Chiari Warrior

I want to share an inspiring post that touched me quite deeply…

Chiari Warrior.

Cheers!

iStock_000009824885_ExtraSmallAnother year has arrived and I have to admit that though I’m looking forward to it, I know that there are monumental challenges ahead, but with the events of the last couple weeks… All I can say is “Wow!”

I’m always blown away by how busy I tend to get between Christmas and New Year, but this year I wasn’t even trying or looking for more to think about. It just happened.

I’ve been approached about consulting, being a blogging ambassador, and speaking, again. I haven’t said much about these because I haven’t wanted to jinx anything (and basically, my head is still spinning at it all). I’ve had to apply for one of these, but they did approach me, so that is a good thing. There are a couple of other opportunities that I’m still looking at to decide if they are as good as they sound and will announce them as I know more.

Blown away is an understatement, as well as a little gun shy about all of this, but excited at the possibilities. It’s hard not to jump on them all, but in this day and age, you have to check things out before making any sort of decision. I still believe that surviving cancer has put me in a position that I feel I have a responsibility to help others with cancer and these could be a wonderful way to do more of this.

So, I’m sorry for not posting sooner, but have been trying to show self-control with my excitement. One of these opportunities could allow me to share new advances in treatments and this just blows me away! I want to offer hope to those of you that need it.

Over the next week I’ll be posting a couple times to catch up a bit on hope and fun.

Hope everyone has had a lovely New Year and holiday season!

See you soon! 🙂

Thoughtful Gifts for the Cancer Survivor

602578_388458464570763_746788322_nAs someone that has put up with the holidays while dealing with treatment, I can tell you that a little, well thought gift can be gold. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but there’s a few things that stand out.

Here are a few ideas:

1)      Soft cuddly blankets. Easy to find and when going through treatment, we often are cold.

2)      For those going through chemo, a soft hat to keep heads warm and look nice, without itching. For those struggling with hair loss, something nice is gold.

3)      Also hard candy is nice when taste is screwed up by treatment. Old fashioned lemon drops are wonderful and easy to find.

4)      ANYTHING offering hope. From signs with quotes, to books on the subject; we’re grasping for all the hope we can grab hold of.

5)      Gift cards are always a winner, but package them up in clever ways. My music rules, so iTunes gift cards were always great things.

These are just a few little things, but the main thing is not to avoid the friend with cancer because they’ve never needed you like they are right now. I can tell you first hand that it’s an awful feeling to see all of your friends bail because you’ve got cancer and they can’t deal with it. Be there; take them shopping, to lunch or anything that can get their minds off of treatment.

It doesn’t take a lot to be a friend, time and simply being there is the best gifts offered. 🙂

Have a wonderful week and see you soon!

Baby There’s an App for That!

My training has begun and I have to admit that some things don’t get easier with age… My glutes are screaming with quite a bit of consistency and my calves seem to be barking back, but it’s going to be worth it. Five miler by Thanksgiving and a half marathon next spring/summer are lofty goals, but my goals nonetheless and I’m committed (or should be committed) to making them a reality; hopefully helping and inspiring others along the way.

The greatest help I’ve found is an app for my iPad called 5K Runner. I know, leave it to me to find a way to find a tech toy to get me active and push me to achieve a goal. You can actually listen to your playlist while the little sadistic voice is calmly telling you when to run and when to walk. You have a choice in the voice of the devil (coach), so you choose your own tormentor. 😉

Beyond my new app, I’m looking at this whole process as my personal science project. Each week adding time and increasing speed, measuring results and making adjustments. Reaching the goal of my best 5k time ever and reaching for a half marathon by fall is no small challenge and I need a devil pushing me to go further than I believe possible.

It’s important that I achieve it because I shouldn’t be able to do any of it and I’m blessed to be able to do it, while so many in my shoes can’t. I’m doing this for everyone that aren’t able to or aren’t able to yet. Anything is possible and training through cancer treatment can be just what you need to keep it together and get through it all.

So if you’re looking for a great way to train, this is an excellent choice. If you do, let me know what you think of it.

Have a great week!

 

 “Exercise should be regarded as tribute to the heart.”  ~Gene Tunney

 

Filtering the Information

When you’re first diagnosed with cancer you want answers… You want hope. So you jump online and start searching for information on your diagnosis, but instead of finding hope, you find every worst case scenario out there. I remember actually about passing out from looking up pictures of the surgery, I was about to face. Was white as a sheet and wouldn’t have dared trying to stand up.

The internet is a great thing, but it’s also your worst enemy, at times. You seek out support, but you may also be finding people that are dealing with advanced stages of the disease and that can be hard when you’re newly diagnosed and uncertain about what to expect.

One thing you need to remember is that a lot of people that get through the tunnel and survive it well, don’t always stay active in support groups (which is unfortunate). They try to move away from everything to do with cancer, they want to forget.

This isn’t necessary bad, but for those that are seeking positive stories, it makes it hard. The people most likely to give you hope, have moved on. So when you are seeking answers, you often are hearing some of the worst stories possible and in turn being scared to death. I found this, so I try to be available for newly diagnosed individuals whenever possible.

The challenge this creates is knowing what to tune in and what to tune out. It’s impossible to turn out everything, but you need to keep a level head (which is hard enough in the beginning). As great as support groups are, they often have a lot of individuals that feel it their responsibility to “warn” others about EVERY worst possible outcome and I can tell you from personal experience, that doesn’t help when you’re first diagnosed.

When we’re first diagnosed we need to know that the battle can be won, that though it will be a challenge, it is doable. Worst case scenarios are easy to find, we need hope. So choose your quest for knowledge carefully. Know that being positive is important and finding a great team includes finding people that have gone through the battle and won. We are out there and we want to help.

That being said, I’m always willing to help survivors see the brighter side of the battle and the light at the end of the tunnel.

Have a great week!

“Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.”  ~Christopher Reeve

Dealing with Bad News

The past couple weeks have been tough for me to get my mind around… I lost a childhood friend to cancer and it was the anniversary of the death of another friend, from cancer. Even when you know that it’s coming and the person has suffered so long, it’s still hard when they pass. It wakes your concerns and reminds you of everyone you’ve lost.

What it has reminded me of is how some survivors have a spirit of fight and sparkle right to the end believing that they have a chance at winning the battle, even when doctors and odds say differently. It’s nothing short of amazing. It’s this spirit that creates survivors that beat the odds.

With this it equally amazes me how some give up instantly and decide to seal their own fate… I’ll never “get” this. Even though I was completely “psycho” during my time with cancer, I couldn’t give up, it’s not in me. Life is too important to give up the ship without one hell of a fight (sorry if this offends, but cancer isn’t for the faint at heart). It’s a war with sometimes, many battles and rarely is it ever easy, but it’s worth the fight.

I’ve come to know some amazing individuals that have taken bad news and beat the odds, living wonderfully with cancer or ending up in complete remission. I recommend, whatever your diagnosis, NEVER give up… Life is ALWAYS worth it.

Have a great week and fight on!

 

When the world says, “Give up,”
Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”
~Author Unknown

 

Creating a Care Package for a Friend with Cancer

Putting together a care package for a friend with cancer will be one of the most wonderful gifts you can give. I’m speaking from experience and every little gift and card keeps your spirit going (I have each and every card and item seven years later). It doesn’t have to be elaborate because it’s the thought that counts, anyhow and it blesses regardless.

Here are some fun ideas, followed by a list of special items that help cancer survivors through their treatment.

1.       Lemon Drops—Helps settle stomach and with dry mouth… Just plain yummy.

2.       Mint Tea—Soothing and assists with digestion.

3.       Aquaphor—This is a must for those going through radiation. Helps with burn and the extremely dry skin.

4.       Silky Soft Scarf/Hat—Nice for those dealing with hair loss, especially when it’s cold.

5.       Stuffed Animal—Just something fun that ends up meaning a lot. Took mine with me for each surgery.

6.       Card—There are a number of nice cancer support cards available these days (Have seen them at both Hallmark and Walmart).

7.       Chocolate—Need I say more? Be careful if individual is having chemo, but if not, should be good to go!

8.       Puzzle Books—Something to do during treatment/recovery.

9.       Inspirational Books—There are a number of wonderful books on the subject matter. A personal favorite is Chicken Soup for the Survivor’s Soul.

10.   Trashy Novels—This is a matter of personal taste and could as easily be mysteries or whatever the individual prefers.

11.   CDs—Feel good music and or something soothing to help rest when needed.

These are just a few ideas, but put them in a nice little basket or gift bag and I guarantee you’ll have a winner.

Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.  ~Christopher Reeve

Chaotic Logic or Let’s Live?

Let me to clarify that this is only my opinion and clearly not everyone else’s, but I’m sure that cancer has the same affect on other survivors as well. Logically, we all know that our cancer can come back at any given time and for the first few years after NED (No Evidence of Disease) we walk on eggshells with every set of scans, but as the years go by we breathe easier.

By year five we’re getting pretty comfortable in our survivorship and with every year after that, even more comfy in it. Some of us actually start getting a bit complacent and a tad lazy in the promises that we made to ourselves when the bombshell was originally dropped.

Then one day, one of us are struck by it again… And the bottom falls out of our lives. Not only do they recur, but they lose the battle and in our mind (okay, my mind) that isn’t possible. How can this be??? We win, we don’t lose! Who can we call about this, because this is simply not acceptable? I want to know NOW! I want to talk to whoever is in charge because this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be!

Now, I’m not stupid (naïve, yes, but not stupid) and I know that my cancer can come back, but I choose not to live my life that way (I’ve got the whole denial thingy down to a science). The thing is that I forgot the promise I made to myself to LIVE. Once again, swept away by life and everything that “seems” important at the moment, instead of what really is important to living a full life.

Someone mentioned that now I know how they felt when they lost their best friend and I’d agree with that if it wasn’t for the other emotions in play here… Blind rage because we are survivors and we have ALREADY won this battle and sheer terror because we know that no matter how many times we tell ourselves that we’re good to go, it CAN come back.

Life is meant to be lived and DOING what matters is WHAT MATTERS. Tomorrow never comes and sitting on our thumbs waiting until tomorrow to make our dreams happen, doesn’t work. Now is all there is, there’s no guarantee that tomorrow will be there. Have I covered every possible cliché on the subject???

I lost my best friend a couple weeks ago and honestly NEVER saw it coming. Should have, but didn’t and now a dream was missed, but there was a promise made and THAT PROMISE will happen!

We need to stop allowing procrastination control our lives. It’s time to move full speed ahead… Anything is possible IF we keep moving forward. We can change the world if we remember to stop putting living on hold for life. Let’s live!

We can find a cure to this horrible disease and stop these losses, if we as survivors don’t stop living and don’t forget that WE ARE SURVIVORS!

Photo courtesy of http://www.freeimageslive.co.uk/

Welcome…

Welcome to Chaotic Survivorship… A site born out of the “desire to inspire” and offering hope to those living with and beyond cancer. With a slightly (or not so slightly) twisted sense of humor, hopefully helpful advice, and stories from the battlefield to show that the fight can be won.

I want this to be all that I was looking for with my own diagnosis. I’m not even close to a doctor, but I am a seven year cancer survivor with a razor sharp wit.

Posts will be once a week, unless I get quirky and something comes to mind (which is ALWAYS possible), with that anything goes.

Enjoy the site and let’s make this fun!

Angie