In the Bleak Midwinter

First of all, dear friends, let me remind you that January is radon month, so if you haven’t checked your home for radon, please do it this week-end! Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Please protect yourself and your loved ones by getting a test kit this week-end and using it! You can read more in my previous blog post: How Two Trips to the Basement Could Save Your Life. Thus ends my radon public service announcement! ūüôā

You’re probably wondering what I’ve been up to lately, besides hanging out with my boys and walking the dog. The answer is LOTS!

The Ottawa support group is going well: 13 out at our January meeting. We have an awareness day planned at the General next Thursday. Drop by the Cancer Centre and say hello if you’re around!

Our December Ottawa support group party, with a delicious and generously catered meal from Chances R Restaurant

I’m working at collecting and connecting lung cancer patients across the country, so if you know of any, please send them in my direction! Today I was talking with dear folks in Winnipeg. Yesterday it was Calgary. It can be pretty lonely here in Canada, without other lung cancer friends around! That’s why I’m working to find and connect lung cancer patients in various geographic regions across this large land. I hope we will have patient support groups, awareness days and summits across the country!

There aren’t enough hours in the day! I love serving as a catalyst, a creative problem solver! I’m energized by this work, and eager to meet people, gather them together, and help build lung cancer communities.

I joined the Canadian Cancer Trials Group as (volunteer) patient representative, Lung Site, in November. The CCTG develops and conducts clinical trials, and includes all major cancer centres and many community hospitals across the country. This will afford me the opportunity to meet people doing lung cancer research across the country, and that should help with my community building work! As patient representative, I have opportunities to give input into the clinical trial process at many points along the way. Steep learning curve and big responsibility! It’s important that I get to know a wide variety of lung cancer patients so that I can fulfill my obligation to represent us all. I hope to listen and learn a lot in the coming months and hopefully years. I hope to live long enough to fulfill my three year term commitment. Perhaps another clinical trial will help extend my life once again!

I’ve also applied to the Scientist-Survivor program at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting this Spring in Atlanta. What a wonderful opportunity to meet researchers, advocates, oncologists and learn many things about research into all kinds of cancer, then pass my learning along to many others! I should hear any day if I’ve been accepted, and I am eagerly hoping!

Christmas Day 2018

But it’s not all lung cancer around here. Sadly, Jono’s Mum is extremely unwell. Jono and our youngest rushed off to Australia right after Christmas to be with her and the rest of Jono’s family. We wished we all could have gone. They shared many joyous times together in the midst of such sorrow, and have just returned home. We’d be grateful if you could spare a prayer or warm thought for the family as it seems the end is drawing near.

November Awareness

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. If you follow me on Facebook, you may have noticed I changed my profile and cover photos for November. Have you noticed any other indications of¬†Lung Cancer Awareness Month? I haven’t seen many.

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Did you know that Lung Cancer is by far the most common type of cancer, and by far the leading killer (of all cancers) in Canada?

Did you know that Lung Cancer kills more than 20,000 Canadians each year? Did you know Lung Cancer kills more people than Breast, Prostate and Colon Cancer combined?

I learned these sad facts through my involvement with Lung Cancer Canada.¬† lungcancercanada.ca¬†They’ve got a few events that I’m planning to be at this month, including the Lung Cancer Patient Summit in Toronto and the Lung Cancer Canada Evening of Hope in Ottawa.¬†I’ll be speaking at the Ottawa event. Busy month for me!

November can be a rough month, especially if one spends time reflecting on numbers like these.

Lung Cancer research is shockingly¬†under-funded, especially when compared with funding for other cancers which don’t take nearly as many people away from their family and friends. Lung Cancer accounts for 25% of all cancer deaths in Canada. Ugh.

I’m thankful that these numbers aren’t the whole¬†story!¬†I’m thankful for researchers and doctors¬†and¬†nurses and administrators and fundraisers and so many generous people who are working hard to change¬†these horrible stats!

I’m thankful that this clinical trial I’m on is making a huge difference for me and my family and friends. I hope this drug¬†will help¬†many more who follow.

I’m thankful for hope, and those to seek to inspire it for lung cancer patients.

Some members of my lung cancer community talk about “Outliving Lung Cancer”, ¬†“Shining a Light on Lung Cancer”, and “Hope Beyond Cure”.* ¬†I am thankful for them and for the hope that they help inspire in me and many others. Hope is good!

*  outlivinglungcancer.com   hopebeyondcure.com

I don’t know much about serving as¬†a patient advocate, and I¬†don’t know¬†if¬†this is my calling, but I’m hoping I’ll learn more, meet some great people, and be encouraged at these Lung Cancer Canada events this month. I’ll let you know how it goes!

This month I’ve been enjoying¬†lots of walks, aiming to gradually increase my fitness. Let me show you¬†some of the beauty I’ve been privileged to see¬†… even in November! ūüôā ¬†Thank you for journeying with me: it’s good to have companions!

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