All posts tagged: 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 …

Cancer Support Now Conference time

I 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 …

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 …

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 …

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                                                                                                                      …

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 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.  …

Cancer Club Thought of the day: how about no choice in the matter

Cathy, my very dear sister-in-law, and I were having one of our long conversations.  She is in New York.  I am here.  If we were in the same place, we would spend a lot of time together.  She was saying we have no choice but to carry on.  We were discussing difficult times and when someone says, “How’s it going?”,  she says what choice do we have but to say fine because we have to carry on. Her husband, my brother, died of metastatic colon(appendix) cancer about two and a half years ago.  She’s had a hard time.  They were married over 40 years. They were a good fit.  Being alone has been hard for her. I am always missing my brother so it has been hard for me too. I have two cancers.  I had to be tested, to have surgery, to have radiation treatments, to have new pills and then more doctors’ visits.  New news is shocking, life changing.  There is the adjustment period. Then  adaptation and just keep going.  With the nature …