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Lung Cancer: Human Interest Story

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For many months now, Bill has expressed the fact that he has been "cold."

When at the Cancer Center, they have kindly given him a warmed blanket during the infusion.

At home, that has prompted me to get one of the crocheted blankets that I have made (blankets of many colors and hues).

They also have served as products having resulted from my favorite stress releaser - a two-way street, so to speak.

Crocheting has been my tranquilizer for lo, these more than a few years. I am thankful that I can do this. It became my "hands on" (keeping my hands busy) when I gave up smoking (my former addiction).

Upon reading this story, it hit home in a very big way. :D

It's nice to see that a craft can help someone keep warm, probably in more ways than one.

. . . . . . . . .

http://www.jacksonville.com/news/metro/ ... or_gesture


. . . . . . . . .

After two glorious weeks free, for the most part, of having chemicals pumped into my body to kill my lung cancer, I embarked Wednesday on daily treatments of low-dose radiation of the brain.

So far, so good, except for some fatigue that may get worse as the treatments continue, said my radiation oncologist, Scot Ackerman. I also may develop a scalp irritation on my bald pate, which I envision as making me switch temporarily from wearing wigs to scarves. A small price to pay for anything that improves my chances of survival.

I also need readers' help in locating the caring woman who made me my very own, personalized blanket to keep me warm during chemo sessions, which often last three or more hours.

To bring readers up to date, I was diagnosed March 10 with small-cell lung cancer. Six days later, I began a very aggressive course of treatment with radiation of my chest twice a day every weekday through April 7. Chemotherapy was Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday every third week through May 20.

After just eight weeks of the combination of treatments, my lung cancer tumors disappeared. At my concluding visit three weeks ago with my chemotherapy doctor, Jeff DiMascio, I asked him about my prognosis. He hesitated and asked, "Do you really want to know?"

Well, yeah, Doc, it is my life.

He told me I have a 2-out-of-10 chance of being alive in five years, and there's a 1-in-4 chance the cancer will go to my brain.

Ackerman, my radiologist, said that with small-cell lung cancer, there is a 1.5 percent chance every month I live that the cancer will metastasize, spreading to the brain. That means there's an 18 percent chance that I'll live one year, a 35 percent chance for two years and a 40 percent chance for three years.

But with low-dose radiation, the chance of developing brain "mets" - as "Grey's Anatomy" TV doctor Izzie Stevens was fearing - drops to less than 5 percent to 10 percent.

So Ackerman's radiology assistants made a mask of my face so they don't have to put marks on my face to tell them where to aim the radiation beams. At my sessions each weekday morning, I take off my wig, necklace and earrings, remove my dental partial and climb on the radiation table to have the mask strapped over my face. After 10 minutes or so, the treatment is done.

Now to my special blanket.

While I was spending a week away from the office having chemo, a woman dropped a package for me at the front desk of the Times-Union.

It is a beautiful pink blanket she made, embroidered with my first name and the notation "a survivor."

The accompanying card, which carried no return address, contained congratulations for my attitude facing my catastrophic illness and the best wishes of Pam Deakins.

I have used every trick I know as an investigative reporter to find an address for Deakins, but have failed.

Someone out there must know her. No one can be as nice as she and keep it a secret.

Please let me know so I can thank her for her thoughtfulness.

. . . . . . . . .

(Jacksonville.com, News Metro, Article: Jessie-Lynne Kerr, June 14, 2009)


The information contained in these articles may or may not be in agreement with my own opinions. They are not being posted with the intention of being medical advice of any kind.

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Nice story, Barb. But there's a good chance Pam Deakins is an assumed name. Some kind souls really get a kick out of performing anonymous good deeds.

You've probably seen similar bumper stickers in your community — one with a Hawaii touch is "WARNING: THIS DRIVER COMMITS RANDOM ACTS OF ALOHA."


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Thanks for sharing Barbara, your story and the reporter's. I crocheted when I quit smoking years ago too. For years my son had what he called his "mom quit smoking" afaghan. I tried knitting a chemo cap after I was dx'd but just can't get into it again. I'm going to keep trying to do things a little more meaningful than playing stupid games in the computer. This summer trip should be the time to do it.

Judy in Key West

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I'm going to keep trying to do things a little more meaningful than playing stupid games in the computer.

Actually, they're not necessarily all that stupid. For us older folk (not you, Judy, you're still young) who don't have the fast-paced office routine any longer, and no need to constantly juggle requirements and keep info floating in short-term memory, they can provide a good means to keep those brain connections active and develop new neural pathways. Admittedly, the story lines can be rather violent and anti-social, but there are other sites that can help condition the brain without venturing into the dark side of existence. One of my favorites is lumosity.com which runs a little over $6 a month if you do an annual subscription.


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At the Cleveland Clinic where I get chemo, the Scott Hamilton Foundation has women who make those blankets where you get two pieces of really warm, soft material and cut the edges and make ties the whole way up the sides. I got one - its blue on one side and blue snowflakes on the other. There was a card attached and it says:

We hope this blanket covers you with love and warmth during your treatment. Stay strong. Be brave.

I cherish that blanket - one of those random acts of kindness that Ned speaks of!!!

Hugs - Patti B.

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Years ago, long before Bill was diagnosed, I crocheted due to trying to keep hands busy. When I saw the advantage of these blankets (they became very large - due to stress of keeping smoke free :lol: ) I allocated them to each grandchild.

However, a supply built up, and became a supply to give to others, and then, voila, Bill started telling me of his "coldness."

I gave him one for his lounge chair, one for the bed, one for the chair in the basement (where "his" TV was located), and we all became aware that the cold was cancer related and were a partnership of sorts.

As for keeping busy with "the mind," I do brain teasers from the widgets given to me from those I have met online over a decade. They are free and I don't have to spend one red cent. I, being cheapo personified, appreciate that nuance. :lol:

I don't know if the story/article is valid. Who does? What I do know is that Bill has been very, very cold, and needs warmth. He sits around the house (this is summer) and wears a winter jacket, woolen shirt, and a cap.

This is the way we live, but we make a joke of it, and laugh. It is kind of funny when people come to visit. Everyone is hot as hadies, and Bill is freezing. Bill is OK with the gesting. He knows I am affected by the warmth, and he cannot get warm enough.

We certainly do not make a good match. LOL


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