Friday, January 21, 2011

The importance of keeping your balance level.....

my husband and i watched a very good program on public television this week. it was a documentary about two cancer survivors. one survivor, a man, had been in remission for several years, against all odds. he had a rare, usually fatal, kind of leukemia. the other person is a breast cancer survivor. what surprised me, and my husband, was the similarities,you might say, of their feelings about having cancer and my own.

for instance, the man said that after his diagnosis, he did not watch or read anything disturbing or sad.he had his wife go out and buy him books,say, of "Calvin and Hobbs "or" the far side". he had the need to laugh,not cry. i too, felt this way. i refused to watch any violent movies or television programs- that sure did eliminate a lot- even the news! i felt the need to surround myself with humor and good news. he also did not find out about his slim "survival percentages" until he was practically in remission. again, i did not want to know my cancer stage, as i said in a previous blog, until i was further along in my recovery.

the breast cancer survivor had the need to be thankful- for her family and friends, things big and small. she said that when she woke up everyday, she was thankful just to be able to open her eyes-thankful to be alive. i too still feel the need to be thankful. since my cancer had spread a bit, one of my doctors told me that i had caught this "just in time". that statement always gives me something to think about.  she also had a LOT of trouble with her doctors. she could not get a consensus from her doctors concerning her treatment. in the end, she chose to be in a clinical trial. this made the decision for her, but she also said that by being part of a clinical trial she felt that she would be helping other women in the future.she said that when it finally came down to making a decision, she had to follow her "gut feeling". i too, and i think many cancer patients, have had to do this. we need to decide what we think will be best for us and go with it.

all this somehow reminded me of when i was in pharmacy school.( DO NOT ask when that was!) we all had to buy our own set of weights to use in compounding lab.they came in a small box( i still have mine-jeez, i guess that now  they are antiques!) and consisted of several different gram sizes- 5 grams, 3 grams, etc. and some milligram sizes- cute little squares . we had a set of tweezers to handle these with- not only to be able to pick them up, but the idea was not to contaminate them. anyway, we used these weights on our balances. on one side we put the weight we needed for a  compound prescription. for example, a special cream. on the other side, we carefully ( some people more carefully than others) added the ingredient until the balance moved back and forth- equally on both sides.

i feel like my life is like that balance. on one side are my "life challenges". on the other side, it is up to me to add happiness, humor,thankfulness, all things positive, until my balance is level. i think that this is crucial for happiness and   good health.if you have ever  weighed anything on a pharmaceutical balance, you know that both sides swing back and forth until they come to a steady state. i confess that mine is still swinging back and forth a bit, but  i will do my best to add to the "good side" of my focus on the positive.  


  1. Hi Bea, WOW! Neat to see another similarity in the way you also avoided negative programs and tried to surround yourself with positive things during recovery. I did as well, totally cut out the news and anything violent. Almost told my kids to keep any problems to themselves, but glad I didn't since one of our sweet sons was dumped by his wife during that time. (another "Eat, pray, love" story)That's when I turned my bedroom into a comfy sanctuary and switched to only "fluff" reading material. Must be the way to deal with all the mental and physical stress, huh?
    Wanted to tell you about my new Endocrinologist. He said the salivary gland issue is quite common for those who had high RAI levels. Said when it flares up to try Motrin, and if it gets worse an E.N.T. could possibly open up the ducts.(yuck, surgery) But it's good to know! He seemed to think I don't need any testing except a yearly ultrasound and blood tests every 6 months., which is kind of scary since my Oncologist had suggested a chest xray. Also said he'll continue to suppress my TSH for another 5 yrs and then raise it. So now it feels almost like "bye bye, you're 2 1/2 yrs cancer free so let's just wait and see if anything pops up!" Guess I was hoping for a body scan just to make sure the bones and lungs were being good. But then they don't want to hit us w/too much radiation. So it's good news, just kind of unnerving...
    Thanks again for sharing, always appreciate you!

  2. thank you so much for the info on the salivary gland issue. i had a painful "flare up" i guess you could call it, tuesday night at work. i always have my sour candy and water with me, but i also did the massage.( i was desperate- i did not care what it looked like to the customers!) when i finally could not take it anymore, i took some motrin. it did really help. the first time, before an ENT diagnosed the problem, my dentist put his (gloved) hand inside of my mouth and firmly massaged the parotids. for the next couple of days, the lump gradually went down, but i had a gush of fluid released into my mouth, randomly( i know, this is gross!)i have a little bit of this at times, but never as much as that first time. i am hoping that this will eventually stop? has anyone ever told you it would? all my ent would say was well who knows how long it will last. oh, well.

    i get blood tests every 6 months- i have just had my first one; i also have an ultrasound scheduled for march, and another full body scan in may. my endo likes ultrasounds and blood work. i probably will not get another scan( hopefully, if this one turns out o.k.). she says that the bloodwork and untrasounds are much better at diagnosing a problem, the rare times that she has seen something come up. we do live, as i have said, from scan to scan, or test to test. i try to be positive, but after all, i think having cancer makes one a little "jumpy". understandable, i think. i enjoy your comments as well and thanks for the info! oh, my radiologist made me get a chest x-ray. he could not believe that my doctor had not ordered one before. but as you say, i think that they are just trying to hold down all the radiation that we are exposed to. glad you got good news, and hope your son is doing better now. thanks again!