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Old 06-18-2010, 08:05 PM
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Introduction – Recently I had an experience that really set me to thinking long and hard about the concepts of prepping and survivalist issues. You see I have always had a survivalist’s mindset, I think I was born that way (one of my earliest and most often repeated childhood sentences was “I’m ablely to do it myself!” and self-sufficiency is really the core issue), I was certainly raised to be a “prepper”. I was not aware of those terms (prepper and survivalist) until this past year when I suddenly found myself with a good deal of extra time on my hands. I also discovered I’d been remiss in that there were many more things to prep for besides earthquakes, financial difficulties, camping emergencies etc.! Man have I been busy trying to catch up! I would like to share a story with you because I believe that my “survivalist” nature and habits are saving my life! The afternoon of the same day on which the story I’m going to share took place, my radiation oncologist gave me as close to a clean bill of health as I can get at this point in time. I’m winning!
I’m a cancer patient, just approaching the end of treatment, as of this afternoon I have 4 radiation treatments left. In brief my treatment protocol was as follows; 30 scheduled chemo treatments, 22 of which I completed, I went into anaphylactic shock twice and had to stop treatment, a bilateral radical mastectomy and 38 scheduled radiation treatments. The bilateral mastectomy was included upon my insistence and was not my medical oncologist’s recommendation although the rest of my medical team supported and agreed with my decision. If there’s an enemy lurking about would you just wound him and leave him to pay you another visit? Not to mention the fact that I enjoy archery and now have a definite advantage (hmm…maybe “Amazongirl” would have been a better handle for me ).
I thought long and hard about posting this (wasn’t sure people would find it helpful), and about where to post it (which section) and since you’re reading this, obviously I’ve found the courage to post it and while it may be well suited for the health and first aid section (and I’ll understand if the mods move it) I think the right place for it is here in the general preparedness discussion for a few reasons. First, preparedness is really about your mindset and habits, second, chemotherapy and radiation maybe of interest to folks on this board, some of the drugs on my protocol (there were several) were derivatives of mustard gas and the highly toxic Pacific Yew tree to name a couple I found interesting, and while the side effects from chemo and radiation are a cakewalk in comparison to the realities of those agents it was an interesting learning experience just the same. Last, and most important to me, this section has a much larger audience and someone who may benefit from my (be forewarned) long-winded, mouthy voice may not think to approach cancer treatment in this fashion. You see…if only one person in my situation grabs a hold of the hand I’m offering and achieves the objective “survival” then for me it validates the past year of my life, and gives me the courage to share this with you (I may be a little mouthy on this forum, but in reality I’m a rather reserved individual).

Last edited by Happygirl62; 06-18-2010 at 09:25 PM.. Reason: punctuation and formatting
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Old 06-18-2010, 08:07 PM
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The Experience that got me Thinking – This past Monday morning I was sitting in the doctor’s office, waiting to be called back to a room, when a man pushing a wheelchair came in. I glanced over and saw that in the wheelchair was a woman that I had gotten to know a bit during the course of my battle with breast cancer this past year. I was diagnosed with Stage III Triple Negative Breast Cancer in June of 2009, and my oncology nurses had introduced this woman to me during chemo treatments as we had almost identical situations medically and our shared diagnosis is comparatively rare (only 15% of the women diagnosed with breast cancer are Triple Negative, an extremely aggressive form of cancer, dictating an equally aggressive treatment plan and having one of the highest reoccurrence rates). The only difference was that she was at only Stage I or II, can’t honestly remember, but I do remember that she was not in as advanced a condition as I was. All other relevant factors, ethnicity (yes it’s relevant), age, physical stats, etc. were a very close match. That’s where the similarities end! We had talked a few times during treatment; she would come in during my 6 to 8 hour day of infusion for a brief time for a shot or blood tests, and would chat with me. I’d given her my phone number and encouraged to call and talk anytime.
As I knelt beside her wheelchair, my mind was rapidly cataloging the differences; I had walked to my doctor’s appointment, yes it was close to home and yes I use a walking aid right now, but I’m pretty sure she was not able to get from her chair to her bed without assistance. She was still wearing the wig I had advised her against getting initially, I was wearing only a bandana to protect my head from the sun, her face was sunken and her skin ashy grey, ummm…let’s just say mine was not that bad. Her eyes were empty and desolate; I can’t describe it any other way! I didn’t have a mirror to observe myself, but I know my eyes were sparkling, clear and full of life, albeit maybe a little tired around the edges. As I talked with her she revealed that she was now taking anti-depressants and she wondered if I was also…nope, haven’t needed it and am highly unlikely to agree to take such medication! We are both undergoing radiation treatment at this time, I got a pretty ugly burn and earned myself an 11 day break recently, my burns are almost healed and treatment has resumed. Her burns were very visible and they were nasty, I gently suggested she insist on a taking a break if her radiation oncologist was not stepping up to the plate, and also recommended some skin products I had been using. Once again I offered her my phone number which she accepted, as she stated that she didn’t get out much or talk with others…well there have been times I was unable to get out as well, but I’ve sure met a lot of great people on this forum! Isolation is a killer! There were tears in both our eyes during that conversation, hers were tears of desperation I’m pretty certain… mine stemmed from humility and gratitude. We met again as I was leaving and I once again encouraged her to call me…sadly, I don’t expect to hear from her…ever! I walked home humbled beyond belief to realize that the hand that guides my life had seen fit to equip me with such a ridiculously stubborn mind, a tendency to plan and prepare, and a “just do it” attitude. Words cannot express how profoundly grateful I am!!!!
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Old 06-18-2010, 08:10 PM
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Prepping for Cancer Treatment

1) Educate Yourself – research, research, research!!! Don’t go visiting “Susie’s cancer page”, nothing against “Susie”, hey I’m a Canadian and probably know her, (and those of you that just chuckled please stop and say hello sometime – inside joke for those of you that are now confused) but what you need here is accurate reliable information. If the site extension is not “.org, .edu or .gov” don’t go there! This is my recommendation for Breast Cancer information http://www.breastcancer.org/, all other cancer types go to the American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org/docroot/home/index.asp and find a link to an authoritative voice applicable to your situation. Learn everything you can about your diagnosis and what to expect from treatment. Note: while the extension for Wikipedia is “.org” I would not always consider it an authority, double check anything from this and any other questionable source. In other words, don’t believe everything you read, use discernment. If you are going to undergo Chemotherapy learn all about the particular chemo drugs your oncologist is including in your treatment protocol http://www.chemocare.com/bio/ not all chemos have the same side effects although many are similar.
2) Select Your Team – don’t let a health care organization do it for you, there are always options, insist on them! You need a team of doctors to get you through this, a primary physician (my primary at the time gave me the news that I had cancer over the phone…on a Friday evening at about 6 PM ... I fired him on the spot and selected another by the time the weekend was over…he got an earful and I’m willing to bet he never treats another patient so carelessly again!), you need your primary to provide comprehensive care for some of the side effects you will experience, talk to your primary about this and be certain you have the right person for the job. You’ll need a medical oncologist, this is the doctor who will manage any required chemotherapy, in my case I couldn’t find one with a satisfactory online profile and review so I relied on the recommendation of another doctor who immediately earned my trust (my radiation oncologist). A surgeon (either a surgical oncologist or an experienced general surgeon) is almost always required. If not for a specific cancer related procedure such as a mastectomy, you’ll probably need an infusion port (also called a portacath) installed at the very least. Last you will likely require a radiation oncologist; this doctor will manage your radiation treatments. I started with this doctor as I found a ton of info on him and all reviews were positive. I made an awesome choice! My first visit with him was months before I would require his services and he spent two hours with me!!! That’s the kind of doctor you’re looking for, and they are out there, but you’ll probably need to turn over a rock or two searching for them. Physician reviews can be found online and there are several available sites that provide this service, use them! If you don’t feel comfortable with a doctor after the initial visit or so, go find another! Your life is at stake here, don’t settle for second best!

Last edited by Happygirl62; 06-18-2010 at 08:28 PM.. Reason: formatting
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Old 06-18-2010, 08:12 PM
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3) Prep for Treatment – going back to step one, by now you should have a pretty good idea of what you’re getting into treatment wise, even before meeting with your team members. Learn the side effects of the various treatments and prepare accordingly. I’m going to continue this as preparations relevant to certain side effects.
4) Skin - skin care products, you’re gonna need ‘em! Gentlemen, this advice is not just for the ladies! Chemo is everything it’s cracked up to be and then some, it’s going to make a mess of a lot of things about you, your skin is one of them and skin is critical! Your skin is an organ (actually the largest one in the human body) and your first defense against infection, take care of it! Chemo can cause your skin to not only become a nasty ashy grey, it also can be extremely drying and damaging and you don’t need cracked dry skin that may possibly be the beginning of an infection. I found the Neutrogena line offered excellent choices. I would recommend the Norwegian Formulas, created to handle dry cracked skin damaged in northern fishing environments. Very useful stuff, works great! A good moisturizing cleanser is a must also, I opted for an anti-bacterial variety, overkill maybe but it can’t hurt! In order to combat that grey ashy effect chemo can have on your skin I opted for a facial moisturizer with an illuminating component (ummm…men, you probably want to find a different product…well… unless you like that subtle, glowing, glittery effect, then hey…don’t let me stop ya!) but definitely use a facial moisturizer with an SPF. You need protection from the sun, so stock a good overall body sun block as well, one that you are willing to wear every day. I once again relied on Neutrogena for a heavy duty sunscreen product that was also scent free (I refuse to go around smelling like a tropical fruit salad!). For radiation treatment you’re going to need a pure Aloe Vera gel and a heavy duty moisturizer again, Aquaphor was my choice here as it is a bit heavier than the Neutrogena and provides a better barrier on localized areas so that you can keep your skin from turning into shoe leather. Note: apply cream after treatment not before, go to treatment fresh out of the shower so there's no residual from the last application on your skin, it stings badly when you combine radiation and skin cream, found this out the hard way! A zinc cream for the radiation burns is also required, they’re very painful and the zinc is wonderfully soothing and provides excellent protection against chafing. You may want to wait on the zinc because doctors often give free samples; mine gave me a big tube for free so now I have extra. I like free!

Last edited by Happygirl62; 06-18-2010 at 09:41 PM.. Reason: add note
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Old 06-18-2010, 08:14 PM
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5) Hair – not all types of chemotherapy cause you to lose your hair, that being said however, in all likelihood you ARE going to lose your hair, GET OVER IT! Going about temporarily for a year or so without hair is a small price to pay for your life!!!! There, that needed to be said! I get really tired of reading and hearing a soft sell on this aspect of cancer treatment. That is not harsh by the way, it’s loving and caring! Losing your hair is the least of your problems right now so just let it go (pun intended). You need to be fussing about saving your life right now, not worrying about your hair! Ladies, haven’t you ever been curious about what you would look like bald? Come on, now’s your chance to find out! Besides which, this aspect of treatment will net you a really nice supply of useful bandanas to add to your general preps (Wal-Mart is a great source for bandanas for a buck, and they even stock cute holiday themed ones so you can be festive when the occasion calls for it). Personally, two weeks into treatment I took my husbands hair clippers, stuck the number 3 attachment on it and shaved off all my curls. A week later when it began to fall out it was a lot less messy, and I got to have fun teasing my daughter that she was “making me tear my hair out” and pulling out a good bit of hair to prove it! The following week I simply shaved it off all together (heehee…mostly because my sister sent me this cool little car razor I could drive around my head and I couldn’t wait to try it, it’s awesome!). If you have long hair, take positive action and cut it off before it becomes damaged and donate it to “Locks of Love”. You will need the bandanas to keep your head warm and also to protect you from the sun. I ended up stocking up on a few beanies as well because in winter the bandana wasn’t enough, you get really cold when you’re bald! Guys if you are in this predicament just keep in mind that a lot of women find bald men attractive so don’t sweat it, shave it off, get a piercing and go for it! For sun protection, guys look great in bandanas too (please…skip the holiday ones though), alternatively, this is the perfect opportunity to wear that ball cap with the offensive slogan on it, you’re ill so nobody’s going to mind! Wigs are also an option for ladies, but not one I’d recommend. They’re sweaty, itchy, and uncomfortable. You’re already sick don’t add discomfort to it as well! Wigs for men…don’t do it!!!! As you can see by now most of these prep recommendations are not so much about stocking supplies (they’re trivial really); it’s more about the psychological aspect of preparation. It’s going through the process that shapes your thoughts, stabilizes your mindset and prepares you for battle. No doubt there are many here that recognize that easily, but may not have thought to apply it this way.
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Old 06-18-2010, 08:16 PM
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6) Food – ok, this becomes more an issue of personal preference, but I know from talking with other cancer patients there is a thread of commonality to our experiences. First your sense of taste is going to be waaaay off. It’s interesting to note that you probably will not be able to cook well if you are a natural chef as opposed to someone who follows a recipe to a tee. This was a rather surprising discovery for me; I hadn’t realized that my ability to produce a delicious meal was so utterly dependent on my taste buds. You’ll probably find that meat now tastes as though you had soaked it in a marinade of rusty nails. Just approach it as the perfect opportunity to discover whether or not you really can exist on a very limited selection of foods. In my experience eggs, fruit, vegetables, rice and beans were the only foods that tasted exactly the way they were supposed to. Veggie soup is your new best friend! Your experience may differ of course, so once you get to the point of finding that you are now a “picky eater”, go and stock up on those foods that are still enjoyable to you. Get easy canned or frozen items that don’t require fuss and bother because there’s going to be many times that you are just not up to dealing with it but you still need to eat and stay as healthy as possible. I also made crock pots of soup in the beginning and froze individual and family portions so I would have options that were healthy and comforting. Make sure you have a good source of protein included in your selection. Also be sure to add a multi-vitamin, talk to your doctor about this as he/she may have specific recommendations for you. After discussing this with my doctor I also added a B-complex and vitamin E. I think this really helped with the skin issues. When it comes to being nauseated, expect it! Your oncologist should be prescribing something to help you combat this and for the most part these drugs work fairly well. Stock your bathroom with paper towel and some Clorox wipes and keep your environment clean. I also found peppermint tea to be very soothing, and recommend you stock some if you do not already have it around the house.
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Old 06-18-2010, 08:18 PM
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7) Misc. – well there are a few other things you’ll find out about along the way, and each individuals experience will of course differ. I will mention one or two more things as they were side effects I was not so well prepared for. Chemo will almost always do one of two things to you; you will either experience extreme diarrhea, or extreme constipation. I can’t comment on the first but I will address the latter. The quickest, most efficient way to deal with this is a suppository, trust me here, you want quick and efficient and I tried just about every remedy out there. Get suppositories, a box of disposable gloves, keep them in the bathroom and get over being squeamish! Actually, I have now added these supplies to my general preps and would recommend you do so as well. In a major SHTF situation, with drastic diet changes a good possibility, you may well find yourself dealing with this ummm…non-issue and for sure you are going to want quick and efficient then!!! Pretty hard to deal with a serious situation if you are so constipated you can’t stand up, and in my experience all the other remedies take too long, don’t work as well, and cause painful cramping. The second somewhat unanticipated side effect for me was the nerve damage chemo can cause. I think it’s perhaps because I already had some nerve damage due to arthritis that I underestimated this one. When the nerve damage became severe I became largely dependent on a walking aid. I went and got myself a Coleman Hiking pole (useful I’m sure for when I’m back on the river fishing, I’m actually about to purchase a second one to facilitate Nordic walking now that I feel up to it, to help repair as much of the damage as possible). I also use a walker for when I am going to be out and about for an extended period of time. I took my walker into a Sport Chalet to trick it out a bit. I wanted to fasten carabiners to it as I have nerve damage in my hands as well and also you can’t use a walker and carry a purse etc. so I wanted a way to attach things to mine. The salesman in Sports Chalet was very helpful once I explained what I was after and not only set me up with the necessary supplies but took the time to lace them on to my walker with some spiffy looking climbing rope, using some knots I was not familiar with. That was fun and educational! You meet some incredibly kind people when you are on a journey like mine, never neglect to thank them sincerely and let your heart be grateful for their presence in your life however brief it may be. And to the individual who quickly labeled this my BOW (bug out walker) in the chat room… your light and easy way of lending support and your sense of humor are deeply appreciated by this lady! I was thinking to give my BOW a camo paint job just for fun…but really grey is a suitable colour for me!

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Old 06-18-2010, 08:20 PM
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CONCLUSION - While I know that many on this forum will easily grasp why someone like me isn’t hanging out on a Cancer forum or chat room, I’d like to take a moment to address it anyway. This post may find its way into the hands of someone who really needs to hear it! I have never been one to seek a support group or anything that’s even vaguely related to group therapy. It goes against every principle I hold and everything I value spiritually! You see…in order to overcome something that’s weighing you down, it’s imperative that you let it go mentally and support that action spiritually. If you are going to lay a burden down…then lay it down in the appropriate place for you and LEAVE IT THERE! No matter where you determine that place to be, you need a place to nourish your soul! Some would find that place at the foot of an old rugged cross, some may find it at an altar, some a shrine, however you choose to define it, we all need a place like this in our life. So lay your burden down and keep on going! IMHO while support and companionship are absolutely vital, hanging out discussing circumstance and wallowing in all you’ve been through is absolutely, utterly useless! To me spirituality is an intensely personal and private thing so please respect that. I will say this however… my burdens are the only things I leave behind me in the woods, and the one sort of trash I never pack out with me!

Yep…I’m pretty sure I’ll catch a bit of flack for my approach to a couple of things I’ve discussed in this post…and that’s ok because… do I really need to say it!?! *sigh*
I AM A SURVIVOR!

PS. To all of you here on this forum who have offered me a warm welcome and companionship, cheered me on to the finish line, given me support and encouragement without fussing, and have been there for me when I needed you to help keep the isolation at bay…this is one happy lady that thanks you from the bottom of her heart!




Ladies – if you have questions regarding breast cancer and/or a mastectomy, or general cancer treatment questions that would be uncomfortable to discuss here on the boards please feel free to send me a private message, or you can often find me in the chat room we can chat via PM there.

Gentlemen – if you are undergoing cancer treatment or your spouse has breast cancer (or you do, because yes, men get breast cancer also), I’m willing to try and answer any questions you have as well.
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Old 06-18-2010, 08:49 PM
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Thank you .. thank you .. thank you .. for this/these truly inspirational post(s)! Very appropriate for this forum too. We can all learn a lot from someone like you who is going through this amazing personal SHTF journey and is so confident and upbeat. I know it has been tough for you at times, but, look where you have come to! I am in awe .. and so very thankful for you and your courage.

Can I ask you a question, please? Did you use 'visualization' at all to help during your treatment?

When my mother was dying of cancer a number of years back now (24 to be exact), that was one technique I talked to her about. I use it whenever I am feeling under the weather (and honestly, I think it does a lot of good for minor ailments at least). She didn't really understand what I was talking about unfortunately so I don't know if it would have helped her. I think you have to 'believe' in it.

I have not had cancer (yet .. but it is rampant in my family so I expect some form of it someday). I will keep all your advice in mind in case that happens, or, in case someone close to me has to go through all this.

But, bravo! I am thrilled to hear you are doing so well .. and I expect that the news will be good and better from now on too! I am sorry to hear about the apparent condition of the lady you told the story about though.
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Old 06-18-2010, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Teslin View Post
Can I ask you a question, please? Did you use 'visualization' at all to help during your treatment?

But, bravo! I am thrilled to hear you are doing so well .. and I expect that the news will be good and better from now on too! I am sorry to hear about the apparent condition of the lady you told the story about though.
Teslin, thank you much for your kind words! In regards to your question...well...hmm...if you are headed into new territory, you can't expect to get where you're going without a map and a compass now can you?

I too was deeply saddened by her condition and I choose to share the story only to illustrate the benefits of a prepared mind. I wish she was someone who could "hear" my voice, but all I can do is send a thought or two skyward for her.

I hope you will never find occasion to use this information under like circumstances and given your history will send a thought or two for you as well!
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Old 06-18-2010, 09:22 PM
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Aye, I agree .. with the map and compass thing. What I am referring to however may not be the same thing .. it is a 'picturing your 'soldiers' killing off the cancer cells' type of thing .. targetting in your mind the exact cells that are causing the damage and 'seeing' your own immune system components making mush of them.

When I hurt, I stop for a minute and just focus on the area that hurts (for instance, if I had a toothache I would 'focus' on the pain, and where it is coming from), picturing my own body killing the pain. I would say that 99% of the time it works to at least diminish the pain enough for it to be bearable. When I have a cold, I 'focus' my immune system soldier forces similarly on the germs causing that cold, and I find I feel much better and am well much faster than most people with colds usually are. I have a good imagination so I can actually 'see' what look like tiny soldiers in my mind's eye, marching against the enemy cells. My mother just wasn't able to do that for some reason.

I have not had to try this technique for something really major so far, but, it was, at least many years ago, a recommended strategy (along with all the medical treatments of course) for cancer patients, and some said it helped apparently, either to reduce pain and other nasty side effects of treatment or indeed perhaps to help shrink tumours.

Anyway .. just thought I would ask - you sound like the type of person who might have used that 'technique' during your journey and I was interested, if you had, in whether you thought it helped you or not. You are doing so well now it seems that hopefully you will never need this technique anyway now - except, like the rest of us, perhaps for minor ailments.
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Old 06-18-2010, 09:38 PM
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Nicely said happygirl and I applaud (and admire) your courage to post all this. I agree with Teslin in that it is very inspirational and a great model for others if they find themselves in the same position. Fortunately mine was surgical and I didn't need chemo so I can't relate to that. I can however relate to the decision and will to BEAT IT and move on. Not only the "just do it" attitude, but the "WILL do it".

I know that I upset all lot of people for my attitude. As well as you may have also. For some strange reason they all thought that I should have been....well, I'm still not sure what they thought I should have been like. But I made them mad when I didn't.

But enough about me, this is your thread and your time to share a YOUR story along with your inspiration. I just wanted to chime in and say NICE WORK! :-)

Signed - A Fellow Survivor
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Old 06-18-2010, 09:57 PM
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Telsin, it's very much the same thing, it's just that I choose to visualize a bigger picture I suppose hense the map and compass. I did spend some time in Wonderland with Alice though... when the initial treatments were not working and the mass was growing, not shrinking. The map and compass simply refer to a way to get to the end of the journey! Gee, maybe I'm just not into the idea of little armies marching around...nvrm lol
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Old 06-18-2010, 09:57 PM
Boggled Mind Boggled Mind is offline
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Great attitude, Nita! Glad to hear you're nearing the end of treatment.
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Old 06-18-2010, 10:32 PM
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Nicely said happygirl and I applaud (and admire) your courage to post all this. I agree with Teslin in that it is very inspirational and a great model for others if they find themselves in the same position. Fortunately mine was surgical and I didn't need chemo so I can't relate to that. I can however relate to the decision and will to BEAT IT and move on. Not only the "just do it" attitude, but the "WILL do it".

I know that I upset all lot of people for my attitude. As well as you may have also. For some strange reason they all thought that I should have been....well, I'm still not sure what they thought I should have been like. But I made them mad when I didn't.

But enough about me, this is your thread and your time to share a YOUR story along with your inspiration. I just wanted to chime in and say NICE WORK! :-)

Signed - A Fellow Survivor
Hi BnB,
Thanks!! I totally get what you're saying in regards to upsetting people with your attitude, it's just another reason why I tend to steer clear of the cancer forums and such. HeeHee, I got an offer just today to become staff on a new cancer forum, kinda flipped me out when I pulled that up in my inbox as I'm not too sure how they found me lol...jk, ACS I'm sure. However given the fact that while I am compassionate and I think a pretty good listener and probably a fair source of information, I must admit to a really low tolerance for pitty parties so I suspect it wouldn't be a comfortable fit for me or the others on such a forum. Actually, you've brought up a very valid point as I have even experienced this "you really should be freaked out about this" attitude from my medical oncologist in regards to my decision to remove both breasts...poor man, I don't think he'd ever run across someone with quite the same take on it and it still obviously upsets him and he seems to be a good bit offended by it. I'm glad you chimed in...as I indicated earlier my hope is that someone out there will find what they need in this post and it matters little to me what part of the discussion it comes from as long as it happens! A story shifts and changes with each telling and every one of us hears it differently!
Nice to meet a fellow survivor!

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Old 06-18-2010, 10:39 PM
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Great attitude, Nita! Glad to hear you're nearing the end of treatment.
Hey! Was thinking about you today, and was wondering about your schedule...every day gets a bit better so I'll shoot you an email and we can discuss T & P if you like?
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Old 06-18-2010, 11:07 PM
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Hi BnB,
Thanks!! I totally get what you're saying in regards to upsetting people with your attitude, it's just another reason why I tend to steer clear of the cancer forums and such. HeeHee, I got an offer just today to become staff on a new cancer forum, kinda flipped me out when I pulled that up in my inbox as I'm not too sure how they found me lol...jk, ACS I'm sure. However given the fact that while I am compassionate and I think a pretty good listener and probably a fair source of information, I must admit to a really low tolerance for pitty parties so I suspect it wouldn't be a comfortable fit for me or the others on such a forum. Actually, you've brought up a very valid point as I have even experienced this "you really should be freaked out about this" attitude from my medical oncologist in regards to my decision to remove both breasts...poor man, I don't think he'd ever run across someone with quite the same take on it and it still obviously upsets him and he seems to be a good bit offended by it. I'm glad you chimed in...as I indicated earlier my hope is that someone out there will find what they need in this post and it matters little to me what part of the discussion it comes from as long as it happens! A story shifts and changes with each telling and every one of us hears it differently!
Nice to meet a fellow survivor!
Ah! THANK YOU! After almost a year you have just defined it for me. To tell the honest truth when I think back I still get a bit confused why some were so upset with me. I denied them a pity party! The more I sit here and think about it the more I realize that thats what it was. I guess I'm just not wired to think that way and apparently niether are you. I wonder if that is a common trait among "survivalist's"? Just do what needs to be done and get on with it. My surgeon was a bit taken aback when I said that to him almost verbatim. It sounds about the same for you when you told them to go for the mastsectomy.

I don't think I could do the forum thing either. As well as you, I have no lack of compassion. I couldn't work in EMS without it. But as I said, I'm not wired for pity either.

And I do appreciate what your intent is here. That somebody will get something positive out of this and I wholeheartedly agree. I hope my posting will assist you in that endeavor.
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Old 06-18-2010, 11:16 PM
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Yep BnB...you know that old saying..."misery loves company"!
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Old 06-19-2010, 02:46 AM
lanahi lanahi is offline
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Aye, I agree .. with the map and compass thing. What I am referring to however may not be the same thing .. it is a 'picturing your 'soldiers' killing off the cancer cells' type of thing .. targetting in your mind the exact cells that are causing the damage and 'seeing' your own immune system components making mush of them.

When I hurt, I stop for a minute and just focus on the area that hurts (for instance, if I had a toothache I would 'focus' on the pain, and where it is coming from), picturing my own body killing the pain. I would say that 99% of the time it works to at least diminish the pain enough for it to be bearable. When I have a cold, I 'focus' my immune system soldier forces similarly on the germs causing that cold, and I find I feel much better and am well much faster than most people with colds usually are. I have a good imagination so I can actually 'see' what look like tiny soldiers in my mind's eye, marching against the enemy cells. My mother just wasn't able to do that for some reason.

I have not had to try this technique for something really major so far, but, it was, at least many years ago, a recommended strategy (along with all the medical treatments of course) for cancer patients, and some said it helped apparently, either to reduce pain and other nasty side effects of treatment or indeed perhaps to help shrink tumours.

Anyway .. just thought I would ask - you sound like the type of person who might have used that 'technique' during your journey and I was interested, if you had, in whether you thought it helped you or not. You are doing so well now it seems that hopefully you will never need this technique anyway now - except, like the rest of us, perhaps for minor ailments.
Dr. Carl Simonton first pioneered visualization techniques in fighting cancer. You visualize the cancer being destroyed using whatever imagery is most effective for you. If it's soldiers vanquishing the enemy, so be it. Or bursts of light attacking the dark cancer cells, or waves beating against a tumor and breaking it up, or moving it down to your toes and out of your body, or whatever...it seems highly effective as another part of treatment. I worked for a doctor who taught his patients visualization, and we found it worked to improve the outlook.
Not everyone needs it, but it helps some to occupy their minds with something positive, something they can do themselves in getting well, taking a very active and strong part in their own healing. The mind is very powerful in the role of sickness and health, as OP has found out. Visualization can focus the mind in a very profound way.
http://www.4optimallife.com/Alternat...on-Method.html
It got to the point where we could tell who was going to beat the cancer and who wasn't...by their attitudes more than the stage of their disease.

Thank you, HappyGirl.
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Old 06-19-2010, 02:54 AM
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Thanks for the contribution lanahi!
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