Tag Archive | Colon Cancer

Celebrate Good Times!

celebrate

The day is fast approaching and I am super excited about my upcoming Birthday and Chemo Over Party next Saturday! Gathering with family and friends is such a tremendous blessing.

This past year has truly been a world wind. Last May at this time I was preparing to celebrate my birthday with my buddies, the Minions and my very favorite wizard, Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Florida. It was the perfect way to enjoy and commemorate my 60th birthday. After all, I’m just a big kid at heart.

Then, only 2 months later, wham! A diagnosis of not one but two unrelated cancers – Colon and Breast. Was not expecting that, but my philosophy was to not assume what would happen throughout the process but trust in God, do my medical research and engage in the fight to survive.

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With the support of friends, family, and the medical community, I was able to not only survive but thrive in what I call my “second chance” at life. Facing this challenge helped me realize the importance of living in the moment and loving out loud. So, I want to tell everyone how much I love them and appreciate the uplifting support I’ve been given. Thank you so very much!

As Dinah Washington once sang, “What a Difference a Day Makes…” I see this celebration as an accomplish not only for myself but for cancer survivors everywhere. So let’s celebrate good times!

Hope and Gratitude 💖

May 4, 2016

Last night I attended my first Cancer Survivor Dinner. I wasn’t sure what to expect but felt thrilled about connecting with others who’ve been affected by cancer as either a patient or a caregiver.

When my husband and I arrived, we were greeted by smiling and welcoming faces. I was given a “goodie bag” (which I always love!) filled with my survivor tee-shirt for the Relay for Life Event happening on Friday, May 6th an assortment of other purple colored items like an umbrella, a survivor pin, water bottle and other treasures.🎁 The American Cancer Society/Cancer Action Network signature color is purple. (which felt like providence – Prince)

 

There was a very positive vibe in the room as others arrived and filled in the decorated tables. I snagged a seat at a table that was right up front. (just like back in school:) I didn’t want to miss a thing. My tablemates all introduced themselves and it felt warm sharing this moment with those who’ve gone through their own cancer journey and could understand the significance of the fight, the hope, and the survival. Like in the Infusion (chemotherapy) Suite,  there was an instant bond.

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The theme of the dinner and mission of CAN – Cancer Action Network is Hope. Never give up. We can do this! I’m all about hope and determination, which I write about. My nature tends to be outgoing so I loved all the other positive and upbeat personalities. As we broke bread we talked about if this was our first time at this event and how it’s grown over the past 3 years.

I also found out that the Cancer Center that took care of me didn’t exist 8 years ago. Listening to the guest speaker, who’s an oncologist with Novant Health (the medical group that organized the Cancer Center), I counted my blessings realizing I was able to take advantage of the union of various doctors – oncologists, surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, etc, and the nurse navigator, Pat! My nurse navigator “angel”.  This consolidation of medical professionals proves that when we work together as a team we can accomplish so much more!

My Nurse Navigator “Angel” Pat and me!

I’m so grateful for the Huntersville community, my Nurse Navigator – Pat, Novant Health, and the American Cancer Society for enriching my cancer experience with their tremendous support and encouragement!

 

Chemo Self-Realization ✨

 

 

Years ago I asked my husband “would you rather your life be like a Ferris Wheel or Roller Coaster?” I told him, for me, I much prefer the coaster ride! The ups, the downs, the suspense and yes, the screams.

Taking chances, making that leap of faith. These are the moments that make us alive. I don’t believe our journey is meant to sit rocking in a chair, going nowhere.

This my self-realization: I want my world filled with opportunities to grow that may take me outside of my comfort zone and full on embrace the importance of taking a leap of faith.

Well, I asked for growth and faith and boy did I get it because my cancer fight and life journey has definitely been an adventurous ride but also in the process has truly strengthened my belief in the miracle of faith.

Letting Go For God

A bit of humor:

When we were planning our wedding I asked my then future husband, wouldn’t it be cool to do a free fall from a plane after we take our vows? His answer – You fall, I’ll meet you on the ground. 😄

You Better Tell Somebody!

Chatting with my husband about his mother’s health, he talked about her pain medicine and how the dose wasn’t adequate for her pain level but she won’t speak up and tell her doctor about the problem.

Jokingly I said “she better tell somebody” so she’s not living in constant pain and proposed that perhaps I should do a speaking tour encouraging patients to work with their physician on any problems or concerns about their medical care.

Take Charge of your Healthcare

I tell my doctors immediately if I have concerns or any differences with my body or symptoms during my chemotherapy treatment. They know to depend on me to share.

Some may feel that sharing this information is a sign of weakness when in fact it’s empowering to take charge of your health and care. Having a reciprocal relationship with your physician is essential to managing any issues and addressing your concerns head on.

Maybe I should take my message on the road- the “You Better Tell Somebody” Tour. Next career endeavor? Humm, food for thought.

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The Grief of Cancer Loss

So many of us have been affected by cancer in some way, shape or form. One of my very best girlfriend’s mother recently passed from cancer and my heart was filled with pain and understanding of how this scourge takes its toll.

Grief Tears

My high school, college roommate “sister” checks on me regularly concerned about the effects of my chemo treatment and cancer journey, making sure I’m eating enough, drinking enough and just generally taking care of myself. Even through her grief, she reaches out, makes me laugh and I feel so blessed to have such a beautiful soul in my life. I love her and share her deep sorrow.

 

We’ve got to find a cure for this horrible disease so we can stop the pain, anguish and tears of losing our loved ones and ourselves. 

Cancer sucks!

Cancer Sucks Let's Fight

Chemo Countdown – Only 3 More to Go!⏰

Trust God

 

The official countdown has begun! I have only 3 more chemotherapy treatments to go! I’ve been so blessed during this journey. God has walked with me every step of the way and I haven’t had any major side effects. Thank you, Lord!

It’s funny, treatment has been such a focus in my life the past 7 months that I actually feel like I’m going to miss it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so ready for this to be over but, I’ve had such superior care and met some really strong fellow cancer patients that added to my strength and determination to fight through my colon and breast cancers.

I started this blog for my own therapy but from comments and messages I’ve discovered that my blog has touched and inspired others for which I feel truly grateful. I plan to continue this blog beyond my chemo treatment ending. I see myself becoming involved in cancer awareness and still have hormone therapy for my breast cancer to start.

 

Inspire

 

I have felt God’s grace and favor and feel so thankful for all your love and support. I will continue pushing forward!

 

CHILL! 😎

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I am a political junkie and dealing with the current state of campaigns and the dubious nature of some of those running is just mind numbing.

I have to portion out the amount of news I consume so I don’t throw my shoe at the tv. (cause I love my tv)

Throughout my colon and breast cancer journey, I’ve sought calm and meditation. With this quote, I think I’ve found my new mantra – “Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace”.

CHILL!

“Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher”

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I awoke at 5 am this morning to the sound of 60’s R&B mega star, Jackie Wilson’s 1967 hit “Higher and Higher” in my head. I thought God woke me up to do something with this song in praise of all the love and support I’ve received from my family, friends and those who’ve reached out to me on this blog. The lyric “Your love keeps lifting me higher than I’ve ever been lifted before” definitely describes how I feel about God and all the love and support surrounding me and my cancer journey!

I remember Jackie Wilson (June 9, 1934 – January 21, 1984) from my childhood since Wilson is from my hometown Detroit, Michigan and used to perform at the historic Greystone Ballroom where my sister went to see him. My father always objected talking about what he felt could be an objectionable crowd and knife fights. My mother would calm him down and let my sister go anyway. I was always like “why can’t I go?” I was only 6 or 7 years old at the time.

Wilson was called “Mr. Excitement” because of his dance moves and energy onstage. His stagecraft in his live shows inspired James Brown, Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley, as well as a host of other artists that followed. A two-time Grammy Hall of Fame Inductee, Wilson was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Jackie Wilson #69 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

“Higher and Higher” was always one of my favorite of his songs. Revisiting this hit inspired me to look at other old performances of Jackie Wilson. Can’t believe I remember the words. Well, that’s me, “The Human Jukebox”. 😄

Here’s a little more Jackie Wilson for your entertainment on the 60’s classic dance/music tv show, Shindig.

Some of his major hits include:

1957 – “To Be Loved”

1958 – “Lonely Teardrops”

1959 – That’s Why (I Love You So)”

1960 – “Doggin’ Around”

1963 – “Baby Workout”

1967 – “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher”

 

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Looking back at you!👧

Confidence

An interesting thought came into my mind today as I was watching a Muhammad Ali (“The Greatest”) biopic. The film ended with his defeat of George Foreman in Zaire (“Rumble in the Jungle” – October 1974) to reclaim his title as heavyweight champion of the world. As he was walking back to his dressing room he saw his kid self, hands raised in the air in victory and he smiled. That flashback made me wonder, do we ever see ourselves as kids as an adult and go yeah, still have that open heart and mind. Still living with joy. And do we give ourselves a high-five because we still believe we can conquer the world?!

Talking to my sister the other day she told me when I was little and got into trouble, I would break out the sad face and declare – “I’m just a little kid”. Brilliant! Even then I was working my “get out of jail free” card face. I had an engaged personality and was figuring out my spot in my family and how to negotiate that space.

Rise

I always believed I could do anything I put my mind to and my mother encouraged my creativity and sense of self. I’ve decided whether things go good or bad in my life’s journey I’m going to talk to my inner child and ask, “what would little Donna do?”

“Why be Afraid if I’m Not Alone”

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Faith is a powerful force. And when faith and determination get together, lookout, there’s no stopping us!

“Coming out of the Dark”, singer/songwriter Gloria Estefan’s emotionally stirring 1991 anthem – is an expression of strength that’s so comforting. I remember the horrific accident when her tour bus was hit by an 18 wheeler back in 1990 and the painful physical therapy she had to go through.

She pledged not to be confined to a wheelchair as her father had been and fought daily to regain her body and her strength. Her belief and determination brought her back even stronger than before and she realized the power of prayer and preciousness of love, family, and friends.

Her comeback performance at the 1991 American Music Awards was triumphant and testimony to the force of faith. I applauded her then as well as now for her strength and grace.

Today, when thinking about inspirational songs, “Coming Out of the Dark” immediately came into my mind. Even though I haven’t listened to it in years, it still resonates.

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These lyrics are so impactful and inspirational. Revisiting this song still moves me as much as when I first heard it. I’m reminded that as I travel through my cancer journey, faith and determination are on my side and that I’m pushing forward and coming out of the dark.

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Coming out of the Dark – Written by Gloria Estefan

Why be afraid if I’m not alone
Though life is never easy the rest is unknown
Up to now for me, it’s been hands against stone
Spent each and every moment
Searching for what to believe

Coming out of the dark, I finally see the light now
It’s shining on me
Coming out of the dark I know the love that saved me
You’re sharing with me

Starting again is part of the plan
And I’ll be so much stronger holding your hand
Step by step I’ll make it through I know I can
It may not make it easier but I have felt you
Near all the way

Coming out of the dark, I finally see the light now
And it’s shining on me ( I see the light, I see the light)
See the light
Coming out of the dark I know the love that saved me
You’re sharing with me

Forever, forever I stand on the rock of your love
Forever and ever I’ll stand on the rock
Can’t nobody stop me from watching
Forever, forever I stand on the rock of your love
Love is all it takes, no matter what we face

Coming out of the dark, (Coming out of the dark)
I see the light, I feel love shining on me (Shining, shining)
Shining on me
Coming out of the dark I know the love that saved me
You’re sharing, you’re sharing with me, sharing with me, sharing with me

Coming out of the dark,
Making it into the light
Your love shining on me, shining on me, shining on me
Coming out of the dark,
I see the light, I see the light
Shining, shining, shining on me
Shining, shining
Coming out of the dark
I see the light now
Yes I see the light