It’s Time to Take Ownership over Our Care

Back in the day, when it was suspected that we had cancer, we were sent for a biopsy. The cells were studied to determine if we had cancer and what kind of cancer we were facing. And, we never had another biopsy.

Rethinking how we approach treatment

But, we need to rethink that in today’s world. Dr. Fred Ashbury, Adjunct Professor at Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto (along with many other credentials), explained in a recent webcast why we should always insist on new biopsies when our tumors begin to grow or spread.1

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Can I Retire? Should I?

Like with all of us, my cancer diagnosis threw a real wrench into my life. Suddenly, what was easy and taken-for-granted was no longer easy at all. For instance, working at an 8-5 job became a true challenge.

Feelings of guilt

I was actually fortunate that my employer was fairly generous with the time off they gave me. They never complained about me leaving early when I became so fatigued I had to go home, the multitude of hours I missed to see the doctor, or the days when I was simply too sick from chemo to go to the office. Even though they didn’t complain, I felt terribly guilty.

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Taking a Little Break from Cancer with Other Cancer Survivors

Have you ever visited a Cancer Support Communities (CSC) clubhouse? Every time I go, I think I will be more active. I went yesterday and once more, I am vowing to go more often.

No one faces cancer alone

You may know CSC as Gilda’s Club, named after the famed comedian, Gilda Radner, who passed away from ovarian cancer in 1989. Regardless of the name your center goes by, its mission is to ensure that “no one faces cancer alone.”

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Finding Your Gratitude

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Melody Beattie

Begin your day with gratitude

Sometimes when we are delivered a blow, like learning that we or a loved one has lung cancer, it is hard to find reasons to be grateful. But, I believe that searching for and finding gratitude, even in the face of adversity, is vital.

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Get Your Smile On

Laughter is the tonic, the relief, the surcease for pain.  –Charlie Chaplin

I recently listened to a Webinar put on by the Texas Oncology Foundation that was called Survivorship: Your Story, Your Impact. It was nothing like what I expected it to be. In fact, the main takeaway that I got from it was the importance of smiling.

We’re all wearing smiles

To tell you the truth, I may be preaching to the choir. When I think of my friends who are also lung cancer survivors, they all are wearing smiles. I swear they are literally some of the most optimistic and happy people I know.

 

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“This is the final verdict. My fight is over.”

Those heartbreaking words were written by Charles Krauthammer. I wonder if you know who he is? He was on Fox News often until he left for surgery several months ago.

Krauthammer, whether you agree with his politics or not, is a brilliant man. He has known plenty of adversity during his life. He became a quadriplegic in 1975, after a tragic diving accident. Tragedy didn’t hinder him much. He continued on with his education at Harvard, eventually graduating with a medical degree in psychiatry.

Krauthammer has led an interesting life. After graduating from medical school, he became chief psychiatry resident at Mass General. But, it wasn’t long before he left the medical field and, in 1978, joined the Carter administration where he directed planning in psychiatric research. Later, he took a job as a speechwriter for Vice President Walter Mondale.

He’s been mysteriously absent since he left Fox, with no advance word that he was taking a break. Among the newscasters, there has always been a reluctance to tell what was wrong with him. We learned he had taken a break to have some kind of surgery, but not what kind.

We knew there were problems associated with the surgery. But, we didn’t know (1) that it was surgery for cancer or (2) that he has been hospitalized ever since he had his surgery ten months ago.

Now, today, Krauthammer finally answered the questions in a heartbreaking open letter. And, while he is not ready to leave this earth, he finished his letter with the following statement:

I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life – full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.

I am very sad to learn that Krauthammer’s life is nearly over. Really took the wind out of my sails to hear the news. It is almost as if I know him. Or, maybe, I just relate to him in ways that only those of us with cancer can.

But, I hope that all of us will be fortunate enough to write such words as he did when our time is nearly over. “I leave with the knowledge that I have lived the life that I intended.” Those are very powerful words!

My Story

I just got an email from Greg Laurie with Harvest America. The email is entitled, “Stories are Important.” And I agree. They are.

In the email, Greg is inviting us to view a movie of three people whose lives were touched and changed because of a Harvest America crusade. He counsels that every Christian has a story. Some of us have a dramatic story. Others may think their stories are “boring.” But, they’re not. Because, whether you had a conversion like Paul did on the road to Damascus or one more like mine, where, as a young kid, I accepted Christ into my heart and life.

While there was nothing that seems all that dramatic about my conversion – I was not much of sinner at the age of 9 or so – the fact is, I, just like Paul and just like every other Christian, was saved that day from a life in hell, from a life separated from the God who made us.

So, you know, maybe my conversion was more dramatic than I sometimes think of it as being.

Not Perfect, Just Saved … and Forgiven

I haven’t lived a perfect life. Far from it. We are by nature sinners so none of us, except our Saviour Jesus Christ, has ever or will ever live a perfect life. Some come closer than others.

Over my lifetime, I have surely done things for which I am not proud. If I could, I would undo them. Of course, that’s impossible so the best I can do is ask for forgiveness. Ask for it … and accept it.

You see, I do believe God when He says He forgives me when I ask for it. If I continue to dwell on what I did wrong, am I not accepting His forgiveness? If I am forgiven, there is no longer any need at all to think about the sin, other than to keep in mind that I should never commit a similar one again.

Rocking Along

You know, for most of my life, I have just rocked along. I have known and believed with all of my heart that I am saved, a child of my God, forgiven. And always, that has provided a peace that really can’t be explained to anyone who hasn’t known the same “peace that passes understanding.”

It isn’t that my life has been particularly rosy. It has definitely been fraught with plenty of challenges. I have the wrinkles to prove it! But, you know, those challenges have not been enough to weigh me down completely because, not only has God saved me, He has been there for me through every day of my life. If I have a problem or a situation, I can hand it over to Him. Then, I can quit worrying about it. I believe in my heart of hearts, “God has it. He will take care of it.” He is way smarter than I am. He knows the “big picture” when I only see a very small part of it.

Things I Don’t Understand

There are many, many things in this life that I do not understand. I don’t understand war, poverty, biting insects, drug addicts, murderers… I don’t understand mothers who steal their children and turn them away from their loving dads. I don’t understand why everyone can’t just think like I do. Wouldn’t life be easier? (And a whole lot more boring!) Why do good people who love God face difficulties in their lives when horrid, devilish unbelievers have all of the worldly goods and fame and peace they want?

Others who are just as saved as I am don’t agree with me on some things – politics, for one. I can’t understand how they can believe as they do … they can’t understand how I can believe as I do … and yet, God loves us all and we are all His children, provided we have accepted Christ, His Son, as our Saviour.

I have to accept that there are things I will not understand until I die. When I get to Heaven, I can ask questions. I think I WILL ask questions!!

Cancer

My faith has always been there, but it became especially real to me when I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. People imagine that I freaked out at that diagnosis, especially after my first oncologist said I would probably only live about 4 months.

The truth of the matter is that I have that same peace that passes understanding as always. Yes, my days on this earth might be shorter than they would have been otherwise. But, what do I have to look forward to if and when I die? HEAVEN!!!!

Win-Win

I tell everyone … and I totally believe it … I am in a win-win situation. If I live, I am happy! I love being alive. I have so much fun, nearly every day. But, death … leaving this earth … means I transition to Heaven! Heaven! Streets of Gold. Singing. Angels. God! Peace and perfection. Wow. What is there to dread about that?

That’s my story, in a small nutshell. Share yours!

 

 

Essential Oils … Oh My Goodness!!

I recently went to a class at Cancer Support Communities North Texas about essential oils (EO). Even though I have heard about and of essential oils for quite some time, I have never really gotten into them. I’ve bought the odd bottle of lavender or peppermint at Walmart, but that’s about the extent of it.

I hear anyone who is “into” essential oils groaning when they read that I purchased mine at Walmart. Walmart, Target, vitamin stores – none of these sources are supposed to have the best oils available. Well, I’m not sure they’re even considered to have adequate oils available.

So, since I attended the class, I have immersed myself in the world of essential oils. I have visited so many essential oil company Web sites that my head spins. I’ve read “Top 10 Essential Oil Companies” blogs ad nauseum.

What I’ve Learned so Far

I’ve come to a conclusion. Well, I’ve come to several conclusions, actually.

  1. Don’t believe what you read on the Internet. I can’t tell you how many of the “Best of” blogs list companies that sell their essential oils in 4 oz. bottles for $12.00. It is unlikely that these oils are going to be the best you can buy. But, you know, there are affiliate links to be considered…
  2. If the “Best of” blogger has links to affiliate sites, well, I think I am going to take their advice with a grain of salt. I think they are more interested in making a buck than in providing reliable information. Everyone can and should do their own due diligence, but that’s my conclusion.
  3. When I decided to jump into the EO world, I entered like a bull in a china cabinet. I’ve done some research, yes, but reading information in books and on the Internet is not the same as doing business with a company and understanding how good their oils actually are.
  4. After spending several hundred dollars on oils from various vendors (Young Living, Essential Oil Labs (through Amazon), Plant Therapy, and Eden’s Garden), I have concluded that I should have (a) waited before jumping in head first with my Young Living purchase and (b) ordered small quantities of oils from the vendors before purchasing an entire kit.

I have purchased lavender oil, among others, from the various vendors. I haven’t received my orders from Eden’s Garden or Plant Therapy yet – the delayed gratification is killing me! I’ve been waiting for the kits to arrive for a week! In this day and age of being spoiled by Amazon Prime, the wait seems like forever.

Both orders – Plant Therapy and Eden’s Garden – should be arriving today and tomorrow. I can’t wait! I have recipes (boy, do I!) ready to try and I have two diffusers waiting to be filled.

High Hopes

I have high hopes for the coming oils. I do not like the concept of multi-level marketing and I do not like the high prices charged by companies like Young Living and doTERRA. I’m not knocking their products. By all accounts, they’re excellent. I just think (and hope) that I can purchase oils of similar quality for far less money.

So, that’s my mission. I’ll share as I go.