I am involved in the effort to prevent cancer as it is near and dear to my heart. I lost one of my instructors to this devastating disease as a young nurse. Over the years, I’ve lost two uncles to cancer. My cousin has ovarian cancer, my aunt is a breast cancer survivor and another uncle is a prostate cancer survivor. I’ve cared for numerous cancer patients in the hospital and at home.
Writers Unite to Fight Cancer (WUFC) held a fundraiser at the Arizona Biltmore in February of 2012. My daughter, Serena, served as our webmistress and social media guru. Three days later, I received a call from my daughter’s partner, Shannon. Serena was in the emergency room after experiencing a grand mal seizure. I rushed to Tucson and was present when the neuro-surgeon informed Serena that she had a brain tumor. Suddenly the war against cancer became much more personal.
Serena began her battle against cancer working with a naturopathic oncologist who she met at the WUFC cancer research fundraiser. She already ate mostly vegan. He counseled her to read books on cancer prevention and treatment and a team of neurologists began simultaneous efforts to control seizures and treat her tumor.
In August of 2012, Serena had surgery to biopsy the tumor for accurate diagnosis and staging to determine the correct amount of radiation and chemotherapy required for her Stage III Astrocytoma-glioma. Twenty months after her diagnosis, she has received numerous MRIs, CT scans, blood tests, six weeks of radiation and is on her second six-month round of chemotherapy. We credit the outstanding advice and care by her doctor for Serena’s excellent immune status. Her blood levels have remained steady. She has never needed a delay due to low white or red blood counts.
I am now even more deeply involved in cancer awareness, prevention, education and fundraising for cancer research in honor of my daughter and other family members.