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Posts tagged “Chemotherapy

Things I learned from Cancer 101 (8)

by Sandra Pullen on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 11:30am

When we mess up, immediately, we seek an excuse.  We’re only human.  How many times have you heard that?  Or said it yourself?

To be human is sort of a given, I mean, I doubt you could be anything else, right?

But to be human is not an excuse for mistakes.  One mistake is just that, a mistake……….but the second time you make the same mistake, it has become a choice.

Choice, choices, decisions  all equal  free will.  Just a little something that GOD gave us.  The freedom to choose.

Most of the time, our choices are good ones.   To go to the best college, who to marry, which dress to wear…….Roll Tide or War Eagle.  

Choices like this are easy to make.  There is not a lot of effort needed to make those type of decisions.Austin, Aaron, and Allison Pullen

I heard once…”I’d rather die than to take any more chemotherapy”

WHAT????   Are you crazy?

Now, I understand. It becomes a choice of quality over quantity.   So often choices we make are selfish, made with  ourselves as the number one consideration.

When it comes to a child with cancer,  decisions become  much harder to make. ” Well, there is no decision to be made. I want my child healthy and whole, no matter what the cost.”

We all do.

It’s our job as a parent, to want the best for our children and set out to obtain it.  But what if the best is painful?   During Austin‘s treatments,  I remember Aaron, my son casually mentioning a slight irritation with his wife, Allison.

Now being the mother that I am and that my children know me to be, I wanted to get defensive and take his side. But instead I found myself saying…”Don’t tell me about arguments because you are mine, and I love you.  I will always take your side, but………….you are not always going to be right.

Our heavenly Father is the same way after all, He is where we learn it. He is always on our side, even if and when we are not right, but yet He loves us.

The best for Austin was three years of Chemotherapy and oral medicines. On a particularly difficult day, we tried to give Austin his chemo med in pill form.  Every single time, he would throw it right back up. We knew how desperately he needed this medicine and we were desperate to get it down.  We tried, water, milk, cool aid, holding his nose, a syringe. Nothing worked.

I asked Allison to go and call the Doctor and ask if we could get this medicine in a liquid form. Maybe we could get it down and it would be easier for him.  By this time we were all in tears and Austin was exhausted.

Allison returned.  Her face pale and tired. She looked that way a lot for those three years.  She never stopped. Not once did she say, “I quit” She was strong and knew that she had to be for her son. That’s what we mothers do

“What did he say”  I asked “It doesn’t come in liquid form”  she replied. “Well why not? Don’t they know how hard it is for a two year old to swallow a pill?” “I asked him the same question.  He just said that it doesn’t come in liquid form because, babies aren’t supposed to get cancer.”

Oh my poor baby!   My heart ached  those three years for him.  My own cancer was never as painful  to me as his was for me.

Nothing about that time is pleasant for me to remember. 

Nothing about that time is happy for any of us. But I will tell you this…. I love that boy!  He is special in more ways than one.

The innocence of childhood protected him and insulated his little mind from so much.   He doesn’t remember some of it, he was only a baby. But he does know the way to St. Jude.   If he is in the car and see’s his surroundings, he can tell you really quick,  ” I don’t wanna go to St. Jude!”

Aren’t we all the same?   I don’t wanna go!   I don’t wanna!   I don’t want to have to deal with cancer, it is physically and emotionally painful.  Well, guess what?   Put on your big girl panties and deal with it!!   That is one place, one circumstance that you have NO choice.

You know what, if I find out there was a choice about this cancer business, I’m gonna really be pissed!!! I had no choice, Austin had no choice. Not about cancer, not about treatment.

The beast.   I hate the beast!  I wish IT would get cancer and die!!

Now, having said all of that, I want you to know………the next thing cancer taught me is that life is about choices……..good ones, bad ones, ones we didn’t make,  all of them come together to make us who we are. 

But, the most important thing to remember about your choices is this……………they always affect some one else.  We don’t get to be selfish all the time.  Our actions, though our own, affect the people around us. Whether for better or worse.

I choose to be happy, never trusting any one else with such an important part of my life.  My happiness.  It’s all up to me. You see GOD gives us that choice to make.  HE doesn’t coerce us, or force us to love him. 

My earthly father has never forced me to love him,  I just do!  I don’t question that love, it’s just there.

All I have to do is love him back.

And I choose to do just that………… him back

I choose life, happiness and most of all………..My Saviour

Choice……..means one of a number of things from which only one can be chosen

Only one…..Choose.

I did, and I didn’t need cancer to teach me that,  I already knew that!!!

Things that an Alabama girl learned from cancer…

 Things I learned from Cancer 101, Chapter 1

by Sandra Pullen on Tuesday, December 28, 2010 at 7:05am
External (gross) appearance of a mastectomy sp...

External (gross) appearance of a mastectomy

Fear is a killer.  When you first hear the words that give voice to your diagnosis, fear is the first emotion to hit you in the gut. It is a paralyzing fear that grabs your throat and squeezes…..tight…….until you feel like you’re going to pass out.  For me, when Dr. Copeland entered the room, I knew.  I held up my hand and said “if you have any good news, I want it first”  He threw my chart down on the table and looked at me, square in the eye, ” We caught this as early as it is possible”

Then, I could breath again.  One deep breath, “now tell me the bad news.”  Both tumors are malignant. OK, now what?

I had enough medical knowledge to know what a mastectomy was, so that in itself did not frighten me, but some how, the word “chemo” did.  Go figure,  surgery not so scary, losing a body part, not so scary but chemo made me FEAR.

I had known people who had done chemotherapy. They always looked so “sick”  No hair, pale and weak, so opposite of me.

I have always battled a weight problem. Food is my drug of choice. It makes me feel good.  Never once did I look , pale or sick. I was the picture of health.  Robust health.  The word cancer was foreign to me.

Oh, I knew what it was, but that is something that happened to other people.  Other people got sick and died.  Not my family, and certainly not ME!

 So with that ,November 28, 2001 became a date that is forever engraved in my mind. Not likely to forget that one, nor the December  day that started my journey to recovery. 


What a strange word, chemotherapy.  Why is it called therapy?   That sounds  cathartic, almost cleansing.   SOOOOOOOOOO not what chemo is, at all!!

 So, for six months I did the “therapy” where they gave me toxic chemicals twice a week.  I took a cocktail mix of three cancer drugs……Cytoxin, Methotrexate, and my favorite of all cancer fighting drugs………..ta da……5-FU!!    No seriously, that is what it was called.  I loved my 5-FU.  The coolest of all cancer drugs. I could just see those 5-FU toxins entering my blood stream, searching for cancer cells all bad ass and mean!  I always wanted my 5-FU first!

All of this was after a bag of Zofran for nausea, and Decadron (steroid)  so you felt like sitting up and taking your toxic medicine.

After all this time you would think that the memory of that time would fade slightly.  Nope!   I remember it like it was yesterday. All I know is the FEAR is always near.  Some days I can feel it breathing down my neck.  It hovers around me like a ghost, whose presence is  seldom seen and only occasionally felt. That is when I tell myself……..cancer is only a word. It has no power. I have made a decision not to give it power over my life. Cancer only has the power to take your life. It can not steal my joy, my happiness, and it certainly has no power to steal my salvation, my gift from a loving father who knew me before I was born, who wondrously  and beautifully formed me!!    Take that cancer!!!   My  DAD can whoop your dad!

Cancer has taught me that life is indeed, fragile. There are no guarantees  given. We are not promised tomorrow. Not one minute is a given. 

I have learned that life is a school. What we learn here is preparing us to be what HE wants us to be.  No, I do not believe that God gave me cancer.  I do believe that  there are things here on earth that are under Satan‘s influence. Cancer is simply a product of this environment, not like air or water, I mean the environment we inhabit. Our earthly environment.  I wish I had the answer to all the questions, but of course, I don’t.  But by the time we get the answers to the questions………………….I don’t think the questions will matter so much.

Now 9 years later, I still remember the fear. Funny, but I can’t recall the pain, just the throat clenching fear.  Little did I know that there was something coming that was so much worse than my cancer. Only three years after my diagnosis came the worst day of my life. The day that my 2 year old grandson Austin was diagnosed with………………………… guessed it cancer.   Man, how I hate that disease!!    To steal a quote………..cancer sucks!!!