Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A decade of Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma-full of living

Cloud-filled sky tonight 
Today was great. I woke up and enjoyed getting ready for work with my husband. At work, I joined my team mates as we participated in a planning retreat for the department. After work, I joined other library colleagues to wish our boss a happy birthday at a local watering hole. I came home to fix a simple supper for dear husband. We experienced a thunderstorm, which brought cooler breezes to our neighborhood. We also watched a 1980's comedy movie, remembering when we first viewed it on post at Grafenwoehr, West Germany (it was West, then). All of this normal, everyday, some might call boring, life experiences took place ten years after my initial surgery and diagnosis for Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma, and is the type of day I hoped for during those dark weeks of treatment when nothing was normal, and never boring. I figure the greatest thing I can give those expert healthcare providers that reviewed my case and came up with my treatment plan is to have a lot of normal days like today. Every one of the days over the past 10 years I am glad I didn't miss (both of my kids' graduation, along with all of their cousins and our close friends' kids; being here to see my kids become the adults we hoped they would be (and more!); the arrival and departure of Cheeky; improvements at work as we continue serving the unique information needs of the same healthcare providers that treated me and thousands of others over the years; a new cancer center rising up on the campus that will treat thousands more in the decade to come; seeing my dear husband every day; visiting with my moms on their spectacular 75th birthdays; laughing with my friends; walking in the grass, under the trees, along the beach, on the city street; doing the chores; fixing the yacht; living the good life...) I am fairly sure that I didn't take everyday for granted before that summer of 2006, so cancer didn't give me this characteristic (I think my mom raised us to embrace a fleeting life.) On the other hand, cancer didn't take anything from me that is a big deal. Yeah, I cope with some different stuff (headaches from the plate in my head, lack of reliable tasting, yearly awareness that the cancer bus can come back for me while being aware that a diesel bus may beat it), but no more so other humans on earth, and a lot less than most. I am a very grateful being, and very happy to still be casting a shadow and sharing the earth with you, my care providers, my friends, and my wonderful family. I am rotten at predictions - can't do lottery numbers, won't try to guess if I get to see another decade. For now, I am very happy to have had the day I experienced, and am looking forward to a regular day again tomorrow. How lucky can one girl be?

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Today is the 29th National Cancer Survivors Day...

...but as a nearly 10-year wearer of Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma, I celebrate every day, not just one per year. I wasn't paying attention to the day's arrival, actually. Happened across an announcement on Facebook or Twitter or somewhere. Evidently, many are jumping on the bandwagon - I even saw this message from Social Security. Here is the homepage of the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation: http://www.ncsd.org . They have registered the phrase "National Cancer Survivors Day", which I guess would be done if one was going to promote such an event. They even have a catalog for official merchandise (but the deadline to order was April 1.) They have a  decent page of links for information on Cancer Survivorship issues: http://www.ncsd.org/cancer-survivorship-issues .  I tried looking up more information about the foundation, but wasn't successful. Since they have been holding this day for 29 years, I figure they know what they are doing.

The world is a big place, and I am glad if someone finds value in this type of activity. For this cancer wearer (and for a couple of my fellow cancer wearers that no longer have active emails - man, I miss them!), I would not like it much if my family or friends paid money to celebrate, Hallmark-style, my having outlived cancer. Or if they do, they know they are doing it for their own enjoyment only. I think the folks that know me well also know I am not a fan of any color of ribbons or merchandise that calls attention to a cause, nor the annual Relay For Life events. If you want to send me a greeting, just wave my way, send me a text, comment on this blog - you don't have to participate in any days or -thons or celebrations in my name, ever. Although, I am up for poking fun at the universe in snarky ways, so if you wanted to establish a cooking contest in my name (me, the one that doesn't have a reliable sense of taste, remember), have a great time, I won't stop you. I will join you in the snickering, Muttley-style.

Should you choose to donate money to cancer research, go for it. Be sure to check out the foundation to see if they put most of the funds they raise to the cause they promote, or if they spend a larger percentage towards non-cause administration. If you are looking for an ACC-related organization, I have mentioned my admiration and thanks for the scientific research work being done by the Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Research Foundation http://www.accrf.org - look them up and see if they would be a group you could support.

And as I foreshadowed in the first sentence, I am coming up on my 10 year anniversary. I figure I am still enjoying life, casting a shadow, and paying taxes, thanks to support from my family, friends, my excellent healthcare providers, and you - my blog reader.
 
Who links to my website?