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: Jan 5


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 W Jun 27, 2016. 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, 2016. 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, 2016. 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 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 W 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. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 10, 2013 at 3:18pm

Sentient, I share your concern about your doctor's suggestion to stop meds for a week. I have a few questions, not for you to answer me, but the ways I would go about making a decision. What are the pros and cons of each option? What is the survival rate for each option? What is your prognosis? Get another opinion? 

Comment by Daniel W on August 10, 2013 at 12:46pm

Here's a link to webMD regarding ginger for nausea during chemotherapy.  


By the end of the first day, patients who took the two lower doses of ginger -- which Ryan says contains the equivalent of one-quarter and one-half teaspoon of fresh or dry ginger -- rated their nausea as 1 or 2 points, meaning they had no or very slight nausea.  In contrast, those who took a placebo rated their nausea as 4 to 5 points, meaning they had a lot of nausea.  The higher dose of ginger also worked, though not as well. The benefits were maintained for the four days of the study.

This is a link to medline regarding ginger for nausea.  

I should say, I'm not normally a fan of herbal remedies.  But culinary herbs and spices are in our diet anyway, and if they help with a troublesome symptom, I don't see anything wrong with them.  The science is less established than an FDA approved drug, and never will be solid - no mega profits in sipping some peppermint tea.  But I know if I am nauseated, and if it is less, that's good.

Comment by Daniel W on August 10, 2013 at 12:25pm

Joan, thanks for describing your experiences.  Your strength is inspiring.

MIndy thanks for describing your struggle.  It sounds a bit like chemotherapy without the cancer and drugs.  Not pleasant at all.

For me the 3 main symptoms have been nausea, diarrhea, and fatigue.  All are common side effects of the medication, and all could be results of the surgery and changed anatomy, and there could be a role of microscopic cancer cells that don't show on scan.

I finally decided to pay closer attention to what I eat and what I do and see if I can make the symptoms less problematic.

For the past 40 years I've been drinking 4 to 8 cups of coffee a day.  I love the smell and taste and ritual.  I drink it black, and use purified water, grind my own beans.  Thinking about timing and that I drink more at work, and had more symptoms at work - cut way back on coffee.  Now 1 cup a day.  

I also drink a fair amount of fruit juice.  I discovered that acidic juices make me run to the bathroom within about 30 minutes of drinking them.  So I stopped those.

I've also cut out most dairy.

Now I've been drinking tea.  Flavored or herbal.  Tea with cinnamon, clove, or mint, soothes my stomach and colon a lot.  I'm thinking it's the essential oils, like menthol and maybe cinnemaldehyde in cinnemon and eugenol in clove oil, that have those effects.  Whatever the reason, I'm a lot more comfortable.

I moved my medication from am to pm, and I take it with apple sauce.  Apple sauce is high in pectin and lines the stomach, and smooths out the medication release.  It helps me a lot.

I starting telling that to my oncologist and he interrupted me and said we should just stop medication for a week.  Which floored me - this is a fast growing cancer, and there are only 2 medications that are well established to stop it for a while.  And the other one has just as much nausea, diarrhea, and fatigue, as this one.  I can deal with those symptoms, I just wanted some guidance.   I'm starting to be not impressed with him.  We'll see.

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 10, 2013 at 12:18pm
Mindy, let's hope the researchers continue their search for a complete cure. I can't imagine living that long with such a misery. You indeed have strong genes and courage!
Comment by Joan Denoo on August 10, 2013 at 10:50am

Neuropathy of the Digestive System is new to me. It must have taken many experiments to find what works for you. That takes a lot of determination and persistence. Good for you! I hope there is a cure. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 10, 2013 at 9:56am
March 19, 2013, my primary physician called to tell me my most recent breast exam and follow up revealed cancer. On Sept 4, I will have completed my 16 weeks of chemo, and on Sept 5, I start radiation with what they call a “simulation” in which they take measurements and figure out how to dodge my pacemaker, lungs and heart in order to “hit” the left breast cancer spot. That left side has caused problems with the pacemaker and heart. So far, so good. I expect to be finished with radiation five-days a week for six weeks on Oct 11.
Dr. Fairbanks, the radiologist, explained that although the cancer was found early, we started treatment immediately with surgery > chemo > radiation, because one is a very aggressive form of cancer, the other is just an ordinary cancer.

That will be seven months of living, eating, breathing, thinking, paying attention to my cancer.

The bad part of all this is the nausea, diarrhea, unknown and unfamiliar procedures.

The good part is I have experienced no pain caused by needles, knives, and awkward positions on strange pieces of equipment. No pain whatsoever!

My teams began to form at once, the family rallied in ways beyond my reasonable expectations even joining in a “shave Joan’s head party”, my medical team works together in a seamless flow of coordinated appointments and procedures, my neighbor team rallied and offers assistance, good wishes, and shared stories, my friends team rose to the occasion sharing their expertise in nursing, social services, mental health processes, and of course, my Atheist Nexus virtual team generously give encouragement, share histories, and funny thoughts.

In the Chemo Room, I’ve observed loved ones holding emesis basins as patients wretched, people just starting treatment with eyes revealing fear and anxiety, others finish treatment and they get a big group cheer as we send them on their ways, and I observe people who are alone, look lonely and afraid. My daughter and granddaughters reach out to them in the most loving, compassionate ways to bring them beverages or snacks or blankets and encouragement.

Life offers many opportunities to confront challenges with courage, intelligence, and determination. I expect to overcome this cancer challenge. I still have the fighter characteristic that seems to be so necessary for making life healthy, happy, peaceful, even as the warrior in me remains.
Joan Denoo, 2013-08-10
Comment by Daniel W on August 9, 2013 at 10:24pm
Patrica, your approach sounds similar to mine. I have taken the attitude of what do I need to do and how and when. My cancer is faily rare. Some of the optimism by the gastroenterologist and surgeon and oncologist were incorrect but I dont know what to make if that. Also they are not very good at managing nausea, which is kind of pathetic. But I think I figured that part out for now. And the diarrhea too. I hope.

I know a fair number of atheist doctors but have not asked the surgeon or oncologist. My primry care doctor is Jewish. He is a caring doctor and I drive 45 extra miles to see him.

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