Childhood leukemia success, hope for all

Freireich and Frei became unlikely partners when the went to work at the National Cancer Institute in 1955.  They were opposites in personality, but they were miracle workers on the leukemia ward. Wisdom WomanAt that time the death rate for childhood leukemia was 90%. 

Children were bleeding to death.  Freireich and Frei were first to do something about the falling levels of platelets in these children. Against resistance, when the NCI’s blood bank refused to give them blood for the necessary transfusions, they sought blood elsewhere. They got the blood, transfused the children and the results were notable.

Freireich and Frei  decided that using multiple chemotherapy medications would be more effective than one medication at a time.  Again, they were seriously accused of being cruel to children. They went ahead with their idea. They started using a cocktail of four medications. Children began to survive.

Unfortunately, eventually the cancer came back. Next Freireich and Frei decided that they needed to give their chemo cocktail for an entire year. Even though they had been so successful with their innovations, the medical community still renounced the idea. They went ahead with their year long therapy. Children began surviving.

In 1965 Freireich and Frei published Progress and Perspectives in the Chemotherapy of Acute Leukemia.  Today the survival rate of childhood leukemia is 90%. 

These were two doctors who were passionate about their work and persevered through great criticism and risk to their careers to make incredible changes in the care of children with leukemia. I say thank you. I also say thank you to those doctors, nurses and researchers who today are investing their lives work  to find better ways for us to survive and thrive illnesses such as cancer.

 

 

 

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Living with and Beyond Cancer Conference

dave the date

I went to this event two years ago shortly after I had completed radiation therapy for breast cancer and for thyroid cancer. It was a port in the storm for me. I met many who were having the same experiences that I lived through. I had many questions answered by the excellent speakers.

Last year I joined the board of the sponsoring organization, Cancer Support Now. I was on the committee that planned the conference. I am still on the board and am on the committee for this year’s conference. It will be the best yet. It is also free and includes breakfast and lunch. If you are in NM register and come. I will be at the registration desk so stop by and say hello.

Surviving Prostate Cancer Forum ABQ

This is a great opportunity for those who have prostate  cancer as well as wives, girl friends, sisters and mothers to become better informed.

prostrate flyer

 

Visit The Prostate Cancer Support Association of New Mexico

Conversation for NM Cancer Girls in July

        Admitting that we  have thoughts about  death when we are diagnosed with cancer,          is both a gift for ourselves and a gift from our family.

Once cancer strikes we are  at risk.

For many our cancers can be cured.                                                                                                     For others, cancer hangs out in our bodies until it becomes center stage again.                             For some cancer  becomes a losing battle.

When the battle is finally lost, I have seen angry women become peaceful. Not having to constantly strive, they can rest. They can start thinking about their end. They might start to plan. They are relieved they no longer have to fight. They were exhausted. Now they can relax.

As our cancer progresses, as we get another cancer, death becomes a topic for discussion. We want to know more. The event below is a well received discussion in Albuquerque. Join us.

COMPASSION & CHOICES

Having the Conversation:
Practical Tips for Effective Advance Care Planning

Revathi A-Davidson &  Jean Anderson

 

Sunday, July 12

1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

American Lung Association offices

 5911 Jefferson St. NE.

Sponsored by

cancer support now logo

Cancer Support Now Conference time

cancer support now logoI was selling raffle tickets for our chocolate gift basket♥. Guests were choosing items from the breakfast table. Others were meeting old friends; starting new friendships registration packets in hand.  Sandy♥ was on the stage ready to welcome everyone. Dr Michael Linver♥ would be arriving soon for the keynote.

I stood there talking with a woman who has been recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She had the surgery a few weeks ago and would be having radiation next. Her experience had been such a whirlwind that she was still absorbing what had happened to her. She was looking for answers. And she wanted to feel that she was not the only one. She was tentative. But she was here. She was me one year ago.

One year ago I had completed breast cancer radiation three months before  and thyroid cancer radiation one month before. The conference was new to me. It was a port in the storm.  Kind faces not in scrubs. Welcoming. Informative. A chance to speak out. A chance to hear and be heard. I was heard.

I was welcomed into the group. This year I am on the board of Cancer Support Now♥  I was on the planning committee for the 4th Annual Long-Term Effects of Cancer Survivorship Conference. I am fortunate to be a part of something so valuable to the individual with cancer.

I feel the real value of our conference is to the individual. We are a port in the storm with open arms and friendship and information.

After Dr Linver’s excellent talk we moved to our breakout sessions. Mine was the Fatigue/Sleep Issues. Popular subject.  Catherine Offutt, a woman who radiates positive energy, and Patricia Torn, an excellent speaker,  led us with an interactive, fun and funny experience. The best formula for learning.

Jason’s Deli Box lunches and conversation were next. Upstairs the ABQ School of Massage Therapy and Health Sciences♥ were giving free chair massages. Not a bad way to spend the day.

A rehabilitation panel discussion was lively. George Fraser PT, co-owner of Fifty ‘n Fit♥ stole the show with information about osteoporosis, fractures and exercise post treatment.

My next breakout session was titled End of Life Planning and Support. It did not deliver as titled. I was disappointed as I needed help in this area. It was a philosophy based discussion. Interesting. However, I think most of us already had our philosophy pinned down but not our end of life plan.

What was memorable for me was the Closing. We gathered to discuss what we liked, what we would want next year. Everyone showed up. Last year there were some and this year there were many. Our attendees took ownership of the conference. It was the best thing that could have happened. They wanted to be heard. Led by the excellent Patricia Torn, they were heard.  We went home happy.

 

Notes♥

ChocGlitz&Cream is owned by Celeste Davis and is located not far from Rust Memorial on Unser. Excellent chocolate.

Sandy Ginsburg, president Cancer Support Now. Excellent role model for us in the cancer community.

Michael Linver, MD, FACR, F.S.B.I., international lecturer on mammography, excellent speaker. We are lucky to have Dr. Linver in our community.

Cancer Support Now is the sponsor of The 4th Annual Long-Term Effects of Cancer Survivorship Conference

ABQ School of Massage Therapy and Health Sciences is owned by Dawn Saunders. She is amazing. I have had my best massages at her school.

Fifty ‘n Fit is owned by George Fraser and his wife.

Cancer Support Now

Go to the Cancer Support Now website and check the Spring Conference and a wonderful local cancer support organization right here in ABQ.                      http://cancersupportnow.org/

 Announcing

 Fourth  Annual Long Term Effects of Cancer Survivorship Conference

March 28, 2015   8:30 am to 4:30 pm at
Central United Methodist Church   in Albuquerque

The Conference includes 4 breakout sessions  held twice, morning & afternoon

1. Fatigue/Sleep Issues
2. Lymphedema
3. Creative Movement/Visual Art an interactive, experiential session
4. End of Life Planning and Support

Keynote sessions:

The Morning  keynote speaker is  Michael N. Linver, MD, FACR.
Dr. Linver is a busy
lecturer on mammography, having presented over 900 talks throughout
the United States and in over 20 countries around the world.
The Lunch keynote session is a panel of experts on rehabilitation topics of concern to post-treatment survivors and their caregivers.
Location: Central United Methodist Church,
201 University Blvd. NE,
Albuquerque, NM 1 block north of Central
For more information call
505.307.3414 ore-mail ptorn@comcast.net
Registration is required & opens mid-February

 

A marked woman

Radiation treatment follows certain protocols. My treatment is at the MD Anderson satellite here in Albuquerque. After meeting with the radiation oncologist, Dr. G, I have my simulation appointment. This includes a CT scan, painting on the bull’s eyes with magic marker and tape, measuring for an arm mold for placement.

My breast is bare to three people. Since it has already had a mammogram, an ultrasound, a stereotactic core biopsy, wire placement and surgery, it is beginning to feel like community property and is no longer shy. Now it has war paint so is feeling pretty bold.bull's eye

Next the experts will do their calculations, the mold will be made and I will be ready to go with the three week plan plus a extra week to zap the surgical site. This means treatments five days a week and with the extra week, it will be four weeks or twenty treatments.

My choices were the standard six week plan, the three week plan at double dose or the one border markerweek plan that includes inserting a catheter into the breast by the surgeon( imagine the arrow through the head in the really old movies). Radiation seeds will be placed in the catheter twice a day for five days. This was not for me. I did meet an 83 year old woman who was fine. She said it was uncomfortable but she was glad to get it over with.

MD Anderson has Kurig coffee so they get my vote. I always have a cup. It insures staying awake on my drive home.

Treatment is quick. I have number 12 tomorrow. I listen to favorite music as I take my Mini  on its little road trip. Arrive, show my cancer card to reception, check on the lonely fat goldfish in its big tank, make my coffee. Next is patient changing, coed with private stalls for changing into gowns. Waits are short. A good place to compare notes with other patients.

Staff are always friendly and supportive. They take my card. I lay on the table, arm up in the mold, breast bare, bull’s eyes clear. Staff leaves, zap one side(this side has a little sigh in the machine), machine rotates over me, zaps the other side(no sigh). Done. 5 minutes?

My card is next to my coffee and my locker key which is attached to a miniature tennis shoe. I change. Back in the car and home to rest.

I had a rocky start to treatment in that I was trying to do to many other things during treatment. I was extremely tired and discouraged.

The following routine works well for me. I have much more energy on weekends and feel good. I wake, make coffee and journal in my favorite spot(this is leisurely). Shower and dress routine. To Defined Fitness for Tai Chi, M-W-F. or silver sneakers classic workout( a good thing)on T-T. Then home for lunch and a rest. Drive to treatment. Home. Rest. I’m good!

Remember I am also dealing with severe RA and an unfinished thyroid cancer treatment. I think most of us have those complicating extras.

The exercise is guaranteed to cut the fatigue, a major side effect of radiation. It makes me feel better.

My skin seems to be doing well. Some get painful redness like a bad sunburn. I am fortunate Aloe skin Gel so far. A dear client and friend, Julie sent me this Gel. It is excellent and helps me. I put it on when I wake up. Shower it off for treatment. Put it back on when I get home.

Tuesdays I see Dr G. Thursdays, x ray day. This Tuesday I will have another CT scan for machine placement for the surgical site zap week.

Radiation treatment is a good time to take care of your body. Mine appreciates it. My whole body had been through a lot of stuff. There is more to come. It is a good time for love and respect to yourself as it’s your own body that gets you through this. I have a great respect for mine.

Presbyterian Cancer Education Series 6 week workshop

Workshops

 

Silver Linings Survivorship Services: bring out the best you through exercise

Funded by Presbyterian Healthcare Foundation

Presbyterian Kaseman Hospital, 8300 Constitution Ave NE, ABQ, NM 87110   www.phs.org

Six week program, 2 hours.

All sessions include stretching and journaling. Each week is themed with an expert speaker.

Intro, lymphedema, fatigue and activities of daily living, nutrition and dietary considerations, peripheral neuropathy and cognitive impairment, long term side effects and exercise.

Excellent program. Informative and helpful. Well worth it. We all agreed that we learned a lot.

Gretl Berneart OTR/L, CLT-LANA                           Ada Portman, MPT, CLT                  Ann Mustoe, RN ONS

Jan Esparza, RD                  Monica Bartley, Exercise Specialist

I understand that this program will be repeated.  Contact 505-559-8761 to find out more about the workshop

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

cancer club thoughts

 

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.