Karen's Cancer Journey

November 21, 22 Update

I’m 10 days post chemo (first treatment) and I’m doing incredibly well according to everyone Leigh talks to. I still have no nausea, I’m eating like a piggie. Everything tastes so amazingly good (except for the first 5 days after chemo when I was taking the steroid) Really, the only thing that is a challenge is my weight has dropped from 125 to 108 as of 2 days ago. Leigh and my daughter have started stuffing me with food in large quantities. Ha ha. Much of the weight loss we attribute to the water my system was holding onto. Most, if not all, of that is gone now. I’m starting to feel a bit more energy. However, it’s a bit of a roller coaster as some days my energy is low and the next I’ll feel pretty perky.

We made an outing to a mall yesterday (malls here are still hopping, contrary to the dying malls we are seeing in the US). It wore me out just to go to 2 stores and have a coffee at a little place we could sit down at. Couldn’t wait to get back to the apartment we are renting. Overall though, I’m really pleased with how my body is handling everything. Most people are surprised I’m so positive and upbeat. I look at it this way. My life has been saved! I would have already been dead had it not been for the intervention of draining my lungs. What a blessing of modern science to give me many more years of life. Why shouldn’t I be happy and positive? Glass 1/2 full or glass 1/2 empty? It’s all a perspective we get to choose for ourselves. Life is full of choices. Some extend our life and others end our life.Positive outlook, desire to live, and understanding what we have to live for make a huge difference with our prognosis. I choose life!!!!

Love to you all! 


November 16, 22 Update

Dear Friends,

As many of you knew  I was off to Australia to enjoy a 3 week tour of the Melbourne area with my partner Leigh Sargent. He had made amazing plans to visit with friends and family and I was so looking forward to meeting them all. Unfortunately, after our first breakfast we went to a health clinic as I was having an impossible time breathing. I was soon treated and had 4.3 liters of fluid drained from my lungs and then a subsequent draining on the right lung again to relieve another 1.3 liters a couple days later. After many different medical tests it has been determined I have  Follicular Lymphoma. It is likely I have had it for many years. It is a slow growing problem. However, it has now taken over and I am considered stage 4 based on the extent of proliferation.

The really good news is that I was literally, dropped right into the hands of some of the finest medical doctors in Australia who deal with this type of cancer, Thanks be to Bev, Leigh’s cousin who works in cancer education and immediately connected us with excellent doctors. Additional good news is that this cancer tends to respond very favorably to treatment and typically yields a long period of remission when treated properly. So, I am staying in Melbourne for treatments, which started on November 10th, 2022. I would have loved to have flown home, but due to my very delicate condition, the length of the flights, and the pressure changes caused inside the body during a flight, it was determined that it would be too dangerous for me to make the trip back home at this time. Lucky for me I am highly adaptable and have an attitude of great resilience, due to all my many years working with PSYCH-K. We will see where this amazing journey leads me next. I sense there is much for me to discover and learn about myself, cancer, and how I can help others because of this experience.

This first week after the first chemo treatment has not been easy for sure. However, I am determined to be successful and have many more years walking this Earth. I will be posting about my journey on this webpage. My communication will be honest, perhaps gritty at times and full of humility as I learn to bow gracefully with Spirit’s teaching of this pathway. I choose to share this journey with you, my beloved friends, workshop participants and those of you who are just curious to see how this goes. I find too often people are ashamed to talk about what is happening in their life. We are here to experience and grow!! There is nothing shameful about either opportunity. It is my hope that through my sharings you will gain new understanding, wisdom, and perhaps find new courage as you face your own challenges in life. Game ON!

I will not be able to work again until perhaps June or July 2023. Some of my fellow Workshop Participants and dear friends have set up a donation link for this page to help me with bills and keeping my mortgage paid so I have a home to return to. No need to contribute, but if you feel called to do so, know that your donation will be incredibly and gratefully accepted as I humble myself in the face of this unexpected new life teacher.

November 10, 2022 Update

Leigh and Karen waiting to start the process.

Nurse Emily setting everything up

Blessing the chemo to do its life saving work

The orange chemo flowing

Leigh keeping the day light having “ a cuppa tea” in the traditional red Cabrini Hospital tea cup and saucer.

November 9th, 2022 Update

Today is the PET Scan, installation of a PICC Line and an Ultrasound. The bone marrow test conclusively defined for me today that I have Follicular Lymphoma. This is a highly treatable lymphoma and the treatments are typically very effective at putting the Lymphoma into remission. I’m going to have a PICC Line installed to save me from being constantly jabbed all the time for blood draws and also to deliver the chemo into the larger veins. I learned this was an option and leaped at the opportunity to have this line installed. I am SO grateful for this intervention. My arm veins are small and I don’t want to burn them up with the chemo drugs. I also had a chest, abdomen and pelvic Ultrasound done late this afternoon. Measurements were taken of the lymph nodes in my chest and abdomen. They are measuring 70mm by 30mm (about 3 inches by 1 inch roughly). These lymph nodes are huge and are causing me difficulty swallowing liquid and food. They are putting pressure on my esophagus, stomach and organs.The lymph nodes are supposed to be about 1/4-1/2 inch long and flat! Not huge like these have become. The good news, no organs seem to have any cancer! Yea!!! I’m to be moved to the cancer wing today. That sounds ominous. It will make it possible for me to have top level oncology nursing staff and the chemo in my room tomorrow. I have to keep humbling myself as it seems to be a bit more scary and involved each step I take forward.

Nov 9th, 2022 Update

Hello Everyone,

It’s been a lot of testing over 10 days to figure out what is going on with me. The fluid from the lung taps was tested but there were no lymphoma cells in the fluid drained from my lungs on Oct 31, Nov 1  and again on Nov 3rd.

On Nov 5th the doc shared her suspected diagnosis that I had some form of Lymphoma. That was hard to hear as I was still hopeful I was dealing with an autoimmune disease or something NOT cancer related. I made the determination to go ahead and engage in the next step, Which was to start a steroid, Prednisolone, to help get the water retention in my body to drain. I’m super swollen through my entire abdomen and pelvic area. I still have one lung with a lot of fluid in it.

November 8th, 2022 Update

A day of respite. I awakened before sunrise to the songs of about 30 Australian Crows in the Birch Tree beside my bedroom window. Have a listen. They are very interesting to hear.

November 7th, 2022 Update

Today is the bone marrow test. I’m nervous about this, but they assured me they will give me a mild sedative and I won’t feel anything. I’m happy about that! The whole thing was much easier than I expected and I didn’t feel anything. Such a blessing to have helpful methods to ease the anxiety and pain.

November 6th, 2022 Update

I awakened early in the morning with terrible cotton mouth due to the steroid. I’ve never had a steroid. So, I wasn’t expecting this. I can hardly swallow. I had to hold the water in my mouth a few moments just to let it re-hydrate my tissues before I swallowed. Crazy! On a light note, I was blessed with a beautiful sunrise from my window. Had a visit from Doc Wolf. He said no additional (4th) lung tap needed. (Thankfully!!!) We’ll wait to see how the steroid performs. This is a huge relief. While greatly relieving, the lung taps are not at all fun or comfortable in any way.

October 31, 2022 Update

After leaving the first hospital which told us they couldn’t help me for another 2 days we checked out and went to a different hospital. We had immediate attention and the ER people ay Cabrini were all over me in haste. I was taken for a chest Xray. The lower half of both my lungs doesn’t show up. It should have been black (air space) but the lower lobes of the lungs are collapsed. Within a couple hours Dr. Little was working on me to install a lung tap into my left lung to drain the fluid measuring 2.2 Liters. A very uncomfortable process but the fluid that came out of my lungs blew me away! I felt like my chest had been sort of heavy, but I had no idea how much fluid was in my pleural cavities. My right lung was drained the next day and 2.1 Liters was drained. In total 4.3 liters of fluid. Go pick up a gallon and 1/2 of milk and you’ll have an idea of how much fluid was in my lungs. No wonder I was having a hard time breathing!!


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