Mack Dryden is a comic, a motivational speaker and two-time cancer survivor. And real funny.
Friday, July 30, 2010
This afternoon I have my PICC line dressing change at the clinic and then D and I are going to find a restaurant on the ever popular Whyte Avenue. We both enjoy the noisy cars and motorcycles and the pedestrian traffic that goes by. Could be there a while.
We’re taking the dog with us so it will have to be a restaurant that’s pokes out onto the sidewalk. We are having some really nice weather here and I don’t want to see any of it wasted.
Yesterday I had a busy day and it showed itself today. I woke up this morning, had toast and coffee and back to bed for a snooze. I was out as soon as my head hit the pillow. Now I’m feeling really refreshed and looking forward to getting out and having some fun.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
I just got back from having blood work and seeing the Onc. Unfortunately, I have no chemo tomorrow because my neutrophils are too low. They are at .6 and need to be at a minimum of 1.5 in order for me to have my Vinorelbine infusion. D and I have noticed I’m a bit more tired than usual … I guess that explains it.
My Onc said we are still going to go ahead and book a CT scan sometimes in the next couple of weeks. We’ll go over the results when I see him next on August 19th.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
I was asked to do a shout-out to the Pink Podium Promise. As per their website …
AmpliVox Sound Systems supports the fight against breast cancer by donating pink podiums designed in breast cancer awareness pink with custom panels highlighting the hope for a cure, awareness, and giving.
NORTHBROOK, IL--(AmpliVox - December 29, 2009) - AmpliVox announced an unprecedented corporate campaign to support the cause for Breast Cancer Awareness. To raise the bar on “being heard”, AmpliVox is donating one pink podium to every breast cancer awareness related presentation or event. The Pink Podium Promise program will help to connect with new audiences and heighten the awareness and education on the importance of the early detection of breast cancer.
The Pink Podium is the Pinnacle Multimedia Hard Shell Plastic Podium, a virtually indestructible hard plastic lectern that can survive tough abuse indoors or outdoors. To request a Pink Podium, contact Nancy Gerstein, at 847-401-0384 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more details click here.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Last Friday when I was getting my PICC line redressed at the clinic, I was wearing my latest PICC line cover. The nurse noticed it and said … I love it, love it, love it. She also said, that I should patent it. I kind of giggled at that. Attached the pic.
It’s taken me far too many tries to get this thing right but I’m really close now. I’ve tried all sorts of yarns and needle sizes. First off, I was making them way too big. Second, what I’ve found with most yarns is that the yarn doesn’t hold its shape at all… the cover stretches out and slips down in no time.
Finally I came upon Cascade yarn, which is used for making socks. It’s the best; a 98.3% cotton blend, and 1.7% elastic. And it holds its shape really well.
So here’s what I’ve found that works best for me … for my arm size which is 11.5 inch in circumference, I cast on 44 stitches using 12 inch circular needles, size 3.5mm (US 4). It should always be a snug fit but not too tight.
If anyone is interested, I would be more than willing to share the pattern or any of the wisdom I’ve garnered, just send me a quick email.
Monday, July 26, 2010
This has been a weekend filled with sad news on two fronts. There is a new cancer diagnosis in my family, my niece’s husband, a young man of 34 with two small children. My niece and nephew are in another city and I don’t know how I can help just yet.
And the loss of two fellow cancer bloggers, over this past week … Raden Galoh from OneBreastBouncing and Barry Fraser from An Explorer’s View of Life. Each has lost their brave long fight... I’ll truly miss you both …a lot.
Sometimes it can be mentally hard to keep it all positive. To help me out, I like this well-done music video about a personal fight. Why? Because it moves me…and maybe you too.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
I’m feeling really good today. I had a great sleep last night. I took two Benadryl just before bed and I think that helped me. Not sure if it relieves the symptoms of my allergies which allows me to sleep better or it acts as a sedative. Whatever it is … I’m thankful for it.
I find I’m still agitated and moody at times. I think that has a lot to do with the fear I am experiencing. Back in April, my Onc said my treatment options are very limited. In fact Vinorelbine which is what I’m on now is pretty well my last option for treatment. If this fails he is going to put me on compassion care. I’ll be honest, that is weighting very heavy on my mind.
Thursday I see the Onc and with this being my third cycle on Vinorelbine, I’m pretty sure he is going to book a CT scan for me.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
As taken off the YouTube site ...
For more, go to www.CandyCoburn.com!
And for the lyrics ... click here.
(Yes! This is the song on the Komen 3 Day ads coast to coast!) Every 99 cent download is a donation to Komen for the Cure! Candy and her producer are donating ALL of their profits from purchase of "Pink Warrior" to Susan G. Komen for the Cure to help in their fight against breast cancer. Downloads can be found on iTunes, Napster, Amazon, Walmart.com, BandBox....
For more, go to www.CandyCoburn.com!
And for the lyrics ... click here.
Friday, July 23, 2010
I received this email and thought I'd share it with you ...
Please find attached a press release detailing the Sweetest Thing Fundraiser in support of Cedars CanSupport in Montreal. This fundraiser will turn heads and take a big step to helping out those with cancer and their fight to get better and live better.
Both parts for this fundraiser will be held at the JUST FOR LAUGH'S MUSEUM in Montreal.
Saturday August 14th - The Benefit Show 7:30pm $35/ticket
Sunday August 15th - The Cancer Benefit Workshops 10am $10/ticket
90% of all money and proceeds raised will go to Cedars CanSupport.
Our goal is to raise $25,000 with these two events. Please join in and lend a helping hand.
**All media are invited to attend this event at our expense. If you are interested please reply to notify us so we can set aside a press pass for you.
The Sweetest Thing Fundraiser
FUNDRAISER WEBSITE: http://www.wix.com/misschrissy0509/TheSweetestThingFundraiser
FUNDRAISER NETWORKING GROUP: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=243243865352&ref=ts
Thursday, July 22, 2010
We just got back from a four-day trip to southern Alberta to visit family. Monday night I woke up at 2:00am with a splitting headache and was up for a few hours tossing and turning. Finally, I decided to get up and take half an Ativan pill, two Benadryl and I pulled out some earplugs. I slept like a baby for the next five hours. Lovely!
I think this chemo makes me extra allergy sensitive. So for the next couple of days, I took two Benadryl, morning, noon and nite. What a relief that was, my headaches were gone or nearly gone.
Benadryl really works for me … I feel as tho I’m doing a commercial.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
As per their website ...
Join Living Beyond Breast Cancer for our annual fall conference, News You Can Use: Breast Cancer Updates for Living Well, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 13, 2010, at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. Travel grants and fee waivers are available. At this event, you will:
- Learn about cutting-edge treatments for early-stage and metastatic breast cancer
- Hear how to get involved in clinical research to better serve diverse communities
- Understand how to enhance your quality of life using standard and complementary methods
- Find out how to minimize side effects
- Get advice on how to cope with your emotional concerns
- Connect with speakers, exhibitors and other women and caregivers
During two plenary sessions and twelve workshops, get the information and support you need to live well before, during and after breast cancer treatment. You’ll also enjoy visiting with exhibitors, asking questions of health-care providers with expertise in breast cancer and connecting with women and families at a networking lunch and evening reception.
For more information and to register ...click here.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Guess what? I'm having lunch in Edmonton with Tour de France champion and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong. He begins his first trip to Edmonton with a noon hour luncheon at the Shaw Conference Center on Wednesday, August 25.
As per the LinkPink website ...
Lance will share his message of leadership, hope and inspiration, followed by a question and answer session. The voice of cycling, Phil Liggett will also be in attendance, serving as Master of Ceremonies for what promises to be a very special and inspirational event in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – Prairies/NWT Region.
I purchased my tickets today. For more information and how to purchase yours, click here.
Monday, July 19, 2010
After my Vinorelbine infusion on Friday, I had the regular side effects … a bit of nausea and the chills and a bit agitated. I also think this chemo makes me more sensitive to everything else too. It all just feels more intense. Voices are louder, lights are brighter, traffic is more annoying, and the TV commercials drive me crazy; they’re so loud. There isn’t much I can do but go into the basement where it’s cool and quiet. Last night before bed, D was in the bedroom digging for something in a plastic bag. His digging sounded so loud I had to throw a pillow over my head to muffle the sound.
I’ve had a headache every day. Tylenol helps take the worst of it away but it lingers throughout the day. I woke up numerous times last night … again with a headache.
I must say tho… after a few morning coffees and some breakfast, I’m thinking today is going to be a better day.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
What: R.C.M.P. Musical Ride and Equestrian Extravaganza
Where: Amberlea Meadows, Edmonton, AB
When: July 23rd @ 7:00 pm. and July 24th @ 2:00 pm.
Gates open 2 hours prior to each performance
Please bring your entire family to enjoy pony rides, make extravagant stick horses, purchase R.C.M.P. Musical Ride souvenirs, visit vendors, and much more, all the while enjoying the beautiful grounds of Amberlea Meadows!
Price of admission: $10.00 ($10.00 + $2.75 fees)
Tickets must be purchased in advance through Ticket Master. click here
100% of ALL proceeds will be gifted to Kids with Cancer
Seating is general ‘picnic-style’. Please bring your lawn chairs and blankets.
Click here for more information.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
My BC friend A told me about an article in the Edmonton Journal article entitled, ‘Home Chemotherapy Eases Patients' Anxiety’ where you can have chemo at home. Here is an excerpt from the article …
In February 2009, Dr. Karen King, an oncologist at the Cross Cancer Institute, launched a one-year pilot project to test how patients did after getting chemotherapy treatment while they sat on their own couches or armchairs. Australia has an established program of home chemo and it's also offered in the United Kingdom and France. While there are no rigorous studies on such programs to statistically show patients live longer or do better, researchers have found patients typically want to stay home where they feel much more safe and comfortable.
I guess some of the advantages of having chemo at home include: avoiding some of the anxiety or gastric issues associated with going in for treatment, not having to worry about someone driving you back and forth to the appointment, not having to travel while you are experiencing the ill effects of the chemo and finally, just being home to hold the fort, to take care of children and other family duties.
I had my regular chemo infusion yesterday and I prefer to have it at a medical facility. Go in, get it done and go home. I am fortunate to be in a situation where that works best for me… however, I can certainly understand how under different circumstances I might see it differently.
Friday, July 16, 2010
I received this email from Deanna and I want to share her news about the upcoming online discussion from Chicago …
I follow your blog, and wanted to reach out on behalf of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA). Next Friday, July 23, we’ll be hosting an online Empowerment Rally featuring a diverse group of five cancer survivors/advocates participating in a roundtable discussion on patient empowerment. The Rally is a platform for the voice of these five survivors to discuss what mattered most in their cancer care, choosing the best treatment facility and sources of empowerment during their cancer journey. One participant is a Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor, three participants are breast cancer survivors, and the final participant is a brain cancer survivor. All participants received treatment at different cancer centers across the United States, bringing unique cancer care perspectives and experiences to the table.
We hope you can view our live stream of the event (and/or participate by posting questions for our moderator) by visiting www.livestream.com/cancercenter. I’ve listed key details below including date, time, RSVP information, participant social networking information, and more information about the new CTCA Patient Empowered Care model.
Questions explored might include: What does it mean to be an empowered patient? What made these survivors feel empowered throughout their journeys? How did they choose the treatment that was right/best for them? What helped them feel informed and more in control during their journey? How were they involved in their treatment decisions?
We are happy to coordinate interviews with any of the participating survivors. See below for details, and please share with any friends and family that might be interested. The more the merrier!
Empowerment Rally Details
Empowerment Rally hosted by Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA)
Friday, July 23, 2010
3:30-4:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) / 2:30-3:30 p.m. (Central Time)
Tune in to a live stream of event:
The Rally will be streamed live online at www.livestream.com/cancercenter
Mark it on your calendar, share it with your friends and family, and log-on to participate!
To Deanna Every (email@example.com or 610-455-2748)
Or, via Facebook at our event page:
Joe Bacal – Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor
Twitter: @cntrlamidchaos and @joebacal
Lani Horn – breast cancer survivor
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/ChemoBabe/210968797226
Facebook Profile: http://www.facebook.com/lani.horn
Mel Majoros – breast cancer survivor
Facebook Profile: http://www.facebook.com/melmajoros
Jody Schoger – breast cancer survivor
Facebook Profile: http://www.facebook.com/jodyschoger
Matt Zachary – brain cancer survivor
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/stupidcancer
Facebook Profile: http://www.facebook.com/matthewzachary
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Yesterday, the 5 of the 6 gals had our bi-weekly get-together. As usual, we had a few good laughs. What is really fun about our group is that our memories are terrible and our attention span is very poor so it seems our conversations go in six different directions… all at the same time. Sometimes we have to reel each other in to help stay on topic. Here are a couple of yesterday’s funny tangents.
C said she’s not happy because she can’t travel until mid September because she had a medication change and travel insurance is through the roof unless six months goes by. A said, well those couple of months will go by before you know it. J said, you can’t go anywhere until we have our summer garden party. Well when’s that? We have to organize it first. Ok, let’s organize it. Well we can’t have it until my sister leaves visiting from England. Great, when’s that? I can’t remember but I’ll check my organizer. J looks in her purse and says … oh no, I forgot it on the kitchen table … we all just cracked up.
And then we started talking how we can’t remember where we put stuff around the house. A said she is afraid to rearrange the cupboards because she won’t remember where she put things. It’s best if the stuff stays where it’s at because if she moves it … it’s lost. Well speaking of lost …. C says, you know I put those darn … you know … those breast things… they’re somewhere and do you think I can find them? That did it … we all just roared over that one.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
My blog was mentioned in an article entitled, “Cancer Survivors Discover the Power of Blogging” in the latest edition of National Cancer Institute bulletin. To read the article, go to http://www.cancer.gov/ncicancerbulletin/071310/page7.
Here is a bit of information about the National Cancer Institute bulletin as taken from their website...
The NCI Cancer Bulletin is a biweekly online newsletter designed to provide useful, timely information about cancer research to the cancer community. The newsletter is published approximately 24 times per year by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), with day-to-day operational oversight conducted by federal and contract staff in the NCI Office of Communications and Education.
To subscribe to the bulletin, follow this link http://www.cancer.gov/cbsubscribe.aspx.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
What I want people to know is that being told you have cancer; shakes you to the core. It’s such a kick in the teeth emotionally. It’s the wake-up call no one wants …. You are going to die and probably sooner than you’d hoped. No longer could I take life for granted.
So how else did this affect me? … well, it forced me to reflect on who I am and what I have been doing with my life. I ended up spending a lot of time looking back through the years, how I came to be where I am now. I felt proud and happy of my accomplishments, disappointed and sad at some poor choices and decisions. And … I grieve for the future that won’t be.
A few things I know for sure … the future I do have is all of a sudden a bit clearer. I know what I want to do. I still have a few things I want to accomplish and I especially know I want to live the rest of my life as calm and stress free as possible. I figure that much of the drama in life can be avoided and avoid it I do. I do it by downsizing and simplifying my life, by spending time with people who support my healing and by being more kind to myself. I just put more trust in myself and started following my heart. Wow what a concept!
Cancer is a life altering experience that forced me to question everything in my life. After nearly two years, I think I’ve regained some of the power I had given away to the universe. I have become more trusting of myself and for those reasons I think I am a stronger person.
Monday, July 12, 2010
As taken off their website ...
Fighting cancer is difficult enough, living with it is even tougher…that’s where the Cleaning For A Reason Foundation steps in. Cleaning For A Reason is the only national non-profit in the country providing FREE, professional housecleaning services for women undergoing cancer treatment. The Foundation, organized as a Texas Non-Profit Corporation, is raising money to provide more help for more women everywhere.
The Foundation was officially formed in May 2006 as a Texas non-profit corporation. The only criteria for a woman to be accepted into the program is verification of treatment for cancer. The Foundation extends this help to all women undergoing cancer treatment.
Cancer patients are encouraged to visit www.cleaningforareason.org and fill out the online request form for services under the “cancer patient” link. 50 applications are accepted Monday through Friday at 12 noon Central Time. Not all areas are serviced. Partner locations are located under the "locations" link on the website.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
I found this video on my blogger friend Holly’s blog, OJO from NOHO.
The video is 17 minutes long and is a...
A short film/video by the Institute of Medicine about the problems that come up after cancer patients successfully end treatment and look into follow up.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
My chemo cycle is two weeks on and one week off but because of Canada Day, my last treatment was two weeks ago. The break left me feeling pretty good … I dare say almost normal. So when D and I pulled up to the clinic it was like ugg, here we go again. I quickly snapped myself out of that “woe is me” feeling when I thought of how limited my options really are. I figured that I better be happy while I’m still able to receive treatment.
As usual, things went really well. My dose of Vinorelbine gives minor side effects … a tiny bit of nausea and some dizziness. I liken it to having a stiff drink but not in a good way. I ended the day feeling pretty good and fell asleep shortly after my head hit the pillow.
I woke up a couple of times during the nite feeling hot and sweaty. I think the house is a little on the warm side from the weather we are having.
Woke up this morning feeling a bit slow but overall really good after coffee.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Recently I came across an article in the Los Angeles Times entitled … How doctors deliver the news: It's Cancer. That inspired me to share my experience with you all on how I was told.
As I waited for the results of my first biopsy, I’ll be honest; I didn’t really think I had cancer. I thought it would turn out to be a cyst or something like that. Boy was I wrong.
I was in the bedroom; I remember the phone ringing and hearing my family doctor’s voice at the other end. I knew right away this was serious because I’ve never had a doctor call me at home. I think she said something like … “There is no easy way to say this … you have breast cancer.” I started shaking. I think she also asked something like, Are you ok? … and I replied yes. As she spoke I tried hard to remember the details of the conversation but honestly, I could only remember that someone was going to call me later with more details. I remember breaking down after hanging up the phone.
With my first reoccurrence, I was mentally more prepared and ready to receive the news. Once again a phone call came. I don’t remember much about it.
With my second reoccurrence, the one I’m dealing with now, I was at work. I remember checking my phone message and listening to my doctor’s voice. She asked me to call her back immediately. When I called her back, I was ready to hear that the cancer had come back but there was nothing preparing me for when she said the cancer had spread to my liver, lungs and bones. I am now metastatic.
Once again, she asked if I was ok and especially if I was ok to drive home. I said my office was only minutes away from home and I would be fine.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
This morning I went in for blood work for tomorrow’s chemo and boy oh boy, the lab was really lined up. So for something to do, I eavesdropped on other people’s conversations. I guess I wasn’t the only one because once the conversation turned to the high cost of parking around here; quite a few people piped up and shared their opinions. It was all kind of funny.
After my lab work was done I headed over to see my new Onc. His nurse called me into the exam room and said, “Dr. S was in for me,” as my regular Onc is on Mat leave, “and she also said that my regular Onc was in for a visit and she asked how I was doing.” Wow, I thought that was pretty nice, her wanting to know how I was doing, I really think she is the best Onc in town.
Once the nurse and I were done talking about how the last couple of weeks had gone … my Onc came in and asked if I had any lumps or bumps that needed checking. I said, nope, they’re all inside me. He did a quick physical exam and said I was good to go for chemo tomorrow.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
I received this email from the Alberta Cancer Foundation and I thought I'd share it with you ...
Leap Magazine is online
We're extremely proud to announce the debut of Leap magazine, an Alberta Cancer Foundation publication. Leap magazine is designed to ensure that as we learn more, you do, too. We hope you enjoy our first edition and will continue to find Leap a rich source of up-to-date, credible information on how you can be part of Alberta's cancer-free movement.
Why Leap? Because 16,000 Albertans will be newly diagnosed with cancer this year. For them, one step at a time just isn't fast enough. At the Alberta Cancer Foundation, we make just one promise to donors -- progress. With your help, we believe we can progress in leaps and bounds.
Click here to go to the Leap magazine website.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
All my life I’ve been a very vivid dreamer and to be honest, I haven’t liked it because a lot of my dreams tend to be more disturbing than dreamy.
Last night I had one of those unsettling dreams. I was at one of my old jobs with an old boss. She came up to me and said … I’ve been doing some reading about your disease. She said, did you know you have a 100% chance of dying from it?” Just great! I really needed to hear that!
So is the prospect of dying on my mind? Yes, but I try not to dwell on it…. and doing that is difficult.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
D asked me today how my neuropathy was doing. “I think its ok’, I said. My fingers are pretty good. I’m knitting up a storm which means my fingers aren’t terribly sensitive and I have pretty good coordination. When I was on both Xeloda and Taxotere and I definitely had the dropsy’s and some serious sensitivity issues. And it was getting worse all the time. I’ve either adjusted for it or it’s just gotten that little bit better to make it ok enough for me. I’m thinking it’s the latter.
My feet are doing pretty good too. I don’t have the greatest feeling in my feet but they too have improved; so much so that I’m confident enough to wear sandals when going out. They still feel like they have a coat of wax on them and I know that feeling will never go away.
Last year I was so clumsy with my feet, I was afraid I’d fall by not wearing solid footwear so I wore shoes and runners the whole summer.
One thing I haven’t experienced in a long time is waking up to that tingling sensation in my hands and feet. That waking up regularly to the feeling of my hands or feet falling asleep. I don’t miss that weirdness one little bit.
Tho things seemed to have improved considerably, I still need to examine my feet and hands because I know the lack of proper feeling in them can bring. There is definitely the potential for me to miss getting wounded or something.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
Yesterday I was so dozy I can’t even tell ya. Friends of ours stopped by in the afternoon for a short Canada Day visit and I was so lethargic and out of it. I just couldn’t focus or think of much to say. During conversations, I just sat there like a lump on a log. It was late afternoon before my mind came back to me and I started to do a couple of things. Sheesh … sometimes I wonder if this cancer deal hasn’t gone to my brain too.
Anyways, today is a new day and I’m feeling much better. I had breakfast, did some knitting and then it was off to the clinic to have my weekly PICC line redressing. While at the clinic, I had a nice chat with the nurse and a gentleman with skin cancer who was waiting to get his chemo infusion.
After that D and I headed off to the grocery store for the big haul. We ran everything down to nothing and I’m glad to say the fridge and cupboards are once again all stocked up.
I am so glad to have my old self back.