Friday, February 12, 2016

Brain Tumor Movie: Volunteers

Many of you get the Musella Foundation newsletter in your email inbox, but for those of you who aren't familiar you'll find a link on my resources page with an explanation. (Or use the link here:

In the most recent blast, there was a film group looking for newly diagnosed brain tumor patients who would be willing to be filmed for a year or two to document their journey. They're also looking for "survivors" (I'm so sick of that term), that can help share their tricks, and experiences, to provide hope, and perhaps even direction.

I'm not going to apply, I'm already overwhelmed with all of the tumor patients that I help on a daily basis. I realized the other day, I've been trying to help everyone else, putting myself last. I love helping people, I want to make life easier for them, I want to save them. I want to make it so that their diagnosis never happened. But it is at the expense of my health. I stop doing things to make myself healthy, to make myself feel good. I get depressed by all of these serious, heartbreaking stories. I'm not cut out to handle all of this sadness, all of this stress. It's caused me to emotionally eat, I've gained weight, I'm not focusing on what's best for my body - barely exercising. There's too much stress. Imagine, that not only are you dealing with your own diagnosis, but you handle tens of others. And people don't come to me when things are good, they come to me at their worst (their mom, their daughter, their son, their father, their wife, their husband) are just diagnosed, or they're in the midst of a recurrence. They're terrified, and confused. I handle around 20-50 emails from patients a day, not including many texts, and phone calls. And as you know, the subject matter is heavy as shit. (Not literally - that's gross.)

People never realize how many patients I work with because the job is invisible. And that's fine, but when people reach out to me with questions that they can answer themselves with a quick Google search, it really piles up, and more so, it irritates me. I'm realizing that my time is valuable. That it's okay to redirect people to go do their own research, but it's hard to turn people away. I never feel right about it, but people have to be able to help themselves.

I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about patient cases - both the people I redirect, and the others that I work with as peers. There are many who work with me troubleshooting their cases and we learn together. And those relationships are healing and exciting, but those cases are quite rare. As patients we have to turn on our critical thinking. We need to find our True North. I can't provide that to you. The problem is that I'm scared for everybody, and I'm overwhelmed. I never anticipated that this blog would be such a widely used resource. It's an honor, and I'm flattered, but I didn't factor the issue of growth. I can not take on more patients, but I'm happy to answer questions about my doctors, and some of the treatments, I just need people to do their homework first. Please don't come to me with things that you could easily figure out yourself. Because of that issue, I removed my email address from the blog. If you need to get in contact with me, please comment anywhere on the blog, any post, any page. I added a tab up at the top to help people utilize my blog, how to search it for the information they're looking for (Contact Me). I'm in the process of seriously updating my Resources tab so that it's easy to understand, with images, explanations, and links. I want to do it all, help everyone, but I am hurting myself. I handle tumor correspondence from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed. I handle patient problems all weekend, it's non-stop. There are so many problems with that, but mostly, it's not fair to Dan. He never complains, but I love him so much and for the past several years, he has not come first, the brain tumor patients have.

I'm sorry I can't do more. I feel horrible about this. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Cancer Convos: Episode 2 Fertility

I have been dragging my feet a little bit on posting Episode 2 of Cancer Convos with Crush & Coconuts, for two reasons:

1. We recorded the episode 45 minutes after a seizure that really wiped me out, so my drugged up and exhausted state is cringeworthy.

2. It's a very personal, very raw video that is clearly difficult for me to open up out. As you know I emote, and share in written form - to expose myself in a video is much more intimidating. There's no way to hide your face, the tone of your voice, the tears.

I don't even remember recording, as I blackout after seizures, usually not remembering anything for at least 24 hours afterward so essentially, I'm watching this new with you. Without further adiau, please enjoy our experiences with fertility as it concerns with cancer.

And as always, if you have anything to add, please post comments so that others can learn from your experience. I always love comments on my blog posts, but I imagine the most beneficial place would be on the YouTube channel episode. Thank you for watching! :)

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