I am all clear, still! What a relief. My oncologist is starting to be concerned about all the scans I have been exposed to though, so she wants me to think about spacing them out a little more. I don't know if my nerves can handle that just yet.


9 Month Post-Chemo CT Scan

Yesterday morning I went for my nine month scan. I won't have any results until February 15th, when I meet with my oncologist. I didn't feel as confident as I usually do, which is worrisome. My mom had a CT at the exact same time as mine, which all the staff thought was amazing. We decided we would have rather gone to the spa.

As far as CT scans go, this one was pleasant enough. There was a new flavor of barium- mochaccino smoothie, which is very misleading, but slightly more tolerable than berry or banana. My IV was inserted on the first try, and the scan itself was over in a matter of minutes. Now I just wait for the news...


My Speech

Last week I was able to speak at my cousin's Relay For Life Kickoff Event and I thought I'd post my speech here since it is cancer related and all.

Good evening. As Marissa said, my name is Angela Emond, and I'm honored to speak to you tonight. In May of 2008, I was diagnosed with a rare and often deadly form of cancer: Ewing's Sarcoma. Those two words, formerly something no one close to me had even heard, soon became a refrain that took control of every aspect of my life.

Like many cancer patients at first I was completely overwhelmed by the unfamiliar and seemingly insurmountable obstacles ahead of me. My tumor extended from my left kidney, through my renal vein, into my IVC all the way to my heart. I underwent major surgery and 12 rounds of chemo. During this time, I struggled to remain positive and focused on getting better. What made the biggest difference to me was knowing that I was blessed with a wonderful support system. My family, friends, coworkers, students, neighbors, and members of my church surrounded me with love and assistance. Even strangers in the community read about my condition in the newspaper and reached out to help.

One of the most difficult tasks facing a cancer patient and their family is staying informed . Because my treatment began almost immediately, there was no time to prepare for the damaging effects chemotherapy causes as it enters you body. My caregivers and I were not aware of the precautions that needed to be taken in order to prevent mouth sores, and unfortunately I developed the most severe case my medical team had ever seen. I ended up losing the lining of my esophagus. This caused me months of pain as it grew back and kept me from being able to get proper nutrition for a very long time. Even taking a sip of water sent a searing, burning sensation down my throat into my chest. By my second round of chemotherapy my mother had educated us all on the steps I needed to take for mouth care. She found that important information, as well as many other tips and advice addressing the specific problems cancer patients face in the booklets that are published by the ACS. But that's just one tiny example of what the American Cancer Society does. They also offer the Look Good Feel Better Program which teaches women how to look their best, allowing them to feel a little more like themselves.

Last year I had the chance to participate in my first survivor lap at relay for life. As I began my walk around the track, I was in awe as I observed the many different types of people walking beside me, in all stages of the battle with cancer. Cancer indiscriminately touches people’s lives. I was joined by men, women, young children in strollers and older people in wheelchairs. I felt a sense of pride to be part of this community. It is one that no one chooses to belong to, but it is a group who as a whole refuse to give up. When my family joined me for the caregiver lap, I became even more emotional. I was happy to have a chance to publicly honor those closest to me who had attended to my every need and fought just as hard as I had on a daily basis.

Fundraising for American Cancer Society through Relay For Life events made a difference in my life, it continues to make a difference in the lives of millions of cancer patients across the country. My favorite aspect of Relay for Life is that it is the most well known event to raise awareness and offer support for ALL types of cancers, not just the most common. The funds raised from events like this one help people like me, who's cancers are not yet well understood. I am so grateful for the people who organize and participate in Relay for Life each year and I hope that you keep in mind that you are helping to bring about change. The survival rate is difficult to predict with my type of cancer because it is based on the people who have lived for at least five years after treatment. But those statistics are already obsolete because I received treatment that was far superior than those who were treated five years ago. My doctor advised me to live like I am part of the percentage who has been predicted to survive. So that’s what I am doing, staying involved and remaining hopeful that this disease will become better understood, treated and eventually cured.

Cancer is terrible. But I've found that you have to respond with courage and faith. In some way, you have to fight back. Relay for Life allows us all the opportunity to do just that. I’d like to close with a poem entitled I Walk for You, I Walk for Me, the author is unknown.

I walked around a track today
I walked to help a disease go away.
I walked because there is a need
I walked that bodies could be freed
I walked to give a small child hope
I walked to help someone cope
I walked for a husband or a wife
I walked to help save a life
I walked with my head held high
I walked for that one about to die
I walked excitedly not demure
I walked to help find a cure
I walked for everyone to see
I walked for you, I walked for me

Thank you all for coming out this evening, thank you for your support of those touched by cancer and your support of the ACS.