Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cancer Networks and Their Value

Here is an article written by David Haas whose blog is located at Hass Blagg

Cancer Networks and Their Value
Few things in life are as tragic as a cancer diagnosis or the treatments. Those who are diagnosed have many
questions to consider: what kind of treatment is best, how will this affect my career and family, how can I
cope with this? The family and friends of cancer patients must also learn to deal with this news and how to
help the patient. One of the worst things about cancer is how many people it impacts. The flip side of this is
that because so many people are impacted, they can offer support and comfort to each other.
Cancer networks are designed to help people impacted from cancer by bringing them together in a
supportive environment where they can share stories of hope, grief, loss, and advice on how to cope with
the everyday realities of living with cancer. These networks are also available to those in remission and
the friends and family of patients. These networks provide comfort to the members and allow them to talk
about things only those impacted can understand, as well the difficulties of being a caregiver or watching a
loved one suffer.
A rare or terminal cancer diagnosis is even harder for most people to come to terms with. A Mesotheliomadiagnosis can be very isolating and one should take advantage of one of the many support groups to help
deal with emotional side effects as well as share personal stories and advice on how to cope with their
mesothelioma prognosis. The simple act of talking about cancer can be very cathartic and help the patient’s
process what is happening to them and express emotions and thoughts that can be difficult to talk to others
about.
A cancer diagnosis can be very isolating and cause people to withdraw from their friends and social lives.
Cancer networks routinely put on social events to draw together those who are affected, and provide a safe
place to interact with others without the need to be self-conscious about the side effects of cancer treatment.
Many networks also provide classes and events on everything from nutrition, pain management, and yoga
to art classes. This allows cancer patients to be among people who understand their situation while still
being productive and having fun, as well as providing valuable knowledge to anyone seeking to better
understand their situation and options.
By: David Haas

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How Does It Affect You?

How does being diagnosed with cancer affect you? Something I think everyone either has been asked by others or we ask ourselves when sitting quietly. Do you get down, inspired, angry, ready to "live no matter what happens"?

How do you react when someone else dies of cancer, famous actor, athlete, family member or someone you read about in the paper?

Where does your mind go when you get a sore throat, headache, stomach pain? Is it the cancer, another form of cancer, a side effect from treatment?

When you wake up each day and your first thought is "I have cancer", how does it affect you?

When someone you haven't seen in a while, asks quietly, "how are you feeling"? What about when they state, "you really look good". Are they asking in general or are they wanting to really know what is going on with you. And how should someone with cancer look?

Just some thoughts that tend to happen every week and wondered what others think of how cancer affects them.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Living the Double Life


Ever since being diagnosed three years ago, the internal struggle to keep living life in the face of cancer has been wearing. Some days I just want to work and forget that I was ever diagnosed and some days I want to embrace the fact that I have cancer and grab the opportunity to live like there is no tomorrow. Some days I want to work on projects related to my career and some days want to write additions to the book that is slowly coming along. Some days I want to go to the doctor for the small things that won't go away and then I remember I have cancer and do I really want to go in the event the small things aren't that small?

Living life with chronic cancer can be daunting. Treatment has worked so far so "get out there and live." Go to work, play, take out the trash, feed the dogs...just get on with life. But wait, the cancer is lurking, will it show up soon, will it stay away for many years, will the small ache be something really large? Do you turn away from the big "C" and try to forget or do you pay respect to the monster, keep eating organic, keep daily prayer, and prepare for the worse?

We are all going to die, we just don't know when. Being diagnosed just helps to face the known a little sooner and possibly a little harsher in that we get a heads up. The double life that must be balanced is the life of either being a person living with cancer or a person disabled by the fact that cancer has struck. Will I face the monster heads on and keep living or try to avoid the facts and run from the monster to the life that was there prior to being diagnosed? Will I ignore the message that I was given to get on with a life that is worth living because there isn't a guarantee of tomorrow? Do I want to wait until I'm sick again to only then wish I was eating right, exercising regularly and tell myself I won't let this take me or do I pay respect and realize that every day, every moment, every breath is a gift to not take for granted?



My hope is that every day I awake to give life a chance, to breathe every moment I get a chance and to realize that there is no guarantee. To not wait until I get sick again to only then plan to prepare but I get going now. To pay cancer the respect it deserves but not forget that I am a person living this life and not a diseased body just waiting for my turn. I not only wish this for myself, but for all those affected by this illness, to the survivors who bring strength.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Voice of the Patient

Seems like each doctor visit, each lab draw, each scan brings forth another opportunity to come in contact with another health care provider. Someone who has their own struggles, their own dreams and their own day to day chores that we have as a patient. What sometimes happens is that in the rush of work, keeping up productivity and being pressed for time to get through each test, lab draw and visit, the focus on the patient can be lost.

The focus on being present is something that many strive for in each and every day. The problem comes in when being a patient may not fall in line with the lack of focus that the health care provider may have at that moment when we need them. It might have been there for the previous patient and might be there for the next one, but if it's not there for us at that moment, all might be lost. Our voice needs to be heard, not necessarily loud but heard for what we need at that moment. Sometimes a smile, a thank you, an appreciative word might be all that's needed to bring the focus of the health care staff back into the moment.

The voice of the patient is so very important, no matter what stage we might be undergoing with our treatment. Take a moment to watch this video as it brings a lot of power and is worth a brief moment in time to watch. The video is from Urban Zen

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Roly Rolon will give $15,000 to LIVESTRONG. http://VoteRoly.com



Sometimes you come across someone is works hard and tries to make a difference...this guy hits the mark

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Internal Voice

Some days it seems like time is standing still. Life's struggles are there, movement forward is lacking and the fear of the future is present. Take one day at a time, take small steps, 1 step at at a time and so on to make the enormous seem manageable. Momentum seems to be a key in keeping progress occurring and preventing staleness.

In between the doctor visits, IV drips and CT scans, life can seem so normal...is that so bad? Sometimes at those times the momentum can slow down and the internal struggle can build to resist eating right, not exercise, avoid meditation and all the things that can help in fighting the battle that cancer can bring. Often fear promotes movement and the feeling to change things from the status quo. An inspirational story read or heard of others can spark that inner fight and energy to keep moving forward. And isn't it great when this can cause the spark instead of a medical test result or a treatment session. Take the time to listen to the stories of the Running Voices and see if the momentum to keep up the fight is ignited.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I'm Tired

It's been quite a while since I last wrote. Life has been keeping me going in too many directions and too much irritation from sinus issues since June...still no excuse. I guess I am overall tired. Living with this chronic disease stuff has taken many turns as I am sure others have been through themselves. Recent rounds of Rituxan brought great hope and after the first round feeling great, the second brought less than that. The timing of another sinus infection concurrently with treatment made things worse than I would have liked but I must keep going. I keep having feelings of being tired and not just fatigue tired but tired of many of the challenges that have come my way.

Tired of...
  • Antibiotics
  • Doctor visits
  • Taking time off from work for medical reasons and not vacation time
  • Missing the opportunity for an extended vacation this summer in order to spend four weeks with an IV drip of Rituxan
  • Reading information on Leukemia and Lymphoma is hope for something new to consider
  • Being drained mentally and not feeling like having the fun I used to
  • Not exercising as much as I have done due to the excuse of being too tired
  • Working hard to eat a good diet in hopes of feeling better
  • Waking up and realizing that I have cancer
  • Going to sleep and remembering that I have cancer
  • Seeing people enjoying life while I think of what I could be doing for myself to prevent symptoms from occurring
  • Did I mention not having a summer vacation due to too much time spent from work for medical reasons?
  • Just plain tired of having chronic cancer

So what should I do? I keep telling myself to keep strong, fight this stuff, find hope in the blessings that I have been given, enjoy each day and my family for the love that they give, be thankful for the work that I am able to do but still I feel tired. I am sure that this too shall pass but I am getting a little impatient. I do want to write more often and have been working on a book idea I have as I feel that I want to share more of my experience. I often find myself thinking of what I want to do with my life...I guess I should just live life and let the answers unfold as I go. But tonight I am tired so I think I'll get some sleep. Tomorrow is another day of hope.