Sunday, May 10, 2015

5 Things People With Cancer Want You To Know {share}

I came across this article on Tumblr & it really resonated with me so I wanted to share the link of the original article with all of you but I also wanted to add a few personal reflections as well.


1.) Cancer doesn't always end when treatment does. 
For me, personally, this is a BIG one. I often refer to remission-life as "the fight after the fight" because it can be crazy, chaotic, & confusing as hell. In one sense, you know how incredibly lucky you are to beat a disease that doesn't want to be beaten; you - for some reason or another - have been given another chance in this world, in this life that thousands of other people are not given. It can be a heavy task to swallow, to understand, & to accept. I'm very open about my struggle with "survivor's guilt" & the pressure that comes along with be a survivor & it's something I deal with on almost a daily basis.
I think this also applies to the equally as crazy, chaotic, & confusing physical side-effects that we experience days, months, & even years after treatment has "commenced". It was only within the last month that I have completely weened myself off pain-meds but I still struggle with random body & joint pain everyday. I've been dealing with early-onset menopause since I was 27 & chemo brain is an absolute pain in my cancer-free ass. 

2.) Cancer doesn't look the same on everyone. 
WORD! Sometimes we don't lose all of our hair with chemo, sometimes we gain weight, sometimes we lose weight. 

3.) Some days are just hard.
No personal explanation needed. :)

4.) Just because I don't look sick doesn't mean I'm not.
This picture was taken less than 2 months before I was diagnosed with Stage IIIb; I was literally dying in this picture & had no idea...would you?

5.) I am so much more than my disease.
As I've said multiple, multiple times...cancer forever changes you & your life but it doesn't have to define you or your life. We are, in ways, the same people we were before we found out about our disease & we will continue to grow into a new version of ourselves post disease.
 Please don't let it negate who we are as individuals.

What do you think?

love&lyrics,
- LISA -


Friday, May 8, 2015

5 Years

Yesterday marked 5 years since I was hooked up to a fanny pack & had my very first chemo infusion & radiation treatment. 5 years! What?!
     Looking back over the past 5 years is a super-crazy ride for me; cancer has changed my life in so many different ways that I could never fully explain. I lost some people who I never imagined my days would be complete without but - on the flipside - I also gained other people who I know with all my being were meant to be a part of my life ...& that's because of this disease. That's life I suppose, right? You have to take the good with the bad to be able to appreciate the happy after the sad. Now, in about a month, I will be celebrating 3 beautiful years of remission, baring no hold-ups with my upcoming CT scan & blood work, but for the sake of my sanity I'm being optimistic! :)
     I've been thinking lately that I really want to start blogging more; I know I say that A LOT but I really think it's time. Usually my blog breaks happen because I can't decide on any specific content to write about but then I realized why does there have to be a specific topic?...& I don't think there necessarily does. I think I, unknowingly, put some pressure on myself to keep GDHC cancer-related in some form, but that's not all my life is so it may start getting random at times around these neck of the woods. Yes, a percentage of my life is & always will be connected to cancer but I also have a lot more to talk about & let you in on so I hope you're down. Until then...

love&lyrics,
- LISA -
    
     

Monday, March 30, 2015

...brb...

Working on a pretty rad post for you! 
See you soon.

love&lyrics,
- LISA -

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

2 Years, 9 Months, & 7 Days.

     2 years, 9 months, & 7 days...that's how long I've been in remission round #2.
     2 beautiful years, 9 glorious months, & 7 wonderful cancer-free days have been given to me to live on this Earth. Some days were better than others, some hurt like hell {inside & out}, & some felt too good to be true...but all were very much appreciated; much more than I can make palpable with my words that's for sure. I don't think you can ever get too comfortable before a scan or a blood test; how could you?...you entire life & the lives of those around you, are all resting on the results. That's pressure!!! Thankfully, my CEA (tumor-marker level in my blood labs) dropped from around 2.6 to 1.3 which is AWESOME!
     In between my first surgery in August 2010 & my 2nd chemo regimen that would follow, we made the decision to switch oncologists from FGH to The Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center in Morgantown, WV. I can honestly say that is the 1, no-doubt-about-it reason why I am still alive. Although not a colorectal specialist (because apparently, we don't have those in WV...yet), Dr K. completely took me & my family under her wing. She made me feel comfortable in the most uncomfortable of life situations. When my recurrence happened in mid-2011, you could see the disappointment on her face but she was also quick to reassure me that we would also win this round...& we did just that. She's been the most proactive,  let's stay one-step-ahead of another possible recurrence, kick-ass doctor & I'm so thankful to have her in my cancer-free life. ❤
     With good news comes a little sad news...our family said a final goodbye to our beloved pug-mix "Buddy" on March 9, 2015. He was 13-years-old (91-years-young in dog-years) & had been battling diabetes & occasional seizures for the past 7 months. He had been with us through our highest of high's & lowest of low's & was truly an integral part of our family. He is already incredibly, incredibly missed & will never be forgotten.
We'll love you forever, Budman.
Buddy Johnson
September 04. 2001 - March 09, 2015
"We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare, & love we can spare. In return, dogs give us their all...it's the best deal man has ever made."

love&lyrics,
- LISA -


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Colorectal Awareness Month!

March is here, which means it's officially COLORECTAL AWARENESS MONTH!
All month long I will be participating in #31daysofstrength, which is a daily photo challenge created by fightcolorectalcancer.org


Today's theme is a quote & I chose one by Cassandra Clare & it's one that is very dear to my heart & I was able to breakout my warpaint, which is always a plus.
Day #1:

See you tomorrow!

love&lyrics,
- LISA -

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Time For Change

     My friend & fellow Colorectal Cancer Warrior, Dawn Eicher, has started an online petition to present to Congress in hopes of lowering the screening age for CRC; currently the "recommended" age is 50...this is entirely TOO late. Below are 2 excerpts from Dawn's petition, which already has over 50,000 signatures.


  • "The facts are that colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S., and every year approximately 140,000 people are diagnosed. Of those, the current stats show that between 10-20% are under the age of 40, but the screening age remains 50 years old. Colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates continue to rise in the population under 50. It is also a misnomer that colorectal cancer is mostly genetic. Current data shows approximately 5% of all cases are genetic in nature. With appropriate screening, colorectal cancer is one of the few 100% preventable cancers. This fact is so very important it bears repeating: COLORECTAL CANCER IS 100% PREVENTABLE WITH EARLY DETECTION! Unfortunately, insurance companies refuse to cover diagnostic tests for those under 50."
  • "According to the latest stats, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 2 men will face cancer in their lifetime. Let’s take colorectal cancer out of the equation NOW and save people today. We have enough to worry about; colorectal cancer shouldn’t be one of them. This is not an “old man’s disease” and 1 in 20 is the average risk factor. There are currently more than ONE MILLION colon cancer survivors."

Please, if you haven't already, click the link & sign the petition. We whole-heartedly thank you for your time.


love&lyrics,
- LISA -


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

31, Here I Come!

Sunday was a big day...like a big, big day. Sunday I turned 31-years-young & I couldn't be more EXCITED! Perhaps 31 doesn't sound like an age that you want to - metaphorically - "shout from the rooftops", but I do! Almost 5 years ago, I was diagnosed 2 months & 6 days after I turned 26 (whoa - just noticed the strange repetition of the 2's & 6's there) so I was very much facing the potential of being what I call "forever 26". Is my life anywhere near where I ever "thought" it would be?...hell no, but I'm alive, I'm loved, I'm healthy (fingers-crossed for low tumor-markers on Friday) & I'm surrounded by incredible people who I love so very much. Those incredible people helped me celebrate being able to live & learn another year in the crazy, chaotic, wouldn't-trade-it-for-anything world. 

Birthday snapshots with ❤ MY LOVE ❤

Celebrating with my lady-love & bffff, Franki! LY! ☮

     Along with my excitement about my birthday, I'm also pretty pumped for next month because March is officially Colorectal Cancer Awareness month! Unfortunately you won't see blue ribbons displayed as prominently around as pink ribbons in October (believe me, the emotional-struggle is REAL) however we are still doing our damnedest to spread the word about prevention, detection, and the reality of this disease. We - I can't do this alone so I need your help & this easiest way to show your support is participating in National Dress In Blue Day on Friday, March 06, 2015. What does that mean exactly? It's seriously incredibly easy...by simply wearing something blue you are supporting me, the CCA, & the thousands of other CRC Warrriors & their families who fight the fight everyday. Easy peasy, right? If you can, take a minute to help us spread the word. Share your pictures& join us while we raise awareness & save some butts! ;)


Please feel free to take & pass this along! 

Also, be on the lookout for lots of "GDHC" blog lovin' in March...here's hopin' you won't get sick of me!


See you soon!
love&lyrics,
- LISA -