Goodbye Hair! See you Next Year!

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Loss of hair with chemotherapy

Anytime I read or watched anything about women and chemotherapy I always had one lasting thing on my mind, how traumatic it was for them to lose their hair. When I started chemotherapy I knew I would lose my hair but didn’t think much of it. I remember 10 years ago when my sister had cancer how helpless I felt when she lost her hair. She was 19 and at an age where it must have been so hard to deal with it. Nineteen is dating time, worry-about-what-you-look-like time. No matter who you are, that age is really hard in normal circumstances. Read more

Cancer is not a Roadblock to your Dreams

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Questions. Questions. Questions.

Questions circling through my mind like a horse on a racetrack.

  1. How will I get back in shape after cancer?
  2. How will I be strong after cancer?
  3. How will I turn this experience into something good?
  4. How will I inspire others to go through cancer with strength and grace and come out a powerhouse?
  5. What have I always wanted to do but haven’t? (Many, many things! Haha! I’m a typical Pisces dreamer. Stay on track- focus on physical feats!)
  6. What will make me feel like I am okay again?
  7. Most importantly, how can I teach others cancer isn’t a roadblock to your life or dreams? Read more

All Clear

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Happy Day! All clear cancer screening!

The feeling of walking into my oncologist’s office, sitting and waiting for results so far has not changed for me. It is hard, plain and simple. I often wonder if the feeling will ever change.

When I was waiting today, 01/14/2014, I was looking around the room with a different perspective - that of a survivor. It had me thinking about the fact that I always preach absolute positivity through your cancer journey. The truth is, sitting back and really thinking about it, I don’t know if I have expressed to my readers that it doesn’t always come natural to be positive during cancer. It is a fight to stay positive – just as fighting cancer is. It is not always easy, nothing is, but one thing I feel to be true is: positive thoughts equals positive results. Positive results look different to everyone. Your positive outcome may be an all clear, another persons may be fighting through a recurrence, and so on.  This is true in survivorship as well. Cancer doesn’t end when treatment ends. In my opinion, once you’ve had cancer you need to have a life long dedication to being a survivor, being healthy, being dedicated to your check ups, taking your meds, exercising, eating right, keeping stress levels low and maintaining a positive attitude.

Today was my 18 month check up, which is a milestone for my cancer - ovarian dysgerminoma. At this point 4 out of 5 recurrences happen twelve to eighteen months post-chemo. I am so, so, so happy to say that I am cancer free! I have been dedicated. I have been positive. And I have fought to stay healthy. It is so important to always fight. I have been so blessed to be in contact with floods of wonderful fighters and to all of you I say, it is an honor and privilege to be along with you on your journey. Fight to stay healthy and fight to stay positive in all areas of life. FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT!

Lung Leavin’ Day

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Lung Leavin' Day

I always like to share inspiring stories of survivors and stories of positivity and hope. This story fits all the above. A wonderful husband of an amazing fighter reached out to me and shared his wife’s story and I would like to share it with you. Their blog is an awesome concept. If you have time please check out their site: http://www.mesothelioma.com/heather/lungleavinday/. Given 15 months to live, she is still fighting on 8 years later!! YOU GO GIRL!!!!!! KEEP ON ROCKIN’!!!

Here’s a bit about Heather:

Eight years ago, after her only child was born, Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma – a rare cancer caused only by asbestos exposure. Her chronic illness taught her and her family the importance of acknowledging and overcoming their fears, something that prevent us all from living life to the fullest. This February 2nd marks the 8th anniversary of Heather’s life saving surgery, which involved a risky procedure requiring the removal of her left lung. It is a very special day to Heather and her family and is considered one of the memorable days of her husband Cameron’s life! They’ve coined this day as LungLeavin’ Day.

The purpose of LungLeavin’ Day is to encourage and empower others battling their own illnesses and life challenges to face their fears! On this day we celebrate for those who are no longer with us, for those who continue to fight, for those who are going through a tough time in their life, and most importantly, we celebrate life! Each year, friends and family gather at our house around a bonfire where we write our fears on a plate and smash them into the fire to represent conquering our fears.

This year, we are asking bloggers to take part in LungLeavin’ Day! We’ve created an interactive page that tells the full story of this special day, which can be found here: http://www.mesothelioma.com/heather/lungleavinday/

Here is a recent interview Heather did about Lung Leavin’ Day: http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/staff/lungleavin-day-2014-our-interview-with-heather-von-st-james.htm.

Stand Up to Cancer Team Joyful Hope Fundraiser

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A big thank you to all who participated in our first fundraising event for Stand Up to Cancer, Team Joyful Hope. All of the donations, hard work, and friendships formed through this process are so meaningful and endlessly appreciated. It is so rewarding to know we are making progress toward funding dream teams of scientists and maybe someday our little ones will not have to battle cancer. Read more

Fill a Boat Fundraising Event

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Hi all-

On 9/8/13 Nancy Corliss (my mother-in-law), will be teaming up with Acadian Nature Cruises in Bar Harbor, Maine for a Team Joyful Hope fundraising event. I am very excited to announce she has worked like crazy and has a lot of reservations. A special thank you to Acadian Nature Cruises for donating their boat for the evening! What a wonderful gesture. 100% of the proceeds will go to Stand Up To Cancer- Team Joyful Hope. Thank you to everyone for your donations toward my charity of choice and a wonderful evening on Frenchman Bay. If you live afar and cannot attend you can still donate by going to: http://www.standup2cancer.org/custom/?c=team&a=index&id=8047 Read more

After Cancer Workouts

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How I Ran a Marathon One Year After Cancer and a Baby

Hi all! I get quite a few questions about how you can possibly run a marathon 1 year post cancer. The truth is, there are no shortage of survivors adding a marathon to their journey. The thought of a marathon may seem daunting coming out of chemo. Especially when it seems like a struggle to walk to the end of the street. I’ve designed a program that starts you off slowly, combining running and walking intervals until you eventually start solid blocks of running time. This is a 28 week journey which is longer than a typical marathon training program but it is designed for people recovering from cancer. In the coming weeks I will be posting a user-friendly, printable calendar so the workout schedule is a little easier to navigate. I put this up for now because I have had a lot of demand for my approach and don’t want to keep anyone waiting.

Training Tips:

  1. Be sure to talk to your doctor before attempting to train for a marathon. Let them know your approach. Everyone is different and your doctor may recommend taking it easy for a certain window of time. For example, I did not start running until I was off of blood thinners. Read more

Challenging my Body Post Chemo

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This past weekend I pushed my body YET again and double-dog-dared it to risk everything! Fear not readers! This blog will not be turning into a blog of “Look what race I did now!”. I will however, occasionally write about progress in becoming the challenger of my body rather than being the challenged. I do find it important to write about this particular race because it was a very different kind of race, pushing the limits of my most limiting side-effects. Read more

Tell Me What it Was Like to be Told You Have Cancer

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Around the time of Gracie’s first birthday Ryan started making a film for the party including interviews of all her close family members. I have to say, thinking about my pending interview was very traumatic. I was the last person to do my interview because I kept putting it off. I knew my husband and I knew he was going to ask me what it was like being told I had cancer just after having Grace. I don’t think you can ever truly speak about what it is like being told you have cancer as a brand new mom. Mainly because it is an emotion that can’t be conveyed in words due to it being so powerful. Also it is SO hard to focus after the fact on that particular moment when you were told. All other things occurring after that news begin to cloud your judgment on what your thoughts were. Read more