Friday, October 30, 2009

Today in the bank...

Recently, I heard several people say that some cancer patients don’t die from their cancer, but from a secondary illness or disease. Well, I’m doing pretty good these days since my current chemotherapy drug, aka, ‘chemo #3’, is successfully bringing down my tumor marker, the CA-125.

But today in the bank, shortly after they opened, one of their ‘customers’ was wearing a mask and demanding money from the tellers. I suspect that when the tellers weren’t giving him the money fast enough, that's when he needed to say, “4! … 3! … 2! …”

He got the money and left, all while I sat fifteen feet away from him in the bank manager’s office, all while I was wondering who to call on my cell phone, all while I was questioning if I should get under the two office chairs, all while I was planning how I would get behind the manager’s desk, and all while I was wondering if I was doing to be killed by a bullet!

Tonight I rejoice that I’m here to write this blog.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Purpose of life

Have you ever taken some time out of your busy life to answer the question, What is the purpose of your life?

Today in the Writers Workshop at The Wellness Community I answered that question. While I read my response to the group, I'll put it on the blog soon.

Now back to you, What is the purpose of YOUR life?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dr. Sylvana Martino and breast cancer, WOW!

It is getting late, but I wanted to say that I heard an exciting presentation tonight at the monthly meeting of the Jewish Healing Center of Los Angeles. The event took place at Temple Beth Am.

Dr. Martino of The Angeles Clinic in Santa Monica and USC, gave the A-B-C's of breast cancer and answered all of our questions in ways that seemed to make us wish that she was our doctor.

"Golden Hills of Bali"
September 2009
acrylic on wood
about 24" x 4"
art is displayed on blue background

Created while in 'Cancer and Creativity Art Therapy Workshop'
Presented by Premiere Oncology Foundation and Beckstrand Cancer Foundation
Instructor: Esther Dreifuss-Kattan, PhD, ATR

Tumor marker continues to drop

The CA-125 blood test, aka tumor marker for the cancer in my abdominal area, was taken last week (10/15/09) when I received the chemotherapy drug, Doxil®.

Drum roll!... The CA-125 is now 110.7

That means the chemo is continuing to reduce the cancer! Next chemo infusion is scheduled for the first week in November.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Life can get difficult just looking for the little things

The word on the street is that if you have lymphedema, you really want to protect that body part from potential injuries. Even a insect bite, a prick of a rose thorn, or an injection can cause issues in the limb that has been compromised from surgery and/or radiation, I have been led to believe.

Well, the day came when my knee was taped by the physical therapist to help re-align my patella. She said to wear the tape during the day and then carefully take it off at night. Care-ful-ly! Yes, I took it off VERRY Care-fullll-ly.

For what ever reason someone wants to claim, the tape separated my skin from my leg. Not deep enough to draw blood, but close enough to the lymph system, because clear fluid weeped from the wound. OH NO!

My upper thigh has already been swollen for several months and I'm doing EvEryThiNg, Yes EVERYTHING I'm supposed to do, and now this really sticky, adhesive tape issue.

What is a gal supposed to do?

Friday, October 16, 2009

"Notes on Being a Genius"

Recently twenty-four citizens of the U.S.A learned that each was going to receive $500,000 over the next five years. The MacArthur Foundation had bestowed them with the 'Genius Award.'

For many decades I had wished for this award until I realized I could actually live my life as a MacArthur ‘Genius’! It was a mental frame of mind, I reasoned. I have only to dream, visualize, and focus my creativity, and I will experience results.

Last May and June I created a format, daily goals, and began my program titled, “M-GACE: The Michelle Genius Award for Creativity and Exploration.” The results included “Hair Chronicles,” (limited printing of picture postcards from childhood to the present), gifts of notes, flowers and gift cards to cancer survivors, and the creation of ‘Art-lets’ (small drawing/writing sketch booklets and original note cards to be used by community members).

Today, after much thought and consideration, I again commit to live October and November under the blessings of M-GACE. I will listen, dream, explore, take risks, and keep an accounting of my life as a genius. Each morning and evening my muse will join me as I document this M-GACE journey on specially selected stationery. We will speak to each other with pride, respect, and a sense of play.

I will still have cancer. I will still be undergoing chemotherapy, blood tests, body scans, and physical therapy, but the focus of my life will be “M-GACE: The Michelle Genius Award for Creativity and Exploration.”

P.S., This state of mind is powerful. Tears come to my eyes, just as when I exchanged my wedding vows. I don’t know what each day will bring other than I am blessed with experience, guided by wisdom, and surrounded by love.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Future post

Coming soon is information on M-GACE:

"The Michelle Genius Award for Creativity and Exploration"

Chemotherapy this week

This Thursday I'm scheduled to receive Doxil®, aka, Chemo #3. Bruce will be my ChemoBuddy, and he is by far, the most experienced ChemoBuddy I know. He is fun to talk with, a safe driver, a nice person, and a wonderful neighbor, all excellent qualities for future ChemoBuddies in training. One day he even brought a board game, but we never even opened the box.

There are so many people receiving chemotherapy these days, everyone can be ChemoBuddies. And just in case you can't drive someone, Phone ChemoBuddies are also needed. All you have to do is volunteer to call your family member/friend while the person is receiving the drug. Talk about movies, television programs, the weather, new clothes or old clothes, and vacations. You get the gist! Just ask...

note on image:
"Seasonal Still Life," work in progress
dried plants, fabric
about 7" x 7"

Sometimes I only want ice cream

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Five year anniversary

Five years ago this month I had the surgical removal of cancer in my breast (DCIS=ductal carcinoma in situ). Radiation followed. Today I'm celebrating because. Right, Just Because!

FIVE YEARS of on-the-job-training to be a breast cancer survivor. Where did we learn in school how to undergo the highs and lows of a cancer diagnosis? And who gave us a preview of the many return visits to the surgeon, to the oncologist, and to the radiologist?

So this month is a milestone. Five years out for B/C.