Little Things ~~ by Kate McGinn

Little Things ~~ by Kate McGinn

Diseases can leave their mark on the human body in unique ways at times, but they can also mimic other medical conditions making a differential diagnosis more difficult to obtain especially in the early stages. Cancer is one of these diseases. In nursing school, I was instructed on the “Seven Warning Signs of Cancer”.

  1. A sore that doesn’t heal
  2. A persistent cough or hoarseness
  3. A change in bowel or bladder habits
  4. Unusual bleeding or discharge
  5. Thickening or lump in the breast or elsewhere
  6. Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing
  7. Changes in your skin such as an obvious change in a mole or wart

The warning signs were drilled into my fellow nursing students and me, and I hate to tell you that I’ve ignored a symptom or two in the past. This list is very basic and many times these changes can be attributed to another cause, but only your physician can tell you for sure if you have something to worry about or not.

October was the month for mammograms and dutiful nurse that I am, I posted on Facebook reminding my friends to get their mammograms while ignoring to schedule one of my own. I had good intentions but I let life’s everyday minutiae get in the way.  In December, I received a Christmas card from an old friend.  She wrote that a daughter had been diagnosed with breast cancer that year and two months later, my friend had the same diagnosis as her daughter. The news blew me away, and I said a prayer that their treatments would prove successful.

The next day I stepped out of the shower and although I don’t usually look at myself naked in a mirror (at 58 years of age it isn’t something I relish seeing), on this day I noted something that gave me pause.

Remember the list above is very general and doesn’t list all of the manifestations of these signals. Number five above doesn’t address one of the other changes that can occur in a breast — an inverted nipple. This is the first time I’d ever seen this happen to either of my breasts. I made a call to the hospital that same day and scheduled my overdue mammogram.

The day after Christmas, I had a mammogram. I’m thrilled to say it was normal. Thank goodness, because my story could have had a hugely different ending. Little things can signal the beginnings of diseases that can change your life and the lives of your family.

You know your own body better than anyone. If you notice something, even if it seems too small or insignificant to matter, ask your physician or speak to a nurse about it.  Please do not panic if you do have one of the warning signs, only a physician and medical testing can give you a diagnosis. That being said, I will give you two examples that show the importance of seeking knowledgeable professionals about changes that concern you.

My husband’s family has a history of skin cancer. They spent a lot of time outside playing golf, camping, and swimming. Not too many people in the 1960’s-1970’s used sunscreen as frequently as they do today and my husband was one of the people who didn’t. I check him for any changes to moles on his body periodically and refer him to his doctor when I see something I’m concerned over. On one occasion, I noted white patches on his upper ears. They turned out to be pre-cancerous and were removed.

I have a college friend who had an irritated rash which would sometimes bleed in a very sensitive area of her body. I did not look at it, but asked her questions concerning it — when she noticed it, did it ever heal, had she brought it to her medical provider’s attention? She told me it was a constant irritation over several months.  Because of its location, she asked someone that she felt comfortable with when she decided to speak about her concerns. Number one on the list is a sore that doesn’t heal. My friend took my advice and talked to her provider. She was treated for cancer to the area. I thank God every day she felt comfortable enough to speak out and that I was able to convince her to seek help.

The little things can make a difference between life and death.


OMP Admin Note: Kate McGinn is a writer and OMP Network member – one of a group of networkers who will be blogging on a regular basis on various causes and issues. Kate hopes to spread awareness of the issue of American Veterans returning home to less help than they deserve. EMMAUS is one of the two main charities we are supporting.

Kate McGinn’s fiction can be found on Amazon in the flash fiction series BITE SIZE STORIES (Volume Two) along with five other guest writers and in the One Million Project Fiction Anthology. Her Clare Thibodeaux Series, which include the suspense books — EXODUS, WINTER’S ICY CARESS, and NEVER SHOW YOUR HAND, is available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01KUKTYFQ

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kate-McGinn/e/B01KUKTYFQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1473258097&sr=1-2-ent

https://www.katemcginn.com/


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

myBook.to/OMPVarietyAnthology

Dancing with Daffodils ~~ by #OMP writer Christine Larsen

Dancing with Daffodils ~~ by #OMP writer Christine Larsen

My family history reveals quite a few deaths by various cancers over a span of four or more generations.

This could strike fear into many present-day hearts – or at the least, cause more than a little disquiet – a sharpened intake of breath – perhaps an unexpected thudding in the chest. However… unless scientific research proves the opposite to current thinking, these cancers are unrelated and carry no sinister genetic ramifications for me and mine. No more chance of that dreaded diagnosis than 138,000 other Australians estimated to hear the devastating news this year.

This was reason enough for me to tuck any doubts way back into one of the dark recesses of my ‘think-tank’. UNTIL… the deaths of several dear friends, my father-in-law in 1985 and my Mother in 1999, changed all previous odds and thinking.

What could possibly lighten the burden of this bringer of darkness to the soul – this cruel destroyer? And pondered some before realising the answer was already right in front of us – DAFFODIL DAY.

The Cancer Council Australia began in 1961, expanded nation-wide in 1997, and adopted the glorious Daffodil as their emblem to raise awareness and produce messages and merchandise to raise money for Cancer research, education, support – and inspiring care and renewed hope in the hearts of victims AND their families.

Apart from its obvious beauty, we wondered why the choice of the Daffodil. Here are the actual words from the Cancer Council –

The Daffodil was chosen because of its reputation as a hardy annual flower; pushing its way through the frozen earth after a long winter to herald the return of spring, new life, vitality and growth. As one of the first flowers of spring, the Daffodil symbolises rebirth and new beginnings. To Cancer Council, and many affected by cancer, the Daffodil represents hope for a cancer-free future.

AND then the Cancer Council divulged that recent research revealed a natural extract from Daffodils holds cancer-killing properties – a concentration that could trigger cancer cell death.  Imagine… all that wrapped in a supremely beautiful parcel.

Our individual way to observe and salute this emblem of hope and renewal took place at our two mothers’ funerals. Each had died a year apart in August. We held each funeral on Daffodil Day and requested donations to the Cancer Council in lieu of flowers – despite which some dear souls gave both.

What we gave, apart from a wondrously huge wreath of mainly roses on each coffin, were dozens of daffodils on their proud, long stems for each of the mourners to set into those great wreaths. In the shortest time, the final resting places of our darlings were transformed into a blaze of golden joy – a wonderful symbol of all they gave to every life they touched, bringing countless smiles to shine through the tears.

As William Wordsworth wrote –

‘And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the Daffodils.’

On Daffodil Day – and any other day when your heart is over-burdened with grief and loss, maybe these beautiful thoughts can help –

To lose someone you love is to alter your life forever…

The pain stops, there are new people, but the gap never closes…

This hole in your heart is the shape of the one you lost – no one else can fit it.

~ Jeanette Winterson


OMP Admin Note:  Christine Larsen is a writer, farmer, wife, mother, and grandmother from Australia. She has never been homeless or had significant cancer – yet – but has had exposure to both – creating a great sense of empathy and desire to help in any way she can. She is humbled by the opportunity to give one of her stories to the sincerely worthwhile causes of Cancer research and Homelessness.

To find out more about Christine Larsen, Author, and her work:  IMG_7208

ceedee moodling  (Christine’s website)

 – on Wattpad

–  on Facebook

– on Tablo

– on Amazon

Old McLarsen had some Farms (farming memoirs)

ceedee4kids (Christine’s children’s book site)


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

myBook.to/OMPVarietyAnthology

Something to Talk About ~~ by Mark Huntley-James, #OMP Blogger

Something to Talk About ~~ by Mark Huntley-James, #OMP Blogger

There are so many things my mother never talked about.  One of them was money, so it was quite a surprise to me, as her executor, to learn that she actually had some.  Since she never talked about it, I was also surprised by one of the charities she made bequests to.  The British Heart Foundation made sense – she had a heart condition – and likewise the diabetes charity, but the one that initially puzzled me was Cancer Research UK, because I saw no immediate connection.  There didn’t need to be one, but the other causes she supported were things she had had a close association with, so I expected something.

Of course, illness was another thing my mother never talked about.  Yes, she would tell you all about her glucose levels, how the latest pills were doing, but she only ever mentioned her own health.  She skipped over Grandad’s health twenty years ago, yes he was quite ill so she was staying with her parents to help out, but that was about it.  I knew he was ill, in a subliminal way, because his vegetable patch wasn’t dug over – the first time in all the years I was old enough to notice – and he looked short.

I don’t have any good way to describe it properly. Grandad was taller than me and broad in the shoulders, but now he looked short. My mother did say he wasn’t feeling well.

What my mother avoided mentioning, discussing or otherwise bringing out into the light of day was that Grandad had cancer. Some months later I took the umpteen hour drive down again, and saw him in hospital a few weeks before he died – he looked terrible, but he was being discharged and I drove him home.  Just being away from the hospital perked him up and by the time I left at the end of the weekend, he was looking good.  Of course, no-one was mentioning the C-word, let alone the terminal diagnosis.

I’m sure I must have worked it out, but I wasn’t telling myself either.

So, I shouldn’t have been surprised by any of my mother’s bequests.  They all touched her.

Nine months ago, I was asked if I would like to contribute a story to a charity anthology and I agreed.  It seemed like a good idea, supporting a worthwhile cause, and there it was again, Cancer Research UK.

I wonder what my mother would have thought?  She didn’t really talk about that sort of thing.


OMP Admin Note:  Mark Huntley-James writes science fiction and fantasy on a small farm in Cornwall, where he lives with his partner and a menagerie of cats, poultry and sheep.

He has two urban fantasy novels out on Kindle – “Hell Of A Deal” (http://relinks.me/B01N94VXBC ) and “The Road To Hell” (relinks.me/B07BJLKFSS  ) – and is working on a third.

He can be found online at his blog (writeedge.blogspot.com), his website (https://sites.google.com/site/markhuntleyjames/), and occasionally on that new-fangled social media.


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

To Cure? Or Endure? by Christine Larsen

To Cure? Or Endure? by Christine Larsen

“I got the death sentence!” Harry sank heavily into his favourite chair by the fire. His face was white and drawn as if indeed he’d had a deadly serious eyeballing contest with the Grim Reaper… and lost. Harry’s death sentence was as irreversible as the diagnosis of lung cancer being the inoperable primary, and liver and lymph system stalking closely behind as secondaries. I never witnessed this tragic day but heard it in sorrowful detail from his wife, my ‘other’ mother, sometime later.

Throughout his relatively short battle, he fought to reverse the diagnosis. Unfortunately, his attitude swung constantly from one potential cure to another. As he embraced each one, his hopes were impossibly ‘high’, at first believing changes for the better really were happening. No matter how slim, every possibility was tried and then rejected when it didn’t make major differences to his pain and physical deterioration within a few weeks. Each and every time he plunged emotionally to the depths, returning rapidly to his base belief in that ‘death sentence’ – until the next apparent miracle cure was found on his never-ending quest.

Inevitably, he died. And when the immediate pain of his loss quietened somewhat, his family questioned how much his attitude could have affected the speed and severity of his disease. They examined attitude and illness and its effects on longevity and severity of the disease. Could it – would it – have been altered by a less desperate mental and emotional grasping to stop the terrible nightmare that lingered on, day after day?

Much respected research has shown positive or negative thoughts of those dealing with chronic illness CAN indeed impact recovery.  Strong negative emotions create avoidance, denial, depression, anxiety – and severely hinder the body from fighting back. But those who feel the slightest control over their illness are less distressed, able to adopt and stick to more positive coping strategies. Given the chance and options, all degrees of illness can be managed more successfully.  In rare cases, enough true positivity has proven to stem, even reverse the toll of the ‘good health thief’.

Other equally respected researchers loudly disagree, but even in the midst of their nay-saying, admissions are made that cancer most certainly affects the mental health of its victims. The question then is – can it, in turn, be significantly managed and coped with better with ‘mental health care and emotional support’. Surely there’s no place like home for this to begin – with the person’s own attitude.

I think of the times any one of us has been home, sick, left alone to wallow miserably in our unhealthy state. But should the phone ring, or the doorbell – and a friend or relative we care about be there, we are capable of an impressive, if temporary, appearance of coping far better than we truly are. Is it adrenalin? Pride? A wish to not spend precious time together with a loved one miserably? Later, we’re probably exhausted from the pretense… and yet, are we not feeling more cheerful and more than somewhat improved, at least in our heart of hearts? In our mindset?

Maybe the experts who insist unequivocally that the quantity of Life is not altered in the least by mind control, are right. Perhaps there is nothing known to Man able to stop that relentless march towards the ‘death sentence’ Harry was convinced awaited. But they could be wrong. Researchers into all manner of things from time immemorial have been mistaken in their most unshakeable beliefs.

Let us all hope and pray the research into Cancer we, One Million Project writers, donate our words to, will uncover the answers to this and so many other questions sitting on the tip of that iceberg, melting quickly into the 90% laying below the surface and exposing the truth of this Life-thief.

 


OMP Admin Note:  Christine Larsen is a writer, farmer, wife, mother, IMG_7208and grandmother from Australia. She has never been homeless or had significant cancer – yet – but has had exposure to both – creating a great sense of empathy and desire to help in any way she can. She is humbled by the opportunity to give one of her stories to the sincerely worthwhile causes of Cancer research and Homelessness.

Christine can be found on –

ceedee moodling

Wattpad

Tablo Publishing

Amazon Author Page

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