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    jomcclendon wrote on Suzy-q's wall

    Good morning Suzy-q:
    I'm Joanne at [email redacted] and I live in Lakewood, CA (outside of Long Beach/L.A.). I too had brain cancer almost 7 years ago. Yeah!!! I can appreciate all that you're experiencing as I went through much of the same treatments. Don't know if you had surgery or not. In my case surgery was too dangerous because of the tumor being so wide spread through both hemispheres. So I underwent mostly hospital bound chemotherapy for about 6 months. I remember the chemo brain and fuzziness and not being able to drive for a long period but it does subside. I remember having to be retaught to walk up stairs, as I was unable to after the treatment. But a year later I actually walked the Great Wall of China on an amazing trip. Still such good memories. But in all the pain and anguish you are feeling after cancer please know that you are so blessed to have your husband "your rock" by your side. My husband of 21 years served me with divorce papers after beating brain cancer. Go figure!! But I too, am so blessed with the people in my life and I appreciate each and every day even when the walls feel like they are closing in. After my treatment I checked out other possibilities such as eastern medicine (all new to me) because my oncologist left me with nothing more than we'll wait and see. At that time I was left with no bladder control after the chemo, but since the addition of Chinese herbs to my diet I no longer have that problem and I'm stronger than ever. I also went through about a year of accupuncture to strengthen my immune system, In fact the east/west doctor I went to was asked to speak in front of St. Judes Hospital's oncology staff about the importance of integrating eastern and western medicine for their patients. There is so much out there that our traditional doctors don't know about but many are looking towards the preventative route of medicine that is possible. Please let me hear from you as it's not too often that I get to speak with another brain cancer survivor. Take care and be well.

    Joanne

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    User: GregP_WN

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    jomcclendon shared an experience

    Other Care (My loved one around me and reaching out): I think the best care is the LOVE that is felt at a time like this. I soon realized that the "greater good" that was to come from my brain cancer diagnosis was the outpouring of love and concern that was present. Still today, I'm so thankful for all my gifts of love and care. especially from my dear college girlfriend Sharon. She sat with me through each and every chemo day at both the hospital and infusion center. She held my hand, fed me, dressed me, changed me, laughed and cried with me, and taught me the true meaning of friendship beyond what I had known. She remains an speical presence in my life and always will be "the angel that was sent from God." On two separate occasions, while undergoing chemo in the hospital, I had all but given up having been so sick....While talking to God asking whether or not he was ready for me and telling him I'm OK to go now....Sharon walked into my room and stated that it "wasn't my time and I had a lot more to do." Both of these times were late in the evening when she shouldn't have even been near the hospital. But my angel kept me on track as to my life continuing.

    So I made the best of what I could and relearned many things I had lost, such as to walk of stairs once again and to process new information. It was extremely difficult but I rose to the challenge. At this time I felt healed and needed to give back to others, as I had been so blessed by so many. I spent some time at the Ronald McDonald House, participated in Meals on Wheels delivering food to those who were in need, and took part in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life for 3 years. My team's name was Brain Power! Get it? Along with family and friends we raised approx. $18,000 during 3 separate years of Relay for Life. I was honored to have been asked to speak, at the opening ceremonies, on behalf of the survivors. What a true blessing.

    My journey continues in a very positive direction. I don't know what tomorrow holds but I'm ready to hold on! I wish beautiful lives for all of my survivor friends and l hope that you greet each and every day as the blessing it is! Take care.

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    Side Effects (Bladder problems): The biggest side effects I had were hair loss (As a bald woman, I found out that I look like my brother Dave!), but more importantly bladder problems. I wasn't able to make it 5 feet without loss of control. So I researched possible eastern medicine options and found a doctor in Fullerton, CA. He provided accupuncture for months (hoping to rebulid my immune system...which was compromised by the chemotherapy) along with Chinese herbs to strengthen my kidneys (He informed me that when you have bladder issues it's not your bladder but your kidneys that aren't functioning properly). The herbs would strengthen my kidneys and stated that he believed that, "Your cancer won't come back!" From the first evening when taking this new medication (herbs) I no long had baldder issues and to this day (6 1/2 years later) I'm fabulous! Again, someone is smiling down on me!!!

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    Loss (My mind/Sense of Humor): I truly lost my mind for several weeks, if not close to months. But never, never would I lose my sense of humor. In fact, more laughs were generated during the recovery period than ever. Having lost my ability to think, remember, and comprehend has given me a greater appreciation for each and every day, and for those loved ones in my life.

    Unfortunately, a secondary loss was my 21 year marriage. My husband served me with divorce papers shortly after my chemotherapy was complete. Never would I have expected this to have occurred. I still don't understand the selfishness that it takes to dissolve a family after such a devastating health issue. But God is great and had new plans for me. Upon having to sell our house during th divorce proceedings, my long time friend offered me her home for 2 years while she served in the Peace Corps in Morocco. Afterwards, my sister-in-law provided, and still provides, a home for me along with her and her puppies. I am truly blessed!!!

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    Radiation (Left up to me): Having spoken with radiation oncologists, as well as my oncologist, it was left up to me whether or not to undergo radiation. I was told that if you put 10 physicians in a room 5 would probably say yes to radiation and 5 would probably say no....so ultimately it was up to me. My choice was not to receive radiation but to leave it on the table if ever needed in the future. I still believe that was the best choice I made. Having been told that the percentage chance of my brain cancer returning would be about 95% or more I decided to explore possibilities outside western medicine. And my story continues with accupuncture and Chinese herbs. I am blessed!