Tag Archives: dysgerminoma blog

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!

As I Return to Blogging Regularly

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change

Hi all. Back to my weekly Starbucks routine of writing after a long hiatus while traveling. I suppose my travels are a way of still trying to make up for lost one-on-one mommy-time with my dear Gracie at the beginning of her life. As I start to write I find myself once again with coffee in hand and tears in my eyes. It must be the coffee :). I’m fine when I write anywhere else.

The song playing as I begin to write is “Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer. I don’t want to wait on the world to change. I want to change it. There is a whole world of fighters and survivors out there I had NO IDEA about until I got sick. To me it is such a shame that our society doesn’t know how amazing, inspiring, and strong this network of people is. I want to change this.

I often write or talk about the things we are doing for others and the money we are trying to raise. It isn’t for recognition. I could care less if anyone gave an ounce of recognition. Talking about it is an effort to raise awareness, and money for research :), as well as to inspire others to get out and make a difference large or small. We are small, small potatoes in the world of giving back now but we are doing it in a big way. I only hope that someday we become big potatoes giving back in a big way. This world is a learning process. Raising money isn’t easy. Friends will comment and like a post on Facebook in massive quantity regarding a picture of Gracie or our dog Frankie but if I post something about team Joyful Hope there are absolute crickets. We will learn the fundraising process and are very dedicated to doing so. In the meantime we will continue to cook for patients and counsel new moms with cancer or any woman with cancer that just wants to sit and chat over coffee or tea. If you want to chat, check out Coffee and Cancer.

The Corliss family, Ryan, Trish, and Gracie will not sit and wait for the world to change. We are going to do something about it. One day at a time.

Itching Post Chemotherapy Another Follow Up

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post BEP chemo itching

As you may have read previously, I have been suffering from chronic itching and hives post chemotherapy. My previous posts, Itching Post Chemotherapy and Itching Post Chemotherapy Follow Up have been very popular in Google search so I know there are other people out there looking for answers. I am happy to report I found my solution (for the most part)!!

After my last dermatologist visit I was determined that I would not be drugged into a sleepy coma to avoid itching. Furthermore, no other prescription had worked so far and I honestly didn’t believe this tactic would work either. For good measure I tried the Atarax and Zyrtec three times a day along with Pepcid. After a couple weeks of trying to get the insanity that was my itching under control with this method I gave up on the meds and started calling around to see if a spa around town had a steam room. I thought maybe I could get some relief with steam. I never found a steam room but talked to a spa representative that said I should get a body scrub. My instant thought was I was going to itch more after that. I WAS SO WRONG! I think all this time the crazy insane itching has been my skins toxic wasteland trying to be purged. It now makes sense to me that I had several layers of dead skin due to the chemotherapy killing my healthy cells and I needed to get rid of all of it.

Here’s how I did it!

  1. I got rid of my soap. It was drying out my skin more and leaving a film. I opted for Gracie’s soap, Just Hatched.
  2. I started scrubbing my skin every day with Lavender Scrub from Ummelina Day Spa (you may have to call them, I don’t see it currently listed on their site). I scrubbed vigorously twice a day with this stuff.
  3. I increased my water intake from 3 to 4 liters a day in an effort to hydrate from the inside out.

It seemed so easy. Within two days of starting this scrubbing ritual my itching and hives were virtually gone. I still have a small spot on my left thigh that always itches but it is certainly better than my whole body itching and covered in hives. It may just be coincidence that my itching stopped when I started down this path but it seems so closely related that it is worth reporting. Maybe some of you will benefit from this ritual. Good luck my fellow itchers.

Tell a GOOD Story

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another trip

Writing from Bar Harbor, ME today friends. Gracie and I are on a little trip visiting Ryan’s family and our friends. It is so nice to be healthy enough to take a trip! We are having a wonderful time and counting our blessings as always but I am definitely missing my hubby. :)

ON TO THE IMPORTANT STUFF!

In my experience telling someone you have cancer is like opening Pandora’s box. People suddenly feel like they should tell you every horrific story of cancer they have ever heard. Perhaps it is an ever-present uncomfortable feeling people get when you tell them you have cancer or perhaps it is just our culture to be relatively negative. Either way, it is important to me to help change the culture of cancer talk. Every story has some good in it. Find the good. Find a way to inspire and give hope to someone fighting this battle.

If you are a survivor, fighter, family member or caregiver with a good story of hope and inspiration I would love for you to share your story in the comments section of this post. It’s always nice to read a good story when you are sick. It is a good way to counteract any crazy stories you may hear along your journey. Please make this post a stomping ground of positivity. We have plenty of fighters reading this blog that would LOVE to hear a good story.

Every day is a blessing. There is always a way to be positive. Positive attitude, positive results.

Have fun writing my endlessly strong friends.

As a side note here are my golden rules of talking to a cancer patient or a mom with cancer:

        1. Please DO NOT tell a cancer patient a list of everyone you have known that has died of cancer.

2. Please DO NOT say, “Yeah, I know someone that got through cancer with flying colors and is back in chemotherapy again and almost dead”.

3. Please DO NOT tell a cancer patient all the horrible things that have happened to your friends with cancer.

4. Please DO NOT tell a new mom with cancer about all the kids you know that moms have died of cancer.

5. Please DO NOT say “Well, at least you can say you’ve lived.”.

6. Please DO, DO, DO, tell a cancer patient a GOOD story, a story of hope and promise. We know all the horrible things cancer can bring. Tell something to lift us up. Tell something inspiring. Tell something hopeful.

7. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. -Thumper

Team Joyful Hope Sets a Goal to Raise 100K by 12/25/2015

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stand-up-2-cancer

end-of-cancer-beginsstand-up-2-cancerdonate-home

When you are diagnosed with cancer, you spend a lot of time fighting for yourself. As a person that has always fought for others this was a difficult task for me. Day in and day out, I would sit at my treatments in a room secluded from the rest of the treatment center because I had a newborn and didn’t want to disturb anyone or jeopardize anything medically. I wanted to be out with everyone, talking to the elderly people that were alone. I wanted to give them companionship because I knew how much it helped having people with me during my treatments. I made a promise to myself that when I made it through this I would make a difference. I would do everything I could to help put an end to this awful disease.

We have been doing many things to give back since getting healthy, blogging to provide a place for other people struggling through this to relate, opening ourselves up for video chatting with people fighting the battle “Coffee and Cancer”, cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the patients at the chemo center to take home with them, baking, making soup, etc. Now we start the next leg of giving back and this leg is very near and dear to our hearts. While I was sick I learned about the StandUp2Cancer foundation. You may have heard of it. They take over all the major networks once a year to raise money. 100% goes to cancer research. We have started team “Joyful Hope” in an effort to raise 100K or more over the next two years. Please join us in making a difference and contribute to our campaign. No amount is too small or too large and your donation is tax deductible. Please spread the word to everyone you know. Your employer may even donate. Click here to join team JOYFUL HOPE today!

We will be doing several events to raise awareness and money. The first one is my very first MARATHON!! This marathon will be exactly a year and a day after my completion of chemotherapy, June 1st, 2013. I will be doing the Sunburst in South Bend, Indiana.

This journey of giving back and fighting this disease will be a part of the rest of our lives. After we hit this goal we will be adopting families struggling financially with the endless costs of cancer and raising money for them. We know from personal experience that cancer can devastate you financially and don’t want it to happen to others.

Click here to join team JOYFUL HOPE today!

Let’s put an end to these situations!!!

NO MORE STRUGGLING SICK IN HOSPITAL BEDS!!

Aflac Cancer Policy

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aflac cancer policy

A couple of years ago my husband and I went back and forth on whether or not to get an Aflac cancer policy. I kept saying I didn’t think it was worth the money and he kept pushing back. By the end of the evening I thought we left off deciding not to get it. Well apparently Ryan got the policy. What a life saver! It is unbelievable how expensive cancer is. Even with insurance, things can add up. With Aflac’s Cancer plan, you pretty much get a check every time you have a treatment. I couldn’t believe it when we got the first check! I kept thinking, am I seriously getting paid to be sick? Aflac has a wonderful program and awesome customer service. Although this policy was awesome we still ended up draining our savings due to all our expenses but I am thankful we had a savings to drain.

With all of the cancer in today’s society I highly recommend everyone carries this policy.

Here is the link if you are interested: http://www.aflac.com/individuals/cancer_insurance.aspx. Not trying to advertise Aflac here – this was just what we carried. Many insurances carry a Cancer Indemnity Plan and I firmly believe now from past experience – that everyone should spend some time really looking hard at investing in one of these.

Cancer Support “Coffee and Cancer”

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Cancer Support Video Chat

I am always available to talk if you are a woman facing Ovarian Dysgerminoma or a new mom facing cancer. It is always nice to talk to someone who has been through the process. I will be here to listen to your fears, your triumphs, your hurdles, your set backs, to share my experience if you would like or to give you information and other resources. Support groups are not for everybody. Sometimes it is nice to sit and have a cup of coffee with someone on video chat and just talk about things. Send me an email at mommybeatscancer@gmail.com or leave a comment below and we can schedule a “Google Hangout”. If you don’t know how to work a Google Hangout I will be happy to assist you in getting started.

The American Cancer Society is a wonderful resource to find support groups in your area, talk to a cancer specialist, or talk to a peer about your cancer 24/7.

Website: http://www.cancer.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmericanCancerSociety

More Resources to come in the next few days. Stay tuned. :)

Fertility Post BEP Chemotherapy

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acupuncture for fertility

Back to the oncologist I go!!! Something isn’t right.

My symptoms:
Extreme hot flashes 10-15 an hour
High Irritability
Joint / Bone Pain
Voice that Sounds Like a Prepubescent Teenager When Singing
Sudden Fuzzy Hairs on my Face
Vaginal Dryness (Man I hope these symptoms help someone because I totally just broadcasted that!)

Silly me! These are the classic symptoms of menopause! WAIT!!!!??WHAT???!!!!

The backstory: There wasn’t enough time between pregnancy, surgery, and the start of chemotherapy for my cycle to kick up again. My reproductive system was kind of hit three times in a very short amount of time but I didn’t ever think that I would lose my fertility. The only talk of fertility pre tumor removal and start of chemotherapy was that I would be losing an ovary and we were not going to do radiation in an effort to preserve my fertility.

There I was approximately four months post the completion of chemotherapy sitting in my oncologists office, talking to the nurse practitioner about my symptoms and she said, “You haven’t started your period yet?”. She recommended we do a blood test. The results, absolutely no trace of estrogen in my body. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I left so frazzled and upset. This to me was WAY worse than cancer.

I no longer had the say of whether or not I could bare children. I felt like I lost my youth. I felt less feminine. I suddenly realized that I may never feel like myself again. That this was the new me. I didn’t like this me. I felt like I was always angry (lack of estrogen). I felt like I looked like I was aging (lack of estrogen drying up my skin). I felt like I was ruining my marriage by uncontrollably treating my husband like a piece of dirt on occasion. I would feel the words coming out of my mouth and I honestly felt like I couldn’t stop them. He didn’t deserve this. We didn’t deserve this. I felt so out of whack in so many ways I couldn’t accurately describe it to anyone.

For a week after that appointment I balled my eyes out. You would have thought the world had ended. COULD I BE MORE OF A SPOILED BRAT OR WHAT?????!!!!! I have a beautiful child, loving husband, great family, and MY LIFE. For the love of GOD! I needed to stop crying and look at what I had, not what I lost. Just about the time I came to this realization I got a call from my oncologist to come in and see him. This wonderful, wonderful man knew I was upset and wanted to put my mind at ease. He told me that this is normal and it may be 6 months to a year or more until I regain my cycle. I felt even better with this knowledge. Later that day I called my sister and told her what the doctor said and she said “Yeah, I didn’t start mine until a year post chemotherapy.” very nonchalantly. If I could have slapped her through the phone I would have. :) That turd!! She knew how upset I was and she didn’t share that tidbit of information. Man, I gave her the what for. She’s not really a talker, I forgive her. Haha! My point is, I wish I would have been armed with this information going in. It would have saved me a lot of heartache.

A few more months passed with no signs of a period. I NEVER thought I would be wishing for a period, EVER. I decided to start acupuncture for my itching in November. A couple of sessions in I noticed I was no longer dry, my irritability was going away, and so were my hot flashes. Going in I gave them a list of things I wanted help with never thinking that acupuncture could help all of my aliments but I thought I might as well put it all out there. Why not? I couldn’t believe I was starting to feel like myself again. Holy cow I will never regret the decision to start this process.

November passed and most of December with still no signs of a period. Christmas morning, yes Christmas morning I woke up and said to my husband, “Well I guess I didn’t get my Christmas wish.”. He said, “What was that?” I said, “To get my period.” I kid you not, 10 minutes later and 7 months post the completion of chemotherapy my period started. IT WAS A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!!!!!

Ladies, three departing messages:
If you never regain fertility, it will be okay. You have your life.
Try acupuncture to ease menopausal symptoms and kick start your system.
Keep faith. It takes a while for your body to start working again. In reality we have such a smart system. Periods drain you and you are already drained. I believe it waits to come back when your body is ready to handle it.