Cancer Related Information
I shared this article from the NYT yesterday on my Facebook page, After Cancer’s Calm, a Daughter’s Emotional Storm, but wanted to expand on it a bit more. This month marks 8 years since Scott’s cancer diagnosis. For those that are new to my blog, you can learn about how cancer changed my family by visiting my original blog Colon C-The Journey.
In the past 8 years, I learned that the life we live now is our new normal. The before cancer life was gone the moment we were told Scotty had cancer. We no longer had the life where we worried about the mundane stuff of life. I’m not saying the day to day struggles aren’t important. They are and we still are faced with them daily. But after July 2008, in addition to those life challenges, our family had to navigate a huge, enormous, mind blowing issue. Scott was 37 years old – he wasn’t supposed to hear ‘you have cancer‘. We were enjoying being parents, our careers flourishing, being with each other, creating a good life and in the blink of an eye we were dealing with the enormity of cancer. It was a real life lesson about life not being fair…
Here we are, 8 years later. Scott is cancer free. Things are great and we all move on, right? Well not exactly. What I have learned is that even though the physical cancer is gone, what my family went through has forever affected us. The entire experience changes you forever – there is a new and different normal to navigate. Some of the new normal is great. I approach life with a different perspective; more appreciative of my life.
My kiddos, who were relatively young during Scott’s treatment, have shown the effects of seeing their father go through treatment. During treatment, we were very open and honest about what was going on in a non-scary and age appropriate way. I let them both know what they may or may not see or experience during the chemo, and made sure to try to keep their lives as stable as possible. They had to deal with changing plans and being comfortable with having to be flexible. We showed them the IV Port and the chemo pack Scotty wore every other week. We didn’t hide what was going on — but didn’t make it scary either. It was a part of our lives for that period of time.
They certainly seemed to weather the storm fairly in tact. But there are signs of how it affected them. Both kids tend to be aware and more sensitive if one of us is sick – even if it’s as nebulous as the common cold. They both display empathy and caring for their friends and offer to help people in need automatically. They ask a lot of questions when they hear someone has died of cancer in our lives or even if it’s someone on the news. They won’t ever really remember the life we had before cancer.
Scotty, of course, has physical and mental repercussions of having cancer. I probably can’t even imagine some of the lingering effects, even 8 years after his initial diagnosis.
Remember even if the cancer is gone from someone’s life, the cancer never goes away…
This past December, Mathias Giordano lost his cancer battle. Tomorrow he would have celebrated his 14th birthday. I have not been able to get him out of my thoughts since first hearing about him and what an amazing young man he was from my friend Gwen. Gwen and I, along with her son and HB ran the 5K this morning to remember him and raise money for childhood cancer research.
I was so proud of HB. I thought she was going to back out of coming with me early this morning but no. She stayed true to her commitment and did great. This is now the second race we have done together. I can’t even describe how much it fills my heart with so much love and pride that she is open to tackling the races with me. I think one of the reasons that I continue to be moved by Mathias is my own kiddos are around the same age – and after seeing how hard Scott’s cancer battle was, I can only imagine how much harder it is for those younger. During the pre-race speeches, I teared up thinking about him and his family. What an amazing example of faith and perseverance.
Partnering with the Team Mathias was Be the Match®, a global leader in bone marrow transplantation. They conduct research to improve transplant outcomes provide support and resources for patients, and partner with a global network
My last 5K was in March for Scope it Out Colon Cancer Awareness and my 5K pace was 9:36. This race I finished with a 8:45 minute pace. So I’m pretty pleased with that improvement. Boxing and Cycling are really helping my overall lung capacity for sure.
Childhood Cancer Statistics – Important Facts
Each year, the parents of approximately 15,700 kids will hear the words “your child has cancer.” Across all ages, ethnic groups and socio-economics, this disease remains the number one cause of death by disease in children. Despite major advances – from an overall survival rate of 10 percent just fifty years ago to nearly 90 percent today, for many rare cancers, the survival rate is much lower. Furthermore, the number of diagnosed cases annually has not declined in nearly 20 years.
- Every day, 43 children are diagnosed with cancer.
- 12% of children diagnosed with cancer do not survive.
- Children’s cancer affects all ethnic, gender and socio-economic groups.
- The average age of children diagnosed is six.
- More than 40,000 children undergo treatment for cancer each year.
- 60% of children who survive cancer suffer late-effects, such as infertility, heart failure and secondary cancers.
- There are approximately 375,000 adult survivors of children’s cancer in the United States.
- That equates to 1 in 530 adults ages 20-39.
“We read to know we’re not alone.” ― William Nicholson, Shadowlands
This quote, by William Nicholson, in the movie Shadowlands, is one of my all time favorites and I turn to it for perspective often. Shadowlands, a 1993 movie based on the life and love of C.S. Lewis’s life, is a film I have watched dozens of times throughout the years and each time, it hits me deep. When the young man in the film tells CS Lewis why he reads so much –we read to know we’re not alone, it said volumes.
It’s a simple but true thought for just about everyone. The need to know we aren’t alone. There is no discounting the importance and power in knowing that there is someone else out there, in this vast world, who thinks, feels, or has experienced what we are going through. It has the power to offer comfort, give us strength, calm our anxiety, and motivate and inspire us to change. Sometimes, it’s the one thing that pulls us through a rough time.
Sharing our mistakes, flaws, wounds is hard no matter who you are. The bravery required to open up, be honest, and show your vulnerabilities is one of the hardest things for any of us to. Imagine then putting pen to paper and sharing these experiences beyond your closest trusted circle. It’s not a small thing…
The ability to let down our defenses and share what really happens behind the social media filters is important. No one lives a trouble free life. We all have hardships and successes. We all have flaws and things we love about ourselves. Life is about learning to live your best life in the peaks AND in the valleys and inviting people who make you smile, lift you up, and push you to be better along for the ride.
“The Real Face of Depression” to bring awareness to the world that depressed people aren’t just those in the corner crying and pulling their hair out like you see in most depictions, although sometimes we may feel that way. Depressed people are everyday people – they are your co-worker, they are your friend, your neighbor, and in my case, a fitness coach. We look happy on the outside, we have big smiles in our pictures that come up on Facebook, we are the new moms smiling and playing with precious little babies, we are top CrossFit athletes at The Games…”
“The most successful and happiest people I’ve known understand that a good life, at its core, is about being personal. It’s about being engaged. It’s about being there for a friend or a colleague when they’re injured or in an accident,” Biden told the Yale crowd, adding: “It all seems to get down to being personal. That’s the stuff that fosters relationships. It’s the only way to breed trust.”
Every day you have to make the decision to be happy and approach things with the best of intentions. Some days it’s not easy, especially when you are feeling like things aren’t going the way you imagined. There are lots of examples of true kindness and beauty every day to help remind us to be thankful for all we have.
Cancer sucks! Here’s an amazing story of kindness by high school students who gave up their class trip to donate the money to their principal’s cancer treatment.
SELFLESS SACRIFICE: A high school principal was brought to tears when her senior class unanimously decided to give up their class trip to donate nearly $8,000 to her cancer treatment. HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS SACRIFICE CLASS TRIP TO DONATE TO PRINCIPAL’S CANCER CARE
Sunday was the 10th Annual Scope it Out 5K. It was my fifth year running to celebrate my husband being colon cancer free! Seems so long ago now that he was recovering from surgery and chemo. Every year, I run this race as a reminder of how far we have come from those days and to continue to do my part spreading the word about how important it is for anyone with symptoms or at risk for colon cancer get screened. Remember: the treatment for colon cancer is a lot worse than any colonoscopy!!
Both my kiddos ran this year’s race too! Last year’s 2014 Scope it Out 5K, HB joined us and this year Nate Dogg committed and rocked it! I could not have been more proud of both of them! Apparently, Nate loves to talk while he runs and expects a two way conversation, so Scotty had the pleasure of counting cop cars, crowds of people and anything else Nate Dogg wanted to mention during the 3+ miles. Good times!
I still regularly visit blogs created by others battling colon cancer. When I got back from the race, I decided to visit a blog by a young women in Arizona: Michelle Whitehead Hastings. She had not been updating regularly because the cancer came back and she was undergoing some painful treatments. I wondered how she was doing and was shocked to learn she passed away late last month. Michelle was a women, wife, mother, daughter – a bright shining person, who tried to give back as she navigated her own treatment. I took a moment last night to say a prayer for her and her family. And although I didn’t know the news at the time – I ran the race in her honor. RIP Michelle.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my time was better this year than 2014 and 2013! Keep in mind that I am not a runner. I had not run since this fall and even then it was no more than sprints. While there is nothing amazing about my pace in the general sense, I am quite pleased with it. And I came in the top 17% overall. Not too shabby!
- 2015: 9:36
- 2014: 10:13
- 2013: 9:55
- 2012: 9:03
- 2011: 9:29
- The Myth of High-Protein Diets
- The Skinny on ‘Hidden Fat': Why Being Thin Is Not Equal to Being Healthy
- The Joy of Quiet
2015 Scope it Out 5K Event Photos
I’m not going to sugar coat my struggle – I am really slipping with my overall nutrition and can’t seem to muster the motivation or inspiration to re-focus and get back on track. So, I figured i need some real help. I made an appointment with the director of the weight management and human performance lab at George Washington University for later this week. He is going to do some lab tests after a 4 hour fast and then we can take a look at how to get me to where I want to be. It can’t possibly be this hard to get on track.
My thinking is that fitness is not the issue for me. I need help figuring out a nutritional approach and he can help me get there. I realized this weekend — I need help, plain and simple. When you need help – ask!
I will be sharing the experience with you so we can all learn from it…
Don’t forget that March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month! I am running the Scope it Out 5K Washington DC Presented by Chris4Life on Team Hoagie’s Heroes to celebrate my hubby’s 6+ years colon cancer free. Will you join us on Sunday March 22 or donate to the cause? Scope it Out 5K Washington DC Presented by Chris4Life
- Another study for the “you can’t un-run your fork” file
- Scientists Officially Link Processed Foods To Autoimmune Disease
- Exhaustion is not a status symbol
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Brilliant way to highlight our country’s serious infrastructure problem: America’s crumbling infrastructure: It’s not a sexy problem, but it is a scary one.
- Saturday: Cycle Scene 1 hour
- Monday: 1 mile walk
- Tuesday: Boxing 1hour
Spring is almost here and for the fifth year in a row, my family is running in the Scope it Out 5K Washington DC Presented by Chris4Life
Are you busy Sunday, March 22nd? Want to do a 5K with me in DC?
I am running with Team Hoagie’s Heroes to raise awareness and money for colon cancer research. My silver fox of a husband Scott Hoaglund is now six+ years colon cancer free and I can’t think of a better reason to run and celebrate!
Here’s a link to the blog I kept during his diagnosis and treatment: Colon C: A Family’s Journey
If you can’t make the run with us, would you consider donating? https://fundraising.active.com/fundraiser/Hoagie_sHeroes
Recognize people in this video?
Me, a recent University of Arizona grad starting a new job – scared and excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.
You, an Arizona native, who had started a few months earlier thanks to your Pops, who left an application on the shop’s chain link fence.
We had both been on our own for many years – navigating our twenties without any sort of plan or guidance.
Ryan introduced us – in the break room. I remember the warmth you gave off when you smiled. I remember feeling attraction, giddiness, and curiosity.
Our first date Feb 4, 1995– Chinese food, then dancing and drinks. We found out about each other. I can’t remember a time after that where I didn’t feel special around you.
You ‘got’ me. I ‘got’ you. Our life began to flow.
We moved to VA. Got married in Vegas. Bought the house. Adopted Scully, the dog.
Three years into our marriage, we found out we were having a baby. Neither of us had been around babies growing up. Shocked by the news, we had no idea what to expect. Our family and friends were supportive and excited for us. It was such a fun and happy time.
Hannah Bea came into this world right on her due date. Our lives would never be the same. We became parents. Two years and one month later, Nathaniel Ryan was born. A girl, a boy; our family was complete.
We became increasingly busy and had more demands put on us. Family, work, and life responsibilities constantly colliding – we began to lose track of time and failed to appreciate how preciously short life can be.
We got a big wake-up call, didn’t we? Cancer reared its ugly head. We quickly shifted the gears of life and put all of our power and energy into getting you well. As with most challenges you have faced, you stepped up with determination, humor and quiet strength. It wasn’t easy, but you did it. Cancer Free.
Our life began to flow again. A bit different than before the big ‘C’, of course, but strong and steady all the same. We moved forward with the gift of perspective.
Today, far from perfect, we are happy. We have a sincere affection for each other, rooted in love, laughter and security. There is no one else in this world I trust more or who makes me feel more at home than you.
Twenty years ago today, a wonderful adventure began…
Last week, Scotty’s car had issues and today, my engine light came on. Should be interesting to find out what’s causing the issue, but in perspective – it’s not that big of a deal. Life certainly doesn’t slow down or stop for anyone, does it?
Which brings me to a topic on my mind lately…
The Christmas and New Year holidays bring out a lot of emotions for everyone, including me. I have been reading about long term mental and emotional effects of cancer among those who are cured from cancer and the caretakers who were affected by the experience. I have been somewhat off kilter since learning of Mathias Giordano’s death.
Just because the Cancer is gone, the CANCER isn’t gone.
“Cancer is the gift that keeps on giving. Even if your lucky enough to be told “You’re cured. Go home.”, that is rarely the end of the story. Survivors are often unprepared to handle long-term mental health effects can last a lifetime.” I would also add that caretakers and families are forever changed as well. The boards over at Stupid Cancer reflect a growing group that needs attention.
Although Scotty has been cancer free for 6+ years, he still has lingering effects. His sleeping patterns have not been the same since his diagnosis, his immune system is weakened and you can imagine what having half a colon does to his daily habits. And although he doesn’t really talk about it, I know mentally there are things that creep up from time to time.
Our kids still get nervous and anxious whenever Scott mentions he’s not feeling well – even for a common cold. There are news events and others’ experiences (like Mathias’s passing) that quickly remind me of what we went through and immediately take me back to that time including the emotions of it all. Both Scott and I get nervous every time he has to see a doctor – nothing is routine anymore when it comes to his health.
So, what’s my point in sharing this? I guess it’s more to remind people that cancer is a forever changing disease – and while those that become cancer free are free from the actual disease, they will never be the same. Friends and family shouldn’t act like it never happened once it’s over, because it’s never really over.
- Adult survivors of childhood cancer get help with late effects of treatment
- Stupid Cancer: Long term mental/emotional effects.
RIP Joe Cocker – who died today from his cancer battle at age 70.
Hours after I published my last post, I saw the post that crushed my heart…
It is with great sadness that I have to inform you that our hearts shattered into a million pieces as of 5:00 pm , Sunday night. December 7th will be the date that our beautiful, handsome , strong, brave, athletic , smart, loving , caring, incredible , perfect…MVP decided to be cancer free & leave this earth. He was surrounded by love , as Chris , Troy & I were holding his hands & telling him how much we love him . #MathiasStrong
I wish the family healing, peace and love while they grieve and learn to live their new normal…