Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Back at it in March...............

Well, tomorrow eve we head off to Duke University for my big surgery. I am feeling really good and spiritually centered. Just a "bring it on" attitude! I just want this behind me so I can recover and get back to creating and living life in the now. I have had the fear monkey hanging around my neck for some time now and I am done with it. Sooooo, I will be back in the spring. Lots of new crazy whimsical creations are swimming in my head, I will be glad to get them out. I know, I know, be patient. I will be slow to recover and it will take me weeks to get back on my feet and understand how to manage my body and eating with no stomach. Thanks again to all for your loving words,
 emails and prayers.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ready to Share - about HDGC Cancer............

How can something so beautiful be so deadly?
In early December, I had a genetics test and found out that I tested positive for CDH1 which is a gene mutation that causes HDGC - Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer.  The average age of onset of gastric cancer in HDGC is 38 years old.  The estimated lifetime risk of developing gastric cancer by age 80 is 84% for women and a 50% lifetime chance of getting breast cancer.  It is a very rare nasty cancer syndrome that is silent. Microscopic Signet Ring Cells weave in between the lining and mucosa of the stomach and it is nearly impossible to detect via Endoscopy, MRI, etc. It is A-symptomatic (no real outward symptoms) until it is late stage and usually untreatable or terminal. It took my father's life at age 46 when I was in high school and just this last July it claimed his sister too. After looking into family history - we found that it took my Grandfather and Great Grandfather at young ages as well.
I felt like I had been handed a death sentence.  I watched this cancer's evil handy work first hand in watching the passing of both my father and my aunt. I vowed with the news of my gene mutation diagnosis that I would be a survivor and not another statistic. Because this type of cancer is so difficult to detect at and early stage and surveillance is not reliable, the medical recommendation is a Total Gastrectomy (stomach removal). Yes, I know! Your eyes just bulged out of your head and you are probably thinking things like: Can you live without a stomach? Isn't that a rather DRASTIC preventative measure!?? There must be a better way! I know, I know - I had all the same thoughts and reactions too. 
Thanks to the support of my cousins (that tested negative for the mutation by the grace of God) family, and a fantastic organization called  No Stomach For Cancer, I have come to peace with my diagnosis. Like others in the world with this genetic mutation that have not already succumbed to this horrid cancer, I will undergo a Total Gastrectomy in a few weeks
 on February 22 2013
 at Duke University Cancer Center in North Carolina.
I feel so blessed to have this awareness and a chance to beat this cancer!
Once again I am reminded how fragile and precious life is.
Kia Kaha
Be Strong in the face of challenge