After cancer I could barely stand, but now I’m doing the salsa

My Not-Quite Childhood Cancer Journey

natalie cameronAt this time last year, I could barely squat, walk or even stand.

This year, I’m learning ballroom dancing – taking on every style I can, from the smooth, flowing movements of the foxtrot to vigorous salsa and cha-cha steps.

It’s just one sign of how far I have come since being diagnosed with cancer.

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Pull those bootstraps up and move forward

How hope, determination and an experimental drug helped one survivor through a bone marrow transplant


Lisa and Rick, surrounded by friends at their wedding

Lisa Gumbleton has always been about celebrating the little things.

When her blood cell count was high enough to go through with her bone marrow transplant, Lisa celebrated.

“We were all laughing like it was any other kind of day,” she says.

When a debilitating stomach virus left her unable to eat for two weeks while undergoing cancer treatment, she posted a flurry of pictures of beautiful food on Pinterest. Continue reading

Donating Organs, Bone Marrow Is Giving the Gift of Life

February 14th is recognized across the country as National Donor Day. The nationwide event focuses on five types of donation:

Annette Schork, RN, BSN, OCN, CBCN, is one of four oncology registered nurses at the Cancer AnswerLine™

Annette Schork, RN, BSN, OCN, CBCN, is one of four oncology registered nurses at the Cancer AnswerLine™

  • organs
  • tissues
  • marrow
  • platelets
  • blood

Organs can be placed locally, regionally and nationally. In the United States, 116,818 people are waiting for an organ. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s website  provides information on how to become a donor.

For people with life-threatening blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, a bone marrow transplant is a possible cure. First, patients undergo chemotherapy and sometimes radiation to destroy their diseased marrow. Then a donor’s healthy blood-forming cells are given directly into the patient’s bloodstream, where they can begin to function and multiply.

For a patient’s body to accept these healthy cells, the patient needs a donor who is a close match. Some 70% of patients do not have a donor in their family. The Be the Match Registry helps find unrelated bone marrow donors or umbilical cord blood. Doctors around the world search the registry to find a match for their patients. Continue reading

Leukemia and Lymphoma – The “Liquid Tumors”

Health professionals often refer to leukemia and lymphoma as “liquid tumors”.   Also called blood cancers, these cancers can affect the bone marrow, the blood cells and the lymphatic system.

Every 4 minutes, 1 person in the United States is diagnosed with a blood cancer, according to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.   Leukemia and lymphoma are often grouped together and considered related cancers because they probably all result from acquired mutations to the DNA of a single lymph- or blood-forming stem cell.

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