Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Memory...all alone in the...hmmm...

I can't remember things lately. It's not just those little things, like forgetting where I put my keys, forgetting my lunch on my way out the door. Those things have been happening to me forever. In fact, my family members will tell you that this quality is quintessentially Leah. But it's the bigger things goofs or slips or blips that get me. Have you ever been stumped for the name of someone you've known for a decade? It happened to me the other day.

This did happen, but it doesn't mean that I've cognitively imploded. Eventually something comes back and I find ways to compensate, manage and generally make do but when those moments come they hit with a funny twinge. Sometimes I've learned to cover up so that no one ever knows that I had the slip. It's the times that I can't cover up that make me absolutely embarassed. I shouldn't be. It's a real phenomenon.

The other day I was contacted by someone writing a book about chemobrain.
My initial reaction was uh oh...no...who told you I was having chemo brain? Are people starting to talk? I thought I did a good job covering up the fact that I shampooed my hair with body scrub yesterday. WHO TOLD? just kidding. I rinsed it out, really.

The author interviewed me via phone about my own experience as a young adult. Ellen, if you're reading I love that you are doing this! It's such a wonderful idea for a book, finally recognizing a real issue of treatment so misunderstood by the public. When it is published you have my blogging and tapping fingers commissioned to promote it.

For years archaic information and popular opinion have allowed doctors to almost oversimplify and prematurely reassure patients "sure, you're brain is fine. What are you talking about?" Please note the word reassure is used lightly. Despite what survivors have been told over the years, that there "isn't any harm" from being poisioned to beat the beast, new research is telling us that the brain is impacted by cancer treatment. Hello? It's amazing how researchers finally get what patients have been telling them "anectotely" for decades. Thankfully, there are people like Ellen working diligently and passionately to tell that story.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Don't stop believing

Today I would like to honor courage.
Courage to make change...the courage to believe in dreams, even when it seems impossible.
Often the definition of courage seems to be interpreted incorrectly. Courage is not the entitled blessing of the famous, the infamous or the rich and privileged. In our lives, in our own journeys courage is always necessary to defeat the negative messages or odds stacked against us. A while back I spoke to you about a young man who I visited in the hospital who amazed me with his determination. He and his friend Michael set up a foundation called ZHope and it is among my top bookmarked sites. Zach wants to bike across the country to raise cancer awareness. How cool is that?

Though Zach has been too sick to attend our monthly young adult group meetings, I keep thinking of Zach's courage. Despite the road he has walked, his vision and his belief that he will achieve his dreams have inspired me. I believe he will do it.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Kodak does it right

I was little once...through the technology of the Kodak Easy Share All in one printer with scanner (my favorite Christmas gift), I will share this retro photo with all of you. No, I am not paid by the Kodak company...or their official spokesperson...but I'd entertain offers.
Notes: The redheaded woman underneath the squirming petrified cowgirl is my mom. The aforementioned squirmer is my sister, Mary. The complacent and awkward cowgirl to the right is me. Old Tucson, Tucson Arizona circa early 1980s.

Friday, January 18, 2008

An answer to a question

Recently someone asked me why I hadn't started a blog while I was sick. The answer is two fold. Yes, I did start a blog during treatment. It was a private one that only friends could see, part of me wondered if I was ready to expose the real truth, the hell of treatment.
A lot of times I put on a smile and just said yeah everything was fine. My favorite line I'd use was "I'm hanging in there". I didn't update the blog frequently; it was when I was on the upswing that I would write something. Mostly because I could write funny. Yet, there were times I just couldn't laugh. I thought that if I did really tell everyone what was going on or share my real feelings they'd think I was weak. Now, as I join a legion of other bloggers all documenting their journey in and out of treatment I feel that it's important to share all that. Good and bad.
If I get comments here that you'd like to see those archived blogs...I'd consider posting them.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Got to smell the roses here...

Yesterday I got caught in traffic...water main break off my exit. Traffic backed up for miles. Had I truly been tuned into the radio that I had on I would have been smart enough to get off before the jam started.
I forgot basically everything I was going to do this week. I realized I missed sending my aunt's birthday card. I forgot to send in my rebate check from a Best Buy purchase. I might have possibly even worn my socks inside out. I've been running around like a headless chicken for good reason.
And I forgot to mention something of importance to you faithful readers. Clean scan. Yup...another three months out and I am still cancer free according to those high tech images. With all the hassles of life and all the frustrations, I forgot to take a moment to tell you that everything once again is alright. It's like getting your driver's license renewed sort of...still okay to drive through life.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Politics...feeling overwhelmed? Check this out

Iowa and New Hampshire are so last week.
Now it's time to think about what you want in a candidate and with all the mixed messages, sensationalism and name calling...you are at a standstill. By saying this, I know I am taking a risk, but let's just say I feel our country would be safer in the hands of any of the candidates than I have felt its been in the last oh...say...seven years or so.
With that being said, I do not intend on playing 'eenie meenie miney mo' either. This is a highly important time for everyone to consider who can turn things around. Not that my political stance bears any weight out there but I was stymied. Repeat: I am not a pundit. So I decided to use a piece of really cool technology that my sister Mary sent me. Please do not think that it should be the litmus test for your voting but it's a fun way to see what they come up with. Who is your man or woman? Check here to see...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

SAVE VIVY! but I'm off strike.

I might have enacted a strike in haste.
Number 1- One blogger on strike does not really have an effect. And I had no picket sign.

People just stopped reading my page. Heh heh
Much like the writer's strike, huh? Don't get me wrong, I absolutely support what the writer's are asking for. Without these talented writers how would we ever get the creativity and level of entertainment we have? It would be all reality all the time, basically.
However maybe some people are turning to alternative sources of entertainment. Maybe youtube is getting an influx of people watching things labelled grandma plays laser tag or squirrels gone wild. As an aside, do you ever get an idea in your head and think it's the most revolutionary idea EVER. Then you find someone else has thought of it. I thought squirrels gone wild would be a great name for a spoof...it is taken. If you feel like testing my theory there are about a gazillion so-titled videos.
Number 2- I don't know how to strike and I think I might have caused a backlash.
Pre-strike I was getting hits from as far as Japan, Germany and all of over. Now I get 2 hits a day. By the way Thanks Mom and Dad.

But I have to share with you that someone from Sandwich Massachusett
s is reading this. What a cool name for a town. I really hope you do community-tie in activities out there and fun with this. Do you do host themed eating events? Gosh I hope so.
I would like to give you a shout out and if you give this a visit again...I implore you to throw me an email and just comment on here. Tell everyone what life is like in Sandwich. A little google investigation led me to the fact that Sandwich is just outside Cape Cod.
Hey, this could be better than having a third grade pen pal or maybe even a crazy prision boyfriend. Okay maybe not the latter.
The actress who plays Vivy, Diana Maria Riva even sent me an email thanking me for the support. If you are on facebook join the Save Vivy group. Myspace? Friend Vivy Porter.
This is the time to let Liftetime know. If you haven't seen Side Order, tell them you'd like a chance to see it because you've heard through the grapevine that you should be watching it.
Please follow this link to LIFETIME TV's comment board, register yourself and type in on the comment board. It doesn't have to be complex. SAVE VIVY will even suffice. http://www.mylifetime.com/on-tv/shows/side-order-life

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I'm on strike, okay more like hiatus

I don't think anyone reads these posts...besides a few college friends...but this writers strike is really making me frustrated. So I have decided to do a mini strike...I will not post on here until I hear news (hopefully good) about the renewal of Side Order of Life.
Please leave your commments of support for Side Order on the Lifetime tv web page.
Realistically, I guess I am just talking to my college friends and so Carol, Deidre, Jill, Deidre...get on this. This show is fantastic!
Please read post below to see why I care.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Save Vivy!

I don't watch a lot of t.v. anymore. Now the televison is just what it used to be...background noise.
It's all for the absence of the only show I watched with regularity, Side Order of Life. In the fall it went on hiatus...and now with the writer's strike its future remains in the balance. If you didn't catch this new series when it premiered this summer you missed out.
Starring Marissa Coughlan, Diana-Maria Riva, Christopher Gartin and 90210 alum Jason Priestley.
It's a show about figuring things out, re-evaluating priorities, friendships and the whole mixed bag that is life. You might say...hmmm...what makes it so special?

Number one on my list is the portrayal of Vivy Porter, a young woman who is grappling with a cancer diagnosis. Yet this isn't your typical plot point during sweeps week. This is not the over dramatic and melodramatic fare we see in other t.v. series. We won't mention any names. Other shows use cancer as drama and then either kill off the character or never speak of the cancer again. Phew... Dust yourself off...pretend life is magically fixed.

Vivy is not that kind of character and Side Order of Life is not that kind of show.

For once a show dealt with cancer in a responsible, realistic way. They allow viewers to see a person with cancer as courageous, funny, bold but most of all... just like the rest of us.

If you have any interest in how the media portrays cancer survivors I urge you to flood Lifetime with emails of support for this show. Side Order of Life is doing it right. It would be sad if this groundbreaking show fell victim to the writer's strike. Check out this clip...

Better yet...PLEASE COMMENT HERE...share your thoughts about Side Order and I will send them on.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

First read of 2008

My first post in January. I guess I didn't expect 2008 to creep up this fast...but here I am. I'm still trying to recover from New Years. I have this lovely way of looking at extended rest...with frustration. I've been held to various stages of rest and convalescence for way too many large chunks of my life but sometimes you have to listen to the body.

During this post ball drop slump I have had the pleasure of reading Sean Swarner's book, "Keep Climbing." Actually I just picked it up last night and have not been able to put it down. Sean is a fellow Hodgkins survivor who climbed Everest! Sean too is a two-time cancer survivor, his second being Askin's Sarcoma. By the way this second round with the big C held a 6 percent survival rate. You might expect that someone who beat those odds would take life light and easy...no sir...Sean decided to start climbing mountains.
Holy macanoli! Holi Denali!
After 'meeting' in the chat room following the Stupid Cancer Show segment I typed to him, telling him our students were reading Into Thin Air. Graciously, he offered to answer some of their questions via email. Actually, as I was reading his email the other night it seemed almost as if I was reading a note from a college friend, not someone who just recently completed the Seven Summits. For a guy whose had his head farther in the clouds than most of us could even fathom...he sure seems pretty down to earth.
I have about 50 more pages to go this morning but I am telling you the book is very powerful.
Sean, if you are reading...thanks for sharing your story with the world.