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Saturday, April 25, 2009

What we Have Here Is...

I love that phrase! "What we have here is, a failure to communicate"....once again I am quoting a movie. After all, don't we all watch a movie and pick a character that we relate to? Lately I have been depressed.
As you all know, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer and HPV a few months back. I had done everything the doctors said, including surgery and a 1 week stay at the hospital from hell. I have not posted much recently due to being depressed...who wants to hear about others problems when we all have them, right?
Today, was a breath of fresh air, for a change. Bela and I went to the mall to buy a present for his nephews birthday party tomorrow and then went for a few beers afterwards. We talked and discussed a lot of things and some times we debated (a nice way of saying "argued") about ongoings in our life. Mainly our new website that we are trying to piece together. We both got a little tipsy and went minor grocery shopping at the store next to the pub to get bread and meat for sandwiches.
Bela arrived at the check-out counter before me as I was looking for any kind of "gummi" treats on sale. When I met up with him at the cashier, I had thought he paid. So i went and started grabbing the change left on the counter. He looked at me and said something that might as well been "blablabla" actuality was " to nije naše". I realized that he was speaking Croatian and said "what?". But then he repeated what he said. I read the sign language and put the money down on the counter.
As we left, I could not help but finally laugh after a week of depression. He did not realize that either he was speaking Croatian or I did not know Croatian. Either way, it was a failure to communicate but was exactly what the doctor should have ordered.
What is the phrase... "laughter is the best medicine"? I have to agree! I feel better than I have in a long time.
So you may ask yourself, especially those who do not think cervical cancer is health related (sorry, had to mention that again)...what does any of this have to do with the blog about cervical cancer? It has everything to do with it.
The blog is titled "Surviving Cervical Cancer"...and today I learned how to survive.
It is not about doctors, medicine, is about communication, friendship, laughter, and everything else that makes our lives better. Survival...that is a strong word used so lightly. It is what we do everyday, in our own way.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Vitamin B17

I have had several people tell me about B17 so I decided to do a little bit of research on it. I have found that it is not FDA approved to improve health but I figure "why not try it". So I will.
For those of you who do not know about this, I will provide you with a few links.
Cure Cancer Source
Alternate Cancer Cure
World without Cancer

Monday, April 20, 2009

How Much is Too Much?

i apologize in advance for this post, but it is something i need to get out of my system.
i am way too depressed to do any research and lately i haven't even had the will to fight anymore. i did everything the doctors said to do and yet i still have complications. the pain is now spreading into my legs and it is not arthritis. it is a sharp, sporadic pain in the bones.
the business that bela runs in about to go bankrupt and i still am unable to get a job. recently, my teenage daughter and i have had problems and haven't spoken.
how much more can one person take? what is the point of surviving cervical cancer if life keeps beating you down? i'm at the point where i surrender..i throw in the towel. something has to give soon or i'm not going to make it.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Breast Cancer in Men

Yes, you read that correctly! I have been doing some research, as usual, and found a few stories about male breast cancer. Unfortunately, most of us do not realize that men can develop cancer in their breasts and men generally do not take it seriously.
A few of the symptoms are of that of women:
  • lump in the breast
  • receding nipple
  • discharge from nipple
  • crust and bleeding in areola area
Men who are more susceptible are the ones who have breast cancer run in the family. Men who are older, usually around 60 years of age. Men who have Klinefelter syndrome, have a heavy intake of alcohol and who are exposed to high doses of radiation. These are just to name a few.
Men also have an increased chance of developing Paget's disease compared to women.
So for all of the men out there, do not think breast cancer is a woman's disease. If you notice any unusual change in your breast tissue, report it to the doctor.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Jade Goody Books

Well, the diary of Jade Goody is finally available for purchase. The book, Forever in My Heart, is a personal diary explaining her battle with cervical cancer and HPV from the time she was diagnosed to her untimely death in March of this year. She was a celebrity icon not only in the UK but worldwide.
Jade Goody Books:
Forever in My Heart: The Story of My Battle Against Cancer
Jade: My Autobiography
Jade Goody - Story of a Survivor
Jade: Fighting to the End

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pearl of Wisdom

I recently discovered this website with a lot of valuable information on the statistics of cervical cancer and HPV. They are an organization that help spread the message about vaccinations, women's health, regular HPV screening, and much more. Currently, they are giving away 500 Pearl of Wisdom pins in honor of Mother's Day on May 10th. Stop by, register for your chance to win (USA only), and show your support by adding a banner to your website!
click the post name to transfer to the site!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New kind of Breast Cancer

I was reading some blogs that I follow today and came across this post. I thought it to be very important and copied and pasted to my blog to share the story. This is the link I originally got it from: A Perfect Life

This is so important to every woman you know. Please share it with everyone you know and particularly those you care about.

New kind of Breast Cancer -Please forward to all of the women in your lives .
Mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, friends, etc. In November, a rare kind of breast cancer was found. A lady developed a rash on her breast, similar to that of young mothers who are nursing. Because her mammogram had been clear, the doctor treated her with antibiotics for infections. After 2 rounds, it continued to get worse, so her doctor sent her for another mammogram. This time it showed a mass. A biopsy found a fast growing malignancy. Chemo was started in order to shrink the growth; then a mastectomy was performed; then a full round of Chemo; then radiation. After about 9 months of intense treatment, she was given a clean bill of health. She had one year of living each day to its fullest. Then the cancer returned to the liver area. She took 4 treatments and decided that she wanted quality of life, not the after effects of Chemo. She had 5 great months and she planned each detail of the final days. After a few days of needing morphine, she died. She left this message to be delivered to women everywhere: Women, PLEASE be alert to anything that is not normal, and be persistent in getting help as soon as possible. Paget's Disease: This is a rare form of breast cancer, and is on the outside of the breast, on the nipple and aureole It appeared as a rash, which later became a lesion with a crusty outer edge. I would not have ever suspected it to be breast cancer but it was. My nipple never seemed any different to me, but the rash bothered me, so I went to the doctor for that. Sometimes, it itched and was sore, but other than that it didn't bother me. It was just ugly and a nuisance, and could not be cleared up with all the creams prescribed by my doctor and dermatologist for the dermatitis on my eyes just prior to this outbreak. They seemed a little concerned but did not warn me it could be cancerous. Now, I suspect not many women out there know a lesion or rash on the nipple or aureole can be breast cancer. (Mine started out as a single red pimple on the aureole. One of the biggest problems with Paget's disease of the nipple is that the symptoms appear to be harmless. It is frequently thought to be a skin inflammation or infection, leading to unfortunate delays in detection and care.) What are the symptoms? 1. A persistent redness, oozing, and crusting of your nipple causing it to itch and burn (As I stated, mine did not itch or burn much, and had no oozing I was aware of, but it did have a crust along the outer edge on one side.) 2. A sore on your nipple that will not heal. (Mine was on the aureole area with a whitish thick looking area in center of nipple).3. Usually only one nipple is effected. How is it diagnosed? Your doctor will do a physical exam and should suggest having a mammogram of both breasts, done immediately. Ev en though the redness, oozing and crusting closely resemble dermatitis (inflammation of the skin), your doctor should suspect cancer if the sore is only on one breast. Your doctor should order a biopsy of your sore to confirm what is going on. This message should be taken seriously and passed on to as many of your relatives and friends as possible; it could save someone's life. My breast cancer has spread and metastasized to my bones after receiving mega doses of chemotherapy, 28 treatments of radiation and taking Tamaxofin. If this had been diagnosed as breast cancer in the beginning, perhaps it would not have spread...
This is sad as women are not aware of Paget's disease. If, by passing this around on the e-mail, we can make others aware of it and its potential danger, we are helping women everywhere. Please, if you can, take a moment to forward this message to as many people as possible, especially to your family and friends. It only takes a moment, yet the results could save a life.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Holiday is Over

Well I hope everyone had a good Easter Sunday...I know that I have had my fill of hard boiled eggs to last me awhile. Most businesses are closed here today in Croatia, so we will be calling my doctor first thing tomorrow to see if I should go for my appointment on Thursday or get a prescription for Dabroston (hormone pills) again. Hopefully it will be the latter. Nothing irritates me more than waiting at a doctors office just for them to say that they cannot examine you while you are bleeding. That is usually about the time that my evil personality emerges and I have to refrain from murder. Though with a jury full of women, I may get away with it. You would think that they would grasp the concept as to not upset a women who has had PMS for 6 months
The past week has been filled with gourmet cheeses and sausage platters for dinner, and was a nice change of pace. But now that Easter is over, I can get back to my "somewhat" cancer-fighting diet of green tea, yogurt, broccoli, rice, fish, etc... Which is not so bad and I should eat like that more often, rather I have complications or not. I also have several blogs and 1 in the making, so that will help keep my mind occupied with other thoughts and this one helps keep my thoughts in order. Kind of like a Quentin Tarantino movie...nothing makes sense until the end when it all comes full circle.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Ok, since it is the day before Easter (which by the way "Happy Easter Everyone"), I will make this short and sweet and follow up with another post on Monday. I have done some research as to what may actually be going on with my "not-so-old" but aging female body and this seemed interesting. Back in August when I started these unusual menstrual cycles and abdominal pain, a doctor friend stated that it may be endometriosis. Though, since he was not a gynocologist, I needed to seek a second opinion and was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Now, though it is not proven that endometriosis causes cervical cancer, it has been proven to effect the cervix, vagina, ovaries, and other reproductive parts of the female body. I have compiled a list of some facts for you such as symptoms and reproductive health as quoted from wikipedia.
  • pelvic pain-----"Symptoms of endometriosic-related pain may include:
dysmenorrhea – painful, sometimes disabling menstrual cramps; pain may get worse over time (progressive pain), also lower back pains linked to the pelvis
chronic pelvic pain – typically accompanied by lower back pain or abdominal pain
dyspareunia – painful sex
dyschezia – painful bowel movements
dysuria – urinary urgency, frequency, and sometimes painful voiding"
  • infertility
  • nausea, vomiting, vertigo or diarrhea—particularly just prior to or during the period
  • frequent menses flow or short menstrual cycle
  • heavy or long menstrual periods
  • some women may also suffer mood swings and fatigue
If you or anyone you know has these symptoms...please do not feel shy about bringing up the subject of endometriosis to your doctor.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Still Fighting?

I was suppose to have a pap smear done this morning as a follow up from my conization procedure. Unfortunately, that has to be rescheduled to next week. My doctor, a gynecologic oncologist, is only available on Thursdays at the medical center (which is in the same medical complex as the hospital I had my surgery in).
For those just tuning in to this blog, all of this started back in August 2008 when I started bleeding between menstrual cycles and was experiencing mild to moderate abdominal pain. Without going in to too much detail (I will spare you), my period was developing a "on 3 days"- "off 3 days" type of deal and the pain wasn't constant but did not appear to have a regular pattern. Then in September 2008, I began bleeding and it never stopped. So 5 weeks after that, I went to the doctor (it was difficult to find an English speaking one..hence why I waited) and after a few tests and hormone pills, I was diagnosed with HPV and cervical cancer.
In February of this year, I had a cone biopsy done and was told I was cancer free. Now, I am not so sure. It appears that I am now back to square one. My last menstrual cycle ended on March 29th and 2 days ago, I started bleeding again...just like it was before. So all I can do now, is wait until next Thursday and see what happens. As anyone who read my first few posts knows, I hate the waiting process. I will keep everyone updated on any news and changes, and would like to leave you with this quote:
"I know God would not give me anything that I could not handle....I just wish He did not have so much Faith in me"....Mother Theresa

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Amputation to Rid Cancer

I was in complete shock when I read this story. And I have to say, I am not sure I would have been strong enough to have this procedure done to me. Here's the story:

A Lacey's Spring, Alabama women underwent a translumbar amputation on March 27 th 2009. Translumbar amputation (also known as hemicorporectomy) is a medical procedure that removes the legs, pelvic bones, genitals, urinary system, rectum and base of the spine (in short...everything from the waist down). A very drastic way of ridding one's self of cancer, but was necessary to live.
Melissa McCutcheon is a single mom with 2 daughters, Alyssa is 13, and LeAnna is 14. She was diagnosed in October 2002 with cervical cancer. Since that time, Melissa had undergone numerous surgeries and treatments to help stop the cancer, but they failed. She had 54 radiation treatments, chemotherapy, hysterectomy, removal of part of her colon and bladder, and surgery to disconnect her right kidney...but the cancer still spread.
The cancer then forced her to become bedridden by effecting the bones in her hips and giving her nerve damage in her legs. It was when it finally spread to the base of her spine, that she consulted her gynocologic oncologist about the translumbar amputation.
The doctors said the surgery went as "planned" and she is recovery nicely. Melissa will eventually be fitted with a "bucket shaped" prosthesis to allow her to sit up.
This was an extremely intense story for me to read as I am sure it is for most. Her courage and strength is heroic to us all. I would like to leave you with this quote from Melissa McCutcheon:

"My daughters want me to be there to go to soccer games, to their graduation, if this is the only way that can happen, they're OK with it. More than anything, I'm happy to have a shot at finally being rid of the cancer."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

New DNA Testing for Cervical Cancer

This is an interesting article I was reading about testing women for cervical cancer by a DNA test instead of the basic pap smear.
In an ongoing trial of over 130,000 women in India, the tests seem conclusive. The women were divided into 4 groups. Group 1 received advice to "go to the hospital if you want screening". Group 2 received the basic doctors office pap tests. Group 3 went a little further than #2 and underwent flashlight-vinegar visualization testing. Group 4 had the clinical DNA test study.
After an 8 year study, Groups 1 and 3 had about the same rate when it came to advanced cancer and death. Group 2 had around 3/4th the amount, whereas Group 4, the DNA experiment, had only half the advanced cervical cancer rate.
It is important to note, that none of the women who were tested by DNA and received negative results died of cancer, proving it to be more accurate and effective in diagnosing cervical cancer. Another interesting fact about DNA screening, is that unlike regular pap tests, DNA only needs to be performed ever 5 years (give or take).
My personal opinion, is I believe this to be a major breakthrough in science. I sincerely hope that this is put into effect worldwide, as soon as possible.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Cervarix and Gardasil

Cervarix and Gardasil are the 2 vaccines to help in the prevention of cervical cancer caused by certain strands of HPV. Cervarix, created by Glaxo, Smith, Kline, has yet to be approved but has been recently submitted to the FDA for approval. Merck & Co., Gardasil, on the other hand, has been around for awhile and is already noticing a decline in sales of their HPV vaccine. The vaccine is given to females age 9 - 26, given 3 injections over a 6 month span.
Question is, is Cervarix too late to jump on the bandwagon? Once vaccinations are administered worldwide, it would make perfect sense to assume that the need for the drug would begin to diminish. And so an analyst at Jeffries International, Jeffrey Holford, has concluded as well when he stated "Glaxo is 3 to 4 years late into the market. They have lost the bulk of the opportunity in the U.S."
Only time will tell what is in store for these 2 companies. Though I must wish them the best of luck and give them thanks for helping to reduce the number of cervical cancer deaths.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Is Cancer a Health Issue?

Before I receive irate comments about the title, I will explain.
I belong to a few blog directories and link exchange sites where reviews are allowed and for the most part, welcomed. Now most of the comments consist of "great blog" or "very informative" or even "I like your approach". However, I received one in particular review that stated that I should talk about health issues.
Interesting choice of words. I was under the impression that cancer was not only a health issue, but a huge concern and one of the leading causes of death in the world. If that is not health related, than I am not sure what is.
Now, as some of you know, when choosing a directory or link exchange, you have categories to choose from. So should "Surviving Cervical Cancer" be classified as entertainment, social, computer/web, adult, or health? Let's narrow this down into the categories mentioned.
  • Entertainment: I do aim to please and have a morbid way of putting things into perspective. I am also my own best friend so I believe I am entertaining:)
  • Social: Feel free to comment and I will try to respond....thereby making it social:)
  • Computer/Web: I used my computer to post this blog on the web..need I say more?
  • Adult: I also talk about female body parts so I guess it can be construed as for adults.
  • Health: It's a blog about Cervical Cancer and HPV!
Now I don't know exactly how to take that review. Should I be upset? Should I message him? Should I pity his outlook on women?
No, I simply use my non-professional, non-health related blog to bring to the attention of all women out there with this disease, to be weary of people like this guy. Anyone who does not think that Women's Health is in fact a health issue is seriously disturbed but can also be seen as prejudice against women.
My blog states "philosophical views....first hand look...". I never said it was a site for medical information that can replace a doctor visit. However, was it the "conization" post, the "facts about cervical cancer" post, or the talk about health care in Croatia that seemed more entertaining than a health issue to him?
And as you may have figured out, I have stressed the fact that it was a male who posted that review.
Note to men: no offense, but you are not exactly my target audience. You do not have a cervix and cannot fully grasp the emotional and physical pain of a women who has dealt with this type of cancer. If you have a friend or loved one who has, and are sincerely interested in the subject (as my boyfriend Bela...think he read more on it than me actually)...then by all means, feel free to comment or become a follower. Men are welcomed here, but not the ones who have a site dedicated to saving the planet but feel women aren't as important. For those who think the latter, they should follow their family tree to see where they came don't have to go far. Just look at the woman beside your father.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

M.S.A.T.H...The Final Chapter....

.....this time, its personnel.....
yes I meant to spell it that way:)

Ok, I think I left off on Wednesday....Thursday and Friday were pretty quiet, as was most of Saturday. With the exception of 1 individual and I am not sure if he was important in the hospital or guess would be that he was just the poor schmuck at the bottom of the totem pole, stuck working on a weekend. Anyhow, we (my roommate Kristina and I) were outside smoking with some other ladies when this idiot pulls up and starts running on about something....I had no clue at the time as I do not speak Croatian. So he goes over to some note that was posted on the window of the hospital and all of the women put there cigarettes out as I still have mine. He looked at me and said something similar to "blah blah blahich" and I responded with one of the only phrases I know "ne razumijem Hrvatski" (i don't understand Croatian). He goes back over to the note posted and says "Can you read?" really sarcastic...which of course opened a window for me to respond with "not Croatian" and smiled. So he led everyone inside and that was about it for the excitement of the day.
Sunday morning rolls around and going to the basement for my cup of coffee, I was told by another patient (actually Kristina was told and then interpreted it) that visitations were not allowed at all for that day due to the flu going around. It must have been some strange 24 hour Croatian Flu I never heard of, because they were already informing us that visits will be back to normal on Monday.
So we arrive in the basement, I get my coffee out of the machine and head outside (not for a smoke, but for the fact that I like sitting outside drinking my coffee in the morning). To my surprise, the doors were locked. I went to the other doors marked "Emergency Exit"..those were locked also. Every door in the hospital was locked and only certain personnel had the keys! Was this a lock down that is often shown in women's prison movies?! Was that safe?
I am certain, that somewhere along the lines, lock down on a hospital is not only a hazardous situation, but illegal and immoral as well. "In case of emergency, jump out the window" type of deal, does not set well with my brain. I must admit, that part of me..ok, half of me, wanted to pull the fire alarm just to witness the chaos. I still get an evil grin just thinking about it :)

for those who missed the first post in the "My Stay at the Hospital" here