The Big Epic

Connect with Nature - One Adventure at a Time

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Choose to Live Your Life–one micro adventure at a time

When life gets challenging, it adds to the confusion when we need to decide whether it is time to rest and float or time to “seize the day” and find a micro adventure to affirm life. Since recurrence of cancer this winter, I have spent many hours and days just resting. Some days that was all I could manage. Other days it was what felt like what I needed to “do” was to just “be.” But there have been a few moments when I was called to DO something bigger, something that was an adventure, something that affirmed I am still living, not actively dying (yet).

A few weeks before the cancer diagnosis, my 83 yr old mom and I went downhill skiing for a day here in Ohio. It had been a few years for her, and seven years since I had strapped sticks to my feet and hit the micro-slopes of Ohio. Ahhh, wind in my hair, “dancing” down the hill (please don’t tell me how awkward I look…it FEELS like dancing!), laughing at ourselves and having fun in the sun. It was worth going back another time or two after that first outing.

snow skiing with my mom, 83 yr old, snow trails ohio

Then came the shocking diagnosis of return of cancer, very aggressive this time. Our first reaction when we saw the test results but before talking with the doctor, was to find ways to celebrate LIVING! I splurged and ordered two pairs of snowshoes which gave us many hours of pleasure having access to snowy trails inside the woods, not merely walking paths around the perimeter of snowy places. And hubby took a quick trip to Florida to hang out with kids and grandkids. Ahhh, breathing room when our breath was snatched away with fear.

snow shoeing

Is it a micro adventure to find a new marker of identity? I’m going to claim it as so! I’ve had a quirky hair cut and bright teal stripe for quite awhile. But… then my hair started falling out. So, we made a trip to the woods and cut it quite short. Eventually, it turned to a very short fuzz with no color. Fortunately, just as I was losing my trademark colors, I found a travel companion. SASSEM (Slow And Steady, Supporting and Encouraging Me) Sloth goes with me to all appointments now. He has become my new trademark. Some of the staff makes sure to talk with him when they enter the room, and they love a chance to hold him! Whew! I may not be the gal with the teal hair anymore…but I AM the girl with the cute sloth!

,chemo baldness, time for chemo haircut
cancer patient with sloth companion in front of The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Center, Ohio

April 8, 2008 is the date one of our teen sons died unexpectedly. We usually find something life affirming to do on that day. This year, nothing seemed right, especially in the middle of my own cancer treatment. Late in the day, this terrified of heights and not so thrilled with storms gal decided to climb the local observation tower in a nearby park, yes, all 140 feet and 224 see through metal steps to the platform! Whew! That was a stretch and an adrenaline rush!

ariel foundation park, observation tower
observation deck, tower, ariel foundation park

Family and Friends gain importance when your life is in crisis! We’ve made a point to meet with friends when I’m feeling up to it. And it was wonderful to have all of our kids gathered at the same time in mid-April before I switched to chemotherapy treatments. There was lots of talking, laughing, crying, and loving as we spent a few days together, considering what my diagnosis might mean for our family. Plus, grandkids were able to visit over a number of weeks in June. Always extra special time, even when it is draining! Time with others who are precious to us continues to be important, using phone and face time and social media when we are scattered too far apart to be physically together regularly.

all the gang, kids with us

I spent a few days in the hospital in May, with unexplained stabbing pain in my back. Not a pleasant one, but I’m also calling this a micro adventure. It was unexpected, it took flexibility to adjust, and by the end of the testing and referral to palliative care for ongoing pain management, it was actually life affirming. SASSEM sloth was, of course, with me. And daughter sent him a light saber to protect me during long nights!

SASSEM SLoth my faithful companion

This summer we are living in two locations: our house in small town Mt. Vernon and our small play farm near Marysville OH. After years of having renters at the farm, it is finally back in our possession. It is a delight to see how many trees have grown and how park-like the place now looks. It is a gift to be able to walk out the door straight into nature with limited traffic and few neighbors. I’m trying to get outside daily for all of the benefits I have written about before. (See HERE and HERE.) And I’m delighting in the country sunsets unimpeded by houses or by many electric lines.

country sunset

The latest round of scans were high stakes. Either this chemotherapy regimen was effectively shrinking the tumors (meaning I’m finally ready for surgery 5 months after discovering the cancer had returned) or this type of chemo was useless for me and it was time to try something more toxic. Either way, we scheduled a few days to get away together, needing a micro adventure or two to draw us closer together. We would need time to adjust to limited mortality or time to celebrate success! We are happy to announce that I’m having surgery soon to lessen the tumor load and reset the clock on prognosis—hopefully to many more years! (We visited an estate gardens, had some good meals, and wandered a steam-boat town along the Ohio River, including an overnight in a historic hotel.)

1285 Winery
Kingwood Estates & Gardens
the Lafeyette Hotel
top down drive

Throughout the spring and summer, there have been many days where I have had very little energy to do anything. When the weather is nice, we often choose to take a “top-down-drive” after dinner. The convertible that felt like such a luxury to begin with, now feels like a treat and a sanity saver as we wander country roads with wind in our hair (or not! HAHA)

A few days ago, I finally pushed past my fears of not being strong enough and got back on my kayak here on our little farm pond. It was fabulous to float with little bits of paddling, in the golden light of early evening. Daughter’s dog was confused as to what I was doing, and our resident red-slider turtle came to check me out as well. This was a good metaphor to remind me that during times of chaos and challenges it is important to balance rest time with choosing to live large one micro adventure at a time!

As always, thanks for supporting and encouraging me on this health adventure! I would love to hear about any micro adventures you have tried recently—just drop a comment below!

A Tale of Two Story-Tellers

We recently spent an overnight in SE Ohio as a mini getaway. We took guided tours of two different museum settings and had two very different experiences related to being someone with a chronic illness. I started writing about this in the day-by-day post but realized it really deserves its own post to more fully explore what happened and how it made me feel.

First, both guides were retired men with an obvious love of history. Both were excellent story-tellers. I’m pretty certain that both were volunteers, doing this work because they love to share their own interests with others. My physical challenges of getting easily tired are not invisible. I have a big bald head right now, and I know I start looking exhausted as I get more and more tired. These two guides reacted in very different ways…

log cabin, summer flowers

On Sunday afternoon, we stopped at the County History Museum in the tiny town of Beverley, OH. The oldest log cabin in Ohio is right beside a home that is stuffed to exploding with every imaginable paper, artifact, piece of furniture, and piece of history from the surrounding area. (There’s even a gravestone that was found in an area barn with a replacement already in the cemetery. But that’s a story for some other time…) We found it intriguing that many of the pieces of antique furniture we have owned over the years were in this museum! Apparently, we have very good taste…or at least similar taste to the common families of SE Ohio in the 1800s!

county history museum

Guide A had a story about every item in the museum. (Yes, I really think he had THAT many stories he could have told us!) With every room packed with things, there were very few places to sit or even to lean against a wall as I got more and more tired of standing. At one point, hubby needed to check on our car. I made a bee-line for a modern chair and plopped down to rest. I commented something to the guide about being in the middle of chemo treatments and having no stamina left. He paused a moment, then went right on with whatever he was saying, as if I had said nothing at all. Throughout the rest of the tour, he seemed oblivious to my growing need to find places to sit and rest a bit. In many ways, this made me feel even worse than physically tired.

stern-wheel paddle boat model

On Monday afternoon, we took a walking tour of the Lafeyette, a stern-wheel paddle boat which ran for many decades on the Ohio River hauling cargo between Pittsburgh and Marietta. Our guide, Captain B, was a retired ferry captain from Florida. I was still somewhat tired from a long day on Sunday so was quick to find a place to sit whenever possible. Fortunately, there were plenty of sturdy metal fittings and benches throughout the ship. I never mentioned cancer treatments or fatigue, but Capt. B quickly caught on to what I needed. As we entered each new room, he would point out a good seat for me and invite the others to sit as well. At one point, he made it clear that we needed to choose between climbing down a ladder or going back down the stairs we had used, then coming around a corner to join the others. I felt very supported. And when I wasn’t on high alert about guarding my strength, I could better pay attention to and enjoy the many stories that Capt. B had to share with all of us.

view from the wheel house, the Lafayette stern-wheeler

I don’t feel a need to write out a moral of the story. I recognize I am an extrovert and potentially what made me feel most welcomed would be upsetting for someone else. Obviously, sensitivity is needed in how we interact with others. I will always appreciate anyone who tries to make life a bit easier for those who have obvious challenges in life.

Mini-Update from the Infusion Center

After a stressful few days of waiting for results of CT scans and poor sleep last night, I’m dozing here in the infusion center. I ate a good snack, they brought me a warm blanket, and the IV machine is quietly clicking and ticking—all pulling me to sleep!

As you may remember, being in the infusion center, starting cycle 3, Week 1 is good news! The scans showed that the cancer has slowed down from aggressive growth to a crawl while on these chemo meds for the past 6 weeks. I will do two more cycles then have another CT scan to see what impact the meds continue to have.

I’ve had some side effects appear in the past few days, most annoyingly significant swelling in my feet & ankles. Please join me in asking God to lessen this swelling. It’s not dangerous at this point—just irritating.

From experience the first two cycles, I’m likely to be sleeping a lot in the next few days. Don’t worry if you don’t see much from me until the weekend!

As always—THANK YOU for your support, prayers, good wishes and encouragement. You help me keep going!

Another Quick Update from my Phone

I’ve got enough brains right now to make a short update but not to sort through internet connection issues for my computer. So I’m adding a quick short update from my phone.

Monday I completed the hair trim we started last week (when clumps of teal colored hair started falling out). I shaved my head to leave a fuzzy scalp. I was shocked that it actually looks GOOD!! (It’s one way to highlight my eyes—which I consider to be my best feature…)

I had the two meds infusion on Tuesday. It went smoothly. I felt reasonably good until I got back home and fell apart with an unexpected pain spike. Eventually made some changes with my pain/palliative team to give smoother long term control and was then able to fall asleep rest of Tuesday.

Yesterday, I had buzzy jittery energy from the 3 days of steroids wrapped around this bigger infusion day. I tried to copy my still very active mom (who is in her 80s) and do small energy burst tasks with cat naps (errrr, dog naps?!) in between to avoid huge crash from overdrawing my physical energy bucket.

“Origami Dog” triangulating to find a good balance of energy for her and for me

After a few very likely to be draining days of feeling horrid, exhausted, not hungry, etc, today through sometime this weekend, we are hoping for a gradual slide back upwards to feeling good for a week of days in a row. Next week is rest-week with no infusions.

As always, thanks so much for your encouragement, prayers and letting me know I’m not forgotten on this health adventure! Love to each of you…

Scattered Thoughts from the Midst of Chemo Brain

I prefer to be a coherent writer, finding and using the exact right word or phrase to express what I’m thinking or feeling. But that is apparently not possible this week! So here is a dispatch from a confused, wandering Chemo Brain.

Good news this week: yes, there has been a foggy, hazy chemo brain adding extra challenge to life. However, this past week has actually been better than expected. I have figured out how to manage the nausea meds/lack of interest in eating anything/pain meds labyrinth. Little pain and a mostly settled stomach are very good things!

As I mentioned in the mini-update I posted this evening, this has been a very sleepy week. I’ve been frustrated at not managing to do anything constructive all week… but keep reminding myself that I AM doing a stellar job of SLEEPING to help my body recover from the onslaught of cancer plus treatment meds.

In just two weeks more, I will have another CT Scan and we will find out if this treatment is effectively slowing, stopping or even shrinking the tumors. Please keep this critically important goal in your prayers, your thoughts, and your cheering for good results!

It’s a good thing that the landscape design/maintenance program that daughter is attending has only three days left before stopping for the summer. She may not have chemo brain directly, but she is terribly distracted and finding it hard to focus on anything school related. As a side note, I was able to drive her to school this morning. I have no clue if it is significant for her or not, but it is hugely important to me to feel a connection before she heads into school for the day… This was the first I felt up to driving her for many many days.

This coming week may be a rough one. Depends on if it follows the same pattern as week 2 of the first cycle or not. Tomorrow morning a friend is taking me to the hospital for the infusion of drug 1 and drug 2. Similar to Thing 1 and Thing 2 in the Cat in the Hat, these drugs cause mayhem at times as they are fighting to eliminate all fast-growing cells in my body—hopefully, including all the cancer cells!

Speaking of killing off fast growing cells… the typical chemo side effect of hair loss is happening, by the handful. I will write a full post about how I handled this… For now, just know that my hair is now a ¼” long dark fuzz. I’m surprised, but I actually kinda like it! Eventually, I will also get a wig or two—at least one in multi-bright-colors. If I’m losing my bright teal, asymmetrical hair-do, I can at least have fun with the replacement options, right?!

All right—enough blathering through chemo brain and writing down whatever comes into my mind in the given moment! Hope you were able to follow my thoughts… or that any confusions were at least entertaining!

As always—We couldn’t keep doing this without YOUR help! We appreciate every word of encouragement, note of concern, prayer, favorite song shared, brightness/beauty/joy that you find. It might not feel like much to you, but it makes a world of difference to me.

Cancer Rest Week 3

I add a mini-update every few days to the landing page to access health-adventures on my website. Once a week or so, I gather the recent updates and turn them into an archive post. If you are a subscriber to my website, you will receive an email each time I post one of these summaries and each time I post other stories or information from along this journey. This week has been a cancer rest week for the chemotherapy regimen that I’m on—Week 1-Med#1, Week 2-Med#1 & Med#2, Week 3-rest with NO chemo. Whew! This really has been a better week!

Hmmm – looking back at this week I realize how very boring everything has been… (well, other than being in the hospital from Sunday through Wednesday last week!) But… much as I like epic adventures, it is very important for safety and for sanity to occasionally have a true REST WEEK. I’m grateful for a few days of feeling better, getting a port to make future treatments easier, and stressing out over these little things… Ahhhh… no big bad wolves of bad news to deal with!

Yay for faithful companions on my cancer health adventure!

Thursday, May 13, 2021 — I got home from the hospital stay yesterday evening–having not eaten supper and behind on pain meds. Once I ate a little, took the anti-nausea pill, waited a little, then took the pain pill, I crashed in my own bed for the night. Ahhhhhh! Had a quiet day today with a music therapy appt via video, naps, a bit of reading, and being in close contact with “Velcro Dog” who was so obviously completely ignored while I was gone. HA! I actually ate a decent size dinner (I haven’t had much appetite recently), am updating this page, and then will likely shower and go to bed. Isn’t my life thrillingly exciting?!

Mistaken Trigger Warning!! Palliative Care is for anyone with a chronic or a long-recovery disease or accident. Palliative Care oversees treatment for ALL side effects and symptoms, coordinates care, and helps me fully live the best I can even while in treatments. Hospice is one particular type of palliative care which is to make the patient comfortable at the end of life. Please help others understand this crucial difference! Don’t panic when I say I’m excited to finally be connected with palliative care.

While in the hospital the past few days, I had a consult with the Palliative Care team. They got rid of my mishmash of different types of pain killers and put me on ONE, more effective one. To continue working with them as part of my team, I needed a new-patient visit which can take a few weeks to schedule. But… YAY! I have an appointment with them tomorrow morning. And in the afternoon, I am having surgery to insert a “port” so the nurses won’t have to dig around in my arms to find a vein each time I need lab work or another infusion for chemotherapy.

magical time keeper for cancer rest week
My fancy bling watch is too large for me… so now I have a magical time keeper for this health adventure!

Friday, May 14, 2021 — (recreated from texts) This was another of the infamous hurry up and wait days! I had a morning appt with the palliative care group. They are now an official part of my team to help oversee and coordinate dealing with symptoms such as pain, nausea, bowel movements, fatigue, dry mouth, and anything else that bothers me.

Then Friday late afternoon I had minor surgery to implant a port under the skin in my right upper chest with a tube under the skin in a vein running toward my heart.  Everything went smoothly—and quite honestly it was an easier procedure and easier recovery than the biopsies I’ve had. (All done by the same Intervention Radiology Department.) 

I had to fast until the procedure was done in late afternoon… so when we got out, we went to a fancy burger restaurant. Mmmm-mmmm! So good!

Monday, May 17, 2021 — unexpectedly I’m currently following the expected path for the type of chemo that I’m on. If you remember, each cycle is made of 3 weeks—med 1, med 1&2, rest week. Then repeat the cycle. Since Thursday, I have felt “decent”—not fully good but much better than Mack-truck level of pain, sickness, and discomfort. This “decent” feeling for a few days is definitely what we pray for during the rest week. Hopefully I regain enough energy to help me dive  back into letting poison drip  into my veins again, tomorrow and the following Tuesday. (Am I crazy? No… it only seems that way from outside. I’m just muddling along, making the best decisions we can to help me live as long as possible!) As always, thanks for your comments, texts, encouragement, and prayers. Your support really does make a difference to me!

Tuesday, May 18, 2021 – I’m headed to town for a lab draw, a doctor’s visit, and chemo infusion of med #1 this afternoon. I might post a quick update this evening. If not, I will try hard to post at least a few sentences tomorrow!

Since I am an active cancer patient yet again, I decided to add a “health adventures” tab to my website. You can follow my current cancer journey in a couple of ways:

  • click HERE to see frequent mini updates plus links to the pages below.
  • click HERE to see a compilation of all the mini updates archived in one place: and
  • click HERE to see photos and read blog stories about the ups and downs of this stressful journey plus posts from past health challenges.
  • Feel free to poke around the site and check out other Big Epic Adventures I have documented in the past—backpacking and other outdoor fun, becoming a certified Nature and Forest Guide, trip reports, and other daily activities.

________________________

If you hate to miss the latest reports from my Cancer Journey, you can bookmark this intro page to read frequent mini-updates OR you can scroll to the bottom of any page and sign up to receive an email notification whenever I make a new full-length blog post (not just an update to the intro page) which will include stories, photos, explanations, and a weekly summary of mini updates.

(THANK YOU for following with me on this cancer journey! I appreciate every comment, encouragement, prayer, good wishes, little gifties and other types of support. I can’t imagine doing this alone…)

Didja Know — Cancer Basics 101

Welcome to this episode of Didja Know – Cancer Basics 101 where contestants are challenged to see who can separate the most interesting random bits of information about cancer and various types of cancer treatments from complete nonesense. Now, heeeeere’s our host……. SASSEM Sassy Sloth!

Direct from the hospital room and health adventures of Story-Seeker, Jill Emmelhainz!

Didja Know — cancer tumors are alien invaders from outer space! Crazy Truth? Or Nonsense??

Cancer frequently gathers in clumps much larger than single cells. So, yes it does form tumors. AND the tumors commonly invade the patient’s organs, bones or abdominal spaces so, yes, it could be considered an invader. However, this statement is (mostly) NONSENSE! Cancer is not alien to our own bodies and it certainly does not come from outer space. It’s eerie enough to think of alien blobs trying to harm me. It is much more freaky to think that my own cells have turned against me and have gone incognito in their mutations!

Normal cells have two processes which prevent the runaway growth of cells: there is a typical life span for each type of cell with cellular death occurring at the proper time. And cells have built-in super-hero processes which immediately eliminate any cell which has mutated from the original blueprint. Unfortunately, when either or both of these protection mechanisms fail, unstoppable cell growth can produce tumors. Eventually the energy and growth demands of the tumors will kill their host. (Wait! That’s ME—arrrrrrgggggghhhhhh!)

alien cancer tumors

Didja Know — cancer warfare includes shooting high energy beams into the patient’s body! Crazy Truth? Or Nonsense??

Every single day throughout our entire country, the medical establishment experiments with a particularly menacing form of warfare. It straps the patient onto a narrow table, often with a very personalized body mold to precisely position the patient. It then lines up the machine on the small target(s) which are tattooed onto the patient’s skin and Zaaaapppp! Shoots them with focused high energy beams! What? You think this is dystopian sci-fi nonsense?? Guess again! This is CRAZY TRUTH! Perhaps you better recognize it as “radiation treatment” for cancer patients… Does it make you feel better to know that this is a recognized, effective treatment for certain types of cancer/tumors?

Didja Know — fighting cancer can be extremely personal—changing the patient’s dna itself! Crazy Truth? Or Nonsense??

Arguments break out about genetically modified grains or meat or other foods. Are they safe? Might they cause cancer? But we do not hear many arguments about genetically modifying either cancer cells themselves or the treatments used against runaway cancer growth! Scientists are beginning to unlock many different aspects of dna, how it controls specific cellular functions, and how it might lead to more effective medical treatments. As mentioned above, cancer itself is a breakdown of the usual, expected cellular and dna controls. In my case, it was determined that the tumors I have contain two different dna mutations (not recognized and thus not destroyed by my own body systems.) On one side, the cells no longer have a stop sign signaling when to shut down that cell. On the other side, the cells no longer have super-heroes recognizing mutations which tell it to replicate faster and faster. The first treatment regimen I tried this winter was a clinical trial of a medication which attacks and slows down any cells replicating too quickly. This drug is showing strong promise and will be going on to trials to gain FDA approval. It is CRAZY TRUTH that targeting and/or modifying specific dna mutations is a cutting-edge form of cancer treatment today!  But, for me personally, the drug unfortunately did nothing at all, allowing tumors to continue to grow unchecked. So I’ve moved on to other treatment regimens.

Didja Know — medieval torture by poison still happens today! Top cancer centers use an obscured name for it to allow it to continue… Crazy Truth? Or Nonsense??

This is a frightening possibility! Hospitals and oncologists call it a seemingly harmless “chemotherapy,” but is it really torture by poison? I guess it all comes down to how you define “torture.” In this case, the patient voluntarily goes to the treatment center, sits in a chair (or lounges in a bed—my preferred choice), allows the personnel to stick a needle into a vein in the arm (or into a “port”), then sits quietly or even dozes while poison drips into their body for an hour or more each visit. When the patient is that complacent it certainly does not look like torture.

On the other hand, the cancer centers ARE using extremely toxic poisons to kill all fast-growing cells in the patient’s body. (Cancer cells are obviously fast growing. But so are cells in hair and in the GI tract, leading to the most common side effects of complete hair loss and nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.) Some of these chemical agents require personnel to wear extra protective gear to prevent any splashes or drips touching their skin by mistake, require extra observation of the patient to make sure they do not have a life-threatening reaction to the poison, and/or require the patient to take extra precautions at home when using the toilet so that no family members will be exposed to the toxins.

Because this does not appear to be torture and because it is not given in medieval ways, we claim this statement is NONSENSE (but is more Crazy Truth than any of us want to believe!) (This was an observation made by a fellow homeschooling mom who hadn’t really understood before just how many similarities there were between medieval forms of torture and various cancer treatments! Thanks, Kerri for always asking good questions!)

Didja Know — there are already cyborgs walking among us, disguised as cancer patients! Crazy Truth? Or Nonsense??

The nerds among us enjoy imagining a world in which human/machine combinations are an active part of society. Usually, these people have a few cyber enhancements which give super-hero type powers to the human. During my second week of chemo-therapy, the nurse installed a small metal/plastic device onto my upper arm which gave me a shot of medicine to increase my white blood cell count 27 hours after finishing the toxin-drip which incidentally also depleted those white blood cells. This auto-injector certainly felt high-tech as it tick-tick-ticked the hours until deployment. And just a few days ago, I had a “double lumen power port” installed in the upper right side of my chest. I have another post started to explain in more detail what is involved in getting a port. For now, the simplest explanation is that they put a two-sided collector button under my skin, connected to a double tube that delivers medicine directly to my heart! They will no longer need to stick me multiple times to find a vein to collect blood for labs or to give me meds. HALLELUJAH! I certainly wouldn’t consider myself a cyborg – but on the other hand, there are many of us with medical devices implanted to enhance our lives! So this statement is CRAZY TRUTH!

companion sloth, cancer patient

If you still aren’t sure about this, take a look at a few of the many articles I found when I did an online search about this topic: Elon Musk and other innovators talk about merging humans with software HERE ; Read about real-life humans who rely on machine augmentation in daily life HERE : and even a reputable organization such as the Brookings Institute has chimed in about policy and law considerations. Read about it HERE .

Didja Know — cancer joins war, natural disasters, and assault as known triggers for PTSD Crazy Truth? Or Nonsense??

Does this sound overly dramatic? Perhaps. But I suspect most folks who have walked through a cancer health adventure would agree that many aspects of cancer and treatments bring up strong emotions and cause various forms of trauma. There are distinctive smells, sounds, tastes, feelings, pains, weaknesses which many cancer patients share. (Many develop a dark sense of humor—take a listen when cancer patients start talking with each other!) Similar to survivors of other traumatic occurrences, cancer patients did not get to this place voluntarily, do not feel like they have much control over the situation or its impacts, are dealing with a situation of often extended duration, with potential for recurrence, and with varying rates of life-prognosis. So, Yes, this statement is CRAZY TRUTH and is recognized as such by psychiatrists and other doctors.

I think it must be extra hard for one partner to have had cancer and then many years later become the main support system for the other partner to fight cancer. There have been many times when my current experiences trigger stress or difficult feelings for my hubby who fought his own cancer 14 years ago. Even just walking into the building the other day where I was meeting my pain/palliative/side effects team was hard for him—that was the building he walked into every day for 4 weeks to receive his form of chemo treatments.

Didja Know — Science says I am One in A Million! Crazy Truth? Or Nonsense??

This one is a bit of a “gimme” if you have been reading my blog regularly since I started this current health adventure! I wrote an entire post about it (HERE in case you missed it!) The short answer is that it is CRAZY TRUTH that I am indeed one in a million simply in regard to the cancer that I am currently dealing with. (annually <200 patients are diagnosed with LeioMyoSarcoma plus the specific DNA mutations in my tumor cells out of a US population of 328 million+ people)

SASSEM the Sassy Sloth says a big thank you to everyone who joined us for this edition of Didja Know – Cancer 101. How did you do with these 7 headlines? Did you guess right as to if these statements were Crazy Truth or Nonsense?

sloth companion covid compliant

Even more importantly, PLEASE ADD YOUR OWN DIDJA KNOW STATEMENTS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! This post came out of questions asked by a friend who was trying to better understand what really happens for cancer patients. I’m guessing that many of you have more questions that make today’s medical care sound totally crazy!

Since I am an active cancer patient yet again, I decided to add a “health adventures” tab to my website. You can follow my current cancer journey in a couple of ways:

  • click HERE to see frequent mini updates plus links to the pages below.
  • click HERE to see a compilation of all the mini updates archived in one place: and
  • click HERE to see photos and read blog stories about the ups and downs of this stressful journey plus posts from past health challenges.
  • Feel free to poke around the site and check out other Big Epic Adventures I have documented in the past—backpacking and other outdoor fun, becoming a certified Nature and Forest Guide, trip reports, and other daily activities.

________________________

If you hate to miss the latest reports from my Cancer Journey, you can bookmark this intro page to read frequent mini-updates OR you can scroll to the bottom of any page and sign up to receive an email notification whenever I make a new full-length blog post (not just an update to the intro page) which will include stories, photos, explanations, and a weekly summary of mini updates.

(THANK YOU for following with me on this cancer journey! I appreciate every comment, encouragement, prayer, good wishes, little gifties and other types of support. I can’t imagine doing this alone…)

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