I remember hearing about this guy who beat cancer and won some bike race in France. At the time, I was an avid mountain biker, hated road bikes, etc. seemed like too much work and not enough fun for me. A couple of years later, I picked up his book. From the first page, I couldn’t put the book down. I felt like he got it. He knew everything that I went through. Did he write this book for me? Of course not…but maybe he did. He wrote it for people like me who struggle with life during and after cancer. There is no guidebook for a cancer diagnosis, you don’t know what to do, how to act, what to say. Everyone feels sorry for you and they don’t know what to say either. Do they ask if you are cured? Will it come back? How was treatment? You feel completely isolated, because again, people just don’t get it. This book was my bible. I read it 4 or 5 times.
Read the rest of Joe’s story on his blog.
Jim Higley, one of IA’s Mentor Angels, writes a humorous column on fatherhood – Bobblehead Dad – for Chicago Tribune’s TribLocal.
His blog contains funny entries, most recently, about his recent marathon run in Rome, snow blowers, being a Dad, and finding his A-game.
Jim recently wrote an article about his 5th Birthday (his cancerversary). He talks about his cancer journey, his experience as a survivor and his new version of normal.
“But, the new normal is also unleashingly good. The new normal comes with the permission to live richer, to speak freely, to cry openly, to make mistakes, to take chances, to say “yes” to new things, and to tell those ‘someones’ in your life just how deep your love is for them.”
Cheers to that, Jim!
After a 30 year career in teaching, I took early retirement in 2003, so my husband and I could travel and enjoy golf and many other activities that had been sidelined while working and raising our two sons. That went well for the first four years, with just a nine week side step for my husband’s prostate cancer treatment. The summer of 2007 altered the course of our lives, when I spent the summer dealing with corneal herpes, superficial blood clots in one calf, and then a dry cough that caused a diagnosis of probable whooping cough. In September of ’07 my cough and I ended up in the emergency room, and during a 12 day stay, I was given the diagnosis of stage IV ovarian cancer. The cough was due to many liters of fluid in my chest and a collapsed lung.
I had two rounds of chemotherapy, a hysterectomy and debulking surgery, followed by six more rounds of chemotherapy. In April of 2008 I was declared to be in remission. It was during that period of remission, as I was resuming my normal activities, that I caught a portion of a Dr. Oz radio program. Dr. Oz was interviewing a young man who was speaking enthusiastically about connecting cancer fighters with survivors. The little bit of the show that I heard stuck with me for weeks, until I sent an email to Dr. Oz asking for more information about that show. To my surprise, I soon got a phone call from the amazingly friendly and energetic Jonny Imerman, and before I knew it, I was signed up as a mentor angel.
Being a part of Imerman Angels has been perfect for me. It has given me a way to connect with other women who are fighting the same fight that I am, and allows me to share my story while hearing and learning from the stories that other women have to tell. I find that each of us feels we are alone in this journey, until that first phone call or email, and then we find that although our numbers are not as large as breast cancer, we have friends and fellow fighters across the country, willing to laugh and cry with us, listen to us, and support us as we battle this silent cancer.
In the nearly two years I’ve been associated with Imerman Angels, I have talked with 10 women, 7 of whom I still speak with or write to on a regular basis. During this time, I came out of remission and have been back in treatment for 15 months. It’s not where I want to be, but now I am also able to talk about and support women who have also had a recurrence. Sometimes the phone calls come one after another, but it is invigorating to work with the Imerman staff, and to know that none of us has to “go it alone.” Thanks to Imerman Angels, we can hold hands and march forward on the path to remission, or better yet, a cure in the future.
One of these days I’m going to be able to meet Jonny in person, either when he’s out her for a west coast engagement, or who knows, maybe one day I’ll make it back to Chicago and be able to give Jonny and Rynell a hug right there in their offices, and thank them for adding an extra spark and purpose to my life.
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Charlene McMann and Scott Seaman are champions in the fight against cancer. Scott, an 11-year survivor of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, credits his wife (caregiver and advocate) Charlene for his beating cancer. Together, the couple embarked upon a mission of curing cancer by helping to raise millions of dollars for cancer research, helping people directly through education and patient advocacy, raising public awareness through event organizing and media appearances, forging partnerships with companies, patients, and health care providers, and engaging in public policy advocacy.
After co-founding the Chicago chapter of a national blood cancer organization, spearheading a 5K walk/run that is now held annually in more than 16 cites across the country, they wrote the book that they wish was available to them when their battle began. Charlene received a Jefferson Award for Public Service (the Nobel Prize for community and public service) for her cancer fundraising, education, and advocacy.
Charlene and Scott wrote the book that they wish was available to them (“Battling and Beating Cancer”) when they began battling cancer. Part I of their recently released book “Battling and Beating Cancer – The Cancer Survival Book” takes you along with the authors from diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, follow-up treatments and testing, and provides the insights, fears, and triumphs of a cancer survivor and caregiver. Scott and Charlene´s story of survivorship demystifies the experience and enlightens readers in a very humanistic and unique way.
Part 2 is focused on you – the steps and approach you should consider taking to survive cancer. It covers: (1) the basics about cancer; (2) selecting the best doctors and treatment centers available to you; (3) obtaining a prompt and proper diagnosis;(4) understanding medical tests and diagnostic tools; (5) surviving your hospital stay;(6)an overview of conventional treatments, revolutionary treatments, and clinical trials; (7)understanding survival rates and making appropriate adjustments; (8) developing a “cancer warrior” mentality; (9)taking advantage of complementary therapies and a healthy lifestyle to help you beat the disease; (10) the role of the immune system in beating cancer; (11) the authors´ view that blood cancer research is the superhighway to curing cancer; and (12) the authors´ national call to action to cure cancer.
The book also contains useful resources for patients and caregivers, including: a detailed listing of questions to ask your doctors at each critical phase; some tips doctors may forget to tell you; a checklist of legal and insurance documents; and a listing of organizations, websites, and resources available to help you get the support and information you need about your type of cancer and the treatments and clinical trials available to you. It also includes a patient´s medical information workbook to help you record relevant information. This is an important resource for cancer survivors and cancer fighters alike. You can obtain the book at www.charleneandscott.org, www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnobel.com, or www.borders.com. Proceeds go to cancer research and education.
The couple’s mission to help people impacted by cancer is multifold. Their new internet radio show “Battling and Beating Cancer” will debut on March 9 at 8:00 p.m. central time. This dynamic show will be devoted to battling and beating cancer of all types, with a particular emphasis on lymphoma, leukemia, and multiple myeloma (blood cancer). Charlene and Scott will welcome guests including doctors, survivors, patients, caregivers, and individuals on the front lines in the war against cancer. They will tackle the medical aspects of cancer (symptoms, treatments, etc.) the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of cancer, lifestyle issues, and legal and social aspects of cancer. Imerman Angel founder Jonny Imerman will be a guest in an upcoming episode. You can follow the show at www.blogtalkradio.com/battling-and-beating-cancer.
Charlene and Scott and another prominent Chicago couple recently founded Chicago Blood Cancer Foundation and look forward to partnering with Imerman Angels. “Jonny and his angels do wonderful work and we will refer cancer survivors and fighters to Imerman Angels,” says Charlene. “We will be funding research for lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma at the great Chicago area institutions – maximizing impact through minimizing organizational cost baggage and funding high impact, cutting edge research with world class doctors and institutions. People with cancer need someone to turn to and there is no point in our attempting to take on a function that Imerman Angels already does so well” added Scott. Chicago Blood Cancer Foundation will participate in a Bike ride in September and will blog on that event in upcoming weeks.
In the meantime, pick up a copy of “Battling and Beating Cancer – The Cancer Survival Book” and listen to their radio show.
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