Trying to Survive

On March 4th I was preparing for the Lymphoma Awareness subject for the month of  March.  I had spent time with many person trying to raise awareness and participation in Be The Match. Be The Match is a registry for persons to become donors for persons willing to donate Stem Cells to persons needing Stem Cell Transplants.  I began on my birthday and was assisted by many friends and family around the world to increase donors.

I went to the hospital to began the “mobilization” process (receive chemo therapy and began injections to boost your stem cells so that I could be my own donor.  In hours my life took a turn or the worst.  I had concern about growth of a particular group of nodes.  When I brought these concerns to my oncologist from December to February, I was falsely assured that the Clinical Drug Trial I was participating was working.  On March 4 I was told by the Bone Marrow Transplant doctor that my cancer was growing out of control.

My one day visit to prepare for my transplant became a 2 1/2 week stay.  I became very ill and unstable.  I have no memory of many events.  I received chemotherapy for 24 hours a day, steroids and antibiotics around the clock.  I did not realize how ill I was.

Surprisingly I was able to donate my own cells, however I will not know until after a PET scan if I will be in remission enough to receive the transplant.

Even after my diagnosis and participation in treatment, I can not over stress how important it is to be you own best advocate.  I still have a long road ahead if I am able to receive the transplant.  Even in the hospital I can to keep on to of my medical and medications.  The healthcare industry is a very SCARY place.

Please learn as much about your body as possible.  And if diagnosed with Lymphoma, saturate yourself with knowledge, options, and the best medical professions  and facilities.  I am Praying for a positive outcome.Image

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Save a Life: Be The Match!

Hair-Not!

No one likes to show the aftermath of Chemo

Guardian Knights PartyThere are Cancer patients and some others who can benefit from a Stem Cell Transplant.  The are two types of transplant, an Auto and an Allo. The Autologous transplant uses the patient’s own cells.  The Allogeneic transplant uses a donor’s cell.  Donors can be between 18-44 years of age in good health.  The process is not as many believe to be a very painful horrific process.  There is a great need for donors for people of color.  I personally am in need of a Donor’s cells because I have Peripheral T-Cell Non Hodgkin Lymphoma Not Otherwise Specified.  My cancer is not responding optimally to chemotherapy  It is my only chance for a CURE!  Won’t you please consider saving a LIFE?   It is the greatest “Gift” of all.  Go to your local hospital to inquire about Stem cell donation or go to http://www.BeTheMatch.org  PLEASE!

February: Lymphoma Awareness/National Cancer Prevention Month

February is National Cancer Prevention Month. I’d like to keep this simple. There are many resources available in print and online that you can visit to learn about cancer.

What is Cancer: Cancer is a normal cell that becomes abnormal and grows out of control. It then disrupts a tissue, organ and ultimately organ systems.

What causes Cancer?: Many substances outside of the body, but in many cases the cause is not known. Known cancer causing agent are in gasoline,smoke from house fires, cigarette smoke, pesticides, herbicides, viruses and medications.

How can you prevent Cancer?: It is NOT possible to avoid all possible agent that can cause cancer. You should limit your exposures to known cancer causing agents (carcinogens).  Here is a list of some preventive measures one can take:

1. Gasoline contains Benzene known carcinogen.  Don’t smell it, don’t breathe it in.Don’t let your children put gas in your car or lawn mower.

2. Don’t Smoke, if you do, don’t smoke around your children in cars or their living spaces.

3. Drink alcoholic beverages in moderation if you drink.

4. If you have sex, protect yourself.  Sexually transmitted Viruses can cause CANCER!

5. Read your labels on substances you put in or on your body.

6. Check the report of your public water supply.  It is available to the public. Have your well water tested.

7. If you grow vegetables at your home, find out what was on your property before your house was built.

Cancer screening is vital. Check with your physician, clinician, community care center and health department to see what cancer screening are available to you at little to no cost.  Some of the common screenings are for Cervical, Prostate, Lung, Breast, Colon and Oral Cancers. Physical examinations can check for Lymphomas, Breast, Testicular, Prostate, Ovarian and Skin Cancers.  Prevention and early detection is not only less costly, but could increases your chance for a cure or long term survival.

Do not ignore unusual pain, changes in bowel or bladder habits, prolong coughs, changes in speech, chronic hoarseness, changes in moles or warts, difficulty swallowing, changes in breast (male or female), itching, night sweats, unexplained fevers!!!

ALL cancers may affect LYMPH NODES in your body!  Knowledge is POWER!Image

January: Lymphoma/Cervical Cancer Awareness Month Ribbon Teal and White

What is Cancer of the Cervix?

The cervix is the lower part of the uterus (womb).  The uterus has 2 parts.  The upper part, called the body of the uterus, is where a baby grows.  The cervix, in the lower part, connects the body of the uterus to the vagina, or birth canal.  Cancer of the cervix (also call cervical cancer) begins in the cells lining the cervix.  these cells do no suddenly change into cancer.  Instead,  the normal cells of the cervix first slowly change into pre-cancer cells that can then turn into cancer.  These changes may be called dysplasia.  (American Cancer Society)

Because many women are screened routinely, the most common finding is an abnormal Papanicolaou (Pap) test result.  Typically, these patients are asymptomatic.

Clinically, the first symptom of cervical cancer is abnormal vaginal bleeding, usually postcoital.  Vaginal discomfort,  malodorous discharge, and dysuria are not uncommon.

The tumor grows by extending along the epithelial surfaces, both squamous and glandular, upward to the endometrial cavity, throughout the vaginal epithelium and laterly to the pelvic wall.  It can invade the bladder and rectum directly, leading to constipation, hematuria, fistula, and ureteral obstruction, with or hydorureter or hydronephrosis.   The triad of leg edema, pain, and  hydronephoresis suggest pelvic wall involvement.  The common sites for distant metastasis include extra pelvic lymph nodes, liver, lung and bone. (Medscape . author: Cecelia H Boardman, MD; chief Editor: Warner K Huh, Md and more)

From 2005-2009, the median age at diagnosis for cancer of the cervix uteri was 48 years of age.  Approximately 0.2% were diagnosed under the age 20; 14.0% between 20 and 34; 25.95 between 35 and 44; 23.9% between 45 years and 54; 16.7 between 55 and 64; 10.7 between 65 and 74; 6.1% between 75 and 84; and 2.6% 85+ years of age. (SEER incidence and Mortality)

Ladies, Please get you Pap test.  Men ensure that you Lady does!!!Morning Glory smile 002

What is Cancer?

Cancer is a disease that starts in our cells.  Our bodies are made up of million of cells, grouped together to form tissues and organs such as muscles and bones, the lungs and the liver.  Genes inside each cell order it to grow, work, reproduce and die.  Normally, our cells obey these orders and we remain healthy.

But sometimes the instructions in some cells get mixed up, causing them to behave abnormally.  These cells grow and divide uncontrollably.  After a while, groups of abnormal cells form lumps, or tumors.

Tumors can be either benign (non cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).  Benign tumor cells stay in ne place in the body and are not usually life-threatening.

Malignant tumors cells are able to invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body.  Cancer cells that spread to other parts of the body are called metastases.

The first sign that a malignant tumor has spread (metastasized) is often swelling of nearby lymph nodes, but cancer can spread to almost any part of the body.  It is important to find and treat malignant tumors as early as possible.  Cancers are named after the part o the body where they start.   For example Melanoma that starts in the skin but spreads to the liver is called Melanoma with liver metastases. (Melanoma: Understanding your diagnosis.  Canadian Cancer Society 2008)