Author: Mary Mann

Caring Hearts Support Group starts this week

Caring Hearts Support Group             Thursday                Nov 6                    at 2:30 pm (lunch arrives at 2pm).                     Place Aggies Conference Room, Presbyterian Medical Group Building                                           2nd floor, by Oncology waiting room This is a longstanding group facilitated by Eve Concoran, Chaplain. Call Eric Mehringer  559-8761 Dates:  Nov 6, 13, 20    December 4, 11 All cancer patients and loved ones are welcome I started attending this group in February. It has helped me in so many ways. A big one is that it has helped my process. I was hit with severe RA and two cancers within 11 months of each other.  Tough to assimilate surgeries, radiations, tons of meds. Total life change.  This group is amazing. It also offers resources and friendships. Kindred spirits. Come join us.

Cancer and RA

  Wednesday I went to a cancer rehab program. This week’s topic was fatigue.  As our instructor was relating reasons for cancer fatigue, she mentioned cytokines circulating in our bodies. I thought that sounded familiar. Circulating cytokines is also a reason for rheumatoid arthritis fatigue. I mentioned to the instructor that rheumatoid arthritis and cancer have a lot in common including medications. Yes they do, she said. They both are auto-immune diseases.

The Infusion Room

For the last two days I have taken a friend for her chemotherapy at Presbyterian Kaseman Cancer Center.  This is the fifth month of a six month round of therapy. My friend is resilient, independent and self-sufficient.  She has no choice.  She has no one at home to care for her. Her cancer is stage four. We check in and go into the center. There is no wait. One of her favorite nurses comes to get her. He brings her into a two recliner room  and inserts her IV catheter. Blood is drawn for the labs. Expertly done. Next is the weigh in and the doctor’s visit. We have the same doctor. Pleasant man. Today he takes all the time she needs and helps her solve the at home nausea problem and he reviews the labs taken 10 minutes ago. On to the infusion room. It is a squarish room.  Large windows, mountain view.  Lining the walls are recliners each having an IV pole on a stand with a controller. The nurse for the day …

Bring out the best you through exercise workshop

Recovering from cancer,  Addressing  the issues Presbyterian Kaseman Hospital  >>open to all cancer patients>>Wednesdays 1-3>>                        call  505-559-8761 to join group or come to an individual class. FREE and Supportive +++good for any level of ability 10-1-14                                                                                                                                          Lymphedema discussion                                                                                                                      …

Cancer story 2

  Ageless, petite, dressed in her usual ankle length tights and colorful full shirt.  Sitting next to me.  Waiting for our turn to get zapped in the radiation room. She said when her mother died of cancer, she didn’t know how to help.  Now she knows how to help. She volunteers her hair dressing services to hospice. Very helpful and very satisfying. She is worried.  Her cancer is progressing.  Who will take care of her hospice patients when she is gone? I said, “Then, you need to get better so you can continue to take care of them.”  

Medical staff story 1

  A sweet little old  Hispanic gal,  fresh from open heart surgery,  finally decided to take a Percocet at bedtime. Two hours later she coded.   The response was fast as the whole seventh floor was heart staff and always happy to help out at a code.  Revived.  She opened her eyes, looked intently into mine and said ” It was the pill.” She was moved to the SCC, the ICU for open heart.  I would miss her.  Fortunately for me, I was soon  invited to work in this unit.  I was very happy to be there.

Cancer Story 1

Perky and energetic, she invested many hours involved in cancer programs.  She exercised, attended support groups.  Kept current with local cancer events .  Was  always happy to share her knowledge. Her cancer was a lymphoma, chronic.  Always with her.  Always being monitored.  Somewhere in her consciousness, she felt unsettled.  She was sharing her body with an unfriendly stranger. She took great pride in her children and grandchildren.  And in her husband, a good looking supportive man. A cruise is planned for next summer.  She is committed and excited about the trip.  Still,  she wonders out loud, “Will I still Be here?”

What happens at a CT scan

T-Day I have to admit I was afraid.  I had set it aside while on my trip. But today was the day. No more ignoring the possibility of more ca.  Today was CT scan day.  I start my day with my normal routine. Thyroid pill.  Load the Starbucks beans. Enjoy as the grinding releases the unmistakable aroma.  Coffee brewing in the dependable Cuisinart.  Check the blood sugar.  Say hello to Max and give him breakfast.  He is busy, but he definitely is not a morning person. Settle into the first coffee of the day.  Comfy chair.  TJ bouquet is Fall colors. Nice.  Journal out. Start writing.  Write about yesterday. Tough as my RA was flaring again.  Probably because of the 25% cut in prednisone. Light breakfast.  Need three hours of fasting for this test.  Just make it. Front Desk Procedure I arrive at KM Hospital x ray department.  Take a number from the automated ticket dispenser. Sit in a room full of unhappy looking people.  Waiting.  Number called.  Electronic signature times two.  One for permission …

After cancer treatment what next?

Surviving Cancer is a tough trip.   After the treatment is done,  before the next tests,  there will always be the worry that the cancer will come back.  There will be the worry that a new one will soon reveal its ugly form.  After all, the body betrayed itself once. Then,  after all the dust has settled and friends and family have disappeared back into their own lives,  the long term effects of treatment settle into roost.  Fatigue.  Fatigue and more fatigue.  So common.  So very hard to deal with.  Chemo brain. Peripheral neuropathy.  Feeling fragile.  Being fragile.  Reality.  Then there is the huge financial upheavals. Maybe a visit to the Caring Hearts Support Group at Kaseman in Albuquerque is in order. This group embodies what human spirit is all about.  A  group sharing a common experience, meeting for a late lunch, a presentation by a medical oncology specialist, time for talking. People who understand your issues and are willing to help.  Be brave come for a visit. Caring Hearts Support Group meets in six …

Cancer Club Thought of the Day: The Doctor Appointment

All of us who have a serious disease that may be chronic or may be life threatening are a little nervous when we go for a doctor’s appointment.  We may get more bad news.  We may have to make another decision.  We may have an issue that requires us to be assertive, like questions about what is going on. And here we are:   in  The Doctor’s Office.  I do mean the place they park you after they get your weight.  It’s like being in a foreign land. I was thinking bus station, but maybe not.  There is the familiar computer. The chair for the Doc. The chair for you.  There is the exam table.  The sharps container is on the wall. There is the awful gown you are expected to put on. First tip The nursing  assistant takes your temp, BP and and asks all the standard questions.  Have you fallen in the last 30 days?  Do you feel safe in your home?  I do wish they would check the notes from the last visit.  …