The thing about feelings …

The thing about feelings …

The thing about feelings is there is only one way out of them – and that’s going through them. Now the happy, easy feelings, we don’t want them to end, but the uncomfortable ones, that’s a different story. So goes the problem with staying positive. I can be black and white about it all and forget that feelings have to be felt. It reminds me of when I was in labor. As you moms out there know, it really hurts! But there is no turning back, no matter how much you wish you can, when the labor pains begin. I felt the same way when I found out I had cancer, except there was no beautiful baby to look forward to. I had to go through it to get through it. And I’m still doing it now. Several people have told me lately I’m brave or that...

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Surrender is the not the same as giving up

Surrender is the not the same as giving up

The serenity prayer is a great source of comfort to me. It says it all to me:  “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. For many years, I’ve been hitting heavy on “the courage to change the things I can” part. The acceptance thing is what trips me up a lot of times. There has just been so many unacceptable things thrown my way – a terminal diagnosis, cancer progression despite doing everything in my power to contain it, friends dying left and right. How do you accept that? I went into this with a full-power-on, fix-it approach. I changed everything in my life and refused to accept my imminent demise. After all, my first words upon...

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Tired of writing tributes

Tired of writing tributes

I went to bed a couple of nights ago with the news that my dear friend Darlene Gant passed away. I met Darlene back in 2009 at the Annie Appleseed conference, which covered alternative and integrative cancer therapies. Darlene spoke and shared how she was living with no evidence of disease without doing conventional treatment. In 2012, Darlene’s cancer came back with a vengeance and she entered hospice, but miraculously cheated death by getting approval to use the then-experimental drug Perjeta. Darlene and I have grown very close over the years, having long talks on the phone on how wonderful it is to be here for our teen kids. Her son Cam is 14; my daughter Chrissy is 16. We talked about helping others and taking vacations together, and she consulted with...

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Vulnerability is a very good thing – especially when you have cancer

Vulnerability is a very good thing – especially when you have cancer

Sometimes you have to hit bottom to transform your life. It is a common theme in the 12-step recovery program, and it seems to have applied to me lately. The other night I was experiencing what could be called the dark night of the soul. A lot of scary and depressing things were happening at once: 1. My oncologist confirmed my scans showed progression. She is starting me on a new trial, which looks promising (will explain in next week’s post), but it was hitting me that I am again in uncharted territory. 2. I had just returned from a trip to see a friend who is suffering and dying. 3. To top it off, I was sick from and run down from all my traveling, suffering with a cold, nausea and a pulled shoulder muscle. I had one of those “I want my mommy...

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Roller coaster report: My new treatment

Roller coaster report: My new treatment

I know it’s a trite analogy, but having stage IV cancer is really like being on a roller coaster. I used to brace myself for every drop, but lately I’ve learned to just hang on tight and go along for the ride. I can’t get off after the ride has started, so I have no choice than to trust I’ll get through it. Note: this analogy may not work for those of you who love roller coasters! As those of you who follow me know, I was so excited my treatment (Ibrance and Femara) was FDA-approved, ending my monthly back and forth trips to Chicago for the trial. I was feeling great and looking forward to a hopefully long run on the duo. Then came my scan, a couple of weeks ago. Last week I finally got a hold of my consulting oncologist at Indiana...

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My crappy, un-crappy day

My crappy, un-crappy day

I am having a semi-crappy day. The un-crappy part is I got a great massage from my Cheryl, my oncology massage therapist. Thanks to Cancer Family Care, I have been getting these at half the price as long as I’m in treatment. The other un-crappy part of my day has been spending time with my wonderful, loving and fun daughter Chrissy. We just did normal activities – getting her yearly physical from her pediatrician, running errands and letting her drive for practice. But I know how precious each of these moments are in the precarious world we live in. Now for the crappy part. I share this because it needs to be shared. Because we all should allow ourselves to feel crappy once in a while. It’s OK not to be 100 percent positive. As I wrote about...

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