I will be off for a week to enjoy my family and friends and although I won't be checking in you will not be far from my thoughts. With the new year, I hope for new promise, brighter futures, and healthier outcomes and peace and happiness for all. And as this season comes to the end and tensions are mounting and lists seem to get longer, it will come whether we are ready or not so I extend to you a gentle reminder to take care of you and everything else will fall into place. Peace and love, S
There is an interesting little book that looks at life lessons and we all know we have had some of our own to get to where we are today. The Lesson that I found most interesting is that Life Isn't Fair. That we all can attest to! We have all faced trials and tribulations and some more than others. The follow up to that though is- BUT IT IS STILL GOOD. How, when you are facing diversity can you turn that around to ...but it is still good? Thinking about that, it brought the next thought that we should be grateful for everything. How many times have you said I have to go to work on Monday? Rather we should say, I get to go to work on Monday. ( The other alternatives may not be what we had in mind anyway.) As I am looking at this, an email came in, you know one of those that you have to send it to 10 people including the sender and see what happens in ten minutes, and this email was describing a strong person. This went on to say that a strong person is one that even through their tears, can say.. I am blessed. How does one do that? We all have our moments and self pity does creep in once in awhile but even through the difficult times, others look to see your strength and through their reflection, you find your strength and actually give that strength back to them. I remember when my dad was dying from cancer and he was carrying all of his cares and concerns within himself , many people think that is strength. The real strength is by sharing those moments and walking your path with your loved one. The message comes back that we are in this together and regardless of where this leads, life is good. The support, love, compassion in a time of need is almost unbelievable. People you thought never even knew that you truly existed, come out of the woodwork to help. We look at our world today and have thrown up our hands that it is out of control and nothing we can do to change things. Apathy abounds but yet faith, and a strong movement of individuals that are promoting the attributes to make it better through love, compassion and support are not featured in the news, newspaper or anywhere else. Bad press is what we see and hear but rest assured the undercurrent that is out there is good, we can turn things around even through the difficult times. The outcomes may not always be what we wanted but we surely can make the trek better because life isn't fair, but it is still good. Someone will see me when I am out and about and say, I read your article or saw you in the paper and my common response is, at least it isn't police blotter. So it is up to us to Make it a Good Day! Merry Christmas and may you share the good with all you encounter now and every day. S
Most times when someone meets me they ask how long? How long since my cancer? And then when I tell them the amount of years which is presently at 6 and counting, they remark well you made it past five. Odd way to congratulate you on something you have no control over. What is even more odd that most people still hold on to that idea that if you are five years clean, you have it made. That number no longer exists and so when I am asked how long, I hesitate and think how fortunate to have one more day. Oh yes, there are statistics and percentages and all that jazz but I didn't fall into a high risk area to get cancer so I don't put much faith in those numbers about survival either. I don't think you plan your life by statistics or numbers or at this point in my life I might not get into another car or go for another plane ride. I don't know, it seems such a waste to look at things from my perspective as it sounds too much like a waiting game, like waiting for the other shoe to drop. Someone else recently said are you always this positive? I had to laugh at that as well as, no I am not. I have to work at that daily and minute by minute but the opposite of being positive doesn't have any great draw for me. Negativity sucks the life blood out of even the strongest of those who are morally and spiritually stronger than me so I don't even want to let a little bit of that to creep in. I have amazing role models each day as I talk and work with patients who are still waging the war against cancer and not just breast cancer but all kinds of cancer. Their insights and attitude and love shine through even the darkest moments. I am reading a neat little book right now GOD DOESN"T BLINK, that brings to light alot of life lessons that unfortunately you have to live through in order to get to that side where you can reflect on it. I am sure many times over your parents as did mine, would say something that they hoped would lead me in the right direction with gently guidance but I would have to learn on my terms and usually the hard way. I don't have all the answers but I have lived alot of life. I too try to instruct my kids to do as I say and not as I did. I look over all those years and how I have gotten to where I am today and yes, cancer was a part of it. I don't have any new stories on that but insights on being on this side of the fence and having lived on the other side. I don't physically think of or keep track of how many years. I do occasionally have an ache or pain that seems out of the realm of normal and wonder if it is something more or is it just more of something called ...getting older. In the end- HUMOR, LOVE, and FAMILY...my days are counted by those and the opportunities to share in those and Make It A Great Day! S
At this time of year, emotions run high and expectations even higher. You are pushed to the max even if some of it is self induced. There is support through the grieving process if you are needing help.
There are Monthly Support Groups including:
Meadville Hospice which meets the 2nd Tuesday of every month, 1:00-2:30 pm at First Presbyterian Church, 890 Liberty Street, Meadville, PA 16335 PHONE 814-333-5403
Hospice Office meets the 2nd Wednesday of each month,5:30-6:30pm, 310 N. Monroe street, Titusville, PA 16354
Mind Body Wellness Center which meets the 4th Tuesday of each month, 5:30 pm, 18201 Conneaut Lake Road, Meadville
Facilitated by Kathy Berkey, PhD
Carole Fedorka, Coordinator
Compassionate Friends (loss of a child) meets 1st Wednesday of each month, 7 pm at Meadville Medical Center, Grove Street, Meadville, PA
PHONE :Jean Shanley: 814-337-6377
Norma and Ralph McClay: 814-333-9299
Everyone walks their own path and in their own time.You may need that little boost to help you through the grieving process. This does not indicate weakness but just added support to help you heal through your loss.
Holidays are especially difficult as you miss that special someone but there is help and I ask that you reach out when the days are just too long and it is just to difficult to carry the feelings related to your loss. These groups will help you through this process.
Sometimes it takes a little more help, to make it a great day! S
Ok, I admit it... I am confused. One minute they say a glass of wine (5 OZ) is okay for you and may even be better for your heart but then for breast cancer patients that is not good. Then you hear you should eat this and not that and everyone knows we should all eat more fruits and vegetables. I just read an article from The Los Angeles Times that talks about avoiding carbs and next they will take my chocolate away. The Carb deal states that increased carbohydrate intake was associated with a higher risk of breast cancer recurrence in survivors of the disease. Those women who had increased their carbohydrate intake for over a year had a higher recurrence than those women who decreased their carb intake. Now they also stated that this was with women that had lower-grade tumors. Obviously, there is more study needed and before I feel bad about that as well, I will be guarded in my choice but not taking any radical changes yet. These findings were presented to the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Now I do believe there is alot to be learned and new things coming out all the time but I also have lived long enough I remember when Red Lipstick was thought to give you cancer. Yes, we have more refined methods but again things change and come back around again. Remember when you only gave babies whole milk and then it went to 2% and then back to whole and you also placed them on their tummies or sides and not their back in case they spit up. Hence, my confusion! I will attempt each day to do the right thing, whatever that means at that time and place but I will not now or ever will be so religious that it dominates every aspect of my life and I forget about living. I am all for learning more and getting better and reducing my chances of recurrence, trust me that is in the back of my head and some days more prominent than others but at the ripe old age of 60, I still now and in the future believe, life is for living and everything in moderation. So during this holiday season and all year through, live each moment of every day, do what you love and you will not have to look back but make it a great day. S
As if you don't already know it, Christmas is just around the corner. I froze when I woke up this morning and crawled out of bed. I woke up at 4 and then tried to stay in bed so that dogs and household didn't get up and moving that early in the morning. Now, I am just tired. We had a nice Christmas party on Saturday night, Sunday -church and then on to Jamestown to the Santka Lucia festival and back home again. How can I be more tired now than when I went to bed? It was time for my check up and the doctor asked if I had any problems, other than being exhausted, I am fine. Everyone is rushing around and I am so looking forward to the fact that most of my family will be able to get together. We are going on a Sleigh Ride on Christmas Eve morning on our way to a Swedish Christmas. What fun and we will pack as many family onto the sleigh as possible! I think my husband is looking forward to doing that as much as anything during the holiday. For me, just having everyone together is the neatest part and as far as the doctor, well another 6 months and I will have my next 50,000 mile check up.
It is so hard on those that are alone for the holidays or not feeling the best. Sometimes it takes all the energy in the world just to answer the phone. I remember those days. I try to check in on those I know are home right now and just offer an ear. It is nice to know that you have been there when someone needed you and that is more fulfilling than any gift I could receive. What are your hopes for the holiday? We all have some and I bet they are closer to alike than not if we would really admit it. My list: family together, love, laughter, and hope and friendship. That sums it up now and 40 years from now. So, I am sending love to all through prayers, calls, notes and any means to let you all know...you are important to me. I have learned so much from each and everyone of you and you have made me a better person(I am still learning-just in case you are wondering). SO during this hectic time, take that moment and that prayer I send your way and Make It A Great Day!
Well, I spent last evening working on some treats, that included caramels and I lost the recipe I wanted and then I waited for it to get to 242 degrees by the candy thermometer and it finally did. I quickly removed from the stove and the phone rang so I answered the phone and proceeded to put the caramels into the pan and out to cool, then realizing that I forgot the vanilla. Oh well, there goes that batch. Then I decided to do some cookies and worked diligently to get those done and low and behold they didn't turn out either. I decided it was time to quit. I got dinner on without burning it or destroying and by that time I wasn't even hungry. I have since ordered some Christmas Cookies and will stick with recipes I know and have used. I ordered some books as gifts and need to get those sent but part of them have come in and the rest have not so wait, or send what I have???? I also ordered some things for my son and his family in NC and low and behold despite just getting the catalog, one of the items I was planning on ordering two of will no be available till February. Really, are you kidding? I just got the catalog so another game plan rapidly came into play. Now mind you I am not complaining but am dumbfounded by all the things that are just not coming out as expected. All I can do is laugh! Good intentions doesn't make it right.
What are your plans for the holiday? Will it be running around to see and be with everyone or a quiet time at home, I think we are more inline with the running around premise. We will have a good meal Christmas day of the kids choosing and Christmas Eve we will be doing the normal Swedish Christmas with Korv and Lutfisk which the later, no one is overly fond of but it is tradition. My family never opened gifts on Christmas eve but waited patiently on our grandmother to come down in the morning to open gifts and in the mean time we could open our stocking which always had a jar of maraschino cherries, mandarin oranges, and of course pineapple which we were allowed to open and eat. We also did that and then by the time Grandma came down, we were about sick. Then after opening gifts, we had breakfast and then everyone went to play or use their new gifts. My family also gets together for Christmas Eve but we will do the Swedish one this year. What traditions do you do and will you continue to do throughout your life time and what will your kids remember and what will they carry on. I guarantee for my family, the lutfisk stops here as well as the korv, now the Swedish Rye Bread and the sandwich cookies and pepperkaker can continue and will if I can get the recipes down pat. With a smile in my heart and memories bubbling over, take time to enjoy this holiday season and those you love, it will make it a great day! S
There are two new medicines for advanced breast c ancer cases that actually prolong their time and improve survival. Another drug sold as AFINITOR a delay in progression of the disease by at a median of 7 months.This is new and on the cutting edge and the first big leap since HERCEPTIN came out. As always, the downside is Cancer drugs are expensive and does not prove cure but it does give a step toward better and longer outcomes.Pertuzumab is a drug that is awaiting for approval from the Food and Drug administration to be used as an initial treatment in which it targets cells that make too much HER2 (a protein). There is so much more coming and more information each day. As always, look to your trusted sites and read and research and pray that we are finding out way against this disease.
Disclaimer: This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of any medical institution.
This is making it a greater day! S
67 lives from 67 counties.... this is our new project. Not unlike my original story, 67 women who have or had breast cancer will have their pictures and short stories on display at Yolanda G. Barco Oncology Institute starting with an opening on March 1st, 2011. The committee is forming and there will be more information to come and invites to go out and lots of fun as we celebrate 67 women who have faced breast cancer. I promise to keep you in the loop and look forward to your support. This project comes through the PA BREAST CANCER COALTION through the Department of Health, and Healthy Women. Making it Great! S
In a significant advance for patients with ductal carcinoma in situ, researchers have developed and prospectively validated a multigene test to identify the risk for recurrence of breast cancer.
This is one for you to research... at this point. Go to your reputable sights and learn about this new test to identify the risk for recurrence for those patients with DCIS or Ductal Cancer in Situ...
Making It A Great Day!