Friday, December 28, 2007

Farewell 2007

Can you believe we are approaching the end of 2007 and welcoming 2008? What a year 2007 was indeed. The first half of the year was a period of celebration. The scare from the previous Summer and Fall had us pulling out the stops and living with a new energized awareness.

Mid-year began with what I refer to as the roller coaster ride. Unfortunately, most of the ride was with my family and friends joining me in the front seat in a downward spiral without a throttle or brakes. It was a period I care not to repeat. Trying locate a cancer treatment center that provided comfort as well as the ability to extend and provide quality of life was more challenging than one could imagine. Choosing Dr. Grothey and the Mayo clinic has been the right choice.

Rounding out the year, the holiday season found me living through the most frightened state I have experienced. The early part of the season was emotionally painful. As I write this, I recognize that I came out of it experiencing the true meaning of the season. This past week has found me in a place of inner peace and great hope.

The last day of 2007 will have me at Mayo undergoing my first scans since this new treatment regimen began in September. I am experiencing a calm that I cannot explain. An inner voice is telling me everything will be fine. I am not going to use my energy worrying about something I have no control over at this point. I know that I am being lifted by many, many prayers and support.

One Christmas gift I must share with you. It brought me to tears as I was overwhelmed by the presentation. We've all heard how simple things given from the heart are the most meaningful and memorable gifts. My daughter-in-law, Heather, had been working behind the scenes contacting many of the special people in my life. She sent each of them fabric squares to inscribe with phrases and words of support. The presentation on Christmas Eve was the squares she had received to date. She will be creating a quilt that will surround me with literal love. Indeed a gift with meaning and one that cannot be purchased in a store. Thank you all that contributed....and those that have not had time to participate, it's not too late!

As I close on what will most likely be my last post of 2007, I want to thank all of you for all of your comfort, support and prayers this past year. You are all indeed my own special angels. My hope is I can provide the same for all of you in the future.

May 2008 find you with contentment in your hearts, acknowledging daily life celebrations and the blessings of health.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Is Coming

It's been a busy week. I've been driving back and forth to Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Initially, my appointment was on Monday. When I met with Dr. Grothey at 1:30 he discussed with me the option of the once every three week treatment regimen again. I was convinced that this was the way to go, as I am still strong and able to accept the stronger infusion. He recognizes that I want to live a life with exuberance and he wants me to continue doing so. His term was 'my jetsetting celebrity'.

When I went up to the chemo floor after my appointment with Dr. Grothey, I was turned away as it was too late in the day to begin treatment. It is a five hour infusion and the nurses weren't too excited about staying until 7:00 p.m. So....back to Mayo yesterday for treatment.

This treatment will require that I receive a Neulasta injection tomorrow morning. I've heard the side effects from this can be worse than Neupogen (Lord help me!) I will need to go back to Mayo on the 31st for blood tests, as this is the time my healthy cells will bottom out and they want to keep close monitoring, as this could be very detrimental to my continued health. (Okay, I'll say it, possible hospitalization) I will also have my first CT scans that morning. Yes...I will be growing more anxious as the day approaches.

So far today I am feeling well. Tomorrow will be the day that begins showing the telltale signs of toxins running through my body and waging their war. I've been told that this will be much more difficult for me when it comes to side effects. Timing couldn't be worse, as Christmas preparations are high on my list. One thing I have learned is not to sweat the small stuff. I will take that into consideration when seeing unfinished tasks.

I am working on getting edited copies of our Montel Show appearance. My hope is to upload it on my kathybienapfl.blogspot site. I will let you know when I have this accomplished. There has been high interest from people that missed the airing.

The two week treatment break was a blessing. I was able to accomplish so many things. Christmas shopping, socializing, making the trip to New York...just feeling like a human being. It's amazing how the universe works when one opens their heart and is accepting of the larger plan.

If I do not have a chance to write before Christmas, please remember to enjoy the day for what it was meant to be. Love your families and recognize the small wonders the day will surely bring.

May the blessing and beauty of this season be with you now and throughout the new year.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Montel - Thank You

We had a screening party yesterday. I was able view the show surrounded by people that have provided me with love, support and comfort. What a wonderful experience. Thank you all that were involved in the planning of the 'premiere'.

I am aware that a number of you were not able to see the show. Copies of the show are being reproduced on dvd and I will have them in approximately one week. When I receive them, I will upload the show to my blogspot as well as youtube.

My inbox has been filled with many positive letters. Thank you so much for your comments. Your positive response has filled my heart with joy!

Baby lives.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The day is greeting me with both apprehension and excitement. Our appearance on the Montel Williams show airs today. Montel gave me the opportunity to explain my early symptoms and how I was misdiagnosed. Early screening is a message I hope many people learn from the show. The thought of saving just one life brings me great hope!!!!

I will comment on my disappointment of the local media. I had communicated with several contacts, including the local Fox affiliate that airs the Montel show. In my communication I explained my need to get the word out about early screening. My hope was they would at least mention today's show. Not to get my face on local media...but to assist me in causing change in the discussion of colon cancer. I am learning quickly that it is a taboo subject.

This may be an assumption on my part...I have to wonder if the show was related to breast cancer screening if there would have been publicity. Breasts are wonderful...they provide nourishment, comfort and enjoyment. Colons create fecal matter. What people do not recognize is that more people die from colon cancer each year than breast cancer. These statistics are not known due to the imbalance of awareness.

Montel provided the engine...I will continue to fuel it and get the message out.

Monday, December 10, 2007

It's a Wonderful Life

By now, I am sure a majority of you have watched a seasonal favorite 'It's a Wonderful life'. The storyline is to help us all see and appreciate the many good things that surround us on a daily basis.

As difficult as it is to explain, I have found that receiving the diagnosis of cancer, specifically Stage IV, is very similar to the movie in many ways. Personally, I felt my life was very much like George Bailey's. There were things that happened when I was younger that haunted me for years. Discontent would be a good description of how I lived on a daily basis...always looking for something better (or what I thought was better).

It seems I am learning daily that the things that I thought I was missing were with me all along. The material spoils, as much as we would all like to have them, are no longer of high importance. The relationships that I have with my family has grown stronger and I have a true appreciation of the 'meaning' of family. Friendships and the outpouring of support and love has been amazingly uplifting. What I didn't recognize was the Lord has always provided for me, my family and friends have always been there. What I now see was I did not accept them as I felt I was undeserving.

The point that I am trying to communicate is that we are all George Baily at one time or another. It seems it requires something to rock our world to recognize that we are all provided for....just look within.

The Holiday season causes many stresses. Unfortunately, the busyness of it all takes away from the true meaning. Give yourself your own true gift. Take time to recognize all the wonderful things that are in your life and taking place around you. Open your heart....what matters will come to you.

Of course I have to close with this...'Every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings.' You are all my angels. Your wings protect me and hold me with love daily.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Sneak Peak

If you are interested in getting a sneak peak, the Montel Williams website has an introduction to Thursday's show.

Simply go to: and select the Thursday link.

You'll see Eileen with me hugging...pretty sweet.

Friday, December 7, 2007

We're Back!!!

We're back!!! What a wonderful and memorable experience.

The word that colorectal cancer afflicts many age groups and to insist on screening will be out!!!!

Manhattan was bustling with holiday shoppers. The Rockefeller Christmas tree was magnificent!!! Most importantly, Montel Williams is a truly caring man. He has the warmest eyes that reveal a soul of kindness and compassion.

I spent several hours shooting background/introduction footage at the studio on Tuesday. It's interesting to see how a creative team makes things happen. The staff; producers, director, camera men, etc. were amazingly nice and accommodating.

A second reunion with my son, Jeff, was a gift in itself. We all enjoyed spending time together, as we had a free day on Wednesday.

I will not go into detail about the show. I will tell you that I am the first featured guest and then Dick, Eileen & Jeff join me on stage. After my interview, two other families that have lost loved ones to cancer return after having been on the show previously.

The show is titled '6 Months to Live'. It airs next Thursday, December 13th. Check your local listings.

Six months refers to a documentary being featured on the Biography Channel this month.

No more details regarding the show itself.... I will tell you, there is a surprise at the end of my interview with Montel.

Get the word out!!!! My hope is my appearance saves lives.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

It's Really Happening!

Good Morning from New York City. As you can imagine, I'm anxious this morning.

The car for the Montel Williams show will be picking us up at 10:45 a.m. There's no turning back. The cameras are set to roll and I'm going to be up on the stage trying to put on a knowledgable and brave face.

Tuesday was pre-production. The staff spent several hours with me interviewing and creating an introduction for today. It was fun...yet we are discussing a very emotional subject and I was drained by the time we left the studio.

I'm not the only one on this journey. If you could all send positive thoughts to Dick, Jeff & Eileen, we could all use special wings to help carry us through this emotional day.

My love to all of you.