The Good Fight

I couldn’t figure out why I suddenly had nothing to write. I think the inspiration was just waiting for the right time. Last year I was introduced to someone on the internet who had a great impact on my life.

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A Special Family and a Special Woman

The Anstines

This has been my Facebook cover photo for a little over a year now. People have commented about my large family. Although I grew up as an only child, this is my family of the heart. They have been and continue to be so special to our lives. They have truly been there for our family in so many ways. Continue reading

survivor guilt in cancer

This really hit a nerve. I understand Survivor’s Guilt, or whatever you want to call it, when it comes to cancer. As I sat in my car reading this blog, tears streamed down my face. I am a 3 year survivor of renal cell carcinoma, kidney cancer, and there are several reasons that the survivor’s guilt kicks in with me. First, renal cell carcinoma is very difficult to detect early. It doesn’t give any symptoms until it’s very advanced. Mine was Stage 1 and was only discovered because I had a CT scan for something else. Second, renal cell carcinoma, if caught early has a very high survival rate. Third, I am missing a third of my kidney, but this type of cancer doesn’t usually require a lot of extra treatment. They only try things like chemo and radiation in the more advanced stages. Fourth, is the personal connection I feel to so many of my friends who have passed away or endured so much in their fight for cancer. Why did my friends Pamela and Jeff have such battles with colon cancer, and why did Pamela ultimately lose hers? Why did my friend Betty die recently just a few months after her leukemia diagnosis and why did my friends Debbie and Judy suffer with their cancer and lose their battles. The one that hits the hardest is why am I still alive and doing well, when Karen, who was the flower girl at our wedding pass away from recurrent breast cancer this January at 38?

It may not be true survivor’s guilt, but I definitely feel it.

Life as I interpret it

I have been reading a blog here (which blog unfortunately I cannot remember now) where the blogger was feeling a “survivor guilt” because s/he had early stage cancer, was now doing well, but was nevertheless feeling guilty of surviving while many others did not.

I have been hearing survivor guilt in cancer patients for some time. I wonder whether it is used to cover overlapping but distinct concepts?

The wikipedia entry for survivor guilt, although not specific for cancer, explains it; notice how different it is; i.e. those feeling survivor guilts blaming themselves for the death of others.

In cancer, I do not think any of the cancer survivors blame themselves for the death of others. But I know from many survivors that they will not feel good about their own survival (at least time to time) when they see others who are lost to this disease. It may be one of…

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The Wake Up Call

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we lived in a world where we could eat what we wanted and not worry about our weight? I lived in that world for over 30 years. I ate what I wanted, and I didn’t have to worry about keeping my weight at a certain place. I didn’t have to worry because it went up and up, and I lived in the delusion that it was ok. Then two things happened that began to wake me up. In January of 2012 I found out that I had a lesion on my kidney. Renal Cell Carcinoma they called it. In February, they removed more than a third of my left kidney. It was a surgery that was made worse by my excessive weight. They were able to do it robotically, but it took longer because of all of the fat they had to cut through. It made me begin to think about losing weight. I kind of explored the options. I know a lot of people who have had success through weight loss surgery. It never was a method that appealed to me, but now it wasn’t one I could even consider. Everything I read said that previous abdominal surgery meant that you weren’t a good candidate. I kind of pretended that I wanted to change my eating habits, but I wasn’t really serious. Then two years later in February of 2014, I got another bad report from the doctor. It was the D word – Diabetes. I knew I had to do something. They tried a medication that made me so sick that I thought, I don’t ever want to have to take that medicine again. The doctor said he would let me try for six months to get it under control with diet. What do I do now? More tomorrow . . .