Karen's Page

Welcome to Karen's Page, a web page intended to keep Karen's family and friends informed about her cancer. Karen, age 40, has a rare form of cancer called Pseudomyxoma Peritonei. She and her husband Tom have 2 children ages 4 and 7.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

El Bloggo on the net

Where have I been? Oh, yes, that is the question. Since chemo has ended we have been remarkably successful at getting back in to what I would deem a “normal lifestyle”. Shoot, it has been so long at that now that I don’t really expect that anyone is reading the blog any more. In fact you may be the only one, and if that is the case then I write these words just for you.

It’s funny how in life you grow accustomed to things and make changes to accommodate and accept them as more normal the longer that they live around you. Since the surgery and chemo are done – in fact we are 1 month away from the 1 year anniversary of the procedure – I have grown used to the necessary changes in our lives and at this point, I have to tell you that things are pretty much normal. Sure, Karen visits the doctor every three months for tests and scans, we are on the lookout for strange things happening to her every day but . . . .it is not something that we wake up thinking about. I am used to the zipper that runs up and down her middle and it is now a part of her but not as a constant reminder of what she has gone through but rather as a part, now, of Karen. No big deal.

So it’s over for now and it may or may not come back. How’s that for a strange, vague outlook? No matter, it is what it is.

I am finding it difficult to believe that we are upon the one year anniversary of the surgery which also means that we are fast upon the two year anniversary of Karen’s cancer. You know, if you think that time flies fast in normal life as you get older, I submit that dealing with a cancer accelerates that by a factor of at least three. Where has the time gone? I surely don’t know but I do say this: I am looking forward to being home for the month of November, to having the family out for a real Thanksgiving holiday, and for a Christmas season filled with activities not based around home care and post-surgical trauma. ( I think Karen feels the same way. Ha!)

The second annual Chef’s Auction is only a few weeks away and it is going to be a great one. We have 20 of the Valley’s best chefs on board and they are going to be auctioned off on November 9 to raise money for the Pendleton Foundation. I think Karen has briefed you on this, so I will not re-do that but if you are in the valley and available that night, get your buns over there. We will be there, it will be a great deal of fun, and hey! You too can have your own chef for a private dinner and you can’t get that on Ebay. Don’t be shy! Call now and get tickets!!!! Talk to Gina at 760-202-6157 or get on the website and set it up. Don’t worry if you weren’t at the last one and don’t know what you are in for . . . neither do I!!!!!

Take care, all. I move forward in my new mental state!

El Bloggo

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

In the swing of things!

Hello Friends,
Well, I'm approaching my first year anniversary. I had my cytoreductive surgery with heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy on November 10th, 2005. I finished my folfox + avastin chemo on June 16th, 2006. I'm feeling pretty well, though not 100%, yet. I say - yet - because my energy level improves slowly and steadily.

Meanwhile, I've reentered my life. I am keeping quite busy! It seems I am more busy now than I was before my surgery! I'm trying to help in my kids' classrooms, at the school and at church. Tom and I are also pretty active right now with the Pendleton Foundation (www.thependletonfoundation.org).

Our fundraiser is coming up November 9th at Rancho Las Palmas. See the website for more information. The Foundation popped up after the community came together to raise money for my surgery. Everyone involved wanted to continue to help other people who face fighting a rare cancer. One of the things that is most frustrating about having a rare cancer is finding and getting to the doctors who have the most experience with the kind of cancer you have. So the foundation was formed to help patients get to the specialists they need to consult with and then help with any medical treatments. Everyone involved with the Pendleton Foundation has a heart for this cause.

Now, more personal information. I have been really struggling with overcomiting myself to things. I'm so eager to be active again and have a new desire to help other people. However, my energy level can't keep up with my ambitions. I'm trying to find the balance between, family, sports, church, school and Jazzercise. It seems that every sport my kids are involved in requires parents volunteers. I don't mind that, but it's hard to fit in! Jazzercise is a blessing in that it really helps me get stronger and blow off the stress of the day. I'm really thankful for my students and fellow instructors who support me so much. They don't seem to mind when I huff and puff toward the end of class!! People also expect you to be "normal" again. They want you back the way you were. It's hard to jump right back into your life after not participating for a while. I feel like I've been a couch potato for 8 months and am now trying to run a marathon with only 2 months of training. The transition can't happen that quickly! Attending Gilda's Club in Cathedral City has been a great help. The support groups there are great. What I like about it is that the groups are for anyone with any kind of cancer. There are a lot of support groups for colon, lung, breast and prostate cancer. Not too many for appendix/colon cancer! Gilda's club is so great. If you know anyone dealing with cancer, check them out.

Well, I have to run now. I really want to thank you for your continued interest. The adventure with cancer doesn't end when the treatment ends. There are new struggles and challenges. I never expected that.