If you have cancer.

If you had cancer.

If you know someone with cancer.

If you want to talk about cancer.

We won't pray.  We won't blame gods.  We won't give credit to gods.  

We face the diagnosis and know, it is what it is.  

To the extent that we can, we will define our own course.

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Latest Activity: Nov 26


Cancer changes lives.

We have to deal with medical profession.

We have to deal with medications.

We have to deal with new discomfort and pain.

We have to create dignity, where there is indignity.

We have to deal with family members, friends, coworkers, and strangers, in a changed way.

We resolve to go forward with strength, resilience, purpose, pride, and integrity.

We define ourselves. Cancer does not define us.

Discussion Forum

Metastasis Visualized

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Daniel Wachenheim Jun 27. 3 Replies

This video makes it easier to grasp how metastasis occurs.Continue

Tags: metastasis, cancer spread

Sean Parker to Donate $250,000,000 to Fight Cancer

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by Michael Penn Apr 13. 1 Reply

Billionaire Sean Parker who was the first president of Facebook and a co-founder of Napster will donate $250,000,000 to fund immunotherapy research to fight cancer. This type of therapy fights cancer…Continue

New Hope for Hard-to-Treat Cancers

Started by Qiana-Maieev. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Apr 7. 2 Replies

Ancient Algae Offer New Hope for Hard-to-Treat CancersPosted: 06 Apr 2016 01:57 PM PDTIn one of the oldest life…Continue

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Comment by Joan Denoo on August 18, 2013 at 9:14am

Daniel, there are at least two kinds of depression, 1. clinical (chemical) and 2. situational. Clinical is when the brain chemistry changes and pulls a person into depression that has to be treated with medication. Situational occurs when a person thinks they have no control over what is happening to them, and they can't predict the outcome. 

My depression was clearly caused by both, and when I felt that awful black cloud come over me I made an appointment with my chemo physician, nutritionist and therapist. I started the exercises of positive self-talk, guided visualization, body relaxation techniques, and talking to my family and friends to let them know I was slipping. Most of my friends are professional nurses and mental health therapists so I had help at once.

My depressions are learned, and I can identify how and why I learned to be depressed. When I was a very small child I observed my father beating my mother and hid under blankets and pillows and anywhere I could find to escape the threat over which I had no control. I learned I was helpless and when I grew into a woman I know no better. That is how I became a battered wife and failed to protect my children from abuse.

After I left my husband, I returned to school to try to understand why I had failed so horridly. First a B.S. in psychology, and then a Masters in Applied Behavioral Science at Whitworth College under the presidency of Ed Lindaman who started a program called Leadership Institute of Spokane, LIOS. I learned about helplessness and depression,and that they are learned behaviors. I was trained in techniques to take control of my life, and my depressions ended.

Until cancer. I couldn't give up being active and working hard from morning to dusk. I had to accept I had a new normal. You, my friends at Atheist Nexus, my family and friends and Cancer Care Northwest helped coach me back to equilibrium. 

I highly recommend reading Martin Seligman's works, "Learned Helplessness" and "Learned Optimism". He provides the clinical studies that explain the processes of learning, both harmful and healthy. 

My daughter, Laura, and son, Craig, (twins) are two of my best counselors. They have both had extensive training in Landmark, which is based on the same theories as Ed Lindaman brought to Whitworth College and I learned from 1977-79. Their skills started when they were 14 years old when I started at Whitworth and then grew further when Laura first took Landmark about five years ago. The whole family has followed her example. 

Authentic Happiness


Both of these programs have been called "cults" and they are anything but that. They teach a healthy way of thinking and behaving that brings about positive outcomes for those who learn the skills and those who interact with them. These skills are nothing more or less than tools for personal and interpersonal relationships. 

Comment by Daniel Wachenheim on August 17, 2013 at 3:47pm

Patricia, your attitude is inspiring.  Go with the flow, learn the new normal.  Those are almost, Zen?  Understanding, attachment to the present or past, can bring grief when those change.

Joan, I may need some of your learned optimism.  I'm introverted, and analytic, and try to keep on the line between optimism and pessimism.  Is the glass half full?  Half empty?  I'll say - it's at the 50% point.  Optimism would be better.

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 17, 2013 at 1:25pm

Mindy, I like your new photo. Your gorgeous face and bright smile, along with your great comments always cheer me. 

I am so sorry to learn of the young man's struggle with colon cancer. I hope he has the skills to take on such a challenge. The good news, these are all learned skills and can be learned at any age. We can also learn to be depressed and not know how to get out of it.

I discovered the long term effect of Learned helplessness, the condition of a human or animal that has learned to behave helplessly, failing to respond even though there are opportunities for it to help itself by avoiding unpleasant circumstances or by gaining positive rewards from Martin E. P. Seligman. He also developed the theory of Learned optimism, the idea in positive psychology that a talent for joy, like any other, can be cultivated.

These are both learned. 

Comment by Daniel Wachenheim on August 17, 2013 at 10:26am


I'm so glad you are here.  You are so important to me.  You make a difference with every post.  You have such passion, and compassion, and intelligence. 

I read on a website that it's typical to go through a grieving period, after diagnosis with cancer.  It's hard to deal with the change of perspective, plans, abilities, comfort that we take for granted. 

You are right, there is a new normal.  I hope you learn to take pride in your resilience, your adaptability, and unquenchable spirit.  It's OK to be down sometimes. 

The chemo can cause anemia, and once you are off that I think your blood count should rebound.  That should give you more energy.   I am so glad you have family and critters who make you happy.

Thank you for being here.


Mindy, thank you for your presence too!

A 20something with colon cancer - must be a genetic syndrome.  I hope it was just a limited area and he responds to surgery.  My cousin had colon cancer in her 30s.  Her doctor kept telling her she was anemic because of heavy menses, and she kept saying, no, her menses were not heavy.  Fortunately she was diagnosed, had surgery, and as far as I know is doing well 15 or more years later.

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 16, 2013 at 11:42pm

I did have a devil of a time with depression and went into fight mode with positive thoughts and visualizations, whole body relaxation techniques, I checked with my nutritionist for any suggestions, and with my chemo doctor. She found I was becoming anemic and I started on iron pills. I have a therapy appointment to get my feet back under me and after doing all that I decided this is the new normal and I can adjust to that. I feel much better, "that which you resist persists!" 

I am at Laura and Larry's home for a week, and it feels so good to have breakfast in the forest. All kinds of critters come and go. A tiny little frog came on the patio this morning and sounded like a huge bullfrog. It was only about the size of a nickel. My grandkids and great-grandkids come and tell me their adventures and that cheers me so very much. Dominic, the black lab and Spaz, the Chiwawa/Pomeranian dog make me laugh.

I feel so much better! Thanks for all your encouragement, cartoons and music. I feel the care and compassion all around the globe with my virtual friends.

I hope each one of you have a really good weekend.    

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 11, 2013 at 5:50pm

Mindy, you should know by now that I have as much fun as you with my typing errors. I can't seem to type good. It always comes out god and I usually catch it. Yes, to make such a mistake on Atheist Nexus is doubly funny. good good good good good good good good good ... just doing my finger exercises - remember piano lessons? 

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 11, 2013 at 2:25pm
Mindy, Oh Jeez! I did it again. I seem to have trouble with double letters ... and poor proof reading. Thankfully, Daniel knows what I mean and my fallibilities and we can all laugh. I promise to do better!

Patricia, what a dreadful tragedy. Imagine putting a child through all that and to not have a successful victory over cancer. No loving god would allow such a thing? Just read the Old Testament and figure out how many babies were put to violent death with their "god's" instructions. Religious history has been the cause of countless other miserable deaths. What god would sanction such atrocities?
Comment by Joan Denoo on August 10, 2013 at 11:17pm

Daniel, the dietitian gave me about an hour of instructions before I started chemo and I listed all the different things she suggested for me in my diet. Ginger was one, fatty fish for protein, cooked selected vegetables, fresh fruits, yogurt, coconut oil for stirfrying, coconut water for drinking, of course broth for flavor of soup, and dark chocolate. These are pretty much the protocol for nausea and diarrhea she recommended . 

I realized your type of cancer has risks and just know your challenges are much more difficult than my fatty tissue tumor. I also realize your cancer is not always encapsulated and those little buggers get loose and cause mayhem in other parts of the body. 

I am so sorry to learn of your dreadful week of nonstop vomiting. Keeping your electrolytes up in such situations is not easy. I assume you get plenty of calcium, magnesium and potassium to replace what you lose with nausea. 

My doctors made it clear I am to take Glutamine, even though I don't like the stuff. Here are the WebMD articles: 


I hope you are not back on the job and are able to get a lot of rest time. Take god care. 

Comment by Daniel Wachenheim on August 10, 2013 at 6:23pm

Joan, your diet sounds great.  I see you have some ginger in there, so maybe that's helpful for you.   And cloves.  I wondered about citrus oils - lemon seems to be soothing but the acid is irritating.  Maybe citrus peel.

On the survival rate for each option.....   This cancer has only 2 medical treatments, with maybe 2 or 3 more in research stages.  It does not respond to any chemotherapy or radiation therapy.  The goal of surgery is to remove all tumor, but most people have a few microscopic  cells that generate new tumors like dandelions from seeds. 

In a way it's good - the medication is much easier to take than probably any chemo.  My symptoms are not horrendous.  It's tolerable and I don't mind, except last week when I was vomiting nonstop, and I think that was a local infectious gastroenteritis and not the medication.The fatigue is limiting but I have bursts of energy.

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 10, 2013 at 4:58pm

Thanks, Daniel, for sharing your dietary experiments, what works and  doesn't, ... the investigation doesn't stop, even as the discomforts don't go away. Hang in there, dear friend. 

I pre-make 3 oz packets of fish, including salmon, cod, lake trout, herring, tuna, or catfish and keep them in the freezer. I also pre-cook rice and put it in one cup jars and make one or two cup jars of homemade chicken or vegetable stock for the freezer. 

I measure out a day's requirement of water into a pitcher and drink from that all day. I flavor it with slices of fresh ginger cooked in water for a few minutes and then refrigerated for flavoring. I sometimes add cloves and/or lemon slices and Agave Nectar. For a variety, I select mineral water; my favorite is  San Pellegrino because it is very low in sodium, high calcium, magnesium and potassium content.

At breakfast time I select from the freezer a 3-oz packet of fish, a cup of cooked rice and a cup of homemade chicken or vegetable stock to thaw. 

My daily routine is breakfast in the garden with all the wildlife with a tray of dry sourdough toast or muffins with jam, yogurt, and flax seeds with coffee and water or unsweetened cranberry or pomegranate juice mixed with 1T Glutamine to take my pills.

Midmorning I have fruit selected from a banana, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, apricots or unsweetened apple sauce. Sometimes I eat them fresh or make a smoothie with a mixture including yogurt.  

The heat usually drives me inside in time for lunch. I heat the stock with about a quarter-cup of bite size broccoli, cauliflower, baby bok choy, spinach, mushrooms, peas, or carrots. Or I toss in about a quarter cup of frozen chop suey vegetables along with the cup of thawed rice.  I cut the 3 oz of fish into bite size pieces and toss them in for a very slow poach.  

Midafternoon I have a cup of yogurt with fresh fruit selected from the same group as the morning fruit selection. 

Dinner time, I saute in coconut oil fresh mushrooms and selected vegetables from the group above, and add eggs to scramble. 

Bedtime, a graham cracker with yogurt and flax seeds, plus the ever present pills and last of the pitcher of water, or juice with 1 T Glutamine mixed in. 

I don't eat any beef, pork or chicken because they really give me the runs.

I'm happy to learn what others discovered that helps with the miseries of chemo and radiation.  Perhaps Neuropathy of the Digestive System has some secret remedies as well. 


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