Clean Again

It has been confirmed that NED  (no evidence of disease) is still my friend after my latest visit to MD Anderson.  What a pal!

My mom’s follicular lymphoma is also stable so she does not need any treatment yet. Fantastic!

This is incredible news for both of us.

I’m wondering why I took so long to post about it (our visits were back in April). Life keeps throwing curve balls and I think blogging was low on the list of things to do.

I’ve also been a bit sensitive to shouting out good news (as crazy as that might seem) because a few friends have just been diagnosed with appendix cancer or are struggling through treatment or have relapsed.  It is difficult to make sense of it all.

 

Three Candles

Today (November 30) is my “new birthday.”  Three years ago today, I had a massive surgery at MD Anderson to remove the remaining cancer tumor (appendiceal adenocarcinoma) in my abdomen that six months of weekly chemo had reduced to a pulp.

None of the doctors were certain how the surgery would turn out but it went well.  I even escaped the need for the HIPEC and was declared to have “no evidence of disease (NED)!” Since then, my visits to MDA for checkup scans have moved from 3-month to 6-month intervals, giving me (and my family) peace of mind with each clean scan and NED result.   Continue reading

Remember What is Most Important

My youngest daughter showed me a quote this morning that I just love. Wise little one.

It’s not having everything go right; it’s facing whatever goes wrong.

It’s not being without fear; it’s having the determination to go on in spite of it.

It’s not where you stand, but the direction you’re going in.

It’s more than never having bad moments; it’s knowing you are always bigger than the moment.

It’s believing you have already been given everything you need to handle life.

It’s not being able to rid the world of all its injustices; it’s being able to rise above them.

It’s the belief in your heart that there will always be more good than bad in the world.

Remember to live just this one day and not add tomorrow’s troubles to today’s load.

Remember that every day ends and brings a new tomorrow full of exciting new things.

Love what you do, do the best you can and remember how much you are loved.

-Vickie M. Worsham

I had to share this especially for my friends who are dealing with things they didn’t ask for.

Survivor’s Guilt

Each time I’m down at MDA, I find myself noticing the patients who are in various forms of treatment in a deeper and even more compassionate way. Particularly those who are undergoing chemotherapy. I am all too familiar with the pale, yellowish-colored skin, lack of hair or thinning hair and the fatigue in their eyes. During my mom’s and my check-ups last week, seeing the patients in the hallways and waiting rooms hit me hard. I found it heartbreaking because I remember all too well that I was in similar shoes for a long while. Often it was the little things that reminded me of those days. For example, when at the hotel restaurant for breakfast or dinner, I was keenly aware of my good appetite and could order anything I wanted off the menu. The days of searching the menu and only ordering broth and tea are past for now. Continue reading

Randy’s Wish…to be at Home

One of the Appendilooza clan is in trouble.

Randy Furlong’s signet ring cell appendix cancer is back (he even had HIPEC!) and he’s been fighting it AGAIN with chemo for a good portion of 2012 and now 2013.  After the additional chemo didn’t stop the web-like tumors in his peritoneal cavity, his surgeon confirmed that additional surgery would not be helpful either. So Randy tried an experimental 3-chemo cocktail that, unfortunately, didn’t work.  After a couple of weeks in the hospital, Randy was moved to hospice. Now his family is honoring his wishes to spend his days at home during this final stage of appendix cancer.

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Rare Disease Day 2013

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Rare Disease Day is here again – 28 February 2013. Congrats on their sixth anniversary!

This year’s slogan “Rare Disorders without Borders” emphasizes the need for international cooperation to find drugs and treatments for the 6,000 to 8,000 rare diseases/disorders.   The lack of scientific knowledge and quality information on each disease often results in a delay in diagnosis. The need for appropriate quality healthcare magnifies the inequalities and difficulties getting access to treatment and care.   And because of the broad diversity of disorders with relatively common symptoms, initial misdiagnosis often occurs.  In addition, symptoms differ not only from disease to disease, but also from patient to patient suffering from the same disease.

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Third Cancerversary and More

Three years ago today, on February 5, 2010, I saw a 6.5 cm mass on the CT scan of my abdomen and knew that my life was suddenly changed.  Cancer.  No warning, no prep.  Just wham, down for the count.

The months of chemo, surgeries, sweat, tears and trips to Houston and the fantastic folks at MD Anderson are a blur from this vantage point. (I do have a 6-month check-up in April.)

Today, I’m much more at ease cancer-wise than at this time last year or two years ago.  I’m so very thankful to still be here!  I am a three-year cancer survivor.  There was a time that I didn’t think I’d be here to say that.

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