My web site is devoted to medical and treatment information about this rare cancer. My blog is devoted to sharing what has been the more difficult part of the journey for me, the emotional and spiritual road I've traveled as a rare cancer survivor.

Monday, July 7, 2008


I met a woman who used to be my neighbor in the grocery store yesterday. We knew each other fairly well, talked fairly often. We borrowed eggs and cups of sugar from each other when she lived across the street as we raised our kids, but we haven't communicated since she moved into a new house a year ago. She'd lost a lot of weight. I mentioned that she looked thinner when I saw her, I asked how much weight she had lost. I guess I thought she'd tell me she'd been to Weight Watchers or was on Atkins or the South Beach diet.

She said she had lost 40 lbs., but not intentionally. She'd been sick for the past year. Only in her 40s, like me, she went to the emergency room after being treated for unresolving bronchitis only to be admitted to ICU in heart failure. They aren't sure why she went into heart failure or why her heart was so enlarged or why her heart rhythm to this day is disturbed, but her heart is in trouble. She takes lots of medications for congestive heart failure now. She no longer takes her life here for granted. She lost her old "normal" too. She said they'd lived in their new house for a year now, but they still hadn't painted any of the rooms. And she didn't care that they weren't painted. It didn't matter. It was insignificant. Painting walls no longer qualified as a priority.

I've recently been thinking. I used to rent a professional steam cleaner and steam clean my carpet once or twice a year. I haven't in years now, it doesn't matter. I just vacuum. I used to have a great personal filing system. Don't anymore, doesn't matter. I used to be into spring cleaning every year. Not anymore, doesn't matter. I used to take more pictures, I don't much anymore. Can't take them with me-- only what is in my head and heart stays, so it doesn't matter. I used to crochet afghans while I watched TV, don't anymore as most TV now seems a colossal waste of time. Lots of things now don't make the "important" cut in my life. Only what matters matters.

But sometimes life was simpler and easier when unimportant stuff was okay to contemplate.

I find myself sometimes missing the days when frivolous things made the cut. The old normal. When life and priorities were simpler. When I didn't think so hard about everything. When my house was cleaned and more organized. When I could crochet in front of a TV program and not feel guilty about wasting precious time.

Life was in many ways easier before cancer, when I was more naive. Something about surviving cancer makes you live your life much more responsibly. You have a great need to make your time count after cancer.


Candace said...

Thank you so much for your website! It has completely educated me on appendix cancer. I was diagnosed on July 1, 2008after what was supposed to be purely laproscopy to remove an ovarian cyst. I have included your website on my blog to give family and friends the education they will need to understand this.

I have been blessed with friends that personally know Dr. Barone. I have a pre-op with him on July 21st and anticipate surgery the first part of August.

Thanks again!

Carolyn Langlie-Lesnik RN BSN said...

Hi Candace,

I am so sorry you have been diagnosed with this cancer, but I am very glad my website has been of help to you. I am also so glad you are seeing a specialist! I truly wish you the best with your consultation with Dr. Barone and your future surgery. Please let me know if I can be of an other support or help.

Take very good care, I wish you well on your journey,


bluecocoon said...

Life was in many ways easier before cancer, when I was more naive.

** I think I've said this about A THOUSAND TIMES since my mother got properly diagnosed with appendix cancer.

Elena said...

Thank you for this blog. My Mom has Stage IV Appendix Cancer. She opted not to have surgery and is fading quickly. Im here looking for something - anything - that will help. Cancer cannot steal love, hope or faith...thank you for your words, which echo my thoughts exactly. Elena

Carolyn Langlie-Lesnik RN BSN said...

Dear Elena,

My heart goes out to you. I'm so sorry you for both you and your mother. I'm so glad my blog has been of some help to you during what I know is a very difficult time for you. You are right, cancer steals much but cannot steal love, hope and faith. My thoughts and prayers will be with you.

Take care,


Anonymous said...

Hi, Carolyn, It's me Joan. I am so happy to read your blog and see how well you're doing. I too am doing well, my local cardiologist sent me to see a specialist at the University of Chicago and I have had a few procedures and I now take less meds and am in normal sinus rythm for the first time in over 3 1/2 years! And they said it couldn't be done. It is so different getting used to the idea of making plans for retirement! I still have many unpainted rooms in our newish house and it still doesn't really matter!

Carolyn Langlie-Lesnik RN BSN said...

Hey Joan!!! Great to hear from you! I'm so glad you are doing better! Are your kids still at home? Don't laugh, I recently painted ALL the rooms in our house....and the porch, and the foundation, and the wood around the garage. We also had our kitchen remodeled. Think it was more just tired of living in "this old house" that always had an impending improvement project? But we let someone ELSE do the kitchen!

Stay in touch, okay?