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

 

Advertisements

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.

Cancer Club thoughts-zoo music

Shaggy bleached blond at 9 years old.  He was on the heavy side but solidly built.  Beat up old sports shirt. He stood solid in his shoes. He knew who he was and where he stood in the world and was fine with it.  He had a sureness about him many adults wished they possessed. He followed the rules. He did ask his mom if it would be okay if he walked around. Off he went with his cousin, a boy who also had a devilish glint.

We are at zoo music. Paula Cole is the entertainment. Lounging in lawn chairs after a picnic of summer delights. Feeling good. Under the trees. On the grass. Surrounded by an amazing supply of people just right for people watching. Good to be with friends.

I just finished my 6th week of Cancer Rehab at the Healthplex. I am stronger. I have better balance. The program is doing what I had hoped. I am rebuilding. I will be healthier or I will have more stamina for the next round. Either way I’ll be better than I was without it.

Cancer Club thoughts-helping

Cancer victims have concrete problems.  Cancer makes a person face his mortality.  Suddenly life is no longer taken for granted.  Survival becomes an issue.  Add to that the  scary thought of the big C spreading throughout the body.  There is a feeling of loss of control. Unnerving!  Life becomes uncertain forever. Still, many cancer worries are  about everyday issues. Am I going to be able to function independently during treatment?  Where do I turn for help? How do I get to the pharmacy for prescriptions?  How to I make meals when I feel so sick?  What if I become very sick during the night, will I die alone?  How will I pay for my treatment?  Are my friends avoiding me because I have cancer? Cancer can be fatal. Some cancers can be cured. Cancer can also be a chronic condition. There are many cancers that cannot be cured but can be managed. These cancers require careful monitoring and intermittent treatment.  Cancer can recur. It can recur any time after treatment. It can recur after years of being monitored. Cancer treatment side effects can last forever. When you want to help a friend with cancer, offer concrete help. The most important help you can offer is to stay connected and be a resource for your friend.  Call your friend. Text them. You might:

  • Drive a friend to a doctor appointment or a treatment.
  • Get them out of the house for a coffee or lunch.
  • Be clearly available if they need help when they are in treatment.
  • Pick up a prescription for them.
  • Call or leave a message to say you are thinking of them.
  • Offer to help with laundry, cooking, or light housework.
  • Drive them to family events and bring them home when they are tired.
  • If you are far away, send them greeting cards.

Many cancer patients feel deserted by friends and family once the initial crisis is over.  It is frequently expected that a sick person will be treated and then will get back to normal.  Well meaning family and friends will insist that sick time is over and it is time to get back in the routine. This is not how it works with cancer.

Cancer effects are long-lasting. Extreme fatigue is common. For cancer patients, treatment and then side effects can extend over a long period of time. Physical stamina may be diminished. Finances may be devastated.

Readjusting to a new normal takes work and it takes time. The most important thing you can do to help is to stay connected. Call. Text. Send Cards. Offer specific things you are willing to do to help. Be helpful in ways that work for you. Remember there are few quick fixes for cancer.

Little Indulgences

Little Pick Me Ups-Flowers

A $3.99 weekly bouquet from Trader Joe is one of my little pleasures. I love strong vibrant color, textures, fragrances. My bouquet shares its beauty from a unique table in front of my morning journaling chair. Being strongly visual I easily take pleasure in my bouquet as I sip my morning coffee.

I started to go to Trader Joe on a regular basis when I was having daily radiation treatments. I continued my new stop after attending a support group nearby.

Although my last radiation treatment was in March, I am still reeling from the whirlwind surgeries, radiation and medications. I don’t have the energy I would like to have. Progress is slow. However, little things in life are great pick me ups. What are yours?

Cancer Club thoughts for the day

It’s your fault that you have cancer. Wow! I started listening to a meditation tape on cancer given by a dear friend. The first thing this woman says on tape is it that it’s your fault you have cancer.

I was shocked. Fortunately, I don’t believe it. It was still unnerving.

Cancer starts with the change of one single cell in your body.

If you caused cancer by being stressed, by being too fat, by not eating the right things, by not exercising enough, we would all have cancer, most of us anyway. It makes the assumption that we have more control than we do.

Some people we encounter would love to think we did something wrong to get cancer. Then, the theory goes,  if they avoid that something, they will not get cancer. The randomness of cancer is all too scary.

Cancer happens. The question is not what we did wrong. The question is how do we deal with it.

 

Cancer support now

Cancer Support Now Inc.                                                                                                                              “We are a community of survivors reaching out, supporting, informing and advocating for survivors, their loved ones and caregivers.”

One resource for addressing life after cancer in a community of people who have been there.

PO Box 37338   Albuquerque, NM 87176

http://www.cancersupportnow.org

info@cancersupportnow.org

Helpline:   505-255-0405    855-955-3500 

Offers immediate support

Matches you with one on one trained volunteers

Refers you to support groups

 A few support groups
  • The Women’s North Valley Cancer Support Now Group. This support group has been active for years.

Meets every other Thursday night 6:30 to 8:30pm in the North Valley for caregivers and those with a diagnosis of cancer. Call Cancer Support Now, Inc for location 255-0405

  • Survivors Writing Together

Writing support group every Monday 3 to 4:30pm at UNM Cancer Center. Call 255-0405

  • Fourth Saturday Cancer Support Now Survivors Group

For those with a diagnosis of cancer, men and women, meets the 4th Saturday of each month from 10:30 to noon. At Adelante on  Osuna west of Jefferson. Young breast cancer survivor facilitator available to meet the needs of younger breast cancer survivors. A cancer caregiver support group is held in the same place, same time, separate room. Call 255-0405

There is much more to this hospitable group including training programs, the Annual Long Term Effects of Cancer Survivorship Conference.

I learned of this group through Patti Lentz at High Desert Yoga

 

Cancer club thoughts for today

It is amazing how the little things in our lives determine just our our day is going to be.

I’ll admit to cheap thrills. I am easy to keep happy. I love my first cup of coffee. I write in my journal and sip coffee while glancing at the colorful flower bouquet on my table. Feels good and is always a reason to jump out of bed. A good start to the day.

Some  little things that I can do for myself include having my favorite coffee; journaling daily in long hand  ( Julia Cameron’s THE ARTIST WAY); buying a $4 bouquet of flowers weekly at Trader Joe’s. Small things for a woman of little energy.

I seem to have too many days where I have too little energy. I have always  been actively engaged. Feel good. Life is grand. Coping with fatigue, pain and fuzzy brain started with the sudden onset of rheumatoid arthritis and was completely foreign to me. Well, It is not a stranger anymore. My cancers seem to leave me the same way.

My love of wild life has encouraged me to feed the birds. Now I have added a water feature. Little caring things have grand results. I have a good time watching. It is hysterical to watch a Mourning Dove( mates for life, 10-15 years, apparently loves the water feature in my back yard) taking a bath in my bird bath. Sits in the water, dunks just like a duck, shakes out. Oh happy times. This is the same Dove who considers the bird feeder his favorite hangout. My gift to the birds is food and water. Their gift to me is a diversion that is one of my pleasures.

I have met many with cancer. One of their hardest adjustments to cancer is to realize there are things they cannot do anymore. This is big. This is tough. It was for me. I am eventually adaptable so I now focus on the things that I can do. There is still plenty that I can do. Makes life good!

What are the little things that you do for yourself that makes you happy ? I would like to hear from you.

CA Attitude: Survive and Thrive

Balloon Fiesta
Lookin for the Good Highs

My goal for this web page is to show others fighting the good cancer fight that there are wonderful resources to help you to  survive and to thrive. This site is new and I have a lot to add. A person with cancer does not have to be alone. There are endless individuals, organizations and also professional who would love to help you on your journey. My plan is to introduce you to many in Albuquerque. We have much more than Breaking Bad.

If you are looking for something now. Email me at:   marymann@comcast.net and maybe I can point you in the right direction. You do have to do the work to survive and you are surviving by being here. Thriving is a challenge too. A little more fun than surviving but both are equally important.