Medical Marijuana – An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

I attended a LUNGevity Lunch and Learn meeting yesterday. During the Survivor Stories session, a man I will call Jack began telling his story. He was diagnosed with advanced small cell lung cancer a year or two ago. His oncologist told him that he would likely live for 2 to 4 months if he did no treatments and that he would likely live 6 to 8 months if he underwent treatment.

Jack’s testimony

Jack is a relatively young man, likely in his 50s, and wasn’t quite ready to throw in the towel on life. While undergoing traditional treatments, he began researching the use of medical marijuana. He wanted to find a cure for his cancer more than he wanted to find a way to control his side effects, the use we hear of most frequently in relation to medical marijuana.


Essential Oils and Me

I have been having more fun learning about essential oils! I can’t believe how much there is to learn.

I have made some of the most awesome butters (I learned that the difference between lotion/cream and butters is whether or not there is water involved). They combine beeswax, cocoa butter and/or jojoba oils … some products I’d never even heard of until a few short months ago.

Have you smelled cocoa butter? It has a strong chocolate scent!! I made a baby butt butter (say that fast 3 times) that has cocoa butter as a main ingredient. It smells strong in the jar, but not so bad once it is on the skin. It feels great. (No, I have no baby to put the baby butt butter on … but my class had the recipe, so I made it for me 🙂 And, I’m glad I did!) I made some baby powder for my daughter-in-law to try. Just because it says it is for babies doesn’t mean we adults can’t enjoy it, too, right?

I made some lip balm too. Now, that was interesting! It starts setting up before you can get it in the tubes!! I think the next time I make some, I will have a better plan of action. It might have been a challenge to make (mostly just to get it into the tubes … and then to clean up afterward), but the lip balm feels great on my lips. And, it stays there a long, long time.

This is so much fun that I’m very strongly considering becoming a certified aromatherapist. How about that? Here I am. Aging day by day … at retirement age even under the best of circumstances … still being treated for stage 4 lung cancer … and thinking of going for a whole new career. Perhaps I need my head examined 🙂

I am glad that my husband is as supportive as he is. It seems like every single day a new delivery comes – whether it is essential oils or carrier oils or waxes or bottles and jars … I have a whole apothecary these days! A new package will arrive and he’ll say, “What’s that?” My response is always, “I don’t remember. It is like Christmas around here every single day!”

My biggest challenge right now is deciding where to go to start working on my certification. There are several online schools that are really interesting to me. I’ve taken some free and paid classes through one of them and I really, really like the person teaching, but I’m taking an involved free class with another person who I really like, too.

Anyone else involved with essential oils? Let me know! (Most people just roll their eyes at me when I tell them I have gotten so involved. Would love to find others who are as interested in them as I am!)

(Extra credit question: Do you see a problem with some of the products in the accompanying picture? Answer: some have no labels… big mistake!! I have a few bottles hanging around that have no labels. I have no idea what they are. I’m afraid they’ll have to be thrown out 🙁 )

Living Life After A Cancer Diagnosis

I have two dogs. One white. One black. One female. One male. As different from one another as night and day. But, I consider them both lifesavers.

Not compromising for cancer

When I was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, my oncologist asked me if I had any questions. I said, “Yes, can I continue to play agility with my dogs?” He was dumbfounded. I think he had never gotten such a question from someone who had just received what could have been (and he thought was) a death sentence.



If You Toss Enough Seeds, Maybe One will Land on Fertile Ground

I am dumbfounded right now. I just finished writing a blog post that is highly critical of my Representative in Congress. I now have to retract what I wrote (it was never published) and tell a slightly different story. I am delighted to have to make the change.

Here’s the story

I went to Washington, DC last week. I joined about 150 others who were at the Lung Cancer Alliance 10th Annual Summit. The purpose of our meeting was to lobby our Congressional leaders to (1) cosponsor the Women and Lung Cancer Research and Preventive Services Act of 2018 (S. 2358 / H.R. 4897) and (2) restore $6 million in funding to the Lung Cancer Research Program within the Congressional Directed Medical Research Program administered by the Department of Defense (DOD).



Help! I Can’t Get a Good Breath!

I recently saw a question raised by a lung cancer survivor who was experiencing difficulty breathing after radiation treatments. She wanted to know what tips we had that could help her improve her breathing.

I am very fortunate because I have not personally experienced many breathing issues. So, I put Dr. Google to work in order to try to answer her question.


An Open Letter to Caregivers

Dear Caregiver,

I was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer back in October 2012. While I am feeling quite well most of the time now, we went through a period of time when it was far more touch and go. I thought it might be helpful for you to hear from me, as a patient.

In lots of ways, I doubt my husband and I have experienced the same frustrations as many of you have. I have been mostly healthy, despite my dire diagnosis. So, I may not answer many of your questions with this missive, but I hope I address at least a few.


Women and Lung Cancer Research and Preventive Services Act of 2018

In today’s political climate, it isn’t often that you hear about a bill that enjoys bipartisan support, but the Women and Lung Cancer Research and Preventive Services Act of 2018 does. The bill has been introduced into the House (HR 4897) and the Senate (S2358). Now, it is up to us to try to get our legislators to show their support of the bills by becoming co-sponsors.

Why is this bill important?

I believe it is critical for this bill to pass through Congress. Essentially, it is asking for the following:


Precision Medicine 101

Have you heard of Precision Medicine? If you haven’t, you are certainly not alone! But, it is very important for you to know it exists, what it is, and how it can benefit you.

What is precision medicine?

The National Institute of Health (NIH) says this about precision medicine:

“Precision medicine is “an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person.”1


A tribute to my dad

We got the dreaded and totally unexpected news that my 48-year-old dad had stage IV lung cancer after he underwent a routine physical exam. He’d been having some pain in his knee, but we (and all of the doctors he saw) attributed it to some sort of strain that he got from driving from Texas to Washington, DC and back again in a relatively short period of time. Otherwise, he had no symptoms of any disease, much less lung cancer.


FCR: A New Mental Condition

Do you have FCR…Fear of Cancer Recurrence? FCR has been defined as “fear, worry, or concern relating to the possibility that cancer will come back or progress.”1

Now that we have a definition, we need a study about it, right? Well, luckily, there is just such a thing. This study, being conducted at the University of Illinois in Chicago, examines the lack of knowledge around the prevalence of FCR.