Category Archives: survivor

What Will They Say?

Several days ago, I got a text message telling me that a former colleague and friend had passed away unexpectedly. I had seen her recently and she was her usual happy self. We made plans to get together for lunch soon. I guess none of us realized that her days here on earth were coming to a close.             …More

Anxiety…An Unwelcome Visitor

I recently saw a study that found that lung cancer patients who do not have anxiety or depression live longer than those who do.1 I was surprised to find this information because I have always been told that attitude might make your remaining life happier, but it has no impact on how long you live.

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Everyone Needs Support Sometimes

When I was diagnosed with lung cancer, I didn’t know anyone else who was still alive and fighting the disease. I started searching around and ultimately landed on a group where I feel totally at home – it is called WhatNext.

I am going to post two links below that will help you know if you think WhatNext will be a good fit for you. I go to a lot of different lung-cancer related forums, but I spend most of my time on WhatNext. It feels like home to me.

On WhatNext, there are caregivers and loved ones, survivors, and people from the medical field for all kinds of cancer from skin cancer to liver, lung, or lymphoma cancers. Take a look at the information below and please join, if it sounds like a place you’d like to be a part of!

This link tells you a lot of the benefits of the group in an advertising way:  https://www.whatnext.com/ilp/lungcancer/?campaign=AMLC

SandiA is a Stage 4 Melanoma survivor who is active on the site. She tells you why she loves WhatNext so much!

Let me know if you joined the group because you saw this post! I look forward to seeing you! I think you’ll love it there as much as I do!

https://www.whatnext.com/ilp/lungcancer/?campaign=AMLC

Survivor + Caregiver

I have lung cancer. My husband has diabetes and heart disease, along with PTSD, thanks to his service in Vietnam years ago. So, while he helps take care of me if my treatments make me sick and weak, I try to help keep him healthy, too.

It is frustrating sometimes. Because he faces multiple issues, he takes handfuls of pills morning and night. Some he has to have twice a day, several have to be cut in half, one has to be removed from one of those packages where each pill is separate and has to be pushed through paper and foil. I don’t know what that package is called, but let me tell you, I hate it. I always lose at least one fingernail to it and my fingers are sore for hours after pushing those stupid pills out of the package.

I’ve tried everything to make it easier to get them out of the foil pack. I stab each little compartment. The black iron pills all have little specks of white on them because the scissors I stab with take some of the black coating off.

Since it is a time-consuming duty to manage his pill-taking, I do six weeks worth at a time. We have stacks of those pill reminder boxes. Let me tell you, it is amazing how quickly six weeks passes and it is time to fill them again.

But, here’s the deal. If I don’t fill the boxes, he just won’t take his pills. Last night we thought about having a bowl of ice cream. (Hmmmm, maybe that’s why I don’t lose any weight!!) He said, “Let me check my blood before we get the ice cream out.” Yikes, it was over 300 … It should have been between 90 and 130.

I was astounded that it was so high. He’d had a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner, but an apple rather than chips. When I worried about what could have caused it to go so high, he said, “I didn’t have my meds today.”

pills, pills, pills – sorted

Well, that explains a lot. I asked him, “Are you out of pills?” meaning, are all of the little pill boxes empty. Answer, “yes.” Now, I have no idea when he finished taking the sorted pills or why in the world he didn’t mention to me that he was out. I don’t particularly enjoy spending the hour or so that it takes separating out the pills, but I never fail to do it! After all, his health depends on it.

If he runs out, he will just do without his medications. That’s worrisome to me. It is entirely possible that he will outlive me. So, then what? I am pretty sure the VA isn’t going to spring for those nice little pill packs I see advertised on TV sometimes. (I sure wish they would! Those look really handy!)

How do those of you in a similar boat handle this? And, does anyone have suggestions on how to get into those foil packs things without breaking fingernails and ending up with sore fingers from all of the pushing and fighting you have to do to get the pills out? What is the purpose of making it so difficult anyway?

Don’t Give Up: Taking Control of Your Life

donna-pastureI am sitting here staring at a blank sheet of paper, wondering what I have to say to you that will be worth your time reading it. I am no scientist. With the advent of chemo brain, I don’t even really enjoy reading and researching like I once did. So I have no great wisdom to impart.

What I do have to pass along is hope. Such a little word but one that has the ability to change your life. Hope crowds out anxiety and pushes away fear. It fills you with peace and can motivate you.  ….More

 

Happiness is My Normal

I was just looking at my Facebook memories. I love those! I find myself posting things I want to remember to Facebook now so that they will show up in my memories in the future. Am I the only person who does that?  More…

 

A few years ago, I wrote a number of blog posts for Patient Power. I am going to provide links to them on my blog.  Happiness is My Normal was originally posted 4/28/2016

 

 

Making a Difference

I had the most disconcerting dreams last night or early this morning. I dreamed first that I was on some sort of gas-powered bicycle (it looked like a regular racing bike in my dream). I stopped at a gas station to buy a dollar or two of gas, which was all it took, and decided, right then and there, that I was going to begin to bicycle across America to bring attention to the sad facts about lung cancer:

  • #433aDay die from it – that’s 155,000+ per year
  • While it kills more people each year than breast+prostate+pancreas+colon cancers combined, it gets less attention, certainly less than breast and/or prostate
  • Women need to stop fearing breast cancer like they do and start looking beneath that fatty tissue to their lungs. Lung cancer kills nearly twice as many women each year as breast cancer. (Breast cancer screening is vitally important. I don’t mean to imply otherwise.)
  • The amount of federal funding relegated to finding a cure or at least new treatments to prolong the lives of those with lung cancer is far, far less than that received by other cancer based on funding per life lost.
  • Anyone … ANYONE … with lungs is susceptible to being diagnosed with lung cancer. It is not a smoker’s disease. It is a breather’s disease.

In my dream, while at the gas station, I started trying to figure out how my ride was going to work. Where would I sleep? How would I advertise the facts I wantedpeople to know? What would happen when my tires blew out? How would I carry spares and how would I fix the bike? When would I eat? Just how would this ride across America work? Where would I get my cancer treatments? I surely could not complete this jaunt in one month, between my treatments.

Bluebonnets

You have to realize how idiotic this dream is. I haven’t been on a real bicycle in 30 years or more. I am 64 years old, with stage 4 lung cancer. I have been working out a bit most every week since the first of the year, but certainly, nowhere near enough to ride a bicycle across America, not even some rigged up gas-powered bicycle.

So, in my dream, I decided I wouldn’t ride the bicycle after all. Nope. I have two good legs. I would walk. I had a big, floppy felt hat. I was good to go. But, again, the questions arose: where would I sleep? How far could I walk each day? What would happen when my shoes wore out? Am I strong enough to carry a backpack for a mile, much less thousands of miles? (The answer to that is no!)

Okay … walking and bicycling, even in my dream, really didn’t make any sense at all. But, I was still left pondering how I, as one person, can make a difference, can bring attention to this terrible disease that isn’t, but should be, an outrage and embarrassment in America?

Still, I thought, how neat it would be to take a foot-trip across this Nation, camera and notepad in tow. Every day, I would take pictures and write blogs about what I saw, how I felt. And, people passing me on the highways and byways of this great land would come to know my story … and far more importantly, the story of every lung cancer patient, past, present, and future. Finally, perhaps news channels would begin to follow my journey and suddenly maybe the public would start to be educated about this killer that’s unfairly tagged the smoker’s disease.

Maybe serious conversations would finally start to take place. Maybe.

To borrow the title of one of my favorite songs:

hope

Hope

 

I can only imagine.