Want more? Get the weekly newsletter! →
You'll get tips & articles to live a happier and healthier life, plus some subscriber-only extras every now and then.

Cancer: The Daily Grind

hospitalYesterday afternoon I was readmitted to the hospital for my second round of chemotherapy.

I’m doing a regimen called Hyper-CVAD, which involves four rounds of two alternating cycles of treatment, for a total of eight rounds of chemo.

For my first cycle I got cyclophosphamide, doxyrubicin, and vincristine, along with an intrathecal injection of a drug whose name I’ve since forgotten. This round I’m getting intravenous methotrexate and cytarabine and TWO (insert frowny face) separate lumbar punctures to get the same drugs injected intrathecally.

For both rounds I also get a steroid called dexamethasone, which my boyfriend, Peter,  now refers to, simply, as “the dex.”

He’ll tell you that when they gave me dexamethasone during my last hospitalization I got hyped up and started bossing him around to rearrange that hospital room. “Put that tissue box over on the other table! Move that chair 4 inches to the right! Organize my pill bottles on the counter!” Before I came to the hospital this time, he asked me, cautiously, “So… when are you getting the dex?”

Because of the timing of when I got to the hospital yesterday, my dexamethasone infusion started at night. I went from falling asleep to Keeping Up With the Kardashians (don’t judge…) to suddenly waking up, turning on all my lights, and feeling compelled to immediately organize my gmail folders for the next three hours, until finally going to bed at 4am. Lucky for Peter, he was at home and therefore not subjected to my dexamethasone-induced hypomania.

Before I got cancer, I had a plan. I had multiple plans. I had a 6-month plan, a 2-year plan, a 5-year plan (which I diligently wrote out on a regular basis in a color-coded system with multi-color pens, usually while listening to Tony Robbins).

After years of toiling away in medical school and residency I was finally starting to reap the rewards of my hard work. I loved working with patients. I loved reading, going to conferences, and immersing myself in everything educational having to do with psychiatry and integrative medicine. I felt a total sense of purpose and excitement imagining starting my private practice when I finished residency.

And then… bam. Cancer! What? This is going to set me back at least six months on my 3-year plan! I don’t have time for this.

Now, there’s little I can plan because there’s little I can take for granted. I don’t know how I will feel next week, tomorrow, or even later today. My mood and physical state change on a whim.

But isn’t this what I already knew, what I’ve already talked about so much in my writing? That life is uncertain, that things happen outside of our control, but that you can rest in the moment for comfort, that you don’t need to be afraid?

Recently, small things can feel like big victories or big setbacks. For example, after four days of crippling bone pain from the Neulasta injection (given to help my immune system rebuild after the first chemo round broke it down), I woke up completely without pain, with an appetite, and ate a delicious breakfast of buckwheat waffles, a fruit/veggie smoothie, and green tea (thanks to Peter, who’s taking excellent care of me).

I couldn’t stop verbalizing how happy I felt to Peter. “I’m not in pain! I just ate! I feel so good!” He didn’t seem sufficiently blown away by my exclamation. “But you don’t understand… I ate! This is amazing!” I was so happy to feel relief from the pain. I reveled in that physical comfort as if I were savoring a sweet victory.

Then the next day (yesterday), I was waiting around to hear which UCLA hospital I would be admitted to. I wanted to go to Ronald Reagan, because my friends work there and I knew it would make it easier for them to visit. But in the end there was no bed at Ronald Reagan, so they called me late in the afternoon and told me I should head to Santa Monica Hospital.

I said, “Oh, okay, no problem,” but when I got off the phone I started sobbing. I cried in the cab on the way over. I cried when the admissions woman was checking me in. I felt defeated. I felt lonely. I didn’t understand what was wrong with me, why I was reacting that way. I felt sad for myself almost as if it weren’t me, as if it were another person who I was watching suffer from some other perspective.

There are other small victories: Being told I can get my PICC line changed to a port, which is under the skin and will allow water immersion (thank you to the reader who suggested I ask for this!), feeling good enough to go for a walk, getting dressed up and going to my first party since being diagnosed.

There are other small defeats: Chemo brain (mentally, I’m definitely not firing on all cylinders), having to pee every five seconds because of the IV fluids (and because I’m on “strict I’s and O’s”, everything in and out is measured, and I have to constantly ask the nurse to empty the little plastic hat that sits over the toilet so my pee can be measured).

Oh, and in an ironic twist of fate, after I shaved my hair, it started growing back in. So not only am I bald, but I have patchy stubble that itches and acts like industrial strength velcro, gripping to any piece of cloth my head touches (hats, pillows, clothes I’m trying to pull over my head, etc…).

Oh, and I did tweet out a bald photo yesterday—if you’re curious, you can find me on Twitter here.

But you know what? I don’t fucking care about the pain. Bring on the pain, bring on the anxiety about my future, bring on the lack of control over my body and mind, bring on the (hopefully temporary?) chemo brain, bring on the velcro head, bring on the pee hat.

I don’t care because I want to live. I want to live more than I’m annoyed by the setbacks, more than I feel afraid. I’ve got something important to do, and I need to get better to do it. Maybe just by sharing what I’m going through I’m doing it. What other choice do I have?

***

Image by Edith Soto

Comments

  1. Keep strong and keep fighting. There’s a little army you don’t see behind you giving you support.

  2. I have no doubt that you are going to do other big things with your life…but know that you are definitely doing good right this very second, and it’s a big deal. I am 5 yrs out from my breast cancer diagnosis-misdiagnosed for 2 years and finally got the correct diagnosis when I was 30…at stage 3. I feel like I could write every word you do-thank you for taking the time to give all of us like you, a voice.

    Please know that I’m keeping you in my thoughts and prayers as you beat this thing down! I’m proud of you and thankful for you.

  3. Maria E. Roldan says:

    Elana,
    I’ve been praying for you since I found your blog. It was the post about you cancer diagnosis. I know you’re a great woman and you will beat this! Sending you lots of healing light and a big hug.
    Maria E.
    PS: you look beautiful even with a bald head! your eyes and your smile are intact :-)

  4. Thank you. You are so inspiring! You are reminding so many of us of the power of the human spirit and so many of us stand behind you and can relate to what you are going through. YOU ARE going to beat this Elana. Rock on!

  5. Barbara Snow says:

    Elena,
    Your smile and your eyes are so beautiful – I never noticed how gorgeous when you had hair. Sending you strength and love to get through this next phase.
    Fondly,
    Barb in Minnesota

  6. This is what I’ve learned to do after going through many personal trials and triumphs:

    Let yourself feel the joy and hold it close to your heart when you do. Let yourself cry when you feel angry or sad and don’t (overly) question why, cuz sometimes you just need to cry. Feelings are not right or wrong, but they are yours to do with what you will.

    Sending you healing thoughts and prayers, and wishing you all the best.

  7. Elana, have you tried EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) for pain management and many other issues. I worked with patients with cancer for many years and taught them this useful technique and it worked so well.
    Take care,
    Fran

  8. Carol Warren says:

    You say everything that many of us have been thru so eloquently. Thank you for that. Let the feelings out, cry when you need to, laugh a lot and never ever forget the only goal is to survive,

  9. You are beautiful even bald. I’m so glad to receive the updates so I know what to pray for/send light for, etc. Keep on fighting the fight – there are lots of us fighting with you and for you. xoxo

  10. Not sure how I stumbled upon your blog. I had breast cancer last year and had 4 rounds of tc. I wanted to offer one suggestion to you for the bone pain that I found so very helpful. My oncologist recommended Claritan and it worked amazing. Hope this might help. Please take care.

    Jennifer

  11. Mary Sheridan says:

    I’m currently battling Stage 4 ovarian cancer and am sorry to hear about your diagnosis but impressed with your tenacity and positive outlook. On an ovarian cancer list serve, a member posted the following and i read at the start of every day:

    Four Dignities of the Warrior’s Path

    In Tibetan Buddhism’s “Four Dignities of the Warrior’s Path,” courage and
    ferocity are absent. In fact, the qualities regarded as essential for being a
    warrior have nothing in common with the training regimens of Marines or
    football players or lobbyists.

    The first dignity is often translated in English as meekness, but that word
    doesn’t convey its full meaning. “Relaxed confidence” is a more precise
    formulation — a humble feeling of being at home in one’s body.

    Perkiness, or irrepressible joy, is the second dignity. To develop it, a
    warrior cultivates the habit of seeing the best in everything and works
    diligently to avoid the self_indulgence of cynicism.

    The third is outrageousness. The warrior who embodies this dignity loves
    to experiment, is not addicted to strategies that have been successful in
    the past, and has a passionate objectivity that’s free of the irrelevant
    emotions of hope and fear.

    The fourth dignity is inscrutability, or a skill at evading the pigeonholes
    and simplistic definitions that might limit the warrior’s inventiveness while
    fighting for his or her moral vision.

    Peace and blessings to you!

    Mary

  12. Dear Elana, Thank you for sharing. Your spirit is amazing. Keep on keeping on’, one day at a time. That’s how I’ve been able to get through all of my treatments for lymphoma. I definitely won’t judge! I’ve been know to watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians from time to time :) Hope this round isn’t too horrible. Sounds like you’re being well taken care of. Enjoy the good moments, and rest lots.

  13. The dex comments made me LMAO!! So true. As with most of this journey I do try to accept and celebrate wherever. I do my best nesting with Dex. But also it turns me from an introvert into an extrovert. And I just think that is the funniest part of the ride!!!

  14. You’re my hero Elana. I’ve been praying for your recovery. Continuously sending positive vibes and if you decide to post another amazon list, I would love to contribute :)

  15. Ellen Lanser May says:

    Hi Elana,
    Reading your blog posts since your diagnosis…it’s taken me back to my initial diagnosis 15 years ago at age 28…and living through the uncertainty until a surgical cure 3 years later. Every post makes me catch my breath….in solidarity with you, in aching pain FOR you, in sheer sadness for myself, in exaltation for being a survivor. It’s a crazy range of emotions.
    Really quickly…in this post….when you talk about your plans for the future…and the uncertainty that a cancer diagnosis brings….there was a brief period of time where I stopped thinking FUTURE. I couldn’t let myself. If there wasn’t a future, it would be that much more devastating to let go of my dreams. I admire your ability and determination to soldier on! I did eventually get there, but it took awhile. You’re incredibly inspirational, and I am deeply grateful for your willingness to let all of us share in this journey with you.
    –Ellen

  16. Lara Shwer says:

    Hi Elana
    I had my own “Holy Shit” I have cancer 6 months ago!! After suffering a seizure in the middle of the night (my husband thought I was hitting him to stop snoring) I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I had no symptoms … The week before we were vacationing in Colorado where my husband ran a marathon and I drove up a mountain with my three kids to pick him up from the finish line ….like you I’m only trying to realize the miracles I have experienced in the last 6 months. People are baffled when I say that I’m lucky to be alive but just a week before my “holy shit” moment I could have had a seizure driving up a mountain and killed my entire family and no one would have known that I had a malignant tumor growing in my brain!
    3weeks after I was diagnosed I had the tumor ressected at Mayo clinic (omg I was so lucky to be at the mayo spa as I called it) I came out of my surgery with hemiparesis and could not speak. After spending 3 weeks at mayo in rehab I walked into the arms of my children and my speech has returned. I still have limited use of right arm and had but am working hard (I never liked to work out but I’ve never worked out harder in these past months ) I’ve gone through 6 weeks of radiation with chemo and am starting my higher dose of chemo tonight I still have 10 cycles/months of chemo but my will to live has overtaken the nausea and fatigue.
    My husband read your love is blog and immediately called me to see if I had read it. He signed up for your blog !!

    I read your blog tonight as I’m sitting here waiting to take my “poison” and I wanted to let you know about a product that I used on my scalp during radiation to prevent the burn and I’m still using it now that my head is shaved and is growing back The product is called Lindi soothing balm. Please order it and shmear it on your head. I also don’t cover my bald head and let it air out

    Please email me if you have any questions ….I am an open book and am so willing to share my journey with the world.

    We can beat this cancer (ironically my mom had a brain tumor 28 years ago and no treatment was available then but mine is different .it is not hereditary ) I will survive and I know she is looking down on us and won’t let me live my life in fear.

    Take care of yourself or better yet let others take care of you. Believe me I know it’s not easy to be the patient or have patience. Just breathe

  17. Barry David Butler says:

    That room in the Hospital looks Really creepy. I realize that getting all this mail and support is very comforting but basically WE are all alone on this Journey. Dying and Death are two different entities. We are ALL Dying the moment we are born but we don’t usually know when we will get kicked off the Life Conveyor Belt. I remember thinking the night before I got my Stinking Diagnosis that the only thing that would be different is that I KNOW IT. I obviously had this awhile before I had these nodes I could feel. BUT Knowing it is changes everything. Once our Mind Knows something it all changes. I wish it would be different but I can’t shake it. SO…I try and live like I don’t know BUT I do.
    WE are all on the Incredible Journey called LIFE and are lucky to be here at all. Nobody escapes dying as it’s the ONLY way we can get the heck out of here when it’s time.
    Check out The Urantia Book !!
    Barry I can be contacted at bdbutler@centurylink.net and write and sing songs at barrydbutler channel on youtube. I started writing songs about MY Journey.

  18. You are so damn strong! You already were such an inspiration and that just keeps expanding exponentially. Sending positive energy, love, and prayers. Agree with all of those before me who’ve commented, your eyes and smile are amazingly beautiful!!!

  19. Joelle caplan says:

    Your courageous voice is awesome! Keep strong and know that many are with you and uplifted by you!

  20. Elana – you look beautiful wo hair! Thank you for sharing your story. I look forward to your weekly posts. I can’t describe accurately or eloquently how much you are touching peoples lives, including mine. You are a 1 in a million!

  21. You are so inspiring!!! Thanks for sharing your journey with all of us- you are an incredible human being. You are so strong and I just pray that you continue to stay strong so you can continue to inspire people.

    PS : you are so beautiful, even with no hair…. keep fighting, lots of love xoxo

  22. Hi Elena,

    I started reading your blog via The Huffington Post and I have to tell you it was a great pleasure reading through your archives and gleaning all the wonderful insight and fun you have shared. It’s kid of like getting a brand new novel to read. A really good one I might add. So thinking that you might be a little bored int he hospital right now I’m going to share two favorite blogs that I think you might enjoy. Delve into their archives. Beautifully written, gorgeous photos and stories that I think you will enjoy.
    Feel better, k
    A Bloomsbury Life
    My Marrakech
    http://abloomsburylife.blogspot.com
    http://moroccanmaryam.typepad.com

  23. Blessings and blessings and more blessings coming your way. All of us holding you in our hearts, hoping for you, sending you energy and love….I know it helps…if even just a little….. Blessings and blessings and blessing……

  24. My husband is coming up on his one year of “PET” scan clear for non hodgekins lymphoma -after his battle his response is now “what’s next”. I stormed the heavens with prayers for his recovery . Having stumbled across your blog I know soon you will be asking the same question “what’s next” you will defeat this, stay strong, cry if you need to, scream as well -you are in my prayers.
    Chris

  25. Remember it is ok to cry, to be angry, to feel miserable. Those of us who have come close to the edge understand. You don’t have to always be brave or strong. It is just too hard. You have the capacity to take care of others, that is why you are in the profession you are in, but now you need to be taken care of by others. Let them…
    We are with you, we care… You are important, you will beat this.
    My mantra:
    May I be Happy, May I be safe, May I be at peace and at ease.
    May you be Happy, May you be safe, May you be at peace and at ease.
    May all people be happy, May all people be safe, May all people be at peace and at ease.

  26. Jesse Bradford says:

    Hey Elana, glad to see you are making it through this whole ordeal with style. Thanks so much for the updates, they help keep me calm about the whole situation. Zosia and I have been doing are best to pray for you and send you good vibes from Tahoe, and don’t worry there isn’t any snow anyway so you aren’t missing out on anything up here. I wish we could come down there to see you and it looks like we will be able to come April, maybe we can catch a few waves. Say hi to Pete for me when you get a chance and keep kicking this stupid cancers ass

  27. You’re hysterical! I also got Dex duringa chemo cycle and I can remember (2 years ago) rearranging my hospital table, the contents of my purse, the stack of magazines, every brochure! And don’t get me started about Chemo brain- I still have it (I think) and velcro head! you gotta laugh or else you just cry and cry. God Bless you and your journey, I LOVE Reading your blogs, thanks.

  28. Are you doing an antihistamine with the neulasta? Take one day before shot and then 4 more days. That’s what my hospital recommends. For some reason it reduces the pain the shot causes. Yes it does work.

  29. KEEP WRITING….Do it once a day. We all love to read it and it should be great therapy for you…..I hope today is full of Small Victories for you…..

  30. Glad you asked about getting a mediport! So much better than having a PICC dangling from your arm. I’m an oncology nurse and we recommend Claritin the day of and at least 3 days after Neulasta. Not sure if there is a research article on it but most of my patients swore by it. I figured it couldn’t hurt and I know the bone pain can be crippling so why not give it a chance.
    Your words are so honest & inspiring! It is great to get a chance to see a patients perspective.

  31. Courtney Lee says:

    Hang in there lady! You got this!
    Just a thought: Will the nurse allow you to record your own I&O’s? Leave you a sheet of paper in the bathroom so you can empty your own potty hat? I have never worked oncology, but in the other units I have worked, this was allowed. Maybe it will give you just a tiny measure of independence?
    Yea for switching to a port! Anything to make life easier! Plus, I believe infection risk is lower with a port anyway.

  32. Elana,
    A good friend forwarded your blog. Took me back a few years. I too had the “Oh Shit” moment 14 years ago. I thought that the anger, sadness, frustration and fear would just go away. They didn’t, they don’t, they just lie in waiting.
    Reading your blog this morning generated the best thoughts I have had in a month. Reading and finding your strength seems to have presented me with strength to face some “other part of my life” nonmalignant pain. Thank you! Hang in there; the cancer journey is often another kind of trip, like going over Niagra Falls in a barrel. You come out battered and bruised and take a long time to heal.
    Good thoughts and prayers.

  33. HI! I just signed up to receive email from you when you start accepting clients in your practice. I am excited to be able to work with you and hope I can become as strong and present as you are.
    Sending healing thoughts your way.

  34. I’ve been totally captivated by you and your blog. Having recently navigated (muddled?) through my own personal hell following the birth of my daughter and her subsequent 10 week NICU stay, I have and continue to be on a healing journey of my own. While the contexts are quite different, I’ve found your perspectives to be quite resonant and your honesty reassuring. I struggled mightily (still do!) with feeling devoid of control, and that’s been a hard pill to swallow but ultimately one of the most universal lessons we all have to (try) to learn. I won’t pretend to have any sage advice or words of wisdom other than to be patient with yourself and unafraid to reach for help – whether it’s to make a grocery store run or lend an ear. For a long time I thought I had to be strong at all times, but it wasn’t until I let my vulnerabilities and fears see the light of day and acknowledge their presence that I could truly start to feel like “myself” again. My gratitude to you for sharing your experience. Keep on!

  35. I am so happy to read your posts! I know cancer sucks, I have been there, and I want you to know chemo brain and “the hex of the dex” does go away! I wish you all the best in your cancer journey.

  36. Elana, in case you haven’t already discovered this, I want to tell you about a series of articles on NYTimes.com called “Life, Interrupted” by Suleika Jaouad, a young woman diagnosed with leukemia a couple of years ago when she was 22. She writes about her experience of chemo and a bone marrow transplant. I think it’s been about 18 months since her dx, and things are looking up. Her most recent triumph was getting a puppy. She has a devoted boy friend, too, who has been with her throughout her illness. Like you, she was also beautiful when she lost her hair. Keep writing. Your story is important.

  37. You. Are. Beautiful. :)

  38. I don’t even recall (residual chemo brain) where I stumbled across your blog but I have to tell you I am so happy that I did. Your humor and attitude will get you through this battle.

    I also shaved my head before it all started falling out and if I can give you one hint, get a lint brush and roll it on your head a few times a day that way you don’t have these tiny particles of hair everywhere.

    Stay strong and continue to laugh. Heather

  39. Laurie Baeder says:

    Elana,
    After reading your post today I felt so grateful for all that I have in my life. I wish you well on your journey and I so admire your strength! I also saw the picture of you after you shaved your head and you are absolutely beautiful with and without hair. Best of luck in everything.

    -Laurie Baeder

  40. Thank you Elana for your courage, for your strength, for inspiring us all who feel sorry for our little selves for ridiculous reasons. Go on writing and know that you have friends not only around you but throughout the world, caring for you and thinking of you. Hold on girl: cancer has no chance confronted to your will to live and endure. The challenge you are facing is huge but you’ll be the winner of this battle, this is certain.
    Love from Switzerland.

  41. Such a sheer inspiration. I wish you all the best from my heart. Xx

  42. Prayer and health says:

    I am not sure … but you might like to read this academic article on cancer and prayer (you can download it for free):

    Rethinking Prayer and Health Research: An Exploratory Inquiry on Prayer’s Psychological Dimension

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1992323

    I wish you all the best .

  43. Sarah Lim says:

    If you’re finding it burdensome to call the RNs every time you need the hat emptied, I’m sure they will be happy for you to record and dump the O’s yourself. Tape a piece of paper in the bathroom or use a dry erase marker on the mirror. I imagine after a while it would be nice not to have to announce your urination to the world! I’m always sympathetic to my female patients in situations like this — men have it so easy with their handheld urinals!

  44. Hey everyone, thank you so much for the positive comments and advice! Emptying the pee hat on my own is so obvious I can’t believe I didn’t think of it myself. Also I got my port today and it’s a power port that they can inject contrast into. The methotrexate is already out of my system so I’m just waiting to get my second intrathecal chemo tomorrow and then I’m out of here! So far feeling great, no side effects, fingers crossed it continues when I get home.

  45. Oh also, I tried Claritin for the bone pain and it didn’t work, but I don’t think I was doing it correctly (only took it on the day I had the pain, rather than started it before the Neulasta injection and then continuing it daily through the time when the Neulasta is working. The other thing is that I don’t think I needed the full dose of Neulasta because my white count shot up to 100K, so I’m going to ask for the half dose next time.

    • Wow, 100K? You’re Superwoman! I had a WBC count of 18.8K the other day and I thought *I* was badass. ;) I’m crossing my fingers for you that a smaller dose provides adequate benefit with fewer painful side effects.

  46. Very glad you are feeling better!

    You will be in my positive thoughts, Elana!

  47. Yay! Glad you’re getting a port! As you said, it’s the little victories sometimes that mean everything. I also second (or third) what people are saying in the comments about Claratin (or Allegra) helping with bone pain from Neulasta. I have no idea why it works, but I used it in my last cycle and it did seem to make a difference. Usually I feel like a 99-year-old for 5 days. Instead it was like a 70-year-old for 3 days. : ) Lastly, I’m not sure if you’re on any anti-nausea meds during chemo, but Zofran has been a life-saver for me. My strategy is basically to ask for anything that might help me manage my body during treatment, and if I don’t want to fill the prescription or take the meds, I don’t have to. Oh actually for REAL last thing – I didn’t get to have fertility treatment/egg harvesting/embryo freezing before my treatment started, but my doc put me on a 28-day shot of Lupron, which can help to preserve fertility and also has the nice side effect of suspending your cycle while you’re dealing with all the other things happening to you physically. I will warn you that hot flashes are a part of the lovely Lupron package, but I mention it as something you might want to ask your doctor about. At the end of the day, I’m not going to bet the house that i’ll be able to conceive after all these chemicals have done their work, but I can at least say I got what was available to me on my compressed timeline, and who knows? Maybe it will help.

    Thanks again for sharing your experiences here!

  48. Hey Elana! Been following your blog religiously :) I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better, and I just love how you’re so determined to get well. Not only do you have plans, but your plans aren’t selfish ones, and that’s so admirable. Keep fighting, keep smiling. You’re an inspiration, keep sharing, keep sharing.

    Kelly

  49. This comment may go against most people’s beliefs, but from my experience, we choose everything in our lives, without exception, even illness. There is no randomness of experience, everything is by choice, either consciously, or unconsciously, but all at a Soul level. The Soul decides to take on an “adverse” experience for many reasons, but usually to help awaken the person more deeply to their Spirit and their Spiritual essence, as we are Spirits in physical bodies, not the other way around. So, in that sense, what your Soul has chosen to undertake is quite brave, although seemingly extreme, you are not only using this choice as a platform to help and to inspire others, but to also bring you more aligned with your own core being, your Divine Self. I give you a congratulations for this work, and know it is all in your highest good. Keep moving forward and connecting with your Inner Self, and others will take similar strides. Many blessings to you :)

  50. dear elana,
    you are indeed, a beautiful, wise, humorous, strong, soulful person/woman/doctor/healer! i have been reading your blog for quite a while and feel as though we are close friends! thank you for therapeutically sharing your insights while generously “connecting-the-dots” for so MANY other grateful readers. i wonder, what “we” can do to help you out now??? pray tell so we can give back! xo

  51. Quiet and stillness and peace, yoga and yes, television: the kardashians, american idol, dancing with the stars (especially if you have br. cancer) and fun, gentle music and massage, aromatherapy oils, walks and more stillness, breathwork and kris carr and others to mend the mind and bend the body in the direction it really effortlessly wants to go; green drinks and fruit smoothies, and organic. It’s power to you and love and more stillness. In quietness and trust is your strength.

  52. I don’t know you, but you have profoundly changed my day. Today I will be more mindful, a better father, a better husband and a better colleague.

    You asked in another post, whether you should have shared your diagnosis. Your writing has inspired at least one person to be a better person today (and in return, help others have a better day).

    I came because you wrote a post about getting rid of stuff, I leave with a full heart.

    I wish you the absolute best, and the strength to fight this cancer.

    - a random stranger!

  53. I am adding my thoughts to the loving and supportive comments above.

    I found you via Kevin Pho’s list.

    Have you considered giving your port a name? You can have a special ceremony when it is removed, a party/ gathering for the official ‘dumping of the port’ :).

    Sorry your scalp itches – friends tell me they are pleasantly surprised at the hair that grows back.

    You have reinforced my feelings of ‘take nothing for granted’.

    Thank you for your blog. I hope this battle with the Cancer Beast will someday become a distant memory.

  54. Hi Elana, I have been dealing with a recurrence of endometrial cancer for fifteen months. I have dealt with the fear, pain, grief, and anger that comes from knowing that one’s life is not certain nor is it necessarily within one’s control. Actually, this is a good thing…. knowing that control is illusory even the best of times. My biggest frustration, and I’ve considered making an appointment with my own psychiatrist whom I see rarely, is the condescension from too many of the doctors who’ve treated me in the last year plus. They do not give much consideration to what I know to be true. And that is that the doctor/patient relationship is a sacred one and one that should be treated as a relationship of equals. There is so egoic behavior especially among the male physicians whom I’ve encountered. I now have a female doctor, and feel more hopeful about her and myself forging a partnership regarding management of my future medical needs.

  55. Keep on Fighting!

    You are Cute bald :)

  56. Best of luck with your recovery and keep fighting! :-)

  57. I get 1/2 dose with neulasta….still works and I have little discomfort. Claritin 2 days before the injection, day of, and two days after is the recommendation I received. I say a prayer every chemo and every scan for the genius who came up with implanted ports!
    I just discovered your blog…good reading and so honest. I too know the joy and delight to realize, upon weakening, that my body FEELS GOOD! Easier to dance without pain isn’t it?

  58. You will get through this. I had the same white blood cell shot and my pelvic bone was in horrible pain for a day and then wham, it was gone the next. I just finished round 3 of ABVD this past Monday and this week, so far, seems better than the previous 2 right after chemo rounds. Keep your chin up and know this short term hassle is for the benefit of your long term.

Speak Your Mind

*