Parenthood - Season 4Okay, this is not a post about cancer and parenthood (although I guess most of my posts are about cancer and parenthood). This is a post about cancer, and Parenthood. As in the television show, Parenthood.

I’ve never before written about a film or television show; and if you plan to watch Season 4 of Parenthood and haven’t yet done so, you should probably stop reading (spoiler alert). I have for some reason been feeling compelled to write about this particular show — and this particular season of this show — so I’m just going to do it.

One day last September, I awoke to find that my email box, cell phone and Facebook page had blown up overnight. These portals were flooded with comments such as:

“Oh my God… did you see Parenthood last night”?

“Watched Parenthood last night … tears streaming down my face thinking of you”.

“You’re in my thoughts today more than ever … watched Parenthood last night, thinking of you the whole time”.

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1fav_M3_0020I recently made the decision to seek genetic counseling and testing to determine if, given my history of cancer, my daughter was also at risk for contracting the disease. Turns out, she very well may be. My first step in the genetic testing process was to see if I carried either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. If I tested negative, I would then have the option to go deeper and do further testing. Given my known family history and all of the relevant factors, I knew I had a relatively low 7.5% chance of testing positive for one of the mutuations. So I was surprised this week to learn that I had indeed tested positive for a BRCA1 deleterious mutation. In other words, I have the cancer gene. Read More →

473299_10150909880343400_423498076_o-1I recently posted a column on CafeMom about my decision to feed our toddler an “anti-cancer” diet. Mind you, I wasn’t claiming that by feeding my child certain foods, she would never get cancer. Or that I would deprive her of occasional treats. Or that I thought I could control her diet forever. Rather, I simply talked about my choices of first table foods to introduce into my daughter’s diet, in hopes of getting her off to a healthy start and developing for her a palate for healthy foods. That’s it.

I was a bit surprised, then, when I received a flurry of pretty harsh comments about the article. I was called “nutty and sanctimonious”, among other things. Since I know that I am pretty balanced on this issue, I did not take these comments to heart.

Some comments that did give me pause, however, related to the cost of eating healthy, because I think this is a real issue. I also think there are a lot of misconceptions about it.

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photo-2Can you imagine if you had never put anything unhealthy into your body? No fried foods, candy, caffeine, soft drinks, alcohol, drugs, red dye #40, processed foods, chemicals, hormones or any of that other known bad stuff? Not to mention if you had never intentionally baked your body in the sun, smoked cigarettes or placed yourself in a cloud of aerosol hair spray daily for years? If your body was as pure and toxin-free as it could be?

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Soursop-fruitSince my cancer diagnosis a year ago, I’ve received countless recommendations for purported cures and treatments for cancer. Most of the recommendations have been respectful and well-intentioned, from friends and family members who only want to see me around for as long as possible. Others, maybe not so much.

Being a target for criticism is part of the territory for a blogger. And I learned pretty quickly that I have to have thick skin if I am to keep writing publicly about my personal life. I was just surprised in the beginning to experience open hostility from strangers who disagreed — vehemently — with my health care choices. Individuals who had no qualms (anonymously) with blasting an active cancer patient. Read More →

photo-1Since being diagnosed with Stage 3C Fallopian tube cancer a year ago, I have been concerned that my daughter might also be destined to get cancer based on her genetic history. My worries were compounded by the fact that my mother had (and subsequently beat) Stage IV non-Hodgkins lymphoma five years ago.

If my mother had cancer, and then I did, what did this mean for my daughter? My younger brother, my only sibling with whom I shared a mother, was also concerned. Was it just a matter of time before he got the Big C as well?

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photoWell, no sooner had I written about the one-year anniversary of my cancer diagnosis than I received some frightening news. Blood tests at my second 3-month check-up this past week showed a raised CA-125 protein level (that’s the cancer marker). And subsequent CT scans revealed some “worrisome” nodules around my pelvis and colon.

Not the news for which I was hoping.

My oncologist told me that there’s a 50 percent chance I’m having a recurrence of cancer(and a 50 percent chance I’m not). We will duplicate the tests and scans in eight weeks to see if a trend is apparent before making any decisions. In the meantime, all I can do is wait.

Actually, that isn’t all I can do.

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fearI’ve had several friends ask me how I’m doing and feeling in light of last week’s news. My considered response has been that on a scale of 0 to 10 – with 0 being total zen calm and 10 being a complete freak out – I’m about a 4.5. Yep, I’d say that’s still true even as of this moment.

Now, I’m much better than I was. I met with my oncologist last Friday, and I thought I was doing okay with what she told me. I was co-hosting a birthday party that night for one of my dearest friends, and I was was very much looking forward to attending. I had several people, including the guest of honor, say, “If you don’t feel like going, we totally understand”. And I knew they did and would. But I really wanted to go. Read More →

photo-2Will provide a more detailed blog update later, but, for the time being, the brief synopsis is as follows:

My oncologist acknowledges she is worried I’m having a recurrence. She put the odds at 50/50. If I am having a recurrence, this will mean that my cancer is platinum sensitive but not platinum resistant, which means I will have treatment options. We’ve decided to wait 8 weeks to check my CA125 levels and do new CT scans before making any decisions. My follow-up appt is on February 27th. In the meantime, among other things, I’m going to visualize a clean, clear abdomen and pelvis. Like pink cotton candy. No unwanted guests or evil barnacles.

CT-ScanWell, it doesn’t look like I’ll be suing anyone over this. The wishful thinking that my CA levels were raised because my body was fighting off the stomach bug I caught from my daughter was likely just that: wishful.

I learned today that there are some suspicious spots on my scans, and one nodule in particular has grown more with each of the last three scans. It is now .7 cm in size, and has been officially deemed “worrisome” by the radiologist. I don’t see my oncologist until Friday, at which time I’ll know a bit more. (I’m trying to get in sooner if possible.) My guess is that there will be more waiting – to see if my levels go up or down, and/or if the nodules continue to increase in size – before any action is taken or decisions are made.

Trying to stay present and grounded in the meantime, but I admit that I am anxious and disappointed. Will continue to update as more information is available. Keep the love and light headed this way … we so appreciate it.