Tag Archives: cancer attitude

Laughter Yoga

Lightness in spirit by Eleanor

Lightness in spirit by Eleanor

Did you miss Laughter Yoga at the Conference? Or perhaps you would like to do it again?

 

Laughter Yoga led by Barbara Carroon, certified laughter yoga instructor, is offered at Cancer Support Now’s Fourth Saturday Support Group  April  23, 2016  11am Adelante  in Albuquerque. Call Patricia Torn at 307-3414 or email her at ptorn@comcast.net  to let her know you are attending. Open to all caregivers and survivors.

 

Directions to Adelante 3900 Osuna NE: Take San Mateo exit off I-25. Head west on Osuna. 3/10’s mile west of Jefferson (there is a McDonalds at the se corner of Jefferson and Osuna), on south side of Osuna, turn south on Gluton which runs the along west side of Adelante. First place you can turn left takes you into the west side parking lot of Adelante. Located on first floor. Do not go to the Big doors main entrance. To the right of those doors  enter through the first small door in the middle of the building on west side.

 

 

 

“Wake at dawn with a winged heart and be thankful for another day of loving.”  

KAHLIL GIBRAN  

www.cancersupportnow.org

Like us on facebook    www.facebook.com/cancersupportnow

Patricia Torn

Director of Programs

 

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.

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.

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 starts a bag of saline running. A warm blanket and pillows appear.  A bag of steroids with nausea medication is hung. Followed by medicine to protect her stomach.

That done the nurse appears gowned  gloved and masked with the first chemo. The infusion is started.  My friend tolerates the infusion. We talk. The oncology dietitian stops by for a visit.  Someone offers us snacks.

I step out for lunch. My friend has a sandwich and a banana. The last bag is hanging.

I am surprised to see that most patients have no one with them to offer support and to while away the time.  I expected someone to be there for each.  Life would be so much better if there were.

Next day was a shorter version of the first. All went well.

Hopefully, her nausea is under control. Today she did express a need for a hamburger. Tomorrow,  if her night goes well, we will stop at Fuddruckers  on the way to our cancer rehab class on managing fatigue.

 

 

 

What happens at a CT scan

purple flowerT-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 for treatment.  The other is something about abuse?  My check was less than the test amount.  No problem. I  will be sent a bill.

Next I was sent to see another woman at another desk.  She gave me a form to fill out.  I filled it out and waited until 10 minutes after the appointment time to be called.  Mary she calls. This  new woman did not identify herself.  She asked me for another form.  I did not have it.  She went back to the second woman and got it.  Sat me down in still another waiting room to fill out this form and left.  About 10 minutes later the third (no name) woman returned and led me off.

The Big Machine

The scanner looked like a big electronic donut. I was asked to remove my bra (might wear a sports bra next time) and a dental partial.  Metal.  Was led to a table.  Place for my head. Support for my knees.

An IV was started. (For GI things a drink is given.)  This IV was connected to a fat syringe attached to the scanner.  Head position was checked.  And without a word, my nameless woman left me alone with the machine.

The machine started without warning or pleasantry from the control room.  The machine told me when to breathe and when not to breathe.  I could feel the dye as it entered me and then washed through me as a saturated warmth.  Two doses for two scans.  Quick.

Done

My nameless woman returned.  Removed my IV.  Wrapped the site in a purple stretch bandage.  (I like them.  I feel special like a kid with a super hero band-aide.)  Said I would  hear the results in a few days.  Gave me an instruction sheet not to take my metformin for 48 hours and a card. I finally knew her name as I walked out the door.

Waiting

This is the hard part.  Waiting for the results: what will it be and what will happen next.