All posts tagged: cancer

Spring is here and CSN Conference is done

After a few days of  sunny mild days, cold, rainy, cloudy days have replaced them. We need the rain as we always do especially now with trees and bushes waking from their winter slumber. I   planted these tulips last Fall. They are beauties and brighten the gloomy day. Now is time for a little break. Our CSN just completed its 6th Annual Living with and Beyond Cancer Conference. I love this conference and recall when I first attended it as a  two time cancer survivor. For me, it was a port in the storm. Now I feel privileged to be on the planning committee which becomes active in the October before the conference. The conference is a full day. It is for cancer survivors, caregivers and professionals. It is free and it includes breakfast and lunch. Our keynote speaker was Gail Rubin, author of A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for those Who Don’t Plan to Die. Excellent. Other topics included mind/body health, lymphedema, hospice, medical cannabis, sacredness in healing and more. Join us next year. …

CSN Cancer Support Groups New Mexico

Cancer Support Now’s PEER-FACILITATED SUPPORT GROUPS   For contact information and details on support groups,                                                                     please call the Helpline Telephone: 505-255-0405, toll free 855-955-3500 New groups which have transitioned over from PLTC as of April 2016 are marked with an asterisk,*. 5/2016 Advanced Diagnosis Group * 1st and 3rd Tuesday at 1:00PM NE Heights Blood Cancer Group * For those dealing with a blood or lymphatic cancer 2nd and 4th Tuesday, 1:00-2:30PM North Valley Breast Cancer Group * Every Wednesday 6:00-7:30PM NE Heights Coloring & Creativity * All cancers, survivors and caregivers TBA Friends and Family Writing Together Journaling Support Group for Grief or Anticipatory Grief Every Thursday, 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM UNM Cancer Center Isleta Cancer Education and Support 2nd Tuesday of the month, 10:30-Noon Isleta Health Clinic Late Afternoon Breast Cancer Group Every other Wednesday, 5:00 PM to …

Sandy Ginsburg

Tiny, energetic. Warm eyes and welcoming smile. That is my first impression of Sandy Ginsburg. She is President of Cancer Support Now, a grass roots cancer survivor organization that believes no one has to go through cancer alone whether as a survivor or caregiver, whatever their needs may be. As CSN’s leader she lives this core belief every single day. I met Sandy for a leisurely summer lunch at the Indigo Crow in Corrales. We see each other at board meetings and committee meetings. It was nice to have her all to myself with no distractions. A surprise to me, Sandy was a reporter for many years. She worked for the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, based in Washington, D C. She also worked for the Institute for Social Research which is the world’s largest academic social science survey and research organization at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In New Mexico, she worked for Dr. Hal Rhodes, chairman of the Political Science Department at UNM. She was involved in establishing …

Childhood leukemia success, a bit of history

Freireich and Frei became unlikely partners when they went to work at the National Cancer Institute in 1955.  They were opposites in personality, but they were miracle workers on the leukemia ward. At 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, …

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 …

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. 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 week plan that includes inserting a …

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

  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.