Finding Happiness When It Seems Far Away

Have you ever noticed how things sometimes just fall into place? Recently, I listened to a Webinar sponsored by Texas Oncology Foundation about dying. The session’s name is “From Touchy to Touching – Straight Talk about the Dying Process.” It was not easy to listen to, partly because one of my good friends from the lung cancer community was in the hospital, living her last days on earth.

Mourning the loss of my dear friend

Yesterday, my friend, Karen, passed away. She was surrounded by her family and I understand that she easily drifted out of this world into the world of Paradise. I am heart-broken that she is no longer lighting up this world with her intelligence, humor, compassion, and spunk, but I rejoice in the fact that (1) she was a devout Christian (and in my belief system, that is huge), and (2) she is no longer struggling with her disease or a cough that nearly incapacitated her for the last 6 or 8 months.

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Searching for Joy

I started writing an article on joy. It is important for our health and well-being. I believe that and science supports it.

But, darn, sometimes it is really hard to reach down and find joy.

I am, by nature, a joyful person. So far, nothing this world has thrown at me has managed to permanently steal joy from me. Yet. But I must tell you … sometimes it seems rather touch and go as to whether I might finally give it up for good, you know?

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It Takes a Little Rain to See the Rainbow

Do you see it posted on Facebook – “God is Good!” – presumably shouted loudly and with happy exuberance? I do. It is always, always, always shouted after someone got good news: their scan shows their tumors are stable, they have achieved no evidence of disease (NED) status, they have a new, beautiful grandchild, they had a great agility run with their dog…

I never see it shouted that God is Good when tragedy strikes. When bad news is revealed by the scan, when cancer is discovered or has spread, when someone dies, no one posts about how good God is.

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I will trust … I will trust in You

Someone posted this song in response to an article I wrote that was posted on LungCancer.net: https://lungcancer.net/living/faith-positivity/

I love the poem and want to share it with all of you … and I want to be able to find it again when I need to read it.

I Will Trust in You

Letting go of every single dream
I lay each one down at Your feet
Every moment of my wandering
Never changes what You see
I try to win this war
I confess, my hands are weary, I need Your rest
Mighty warrior, king of the fight
No matter what I face You’re by my side

When You don’t move the mountains
I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers
As I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You

Truth is, You know what tomorrow brings
There’s not a day ahead You have not seen
So let all things be my life and breath
I want what You want Lord and nothing less

When You don’t move the mountains
I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers
As I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You

I will trust in You
You are my strength and comfort
You are my steady hand
You are my firm foundation
The rock on which I stand
Your ways are always higher
Your plans are always good
There’s not a place where I’ll go
You’ve not already stood

When You don’t move the mountains
I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers
As I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You
I will trust in You
I will trust in You
I will trust in You

Songwriters: Lauren Daigle / Paul Marbury / Michael Farren

Battling Survivor’s Guilt

I recently got back from the trip of a lifetime to Israel. I had never traveled internationally before, so this trip was a really big deal to me! We booked the trip, which didn’t take place until mid-January, in early September. That left a lot of time for me to fret over what all I needed to do to prepare, what clothes I needed to take, what precautions I needed to make. I am not usually a worrier, but I must have read the information that the travel agency sent us a hundred times to be sure I was getting everything right.

But, this article is not about my trip to Israel. I’ve written a couple of other pieces about that. No, this has a sadder theme.

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What’s Faith Got to Do with It?

When I was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, the only question I had for my oncologist was, “Can I keep playing agility with my dogs?” He was dumbfounded. He had just delivered the news that I had late-stage cancer and was expected to die within four months, even with treatment.

I guess I didn’t want to know about dying. I wanted to know about living.

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Gut Bacteria Could Affect How We Respond to Immunotherapy

Did you know that your gut bacteria might predict whether or not you will respond to immunotherapy? Three different studies have found that responders and non-responders can be predicted based on the composition of their intestinal microbiota.1

What do the studies show?

One of the studies, conducted by Laurence Zitvogel at the Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, Paris, looked specifically at immunotherapy response by those with non-small cell lung cancer and renal cell carcinoma. The study found that patients with more bacteria from the species Akkermansia muciniphila had the best response to anti-PD-1 therapy.

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Hydration and You. It is Important!

Hydration is important for good health and we need to be able to recognize and treat dehydration before it becomes severe. We, as cancer patients, are particularly vulnerable to dehydration, both from the disease and the treatments we receive. It is important for us to pay close attention to whether or not we are staying properly hydrated, even when we don’t feel like drinking water.

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Managing the Costs of Prescription Drugs

According to the Natural Conference of State Legislatures, prescription drug transactions in the United States make up ten percent of total healthcare spending.1 Because of this, states are beginning to enact legislation related to the pricing, payment, and costs associated with prescription drugs. In most cases, states are anxious to shift the cost burden away from patients.

In the meantime, there are ways that we can help mitigate our drug costs by becoming informed consumers. There are a variety of resources available that might help us reduce our copays or the cost of the drug itself.

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Making Sense of Insurance Appeals

I recently attended a presentation on managing cancer costs. It was chockful of helpful hints. I share some of what I learned here.

1. Keeping track of costs

While the Explanation of Benefit (EOB) form you receive from the insurance company can be very confusing, it is an important document. Be sure to monitor it closely because, while it is not a bill, it details the services for which you will be billed.

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