Cancer Q & A

with Kathy Kanavos

Ask Me Anything!

Kathy O'Keefe Kanavos addresses your
concerns about Cancer

Dear Kathy,

I am in treatment and I am finding it very difficult to eat because of nausea and trouble swallowing. How did you deal with these issues while you were in treatment?


Dear Georgia,

I also found it difficult to eat solid food at times because I had nausea during treatment. I drank Pure Protein Shakes that contained 21 and 23 grams of protein and only 1 gram of sugar from Trader Joe Markets. My favorite was the Vanilla Creme but they come in other flavors. If you do not have a Trader Joe's close to you call 800-854-5019.

Ensure plus nutritional supplements are great for extra calories and protein if you wish to gain weight. Creamed soups are also easy to swallow and digest.

Ask me anything.


Dear Kathy,

I am taking chemotherapy and when my hemoglobin count was checked during my fifth or sixth week treatments, it had dropped drastically. I'm very concerned because now I have to wait for my cell count to build back up before I can take my next treatment. Did you experience this same issue?


Dear Lucy

Yes, I did experience this also between my treatments. It is very common. I took the shot Nulasta to build up my blood cells. It caused some pain in my hips but allowed me to stay on schedule. Ask your doctor about Nulasta or a similar medication to help you rebuild your blood cells more quickly. Good luck with your treatment.

Ask me anything


If you are struggling with your own diagnosis, or know someone who is, please email Kathy with your questions and concerns at:

Dear Kathy,

I just want to say that even though I don't know you, I love you. Lol! You definitely have words of wisdom, and I feel better after reading your column. I too am normally upbeat and positive regarding my diagnosis of Hodgkin's lymphoma, treatment etc., but as I'm nearing my last treatment, I am beginning to FREAK out.

I'm worried that it's not gone, that it has spread, etc. Needless to say I'm a bundle of nerves. I think a lot of my anxiety is due to having an 18-month old daughter - the fear of not being here for her as she grows up shakes me to my core.

But you are right - I have to focus on LIVING and stop worrying about dying. It is what it is, and I am a lover of life - I just need to get back to that good place in my mind. How do I do that?

Anyway, thank you for your words of wisdom!!


Dear Carol,

Big Hug and I love you back!

I understand your reasons for being anxious, with the strongest centering around "being there" for your young daughter. It is times such as these that we MUST hang onto our faith in a Higher Power and our inner-guidance, because nothing else makes sense. Make your desires known to your Higher Power through prayer and/or meditation, know that you have been heard, and then as the saying goes "Let go and let God."

One of my best friends was diagnosed with advanced-stage Hodgkin's lymphoma and was given a short time to live. She had 2 small children. That was over 20 years ago and she is still going strong today, and you can too!

We all have an expiration date. I believe God stamped it on our foot with a kiss when we were conceived. Only He can read it. Remember, we are spiritual beings having a human experience on earth until we fulfill our purpose and our spirit is called back home. Sometimes that experience is darned frightening and a real roller-coaster ride. During that ride, acknowledge your fears, embrace them as part of the human experience, but don't let them rule you.

We all have Guardian Angels. We are their job and they take their job seriously. They are the gift from God that came with the kiss on our foot. You are special, you have a purpose or you would not be here. Embrace your body, give it permission to heal and feel, and remind it that you are a team. Stay in touch. Let me know how you are doing and remember, you can ask me anything.

Ask me anything.


Hi, Kathy,

My name is Penny and I live in South Dakota. Two years ago I was diagnosed with Stage 4 cervical cancer, had a radical hysterectomy and told I was cured. Then I ended up in the hospital with a pulmonary embolism from blood clots in my legs. That started the six-month drudgery of tests and biopsies, finally learning cancer had come back in my lymph nodes.

My seven rounds of chemo (cisplatin) and thirty-one radiation treatments has finally ended and my doctor said the last pet scan looked "OK." My next scan is next month, and I'm nervous but hopeful. I guess that's how life with cancer is, huh? Nervous but hopeful. Until they tell me otherwise...Does the fear ever subside?


Hi, Penny,

Life after treatment is like walking on eggshells for a while. It is difficult conquering our fear of the unknown.

My rule of thumb after surviving Stage 4 cancer recurrence was "find it, fix it." That was 8 years ago. Hang in there, meditate, surround yourself with the things you love and give thanks for everything good in your life. Try to focus on the positive and trust in your Higher Power to be with you every step of the way during this anxious time.

Life is a bed a roses. Roses have fragrance and thorns. Stay in touch. I care.

Ask me anything.


Kathleen O'Keefe-Kanavos is a two-time breast cancer survivor who penned SURVIVING CANCERLAND: The Psychic Aspects of Healing.

She is represented by Devra Jacobs of Dancing Word Group, and Steve Allen Media. In addition to writing this column, she's a phone counselor for R.A. BLOCH Cancer Foundation, an inspirational speaker, and appears frequently on inspirational radio shows.

Visit her website and Facebook page, follow her on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn.