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If you have cancer.

If you had cancer.

If you know someone with cancer.

If you want to talk about cancer.

We won't pray.  We won't blame gods.  We won't give credit to gods.  

We face the diagnosis and know, it is what it is.  

To the extent that we can, we will define our own course.

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Latest Activity: Feb 15


Cancer changes lives.

We have to deal with medical profession.

We have to deal with medications.

We have to deal with new discomfort and pain.

We have to create dignity, where there is indignity.

We have to deal with family members, friends, coworkers, and strangers, in a changed way.

We resolve to go forward with strength, resilience, purpose, pride, and integrity.

We define ourselves. Cancer does not define us.

A Personal Cancer Blog

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Comment by Daniel W on August 17, 2013 at 10:26am


I'm so glad you are here.  You are so important to me.  You make a difference with every post.  You have such passion, and compassion, and intelligence. 

I read on a website that it's typical to go through a grieving period, after diagnosis with cancer.  It's hard to deal with the change of perspective, plans, abilities, comfort that we take for granted. 

You are right, there is a new normal.  I hope you learn to take pride in your resilience, your adaptability, and unquenchable spirit.  It's OK to be down sometimes. 

The chemo can cause anemia, and once you are off that I think your blood count should rebound.  That should give you more energy.   I am so glad you have family and critters who make you happy.

Thank you for being here.


Mindy, thank you for your presence too!

A 20something with colon cancer - must be a genetic syndrome.  I hope it was just a limited area and he responds to surgery.  My cousin had colon cancer in her 30s.  Her doctor kept telling her she was anemic because of heavy menses, and she kept saying, no, her menses were not heavy.  Fortunately she was diagnosed, had surgery, and as far as I know is doing well 15 or more years later.

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 16, 2013 at 11:42pm

I did have a devil of a time with depression and went into fight mode with positive thoughts and visualizations, whole body relaxation techniques, I checked with my nutritionist for any suggestions, and with my chemo doctor. She found I was becoming anemic and I started on iron pills. I have a therapy appointment to get my feet back under me and after doing all that I decided this is the new normal and I can adjust to that. I feel much better, "that which you resist persists!" 

I am at Laura and Larry's home for a week, and it feels so good to have breakfast in the forest. All kinds of critters come and go. A tiny little frog came on the patio this morning and sounded like a huge bullfrog. It was only about the size of a nickel. My grandkids and great-grandkids come and tell me their adventures and that cheers me so very much. Dominic, the black lab and Spaz, the Chiwawa/Pomeranian dog make me laugh.

I feel so much better! Thanks for all your encouragement, cartoons and music. I feel the care and compassion all around the globe with my virtual friends.

I hope each one of you have a really good weekend.    

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 11, 2013 at 5:50pm

Mindy, you should know by now that I have as much fun as you with my typing errors. I can't seem to type good. It always comes out god and I usually catch it. Yes, to make such a mistake on Atheist Nexus is doubly funny. good good good good good good good good good ... just doing my finger exercises - remember piano lessons? 

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 11, 2013 at 2:25pm
Mindy, Oh Jeez! I did it again. I seem to have trouble with double letters ... and poor proof reading. Thankfully, Daniel knows what I mean and my fallibilities and we can all laugh. I promise to do better!

Patricia, what a dreadful tragedy. Imagine putting a child through all that and to not have a successful victory over cancer. No loving god would allow such a thing? Just read the Old Testament and figure out how many babies were put to violent death with their "god's" instructions. Religious history has been the cause of countless other miserable deaths. What god would sanction such atrocities?
Comment by Joan Denoo on August 10, 2013 at 11:17pm

Daniel, the dietitian gave me about an hour of instructions before I started chemo and I listed all the different things she suggested for me in my diet. Ginger was one, fatty fish for protein, cooked selected vegetables, fresh fruits, yogurt, coconut oil for stirfrying, coconut water for drinking, of course broth for flavor of soup, and dark chocolate. These are pretty much the protocol for nausea and diarrhea she recommended . 

I realized your type of cancer has risks and just know your challenges are much more difficult than my fatty tissue tumor. I also realize your cancer is not always encapsulated and those little buggers get loose and cause mayhem in other parts of the body. 

I am so sorry to learn of your dreadful week of nonstop vomiting. Keeping your electrolytes up in such situations is not easy. I assume you get plenty of calcium, magnesium and potassium to replace what you lose with nausea. 

My doctors made it clear I am to take Glutamine, even though I don't like the stuff. Here are the WebMD articles: 


I hope you are not back on the job and are able to get a lot of rest time. Take god care. 

Comment by Daniel W on August 10, 2013 at 6:23pm

Joan, your diet sounds great.  I see you have some ginger in there, so maybe that's helpful for you.   And cloves.  I wondered about citrus oils - lemon seems to be soothing but the acid is irritating.  Maybe citrus peel.

On the survival rate for each option.....   This cancer has only 2 medical treatments, with maybe 2 or 3 more in research stages.  It does not respond to any chemotherapy or radiation therapy.  The goal of surgery is to remove all tumor, but most people have a few microscopic  cells that generate new tumors like dandelions from seeds. 

In a way it's good - the medication is much easier to take than probably any chemo.  My symptoms are not horrendous.  It's tolerable and I don't mind, except last week when I was vomiting nonstop, and I think that was a local infectious gastroenteritis and not the medication.The fatigue is limiting but I have bursts of energy.

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 10, 2013 at 4:58pm

Thanks, Daniel, for sharing your dietary experiments, what works and  doesn't, ... the investigation doesn't stop, even as the discomforts don't go away. Hang in there, dear friend. 

I pre-make 3 oz packets of fish, including salmon, cod, lake trout, herring, tuna, or catfish and keep them in the freezer. I also pre-cook rice and put it in one cup jars and make one or two cup jars of homemade chicken or vegetable stock for the freezer. 

I measure out a day's requirement of water into a pitcher and drink from that all day. I flavor it with slices of fresh ginger cooked in water for a few minutes and then refrigerated for flavoring. I sometimes add cloves and/or lemon slices and Agave Nectar. For a variety, I select mineral water; my favorite is  San Pellegrino because it is very low in sodium, high calcium, magnesium and potassium content.

At breakfast time I select from the freezer a 3-oz packet of fish, a cup of cooked rice and a cup of homemade chicken or vegetable stock to thaw. 

My daily routine is breakfast in the garden with all the wildlife with a tray of dry sourdough toast or muffins with jam, yogurt, and flax seeds with coffee and water or unsweetened cranberry or pomegranate juice mixed with 1T Glutamine to take my pills.

Midmorning I have fruit selected from a banana, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, apricots or unsweetened apple sauce. Sometimes I eat them fresh or make a smoothie with a mixture including yogurt.  

The heat usually drives me inside in time for lunch. I heat the stock with about a quarter-cup of bite size broccoli, cauliflower, baby bok choy, spinach, mushrooms, peas, or carrots. Or I toss in about a quarter cup of frozen chop suey vegetables along with the cup of thawed rice.  I cut the 3 oz of fish into bite size pieces and toss them in for a very slow poach.  

Midafternoon I have a cup of yogurt with fresh fruit selected from the same group as the morning fruit selection. 

Dinner time, I saute in coconut oil fresh mushrooms and selected vegetables from the group above, and add eggs to scramble. 

Bedtime, a graham cracker with yogurt and flax seeds, plus the ever present pills and last of the pitcher of water, or juice with 1 T Glutamine mixed in. 

I don't eat any beef, pork or chicken because they really give me the runs.

I'm happy to learn what others discovered that helps with the miseries of chemo and radiation.  Perhaps Neuropathy of the Digestive System has some secret remedies as well. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 10, 2013 at 3:18pm

Sentient, I share your concern about your doctor's suggestion to stop meds for a week. I have a few questions, not for you to answer me, but the ways I would go about making a decision. What are the pros and cons of each option? What is the survival rate for each option? What is your prognosis? Get another opinion? 

Comment by Daniel W on August 10, 2013 at 12:46pm

Here's a link to webMD regarding ginger for nausea during chemotherapy.  


By the end of the first day, patients who took the two lower doses of ginger -- which Ryan says contains the equivalent of one-quarter and one-half teaspoon of fresh or dry ginger -- rated their nausea as 1 or 2 points, meaning they had no or very slight nausea.  In contrast, those who took a placebo rated their nausea as 4 to 5 points, meaning they had a lot of nausea.  The higher dose of ginger also worked, though not as well. The benefits were maintained for the four days of the study.

This is a link to medline regarding ginger for nausea.  

I should say, I'm not normally a fan of herbal remedies.  But culinary herbs and spices are in our diet anyway, and if they help with a troublesome symptom, I don't see anything wrong with them.  The science is less established than an FDA approved drug, and never will be solid - no mega profits in sipping some peppermint tea.  But I know if I am nauseated, and if it is less, that's good.

Comment by Daniel W on August 10, 2013 at 12:25pm

Joan, thanks for describing your experiences.  Your strength is inspiring.

MIndy thanks for describing your struggle.  It sounds a bit like chemotherapy without the cancer and drugs.  Not pleasant at all.

For me the 3 main symptoms have been nausea, diarrhea, and fatigue.  All are common side effects of the medication, and all could be results of the surgery and changed anatomy, and there could be a role of microscopic cancer cells that don't show on scan.

I finally decided to pay closer attention to what I eat and what I do and see if I can make the symptoms less problematic.

For the past 40 years I've been drinking 4 to 8 cups of coffee a day.  I love the smell and taste and ritual.  I drink it black, and use purified water, grind my own beans.  Thinking about timing and that I drink more at work, and had more symptoms at work - cut way back on coffee.  Now 1 cup a day.  

I also drink a fair amount of fruit juice.  I discovered that acidic juices make me run to the bathroom within about 30 minutes of drinking them.  So I stopped those.

I've also cut out most dairy.

Now I've been drinking tea.  Flavored or herbal.  Tea with cinnamon, clove, or mint, soothes my stomach and colon a lot.  I'm thinking it's the essential oils, like menthol and maybe cinnemaldehyde in cinnemon and eugenol in clove oil, that have those effects.  Whatever the reason, I'm a lot more comfortable.

I moved my medication from am to pm, and I take it with apple sauce.  Apple sauce is high in pectin and lines the stomach, and smooths out the medication release.  It helps me a lot.

I starting telling that to my oncologist and he interrupted me and said we should just stop medication for a week.  Which floored me - this is a fast growing cancer, and there are only 2 medications that are well established to stop it for a while.  And the other one has just as much nausea, diarrhea, and fatigue, as this one.  I can deal with those symptoms, I just wanted some guidance.   I'm starting to be not impressed with him.  We'll see.


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