Moving Forward

I’m moving forward to an new era in my life.  My husband and I years ago bought a fixer-upper house (remember This Old House?).   Well, it wasn’t very expensive, so we paid it off early, and over many years have remodeled and knocked out walls, so it’s a nice house now.  Since we no longer had a mortgage, we paid off our cars early and any debt we owed.  We aren’t quit retirement age, but my husband and I decided we no longer need 2 full time incomes, and we are betting older, but young enough and healthy enough to enjoy more time off.

So, as of tomorrow I will work part time, only 20 hours a week!  I will keep my job, but also got a second “PRN” (as needed) nursing job.  I love the idea of my life no longer being my job!  It really was as all of my days were 10-12 hours and my job is very stressful.  Now only half as much!

I want to do things I have not been able to do while working full time.  I was once into martial arts and want to get back into that, it’s very empowering!   I am also a CASA, a court appointed special advocate for abused and neglected children who are wards of the state.  It’s a volunteer job I did before I started my current job. I loved it and now can do it again!  My job has also become more of a desk job over the past year, so I want to get rid of some of the weight I’ve gained and to get back in shape…biking, swimming, hiking!  I’ll have time for that now!   I have a big list of things I want to do, and love that it’s summer so I can enjoy being outside!

I feel a bit guilty as I know many of you who are reading this are dealing with a cancer diagnosis and treatment and living with uncertainty.  I lived with uncertainty for many years, and it is a difficult way to live.  I’ve been where you are now.

But I can also be an example to you.  You CAN have hope, you CAN survive and live your life again, you CAN move forward.  Just take it once step at a time starting now, you are already a cancer SURVIVOR!!!!



GI Cancer Alliance

I live just outside of Chicago in Indiana, which is often convenient.  I can get to Chicago easily on the train, takes about 45 minutes and lets me miss the horrible traffic.  I spent the day in Chicago yesterday in my quest for cancer advocacy.  I was recently asked if I would like my organization, the Appendix Cancer Connection, to be part of an a non-profit that is an alliance of GI cancer non-profits, the GI Cancer Alliance.  Until this year they had all GI cancers represented…except for appendix cancer.  GI cancers together are the most common of cancers, and also the most deadly.  The goal of the organization is to will work to raise awareness, provide education and advocate to prevent, treat and cure gastrointestinal cancers.  That is something we all want.  Appendix cancer may one day benefit from research into GI cancers that may find biomarkers or genetic mutations that are common to all GI cancers.   All GI cancers might benefit from new treatments.  We are still our own organization, the Appendix Cancer Connection and independent, but we are also going to be working with the larger organization.  I am now part of their healthcare advisory team.

I was in Chicago yesterday for their board meeting, which was excellently attended and was a well-spent 3 hours.  This is a link to the organization: GI Cancer Alliance.

With their help, I was also able to attend the ASCO annual meeting in Chicago.  ASCO is the American Society of Clinical Oncology.  The meeting is huge, thousands of researchers and scientist from all over the world who are all trying to discover cures for cancer.  You can learn of the newest therapies available.  Currently immunotherapy is very big in the cancer world.  It is being used with great success to treat some lung cancers, but at least so far, immunotherapy has not been found to be very successful for treatment of GI cancers.  For many years I was involved with another very large research organization, the American Association for Cancer Research.   I was part of their Scientist-Survivor Program.  I was given many great opportunities via that organization.

I will like working with the GI Cancer Alliance, and they want to help me in my work with the Appendix Cancer Connection.  They say I need to get on Twitter!  I have never used Twitter, but I guess I need to learn how to use it!  If any of you can give me any help or links to Twitter education, I’d appreciate it!!