Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Life

December 22, 2013

WHOLE FAMILY: Navigating the dark and scary waters of cancer

(Continued)

Her name is Claudia Rose, and she turned 80 on Dec. 4. Two days later, she received the first half of her first round of chemotherapy infusion — powerful, poisonous drugs aimed at the 8-cm tumor on her right lung.

I saw that tumor on an X-ray — a big, white, fuzzy mass where only healthy lung tissue is supposed to be. Even my untrained eye recognized it as ominous.

I have read that most every human has potential cancer cells — simply, “abnormal” cells — in his or her body at any given time. It’s when those cells aren’t cleaned up by our immune systems or they’re fed by whatever fuels them — thus they grow and reproduce – that they become cancer.

“Growing out of control and invading other tissues are what makes a cell a cancer cell,” says the ACS.

According to her oncologist, my grandma’s tumor is likely about 6 months old. She had no symptoms to alert her to its presence save the one that earned her a chest X-ray: pain near her right scapula that she attributed to a decades-old shoulder injury.

After the X-ray, she was off for some body and brain scans and a biopsy of that tumor. I attended none of those tests with her, but I hear she handled them like a champion and tickled the nursing staff with her funny antics. Eighty-year-old grandmas say the darndest things. No doubt you’ll read some of them in columns to come.

And then, the diagnosis: lung cancer. Words no one wants to hear.

Presently there is no recommended routine screening for lung cancer like there is for prostate, breast or cervical cancers. But after breast cancer, lung cancer is the most common cancer in women, accounting for about 52 percent of all cancers in women, according to the ACS.

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Poll

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
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