years. Years of mis-diagnoses followed, and now I finally figured it out myself through my own research that my cancers were caused by a fungal etiology and after killing the fungus, and eating a Paleo diet, I am pain-free, walking, working, and LIVING! The overgrowth of yeast from eating wheat and corn that are mold-ridden and full of gliadin, caused all this misery in my body. When my children had a meeting to decide who was going to ...

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Live in the Moment: A Lesson From Cancer. And Preschoolers.
December 16, 2014
Having stage 4, incurable, metastatic, terminal lung cancer (or "eventually terminal" as my cancer buddy says) has made me acutely aware of death in a way I never expected to be at age 38.
 
I walk in the land of the living with the oppressive knowledge of how very close we all are to the land of the dead.
 
I know that right now my cancer is under control, but one day this roller coaster will dip down again. Will it come back up or will it be the final plunge?
 
~~~
 
People ask me how I cope, knowing how very uncertain my future is. Learning to cope has been a gradual, ongoing process. First was the shock, a ...

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The Why Me of Cancer
December 15, 2014
Tedd, I am so glad that you were able to find some answers that were able both to bring you solace as well as actionable steps. I certainly agree that searching and learning can be very empowering (and potentially life saving - a story for an upcoming post!). There are more cancer centers bringing in integrated medicine, that explore the role of food, exercise, supplements, art, meditation, etc in cancer care. I hope your mother continues to do well! Best to you both.

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The Why Me of Cancer
December 15, 2014
Caroline, thank you for your incredibly kind words. I'm so sorry that your mother had to suffer in silence. It seems that a lot of people, especially in those days, felt such a great deal of shame surrounding this diagnosis that they wouldn't speak of it or reach out. It is hard to admit vulnerability, and I hope that by being so public I can dispel some of that embarrassment. I wish the best to you and your family, may you have a wonderful holiday season.

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The Why Me of Cancer
December 15, 2014
Tori, You ask great questions here, I appreciate that. I was stumped for over 15 years about the cause of my mother's cancer. I got around to talking with her about what was happening in the months before she was diagnosed. This led to some interesting discoveries that led to more conversations and eventually, to a specific cause for her cancer, based on her situation. Instead of feeling blamed or guilty it feels very empowering (and still scarey and challenging!) At 82 my mother now approaches her cancer from both a physical level (chemo, etc.) and from an emotional level (using self-directed means). She's actively engaged in her own healing and noticing a difference. For three years I've observed similar patterns with different cancers and even

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The Why Me of Cancer
December 15, 2014
Hi, Tori. We weren't in the same grade, but we went to high school together. I remember admiring the smiling, soft-spoken, contemplative, witty and beautiful girl in the beret. I didn't come across you often in the halls but always saw your name on the honor roll. I heard then you had cancer and then I heard you beat it. I cheered for you and thought you should go by the name "Victory." I'm now in my late 30's, a married mother of 2 children and a dog. We have challenging days sometimes, as we're all a bit difficult and grumpy, but I didn't realize how fortunate we are to have our health until I happened across your ...

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Is It Time for Testing of All 30-Year-Old Women for the Breast Cancer Gene
December 14, 2014
You seem to have left out the 1% of us male breast cancer survivors out there. I to think my breast cancer was inherited from my father's side. I just wish there was more studies out there for men.

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Reaching for the Brass Ring
December 13, 2014
Thank you, Laneta!

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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.’ ...

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The Why Me of Cancer
December 12, 2014
Thanks for your comment. That's interesting that you felt like the "reason" was because you could handle it. And yes, I don't know why anyone should have to suffer. My "why me" has definitely taken on a different, more philosophical tone, as in "what am I supposed to gain from this experience?" "Can I make this into something positive?"

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Advocates Call for More Attention to Metastatic Breast Cancer
December 12, 2014
I have been fighting breast cancer since 1987, when I found a lump, had a lumpectomy & radiation. In 2001, I ended up having a double radical mastectomy, aggressive chemotherapy & aggressive radiation. In 2012, I went to an Orthopedic doctor for my shoulder & he found that I had a shredded tendon & a torn rotator cuff muscle. I opted for surgery. A month went by & he wanted to do another MRI of that shoulder & he found the Metastatic Breast Cancer cells in the bone & wouldn't do the shoulder surgery. He referred me to an Oncology Orthopedic Surgeon at the same hospital. That doctor told me that I didn't have Metastatic Breast Cancer & ...

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The Why Me of Cancer
December 12, 2014
I think the Why Me kind of goes away a bit after you start going to the hospital oncology department. Once you realize so many people suffer with you, it's different. So my "Why Me" didn't last long. At first, it was me because I felt mentally ready for what was coming, and better me than anyone else I knew, and then it just became, "Well, why anyone?"

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The Why Me of Cancer
December 12, 2014
Cancer?!?

This can't be happening.



What did I do to deserve this?


Am I being Punked?


Is this my fault?


This isn't real.


Why me?


Cancer. The Big C. The malady that once was only spoken about in whispers. The Voldemort of diseases. With so much fear surrounding this diagnosis, is it any wonder we end up asking, "Why me?"

Why does a 14 year old vegetarian get bone cancer?
 
Why does a 37 year old non-smoking mom of three little ones get lung cancer?
 
Why would both patients be the same person?
 
~~~

When I was diagnosed with lung cancer, the ...

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Advocates Call for More Attention to Metastatic Breast Cancer
December 12, 2014
Great article! Thank you for bringing attention to how the metastatic community gets forgotten in the Pinktober festivities.

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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 ...

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You Have Cancer. Again.
December 11, 2014
Tori, Sometimes I allow myself a bit of a dream. I think," Hey, I was told I had less than a year and here I am, in much better shape than I was last year." So.... breathe breathe breathe. And, on rare occasions, allow the smallest bit of dream to creep in. Actually, in some ways, you are living the dream.

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Preventing Breast Cancer One Woman at a Time
December 10, 2014
Thank you to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Community Health Leaders Program for funding our two year quasi-experimental evaluation project. The findings were key in determining our model as an evidence based project.

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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 ...

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Do This Now to Find the Causes of Breast Cancer
December 09, 2014
Thank you for this great post and for encouraging people to participate in the [HOW] Study(TM). It is such an important project! Please drop me an email; we'd love to know more about your journey and share more information with you and the CURE community! Best wishes, Shirley Horn Director, Communications & Marketing Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation

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You Have Cancer. Again.
December 09, 2014
Stephanie, I am so sorry to hear you are facing a recurrence of lung cancer. Have they tested your tumor for mutations? They found that my tumor has a rare mutation, ROS1, so I am now on a targeted therapy that is doing an amazing job controlling the cancer. You can read more about testing for mutations at: http://dontguesstestlungcancer.com/. There is amazing stuff happening in the research now, and new treatment options are opening up. Best of luck to you!

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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 ...

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You Have Cancer. Again.
December 09, 2014
Your post really hit home as I am facing a a second round of lung cancer. I pray that for both of us and for everyone facing this monster that the science does indeed keep up and keep us alive. I have faith! You are brave. Stay Strong. Thanks for sharing.

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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 ...

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You Have Cancer. Again.
December 08, 2014
Thank you Linda, and congratulations on surviving lung cancer twice! I certainly plan to hang in there for as long as I possibly can.

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You Have Cancer. Again.
December 08, 2014
Oh Mary, what a dream it would be to grow old. And I'm pretty ridiculous, so laughing at myself sounds great. :)

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You Have Cancer. Again.
December 08, 2014
I am a two-time lung cancer survivor, but was older. I already had 3 grandchildren. Tori, you are younger than my youngest child. Amie will be 37 next month. (incidentally, she had colon cancer at age 32). You hang in there, baby girl, you are special. Give yourself a great big hug for me, okay?

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You Have Cancer. Again.
December 08, 2014
Right. Stick around. That's what I want for all of us. To be very old together. Maybe laughing a little at ourselves. That would be great. You are a good writer!

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Knowledge is Power: A Cancer Patient Navigates Her Diagnosis
December 07, 2014
Thanks, Mary! Stay tuned, there is much more to this story....

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Sweet Sixteen Like No Other
December 06, 2014
You make light of it, but I'm sure you've been through hell...but have come back stronger and more determined. I'm so happy for you. I'm fortunatel to live in a city that has a super wonderful cancer hospital and my partner, who had such a rare cancer only 30 people in the world (that's documented) had it....and she's in remission for almost eight years. Cancer is not an automatic death sentence! I wish you continued good health. Thanks for sharing

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Knowledge is Power: A Cancer Patient Navigates Her Diagnosis
December 05, 2014
Good! I like your writing. I like your honesty. Excellent work.

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Reaching for the Brass Ring
December 03, 2014
Thanks, Micky. Sally, we lung cancer patient advocates are working on finding ways to assist patients who wish to pursue clinical trials. Some nonprofit organizations provide online tools and/or telephone consults to help patients identify appropriate clinical trials. Some oncologists will help patients identify appropriate trials and send the necessary medical records to the trial coordinator. However, I don't know of any service or organization that helps patients complete the paperwork and travel arrangements necessary for a trial unless the trial covers travel expenses, which is rare. For now, the burden is primarily on the patient and/or caregiver.

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The Giving of Thanks and Blessings Great and Small
December 01, 2014
Thanks, Lisa!! Ditto!!

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The Giving of Thanks and Blessings Great and Small
December 01, 2014
Once again your beautiful writing inspires me and gives me Hope. I am thankful for you!

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Reaching for the Brass Ring
December 01, 2014
I love this story. I think paragraph 7, however, which lists all the mundane paperwork you had to do to join the trail is pretty important. Many patients need a nudge or a donation of time from someone else to do the organizational work. Where could we find a way to help patients with that? I think more would sign up for research if they had help with that.

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Reaching for the Brass Ring
December 01, 2014
Great results for you, and it advances medical science, too.

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The Giving of Thanks and Blessings Great and Small
December 01, 2014

I love this time of year!  Falling leaves, crisp morning air, holiday activities and the giving of thanks for blessings great and small.  A time of reflection surrounds me even as looking forward is in full swing.  Gratitude this year is rich.

My doctors have continued to extend my life journey.  They haven't thrown in the towel and have utilized additional treatments and procedures when needed and even made it possible for a nice, long chemo break.  I have a phenomenal team.  I talk teamwork a lot when sharing my story with other cancer survivors.  In recent months, I've learned that the same teamwork that allows me to live fully in spite of terminal cancer is also needed in every discipline of medicine.  I've ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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From a Cough to Metastatic Lung Cancer
November 21, 2014
You seem so calm. And so many have reason to thank you. Margaret Fleming

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From a Cough to Metastatic Lung Cancer
November 21, 2014
Thank you, Beth.

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From a Cough to Metastatic Lung Cancer
November 20, 2014
Thank you for sharing.

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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 ...

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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 ...

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