Thursday, 11 June 2009

Pages 14 - 17

‘Cancer – 50 Essential Things to Do’ is a book by Greg Anderson which I used as a guide to journal what I needed to work through in the immediate aftermath of being diagnosed with Stage 4 Inflammatory Breast Cancer in February, 2006. In my head was the constant thought ‘you have Stage 4 cancer’ that thought knocked out every other thought that was in my head.

Quotes from the book will be in italics.

Make an Important Inquiry (5):

Most important information is the state-of-the-art treatment options on my type and stage of cancer.

Look for information on a body, mind, and spirit approach to overcoming cancer.

*Hold yourself accountable for having an intelligent working knowledge of the type and stage of your cancer diagnosis. Become knowledgeable on the preferred choices in conventional, complementary, and alternative treatments.

Angelique told me of a quote from Churchill ‘Remember, if you’re going through hell, keep going’.

Rethink the Statistics (6):

When you come across statistics that detail cancer incidence, mortality, and five-year survival rates – DO NOT let these statistics paralyze you.

*Statistics measure populations. They do not determine any individual case, including mine.

*No matter how difficult your situation, you must realize that there is no type of cancer that does not have some rate of survival.

Hope is my greatest ally.

Understand Your Conventional Treatment Options (7):


Research shows that surgery performed in the latter half of the menstrual cycle results in the fewest recurrences of breast cancer. (I never had surgery as I was now discovered to be Stage 4 and surgery is no longer an option as there is no cure only treatment.)

*The three outcomes which you must measure all treatments are: cures; extends life; or improves quality of life. (I am currently at the extend life stage.)

Gauge Your Confidence in Your Medical Team (8):

Intuition is important on how you feel about your team. I feel good about my team.

Conviction Versus Wishful Thinking (9):

I have a conviction that conventional treatment will help me beat cancer.

Reflect on the Treatment Decision (10):

I definitely feel comfortable with the place, St. Boniface Hospital, where I will receive my treatment. I am comfortable with the people who will give me treatment.

Conviction implies a sense of certainty.

Mobilize body, mind, and spirit.

Decide (11):

There is power in decision. The cancer journey is made up of both little and big decisions.

Decision is the spark that ignites actions.

There is power in facing the fact that you have cancer.

*Decision frees us from many of the uncertainties caused by fear, doubt, and anxiety.

Decision awakens the spirit.

*Today is the day. Now is the hour. This is the moment!

Give Only Informed Consent (12):

You need to understand clearly and completely all to which you are consenting.

*Don’t be intimidated by medical lingo. Make sure you get information in a language you understand.

*artwork by Anno Mitsumasa


lakeviewer said...

I get to be first today? It must be our lucky day, yours and mine, Renee.

I want to say that what you are going through makes us all immobile, frozen in fear and dread. You are obviously educating us and reminding us of things that you had to go through/are going through. You have become the observer in your own life, detaching enough to notice each detail and treasure the people around you.

You are our greatest teacher here. We are all learning what we must do if/when this condition becomes ours. We are learning to be open, caring, truthful and honest.

You are offering us a sober picture. Over and over, in many different ways. The part that is dark tells us how brave and strong and luminous YOU are for standing tall to this monster.

It is this SPIRIT that talks to us.

Love you. Love the SPIRIT!

Coralie Cederna Johnson said...

Powerful words of wisdom and your new banner is wonderful. Thank you for sharing the information; it helps us to understand better what the options are for so many.

Sarah said...

Good morning hon,
I was thinking as I read through this and your responses - girl you have a pair!! I often wonder as I read your blog how you do it.... lay it all out there!? Your honesty never fails to humble me and amaze!! I hope in similar circumstances that I would have half of the grace and strength that you do!! I hope your day is going well..big loving hugs, Sarah

angelique said...

I love the new header. A watchful eye but your bird is at more of a distance.

Anonymous said...

I am so happy I found Your blog Renee. I love Your new "cover" pic a lot! You painted it? I think it sooo much important that You can trust on Your team. Go ahead Renee and hold on! With love, Kristina

A Gift Wrapped Life said...

You fight head-on and this must be such an inspiration to so many people. When my son was ill, I didn't have a book, but boy did I learn to take control quick. Your posts tell people to question...this is wonderful.

Renee said...

Angelique: Just for you.

Love Mom xoxox

Mundo Mundaca said...

Dear Renee thank you for visiting my blog and for leaving your affectionate comment there.
I Read all your blog and I am impressed with your courage and determination.
You are a warrior and as warrior it will win that battle.
You are a beautiful human specimen, long for of who should be proud.
That God blesses you.
xoxo Yasmin

karengberger said...

I am enjoying learning about this book. I visited their website, too, and it's really interesting. Thank you for showing how helpful it is, and bringing it to light so that it can benefit others. God bless you!

Julie Fillo said...

You have a gift for finding art that expresses your words so well. The boat on the big angry sea.
Your blog is now officially my first read of the morning. Your pulse.

Sonia ;) said...

I love the new header sweetie. I really enjoy you page posts. I think liking the doctors is a such a great thing. My dads doctors were awesome...and truly sad when he died....Matter of fact the family physician he came to be with her when he moved here is my sons Doctor now...And he is a sweet soul. I thought long and hard about masks...Hugs

Sonia xoxo

Shelly said...

You are and always have been such a Brainiac ...”look for information on a body, mind and spirit approach …” I love the way your mind works!

studio lolo said...

That's you at the helm Raven Sister, taking charge of your treatment and moving forward.
I love the Churchill quote. I may be referring to it myself this next month ;)

Angelique's observation is a good one. I love it!

I should be at the new place by July 10th.

love you,

Deborah said...

I forgot to tell you yesterday how much I love the new header. Quite stunning. I read the comment you just left me. Teehee. It was ever so lovely dancing with you and the faries in the garden last night. "Serenity is a moonlit garden". I am still sparkling from their magic dust. **blows kisses** Deborah

Anonymous said...

Hey Renee!

Congratulations, you are the first to receive my blogger award: The "Madtexter Manic Muse Award"

The award goes to loyal bloggers who inspire me.

Stop by my blog to pick it up!

~ ennui ~ said...

You are a strong woman indeed! Surely an inspiration to others.....

Sayli said...

Its a nice Header. how r u tday?
and you r right i am gng on vacation on 18th june. thanks for ur wishes.
renee i haveput up my art work on my art blog
if u get time please do check out.
your suggestions are valuable ..take care.

Aleksa said...

Hi dear,your new head-er is brilliant,:O) you are waching it carefuly but,indeed it is on a distance.Think of you and your loving girls,ciao Sandra

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Great Post..Simply Amazing !!Also I Have Started My Own Website And Would Like You To Have A Look At It.I Would Love To Have Your Comments On That Also.Unseen Rajasthan

Meghann said...

I'm glad you are doing okay, and I hope you have a good day today :)

Angela Recada said...

Hello, dear Renee,

"I have a conviction that conventional treatment will help me beat cancer." YES!

"*Don’t be intimidated by medical lingo. Make sure you get information in a language you understand." - YES

You are a wise and wonderful inspiration to us all, dear Renee.

Love you,

Jen said...

I love this: "Decision is the spark that ignites actions." I love this book from all that you've shared. And I thank you again for sharing your experience. You have the best outlook and strongest spirit! You are helping so many others just by being you :)

Anonymous said...

We all need to be are so so so witnessed sweet Renee...and way beyond the cancer.
Your new header is stunning but is sadder than the previous misses the light the other one had..I wish to see the blue in your eyes and around you and a wise light smile...that's how I see you. This bird is not circling your's sitting on it...I would shoo her away.

Anonymous said...

Renee I love that you share these intimate details of your journey! I admire you so much for your strength, your determination and your beliefs. I know that you hear this all of the time, but you really do inspire others with your courage and your honesty!
Love and hugs to you

yoborobo said...

Miss Renee, as usual I am awestruck by your courage and your forthrightness. I have no idea what demons you must face down each day, but I do know this: you have made the decision to live and love. It comes through in everything you write. What a gift for all of us, who get to know you just a little bit, when we read your words.

Keep kicking ass, my friend. xoxox Pam

Ces said...

Renee, another excellent post, evidence that you are an active participant in your care which helps so much in relief and healing.

I was at a meeting today with three fabulous women. We were in our fifties, (51 to 53)and the energy and enthusiasm in the room was difficult to contain. I was there with another Gemini and at one point someone closed the room because they thought we were fighting when in fact we were merely expressing our ideas intensely and quite passionately. What were we discussing? Hah! A problem encountered by a nurse who documented on a patient's chart that created a medication order that was not supposed to have been automatically created.

Anyway, it was great to be in the same room with these fabulous, intelligent, passionate, intense and dedicated nurses and social worker who are true advocates of safe and quality patient care. As I am prone to fidget and wander, I grabbed a card on the table. It was about cancer and it made me think of you. It read:

What Cancer Cannot Do
It cannot cripple love
It cannot shatter hope
It cannot corrode faith
It cannot destroy peace
It cannot kill friendship
It cannot suppress memories
It cannot silence courage
It cannot invade the soul
It cannot steal eternal life
It cannot conquer the spirit
Cancer is so limited

Author Unknown

My Gemini friend is a breast cancer survivor and her zest for life is so infectious. I cannot, but celebrate life when I am with her.

And it goes the same here in your blog too!

Lori ann said...

Thank you for everything you share Renee. You help me understand.

I love the new painting on your header.

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Renee,

I love your new Banner.
The Churchill quote is great.

Sending hugs

kj said...

renee, i'm another broken record. i'll be back to read and respond. for now, i just want you to know you are a bad influence and you encourage me to take prickly risks: so it seems the survey's on its way. my staid dignity is up in arms....


Marie S said...

I am going to hold you to our deal.
Warrior Raven Mother Superior Woman Renee.
Huge hugs,

Rob-bear said...

As I'm new to this blog (first time reader and commentator) I really feel that I've walked right into the middle of something huge.


OK, carrying on, . . .

1. Love the header. A bit strange, but I love it.

2. I obviously had no idea you were facing these kinds of health challenges. What a sad state of affairs!

3. As someone trained in medical ethics, I'm looking at what you've been reading, and it think it is excellent. I really appreciate your approach to this, too. You're a really gutsy person with a strong spirit.

4. Notwithstanding what I've said, there may be some "complementary" medicine that would be useful. (My own doctor practices "normal" Western medicine. But he also practices "complementary" medicine, and teaches it at the Medical College of our University.) If you're looking to go down that road, make sure you're talking to someone who knows what s/he is doing, and keep the hospital people up on what your trying. "Complementary" medicine may, or may not help deal with symptoms or underlying issues in your case, but it is a "second line" resource. I think the first thing is to keep reading your book, and working on that.

Blessings on the "long haul."

Anonymous said...

Oh dear Renee, I do believe the mind is capable of healing the body. Keep believing and hoping and I will be right here sending those same thoughts your way. You are a strong and amazing woman. I'm so glad I met you. Truly I am!

Woman in a Window said...

"Remember, if you’re going through hell, keep going’." That is some powerful stuff.

I don't know. I'm thinking we have to rename cancer. I think it needs another name. A smaller name. Something inconsequential. Not because it is, but because
body, mind and spirit are so much more powerful. I'm just learning of the potential. It is astounding. I so wish you well, big ass-kicking well.

Manon Doyle said...

Renee! You have the greatest spirit and fight that I've ever known! I know I've said this before but you are an inspiration in many ways girl!

Silke said...

Hi Renee, thanks for your sweet comment on my blog! :) I love your new banner - it's beautiful! And nice that the bird is there, but no birds circling close... You are an inspiration!! Hugs, Silke

L.Holm said...

Your spirit, wit and love are what initially drew me to your blog. I'm 4 years out, Stage II invasive ductal. I can't imagine the trip you've been on. A friend of mine has be stage 4 for fourteen years. Like you, she has a tenacious, joyous, often irreverent, no-holds barred outlook. She's a retired English teacher, and, like you, continues to open minds and to inspire. You are a gift.
Great new header art!
xo Liz

kj said...

first, i loved what l holm said about her friend 14 years out. that means you're good for 28 years, and hopefully so is she. don't ask me to explain my math. just take it as fact please.

now, on to the more pressing issue: okay renee i use you as my excuse to do the survey. i'll say it is a sacrifice for you, that it is information you desparately need, that it is imperative that i risk my otherwise sterling citizenship for the service of my dearest moon sister, ms. renee who deserves only the best.

then, if things don't work out so well, i will hide under a rock and enjoy all the tintilating excitement.

in other words, i'm blaming this on you. and i know you don't mind one damn. love you today, kj

Sue said...

Renee, I always find your "pages" posts so enlightening and enpowering. To cope and deal with what you are facing has to be the most daunting challenge ever and to show the bravery and courage - and wisdom that you exhibit is so inspiring to all of us.

Churchill ‘Remember, if you’re going through hell, keep going’.

Brilliant quote!

I love your new banner! Thought provoking.


Elizabeth said...

These words of wisdom are good for the decisions that I face with my own daughter. Thank you for posting them and for your commentary as well. You're such an inspiration (I'm sure you're tired of hearing that!) -- thank you...

Bella Sinclair said...

Hello, my sweet angel in pajamas. How are you this evening?

Things are down to crunch time, and I'm starting to panic a little, but I can never forget to stop by here and see what mischief you've been up to. Coming here comforts me.

These are some mighty scary waters. Reading these journal pages, I get the impression you were really suffering emotionally at this point. Your words were brief and almost mechanical. Perhaps I am wrong. I hope I am wrong. Regardless, I hope going back over these journal pages helps to reaffirm your convictions and shows you just how far you've come, how much of a survivor you are.


Prometheus said...

'Remember, if you’re going through hell, keep going’

That is an awesome quote. Ive never heard it before. It put a big smile on my face! I will remember it next time things get bad.

Thanks for that :)

Baino said...

I can't read these any more. You're amazing and resiliant and brave and analytical and inspiring when all I see is a fucktard of a disease. Do you have an email? I don't like 'conversing' via comments. Up to you. And yes, with me, what you read is what you get. You just don't get all of it hehe!

A Cuban In London said...

I loved that quote by Churchil. I wonder in what circumstances he said it?

'Conviction implies a sense of certainty.'

How true. And I believe that that is the beginning of recovery or acknowledgement of one's condition. Then, Churchill's quote becomes more bearable.

Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Anonymous said...

Renee, I have an award for you.
Love your new header!
Have a great day!

ruthie said...

So admiring your strength, your honesty & your sharing. i am passing your blog name to a very close friend in the knowledge that what you write here will be help indeed x

yoborobo said...

Renee - That is one of the nicest compliments you could give me! xox

Dave King said...

Your attitude shows courage enough to combat this ugly thing. I have a friend who is facing terminal brain cancer. The pair of you put me to shame. I am sure that you are adopting the right approach to see it off. Our prayers are with you.

Ribbon said...

You are awesome Renee.....

xoxoxo Ribbon

Anonymous said...

Quote from your May 16, 2008 post

"Once again we were all in the same boat and the fact that death was inevitable and that we can still enjoy our life helped me."

Look clearly at that boat, I see the sisters gathered in a circle creating the net. Tykerb is now available in Canada!