Dumb Things Cancer People Hear
I know I am supposed to be away but this one resonates... Some people are just plain stupid. Read ithere. (Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog)
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 4, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: breast cancer bonds stupidity Source Type: blogs

The Great Off Line Experiment
In the next few weeks I will do some travelling. During that time I will have limited access to the internet. I will have my phone and will mostly be where phones work. But I may not have access to the holy grail of wifi for good portions of it.Personally I do not think I will have that much of a problem with being off line. I think its healthy to disconnect. I will have things like books (the paper kind), knitting, one of my looms for a portion of it, and a crossword puzzle book. There will also be time for things like'conversation'without any emojis. We may or may not have TV either. But we will have swimming in a lake, ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 29, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: technology Source Type: blogs

Surgical Drains
I think everyone who has ever had a surgical drain can only think about them with a shudder because they are so awful. I hated mine. It was awful. And full of really nasty looking stuff. When they took it out, it hurt so much that the surgeon even apologized several times after.We have two cats. Boots is the good cat. He likes to cuddle. He likes to have his ears scratched. He likes to sleep on me at night. He wants attention. He is very nice.Then there is ZDpot a/k/a Evil Kitty. Why do we call him Evil Kitty (or EK for short)? Because he is the food stealer, fight starter, etc. And he basically does what he damn well plea...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 28, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: cat drain patience Source Type: blogs

Cancer Spans Everything
Cancer brings us together and rips us apart. Cancer knows no boundaries - it crosses race, age, sex, families, and even politics.Cancer can bring people together. To those with cancer, it is an instant bond to others with the disease. You can walk into a chemo waiting room, a support group, a fundraiser, or whatever. All of us with cancer instantly have something to talk about and unit together. It can join a family who is faced with the impending death of a loved one to repair broken or damaged family bonds.Cancer can also rip us apart. For those selfish or inconsiderate enough not to care about others, they do not notice...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 27, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: cancer bonds communication family friends Source Type: blogs

How Soon To Start Treatment?
I never realized how important starting cancer treatment quickly was. I remember my surgeon telling me at one point I had plenty of time to wait before making decisions for my treatment. I guess that wasn't true.There is a new study (because we always need new studies) to focus on the TTI (Time to Treatment Initiation) from date of diagnosis. As that increases, the cancer death rates increase as well. How nice. So don't wait, start NOW!Research by the Cleveland Clinic showed a increase from 21 to 29 days showed increased mortality." Longer delays between diagnosis and initial treatment were associated with worsened ov...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 24, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: breast cancer treatment cancer research Source Type: blogs

Mammograms Under or Over Diagnosis?
There has been a long debate, since mammograms were put into use in the early 1980s, if they over or under diagnose breast cancer. Now someone has finally decided totake another look at all this data. There are two main parts to this issue: Are small tumors that would never grow into something'bad'being over diagnosed and over treated? Are too many other tumors missed in mammograms? This group of researchers examined data from 2001 to 2013 and determined that:" The results showed that most overdiagnosis occurred in older patients with biologically favorable, slow-growing tumors. "These tumors are ones that will n...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 23, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: breast cancer cancer diagnosis cancer research mammogram Source Type: blogs

Determination only
Yesterday, I was talking to our cat feeder and her husband as they were walking their extremely large, muscled dogs past our house. We need to catch up on the latest cat issues (they are on a diet) before we leave on vacation.While we were chatting, their dogs were looking at our lawn very intently because they know we have cats who are often outside. They can't chase them because they are on leashes. One of them is actually scared of the cat they have at home. But they can look. And bark a bit until they are stopped.Boots is my little tag along. If he can find me, he will follow me. He loves me because I feed him, and bec...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 20, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: cat determination quality of life Source Type: blogs

The Most Important Part of My Health
Last week my husband has accused me of being cranky several times. My back has been hurting more than it is supposed to (considering all the medications I have to stop that). I have not been in a good mood.Saturday night I didn't sleep well. I am blaming the (damn) cat for that as he insisted on spending the night out and I got up four times to see if he would come in. My husband tells me that he will be fine when he spends the night out but I know we have coyotes, fisher cats, bobcats, and foxes who would be happy to make a meal of him. And he still doesn't have enough life skills to know about all the potential perils of...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 17, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: crankiness lack of sleep medical advice Source Type: blogs

Another'Oops, We Forgot To Tell You This '
Another little bitty oopsie. Many women after a mastectomy for breast cancer get implants to make them more even again. Then there are the hundreds of thousands of women who seek implants to enhance their bodies. And then comes the oopsie.There isa rare cancer which is caused by implants." The American Society of Plastic Surgeons says around 550,000 women last year received breast implants, but the FDA published a report this year linking a rare cancer to the implants.So far, there have been 359 reported cases globally,including nine deaths.The risk is low, but one in 30,000 women with implants could develop it,... &q...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 14, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: breast cancer treatment cancer risk side effects Source Type: blogs

Thursdays Are My Favorite
This morning I realized something. Thursdays are my favorite day. Why? Because I have my knitting group.I really like my knitting group. When we moved a year and a half ago, I wanted to continue to do something cancer support related. Not necessarily something to provide me with support for my cancer crap. But more for something to connect me to the cancer community and other cancer people.We didn't really move that far. Probably only 10 miles as the crow flies. But in little New England towns, that can be far, far away. The town where we lived is much larger geographically than our old town but has fewer people. To get to...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 13, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: cancer support support group Source Type: blogs

Too Tired
I was going to write I am too tired to blog. But I will squeeze a few words out. But this is my life. I felt okay this morning. Did some weeding in the heat and 100% humidity and then went to the gym in the air conditioning. After I cooled off I took the car for an oil change at the dealer.I had to wait standing up at the dealer for a good five minutes to get checked in. That makes me tired and cranky. They were very nice about it and even told me about a bakery where I could get a snack while I waited. It was a five minute walk. That was too far for me to walk so I sat at the dealer.Now that I am home and have had somethi...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 12, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: tired Source Type: blogs

Stop Changing Your Mind Please
[A breast cancer tumor imaged with a technique that highlights aspects of its microenvironment.NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE/UNIV. OF CHICAGO COMPREHENSIVE CANCER CENTER]I really wish they would stop changing their mind. I know several women who have had chemo before surgery to reduce the size of their tumor. If you have a woman who has a fairly large tumor and chemo before surgery has the benefit of reducing their surgery - maybe from a mastectomy to a lumpectomy. This is actually a huge benefit. The surgery is so much less drastic. " The main goal of pre-operative (neoadjuvant) chemotherapy for breast cancer is to ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 11, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: breast cancer treatment cancer research disappointment Source Type: blogs

Over Reactions
I have no idea why my body has changed so much but it has. And I tend to blame chemo for the changes. Since chemo, I have reactions to tons of things. The list of things I am allergic to has grown immensely. I am even allergic to Benadryl....I will say its been a very long time since I was stung by a bee. That is approximately 1986 when I stepped on a bee that had come in through the wall of our kitchen in an apartment. I remember it as being extremely painful because there is no flab on your toe to absorb the venom. I ended up calling the pharmacist to ask for options.... But I also remember it going away mostly by the ne...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 10, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: allergens annoyance reactions Source Type: blogs

Its Not Just A Cold Anymore
I got a cold last Sunday. This is day 8. While I feel better mostly, I know better than to push myself. Hence I stayed home mostly for a week. I did not go to the gym. I did not contaminate my knitting group full of cancer people who would not welcome germs. I didn't take my 88 year old father to his doctor appointments. I skipped all July Fourth events. I didn't do much of anything beside catching up on my knitting and going on an emergency kleenex run when I ran out. (And getting stung by wasps when I inadvertently discovered the wasp nest six feet from our front door.)I did all that on purpose. My goal is not to be sick...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 9, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: boring germs just a cold Source Type: blogs

Its Not All Peaches And Roses
Life as an unhealthy person is not all peaches and roses.... Wednesday I wroteabout Claire the amazing woman with CF who is full of energy and fun and talks about things we don't want to talk about - like dying. Anyway, she says she wants to wrote a book but not one about a'happy sick person'. There are a lot of books out there about'happy sick'people but reading them doesn't necessarily make you feel happy for them.Honestly who can put a perky spin on being sick? One of the many downsides of life with chronic illnesses is that a little thing becomes a big thing. You have no idea.Anyway, the world is papered with books abo...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 7, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: ailments books coping Source Type: blogs

Live Life the Fullest
Don't let anything hold you back in your pursuit to live life to the fullest. You want to experience everything and anything (well except maybe eating insects, flydiving, going over Niagara Falls in a barrel, or other really weird things). Get out there and do as many as many things as you can.I think I want to say that I don't think you need to constantly push yourself to do something every minute. Sometimes you need to sit there and appreciate what you just accomplished. You should also share your experiences with others who might benefit from what you have done.Do not let your health hold you back. Okay, if you break yo...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 5, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: fun living with cancer respect terminal ailments Source Type: blogs

I Need Playtime Too
A new study finds that pediatric cancer patients can avoid anxiety required anesthesia before radiation treatment... by... (wait for it) ...substituting playtime.This was the result of work by a nurse at Johns Hopkins who found that there was no standard protocol other than to routinely give anesthesia to pediatric patients." What we found was that we had no standard; we were just basically signing kids up for anesthesia because they were anxious, because of the unknowns. We had complications happen under anesthesia and radiation. Another component was that it was taking up a lot of time. Now, with this program, ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 4, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: medical tests procedures relax stress waiting Source Type: blogs

The Truth, The Whole Truth, Nothing But The Truth
The truth about cancer treatment is very complicated. The treatment options are very deep, strong, and harsh even. They are just drastic. Because they are so drastic, they can very well cause a lot of post treatment effects - i.e., side effects. The information on side effects is not a list, but a mountain.Yes we want the truth. Oncologists I think waffle on how much information to provide to their patients about their treatment options when faced with their treatment options. I can tell you its a lot of information to take in and absorb - and probably not everyone is ready for that. And our doctors are unsure how muc...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 3, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: brainless cancer treatment doctor questions doctors side effects Source Type: blogs

Waiting Around
I hate waiting. I pride myself on being on time. I think that people who constantly run late are rude and selfish because they are making people wait on them. They are not considering anyone else's feelings or needs. Basically that is just damn rude.Social occasions aside, waiting for doctors is even worse. Especially when you are not feeling well. This is one reason why I do not like Emergency Rooms and will only go if I am literally dripping blood (and will therefore be put to the front of the line) is I can't stand waiting around.A year or so ago, my opthamologist asked me to find a new one. BasicallyI got fired by my e...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 2, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: doctor appointments frustration respect social media waiting Source Type: blogs

Another Piece of Bad (And Misunderstood) Advice
Who has heard that green tea is good for people with cancer and for preventing cancer?'Raises hand 'Yes I have heard that. I don't really like green tea that much but I do drink it occasionally. I know people who purposely drink green tea because it is'better'for them. So here'sthe bad news:" Green tea and green tea extracts are widely consumed by patients with cancer. Yet overall there is no clinical evidence that green tea or its chemical components slow tumor progression in humans — and importantly, there is some evidence that green tea compounds might interfere with anticancer treatment. "There is some ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 30, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: fake news medical information medical research Source Type: blogs

My Health Complicates Everything
I have too many ailments. Combined they interact and cause all kinds of problems. Normal people can have knee problems and then surgery to fix them. Me? Not so much.I hurt my right knee skiing in 2001 and had arthroscopic surgery to fix as much as possible. My right knee became my bad knee. After surgery, the surgeon said if it ever stops locking up come back and see me again.In 2015 I fell in our backyard and tore my left ACL. My left knee became my bad knee and my right knee became my good (or not quite as bad) knee. I then started over stressing my right knee which wasn't happy. In the fall of 2016, my right knee starte...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 29, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: ailments knee pain surgery whininess Source Type: blogs

Side Effects Vs. Costs
This morning an email on the discontinuation of a certain drug which the article says is a good thing because it will save billions of dollars. The drug in question isTKI and is used to treat CML. It works well at putting people in remission but comes with a high financial cost, $147,000 per year and causes many side effects.This made me think. Which is more important - financial cost or side effects?I am torn on this one. A drug that costs $147,000 per year is phenomenally expensive. If it was a branded drug on my insurance I would be charged probably 40% of that cost. Could I afford that? Even without pulling out a calcu...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 27, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: medication costs side effects Source Type: blogs

People Are Still People Even With Cancer
Life does not stop with a cancer diagnosis. It should not. If you have cancer, you are still a person. You do not need to let cancer take over everything. You are still a human being and need to do normal human being things. Like going on vacation. Or moving to another state.If you want to go on a vacation, all you need to do is talk to your oncologist and they will help you figure out what changes need to be made. If you are in the middle of chemo, you can probably take a week off. Its not that complicated.Your cancer diagnosis does not get to swallow you whole and take over everything in your life. People in cancer treat...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 26, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: being a patient cancer diagnosis fun humanity Source Type: blogs

Standing Up For Myself
I have to learn that standing up for myself again.... I have to do better with that word'no'again. There is only so much of me - not the flabby part (I have plenty of that) - my physical abilities are what is limited. I have to be careful on what I do and how much I do.For example, I am slowly learning not to be the perfect hostess who jumps up to help anyone who asks a question while in our house. I just can't. If I jump up for every request, I won't have any energy left. If its a good friend who wants a corkscrew, I am happy to say it is in the top drawer of the side board... If its not that close a friend, I am hap...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 25, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: overscheduled overwhelmed Source Type: blogs

I've Been Away
As us New Englanders say, I have been on the Cape for a few days. What does that mean? I went to Cape Cod. I stayed with a friend and her significant other for a few days at the house they rented for a month.Her significant other had to go back home for a few days so the two of us had fun shopping at thrift stores, consignment stores, yarn stores, and book stores. I was on the hunt for a few items - spoon rest and clock for the downstairs. I found them. And a few other things that I didn't need. Like yarn, clothes, etc.Finally the weather cleared up and we went to the beach. It was awesome. Do I have pictures? No. But ther...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 23, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: beach friends shopping vacation Source Type: blogs

Insurance Only Covers What It Says It Will (Usually)
We all purchase insurance for all sorts of things. We have car insurance, home owners insurance, renters insurance, property insurance, flood insurance, and of course medical insurance in addition to many other policies.Recently I have seen commercial on TV that offer insurance for homeowners to cover things like dishwashers, hot water heaters, air conditioners, etc. They show'customers'asking their homeowners insurers to cover their broken AC units. After being turned down, the announcer offers home insurance policy to cover the appliances etc. I think - what a scam. I consider this to be the same as the extended war...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 19, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: health insurance insurance costs Source Type: blogs

The Combination Diagnosis
Presto, you were a healthy person, who in addition to going out for drinks and appetizers with friends on weekends, you also used to go to the gym, hike, bike, swim, blah, blah, blah. All sorts of activities. Then, the ball drops. Now you have cancer and another ailment which prevents you from doing much of everything.You read about those'other'cancer people, who took their athleticism to new heights after their cancer diagnosis. They climb not just mole hills, but Mounts Everest and Denali in the same month. They learn to stand on the big fat boards and pole their way across the Pacific. They boast about their return to h...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 18, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: cancer diagnosis disability Source Type: blogs

To Test or Not To Test
Once you are diagnosed with cancer, you have two key desires:Get the damn thing out of me! Make Sure It Doesn't Come Back!So you have surgery and they remove every thing they can. You might have to have more surgery to get those pesky clean margins. Then the give you nasty drugs for chemo and might zap you a few times as well with radiation as well. You might get some pills too. All sorts of fun and games thrown at you. The doctors swear to you that they have done everything possible to get the cancer out of you. So you go back to your oncologists and they tell you... see you in three months! You kind o...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 17, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: cancer detection cancer diagnosis medical tests Source Type: blogs

Houston, We Have A Problem
I stole that line from the episode of Brother Vs. Brother that I am watching as I type. I cannot believe how much I have been sleeping. We had a heat wave here. (In Boston terms, that means 3 days in a row over 90 degrees. The rest of the world may snicker about that but we just don't get that much heat here.) And I am not used to it.Sunday I wore myself out completely and got overheated and I had to rest with an ice pack on the back of my neck for an hour or so. Monday was another sweltering one. Tuesday was hot as well but I went to the beach for the morning. As I left the beach, I felt the waves of fatigue start. I had ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 15, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: fatigue napping sleep Source Type: blogs

More News I Don't Need
You know they tell us that evil cancer cells come out of the nasty cancer tumors and send them secretly through your body so that they show up later as unwanted metastases. These little cancer cooties (the professional term) are just nasty and unwanted and really want to kill us all in the end.Now we havenew research (because we always need more research) on how metastases occur. Or more correctly where and when the cancer cooties come from the tumors. Earlier research had thought that cancer cells came from the exterior of the cells and not very early." Even in remission, cancer looms. Former cancer patients and thei...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 14, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: cancer recurrence cancer research medical news metastatic cancer Source Type: blogs

Making Medical Decisions
We are given medical decisions all the time. When faced with them, there is the ever popular'do nothing'option. The problem with that option is that it probably isn't the best option. If you are given a medical decision to make and you decide to ignore your options, you aren't doing yourself any favors. However, if you ask doctors you will probably find this to be very common.The next option is to act and make a decision to do something, besides'nothing'. This is usually the best option. But when making this decision, the criteria to look at are:- benefits to you, the patient - longer life, less pain, etc- benefits to your...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 13, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Source Type: blogs

Its Complicated
Personally, I do not consider myself to be a complicated person. However, alas, my health is very complicated. Yes. I am the kind of patient that forces doctors to consult with other doctors on my health before they see me or offer treatment options. They come to me with big sighs and long and repeated looks at my charts.Nothing is simple for me. I am ineligible for clinical trials because my health is too complicated so I am always kicked off the list. Medications are complicated. I am allergic to lots of things or they might interact with all my other medications.If I go to physical therapy for anything, I can never...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 11, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: being a patient health issues unhealthiness Source Type: blogs

Finding Support Resources
In my personal experience the most important thing to do after a'yucky'diagnosis (after going to the doctor and taking your meds) is to find support resources. I keep saying that the emotional part of you is just as important of the physical side of you and this is yet another example.First I would ask your doctor for information and then look at the source of the information they give you. For example, at my breast cancer diagnosis I was given a folder of information with resources - including a flyer from the American Cancer Society, and one from a local support organization. Two good places to start. But I was also told...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 9, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: cancer resources cancer support emotional toll emotions support group Source Type: blogs

Cures
In the past few days I have learned of treatment breakthroughs for Multiple Myeloma and for Multiple Sclerosis - I have two friends which this will benefit. Both of them are very happy to learn about the progress.TheMultiple Myeloma (MM) news is that they have now found a treatment using immunotherapy which seems to put almost everyone into remission. MM is not curable but if patients can be put into long term remission with this new treatment, it looks like it is a step towards a cure. This news was announced at the ASCO conference last weekend." ASCO Perspective“While it’s still early, these data are a s...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 8, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: cancer cure cancer research medical research Source Type: blogs

Decision Making
Back in junior high I think, we had a class where we were instructed for the next class to make a list of all the decisions we had made in that 24 hour period. I thought I did it right and came into class the next day with a list of three decisions I had made. I quickly learned how wrong I was.Another student stood up with his list and it was long - it listed everything from deciding when to leave the classroom the day before, which way to turn in the hallway, whether to got his locker or not, etc.How wrong was I? Phenomenally. And it was a big learning lesson for me as well.We make decisions constantly. What to eat for br...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 7, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: cancer treatment medical decisions stress Source Type: blogs

Balancing Cancer Recurrence Fears
So I have been blogging about cancer recurrences and then I find a study that talks about how to cope with cancer recurrence fears. Basically what it comes down to is counselling, support and knowledge.Astudy was done in Holland and followed several cancer patients and provided information and support on their cancer and recurrence issues. They compared two groups, one who received access to normal psychosocial support. The other group received blended cognitive therapy consisting of:five individual, 1-hour, face-to-face counseling sessionsthree 15-minute Internet chat consultationsaccess to an informational websiteIt does...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 6, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: cancer recurrence cancer support fear of cancer wellness Source Type: blogs

More on Olivia
I am beginning to think I am her fan or something as this is my third post about her.... but once again I am blogging about Olivia Newton John and her cancer recurrence. I have another problem with her and her recurrence. This is it in her statement about what her plans are for recurrence:" I decided on my direction of therapies after consultation with my doctors and natural therapists... "Her plan is to focus on radiation and natural therapies.... I don't have a problem with natural therapies but I do have a problem with their use without additional medical therapies.I used to work with a woman who was diagnosed...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 4, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: alternative medicine cancer treatment Source Type: blogs

Going Back To That Recurrence Thing
With cancer, this is what we all want to know. Will it come back?The other day, I blogged aboutcancer recurrences and being on the hook. Of course with Olivia Newton John's twenty five year later cancer recurrence, the media is now full of cancer recurrence information.Before I start, I need to state that anyone who says they have cancer and then say they are cured after treatment are idiots. You are not cured after a cancer diagnosis, you only can exhibit'no evidence of disease'or NED. While there have been many cancer treatment advances in recent years, there is still no cure. Why do you think you need to keep going...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 3, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: cancer recurrence cancer research cancer treatment Source Type: blogs

Weird Test Results
We all get these standard medical tests - like a colonoscopy.... I get regular chest x-rays... Why? Because back in the dark ages of my thryoid cancer, they saw a'thingy'in my lungs. It was a benign thingy but they wanted annual chest x-rays to check on it to make sure it didn't do anything.So after over 25 years of annual chest x-rays for the thingy, I was told they no longer needed annual chest x-rays for thingy's, they would wait until any symptoms occurred. Then, as luck would have it, I was put on methotrexate for my rheumatoid. As there is a possibility of lung problems caused by methotrexate, I was put back on'sort ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 2, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: cancer bus doctor questions test results Source Type: blogs

How Long Are You On the'Hook' For A Recurrence?
After cancer, we always wonder'will it come back?'Actually, we don't just wonder, we obsess over this. For a long time, we think every little owie is probably cancer. We can only get our life back on the rails when we learn to cope with this. But still then every so often we still freak ourselves out about something. And life goes on.But post cancer, every so often our doctors tell us something we don't like and we go back on that cancer roller coaster. Time goes on. Years start to roll by.... We assume we are good because its been a decade or two....Now I must ask the question'how long are you on the'hook'for a cancer rec...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 1, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: breast cancer cancer recurrence post cancer Source Type: blogs

Once Upon A Time, I Was A Healthy Person
I have many friends who, after cancer, get back to their old lives for the most part. I'm not talking about that'new normal'bull, but just doing normal things like going back to work, taking part in all their family activities and all sorts of regular, every day life things.Me, I did not get to go back to my regular life after breast cancer. My body had other plans for me. It decided it was time to fall apart.After breast cancer, I got gall stones and had my gallbladder out six months after radiation ended. That winter I slipped on the ice, landed on my left hand and started all my lymphedema crap.The following fall my bac...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - May 31, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: ailments being healthy being me Source Type: blogs

Is Moving On After Cancer A Myth?
I am approachingmy ten year anniversary of the ten year mark after my breast cancer diagnosis. Am I supposed to celebrate? I think so but I am not sure how much of a celebration it is. It doesn't mean I can say it is gone for good. It just means that in the ten years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer and I am still here.Now I do know that is a good thing. But am I supposed to celebrate? But I don't feel like celebrating. I am not sure that I should celebrate. I certainly won't be having a party.The last ten years have been a growing time for me emotionally (and for my waistline). I have had many new experiences that...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - May 29, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: living with cancer Source Type: blogs

Distractions
I realize I haven't been blogging much for the past month or so. We went away for a weekend, we are on our second set of houseguests. This one came with a dog who freaked out one of our cats (who should have stood his ground and growled at the dog and he would have hid because he is really scared of cats).I have also been dealing with lots of fatigue. What is fatigue? When you need 12 hours of sleep each day and then make it through. I also keep getting myself in places where all of a sudden I am so tired I can't function.An example is this past Thursday. I got up and went to the grocery store and library in the morning. I...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - May 28, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: distractions family quality of life Source Type: blogs

What To Do When A Family Member Has Cancer
Its different when a friend has cancer than when its a family member. When you live in the same house as someone with cancer, you need to be a bit more proactive and protective than when its not someone in the same house.For the person with cancer, they are probably feeling a bit stressed, to say the least. They may isolate themselves or they may act in an uncharacteristic manner - drinking more, eating more or less, etc. Their whole being is probably focused on their diagnosis and how they feel, which may or may not be very well. They are contemplating their odds, their upcoming treatment, etc.This is not a time to make u...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - May 25, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: cancer diagnosis family relationships stress Source Type: blogs

Managing Fatigue
Do you remember how tired you felt during chemo and at the end of radiation? That's how tired I feel every day. As a result, my new word of the year is'no'. As in:No, I am not going anywhereNo, I can't go there tomorrowNo, the only places I am going are the ones I carefully planned.Nothing else. If you want me to do something with you, we need to plan ahead. (Unless an emergency and then I am happy to help.)I cannot drop things and go to the movies or visit someone. I plan what I am going to do and then I plan how long I have to rest and recover.Yesterday I had a fairly normal day and met a friend for lunch (and gave a nei...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - May 24, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: annoyance fatigue tired Source Type: blogs

I Keep Forgetting To Blog
I mean to. It really helps me cope with life. I will say the road to hell is paved with good intentions.... so maybe I am on the way to hell in a handbasket.But anyway, there is a lot going on in my life right now but I am not ready to talk about it yet. I will, when I am ready. Its not my story to tell either. I will eventually get to it.My biggest distraction in life right now is that it is gardening season. My abilities to garden are very limited but its one of the things that I really enjoy. I can't did things up, move anything heavy or even garden for very long.This year, my husband built me a massive raised bed garde...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - May 23, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: blogging distractions gardening Source Type: blogs

New News on Lymphedema
Lymphedema has long been known as a life long complication from breast cancer surgery.I am not a doctor but here is my understanding of lymphedema: the lymph system is a second system in your body connecting hundreds of lymph nodes which help clean out your body and heal injuries or diseases. When you have surgery the lymph system is often impaired because it does not heal and reconnect after. If the lymph system is unconnected to the rest, you can end up with swollen body parts, or lymphedema.After breast cancer if a bunch of nodes are removed under your arm as with an axillary node dissection, you can end up with problem...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - May 20, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: lymph nodes lymphedema risks Source Type: blogs

Those Nasty Complications
I often wonder in cancer treatment, which is worse - treatment or complications? I think complications win that one. To me complications mean more doctor visits, more drugs, more expense, more whininess, and less happy results.In recent years, we have had the whats-her-name effect (this is what happens when you blog too early in the day) where women are getting bilateral and unilateral mastectomies at higher rates than in the past. There is no real proof that mastectomies are better than lumpectomies with radiation for early stage breast cancer but many women opt for them anyway.But there is a problem. New research (becaus...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - May 19, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: breast cancer treatment doctor appointments medical complications medical costs side effects Source Type: blogs

A Well Explained Reason for Ditching the S-Word
I hate the S-word. I am not an s-word. I am a person living with cancer. Its always just bugged me. A lot. I hate the fact that ACS designates anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer as an s-word.But finally I found someone who really explains it well as to why you should ditch the s-word. I was catching up and finally reading a copy of Readers Digest from last September and came across an article called "Don't Call me a Cancer Survivor" . The author is a hospital chaplain for the last three decades or so and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. With her diagnosis she learned a lot." One surprising th...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - May 17, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: cancer diagnosis labels quality of life s-word Source Type: blogs

Ignore the Statistics
Once again I have been faced with explaining that a 3% death rate does equal a 97% survival rate. Often cancer patients are given numbers which they do not understand and they focus on the bad part.First of all, you are not a number, you are a human being.Second, numbers are generalizations.Third, numbers should be ignored.Finally, if you must look at numbers look at the positive side of them. Its not a 5% death rate, its a 95% survival rate. That sounds much better.Sheesh.... (Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog)
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - May 16, 2017 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: cancer rates numbers Source Type: blogs