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Cancer Q & A
with Kathy Kanavos
Ask Me Anything!
Kathy O'Keefe Kanavos addresses your concerns about Cancer
I don't know how to express what I am experiencing. I think I will be diagnosed with breast cancer recurrence and I am scared out of my mind. My angst lacks words. I don't know how to write what I am feeling or how to formulate the questions I should ask you.
It just seems so unfair, doesn't it? The second time is worse! With the first diagnosis I knew or felt that I would be okay - but this time I'm really, really scared. Especially when the doctor said that if it proves to be recurrent that there isn't much they can do...chemo probably - yuck - and that I would have probably only have months??
And I was so shocked when I got the news during that appointment I didn't ask enough questions I guess - all I remember is that a lymph node on the left hand was affected. How does that equate with the breast cancer?
I am a three-time breast cancer survivor and understand your fear and concern. My cancer was 10 and 15 years ago before they had the improved treatments that they have today.
Recurrence is damned scary. I feel your fear. But recurrence is no longer a death sentence. I am living proof.
More patients than ever before are surviving cancer, including recurrence. And you can, too. Focus on that fact...and my mantra:"Find it. Fix it."
In chapter 9 of my book Surviving Cancerland: Intuitive Aspects of Healing, I talk about Dr. Nagourney, Medical Director of Memorial Medical Center, in California, who does Tumor Kill and Treatment Typing.
If you do not get information or results that put your mind at ease, research him. His contact information is in the resource section of my book. He may be able to help you. I used his expertise and was glad I did.
I hold you in my prayers. I know this is your Dark Hour of the Soul, but know that you are not alone. We, the other recurrence survivors, are here with you.
I start clinical trial treatments on Wednesday for very aggressive stage 4 breast cancer! It's been two years of surgeries, MRI, Pet & CT scans and trips to Dana Farber. I am hoping and praying this treatment works. But I am scared of the side effects.
What is your opinion on clinical studies? Have you done any of them or heard from other cancer patients who have?
I have heard of wonderful results not only from clinical studies and treatments for breast cancer but for other life-threatening illnesses as well. I went to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute for my treatments and know that they are dedicated to finding a cure and have some cutting edge therapies that they are working on.
Yes, the surgeries are debilitating and the CT Scans and MRIs anxiety inducing, but think of them as part of the cure. When other cancer centers may give up, the Dana Farber keeps looking for a solution.
A cancer diagnosis is no longer a death sentence. If you are at the Dana Farber, your doctors are in your corner concerning this caner battle. They won't throw in the towel, so hang in there with them. More people than ever before are surviving cancer. Focus on that beacon of light.
Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.
I had severe neuropathy with the chemotherapy Taxol for a year after finishing 4 rounds of it before it started to finally go away. Is this normal or was the neuropathy from something else? Did you experience this as well during your cancer treatment?
Linda in LA
I personally chose not to take Taxol as an adjunct treatment to my recurrence chemotherapy, which was CMF. Taxol is often a second chemotherapy administered by IV to decrease the chances of developing a second or third recurrence of breast cancer.
I made this decision because, at the time, I found that there were too many side effects to offset the positive effects, but that was ten years ago, when I was battling stage 4 cancer recurrence.
Since then I've heard from clients who were going through cancer treatment and recurrence that the Taxol treatment, used as a second one-two punch to breast cancer treatment, is less intensive and the side effects, including neuropathy, less debilitating. I was also told by my clients that the neuropathy resulting from Taxol diminished over time.
I think it is very normal for neuropathy to begin to diminish a year after your last treatment. Congratulations on getting though this difficult "bump in your road of life."
You are a survivor and a thriver.
I was informed just recently that my cancer's at it again in both of my lungs. I've been trying to wrap my brain around that. I've been doing this old dance for so long, but it never gets any easier.
But what I can share that's new is that this time around I'm not afraid. And beside peace, not being afraid of what the future holds is such a gift. I'm so grateful for this gift.
When you came to the realization that you had recurrence d id you have this feeling of peace as well?
As a three-time breast cancer survivor I realized that overcoming our fear of the future is the first step to overcoming this disease.
Once the fear passed, yes, peace took its place, along with my deep feeling of gratitude for the life I had been allowed to experience for 46 years.
I applaud you for your strength and wisdom. I hold you in my heart and prayers. Know that recurrence of any kind of cancer is no longer a death sentence. I personally know of an oncological surgeon who survived pancreatic cancer recurrence. When I met him I realized I could survive cancer as many times as I needed to.
Kathleen O'Keefe-Kanavos- published author SURVIVING CANCERLAND: Intuitive Aspects of Healing (Cypress House) is a three-time breast cancer survivor whose dreams diagnosed cancer missed by the medical community. She is an Intuitive Life & Dream Coach, Radio Host, Columnist, R.A. BLOCH Cancer Foundation Hotline Counselor, Inspirational speaker on Survivor-to-Thriver in Health, Wealth & Relationships.
Learn more at www.SurvivingCancerland.com
If you are struggling with your own diagnosis, or know someone who is, please email Kathy with your questions and concerns at: