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Oct 8, 2008

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Women's Health

What would you do?

Unfortunately, you are dealing with a woman who is furious about life generally (and probably ALWAYS has been) and cancer specifically. She is lashing out at you as another female because you signify wellness, which she doesn't have. Moreover, because it sounds like she is alone and lonely, she envies what YOU have because she wants that for herself. With cancer, regardless of the stage you are in, the processes and procedures you have gone through, or whether you are in remission or not, or are cured, sometimes you get angry when it "appears " that others you see or encounter have no problems to speak of or see (when they in fact have problems, too) and you resent them. It could be anyone really, actually - the woman at the bus stop, the pretty girl on the coffee line - who becomes a target for that rage. Because she sees you frequently, she has tagged you as being "it". As difficult as having cancer is (I am a breast cancer survivor) being abusive and rude to those taking care of you is definitely unfair, especially if it continues without any let up or measurable sign of appreciation. When you have cancer you do have moments when you are absolutely impossible to get along with simply because the treatment processes are very difficult to get through. For example, by nature I am an easy going, loving and accepting sort, but during the 4 weeks of radiation treatment I went through, I had moments when I was horrifying to live with...snappish, b*tchy, distant and whining..and to my husband, who was my primary caretaker, although I was working part time then (I have since returned to work, however). Some of my reasons for being so nuts (I called myself Medusa, after the mythological sea creature that turned men to stone) were because I was so exhausted from the treatments, I could barely move; my breast was fire engine red and very sore, and I was forgetful and foggy. Treatments made me forget what I was saying in midstream, which infuriated me because I am usually very clear and precise. Naturally I occasionally took it out on my husband, especially when he kept complaining about a sinus infection and didn't do anything about it. I blew up like a bomb and screamed at him, annoyed that he was whining about a stupid and treatable sinus infection while I was dealing with cancer. Of course, I hurt him - because in that moment, I forgot he was ALSO going through my cancer, as well. We were both in it, even though I was dealing with the physical and psychological realities of the diagnosis more so than he was, or just maybe in a different way. But because I am sane for the most part, I listened carefully to him (in a rational and calm moment) when he called me on my bad behavior. I heard him and became more sensitive to his needs by being less intense and overbearing. You absolutely don't have to do this for your neighbor and it is correct thinking (at least in my opinion) because it is having an adverse affect on you. You should never have to put up with that kind of negativity from anyone who is not your relative because you have no real investment in them. On the other hand, you do have to be patient when cancer affects your own family, however, and try to set your needs aside or address your issues with someone not directly involved, especially the sick person given they are emotionally overloaded and can't think straight. But with this one? I have to agree. You need to move on. If your husband is invested in her care for some reason, then that is his choice. You need to be clear with him that you cannot and will not take her abuse any longer. He may not like it but seriously, from my perspective, sorry..all bets are off. You have a right to your own sanity.  (Oct 8, 2008 | post #2)

Liver Cancer

liver cancer in cats

Sadly, as I read all of these stories about cats being diagnosed with liver cancer in recent weeks, I realize that my cat, Ginger, one of my beloved 7 cats, will be joining the ranks of those requiring almost immediate euthanasia. Since Monday, 10/06, he has been sedated at the vet's office on an antibiotic and fluid IV drip to restore his depleted fluid levels, but it doesn't look good. My husband and I will have to make the decision tomorrow night to put him down because we simply don't want him to suffer. Two years ago we had to put down Dinero, the eldest male and 2nd eldest of the lot, who was ill with feline dementia and perhaps undiagnosed cancer. I held onto him for two long because I couldn't bear to let go - he was my buddy and main man - but I won't do this to Ginger. It simply isn't fair. Ginger is only 7, the youngest of our cats and part of a real family of 5 cats (mom, dad and two sisters) who are a part of this clan. The two older cats are not related to them or each other, but they are a part of my feline family. Ginger is a beauty, a gorgeous orange and white longhair who was actually born on my bed with his two sisters. I was sound asleep during their birth while my husband presided over them and took care of their Mother, Snowball, during the process. Snowball was and remains a fabulous mommy to her small brood, but then, she was positively besotted by all of them, each one with their invididual personalities already shining through. When Ginger - who turned out to be the largest of all the cats but with the teeniest meow - was about two weeks old, I went to touch him (with Snowball's approval) and he hissed at me. It was funny because he wasn't able to hiss just yet, but his mouth was open as if he were doing so. He would become the feistiest of the lot, an Alpha male with an axe to grind and a penchant towards being annoying to his older sisters and the rest of the family (like a teenage boy) but he was a gentle soul who slept on me and purred each night. Ginger normally ate like he was starving to death, but he always was healthy until recently. I noticed that he seemed a little less interested in food, but he could be a finicky eater at times. Last week, he started vomiting but nothing was there, and then later he began to hide in one of my closets, or by himself alone. He would not eat (despite an offering of tuna once), nor would he drink, and when I noticed his eyes looked weird, I knew something was wrong. And so here we are. I am saddened by this and somewhat numb. In two years time, I lost one cat, had to get emergency surgery for my eldest cat Chili's fibrosarcoma cancer (she is quite fine a year later and still the Queen Bee..eating off my plate, demanding I serve her needs) and now this, with Ginger. What is odd is that two of my cats would wind up with some form of cancer just as I would. 8 months ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer and I am fine now, but I am wondering if living 3 miles from a nuclear power plant reactor is what is doing this to us. I wish all of you peace as your furchildren go to the Rainbow bridge. Here is to all of them and my Ginger.  (Oct 8, 2008 | post #48)

Women's Health

What's age got to do with it?

I absolutely couldn't agree with you more! As a very recent breast cancer survivor of 52, I was lucky enough to have had my cancer diagnosed through a mammogram. I had microcalcification s in my right breast, which are typical for women my age (15% of the time they are cancerous, while 85% they are not), and was technically diagnosed with Stage 0 Ductal Carcinoma in Situ. I went through a comparitively minor lumpectomy and 4 weeks of radiation treatment, but I got through it. Thank God for that mammo and for my insistence in being proactive in my health. When I initially dealt with an oncologist whose office looked like it came from the dark ages, I moved on until I found the people I ultimately would work with at Sloan Kettering. If I wasn't happy with their services or needed extra care, I spoke up. Too often women become mute in these situations and think they don't have a voice and leave the decisions up to the experts, but they do. I saved my life this way, as well, as did my husband who is more vocal than I am. Articles like the one you shared will encourage younger women under 65 and below 50 to avoid getting their mammograms and doing their self exams because they will believe it simply isn't necessary. It offers a perfect excuse for women to avoid getting this uncomfortable exam, as many do anyway, when in fact they are putting their lives in danger. I can't tell you just how many young women (25 -40) I saw at the radiation oncologist's office who were going through both chemo and radiation treatment, so they are best served to ignore this kind of article. Trust that I will do my part to encourage early and regular screening. After my diagnosis in March, I made a committment to myself that I personally would educate the students where I am employed (college) to understand the gravity of a cancer diagnosis, the importance of self exams, baseline mammograms at 40, or younger when cancer is in the family. I also plan to encourage them to obtain student level health insurance and not put things off indefinitely, as I did. Family crises over a lengthy period last year curtailed my ability to get that mammo for 19 months. And look what happened! Be well.  (Oct 8, 2008 | post #2)

Q & A with gingerssadmommy


Lively and cat crazy!


New York City


Then: the upper West Side.

I Belong To:

numerous online sites for breast cancer, writing and creativity, among others.

When I'm Not on Topix:

I am working, or on Facebook, or Myspace, or writing

Read My Forum Posts Because:

I am actually a good writer

I'm Listening To:

The hum of my computer.

Read This Book:

Second Glance by Jodi Picoult

On My Mind:

The election, work, the miserable economy, and life...lately, my very ill cat, Ginger, who is dying from liver cancer

I Believe In:

living life joyously and with forgiveness.