By Linda Ryan
I'm working hard to get back to my pre-cancer fitness level. I've struggled to find motivation to run the way I did before and during chemotherapy treatment when my cervical cancer recurred.
Oddly, I found my running rhythm during a weekend that was so tragic for our country and a city I love.
It has been 17 days since I walked down Boylston Street past the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon. I was on Boylston Street 10 minutes before the explosions that killed and left many people injured.
I'm blessed and was blessed on April 15 to not have been injured that day.
I can say with certainty I walked by the two men who committed the horrible crimes in Boston.
Recently in Survivorship Category
By Linda Ryan
In early April, the first guidelines on care for sexual problems were published by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN).
These guidelines are included in their new Survivorship Guidelines.
Since cancer survivorship begins as soon as someone receives a cancer diagnosis, the guidelines can improve care for both patients who are still planning their cancer treatment and those who are undergoing cancer treatment or have finished active therapy.
Sexual problems are common among cancer patients
Sexual problems are, unfortunately, a very common side effect of cancer treatment. Sexual problems affect at least half of patients who've had prostate, breast or a gynecologic cancer; they also can occur after chemotherapy or radiation to the pelvic area or brain.
The problems are usually caused by physical damage to the nerves, blood vessels and hormones involved in a normal sexual response, although emotional issues also play a role.
By Joey Tran, MD Anderson Staff Writer
Eddy Davis would have enjoyed teaching golf no matter what. But he has an appreciation for life, and health, that few pros can understand.
Since becoming a golf professional in 1994, Eddy Davis has excelled as a published golf illustrator and tournament calligrapher, an avid golfer who considers himself the "resident artist" at the Jimmy Clay-Roy Kizer Golf Complex in Austin, Texas.
Fear and questions
When he faced a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin B-cell lymphoma in 2003, he feared the unknown and had thousands of questions for his doctors. His golfing buddies. His wife. And himself.
But no one ever questioned the courage and determination that continues to prove the experts wrong.
By Linda Ryan
Yesterday, I visited with my 100-year-old grandmother, Nana.
By all accounts, she is a healthy woman. When she was 94, she told me in her mind she is 49, but her body says she is 94.
She lives a few miles away with my aunt and uncle. She can't be left alone as she isn't very agile or steady on her feet.
My uncle thinks her mind can move much faster than her body, which causes her to fall. That makes sense based on her self-evaluation at 94.
Nana has a home health aide who comes weekly for a few hours. The aid helps her with any jobs that she wants done.
Nana invited the aid to join her for lunch yesterday. I asked Nana what she wanted the aide to do for her while she was there. Nana said, "Well, I want to go for a walk." I told her that I thought it was impressive that, at 100 years old, she wanted to walk.
By Tom Barber
I'm a 58-year-old lung cancer survivor.
A great thoracic surgeon at MD Anderson, Ara Vaporciyan, M.D., removed my large tumor by doing a lobectomy of my upper left lobe in August 2009.
I participated in a clinical trial for two-and-a-half years after surgery. It involved some painful injections and side effects, but nothing as bad as what many patients go through.
Now, I'm training for my first triathlon.
Lung cancer in my family
Three of my immediate family members have had lung cancer.
I was my oldest sister's primary caregiver until she died peacefully in my arms in 1995. So, I know what caregivers go through. How it changes the direction of their lives.
My next sister helped me a great deal with our oldest sister. Like me, she's now a lung cancer patient at MD Anderson.
By Judy Overton
The psalmist wrote, "From the mouth of infants and nursing babes, Thou hast established strength." For more than 20 years, from the cord blood of babes, cancer patients have gotten a second chance at life.
Flavio Lopes Ferraz is one of them.
Bone marrow provides the standard of care transplant, but the Brazilian attorney found himself without a viable family marrow donor when he was diagnosed with leukemia seven years ago. His only option: cord blood.
"Our first choice is always to find a donor in the family," says Elizabeth Shpall, M.D., professor in the Department of Stem Cell Transplantation and medical director of MD Anderson's Cord Blood Bank.
"However, usually only one in four patients has a member in the family who can donate marrow, because of the gene pool and how the genes combine," Shpall says.
Lifeline to a cure
With the first cord blood transplant performed in France in 1988, physicians found cord blood -- rich in blood-forming cells -- provided another option toward a cure for patients with leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening cancers and blood diseases.
By Shaun Sweet
In January 2007, I had a mole removed from my right shoulder that led to my diagnosis of melanoma.
Within six months, I had become a stage IIIC melanoma patient who had had two surgeries, one month of high-dose interferon and one month of interferon as self-injected shots.
In January 2008, tests showed the melanoma had spread to my liver and the lymph node in my neck. I was now diagnosed with stage IV melanoma.
My oncologist in Michigan was willing to fight as long as I wanted. However, I wasn't given any hope of surviving.
I was advised to go on disability and get my affairs in order. I was 43 years old, with a wife and two young daughters. As far as I was concerned, death wasn't an option.
By Holly Easley
My friend, Julie, a cord blood transplant survivor, wrote me a sweet note a few weeks ago. She mentioned that she was trying to find her "new normal."
As a stem cell transplant survivor, I've recently been thinking a lot about it myself, and struggling.
I catch myself saying, "Whenever I'm off my immune suppressant drug, sirolimus, I can do such and such," And then, "What if that never happens?"
I had to take off my rose-colored glasses and realize that "normal" will never be the same as it was before cancer.
This doesn't mean it's bad. It just means my life is different.
I think it's impossible to go through cancer without being changed.
In early December, I got sick with a sore throat. It was the first time I'd been sick since my transplant at MD Anderson a year-and-a-half ago.
By Megan Silianoff
My most recent appointment at MD Anderson took place a week before Christmas. The hospital was decked out with trees, wreaths and red bows. There were even carolers singing outside the diagnostic lab where I was waiting to get blood drawn.
I sat on the outskirts of the lab -- partly so I could hear the music and partly so I could keep an eye on my husband, Danny, and our newly adopted baby. They had a front row seat at the show.
Danny and I began navigating the adoption process between my second and third surgeries on my ovarian area and breast. At that point, we knew having biological kids was no longer an option for us.
How the adoption process is like cancer
The adoption process is a lot of things: tedious, long, expensive and many other adjectives that aren't appropriate here. But adoption is similar to cancer in that you just do what you have to do to get through it. You can't really think about it. You just go into autopilot, put your head down and wait for it to be over.
By Marcy Kurtz
You know that sensation between when you step off of firm ground that's high up and when you land again? The space in time where you have no footing and you don't know where you'll land or even if you'll land in one piece?
One minute you have the rock-solid, dependable earth beneath you, holding you up, and the next you are just free-falling. I have that feeling.
I'm 20 months out from my last chemotherapy treatment and 15 months from my last medical procedure related to my battle with uterine cancer.
Struggling to call myself a survivor
I'm a cancer survivor.
However, the fact that I still count my survivorship time in months instead of years is a big part of why I feel like I'm falling off a cliff. I'm far enough away from my grueling treatment regimen and side effects that I feel completely healthy and totally healed -- at least physically.
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- Cancer survivor: What I learned about myself at the Boston Marathon
- Sexual problems and cancer: Don't ignore it
- B-cell lymphoma patient gets back into the swing of life
- Cancer patient: How exercise makes a difference
- Lung cancer survivor trains for triathlon
- Cord blood provides a life-saving option
- T-cell therapy helps father overcome metastatic melanoma
- Cancer: We didn't deserve this
- My new normal: Life after myelodysplastic syndrome
- Adoption after cancer
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