Happy Holidays!
Today my husband and I (at my husband's suggestion) are spending the day at home together. We chose to spend the time without the rest of the family because:We wanted to spend time together and enjoy the holiday in our new house.We went out to dinner with my family last night and my brother and four children are showing up Tuesday night and we are having a big family dinner here for 12.My husband is the smart one. Its a great idea. We even went for a walk. We are enjoying the prechaos calm (think calm before the storm). What is a holiday supposed to be? A day where you enjoy those who are close to you and celebrate th...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - December 25, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: enjoyment holidays husband Source Type: blogs

Stop Hiding From The Holidays With Ailments
Yesterday I posted alist of a holiday to dos:Be present, don't buy presentsWrap someone in a hug, instead of wrapping giftsSend love, not giftsDonate food, don't shop for itMake memories, not cookiesBe the light, instead of hanging lightsThen I started thinking (sorry). I know I am guilty of not being present at holidays. At Thanksgiving, hosted here, I got tired and ended up lying down in our bedroom for long enough that my mother came down to lie down for a minute and talk to me because I was gone so long.I really have limited abilities and get tired or end up in pain and need to rest. Normally, I would sit down and let ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - December 24, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: ailments coping hiding holidays Source Type: blogs

The Best Holiday Advice
I stole this fromJourneying Before Breast Cancer and I think it is the best holiday advice I have ever seen: (Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog)
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - December 23, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: being a patient holidays Source Type: blogs

Doctor Search
Dana Farber Cancer Institute just releasedthis list of what to look for in an oncologist. I just think that they are things we should look for in all doctors.I have ditched doctors who didn't have all these:Communication - why have a doctor who doesn't talk to you.Specific expertise - I wouldn't want a dermatologist to treat my rheumatoid arthritis but I would want them to remove funky looking moles. I would also want my oncologist to specialize in breast cancer.Willingness to collaborate - this is exactly why I am getting a new pain management doctor: he won't let his patients talk to someone else and then go back to him ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - December 22, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: being a patient doctors Source Type: blogs

Women Doctors Are Better
It took a study butthe truth is out, women doctors are better than men.I have always preferred women doctors. I just assumed it was because my pediatrician was a woman. The first dentist I went to was a woman - I have these vague memories of going to see her in her Boston office and getting erasers shaped like animals afterwards. If I get a choice, I usually prefer a woman doctor. Currently I have women doctors for: primary care, oncologist, endocrinologist, dentist, periodontist, therapist, meds therapist, rheumatologist, eye doctor...." People treated by a female had a 4 percent lower relative risk of dying and 5 pe...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - December 21, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: compassion doctors women doctors Source Type: blogs

Loneliness and Isolation
I find our new house provides lots of loneliness and isolation. I knew it when we moved out here and I stopped working that my life would be very different. But I don't think I realized how different until now.Last winter and spring I was busy getting settled into our new house - and painting about half the rooms in the house. Then I was busy gardening and being outside. Then it was craft show season. Now not so much. I'm not going to finish painting the house until after the holidays but that only takes up so much of my time.Our neighborhood is full of people who work. The woman on one side is home with two small children...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - December 20, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: friends housebound isolation loneliness Source Type: blogs

Peer Support
When first diagnosed with breast cancer, I started going to support groups. And I was very appreciative of what I learned from the other women in them. I also found support in online communities which helped me even more. You go to your support group weekly but the online groups were available 24/7.I can't tell you how much I learned at my support groups that helped me understand my treatment protocol, what to ask my doctor, and more. The peer support was very different from what I learned from my doctor. In some ways it was less invasive but more personal than my oncologist and his team.Now a hospital is usinga peer suppo...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - December 19, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: breast cancer bonds cancer support friends support group Source Type: blogs

Don't Go Quietly
Somewhere out there is a birthday/friendship card about the friend you want is not the one who will bail you out of jail but the one who is sitting there with you in jail talking about how much fun you had. I want to be the instigator who got us arrested for something like'public embarrassment'and I have a couple of friends who would be sitting in jail with me.I have two old friends who might be sitting in jail with me (you know who you are - don't deny it). One is a friend from college and one is someone who I started working with in the mid-1980s - you know who you are!Back in 1981 I was told I had thyroid cancer and I s...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - December 19, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Source Type: blogs

Doctors Should Speak Clearly
I really dislike a lot of doctor speak. They say things like'with your medical history we need to be sure'or'that really needs more research before we can tell if it would be right for you'. Then they try to add explanations about things that include the words'that's a possibility'or'we could consider that'.What exactly does the word'consider'mean? I had never really thought about that until I readthis blog post that was mentioned on Facebook and then I got really irritated. If a doctor says they will'consider'a potential treatment protocol? Does that mean they want to go look something up about it or they want to prolong ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - December 17, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: being a patient doctors irritation uncertainty with doctors words Source Type: blogs

You Know You Are Unhealthy When....
Your calendar is full of medical appointments and you never get to see your friends.I used to work with a woman who told me that I was unhealthier than an entire floor at the local hospital combined and she didn't even know about my cancers .But you really know when you are unhealthy when you are in a room full of people with cancer, mostly stage IV, and they consider you unhealthy. That is what happened to me yesterday.I'm just trying to keep my sense of humor through all this. (Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog)
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - December 16, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: humor unhealthiness Source Type: blogs

Living Without Cancer
I have had further thoughts on my post from the other day onNot Talking About Cancer and then more thoughts. As I wrote about enjoying not talking about cancer, it really made me think. What if you didn't even have to consider talking about cancer or not talking about cancer? Because you had never had cancer?I think this is the part that I am stuck on and really struggle with at times. I have never been an adult with out cancer. This is very difficult for me. I went from being a fun loving, college freshman to a cancer person. (This means if you got to know me after August 1981 you never knew the pre-cancer me.)If you have...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - December 15, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: being a patient cancer diagnosis quality of life Source Type: blogs

Making The Change
Okay, I am going to do it. I have been pondering changing my pain management doctor and I have decided today (I am finally going to remember to) make the call. While I personally like my old pain management doctor and think he is a decent guy, I question the care I have been receiving.I don't necessarily think it has been bad care. But I really want a new set of eyes on my pain management treatment. I want a new doctor to look at what I have and what hurts and then I want a new set of recommendations.After nearly seven years with the same pain management doctor, I feel he just adds more and more meds and doesn't necessaril...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - December 14, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: being a patient over treatment pain management uncertainty with doctors Source Type: blogs

Talking About Cancer, Or Not
I have a lot of friends these days who have had cancer. And then I have friends who have not had cancer but sometimes we still talk about cancer or my health. But then I have friends who do not have cancer or any big ailments and don't really know about the disasters of my health so we talk about other things. Like life.Recently, through the wonders of social media, I reconnected with two old friends from high school who I hadn't seen in decades. I have sort of told them about all my health issues. But definitely not all of them. I have gotten together with one or both of them a few times.I got together with the one who I ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - December 13, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: cancer awareness quality of life Source Type: blogs

Another Anniversary
I met my husband in early 2002 and we got married in 2005, then everything changed. We had about three months of ame-being-healthy marriage before my health got the better of me.We married in May and in August I ended up in the emergency room because I had (previously unknown to me) uterine fibroids, one of which decided to die off which caused a massive internal infection, intense pain, ambulance trip to the ER, followed by several days on an IV antibiotic and a week of bed rest at home (when the roofers put in a new roof).Exactly 11 years ago today, I had a open hysterectomy where they removed my uterus (and all the evil...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - December 12, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: anniversary empowered patient online support group Source Type: blogs

Vanessa Bayer
I can tell you I am not Vanessa Bayer's biggest fan, because I honestly do not stay up until midnight to watch the show (waaaayyyy past my bedtime). But I am suddenly a hug fan of her openness regarding her leukemia diagnosis.I was getting my hair cut this week and had a chance to catch up on the latest magazines, includingPeople. " When Vanessa Bayer was just freshman in high school, she was diagnosed with leukemia. While the news was a shock for her and her family, Bayer says her cancer battle ultimately led her to a career in comedy.“I wasn’t really that scared,” Bayer says in the latest issu...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - December 10, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: cancer bonds humor medical history Source Type: blogs

I Am Aggravated
My body is not cooperating. It keeps on bringing areas to my attention that are not cooperative, i.e., causing pain or other discomfort. I am not happy about this. I am already in PT for one area of the body that has expanded to a second area. I am going back to the knee doctor on Monday to talk about my formerly'good'knee which is causing way too many issues. My'bad'knee isn't going to be a good substitute for it.Also, my fatigue levels are not doing me any favors. I was so tired this afternoon that I didn't put away the groceries - except for the most perishable - and left them for my husband so I could go lie down.This ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - December 9, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: aggravation knee pain whininess Source Type: blogs

The Idiots At the TSA in LAX
Did you hear the story about the woman who was basically groped and abused by the TSA at LAX? Sure it made a tiny story on CNN and now they just show the video with the title "Breast Cancer Patient Livid After TSA Screening' . Then I went and read the full story on thewoman's blog. The TSA has issued a small apology but apparently they don't get it. Even their supervisor in the video is pretty darn useless.Seriously Deborah, the woman in the video, told the TSA agents she had breast cancer and they still didn't get it. Really? She is undergoing cancer treatment and you treat her like a piece of crap. (Source: Car...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - December 8, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: breast cancer bonds idiots travel Source Type: blogs

Getting Back On Track
This morning I actually feel rested. Actually I felt pretty rested yesterday morning as well. But my day got hijacked and I ended up spending several hours with my father taking him to a doctor appointment (broken second metatarsal in his left foot at age 88) and then x-rays, back to the doctor, and then home. And then home to our house. I was totally exhausted by the time I got home at 430.But then I slept for close to 9 hours without waking up. So this morning I will go to the gym, then get my hair cut, and go to the library. Then I will stay home and finish what I never got to yesterday. I need to get back on track.What...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - December 7, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: family overscheduled rest sleep Source Type: blogs

Wallowing
Recently I have been wallowing a bit too much. A few years back (2010 to be precise) I blogged about mywallowing rule - 3 day maximum. I have said that I have been whining but really what it is is wallowing.What is the definition of wallowing? (since it is such a'common'word. Most people probably haven't considered it since some word test back in high school):wallowverb (intransitive)1. (esp of certain animals) to roll about in mud, water, etc, for pleasure2. to move about with difficulty3. to indulge oneself in possessions, emotion, etc: to wallow in self-pitySee? Definition #3 is exactly what I mean.I thin...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - December 6, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: depression isolation self pity wallowing whininess Source Type: blogs

More Ailments
So yesterday I blogged about my stupid sleep test, CPAP machines, and other whininess. I wrote that I have a new ailment, and what's another ailment. But seriously, another ailment? I don't really want another ailment. In fact, I am kind of sick of being sick and having ailments and more ailments.Honestly I just want to stop having ailments, be a healthy person, and and have a life. I mean what do I do now? I go to the gym three times a week. I go to doctor appointments and PT now. I don't go to work. The only other places I go regularly are the library, grocery store, and knitting group.I would prefer to do thinks like go...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - December 5, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: apnea CPAP lack of sleep whininess Source Type: blogs

Managing That Sleep Thing
Yesterday I got to my last craft show of the season. I got set up and then sat down in my booth to regroup before the show started. I was nice and warm and I started to fall asleep. At 9 o'clock in the morning. In front of hundreds of people. Several times during the day, I had to get up and walk around (and steal fudge samples from the booth next to me for the caffeine) to stay awake.Why do I get so tired? One of the many reasons is the fatigue caused by my fibromyalgia (and its insomnia) and rheumatoid, to a lesser degree. It also turns out I have been diagnosed with sleep apnea which causes me not to sleep very well. (W...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - December 4, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: apnea fatigue lack of sleep Source Type: blogs

Breast Cancer Idiocy
First day of radiation treatment. I look like I'm about to make a run for it which is accurate. Radiation is frightening to me. Something about not being able to see the laser, see the treatment and having this machine moving around you just scares me. I'm sure I'll get used to it but right now.... I hate it. #radiation#radiationmondaysucks #stillfightinglikeagirlThis is a picture of Shannen Doherty, from'90210', as she starts radiation for breast cancer. Why do I call this idiocy? Her business managers allowed her health insurance to lapse. She had to sue them. Can you believe that?What competent person would al...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - December 2, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: breast cancer breast cancer bonds breast cancer treatment idiots Shannen Doherty Source Type: blogs

Expectations vs. Abilities
Sometimes expectations exceed abilities. But the real problem is when other people's expectations of me exceed my abilities. For example, last week we saw family friends and agreed we need to make it an annual event. It was suggested to me, actually I was told, that we should alternate hosting and my husband and I should host next year.Um, that doesn't work for me.I have major limitations on what I can and can't do. I do not go out much at night because I get too tired. We don't entertain much again because I get too tired. Or end up in pain.No I am not meeting for drinks at 9pm. I am going to be in bed by then. No I am no...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - December 1, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: exhaustion family fatigue friends Source Type: blogs

Post Cancer Survivorship
So Becky over at BC Becky blogged aboutdeveloping her post cancer survivorship plan. (Personally, I hate the S word but will suffer through it for this blog post, using it as Becky's word not mine.) Other people call it their new'normal'. I have found it very elusive. And basically think its a crock of sh*t. However this morning I started thinking (which is dangerous) while reading Becky's post.I have no way of reaching a new normal because I was living my new normal, post cancer since 1981. I have no way of knowing what it would be like to be an adult without cancer since I was 19 and in college at my first diagnosis.I al...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 30, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: post cancer s-word Source Type: blogs

I Can Be Such An Idiot
Let me tell you how much:Saturday I was at a craft show. At the end when I was packing up, I could not find my keys. Anywhere. I dumped out my purse twice, looked through everything I packed, checked all my pockets, several times. I was going nuts. I couldn't find them. I asked the few people that were left to see if any keys were turned in. Nothing. Finally, I was calling AAA and dumped out my purse again, and there they were. Talk about 45 minutes of stress!Yesterday while leaving a doctor appointment I pulled out of a parking space and clipped the car next to me. In front of the owners. My car only got a corner broken o...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 29, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: brain cells chemo brain fibro fog moron stupid me stupidity Source Type: blogs

Self-Induced Diagnosis
Over the summer, I noticed (I thought) that there were a couple of moles on my face that were getting a little crusty from time to time. I resolved not to make a big deal out of them but to make sure I asked my dermatologist about them at my annual skin check. In the meantime, I should forget about them.Of course I totally forgot about them because I have no brain these days. Then a few days ago I noticed they were a little crusty and reminded myself to ask my dermatologist. In the meantime, I self diagnosed myself with skin cancer, probably melanoma, Stage IV of course. I am so smart.You wonder about this. I am an educate...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 29, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: brainless dermatologist over diagnosis scare Source Type: blogs

Pre and Post Cancer
There is a picture of me around here from back when we were dating. My then boyfriend-now-husband asked me for a framed photo for an occasion birthday/Christmas done by a professional photographer. So I went to a local studio and had a picture done where I look young and healthy. The picture has been some place packed away for a while but now is featured prominently in his office, also know as our second bedroom.As I walk by that picture these days, more frequently now considering where it is now positioned, I contemplate, me post cancer. In the picture I have long hair with natural blonde highlights. I was a goodthirty fo...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 27, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: aging coping happiness marriage medical crap pictures Source Type: blogs

Holidays with Ailments
Healthy people have a holiday celebration and they do things like: cook, socialize, eat, socialize, eat more, socialize more, eat more, socialize more. Me? I do things like: cook until my back starts hurting, lie down for a while, cook more, delegate, delegate more, eat, socialize briefly, lie down for a while, eat more, socialize more, fight off sleep while lying down, eat more, socialize more, lie down more, send off guests, sleep, wake up, socialize, go back to bed until morning.Yes, I had to take breaks to lie down during the day yesterday. I had to take more pain meds than usual. I almost fell asleep while we had a ho...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 25, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: ailments family holidays Source Type: blogs

I Was Too Busy To Blog
Its the truth. I was too busy to blog. Tomorrow we are hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the first time. My mother, after 45 years of hosting Thanksgiving, has decided that she wants to go to someone else's house for dinner. Now I do admit to doing a fair amount of the cooking for the past 30 years or so, but its the first time at our house. In our new house with its big living room and open to the kitchen dining room which is why we now can host. In our new house with all my health ailments.That's okay, my husband helped a lotand I can always take a nap if I get tired. Since I have cooked, I do not do dishes.So anyway, toda...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 23, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: busy cooking fatigue holidays lack of sleep medications stress Source Type: blogs

Its A Miracle
I have been running around like a crazy person for the last few days, and will continue to over do things all through the long holiday weekend with three days of four house guests, hosting the big dinner, and then two craft shows over the weekend.Although I was completely exhausted by yesterday afternoon, I noticed a lack of noticeable amounts of pain. I was so tired I couldn't stay awake after dinner - in bed before 8 (and feeling no shame about it). I went to bed, did wake up for an hour or so, but feel rested this morning. I hope to take a significant nap this afternoon as well.But pain? I have been doing pretty well. I...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 22, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: fatigue miracles naps pain levels Source Type: blogs

Coping and not coping
Finally this morning I have an appointment with my meds therapist. The week I fell and was home with my'concussion'I was emotionally a mess. I have found I do not do well with staying home for day after day.My husband works full time and if I don't leave the house, he is the only one I see for a few hours each evening, I feel very isolated. I need to see other people at least every other day.My socialization is planned. People need people. I think I especially need to see people and socialize. I was concerned about this when we moved out here and I stopped working.I planned my schedule to go to the gym Monday, Wednesday, a...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 21, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: depression isolation medications Source Type: blogs

Yes I Do Have Back Pain In The Middle of My Back
Yesterday I went back to my pain management nurse practitioner yesterday. I felt like it was pulling teeth to get her to admit that there might be an additional source of pain in the thoracic area if my spine (that's the middle part - lumbar is the lower part, cervical is the upper part including your neck).She saw my x-rays which my rheumatologist pointed out to me as showing possible sources of pain. She didn't think they could be causing that much pain. She did push on my back to see if it hurt (how thoughtful of her). She nearly pushed me across the room as she pressed on my spine. Yes it hurt. A lot.Finally she agreed...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 17, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: back pain doctors MRI Source Type: blogs

Health Care Crap
So we have a new president elect (who shall remain nameless). My biggest problem with him is that he claims he will dismantle the Affordable Care Act. This is a serious issue. I do not give a rat's a$$ about political partisanship or how Hillary is a liar or whatever label you want to put on anyone. I only care about health care for those of us sick people.What if health insurance was taken away from all of us chronically sick people? That would be murder essentially for many people who can't afford their health insurance and are seriously ill. And if they don't die, they would be bankrupt.This is a serious problem. I am n...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 16, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: changes government health insurance insurance costs Source Type: blogs

Germ Exposure and Common Sense
I had a great craft fair on Saturday. I had a table at a busy craft fair and had some great sales. Between sales I chatted with the women in the booth next to me. Both our booths were set up so that we squeezed behind them on the same side. They had several friends stop by and chat with them for a bit.One woman pushed right up front to talk to them behind their booth, with her cold and told them loudly that she had a bad cold and then about one of her chemo patients who had also stopped by the booth earlier in the day. She sneezed a couple of times while there as well.I was appalled that she was out at a craft show with he...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 14, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: aggravation germs immune system Source Type: blogs

Reducing Cancer Care Costs and Hospital Stays
There are two really irritating things about cancer care for me. (Well there are really lots of things that irritate me about cancer care. I could make a giant list of them if anyone really cared but today I am going to focus on two things.Cancer care is ridiculously expensive. You can take a drug for $100,000 that might increase your lifespan for a couple of months. A single chemo infusion can cost upwards of $20,000.And at the least sign of germs or low blood counts, you are sent to the emergency room where they admit you. That is a really stupid part. You feel like crap on a Friday night, you call your oncologist and th...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 13, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: cancer care cancer costs hospital Source Type: blogs

My Body Needs A Pep Talk
I saw my rheumatologist yesterday and she was impressed with how much is going on with me medically these days and none of it was related to rheumatoid. LOL.Actually, its not very funny. She looked at my x-rays and explained a bunch of stuff to me. Basically each vertebrae in my back has issues around its edges and the bone spur in my neck is pressing on the nerves which cause problems in my neck and shoulder, exactly as I am feeling. She was also concerned with the osteoporosis in my spine.However, this all sucks.My body is not doing its share. It needs a pep talk to regroup. No more ailments. Especially ailments that usu...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 11, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: ailments complaints injuries pain Source Type: blogs

Pain and Suffering
Yesterday was not a good day. Some how I did too much (who me) and ran out of steam by the end of the day. And I got some bad news.First off, even though its been over a week since I fell, I am still not right. I run out of steam too soon and end up feeling a bit'off'each day. I did ask Dr Google about concussion recovery and found out it usually takes a week or more to fully recover and if you are older or have health issues, it can take longer. Drat.I want that magic wand to make me better as always.Second, I called a friend yesterday to see how she was doing. Her husband was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer nearly s...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 10, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: cancer death sadness stupid me Source Type: blogs

Pain Management
There is a lot of information on pain management. I even have a pain management doctor. But what constitutes pain management? I have several prescriptions for pain management - patches, pills, etc. I go to the gym and exercise to help control my pain. I do regular stretching and exercises for pain management.As you can see, pain management is not just about medication and injections. I want more than that. But I am not sure my doctor understands that. If I go to my pain management doctor and tell him my pain is acting up, he always tells me the same things:Don't sit around, get up and move.Here's more medication.He never s...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 9, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: medical tests MRI over treatment uncertainty with doctors Source Type: blogs

That Was a BAD Dream
Last night I had a weird dream. I woke up around 3 AM after dreaming that I had a rock hard lymph node on the top of my chest, near the base of my neck. In my dream, I could slide it around and feel it. A bunch of doctors were there trying to explain to me that it wasn't a big deal and chemo would solve everything. Thank god I woke up!But of course, then I had to see if I could feel a rock hard lymph node on my chest near my neck. Of course I couldn't.Nothing like a dream to show your worst fears in'living color'.And did I ever get back to sleep? No. I am sure I will feel very'energetic'this afternoon.... (Source: Caroline...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 8, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: cancer recurrence dreams fear of cancer lack of sleep Source Type: blogs

Not Blogging Equals Stress
As I also previously blogged, I haven't been blogging as much recently. And I have been feeling very stressed, and depressed recently. I realized these might be connected. At the beginning of my medical disasters (except my hysterectomy which was 18 months earlier) 9.5 years ago, I started blogging about my medical crap. I was'expressing my stress'(say that three times fast). I trained myself to vent through my writing. Then I haven't been writing, so I haven't been venting.Last night I started thinking (which is very dangerous at times) and realized that I really need to start blogging again for the emotional stress relea...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 7, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: blogging stress venting Source Type: blogs

Today is Better Than Yesterday
By the end of yesterday, I was beyond stressed. Let's see why was I stressed: I have been feeling like crap because of the bump on my head. I have two friends in hospice care (see yesterday's blog). I have several other medical issues to deal with - my PCP keeps sending me with more blood tests to figure out why I have been so anemic (problem since chemo). My neck hurts from the (stupid) bone spur. My mother ended up in the emergency room yesterday (but she's going home today). I have my first craft show this weekend and need to get ready. I can't remember the rest.I was so stressed I was ready to call for an prescription ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 3, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: ailments craft fair friends stress Source Type: blogs

I'm Losing My Friends
Right now I have two friends in hospice care. One I have known for only about six months but we have gotten pretty close. She was in my knitting group and when I met her she was on palliative care only for pancreatic and other cancers that she has been treated for over 20 years. She is on hospice care at home and no longer goes to knitting. We have talked on the phone and skyped regularly over the past four weeks but it is unclear how much longer this will go on.The other friend is the husband of a very old friend (friends for more than 40 years) and has been treated for stage IV colon cancer for nearly seven years. His di...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 2, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: cancer death friends hospice Source Type: blogs

Bump
Sunday morning is special around here. We used to get the paper daily but now just don't have time to read it. So the Sunday paper is special. I get to spread it out and read as much as I want. We also tend to make a nice breakfast to eat together.But this Sunday was a bit different. I was still in my pajamas and barefoot and headed back to our room to get something. As I stepped into our room and stepped on a piece of tulle from one of my craft projects. That was a bit slippery and my feet went one way and I went the other.The resulting damage was from the fact that I landed on my hip, elbow, knee, and shoulder.... I took...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 1, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: falls resting Source Type: blogs

I Haven't Been Blogging
I haven't been blogging recently and I haven't figured out why. Well I do have some thoughts on the subject.Originally I started this blog as a way of communicating my medical disasters, especially with breast cancer. That is what I told everyone. It was also my way of venting. Sort of journaling. It was very helpful to me in both ways.Over the years (9.5 to be exact) the topics have added and changed, as my health has continued to decline. My blog has been so helpful to me.But I have hit a major wall, writer's block so to speak, in recent months. Its not like I haven't had medical issues to deal with. I just haven't been ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 31, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: blogging health issues Source Type: blogs

Thoughts on Coping
I was talking with a friend today. She is having a nudgy little problem that is driving her crazy. She doesn't like nudgy little problems that drive her crazy. She asked me how I do it and cope with everything.My reply after that, with some deep thought, is:ExerciseWhiningPrescriptionsBitchingIce packsComplainingChocolate (preferably dark with cashews or pecans)Over eatingHeating padsUnder eatingSubstance abuse (just kidding)I admit I haven't had the best week but I'm still here. Monday I was exhausted and in pain. Tuesday I was in pain. Wednesday I was okay but sore after PT. Thursday, its still morning but I feel okay, s...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 27, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: coping pain levels pain management whininess Source Type: blogs

Alternative Medicine and Naturopathy
I have always been a fan of alternative and holistic medicine and naturopathy as well as Eastern medicine. I believe that modern Western medicine works fairly well but there is no reason not to look at other established types of medicine. Tell me Chinese people didn't develop their own type of medicine to survive and grow for thousands of years.I think there are many things that are involved in good health care and an antibiotic isn't going to cure everything. I mean what about drinking hot lemonade with whiskey for a bad cold? Its a dose of vitamin C and the whiskey might help you take a nap. Rest and vitamins will help a...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 26, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: alternative medicine Source Type: blogs

A Long Day At Doctors
After all my traveling, I realized that my body was not being very cooperative. I have increased knee pain (in the new bad knee, as opposed to the old bad knee), I have new back pain higher up than previously (it came and went for a few years but is not more there than not), and my neck and right shoulder have been giving me lots of problems.So after waiting around for a few weeks, it became time for all my appointments. I had three different medical appointments, in two different facilities 30 minutes apart, yesterday. I started at physical therapy about my neck and shoulder. After speaking to the therapist, he did some s...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 25, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: back pain doctor appointments knee pain neck pain physical therapy Source Type: blogs

Ignoring Pinktober
I have been doing a pretty good job of ignoring Pinktober this year. I know I went to a breast cancer friends meet-up recently and everyone (but me because I forgot to order one) wore their pink shirt for the event. I don't consider that a Pinktober event because it doesn't matter what time of year it is that we get together. The get together is the most important part.I have seen pink ribbons everywhere. I went shopping at a mall this weekend where every store in it had a pink ribbon on its front to promote something about Pinktober. I can't even remember what it said because I didn't really stop to read one. I know there...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 24, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: pinkification pinktober Source Type: blogs

The Hospital Space for Relaxation
As you go through cancer treatment you need a place to sit quietly with friends and family. Every hospital has a space where families of patients can come together and relax with the hospital patient. There are little areas tucked away. Every hospital has one.At the hospital I go to there is a little quiet space tucked away down by the chemotherapy infusion rooms which is comfortable and has a small lending library for patients and their family members.At Children's Hospital in Boston, they have the Prouty Gardens. It has been there for sixty years and was donated for that specific purpose.Mrs. Prouty was told by the then ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 23, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: hospital promises Source Type: blogs

Its How You Get Up Again
After cancer hits you, you cope and move on. But I think the most important part is how you cope. Many people are familiar with Scott Hamilton, the Olympic medal winning figure skater. But I am not sure that everyone knows about his cancer diagnoses. In addition to testicular cancer in 1989, he has also been diagnoses with brain tumors, several times. And he has also developed that awesome resourceChemoCare which provides a huge amount of information on chemotherapy regimens, including the all time favorite, side effects. His last diagnosis was last spring.He spoke about this recently withPeople Magazine, that ever popular...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 22, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: cancer diagnosis coping smile Source Type: blogs