We often hear about inspirational stories regarding key athletes. But this one’s doing double duty! Olivia Quigley, 24, actually put off her chemo treatments to compete in the Special Olympics. But that’s not all. SHE WON! Indeed, Miss Quigley ended up with the gold medal in track and field. Hers is an incredible story. She was adopted at age 3 and grew up in a loving household. She was so young to receive a diagnosis, but it hasn’t held her back one bit. We’re so proud of you, Olivia! Read about her amazing story from USA Today here.
Recently, a co-worker asked how I coped with joint pain from chemotherapy. I told her that exercise helped me both mentally and physically. I know it is hard enough to get in the mood to exercise for most of us; but I can testify that exercising worked for my joint pain. It wasn’t easy. I knew I needed to keep myself healthy, so I signed up for a step class. Although I already had symptoms of Neuropathy – a loss of feeling in your joints, fingers, toes, and generally can happen anywhere – I never thought it would affect my ability to work out. I went to my first step class with my spirits high. But then, about fifteen minutes in, I noticed that I couldn’t feel my feet! They were heavy like bricks and each step was incredibly difficult. I ended up…
Do you know a woman who isn’t constantly obsessing over her hair? If so, you are the exception! Okay, try having a head of thick hair and then losing it all. Yes, I was bald after having chemo treatments. The week after my first treatment, my scalp started to burn – like it does when you leave a relaxer/perm in too long. It was so bad that I couldn’t comb my hair and started wearing caps to work. By my second treatment, my hair was gone. The doctors recommend that you cut your hair before this happens to make you feel in control. Well, I was still in denial and cutting my own hair wasn’t an option. I was still waiting for the nurse to call and tell me that my diagnosis wasn’t accurate. When I became bald, it didn’t devastate me… I actually…
I can’t believe we’re already seven months into this year. Back in January, I wrote about a few pivotal events in thinking about going into my 5th year of remission. It’s a big deal. It’s something to be celebrated and shouted from the rooftops! But it also makes me look at all the work we still have to do to prevent cancer from taking a single other life. In my first post on this website, I mentioned Stuart Scott. I hate that we lost him. My heart still breaks for his family. I came across a tribute from ESPN to Stuart Scott regarding his legacy. I can’t do it any more justice than it can do itself. Make sure and check it out here. And hug your loved ones while you’re at it.
We live in a wonderful world. Now, the same tenacity and focus that startups have pored into companies like Uber and Air B&B is now also helping us in the fight against breast cancer (and in this case, ovarian cancer, too!). Similar to my previous post about Angelina Jolie Pitt’s experience with preemptive surgery, the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes indicate an abnormally high likelihood of developing breast cancer. One of the reasons Miss Pitt’s experience was partially controversial (aside from surgery before a diagnosis), testing had been expensive and out of the reach of many. But with this startup, no longer! Read the full report from the New York Times here.
As often as it is important for us to get our voices out there, it is also helpful to the community as a whole for high-profile individuals like Sandra Lee, New York Governor Cuomo’s long time girlfriend. High-profile cases help us to get the information out there. It takes courage to tell the world about your diagnosis. It takes a lot of courage as well to get the news in public. She says that she was actually at a photo shoot when she got the news. To be in such a public and vulnerable place already – it’s tough to imagine. We all go through our struggles and they remind us how essential our community is. I’m so grateful for my family and friends who have helped me throughout the years! Watch the video from CBS news here.
In 2013, actress Angelina Jolie Pitt opted to have preemptive surgery – a double mastectomy – due to a genetic test that showed that she wasn’t just likely to get breast cancer, she was at high risk. The BRCA1 gene gives those who have it an 87% likelihood that she would get the disease. So the math was simple for her – breast cancer wasn’t going to be the reason she didn’t get to meet her grandchildren one day. I find this an interesting topic and concept. Each person’s treatment is her own, but to go through surgery before there was even a problem is something that we should be talking about in our community. I think that at the very least, we should hear what she has to say in the 2 years after. Here is her op-ed in the New York Times.
This is incredible! This one cocktail – or mixture of drugs in this case – has actually been shown in some cases to give patients an extra 16 months of life where before there was far less hope. This has me thinking about how fortunate I have been and how important the fight is for all of us – until we never again have to feel the fear of losing a loved one. Take a second and read about what the researchers said when they published the findings in the New England Journal of Medicine. The article by NBC News is here.