Posts filed under ‘Uncategorized’

Awww…. poop! (Chicago-style)

I love that people think to send me pics of funny poo/bathroom related things they see these days! Keep them coming!

These pics come from one of my most faithful blog readers … my mom. She recently took a weekend trip to Chicago and spotted several things around the city that, well, made her think of me. I know, you wish you were in our family too so you could get poop-related photos. Don’t worry, I’ll share…

Thanks, Mom! Way to promote colon cancer awareness even while you’re on vacation!

November 8, 2010 at 3:32 pm Leave a comment

The Seven Levels of Healing

I recently completed a course called “The Seven Levels of Healing” hosted by my oncology office, Kansas City Cancer Centers.

I was initially introduced to the 7 levels class by my treasured Nurse Kim. Actually, the last conversation she and I ever had was about this class. She lit up the room with excitement and hope as she talked about the opportunity to offer this course to all of KCCC’s patients. She had gone through the class herself and absolutely raved about it. After that day, I was sold, but had not signed up yet. After her sad departure from this world, I knew I had to go through it and not wait another minute. Not only had I been facing some issues that the class could help me with, but it was a way to honor my friend and keep her work going.

When I signed up for the class, I was nervous, excited, and clueless about what was to come. I saw a counselor this summer for several weeks and was curious if the class would cover the same topics. It did cover some of the same topics, but offered me a totally unique and surprising experience that I could have ever imagined.

The course is broken up into seven levels:
1. Education & Information
2. Connection with Others
3. The Body as Garden
4. Emotional Healing
5. The Nature of Mind
6. Life Assessment
7. The Nature of Spirit

Each week offered me a new perspective on how to handle life with cancer. I walked away realizing that my body is a garden, not a machine, that must be carefully tended to. I was reminded about the power of our thoughts, and of unharbored bitterness and forgiveness. I had a host of others cheer lead me through some frustrating test results one week, and I was faced with the uncomfortable situation of thinking about my personal bucket list. I was encouraged that the secular class covered the role that the spirit plays in our physical healing.

This class was absolutely fantastic, but what was even more awesome was the group that I went through the class with. As a teen survivor, I have not been one to jump on the “support groups” train in the past. I have never been against them, but avoided them as I knew I’d be by far the youngest person in the room. Now that I’m in my twenties, I am still usually the youngest person in the group, but there’s often a thirty or forty-something in there with me. And while age has held me back from joining groups in the past, this experience quickly taught me that age doesn’t matter when you’re dealing with cancer – all of us could relate with one another in a deep, very emotional way. Like many of my experiences with the Colon Club, this group of a dozen strangers or so quickly became close friends over the course of seven weeks, and I pray we continue to keep in touch.

I am thankful for the Kansas City Cancer Centers for offering this class. It really did feel like my doctors and nurses were giving back to me in a way. It was of no charge to me and my husband was able to come with me, too. It was led by two nurses who, like my Nurse Kim, believe in the program so much, they volunteer their time to lead the group. It is informative, impactful and mind-altering. It’s helped me view cancer not as a monster hiding in my closet, waiting to strike again – but as a beatable, manageable disease that comes with a lot of support from others who’ve also been through it. If you’re in the KC area and diagnosed with the Big “C,” I strongly recommend checking out this class at KCCC. It will help you heal in ways you had no idea you were hurting.

October 6, 2010 at 5:35 pm Leave a comment

Entering Aunthood

Life is full of so many wonderful blessings. And thanks to my sister (in-law), as well as her husband Jake, ours just got a lot fuller. That’s because this semicolon gal is an AUNT!

Enjoy this glimpse of our new sweetheart Shiloh. She made her Aunt B’s heart so full upon her arrival. These are the times that I remember why it’s worth fighting, persevering and getting through some of the harder days.  I cannot thank God enough that I got to experience meeting this little one this week. I’m sure this is just the beginning….

September 16, 2010 at 5:59 pm 1 comment

Danielle M.D.

I’m often referred to by some as my friends as “Danielle M.D.” Affectionately nicknamed (I’m sure…), I am often picking up on someone’s slightest clue that they don’t feel well and trying to help them figure out why. While it ends up driving them crazy and freaked out that they have the strangest disease known to man, I like to think it helps widen their awareness of their bodies. Either way, I hope to make them realize that whatever the symptoms, it’s important to go see a doctor and get it checked out.

While it’s often a joke that all conversations with me turn medical (or poo-related), I started thinking the other day why that’s the case. I mean I’m not trying to sabotouge a fun time and be the downer. And good friends being candid about bathroom habits and funny body happenings is usually a good time. But even when I have no intention of bringing up the health-side of things – it always finds its way to come up when I’m around.

I’m realizing, or maybe just accepting, that this is life for me, and that it won’t change. And I’m not certain that it should, for that matter. My life was radically impacted by strange symptoms that went on way too long, and finally a doctor visit that ultimately saved my life. And while I know most of my friends aren’t dealing with life-threatening illnesses when they mention something’s wrong – I can’t help but be extreme and plead with them to get it checked out. You absolutely never know what’s happening until you get it checked out.

So while I might continue getting teased, or see a million eye rolls, as I continue to help people navigate through feelings of sickness and unhealth, I will wear my imaginary nurse’s hat with pride. Not because I have all of the answers, nor because I’m medically trained. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s because part of my story is telling my story – and the message of prevention and care must go on. I had no idea what was wrong with me, but I wish that I would have shared my symptoms much earlier with someone who would have known to let me know that something wasn’t right. Lucky for my friends, I will be that person for them. And although I will continue to freak them out and talk medical, I promise to not bring up poop at the dinner table.

September 12, 2010 at 5:21 pm 2 comments

So I thought I would start a garden…

As most of you know, this was my big year: I was going to start a GARDEN! I come from a long line of green thumbs, and especially on my mom’s side. My grandma had a garden the size of Texas (kid-view of course) growing up, and my mom followed suit and planted one when we were kids as well.

I basically knew what to do. Thanks to a little help from Triscuit’s gardening site (which is fabulous by the way), I was for sure good to go. I even had a woman from church who is a Master Gardener come over and give me advice for the trek. I was excited, confident and excited to grow my own food!

The Beginnings of The Garden

It started off so well. To take it slow and ease myself into my new hobby, I decided I’d do a very small garden – a 4×4 bed. I bought a kit from the hardware store that even made assembly easy (no messing with the lumber yards of nails for me!) I knew I wanted to do green beans and zucchini – my favorites – and then decided to do a small pepper and tomato plant. I had marigolds to keep the rabbits out, and even cleaned out my hairbrush over the garden to make sure the bunnies and other animals for sure stayed out!

The Garden Grew

After a few weeks, and a few good rains, my garden began to grow. I was so excited as I saw success with my little plants emerging from the soil. I was particularly fond of “Bean” as I called him – my green bean plant that rose up from germination to make my gardening experience a success. “Zuc” soon began to steal the show as his leaves grew large and magnificent. And “Pep” and “Tom” held their own as they began to produce fruit before the other two. It was a harmonious symphony. At one point, I even had a salad thanks to Pep and Tom – with two of the veggies coming from my own hard work!

Little Bean

Mid-Bean

Big Bean

Zuc

Pep and Tom

First Fruits

Then One Day…

I feel like Shakespeare as I continue my story, because as he showed in his great writings – some amazing and beautiful stories end in tragedy. As the summer continued to grow hotter and hotter, I continued to water and watch over my little garden. A question I had been often asked as I shared my plans for gardening was that of my two dogs. Known for occasional mischief, and especially in (or getting out of) our backyard, others were concerned about the trouble they might cause to a delicate garden. I wasn’t worried about them, and the first two months had proven me right – the dogs hardly went near the garden. I assumed they knew how important it was to me, so they helped watch over it and keep the rabbits out.

Well, let’s just say I learned my lesson. One day I felt bad for the dogs because I was locking them up in their kennel so much. Mike had been gone for nearly 10 days, and I knew they were dreading the cage once again. I decided to “reward” them for good behavior and let them stay in the backyard for the day. It hadn’t crossed my mind that they might happen to take an interest in the garden that day, or that this would happen….

D-day

Not just tramped on, but DUG up

Yes, Joey’s still alive

Lindley is too

Lessons Learned

So, my first summer of gardening ended more abruptly than I thought it would. While I typically steer away from writing the tragedies, I realized that they are sometimes unavoidable. My garden had a sad, sudden ending. But I did learn several great lessons, even from year 1 and I was able to eat at least ONE salad from it.

Here are few of the nuggets I learned:

– Don’t feel bad for dogs. They’re animals. Lock them up, go with your better judgment. They’re just dogs.

– Gardening can easily be paralleled to a spiritual life in the sense that if I don’t watch over my faith, tend to it and keep out pride, unforgiveness, doubt, blame, etc – it will eventually erode away or have the tendency to be dug up.

– A garden is also like a body. It must be properly cared for, hydrated, and watched over. “Dogs” can also creep into the body and wreak havoc if it’s not well attended to.

– Don’t give up. Food is food, and try again next year. There’s always the farmer’s market.

…… until next year!

August 27, 2010 at 5:46 pm 3 comments

Good Colonoscopy Report!

Just wanted to make a quick post and happily report that my colonoscopy yesterday went awesome! Yep, the words colonoscopy and awesome were just used in the same sentence – twice now.

There have been several hurdles that come from having a semicolon, but having a colonoscopy is not one of them. This time, the prep and clean out were pretty easy, especially since I’ve not got much to clean out these days! The day of fasting went well, I found several new updates for my Colonoscopy Survival Kit, and I had a decent evening.
The morning of the test was a little nerve-wracking, as I tried to calm my fears that Dr. T would find some sort of polyp or sign that cancer is trying to crawl back – but he found none! I even had an upper scope performed to give me a baseline scan since I’m a highly suspicious to have Lynch Syndrome, and even that was clear. Everything looked great. And to top it off, Midwest GI has switched their sedation medications to make it a better experience for patients, so I remember talking to the doctor, going to Starbucks afterwards, and even watching a movie once I got home. No more zombie fogginess embarrassment stories.

So yes, that’s my small update about my personal health. Praise the Lord I am IN THE CLEAR.

July 31, 2010 at 10:45 pm 2 comments

Blog Sabbatacal

Sorry to my faithful blog readers. I’ve been on blog-sabbatacal. Taking some time to soak in life and all things summer. But don’t you worry, I’ve got many blog posts planned for the future. I mean I can’t not talk about things like…

  • This new “butt station” desk toy that my hubby bought me
  • Mooning fish in one of my first experiences at the lake
  • My experience with a blocked small bowel at a family reunion last weekend
  • Introducing a new co-worker to our IBS/constipation talk during lunch
  • My garden… and then my pile of dirt
  • New recipes with fresh foods
  • And my …. colonoscopy …. THIS FRIDAY!

Yep, much to divulge so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy this picture.

Now THAT'S what you call good friends

I ran across this lovely toilet setting at a cute little cafe in Carbondale, IL. This was what the womens’ bathroom was like. And guys always wonder why girls go to the bathroom together. It’s so you don’t miss out on the opportunity to pee right next to your pal.

July 28, 2010 at 9:26 pm Leave a comment

Counseling for Cancer (among other things)

Until I recently started tossing around the idea of seeing a counselor, I had no idea about the “stigma” that went with it. Sort of like when I got the tattoo on the left side of my belly and people told me AFTERWARDS how tender that spot is – that’s what this venture into counseling has felt like. I didn’t realize some of the perceptions that went along with it until I entered the world.

For the past several months I’d tossed around the idea of seeing a professional counselor. Life has it’s way of throwing curve balls, and they had just been adding up in my case. When they come one at a time, I can handle them. But when it feels like I’m at the batting cages and the machine that’s throwing pitch after pitch is broken, and they just keep coming one after the other, faster and faster — I knew it was time to get some help.

So, a great friend gave me a resource and I started meeting with a lady last week to help me work through some of life’s big issues that have come my way. And lucky for my readers and anyone else on the internet who googles counseling, cancer, or “do Twizzlers make your poop red?” — my most popular google search listing, I have decided to blog about it. Too many of us out there need help, but so many of us won’t go get it. It makes sense to go to the oncologist, radiologist and every other “ologist” we need for our bodies, but when it comes to our minds, we feel we can handle it. At least that was me until a few weeks ago when I finally broke down and signed up for some help.

Someone mentioned to me that when you go to counseling, something must be “really wrong,” and that’s why many people don’t want to go. I thought about that for a little bit and found it interesting. First, because just about everyone will say seeing a counselor is something good for you to do; and second, if trying to work through issues related to two bouts of cancer, infertility, family, jobs, relationships and an array of other things isn’t “really wrong” – I don’t know what is.

So, I started meeting with a counselor. And I’m really enjoying it so far. I’m one week in and have already learned a lot. I wouldn’t say anything is fixed, solved or that I’ve figured out my life, but at least I feel like I’m on the path to feeling more “me” again. I’m glad to have reached the point where I’m ready to conquer the emotional and mental side of this disease as well and stop running and hiding from all that scares or frightens me, even if it does come with the perception that something must be really wrong with me. Because let’s face it, sometimes living through colon cancer isn’t that much fun. But there are people out there to help us get hope again, and that’s exactly what I am set out to do.

July 6, 2010 at 10:48 am 2 comments

Feedback

Hi….you spurred me on to have a colonoscopy this past Monday…..

That’s how an awesome email I received a few days ago began from one of my faithful blog readers. Receiving feedback like this makes the risk of putting out my life stories on this crazy blog all the more worthwhile.

Here’s the thing about SemiColon Stories … it’s been tagged as a “humorous” blog as of late. That cracks me up in itself. You see, when I set out on my blogging ship last fall, I didn’t really have any intentions of trying to be funny. I just thought I’d work on my writing skills and use a subject I have lots of material to write about. I’d share things about my life to help tell everyone else about colon cancer while becoming a better writer.

Well, what’s fun to me is that my little writing project has turned into something so much more. I don’t write the short, memoir-esque stories I had planned on and instead give snippets about daily life and what’s on my mind … or coming out of my rear. And in the meantime, people have found it insightful, interesting, (maybe gross), humorous, and even motivating. It’s gotten people talking about all things colon, which is awesome, and others are taking steps toward improving their colon health – or at least eating better foods.

So here’s to everyone who’s been affected by SemiColon Stories thus far. If it’s provided you a good laugh, that’s awesome and I hope you keep enjoying my crazy colon stories. If it’s made you buy one organic item at the store, you go! If it’s given you a deeper understanding about surviving cancer in general, I hope you spread awareness for us (or at least have patience when we can’t remember anything or have an occasional identity crises.) And last, if it’s actually spurred you on to look twice at your poo, encourage a friend to do the same, or even get a colonoscopy – you rock my face off and keep it going!

June 27, 2010 at 10:46 pm Leave a comment

Toilet Golf

I realize that many of my posts have been pretty heavy lately. The one thing Semicolon Stories can provide is a guaranteed, honest look at what life is like through colon cancer. Sometimes it’s awesome and other times it’s really hard.

But, I also realize that this is a blog dedicated to all things colon, and that we haven’t talked about poop in a long time.

So, to help lighten the mood today I leave you with this: Toilet Golf! We saw this bad boy in a cute store when walking around Downtown Lawrence for our anniversary.

The “Potty Putter Toilet Time Golf Game” looks like a great way to improve your holes-in-one while you’re going number two! Check it out…

Watch out, Tiger! With the amount of time us semicolons have to practice, we’ll be giving you a run for your money!

June 24, 2010 at 12:59 pm Leave a comment

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