Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Sunday, May 29, 2011


It has been five years since I started treatment. I've reached my 5th chemotherapy anniversary!
I think this is worth celebrating on top of reaching 5 years post diagnosis, starting chemo was a traumatic event in and above the cancer diagnosis.
I was far more scared of the treatment than the disease.
I still am.
It's true what they say, "If the cancer doesn't cure you, the treatment will."
If you hadn't heard that now you have. If you thought it was an urban legend, I'm now confirming it's truth.
My diagnosis of Hodgkin's Lymphoma gave me decent odds of survival and cure, some as high as 90%.
A cancer with a 90% cure rate was not so scary 5 years ago, pouring poison into my blood with all my education about its effects was.
I said loud and clear in my previous life that I would never be an oncology nurse. I would never mix or administer chemo. I wouldn't put myself in the position to give myself cancer.
Yes, chemo can give you cancer.
On top of the fact that exposure to chemo alone can give you cancer, nurses complain of severe headaches, neurological problems, and other ailments of unknown originals that they suspect are from administering chemo.
To give the therapy, they have to put on masks, gloves, and a full body plastic suit to avoid exposure and protect themselves.
Is it any wonder I wasn't excited to hop into that infusion chair?
But I did it, and have kept doing it ever since.
Most of the complaints I have are therapy induced, so many that it's easier to tell you what the cancer causes than list all the problems the treatment has caused.
The cancer causes severe pain and fatigue. If allowed to grow, it will cause organ failure and severely weaken my immune system.
You know what else severely weakens my immune system and causes fatigue, you guessed it, my chemotherapy.
It has also given me asthma then bronchiolitis obliterans to the point I became oxygen dependent, but have since, luckily or miraculously, overcome. Thank you, God.
I have lost 20% or more of my corneas.
I have a neuropathy in both my feet and my hands, meaning I can't feel  much, but luckily, I haven't experienced any pain.
I have constant nausea. That's if I'm not throwing up. I think nothing of vomiting after a meal. If a don't make it to the bathroom, oh well. A bucket or outside does just fine. I bring new meaning to "puke and rally."
I've weighed as little as 90lbs. Then I ballooned to 150 with most of that being placed directly in my face. If you thought having those brownies going to your hips or thighs were bad, imagine them being plastered across your face or in a lump on your back. Just call me QuasiHillary, The Hunchback of Cancerville.
I've lost all my hair only to have it all grow back in places my father can't even grow it.
I haven't even mentioned the menopause, hot flashes, cold sweats, mood swings, confusion, "chemobrain, "etc. etc. etc., because the list goes on and on and on.
 Surviving all those awful things and overcoming them to the point of functioning I'm at today is absolutely worth celebrating.
I confident I'm still here because I have yet to fulfill my "purpose" or my life's destiny. After all this time, I still have goals that I'd like to achieve.
I want to write/publish a book. If it would make The New York Times' Best Seller List or win a Pulitzer I could check that childhood dream off my list.
I'd still like a "Hillary's House" near DHMC for patient housing. Thank you Andy for helping with this, unfortunately The Upper Valley Hostel hasn't been receptive to our offer to assist it in fundraising. In fact, they've been downright rude. That's why The Relay For Life has gotten my support recently. One loss is another's gains.
Even living close I'm no exempt from needing closer housing. If my doctor will not administer my therapy June 6th as an inpatient we'll likely be spending the night across the street at the Marriott. Nobody wants to rush with me gasping for breath, having to be carried to the car, throwing my bags together AGAIN. I'd rather be admitted, but if not we're staying close.
I want to find the cause of the cancer cluster in my area. I want to gather the information needed to prove the existence of a cluster so I don't have to hear about my neighbor's suffering and dying from blood cancers, brain tumors, and rare cancers anymore.
I want to watch Xander grow up and help him turn into the man I know he can be. I want to be able to keep coaching or supporting J coaching so we can positively effect all the kids we can.
Finally, I want to help assure that no one suffers the way my family and I have.
I hope that God's plan for me aligns with my goals.
This is the reason I've lived so long with so many problems stacked against me. I still have life goals, none of which include buying next years hottest outfit from Versace (a garage would be nice though ;) ). 

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