Monday, October 1, 2012


Dante is all dressed and ready for the fight against cancer.  He knows that the best way to fight it is to promote awareness.  Cancer touches everyone at some point in their lives -- whether it is a family member, a friend or oneself.

Most recently, of course, we lost Poppy Vic (Ann's husband) after a long and valiant struggle.  He was a role model for how to live with cancer, and he left a strong legacy of love that will endure forever after.

Just last month, on September 10th, we lost a family friend to lung cancer.  My husband and I both worked with Bill Simpson at Transport Canada during the 1980s and 90's.  Bill was the best man at our wedding in 1988.

Bill had been ill for quite some time before he was diagnosed.  This particular type of lung cancer masks itself as other diseases and isn't easily detected.  Bill was treated for pneumonia with many courses of antibiotics over several months without any improvement.

He was finally diagnosed with BAC cancer at the end of July this year, and was told he only had a few weeks to live.   The disease had progressed too far, and there was no treatment.

BAC (Bronchioloalveolar cancer) has sometimes been called the “mystery” lung cancer. Accounting for 2% to 14% of all lung cancers, less is known about this type of cancer than other non-small cell lung cancers.  This cancer is generally associated with non-smokers, although Bill had indeed been a smoker for most of his adult life.

Despite the initial shock, Bill maintained his legendary sense of humour right until the end.  His wife made sure that he was able to be at home, with a daily visit from the doctor.  Fortunately, Bill was never bed-ridden, and in fact, passed away quietly while sitting in a chair visiting with friends.

Our hats are off to you, Bill!  You showed such courage and dignity through the most difficult of circumstances.  Bill, too, has left a legacy of love and laughter, which all of his friends and family will carry with them in perpetuity.

And no Livestrong post would be complete without including my dear friend, Carm Cole (otherwise known as 'Crazy Cat Lady Carm').  A year ago, Carm was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.

Multiple myeloma is a cancer that starts in plasma cells, which are made in the bone marrow. Multiple myeloma occurs when a plasma cell becomes abnormal and begins to divide uncontrollably, making more and more abnormal plasma cells. Abnormal plasma cells are called myeloma cells.   The disease is called multiple myeloma because it affects many bones in the body.

Earlier this year, Carm underwent a bone marrow transplant, with the hope of achieving remission.  Although the transplant itself is easier than one might think, the aftermath is certainly not.  She was in the hospital for weeks as her immune system fought it's way back with the help of the new plasma cells.  During this time, although she was very weak and nauseated, Carm, too kept her sense of humour.

With her steely determination, and the assistance of nurses and her husband, Randy, Carm did daily laps around her hospital room to keep up her strength.  Though she ultimately had her head shaved because her hair was falling out, she turned this into a source of entertainment for visitors and nursing staff.  She had many hats given to her by friends and family, as well as two wigs which became her alter-egos.

I must admit, I even sent her a thong with the multiple myeloma logo on it, which she apparently paraded around (over other clothing of course), once the initial wrath of the process had subsided.  Humour makes even the most difficult challenges somehow tolerable.

Today, Carm is at home and after testing, is pleased to report good results.  Carm is a survivor, and is very positive about her prognosis.  She has always been the feisty one, and her ability to fight has never served her better.  Carm is not defined by her cancer although it is a part of her life.  She is a prime example of how to live with it and thrive.

Dante says "Yay, Auntie Carm!  You go, girl!

Dante and I are but two of Carm's cheerleaders.  She has many both near and far.  So, Cheers, Carm -- and here's to many years of strong living ahead!


Random Felines said...

we grieve for the losses, but hearing Carm's story gives us hope too

Marg said...

Wow, that is such a great post for Livestrong day. Carm's story is just wonderful. We followed her story after the bone marrow transplant. She really did fight the fight. Dante, you look just purrfect in your Livestrong clothes. Take care.

Sweet Purrfections said...

Wonderful post. We grieve for both the human and fur furriends that have lost their battle to cancer, but celebrate with those survivors.

Angel Prancer Pie said...

What a great post! Awareness is the key. We are all touched in sum way by the evil "C". Happy Livestrong Day.

Unknown said...

What a great post Wendy,
I do not know anyone who has not had cancer impact their lives. We too has lost many friends and loved ones and hearing their stories makes us all want to fight!
Thanks yous for sharing yours!

Cat and DOG Chat With Caren said...

your post was superb. Thank you for touching me so deeply!

Hannah and Lucy said...

This is a wonderful post of whapping cancer on the nose and beating it into submission - we hope everyone in the future will get to do the same.
Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx

Texas, a Cat in... Austin said...

This is a great post. It is sad but hopeful at the same time.
Thank you for sharing.