Here’s a shout out to gynecological cancer month, you know the ones like uterine, ovarian, cervix but what about the other ones, say, vulvar, or placental? What? Placenta cancer? Is that what you read? Placental cancer, yes. You read that right. Cancer of the placenta. Yes, the same special organ that forms during pregnancy. The same organ that feeds and nourishes the baby, that is, in a healthy and normal pregnancy. What? What is this? The technical name is choriocarcinoma, a type of gestational trophoblastic disease or GTD. How do I know this, you may be wondering? Why, I am a survivor of this rare type of gynecological
Cancer, chemo, radiation, steroids, surgeries, the whole speal of this journey can leave your body in a wreck, a train wreck; a wreck that can take time to recover, maybe never even fully recover. ‘New normal' is what us in the cancer world call this. Finding your new normal is but another segment to the cancer journey. This can be incredibly challenging, even intimidating for many. Post-chemo can leave cancer survivors left hanging alone, an untraveled road, one that can lead into post-traumatic stress (PTSD). Yes,
post-traumatic stress is real and an entire topic alone (outside soldiers’ stories). Post-cancer treatment is often left unaddressed leaving cancer patients to find this new normal alone through trial and error. This can be dangerous, bringing frustrations to the added learning to live out the new normal of everything all
Two years to this day, I was on my way to my first photoshoot as a widow. I remember being in a cloud aka ‘widows’ fog but not to the full extend of where I had no control or not remembering. It had been only slightly over two months since I had lost my husband of 21 years suddenly and unexpectedly to a catastrophic brain stem hemorrhage stroke. He was 51 years old. I had to continue to do what I was doing without him. This advocacy awareness was definitely my calling and I was not going to reject this great invitation and experience. Am I glad that I didn’t now.
I had about a 3 hour drive to the beach to the photoshoot site, a location that I’d never been to before. I was looking forward to the scenic drive and had hopes to take the kids to the beach following the shoot.
As we all sit in our homes, isolated away from our normal day-to-day activities and peeps, to the cancer world, this is nothing new or unexpected. Us cancer survivors and patients know first-hand about homebound isolation and staying away from people. We know about having to leave our day to day activities to allow for treatments, appointments, tests, resting, healing or just doing nothing but breathe. We know what it is like to have our entire life come to a halting stop. We know what it’s like to be sitting within our walls, watching from the inside. We know the ideas of confinement and withdrawals. We know the long-lived anticipation to return to normal, oh, yes, normal, a normal that many never get back to….we know all too well.
We know what it’s like wearing masks all while eyeing people from afar. We know all too well the varied
That is a question, a question for many facing chemotherapy or currently on chemotherapy. A question for some of us post-chemo or those who have been left with more permanent side effects. You’re left with the decision of changing your look in order to look similar to how you did before treatment or styling differently according to your new situation. Whatever your reason to question, it is always smart to learn the pros and cons. You should never feel pressured to do one thing or the other. During my long, hard
You only have 2 choices, and choosing the wrong one could be devastating. These two choices can be life-changing, life-altering.
“What are these two choices?” you may ask. As you’re sitting in the doctor’s waiting room, these two choices wander around in your head. The first choice is to go into the doctor’s office blindly, relying solely on your symptoms and blindly following the path that your doctor gives to you. The other choice is to go into the doctor's office with some insight, direction, and knowledge so that you can be your own advocate.
How do you be your own advocate? Self-advocacy is looking out for yourself and respectfully standing up for your views, opinions,
How and when do you tell someone new about your cancer history? Yea. This topic has taken me to many uncomfortable zones, levels beyond my normal. This changed once I put myself in many of those uncomfortable zones.
It all started with a lack of information upon my diagnosis. This led me to social media. I was looking for
It's World Cancer Day. What does that mean? Is this a holiday only for cancer survivors and cancer patients? Are caregivers involved on this day? For those that are new to the cancer world and those "Outsiders" World Cancer Day can be another spuriest made-up holiday. But World Cancer Day is more than that when looked beyond a glance.
As a cancer survivor, I am learning of all the 'perks' that come with diagnosis and remission. I engolf myself with all available resources to my advantage and pass on to others, therefore my reason of writing this blog.
World Cancer Day is a national holiday for cancer recognition, detection, prevention and treatment. This is
Dear X- Friend,
Why do you avoid me? What is it that makes you fear? Is it my mask? My baldness? My paleness? Is it my cancer? Just say it. You are afraid of catching my cancer, my germs, my death sentence. Am I correct? Is this why you left me? Is this why you broke off our friendship, our relationship? Is this why you went running? You never looked back. You never cared enough to look over your shoulder. You never thought twice about leaving, abandoning me. You never cared enough to stay. Live in your denial. You never cared to ask. You never cared to hear my story. You never cared to learn the truth of my facts. You don't care if I
All I heard over a 12 hour period was that I was pregnant and/or miscarrying across several floors--from the ER to Labor & Delivery to Telemetry--until they tried to send me home. The last remark I heard before an actual diagnosis was that I was having a heavy period. As I was hemorrhaging. We're talking two buckets full, nearly-passing-out, horror-movie stuff. This was not just a heavy period. Give me a break.
Repeatedly, I refused their explanations for my four-month-postpartum intermittent bleeding. Repeatedly, I refused to go home. I was NOT going to bleed to death in my bed. I knew something was wrong and that
Social media. Some hate it, some love it. It is a love-hate relationship for many. But what if it could be used as a tool? A tool to sharpen the knowledge of others, a tool to erase the ignorance, a tool to engage needed support? A tool is a tool indeed.
Prior to my cancer diagnosis, I avoided social media with mixed feelings, only drawing out the negativity from it. As much as I wanted to open an account, I dismissed the idea several times.
Upon my cancer diagnosis, I quickly found myself on Facebook connecting with family and friends, posting weekly updates of my cancer journey. It was much easier than trying to keep up with handwritten l
I remember the day clearly. My head was still rapidly spinning. I had finished weekly chemotherapy after six and a half months and my picc-line (peripherally inserted central catheter) was about to be removed.
The reality was, I was terrified of this change. A number of what-if's filled my mind and uncertainties quarantined my body. So soon? I wasn't ready for this, yet it was an oncology order. I had learned to adjust to this being in my arm; it had been part of my arm as I learned to deal with the pain and minimal use that seeing it off was too much to grasp. I needed a little more time!
The thought of my cancer returning and having another one put in was horrid. The picc-line RN that put it
It's hard enough to express you've had cancer, but explaining a rare cancer is even more difficult.
Most patients automatically expect to hear breast cancer, colon cancer or bone cancer. When I say choriocarcinoma they ask, "What's that?" When they hear placental cancer their faces drop, almost in dismay, disbelief. Some even change the subject. Besides, it's a rare cancer, right? The chances of getting
Bald is powerful. Bald is beautiful. Bald is bold. Bald is stylish. Bald is bald.
You may or may not agree with these. You may have had a change of heart as to how you see bald after your treatments. Maybe you don't. How do you see bald?
For me, I saw bald very quickly. I had thinning hair on my first single agent treatment plan, but once I was
Some are willing to talk about anxiety while others are not, remaining hidden beneath their fears and the torture of it. When my molar pregnancy disease progressed to aggressive malignant cancer choriocarcinoma, my anxiety was at its highest. A molar pregnancy is rare, and threatens the life of a child. In my case, this affected the twins I was expecting and in turn led to me getting cancer.
What is anxiety? Plainly put, it is stress, but it goes much deeper for many people; it can be internal fear, affecting everyday life, minute to minute, hour to hour. Typical signs are irregular heart palpitations,
When you hear the word chemo, what are the first side effects that come to mind? The most commonly known ones are hair loss and nausea with vomiting. But are these all of the side effects of chemotherapy? Not at all! Anyone that has personally gone through it, along with the caregivers, know first-hand the nastiness and depth of chemo side effects.
I learned these firsthand when I was on an five agent cocktail for placental cancer choriocarcinoma from my complete twin molar pregnancy. Depending on the type of chemo, the length and the strength, some may vary from person to person, but below I’ve written out a list of some of
It's not everyday you get to stay in the hospital, and most hospitals are far from luxurious. However everyone at some point in their lifetime spends at least one visit in the hospital, whether it be surgery, illness, or cancer treatment. Let's face it-hospital time is boring. Time seems to move very slowly. What are some tips to help the time pass?
I have done my share of time in the hospital after being diagnosed with placental cancer, choriocarcinoma,
Most women get a baby after pregnancy. My pregnancy, however, gave me a baby and cancer. Actually, what began as two babies and cancer. That's right- I got Choriocarcinoma, or cancer of the placenta, as a result from my pregnancy. Who knew such a beautiful milestone could turn into something life-threatening? A Molar pregnancy happens when the tissue that normally becomes a fetus turns into an abnormal growth inside the uterus instead. What I experienced, my twin Molar pregnancy, resulted in the