Monday, July 30, 2012

Buy "Gold" Now

It feels odd to be quoting the gold bullion and coin commercials that have apparently imprinted their message into my subconsciousness, but I'm really excited about this new book. Its author, Chris Cleave, also penned Little Bee, which was a runaway sucess, and Incendiary.

In the words of the September issue of Writer's Digest, Gold is about "...two rival Olympic cyclists--one a single-minded athlete to the core, the other an emotionally torn parent to a daughter with leukemia."

When unathletic Cleave first started working on this project, he spent two months training 20 hours a week as a cyclist, so that he would better understand his subject matter. The physical exertion wreaked havoc on his immune system, which gave him the idea for coupling the story of a sick child with that of elite athletes.

To research childhood leukemia, Cleave spent time at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. He was so touched by the children he met there that this past June, he completed the HotChillee London-Paris bike ride to raise money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research. In total, his team raised over £100,000.

Since I just purchased this book, and likely won't finish it until after both the actual Olympics are over and my Aug. 7-21 chemo round, I can't comment on how good it is. But I've got a feeling it's not going to disappoint...


Friday, July 27, 2012

Dr. Goldberg Appointment

Time flies when you're a cancer patient.

No, that's not right.

Time flies when you're having fun.

Much better.

I cannot believe it's already almost been three months since my last round of the ATRA chemo. This morning, Ryan and I went to the cancer center for my quarterly consult and blood tests. We will receive the PCR remission test result back by the end of next week. This time, Dr. Goldberg also ordered a cholesterol level test. ATRA has a propensity to significantly raise cholesterol, so if the result comes back high, he'll put me on a statin.

Hopefully I won't need the drug, since it's only been less than three months since I went off Coumadin, the blood thinner. I've been enjoying feeling a little more "free." For instance, I rode my bike for the first time last weekend. (People on blood thinners are advised to avoid activities that can result in physical trauma for the obvious reason of greater bleeding.)

It's a good thing I waited, for I discovered that riding a bike is NOT just like riding a bike, in terms of being able to pick it up again. While in the driveway, I clipped one shoot onto the pedal of my racing bike and realized I wasn't wearing a helmet. Instead of unclipping that foot, I raised my other foot. Ooops. The result: driveway rash in three spots on my left leg, three massive bruises on my theft thigh, and a gash on my right ankle that I didn't discover until after my ride because the chain grease had staunched the bleeding.

Nothing like being back in the saddle of life. Given how prone to anxiety I've been since my diagnosis. I'm proud of myself for actually going on a bike ride after my rough start. It might have something to do with the First Descents trip I recently attended. The adventure helped me remember how good it feels to let go of fear enough to challenge myself. I've been thinking about what my "FD Challenge" will be. More to come on that.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fighting Together

Lately I have heard from multiple sources that my blog has been a source of strength for other cancer fighters and caretakers. For anyone who reads this who is also coping with cancer, whether as a patient or a family member/friend, my prayers and thoughts are with you.

Throughout my journey, I have discovered that the Internet can be a terrifying place. Information and the frequency of "worst case" outcomes can seemed biased toward the negative on the Internet, because often those that reach out on the Web are those most in need.

Hopefully, my blog, which I really, truly try to keep as encouraging as possible (Life IS a beach!), serves as a positive reference for those working through a cancer diagnosis. If you have come across this site as part of a broader Internet search, please please remember my negative bias point above. Use the web as a tool to educate yourself, but not as a source to feed the "what ifs."

It saddens me every time I learn of another patient. I wish I were the only one. I am a huge believer in the power of the mind, and of drawing strength from the positive relationships in our lives. If you could use one more friend in your corner, please feel free to find me on Facebook or leave a comment.

In the spirit of using the Internet to brighten our spirits, here's an amusing website I recently came across: When Parents Text.