Monday, April 27, 2009


There is hope after a cancer diagnosis.
It WILL get better after the cancer treatment.
And your hair WILL grow again.

Just three things I wasn't so sure of November 2008.

In November, my daughter and her family came over to do whatever it was we needed them to do. I had her help finish an organization project I started before diagnosis. The upstairs room was totally torn apart with piles of like items everywhere. Even though I didn't do much while she organized, it tired me out immensely. I had her stop when most of the task was completed. . .I was too tired to give directions while sitting in a chair. That's how sad it was.

Yesterday I was up in this same room, doing more organizing and I had a light bulb moment. Don't you just love those? I realized that I was able to move around, crawl into the long, large closet, pull out boxes, etc. and wasn't fatigued in 5 minutes. It was great to have something to measure how I feel now compared to 5 months ago.

It's so easy to focus on the negative aspects of cancer and the treatment, and what we used to be like and aren't now because of cancer. But cancer can not take away our internal self and who we are really at the core.

I continue to research the Internet to find my grandmother's relatives. I have a variant of the breast cancer gene (BRCA2) that doctor's couldn't say did or did not cause the breast cancer. Some may say, why give a flip about this, , ,why worry?

I am not worrying on this matter. It's more that I want to KNOW. Know for myself, my daughters, my granddaughters and my niece. Are there others who had breast or ovarian cancer? If so, then that person's relatives can be tested. We can test the generations to see if it truly is a hereditary gene or just a fluke of one of my genes because my mother ate too many bon bons (or whatever) while I was developing in the womb.

While I will be monitored by the medical profession for years to come, and my daughters can be hypervigilant on their breast exams and diagnostic mammograms, I just want to know -- did it, or did it not cause the breast cancer.

I have used the clinical trial creme for the neuropathy for over a week. My feet do not burn! Hallelujah! Now is this the real stuff or is it a placebo and the neuropathy healed on it's own? We'll find out in 5 weeks.

I started the baseline testing this weekend for the clinical trial of ginseng. This involved putting a cotton roll - like the kind your dentist uses - into my mouth before getting out of bed and chewing on it for 2 minutes until it was saturated with saliva. Lovely isn't it? Repeating the process 30 minutes later. The third baseline test is to do the same at nighttime before going to sleep. This is done for two days and today is Day #2. I will start with the ginseng tomorrow.

For those going through cancer treatments now, just know that it does get better. Be kind to your body, eat healthy, exercise when you can and don't be afraid to say "no". It's not a time for us to be super-people. Does this mean lay around all day on the couch or in bed? No, not unless your body is telling you to do so.

Find something good each day and focus on that. I know it's hard to do on those days when the nausea or fatigue has you by the throat. Also important is to have something to look forward to. Maybe a nice dinner during the week you aren't nauseous or a trip to see the ocean . . . just something.

Many blessings and hugs to you. Thank you for being a supporter!



  1. Hope is a life saver ... without hope who would go through all this?

    Wishing you all the best today...

  2. Hi Renee
    Glad you have hair. I can feel some fuzz but still don't have much. Does BRAC2 have the same inheritance pattern as BRAC1 (meaning is it a dominant gene?)
    Anyway, I am glad your energy is back. Cancer takes so much from us.

  3. you look gorgeous darling...and have more hair than I who is 18 months post treatment!!

  4. Renee - I see you follow Living with Cancer....I tried to add a comment but kept getting kicked off. Maybe you can reach her....She is having trouble with protecting her PICC line. Please tell her that she can get an incredibly helpful little thingamajiggy called a cast protector at any drug store...It is a blue plastic sleeve with drawstrings at both ends designed to protect a cast from getting wet. I used mine every day when I showered and never had a problem with getting the PICC line wet.......thanks, Holly

  5. Holly - I posted your message on Daria's blog. . .but just remembered that she has her's set to her approving all comments.

  6. LOVE the hair!!!!! Mine is coming in fast and thick now, too, but VERY straight! I was hoping for curls. I, too, realized how weak I was during chemo as my strength came back again. Sitting was about all I could do, and I'm not a sitter!!!!! Glad to hear you are doing better!


  7. Rene you look great. And yes without hope where would we be?

    I know I am just starting and if I can be as brave as the many women and Armand that I have read about then the battle is half won!!

    Alli Xx...

  8. Yay for lightbulb moments. I'm glad you've reached the "light at the end of the tunnel"... and I'm glad it's not a big-ass freighter :|

  9. Hi Renee, thanks for your comments on my blog, and the info on tnbc, I am just starting to learn about it... scary. I'm glad to hear you get the port out soon, I get mine in 2 days... Beth.

  10. Renee, Thanks for your continued excellent writing and insight. I have just added yhou to my Cancer Blogs Links Page. Take care, Dennis