Friday, June 24, 2011

Not really much of a choice is it?

Side effects.

The bain of my existance.

I was getting back to feeling like me after I had upped my anti depressant medication.  The new dosage makes me tired. Like I want to nap tired.  Not that naps are a bad thing mind you, but wanting to nap everyday is.

I first thought I was tired because of how early I get up for my job, but medication tired is different than regular tired or lack of sleep tired. 


Some days its hard dealing with these side effects.  I put cancer out of my head then it creeps back in in these subtle ways.  Being tired from my medication is another reminder.  Fighting to stay awake reminds me.

Its not like I have a choice.  I can't go off of my meds.  I upped my dosage to put me back to normal.  Because I didn't want to spiral downward again. That is a place I do not want to go to. A place I cannot go to.

So I struggle yet again, with an inner battle. Hoping that it will slowly dissipate, and I will be less tired.

Hoping this will be the last side effect I will have to deal with for a while.

Oprah Winfrey said "Where there is no struggle, there is no strength."

Yeah, but I am sick of being so damn strong all the time...

Mel is the producer/co~host of The Vic McCarty Show. Listen Live Monday~Friday 10am-noon eastern time on

Check out my podcast The Cancer Warrior on Available on demand and also available on Itunes.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Love/Hate Relationship With The Net

 Another guest blogger. Enjoy

There are a lot of things I don't like about Facebook, Twitter and the Internet.

I don't like how the Internet splits up our information source--so instead of everyone reading a headline and then forming opinions on it, we get news from so many separate and sometimes unequal places of knowledge (Huffington Post, the Drudge Report, CNN) that the credibility of the facts we get are oftentimes up for grabs.

I don't like that search engines--like Google for example--apparently track the kind of links we click on, keep score, and then "feed" us what they think we want to read when we next search a topic. The engines filter our information based on our past choices, which is okay if there's a disclaimer on top of the screen that says "Hey, I'm giving you this because you last clicked "Paris Hilton" when you were eating that gallon of ice cream and having a down day about your break up when you last searched Paris. Do you really want me to send you to a similar kind of meaningless, airy website about an heiress who does mindless things with her millions with today's new search for "Paris" or do you want to learn about the real city, its history and culture?"

All of this means you and I may not get the same knowledge about politics or food or what's going on in Afghanistan--and that leads to a much grander worry that the world will become more separate than equal. And now that I've scared you, let me tell you what I love about Facebook, Twitter and the Internet. I love--and I mean LOVE--that I can reach out to people all over the world in a moment of fear and doubt and get help when I need it. Like this week for example--

when I got an email about a doctor in Texas who allegedly has the "cure" for cancer, but--and this is where it gets scary for me--has been allegedly "suppressed" by the FDA and the government. Talk about hitting me in my sweet spot--I got so worried and upset I spent three hours googling, searching and otherwise trying to find out who this doctor is and what his treatments are--and worse, if I've been sold a bill of goods by the entire medical establishment over these last 7 years as I try to (now) beat back metastatic breast cancer at age 45.

I'm still working on that last part--I have no idea what to say about Dr. Burzynski and his antineoplastons. I'll keep googling--and asking questions, and using the Internet to help me separate fact from fiction. And for that I am FOREVER grateful for cyberspace and all of our choices out there--whether I've been handed them on a silver search platter or not.

But I absolutely LOVE Facebook, Twitter and the Internet for this one reason--my friends out there who are helping me weigh in on this huge, important, life-in-the-balance matter by reading what I post, doing their own research and then commenting and helping me figure this mess out. I know our IT World is a crazy one--full of potential misrepresentations, mistakes and misnomers--

but knowing I have people from San Francisco to an island 20 miles off the coast of Maine helping me figure out my scared-out-of-my-wits fears-for-my-life makes me feel like I am not alone--that I can do this, I will figure it out.

And if that's the price I pay for spliced up news and misdirected cyber information, I'll pay that bill-- all day long.

About the Guest blogger: Ann Murray Paige is the author of 'pink tips. breast cancer advice from someone who's been there,' available at  She is an award-winning writer, co-founder of the breast cancer non-profit Project Pink, mother, wife, blogger and breast cancer fighter now battling metastatic breast cancer.  Read her blog, "Ann's Diary" at

Monday, June 13, 2011

Out of your comfort zone

Everything about cancer takes you out of your comfort zone.

When I heard those words "It's cancer"  my life changed forever, for good and for bad.

Bad, well, because cancer sucks, and the treatment and side effects are worse than the disease.

Good because of the friends I have made, the better person I have become, the voice it has given me.

Work recently did a team building day retreat at a local camp.  It had a rock climbing wall and other things that you could climb.  Not something that I would normally do.

I tried the rock wall.  Didn't get very high.  Disappointed in myself that I couldn't climb to the top.  Rock climbing really isn't my thing.

Then I tried climbing up a rope ladder to a beam 30 feet in the air.  Looked easy from the ground.  Halfway up I thought "What the hell was I thinking??"

I made it up to the top, and actually walked across the beam to the other side.  Then yeah you just jump off.  You are well harnessed in.  Bad pr if you get injured on a team building retreat and work at the local radio station.

As I watched my co workers climb, cheer each other on I was reminded of my battle with cancer.  How it takes you completely out of your comfort zone. Into a whole new world that you are not prepared for mentally or physically.  That most of us face challenges we would otherwise would never be subjected to, and how afterwards we do whatever we can to stay strong, whether it be run in marathons, do triathalons, bike races etc.

I walked in a Making Strides walk 11 days after my lumpectomy surgery.

We strive to stay strong, because we know what it is like to feel so weak.

Some of my friends have called me a machine, because I barely stop to take a break.  I do my radio job, then I usually exercise, I do grab a nap when I can, then I am on the computer working on pr/marketing for The Cancer Warrior or my other facebook clients, or surfing the net, talking to other survivors, reading blogs and posting.  Fighting the fight.

They say there is no rest for the weary, I don't completely agree with that. I am determined to stay strong, so that those who are weary, those survivors who I advocate for, can rest.

Mel is the producer/co~host of The Vic McCarty Show. Listen Live Monday~Friday 10am-noon eastern time on

Check out my podcast The Cancer Warrior on Available on demand and also available on Itunes.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I have an oncology appointment next week.   I think it has been at least six months since my last one.  I am wondering if I should be more nervous than I am.  Haven't really had any scanxiety for the last few visits, but I have as I have written about before dealing with depression. 

I was wondering when my slow spiraling descent downward  started.  Blogging is a good way for me to remind myself of what has happened to me before, during and after treatment.

I think it started 7 months ago, I wrote a blog called Outbreak, about how I was dealing with 4 instances of cancer with deaths, recurrances and a good friends memorial service. I am really surprised that I didn't see it coming.  I knew I was upset at that point, but to get to where I got a few weeks ago was very slow.  Add the fact that more people passed from cancer that I had met in person or online (Mandi Schwartz, Sara Feather) its not surprising I was an emotional trainwreck.

I tend to ignore the signs, because I think I can handle it.  We all think that don't we? Doesn't matter what life throws at you, the saying goes if God brings you to it He will bring you through it, or something like that.  Apparently in my case not without prescription medication.

I believe that the hockey season kept me from going into a quicker downward descent.  Extreme physical exercise and being back on the ice after so long felt so good.  But it didn't and couldn't help everything that was going on in my head.  

Great, my body tries to kill me, I survive that, then my mind turns on me too.  I really don't want to ask what could possibly be next, because cancer was scary, not being in control of my thoughts and moods was even scarier.  

I feel bad for some people that I hurt.  I have apologized, they accepted.  But still.  To not be yourself for so long and to not see it, and have the changes be so minute that others don't notice it as well?

I got mad at a friend of mine for a stupid reason. It wasn't just mad.  There were some days that I couldn't stand being in the same room.  I believe because I was in that place and I was mad at her I unwittingly channeled my negative energy and anger towards her.  Unfortunately for her she was an easy target.  

I didn't realize this until after The Carcinista passed away.  I was consumed by anger and depression and I didn't see it for months. Or I ignored it, thinking it was nothing and it would go away.

After recording The Carcinista's interview I texted my friend:  I am thinking we should get together next week and talk in person and hash out this issue we have...  I was coming off of a cold and I didn't want to spread germs to anyone else.  She agreed, she had the same idea in mind.

May 3rd was when we agreed to meet.  Looking back at that day and that talk I had with her I was then end of my emotional rope, with no knot to tie on the end.  I really don't recall what was said in the conversation (part depression, part chemobrain)  wasn't sure I still wanted to be friends and left.

Then I found out that Sarah had passed.  

Its amazing what it takes to make you realize whats important. For so long you can obsess about the stupidest shit possible and be pissed and then something like that smacks reality back into your life.  Again I texted (my preferred mode of conversation these days) my friend.  Told her that life is too short for this BS.  Told her about the carcinista, well not everything, just that a friend had passed, and that I needed time.

Eventually we sorted everything out.  I can't say if things will be back to where they were.   Only time will tell.  But I do realize now that I have to be more mindful of myself and get pissed or sad at a non response to a text or an unreturned email. (yeah that was some of the stuff that bugged me, SERIOUSLY!!)  Getting upset at an unreturned text?  Still wonder why I didn't see this coming.  Must have been the lack of neuro-epi seritonin or whatever chemicals in my brain are over or under used.  

It took a while but I figured it out.  Only took about 7 months.  Never thought I was that slow of a learner.

Jean Paul Sartre said  Everything has been figured out, except how to live.

The Carcinista figured it out.  I am envisioning her smiling down upon me.  
Happy that I finally figured it out too.

Mel is the producer/co~host of The Vic McCarty Show. Listen Live Monday~Friday 10am-noon eastern time on
Check out my podcast The Cancer Warrior on Available on demand and also available on Itunes.