Archive For "July, 2012"

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July 2012 ~ Patient Spotlight

Linda GoinsLinda Goins

Fort Smith Radiation Oncology’s July Patient Spotlight is Linda Goins of Panama, Oklahoma.

Ms. Goins has lived her whole life in the Panama area.  Ms. Goins comes from a large family; she has six sisters and five brothers. This results in her being an aunt to over 60 nieces and nephews! She graduated from Panama High School, and is a graduate of Carl Albert State College, and Northeastern University in Tahlequah.  Ms. Goins was a teacher/coach for 18 years.  She coached basketball and softball at Panama, Howe, McCurtain, and Cave Springs over the 18 year span.  She now works at Anchor Finance Loan Service in Sallisaw, Oklahoma.

Ms. Goins’ cancer was found on her annual mammogram.  Dr. Seffense performed her surgeon and Dr. Mackey is currently administrating her chemotherapy treatments.  Ms. Goins was referred to Dr. Kris Gast for her radiation treatments.

Ms. Goins stated that she is just ready to get back to her normal life.  The chemotherapy and radiation treatments combined have made her tired, so she sleeps more than she ever has in her life.  She has a 20 acre yard that she loves to take care of and she thanks her brothers for helping her with the yard work during her treatments.

Ms. Goins has been a joy to get to know every day.  She is always smiling and brightens the room with her presence!

Posted In: Patient Spotlight
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Wonderful response to July Cancer Demystified article!

Good Morning. My name is David Kelley and the following article was in the January/February 2012 issue of Coping With Cancer magazine. It details perfectly what you described in your column.

Daily Reminders

by David Kelley

Tinnitus is the correct medical term for it. What I call it is one of my daily reminders that at least I am alive and able to, literally, live with such things as the constant, sometimes louder, sometimes quieter but always present tinnitus. It’s the ringing, buzzing, droning, no longer annoying, always there side effect of my cancer treatment last year. Actually it’s just one of the side effects of the cancer treatment.

Thirty-five radiatioin treatments, three chemotherapy sessions, and one surgery were necessary before I was deemed cancer-free. Cancer-free, yes, but the side effects will always be with me. Never will I ever complain about them, for they keep my perspective on life pretty well grounded. Never again will I take anything for granted, like the simple act of of being able to swallow, and my ability to eat normally. For, you see, my cancer was termed head/neck cancer. And the location itself, to some degree, dictated the nature of the side effects of treatment.

There is absolutely no way that I could have gotten through my treatment without the incredible love, support, and encouragement of my family and friends. From the seemingly trivial phone calls, emails, and text messages to check on me, to the times when my yard was mowed, there is no way to adequately express the gratitude and appreciation toward those involved.

One learns a lot when faced with such a situation. A positive attitude and emotional outlook are crucial in recovery. Lying on the radiaton table while the machine circles and sends its rays into your body, sitting in the chair in the chemo room with a needle in your arm for four hours and listening to the beeping while it drips, having your dinner poured through a tube–all of these can take a toll. Yet, you keep telling yourself that each day down is another day complete. Each session down is one less to be endured. “One more day, one more day, one more day,” is the mantra repeated over and over.

Fortunately, I am able to live with the physical side effects of the treatment. Some of the other side effects are more sublime and meaningful. Tailgating at Arrowhead Stadium, listening to the rain, sitting on the patio, simply living…everything has more meaning and more enjoyment. The trivial moments are the most important; the seemingly more important sometimes become the more trivial and irrelevant. Mowing the yard, fighting the gophers in my garden, grilling–it’s the little moments in life that now have more significance and value. That is perhaps the greatest side effect of all.

Posted In: Cancer Demystified by Dr. Kris Gast
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July 2012 Cancer Demystified: Cancer Can Be Emotionally Valuable

Radiation Oncologist at Fort Smith Radiation OncologyHow can cancer be emotionally valuable?

You have survived the roller coaster ride of not knowing what the lump or shadow is.

You have made it through the waiting for the X-ray reports, scheduling of a biopsy and waiting for those results.

You have been through the consults with all your physicians. You anxiously survived the time from your diagnosis to the start of the treatment.

You even survived all the treatment, although there were days when you thought you wouldn’t.

Now a year has passed and you feel like “you” again, only different.

You realize you have changed in more than the physical ways the treatment has caused. Emotionally you are, could it be, stronger?

You view the world differently. The little things that may have upset you before now seem trivial.

Each and every day seems to be special, colors are more intense. Yes, you have changed, and could it be, for the better?

You are experiencing what a good number of our long-term survivors discover: Cancer can have a positive effect on your life.

Remember, we cure more than two-thirds of our patients. Many of them find once they have recovered from the acute side effects of their treatment, they do live healthier lifestyles as well.

Many patients make changes in their overall lifestyle such as quitting smoking, losing weight, eating healthier foods, taking supplements and exercising more.

Your oncology team (surgeon, medical oncologist and radiation oncologist) will follow you closely for the development of other cancers. Screenings will include mammograms, PSA, PAP smears, skin checks, etc.

Patients are monitored for long-term side effects and health issues caused by treatment because their oncology team’s goal is to make each and every patient healthier and happier than they were before their diagnosis.

Cancer survivors have the opportunity to experience an emotional metamorphosis.

They have faced a life-threatening illness, conquered it, and view every day thereafter as a gift

Posted In: Cancer Demystified by Dr. Kris Gast
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