Category Archives: cancer
In Illinois, there are two programs for disabled persons to provide them with help at home. One is DORS, and it’s for those under age 60. DORS is administered through the Illinois Department of Human Services and provides services to individuals with disabilities so they can remain in their own homes and live as independently as possible. DORS, personal assistants are selected, employed, and supervised by individual customers. That means the personal assistant (PA) gets to meet the client and see the premises before they agree to take the job and/or before the client agrees to hire them.
For those age 60 and over, there is the Community Care Program which is administered through the Illinois Department on Aging. Under the Community Care Program, home healthcare agencies (HHA) apply with the state government for approval. The agencies then hire “home makers” which for all intents and purposes perform the same work as personal assistants under the DORS program.
HHA’s train by having applicants watch 16 hours of videos. The agency I am assigned to includes in their recruitment material, “No previous experience required”. That speaks volumes, clearly indicating that clients, many of whom are in pain or feel lousy and need assistance, are expected to provide on-the-job training.
Before age 60, they seem to think that disabled persons are capable of interviewing and orientating persons who are going to be in their homes. The attitude I have experienced from HHA agencies and various personnel with the Illinois Department on Aging, is that once people live to see their 60th birthday, they are stereotyped as elderly patients whose minds have stopped functioning and who can be disregarded as long as they are patronized.
From March 19th through May 30th, I’ve had 3 or more hours each day, Monday through Friday, consumed by homemakers and/or the agency that assigned them. It turned out to be the most stressful and inconvenient thing I’ve ever experienced. Geez! Homemakers were expected to make my life easier. I should be enjoying evenings and weekends instead of being exhausted and at times, traumatized.
My experience with the Community Care Program lasted less than 3 months but seemed like a year and thus, the reason this post is longer than most posts that I write.
Friends, followers, and visitors!
It’s been a week since I published a post. My, time does fly. It’s not that I can’t think of anything to write. In fact, there are about 10 different posts I want to write. Several are results of trials. There is an award I need to accept, (thanks, Ilene), and I can’t leave politics out of what is on my mind.
Yesterday, I managed to catch-up on 5 days of blogs that I follow, but there are over 400 Word Press notifications of blog posts in my in-box. I might not be able to catch-up on those, but try to start fresh this week. Please forgive me if you’ve not seen me on your blog recently. Read the rest of this entry
This is bittersweet. It’s bittersweet because I know others who are at stages or points in the journey and I want so badly for them to be healed. By sharing this, I hope cancer patients reading it are filled with hope.
There are no words to express the appreciation for the support I receive. This has been some journey, and along the way have been friends who are consistent in contacting me. Some have busy lives, but they always find time to check-in with me. They have helped to keep me positive.
In addition to the above, much appreciation goes out to friends and relatives who took time to understand the type of cancer and treatment. Not all breast cancer is the same; it depends on the receptors on the cells. Everything we read about cancer on the internet and in advertisements does not apply to all types of cancers.
Cancer treatment is not a one size fits all.
On March 1, 2019, I had surgery due to breast cancer. Within weeks, I received the news of the pathology reports, but didn’t want to post about it until I got a printed copy. On April 29, 2019, I saw my oncologist and received a copy. I am now cancer free but not really because there is no cure for cancer known to man. My former oncologist repeatedly told me that there is no cure. Why then, should patients put themselves through treatments that at times makes them think they are better off dead?
The more my former oncologist told me there is no cure, the more I researched in effort to learn what I can do for self-help. I asked God to rebuke that oncologist’s pessimism. It’s not that what he said isn’t true, but he added no hope in the equation.
In December after spending 4 days in the hospital because of the negligence of my oncologist to treat me for a urinary tract infection, I changed oncologist. My new oncologist discovered that the former one staged me incorrectly. My former oncologist should have ordered a cancer marker test before assuming the cancer in my right breast traveled to my left side through my lymph system. I learned in December that he made that conclusion without ordering a cancer marker test. (The cancer marker test in January 2019 returned a low score, indicating no cancer cells in my blood stream.) The new oncologist took time to go over the first PET Scan taken in September 2018, and the second PET Scan taken in November 2018. He sent me through a battery of tests, all with very encouraging results. Read the rest of this entry
From time to time, I receive surveys after making a customer service call. The journey into kicking breast cancer opened up another area where I receive numerous surveys from hospitals and other service providers.
I’ve now decided to toss all surveys when I receive them. The following is why.
First, I have to thank someone who once called me almost daily with questions. Her questions never ended without first giving me numerous, multiple choice answers. At times, I lost count of the number of choices and by the time she placed a period or question mark, I no longer remembered her question. Her questions were not based on my reality, experience, nor knowledge.
That experience woke me up to the surveys I receive from businesses and organizations. Most will include a three line block at the end to write comments, but they do not provide where the comment(s) apply to one or more of their questions. That gives me the impression that whatever is chosen as an answer to the questions is what goes on record, without comment.
It surprised me when I received a survey from the hospital several days after my discharge. I had been admitted for four days. I was admitted after taken to the ER by ambulance. For 2 days I called the Cancer Center twice to report having a urinary tract infection. My then oncologist did not prescribe an anti-biotic and going into the fourth day of having declining white blood cells and excruciating pain, I ended up having a seizure. Add dehydration, (because he told me to take Benadryl) low blood pressure and allergic reaction to a chemo drug that I practically begged him not to give me, and you can understand how my attitude turned to being distrustful.
Did the survey include a question as to whether I believe my hospitalization was avoidable due to the decisions of my physician? Nope. Read the rest of this entry
Where women get their mammograms matter.
An article published in the Chicago Tribune says;
“In Chicago, black women are more likely than white women to be diagnosed with breast cancer when the disease is at a late stage, making it more difficult to treat. Black and Hispanic Chicago women are less likely than white women to get diagnosed with breast cancer early, when the illness is more treatable, in part because racial minorities are less likely to be diagnosed at high-performing centers of excellence in breast cancer care, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.”
This is not an old article. It was published on January 3, 2019. I do not live in Chicago but experienced how difficult it is to get a mammogram and even more difficult to get aspirations and biopsy.
Until last year whenever I called for an appointment, I was given an appointment with no questions asked. My primary physician’s office is located in a medical center. In the same center is a Prompt Care facility, a Women’s Center, labs, and diagnostic equipment. However, when I phoned last year to schedule a mammogram I was asked if I had previous issues. When I answered “yes”, I was told that I needed a diagnostic mammogram that was only given with a doctor’s order, and only at the Women’s Center located in the hospital. No problem.
I called my primary physician’s office. There, I was helped by someone other than my physician or his nurse and was instructed that if I was having issues to go to Prompt Care because my physician did not have an available opening until three days later.
I went to Prompt Care and the physician examined me and wrote up the order for a diagnostic mammogram. Then I waited to be contacted by the Women’s Center for an appointment. That didn’t happen. Read the rest of this entry
Hello wonderful friends, followers and visitors. First, I want to say thank you to all followers. I’ve not been blogging much lately so having new followers is truly appreciated. Because of my health issue, I’ve not been able to keep up with all the blogs that follow me, nor able to follow new followers. Currently, there are more than 900 Word Press notifications in my in-box. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to catch-up, but after recuperation, I’ll do my best to stay current.
Today I was discharged from the hospital after having a double mastectomy and 3 lymph nodes removed. I figured I would get this post done while the pain killers are doing their job. Sleeping is a problem because I’ve never been one to sleep on my back so whatever online time I’ll have is subject to how good I sleep.
Thanks to all of those who stayed in touch with me, gave me well wishes, prayers, and positive thoughts. They worked and are working. Read the rest of this entry
When I read that Olivia-Newton-John once again continues her journey with breast cancer, my heart sank. Olivia, now 70 years old, first entered the journey in 1992. She underwent a mastectomy and 9 months of chemotherapy. She was declared cancer free. Twenty-one years later, there was a recurrence. Olivia was in a traffic accident and a lump on her right shoulder turned out to be metastasized breast cancer cells. She underwent conventional and natural medicine, which she says helped to boost her immune system. It’s now been over 25 years since her first diagnosis and in September 2017, a tumor was found on her spine.
Olivia and Suzanne Somers (diagnosed in 2001) both used a combination of traditional and non-traditional treatment on their journey kicking breast cancer’s butt.
Since Olivia has used non-traditional, natural methods on her journey, I thought I would share a segment of my own journey thus far.
One of the things that is not widely known is that when some women are declared “cancer free” medical professionals do not advise them how to stay cancer free through diet, herbs, and vitamins. The thing with cancer is that even if the doctors believe that the cancer cells have not metastasized, there’s no guarantee that they haven’t. All it takes is one of those mutated cells to get into the blood stream, end up in an organ or a bone, and when the environment is right, start dividing and creating a tumor. I read a story by a woman on her journey who was told she was Stage 1 and with the tumor removed, she was cancer free. About 5 years later, her hip started hurting and there was a tumor consisting of the same breast cancer cells.
Olivia Newton-John is proof that even with metastatic breast cancer, patients can use natural methods to keep it in remission for 20 years or longer. However, it takes lots of research to find out just what works for each individual because not every breast cancer patient has the same cancer cells. Read the rest of this entry
Yesterday, my new oncologist prescribed dexamethosone. It’s a long, nightmarish story for why that is necessary. In summary, it is due to another oncologist administering a chemo drug to me that was unnecessary just because he had the authority to do so. It started in October with this being a reaction to the same drug;
That’s necrosis, folks. After it healed in late November, the oncologist appeared to not like that another oncologist jumped in leading to that healing, so on December 6, 2018, he had to try to undo it. This time around, things did not end up with outright necrosis, but some of the skin texture did change, with purple swelling and burning pain. The administration of that same drug did result in me being admitted to the hospital for 4 days because of life-threatening issues it caused. That oncologist resigned his practice on January 17th. Read the rest of this entry
There appears to be lots of commercials for medications to treat cancer and currently, there is one for a drug called Verzenio. The commercial says that Verzenio is for POST MENOPAUSAL women with metastatic breast cancer with certain receptors. At about 40 seconds into the commercial, it begins with warnings about what the drug might cause.
Then it enters into stupidity. The commercial actually says to tell your doctor if you are pregnant, breast feeding, or plan to become pregnant. WHAT?!? Does whomever wrote the commercial know what post menopausal means? I actually did a rewind 5 times to make sure I heard the commercial first say that the drug is for post menopausal women.