Let me share a few more articles from HelpWithCancer.org’s first few months, following our launch in October, 2008.  I have selected several with an inspirational message…

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Five Stages Of Living With Mortality

In the book, Everyone’s Guide to Cancer Therapy, Malin Dollinger, M.D, and Bernard Dubrow, M.S., describe the five stages of living with mortality. According to Dollinger and Dubrow, “When faced with the threat of death or dying, many patients and their families turn for understanding and guidance to the highly regarded work of Dr Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.” Dr Ross is famous for defining five stages of mourning; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. But the authors stress that this model may not apply to newly diagnosed cancer patients because they have been told that they have a “potentially” fatal illness that may or may not be imminent. Dollinger and Dubrow feel that disbelief, discovery, redirection, resolution and emerging victorious more accurately apply in this case.

I like number five: Emerging Victorious!

Feel good and keep smiling! Pat
Monday, November 3, 2008

Find Purpose, Live Longer

In an article published in the November issue of AARP Magazine, Dr Harold G. Koenig of Duke University Medical Center states that “People who feel their life is part of a larger plan and are guided by their spiritual values have stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, a lower risk of heart attack and cancer, and heal faster and live longer.”
The article sites a number of large studies that support the Doctor Koenig’s statement. “Those who felt their lives had meaning had significantly lower rates of cancer and heart disease than did those who didn’t feel this way.” I absolutely subscribe to this theory. When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I was relatively passive about the process. I was already in a great deal of pain even before I started my radiation and chemotherapy which left me weak and disoriented. It wasn’t until later, after I decided to begin writing and to dedicate my life to helping others with cancer that I began to fight. To feel that I must defy the odds and live! After all, I had so much to do and so much to say and so many people to help… I wanted and needed to live!
Now, I can’t prove that my revelation–my epiphany–is extending my life. All I can definitively say is that, pain or no pain, it is a lot easier to get out of bed every morning now that I have a purpose and a cause bigger than myself, my family or my friends.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat
Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Post Cancer Check-Ups

Just over six years ago I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. My ovaries were removed and I underwent six months of excruciating chemotherapy. It worked! Today I returned from my semi annual trip to Eau Claire, Wisconsin (about 90 minute drive each way) with good news. No cancer! I share this because, even though it has been six years since my treatment, I still see an oncologist twice yearly.

Most patients would be more than happy to go back only go once each year at this point. But that is what I was doing following my first successful battle against cancer (Uterine/Cervical) eleven years ago. I started yearly check-ups after my fifth year. My Surgical Oncologist, Dr Larson with Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin, figures that my Ovarian Cancer started growing shortly after I completed one of those yearly check ups.

As many of you know, Ovarian Cancer tends to be very aggressive and grows quickly. That is one reason that it responds so well to chemotherapy. Had I been back to see Dr Larson after six months, we all believe that he would have detected the cancer and we could have stopped it in its tracks through surgery alone. I would not have needed the chemo. And my chemo was very difficult. Especially the last two months.

The moral of my story? I now insist that I return for labs and a quick check every six months, even after more than five years cancer free. Once a year we do the more complete exam, mammogram, etc.

The time and cost is well worth our piece of mind!

Feel good and keep smiling! Pattie
A bittersweet walk down memory lane, and a reminder to stay vigilant, even after your cancer seems to be gone or under control.
Speaking of vigilant, check-out this post I wrote about that during our first month:
Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cancer Survivors At Increased Risk For New Cancer

According to the book Everyone’s Guide to Cancer Therapy, “Once an individual has developed a malignant tumor, the possibility that another, second cancer can occur is increased.” The lifestyle and environmental factors that may have contributed to the first cancer may also help cause a second. Smoking or asbestos exposure are examples of this.

A primary cause of secondary cancers in cancer patients can be the very treatment that is designed to cure their original cancer. Radiation and chemotherapy agents can trigger secondary cancers, especially leukemias. The moral of the story is that cancer survivors should not relax once their primary cancer is under control. Sorry, but I am only the messenger!

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat & Pattie

I hope re-visiting these posts are both helpful and hopeful.  My writing was very basic back then.  But this cancer thing was still so shockingly new to me.  Everything was a revelation.  I’ll share more of my early favorites tomorrow.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

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