As a cancer survivor, it would be nice to hear people wish one another a “Healthy” New Year instead of the common “Happy” New Year.  Think about it.  Happiness is a choice.  I can wake up each day and set my intension on being happy and attracting positivity into my life. 

When it comes to being healthy, I don’t have the power to be healthy.  Don’t get me wrong, I can focus on being healthy.  I can do things like watch what I eat, not smoke, exercise and more to stay healthy.  But I could not control getting cancer.  It was not a choice.  What was a choice was my attitude towards it all.  I made a choice to be a cancer survivor.  I decided to fight the fight.  I did what I had to do to beat it!  You can to!!

May 2012 bring you HEALTH and HAPPINESS!

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As soon as I read “What Cancer Cannot Do” I felt my inner cancer SURVIVOR come out.  We tend to give cancer a lot of power.  It is part of the process to start blaming changes in our lives, relationships, outlook, attitude and choices on cancer.  The real deal is that each one of us has the power and inner-strength to focus on what we CAN do and what cancer CANNOT do.  It is a powerful exercise. 

I started thinking about what else could be added to the list.  I’m sharing it with all of my blog readers and asking you to add to the list as well.  Here is my version:

Cancer is so limited…

It cannot turn my world to darkness.

It cannot make the beauty of nature disappear.

It cannot take over my being.

It cannot drain my creativity.

It cannot silence my voice.

It cannot prevent me from spreading awareness and hope.

It cannot come between my connection with a Higher Power.

It cannot stop me from laughing and smiling.

It cannot take my will power.

It cannot make me give up.

It cannot take away my joy.

It cannot change my purpose in life.

I’m sitting in the waiting room at Labcorp listening for my name to be called.  Another “post-cancer follow-up” tour has begun.  I’ve been doing this tour twice a year now for three years.  The first stop on the tour is at Labcorp where I get my blood work done.  This is the stop where I begin to notice the worry and thoughts about “what if” come into my mind.   The second stop on the tour is at the radiologist’s office where I get a thyroid ultrasound.  The tour ends at my endocrinologist’s office where we go over the results and go from there. (They just called my name.  I need to go back to the next waiting room now!)

Ok, I’m back.  I must say, that was an uplifting experience.  The lab tech who drew my blood greeted me with a smile.  She was upbeat and has a positive attitude.  This is usually not the case.  I noticed a box on her workstation of Crayon Bandages.  I asked her what they were.  She walked over, took out a red one, stuck it over the gauze on my arm and said, “Here you go.  Let’s make this fun!” 

As I left Labcorp, I thought about how attitude goes a long way in life.  It is so easy to get caught back up in the cancer attitude and feel down when going back for medical treatment of follow-up procedures.  I tend to forget that there is a choice.  It doesn’t have to be a negative experience.  It all starts with my attitude. 

I kept the red crayon bandage and put it in a place where I would see if everyday.  It will now serve as a reminder for me to check my attitude.  It’s the little things like a red bandage that can deliver a big message and lesson in life.

For years, I have shared my cancer survivor journey on this blog.  In turn, many of you have left comments in response to many of the blog posts.  (Thank you!! You all rock!) I’d like to magnify that by opening the stage for all cancer survivors to use their voice by commenting at the end of this post.

You can voice anything through your comments, as long as it is relates to your cancer survivor journey.  This is your space to connect with others, help others, vent, inspire, and give back.  For many of us, cancer can drain our energy, darker our spirit and quiet our voice.  Fight the Fight!! Speak up and use your voice by sharing your comments!  If it helps, here are some questions to get your minds going:

  • Where are you in your cancer survivor journey?
  • What lessons have you learned from having cancer?
  • What gets you through the fear and difficult times?
  • Are you putting off any kind of medical follow-up like a doctor visit, scan, blood work?
  • How has your outlook on life changed?
  • Has cancer had an impact on your relationships with your spouse/partner, children, family, friends, co-workers, self?
  • What would you tell someone who was just diagnosed with cancer?
  • Did you find an inner-strength and or stronger connection with a higher energy, spirit or source during your cancer survivor journey?
  • What have you done to give back and help others fight the fight?
  • Has your cancer survivor journey inspired you in some way?  If so, what did you do with that inspiration?
  • Do you still feel stuck in a “cancer mindframe” even though you’re in remission?
  • Are you living life beyond cancer?

If you would like to comment on one of the questions or more, then go for it! If not, please voice your own thoughts.

Thank you!!

June 5, 2011 marks the 24th annual National Cancer Survivors Day.  I feel so grateful to be one of the estimated 12 million cancer survivors in America.  Today is a day that I reflect on my journey.  According to the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation site, ” Hundreds of communities worldwide will host events on this day to celebrate life and demonstrate that life after a cancer diagnosis can be meaningful and productive.  National Cancer Survivors Day is a treasured annual celebration of life. Joy and hope, camaraderie and faith, and triumph over adversity will be on full display. It is a day for everyone, whether you’re a cancer survivor, a family member, a friend, or a medical professional. This day provides an opportunity for cancer survivors to connect with other survivors, and recognize the healthcare providers, families, and friends who have supported them along the way.”

So many people, organizations and groups come together on this day to unite.  LIVESTRONG created a page with Stand Up to Cancer that allows survivors to express themselves.  There is a space on the page that links to your facebook status showing the answer to the question, “What Do You Want to Say to Cancer?”

“How are you going to honor this day?”  That is my question to you.

 Below are a few sites with wonderful social networking communities for anyone touched by cancer.  If you know of additional sites to add, please leave them as a comment.  Let’s help one another by sharing resources and building a strong community of cancer survivors and the ones that love us.


            

            

        

           
             

I went to the dentist yesterday for a routine check up and cleaning.  (I’m happy to report that I have no cavities!)  As the days got closer to my appointment, I found myself thinking about the dental x-rays and wondering about radiation exposure.  As a cancer survivor, the last thing that I want or need in my body is more radiation.  The RAI (Radioactive Iodine  – also known as I-131) was more than enough for me, thank you.  I know that there is radiation in the x-rays, but didn’t know how much. 

Knowledge is Power!  I have the means to find out and educate myself on radiation.  And that is what I did.  I started with the FDA site and found an article called “Reducing Radiation for Medical X-rays” that had tons of information.  I didn’t know the specifics about x-rays until I read it in the FDA article.  It said “X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation that can penetrate clothing, body tissue, and internal organs. An X-ray machine sends this radiation through the body. Some of the radiation emerges on the other side of the body, where it exposes film or is absorbed by a digital detector to create an image. And some of it is absorbed in body tissues. It is the radiation absorbed by the body that contributes to the “radiation dose” a patient gets.”

The FDA also had this short video on their site about radiation and x-rays:

The more research I found, the more concerned I got.  Advancements in technology are leading to new kinds of scanners, like the cone-beam CT scanner used at many dental offices.  According to the NY Times article Radiation Worries for Children in Dentists’ Chairs, “Some states have in effect no inspections of dental X-ray units,” said Dr. G. Donald Frey, professor of radiology at the Medical University of South Carolina and a past president of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine. While inspectors generally evaluate machine performance, few attempt to measure the overall radiation risk to the patient’s organs.  “States tend not to want to regulate the practice of medicine or dentistry,” Dr. Frey said.

The real “jaw dropper” was the video called “The Price of a Smile” posted by the NY Times.   This video digs a little deeper into some of the new technology embraced by some dentists and orthodontists.  It really makes you wonder if money has become more important than health.  Here is the video:  http://video.nytimes.com/video/2010/11/22/us/1248069363524/the-price-of-a-smile.html

My vision for this post was to share information on radiation and x-rays used in the dental profession as well as other medical professions.  However, after reading a few articles and watching a couple short videos on the dental industry’s use of x-rays and scans, I found more than I expected.  It was more than I wanted to be “exposed” to. 

As for my dental visit, I was never even asked to have any x-rays done.  I had them over a year ago, but they did not see the need for them during my visit.  Go figure!  (Oh and I’m happy to report no cavities.)