Monday, September 26, 2011

Survival - Learning To Cope

This month, 3 years  ago, was the beginning of my cancer journey. My October 1st diagnosis cancer anniversary is approaching this week. What should be a time of celebration and victory, surviving 3 years, is, instead, a time of high anxiety and stress, it seems. For the past month I have lived on the edge of dread since discovering a new lump in my other breast. FINALLY, this week it was revealed that it is only a simple cyst and nothing to worry about. Another bullet dodged. This time.

All the while, pink washing is happening around me, around all of us. You've seen it, things for sale everywhere you look, from Tic Tacs to fabric scissors and in every string of television commercials. For a breast cancer survivor these things bring a mix of emotions.  A "love / hate " relationship with PINK.   For all of the fund raising and walking, and emphasis on awareness, we seem nowhere closer to a cure than we were 3 years ago. The advances being made are primarily in the clinical trials for metastatic breast cancer...stage 4...the worst kinds, the rising numbers of young women dying from the disease, having had it spread to other parts of their bodies. More women, not fewer, are being diagnosed with breast cancer every year. Where are we going wrong?

I have had 3 weeks of B-12 shots now, and will continue weekly for the next couple of weeks and then they will test my levels to see if I can go just once a month. I haven't noticed a huge change in my energies, but small gradual changes, like I crash and burn  at 4 PM instead of 11 AM. I'll take that.

I will  have a surgical biopsy of a mole on my abdomen next month (which was removed in May) and showed atypical cells in the pathology report. It grew back. "We never like to see that", my dermatologist said.  He sent me to the dermatological surgeon, who determined it needed a different type of biopsy, the type with stitches. Oh goodie! So much for my 2012 bikini debut! The surgeon is booked for the next 4 weeks.Wait and anxiety - they go hand in hand.

That same week in October (17th) I will also have a uterine biopsy via a D & C operative hysteroscopy under general anesthesia. This is to determine the cause of what has been a year long battle of female problems, and discoveries on my pelvic MRI and Ultrasounds.  Please pray the findings of that will be easy to diagnose and treat.

So you can see that October, in and of itself, is a month of anxious thoughts for me but there are a lot of additional concerns on my plate this October.

For all of the ups and downs of health related issues, my by-line of this blog remains the same...

"Surviving Breast Cancer By The Grace Of God".

Friday, September 9, 2011

The war goes on...

The battle of breast cancer continues. It's warriors, younger and younger. Let's never forget that even those who fight war of the traditional kind, also get breast cancer. Click the photo below to learn about Keri, a young, courageous Airman in the Unites States Air Force, fighting this ugly disease. She has the same type of aggressive breast cancer that I had, called her2neu+. There are 4 segments in her web - blog, which is a photo journal essay of a day in the life of cancer - Keri's cancer. 

As October and Breast Cancer Awareness month approach in these next few weeks, awareness will be on every one's minds. And I will use this opportunity to highlight aspects of the disease most people don't consider, such as young single mothers, women under 40, risk factors, disparity in diagnostics and treatment, and the fact that finding the cause(s) is our only hope of finding a cure.

Guest Blogger, David Haas

I'd like to introduce you to David Haas, fellow blogger and cancer patient advocate. Today David is guest posting on my blog about fitness  following a cancer diagnosis. I hope you'll enjoy!
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Fitness to Help Combat Cancer

A cancer diagnosis, whether it is Prostate Cancer, breast cancer, skin cancer, or even a rare diagnosis such as a mesothelioma prognosis, is a stressful and challenging time for any individual. Cancer treatments are often painful and result in physical exhaustion in the body. While it might seem that adding exercise or fitness training to cancer treatments would only further exhaust the body, it actually helps increase energy levels.

Exercise is beneficial to the body. According to the
National Cancer Institute, cancer patients who get moderate exercise between 3 to 5 hours a week are more likely to survive cancer than patients who lead a sedentary lifestyle.

Exercise Options For Cancer Patients:

Patients who are diagnosed with cancer such as breast cancer, lung cancer,
mesothelioma, colon cancer , and especially Prostate cancer often benefit from different types of exercise programs. Numerous options are available depending on physical fitness level and personal interests.

Yoga is one exercise option that is beneficial to cancer patients. Joining a yoga class will not only provide moderate and gentle exercise, but also helps relieve stress and anxiety associated with cancer. For some patients who experience negative side effects like nausea from the cancer treatments, yoga might help with the side effects as well.

Anita Kellman’s Beat Cancer Boot Camp is an exercise program based on military exercises that is designed to help empower cancer patients and survivors. This program is designed specifically for cancer patients and helps improve the chances of beating cancer one pushup at a time while also encouraging camaraderie and support during tough times.

• Getting help from a personal trainer who works specifically with cancer patients is often a great way to get personalized exercise to deal with specific health needs. For example, breast cancer patients might require exercise to burn fat gained because of the cancer while a patient with gastrointestinal cancer would need to work on building lean muscle to minimize muscle wasting.

• Walking is a gentle exercise that is appropriate for most cancer patients. A twenty-minute walk each day will help improve cancer survival chances without harming the body or overtaxing the body.


Exercise is beneficial in fighting cancer. While studies are still determining the exact effects exercise has on cancer, doctors have determined that moderate exercise increases the rate of surviving cancer, increases energy and improves the mood of patients who are fighting cancer. Patients should always discuss the most appropriate exercise programs and options with a doctor for their individual health needs.