Tag Archives: Cancer

Remission 12th anniversary

Photography by Miriam Hurdle

I was diagnosed with a rare melanoma cancer in July 2008. None of the doctors who treated me had seen it. It started with stage I or II but turned into stage IV within a few months. I completed the year-long bio-chemotherapy, surgeries and radiation on August 1, 2009. Today marks the 12th anniversary of remission. I’m thankful to be alive, enjoy my family and have the joy to watch the grandchildren grow. I have been writing about my cancer journey since 2016. The distance from the event allows me to have reflection and a proper perspective. It will be a part of my legacy to pass on to the generations to come. This was a one-day-at-a-time journey of faith, hope, and strength. It was a journey cheered and supported by family and friends.

To celebrate the 12th anniversary of my remission, I wanted to share an excerpt with you. The working title of my legacy is The Winding Road, and I’m working on the tagline.

Chapter 2

The hysterectomy surgery was on July 31st, 2008. I wanted to rest for two or three weeks after the surgery before returning to work when the new school year began. 

My husband, Lynton, drove me to St. Jude Medical Center which was 3 miles from home. He stayed with me until the hospital attendant transported me to the surgery room. After the attendant and nurses lifted me onto the surgical table, the anesthesiologist called my name and introduced himself to me and said Dr. Gray was on the way. Before I smiled at him, the blackness came upon me. 

I woke up in the hospital room in the afternoon. There was no pain in the abdomen. Perhaps the anesthesia was not worn off yet. Lynton came with a bouquet almost the same time I woke up. He stayed with me until dinner time and said he would call me early in the morning. It was a relief that the fibroids I had for years were out for good.

At 10:00 p.m., Dr. Gray came to the room and greeted me with a smile. I returned a grin with apprehension because no doctors would visit patients late at night unless there was an emergency. He sat down by the bed. “The surgery went well,” he said, “and I wanted to share the pathology result with you.”

My puzzling grew but nodded and kept smiling.

“The pathology result shows that the vaginal mass was melanoma. I’ve never seen it before, not in vagina, so I did some research. The research shows that melanoma is the most aggressive, invasive and dangerous cancer.”

He detected the perplex on my face, and said, “It looks like it’s in stage I or II, the beginning stage and the cancer has not spread into other parts of the body yet.”

I wanted to ask questions, but my mind went blank. What questions could I ask? The moisture saturated my eyes.

“I have lined up the referrals for you to see the specialists for treatments. Call my cell phone if you have questions. I’ll start my vacation tomorrow.” He handed me a note with his phone number. It seemed like he did a lot of homework that afternoon.

“But you’ll be on vacation,” I said, still tried to find words.

“That’s what a cell phone is for.” he smiled. “I’m glad God put you in my care.”

His visit transported me to the thickest fog in the dark.

~ ~ ~

The next day, I still had no pain after the anesthesia was worn off.

Lynton called me around 9:00 a.m. to let me know he was coming to see me later that day. He told me his dad passed away, and he was on the phone with his siblings. His dad had been in Loma Linda ICU since last Wednesday with a heart-attack and a kidney infection. The infection went into the blood and his condition went downhill. After the infection was gone, he was on dialysis to give the kidney a break to see if it could be reversed. Lynton and I went to see him last Wednesday. He was unconscious when we got there. The entire family of twelve people were there talking to each other about the latest progress. Lynton’s dad heard our voices and opened his eyes. We went close to his bedside to hold his hands and spoke to him. His eyes sparked a little and then went back to unconsciousness. That was the last time I saw his dad.

“Would you ask your family to schedule the funeral service after I get home from the hospital? I want to be there.”

“Don’t worry. My family will consider that when they plan for the funeral service. I’m on my way to the hospital to see you.”

When he arrived, I gave him the news. He faced me with the brooding look and said he would research on melanoma as soon as he got home.

“How are you feeling?” the nurse came in to check on me.

“I’m feeling very well with no pain. Can I go home today?”

“The attending doctor is not here yet. Let me check your incision and change the dressing. I’ll let the doctor know of your condition. He has to authorize the discharge.”

The doctor came in an hour later. After checking my progress, he authorized the discharge.

“Thank you, doctor,” I said to him while my mind spun at a record speed, miles into the search engine, chasing the meaning of melanoma.

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There are some things a poet cannot accept

A beautiful tribute to Sue Vincent from Jim Webster. Thank you, Jim, for speaking for all of us and let Sue know what you were doing before her passing. She held all our love and appreciation with her.

Sue lived a courageous life. She was still writing when her legs were too weak to stand up. She showed us to be true to ourselves and be vulnerable. She didn’t complain about her dying but continued to value her living.

Sue, you lived a life greater than life itself. We all missed you tremendously and we’re thankful for the precious words you left behind!

Tallis Steelyard

There are times when a poet must make a stand and say, “This has happened without my cognisance and I will not accept it!” Today has not been the best of days. Today I got a note from a patron. Common enough, especially from her, as she was always quick to praise, swift to encourage. But today the note had a bitter flavour. She was sitting awaiting death. A week? Longer?

And what can a poet do? A poet can protest, a poet can stand tall and say firmly that this will not do. A poet can bang the table with his wine glass obvious of the fact it has shattered and the pieces lie glistening but incoherent, shards of dreams never now to be dreamt.

Others have known Sue for longer than I, others will doubtless feel the grief more keenly, will mourn longer, but my job as a…

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Meet Sue and Join The Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic

I’m happy to announce an exciting event in this blogging family. We gather around to cheer and support one of our own – Sue Vincent.

Sue is living in the south of England. She is a poet, a commissioned painter, an accomplished writer, and a director of the Silent Eye, a modern mystery School. She is a supper-supportive blogger at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo where she hosts the weekly #WritePhoto challenge and posts all the works from the participants, and writes #Midnighthaiku. She invites bloggers to guest post on her “Be My Guest.” Click any link to find more about Sue or participate in her #WritePhoto at https://scvincent.com/2021/01/28/thursday-photo-prompt-guarded-writephoto, or read her #midnighthaiku at https://scvincent.com/2021/01/29/gifts-midnighthaiku-5.

I love landscape painting and chose this as Sue’s sample paintings.

Oil on Canvas by Sue Vincent

Sue has been a caretaker of her son for 11+ years since he suffered from the traumatized attack. Besides the challenge, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. This is the time she would appreciate the support when she can’t run full speed because of the side effect and the exhaustion from the treatment, plus the impact from the Covid pandemic.

Carrot Rach has created a Rodeo Classic to orchestrate the support event. It calls for a 99-words flash fiction contest. To take part, you write a flash fiction story of 99 words or a poem of 99 syllables, using the photo prompt at Carrot Ranch to find the “Hidden” Inspiration, and enter the contest using a form on the post, then you’d be invited take part in a small donation to support Sue.

“Each story needs to have a beginning, middle and end. Poems must have distinctive theme, movement, and rhythm; no rhyme scheme is necessary, but neither will rhyme be punished…” – H.R.R.

There is a $100 grand prize and five runners up will each receive one paperback from Sue’s collection of published books (those who live in a region where the paperback is unavailable may receive an e-Book instead).

The contest will close at midnight on Friday, February 19, 2021. Winning entries will be announced and read at CarrotRanch.com/blog on March 22, 2021.

I hope you would participate and enjoy the fun!

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You may find Books by Sue Vincent and those written with Stuart France available in paperback and for Kindle via Amazon.

Sue Vincent – UK – USA – France – Germany – Japan – and India.

Stuart France: UKUSFranceGermanyJapan and India

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Join the Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic #blogginghero #writingchallenge #review

Sue Vincent is a fabulous writer and a generous supporter of the blogging community. Now it’s our turn to be there for her. Click the link below and read on. You can also find out more on Sue’s post The inconvenient walking dead… #Covid #cancer #carers

Robbie's inspiration

Sue Vincent is one of those special bloggers that inspires people all over the world. Readers have long been galvanized by her posts about mythology, about ancient ruins and medieval churches, and her daily #midnighthaiku. Even more have participated in and grown as a result of her #writephoto prompts. In addition to posting her prompts, Sue has tirelessly supported other bloggers by sharing others’ responses to her 19,000 and counting followers.

Recently, Sue has been faced with a new and difficult challenge: lung cancer. You canfollow her blogto find out more directly from her. The Covid pandemic has served not only to pose a specific threat to a person with a severe respiratory illness, but it has caused loss of human connection through self-imposed quarantine.

Now it’s time for Sue to receive something back from the community she’s been a cornerstone of for a decade. Let’s bring the…

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Flash Fiction Challenge, 2019.09.12 – The Greatest Gift

September 12, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes the greatest gift. Answer it as if it were a question, or show what it could be. Go where the prompt leads you!

 

 

Gifts come in all sizes and forms. Some are tangible, others are elusive.

My baby daughter is a miraculous gift. She was tiny, weighed one pound thirteen ounces. The nurse wrapped her in layers of blankets to put her in my arms, and placed a heating lamp over us to keep her warm. My daughter is now a mother of a heavenly gift, a healthy and intelligent two-year-old daughter.

Mothers may resonate with the selfless love we have for our children. We wish to take the place of their illnesses and pain. Love is a great gift we received as children and pass on to our children.

My husband told me when he woke up at night, he inched over and put his ear closed to my nose to make sure I was breathing. I survived from stage IV melanoma cancer. The life I have is a gift of a second chance of life.

I could think of many tangible gifts received, but they come and go. As to the indescribable gifts, it is the sum of great gifts come along my way that mold my present being.

 

Image result for abstract images of giving

The Greatest Gift

 

“It’s easier for me to give than to receive.”

“I know, Martha. When you receive, you feel weak.”

“You’re right, I feel helpless and vulnerable and admit other people are stronger.”

“Being able to receive gifts is a gift. When we receive gifts from others, we give them a gift of giving.”

“I never thought of it. When I receive a gift, I feel obligated to precipitate and feel guilty when the chances to return the favors become impossible.”

“The movie Pay It Forward comforts me and changed my understanding of giving.”

“I can tell it’s a great concept.”

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Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction, 2019.09.12 – The Greatest Gift

 

 

 

 

 

UNDERSTANDING: An Anthology of True and Significant Life Events – Part 3

UNDERSTANDING: An Anthology of True and Significant Life Events – compiled by Stevie Turner

It is my privilege to take part in this anthology with other 19 authors writing on difficult experiences in our life.

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An excerpt of my contribution

Miriam Hurdle – Stage IV Melanoma – Q&A: 11 to 15
Read more

UNDERSTANDING: An Anthology of True and Significant Life Events – Part 1

UNDERSTANDING: An Anthology of True and Significant Life Events – compiled by Stevie Turner

It is my privilege to take part in this anthology with other 19 authors writing on difficult experiences in our life.

 

Blurb:

The following authors and bloggers kindly answered questions posed by Stevie Turner regarding significant life experiences they had undergone. These events include sexual abuse, a near death experience, alcoholism, being diagnosed with cancer, depression, losing weight, getting married, being a mother to many children, being the daughter of a narcissistic mother, and many more!

All proceeds will go to Cancer Research.

Thanks to:
Alienora Browning
Sally Cronin
Dorinda Duclos
Scarlett Flame
Bernard Foong
Darlene Foster
Janet Gogerty
Debbie Harris
Lucy V. Hay
Miriam Hurdle
Phil Huston
Pamela Jessen
Joe
D.G Kaye
Lynda McKinney Lambert
Jaye Marie
Clive Pilcher
Abbie Johnson Taylor
Beem Weeks

An excerpt of my contribution

Miriam Hurdle – Stage IV Melanoma – Q&A: 1 to 5

 

  1. How did you find out your cancer?

During my annual physical checkup in the summer of 2008, my family doctor said the fibroid in my uterus grew three inches from 1986 to 2007 but grew four additional inches within the previous year. He referred me to the gynecologist. The gynecologist Dr. G confirmed the news and recommended a hysterectomy. He performed the hysterectomy on July 31, 2008. At 10:00 p.m. on August 1, Dr. G came to my hospital room to inform me I had melanoma cancer in the uterus and invaded the female organ.

  1. What stage was it in the first discovery?

Dr. G said melanoma is an aggressive cancer but mine was stage I or stage II which meant cancer had not spread to the lymph nodes.

  1. What was your initial reaction?

I was thankful the pathology detected the cancer at an early stage and had the hysterectomy done timely. Dr. G ordered tests and referred me to Dr. P, an oncologist. I was not scared or alarmed.

  1. Did you research on melanoma cancer? What did you find out?

I found out that melanoma is an aggressive type of cancer that usually shows up as a pigmented growth on the skin. However, less common types may be found in any organ or part of the body with melanin-containing cells (melanocytes).  Melanocytes are cells in the body that make melanin, the substance that gives skin pigment or color. They are in many places throughout the body, including lymph nodes, bone, lung, liver, spleen, kidneys, eye, and brain, not just the skin. Considerable numbers of melanocytes are in the digestive and urogenital tracts and mucous glands. The non-skin melanomas also are called noncutaneous melanomas which are aggressive, metastatic and difficult to treat. Non-skin melanomas are not known to be caused by sun damage, exposure to ultraviolet rays, family history or moles.

  1. What kind of treatment did the doctor recommend?

When I met with the Dr. P, he said he had not dealt with melanoma and referred me to the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) Medical Center for surgery. I trusted the doctors would take care of the cancer.

To be continued……

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Available on

Amazon.com

Amazon UK

 

 

 

April 5 Flash Fiction Challenge – Don’t Blame the Sun

April 5, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a silly sun story. Up north, “sun silly” is the energetic and playful response to returning sunlight. It could also be an April Fool’s jest, a silly story, or a reaction to spring fever. Be silly and write playfully! Go where the prompt leads.

Don’t Blame the Sun

“It’s the sun’s fault when people get melanoma, the visible kind, Erica.”

“Why do people choose to sunbathe long hours just to get tan? Don’t they know that they ask for cancer?”

“Are you saying people don’t get skin cancer if the sun hides behind the clouds?”

“I didn’t say that, Joyce. The ray is powerful that it penetrates through thick clouds.”

“I get it. You’re saying the sun is at fault to impose cancer on people even when the clouds try to protect them, right?”

Hey, look, don’t blame me, just wear suntan lotion wherever you are, okay!

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Charli Mills, Carrot Ranch: April 5 Flash Fiction – Don’t Blame the Sun

New Normal

This is a reblog of the post I did a year ago. I updated the first line of the post.

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This month marks the 8th anniversary of Remission from my cancer!!

What was my normal schedule and activities all my life until 2008?

Getting up before 6:00 a.m.

Rushing to get on the road to go to work

Multitasking on the job and loving it

Keeping up with cooking dinner and other chores

Keeping up with all the family and social activities

Traveling one to three trips a year

What happened from summer 2008 to summer 2009?

Melanoma Cancer

Six months of chemotherapy

Four surgeries

Five weeks of radiation

What is my new normal?

Thank God for retirement, or else I would not be able to do the following:

Deal with the side effect of chemotherapy – lymphedema on the legs

Unable to fall asleep until the numbness and tingling of my legs subside

Time to get up would have to depend on the time I fall asleep the night before

Running errands is as big a job as climbing mountains

Making two to three stops are manageable, the fourth one has to wait for another day

Elevating my legs and resting is a daily route, whereas years ago I considered it as wasting time

Exercise is a necessity, not a luxury

Priority is the key to manage my schedule

Something for my spiritual, physical, mental life, and make time to be a blessing to others

No promise is made to do everything and I don’t feel guilty if I can’t do it

God bless my being, even when I can’t measure up with my doing!

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Contribution to Debbie’s Forgiving Fridays

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