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Cancer Q & A
with Kathy Kanavos
Ask Me Anything!
Kathy O'Keefe Kanavos addresses your
Did you find that your biopsy results just kept getting worse and worse as they kept coming in? And did you ever have anyone tell you that you're lucky to have cancer?
My first biopsy result was "3cm dcis (Ductal Carcinoma Insitu) with a 2mm area suspicious for invasion." I was still frightened and went online for comfort and to look for other breast cancer survivors. Some nice lady on a website I visited told me I "should consider myself lucky" that it was "only dcis".
After my lumpectomy the diagnosis changed and it was discovered that I had axillary node clearance but needed a mastectomy. Now my final pathology report diagnosis is triple negative breast cancer that is grade 3, stage 3a that is at least 8cm" diameter, with lympovascular invasion and another .25 cm metastic area in one lymph node.
I have lymphedema now, and yesterday had a CT to examine an "indeterminate" lung nodule. I feel like seeking out this lady on the internet to ask her if I have grounds to feel fear now, and should I still consider myself "lucky." How can people tell people who have cancer that they are "lucky!"
Unlucky in Nebraska
Big Hug to you for being strong enough to even write all that frightening information down and then send it to me. I'm so glad you did. You have just finished experiencing what I call the "Mad-Tea-Party" of Cancerland.
Just when you thought you got your last "Final Pathology Report" you were moved down to the next examining room for your next "Final Report." I understand your concern because I experienced it too. Each report was worse than the first until I also ended up with a double mastectomy.
The good news it there is life after cancer diagnosis and treatment. The Mad Tea Party will end. Often, when people hear that someone has cancer they don't know what to say to comfort them, so they try to look for the silver lining in the storm clouds. They focus on the obvious - that it could have been worse.
I choose to believe in the good within people and don't believe that the woman on the website meant in any way to hurt of belittle your predicament. May I suggest that in the future please be careful about what online sites you share your story on until you have completed treatment?
Surviving Cancerland on Facebook is one that is monitored closely and embraces stories from survivors. And, only listen to stories with happy endings. You are very strong because a person who lacked your emotional strength could never have written me this emotionally packed email.
Yes, you do have reason to be frightened, now. What can you do with that fear to make it work for you? Embrace your fears, they are a normal part of Cancerland, but don't let them rule you.
Ask me anything,
My husband will start a Phase I clinical trial for cancer in January. I'm wondering if you know anything about clinical trials. Calcitriol is the drug they are adding to the two drugs that have been successful so far. So, we are hopeful!
Annie in Atlanta
Yes, I know of a number of people who have been in successful clinical trials, not only for cancer but other illnesses as well. When the drugs they were on in conventional treatment no longer worked, clinical trials were life-savers for them.
To a degree, I was also in a clinical trial for my second cancer's "radiation boost" (targeted radiation to the scar line) on my implanted breast after my mastectomy. Only five other women had had this done.
Doctors involved with brain cancer radiation treatments joined my doctor working with treating breast cancer to develop and use an apparatus on my breast that looked like a little cap for the treatment. It worked. Clinical trials are doing some amazing things to help patients beat their illness.
It sounds as if your husband's doctors are being very thorough concerning his treatment and it is good to know that they can adapt treatment specifically to his type of cancer. Do keep us informed because we care.
Kathleen O'Keefe-Kanavos, Intuitive Life Coach, has survived three breast cancers. She penned SURVIVING CANCERLAND: Intuitive Aspects of Healing (Cypress House, Jan 2014) and is represented by Steve Allen Media.
For more information visit: Access Your Inner Guide and http://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: